Sunday, February 28, 2010

Food Inc.

I recently rented Food Inc. Excellent film. Having read the books of both Eric Schlosser and Michael Pollan, there was not too much new for me. But I still took a lot away from the movie but I think others seeing this for the first time will have a lot to think about.

Here's a clip of the introductory few minutes of the movie:

And here's the official movie trailer:

There is also a supporting website worth investigating:

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Time to Start Thinking About Spring

A recent email from Sunset magazine got me excited about the possibilities of another growing season in the next few months. The article outlines the "21 Best Crops for your Edible Garden." Each crop is described and there is a link to growing tips.

I think it's time to add some fertilizer to the vegetable beds and let it work into the soil. Hopefully, next month our town will be giving away more mulch. It's time to get the soil ready.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Apple Oven Cake

I was paging through an old Sunset magazine (October 2009) when a recipe caught my eye. It sometimes seems that we can't always keep up with the apples from our box. I slice them into salads at every opportunity but I'm always looking for ways to use 1 or 2 of those Fuji apples.

This was a snap to make and I loved how the cast iron skillet was used for both stove top and oven. It could actually be made from scratch after dinner. It was definitely made in 30 minutes or less as advertised.

I made a few slight changes from the original recipe (seen next to the skillet in the photo).

Here's what I did:

Apple Oven Cake

  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 apples, such as Fuji, peeled and sliced (original recipe called for just one)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup each flour and milk (I used non-fat)
  • lime juice (original recipe called for lemon juice but I'm swimming in limes from the backyard right now)
  • powdered sugar

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  • In a large bowl, combine eggs, salt, flour, and milk. Use a hand blender to mix until well blended.
  • Peel and slice apples
  • Melt butter in a 12" cast iron (or other ovenproof skillet) over high heat.
  • Add brown sugar and cinnamon, swirling to combine.
  • Stir in apples and cook until they begin to soften, about 3 minutes
  • Pour in egg mixture and transfer to oven. Bake until puffed and brown, about 15 minutes.
  • Sprinkle with juice and powdered sugar. Use a wire mesh colander for the powdered sugar. Press sugar through wire with your fingers.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Cabbage Soup

A head of cabbage in the box got me wondering how cabbage (along with corned beef) got so associated with Ireland. Seems that if you look online you will find that cabbage originated in either Asia, Britian, or the Mediterranean. Hmmm. Anyhow, it was a wild seaside plant that looked more like kale. Selective breeding led to the "head" of cabbage that we are familiar with today. The Celts brought cabbage to northern Europe and it did well in Ireland's cold climate. Its fast growing time (3 months) and nutrients made it an ideal dinner for poor, rural Irish farmers who boiled it along with onions for a simple stew.

In that spirit, I was able to use up a number of box items with this tasty soup which fed us for a few days.

Cabbage Soup
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1/2 head of cabbage, sliced thinly (I used the savoy cabbage from the box)
  • 2 small leeks, cleaned and sliced
  • 2 medium red potatoes, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • butter and olive oil about 1 Tbsp. each
  • big pinch of salt
  • black pepper
  • a few shakes of red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp. thyme, chopped
  • 4-5 cups of broth
  • 1 can cannelli beans, rinsed
  • shredded Parmesan cheese
Start by melting the butter in a large pot and add the olive oil when it's melted. Add the potatoes, salt, and pepper and stir to mix. Cover and simmer until they begin to soften and even brown a bit. Add leeks and onions and stir to mix. Mince the garlic into the mixture and toss in some red pepper flakes along with the thyme. Stir and let simmer until potatoes are cooked through. Add broth and beans and bring to a boil. Core the cabbage and slice into 1/4 inch ribbons. Add to soup as it begins to boil. Lower heat and let simmer until the cabbage has softened. Serve and top with grated Parmesan cheese. Have plenty of my favorite bread on the side: Semifreddi's seeded baguette. A salad of backyard romaine on the side made for a complete meal.

Day 2 leftovers: Saute up some Tofurky Italian sausage and add it to the soup.