Thursday, May 8, 2014

Real Food

Ok, this just blew my mind, don't worry I'm easily excited, it happens at least once daily.  I wanted to share it with you all, because I think it explains very well this idea of "real food" I've been trying to articulate.  I hope you enjoy, I love this guy!!

And F Harry Balzer!!


Waste Not, Want Not

If there is a quote I equate to my grandma, this is it.  I remember cleaning out cottage cheese containers to be reused as Tupperware, tearing cereal boxes to their smallest components so they would take up less room in the waste basket, and therefore, fill fewer trash bags.  I now hear this statement drift though my mind each time I throw out an uneaten container of leftovers or those bananas that got a little too brown. 
This sentence was the first thing to my mind when I recently read a frightening statistic in Relish magazine.  40 percent of the American food supply ends up in the trash.  I knew we were wasters, but I didn't know it was that bad.  I won't start the starving kids in Africa rant, but seriously this is a problem that needs to be fixed and the responsibility lies with the consumers.  Of course, much of this waste occurs in the food supply chain before it even reaches us, but we can't demand food companies to change their ways until we fix what is happening in our kitchens.  Believe me, I am still a work in progress in this (and all things), but here are a few tips I have integrated into my life.
  • Make leftovers easy:  As I have discussed before, I have a leftovers problem.  I also really do not like to eat the same thing for two dinners in a row, so this creates a bit of a conundrum.  I try to put my leftovers away into lunch sized portions.  This way they are ready to go in the morning, you don't have to go searching for containers.  A deepfreeze can be a life saver for those who, like me, like to cook for an army but don't actually have one to feed.  Freeze in meal size batches and keep in the freezer for a few weeks until you forget about the first time you ate it and it's like a magic surprise from yourself.
  • Get Creative:  Some people see broccoli stems as trash, I now see an awesome slaw to go with pulled pork burritos (great reuse for pork roast).  When carrots, celery and other veggies get a little past their prime, throw them into a Ziploc bag and keep in the freezer.  The next time you make a chicken, keep the bones and boil it up with the veggies.  Trust me homemade stock tastes much better than the stuff in a box and it's basically free.  You can also keep your bread ends in the freezer and run them through a blender or food processor when you need bread crumbs.
  • Grow Something:  Ok, if "Waste Not, Want Not" is my grandma's quote, this one is mine.  If you take the time to grow your own food, I think you will care more about it.  You will probably pass by the blemished tomatoes at Safeway, but if they come from your own garden and hard work the blemish suddenly becomes character.  So much waste is inherent in the industrial food system (don't even get me started) if you can extract yourself from it a little you are bound to start dropping from that 40%.  Having a garden can also open the possibility of composting.  Those veggies that were once destined for the trash can now become next years veggies.
Well, that's just a start.  Over the past few years I have been learning more and more about how food actually gets to our plates and, to me, it is scary (and that was before I knew 40% just becomes trash).  I've taken most of the above steps (still working on a compost bin) and am always looking for others.  I've said before, I don't think the answer is in eating organic.  The answer is in each of us taking one step to eat real food like our grandparents did, then teaching another person to take that step or learning a new step from someone else.  It can change your health, your figure and your outlook on life.  Ah well, I promised not to rant, so I better leave it at that.  Please let me know what you do to keep your food real.

Wishing you Awesomeness--B 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Homemade Pasta Wishes and Ravioli Dreams

Lets start this out with a revelation...I can make homemade pasta.  And, believe me, if I can do it so can you!! (feel free to be impressed by us both right now)  I was thoroughly convinced this was a feat that should only be attempted by an Italian grandma.  For some reason though, a while back inspiration (and a fridge full of eggs) struck and I decided to give it a try.  'N ya know what?  Like so many other things in the culinary world it really is not as hard as they make it out to be.  All you need to make this happen is flour and eggs.  Anything else you might need can be omitted or improvised.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Groovy Kitchen Playlist

So, as my neighbors to the north with a view of my kitchen window can attest, this really is a groovy kitchen.  I love nothing more than to throw on my apron and some great tunes and bust out a couple moves while I make dinner.  I'm sure I give the neighbors a good laugh with their dinner every nite since I love to twist like it's 1953 and I consider the running man to be one of my best moves.  Hey, we can't all be Beyonce.  Anyways, here are my current top three albums to get your culinary groove on.

1.  The Gossip-The singer Beth Ditto has a powerful voice (I may have sung along into my spoon a time or two) and the beats beg to be danced to.

2.  Wild Belle- I acutally discovered these guys while listening to NPR in my kitchen (my go to when the MP3 player is dead).  They are a brother/sister duo.  The sis brings a sweet voice I feel I can somewhat replicate and the bro provides some awesome saxamaphone.  If a round of air sax doesn't bring a smile to your face then you need to work on your life.

3.  Matisyahu-I just love a little reggae beat in the kitchen, and all the better (at least weirder) when it is delivered by a Hasidic Jew.  I love the lyrics to Chop 'Em Down, totally speaks to modern society's destructive tendencies...or something deep like that.
Well, I'm off the practice my worm.  What are on your playlists right now?

Friday, April 25, 2014

It Takes Balls

Remember this guy?  A big delicious pot of risotto...for two people.   I suppose it's time I divulge one of my biggest kitchen problems.  For some reason, I am always compelled to cook enough food for a family of eight, even though it is just for my boyfriend and myself.  It's a problem, I know.  I should get help...or open a soup kitchen.  Until I do something about it, our fridge is perpetually full of leftovers. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Yeah, we can make Risotto

This is one of my favorite dishes ever.  Not because it is delicious (eat it off the floor good).  Not because it is beautiful (look at those colors).  Not even because it combines some of the best flavors ever created (bacon, parmesan, butter).  It's because it is fancy and when I make it I can pretend I am too!!  At least in my neck of the woods, if you tell someone you made risotto they are going to be impressed...then they are going to ask you what risotto is.  I must confess until I started making it myself, my only experience of risotto involved Chef Ramsey calling someone a donkey.  I don't know if mine would pass his test, but it rocks the house around here.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Welcome, Let's Get Groovy!!

I've racked my brain for many months for the perfect name for this blog.  It finally hit me as I lay in bed last night thinking of the mozzarella I would be making today and the horror movie I had just watched.  (Note: do not think about cheese and ghosts before you drift off, you will have some weird dreams.)  I may as well just admit to myself and the rest of the world that, deep down, I am a hippie and I just want life to be groovy. 

Take my recent addiction to yoga.  Or the fact that a batch of homemade granola is now a weekly tradition in my house.  And believe me this isn't a recent phenomenon.  I still remember the shirt I wore to the first day of 3rd grade with huge purple bubble letters spelling "groovy".  I still fail to understand why all the other kids didn't bow down to my awesomeness.  Oh well, I guess we can't all be groovy.  And a final point since I'm traveling down memory lane here.  Some of the best times of my teenagehood where walking with my best friend down the main street of our small town throwing peace signs to see how many we would get back.  (Hint:  In small town, red state Wyoming, the answer is not many.)

My goal with this site is to share my love of food...real food. My definition of that is still in progress.  I'm not going to preach about eating only organic or putting chia seeds in your tea.  I'm inspired by my grandma's kitchen, where the eggs came from chickens she had met and hashbrowns were hand cut each Sunday for my grandpa.  I would hate for such great memories to be obliterated by Big Macs and sucralose.  So, I'm going to keep making more of those memories and I hope you will join me.  Let's see where this journey takes us.

Peace and Love-B