Saturday, July 24, 2010
Friday, July 23, 2010
There is a lot of talk of healthy sustainable food around. Fantastic authors like Michael Pollan and Barbara Kinsgsolver bring us a wealth of information about our food sources and the "American Diet". Yes, the information is all out there, there is no more excuse for ignorance, but how many of us actually take a proactive approach and decide to control what food comes into our body?
I know a lot of people choose to be vegetarians as a humanitarian choice for the rights of animals. I am sure most people would not want to eat the meat, milk and eggs from factory farms if they were really confronted with what goes on behind those walls.
The logical alternative seems to just do a 180 and turn your back on that awful reality and stop supporting it. The problem is that being a vegetarian does NOT stop supporting the factory farm / industrial agriculture system. Every time you open a package containing food you have done it again. Be it tofurky or soymilk, they are just as much the products of a NON SUSTAINABLE system as a feed lot cow is.
So what is the alternative?
Thank goodness there is one and its easier and less expensive than we imagine! Its LOCAL food. Best would be LOCAL ORGANIC food!!!
Local food means get to know your farmer! Means supporting small family farms versus the big multinational corporations. It means keeping money and resources in your area, saving fuel, pollution and packaging materials.
"But I live in Los Angeles (New York etc..)" you will say "and I have NO time to take trips to look for farmers to buy food, I barely even have time to eat!!!"
Well even in the big city we have choices now! There is farmers markets everywhere, on almost every day of the week. There you can really meet your farmers, and if you can basically shop once for the whole week.
You can order a CSA box. (Community Supported Agriculture) That will make it even easier, as you will not have to spend time thinking about what to buy, it comes packaged for you, fresh, plentiful and seasonal. They also include recipes for the veggies they include.
At the farmers market you can also meet small local cattle and poultry farmers. They are usually able to take orders and you can buy a whole or partial steer that will then be processed and delivered to you neatly packaged and frozen.
That is what Deb, our mentor and landlord here did. She purchased half a free range organic steer from the Book Farm, the same one where we get our raw milk.
The animals are grown on free pasture, never confined (except to the barn when is cold) and never fed grains. When the time to process them comes they are humanely slaughtered then brought to a small facility in the nearby town of Durham where the meat is cut and packed.
From there we pick it up and bring it home neatly vacuum packed and frozen.
From the farm to our table the meat did not travel more than 40 miles. We know that the animals we are eating led peaceful, stress free lives on the pastures, eating what Nature designed a cow to eat. Their manure did not pollute the water ways and the ground as it was composted and used in a vegetable garden. They were not injected with antibiotics and hormones, as they were a healthy breed eating healthy food from a healthy soil free of pesticides.
This is a sustainable cycle.
One that could continue far into the future, like it came from a far past. Humans have lived in harmony within natural cycles for thousands of years, until they decided to start taking shortcuts....
Well enough moralizing, the bottom line is that we had a delicious meal healthy for us and for our Earth, and with just a little step outside the comfort zone of the usual, we can all do that!
RESOURCES AND INFORMATIONAL LINKS:
Joel Salatin, the guru of sustainable farming.
A great photographic story of the process of buying an organic steer:
All about local sustainable food:
A farmers market locator
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
After all the preserving and freezing we decided we had to make a pie right away!
This is Deb's recipe for
GLUTEN FREE CHERRY CRUMBLE PIE:
Instead of a crust this pie only has a crumble topping.
1 cup of gluten free flower
1 1/2 cup of coarsely chopped almonds
1 cup of toasted almonds
1 cup pecans
6 tablespoons of softened coconut oil
1/2 cup honey
5 cups of pitted cherries
Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl, except cherries, till a crumbly texture is reached. Put cherries in a pyrex or pie dish. Distribute topping evenly on top.
Bake pie 30 min at 400°.
Serve with vanilla frozen raw cream. (Raw milk homemade version of ice cream)
Our very nice neighbor Donna let us pick a ton of cherries from her overloaded trees. Luckily she also let us borrow her cherry stoner, so processing 10 lb of cherries was not too hard. first we picked cherries for few hours, then we had to run home and remove the pits right away before they started to spoil. (very ripe cherries!)
This proved to be a bit of a messier job than we expected, with cherry juice squirting everywhere, but with a good assemblage chain, the work was over in less than an hour.
The first product of our labor was at least 9 lb of cherries ready for the freezer and 4 jars of preserves, two with vodka and two with sugar. Now we are well stocked for a whole winter worth of cherry pies!
Monday, July 5, 2010
Finally we can eat protein!!! After 10 loooong days of raw veggies (and few cherries) we can finally add protein into the diet. Well actually we have cheated just a little, and had chicken a couple of times, when we were out, or just way too hungry!! Overall I am pretty happy with the way the Purification program is going, I definitively have been through some up and downs, dizzy, tired, cranky, bloated....it's all part of it. Oz lost 6 pounds in 10 days, a pretty dangerous thing for him, as he battles to keep his weight on, but to my great relief he has already put 3 back on. I maybe lost 3 pounds...as an added bonus, but we'll till the end of the program.
So today I was in the garden and I picked up a beautiful fennel and a bunch of small lettuces and watercress. I came home and the only protein I had handy was some cod (wild caught of course) from TJ's. Now the challenge was to combine all these elements into a yummy dinner. The result was actually better than my expectations, e voila' a new recipe is born:
POACHED COD WITH FENNEL ORANGE SALAD
(of course I recommend all seasonal, organic, local ingredients when possible)
For the salad
1 fennel with tops
1 small bunch watercress
1 green onion
1/4 cup olive oil
a dash of cayenne pepper
freshly grated black pepper
For the cod
1 large green onion
4 cod filets
most of the tops from the fennel
1/2 cup white whine
1/2 cup water
freshly grated black pepper
First prepare the salad so it will have the chance to marinate for about 1/2 hour.
Remove the zest from one of the oranges and save it in a small bowl.
Slice the fennel and the green onion very fine, put into a bowl with the watercress chopped and one orange peeled, skinned and cut in pieces.
Now use the bowl with the zest to mix the dressing adding the juice of one lemon, a dash of cayenne, a pinch of salt, 1/4 cup olive oil and some fresh pepper. Whisk the dressing together and add to fennel mix. Now is best to refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour.
Now the cod. In a 12-inch skillet prepare the poaching bed. Trim and slice the lemon and arrange it one layer across the bottom of the skillet, add sliced green onion and the all wispy parts from the fennel tops. Add wine and water. Now place cod fillets in skillet on top of the fennel tops. Cover pan with a tight fitting lid and turn the gas on high until the liquid will start to simmer, then reduce heat to low and cook until the cod will look opaque and flake when pulled with a fork, about 12 to 15 minutes.
When the cod is done remove it gently with a spatula and hold it warm in a covered plate. Return the pan to high heat and simmer the cooking juices until reduced to few tablespoons.
Now strain cooking liquid into a bowl, add the juice of 1/2 orange, salt, pepper and some thinly sliced green onions.
I served the dish by making a layer of lettuce on individual plates, then gently laying the cod over it. Drizzle the fish with the sauce then place the chilled salad on the plate next to it.
I used cod for this recipe because that is what I had at home, feel free to use salmon (wild caught) or dover sole instead...
For good information about sustainable healthy seafood:
A interesting site about TJ's new seafood policies published by greenpeace
- Forest Ranch, CA, United States
- Omnatura was born in 2005 as a line of handmade jewellery in collaboration with artisans in the poor areas of the northeast of Brazil. Since then it has expanded to different countries, and has grown more and more into a concept for living. I am Vivica, the creator of Omnatura, and when my visions and priorities started shifting and expanding, I decided to let my business expand and shift with them. After all Omnatura could be translated into "All-Natural" (from the Latin base "omni" and "naturae"), and my life has been strongly moving towards this all-natural state.... After living in the city of Los Angeles for the last 17 years, and the city of Milano for many years before that, the call back to nature finally became reality this year in April, when we moved to the small community if Forest Ranch in Northern California. My dreams of self-sufficiency and threading lightly on this much abused planet are now becoming reality. A different pace of life, and still managing my business of sustainable fashions...now with more integrity than ever!