Friday, June 5, 2009
Crudités or Crud
It is all about the food, isn’t it? Planning ahead for family dinners and a few delectable leftovers for lunch the following day is de rigueur, is it not? Of course it is.
Apparently not. Sadly, despite the gross plethora of diet-fad books, TV weight-loss shows, gym memberships, Oprah’s waistline and other metrics of the national girth, we continue to ease out the belt hole by hole as we ignore the simplest, least expensive cure for our spreading waistlines. It is not as though we have not been bombarded by the cold hard facts about midriff bulge and body-mass indices. We simply continue to ignore what we seem unwilling or unable to acknowledge: that there is a direct correlation between what and how we eat and our sloth-some attitudes toward preparing meals and enjoying them. As it turns out, Aesop and Sinatra were correct: slow and steady does it.
Eating well and slowly is a modality that will prolong life by keeping us healthier individually and societally. As we push deeper into the 21st century, we here are slowly catching on to what most other cultures in the world have always known and celebrated but we have mocked. We have successfully sown the seeds of negligible nutrition around the world with MacDonald’s leading the charge. However, having seen what senseless sustenance has done to us (and those we have dumped it on), we are beginning to regret our impetuous tendencies to hurry up and get our meals over with. Carlo Petrini and the Slow Food advocates have hit upon more than just a new food culture idiom. More than simply debating the verisimilitude of roquefort from Roquefort as opposed to roquefort from Wisconsin (terroir), slow food represents the best way to disengage from our over-mediated lifestyles and the fallacious belief that we must do double-time from dawn to dusk.
In short, given the season, there is no better time for us to back away from our crapulent and over-scheduled lifestyles. Disregard those TV ads for quick meals for families on the go and let your hair down. It is well known now that meals produced from fresh produce are more economical and better for you than meals prepared with processed foods. So visit your local farmer’s market or farmstand with the intention of a home-cooked meal from seasonal fresh-market produce firmly fixed in your head. Ask for help!: help with recipes, help with meal preparation, help with the dishes and help with ideas of what the next evening’s meal might look like. Meals should be mindful and nutritious. Our families ought to delight in the dazzling differences in the panoply of fresh produce available at local farmstands, markets and CSAs [community supported agriculture] at this time of year.
French fries and chicken fingers need not be the finger food of choice and if crudités were not so unfortunately named, they might be more widely accepted as part of the daily diet. Despite that Frenchification, raw vegetables are good for you and require almost no preparation. They are slow and quick and therein lies the crux of the issue. Making a meal can be a simple choice: crudités or crud, bennies or baddies. Slow food or junk food. Choose health or heart burn, economy or misery. Think slow, now, and enjoy a healthy summer. ∆
Baked Beans (for slow cooker)
This is amazingly easy. All of the ingredients are available from organic producers.
6 cups water
2. Add all ingredients to a medium-large slow cooker (about 14 cups; reduce amounts for a smaller pot) and stir gently. Set on high. Once it bubbles, turn to low.
3. Cook 12-18 hours, depending on your slow cooker, until the beans are soft and dark brown.
4. Remove bay leaves to serve. Good hot or cold.
You can be inventive and flexible with the flavorings. For a more French flavor, omit tomatoes and add a tablespoon of fresh grated ginger root and ½ teaspoon dried thyme. This recipe does not require extra sugar or catsup or pork.
Rev. Diane Miller
Wild Mushroom Soup 2 oz. dried morels, chanterelles
3/4 cup Madeira wine
1. Rinse dried mushrooms well and soak them in Madeira wine for about one hour, until softened.
2. Melt butter in a soup pot. Add onions and cook over low heat until transparent and tender, but not browned. Add a little salt and pepper to help draw out the onion flavor.
3. Lift soaked mushrooms from wine and add to pot. Let sediment settle, then pour wine into pot, leaving sediment behind. Add stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 45 minutes or until dried mushrooms are very tender.
4. Puree soup. Add more salt and pepper if needed. Add more stock and/or cream to get desired consistency.
Gluten-free Rhubarb Buckle Cake
1/2 cup butter (at room temperature)
2. Chop rhubarb (3-4 stalks, depending on size) into 1/4 - 1/2 inch pieces.
3. Cream the butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well.
4. In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients to the butter mixture.
5. Combine the milk and vanilla in a small bowl or cup.
6. Alternate adding the dry and wet ingredients to the butter mixture, beating well after each addition. Pour batter into the dish, then sprinkle rhubarb pieces on top.
7. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
Substitute any fruit for the rhubarb. If not making gluten-free, substitute the flours for 1 1/2 cups of unbleached white flour, eliminate the corn starch and the guar gum and only use 3 large eggs. Sucanat and Rapadura are natural cane sugars.
© 2009 The Carlisle Mosquito