Monday, April 19, 2010

Slowing Down

Slow Food International

At least five times a day I hear a radio commercial that annoys me more than most. The ad is for a well known convenience/gas station. The narrator portrays a trip to the grocery store for milk and makes it sound like going to the refrigerated section at the back of the store is the same as crossing the Mojave Desert. The commercial ends with a push for customers to enjoy the ease of being able to get all their food needs within a 1000 square foot shop. I would hate to hear their description of making a home roasted chicken compared to a Hot Pocket. That kind of thinking has led to some of the worst excuses for "food" to ever defile the human GI tract. It's sad that most people have moved so far from traditional food preparation and enjoyment that the family dinner is a rare moment and not an every day occurrence.

Sourdough Starter

Recently we have been grinding our own flour to bake whole wheat bread. It took us a while but we finally found a recipe using 100% whole wheat that didn't turn into a brick in the oven. It was also the first recipe we made using a sponge and hand kneaded instead of using a bread machine. Having mastered the basic techniques, we decided to experiment with a sourdough recipe from Nourishing Traditions (Sally Fallon, Revised Second Edition, p.490). Creating the starter takes about a week, but when it's ready the actual work involved is minimal. The recipe only calls for flour, water, and salt, plus the starter which is rye flour and water. The recipe calls for a 4-12 hour rise. We let ours rise for four hours while we worked on the garden beds. We pulled it out of the oven last night just in time for dinner. It has a very dense crust with a definite sour taste, but the center is soft and tasty. We made grilled cheese with left over sauteed bell peppers and onions using the bread and it seemed to bring out the sourdough flavor even more.

Finished Loaves

Speaking of working in the garden, today I dug the sixth and final bed (for this year anyway). In the interest of symmetry this particular bed was about five feet from a very old silver maple which has had a lot of time to develop very large roots. Three of the large roots ran the entire width and most of the depth of Bed #6. All three of these roots were heavily armored with small boulders intent on deflecting my spade. A hatchet would have come in handy but we don't currently own one. After considering dynamite and a few other equally dangerous solutions, I settled for the spade and hand saw, with some cursing thrown in for good measure. Seven hours later the roots were out, the compost was in, and my digging for the season was finished (I hope).

Super Root


Friday, April 2, 2010

A Sight of Green

Last fall Eric and I didn't know where we would be living. We waited over 6 months for the paperwork to go through to buy the house that we are at now. Since we didn't know what was instore for us, we planted garlic at my parents house.

This was the first time for us to plant garlic. The bulbs are heirloom that were given to me by an organic farmer. We also have another type of garlic that we've lost the name of. Both are hardneck varieties. After I planted the garlic cloves in the soil, I covered them with a couple inches of straw.

I wasn't sure if the garlic would make it through the winter. But when I walked closer to the garden I saw little green leaves sprouting from the straw. It is wonderful to see another color besides brown this time of year.

-By Moriah