I haven’t posted much recently about my cooking exploits. A possible reason for that is that I haven’t actually been cooking. A week in Conneaut with some overattentive grandmas and two weeks in OBX with caterers and other assorted foodies means that I’ve just been being fed.
I think I’ve mentioned before that this summer I subscribed to a CSA that delivers to my campus. I am completely addicted to the amazing produce that I’ve been getting from them every week and I wish I could afford to subscribe to their fruit, dairy, and meat boxes. Maybe next year.
Quick, idealistic rant: I’ve read both The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan this year. I don’t think I need to tell you that our food systems are totally messed up and how sad it is that simple, good, healthy food is a luxury in this country. Big food companies, even many of the so-called “organic” companies, do not care about you or your health. They care about profit and are simply not concerned about what their business practices do to the people that they employ, to the people that they feed, to the ecosystem, or about how things operate on a basic level in the food chain. And after reading Pollan’s books, I’m fairly convinced that consumers will always lose out, particularly with the USDA’s shady regulations. I think we’re going to have to start kicking it old school. Producing what we can on our own and buying from farmers what we can’t, resorting to a trip to the grocery store for whatever is left.
I do want to start a garden, but finding the time to get our yard in shape before even a seed can be planted is tough. So I’m just doing what I can for now.
That said, let me tell you about the grub that I’ve cooked since we’ve been home.
Not surprisingly, I had some zucchini and squash in my CSA box this time. The husband does not like either (he’s stupid) and the baby is just picky about everything. I love the stuff, though. As luck would have it, a recipe for seasonal ratatouille came through Google Reader. I cooked this on Saturday with some of my fresh peppers and zucchini and tomatoes. I’ve been lunching on it all week. It’s delicious.
On Sunday, I embarked on a little experiment: baking bread. I’ve never made regular bread before. I mean, I’ve made dessert breads (banana, etc.), but not the actual stuff that you eat sandwiches with. My friend, Missy, recently bought a bread machine. Since I’m a sucker for gadgets, I started thinking about getting one, too. There were two problems, though. 1) They’re $120ish and 2) I have NOWHERE to put such a thing. But the prospect of throwing some ingredients in and having fresh bread a few hours later was still very tempting. So I decided to try making a loaf on my own to see if it was a total pain. If it was, I would consider the bread machine more seriously. If not, awesome.
I did a quick search for whole wheat bread recipes and found this one. Verdict? Dude, bread (well, basic bread like this one) is easy and I felt like a total superstar when I had two loaves of seriously scrumptious bread. The only flaw was that I didn’t realize that I really needed to shape the loaves, thinking that they would just spread out like other baked goods. My loaves resembled Mr. Potato Head bodies, but whatever.
The best part is that this is not what Pollan would call “imitation” bread, aka the bread that you buy in the grocery store that has tons of stuff added to it. It is quintessentially Bread and you can really tell the difference. I’m pretty confident that I can bake one of these every weekend and that it will be cheaper than the stuff from the store.
Monday night, I made lighter tacos from the latest issue of Everyday Food. (Doesn’t look like the recipe is online yet.) We eat tacos once or twice a month because they’re quick and easy and everyone likes them. But I’ve been wanting to move away from the crappy packets of taco seasoning. This recipe used onions and green peppers, chili powder and cumin. So simple and so good.
Last night, I had wine for dinner. Whoops.