Diet


IMG_7291_ed_lI’ve got a medium sized crop of tomatoes this year. Some varieties haven’t done much, like the Green Zebras in the photo, but others have been prolific, like the dark red Indigos in the photo. Of course, the bright orange and sweet garden-candy Sungolds, are tasty and prolific as usual. The yellow ones are Yellow Mortgage Lifters. This photo is of one tray of tomatoes about to be started in the dehydrator.

It’s nice to dry any surplus tomatoes I have, because I love having dried tomatoes during the winter. My favorite way to use them is in soups. I simply grab a couple of handfuls of dried tomatoes and throw them in a kettle of water. They soften up and the water leeches out a nice tomato flavor for the broth. Then I throw in whatever else I want, often string beans and summer squash from the freezer.

IMG_7286_ed_lI’ve been experimenting with growing a few dry beans in the past couple of years, but this year decided to ramp it up and grow more beans and more varieties. Today, I picked about half of my crop and shelled them. Although they look like something from the Jelly Belly factory, they’re not jelly beans. I just like beans that look interesting.

I’m still not growing enough to provide a lot of protein, but it is a worthwhile experiment. Most gardeners grow only fruits and vegetables that don’t provide a lot of protein. So, this is one way to get some protein from my garden.

I hate bad science. It’s hard to do good science, but science is only effective when it is good science. This isn’t a rant about the bad science of genetically engineered foods (which certainly deserves a post of its own) but about a recent study published by Stanford scientists about organic food. (more…)

Dinner made from all homegrown ingredients.A couple years ago, I cooked a meal for the guys in my men’s group that I called a Michael Pollan-type meal. By that, I meant that the ingredients were primarily home-grown, following one of the meals in his book The Omnivore’s Dilemma. From my previous posting about that meal, I count eight different foods I prepared that were from my garden. This week, I repeated that exercise, again cooking for the guys in my men’s group. This time the menu was not only quite different, but included many more dishes and ingredients from my garden. Following is the menu. Homegrown-fruit dessert bowl, with apples, blueberries, apriums and pepino dulce.All ingredients except beverages, vodka & sugar (in the liqueur), oils and vinegar were homegrown, for a total of 16 homegrown ingredients, not counting multiple varieties of the same ingredient. It was both a tasty and colorful meal!

(The first photo shows the meal, except for the fruit dessert. The second photo shows the dessert in the serving bowl, before adding the blackberry liqueur. Click on the photos to see a larger image.)

Menu

Salad–Tomatoes (two varieties), cucumbers (two varieties) and purslane, dressed with vinegar and oil.

Entreé–dry beans, cooked, then sauteed with garlic and leeks.

Vegetable side dish 1–string beans.

Vegetable side dish 2–summer squash (three varieties).

Vegetable side dish 3–mixed greens (brocollini and beet greens)

Vegetable side dish 4–beets (boiled, chilled, then dressed with olive oil and vinegar).

Dessert–mixed fruit (apples, blueberries, apriums (pulled from the freezer) and pepino dulce) topped with homemade blackberry liqueur.

ag1_fourPeoplePisgahView_lKevin Costner’s character, Ray Kinsella, in the 1989 movie Field of Dreams improbably plows up his corn field to build a baseball diamond when he hears a voice say “Build it and he will come.” Robert White’s story is just the opposite and equally improbable — but true. When Robert  became possessed with the idea of growing food, he’d never done it before. But he went ahead anyway, starting with taking over an existing baseball diamond in Asheville NC and turning it into an urban farm. When I visited there in April, (more…)

chutney_m1I recently tried a new base material for lactofermentation, apples. This was the first time I have tried fermenting fruit. Although I was warned by a friend that I wouldn’t get good results because the apples weren’t crisp fall apples, I already had the apples and decided to give it a try. I’m glad I did. This chutney has now mellowed into a delightful and well-balanced blend of flavors: salty, sweet and sour. It’s received good reviews from friends.

(more…)

My dietary rule is pretty simple: Eat a variety of minimally processed foods with only small amounts of meat and animal products. That has served me well for years. I plant and grow food that I like, without paying attention to what science has to say about it. As readers of this blog know, I grow and harvest a variety of foods that are minimally processed and–at present–I produce no animal products. Two of my favorites are the black raspberries I grow (harvested in late spring, early summer) and the local blackberries I forage in late summer. They taste great, so that provides motivation enough for me.

However, if you’re the kind of person that likes food fads, or scientific justification for everything you eat, this article in the New York Times may be of interest. Apparently, scientists are discovering that some berries, notably raspberries and blackberries, have cancer fighting characteristics.  Whoopee! Go wild! I’ll just keep growing, harvesting, foraging and eating them because they taste good.

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