Saturday, September 1, 2012

Let's Talk About Food

I'm very interested in food.  First of all, I love to eat.  Second of all, I'm extremely curious about how we produce/harvest the food we eat.  Where does it come from?  What is the cost of it's production to the environment?  Is it produced in a way that is congruent with my values?  Is it totally yummy?  Is it nutritious enough so that I can consider my food to be my medicine?

 I've been focusing on creating our own food infrastructure on our land so that we can grow most of what we eat. We are now capable of growing most or all of the meat we want to eat, all the vegetables we eat, all the fruit, most of the herbs and then there are the flowers for garnish and decoration.  We will be harvesting our own nuts some year soon.

We raise sheep for meat, goats for milk, cheese and meat, rabbits for meat, chickens for eggs and meat.
There are days when I'm too tired to cook.....and I'm grateful that Joseph finds it within himself to cook.  Then there are days when I walk through the garden after barn chores and am so inspired to create something new and yummy out of what I find that it doesn't matter how tired I am, I simply must cook something colorful and scrumptious.  I'm going to share some of what I've been feeding us.

This is a hard aged cheese variety that comes from Wales in the United Kingdom.  It was eaten by the miners who appreciated it's saltiness during their sweaty work.  They wrapped it in cabbage leaves to take into the mines for lunch.  It was the first aged cheese I made and it's wonderful because you can eat it as early as 3 weeks after you make it.  I've also made a batch of Parmesan cheese but it'll be 6 or more months before it's ready to try.
We sliced into it and tried it on slabs of fresh tomatoes and crackers.  We had chives, basil ribbons, dill and red amaranth leaves for flavor.  Very Yum!

Here's a Manchego cheese that will need to age for months before it's ready.  sigh........

Here's a recent salad using fennel flowers (those yellow starbursts), basil cut into ribbons, beet leaves and a special yellow tomato that might be our new favorite.

Here's another dish we ate the same night.  Can you tell the tomato harvest has begun?????

These are garlic scapes.  They are the flower buds that are best to cut off before they open so that the energy goes into making a bigger head of garlic to harvest later.  The scapes are harvested and used for all kinds of things such as scape pesto, soups, sauces and even as garnishes as the next photo shows.

This was yummy to eat.....strawberries fresh out of the garden, almonds that had been soaked in sea salt water, sprouted and then toasted and of course, all the fresh baby greens of chard, spinach, arugula and beets.

This dinner  (yes, we do eat a LOT) used our very own feta cheese on the salads and greens, garlic scape pesto and various other vegetables.  Makes my tummy rumble just looking at it again.

Often the day ends with walking through the garden and gathering food.....this is a little pile of berries picked on evening.  Strawberries, Honeyberries  (they are blue, related to Honeysuckle), red currents, red raspberries and golden raspberries.  Later in the season we added white currents, sea buckthorn berries, blue berries, black berries and black raspberries.

When you bring together fresh berries and fresh soft cheese from our goats you get a spectacular dessert.  We love to add a spoonful of maple syrup into a small mound of cheese and then top with berries.  It's so tasty that I could eat mountains of this dessert!  In this photo the dessert is garnished with fresh lavender flowers.

And now for some food photos......some without captions because they don't really need any.

This was a harvest sitting on the counter one day....a few potatoes, some burdock roots  (yummy raw or cooked), black beans, white beans, garlic, shallots, 3 kinds of beets, carrots, and a few shitake mushrooms.

And this was the type of salad I ate a lot of last summer.......mixed greens picked minutes before dinner, herbs and borage flowers.  The borage flowers have a cucumber flavor.

And this was Joseph's salad.....he likes the spicy things like more arugula and peppery nasturtium flowers.

Potatoes, freshly dug and washed.  Lightly cooked and then seasoned with a bit of butter, salt and dill or garlic......yum!

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