Sunday, July 20, 2008

Swaying in the breeze...

We finally got some clothes lines up to start drying laundry outside again. I'm not sure what it is about this, but as I pin the laundry to the lines and step back to see all the color swaying in the breeze I get the most content feeling. For me this goes well beyond the energy savings that we'll have or even the environmental benefit of line-drying. I have this warm homey feeling that comes over me and brings a surprising joy. I can't say that about all chores. Maybe it comes from connecting with the thousands of women before me over the centuries that have done the very same thing. I even recall using my aunts round laundry hanger as a fun swing before I got to heavy for it, that was a sad year. This is not only cross-generational, it's cross-cultural. Women the world over share in this long-lasting tradition of tapping into nature to help get a little work done. It simply feels good to go back to old-fashioned ways of living, in this case at least. I don't think I would feel quite so homey and joyful if I had to wash all that laundry with a tub and an old washboard!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The special tonight is...

A lot of people I have talked with are often intimidated with the idea of getting a weekly supply of whatever veggies might be ready to pick. I know that some of them have never learned to cook with what is on hand and many have not worked with such a wide variety of produce. I want to make it easier and even exciting for just those kind of people. For those that are old hands at this sort of thing, maybe you'll find some new ideas to try. I'll be posting what I do with my CSA share fairly often. Sometimes there will be recipes or at least an idea of what I did. Here's to eating all that great local produce!

Tonight's meal featured some of those yukon gold potatoes from this week's share and basil from my herb garden along with sauteed spinach with local garlic from Feral Fruits Farm. The protein for the night was a calamari purchased from my local fishmongers: The Olympia Seafood Company.

We had just a touch of Cascade Fresh Sour Cream (a Seattle company) left in the fridge as well as an abundance of basil from my herb garden and that is what inspired the mashed potatoes. The potatoes were boiled in their soft "new potato" skins and then mashed with a little of their cooking water, the sour cream (maybe 3 tablespoons), sea salt, and garlic powder. They were served with a pat of butter and a generous sprinkling of slivered basil. Yum!

The Spinach was cooked very simply: sauteed up in it's own juices, a little butter, sea salt and the fresh garlic.

The Calamari Salad is a staple for us when ever I have basil growing. It's a very simple recipe from The Trattoria Cookbook. We cut the recipe in half for the two of us, all except the garlic, we are rather fond of garlic! Here's what it looks like the way we prepare it:

1 pound calamari (cleaned, tubes and tentacles)
3 tablespoons olive oil
10 medium size basil leaves torn into bite size bits
juice from half a lemon (to get the most juice from your lemons, roll them on the counter before slicing and squeezing them)
2 good size cloves garlic
sea salt to taste
fresh ground pepper

Bring water to boil, add calamari, cook till al dente (about 1-2 minutes) don't over cook or it can get tough! Drain and cool with cold running water or ice cubes.
Mix the remaining ingredients together in a serving bowl, add the calamari, and mix well. This is best if the calamari gets to marinate for a little while (at least 10-15 minutes or while you prepare the rest of your meal)

All together this meal took maybe 30 minutes to prepare from start to finish.

Better Late Than Never

Today I signed up for a local Community Supported Agriculture Share (CSA) and walked away with a good selection of delicious looking veggies. Kirsop Farm is in the 9th week of their CSA but thankfully I was still able to get on board with receiving a weekly share of produce from this very local farm. I love the fact that our food is being grown only four miles away from where I will be preparing it in my kitchen. Each Thursday I will pick up a box of produce at Kirsop Farm's Stand at the Olympia Farmer's Market, a very convenient location for us - we live only 3/4 mile away.

This isn't our first CSA. We've done them off and on over the years, especially seasons when we had only a small home garden or (gasp) none at all. This year we had hoped to get another large garden in but our plans went out the window as life caught up with us. What a relief it was to still be able to sign up so late in the season! Thank you Kirsop Farm!

Here's what was in today's share:
  • 2 bunches of carrots
  • a medley of beets with delicious looking crisp greens
  • a huge head of lettuce
  • yukon gold potatoes
  • sugar snap peas
  • spinach
  • cilantro
  • an amusing news letter with a wonderful sounding recipe
  • a smiling face behind the stand and a lot of hard work by local farmers

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Cormorant

The smooth surface of the water
shattering the reflection of the
in it's place floated a
black and sleek throat thrown back to
the slippery silver fish.

Then down again it
and once more the water gradually
a mirror for the great blue
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