Archive for February, 2012

farming our future – it was a good Saturday

So I see everything through food goggles, right?  The more I learn about the industrial food complex that we’ve all grown up with, the more I want to know about the person producing my food.  Yesterday I attended the (1st annual) Farming our Future conference out at Taconic CSD.  That is, once I got us on the correct Rt. 23 going in the correct direction…  I should not be responsible for directions pre-coffee.  Luckily once we arrived, a fellow participant named Ejay (seeing the desperation on my face) pointed me in the direction of coffee  – thanks Ejay!

food in the middle of everything...

The morning began with the keynote speech by Steffen Schneider of Hawthorne Valley Farm, followed by a panel discussion.  The Register-Star covered it thoroughly here.  They didn’t mention the best nickname of the day, “Naked Swimmer”.  You had to be there.   The conversations were philosophical more than practical – which is what this very diverse crowd seemed to want.  After lunch and visiting the numerous exhibitors ( Cornell Cooperative Extension, The Sylvia Center/Katchkie Farm, Hudson Valley Bounty, Amy Cotler/The Locavore Way, Project Native, Friends of the Farmer, etc etc), two workshop sessions happened.  I attended  The Right Fit: Matching Food & Farm to Market and Sharing Resources – The Cooperative Way.  Both provided great food for thought.  This was followed by a World Cafe, encouraging participants to gather in small groups of 4 to discuss questions posed by the moderator.  By 4:30pm, my brain was full.

Identifying myself as an eater, I want to know more (and more) about where my food comes from.  As the daughter of a farmer having grown up doing farm chores, there is no way I’m going to return to the farm.  What I can do is make smart choices as an eater, a consumer.

What can you do?

pancake day

It’s Shrove Tuesday / Fat Tuesday / Mardi Gras today.  Sadly I have not managed a trip to New Orleans but I am seizing the opportunity to have pancakes for dinner tonight.  I have veeery ripe bananas so I think it will be banana walnut pancakes for me, with LOTS of maple syrup.

Gourmet has a gorgeous long list (sweet & savory) when you search recipes for pancakes.

Same with The Kitchn.

I think I’ll just use a basic recipe like this.

Tonight we shall feast…

it’s been candy-making weather…

It’s dry and clear with humidity low enough to dehydrate us into prunes.

Yea.  So that maple fudge I was going to make?  It didn’t work so well.  However, I managed to catch it before it cooled into a solid maple rock in my pan.  Just barely.  I took the rapidly solidifying candy mass and flattened it out, then cut into little maple nuggets.  Not the most appetizing, but at least I didn’t have this (hilarious?) experience.  I took it to work and told the co-workers that I was not responsible for any lost fillings.  I got an empty Tupperware back.

I’ll have to go back to the drawing board on the maple syrup thing.  In the meantime I decided to go back to my old friends, butter and sugar.

I’ve had this recipe on one of my Pinterest boards from early on, and finally I couldn’t resist any longer.  It is butter, sugar, lots of stirring, a little vanilla, chocolate chips and toasted almonds.  Let it sit for hours (no touching!) then break into pieces.  Eat all small remaining shards in the name of presenting only evenly sized pieces (or keeping a clean kitchen, or whatever excuse you like…).

You can find the full recipe on theKitchn.

food happenings, here and there

This is the time of year when we’re supposed to be in deep hibernation with our potatoes…  But this is the warmest winter…

So, let’s get out and mingle!

“Other People’s Food” is the potluck put on by Acres Co-op this Sunday, February 12th.  Who doesn’t like to eat other people’s food?  I know I do, because I get to taste food that I don’t want to make a whole pot or pan of at home, or taste foods that I have never made before, or, taste a better deviled egg or macaroni & cheese.  Wait, better than mine???  Perhaps it’s best to come to a potluck with small ego and warm heart and food for a crowd.  The movie Ratatouille is being screened (4:15pm) before dinner (5:45pm) – giving you the excuse to say ratatouille a lot.  Try it.  It’s fun.

Hmmm… maybe I should bring ratatouille to the dinner???  Sadly, very few of the ingredients are in season – it would not be a good seasonal meal.  Not just yet.

At the end of the month, Just Food is holding a conference in NYC in part to “mobilize good food projects in your community”.  The conference is February 24 & 25 (Saturday is geared more to the general public).  There are some really interesting workshops on the schedule on both days.  Good stuff!

Maple syrup season is coming up, but I’m guessing it will be really messed up by this non-winter we’re having.  There are two NY Maple Weekend(s) scheduled in March, and  New York Maple allows you to search for producers by zip code!  I’m going to think optimistically that the sap will run again this year.  Which means I need to use up last year’s jug of syrup *now*.  A batch of maple fudge is in order.  I had a perfect recipe picked out last weekend and now I can’t find it; I’ll try this one instead…

I wonder why there are no maple syrup producers listed in Columbia County? Do we have no maple trees???

Finally, mark your calendars for Saturday, May 5th.  But please don’t tell anyone – I’m not sure I want to share.  The Ramp Festival is returning to the Basilica after a pretty fab debut in 2011.  Last year, my favorite dish was goat.  I ate freakin’ goat!  I am a very bad vegetarian.

To atone, I may have to give mindful eating a spin.  But would you be able to spend your meals in silence?

woodchuck pie?

Ah, the month of love and groundhogs.  Happy Groundhog Day!

I only have this one blurry photo because the woodchuck that lives under our shack, Chuck, is wily and fast for a chubby guy.  I am not one for hunting varmints even though he snacks on my tomato & herb garden and my neighbor’s native plants garden.  My lovely neighbor wants to firebomb my shack; I just try to be strategic about what I plant in the garden.  However, if you are adventurous, here is a recipe for woodchuck pie as well as woodchuck stew.

Uh, bon appetit.  I’ll watch this instead: