Back Forty, Local food, Slow Food

Lambsquarters

lambquartersbeansI’ve written about cooking lambsquarters before. They are easily foraged if you can find a place that isn’t sprayed with herbicides or other pollutants. This article from Mother Earth News is informative about other uses for this “weed.” I have some growing among my black-eyed susans right now and I’ll pick them for some nutritious tasty greens and beans tonight.

Here’s a post from back when I was food blogging and participating in an international Eat Local Challenge, back when almost everybody, including the Greensboro restaurateurs, didn’t understand the local food movement: https://slowlysheturned.net/2006/05/08/elc-day-seven-lambs-quarters/. I cooked them with white beans and garlic and a little liquid smoke to get that hamhock flavor. Of course you can cook them with bacon or pork…at the time, I couldn’t get local or humanely raised pork.

Also, I should point out from my article that I no longer support Gann and Faucette Farms, who are no longer at the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market after a prolonged public battle about enforcing market rules that required vendors to grow what they sold. It is likely that the beans and mushrooms I referenced in the article were not actually local. And sadly, Deep Roots Market, while still a good source for organic foods and supplements, has changed their business model to the point where I consider it to be a different business using the DRM name. I’m still an owner, but I’m unhappy with the changes. I have some hope that the new board members and owners voting with their buying decisions may bring it back to its former mission.

My, how things have changed after ten years. Pretty amazing.

Local food, Slow Food

Not Campbell Soup

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We Southern cooks love our casseroles with cream of this-or-that soup, but since I moved to eating organically and locally as much as possible several years ago, I’ve adapted some of my favorite casseroles to using a cream sauce with whatever. I make faux condensed cream of mushroom soup by making a thick white sauce with fresh mushrooms cooked in the butter. That is what went into the broccoli casserole this afternoon instead of canned soup. Yes, it looks gross but it is SO much better.

It only took a few minutes to do it, although I’m not perfect and sometimes I keep a can or two of the processed stuff in the cabinet for when I feel super lazy. This one isn’t completely local or completely organic, but it is a combination of the two.

I can’t give you a recipe because I stopped measuring on this casserole years ago. It’s like a crustless quiche, with more cheese and less eggs.

I went to church this morning, the very liberal Presby USA one around the corner that I attended around the same time I began this blog in 2005. They are between ministers and Mark Sandlin, whose writing I adore, is filling in for several Sundays. I’m basically an atheist, but I respect a lot of different spiritual traditions, since I believe that any faith that helps you be a better person and encourages you to be compassionate and kind to others is a good thing. I don’t often admit to being an atheist…maybe a searcher would be a better label, but there isn’t really any label that describes my beliefs. I’ve explored a lot. So be it.

Tonight this broccoli casserole goes to my friend’s Hanukkah dinner where I get to be an honorary Jew again.

Blessings to you all.

critters, Local food, Marvelous meals, Visual journal, Visual journal 2013

Visual journal, December 12, 2013


Flounder roulade with oyster stuffing and roasted brussels sprouts at Josephine’s Bistro. YUM.

I’m trying to find the owners of this beautiful friendly older kitten. S/he likes to follow people and play and it is very cold outside. I feel pretty sure that s/he belongs to a neighbor but when you live near a college campus at the end of a semester, you never know whether a pet has been abandoned. I’ve seen this cat twice, and I worry about her safety.

Asheville, dyeing, Local food, Marvelous meals, Western North Carolina

Asheville/Black Mountain weekend

Continuing the tale of the past weekend:

Of course, we spent too much money, even though we spent two nights in the Super 8 motel in Black Mountain. It isn’t bad for the price. Our first stop was at Nice Threads Fiber Gallery on Cherry St. in Black Mountain, where I showed Leslie several of my small tapestries. She is taking them and two scarves on consignment through the end of August. At that point, I hope to figure out somewhere else to foster them, if they don’t sell.

We had drinks and ate at Black Mountain Ale House. I had an appetizer of fried eggplant sticks, mmmmm, and Sandy had shrimp and grits. Someone at the bar steered us to Pisgah Brewing Company that night to hear Hyrider, a Grateful Dead/Phish tribute band. They were really good, the beer was organic, and a cute guy with dreadlocks flirted with me. The cooks in Lovin’ Tenders, the food truck, let me sample a grilled turnip slice. It was pretty good! So that was a pleasant evening.

Sandy wandered around on his own while I was workshopping with Dede Styles. He bought a dulcimer kit in Black Mountain. We went to the Wedge Brewery after the workshop and enjoyed their craft IPA outside in the best weather possible.

One reason we love Asheville is that it was a Slow Food place before most places started paying attention to local food, so there are lots of places to get wonderful local meals.

We ate a marvelous meal at Chestnut on Biltmore Ave. near Pack Place. Again, I forgot to take photos. I’m such a bad food blogger these days. Sandy had molasses glazed pork loin and I had cream of broccoli soup and a salad with roasted beets and goat cheese.

This morning we had brunch at Louise’s Kitchen in Black Mountain, in an old house with a big wrap around porch, perfect for sipping coffee and easing into Sunday. They had a couple of rooms for rent upstairs for office space, and I actually took a semi-serious look, even though I knew I’d never make the three hour drive on most weekends to make it worth the cheap rent. I said to Sandy when he gave me that look (you know the look), “When opportunity knocks, you need to at least open the door to see who’s there.” That made him smile. We can’t afford it when you add in the gas and time, but it is fun to daydream about renting a room in the area.

Then we went to a street art/craft fair in Black Mountain where the artists were starting to pack up in anticipation of a line of thunderstorms heading east. I bought a pair of earrings from a young woman making very attractive jewelry with recycled magazine paper beads. Another mixed media artist used tubes wrapped with different papers and fibers in woven-like structures and collage. Resolved: will take an old National Geographic, some straws, and a tube of white glue to work for slow days.

Back to Asheville, where I abused my credit card at Earth Guild by buying a variety of mordants, along with madder root, cochineal beetles, and indigo. I ordered thiox (a color remover) and a digital scale from Amazon today, since I missed that I needed the thiox for indigo dyeing, and the scales at Earth Guild were more than I can afford right now. I’m quite tempted to buy a used turkey fryer with a propane kit to dye hot baths in, but I am a little bit afraid of cooking with gas. My first apartment had a gas stove and I called the gas company every time the pilot light went out. I’ll make do with an electric burner for now.