Hello, this is Eva's new food blog.
I will write about the act of life worship in this temple: the kitchen. Plants are the focus. I eat plants because their individual beauty is a most imaginative creation. Their diversity is a map of earthly beauty, appearing in so many colors and characteristics and each so beneficial and important. I eat plants because eating animals is increasingly perplexing----and I am a lifelong vegetarian unable to digest animals. I eat plants because I want their attitudes to be a part of the harmony of my energy. Plants are tough and hardy----even delicate plants can smile at the sun from the tallest mountains, flimsy greens can power a horse to ride crazy through the plains. I idolize the pacifism of plants. I most admire farmers, and plants are the babies of their nurseries, facilitating income and a hard but decent job for the alchemists who must choose dirt over a lifetime squirreled in the office or factory. Local seasonal cooking is nature worship!
Winter is so difficult for me. I don't want to admit its necessity to the cycle of life sometimes; I just want the sun, the glorious sun to always baste me with its sugars. This past winter I ate mostly seasonally, and I missed the sun's offspring, the red-bonneted strawberries, the exploding tomatoes. No bell peppers or tomatoes in January this year, except when I want to the taqueria I guess. There was only one operating farmers market in Portland this winter, and it was a 10 mile drive away, but I visited as often as I could. I bought turnips from the Iranian immigrant, Indian mustard greens and onions from the farmer Lyle, who I even worked for a little bit in order to get some discounts. Kale and carrots, turnips and onions, collards, many many greens. Michael and I ate greens endlessly, and he became cranky about it, and I fantasized about the coming blossoms with such intensity that I began to fear that they might never come. At winter's end, the desire for spring and summer becomes so desperate sometimes that it seems as if you are waiting for a deliverance from a Santa Claus-like shepherd of fate, and her workings are mysterious and there are nightmares: what if the sunshine never comes? It has been slow, but it has started coming, finally the dilation!
Nettles and catnip were the first market treasures for me this dark and cool spring. I never cooked with nettles before, and made soups and teas from them. They don't really taste much different from the greens we consumed all winter, but their presence was an exciting departure from kale and collards. The big Saturday farmers market opened a month ago, and the bounty is steadily expanding. The first market, I had to arrive there almost at the end of the day, and everything was gone! That was a pleasure to see, because the farmers do need to be rewarded. They are our lifeline into the uncertain future of food. Did you ever expect food uncertainty in your lifetime? I have intuited most of the uncertainty we are starting to feel from our unsustainable lifestyles, but somehow I hadn't anticipated food supply anxiety to happen yet.
The farmers market makes me so happy in that way, and in the way that participating in local food, you are at the nectar pipeline of life, and it is very delicious if you are patient. It's not that cool having endless collards for four months, but then the spectacular mouth awakening happens at the same time that you get to liberate your feet and hands from gloves and socks, and suddenly I feel my fertility skyrocket with the greatest intensity ever.
I have been practicing this borderline masochistic power yoga lately and riding my bike as fast as I can so I can make calorie room for the spectacular food the season is bringing. If I am lazy, I am only hungry for two meals, but the splendor lately calls for big three.
SAMPLE MENUS OF RECENT MEALS
last night---eating alone
Red cabbage from the sad-faced but then quick-to-smile Iranian immigrant farmer, braised in apple cider vinegar and sugar with Hood River granny smith apples
Baked lemon rosemary tofu
Fessenden sourdough bread with Fraga Farms chevre and home-grown radish sprouts
Organic beer and organic weed
Whole oats toasted almost burnt and then cooked. I eat them with flax seed, almond milk, local bee pollen, raisins
Quick oats soaked overnight in Norris organic whole milk yogurt, diced apples, raisins and flax seed
Saturday night dinner with Rob and Chris
Jorinji miso soup with seaweed, spicy cress and Japanese parsley
Bittersweet farms salad with Oregon walnuts and hempseeds
Risotto with Wild Things farms shiitakes, homemade stock, celery, carrots, celery leaves and parsley from our backyard
French grape vodka shots
tea of fresh catnip from Wild Things farms, lavender, chamomile and Wild Things nettles
Michael has been in Palm Springs, making the cash that we will butter the farmers' hands with tomorrow, and I will make him a huge dinner in his honor. Braised turnips, dandelion green salad with tempeh, chickpeas in coconut milk and shiitakes, homemade naan, a big salad. I'm also pickling mustard greens as directed by the Japanese immigrant farmer at the Wednesday market and have been growing sprouts in the cupboard. It is very easy and cheap to grow sprouts, you would be surprised! I'll post directions.