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Monthly Archives: September 2012

Tomorrow is the Autumn Equinox/the first day of fall–something I’ve been excited for since the first day of winter last year.  I know I’m not alone thinking that fall is the best time of year!

As the seasons shift, it’s so very helpful to be mindful of the kinds of nourishment we seek–eating whole and living foods is the best way to safeguard our bodies against the upcoming cold and flu season.   I found these 2 articles helpful in preparing for the new season:

“Increasing immune-supporting foods like raw garlic, ginger, lemons, honey, nuts, seeds, and yogurt can also ensure that your body gets sufficient nutrients to fight off potential invaders.”

Autumn is a season of deficiency and change. When the temperature starts to drop, the body scrambles to protect itself from heat loss. Nourishing foods, especially soups, seem all the more enticing while offering the added benefits of refortifying deficient tissue and thickening the skin, thus insulating your body from the cold.

Welcome scarves, boots, pumpkins and mums!

A cloudy Sunday provided a relaxing day of study yesterday. I’m excited to dive into Sandor’s world of fermented foods and drinks –his approach is very accessible and practical.

These words from his introduction struck a chord with me:

“Moving toward a more harmonious way of life and greater resilience requires our active participation.  This means finding ways to become more aware of and connected to the other forms of life that are around us and that constitute our food–plants and animals, as well as bacteria and fungi–and to the resources, such as water, fuel, materials, tools, and transportation, upon which we depend.  It means taking responsibility for our shit, both literally and figuratively.  We can become creators of a better world, of better and more sustainable food choices, of greater awareness of resources, and of community based on sharing.  For culture to be strong and resilient, it must be a creative realm in which skills, information, and values are engaged and transmitted; culture cannot thrive as a consumer paradise or a spectator sport.  Daily life offers constant opportunities for participatory action. Seize them.”  Sandor Katz

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I’ve been on a miso kick lately–the pungent flavor goes so well with roasted sweet vegetables.  I’m excited to try some new miso recipes this weekend.

I love the feeling of September–butternut squash and the last of the summer tomatoes sit comfortably together at the farmers’ market.  I bought 2 pints of beautiful grape tomatoes at the market on Wednesday, but the slightly cooler weather makes me favor hearty roasted tomatoes over raw ones.  These roasted tomatoes would be wonderful on just about anything–a Greek-inspired bruschetta with kalamata olives and feta, filling for an omelette, topping for cheesy polenta…yum!

Late Summer Roasted Tomatoes

2 pints of grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

2 tablespoons of butter, cut into small pieces

2 cloves of garlic, minced

2 tablespoons brown sugar

 

Preheat oven to 325 and line a baking sheet with parchment. Combine all of the ingredients and  turn onto prepared baking sheet. Roast for 30-40 minutes, til tomatoes have shrunk down a bit and your house smells like heaven. They will keep for about a week in a jar in the refrigerator.

Have a great weekend!

If you pay attention to any news source, or to advertising, or to any nutrition-specific publication, chances are good that you’re very confused about what to eat.  Actually, it’s much stronger than just paying attention: if you’re walking through life with your eyes open, you are constantly being shouted at about what kind of food (and food-like substances) to put in your body.  Beyond the obvious (Soda! Chips! “Meat”!) onslaught of big business advertising, we have headlines like this one yesterday from NPR:

Billed as clarity, but only adds to general confusion–now we are supposed to incorporate the glycemic index into our daily lives? (Not to mention the language “may help keep weight off longer than other diets” that has failure built right in!)

The most recent confusing food news is the study on organic food from Stanford University’s Center for Health Policy. “Based on data from 237 previously conducted studies, the Stanford report concluded that when it comes to certain nutrients, there is not much difference between organic and conventionally grown food. ” (source)

But…of course that’s true! The wisdom of the plant remains through many layers of pesticides and human intervention.  (Though humans are trying to intervene with the wisdom of the plant, but I’ll save my thoughts on GMO and Monoculture for another day.)

However, the study also found that “organic foods have 31 percent lower levels of pesticides, fewer food-borne pathogens and more phenols, a substance believed to help fight cancer.” (source)

So what does this study mean/who is it for/why does it matter? I agree with Alice Waters that this study misses the point–conversations about the nutrient density of foods or the gylcemic index aren’t going to fuel a food revolution because they’re not exciting.  Those conversations don’t account for taste, or beauty, or sharing a meal with friends.  They don’t address the eater as an intelligent being capable of listening to his body, and they certainly don’t communicate that food is love.

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To know what to eat, we need to change the conversation–to something that’s more palatable, accessible to anyone getting in touch with their taste buds. These are some great starting places for new conversation:

and

  • “Eaters must understand that eating takes place inescapably in the world, that it is inescapably an agricultural act, and that how we eat determines, to a considerable extent, how the world is used.” Wendell Berry

and

  • “In the pursuit of great flavor, you’re attached to great ecology by definition.  A delicious carrot, a delicious slice of lamb, has attached to it these decisions in the pasture/in the field that are both thoughtful and intensely ethical.” Dan Barber

image // my lunch

“I didn’t intend to seek out organic local food.  I was looking for taste. Taste is what’s going to get us to eat seven portions of fruits and vegetables a day.  To not consider taste and quality in this whole discussion is to completely miss the point about food.”  Alice Waters on the organic study from Stanford.  More thoughts coming tomorrow.

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Excited to present this video collaboration with my husband, Mike Odmark.  We had a great time filming it–I’m sure there will be more to come! Below is the recipe for the featured salad–it’s a great welcome to the changing seasons, and I’m sure I’ll be making some variation of it through the winter.

A word on the ingredients:

Tahini is made from ground hulled sesame seeds, which contain more protein than any nut and are high in vitamin E, which gives them excellent antioxidant properties. They protect the liver from oxidative damage as well as being high in calcium.  Miso is also high is protein, and an anticarcinogen, and reduces the effects of radiation, smoking, air pollution, and other environmental toxins.  (source)

Roasted Vegetable Salad

serves 6

(adapted from Good Things Grow)

Ingredients:

for salad-

1 small butternut squash
4-5 red potatoes
1 bunch of small carrots (with green tops attached)
1 bunch of kale
handful of chopped walnuts

for dressing-

¼ cup tahini
¼ cup olive oil
juice of one lemon
1 tablespoon white miso
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chopped carrot tops (similar to parsley)
pinch of cayenne
water as needed

Preheat the oven to 425, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Chop the butternut squash, potatoes and carrots to similar sizes and place them in a large bowl.  Drizzle with olive oil, coconut oil, or ghee/butter and salt and pepper.  Pour them onto the baking sheet and roast in the oven for around 30 minutes, until tender.

Meanwhile, tear the kale into smaller pieces and place it in the bowl you mixed the veggies in (no need to wash between!). Drizzle with a little olive oil and salt and pepper.  Set aside.

To make the dressing, combine all the ingredients in a small jar and stir.  Add more water to thin it out if needed.

When the vegetables are tender, pull them out and pour onto the kale. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts and more chopped carrot tops. Spoon dressing over (I had a little dressing left over, but use as much or as little as you’d like).

Enjoy!