Thursday, August 5, 2010

Focusing on our food

Lately I haven't been posting very often, for a variety of reasons. First, I'm working as a nanny for two families, plus working at the Chopping Block. I don't get to cook dinner more than a few nights a week, and dinners tend to be what I blog about most often. But there is another reason, too. I have been cooking much more based on the season, as I am inspired by the ingredients I find at farmer's markets and in our bi-weekly CSA box. I admire the people who are able to create their own accurate recipes, to instruct you on how they make up their own dishes. I, however, am not one of those people. I start with a basic recipe in mind, and then add a little of this and a splash of that until it's right. Sometimes I model my cooking off a published recipe; other times I get a vision and just go with it! Here are a couple examples of what I've cooked lately:

Grilled polenta squares with chard and onions, topped with zucchini, cannellini bean, and tomato sauce.

Clean the fridge pesto-- the usual basil, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan, etc... plus some random cheese, fresh baby spinach, and whatever else I could find! I just kept adding and tasting until it was perfect.

I found 8-ball (or round) zucchini at the farmers market, and knew they would be great if I stuffed them. I grilled them, then hollowed them out. I filled them with an herbed ricotta mixture, then sauteed mushrooms, and topped them with a yellow pepper and tomato mix. They were a little more soggy than I would have liked, but the flavor was great!

Paying attention to what is local and in season has been so much fun! I am challenging myself to be a creative cook, and Joe and I have been eating some delicious meals. Additionally, we've been paying more attention to limiting our processed food intake, and I think we both feel better overall about the food we're eating. It does take some commitment to eat this way, but I feel so much better about the food that is going into my body. Eating this way is better for me, the planet, and the local economy!

**stepping off my soapbox**

Sorry if that got preachy! I just wanted to let you all know that I'm still cooking and eating quite well here in the windy city... just in a way that doesn't involve much sharing of recipes :) I hope you are enjoying fresh summer produce where you live! And if you have some time and grocery money to spare, I will encourage you to look into local, organic meat, eggs, and milk. It takes more legwork, but in my opinion is worth it!

(when did I become such a hippie?!)


elly said...

Looks delicious! Which CSA are you a part of?

suze said...

i completely love and respect the commitment to eating local and cutting out processed food! when i was battling acid reflux, all i could really stand to eat was fresh veggies. when i was better, one of the first things i ate was a can of spaghetti-os with meatballs. i almost hurled. i'm pretty sure they weren't tainted, but that i was unused to eating processed food after 16 weeks and my body rejected it. i rarely eat out of the can anymore!