Come Home!Shop & Eat Local
I love to think that as I age, I get wiser. I love to think that, but whether it is true or not, is another story, I imagine. Still, I do think that years of preparing for holiday madness have taught me a few things…like skip the madness and just enjoy your friends and family with simple wholesome meals. No cooking until midnight, no extravagant buffets, and no exotic, out-of-season, carbon emission-heavy recipes, either.
So here is a bit of wisdom about planning ahead, using what you have in season and still spreading love through good food at the holidays…and it comes in the form of a simple (well…mostly simple) love muffin.
As our present Lenten journey comes to an end, what have we learned about ourselves in this “home”; about our agency, responsibility and contribution during our time on this Earth; about our expansion of gratitude and gifts beyond our own existence here, about our ability to go on?
What will it take to build a truly sustainable future, one that not only eliminates the CO2, methane and other poisons that contribute to climate change but also restructures our global systems to heal us forward? CCC member and Sierra Club staffer Virginia Woulfe-Beile inspires us to think beyond the boxes of what we know and expand without fear into what is possible….
Betsy Slosar, a CCC member who has dedicated her professional and person life to creating peace throughout the world, encourages us to keep our hopes up (above ground) even if the threats of Climate Change seem daunting. She offers us creative solutions from scientists, poets and her own lovely spirit.
CCC member Max Pohlman is the director at La Vista Ecological Learning Center in Godfrey, Illinois. At La Vista, Max leads many groups in conservation activities and thoughtful living. This week, she challenges us to “be a benign presence” on the Earth, a calling that could have been our destiny all along….
For our third week of Lenten inspiration, CCC member and Sierra Club Organizer Sally Burgess shares her wisdom regarding the gifts in front of us, her knowledge of solutions to climate change and her joy of thinking way outside the box with author Rob Brenzy. Here’s how we give Hope wings….
This week on our Lenten journey, poet, writer, artist Lynn Beaumont leads us on a path of self discovery. She reminds us that we are enough….
Green Gal of the Midwest is honored to host The Confluence Climate Collaborative’s annual Lenten celebration. We begin with this year’s theme of A Current of Hope. Join us on this journey upon Earth, through the Sky, over the Water, and within the Fire. Today we are at the Water’s edge….
Among the sweet myths and traditions in Celtic lore is the giving of Soul Cakes. Some speculate that Soul Cakes are the precursor to trick or treat: children and the poor were given soul cakes to exchange for coins from wealthier folks. Purchasing a Soul Cake bestowed blessings on the purchaser, and eating a Soul Cake, in some religions, released a loved one’s soul from purgatory.
I find the greatest pleasure I get from cooking is giving someone I love a special dish, honoring their place in my life with a meal that is both nutritious and delicious and something unexpected. The gift I gave my husband this holiday season is a Very Special Shepherd’s Pie. Got somebody special in your life who needs to be reminded how much you love them?
My new market friend MO (aka Marlene Schreiber) is a magically talented textile artist. Her feminine powers turn tossed out woolens into breathtaking tapestries. She is for sure a good (green) witch and the nicest person you will ever meet. Here is a faerie tale woven with love for my new friend MO and in celebration of loving just what we have…even if we give it away to new magic.
Have you ever opened a book, heard the author’s voice as she speaks to you for the first time and thought: “I know her! We must have spent time in my kitchen together. Or…she must be reading my mind!”?
It was just this way for me when I opened Tamar Adler’s An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy & Grace. She had just been there beside me, stirring pots, rolling dough, chopping vegetables the whole time. Why had this connection taken so long? Well, and does it matter? We are connected now through her amazing little book. And here’s the thing: it isn’t a cookbook…not really. It’s more of an enchanted survival manual for anyone who wants to eat well with dignity, reciprocity, gratitude and (wait for it….) inner peace.
One of the many benefits of making this change is how delicious and nutritious things become—not just for the pollinators we hope to attract but for us, too. I thought a couple of recipes using what grows without any help in the backyard was worth its own post. Featured on our buffet today are stinging nettles, sweet violets and dandelions.
As the sun sets on Earth Day 2022, we may all be a little overwhelmed, a little lost and feeling far from home. Given the most recent report on climate change, we may all be feeling that the home we love—this beautiful planet Earth–has already slipped from our hands, that there are no magic ruby slippers to click to get us back before everything started to go terribly wrong. But I’d like to suggest that just like those ruby slippers Dorothy wore throughout her harrowing adventure in The Wizard of Oz, we’ve always had the power to “go home”–we’ve always had the power to heal and grow a healthy ecosystem right where we live, right in our own backyards.
Every spring, as the first fresh produce comes to market, I start planning for the winter months ahead. Some vegetables lend themselves better to freezing than others, of course. My new potatoes, spring onions, carrots, leeks and asparagus usually just get enjoyed fresh (though I have frozen asparagus with success for winter pureed soups). The spring broccoli and cauliflower are good freezer candidates—if you can contain your appetite not to eat all that goodness right up. And a winter staple after the last of my stored garlic is gone has always been garlic scapes—good to freeze and great garlic flavor for soups, stews, sautés. And this year, one stuffed bag of scapes remained. What to do?
In the snowy depths of wintery February, I like to think that Valentine’s Day comes along to warm our hearts with homemade cards, paper mâché roses and sweet treats of rich chocolate, creamy caramel and crunchy toasted nuts. Actually, I do more than think about it; I bake!
Long ago, when my daughter was in grade school and my grandma lived with us out in the country, I used to make this rice pudding dish. The original version came from a way-back issue of Cooking Light Magazine and involved a lot of low-fat ingredients that I would not be using today. But we loved it—all of us—even Grandma, who was not a rice fancier. This dish was meant as a dessert, rather a decadent one, even by Cooking Light standards, but the enticement of warm rice pudding on a cold December day made this a special weekend breakfast treat in our house. Even if I added the optional amaretto liquor!
I cannot think of a more autumn vegetable than squash—any kind from pumpkins, to butternuts, to Acorn. Squash is comfort food that can be served at breakfast—maybe in a hash or just roasted with maple syrup—enjoyed at lunch—as in little squash bowls filled with hearty grains—or for dinner, which is where we are landing today. A Squash and Potato Casserole that can be a weekend meal with plenty of leftovers or the star attraction for that Thanksgiving buffet.
For the entire summer, I have luxuriated in the most amazing organic carrots—quite the treat at the farmers market because they are not usually plentiful, organic or not. Carrots take up lots of garden space and can grow in really wonky shapes and sizes—not at all like the pristine orange spikes you find in the grocery stores. That’s why carrots are prime food waste in the conventional world of agriculture—cheap, only perfect and taken totally for granted. Market carrots can be a hard sell to perfect-produce loving consumers.
I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting with goat milk—I was thinking sort of gamey and strong. I was so wrong! Eddie’s milk is sweet and light and unbelievably versatile. I’ve had it in coffee, on granola and, of course, in these oats. The overnight oats, by the way, are not only delicious but also quick and easy to prepare–great for busy school and work mornings when nutrition is so necessary, and time is so nonexistent.
Everyone knows that summer is my absolute favorite season. One of the reasons why is the abundance of summer fruits, especially the stone fruits—the peaches, plums, nectarines. Soft, sweet and dripping down your chin. Mmmmm. So once Friedel Family Farm started loading their market table with all these Lucious fruits, I was inspired to develop a few recipes. I am particularly proud of this galette because it came together with a lovely flavor balance of semi tart fruits—plums, peaches and blackberries nestled in a super-short sugar cookie crust.
If I am given my choice for dessert, I usually choose something creamy like ice cream or pudding with a short cookie or crust. A refrigerated cream pie is divine! Crème Brulee with shortbread pure heaven! I like cake, of course, but it’s never my first choice; my grandma favored pies and cobblers with incredibly short flaky crusts, so perhaps that is where my preferences began. But put a slice of real pound-of-butter pound cake in front of me…particularly lemon pound cake that has been chilled in the fridge…well, if I must.
Childhood memories fogged around me for days earlier this month when my friend Sally invited me out to her farm to pick mulberries. Sally has several trees and forages daily as this bountiful berry ripens…and ripens…and ripens. Yep a lot of berries, sweet with their own very distinct floral flavor but fragile, with only a short window to use or preserve or freeze.
I cannot imagine my kitchen without the spirits of my grandma and mom or the voices of my favorite chefs and best friends. In one way or another, they all have inspired, informed and contributed to every recipe I have ever developed. This has never been truer than in the development of these fluffy, rich rye rolls.