Forest Grove Farmers Market, Summer 2012

I try to get to the local farmer’s market at least a couple times a month while it’s open. It’s a good market–small, but heavily focused on locally raised food, including bison meat, eggs (from ducks, chickens, and quail) and of course loads of produce. The market is managed by Adelante Mujeres: an organization “working to educate and empower low-income Latina women and families.” They do good work, so there’s even more incentive to support the market.

A few weeks ago the weather was so beautiful, and the light was so nice, I found myself spending all my time taking pictures. I had to go through the market twice–once for photos, and once to shop.

Tiny Market on Main Street
Locally Grown Perennials
Sexy Root Vegetables
Pretty Pretty Flowers
Love the Colors of this Booth
Lavender!
Tomatoes Looks Like They Have Light Bulbs Inside
Purple Onions

Recipe: Delicious Roasted Vegetables

Ah, October . . . the cold is starting to set in, and the rain. And in the kitchen, I’m back to making warm, hearty meals that use the oven a lot.

Last night I was making roasted veggies and it occurred to me that they’re the easiest thing in the world to make–and they can be really delicious, if you aren’t afraid of a little bit of fat in your life, and if you’re willing to use more than a pinch of seasonings. SO! Here is my method. With pictures, cuz that’s how I roll.

ALSO, these veggies go really well with Roasted Chicken. Just sayin’.

Ingredients:

  • Vegetables such as Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Eggplant, Garlic, Potatoes, Sweet Peppers, Sweet Potatoes/Yams (note that you can use summer squash/zucchini also, but you’ll end up with liquid in your pan. But please don’t use broccoli–it just doesn’t work in this recipe.)
  • 1 large onion
  • Butter or Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt
  • Cumin
  • Paprika
  • Cayenne pepper (optional)

(So, for example, Last night I used 2 potatoes, 1 orange bell pepper, and 1/2 head of cauliflower in addition to the onion. It was enough to exactly fill a glass 9 X 13 baking dish.)

Directions:

Heat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit.

Lightly butter (or oil) a glass baking dish and set aside.

Slice vegetables thinly.

Layer in buttered (or oiled) baking dish.

Dot with butter, or drizzle with olive oil. Be generous–it will add flavor and make you want to eat more veggies.

Sprinkle with sea salt, and about a tablespoon each of cumin and paprika. (If you’re using salted butter, remember you won’t need much salt–and you can always add a little when you serve them if they aren’t salty enough.) Add Cayenne Pepper to taste (it all depends on how hot you like it). It will look like you put on a LOT of seasonings, but don’t worry–this amount isn’t overwhelming once you stir it in.

Toss vegetables with seasoning until well coated. I like to use a pair of kitchen tongs–it helps me keep control of the vegetables so they don’t fly everywhere.

Cover (aluminum foil is fine) and bake at 400 degrees for about an hour, turning/stirring every 15 or 20 minutes. Remove cover for the last 15-20 minutes so the veggies can get slightly browned on top.

Serve with your favorite soup or meat dish.

Note for NaNoWriMo-ers: Roasted Chicken and Roasted Vegetables are great meals to make for NaNoWriMo! For the hour they’re in the oven, you can do word wars in between checking on dinner, and feel like you’re being doubly productive!

Note for everyone else: This makes a great breakfast if you re-heat it and serve it with fried or scrambled eggs.

Feeding the Inner Five Year Old: Saturday at the Market

Today was the first time I remembered that hey, the Farmer’s market is open and has produce! So I took my cloth grocery bags and my pocket full of cash and headed to the Hillsboro Farmer’s Market before heading for the grocery store.

First stop, of course, was breakfast:

My kin is from the South, y'all. No way can I resist biscuits and gravy.

TheĀ  biscuits and gravy were delicious. This was my view while I ate:

They KNEW the kids would want to get in the fountain. So they made it easy.

After I ate I wanted to get another picture of the fountain, so I did.

A closer look at the crazy fountain.

Then I did my shopping. I was there for produce, but I couldn’t resist taking pictures of the beautiful cut flowers and perennials.

SO PRETTY!
Sweet Indeed
Perennials, With Produce in the Background

Had I been thinking, I wouldn’t have bought breakfast: I could have grazed all morning on samples of goat cheese, sausage, jerky, pita, hummus, tabouli, jam and fudge and dips oh my. Actually that’s a lie; see “Southern kin, cannot resist biscuits and gravy” above. I would have bought breakfast even if I HAD remembered the samples.

And finally, there was a pony.

Lookit the BRAID!

My inner five year old was most pleased.

My inner five year old was ALSO pleased with the adorable creations of The Fancy Farmer, who creates stuffed chickens and owls and toy eggs and such. SO CUTE. I wanted to borrow someone’s small child so I’d have an excuse to play with the felt chickens. I was so excited I forgot to take pictures, so follow that link to her Etsy shop to see the cute.

You guys, if you have a local farmer’s market, you really should check it out. It’s fun, there’s good food, and you can support your local agriculture, which is becoming more and more important. Help keep the farms in business, and cut down your carbon footprint, eat more delicious food, and be entertained. That’s an awful lot of pluses for your dollar.

 

Food Fundamentalism: The Dark Side of Dietary Philosophy

I grew up with bad eating habits. Mostly because I was a very picky child who only liked cheese, pasta, white bread, sugary cereal, and meat. And partly because of canned vegetables.

These eating habits led to a host of health issues. And those health issues led to curiosity about natural medicine (drugs tend to really mess with me). And curiosity about natural medicine led me to learning a lot about food and how it affects the body. I did a lot of reading about nutrition and the food supply and agriculture.

Then I came to Oregon and realized I was a complete amateur noobie ignoramus when it came to food awareness.

Here in Oregon, we have IDEAS about food. And we like to spend a lot of time expounding upon our food philosophies. (I am very much included in that “we”).

Usually, food philosophy discussions are at the very least interesting. Sometimes they’re educational, and often they are amusing. But sometimes . . . sometimes food philosophy goes to a dark place. Sometimes it turns in to food fundamentalism . . . and dudes, we all know how much damage fundamentalist thinking can do.

A person with a food philosophy realizes that some foods are better for you than others. A Food Fundamentalist divides foods in to categories of “Virtuous” and “Sinful”.

This sort of Food Dualism has infected our culture. We’re so worried about it that we argue about which side of the force our favorite foods belong on. CHOCOLATE belongs to the dark side. Except maybe dark chocolate belongs to the light side? Because it has that thing in it? That’s good for you? Milk is either the most wholesome thing on god’s green earth, or puss-contaminated filth that will rot you slowly from the inside out . . . depending on who you ask.

If we enjoy a dessert or something with a high fat content, we feel like we need to apologize to the world at large.

I think this kind of thinking is one of the reasons the U.S. is fat.

I mean, didn’t that whole priests-molesting-little-boys scandal teach us anything about the consequences of forbidding things? Haven’t we learned that the more we repudiate our desires, the harder they are to resist?

I think setting up a virtue and vice framework for food choices is dangerous to our health. It makes us crazy. I think we need a new way to look at it. More of a “it would be good to eat a LOT of these foods” approach, and enjoy the other things now and then for the sake of the pleasure.

Because sometimes food–like all other alleged “sins”–is simply about pleasure. And you guys–there’s nothing wrong with pleasure. We’re designed to appreciate it. It’s good for the soul.

A person with a food philosophy might refrain from eating the processed meat appetizer at a party with a simple “no thanks”, and stick with the crudites or the cheese and crackers. A Food Fundamentalist will refuse to eat any of it, and will lecture the hostess on how such impurities will never defile the divine temple of her body. She will explain why one shouldn’t eat factory farmed meat, why the non-organic vegetables will KILL US ALL if we eat them, and how sugar will result in the fall of humankind. And she’ll walk away from the gathering feeling righteous, for she has informed yet another lost soul of the One True Path of eating.

Never mind that she has insulted the hostess and probably hurt her feelings as well. And the hostess isn’t going to say, “Oh wow, she was right, I’m going to change my habits from this moment on, and thank her for showing me the error of my ways!”. No. The hostess is going to say “What a BITCH,” and is going to think twice about inviting the Food Fundamentalist to future gatherings.

I think we would all do well to remember that food is about more than what it does to your body. Food is about community, about culture. If you say my food’s not good enough for you, then it sounds like I’M not good enough for you. Nobody enjoys being insulted.

It’s GREAT to have a food philosophy. I have one. But, as my writing buddy pointed out, “Kids have a food philosophy too. It’s called ‘I want to live on candy.’ But if your kid acted like that at someone’s house they’d get a time out.”

(Please note that allergies and intolerances are a different matter. If you’re going to be ill for weeks or go in to anaphylactic shock if you eat something I’m serving, then obviously I am not talking to you here. Almost everyone I know has SOME kind of food intolerance; our potlucks look like the special dietary needs section of the natural grocery store. I’ve managed to cook successfully for most of them, and I’ve been happy to do so. Totally not the same. So don’t flame me in the comments m’kay?)

We all have a right to our ideas about food. It’s even fine to TALK about those ideas–but there’s a time and place to deliver a lecture, and there’s a time and place to shut the fuck up and eat the damn birthday cake. If you want to tell the world what to do, get yourself a freakin’ blog.

It’s what I did.