“A day in the country is worth a month in town”Christina Rossetti

Friday, July 26, 2013

Real Fruit. Real Food. Real Fresh.

In the States, we look in the grocery store bins and rarely see a blemish on our produce. Its big and shiny and perfect. If I had to eat out of my garden that way, quite a few of my veggies and fruits would end up in a stew or the compost.
We just came back from two weeks in Germany and France (business and pleasure), and spent a lot of our travels using public transportation. Something I really noticed in our travels were the fresh fruit stands. Not just in the villages or outside, but inside the subway tunnels.
Paris subway fruit stand
And even more, we didn't notice them visually, but by aroma. The wonderful, ripe fruit smell just woke you right up. And it happened again and again.  The fruit was colorful, all sizes and so aromatic, it just made you remember what fruit was supposed to taste like. Wonderful and flavorful.

People walked away with a bag of cherries or a single peach in a napkin, and later you would see people wiping their chins of the juice as they rode on the trains.

I now have a little eight foot square raised bed that we put together in June, and I have a few herbs and veggies coming along, but I need to seek out the good farm stands, and even a favorite grocery store for my shopping. I see that some of the stores are associated with local farms for certain produce, so I will give them a look. Coming from just a few miles away, the food should come in riper and fresher, so we can hope for flavor.

One of the stores wraps up what they consider overripe produce, and sells it at a huge discount. I think its just right and I often see no damage. They are soft and ready to cook.

Actually, one of my favorite pasta "sauces" is more of a veggie stew. I take the blemished odds and ends out of the garden(or now from the discount cart) that won't slice or keep very well because of a crack or stink bug blemish and chop or slice it up into a meaty size.  For me, and my daughter, the texture makes it more of a meal, so while the water comes to a boil and then cooks the pasta, I quickly sauté the onions, garlic and peppers, and then just drop the chunks of ripe tomato on top to simmer and break down till the pasta is ready. There is still a lot of chew and texture to the stew/sauce, and is very satisfying. Of course, we add our favorite herbs and spices, and sometimes we take a small pan to toast a few pine nuts for more "meat". Grate a little cheese. Done.

The fun is in the challenge of the time you have while the pasta cooks and what's available in your garden and pantry. Its summer. Give it a shot. In a half hour you'll be sitting at the table and thinking of the next variation on this theme. Different pasta. Something out of the freezer? I've never made it the same way twice and its always great and satisfying.  And real and fresh!

Bon Appetit!

PS: Send me some new combinations/additions you've tried.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Fourth of July

Today is Jake's seven month birthday and his great grand father's birthday too.
Hope your day was filled with wonder and pride for the country we live in.