recipes and talk about:
natural foods
whole grains
local foods
the heirloom garden

maple granola

maple granola. yummmmmmo

This March was in like a lion, out like a lamb, just as it’s supposed to be, right and good. It’s a slow-brewing Easter revelation: for the past several days, we’ve had our eye on the forecast and those double digits creeping up from 40s to 50s to 70s. We’ve been talking about the weather forecast in awed, hushed tones: it’s going to be 75°F by Thursday! Maybe 80°F on Friday!

We so want to be true believers in meteorology, just this once. We’re ready, after months of snow and ice and wind and mud, to prostrate ourselves at the altar of the Mighty Blue Screen of Meteorological Prophecy.

And today, we are believers. It’s 56°F right now. We see whispers on Facebook: our Chicago friends wax poetic in their status updates about their glorious weather, and we close our eyes and smile, knowing that what’s in Chicago today will be here tomorrow.

in the hippie spirit

maple granola ingredients

And since I’m in this warm hippie spirit, I’ll offer up a foodstuff so linked to hippes that it became an adjective all its own. Read more on maple granola…

March 25, 2010 in vegetarianno comments yet

midnight snack: ravioli

ravioli with olive oil, parmesan, and pepper

Mrs. Q of Fed Up With Lunch was on Good Morning America this morning. She’s a school teacher who made the crazy New Year’s resolution to eat lunch in her school’s cafeteria every day this year…and has found it truly appalling.

Ever notice how, if you already know what a news story is about, it always, always has errors in the reporting? GMA, for instance, gleefully reported that she ate a year of school lunches last year. Dudes, do five seconds of research, mmkay? It really makes you wonder how much is just plain wrong in news stories you see and hear that you don’t have prior knowledge of.

GMA redeemed itself by shooting the interview in classic undercover-whistleblower style, with cloak-and-dagger shadows and voice masking to help keep her identity secret. (She’s afraid she’ll lose her job if and when she’s found out.)

Check out the interview and check out her blog. I knew school lunches had gotten worse than they were back in my day when we wore an onion on our belts, but man, it’s…it’s shocking. Everything disposable and nuked from frozen.

get to the ravioli already

Yeah, so, what did I do with an evening snack craving that didn’t involve sugar? Read more on midnight snack: ravioli…

March 23, 2010 in condiments3 comments

garlic butter

garlic butter, like, for garlic bread, man

This has been sitting here for a day now, waiting for input beyond the picture above. A sinus infection flareup keeps distracting me, work keeps distracting me, worry keeps distracting me. I’ve begun looking up home remedies, which is always a bad sign, a sign that you might as well suck it up and go to the doctor. So I did; I sucked it up and I’m going to the doctor today. Wish me luck and antibiotics.

mixing up garlic butter

The gist of it is, this post won’t get the hyperbole it deserves. No purple prose about the wonderfulness that is this garlic butter, just some facts and then the recipe. Read more on garlic butter…

March 16, 2010 in gardening6 comments

seed starting primer

basil seedlings: genovese, sweet, and lemon

Yesterday I told a charming and entirely not boring story about how I came around to starting many of my own seedlings for the garden.

Today I’m going to show you how to start your own seeds. Begin heirloom tomatoes, peppers, herbs, and more from seed, all from the comfort of your home or garage. This post will cover how to select a growing medium and containers to start your seeds in, how to plant the seeds, how to ensure your young seedlings get enough light, and how to care for your seedlings once they’ve sprouted.

1. containers

You can begin seeds in almost anything. People use Read more on seed starting primer…

March 15, 2010 in gardening3 comments

why start your own seeds?

eva purple, black krim, pink brandywine

Three years ago, I discovered an amazing heirloom tomato variety entirely by accident, one that I’ve grown both with great success — that first year — and terrible failure— last year, which was too cold for tomato growing.

I had gone to a litte no-name greenhouse just outside of town. We call it Werner’s but to be brutally honest, I’m not even sure that’s its name or the name of the people who own. it. To get there, you turn from the state highway into a tree-choked, winding, rutted dirt drive, and follow that claustrophobic ribbon about 1/8 of a mile until it dead ends at the greenhouse complex.

There, the land opens up a bit to reveal a rustic wood shed with a few large U-tube greenhouses next to it. Once inside, Read more on why start your own seeds?…

March 11, 2010 in gardening3 comments

planning your vegetable garden: recommended seed catalogs

seed savers exchange seed packets

Once you’ve got a rough plan of what you’re going to put into your garden this year, the next step is to purchase your seeds. The vegetable seed catalog market has always had loads of companies vying for your business, and with the surging popularity of local foods and gardening, the choice of where to buy seeds from can be overwhelming. Should you order from the catalog crowing about giant pumpkins? The one with mega-producing hybrids? The one with carefully-selected heirlooms? Read more on planning your vegetable garden: recommended seed catalogs…

March 9, 2010 in notfoodno comments yet

do yeast fart?

Via MSN:

5:06:55 PM Amy: my tweet
5:06:56 PM Amy: Whole wheat levain, day 3: I can’t help picturing microscopic wild yeast chowing down and farting in there.

5:16:46 PM Zach: ha
5:16:55 PM Zach: I always feel bad for yeast

5:17:51 PM Amy: i just did too, earlier today!
5:18:00 PM Amy: i was like, aww, when i bake, it’s going to die!

5:18:04 PM Zach: hehe, nod
5:18:05 PM Zach: it’s like
5:18:12 PM Zach: here guys! have this HUGE DELICIOUS FEAST, jut how you like it!
5:18:15 PM Zach: then you burn them all to death

Read more on do yeast fart?…

March 8, 2010 in breads, how to, vegan, vegetarianno comments yet

whole wheat levain, day 4 and on

whole wheat levain, day 4

Some of you have been expressing…concern…as to what happened with the whole big levain/sourdough plot. I’ll tell you what happened. A winter storm happened. Unripe levain happened. Flat bread happened. And a possibly unconnected but mysteriously coincidental horrible sinus flareup happened.

By day 4, I had a feeling the levain was ripe and active. Compare the above pic to day 3 and see how much the yeast activity made the levain rise in 12 hours. So I put it back into its normal container and fed it again that evening and planned to bake whole wheat sourdough the next day.

When I checked it in the morning, I frowned. Read more on whole wheat levain, day 4 and on…

March 5, 2010 in gardening1 comment

planning your vegetable garden: deciding what to plant

part of a garden: peppers, rosemary, tomatoes

What’s going in your garden this year? If you don’t know yet, it’s time to put the remote down and get cracking. Super Bowl’s over. The Olympics are over. Time to moon over garden sketches and seed catalogs.

I know it’s almost a little late, but that’s why I’m doing this. So all you slackers like me can get into the garden just as quickly and efficiently as those horrible well-organized types who planned their garden in December and bought their seeds in January.

In this post, I’m going to tell you how to plan your garden and decide what to plant. And! There are future plans, oh yes. In the next days, we’ll be talking about what to plant from seed and what to buy as plants. We’ll talk about seed shopping. We’ll talk about seed starting. It’s a whole series thing.

mini-greenhouse from a salad container :)

One hint on the seed starting. Read more on planning your vegetable garden: deciding what to plant…

March 2, 2010 in gluten-free, salad, vegan, vegetarian5 comments

indonesian tofu, bean sprout, and cucumber salad with spicy peanut dressing

Indonesian tofu, bean sprout, and cucumber salad with spicy peanut dressing

This recipe featured on Wanderfood Wednesday and Real Food Wednesday!

This is the time of year when we write posts about how tired we are of winter. But I’m not. I’m totally over being tired of winter. I already gave in a few weeks ago to the allure of fresh produce, abandoning the frozen corn, green beans, and zucchini in favor of bean sprouts, cucumbers, and oh my lord grape tomatoes as big as your thumb.

There’s still part of a cabbage in the fridge — my cabbages grow to gigantic proportions, I don’t know why — but the last of fall’s carrots was gone over a month ago and yes, I tired of the old. I wanted the crunch of nutrients I hadn’t had fresh in months.

I abandoned locavore eating. Just until spring, and just once in a while. There’s something about fresh sprouts. They’re a promise. They’re potentiality. They could have become beans, but instead they’re going into my tummy. They’re earthy and new and taste of beginnings.

And this salad. Oh, this salad is Read more on indonesian tofu, bean sprout, and cucumber salad with spicy peanut dressing…