Fall foods: cheese sauce for vegetables. . . Scalloped Turnips with Caramelized Onions. . . Bacon Beef Roll. . . Tomato Mushroom Cheeseburger Skillet
The Get Ready for Winter Song
My goodness, if the weather was like this all the time, everyone would want to live in Oklahoma. Fortunately we have August so that's not likely to become a problem going forward. And winter is certainly on its way. So let's all sing the Get Ready for Winter Song, to start this month's bobaganda episode.
The Get Ready for Winter Song
Tune: "Santa Claus is Coming to Town". . .
OH! We better not wait, it's time to make plans,
Compost, mulch, put away the fans,
Winter time is coming to town!
Squash and turnips and carrot plants,
Season extension for the cabbage transplants,
Winter time is coming to town!
Let's insulate the attic!
Insulate the floors!
Insulate the walls so deep,
and don't forget the doors!
So! Make your list, and check it twice,
Solarize, weatherize, don't roll the dice,
Winter time is coming to town!
The Goose and the Cow.
And now for a joke. MCDONALDS FOOD! No, that's not the joke, although I guess it is a joke. . . It seems that there was a convent, whose elderly Mother Superior, who had served the convent for decades, was on her deathbed. All of the nuns gathered in a vigil, hoping for some final words of wisdom. Concerned about her, one sister went to get some milk. On a sudden inspiration, she mixed some Irish whiskey with the milk, and took it to the weak Mother Superior, who took a sip, and immediately sat up and said, "That was tasty." One of the sisters asked her, "Give us some wisdom before your journey." The Mother Superior was silent for a time, and then she said, "don't kill the cow."
Yes indeed. That joke in its own way is a re-telling of the "Goose who laid the golden egg" fable. This fable, attributed to Aesop, who perhaps lived in the 5th century BC, in one form or another is found across the globe, including several Asian cultures, where instead of a goose laying golden eggs it is typically a swan shedding golden feathers. The fable literary form itself goes even further back in history, to the beginnings of the city states of Mesopotamia in the 22nd-24th centuries BC.
Don't kill the cow. Don't kill the goose the lays the golden egg. Someone should have reminded the USDA about this traditional wisdom when they first got the bright idea -- "Get big or get out" -- and thus began the process of killing the cow with the tasty milk, and destroying the goose that laid the golden eggs. So it comes ot pass fifty years after that fateful utterance by a federal bureaucrat, we have our present, just-in-time, homogenized, dumbed-down food system, drenched in listeria and salmonella, and served with a side of transgenic mechanically-separated pink ooze infused with a whiff of ammonia. Yum. Makes you want to go on a forty day fast, right?
This system is not an accident. It is the forseeable result of deliberate actions by governments and corporations.
The Oklahoma Food Cooperative, on the other hand, is about saving the goose and keeping the cow that gives the tasty milk. We have no great political power, but we have an idea -- and a system to implement that idea -- and the best tasting food in the state of Oklahoma. We have sons and daughters elsewhere, doing the same thing. We've just received word of a new local food cooperative on the other side of the world, Down Under in the great land of Australia. I had a report this week from the Northwest Cooperative Development Council in Washington (state), which has been studying Idaho's Bounty, one of our daughter coops, and reports that they are growing. The plan to replicate our common success throughout their four state region (Washington, Portland, Alaska, Hawaii).
Our success is founded, one bite at a time, one food decision at a time.
I am writing and publishing this on October 10, 2010 a/k/a "10-10-10". I have been working overtime to try to find some interesting symbolism in that which could be related to local food (thus illustrating the depths a writer will occasionally descend to), and finally had an inspiration this morning. 10 times 10 times 10 equals 1000, and that is an illusive goal we have hovered just below for some time in terms of monthly orders. This morning we had 719 baskets opened, 615 of which actually had products in them.
Isn't it about time we had a thousand orders in one month? So I'd like to encourage everyone who hasn't opened a basket this month to do, and to buy something. Maybe five pounds of hamburger (or ground pork, or ground bison, or ground lamb) and 2 bars of soap? Those are two of our products that are in super quantity, with a wide variety of choices. I made some spaghetti sauce this week with Italian sausage made with ground lamb and it was mighty tasty.
The power of the cooperative can be found in the multiplying impact of small choices. Someone told me that they usually didn't buy from the coop because they couldn't afford to buy all of their food from the coop. I asked, "Well, could you afford to spend $40/month for local food? They said "yes". So I encouraged them to go ahead and buy $40/month in local food. Every dollar spent with a local producer is a dollar vote for the future of local agriculture and the security of the food systems of our community. The world is a risky place these days, it is not prudent for us to put all our eggs in the just-in-time corporate food system basket. Let's all buy some good food for our families, and support our local farmers.
Many people tell me, "I would buy more eggs from the coop if they were available." I checked at the opening of the October order (8 AM, October 1), and there were 280 dozen eggs available. They were gone within an hour. Vegetable listings were also a bit thin. Now, that isn't necessarily the end of the October egg and vegetable story. Often, producers wait to list their eggs and vegetables until closer to the end of the order, as they become more certain of what they will have available on delivery day. So it pays to "shop often" and check the egg and vegetable departments for late-listing products.
And for producers, this is a Market Signal -- produce more eggs? Yes, hens don't like the change in seasons, and every time the season changes, production will go down. but even allowing for seasonal variation, it's clear that we don't have enough eggs available.
SAVE THE MARKET BAKERY! And the calzones. And the brownies. And the cookies.
We're making decent progress towards saving the Market Bakery. Nearly $5,000 has been pledged by 34 individuals, but we have only 26 days left to get pledges to cover the remaining $20K to build a new Market Bakery and save this important cog in the local food system wheel from the clutches of a corrupt and unresponsive and uncaring Oklahoma Department of Transportation. Please make a generous pledge today at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/320205243/earth-elements-local-food-community-kitchen .
- How's your food storage going? We're headed for ice storm weather. Anything could happen. Can you feed your family through a prolonged winter storm? What if there are problems with the food system? The time to stock your pantry is before the food crisis hits.
- The current financial reports for the coop are online at http://www.oklahomafood.coop/finance.php .
- I hope to see many of you at the coop's birthday party at the Operations Center in Oklahoma City, coming up on Saturday afternoon and evening, November 6th!
The annual great cycle of the seasons continues to turn. Now we are in the golden daze of fall. Here are some great recipes to titillate your fall appetites.
Cheese sauce for vegetables.
This is a very easy cheese sauce for any veggie that likes cheese.
4 tablespoons cream
4 tablespoons yogurt cheese (or cream cheese)
4 oz shredded cheddar or other yellow cheese
Mix all together, and zap in the microwave (or heat over low heat) until the yellow cheese is melted. Combine with your already-cooked and hot vegetables. If you use cream cheese instead of sour cream, briefly zap in the microwave before adding the other ingredients in order to soften it.
Scalloped Turnips with Caramelized Onions
This recipe is, as they say, "to die for".
- 4 large turnips; peeled and cleaned, sliced into thin slices and boiled for 6 minutes in water with 3T cream added; drain well
- 2-3 slices bacon
- 1T butter
- 1 large onion sliced into paper thin rings
- 1/2 cup cream
- 1 cup shredded white cheese (I used mozzarella)
- Additional 1/2 cup cheese for top(optional)
- 3T butter
- 1/2tsp salt
- 1/4tsp pepper
- 1/8tsp nutmeg
Melt the 3 T. butter and then add cream and cheese. Stir to melt, heating in the microwave for 20 second intervals as needed. Place 1/2 the turnips in the bottom of the casserole dish; then salt and pepper the turnips, followed by 1/2 the onion mix and 1/2 the cheese sauce. Repeat layers then top with additional cheese if using. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 15-20 minutes or until top browns and it's all bubbly and tender.
NB: The first time I made this, I didn't boil the turnips long enough and they weren't quite done at the end of the cooking time, so I had to cook the casserole longer. So boil the turnips until they are "done" in the water/cream.
Bacon Beef Roll
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
4 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 cup onion, chopped fine
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 pounds ground beef
12 strips bacon
Combine everything except the bacon in a large bowl. Mix well then shape in two 6-inch long log shapes. On a large sheet of wax paper, lay 6 slices of the bacon side by side. Set one of the beef rolls crosswise at one end of the row of bacon strips; roll up, wrapping the meat with the bacon. Very carefully place the first roll in a 9x13" baking pan, lined with heavy foil, with the ends of the bacon under the meat roll. Lift it with a wide spatula so that it doesn't break. Repeat with the remaining bacon and meat roll. Bake at 375º 45-50 minutes or until the center of each roll reaches 160º. If the bacon doesn't look browned enough on top, put the beef rolls under the broiler for a minute or two. Serves 8.
Tomato Mushroom Cheeseburger Skillet
2 pounds ground beef
1 small onion, chopped, 2 1/2 ounces
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 pound fresh shitaake mushrooms, sliced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
8 ounce can tomato sauce
16 ounces cabbage, finely shredded, about 1/2 a medium cabbage
8 ounces cheddar cheese, diced small
In a very large skillet or Dutch oven, brown the ground beef with the onion, garlic and mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper; drain the fat. Add the tomato sauce and cabbage; toss to coat the cabbage with the sauce. Simmer, uncovered, about 10 minutes or until the cabbage is tender, stirring occasionally. Add the cheese and stir in; heat on low until melted then stir in well. Adjust the seasonings, if necessary. Feeds six to eight.