Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Feastin' Season Begins! November Bobagandistic Thoughts for the Oklahoma Food Cooperative

OK this is not only the feastin' season, it also opens up the singin' season.  So here is the "official" Oklahoma Food Coop holiday song (well, one of them anyway, next month we have the 12 Days of the Coop's Christmas. . . which includes a Very Pesky Pastured Chicken in a Stratford Peach Tree!)
Tune: Deck the halls with boughs of holly

(1) Tis the season for the feastin',
Oklahoma Foods are good to eat!
Taste nutrition can't be beaten,
Oklahoma Foods are good to eat!
Nurturing the land and people,
Farm and city joining hands.
Tis the season for the feastin',
Oklahoma Foods are good to eat!

(2) Care for people and creation,
Oklahoma Foods are good to eat!
Hope throughout the bio-region,
Oklahoma Foods are good to eat!
From our farms onto our tables,
we will bless the way we eat!
Care for people and creation,
Oklahoma Foods are good to eat!

(3) Healing nature with earth's beauty,
Oklahoma Foods are good to eat!
Wisdom, joy fulfilling duty,
Oklahoma Foods are good to eat!
Eating with the changing seasons,
Chasing the CAFOs from our land!
Healing nature with earth's beauty,
Oklahoma Foods are good to eat!

(4) Social justice, sustainability,
Oklahoma Foods are good to eat!
Economic viability,
Oklahoma Foods are good to eat!
These our values, govern always,
They will take us forward far!
Three in number the core values,
Oklahoma Foods are good to eat!

This is what we are about, good food for good people.  Social justice, environmental sustainability, economic viability -- good food that does good, or as we shall say in December, "Peace on Earth, Good meals for all!"
It gets very busy around here.  We don't always achieve our goals.  But seven years into this crazy experiment, we are still here, making a difference on farm and in the city.
This is one of the important principles of the Oklahoma Food Cooperative.  So this is the month for the cool season greens and squash and pumpkins.  Looking at the order inventories, I still see a lot of greens available.  Greens are so tasty and nutritious.  Folks should buy lots, cook 'em and eat 'em now, and freeze some for eating later.  Cooked greens freeze very well, I do it all the time. 
I also see lots of pumpkins, and if you're making your pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving out of canned pumpkin, well, you are missing one of the great taste treats.  At our very first activity -- the Oklahoma Food dinner of November 2003 -- we served pumpkin pie made from real pumpkins.  None of us had actually ever done that before, but we looked up the recipe on the internet (Google is the friend of local food), and it was certainly the best pumpkin pie I've ever et.  Combine that with some whipped cream from pastured cows, and you have very fine food for your feastin' table.
Turkeys sold out really quick -- memo to producers, WE NEED MORE TURKEYS NEXT YEAR. That's been true every year of the coop's existence.  But that doesn't mean that we lack for fine centerpiece meats for your holiday tables.  I see wonderful tenderloins of beef and pork and buffalo. Whole prime ribs of buffalo. Legs of lamb.  Roasts.  Pastured chickens.  Very nice foods for your feastin' season.
And details?  We have pecans for your pecan pie or pecan tarts, or to scatter across your baked sweet potatoes.  Lard and suet for pie crusts.  Peanuts and roastin' and eatin'. Wonderful whole wheat flour for rolls, breads, and cakes, and yes, whole wheat flour makes a very fine cake.  Use buttermilk or yogurt instead of milk and it will be a light and tasty cake, so much so that people will hardly believe it was made with whole wheat flour.  Jams and jellies for your rolls.  Bread and hot roll dough if you're too busy to make your own.  Nice prepared casseroles for potlucks and when you are just too busy to cook.
Now is also a good time for your holiday gift shopping, and you name it, our fine coop artisan producers have them for sale.  I hadn't realized how easy the food coop would make my Christmas shopping.  Friends and family receive jellies and jams and artisan soaps and pecans and crafts from me instead of mass-produced junk made by wage slaves and sold in big box stores.

There are many ways to cook greens. The most traditional, southern way is to simmer them slowly with ham hocks or bacon. Arkansas bacon is particularly good for this I think, or a meaty bone from a ham. As the cooking proceeds, a rich vitamin-filled broth results, this is what is called “pot liquor” or “pot likker”. Serve with freshly baked corn bread. Other additions include onions, garlic, hot peppers (or hot pepper sauce), liquid smoke.

1 cup cooked turnip greens contains: 20 calories, 1.2 g protein, 4.4 g carbohydrates, 3.5 g dietary fiber, 93% water, 550 RE vitamin A, 27 mg vitamin C, 118 mcg folate, 203 mg potassium and 137 mg calcium.

Traditional method: Use about 1/4 lb of bacon or ham hocks per five pounds or so of greens. Fry bacon until crisp. Bring water to boil, add salt and crushed red pepper. Crumble bacon over greens and add to the liquid. Simmer until done (at least 1 hour, if using ham hocks, simmer until the ham hocks are completely done and falling apart, which would be 3-4 hours. Many people add sliced or diced turnips to the greens for cooking. Turnip greens in particular need to be cooked longer than some of the more tender greens like spinach or mustard.

Cooked greens freeze just fine. While they are available, buy lots, cook and freeze for eating later!

Cream of Greens Soup
1 lb ham slice, with bone
8 cups water
1 large bunch of greens, washed and finely chopped
1 cup chopped onion
2 cups chopped celery
2 cups chopped green onions
1/4 and 1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup flour
5 cups milk

Place the water and ham in a pot, cover, and simmer for 3 hours. Remove ham, add the chopped greens, simmer for 1 hour. (If you are making this with turnip greens, add them at the beginning of the cooking. Melt 1/4 cup butter in a skillet, and the chopped onion, celery, and green onions, cook until tender. Put the cooked onion mixture in a blender or food processor, and process until smooth, mix with the greens. Melt 1/3 cup butter in a cooking pot, gradually add the flour and stir to make a roux. Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly, until it thickens. Then add the greens and onion mixture, a dash of salt and hot sauce. Add the ham cut into chunks. Cook until thoroughly heated, do not boil. Makes about 10 cups.

Coop Cooking Note: We have ham, greens, flour, butter, and cream for sale this month. Instead of five cups of milk, try a mixture of cream and water or stock. Use whole wheat flour to make a roux (I generally sift whole wheat flour before I use it to make a roux). When I make this, I will certainly some jalapenos and maybe half a habanero or Scotch bonnet pepper to the onion mixture.

Cook the pumpkin, mash it, whip it with whipped cream or yogurt and honey. Chill & serve with a cookie from your favorite coop baker or other local bakery. Also good with cinnamon, nutmeg,
shaved chocolate sprinkled on top. (From Shauna Struby).

To turn a pumpkin into pumpkin pie. . . first you get your pumpkin, wash it, scoop out the seeds (save them, wash them, toast them in the oven, eat them!), and then slice the pumpkin into strips. Place these strips on a cookie sheet or other flat pan, and bake in the oven at 350 degrees until they are soft. The skin may caramelize, but that�s fine, it just adds to the robust flavors. When they are soft, peel off the rind (it should come off very easy, with a butter knife), and mash the pulp with a potato masher or a big fork or a food processor, and voila, pumpkin puree which is then used just like canned pumpkin in your favorite pumpkin pie recipe. 

If you feel like you need more instructions, visit http://www.pickyourown.org/pumpkinpie.php which has pictures of 3 different ways to cook the pumpkin. There's a lot more pumpkin recipes at the site, including a recipe for a pumpkin pie with a pecan topping that I am trying this year, for sure, also a pumpkin pie made with NO sugar. Note that their recipe for pumpkin pie uses evaporated milk, which is an industrial food way of getting something sort of like cream.  I use real cream in my pumpkin pies.  If the recipe calls for 1 cup sugar, you can substitute 3/4 cup honey.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving, surrounded by friends and family and good food, good cheer, good times.  We all live busy lives, but we can enhance our holidays with "slow and local" food, providing "good meals for all".  If you have any questions about recipes or anything about your holiday meals, post them to okfoodret@yahoogroups.com  and you'll get answers!

Y'all bon appetit, you hear!
Bob Waldrop, bobagandist in chief

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