For the Love of Food!
“Food, a French man told me once, is the first wealth. Grow it right, and you feel insanely rich, no matter what you own.” “Cook things, eat them with other people. If you can tire your own bones while growing the beans, so much the better for you.” “So there I was eating haute cuisine in a mobile home. He cooked for me as seduction, a courtship, so that I'd never again be impressed with a man who simply took me out to dinner. And I fell in love with him over a deer's liver.” “Maybe most important, farm food itself is totally different from what most people now think of as food: none of those colorful boxed and bagged products, precut, parboiled, ready to eat, and engineered to appeal to our basest desires. We were selling the opposite: naked, unprocessed food, two steps from the dirt.” - Kristin Kimball, The Dirty Life We farm because we love being outside, the cool mornings, the late evening walks, even the Summer sweats. We farm because we love the intricacies involved in running a farming business. Mostly though, we farm because we love food. Not just food, but really, really good food. Kristin Kimball of Essex Farm, understands this as we do. We cook to get the most flavor out of every delicious crop we grow, and our main goal in a meal is to figure out how to pack in as many vegetables as possible. We think of vegetables as the centerpiece of the meal, never the side dish. Between just John and I, we can go through about 2 full shares of produce a week. There's so much flavor in all of this produce. We have some kitchen rules we follow for the best tasting meals. Slow roast those Winter squash, roots, and garlic. Caramelize those onions. Add your greens in at the very end to preserve their color and flavor. Everything is better with homemade stock or heavy cream (save all those veggie scraps in your freezer for some delicious homemade stock). Salt brings it all together. If the recipe doesn't call for a leafy green, throw it in there anyway. Almost every vegetable is delicious in a huge veggie saute, eaten over rice, with an Asian sauce (soy sauce, seasame oil, rice vinegar, miso). Cherish what's in season for soon it will be gone. When I was 16 I hated vegetables. Now, getting my MS in Nutritional Science I was astounded to learn that 88% of 1-3 year olds aren't getting the daily recommendations of vegetables and fruit. That number jumps to 95% of 14-18 year olds. For adults, that number is still around the 85% mark. We need 3-4 servings of vegetables a day, and 4 servings of fruit a day. I am currently taking a class called "Nutrigenetics and Nutrigenomics". Did you know that what you eat can actually change how your genetic code expresses itself? Food has the ability to influence whether we get diseases/cancer, and it actually has the ability to influence if our children and grandchildren get diseases and cancer. You are not just want you eat, but what those before you ate. This is a really cool video on the topic of epigenetics if anyone is interested in learning more. A quote from the video: "Scientists could take cloned mice, mice that were exactly the same and by feeding the mothers different amounts of nutrients, they could produce agouti mice (yellowish in color, obese, diabetes, shorter life span). In other words they could produce mice that were genetically identical. They have the same exact DNA but they’re going to express different genes." Following is an incredible pasta dish we made today (leftovers will be eaten for breakfasts and lunches when we're in a rush). When I made this recipe, I purposely caramelized extra onions, and roasted extra Winter squash, garlic, and mushrooms. Those will all go onto a homemade pizza in a couple nights, after a busy farm day. This is just an example of how you can get a boatload of vegetables into one meal that tastes incredible. This can also be eaten on spaghetti squash instead of pasta for a gluten free/ more vegetables version.
Farfalle with Broccoli Rabe, Roasted Mushrooms & Butternut Squash
(Brooklyn Homemaker) 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided 2 tablespoons butter salt and pepper 2 to 3 large onions, thinly sliced into strips (about 4 cups sliced) 1 small to medium butternut squash 2 pints mushrooms 1/2 cup dry white wine 1 cup low sodium stock (chicken or vegetable), divided 3 to 4 cloves of garlic 1 large bunch broccoli rabe 1 pound farfalle (bowtie) pasta 1/2 cup chopped parsley 1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 425. .
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Add thinly sliced onions and season with salt and pepper. Once the onions begin to soften turn the heat down to medium low and let them caramelize slowly, stirring occasionally, for about 3o to 45 minutes. This takes a long while but you want the onions to brown very slowly to bring out their sugars and intensify their flavor.
Use this time to prepare the rest of your vegetables. Peel and seed the butternut squash, and cut into small (about 1/2″ to 1″) cubes. Slice the mushrooms. Cut the dry ends off of the broccoli rabe and discard. Roughly chop the broccoli rabe, and try to slice the thicker stems smaller than the leafy tops (this way they’ll all cook through at the same time).
Toss the cubed squash and garlic cloves (not peeled!) in 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer over a parchment lined baking sheet and roast until cooked through, and browned on the bottom side, about 30 minutes. For more even browning you could toss the squash halfway through, but I didn’t find this step necessary.
Toss sliced mushrooms in remaining tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange in a thin even layer over another parchment lined baking sheet and roast in the same oven as the squash. The mushrooms should only take about 20 to 25 minutes to cook through, so either put them in after the squash, or start checking on them first.
Once the onions are super soft and begin to take on a light golden color. add the white wine, turn heat up to high, and reduce to almost dry. Add the stock and repeat, reducing by at least half or a little more.
Cook pasta to al dente according to package instructions. Just before draining, transfer about 1/3 cup of the starchy pasta water to the pan with the caramelized onions and reduced wine and stock. Drain pasta and set aside. Bring pasta water to a boil and add broccoli rabe. Cook for about 5 minutes or until deep green and wilted.
Transfer everything (take garlic out of peels first) , including parsley and parmesan, to the pasta pot and toss toss toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve immediately with a few shavings of extra parmesan cheese. Couscous Curry Stuffed Acorn Squash