Food and Food Related Activity

First, let me say that it appears my launch for New Year’s Resolution meals will not take place this Friday. Long story, not my ball.

Now, onto the show.

I cook slow. I can’t use “slow food,” because I’d have to pay someone to say that. The point is that I like to know where my food is coming from, and what it was before it got to my plate. Also, as any of you who follow this blog know, I am something of a frugal health nut, for both myself and my clients. So, I thought I’d share some of our “Every day” foods with you. We eat amazing food every day, but that doesn’t mean it’s complicated or expensive. In fact, quite the opposite much of the time. Yes,  we do go all out and do the type of meals you’ll see on my Ready-To-Go Meal menu; but, most of the time, that’s just not practical.

Last night’s dinner was Shawn’s Famous Fish Patties with Fried Green Tomatoes and Baked Squash:

Above: The ingredients for much of dinner: whole wheat flour & corn meal mixture, patty mixture, and canned green tomatoes. The fish is wild-caught canned salmon, so it’s full of Omega vitamins and CLAs. It’s also much better for the environment than farm-raised. And, it’s inexpensive at Trader Joe’s. The tomatoes are from my uncle’s farm. We canned them this past August, and they are excellent for frying or using in salads and chutneys. Below:Patties and tomatoes being lightly fried in olive oil. Yes, fried. Fried does not always equal bad. Olive oil is good for you, and it’s important to get enough fat in your diet.

Served with (below): Roundabout Farms squash, steam baked. This stuff is heaven, really. It’s creamy, sweet, savory, and rich with a deep flavor that begs to be savored. Honestly, I could eat just this for dinner.

Mondays are always busy, so when UC and I do our 2-week meal plan (yes, we’re doing it for 2 weeks now), we make sure Mondays are easy and quick. Our slow cooker is a dear friend on these nights, and this is no exception.

Tonight’s dinner: Fiest Mixed Bean Soup.

Above: Navy & Great Northern beans that  I soaked overnight,carrots, and two kinds of onions. Below: Homemade spicy vegetable stock and spices round out this part of the cooking.

About a half hour before we want to eat, I’ll stick blend the soup for just a second or two, adding some good EVOO. It’ll be topped with a small bit of grated parmesan, paprika, and eaten with homemade Anadama bread (courtesy of UC).  This is, obviously, vegetarian, and is packed with protein, fiber, vitamins & minerals, and flavor. it’s lowfat, too. Most of all, though, it’s YUMMY.

Since I was home today working anyway, I decided to debone one of your hens from the Nelkes. I’d roasted it about two days ago for specifically for making stock and lunchmeat, and it needed to get done. These were the same hens that gave us our favorite eggs, and they’re not dissapointing in the stock department either.

Above: the chicken in the process of being skinned and deboned. Below: Some of the deboned meat, which we’ll run through the meat grinder with pickles, carrots, onions and spices to make excellent lunchmeat.

Above: Onions and garlic  from Roundabout farm are sweated with a little EVOO, a bit of the chicken drippings, and some spices before adding the water and chicken carcass (below).

The stock is still cooking, and I’ll let it go on a very, very low simmer until about 4:oo today (making it about a 5 hour simmer). I’ll strain everything out, then put it in the refrigerator. Later tonight or  tomorrow, I’ll skim off any extra fat. What’s left will be an amazing, rich stock perfect for soups, casseroles, rissottos, and anything else that calls for stock.

This is the kind of thing I do for my clients, as well. These homemade touches are healthier, and part of why my food tastes the way it does.

In other news, I am still working on finding a kitchen. I’m working on renting the Depot, but that process is taking a very long time. Really, I’ve never had (or heard of) this kind of trouble renting a hall kitchen. In MI, you call the hall, they g ive you their rates and tell you if the dates you want are available, and you send them a check. Here, it’s very political. Which is weird, becuase it’s just a kitchen. And, frankly, with the economy the way it’s going, most places in other areas are virtually pulling you in the door and offering your almost anything to get you to spend cash at their facility.

So, if anyone knows of a commercial kitchen in, or within 15 minutes of,  Culpeper, I’d be most obliged.


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