Saturday, March 22

Quote of the Week

I lean heavily towards pacifism, but am constantly having this internal argument that it is not "practical." What the hell is practical about training young people to commit atrocities, destroying not only their victims but them as well?
--"Jon" on BFP's reposting of soldiers talking about what they did in Iraq.

Wednesday, March 5

Obama's first 100 days in office

Hee! I love Marc Lynch.

I had to laugh at Michael Gerson's effort in today's Post. Basically, he offers a thought experiment about President Obama's first 100 days. Obama meets with Iranian President Ahmedenejad, then Raul Castro, then suddenly announces an immediate troop withdrawal from Iraq. Amazingly, everything goes wrong! Wow, scary.

But fun, too! Let me try:
President Barack Obama, only months after his inauguration, holds a stunning summit meeting with Ahmedenejad and senior Iranian leaders. The discussions are tough and frank, but productive, and the outlines of a grand bargain quickly appear. With the Iranian-American relationship improving, crisis spots such as Lebanon rapidly improve. Iraq stabilizes, as Iran now backs American demands for the incorporation of Sunnis into the Iraqi state and encourages its Iraqi allies to lay low. Gulf leaders, reassured by the prospect of stability, finally come through on their end - with the Saudis and Qataris, in particular, offering high-level diplomatic support and significant cash while pressuring their Iraqi Sunni allies to take the deal. This new, increasingly institutionalized and regionally-backed stability allows the U.S. to begin withdrawing troops responsibly and safely. Oil prices begin to come down, as international markets see light at the end of the tunnel, and....
Hey, this is super-duper fun!

Sunday, March 2

Dark Days Local / Shoestring Healthy Eating Recipe

Well, somehow I muddled through without asparagus--I think I got distracted reading the internet and gorged on butterscotch chips. (Whoops.)

I'd like to post a recipe that 1) could qualify for winter local eating if I'd prepared and 2) nudges into BFP's "healthy eating while in poverty" blog initiative. (It's not quite there as prices and labor inputs go, but I think it's close.)

Lentil, Onion, & Collard Mush

Lentil, Onion, & Collard MushServes 1 for 3 meals if put over a grain like rice.
"Ingredients out" to "food on the table" time: 45-60+ minutes, depending on your speed, but it makes leftovers, and scaling up the recipe for a large family, still with leftovers, wouldn't take much more time at all (just some extra produce chopping & pressing).

  • Less than 1 medium onion
  • Frozen, pre-overcooked/reduced onions
  • Oil
    (I used olive)
  • Spices, salt, & pepper
    (I think I used ginger, cayenne, Hungarian-style paprika, and cumin seeds)
  • Greens
    (I don't think they'd have to be fresh, though I treated myself to wilting some fresh ones)
  • Dried lentils
    (see if you can get these at a farmer's market instead of imported & in the bulk foods section)
  • Garlic
  • Grains
  • Medium pot
  • Small pot
  • Colander or strainer
  1. Water:Lentils = 3:1. Wash lentils first. In a medium pot, boil water w/ lentils in, then reduce to a simmer for 30-45 minutes, or until lentils are done.
    (Yes, lentils go from dry to done w/o soaking!)
  2. Start thawing a small amount--maybe 1/4 to 1/2 a cup?--of frozen onion glop in a small pot.
    (that's onions cooked until they turned brown and mostly water--I saved some from when I made my last onion-based stew)

    Turn off the heat when it's thawed.
  3. Start cutting ribs out of your greens, ripping them up, and throwing them in a colander/strainer.
    If you're using canned greens, skip this step. If you're using frozen greens, thaw them in a 3rd pot or in the microwave.
  4. Check your onions and turn the heat off if necessary.
  5. Rinse your greens well.
  6. Chop any fresh onion if you're using it.
    (For locavores, this might not be an option if onions are out of season.)
  7. Eyeball how much fresh onion to throw into your glop. Keep in mind you'll have as many chunks in your final meal as you throw into this, so don't be afraid not to use all the onion. You can put it in a small tupperware and store it in the fridge for salads, another dish, etc.
  8. Throw chopped onion into the small pot, add a bit of oil, and add a lot of spices/pressed garlic/pressed ginger.
    (Yes, you can sort of press ginger in a garlic press!).
    And yes, ginger's never in season here and garlic is out of season this time of year, but I bought the garlic locally in October and just cut out the massive sprouts that're coming out of it.
  9. Stir & turn the heat back on if you're a slow chopper like me and had to turn it off.
    Blanche your onions (that is, make them transparent.)
  10. Check your lentils.
    Mine were falling apart soft in the pot, yet there was extra water left. So I turned the heat up high and stirred them almost without stopping (since high heat can make grains/beans stick to the bottom of the pot if left unattended).
    I evaporated water out of the mix until I had only as much water as I wanted in my final mush.
  11. Turn the heat back down under your medium pot.
    Use a scraper to get every last delicious bit of spiced onion glop out of the small pan and into the medium pot.
  12. Add your greens to the medium pot.
    If they're fresh, don't forget that they can reduce a lot in size--they made my pot go from 20% full to 90% full, but as they cooked in the steam, they dropped to a mixable 70% full...and by the time I'd finished cooking and stirring the whole mix, it was about 30-40% full.
  13. Microwave (or heat in your small pot, washed out) a pre-cooked grain that you ate for dinner another night and put the extra of in a tupperware.
    (Or cook up some grains while you're making my recipe.)
  14. Serve the "mush" over the grain. Bon appetit, and perhaps more relevantly, bon santé!
  15. (P.S. Sponge & rinse the goop off both pots and anything made of wood before you eat. It's easy to get off now; nearly impossible once it dries.)

Here's what's available in Minnesota right now

It's the beginning of March, which means there are 2.5 months until we have outdoor-grown food (besides lettuce) again.

Here's what we get to get us through that 2.5 months:
Culled from a co-op in Northfield and my own knowledge of other co-ops

  • Produce
    • Lettuce (hydroponically grown)
    • Potatoes
    • Mushrooms
    • Sprouts
  • Bulk
    • Whole Wheat Flour
    • Wild Rice
    • Rolled Oats
    • Flax Seeds
    • Black Beans
    • Spaghetti
    • Pasta Shells
  • Refrigerated/Frozen
    • Eggs
    • Milk
    • Butter
    • Yogurt (but it's yucky)
    • Tortillas (ingredients locally combined)
    • Sour Cream
    • Salsa (ingredients locally combined)
    • Heavy Cream
    • Buttermilk
    • Hummus (ingredients locally combined--I'm almost certain not locally grown)
    • 3 Bean Chili (ingredients locally combined)
    • Bacon
    • Round Tip Steak
    • Ham
    • Whole Chicken
    • Bone in Chicken
    • Boneless Chicken Breasts
    • Preshredded Cheese (seriously, what a waste of local eating for the environment. I avoid this company's overpackaged products, trying to tell them to cut it out!)
    • Cheese (many kinds--this is cheese land)
    • Chevre Cheese
    • Cream Cheese
    • Ice Cream (many kinds--this is ice cream land)
    • Frozen Pizza (expensive as heck--$11 for a thin-crust pizza--but they really do use locally grown and made spinach, tomatoes, garlic, cheese, etc. whenever they can get it!)
    • Frozen Veggies
    • Frozen Berries (if you count the far side of the next state over)
  • Shelf Goops
    • Jam
    • Maple syrup
  • Dry Shelf Stuff
    • Corn Chips (Whole Grain Milling Co.)
    • Cereal (Not sure if cold cereals are locally grown & milled or just locally mixed into granola; 1 hot cereal is locally milled, if not also locally grown)
  • Bread
    • Bread.

Recent headlines from the blog "Black and Missing but Not Forgotten:"