Thursday, August 14, 2008

Grow, Cook, Eat, Repeat

“You might wonder where our culinary cornucopia has gone when you enter any town or city strung out along an American interstate highway....
They feature Angus beef from feedlots, factory-raised chicken, frozen cod, confinement-raised pork, hothouse-raised turkey, russet potatoes, genetically modified corn and soy, hybrid wheats and beer barley, iceberg lettuce, hydroponically grown Big Boy tomatoes, industrial-strength coffee, cola nut syrup, and cane sugar.“
- from: Renewing America’s Food Traditions: Saving and Savoring the Continent’s Most Endangered Foods, Edited by Gary Paul Nabhan

I took all the tomatoes harvested at the veggie garden yesterday and made a killer cream of tomato soup. I can’t provide a recipe, because I was operating under some divine inspiration at the time. I roasted the tomatoes for almost an hour with garlic, onions and two tiny jalapeno peppers with the seeds removed. I doused them in white truffle olive oil, salt and tossed in some fresh thyme, mint and oregano.

Then I blended the tomatoes, sieved out the peel and seeds, added some sour cream and later some cream and lots of basil. I also added some pomegranate syrup to offset the somewhat sour taste. It was delicious, and the house smelled like tomatoes and garlic – one fragrance air freshener companies are neglecting.

I also made some rye bread. I used the new wicker brotform and it was an abject failure. When the bread filled the basket, I gently turned it over, whereupon it simply deflated and spread out all over the plate like my svelte cat when she lays down on my lap.

But although it looked like crap, the bread tasted great. I had brought a half pound of dark chocolate wheat from the home brew store. I ground it very fine using my coffee burr grinder (which made my morning coffee taste like crap by the way) and added a scant 2 teaspoons to the dough. It made the entire loaf a lovely dark pumpernickel color and I think it added a mysterious rustic note to the bread.

I’ve been reading lately (see above quote) about how monoculture has kicked the ass of diversity in our wheat crop (and potatoes, onions, tomatoes etc), and how most of the grain we eat has been carefully processed to remove all nutritional value, and then fortified with high fructose corn syrup and too much salt. I think the home-brew places are an untapped resource (pun intended) for bakers. The stuff they sell to craft brewers is wheat and barley, ranging from dark browns, to nutty reds, to golden grains. You have to use a good mill to grind it to flour but it’s certainly culinary grade stuff. Once I get proportions figured out, I’ll post a recipe.

1 comment:

Lauri said...

Gorgeous vegetables!