Sunday, June 20, 2010

Charlie, as Director, Designer and Gardener of the new Edible Schoolyard in Greensboro, North Carolina

Why not smile?
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Friday, October 16, 2009

I Just Discovered Jamie Oliver

Call me dense and dumb, but I am happy I discovered Jamie Oliver!

Here is a man with skill, vision and passion, AND he is part of my family, my family of concern, that is,--good food, good health, good growing.

Maybe I avoided him because I avoid cookbooks. Not all of them, but most. Why? I prefer to draw what's available in my own garden and take it from there. Cookbooks misdirect me towards purchasing this spice and that ingredient, ones that are out of season and out-of-region for me.

I remember seeing his first Naked Chef book and sneering, A gimmick, I concluded, without even looking.

Now I find he is revolutionizing British school lunches, bringing at-risk kids into the kitchen to excel as cooks, revealing the "plain and simple" of extraordinary flavor, and challenging an entire West Virginia town to slim down, tastefully.

Tonight I meet with my school garden interns, Walter, Gabriela and Aubrey, and I'll tell them about Jamie. Our challenge is to connect the garden and the kitchen, and teach our students how to cook and eat well. We can do it: challenge each family to shop for food and eat more locally, cook and eat together, and even grow their own.

This would make a great project!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I have a list of food I want to prepare.

At the top is carrot cake. I have some carrots in the ground. Just enough. They are misshapen and a bit hard, but just fine for baking when I puree them first. I add the pulp of oriental persimmon instead of pineapple. That lends it a subtle earth-taste. Walnuts and coconut make this a really fine cake. With cream cheese icing no less.

I'll make two, one for the family meal this weekend and one for a chat with my garden interns.

Next on the list is hot pepper jelly. This I made before but it was not hot enough. This time I will use all hot peppers, grind them up, make it pretty thick.
It's gotten cold so I'll start making bread. Yesterday was wet and in the 40s. Today the same. I'll begin with the round hard-crusted no-knead loaf that sits for a day before baking. "Double-baked" for it sits in a Dutch oven and the gas oven and thus acquires a hard crust. I guess the steam of the Dutch oven is trapped and affects the surface of the bread. This time I'll use a NYT recipe that adds whole wheat flour and some ground nuts to it. I love it but Debby prefers other kinds.

Persimmon pudding. The best is with American persimmons and they are ready for harvesting. I use a cup per recipe of persimmon pudding. It takes some effort to get the bread bathed in steam, but it's worth it. I can eat it for breakfast or dessert.

The peppers, "horns of the bull", are ready for harvest. Some are eight inches long. I'll fill them with rice, lamb, onions, capers, raisins, tomatoes and mint. That will be for a dinner with friends coming up in 10 days. Some roasted sweet potatoes with lime sauce will accompany the stuffed peppers.

I guess that's pretty good for one day. I won't get to it all but I can look forward to it!