Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Cauliflower on the Coast

I promised I'd show you my camping food set-up for the summer, so here it is, plus the above shot from Yachats, Oregon's coastline. I know, it's a rough life.

I'm set up with a small Coleman grill, which doubles as a burner for a saucepan. I've been slicing up onions and whatever grillable veggies I have on hand, tossing them with canola oil, salt and pepper, and grilling them up. Add some beans, some cumin, and a salad with walnuts, radishes, and grapes, and I'm not missing my kitchen at all.

The only thing that is really hard about camp cooking is the lack of hot water. It's near impossible to de-oil a salad bowl with cold water, much less cold water in a small bucket on a wooden picnic table. But it's manageable, and I'm having a great time.

The surprise of this meal was how great grapes and grilled onions tasted together. I know, kind of odd, but a real treat.

Monday, June 29, 2009

CSA Round-Up!

Hi friends! The blog has been on the back burner for a few weeks, as I've been on the road, all around Oregon. I'm gathering photographs and experiences of this great state for a series of paintings, and along the way I'm spending a good deal of time camping and hiking, generally kicking my butt in some of the most beautiful places on earth. I'm living out of my van, equipped with a small grill, an ice chest (usually without ice), dry goods like beans and rice and seasonings, and enough veggies to live on week to week.

This weekend was the second week of my CSA farm-share, and I am happily drowning in produce. My friends Ron and Joan Baune over at Rainyway Farm in Hillsboro have been positively spoiling me with vegetables (and berries, too!) every Saturday. Here's what I had this week:

Two pints of raspberries (which went straight into the freezer because they were so ripe)
Yellow and Green Summer Squash
Red Leaf Lettuce
Green Leaf Lettuce
Bok Choy
Fava Beans
Sweet Snap Peas
Spring Onions
Two Tomatoes (SO GOOD)
Garlic Scapes
Two Heads of Cauliflower

Such a bounty! The CSA hasn't really affected the way I eat and plan my meals - I'm pretty used to eating some combo of the vegetables in the fridge, but the weekly veggie box acts to focus my culinary energy a bit, and with the extra perk of challenging me with some ingredients even I am unfamiliar with, like fava beans. It's pretty fun to whip up a curry or soup with whatever is in the fridge, and it feels almost like a race against the clock, coming up with enough dishes to use the fresh veggies or freeze meals before the next Saturday's onslaught of delicious.

One of the most comforting dishes that embodies this sort of use-what-you've-got style of cooking comes from my mom - Eggy rice and veggies. I know. Everyone's mom probably does this, and it's a feature in a lot of ethnic cuisines, like the Korean Bibimbap or other versions of fried rice. This is one of my ultimate soothing foods - leftover rice, chopped onions and whatever vegetables I've got on hand, and an egg or two, a splash of soy sauce or chili-garlic sauce, topped with fresh herbs. So simple, so filling, and it takes me right back to my childhood kitchen, having breakfast with mom.

I used a yellow squash, garlic scapes, a spring onion, chopped bok choy, and some leftover saffron rice I had in the fridge. Topped with fresh basil, this was a great way to start off the weekend.

I'll show you my camping kitchen set up tomorrow. Until then, eat well!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Book Reading Tonight - Lisa M. Hamilton

Tonight at Powell's City of Books, downtown on Burnside, Lisa Hamilton will be reading from her new book "Deeply Rooted: Unconventional Farmers in the Age of Agribusiness".
7:00 pm
This event is co-sponsored by Edible Portland.

Lisa Hamilton is a photographer and journalist who focuses on agriculture and sustainable food systems, with s special focus on farmers. A century of industrialization has left our food system riddled with problems, yet for solutions we look to nutritionists and government agencies, scientists and chefs. Lisa M. Hamilton asks: Why not look to the people who grow our food?

Hamilton makes this vital inquiry through the stories of three unconventional farmers: an African American dairyman in Texas who plays David to the Goliath of agribusiness corporations; a tenth-generation rancher in New Mexico struggling to restore agriculture as a pillar of his crumbling community; and a modern pioneer family in North Dakota who is breeding new varieties of plants to face the future's double threat: Monsanto and global warming.

Why, she asks, has it taken so long to go straight to the source? Join me at Powells tonight to hear her answers.

Sounds great - hope to see you there!

Photos © Lisa M. Hamilton