A Polar Vortex… of Flavor!

As the latest instance of the polar vortex moves away, I am left to re-ponder my understanding of the concept of ‘cold’, as the temperatures now seem almost spring-like in comparison!  But more seriously, the seeming antithesis of everything warm and green has left me increasingly anxious for spring. (I do enjoy living in the Midwest… I do enjoy living in the Midwest…)

We are just leaving soup month, but winter is still staring intently at us for the near future.  So- perhaps we need a de facto extension to soup season!  As I have written before, I love soup.  What a better way to fight off a vortex than with a bowl of hunger-sating warmth?  Chef Fabio has some options for soup, as well.  I just defrosted some eggplant chili and some mixed vegetable soup from this summer.  What’s your favorite soup to beat the cold?

Prelude to Spring

Yes, we’re still in January, but I’m thinking spring.  That’s not just because I can’t wait to enjoy warmer weather!  Hopefully to help you ‘think warm’, I’m sharing some recipes…

Salmon and Potato Salad with Caper Dijon Vinaigrette

Cheesy Pasta Ideas

Spiced Pear Sauce

More to come, now that we have Internet back, and spring gets ever closer!

Winterized…

There has been a lack of new content, but good things are in store for spring!  I will be moving to a new house and new (relatively blank slate) outdoor space.  Look for some additional content before then, but some additional photos on getting things growing as soon as possible!

Food for Thought

pepper plant

Photo by greenwordchef

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

- As in the ‘Food for Thought’ Lecture Series theme at UW-Whitewater.  Though the lecture series was in the spring, all of the lectures are saved as videos for viewing at any time.

From the description: “Do we eat simply for sustenance or is there more to think about this everyday activity? Food fills our bellies, brings families and cultures together and is the center of many traditions which remind us of our shared past. Food also is a source of power and struggle. The way our food is grown, manufactured and marketed can be controversial. What do we need to know about the food choices we make?”

Start Thinking about Food!

(Vegan) Marshmallows

Dandies Marshmallows

Dandies (Vegan) Marshmallows (Photo from website)

I found these marshmallows not because I am a vegan, but rather, my wife needed to find an option to bring for a church gathering.  We also brought some of these to a party hosted by some of our friends, one of whom is a vegetarian.  My wife did some research online and looked for what was available, since we didn’t really have many ideas about what options were out there.  She looked into recipes (somewhat time consuming, and we didn’t really have the right materials/equipment) as well as options and this stood out as one of the few vegan-friendly options.  We were able to find some at Whole Foods, but weren’t able to find them at our local co-op.

In comparison to typical store-sold marshmallows, they are a little more firm (but not much), but most importantly, they are quite delicious!  My wife also thought they had a nicer (more vanilla) flavor, and they passed the S’mores test at the campfire.  They browned well, paired well with grahams and chocolate, and got melty, though they didn’t puff up quite as much.  Overall, they greatly exceeded what I thought a vegan marshmallow would be and were a welcome equivalent (my wife, I think, liked them even a bit better than ‘regular’ marshmallows!)   Our friends agreed that they were tasty also.   I would certainly get them again and recommend them to anyone looking for a vegan (or non-vegan) marshmallow!

Guerilla Gardening, or “Plant some sh!t”! -Ron Finley

I enjoy this video clip for a number of reasons- first, because I love gardening, of course…  Ron Finley makes some wonderful statistics-backed points about what can be done with vacant and underutilized land to help fight the food desert phenomenon.   I won’t spoil the video for you, but he speaks about the prevalence of vacant lots and even how yards can be utilized for greater benefit.  Ron, however, had a similar problem as others have had when attempting to garden outside of the (planter) box.  Now, I semi-understand why there is the push to keep grassy, standardized lawns so that properties look pleasant, but I find it much easier to sympathize with the gardeners when the clearly conspicuous gardens are 1) more useful for food purposes and 2) well-kept.  All of the examples I have ever seen in the news for similar reasons have been gardens that were well cared for.  Just imagine how much food we could produce if lawns in the cities were converted.  Regardless of climate, quite a bit more food could be locally (and cheaply!) produced via fruit trees and plants and other vegetable plants.  I try to garden with a little extra space and in a few extra pots, but ideally, I would like a larger garden.  This is not to say that urban gardening is not without a few concerns, such as the quality of the soil.  However, the larger point in this whole narrative is that if each of us was able to plant even a bit more food locally, it could have quite a few positive ripple effects.  “Plant some sh!t!”

Popped…

Pop Deluxe Logo

Sadness.  It’s not an April fool- Pop Deluxe (a favorite store of mine on State Street in Madison, and in the links below at the right) is closing its retail location.  Pop Deluxe, if you haven’t heard of it, is a wonderfully quirky, unique, and whimsical store that had an ever-changing array of miscellany…  Now, the news isn’t all bad, since the website will still be up.  Whether it was snazzy kitchen gadgets or tastily diverse cookbooks or serene plant accessories, they always had something fun.  Future State Street trips won’t be the same…

Now, where else can I get my art-o-mat fix…?