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Archive for September, 2012

New Year, Old recipe

My mom is out of town this Rosh Hashanah, and aside from missing her motherly presence, we were also missing some guaranteed staples at our Jewish New Years table.   I was given the task of providing the carrot ring, or “something like it” for our holiday meal.  Carrot ring is the closest thing to cake for dinner that I have ever had, but apparently it is not a tradition in all Jewish homes OR in Jewish cookbooks.  I searched to no avail through all the Jewish cookbooks in my collection.

Luckily, I have in my possession 4 envelopes containing the handwritten recipes of my great Aunt Tillie, who passed away close to 20 years ago.  Admittedly, most of her recipes are not exactly my style of cooking, so while I keep them safely in a drawer, I don’t pull them out often.  This however turned out to be the perfect opportunity to investigate the envelope labeled “CARROTS-NOODLES-SALADS-JELLO-MOLDS”.  To my great pleasure, I came across exactly what I was searching for!

The recipe required only one adaptation-instead of  “Spry” (a vegetable shortening created in 1936 which rivaled Crisco until the 1950’s), I used butter.  Actual instructions were minimal, but clear enough that I followed along with relative ease.  The real treat was flipping through the yellowing recipe cards holding some of the only remnants of Aunt Tillie in her flowing blue ballpoint cursive. Some cards contain newspaper cutouts with ads for things like ” 2 bottles of catsup for 29 cents”, evidence of bygone days and a different era of food altogether. 

While I am not likely to use many of the recipes very often (there are probably as many that call for canned fruits and frozen vegetables as for fresh), I am thrilled to have this piece of the past and the opportunity to bring a little traditional flavor baked up with some sweet memories into our family celebrations.

The preparation was quick, and the result was a lovely, fluffy, and tasty bread like dish.  While it could not replace mom’s (or Aunt Tillie’s) presence at the New Years gathering, it was the next best thing.

AUNT TILLIE’S CARROT RING

1 1/2 cup butter (or shortening)

3/4 cup brown sugar (I used 1/2 sugar, and 1/2 maple syrup)

3 egg yolks (reserve whites and stiffen with whisk)

2 cups grated carrots

1 1/2 cup flour

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp salt

2 T. lemon juice

Combine dry ingredients and set aside.  Cream butter and sugar, add grated carrots.  Then add dry ingredients, lemon juice, and stiffened egg whites.

Place in oiled ring pan or bundt pan.  Bake 350 for 50 minutes

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We have been home now for almost 8 weeks.  A lifetime in some ways, and in others just a moment.  I hit the ground running, jumping right into all the exciting food and food systems work happening in Minnesota. I found that the activism around food, justice and sustainability is even bigger and wider than when I left.  It continues to give me great appreciation for what a progressive, aware, and rich community we live in. I feel lucky to be a part of this incredible movement, especially when I know that in many parts of the world such luxuries are distant dreams, if anyone thinks about them at all.

I have been struggling a bit to ‘re purpose’ my blog now that I am no longer in South America.  While I love reading food blogs, and looking at beautiful pictures of fresh, colorful, and artfully prepared food, ultimately  it is not the direction I choose.  I LOVE to cook, and I LOVE to eat, and I LOVE to share these with others; to teach people how to access, cook and eat wholesome, seasonal, beautiful and delicious food for themselves and their families,  about building an equitable and accessible food system, where people can utilize basic cooking skills to contribute to a healthier life for themselves and for the planet.  I am lucky enough to be able to do this work every day.  I want to continue to explore these issues and questions within this progressive food community, knowing that while there is plenty of great talent around, there is still lots of important work to be done to build a system that represents every part of our community-every tradition, every flavor, every taste and every ingredient toward good, clean and fair food…

At the very same time, I am thoroughly enjoying this beautiful, and bountiful fall in Minnesota!  The gigantic greens, juicy tomatoes, vibrant squash and extraordinary cheeses are keeping me busy in the kitchen.  I will continue to design delicious meals, and offer stories and recipes, but I also hope to bring insight, exposure and hopefully connections to our growing, and diverse food community.  We have much to learn from one another, I am ready to stir the pot.

Speaking of cooking….Tuesday was a scorcher.  90 plus degrees thickly hanging in the September air.  It was most definitely a cold food evening, and I happily combined every Minnesota ingredient I had into 3 flavorful, colorful and COLD bowls of yumminess.  Every vegetable in every dish was a local ingredient.  I LOVE this time of year when it is possible to do this.  I made a simple salsa (OK, it had avocado), a potato and broccoli salad with fresh dill, and finally, a Russian kale, cabbage, carrot, sungold cherry tomato and feta salad with just a hint of toasted sesame oil and maple syrup.  That one really knocked my socks off.

SUMMER KALE SALAD

1/2 bunch russian kale leaved, chopped

1 cup red cabbage, chopped

2 medium carrots, sliced thinly

1 cup sungold cherry tomatoes, halved

1/4 red onion, sliced thinly

4 oz feta cheese, crumbled

1/4 cup  olive oil

2 T. toasted sesame oil

2 T. brown rice vinegar

2 T. maple syrup

1 T mustard

1 tsp salt

Combine dressing ingredients separately, and pour over salad

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Globally Aware part 4

Hello friends,

It has been a while since I posted….settling in and trying to get a sense of what to talk about.  I did however, write an article that is finally up on the simple good and tasty blog.  It is about some powerful nutrition and health related experiences I had while traveling in Peru.  Please take a look, and pass along!

http://simplegoodandtasty.com/2012/08/30/globally-aware-learning-about-food-issues-from-another-hemisphere-part-4-1

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