Saturday, December 10, 2011

How to work "slow food" into your eating

What is "slow food"? Well, you can take it by it's literal definition of "stuff that takes longer to cook". Or you can take it by it's more popular definition as "Everything fast food is not" and promotes local, sustainable foods and the planting of whatever you can contribute to your own diet. Really, it comes down to similar stuff: eating what is locally in season, as fresh and organic as you can get it.

In the winter, that means a lot of stuff that people are no longer accustomed to eating... sweet potatoes, winter squash, beets, turnips, kale, brussel sprouts, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower... The stuff we pass over looking for white potatoes, zucchini, carrots and string beans (which are not in season anywhere unless you live in the southern part of the U.S.).

Why aren't we eating these things? Do you have any clue that Butternut squash is high in Vitamin C? And that all of the winter veggies are high in Vitamins A and K (which is critical for blood clotting)?

These are just the vitamin content.

You can do this. It just takes some effort. C'mon. And share here your experiences!

People often complain that they don't have the time to cook the things I cook--especially in the winter. Root vegetables "take too long".

Too long for what?

Seriously... it's just a matter of planning and readjusting how you cook. While you're vegging in front of the TV, how hard is it to have popped some root veggies into the oven to roast for an hour? Clue: IT'S NOT! ;)

Once root vegetables are cooked, the skins usually peel right off--so it's not like you're left peeling stuff before you throw them into the oven. Beets, sweet potatoes/yams, turnips, all kinds of winter squash--it all follows the same pattern. So if you're just interested in eating them and don't have some kind of crazy recipe that requires peeling, cutting a special way and then doing all kinds of stuff, there's seriously NO reason to NOT eat root vegetables.

Then there's stock/broth (which really means the same thing except "stock" came from restaurants that used a specific method or set of ingredients for consistent taste). Stock. Really? This just sits on the stove for 1-3 days. At night I MIGHT turn it off while I sleep (I'm less inclined to do that now that I have an electric stove, but I turn it down to "not at a boil") but really, even if I do--so what? And when it's done, it can be frozen if I don't feel like canning it.

So it's a scheduling thing. Think about what you want to cook on the weekend, Monday or Tuesday and WRITE IT DOWN. Then, start all of this on Wednesday or Thursday night. By the time the weekend comes, you have food to eat and/or preserve depending on how much you've made.

And then there's the dark leafy greens. Those are easy. I have a recipe that I use for pretty much any leafy green: heat some olive oil in a large pot with a lid, add some garlic (minced, sliced—whatever) and let it brown for a minute, then add my washed, cut greens and coat them with the oil. Put the lid on the pot and lower the heat. In about five minutes, the greens are “wilted” (still a bright green, but really soft). I make just about everything like that—including collards.

Okay... you have the info, now GO GET 'EM!!! E-mail me if you need help at heather@heatherdegeorge.com

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