Saturday, April 26, 2014

Pasta Day, one pot udon

Hey all,

I'm still around just very, very busy these days.

Family is taking top priority and most of our time.  But there is also the rush to get the garden ready and seeds in the ground growing.  Sheep, chickens, ducks, geese, alpacas and llamas all have their demands, and we love them all.  Last of all, there's the bit where we have to make the farm earn it's keep.  This involves marketing and selling, plus adding value where we can - for example preparing and spinning the wool into yarn.  This marketing part takes the most energy out of us - I grow and cook things, I find self promotion exhausting, but if I want to make this work, I need to at least try.

With all this going on, it's tempting to cancel the internet subscription for a few months while we try to catch up.  The internet is full of so much temptation  - what if I just spend a moment and look up this thing... and hours later all the conflicting opinions leave one more confused and unsure than when we started.  The internet is the tool of procrastination.  ... maybe just transfer to dial up agian... but then I would have even less impulse to blog... but is blogging simply procrastination or another form of marketing?  The former I think, otherwise I would go out and find readers for my blogs.

Lately I've had a huge craving for fresh vegetables and small fish.  Just simple meals that can be made quickly while I try to tend to other things.  I've been using spicy rooster sauce with dashi (broth made from tiny fish or seaweed) to make a really tasty broth for one pot meals.  Toss some fresh veg in the pot with half a block of udon or other noodle, then cook on medium till I remember it's there or it boils over, and it's done.  The little fish on the left are quick fried till crunchy.  They are oily and full of tiny bones, but oh so good.  If it's fried right, the bones are the same texture as the rest of the fish and it feels like eating an exhotic potato chip in your mouth, only worlds better.  Not certain what they are, but I suspect they are like sprats or maybe huge anchovies.  If you get a girl fish, they are full of thousands of eggs, the boy fish taste a little bit bitter but fry up chruncier.

I like this little Korean ceramic pot, it's the perfect size for making one person meals.  Oven and stove safe, makes it really flexible.  I eat the meal right out of the pot because the pot retains the heat and keeps the food warm - I'm a slow eater so it's nice not having to eat cold food - and it has a little lid that I can put on top of the food if I get called away in the middle of a meal, which is more often than you would think.

The only thing with these ceramic pots is not to change the temperature too drastically.  So one should really wait for the pot to cool before rinsing it in water.

Affordable, yep.  One only needs a small amount for this kind of meal to fill up on, and it will accommodate whatever is in the fridge or garden at that time.  Between 1 to 4 dollars depending on what goes in the pot, a lot less (as in under 50 cents) if I use homegrown veg and a more simple starch like rice instead of pasta.

Fast Food: as in it takes very little actual prep time to toss everything in the pot, yes I think it qualifies.  Though, because I'm using a ceramic pot, I don't like to start it on high, so it takes a while to heat up, but also because it's not on high, I don't need to wait around and stir it.  It's very forgiving.  Start to finish, 4 or 5 min of prep and 10 to 20 min of cooking, depending on what you put in the pot.

Great for an Emergency meal, you know the kind when you are dizzy with hunger and need something healthy and satisfying in a hurry.

This is one heck of a lot healthier than may of my goto emergency foodstuff.  It satisfies my need for veg, warm meal, and starch.  The only thing it needs with it is some added protein, thus the fish or a hunk of cheese.  Very accommodating to what veg are in season at the time.

I know, I know pasta day was yesterday, but we can fudge it a bit, this is the internet after all.  We can pretend that my timezone hasn't caught up to the rest of the world yet.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Seed Library

Lately I've been so busy preparing food, that I haven't had much time to write.  Well, by preparing food, I mean this...

I'm not going to eat worms, but I wouldn't starve if that's all there was.  What I'm doing is digging the garden for spring planting.  Over the winter these lovely little soil dwellers have been transforming compost into soil for me.  Now that the soil is ready, it's time to start thinking about seeds.

Our local library service and LifeCycles have got together to create a seed library.  I've read about seed banks where you get a few seeds, plant them in the ground, select the best that grow and let them go to seed.  When you collect the seeds, you keep some for next year, and the rest you send back to the seed bank.  This Seed Library is a lot like that, only a bit closer to home.

What I really like about this is the sense of community it provides.  You know that the seeds you save and share might be going to your neighbour next year, or the person who runs the little shop down the road, or that person who stopped and helped you out when you had a flat tire, or.... That's why this idea works so well with the Library service.  Instead of borrowing books, we are 'borrowing' seeds.  It keeps things in the local community which I think is a feeling that the large seed banks don't have.

There is a big Launch/lunch tomorrow (Aprl 11, 2014), in the Central Library Branch courtyard, right downtown Victoria.  I wish I could go, but I have to go see a man about some moths.  But I'll be participating and doing my part to help maintain the seeds in the community.