Sunday, September 19, 2010

Farmer's Market Day, Bread Baking and Other Slow Foods

Today was Farmer's Market Day and I bought a lot of food.  I bought purple kale, celery, fennel, potatoes, salad mix, cherry tomatoes, peaches, strawberries, beef, cucumbers, green pepper, carrots, honey-o melon (a cross between cantaloupe and honeydew), peas and corn.  I bought beef because the woman who sells the bison wasn't there, but despite this being "natural beef," the price tag wasn't outrageous.  I bought ground beef and a cheap cut called mock tenders that the rest of the world hasn't discovered yet.  It's relatively tender and is a mock fillet mignon, but has a cheap price.  I've never tried the beef version, but the bison version on the barbecue is very good.  I made Badlands Pepper Steak with it and it came out very good.

I need an egg basket.  My chickens laid 11 eggs today which made it almost impossible to carry the eggs.  I shall check Freecycle to see if someone has one.

I've heard the term "slow foods" used quite a bit.  It's a comparison to fast foods that we all have eaten in the past.  Slow foods are more economical, healthier and better for you.  If you're into saving the planet, they're also supposedly more eco-friendly, but I don't know the rationale behind this.  I'm not too worried about saving the planet, but I do believe in saving money and not wasting, so if I do that and someone who worries about such things applauds me, then there you go.

Slow food was the kind of food I pretty much grew up on.  My mom made her own stock and soups, cooked her own homemade dinners and whatnot.  I've had to relearn some of those skills because I wasn't interested in such things while younger.  Now, I am but because I feel better eating organic and unprocessed foods and the only way to really eat these things is to cook your own meals.  What's more, my husband travels a lot and has to eat out, so eating in is special for him.  He would rather eat homemade food than go out, and nowadays, there's so little out there that tastes better than what I cook at home. 

One of the things I have learned is to use work-saving appliances to cook meals.  I have arthritis from writing and martial arts, so I need to use whatever aids I can.  My mom's old Cuisinart gets used constantly to slice and cut up vegetables and meat.  I use a bread machine to knead dough.  I also use mixers instead of mixing food by hand.  I pop everything in the dishwasher because I don't have time to scrub.

Baking bread is truly a joy when you use a bread machine.  The hard part is pretty much taken out if you mix everything with the dough cycle and then put it in the pan for the final rise.  I made a honey-wheat bread that was very sweet and tasty.  When you take out the kneading portion, making bread is a snap -- and it's so cheap too by comparison.  I realized that for pennies I was making bread that I would purchase for $2 to $5.  Tomorrow, we'll have hamburgers and I'll make burger buns from scratch.  These buns are better than anything I buy at the store.

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