Friday, January 28, 2022

Tools for Cooking

What equipment do you actually need to cook good food?

Stuffed Squash Flowers
Fresh squash flowers stuffed with goat cheese and pepperoni.  They're delicious... I ate half of them before they were fully done.

There is a very large universe you could explore with that question as there are ssssooo many kitchen gadgets and gizmos you can buy that can do anything you've ever thought of and more.  The real answer to that question though is: not much, not much at all is actually needed.

The food you enjoy should be judged by nothing more than the taste of the actual food.  If I walk into someone's house and their kitchen is fully stocked with the latest and greatest kitchen gadgets, that doesn't mean anything and it's not an accurate predicter of the quality of the food you may soon encounter.  It hints at they know how to cook, but it doesn't mean they know how to cook good food.  Especially if all this fancy equipment looks brand new and appears to have never been used.  That's not a great sign unless all of those gadgets are actually brand new and are only new because they used the old gadgets so much that they broke all of them.  However, if I walk into someone's house and they hand me some banging crab cheese wontons that they made from scratch, I do not care what their kitchen looks like or how many fancy or unfancy kitchen gizmos they have.  At that point all I know and care about is that they can cook and that's all that matters, regardless of how they get there.  Taste buds do not lie and how someone achieves great food is up to them.  If they do that with a minimal kitchen setup, great.  If they do that with all the latest and greatest kitchen gadgets, great.  I quite frankly,  I just want to enjoy the good food, that's all I care about.

It's not a matter of what kitchen gadgets you own, it's a matter of do you know how to use them to create great food?

Friday, January 21, 2022

Spice is the Key to Life

Cayenne Pepper
Freshly ground, homemade cayenne pepper on the left and store bought cayenne pepper on the right.

Fresh vegetables? ... Check
Olive oil? ... Check

Next we need to add a little spice.  This is the main way you are going to vary how your dishes taste from meal to meal.  If you take the same basic vegetables, then each time you cook you use a different spice (or different amounts) then you will end up with a completely different tasting dish.  Hooray!  Spice does not necessarily mean heat though.

Friday, January 14, 2022

The Secret Sauce of Cooking: Olive Oil

Olive Oil
Fresh bottle of olive oil, ready to rock!

Olive oil is the key ingredient to good cooking, aside from the actual fresh vegetables themselves of course.  Fancy, five-star restaurants will use butter (and cream) instead of olive oil, which admittedly does give the dishes a very unique umami flavor that can't really be re-created any other way.  However butter is expensive and it raises the question of is constantly eating large amounts of a dairy product good for you?  Olive oil is a key part of the Mediterranean diet, which is often touted as the world's healthiest diet.  The Mediterranean diet can really be summed up by saying, "Eat mostly fresh vegetables, some fish and some meat, cook with olive oil."  If you want to cook good food, cook your fresh vegetables in olive oil.  Where do you get this olive oil from though?

Friday, January 7, 2022

Get Volunteering!

Free CSA Share
Free Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share?!  How could this be?!

Now that we're in the new year, keep an eye out for volunteer opportunities such as this one from back in August that popped up on Instagram.  I've mentioned volunteering at farms before in the post "Got Land?"  The general response I've gotten from that is people don't believe me that volunteer opportunities exist on farms where the farm will trade you a few hours of your time for food.  Well lookey here, a real life example of this exact opportunity popping up right here in Longmont at McCauley Family Farm.  These opportunities most certainly exist and happen quite a lot more than you would reasonably expect.  What you have to keep in mind is running a full production farm is hard, really hard and it is also hard for these farms to find good, reliable people to help out on the farm.  If it snows 6 feet of snow, the goats still need to be fed, etc.  These same farms literally grow food and that is what they have the most of and is exactly what the rest of us need.  Offering you food for a few hours of your time is a match made in heaven.

Saturday, January 1, 2022

What Are We Actually Doing Here?

"Being Indian is an attitude, a state of mind, a way of being in harmony with all things and all beings. It is allowing the heart to be the distributor of energy on this planet; to allow feelings and sensitivities to determine where energy goes; bringing aliveness up from the Earth and from the Sky, putting it in and giving it out from the heart." - Brooke Medicine Eagle

Unexplored Ruins
James exploring Incan ruins discovered only recently and have never been excavated. Peru, 2013.

Regenerative agriculture, permaculture, biodynamic, organic, holistic agriculture, beyond organic, etc. are all labels assigned to different yet similar types of agricultural practices. What are these labels? Where do they come from? What do they actually accomplish?

Whenever I meet someone who is in or familiar with the farming world, the very first thing they do is ask me what my growing practices are. Which makes sense, you need to know who you're talking to and what they stand for before you say anything. It's exactly what I do too. The problem with this is labels are just labels, we never explore what lies beyond the label. Where do these labels actually come from? How did they get their start?