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rebecca's pocket

.: eating organic on a food stamp budget

Simple Summer Supper

Spaghetti with zucchini and heirloom tomato This was dinner last night.

I wanted to use up the small zucchini Terra Firma delivered last week and I had a large Marvel Stripe tomato that was starting to go, so I decided to put both of them into a simple pasta dish.

First I dropped 4 ounces of spaghetti into a big pot of salted boiling water. While that was boiling, I sauteed 2 TB of olive oil and 2 cloves of finely chopped garlic with chopped zucchini and then let it all cook, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, I chopped up a large tomato (very large). When the spaghetti was done, I tossed it with the zucchini, added the tomato, and tossed again. I topped it all with some toasted bread crumbs and passed freshly grated parmesan cheese at the table. Served with some sweet crimson flame grapes, it made a simple summer supper.

Continue reading entry » 3 Comments / [ 07.24.07 ]

Life! Who can explain it?

As you must have gathered, I have been swamped since I got home from my trip (in part, playing catch up after devoting May to this project). I drafted a post for this site earlier this week. The following day, my computer suddenly began making a very bad-sounding clicking and scraping. It had to be put down at once. Since I hadn't backed up since the middle of May, that post was lost—along with my spreadsheets from the last 3 weeks of the project.

I don't know when I'll get my computer back, but I would expect it to be in the next week or two. Meanwhile, I'm using a borrowed computer to rewrite the talk I'm scheduled to give in just two weeks.

I'm still taking pictures and plan to return to regular posting once this talk is complete and delivered. Thanks for bearing with me while I get everything back in order and in running condition.

1 Comments / [ 06.22.07 ]

The Food Timeline
The Food Timeline: food history reference & research service. From the FAQ:

What is the history of your favorite food? That depends upon the food and how deep you want to dig. Take tiramasu. This dish was "created" in the late 20th century. You could find a few magazines articles confirming period popularity/origination and stop there. Or? You could go the next level and research the recipe based on composition. You would soon discover this dish was based on Victorian-era moulded creams which were based on Colonial-era tipsy cakes which were inspired by Renaissance-era trifles.
Very few (if any) foods are invented. Most are contemporary twists on traditional themes. Louis Diat's famous Vichysoisse was a childhood favorite. Today's grilled cheese sandwich is connected to ancient cooks who melted cheese on bread. 1950s meatloaf is connected to ground cooked meat products promoted at the turn of the 20th century, which are, in turn related to ancient Roman minces. Need more? Corn dogs and weiner schnitzel. French fries and Medieval fritters. New York gyros and Middle Eastern doner kebabs. Hershey's Kisses and ancient Incan cocoa.

So awesome.

At Hampton Court, we spent some time with the Experimental Food Historians in the Tudor Kitchens, perhaps the highlight of my visit. Since learning there is such a thing, I am tempted to become an Experimental Food Historian myself when I get home, working from my own kitchen, and subjecting my poor husband to experimental concoctions. (via br) 1 Comments / [ 06.18.07 ]

Home again, home again

First Dinner Home This was our first dinner at home. I was out of fresh vegetables, of course, having pickled all the carrots before I left for London. But the night we got home, I pulled a container of black beans charros and rice from the freezer so I could warm it for dinner the next day.

I have a backlog of green beans in the freezer, too, and I added some to the meal. I froze these beans two years ago, when my crop did better than I expected—and during the summer, when produce from Terra Firma Farms is most plentiful, to boot. There they still are. The Community Garden is a subject for another entry, but let me just say that it has not been a smashing success. I've been able to grow some things, but not enough to replace the CSA. Nor have I had success in growing the things Terra Firma Farms doesn't provide, like salad in the summer, or plum tomatoes for canning or drying. Anyway, I harvested these green beans an embarrassingly long time ago, and it's time to eat them—what's the use of freezing food, if you never eat it?

Continue reading entry » 2 Comments / [ 06.14.07 ]

Under Construction

I'm back and catching up with everything I need to do at home. My scheme to selectively include entries from my other weblog in this one didn't work the right way, so for now I've added a small section to the sidebar called "from rebecca's pocket" that will lead you to to the most recent links of the day. Today you won't want to miss Things You Don't Know About Organics and Book reviews on baking, by bakers.

[ 06.12.07 ]

Maki's Macaroni and Cheese
One nice thing about San Francisco is that the nights tend to be cool, so you can make "cold weather dishes" in the middle of the summer. I know I'm going to try this one before autumn arrives:

The characteristics of a really good...mac and cheese are that it should have a gooey, unctuous, cheesy inside, topped by a crispy, intensely cheesy crust. This version fulfills those requirements. Serve with a plain green salad. You will not need anything else, unless it's a good red wine. Be prepared to compensate with spare eating for days afterwards. To my mind, this is the perfect thing to serve at a casual dinner party with close friends.

With a rich dish like this one, you often eat less than you otherwise would, making it a thriftier choice than you might think. Oh, what a lame excuse. After reading her description, I'm ready to throw thrift (and calories) to the wind one night just to have some of this. [ 06.09.07 ]

Shredded Carrot Salad with Marsala Wine
A reader recipe: "I was going to try your shredded carrot salad recipe last night and when I looked up the recipe I realized that we didn't have any white wine vinegar. So I looked around at what I did have. I ended up shredding raw carrots and raw beets and adding some chopped mint (probably ended up with 2.5-3 cups of shredded plant matter). Then, I put in 1.5 Tbsp of Marsala wine (which I keep in the cupboard for making the gravy that goes into our chicken pot pie recipe). The result was really fresh and delicious. I realize that people on food stamps are not going to have Marsala wine hanging around but wanted to pass on the recipe for another time when you are sick of carrots again and need to try something new."

"Looking around at what you do have" is pretty much the key to eating seasonally, locally, and frugally. Thanks, Erin! [ 06.06.07 ]

Food Blog: Ideas in Food
I have found what I think may be the perfect opposite to this site: Ideas in Food, a chronicle of the experimentation of two very accomplished chefs. It's all here, from their quest to make the perfect marine vinegar to a hot tea and milk jelly, to their process of storyboarding food ideas. [ 06.05.07 ]

Whole Wheat, Rye, and Pumpernickel No-Knead Bread
During Week 3 of Eating Organic on a Food Stamp Budget, reader John Desmond commented that he had developed recipes for whole grain breads using the no-knead method. He has kindly agreed to share them here:

He says, "The directions are the same for all the recipes. Here are the ingredients:"

Whole Wheat Bread
2 cups bread flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp salt
3 Tbsp honey
1/2 tsp yeast
2 cups water
Rye Bread
2 cups bread flour
2 cups rye flour
2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp caraway seeds
1/2 tsp yeast
2 cups water
Pumpernickel Bread
2 cups bread flour
2 cups rye flour
2 tsp salt
3 Tbsp cocoa
3 Tbsp molasses
1/2 tsp yeast
2 cups water
2 Comments / [ 06.04.07 ]

Gone Fishing
Rebecca is on the road, but this weblog is not. Stay tuned for links and entries every weekday. Generally, comments will be approved only once a day, so be patient. 2 Comments / [ 06.01.07 ]

What Would You Ask?
I plan to put together a "Frequently Asked Questions" page when this project is complete. I have a general sense of what people want to know—but your sense is better than mine. What questions do you think I should include on the list? (I'll be approving comments only once a day, so be patient when yours doesn't appear immediately.) [ 06.01.07 ]

18th Century Cuisine Blog
Carolyn Smith-Kizer is a French and Indian era re-enactor [roughly 1740-1760] who cooks and blogs about 18th Century Canadian Cuisine. This interview will give you some background on Carolyn and how she became a historical re-enactor and food blogger. The most unusual dish she's ever made? Asparagus Ice Cream. [ 06.01.07 ]

Week 5 - Wednesday - 31 days

White Beans, Sugar Snap Peas, and Romaine SaladWe spend most of today getting ready to leave tomorrow. There is work to finish and loose ends to tie up. I have to take the cats to the vet. There's a lot of laundry. I have a long list that I worry will never get finished in time. One of the things I want to do is to clear out the refrigerator before we leave.

Lunch today is Tex-Mex Chili from way back in Week 2 via my freezer. I warm the last of the cornbread in the oven, we have it with butter.

Dinner is just as easy as lunch was: I stir-fry the last of the sugar snap peas in olive oil and garlic, and add a little fresh oregano from the plant on my deck before I serve it. For the main course, I just warm up the rest of the White Beans with Rosemary—and then freeze what's left for a lunch when we get back. We use the remaining lettuce for a crisp romaine salad. I finished up a bottle of wine last night, so tonight I drink a beer with dinner, and it's quite good. After months of sampling Jesse's various beers, I think I may finally be developing a taste for the stuff.

Continue reading entry » 8 Comments / [ 05.31.07 ]

Week 5 - Tuesday - New Ways with Old Favorites

White Beans with RosemaryI'm still experimenting with my Summer Tea recipe. The latest version is 2 parts green tea, 2 parts mint, 1 part lemongrass. I mixed this up a couple of weeks ago, but haven't had a chance to try it until today. I decant some to try before I put it in the refrigerator to chill.

I think it's good, but Jesse thinks it's so minty that the green tea taste is obscured. Next time (and it will be weeks before I get through this batch of mix) I'll try 2 parts green tea, 1 1/2 parts mint, and 1 part lemongrass and see how that comes out. Whether or not it is too minty (and I'm not convinced) it really is a refreshing summer drink.

Continue reading entry » 1 Comments / [ 05.30.07 ]

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on rebecca's pocket

» Simple Summer Supper
» Life! Who can explain it?
» The Food Timeline

about this project

» How did it begin?
» Week 1: Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday | Photos | Summary: Under budget - $3.20
» Week 2: Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday | Photos | Summary: Under budget - $13.34
» Week 3: Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday | Photos | Summary: Under budget - $7.15
» Week 4: Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday | Photos | Summary: Under budget - $6.41
» Week 5: Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Photos

other food challenges

» Above Average Jane
» The Eat Local Challenge
» The April 2007 Penny-Wise Eat Local Challenge
» Half-Changed World
» Slow Food for Low and Moderate Income People
» Tinotopia's Food Stamp Diet

other food projects

Food is a Munition of War: living for one month on UK WWII rations

blogging by the book

comments? questions? email me