Friday, September 24, 2010


I've been thinking a lot lately about what we eat and where it comes from.  As I mentioned only half jokingly in my last post, I had to buy asparagus for a recipe for my gourmet group and I struggled with that for a moment.  It's not in season.  Not by a long shot.  Where was it from?  Peru, I believe.  Never mind the hefty price tag. 

Not too long ago that asparagus wouldn't have even been a blip on my radar.  But thanks largely to those I've met on Twitter, I'm becoming more and more aware of how unsustainable our current food system is.  Yes, I used a buzzword.  I may even throw "locavore" into the mix (beyond just the book, which I whole heartedly recommend!).  Anyway, the passion of local foodies is contagious.  And it's not just about me anymore.  I have two wonderful children.  And a choice to make.  Do my husband and I raise them to simply make healthy choices in what they eat?  Or do we raise them to be aware of not only what they eat, but where it came from? 

Some wonder why it even matters.  But when I read about a woman who found a chicken head in her basket of wings in a Toronto restaurant, what struck me wasn't that she'd found a chicken part in her chicken parts (okay, it would be freaky, but not a total shock).  What struck me was that the chicken was from Brazil!  I would have never thought that meat being consumed in a Toronto restaurant would be from Brazil.  The U.S, maybe.  But a different continent altogether?  I've been somewhat sheltered, I guess.  When I saw a flyer from M&M meats earlier this year I was surprised to read that some of their beef is from New Zealand.

Maybe I'm naive.  I don't understand why we import things that we can and do grow and raise right here.  Why are there peaches from the U.S in stores during peach season?  Especially right here where tenderfruit is king?  Why are we exporting produce and meat that we're also importing at the same time?  Why don't we grow to feed our own first, and supplement with what we can't produce enough of, or cannot grow here after that?  The system looks broken to me.

I want to do what I can for my own family and community.  I just called the local butcher shop that we go to.  I wanted to know where the meat comes from.  It's not "local," but it is all Canadian.  I guess I feel better about that.  I think I'd go elsewhere if the meat were from the U.S.  Most of it is from Ontario, with a bit from Alberta, apparently.

I know that we can't afford 100% local, organic meat all the time.  But we buy it when we can.  And I know that I said I buy factory chickens.  Since that time though I've pretty much stopped buying grocery store meat.  Largely due to quality (or lack thereof) rather than conscience, though that is creeping in too.  But I'm still often buying it from a butcher who I am sure sells only factory farmed meat.  But at least I know it's Canadian.  Eating with ones conscience is a strange balance to try to keep. 

So that's where I'm at.  With knowledge comes responsibility, right?  Hence the reason I haven't watched movies like Food Inc yet.  I don't think I'm ready to take that step yet.  It feels like a bit of a leap from where I am.  But not as much of a leap as it was even a year ago.  Baby steps.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Ahhhh, Autumn

Summer was tough.  After a couple of years of unseasonably cool summer weather we were hit with a lot of heat and humidity.  There was surprisingly enough rain, mind you.  But the temps were a little hard to take.  Thankfully Summer has behaved itself by turning tail and leaving as requested on Labour Day weekend (yes, I made demands of a season... what, you expected 100% sanity all of the time?).  With the exception of one day it has been lovely and cool.  We've gone from 22C overnight lows to 22C daily highs.  It's lovely!

I'm feeling more productive.  The fog is lifting and I'm feeling so much better.  The windows are open, the duvet is on the bed (more for my hubby than for me), I'm cooking inside the house rather than only using the barbecue (though it's still being used quite a bit) and I'm enjoying being productive.

Our homeschool year has begun and we actually have a (loose) schedule.  Our Little Mister is doing well.  He's working on some basics, like how to write a sentence that starts with capital letters, uses lower case letters for the rest and has spaces between the words.  LOL, simple things that we adults take for granted.  He's excelling in math.  We have nothing to compare him to, but I don't think that most 5 (almost 6) year olds can add and subtract negative numbers, dabble in multiplication and work with decimals.  I suspect that by the end of the school year we may be close to completing the grade 3 math book I just bought.  I'm not pushing him at all.  This is what he does for fun after the rest of his work is finished.  I don't understand it, but then again math was never my thing.

Speaking of the new season, my gourmet (which has been on hiatus for much of the summer) starts up again tonight.  We're doing all appetizers and a movie.  Which reminds me, I need to put Julie & Julia on my purse so I don't forget to bring it, in case that's still what the hostess wants to watch.  Must remember to wear comfy movie watching clothes, too.  Yoga pants it is.  Woohoo!  Oh, and my recipe is for phyllo rolls with asparagus, prosciutto and Parmesan, seasoned with... dill.  Um, I would never have thought to combine those flavours.  LOL.  The recipe can be found here.  Notice how it calls for "cup Parmesan cheese."  No amount.  Is that one cup?  I really don't know.  I'll eyeball it and report on Twitter how it turned out.  And you local food peeps are really rubbing off on me.  When I saw the recipe my first thought was, "But asparagus isn't in season!"  LOL  $5/bunch right now.  Ouch.

I'm sure I'll post lots more about my love of Autumn.  For now I need to go over my recipe, and maybe make a batch of cabbage soup, too.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Stumbling about the net

I love Stumble. What's Stumble? It's a wonderful add-on for Firefox that lets me select preferences and then randomly takes me to sites that (usually) match them. Mine is set to take me to all kinds of food and coffee and home schooling sites, among others.

So while Stumbling around I come across all sorts of wonderful recipes. And today I'm going to share links to just a few that are appealing to me right now.

Here's a snack that I intend to make at some point. It just looks so amazingly yummy and fresh. With cucumbers and tomatoes in season right now, I can see making these soon.

Yep, Greek Nachos. *swoon*

Then there are these Carnitas.
Slow cooked pork and home made salsa. So simple, but I bet they are incredibly satisfying. I'm adding these to my autumn/winter must try list.

Jumping to sweets for a moment, I'm taking inspiration directly from Bob Blumer. I watched him create a bacon ice cream on his show, "Glutton for Punishment" and I knew that I had to find the recipe.

Maple Bacon Crunch ice cream. Oh. My. Gosh. Bacon brittle. Seriously, on it's own that would be wonderful enough. But bacon brittle stirred into home made ice cream? I'm swooning again. And I'm not even a huge ice cream fan.

Then there are these Millionare's Shortbread with Salted Ale Caramel. Yep, shortbread, beer, caramel and salt. Oh, and chocolate of course.

So that's just a tiny bite of what I've tucked away for future enjoyment. I love coming across new recipes. Food inspires me. I hope to post more entries like this so I can share that inspiration with others.