Friday, January 16, 2009

More on HOPE

Ohhh this book is good! Here is another piece I must share with you on HOPE.
...bringing food from farmers you can name to real people who eat food, agriculture is recreational hope. It recreates hope. You can recreate hope off the grid or on the grid. Fun hope is the soil in which serious hope can grow. A lot of people are stuck in (legitimate) despair. Gardening and farming--agricultures--can grow them out of it.
~Donna Schaper from Grassroots Gardening

I just love this image of growing hope and curing despair through the garden and the act of recreating (create again, renew) while recreating (activity done for enjoyment)! Yes indeed, good stuff happens in the garden, layers and layers of amazing stuff that one can not even begin to measure by any standardized means.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Garden to Remind Ourselves of Hope

My Family gave me a bounty of new garden books for Christmas. I am a lucky woman!
Right now I am reading one called GRASSROOTS GARDENING: Rituals for Sustaining Activism by Donna Schaper. I am still in the Preface but here is a great quote.
As a gardener, I have a front-row seat on global warming and the many other idiocies of capitalism untamed. Humanity is headed for a brick wall of inequality and injustice that breeds war and destroys the air. I believe we can change; that is what makes me an activist. I garden to remind myself of my hope.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Newfangled Corn Dodgers WOW Family

Yes indeed. My family was WOWed by my latest version of the old corn dodger recipe! The new dodgers were a big hit... even if I do say so myself.
I mused in my last post about some additions I might make next time...
Well, next time came and I added...
Minced red onion
Chunks of freshly harvested Shitake Mushrooms
Minced Garlic
All mixed in with the previously posted recipe.
They were SO good that I could have made a meal of them alone!
Give it a try.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

What are Corn Dodgers??

Don't you just LOVE the name? I recently posted that I was making Corn Dodgers to go with our stew one night.. and then came the question.. what are corn dodgers..
So here you go...
A corndodger, or just dodger, is a ball of cornmeal (and sometimes flour), water (or milk), oil (or lard) and usually sugar. This is deep fried (like a hushpuppy), or baked. They are also known as Johnny Cakes and seem to come out of the Colonial Era.
"In the book George Washington's Breakfast, author Jean Fritz tells us that George Washington ate Johnny cakes every day."

"Johnny Cakes can be cooked on a hot buttered griddle, baked in the oven, or cooked on a clean, buttered hoe."

“The universal food of the people of Texas, both rich and poor, seems to be corn-dodger and fried bacon.”
Frederick Law Olmstead 'A Journey Through Texas' (1856)

“Her corn-cake, in all its varieties of hoe-cake, dodgers, muffins and other species too numerous to mention, was a sublime mystery to all less practised compounders.” Harriet Beecher Stowe, 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' (1852)

My corn dodger recipe is adapted from the Joy of Cooking. David is allergic to wheat and gluten as well as eggs so this recipe works for him. It is also quick and can be made while dinner is simmering. We first encountered corn dodgers when David and I were invited to dinner at a friend's house. They worked hard to come up with some sort of bread or biscuit to go with the simple soup that they were serving that David would be able to eat. They were fabulous! So we started making them too. Rebecca likes to help form the dodgers. Last weekend she had a sleepover here with a friend and I had both girls helping.. it was fun.
We love them!

Corn Dodgers

Preheat oven to 400. Grease cookie sheet.

Mix together the dry ingredients:
1 cup of corn meal
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons Sugar

Mix together the wet ingredients:
1 cup boiling water
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
(optional 1 beaten egg...egg is not in the old recipes)
as substitute for egg,
I use 1 Tablespoon Flax meal steeped in 3 Tablespoons boiling water
then pulsed in the food processor.

Mix together wet and dry until blended.
Drop by spoonfuls onto cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes.

These come out almost crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. We eat them plain though you could be decadent and add butter.. Yum...
Last time I made corn dodgers, I included minced parsley and mushrooms. After dropping them on the cookie sheet, I flattened them a bit with my hand. They looked more like cookies. Flattening them served to up the crispy character and keep the inside soft. They were fritter-like. Oh they were good... next time I will also add a bit of minced onion... I think that will be good! oooh and maybe some garlic!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Road Food.... Yikes!

Well Rebecca and I spent a week at a dance camp after Christmas and let me tell you.. I just know too much about food.. Usually I relish to opportunity to have a week off from cooking and thinking about what to cook and having someone else deal with all of that and serve me and clean up afterwards... BUT it seems that is not the case anymore!
After reading Michael Pollan's book, The Omnivore's Dilemma, I have dramatically changed the way that I shop for food. I pay even closer attention to the labels, what the ingredients are and where the food comes from. I buy less and less processed products... Fresh food plus staples. We make most stuff from scratch. Eat food grown in our garden and buy local whenever possible. Often, I opt out of buying something because it was grown too far way or is too processed or has too many additives. I shop with a list of which vegetables and fruit have lower rates of pesticide residue. I buy organic whenever I can. I also shop with my "The Better World Shopping Guide" and make choices knowing that every dollar I spend is a vote for the business and farming practices followed by the companies that I chose to buy from.
So to spend a week eating food service fare, I had to change my food focus. Usually, I love to eat. I live to eat! I love food and the process of making food, growing food and the stories that the food brings to the table. But for the week at camp, I had to simply eat to live. It was just fuel. But really not the best quality of fuel.
We had lots of noodle dishes sometimes a pasta dish with a side of pasta. Yikes! Very little fresh vegetables (well there was fresh broccoli one day and that was really it). The fruit was fruit salad out of a can with lots of syrup. The first night.. dessert was green jello with large marshmellows. Amazing! I would have given my kingdom for a piece of fresh fruit! I ate what I could... but dreamed of my own cooking!
But I guess the real question is how do you eat well when you are on the road?? As far as I can tell, the best solution is to bring your own food. I find that packing from home for the trip is easy enough... but then the way home is harder to manage...
When packing your own food is not possible what do you do? I say it has to be a matter of picking the lesser of the evils! Choose the fresh vegetables and fruits and stay away from the more processed foods.
Ah... it is good to be home. Tonight's dinner: home made turkey stew with home made corn dodgers on the side! Homemade apple sauce.