Sunday, January 27, 2008

Alice is Back! And Dark Days Efforts Contine

I had not been able to find my new Alice Waters cookbook for the past couple of weeks. First I thought I'd left it at the beach, but, then when we were down there last weekend, I discovered it wasn't there either. :( A few days after we were home, I was sitting at the kitchen table and happened to look over in the vicinity of the bread machine and there was the book - sitting on top where it isn't visible when you are standing up. I was so happy to get back into it that I took a picture with the roses I got from a friend recently just to show Alice how glad I am to have her back in my kitchen!

As I look at my ongoing effort to eat more locally grown and raised foods, I am seeing a pattern. Usually on the weekend, I prepare a well-thought out meal, sometimes two, that hit the 90%/200 miles target pretty closely. Then the remainder of the week consists of leftovers from those meals and, later, some mish-mash of what we have on hand, which is more likely 50% local at best. This past week, we had the infamous pink and orange meal. In trying to use up things in the fridge and freezer one night, we had salmon, sweet potatoes and squash for dinner. Not a green item in sight. Certainly not what we would call a balanced meal, but it furthered the cause of using up things on hand. Other nights, it was leftovers from the lentil soup and the kale and chevre stuffed chicken.
(Jan. 20)

My best effort this week was last night's birthday dinner party for Grady. I made Boeuf Bourguignon (updated from Julia child by Bon Appetit), served it with boiled new potatoes and a hearty seven grain bread. I was able to get almost all the items in this dinner from Oregon and Washington with the exception of the wine and probably the herbs (don't really know their origin). One of these days, I will try growing herbs again, but it's not been a success story for me in the past. And the wine could be a nice Oregon Pinot Noir, but, as I said once earlier, I can't bring myself to put the more expensive wine in such large quantities into the stew. We can appreciate the difference when we drink it, but are not really seeing a difference when it is cooked all day with the beef and vegetables. So, I resort to a less expensive red from elsewhere. In any case, it was delicious and got glowing reviews from the guests.

For dessert, I made Chocolate Pave from my re-found cookbook. The butter, eggs and whipped cream on top were from nearby farms, but the chocolate and sugar came from further afield. I topped it with a sauce using the raspberries that Grady grew last summer and were kept in the freezer. I mixed the berries with "Aqua Perfecta Framboise Liqueur". Grady's sister got this for him at St. George Spirits in Alameda, because we don't have any more of our homemade raspberry liqueur left. Our friend who can't eat gluten appreciated that this was a flour-less chocolate cake. It's not really much to look at in a picture, but I'm including a photo because we used Grandma Mik's beautiful art deco dishes. Anything would look great on these plates. And, most important- it tasted wonderful, especially with the raspberry sauce, and the birthday boy loved it!


Anonymous said...

Joan, I must say that I have been so inspired by your cooking! I haven't done anything about it (yet) but I truly enjoy your blog! Traci

Joan said...

Thanks, Traci. It is nice to hear from you. I am inspired by the people who are really into this and enjoy making a small effort.