Sunday, May 17, 2009

Let's see.....liver?..... or shrimp?

I almost got rejected by the Red Cross on Friday. My iron level was too low for making a donation based on the first sample they took. Since they offered a chance to have a second sample taken, I agreed and that time, on my dominant hand, the iron level was right at the level needed to be eligible to give them a pint.

Which means I need to pay attention to iron intake for a while again. This has happened to me off and on when I've gone to donate blood - periodically I get rejected. And, every time that I come home and talk about needing to get more iron, Grady says I'll need to eat liver and spinach. He's so predictable. There are many foods that are rich in iron, but he always mentions those two because he knows I hate liver and like spinach only when fresh. Actually, he is remembering when his mother would have to get more iron and what she ate, at that time, was liver and spinach. It's been MANY years since he lived with her and observed this liver and spinach regimen. But, it's stuck in his replay tapes.

So, imagine my happiness when I happened to see an article about the iron content in shrimp in the May issue of "Cooking Light". Six ounces of shrimp have 4 mg of iron (compared to .5 mg in scallops). This seemed like a good excuse to have shrimp for dinner last night. And the magazine actually had two different risotto recipes involving shrimp. I made a variation on
Spinach Risotto with Shrimp and Goat Cheese. As I mentioned, I'm not a big fan of cooked spinach, so even though we had fresh spinach from the farmer's market, I substituted swiss chard out of our garden. We also did not have goat cheese, but it tasted fine with some pecorino that I did have in the fridge. I also added some mushrooms just because I had some and thought it would be good. Made for a nice simple dinner with a salad of greens out of the garden. All in all, not a high percentage of local foods - but those parts that were local could be measured in feet traveled from the backyard.

I know I have some lists of iron-rich foods somewhere, but, if you have suggestions (other than liver and spinach), please let me know.

One Local Summer 2009

I have signed up for the One Local Summer Challenge again. It is organized by the folks at the Farm to Philly blog. They start up June 1. Participating in these challenges helps me keep my attention on local eating more often and also on keeping up the blog. It will feel good to be more focused on this again.

We are trying a different approach to joining a CSA this year. I loved getting the weekly boxes from Heather at Little Frog Farm last year and joining with other folks at St.Andrews in the Farm to Congregation program. But, it really didn't make sense for us to make that trip to the pick-up point every week - not very close to us. So, there I was putting extra miles on the car in the cause of supporting local agriculture. Our friend Jeff had taken a different approach last year and we've decided to do the same thing this year. We are part of the CSA through Deep Roots Farm near Corvallis and Albany. They bring their produce to a couple of the Portland Farmer's Markets. Having a CSA share with them means you select things at their market stand instead of having a box delivered somewhere. One of those two markets is pretty close to us so it will save on the driving. Plus, for this summer, in particular, it makes a lot of sense since we will be gone quite a bit. With this arrangement, we can get what we need when we're here and not have to make arrangements for produce getting delivered while we are out of town. I will kind of miss the surprise and the challenge of figuring out to use everything that comes in the weekly delivery, but this really seems more practical for now.

Meanwhile, we've been eating lettuce and chard out of our garden pots for a few weeks now and they are doing really well so far.