Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Happy New (Vegetable & Fruit) Year!

Early spring is just the beginning…

Our CSA farm is taking a break this month and we’ve almost eaten up all the onions from our winter share. I’m getting down to the end of the garlic braid from last summer, and I’d better find a lemon recipe fast. We have just the tiniest bit of chopped cabbage left to enhance our salads, and the carrots are all gone. I even used the last two jars of crushed tomatoes yesterday. My mental fields lie fallow as I relax briefly without the onslaught of unknown veggies. It’s time to contemplate preparing foods outside of my old favorites and my usual sources. I will warn you that my contemplation may lead me afield from vegetables.

I encourage you to do some musing of your own in this season. What kind of different foods would you like to make this year? Any dishes that you sampled somewhere else that inspired you to make your own? How about good cookbooks? Family recipes you’d like to recreate? Let’s share some resources!

Embracing Colleen's Dalahasen
I’ve recently rediscovered Scandinavian food, or more correctly, rediscovered my fascination with it. After preparing a delicious celeriac and onion dish from food.com, I discovered that Bergy, who created the dish, has a whole section of Danish recipes, including aebleskiver, Danish round pancakes dipped in preserves and powdered sugar that I can practically taste though I’ve never had one. I know that this blog is not specifically about treats but we do have a supply of no-added-sugar preserves from the farm’s winter share...I’d like to learn more about Scandinavian cooking and experiment with the fish and veggie recipes as well as the treats. Can anyone recommend a Scandinavian cookbook? Or two?

I’m Polish, and remember things that my grandmothers cooked. Again, I like the pastry, the lighter than air “roschik” or “angel wings” and the hearty “rogali” breads. I don’t think I liked borscht, but I did like saurkraut and kielbasa, especially the saurkraut. My favorite was pierogi, cheese- or cabbage-filled dough pockets (not unlike potstickers), fried up in butter. I would like to try the borscht again. I’d like to explore my culture more. I bought a cookbook “The Illustrated Food and Cooking of Poland, Russia, and Eastern Europe” by Lesley Chamberlain. The photos are intoxicatingly delicious-looking, and recipes like potato pancakes and apple cake bring me back to my childhood. Though some of these recipes look a bit complex, I look forward to diving into them!

Living near the coast, I have access to fresh fish and shellfish. Though fish is a healthy menu choice, through my volunteer work with a local marine lab I’ve become aware of declining fish populations locally and worldwide. I just finished an excellent book about fish that combines recipes and cooking techniques with sustainability and contaminant information, “Fish Forever" by Paul Johnson, a fish supplier to upscale Bay Area restaurants. Many recipes seem a bit complex because he’s a former executive chef. He created the one recipe that I tried by accident when he left the tilapia sizzling on medium heat while on an extended phone conversation. He topped the crunchy-crusted fish with an onion-lemon relish that used up two plentiful items from my winter veggie stash! I’d recommend anyone who wants to cook fish check out this book, as much for the health, sustainability, and general cooking information as for the recipes.

My last goal for cooking exploration this year is to connect with more cooks, meal planners, miscellaneous food lovers online (this means you!) to share our own recipes and ideas about local foods. I invite you to join me in this forum!


  1. Hey Robin I have aebleskiver pans and recipes--if you want to borrow them. My father is Swedish and my mom used to make them when I was young. I inherited her pans recently and Daev and I have made them twice. William Sonoma has a great cookbook--I just both it--that has savory and sweet recipes.


  2. "....just bought it" that is....

  3. Sounds great, Lynn! I also found a highly-rated (simplified) recipe at http://www.food.com/recipe/ableskiver-danish-doughnuts-15487 written by a lovely subscriber in BC. She's one of the original photographers for RecipeZaar, now food.com, and posts lots of good recipes.