Thursday, July 23, 2009

cake for dinner

this one goes out to all you naysayers out there :-) i know it's hard for some to believe that one can have a fulfilling food life without the inclusion of animal products but here is the proof that such fulfillment can be attained!

mountain mama natural foods is a local family-operated natural food store located just up the hill from our house. about a month ago, we started noticing that their in-house bakery was putting out vegan, gluten-free cakes. our first thought was: how good can a vegan, gluten-free cake be? our second thought (after trying a piece) was: where has this cake been all my life? my third thought: is it possible to legally marry a piece of cake? people, this cake was out-freakin'-standing. how good? well here is a picture of it:
i felt so bad for eating it all without sharing with you guys that i HAD to get another piece just to show you. so here is the second, yet-to-be-eaten version:
it is chocolate cake with peanut butter cream icing made from freshly ground peanut butter and other magical ingredients. Kendra is the bakery magician and i'm sure she sold her soul at a dusty crossroads somewhere to be able to do what she does with vegan and gluten-free ingredients. we liked the cake so much that we ordered a whole one for our anniversary. here's what we got...heaven in a pastry box:
besides the peanut butter version shown here, she's done chocolate-cherry, chocolate-orange, raspberry, mocha, and a couple others. all were amazing and i challenge ANYONE to be able to tell that it's made without animal products. for those of you reading from afar, i wish i could send you some of this amazing stuff. for those here in the springs, go see Kendra for your own'll change your world!

hiding the scales and mirrors,


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

unplug yourself: part two

over a year ago, i extolled the virtues of investing in your health by educating yourself and examining the sources of the food you eat. the essential message was to take off the blinders that commercial food producers force on us through advertising, media, etc., and to seek better, more sustainable food sources. if you missed part one, shame on you but here it is once again.

barbara kingsolver, in her book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, chronicles her family's year-long pledge to eat things they grew on their farm, could trade their home grown items for, or could get from other homesteaders in their community. one cue that i took from the kingsolvers is to abide by the tenet of eating SLOWly, a philosophy that has been acronymed as Seasonal, Local, Organic, and Whole. in doing so, i strive to unplug from the frenzy of commercial grocery purveyors and choose to patronize the community-supported food chain from days of old...the food chain of our grandparents... the food chain i'm glad to see being revived.

one of the best ways i've found to participate in that revival is to purchase a share in a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm. farmers who sell to large supermarkets traditionally get a woefully small percentage on the dollar from the sale of the produce they grow. as such, if they experience a bad crop year, they're seldom able to mitigate that hardship and survive til the next year. with the purchase of a share, you are assured that ALL of the dollar goes to them and you share in the bounty (or lack thereof) that their hard work yields. this year, we chose the Greenhorn Acres Farm. for the cost of our share we get 26 weeks of fresh produce that was organically grown and picked fresh by caring hands. the variety is inspiring, the freshness is unbeatable, and having met the family that works the land and tends the plants makes it even more rewarding.

this is the typical share basket we collect each week.
there's a head of beautiful crisp lettuce, swiss chard, chiogga beets, pattypan and ball zucchini, fava beans, and english peas. with the two latter treats, i took inspiration from jamie oliver's recipe for "posh beans on toast" which another blogger transcribed for our convenience. it was incredibly fresh and really delicious. the mystery of the weekly bag's unknown contents really lends to inspired cooking and forces one to eat or preserve what the earth provides when she provides it. i've experimented a little with canning and pickling and expect a lot more in my near future. good thing i got this book as an father's day present this year :-)

so, again, i'm not preaching but inviting you to find a CSA near you or at the very least visit a weekly farmers market and directly support the people who take the time and put forth the effort to grow our food. you'll be rewarded with fresher, tastier, more nutrient-rich food that was honestly grown and lovingly harvested for you. you'll be glad you did.