Real Food Mama

Musings about cooking, eating and everything in between.

Spring time is busy! March 31, 2010

Filed under: Animal Husbandry,Home Economics,Real Food Wednesday — realfoodmama @ 11:34 am
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The last two weeks have been very busy here at my pseudo urban farm. One of our milk goats kidded, resulting in two adorable (but sadly useless) male kids, we got our pullets (baby chicks) and have been working on their permanent home – they are currently in my bathroom – and we have been planting and waking up our gardens and trees.

A lot of work!

It has been relatively rewarding, although I admit to being pretty disappointed about the fact that my Saanen doe gave us two boys. I had hoped to keep at least one girl, but I guess it just wasn’t meant to be. While the boys are cute and quite playful and exceptionally fun to have around, they can’t stay long and I have been having a hard time deciding exactly what to do with them.

First, the reason we have to get rid of them. Adult bucks (i.e. unaltered males) smell terrible and if they are too close to your does, your milk and everything you make with it will also smell terrible. In order to keep a buck you really need about 30 yards of space between your girls and your boys and frankly, I don’t have the room. Secondly, I don’t want to feed them. Even if we altered them and ended up with a wether (castrated male) I couldn’t afford to keep him.

That being said, I am soft-hearted enough to dislike the idea of selling them to someone who may use them in a rodeo (or generally not take care of them) so I have been toying with the idea of hanging onto them until they are about 3 months old and then eat them.

The rest of the family has seriously mixed feelings about this idea and as of yet, it has not been confirmed.

In addition to the goat news, we also have a dozen Barred Rock pullets in my bathroom – not the ideal spot for 12 small chickens! The weather has been too cold at night still for them to go outside so until their coop is completely finished and set up with a light, they will live in the bathroom.

Lastly, the garden is really exciting so far this year. The garlic we planted last fall has sprouted and is doing very well. The leeks I let over winter are also in great shape and promise to be tasty, as do a few onions we missed during last years harvest. Don’t ask how we managed that, but we did. The strawberries weren’t quite as successful. Of the ten crowns we had last year, only seven survived to wake up this spring, but of those they are all doing well. Lastly, our fruit trees have been pruned and given how cold it was this winter I am looking forward to a decent crop.

Suffice it to say, all of this has been keeping me extremely busy and as a result I haven’t had much time to write! However the farmer’s market is really beginning to get jumping with spring greens and I have been doing some pretty fabulous cooking so I am hoping to be able to share something along those lines soon.

Until then, Happy Eating!

This post has been my contribution to Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesday.

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Spinach and Sausage Fritatta March 17, 2010

The Farmer’s Market here has finally started producing some green stuff! After a winter of root vegetables, I am terribly excited about this prospect. The primary crop includes greenhouse spinach and salad greens. Two things which I have been craving like mad. I have made spinach ravioli, spinach alfredo sauce, spinach quiche’s and most recently, a lovely spinach fritatta. Sadly the photos I thought I had seem to be MIA at the moment so you’ll have to use your imagination!

Fritatta’s are similar to quiche, but require less work. Instead of baking a crust, making a custard and then waiting nearly an hour for the results, you simple put a frying pan over medium heat, beat the eggs and cook them on the stove top with a quick finish under the broiler.

Spinach and Sausage Fritatta

1/4 lb chopped spinach (about 1 cup)
6 large eggs
1 c diced cooked sausage (I used breakfast link, but anything would work, including Italian!)
1/4 grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Fritatta’s are very easy to make and are a quick way of using leftover meat and cooked vegetables on those nights when you need an break from long cooking times. You want to make sure that the pan you are using can go in the oven – a well seasoned and well greased cast iron skillet works the best.

Begin by whisking the eggs until they are uniform in color. Add them to the well greased pan over a medium heat and scrape and mix a bit to create some texture and height. Add the already cooked sausage and chopped spinach. Turn the heat to low and let cook on the stove top until the top of the eggs sets. Sprinkle on your Parmesan cheese then place the pan in the oven underneath the broiler for about 3-5 minutes or until the top starts to brown. Serve hot!

This post has been my contribution to Real Food Wednesday, hosted this week by Kelly the Kitchen Kop. Happy Eating!

 

Food For Thought Tuesday March 16, 2010

Filed under: Food For Thought — realfoodmama @ 1:45 pm
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Apologies to those of you who may have been looking for this post last week. Things have been crazy here and I just dropped the ball.

That being said, however, I have a number of interesting things to talk about this week in an attempt to make up for it!

First of all, everyone should check out the current “Dirty Dozen” list, as well as the “Clean Fifteen” list here. The first is a list of the most contaminated conventional fruits and vegetables. The second is, alternatively, the cleanest or least sprayed conventional crops. If you are new to organics this is a huge help as it allows you to prioritize!

Santa Fe has a Farm to Restaurant project and a Farm to Table project, but have you heard of the Farm to School project? Check out the web site to see if there are any participating communities near you! http://www.farmtoschool.org/

More news about school lunches – the growth of a small lunch provider who insists on using organic and even local ingredients as well as nixing HFCS and artificial flavors and colors. While the article about the company, called “Revolutions” was fascinating, I was more than a little appalled by this excerpt:

Margo Wootan, nutrition policy director for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, says she’s slightly concerned with Revolution’s insistence on natural, local ingredients.

“You can have full-fat cheese from a local farmer, and it’s still going to clog your arteries and give you heart disease,” she says. “Having the food be natural is nice, but a bigger threat to children’s health is making sure that there’s not too much salt and not too much saturated fat.”

Banishing high-fructose corn syrup, Wootan says, is “a waste of time and money” – better to limit children’s total sugar intake. As for hormone-free milk, she says, most milk is hormone-free. “And if it isn’t, it’s not a health problem.”

Seriously Mrs. Wootan? It makes me wonder whose payroll these people are really on! For one thing I’m not sure that most milk is hormone free at this point, and as for the rest…well, I think the verdict is still out on whether or not it is harmful.

For the local readers, I urge you all to check out the new Santa Fe Alliance web site. It has been completely revamped and, if I may be so bold, looks so much better! Take a look at www.santafealliance.com.

Lastly, I highly recommend everyone check out this video, a well illustrated short about how the established global food market starves the poor. Interesting to say the least.

Happy Eating!

 

Food For Thought Tuesday – 3/2 March 2, 2010

Filed under: Food For Thought — realfoodmama @ 11:25 am
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This week has been spent doing a lot of work around the barn. It feels like spring, even though there is still snow on the ground and it’s hardly warm out.

We are awaiting our kids. One of my girls is pregnant and due within the month so there have been some additions made to the existing pen and we are getting ready to receive the little goats. Also, we have ordered our chicks and will have to make them a nice warm roost until they are big enough to survive the cold weather. Keeping them at 90 degrees may prove impossible, but we are going to get creative since they will be arriving at the end of March.

I also planted my first seeds of the year. I am trying to start my tomato plants from scratch, so to speak, and currently have 20 little pots sitting above the heater in my bed room. 10 Black Krim’s and 10 Red Brandywines. Hopefully they will all sprout soon!

That has been my week, but in the larger world of food, there are a few interesting stories.

The comment period regarding approval of Monsanto’s Round-up Ready Alfalfa ends tomorrow, March 3. This is another GE crop who’s cultivation could have broad sweeping impacts on organic dairy. If you haven’t already, please let the USDA know you are opposed to the approval of this crop! To submit your comment, go here.

Jamie Oliver, the Naked Chef, is doing a new reality show here in the states. What does he tackle? The American school lunch program. Check out the video’s on youtube…simply search Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and watch the previews. Pretty terrifying stuff – especially the scene where a room full of first graders couldn’t identify a tomato. While I look forward to seeing this, mostly because I am curious about how the school lunch program really works, I am wondering if Jamie won’t just rehash the whole “fat free everything” mantra that pervades American “health food”. We shall see however. The first episode airs March 26 on ABC.

Lastly, for those of you local readers, this week is Santa Fe’s inaugural Restaurant Week. The City Dipherent’s favorite restaurants are offering prix fixe meals for two at special prices. This is a great way to sample some of the best restaurants in town without spending an arm and a leg. For more details, go here to see which restaurants are participating and how much their menu’s are running.

Until next week, Happy Eating and Reading!