6 Jun 2010

Sneak Peak of the Modern Eats

To clean the pipes from the 50s Housewife Experiment and to get both myself and my husband to a healthier place, I'll be making meals throughout the Modern Housewife Experiment (which I think I'm just going to call "The Wifestyle" - thoughts?) that are primarily vegan or vegetarian, local, seasonal, whole and homemade. It won't be perfect - and I'm sure you'll see a few things that fly squarely in the face of everything listed (we be human) - but the overall intention is there.

Yesterday's trip to the farmer's market netted many a tasty item. Today I made a "slow supper" containing loads of locally-grown produce. It took me the bulk of the afternoon to do everything, but it was a nice, relaxing way to spend a Sunday - and we have great leftovers from this all as well!

First, I made Pistou Soup, using a recipe from the Food Network's Laura Calder (I like her, but everyone who's ever mentioned her to me talks about their HATRED for this woman. I think it all stems from her what-is-that / what-are-you-trying-to-be accent. Any thoughts on this, Canadian TV snarkers?). This is one of my favourite soups - and it's so basic and lovely. Since the veg was all organic and I'm lazy peels contain a lot of fibre and nutrients, I didn't peel the potatoes or carrots (just gave them a good scrub). I also used plain ol' water rather than vegetable stock and skipped topping the soup with Parmesan. I made a very simple pesto with just fresh basil and olive oil (didn't bother with adding pine nuts or cheese - which is often normally included) to dollop on top. The only non-local ingredients used for this soup were the white kidney beans, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Next up (or, actually, while I was doing the soup), I made the Fresh Rosemary Focaccia from the cookbook Veganomnicon. I opted to use half white and half whole-wheat flour. Really yum, although the only truly local ingredient in it was the fresh rosemary. Maybe I should look into an Ontario flour mill ... ugh ... effort.

Finally, I got cracking on the 'fill' for the sandwich. It contained my homemade pesto, eggplant, roasted red peppers (done in the oven super easily - I also keep their skins on when serving them), sauteed mushrooms and sauteed leeks.

I "made up" this sandwich, but for the eggplant, I used a cooking method that I found in Vegetarian Times's Farmer's Market Cookbook (which is really just a magazine, but whatev). This is their trick: After you let the sliced eggplant 'sweat' a little (set the slices in a colander, sprinkle with salt and leave them for 45 minutes), pat them dry. Then with a really, really minimal amount of olive oil, lightly brown one side of the eggplants in a large frying pan over medium heat. You then flip them, pour some white wine vinegar on top, pop the lid on, and let it cook until all the vinegar has evaporated. Done! Yummy pan-fried look and taste without a lot of added fat.

Throw your fill ingredients all together in the focaccia (layer your veggies or mix them together - whatever you want!), broil it a bit to warm everything and you have dinner! The only non-local stuff used to make the sandwich stuffing was olive oil, vinegar and salt (used in the cooking process).
For Patrick's sandwich (not pictured), I gave him a generous slice of mozzarella cheese made from the sheep at Bestbaa Farm (their farm is 100 clicks NW of the city but they sell their milk, cheese and lamb at the St. Lawrence Farmer's Market on Saturdays). Patrick is on board with vegetarian foods, but giving up cheese, milk and eggs is going to be a bit tougher for that boy. I figure as long as I buy products from happy, healthy, local animals - and we don't use loads of it - we're still eating conscientiously (that said, I'll be seeing how he feels when he eats dairy-free - sometimes he gets stuffed up all of a sudden and I wonder if it's a milk thing).

In any case - he loved it all as did I. The meal was really filling and earthy with great flavour. While he enjoyed the mozza on the sandwich, I think feta cheese would have been really nice too. Might pick some up from the goat farmers next week...

Off to enjoy the last hours of the weekend ...


Unknown 2:00 am, June 07, 2010  

I bet you could find local flour at a farmer's market! I live in a small town (pop. 10,000) in the middle of BC and we have a local whole wheat flour producer at our weekly farmer's market. I don't even have to mill it! Good looking lunch - much better than all that jello, LOL.

Susan J Barker 9:01 am, June 07, 2010  

you asked, I am one who does enjoy Laura Calder's shows - she is plainly elegant, and accents? who cares, from one end of Winnipeg to the other there are different accents, so just cause she is canadian doesn't mean there can't be just a bit of an accent. I think she explains things when when she is making French Food, so yes, I do like her...

We have a veggie market near where I live, but it is on a sunday, and strangely some of my church going friends won't shop there because of the day -- Superstore is their market of choice... I like the local things especially when on occasion there is something a bit odd, like bunches of cat nip (then I make some play mouses for my kittens)!

Jen 2:24 pm, June 08, 2010  


Hmm - never occurred to me to check the farmer's market (but makes total sense!). I'll put that on my list for Saturday!

I like her too, Susan! I think it's not so much that she has a "different" accent, it's that people think it's put-on (like Madonna's). But regardless, the woman makes a mean soup! Love the local finds, too!

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Need words? I'm a Toronto-based freelance writer who injects great ones into blogs, websites, magazines, ads and more. So many services, one lovely Jen (with one 'n').

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