Tuesday, May 23, 2006
May was designated "Locavore Month".
As you remember, a locavore is someone who eats foods that are grown or raised locally. I extend this to shopping at stores that are owned by local individuals. In planning the Cracked Cauldron, we based much of the plans and suppliers on their proximity to where we planned to open - using local suppliers as much as possible. Since Oklahoma is a lush stae with a large variety of produce and farm animals, it wasn't hard to do this. Except for such sataples as coffee, chocolate, sugar, and spices, virtually everything else is available locally.
That makes it exceptionally easy to be a locavore here.
See, I interprete "locavore" as a year round thing - not just buying in season produce at the Farmer's Market, but buying locally grown produce that's been canned or preserved or frozen by local businesses when the fruits and vegetables are not in season. The Prairie Gypsies make some luscious preserves and sauces and do catering and they use a lot of local suppliers. I buy some of their stuff through the local food coop.
See, that's another way to be a locavore - join a local food coop or a CSA. They'll truck the harvested food to a more or less central distribution point, and no one has to travel as far to get yummy food.
I know Manager still wants to open the Cracked Cauldron, and I've been willing to help her along that path (and will continue to help her along, I'm not abandoning her just because things got a little rough). I'll be one of her best customers, a willing assistant in bringing it together, but at some point, like a good mother, I will have to let it and her go to do what they will.
While she's building her networks and gaining the experience she needs to open her bakery (boring stuff, I tell you, boring stuff, which is why I haven't been posting a lot on it - days and days of the same old same old, I could put up a post, and then, for weeks, post "ditto" and that would cover it - except we found a potential supplementary small funding source - sort of similar to Modest Needs, but larger dollar amounts from groups of private lenders rather than banks.), I've been posting trivial stuff.
While Manager is off getting networks, financing, and experience, I need to do more than twiddle my thumbs. I am financially tapped out in helping her so my support has devolved to mostly emotional and informative.
Manager and others have convinced me I don't need to keep my life on hold while background stuff is happening with the Cracked Cauldron, and they are encouraging me to return back to something I once did. Many long years ago, I had a small consultancy business on herb growing and herb uses, disaster preparedness, survival (I even was a regular columnist for a survival magazine), sustainable living, and such. I gave up that business to raise the children, and then to get them through college and setteld in their careers. It looks like a long haul for Manager, one where I don't have a lot to do (but she does, rinse-and-repeat-stuff). Picking up my old business where I abandoned it for the children sounds really good to me, with modern information and focus.
I am building a small wiki about sustainability, being a locavore, permaculture kitchens, disaster preparedness, survivability, and herb uses at Grassroots Gourmet, and am scheduling a few starter lectures to ease back into it. I'm digging through my old worksheets, handouts, and brochures and updating them (and getting them on the computer - I last did this in pre-computer - and definitely pre-interent! - days).
Monday, May 01, 2006
Spring soups are fresh and full of fragrance. Asparagus is up, and sorrel, and fiddleheads. Roses are in bloom, and lavender, and the mints are ready to harvest. These and more of spring's bounty can make some of the best ever soups.
One of my favorites is Apple Rose Soup.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 ripe apples, peeled, cored and diced
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, cinnamon
2 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted, divided
1 cup half and half
1 cup edible rose petals
I prefer to use strong apples like Winesaps, Granny Smiths, and Cameos. The Pink Lady Apple is also a good candidate for this soup.
Melt the butter in a saucepan large enough to hold 6 cups. Skim the foam from the butter, and don't let it brown. Add the apples and sauté, tossing often, until golden and soft. Add the sugar, ginger, cinnamon, and stir until the sugar melts.
Add the chicken broth and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes to blend the flavors. Adjust the seasonings here, bearing in mind that you'll be adding rose petals and cream.
Transfer the broth mixture to a blender and add half the toasted almonds, half and half and 3/4 cup of the rose petals. Puree the soup until smooth. If you want a smoother soup, sieve it, then strain it through muslin or cheesecloth to achieve the smoothness you want.
Chill the soup thoroughly before serving. Garnish with the remaining rose petals and toasted almond slices.