Thursday, February 28, 2008

Oh Yeah. — By Sister Erin

Oh Yeah. This is what turns me on right now:

Madagascar Vanilla Bean Paste
I have a hard time finding great vanilla beans. You know the withered, crispy things that come in the Schilling can? Not for me. I love this paste. It infuses my cooking with a rich vanilla flavor. I use it in place of vanilla extract and vanilla beans.

In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
I love the way Pollan thinks and writes about food. I don’t think it’s dramatic to say this is a revolutionary take on food and nutritionism today.

CSA – Community Supported Agriculture
I first heard about CSA from Pollan’s book. The concept fascinates me. Apparently you buy a “subscription” into a farm and you receive a weekly box (in season) of fresh picked goodies straight from the farm. Anyone do this? I want details from a subscriber.

The Splendid Table
I love this podcast. Lynne Rossetto Kasper is knowledgeable, passionate and excited about food. The topics are always varied and interesting to the cook and eater alike. I’m inspired every time I listen.

Sho-U Chicken on Dardanelles Dinnerware.


After picking up a new set of dishes at an after Christmas sale, Anthropologie has become my new favorite place to shop for kitchen things. Pretty, modern and a little funky.

Bon Appetit
Thanks to a dear friend, I’ve been getting Bon Appetit for years, but they recently just changed the format and look of the magazine. I’m in love with it all over again. Check out the March issue for a great article on eating vegetables, a traditional Southern Easter dinner featuring quirky photos, a great family menu.

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Blogger Jessica said...

I read Michael Pollan's The Botany of Desire several years ago and loved it. Now I just need to read The Omnivore's Dilemma so I can move onto this new book.

Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 11:58:00 AM EST  
Blogger Joslyn said...

I too loved the Botany of Desire and have been itching to read In Defense of Food. Thanks for the recommendation.

i'm loving sister's week...great idea!

Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 12:12:00 PM EST  
Blogger sweetbeans said...

My mom and dad and my family (3 of us) split a share in a CSA farm last summer/fall. It was FANTASTIC! There is nothing like the taste of fresh-out-of-the-ground food.

I think the total cost for at our CSA share (19 weeks of food)was $475. I would just plan all of our meals around the produce we received for the week. Perfect!

Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 12:14:00 PM EST  
Blogger Amy said...

I belong to a CSA in Philadelphia (Greensgrow Farms) and I love it. It's almost time to sign up for the 2008 season, so a couple of thoughts for anyone who is thinking about joining:
1. Does the CSA offer half shares? We split our share with my brother and SIL last year but will probably go with a whole share this time.
2. Does the CSA deliver to your neighborhood or will you have to pick up? Greensgrow Farms does not deliver, but my SIL and I came to enjoy our weekly Saturday morning pick up.
3. Will you receive veggies only or something more? Our CSA includes veggies/fruit, dairy and meat.
4. Organic vs. local: Greensgrow is not organic, but supports many local farms and businesses in the Philly area. It would take too long for me to get into my opinions/thoughts on this one, but Barbara Kingsolver's "Animal Vegetable Miracle" touches on this topic.
Hope this helps!

Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 12:19:00 PM EST  
Anonymous lissa lou said...

I'm a part of a CSA here in Atlanta (Mellowbellies!). We have relationships with a vegetable farm (Riverview) and meat and poultry farms. The vegetables come each week from spring almost to Christmas. Our meat and poultry orders are more intermittent - I'd say quarterly. Our farms are organic, and deliver to a neighborhood drop-off point. There are three seasons (spring, summer, fall) and you can buy 1/2 or full shares for any or all seasons.

I really can't overstate how much my family loves being a part of something like this. The children, especially, seem to really "get" how special it is to open a box and see what the earth has provided that week. It's like Christmas each Wednesday!

You do have to embrace cooking veggies that you might not otherwise buy, but we've discovered new faves (swiss chard! kale) that we now look forward to. It's worth every penny! Have fun!

Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 12:33:00 PM EST  
Blogger Stephanie said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 12:33:00 PM EST  
Blogger Stephanie said...

Erin, we are kindred spirits. Just this month I blogged about Michael Pollan's new book, and CSAs. I subscribed last year and subscribed again this year. Oh, and I used vanilla beans for the first time ever this month. What took me so long? I've been baking for over a decade! One more thing in common...I just discovered Anthro housewares last month too. I have a bunch of new mugs and new bedding thanks to a great sale. Did you know they'll ship 20 plates for $6? Now there's a deal for ya at Anthropologie!

Anyway, email me (on my blog) and I'll give you the 411 on CSA's. Then you can tell me where to find that paste!

Thanks! I'm so glad you posted this morning Erin.

Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 12:35:00 PM EST  
Blogger Alicia said...

CSAs are great! The one thing I learned is that you really have to be flexible with what you're going to cook each week. Especially early/late season when not as many things are in season...there were times when I had a lot of swiss chard and had to think fast about what to do with it all!
Another great book on the topic of food and eating locally is called "Plenty" by a couple who, like Barbara Kingsolver, ate locally for a year. Really interesting what they learned about the food supply and how they got creative with what was available.

Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 12:35:00 PM EST  
Blogger Blue House Mom said...

I just signed up for a CSA along with my parents and brother (so it's a 3-way split). I have a 2 yr old and wanted a farm experience where I can bring her and teach her and learn right from the farmer. My research quickly showed me that not all CSA shares are set up like this...many are just show-up and pick-up each week. My point is that there are many different kinds of CSAs out there and we were able to find one for our needs. Good luck.

Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 12:37:00 PM EST  
Blogger Spencer Family said...

This is such a coincidence! I saw a segment on Get Fresh with Sara Snow (a show on discovery health or the fit channel) last night and she talked all about CSA's. Researching them was on my list of things to do today. Oh, and thanks for the book recommendation--I am going to go and request it from my library.

Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 1:21:00 PM EST  
Blogger Melocoton said...

We are part of a CSA in Austin and love it! It not only is the best tasting food we've eaten, it's gotten us eating lots of veggies and thus much healthier.

If you join, I'd recommend getting a good seasonal cookbook like Simply in Season by Catherine Hockman-Wert and Mary Beth Lind. You do need to really enjoy cooking and being creative to get the most out of your box.

Just read In Defense of Food as well and thought it was fabulous. I moved onto Omnivore's Dilemna and food reading the books in reverse order is no problem!

Good luck with the CSA---just dive in and go for it! (you can substitute Swiss Chard for anything that calls for cooked spinach--our favorite is Chardutopia--a twist on spanikopita!).

Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 2:49:00 PM EST  
Blogger Dansie Family said...

i'm a huge fan of bon appetit but my subscription is just about up. i've subscribed for 4 years now and was thinking of giving it up for a while, my cookbook cupboard is too full. how do you store yours?

Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 5:59:00 PM EST  
Blogger colleeeen said...

CSAs are fun & educational. we stopped doing ours because the drop-off for the weekly boxes was just too far away, but we may pick up again with a different one soon. the great thing about them is they DO force you to get acquainted with new vegetables (kohlrabi, for example) and teach what grows in your area and at what times of the year.

Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 6:02:00 PM EST  
Blogger Erin said...

isn't blogging fun? i love that i could ask a question and have so many great comments. i've learned a lot and am excited to try a csa. the possibility of getting dairy and fruits is really appealing. and experimenting with chard actually sounds fun! thanks!

to store my bon appetits - i use the simple cardboard magazine files from IKEA. i have one for each month, and when one month is full, i throw out an old issue. the great thing about bon appetit is that you can find all the recipes online at epicurious, so i don't feel bad throwing a few issues away.

Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 6:18:00 PM EST  
Blogger Jus said...

wow. we are soul mates ;)

Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 10:18:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for the tip on the vanilla bean paste. i love to cook, and i cant believe i havent tried it yet. have you read barbara kingsolvers "animal vegetable miracle"?. it will change the way you think about what you eat. you are in california, right? that will make it a lot easier to eat locally than here in new york in the winter. i have been a member of different CSAs for about 14 years. the only true downside is the lack of variety during certain times of the year... lots of lettuces in the spring, lots of tomatoes and eggplants in the late summer. my kids dont eat a lot of veggies, unfortunately, so we have the world's most expensive, organic compost pile!

Friday, February 29, 2008 at 8:55:00 AM EST  
Blogger kristin said...

my father in law in VT uses a CSA farm adn one that they can "work" at as well. they love it. get their majority of produce that way and plant what they like on their own for canning etc.. so i am looking into a membership for my family here in ME.

Friday, February 29, 2008 at 9:15:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am currently reading The Omnivore's Dilemma and am finding it quite remarkable. So much stuff I didn't know about, even though I consider myself aware and concerned about where my food comes from.

Our family has belonged to a local CSA (Honeybrook Organic Farm in Pennington, NJ) for the last couple years, and we've joined again this year. The freshness of the food is beyond comprehension, the produce (even organic stuff) that we buy at the supermarket during the months the CSA is closed down cannot compare. And my 3.5 year old son really enjoys going to the farm every week and picking vegetables and berries and flowers, it's a wonderful experience for kids. Money and time well spent, I think.

Sunday, March 2, 2008 at 7:40:00 PM EST  

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