Eco-Tip of the Week: My Favorite Un-Recipes
This week, CEH’s Research Director Caroline Cox follow-ups on our Culinary Month tips to tell us about how she likes to grow, shop for, and prepare the organic food she loves.
Unrecipe #1: Every meal
1. Your neighborhood farmers market
2. A few minutes of your time to sample what’s for sale and talk with the farmers
3. Anything tasty (and organic, please)
I usually race through the farmers market on my way to the next thing on my list. But if you can take a few extra minutes, I think you’ll find that your farmers are a remarkable group of people. At my farmers market, one of my favorite farmers grew up in Japan. Another teaches Buddhist meditation when she’s not driving a tractor. Another became my friend when I asked him if I could pay for my garlic with a pocketful of coins. He just smiled and said, “Embrace change.”
Your few extra minutes will also let you sample what’s for sale and pick out what tastes really good. That’s what you want to buy. Preferably organic.
Peel, slice, chop, grill, or stir-fry as needed. When it tastes so good to begin with you don’t need to do much, and you don’t need much of a recipe. Enjoy!
Unrecipe #2: Instant melon-berry bliss
1. The most aromatic vine-ripened melon at your market
2. The tastiest berries at your market
(This is something you can only do in late summer.)
Cut the melon in half and scoop out the seeds. Fill it with yogurt, then drizzle with honey. Sprinkle berries on top.
If you want to make it into a meal, add the best bread that your market offers.
Unrecipe #3: 95-day salad
1. A tomato plant (from your farmers market or local nursery)
2. A cucumber plant (from your farmers market or local nursery)
3. Some bare ground or a couple of large flower pots
Buy your tomato and cucumber plants in the spring. Your farmers market should have lots of plants and your favorite varieties.
Plant them. If your style of gardening is like mine, you’ll make sure they have healthy soil, sun, and water, but they won’t get much attention.
When the cucumbers are crisp and tender, and the tomatoes ripe and juicy, pick a few. Peel them if you want, and chop into bite-sized pieces. Add your favorite dressing if you want.
If you want to make it into a meal add chunks of cheese, grilled chicken or fish, or fried tofu. Whatever you like that your farmers market has to offer. Once again that loaf of bread is a great addition.
Unrecipe #4: Carrots as candy
1. Carrots from your market. That’s it, but they have to be good.
(This is something you can only do in the fall.)
One of my favorite farmers grows carrots that taste almost like candy after the first fall frost. I swear this is true, and that you can ask my kids if you don’t believe me! When they were little I couldn’t peel and cut them as fast as they could eat them.
And it isn’t just kids. Adults can’t resist them either. For more mature taste buds, try a dip of yogurt, olive oil, pepper, and chopped green onion to go with the “candy.”