Food for thought with items on freezing food for winter, a potato pancake recipe, “Women, Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything” by Geneen Roth and more.
The practice of keeping a pantry - that is, a cool, dry storage area for food - goes back to ancient civilization. Before the advent of freezers and food preservatives, families faced a much more difficult challenge in maintaining their food supply throughout the harsh winter. Curing, pickling, salting and stockpiling crops in dry cellars, or pantries, helped preserve food.
Maintaining a pantry was once a "life and death" issue, notes Chef Bridget Charters of The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of Seattle. Today, freezing food is an excellent way to manage your family's diet. Following a few simple guidelines can ensure you've made a responsible choice for your family and for your community.
"By harvesting your own garden and stocking a pantry for the winter, you not only save money at the supermarket, but you're reducing your carbon footprint, and making a healthier choice for your family," said Charters.
She recommends blanching your vegetables before freezing, freezing hearty soups in small containers or "bullet freezing" chunks of rhubarb or even whole tomatoes to add to your pantry.
"Place your tomatoes on a tray and freeze them whole," said Charters. "When you're ready to use them, drop them in a vat of warm water, and the skins will peel right off. Then use them just like fresh tomatoes."
Charters also recommends:Blanching greens and freezing in bags for soups Making basic vegetable soups and freezing, adding meat or pasta later Bullet freezing berries whole Making pesto and other sauces for freezing Making freezer jams Grating excess zucchini and freezing on sheet pans
Of course, not every home maintains a garden – but creative shopping, like visiting your local farmers market, is an excellent way to discover what's in season, connect with your community and ensure your family is eating healthy throughout the year.
The Ukrainians offer us a lesson in food economy: They respect the potato. Leftover potatoes are formed into pancakes to be consumed at breakfast (as a main course with syrup or jam), lunch or dinner (side dish covered with meat gravy). The traditional garnish for all is sour cream.
UKRAINIAN POTATO PANCAKES1 large onion, finely grated 3 cups leftover mashed potatoes or 6 medium potatoes, peeled and grated 2 tablespoons flour 2 eggs 1 teaspoon salt 3/4 teaspoon black pepper 1 pint sour cream 1/2 pint cream or half and half
Optional: 1/2 cup whole kernel corn, cooked
Place all the ingredients in a blender or food processor, except for the half and half and sour cream. Process to a puree.
Heat oil in a skillet and when hot, drop in large spoonfuls of the mixture. Cook until browned on one side. Turn and repeat. Drain on paper towels and hold in a warm oven while frying the rest of the batch.
Mix sour cream and half and half and serve as a condiment. Other topping options are melted cheddar cheese, jams and jellies, fruit chutneys and syrup.
Serves four to six.
-- The Repository
Did You Know
Water plays a vital role in our lives that is most apparent during an emergency or disaster. It also helps to promote healthy living. An EPA-regulated public water system ensures healthy drinking water, while other sources may need filtering, fluoridation or an inspection to ensure a septic tank is not too close to a private wall.
Critic’s Cupboard:Campbell’s Limited Edition Yellow Tomato Soup
Jennifer Mastroianni: Spatula down
I was walking through the grocery store recently when I passed a Campbell’s tomato soup display. I had to do a double take. The familiar bowl of red on the iconic label was not red at all. It was yellow. I braked and stopped my cart.
Yes, yellow tomato soup. And limited edition, to top it off. Wow, I thought. Campbell’s is going gourmet. I went home and whipped up a bowl. The golden soup is beautiful in color, but flavor-wise, it’s not anything to get worked up over. And because yellow tomatoes are not as sweet as red, Campbell’s uses high-fructose corn syrup to balance the acid, which adds plenty of calories.
Jim Hillibish: Spatula up
Some checking revealed the yellow soup cans are a tribute to Andy Warhol, who turned the red cans into an art form. Campbell’s finally is appreciating him.
I tried it warm and wondered what the point was. It’s pretty bland and unremarkable, except for a slightly acidic aftertaste.
Then it hit me. How about chilled in a Middle Eastern recipe? Thin the condensed soup with milk. Add plain yogurt, a dash of fresh lemon juice and chopped Mediterranean olives. Serve with a sprig of fresh mint. Now we’re talking. It was smooth and memorable.
I’m not getting too enamored with the yellow soup. It’s a limited edition, possibly designed more for can collectors than chefs.
-- The Repository
Which creamy French cheese made from cow's milk originated from the Normandy region in northern France?
Answer is at bottom of column
Wise to the Word: Tasso
[TAH-soh, TA-soh] This Cajun specialty is generally hard to find outside Louisiana. Tasso is a lean chunk of cured pork (usually shoulder) or beef that's been richly seasoned with ingredients such as red pepper, garlic, file powder and several other herbs or spices. It's then smoked for about two days. The result is a firm and flavorfully tangy meat that is principally used for seasoning.
Number to Know
316: There are about 316 calories in one slice of a 9-inch homemade pumpkin pie.
The Dish On …
“Women, Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything” by Geneen Roth
Geneen Roth has gained and lost more than a thousand pounds. She has been dangerously overweight and dangerously underweight, plagued by feelings of shame and self-hatred. Then she did something radical: She dropped the struggle, ended the war and stopped trying deprive herself.
Now, after studying, teaching and writing about what drives our compulsions with food, her most basic concept: The way you eat is inseparable from your core beliefs about being alive. Your relationship with food is an exact mirror of your feelings about love, fear, anger and, yes, even God.
From the Beer Nut’s Blog: ‘Blackified’ beer attack
First it started with black IPAs, which now seems to be the flavor of the month. Now, brewers have started making black barleywines. I’m just wondering what style will be ‘blackified’ next?
In the past week I’ve tried two: FoundersNemesis 2010 and Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary Jack and Kens Ale. I’m generally a fan of black IPAs, though a new style name should be considered.
The Founders Nemesis is a big, strong beer, coming in at a hefty 12 percent alcohol. It’s a good beer, but a little too bitter. The extreme amount of hops doesn’t blend as well as I would have wished with the “roasty” bitterness they get from the dark malts. I’m going to lay down a bottle for a few months to see if the bitterness mellows out a bit.
The Sierra Nevada beer, on the other hand, has the perfect level of bitterness. The “hoppiness” does not overwhelm. It has the “roastiness” and chocolate flavors you would expect from a big imperial stout, but it’s still a barleywine. It’s a definite winner. Oh, and it’s still a big beer: 10.2 percent ABV.
To read more from the Beer Nut, visit http://blogs.townonline.com/beernut/
Food Quiz Answer
GateHouse News Service