I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived...Henry David Thoreau
I am sort of tickled about the rising price of gas.
No, I don’t have a stake in the oil business—in fact, I unfortunately drive a big car (to accommodate a 90 lb. dog and a son who plays the double bass).
The reason I am excited about the price of gas is that it is
getting Americans to stop driving and start thinking. It’s forcing us into a
Lifestyle Revolution…and I like that!
All of the sudden people are walking—Actually Walking!And riding bicycles. And carpooling. Cities are
scrambling to add more busses and trains to accommodate increased ridership.
It’s a Green Bonanza!
But personal transportation is just the beginning. You see, Cheap
Oil and Cheap Food have been secret bedfellows for the last few decades. We’ve
gotten comfy shipping lettuce from California to New York and importing apples
from Chile and New Zealand. We’ve even gotten used to buying milk from an
industrialized dairy twelve states away when there is a local farm in the next
Industrialized food is not just a carbon footprint issue:
It’s about e-coli, mad cow, pesticides, hormones and antibiotics. Did you know
that more than 70% of all antibiotics produced are used in American industrialized
meat production? Can you say, “antibiotic resistant bacteria?”(I’ve got a seriously cool post coming
out in the next few days about this, so stay tuned…)
Buying direct from farmers supports the local economy, the
environment and, most importantly: Your Body.
While subsisting forever on foods that only grow in your metaphorical backyard (which likely excludes olive oil, coffee and dark chocolate) could be a bit of a buzz-kill, buying locally when it comes to dairy, meat and
eggs—and especially in-season produce—is a no-brainer.
So in the summer, when produce is growing rampant, and
delicious tomatoes, sweet corn and herbs are plentiful, it’s easy to be a
Locavore. Here’s arecipe from the NY Times food section a
few years back. I’ve adapted it by changing the cheeses and using all organic ingredients.It’s one of those dishes that I find
myself fantasizing about in the middle of winter…
The Locavore’s Best Summer Pasta. Ever. Served with a salad
from my garden.
2 1/2 pounds tomatoes (imperfect or overripe is fine)
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1 pound pasta (I used rigatoni)
4-6 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons really good olive oil
2 ears corn, raw if very fresh, or lightly steamed
2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes
12 ounces smoked mozzarella (the original recipe calls for
plain, fresh mozzarella)
1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano (or Parmigiano-Reggiano)
1 cup mixed herbs torn into small pieces(I used basil, purple/cinnamon basil,
thyme, a tiny bit of rosemary and parsley)
Roast Tomatoes:Heat oven to 275 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with
parchment paper. Cut tomatoes into slices about 3/4 inch thick. Lay slices on a
baking sheet and brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and sugar. Bake 15
minutes and reduce heat to 200 degrees. Continue baking, turning half-way
through, until tomatoes are shrunken and chewy but not crisp, 4-6 hours.
To assemble the pasta: Bring a large pot of lightly salted
water to a boil. Add pasta, and cook until al dente. Meanwhile, chop roasted
tomatoes very finely until almost a paste. Place in a large serving bowl and
add garlic, butter and olive oil. When pasta is cooked, drain well and add to
the bowl while still hot. Toss well.
Slice the corn from the cobs. Add corn, fresh tomatoes, and
cheese to the pasta. Toss well. Add herbs and toss again.
Serve along with a salad of whatever is the freshest and
most delicious stuff you can find. Here I’ve got some leaf lettuce from my garden along with the first full-sized cuke of the summer and a handful of
lightly steamed purple beans. I also had a small bunch of broccoli in the fridge so
I steamed that up and added some shredded purple cabbage.
For salad dressing, I made my usual vinaigrette with chopped
shallots, Dijon mustard, white wine vinegar and olive oil. Shake it all up in
a little jar and it keeps in the fridge for about a week.