Why Lemony?
(the “About Me” page)

February 17, 2010

spring starts now

Who says you have to wait till spring to get back into the garden? I don't have the luxury of hibernating, so I'm just going to have to figure out a way to keep growing through the cold, dark winter. There's all sorts of growing going on at my house! Take a look!

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I grew me some sprouts! Aren't they cute?

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Here's my elaborate sprout set up with the finished product in the middle. They don't care that everything's frozen solid outside!

I just soaked a spoonful of sprouts overnight in an old peanut butter jar. In the morning, I poured off the water with a tea strainer, and left the jar on the counter. In the morning and before bed, I filled up the jar with water, swished it around, and poured off the water, shaking it at the end to make sure most of the water ws out. In a few days, I had sprouts! Yum! There are some cute videos on YouTube showing how to do this too. Growing these cute little guys gave me a little taste of gardening, which, as you know, makes me very happy.

Georgia really wanted to get growing too, so I gave her some lettuce and cilantro seed I had saved from last summer and she made a little salad garden. She delights in asking everyone, "Do you want a piece of lettuce?" and proudly presenting any takers with a thumbnail sized leaf, which already tastes like lettuce! Amazing.

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The other thing that's growing like forgotten zucchini is my desire to learn more about nutrition. My friend Jenny, who's studying to be a nutritionist, is telling me all sorts of interesting, wonderful things, especially about how good raw foods are for a body, and I've been reading the following books about the subject:

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Eating for Beauty is a textbook for eating raw food and the science behind it from the angle of what enhances beauty, which is fine, but not really my point. I love reading about how the basics of chemistry intersect with nutrition- minerals, enzymes, Ph, etc. It's great fun, and all written by this little, wiry Lebanese New Yorker, that furious ball of energy, David Wolfe. Check him out on Youtube too. That guy's intense!

The other is a 'cook' book about preparing raw foods simply but with gourmet taste, written by chef Matthew Kenney, who seems like the calm, earthy counterpart to David Wolfe's bouncyball personality. It's an education from the other direction. As I read the recipes, I learn about different processes for preparing raw food and how different ingredients will taste good together or complement each other nutritionally. Everything looks like it tastes so deeply good. I want to make everything!

The bowl of twigs in the above picture is actually a really yummy salad, believe it or not.

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See? Doesn't it look better now? (if slightly out of focus- darn weak winter light!)

This dish is not entirely raw (cooked beans) but there's no need to go extremes when it comes to nutrition. Moderation is much better for the digestion. Which reminds me that I've also just finished reading Molly Wizenberg's "A Homemade Life", which is part memoir, part cookbook, and which doesn't subscribe to any particular nutritional guidelines, except those dictated by personal taste. It's a very sweet book, especially if you like reading about food and those that love it with a passion. And it's got me excited about good food and writing about it making it. So In Molly Wizenberg style, here's a recipe I made up to end my 'chapter'.

Warm Winter Salad
(the greens part of this borrows heavily from Jennifer Cornbleet's Mediterranean Kale Salad- which she demonstrates on Youtube. She's so cute!)

1. Soak and boil some cannellini beans till they're very tender (or just pull a can of them out of your pantry). Set aside.

2. Prepare the greens: Pull the stem out of the leaves of one bunch of lacinato kale (or curly kale, whatever you like) and cut into fine strips. Quarter a small head of purple cabbage, cut out the white stem, and slice crossways as fine as you can. Put all that into a big bowl along with 1-2 t. lemon juice, 2 T. olive oil, and a good covering of salt shakings. Now get your hands in there!!! and knead the greens like they're bread dough, really squeezing and mushing and stirring vigourously until the kale looks all wilted and small. Doesn't it look good? All shiny and colorful? Now lick the bits off your hand! Yum!

3. Cut up some grape tomatoes if you can find them this time of year (our local co-op had them in especially for Valentine's Day- how cute is that?) and mix them with a splash of your favorite viniagrette (May I recommend Drew's? It's flat out the best I've ever tasted.)

4. Now, to assemble: Warm up a bunch of beans or ladle them straight from the pot into your bowl. Salt them a little if you like. I do. I just got this ancient sea salt with all these trace minerals in it that I tend to get excited about. Add about a half cup of the tomato mixture. Mix it up. The warmth is spreading! Cover it all up with a generous amount of the greens mixture. Mix it up. Now it's just right. Enjoy with a good friend (or preferably someone like your sister that just moved to town- Yay Layli! Woo-hoo!) so you can laugh at each other when your lips and tongue turn purple.

Posted by Bahiyyih at February 17, 2010 10:11 PM