Sunday, June 5, 2011

Don't Mow It. Grow it!

If yet another E. Coli break out in VEGETABLES wasn't enough for you to care about who's growing your food, I can't reach you. If you haven't heard, over 20 people have died from a suspect cuke, tomato or lettuce...over 250 are in the hospital waiting for their kidneys to fail. They have maybe linked it to a festival where over a million people ate some concession, maybe a salad---thinking they were making the right choice. It's sad really. It would have been less dangerous to have a flame grilled sausage. Fattening, sure. But you're still alive. E. Coli has become resistant to antibiotics and why? Yea, well the long and short of it is that we are prescribed too many of them. And they are in our factory farmed meats. Tolerance has grown. Useless when you actually NEED them because no one can seem to RIDE out the 4 days of inconvenience of a head cold so you've pumped up on antibiotics. And voila. You eat a pickle at a fair in Hamburg and you're dead.

Anyway I don't scare everyone. Or maybe I do. If that will get you to grow your own. Find a CSA co-op and join. Befriend a farmer and support their hard earned efforts. And if I can get you to go out and dig a 10x10 square in your yard and plant it instead of mowing, fertilizing, cutting down, watering and wasting other precious resources like time and money? I'll be happy.

So here's my first installment of Don't Mow It. Grow It! Where I eat out of my yard. Sometimes it's the garden but sometimes it's a "weed"... and since my dandelion root tincture has brought $8 an oz? Weed Up, Baby!

Zuke Flower Fritters stuffed with Homemade Ricotta and Green Lentils

zucchinis are about the easiest thing to grow in a garden. so much in fact that people can't GIVE them away in the summer after harvest. I've gotten around this by planting fewer plants ( 4-5), staggering my planting weeks, pulling the fruit when it's small to eat raw or marinated on sandwiches, eating the leaves sauteed and pulling the flowers to stuff and make fritters.

Making your own ricotta is the easiest thing in the world and here's my favorite recipe from David Lebovitz who, despite living The Sweet Life in Paris with access to over 300 types of cheese has a hard time finding the Italian fresh blending cheese, and he's streamlined it. You'll never go back.

Okay, the lentils are cooked to very soft, drained, pureed with salt, olive oil and smoked Spanish paprika.
The blossoms are plucked (stem attached), whisked in cool water. Add ricotta to bean puree (any bean will do here btw) so it's 1/1. Equal parts. Add pumpkin seeds. Flax seed. Whatever you want for some texture/crunch. If you use a spoon you'll rip the blossom, so place stuffing with fingers. Close the blossom at the top, dust with flour, heat some canola in a hot pan and drop them in. About a minute on each side, and you're done. Easy, fresh and good for you. No excuses!! I pureed some basil in the blender with a touch of vinegar, splash of olive oil and drizzled on top...just to make fancy happen. (ps this will work with any squash blossom...and all the greens are edible as well)