Sunday, August 8, 2010

Go Local Week 10 - Use Your Bounty - Scalloped Kale and Potatoes

Debbie (of The Loving Path) and I crossed paths a few short months ago. You know how it is in blog land. Someone new leaves you a comment, and you go visit their blog to see if there is a connection to be had. I've been pretty amazed at how many kindred spirits I've found this way. It's not that we're exactly the same, or even that we are mostly the same. This community is more about sharing a journey of self discovery and not feeling alone than anything else. Reading Debbie's blog has presented so many...hey that's totally me....moments. She is introspective and deeply honest and real. I like that, and I'm thankful for the self discoveries she shares that lead me to my own. Her photography is beautiful, and she shares some killer recipes like the one she is sharing today. If you have not met her through the challenge posts these past few months, I think it would be worth your while to stop by and say hello. If you get there quickly you will be able to see her up close and personal as she shares a series of self portraits. Something I would really like to challenge myself to examine as I work on total self acceptance this year.
Welcome, Debbie! Thank you for sharing your memories and gifts with us this week.
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Gifts From The Farm

When I was a little girl the part of of my summer I most looked forward to was the two-weeks spent at my grandparents farm. There is something about escaping the hustle and bustle of the city (and one's parents) for the silence and stillness of the county. I still love it to this day - the smells, (all of them) the sounds, the offerings.

By the time my brother and I came along, my grandparents no longer farmed their 100 acres. They rented out the land and so I never really experienced "farming" per se - but the things I did learn during our stays were every bit as important.

My grandparents had a huge garden. They grew a bit of everything. My grandma always said - "Every little bit helps." She had raised 4 children (three of which were boys and so of course she needed all the help she could get in feeding them.)

These words have always stuck with me. Gardening and growing my own food has become a big part of who I am. I suppose what I love most about this is the connection it gives us to the earth. And how simple, yet profound it is, to drop a seed into the earth and from that seed, feed yourself; feed your family.

Today, the vast majority of children growing up will never step foot on a farm in their childhood - maybe even their lifetimes. Farms no longer seem to be the way a family makes a living anymore. (Although, I believe this is changing. And, I believe it needs to change.) So if we are to teach our children about where their food comes from we must start in our own backyard.

I suppose this is one of the greatest gifts my grandparents imparted on to me: the knowledge of where my food comes from. It's not enough anymore to simply know it is grown. I think it's a matter of our very survival that we know exactly where it comes from, how it's grown, and what to do with it once it is harvested.

The summers on my grandparents farm were often spent in the kitchen. But first they started outdoors. We would collect all that we needed to put things up for the winter - beans and beets and pickles. We would walk to the chokecherry trees closer to the back of the property and pick until our fingers were purple. Then all this wonderful food joined us in the kitchen and Grandma taught me how to preserve. I still long for chokecherry jelly. If it wasn't for my farm experience I'm not sure I would be who I am - a farmer at heart - living in the city, growing all I can and doing my best to pass along this way of life to my son.
My son, Isaac, is only four. But he already knows where his food comes from - not a box or the frozen section at the grocery store - but from his own backyard. We grow a little bit of everything, just as his great-grandparents did. He walks out to the backyard, picks a carrot, washes it off (sometimes) and has a little snack. The beauty in this is inspiring.

Eating locally and sustainably are things that I'm passionate about. Sharing these experiences with our children can ensure that growing our own food becomes a way of life for them too - and not just something their parents did.

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Nights here are getting cooler and so I've been thinking of meals to warm us up come the fall. Kale and potatoes make an awesome combination in this yummy version of scalloped potatoes.

Scalloped Kale and Potatoes

- 1 pound fresh kale
- 5 medium-large potatoes, peeled and very thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 cups grated swiss cheese
- 6 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
- 1/2 tsp salt
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 1/4 cups milk
:: thoroughly rinse kale and shake off the excess water. pull leaves from the stems and discard the stems. (compost.) place kale in large bowl.
:: boil a couple cups of water and pour over the kale. using tongs, toss kale in the water for a couple of minutes making sure all the kale has access to the boiling water. remove kale from
hot water as soon as it begins to wilt and place in cold water to stop cooking process.
:: squeeze out remaining water with your hands. roughly chop the kale and set aside.

:: preheat the oven to 425 F. Generously butter a 10x10x2-inch baking dish other large shallow baking dish.
:: spread half potato slices on the bottom of the dish. spread on all of the kale, then the garlic and half of the cheese, half the butter and half the salt and pepper.
:: top with the remaining potato slices, cheese, butter, salt and pepper.

:: carefully pour in the milk and gently shake the dish to distribute. bake 50 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender and the top is nicely browned.
:: Serves 2 to 3 as a main entree.

Serve as is - or with a fresh green salad from the garden. Enjoy!
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This is on my list for tomorrow night. I have lots of greens and potatoes right now, so it will be perfect. I'll also be visiting Debbie's blog for tons of great recipes utilizing seasonal produce and local food. Her recipe list is IMPRESSIVE and super healthy.
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It's August, folks!! The markets are CRAMMED full of gorgeous food. Please go a market or farm near you and support a local farmer. They will be very happy to see you. I promise.

3 comments:

  1. What a marvelous post. The kale and potatoes looks to die for. Nyum nyum! Can't wait to try that. Here is what we are doing with our bounty at Pike Schemes

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  2. Potato pancakes!

    http://buildingthebasics.blogspot.com/2010/08/potato-pancakes.html

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  3. Strawberry Shortcake at my house. Who's coming: http://feedingthebigguy.blogspot.com/2010/08/strawberry-shortcake.html

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