Monday, October 19, 2009

Another Trip to West Virginia

Today we delivered the big pig to the butcher. Nora accompanied me. She is so excited to know that sausage is coming to our house very soon. Sausage and eggs are some of her favorite foods. Next to candy.

We drove the short/long way home down 311. Went through Paint Bank. It was a glorious fall day and Nora and I enjoyed each other's company as we wound our way home. My main mistake was not stopping at the Paint Bank General Store to buy Nora an icecream. Next time.

We ate a late dinner. Maybe some people wonder why I feel compelled to write about so many of our meals. Maybe they think I am bragging. I hope not. I guess I want to highlight the wonderful foods we are grateful to eat. I also hope that maybe some of our menus will give you readers the hope that you, too, can create amazing dinners out of local foods.

For example.

Tonight we had whole trout from Jimbo, I put chopped up ginger and garlic in the cavity of the fish, nothing else, and pan-fried it in a big skillet. We put some of Randy Deel's delicious sweet potatoes in the oven whole, nothing fancy. I had collard greens in the fridge courtesy of the Good Food, Good People friends from Floyd. What to do with collard greens? I have never in my life cooked collards. Have always seen them, semi-grey in a can. Well. We don't really like semi-grey things out of a can. SO, I rinsed them, cut them up, put some olive oil in the wok, sauteed our garden onions, some ginger and garlic. When the onions were soft, I put the collards in the wok. Added a couple of tablespoons of toasted sesame oil. A splash of soy sauce. A small handful of sesame seeds. A splash of water to help the collards cook down. While they simmered and the sweet potatoes baked, the trout fried. Crispy skin and tails. I had a jar of garlic chili sauce that had been languishing in the cabinet for nearly a year. Warmed it up for using as a sauce for the trout.

It wasn't that difficult. Every bit of it was local and seasonal. Took less than 20 minutes to cook (with the exception of the sweet potatoes.) Less time to cook than to order chinese, that is, if we lived in an area where we could order in chinese. All of it, with the exception of the seasoning, was bartered. If we had purchased the ingredients, they would have cost less than chinese takeout.

So, the method to my madness, or the compulsion to record delicious menus... I want everyone to know that they too can come up with tasty, unusual, creative ways to eat food grown by themselves or their neighbors. I want you to be brave and give it a shot. I believe that good food is an incredible way to know that there is a God who loves us and wants us to enjoy good things.

Coming up with menus is a lot of fun for me. I have a few friends who call on a regular basis around five o'clock and ask me to give them suggestions for their dinner menu. We discuss the ingredients they have on hand and come up with a doable plan.

Well, anyway, the trout was fantastic. The creamy flesh, the spicy ginger, garlic and chili sauce contrasted nicely with the collards. The collards definitely had more substance than, say, spinach, but were tender and the sesame seeds gave them a nice crunch. The orange sweet potato gave the plate color and the nutty sweet root, salted and peppered, not even buttered, offset the spicy chili sauce.

Tomorrow we will probably have beans and cornbread. Curried butternut squash soup another night. But this weekend, pork.


Glorious pork. Sausage, pork chops, roast and bacon.

Nora, I foresee many breakfasts in our near future consisting of fried eggs and sausage. Yummm.

"Taste and see that the Lord is good. Blessed is the man who trusts in him." Psalm 34


Chris said...

I like your menus a lot. They do give me ideas. I have a wonderful garden and the Good Food Good People are my neighbors! I'm blessed to have access to such fine food, no reason why a necessity can't feel like a luxury.

Leonora said...

Sometimes food is the highlight in our otherwise humdrum day. The end result of all that meal planning, shopping, and preparation is gathering the family around and sharing something special. Gosh, I'm Italian, what can I say . Food is important and you can never talk about it too much.

Jeff said...

I hated collard greens until, one day, my neighbor showed me how it is done: greens, cubed potatoes and garlic. Lots and lots of garlic. Yum!!!