Sunday, September 2, 2012

Guest Post-Jo's Summer and Stir Fry!

I think my favourite part of the basket in recent weeks has been the head of cabbage.  I grew up in a Slovak family where the smell of boiling cabbage very nearly turned me off it for life.  But a fresh head is a magical thing.  And it's as delicious raw as it is stir fried.  I wouldn't be caught dead boiling any vegetable, quite frankly, knowing that most of the flavour is boiled away, and why on earth would anyone want to boil away flavour?

Never mind the stench of boiling cabbage.

I just stir fried up some of the vegetables in this week's basket, including carrots, garlic, cabbage and beans, and added pine nuts and some other goodies.  I'll include my recipe at the bottom.  It came out delicious!

So the summer holidays are almost over.  I took a few multi-day vacations in late August, one to Algonquin Park on my first ever backcountry hiking experience!  It was fantastic, but this weekend warrior is *STILL* feeling the pain in my knees, a week and a half later.  Alas.  I also experienced what it is like to bring in on your back under your own steam all your food and necessities for the days you are away.  I had done a lot of prep work, and knew enough to bring lightweight things, such as Mr. Noodles, packaged oatmeal and boil-in-the-bag camp food.  So was I ever happy to get back to my fridge full of greens after the excursion!

There is nothing quite like the serenity of Provoking Lake, though, and the still of doing your dishes in the lake and pondering life.  Even if you just only ate Mr. Noodles.

Then this weekend, I decided to do a quick overnight jaunt to check out the community gardens in Detroit, and see the famous "Eastern Market" that I'd heard so much about.  In the last few decades, Detroit's population has dwindled from 2.2 million in its heyday to about 600,000 now.  Huge swaths of the downtown core are abandoned, and the city decided to raze the houses and leave the greenspace intact.  Locals have taken over the land (sometimes illegally, but no one seems to be complaining) to create local community gardens in 'food deserts' -- areas in Detroit where there are no grocery stores (or much of a popluation) around for miles.  A lot of this food is used by community residents, but some is sold at the Market under the "Grown in Detroit" banner.  It's very inspiring.

The market itself is mindblowing -- hundreds of stalls, tens of thousands of shoppers and six huge sheds on six blocks of real estate.  My host was a fellow named Greg that I'd connected with on, and he gracefully took us down to the market and showed us around.  I'd arrived the day before on his doorstep, gift in hand -- a small container of some of Linda's vegetables.  I know how thrilling it is when friends of mine see the amazingness that is heirloom vegetables, and I thought it would be a nice gift for a vegetarian.  Sure enough, he opened it up and smelled the basil and sighed with delight.  He said, "You will see a lot of this sort of thing at the market tomorrow" and I didn't actually believe him.  I rarely see heirloom vegetables in these parts.  In fact, I'd never seen candlelight peppers in my life until I'd seen them in Linda's garden, and I squealed with delight, as they are almost surreally beautiful.

But sure enough, heirlooms were everywhere at the Eastern Market!  It's amazing to see so much diversity in a place like Detroit Michigan... a place everyone rolled their eyes at when I told them I wanted to check out their market.  It's nice to see the resurgence in people who care.  Really nice.
So I'm looking forward to next week : tomato time!  I've ordered some extra tomatoes from Linda, as I'd like to take at canning or freezing some sauce.  The summer that I had my own tomato garden, I only managed to pull one pot of tomato sauce out of it, so hopefully this year, I can get a bit more.

Jo's Veg Stir Fry


sesame oil
teriyaki sauce

green beans
pine nuts

In a hot skillet, add sesame oil, garlic and onions.  Brown and add spices.  I used about a teaspoon of coriander and about a tablespoon or two of teriyaki sauce

Add chopped carrots and beans and stir fry until they soften a bit.

Add pine nuts

Add chopped cabbage and spinach, and stir fry until they reduce.

Serve on a bed of rice!

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