Wednesday, February 16, 2011

COOKING-UP GOOD FOOD FROM DOWN-HOME RECIPES

Cook down-home meals for best taste and budget-friendliness
Recently, I mentioned the need to get out our old family cookbooks and food preparation notes, and learn to make and enjoy ol’time, down-home meals.  You remember the ones that your grandmothers made. (At least, the grandmothers of the people I usually hear from. Weren't they the best you ever ate? ) My reason for writing about these ol'time recipes has to do with likely food price increases in the near future. If you’re following GrandmaS over the past few months, you know that I’ve repeated, many times, about how it’s not necessary to spend a lot at the grocery store. With just a handful of basic ingredients and the effort that it takes to cook “from-scratch” recipes, you can make many hearty, family-pleasing meals on a tight budget. The other point I’ve made is that the money that you “free-up” by not buying a lot of processed and convenience food can be spent to stock up your pantry. And that’s something that would be smart considering the uncertainties about food supplies and costs in the coming months.


Don't depend on agri-business and mega-food commerce
Also, not everything we eat has to come from the supermarket. We have the farmers’ markets and road-side stands that give us fresher and usually local-grown produce at a reasonable cost. What’s more, it’s almost spring (at least we’d like to hope so), and we can begin to plant a large or tiny garden, depending on the available space. Now, you know, almost no one can say that they have absolutely no space for a garden. Blogs on the web show all kinds of adaptations that allow for planting a patch – a few square feet of yard space, on the patio, on the roof, and even in window sills. Whatever space you have, you can use it to plant something. Our Earth needs to be greener - we've cut away way too much.  And one way, we all have to get greener is to plant – trees, if we can - and to grow part of our own food, thereby, reducing the strangle-hold that big-business agriculture and mega-food commerce have on our lives.


Inspiration for this recipe
The recipe that I’m highlighting in this post refers to beans and greens, a down-home, from the garden, classic. Well, maybe – unless you’re an experienced gardener - you’ll still want to purchase beans from a commercial source. But, for most of the year, you can have a good supply of greens right out of your own garden. Greens are easy to plant and care for, and they don’t need much depth of soil. The same goes for green onions and a lot of kitchen herbs. You don’t need too much space or special conditions. (A rain barrel or two can help for plant watering.) Beyond that, tomato plants and squash are really no-brainers when it comes to first-time gardening.


So, here goes one of my favorite recipes that uses only basic ingredients – a lot of which can come from your own garden - and this dish makes for a tasty, down-home meal.


Baked Beans With Greens
1 good-sized bunch of twice washed greens - mustard greens, collards, kale (almost any kind of greens - even cabbage)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery piece, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
3/4 pound of white beans or chickpeas, cleaned, soaked overnight or parboiled, and drained.
3 tomatoes or 1 large can of tomato sauce
3 cups water
Herbs - mixture you like of parsley, thyme, cilantro, and a bay leaf (always cook beans with a bay leaf to reduce their gasiness)
Salt, pepper and chili powder to taste (Option: A lot of people put some catsup in their baked beans. I prefer to use a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and 1 Tbs. of brown sugar.)


- Cook greens with a little salt at a rapid boil for 5 minutes. Then drain and cut in small pieces.
- Heat olive oil (medium heat) in a deep, ovenproof skillet and cook onion, garlic, carrots and celery for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes or tomato sauce, and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add the drained beans, the remaining water, and more salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the greens, cover and place in the oven. Bake for an hour or so at 300 degrees until the beans are tender and creamy. More water and/or more bake time may be added as needed.
- Option: Put herbed bread crumbs, thin-sliced, cooked potatoes, and/or grated cheese on top the beans, and continue baking for another 15 minutes.
- Serve with a fruit or vegetable salad and whole grain bread, and you'll have a hearty, vegetarian meal for 4 - 6 people.


Related posts:
TAKE POSITIVE AND PEACEFUL ACTIONS TO CONFRONT FOOD SHORTAGES
HIGH-FRUCTOSE CORN SUGAR: CHEAP FOR INDUSTRIAL FOODS, BUT COSTLY FOR HEALTH AND THE ECOLOGY
CAN YOU EAT A HEALTHIER, MORE ECO-FRIENDLY DIET -- AND DO IT ON A SNAP BUDGET?
SERVE CABBAGE SOUP OFTEN - WE'LL ALL BE BETTER OFF FOR IT
BE A “USE-IT-ALL-UP” FOOD BUYER AND CONSUMER
RECIPE: Vegetarian Black Bean Chili
PLANNING A KITCHEN GARDEN
PREPARING VEGETARIAN MEALS
WHAT'S IN YOUR PANTRY?





















1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What ??? Every woman born in West Virgina knows 147 different recipes for squash and tomatoes at birth. It comes with the DNA.
Thanks Sis, for 148. I'll try it tonight.
mj