An Experimental August

Last autumn I read the book The 100 Mile Diet: A Year of Local Eating. Written by a couple living in an apartment in Vancouver (BC), it felt very relevant to me, a city-dwelling wannabe farmer with weird obsessions with the idea of amassing what I call “pioneer skills” and the pursuit of experiencing The Laaaand in as many ways as possible. They wrote a lot about the difficulty of finding specific ingredients and some emotional stuff, but the parts that were by far the most interesting to me were the stretches of natural history of the surrounding area. An area that is both close and similar to The Laaaaand and sea around Seattle.

“The Laaaaand,” by the way, must be said in a purposefully funny, exaggerated voice every time. How else to reference–mostly to myself–a whole philosophy that I hold with complete sincerity while also being aware that it’s pretty ridiculous, mostly unrelate-able, and ultimately pointless. I like the stories mountains tell, the history in soil, the amazing influence of small streams and rivers.¬†Animal population ebb and flow and how humans effect all of that is all just amazing to me. I like smelling the different smells and eating anything I can right off of a bush or a tree, and tasting the difference between things grown in different climates. I like feeling a nice breeze while eye-ballin’ a big rock that’s been gradually carved away by just such breezes. You could put a hippie-dippy spin on it being about connecting to shit but that’s sadly not it at all. It’s just, you know, life. It’s not inherently a good thing, but it feels important to take pause all the same.

SO! The Laaaaand. That’s what it’s all about.

At any rate, I was pretty jazzed about the idea of trying a local diet. Not for a full year like they did, and most likely not restricted to 100 miles, but still, I was pretty confident that the Puget Sound would have even more plentiful food sources than they had up in the Salish Sea. However, since it was fall, I tabled the idea after warning Ian that I was likely to propose a-somethin’ something in the spring or summertime. And here we are!

This month we’re doing a 200 mile diet, with a few life-easing caveats.

1) Because Ian works a lot of unexpected overtime these days it’s OK for him to eat whatever his work feeds him when he stays late.
2) The idea of not eating avocados while local tomatoes are in season made me too sad, so I get to eat those from California.
3) The Pantry Rule lets us eat anything we already have in the kitchen so it doesn’t go to waste.
4) We can scrap the rules when we go over to friends’ and family’s places and get fed so we don’t have to ungracious.
5) And we don’t have to be entirely hermetic because we have a 1 restaurant green light for Local 360, which doesn’t fit our 200 mile radius but does source everything from the Pacific Northwest.

The main rule is we can’t buy any food that comes from outside a 200 mile radius.

I’m most excited to see what my home tastes like and experience the summer season in a new and complete way. EXTREME TERROIR! Hehe!

DIY Muesli

This is a great weekday breakfast because you can throw stuff together the night before and only have to add fresh goodies in the a.m.

1 cup extra thick rolled oats (I used Bob’s Red Mill Organic–awesome stuff!)
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup 2% milk
1/2 teaspoon quality vanilla extract
Dash sea salt
A good pour of orange juice
Nuts, chopped (I used toasted hazelnuts, blanched almonds, raw walnuts)
Fresh seasonal fruit, chopped (I used DEElicious apricots and a few gooseberries)
Drizzle honey

Combine the yogurt and milk in a medium-sized mixing bowl and whisk together. Add the oats and stir well. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and stash in the fridge overnight.

Remove from the fridge the next a.m. and note how much of that moisture was absorbed into the oats. Add enough orange juice to wake them up! Mix well, then add whatever nuts and fresh fruit you have in the house. Drizzle with a little honey and top off with a splash of more milk.

Hearty, healthy, and tasty to boot! It’ll be a good morning indeed!

Summer Garden Salad

Salad Fixins
1 cup mixed salad greens, rinsed and revitalized
1 large zucchini, shaved into ribbons on a mandelin, torn into bite size pieces
1 ear of husked corn, broken in half
1/2 pound green beans, cut into 2″ pieces
1 cup heirloom cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 slice of Field Roast’s “celebration roast,” diced

Dressin’
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoons stone-ground mustard
1 shallot, diced
A drizzle honey
A few grinds black pepper
Dash sea salt
EVOO

Set water in a¬†fairly deep but not necessarily large steamer over high heat. Once it’s reached a rolling boil, add the 2 corn on the cob halves to the water. Place the steamer basket on top and plop the green beans in, cover and steam for 5-8 minutes. Remove the green beans and transfer to a cold bowl. After a few more minutes remove the corn and set on a cutting board to cool.

Add a dash of olive oil to a frying pan and place over medium heat. In goes the celebration roast! Toss to coat and keep an eye on it. Stir occasionally and cook until golden brown with some crisp edges. Remove from heat.

Make the dressing in a small mixing bowl. Add orange juice, balsamic vinegar, mustard, shallots, honey, salt and pepper, and whisk together. Continue whisking while you add EVOO in a slow stream.

Add all ingredients–except the dressing–to a large salad bowl. At this point the salad can be transported or refridgerated for later. Add dressing and toss to combine and coat thoroughly right before serving.