My family and I suspect most Americans don’t spend enough time eating. Oh my we get enough FOOD to eat, but seem to spend very little time enjoying the experience. We’ve been working at adding more variety to our diet in the form of organ meats, sea food and vegetables, to my dear husbands meat-and-potato-loving horror. I noticed a while back that in order to get my family to eat a wider variety of food, we needed to do it more like a restaurant would, in courses. First a salad, then maybe a nice cup of soup, and finally the main course (don’t forget dessert!)
So last night I was watching a Tony Bourdain marathon (I know! W00t!) and his Spain and Venice episodes really brought the eating more slowly and with great gusto idea home for me. Even Tony was waxing poteic at sitting at the table with a family eating and conversing, drinking wine and enjoying the company. I want that! No more TV on the news while we eat from TV trays! No more throwing together a plate of food and horching it down so can get back to whatever busywork task or internet BS I am currently involved in (doom-watching takes a lotta time, ya know?!?) At least we eat together, in the same room. But we can do better.
The clips I am referring to are embedded above.The meat of the matter starts at about the 7 minute mark in the first clip.
[youtube id=WpEmxIrprik] [youtube id=yYyJbcGawjE]
So, the new phase in our expansion of food choices: tapas. From our good friend Wikipedia (bold is mine):
Tapas (IPA: [ˈtaˌpas]) is the name of a wide variety of appetizers, or snacks, in Spanish cuisine. They may be cold (such as mixed olives and cheese) or warm (such as puntillitas, which are battered, fried baby squid).
In North America and the United Kingdom, as well as in select bars in Spain, tapas have evolved into an entire, and sometimes sophisticated, cuisine. In these countries, patrons of tapas restaurants can order many different tapas and combine them to make a full meal.
The serving of tapas is designed to encourage conversation because people are not so focused upon eating an entire meal that is set before them. Also, in some countries it is customary for diners to stand and move about while eating tapas.
Conversation? During a hillbilly meal? Impossible you say. The hard part will be in getting the Old Man to turn off the news. Fortunately the local news recycles their BS at the top of every hour so if we eat promptly at 5 pm, the preferred time in these here hills, we can catch the news at 6 and not miss a darned thing. I have a nifty table that can be raised and lowered and has leaves, so we can drag it out and set it up quickly to eat then put it away.
The tapas recipes I am going to try are already loaded into the recipe section of the site, and I will get up pictures as I go along.
Bacon wrapped shrimp, stuffed artichoke croquettes, ham or shrimp croquettes, Russian Salad, garlic mushrooms, meatballs in tomato sauce, roasted spicy almonds, skewered chorizo and shrimp, and Mediterranean eggs. These are all items made with familiar items but put together in ways that my family might not have tried previously. As you can see, I did not get terribly adventurous for the first week. As they get used to it, however: whammo! out comes the fried octopus or liver bits. Blam. I modified all these recipes from the originals to make them WAPF friendly.
We might put together a video if I am feeling ambitious. The pic up top? It’s from my grocery shopping today. I’ve noticed a lot of my favorite food bloggers are following the lead of that article that showed a pictorial of what people eat for a week. The items in the pic are all I needed to round out what I already have in the hillbilly larder. I think it looks nice 😉
I am going to move stuff around on the blog now that I have it stable again. I am going to re-add all my recipes and pictures from the past and now that I’ve found all my old blog posts I am going to start moving them on here one at a time. So sign up for the rss feed to get notified as things publish. I also plan on doing a large photo project out and about in our county and interviewing local foodies. Should be interesting!
I am working on granola today from Cheeseslave’s post from yesterday. I have made granola before but with mixed results. I like this recipe better than the one from Nourishing Traditions, and have all kinds of nifty stuff that I can put in the granola. I started the nuts soaking yesterday and will stick them in my home made dehydrator boxes a little later. Today should reach just about 100 degrees in sunny Northern California (not far from Yosemite) but it is not quite warm enough yet to start the boxes. I use these nifty old wooden boxes I found at a yard sale as both solar cookers and dehydrators. The are line with foil and I just load them up and sit them outside to do their work. I will get pics of that and update the blog later. For now, here are almonds and walnuts soaking: (these are fresh and local; the walnuts from our tree and the almonds from a friend’s)
As you can see, no fancy equipment; I use pans that I thrift sale or find really really cheap I started the oatmeal this AM.
I used whey from yogurt for the acidic medium.
So, the nuts into the dehydrator boxes today, the oatmeal tomorrow. We have dried apricots, cranberries, blueberries, and bananas that can all be placed in the mix, and local gorgeous honey from Gold Country Honey Farms (their website seems to be down) that we pick up at the weekend Farmer’s Market. i have loads of dessicated coconut and coconut oil from Tropical Traditions. I am hopeful that this is going to turn out delish!
Update: here is a pic of my home made solar cooker/dehydrator. I took the glass off the top to show the inside. I also moved it as it was in the shade. There is a rack underneath the walnuts that is covered by paper towels.
What a busy weekend! I have been canning stuff I picked up in the valley. Y’see, I decided I couldn’t wait for stuff to ripen around here (we got a late start to planting due to TWO plant disasters) so I decided to go down below to pick up large quantities of cannables. I also decided to go to the movies while down there so I would have more than one reason to waste all of the gas money. I went to the Galaxy Theater in Riverbank, one of those new fancy-schmancy stadium-style theaters with rocking seats, digital projection and plushness abounding. So, I saw the new X-Files movie “X-Files: I want to Believe”. Oh how I wanted to believe! I was very sad after watching that movie, as Mulder and Scully had a pretty rotten life after the show, fictionally speaking. A sad life, none-the-less. I won’t spoil it for y’all right now; maybe later I will do a post that has spoilers below the fold, cuz I have QUESTIONS! A LOT of questions as to WHY this? Why that? How Come? The Old Man pointed out that the little clip in the credits equals a sort-of happy ending and a goodbye, and I want to believe him as well!
But, back to the canning. I will try to get pics of some of the stuff I canned. I got a lug of peaches and canned them into quart jars; it has been so long since I canned instead of freezing and drying I made a couple of rookie mistakes, feeling my way through the process. I also canned some salsa from Roma tomatoes, but am not totally pleased with the results and so I will finish the case of Romas as tomato sauce, a la Rotel tomatoes. I also need to get my basement cleaned out so I can start storing these gems down there in the 63 degree year-round coolness so I will get the most storage time possible. I have a bunch of stuff to shift down there; I am thinking about taking more vacation time to get some work done.
Well, off to work I go!