Monday, July 16, 2012

Eating local...and letting go of the "list" and winging it.

We participated in this challenge...well we tried to anyways. I never realized how hard it really was to "eat local". We have always been big supporters of our local farmer's markets, grabbing our fresh fruits and veggies religiously every Saturday's kind of my ritual with the boys on Saturdays so we can get out of the house and let Dada sleep after working all night. Sometimes it's quick, and sometimes we are there for hours...just depends on how that crazy toddler is behaving at the time(think entire table of oranges spilled-yep, my kid did that).
But I never realized how hard it is to be a busy family, and still stick to the challenge. These days, so much of our food is processed crap, because it's EASY, and I, like many other Moms, crave for ONE easy thing in our day...unfortunately the easy comes in the form of food full of ingredients that we can't even spell. That's not good.
So we embarked on our challenge to see how well we could stick to eating local for a month. We hit the farmer's market on our usual day, and stocked up on the usual stuff...tomatoes, onions, peaches, basil, etc... and got it home...just to stare at it and wonder, what the hell am I supposed to do with all of this?
Usually, we just pick at what we have gotten from the market-it doesn't really make it into a meal, unless we are having a meal that calls for something I have purchased. It's hard to plan around what's at the market, because you never know what's going to be there, what vendors will show up, etc... 
I didn't take that into account-I am a list-maker. Big time. I have to be, we are on the run constantly, and things need to be planned out, otherwise total chaos ensues and mommy needs to drink(kidding...maybe;-)
My attempt at eating local (and eating better) miserably failed.

This past Saturday, I went into the market with a different attitude. I'm going to get what I can and make meals as much as possible based around it-not go in with a list of meals that I want to make..And I didn't care that the baby was acting like a complete fool...maybe because they had free beer samples from a local brewery...hey, it was good! But I went in with an open mind, and got very lucky that TONS of vendors showed up..our haul was ridiculous. And the shrimp guy was there..I was a happy lady.
Once again,
What am I going to do with this?
I can't possibly be the only one with this quandry every week right?
So, as much as I can, I'm going to post what we did with our farmer's market finds in an effort to share what we are doing, and hopefully spread the word that it IS possible to eat local, and HEALTHY, in a flash...

SO, Sunday for lunch, I made this:
Shrimp and Okra Stew...It.was.delish. And all from our haul.
How I made it:
Now, I know peeling shrimp is a pain in the ass, learn to do it fast, or see if your local seafood peeps will sell them peeled.
That would be the only time-consuming part of this dish.

I started with the rice-plain white Creole rice, in the steamer, with a cube of chicken stock in the water.
While the rice was cooking: Sauteed some garlic, and diced onions, bell peppers and celery(the Holy Trinity plus 1 down here in New Orleans) until the onions were clear-about 5 minutes. Then I took about half of our gallon sized ziploc of okra that we got, chopped those and threw them in(for those of you that have issues with the slimy-ness of okra, if you cook it hot and fast, it helps)...after about 5 more minutes..oh, and don't forget to salt and pepper here!!!...Threw in the shrimp(about 2lbs of head on came out to a small bowl of peeled), and sauteed a few more minutes intil just barely pink...Then threw in a bay leaf, and 4 chopped Creole tomatoes, sprinkled with about a tablespoon of Tony Cacherie's seasoning, stirred, and put a lid on it on medium. After 15 minutes, the rice is done, and the stew is nice and thick.
Serve your stew over your rice, sprinkled with a little fresh chopped parsley.
It was yum.
And about a half an hour. And in that half an hour I was being stalked by a midget who wanted juice constantly-so I'd say that's pretty damn quick.

And today, I have leftovers for lunch, and took a pear from the haul, and sliced it up over cottage cheese for a snack.

So it's possible...we can do this. Stay tuned for what we make tonight-I have a london broil defrosting!

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