Thursday, April 25, 2013

Eating What Grows, Making What Is Eaten

It's like a challenge I give myself.

How much of what I eat can I grow or make myself?

It gives me a lot of pleasure to see how many things I can grow or make for myself, without using pre-packaged or grocery store ingredients. Some things, of course, you have to buy. But as much as possible, I try to make or grow what I eat.

In this picture, I can see many things I had a hand in creating. I grew the lettuce, dill, cilantro and the broccoli in the salad.

I baked the bread, and used the cubed cut up homemade bread to make the croutons in the food dehydrator. Double-made --- don't you think I can count that twice? (Even if I used my bread machine while I was away from home to bake the bread?)

The tomato is not home grown, it is a locally grown hothouse tomato I got at the 2nd Saturday Farmer's Market. Same thing with the pastured-chicken eggs. I don't have hens (YET) but these are organic and local. I believe that at least counts as eating locally, especially since I picked up local honey and fresh-picked strawberries on the same trip.

And the salad dressing is homemade. It is an attempt to reproduce an asian-ginger salad dressing that I like a lot, from a restaurant we don't have here. It's got a sweet and sour flavor, with a zing of vinegar tanginess.

Asian Salad Dressing

1/4 cup Mayonnaise (either homemade or store bought)
4 tablespoons Rice Wine Vinegar
2 tablespoons Sugar
2 tablespoons Sesame Seed Oil
1 teaspoon Toasted Sesame Seed Oil
1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard (either homemade or from the store)

In a small bowl combine sugar, and rice wine vinegar; mix until sugar is completely dissolved. Add remaining ingredients and whisk together until well blended. It won't separate.

You can use the seasoned rice wine vinegar if you like it sweet the way I do, or get the regular rice wine vinegar if you don't. 

Look for the sesame seed oil and the toasted sesame oil in the oriental food section. You will need both, they aren't the same thing. You'll only need a small bottle of the toasted sesame oil, since you only use such a small amount for each batch.

This recipe doesn't make a whole big bottle full of dressing, more like 3/4 cup. I get two salad's worth out of it. If you need more at once, you can double the recipe.

I store it in the refrigerator in a very small jar I cleaned and saved. It doesn't last long, but there are no preservatives. And it's always fresh!

In fact, I made a fresh batch this morning for my lunch salad!

From the garden:
Arugula, Romaine and Loose Leaf Lettuces
Cilantro and Dill


Courtney said...

Looks absolutely wonderful! You are very lucky to have the space for a garden. Love that.

LLYYNN - Lynn Davis said...

When we originally bought the house, there wasn't a very large yard, so a year later we bought the empty lot next to the house and I started my raised beds there. Every spring and fall I add new raised beds, either 3x4 foot or 4x4 foot. This is year three season starting this spring, and I now have a total of 160 square feet to grow in. I also use containers and hanging plantings, to expand what's available to grow in.

And yes, you are so right, I am very lucky to have the space, and thanks for the kind words.

But containers don't take much room, if you have space for those?

TesoriTrovati said...

Wow. That is really great! I don't have the time nor inclination to garden. And I don't like dirt on my fingers! But I do try to support local as much as possible. Our busy lives have us running in so many directions these days that I am happy if we even get to eat! I applaud what you are doing and it would be so great if we all did more of that to support out local producers. Enjoy the day. Erin

LLYYNN - Lynn Davis said...

Erin, there's just something so special about watching a plant come up and grow, I enjoy it a lot. It makes me smile - and if I don't want dirty hands, I have very cute green gardening gloves to wear, LOL!

It makes me appreciate where food comes from, and how fresh food is supposed to taste when it's really right off the plant.

You're right about the busy of our lives. I find that spending some time bending over and watering plants helps me relax after a crazy busy day.

And believe it or not, many edibles are really pretty plants in the landscaping, too!