WHOLEFOOD CUISINE NEWSLETTER
Sign up to receive a weekly peek inside our kitchen.
Eating Outside the Industrial Box
Over the weekend, it finally became clear to me that I need to get a new desktop computer. It had been having problems so I took it in and didn’t have a computer for four days so couldn’t write this week’s posts. And at the end of all that they couldn’t even diagnose the problem. So now it’s get a new computer and transfer all the data and reorganize everything.
So I’m going to take this opportunity for a few of weeks of reorganization to set things up for a new phase of production for Wholefood Cuisine.
NOTE: You can make this recipe with grape leaves, cabbage, or swiss chard leaves.
Larry and I live in Sonoma County, California—the “Sonoma” of the internationally famous Napa-Sonoma-Mendocino wine region—so we live surrounded by miles of vineyards growing grapes. We watch them through the year as we drive past, going through their lifecycle from bare branches to green leaves, grapes, yellow leaves, and bare branches again.
The green leaves start appearing in April and by now, in early May, the leaves are big enough to make stuffed grape leaves, a tradition from my Armenian grandmother. This is the best time of year to make this popular appetizer because the leaves are fresh and tender. You can continue to make this throughout the summer until the leaves begin to give way to grapes. But you can continue to stuff other leaves that come into season when there are no longer grape leaves. Stuffed swiss chard leaves are my favorite after grape leaves.
Larry’s family has a grape vine that now has grape leaves too, so I couldn’t resist picking leaves to make stuffed grape leaves.
Leaf: Lettuce, Greens, Herbs, Weeds – 120 Recipes that Celebrate Varied, Versatile Leaves is unique among cookbooks because instead of focusing on the type of dish—such as how to make crepes—it focuses on the different types of leaves that we use every day in cooking and what we can do with them. This book truly begins in Nature and creates familiar dishes from using leaves. I’ve learned so much from this book because it really takes a look at the characteristics of each leaf and reveals its best uses.
Sometimes I come across articles that are so well written I don’t see any point in rewriting them myself.
Such is the case with How To Tackle The Single-Use Plastic Crisis in Your Kitchen which appeared in the Serious Eats blog this week.
With all the take-out food from the pandemic, the use of single-use plastics is at an all-time high, with corresponding environmental consequences.
This post thoroughly explains the issue and helps you figure out how you can reduce your use of single-use plastics.
My best advice on the subject, of course, is to prepare all your meals at home from ingredients purchased at the farmer’s market or and carried home in a reusable basket, or grown in your own backyard. No plastic involved.
On this blog, we’ve been talking about whole food, so I thought we should also look at the idea of whole water.
Just like industrial food does not contain all the nutrients and other aliveness factors that make wholefood so enlivening, so too does industrial water—from the tap or the bottle—not contain the minerals, oxygen, and other factors present in the water found in natural ecosystems.
Tap and bottled water does contain nutrients that are naturally occurring minerals/electrolytes, but the problem is, they are mixed with contaminants. Improperly water treatment techniques (reverse osmosis, distillation, de-ionization) strip the nutrients out.
The difference between wholewater and tap water is astonishing.
We live in a climate known as “coastal” where it’s pretty termperate most of the year. We often wake up to foggy skies or the fog comes in late in the afternoon, but in the spring days are cool even during the sunny part of the day.
Last week suddenly it was HOT and I was unprepared for the dehydration. But I should have been ready. It was right at the change of season from Spring to Late Spring/Early Summer.
I really wanted to drink something cold and sweet but I didn’t want a soda or iced tea with any kind of sweetener.
What came to me was what I am calling “frozen fruit water.”
Larry and I just had to share this sandwich with you because we were enjoying it sooooo much!
All the ingredients except the mustard are from our own Sonoma County and even the mustard is from our home state California.
The bread is from an amazing local bakery called Revolution Bread which does not have a retail store but appears at two of the local farmer’s markets on the weekend. So I can get this bread on a Saturday or a Sunday. I am hoping the baker will allow me to come visit soon and write a post. He uses many ancient and unusual grains and mills the grain himself to make flour for bread. This baguette in the photo is made of purple barley (!)—oh-so-good and slightly lavender. We also had a molasses spice cookie made from this same purple barley and two other unusual grains, plus about ten spicy spices that gave this cookie such a depth of flavor. We love these cookies seem to be able to split one between us with no effect on blood sugar.
This is a seasonal update of this post.
Green Garlic (Garlic Scallions)
The first time I ate green garlic, I followed the advice of a farmer selling it on how to prepare it and it was so strong I never wanted to eat it again! So I didn’t buy it last year, but this year, now that I understand it, and I love it.
Green garlic is the young version of the plants that will eventually produce the heads of garlic that you see in the grocery store. It is usually available at farmers’ markets starting in March in warmer climates and into July in cooler areas. It looks like a green onion, but the green end has flatter leaves.
It can be used like a green onion raw in salads, dressings, or sauces, and can also be pickled, roasted, grilled, braised, or added to other dishes in place of garlic.
Wholefood Cuisine has as it’s focus the idea of eating whole foods instead of industrially processed foods.
But there is more to it. Because you could eat a whole, unprocessed ear of GMO corn sprayed with pesticides and grown in soil enriched with synthetic fertilizers that have no nutrients, and technically that would be “whole” because it is fresh and not processed. Or you could eat an ear of corn that is an heirloom variety, grown organically in soil enriched with organic matter that would be full of nutrients, and that would really be whole.
The unprocessed ear of GMO corn sprayed with pesticides and grown in soil enriched with synthetic fertilizers that have no nutrients is an industrial food product.
The ear of corn that is an heirloom variety, grown organically in soil enriched with organic matter that would be full of nutrients would be a lifely product.
I’ve written a whole post on this subject at LIFELY: The Continuum of Products & The Journey to Lifely Products.
In this post, I am applying the basic principles from that post to food.
I have observed a steady progression of products that have more and more lifely characteristics. Market sectors have emerged with names that identify certain beneficial characteristics: nontoxic, natural, organic, and green.
What’s new here is recognizing that this is the path out of industrial food and into wholefood cuisine. I went through this path myself and so have many others as the marketplace opened up with better and better products.
Below I will explain each. You can see where you are and what the next step is to move up in the quality of food you eat.
This blog is about eating “whole food” that is really whole and about creating a style of wholefood cuisine that comes from the inherent flavors and qualities of the foods themselves, rather than trying to make familiar industrial-style foods from whole ingredients.
To eat in this manner is not only enjoyable, it also benefits health and the environment.
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, our industrial food supply is crumbling fast. And we still need to eat. I’ll show you how.