Friday, June 19, 2009

FARM FRESH LOCAL BREAKFAST

    As you may have noticed I have been trying to eat all local food and pastured meat, dairy and eggs. There are many reasons for this including superior taste, quality and nutritional value, less energy waste in transportation and thus less impact on the environment, less chance of food borne illness caused by moving food over long distances, supporting local farmers as opposed to big industrial farms who pollute the air and environment, with the thumbs up of the government, and who mistreat animals raised for meat, eggs and dairy. 
     Plus, its just all around better for you. Whatever you eat becomes a part of your body, directly affecting your health so it makes sense to seek out pure food that is not treated with pesticides, synthetic fertilizers and herbicides and eat animals that have been allowed access to fresh air, proper exercise and have not been treated with growth hormones and antibiotics, because all of that bad stuff becomes part of you, lest I reiterate the phrase you are what you eat. 
   When I first started browsing the farmer's market stalls I was a little put off by the perceived higher price of pastured meat and local produce, although never disappointed with the taste or quality. After reading Michael Pollan's, The Omnivore's Dilemma, he explained that its actually a better value to eat locally because there are hidden costs to the cheap food we truck in from far parts of the country and world. First, industrial farms are as he puts it "bathed in oil." Oil to run the machines for processing food and for transportation. Why are we at war again? Also, our taxes go directly to subsidizing industrial farms and to clean up the air and water these farms haplessly pollute. A less obvious cost is that of healthcare and the treatment of diseases caused by eating a western processed food diet like diabetes, heart disease and obesity. If you care about your health, read the book and try to eat locally and pastured food.
   So now I am really determined to eat locally. Its spring and I joined a CSA, so that combined with a stroll at one of the many farmer's markets in NYC, its actually not that difficult. Food preservation to make it through the off season will be interesting and fun. Although thats a lot of what they sell at the Farmer's Market over the winter so if I fail miserably, I can always pick up some pickles and frozen meat in Union Square. I am going to figure out how to freeze a lot of produce. Is it just that simple? Just freeze it? I am a little scared to start canning. If anyone has any tips for canning and freezing, please send them my way.
   Besides the ease of eating locally, the flavor is oustanding. I am finally eating real food again and my body and mind are truly appreciating it. All of my dishes taste better, which is a nice ego booster, and I have so much more energy and focus. So there is an abundance of locally grown food and I totally don't need to eat asparagus and strawberries in the winter imported from below the equator. 
    But what about things that aren't grown locally, like coffee and chocolate? I was having a hard time with this. I cannot give up either and if everyone gave up things like tea and rice, entire economies would collapse. If we can't grow it here, then its okay to fairly trade it. But if we can grow it here, and we are not growing it because we can do it cheaply somewhere else, then that is no reason to sacrifice on quality, our health and the environment. 
   Our first, all local meal in our backyard was a Farm Fresh Local Breakfast. I invited Mike via formal e-mail invitation and he was confused at first because he thought I planned a breakfast party at our place without consulting him first, but when I explained he was the only invitee, he gladly accepted, relieved we didn't have to get the studio in order in a hurry for guests. 

    I made a spinach fritatta, with spinach from the Woodside CSA, fresh garlic from the farmer's market and eggs from Tello's Farm. I fried up some bacon from Flying Pigs Farm, who pasture their pigs, and served a mound of local strawberries which tasted like candy they were so sweet. A loaf of banana bread snuck in there, which is only local if you live in Costa Rica, but I couldn't let those black mushy beauties go to waste. Plus, we can't grow bananas in New York.
   I was really satisfied and proud of our local breakfast and have been sticking to my guns: nothing processed and local and pastured food only. Eating out will be a challenge, but I heard someone mention there are restaurants in the city that get their food locally. Does anyone have any information on this? I would love to try them out.


SPINACH FRITATTA

4 eggs

1/2 C. grated sheep's milk pecorino romano cheese

1/4 C. soy milk

bunch of spinach sauteed with garlic in olive oil and cooled

salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 350. Beat the eggs, milk, cheese and salt and pepper. Mix in the spinach. Pour into a cast iron or oven safe skillet. Warm over the stove to give the bottom a nice start at browning then pop into the oven for about 20 minutes or until golden on top and cooked through. 


This makes a great sandwich on a some Italian bread, too.

3 comments:

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

CSAs are a wonderful idea. I am hoping that some will start up here as more people start to embrace the idea of eating locally produced food. Everything you made looks delicious and I bet it tasted great as it was so fresh!

Mags said...

Love the invitation. And I admire your dedication to eating local. That really can be tough to do sometimes. Lovely blog you have here.

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. Eating locally is the best, but you have to allow for some "foreign" ingredients - lemons, oranges, coffee, etc. "Everything in moderation" is my motto. Have you also read "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle"? It's a great read.