Gardening for the Apocalypse
Zombies, Flooding, and Polar Shift…OH MY! Do I believe that December 21, 2012 will be the last day on Earth…no…not sure…perhaps? But what I do believe is that as a country we have seen some major screw-ups in the monetary realm. Food prices are through the roof! Ok let me rephrase … good healthy food that is not filled with shit from some factory that is concerned with profit margins. Fresh veggies that have not been engineered in some lab, but grown in fresh air and sunlight and picked when ripe and at their peak flavor and have the most nutrients.
Let’s see if I can give you an example: Hell yes I have an example! If a lab creates a plant that will kill a bug when eats it what do you think that same plant does to a human body. Yes, yes…I know I am a chef not a scientist; in fact an artsy fartsy chef that believes food should be that of quality not bulk. Oh, I can hear it now…”But LJ you have worked with big business, you promoted [insert]! Yeah I may or may not have, but what I can say is I make choices in my life, what and where I eat. I never roll up to a speaker and yell my “Faux Food” order as someone nukes it into a recognizable form.
By controlling whom I spend my money is an important statement as I buy food. I believe local is best! You have a choice; but remember if as chefs (and consumers) as we support the local farmer they in turn are more likely to eat at our restaurant. Some of you may feed the top of the food chain with the corporate manufactures of food; but for the rest of us the little old lady that grows 75 tomato plants and only needs one maybe the person you buy from. She may come in for a cup of soup from those tomatoes that you bought from her. That’s what I call making the world go round!
I have ran kitchens, so I get food cost and know how difficult it can be to make budget and buy local this is why I garden (and of course in case of the zombies!).
When was the last time a big food purveyor came to you with that days cut lettuce? Or a bucket of fresh still warmed from the sun raspberries? This makes a different in your food flavors. We (I include myself) have been trained that a gassed tomato tastes just fine. This is sad! A real vine ripened tomato is magical. The texture to flavor is so vastly different. Plant a tomato in a bucket if that is all the room you have; but do yourself a favor and understand where your food comes from!
Meat had a face and I am good with that; but I have had people tell me they never thought about the killing or the butchery of the meat. Really, where have you been?!?!? We have become lost as eaters and we must understand food from the roots (pun absolutely intended). I know not everyone is able to kill the animal or butcher, but please understand that someone has to do it. Take the imitative to find out where your food comes from, and thinking the local big box supermarket isn’t the answer.
One of my favorite things to grow is tomatoes. My grandma was an avid gardener and grew tomatoes and cucumbers. She had lots of flowers too. My passion for playing in the dirt started as a boy in her backyard, but my love of watching something grow and then turning it into delicious table faire took longer to understand. Grandma nurtured my understanding and love for gardening just as she did with her garden and showed me how significant growing my own food was to my life.
In honor of my Grandma and perhaps the Apocalypse here is a quick and easy dressing. Use it on your fresh greens or as a marinade, either way the fresh and vibrant flavor will have you licking your lips.
Fire Roast Tomato Vinaigrette
2 Whole Tomatoes; medium to large and spray oiled
1 Tablespoon Minced Shallots; onion is ok as well
1 garlic clove; smashed and mashed
½ c. Balsamic Vinegar
½ c. Extra Virgin Olive Oil; the greener one
Kosher Salt to taste; 2 t
Black Pepper to taste; ½ t
Fire up the BBQ and place oiled tomatoes over medium heat. Let the tomatoes blister and blacken turning as they cook for even flavor development. When skin is slipping rinse under cool water until clean. If a little of the blackened skin remains, that is ok; but too much and it will be bitter. In a blender or food processor or whatever is close at hand, blend everything, but the olive oil. As machine is running add your oil slowly. When combined taste and adjust the salt and pepper as needed. Use however you want, but most importantly, enjoy!