Category Archives: Fruits, Vegetables, Plants

Tamatem Ma’Amrine

Tamatem Ma’Amrine is a Moroccan dish of roasted tomatoes stuffed with albacore, capers, olives and preserved lemon..

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Tamatem Ma'Amrine (click to enlarge)

Adapted from a recipe by Claudia Roden

Carve a lid out of the tomatoes and scoop out the insides as you would a jack-o’-lantern.  Don’t let the walls get too thin, or the tomatoes will split while roasting. Turn the tomatoes upside down and let the water drain.

Meanwhile, flake apart US Pacific troll or line-caught albacore and toss gently in extra virgin olive oil with bits of roasted red pepper, coarsely chopped capers and black olives, thinly slivered preserved lemon and chopped flat-leaf parsley.

Season tuna mixture with cracked coriander, fennel and white sesame seeds and stuff into the tomatoes.

Drizzle with a little more olive oil and season with sea salt and cracked pepper.  Roast in a 375 degree oven until slightly blackened, perhaps 30 minutes.

Serve warm or refrigerate and serve cold; a crisp salad goes well in either case.

This post is part of Food Renegade’s Fight Back Fridays

© Monterey Bay Aquarium
© Monterey Bay Aquarium

Seafood Watch: Tuna, Albacore

Healing The Planet Through Agriculture

“We must continually bear in mind that the human body is the tool of the spirit…. We can ask ourselves whether we make our bodies unfit for the execution of the intentions, aspirations, and impulses of our lives if we become bound by and dependent upon our bodies through an unsuitable diet.” ~ Rudolf Steiner

 

Biodynamic agriculture considers the farm or garden to be a self-contained organism that exists in a larger framework of a living, dynamic cosmos. The aim is to work with those energies within the farm system in order to increase the health and vitality of the soil, the crops, the farm animals, even the farmer. But biodynamics was never just focused on agricultural techniques. It was conceived of as a new way of thinking about the connection between farming, nutrition, and our spiritual nature. Steiner gave much thought to the effect of foods on the whole human being- the physical, psychological, and the spiritual. He pointed out, way back in the 1920’s, that people “in our modern age” have increasingly lost the instinct for what is good or bad for them to eat. Steiner explained that in addition to the physical substances food provides for our nutrition, it also needs to provide vital forces for the development of our higher spiritual capacities, and acknowledged this to be a factor reducing people’s ability to make strides with a more spiritual nature. ~ Elizabeth Candelario (Co-Director, Demeter Assoc.)

US farmers cautiously growing hemp again after 56 years of brain-dead prohibition

by Mark Frauenfelder

Hemp is a useful crop. It’s used to make paper, cloth, food, fuel, and many other products. But hemp farming in the United States has been illegal for 56 years. The government outlawed hemp cultivation because it didn’t want people hiding marijuana crops in hemp fields (they look the same, but hemp does not contain psychoactive compounds, at least not enough to matter).

Interestingly, products made from hemp are legal in the US, but they must be imported from countries that aren’t as insufferably schoolmarmish. This year, however, US farmers are starting to grow hemp again. Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana for recreational use, and some farmers are taking this as permission to grow non-psychoactive hemp in those states. (Hemp, both the inert and psychoactive varieties, is still prohibited under federal law). The first company in line to buy US-grown hemp is Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps.

Alternet’s April M. Short has a good article about the movement.

It’s That Time of Year

Time to begin “putting by” the last of the summer’s vegetables for the long winter ahead.  Up today are the last of the homegrown heirloom tomatoes, both hot-ish (Anaheim and Jalapeño) and sweet (banana) peppers (the poblano and serranos are still growing) and an early bushel of Blueridge Mountain-grown golden delicious apples.

The peeled and cored apples have been lightly simmered in fresh-from-the-well water with a little cinnamon, cloves and cardamom.  Once cool, the apples will be ground into applesauce and stored in the freezer.

The tomatoes have been roasted with a touch of sea salt and will be frozen as-is.

I haven’t decided how to preserve the hot peppers yet.  I might roast some of them and simply split, seed and freeze the rest.

The banana peppers, of course, are being fermented and refrigerated for use on deli-style sandwiches (my absolute favorite), in salads, egg dishes and other various and sundry things.  Here’s a super-simple recipe to lacto-ferment peppers (or practically any other vegetable)..

40 ounces cool, fresh water (you may have a little left over)
2 ounces (by weight) sea salt
1/2 cup raw cider vinegar, divided
2 tablespoons pickling spice, divided (optional)

Put the water in a heavy-bottomed pan and bring to a rapid boil. Add the pickling spices and salt and stir until the salt is dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside.

While the salt water is cooling, wash the peppers to remove any remaining leaves, dirt or bugs. Using a sharp knife, slice the peppers into 1/8-inch rounds. Fill 2 quart-sized Mason jars with the sliced peppers, leaving about 1-1/2 inches of head room. Pour 1/4 cup of vinegar into each jar.

Once the water has cooled to room temperature, add enough to each jar to come nearly all the way to the top.

Screw the lids on finger-tight and set aside in a warm place (68-72 degrees) for 5 days, “burping” the lids once a day until the fermentation is complete. Transfer the peppers to the refrigerator or root cellar and consume within about 3 months.

What are you preserving this year?  Let us know in the comments!

Reviving Heirloom Corn

One day about eight years ago, chef Dan Barber of the famed Blue Hill restaurant at Stone Barns in the Hudson River Valley got a FedEx package from someone he didn’t know.

Inside were two ears of corn.  And a letter.

Chef Dan Barber prepares polenta with an heirloom corn variety at the Blue Hill restaurant in the Hudson River Valley.

The handwritten note explained that the corn was an heirloom variety called New England Eight Row Flint (or Otto File, by its Italian name), and that it was a taste that was nearly lost to history.

Native Americans cultivated this variety hundreds of years ago. The corn caught on with settlers in New England because it was hearty and nutritious.

[...]

Listen to the rest of the story  on NPR’s All Things Considered..