Eat Wild, Live Free

After watching Food Revolution and Food, Inc., I am starting to look at food differently.  Both were eye opening to say the least.  I recommend viewing both.  I honestly never questioned where my food came from or how it was being prepared.  We put our trust in the government, partly because we always have and partly because we are too busy to care.  When the movie raised the question, why are we able to buy a fast food hamburger for 99 cents but not a head of broccoli?  You stop and think.  I now understand the true definition of supply and demand.  In order to tip the scales the other direction, we need to start taking care of ourselves and our families.  We can start by purchasing local and organic ingredients.  

I felt the movie did an outstanding job of raising awareness and dropping jaws however I didn’t think it provided enough information on steps to take if you were interested in making changes.  I thought Z is for zest is the perfect avenue for me to share the changes I plan to make and the trials I experience along the way.  Change is difficult, period.  Making changes in how I grocery shop and how I prepare food will not be easy.  I was talking to a girlfriend about Food, Inc. and she made a good point, it is all about your comfort level.  As a wife, Chef and friend, I want to make meals using the freshest ingredients available. 

The first step I took was to sign up for a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), a CSA allows you to purchase in-season vegetables from a local farm.  Since it is only my husband and myself, we purchased a half share for 8 months.  I plan to volunteer 8 hours of my time working on the farm, bagging vegetables and making deliveries.  Most farms offer working shares and this will enable you to save money.  Second, I also want to purchase our meat from a local farm.  I have contacted a couple farms and hope to make this happen within the next couple weeks.  Last but not least, I now have a lovely herb garden in my window sill.  I have 6 different herbs available all year long, God willing I don’t kill them. 

Now for the fun and most challenging part, cooking.  My original idea was to share a recipe using quinoa and vegetables.  Good idea in theory, however when I cooked the quinoa, I was not a fan.  I quickly realized I need to take baby steps.  It didn’t help that my husband was running around, that looks like bird seed and bird seed should be eaten by birds.  (I love that man!)  Not sure what I did wrong but the quinoa was bland so, I ditched the recipe and decided to make a pasta salad.

Please check back as I will be posting articles about my farm experiences and recipes using local ingredients.

Pasta Salad
Serves: 4

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes

1/2 box whole wheat bow tie pasta
1 container fiddleheads, ends cut
1/4 pound pancetta, small dice
1 container sweet cherry tomatoes on vine, halved
1/2 yellow bell pepper, small dice
4 scallions, small dice
1/4 cup hard parmesan cheese, shredded
extra virgin olive oil
2 T. flat leaf parsley, finely minced

  1. Clean fiddleheads by filling a bowl with cool water, place fiddleheads in a small strainer and dunk in water repeatedly. Replace water as needed and continue until water is no longer dirty.
  2. Using medium and large stock pots, bring salted water in both pots to a boil.
  3. Add fiddleheads to medium stock pot and boil for 10 minutes.
  4. Add pasta to large stock pot and boil until al dente, approximately 10 minutes.
  5. While fiddleheads and pasta are boiling, saute pancetta until crispy.
  6. Remove pancetta and place on a paper towel.
  7. When fiddleheads are done boiling, using a slotted spoon remove and place fiddleheads in the same pan used to saute the pancetta.
  8. Over medium to medium high heat, saute fiddleheads for 5 minutes, remove and cool.
  9. Drain pasta and cool.
  10. Place all your ingredients in a large mixing bowl, drizzle olive oil on top, season with salt and pepper.
  11. Gently mix together.
  12. Taste and adjust olive oil, salt and pepper, as needed.
  13. Sprinkle minced parsley on top before serving.

Cooking Notes:

  • If fiddleheads are not available, you can substitute with chopped asparagus.
  • It is imperative you use a high quality olive oil.  Since we aren’t masking the flavors of these ingredients with a heavy dressing or mayonnaise the olive oil needs to be a shining star.
  • I didn’t indicate how much olive oil to add because everyone is different.  I want you to feel comfortable adding ingredients, tasting and adjusting as needed.  Remember to use all your senses. 
  • Watch the amount of salt you add, pancetta tends to be salty and so does parmesan cheese.

 Enjoy! From my kitchen to yours.

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Sweet Cherry Tomatoes on Vine