Monday, October 29, 2007

Book Report; Pepper Pucks

This summer, I read Barbara Kingsolver's engaging and hilarious Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, and I'm all fired up about local food. If in the future you want to convince me of something, I suggest you have a strategy meeting with Ms. Kingsolver first. Future persuaders, joke about turkey sex. Be both humble and eloquent. Somehow, she makes it look easy.

So, persuaded, I* got almost all our vegetables and a good amount of meat from a CSA at the farmers' market this summer. But since I live in the North, this week is the end of all that, and we expect the tundra to freeze by Wednesday. So, in anticipation of this wholly predictable event, have I spent the last month canning and freezing and drying and pickling? I have not. I have spent the last month traveling, enjoying some unexpected professional upheaval, reading, and messing around on the internet (hello, internet!). I also cleaned the bathroom sink once. I've just been so... busy!

Really, I'm just too lazy to can things this fall, I don't think I'll ever be convinced to buy a dehydrator, and my freezer is already full of... oh, who knows. But I can check off Preserved The Harvest For Winter thanks to this token effort:

Pepper Pucks

12 jalapenos (de-seeded and un-ribified if they're spicier than you want)
2 heads garlic, peeled
3 T oil

Put the peppers and garlic in the food processor and demolish them. Add oil. Drop the resulting paste onto a wax-papered cookie sheet by generous tablespoons-full. Freeze until solid, and then huck them into a freezer bag. It'll make something in the neighborhood of 12 generous tablespoons, so each wad will have one jalapeno and a couple cloves of garlic in it.

If you cook or shop differently than I do, I bet you could tweak these ingredients with good results. I settled on the garlic/jalapeno combination because it'll be flexible (thai, mexican or indian) and because I had local organic garlic and my dad's jalapenos, which are neither local nor organic, but the farmer sharing half your DNA trumps all that. Blood is thicker than petroleum. Or something.

Since this isn't a Real Recipe from a Real Book, I have not yet tested my theory and used one of these pucks, but I figure you can just throw one into a warm pan where it will thaw quickly, and you can proceed with your curry or chili or stir fry from there. If anything dramatic happens, you know I won't be able to resist writing about it here.

*Actually, my dear Vegetable Procurement Agent got all the vegetables and meat, because he needs the car on Tuesdays anyway.


Anonymous said...

Vegetable Procurement Agent also does things like clean the bathroom.

Another Anna said...

And digs the ditches and washes the dishes. I'm a lucky woman.

Anonymous said...

I will mention that eating locally is considerably less work when you live in a climate with a year-round growing season. Something like the maritime northwest comes to mind. our means of preserving carrots,leeks, and onions, for instance, is to leave them in the ground until we're hungry.

Perhaps there are relatives in the northwest with a house and some agricultural land you could visit?

lauren said...

Yay, a post!

I love frozen pucks of things to drop into food. They are very useful. We make them out of stock, and once when I was making tomato sauce and it had too much juice I froze that and now we put it in soups and it is very good, and this is sentence is too long.

I haven't read "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" yet, though I have it and I love Barbara Kingsolver. Did you read "The Omnivore's Dilemma" yet? I think it is the slightly-more-scientific version of the same book.
(I feel sure that we have had an extended conversation about the nuances and details of the book and I have forgotten all about it. If so, it's not you, it's me.)

Another Anna said...

According to Anonymous I, he wasn't so much feeling underappreciated as he was wanting visitors to our home to know that the bathroom gets cleaned more often than it's me doing the cleaning. Fear not!

Another Anna said...

Hello Anonymous II and Lauren!

Anonymous II: we're on our way (or would be, if we were walking).

Lauren: If we had this discussion, I don't remember it either. I keep putting down Omnivore's Dilemma to read fiction. So far, it's Fiction: 4, Omnivore's Dilemma: 0 (in terms of books completed). Part of why I loved A, V, M so much i sthat it was so engaging. Like, fiction engaging.

lauren said...

P'raps you should listen to it then! It makes an excellent audiobook, if you have any situations that are good for listening to audiobooks.

Another Anna said...

Audio book! Of course!

I've never listened to an audio book before, but even I can probably figure out how they work. Library, here I come.