Tuesday, November 26, 2013

It's an Animal, Vegetable, Miracle Roundup!

It is so nice to share a book that one loves with others and for this round of Cook the Books, I had so much pleasure in seeing how our band of  bloggers took to reading, and in many cases, re-reading, this great volume: "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life", by Barbara L. Kingsolver and Company. Some folks were inspired to rush out to their backyard gardens and pantries of home-grown and prepared foods, while others embraced the locavore message of this book to seek out their suppers from local farmers and markets. Our book club regulars (and always-invited newbies) hail from around the globe, so it was particularly interesting to me to see what folks would cook up for our virtual feast roundup.

First out of the blogging gate was Culinary Adventures with Camilla, a self-professed "black thumb" gardener, though she is a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) subscriber and has some California gardening friends to provide her with fresh, local produce. Using these gorgeous locally-grown dried beans -and check out her photo's nod to the book cover above- Camilla was inspired to make a homemade batch of Gila River Vegetarian Beans


Alicia, the adventurous cook behind Foodycat, loved our featured book and roved around the English countryside to procure the ingredients for her "Britain on a Plate" feast of locally grown pork, baked local farm apples and onions stuffed with pork sausage and sauteed cabbage glazed with her home-grown apple jelly. A food still life worthy of a 17th Dutch master painter!

I'm always intrigued by the ingredients that my Hawai'ian blogger buddy and Cook the Books Co-Host Deb of Kahakai Kitchen has access to. For her Animal, Vegetable, Miracle post Deb looked to the sea, and came up with a delectable meal of Kampachi, a kind of locally farmed fish, topped with Dried Tomato Pesto blended from an excess of farmer's market tomatoes that Deb previously dehydrated and local macadamia nuts, oil and sea salt. Sounds luscious!

Eliot's Eats blogs from somewhere in the American Southwest (I think) from her gardening descriptions. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle was actually the impetus for starting her blog and inspired her to grow and harvest more of her own food. Her post was a very timely one, published on November 1st, la Dia de Muertos, the holiday honored dead loved ones, and she celebrated by making up a batch of Pan de Muertos using locally sourced ingredients and her own homemade butter.

Please join me in welcoming a new participant to Cook the Books, Gwen of Simply Health Family!  Welcome Gwen!  This Arizona native went with a seasonal recipe, perfect for the Thanksgiving table, a Holiday Corn Pudding recipe from Kingsolver's book that was billed as being "so simple a 9 year old can do it". In fact, Gwen's 4 year old was the main sous chef for this tempting dish.

My upstate New York garden hung on until the end of October and I had an amazing bounty of hot and sweet peppers. For my Crispy Cook post I canned a couple of half-pints of Jalapeno Relish using a particularly fertile Jalapeno plant for my supply of peppers. This was my first time growing this variety, as I didn't think they'd be very bountiful in my Zone 4 garden, but I was pleasantly surprised.

Another Cook the Book welcome is in order for Cathy, of Delaware Girl Eats! She shares a tour of the Bellevue State Park Community Gardens, where she received the wonderful gift of some buttercup squash, a native American varietal, from one of the gardeners. Her recipe for Roasted Buttercup Squash with Rosemary looks sumptuous and elegant.

Winter squash is also a passion (she says it's an obsession) for my Indiana blogger buddy and CTB Co-Host Heather, of Girlichef. In fact, Heather is in the midst of co-hosting another blog event, 12 Weeks of Winter Squash, if you are looking for ideas to use the seasonal bounty of this great vegetable. Heather cooked up a bodacious platter of Roasted Delicata Squash and Tuscan Kale Pasta for us to drool over.

A third variety of winter squash, this curvaceous Zucca Marina del Chioggia, inspired Simona, another of my delightful Cook the Books Co-Hosts, to use some of its flesh in a loaf of Winter Squash and Whey Bread. You can find this recipe and other great posts on Simona's blog, Briciole, where the Italian native writes about food, breadmaking and cheesemaking in her new California home.

I hope that you have enjoyed this survey of wonderful eats inspired by our Kingsolver book selection. Please be sure to visit the links above to see the entire thoughtful and beautiful posts by our participating bloggers. Our Guest Judge, Andrea of Andreas Recipes, will be reading through them and let us know what she thinks next week.

In the meantime, you can get a jump on our next book selection, Baking Cakes in Kigali, by Gaile Parkin, which is a novel set in contemporary Rwanda. I just finished it and really savored it; so many ideas, emotions and characters are contained in its pages. Deb of Kahakai Kitchen picked this book (thanks Deb!) and will be cohosting this next round for our December/January reading. Be sure to bookmark some time during the busy holiday season to read this great book!


Alicia Foodycat said...

Great round up! So much lovely local food.

Heather S-G said...

This was such a great choice, Rachel...and I especially love that it was in a cooler time of year in some parts of the world (ahem, mine)...when eating locally is always a welcome challenge. Beautiful roundup, I wish I could load up my plate.

Andrea Meyers said...

I'm looking forward to reading all of these posts this week! Such lovely food.

Simona Carini said...

Thank you so much, Rachel. That was fast! I am sure I will enjoy everybody's contribution.

Gwen said...

Thanks again for hosting Heather and Deb! I had fun with this 'challenge' and really look forward to visiting everyone's blog. Cooking local and in season has always been a priority of mine.

Gwen said...

Thanks again for hosting Heather and Deb! I had fun with this 'challenge' and really look forward to visiting everyone's blog. Cooking local and in season has always been a priority of mine.

Deb in Hawaii said...

Such a great roundup Rachel--and so speedy too! ;-) I just got around to see all the posts and I agree with Heather--if only I could load up a plate with all of the fabulous food everyone created.

I really enjoyed rereading this book--mahalo for picking it!