Showing posts with label kohlrabi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label kohlrabi. Show all posts

Monday, April 8, 2013

Spam Musubi Chirashi Sushi [Food Bloggers Against Hunger]

I started this blog because I've picked up a number of clues for what to do when you're overwhelmed with fresh produce--from your CSA farm share, your garden, your neighbor's garden, or a deal at the store you couldn't pass up.  Got too much of a certain vegetable, say, kohlrabi?  I can help you.

The flip side of the coin, having too little food, is what we're on about today.

I have never truly experienced food insecurity.  I had weeks in college where I couldn't afford to buy food and pay rent, but I worked at a restaurant so I managed to eat on the days I worked, and even take home a doggie bag for my days off (and I was only responsible for myself and my dog).  That's not food insecurity.
The Feeding America website defines food insecurity as not always knowing where your next meal is coming from.  As a person who has the skills, supplies, and space to put up whatever my garden decides to grow, it's very troubling to me that nearly 1 in 5 children in America, and more than a quarter of all kids here in Ohio, live in households with uncertain nutritionally adequate and safe supplies of food (source).

I'm happy to join with Food Bloggers Against Hunger to dedicate today's post to bring awareness and inspire action to end childhood hunger.

What can you do?
Well, certainly donating to Scouting for Food, or Stamp Out Hunger (coming May 11th), or your community canned food drive helps. Buying a few extra super sale items during your regular grocery shopping and dropping them at the food pantry helps.  Donating your excess garden produce helps. Teaching gardening at your kids' school, and donating the excess produce at harvest time, helps (and is so fun!).
If your CSA farm share provides you with something you just can't find a way to like (have you checked my Recipe Index By Ingredient?) please donate that item to your local food pantry each week when you get your box.  I remember I was surprised to learn that fresh produce can be donated directly to many food pantries.  Last year my local Foodbank distributed 1.2 million pounds of fresh produce (source: Feedwire Spring 2013) to hungry folks in a 3 county region--more than double the previous year's distribution!

When my young daughter said one December, after seeing all the holiday-time donation barrels at her school, "what do the people eat next month?", I realized that seasonal charity is not enough.

Help end hunger on a national scale.

Please take a moment, using this link, to tell Congress you support Federal nutrition legislation.  I just did, and it took me under 3 minutes and I even personalized the heck out of my message. Try it!  Now!

I'll get the recipe ready while you do.

There are some foods that seem to sharply divide the population.  For example, you love cilantro or you think it tastes like soap.  Me, I think it tastes like soap and love it anyway. Trend bucker.

Spam seems to be one of those foods.  Growing up I don't think I was much aware of Spam.  As an adult I observed it was an item that was often ridiculed:  called "mystery meat"or "poor people's food", Spam was definitely not the kind of food fit for a Discerning Palate.  Even recently, when I was helping pack boxes for the mobile food pantry at The Foodbank, I heard comments belittling a can of Spam that was unloaded from a donation barrel.  Why?  It's an inexpensive protein source that is shelf stable, doesn't require special tools to open or prepare, and can be used in a variety of ways.

My thoughts on Spam changed when I lived in Hawaii.  In the convenience stores across the US, you can find hot dogs, sausages, and taquitos hanging out under heat laps, ready to eat if you've got the munchies.  But in Hawaii, in addition to those usual suspects, there's this sushi-looking thing.  Spam musubi.  It's a slab of marinated cooked Spam (in place of fish) seatbelted onto a pad of rice with some nori.  I had to try it (I've never had to try a tacquito) and it's good eating!  Heck, even Martha Stewart likes Spam (browned in butter and put between thick slices of good bread, according to an interview I heard on an NPR show).

Because I'm happily inundated with veggies when I get my CSA farm share, I add vegetables to as many things as I can.  I once happened to have a kohlrabi burning a hole in my crisper (hey, it happens) when my son asked for Spam Musubi, so I made these rolls.  But if we're not needing a portable meal, or I have less time to prepare supper, it's fun to make Spam Musubi Chirashi style.  My friend Lasar introduced me to this scattered style of sushi, and I've expanded on her technique (though her original recipe card lives in a stack clipped on my fridge--for 3 moves/4 fridges now!).
Yes, my kohlrabi is naked.  I used the greens in this pizza.

Most of the ingredients should be available at your local grocery store, all except furikake and you don't even need that.  If you're in an Asian market getting supplies for this, look around for furikake.  It's a rice seasoning blend.  It keeps forever and is delicious on popcorn, though, note to vegetarians, it frequently contains bonito flakes or dried egg.  There are many different flavors of furikake.  I've tried 3, and my favorite remains the one that Lasar handed to me before she moved to Europe:  Katsuo Fumi Furikake.  My son and I sprinkle this on our plated servings.  My spouse and daughter do not.

Like cilantro, you either love it or you don't.

If you have preconceived notions about Spam, but have never even tried it, give this a try.  Listen to some Hawaiian music (Home In These Islands by the Brothers Cazimero is playing now) and transport yourself.  It's technically Spring and this taste of the islands 'ohana style helps me to feel the balmy breezes.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Kohlrabi Greens, Manchego, Potato and Bacon Pizza with Red Onion and Rosemary (Pizza Night!)

Today's pizza happened because I baked bacon.  It's my favorite meat, and I tend to not to cook it often because I cannot help myself around it.  Know your triggers.
I always bake bacon--it works best for me.  If I cook it in the skillet, I have too much spatter to clean up.  But baking my bacon means I can easily freeze the cooked strips, drain the baking pan into my Bacon Grease Storage Device, and be on my way to making delicious pork-flavored goodness.  Or something like that.

It wasn't enough for me to use two vegetables from the farm share (roasted garlic and new potatoes) like I'd planned for this pizza.  When I saw the pretty greens on this week's kohlrabi (I knew I needed the kohlrabi themselves for sushi) I figured they'd add a nice pop of color to the pizza.  I didn't figure on the unintended Kale Chip Side Effect.  After I sliced this pizza, I couldn't help but grab the little tufts of greens that were stuck to the slicer--they tasted just like kale chips!  My daughter did not complain about the relative dearth of green on her slices, so I think it worked out well for both of us.

This pizza uses Manchego cheese, a sheep's milk cheese from the (Man of La) Mancha region of Spain.  I got mine at Costco.  Why?  The French Green Lentil Effect.  I'm all about the Effects today.  I was looking for gruyere, but found Manchego instead.  Rachael Ray mentions Manchego now and again, so I should buy it, right?  Apparently she thinks Manchego cheese plays nicely with potatoes.  And now I do, too!  I have a lot of Manchego now, shredded and stashed in my freezer for future use.