Posts Tagged ‘recipes’

Getting Creative

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We are currently swimming in zucchini from our CSA. It’s to be expected; after all, when the point in summer arrives that zucchini is thriving, it’s also taking over the garden (or, in this case, the farm). And zucchini is surprisingly versitile in its uses: fried with garlic, chopped up into soup, put into a zucchini parmesan (a variation of eggplant parmesan), put into casseroles. It’s wonderful. But…there comes a time when it’s hard to eat it fast enough.

Enter our wonderful guide to seasonal eating, Serving Up the Harvest by Andrea Chesman. If you want to eat seasonally, this is the book for you. If you have kids and you don’t know how to get them to eat their vegetables, this book is for you. And if you like good food, this book is definitely for you.

Chesman has a wonderful recipe entitled “Zapplesauce Muffins.” It combines all the yummy flavors of apple spice muffins–cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, and yes, butter–but instead of using apples, she uses 4 cups of zucchini. This certainly doesn’t make your ordinary zucchini bread. It’s fantastic. The true test was when I brought these muffins over to my friend’s house yesterday and her 3-year-old son at two of them on the spot. She asked if he liked them, and he couldn’t even tear his mouth away to form the words for his delight; all he could manage was a zealous thumbs-up.

As always, I find metaphor in this happy occasion to make muffins. Even though the bounty of zucchini is a blessing, it’s hard sometimes when we have too much of the same thing. It gets monotonous. It gets tiresome. We long for something new.

But this doesn’t necessarily mean that we need the new thing. It might just mean that we need a little imagination, a willingness to tap into our creative forces. Often our culture tempts us with the thought that we need to buy the brand new thingamajig or that our 2-year-old perfectly good cell phone is soooooo outdated. We are in a culture of buy-and-toss almost as soon as we get our new goods home. We aren’t willing to use what we have in bounty, because we are already eyeing something newer, flashier, fancier.

I think that sometimes it’s just a matter of seeing things in a different way. Exploring their potential. Thinking outside the box…so far outside the box that zucchini could be turned into zapplesauce.

This is another aspect of simplicity: using what we have in new and creative ways. Seeing what we have as adequate but not tossing aside our natural tendency to fashion something new. In this way, too, we can see what we have as gift, and see our gifts as beautiful potential.

Like Buttah

IMG_4523Making your own butter is surprisingly easy. All you  need is cream and a jar. Seriously.

So this is our homemade butter. We started with a pint of cream, left it out in a sealed mason jar overnight, and then in the morning got to shakin’. We found the best method to shake isn’t like a maraca, but rather tipping upside down and then right side up, upside down and right side up, over and over again. Nothing frantic, just rhythmic.

After about 7 minutes or so, you begin to notice that a large mass seems to be thunking back and forth. Shake a minute or two longer, and then carefully unscrew the jar and pour the liquid into a separate container–that’s the buttermilk you’ll use to make the pancakes that your butter will go on.

Knead the mass of butter under cold water for a few minutes. If you like, this is the time to salt it. Rob and I have found that only a dash is really necessary.

Put it into a storage container and voila! You’ve got yourself some of the best butter you’ll ever taste…no kidding!

So what’s so cool about this? An appreciation for the process, for the energy expended, for the source. A feeling of investment and pride, because in a meager way I helped to bring about something that wasn’t available to me before except by some unseen and thoughtless mechanized process. A feeling of co-creation.

Oh, yeah, and it tastes really awesome, too!