Daily Challenge: Plant an Herb or Window Garden
Food of the Day: Mint
I think I may be losing the forest for the trees. I’m viewing the Daily Challenge and FotD as gospel rather than – to paraphrase the great Captain Barbossa – seeing them more like “guidelines.” For example, yesterday I found myself in my community garden, an incredible place with space to just hang out and enjoy nature (even if that “nature” is at the corner of a busy intersection complete with bus stop). I was tending my plot, which has enabled me not grow my own food for pretty much the first time in my life. When I had a house with a yard, we planted tomatoes and cucumbers. That was my true first experience at growing food, but I had always grown from plantlings, never seeds. This garden I grew tomatoes, beans and peppers from seeds. In the spring, I was also growing cilantro in the apartment, which thrived very nicely in the south-facing windows.
So, when it comes to planting a garden, I’d say I’m ahead of the game and truly enjoying this small bit of green paradise in the concrete jungle.
In fact, we have a communal bed for herbs, meaning I generally can get my hands on just the right amount (bunches tend to be too much of a good thing, although drying and preserving – you can freeze your herbs in olive oil or butter – helps use up my CSA share herbs). So, I did pick a sprig of mint yesterday, per my FotD edict.
Therein lies the problem. Rather than go with the Locavore Challenge “guidelines,” I picked some mint knowing I really had zero plans of using it. What I really needed was tomatoes and peppers from my community plot to make homemade spaghetti sauce (recipe below). Why bother with mint that I won’t be using? I mean, that really does go against the principles of sustainability. I henceforth and forthwith declare that I will no longer penalize myself for skipping the FotD, especially when I can substitute its cousin (in this case, basil for the sauce) and eat local.
Spaghetti/Tomato Sauce and Meatballs
Sauce recipe is for one serving; multiply by number of people eating.
1C fresh tomatoes, cut into chunks
1/4 cup diced onion
1/4 cup (or to taste) diced garlic or chopped scapes
1 small (1/2 large) bell pepper
1T olive oil
3 basil leaves (or to taste)
Saute onion, garlic and pepper until soft. Add tomatoes and basil, then cover over a medium heat. When tomatoes reduce, remove from heat and allow to cool (not long, just beyond glass shatter point). Mix in blender and either return to heat or pour over meatballs.
1# ground beef
1C ricotta cheese
2T bread crumbsNot
1/4 cup onion (optional)
Mix together; form into balls. Fry in oil of choice until brown, flipping once. If grassfed (and you should) meat doesn’t have to be cooked well done. Add tomato sauce to meatballs; simmer five minutes. Top off your favorite pasta!
Where I Soared: Well, it was a locavore day, barring the box spaghetti. And, come on! Homemade spaghetti sauce, it’s super easy but you don’t know until you try! I added a local bread with local garlic butter. Garlic toast from da hood.
Where I Sunk: Picking mint I had no intention of using. The only recipe that came to mind was a Mojito, which seemed like adding insult to injury. On a side not, I mourned when I visited Barbados to hear that they were shipping rum and the Bombay plant was “off shoring.” The BARBADOS!!! is now importing rum. Get the picture?
My Grade: I’m gonna go for a B, even though it took me an entire day to get this post up because it was such a busy day and I do need to get paid now and again for my writing. 😉