Friday, January 21, 2011

Farm Challenge - Day 6

When this week started, many of us took a few days to get comfortable with what ingredients we had available and what to do with them.  As the week has progressed, meals have generally become more complex and flavorful.  We've discovered what herbs and fruit juices combine for the best salad sauces, and are becoming more fluent in the use turnips and daikon radishes.   What was a sense of guarded sufficiency on Sunday has turned into an unabashed feast of bounty.  Now on day 6, it is apparent that we are in no danger of using up our food supply, and it is showing in our meals.

Friday breakfast

The interns all eat breakfast together on Fridays.  We've been saving up our eggs for this breakfast for several days, so Andrew whisked up some a fluffy omelet.  More sweet potato hash browns were a given, and Andy cut up some grapefruit.  Kate suggested we fix banana pancakes, despite not having any flour, milk or baking powder.   This seemed like a great idea, so we stirred eggs, oil, water, cane molasses and mashed bananas into some corn flour.  This mixture didn't hold together well enough to make large pancakes, but we made lots of small ones and they actually turned out really great!  They were not only sweet and tasty, but had a remarkably pancake-like texture.  It was nice to eat something bread-like for a change!

Friday lunch

It's build your own salad day!  A large bowl of greens (New Red Fire and Ithaca lettuces, swiss chard, new zealand spinach, and katuk) was surrounded by bowls of salad builders, like shredded carrots, broccoli florets and cherry tomatoes.

Today's salad sauce was orange juice, olive oil, and blended strawberries with rosemary, tropical oregano, green onions, salt and garlic chives.  If a vegetables salad doesn't fit your bill, the fruit salad composed of pumelo (a giant citrus similar to, but sweeter than, a grapefruit), strawberries, and jujube might.

To make  sure our salad needs were met, Andrew also prepared a phenomenal ceviche out of tomatoes, cilantro, onions, jicama, cooked tilapia and citrus juice.   And just in case we were still craving fresh fruit, a papaya and grapefruit smoothie served as a drink and desert!

The cornbread on the lower left was made from leftover pancake batter
To balance out all of these raw vegetables, Andrew pulled out the deep fryer again and made his best sweet potato chips to date, with a side of guacamole!  Mmmmm.

Friday dinner

Yesterday, half an hour before dinner, 7 interns could be found huddled around a fencepost behind the shop, a dead rabbit hanging from it's back legs from a crossboard above a bucket.  Animal butcherings are usually learning and teaching experiences for us, a chance for us to pass practical skills on to each other[1] and review our anatomical knowledge.  "That's the gall bladder, right?"  Yup, that's the green one there.  Don't puncture it, it'll spoil the meat.

Yesterday's butchering lesson was today's dinner.  Matt took the brace of coneys home to his English wife, who rubbed them with herbs (pronounced with a hard "h") and roasted them up in classic European style with a side of broiled turnips and sweet potato.

Served with a green salad, some lemon kale and leftover fruit salad, this was a handsome meal.  It was nice to eat rabbit on its own, and to get a feel for how many people two rabbits can feed.[2]


Reflections, day 6

This week has been so much richer experienced in community than it would have been alone.  One of the wonderful things about doing this challenge together is that we get to share in the motivation, planning, and execution of this pursuit.  This not only makes it easier to resist the draw of chocolate and cheese, but has the added benefit of allowing us to share the challenges and enjoyments of the work involved together.   Some meals can take up to 5 man-hours to prepare as we have to harvest each ingredient from the field.  However, by working together or taking turns, the workload is quite manageable.  And what's more, it gives us lots of excuses to depend on each other, to serve each other, to be community.  It's fun, rich, and unifying.


[1] One thing I love about ECHO is that there are always people who know less than you about something, and others who know more.  This means that everyone in the community is at the same time a teacher and a learner.  Yesterday, I learned from Andrew how to kill a rabbit with a karate chop.  Quick, clean, and painless.
[2] Apparently, a family in the tropics can raise enough rabbits from one breeding buck and two does to have a steady supply of one rabbit per week.  This number is higher in temperate zones, where the colder temperature allow for a higher litter frequency.  These two rabbits fed us well, and we had over half a rabbit left over.

1 comment:

  1. Paula (and Jerry Stahl) said when they were in the mission field and had to kill rabbits for food, you can stun the rabbit by a quick stretch and hard jerk and then process it.