Sunday, October 18, 2009

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

Finally finished my book club's latest pick, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver.

It's the story of how Kingsolver's family spent a year eating only locally grown, organic foods. They ate only fruits and vegetables that were in season in their region and grew most of what they needed in their own garden. It's simultaneously inspiring and daunting. In theory, their plan, and the reasons behind it, makes good sense. However, considering the fact that they live on a small farm and even raised their own poultry, their commitment to eating locally is likely more than most people can pull off, especially when first contemplating a change in eating habits. I can't help but think that baby steps are the way to go here. I probably won't totally change my culinary lifestyle, but I can try to do things like try to buy less processed foods, think about recipes that call for vegetables that are in season, and make the effort to look for more organic, free range eggs and hormone-free milk.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle includes recipes sprinkled throughout the book that sound really good and put me in the cooking mood. (I'm most anxious to try making the sweet potato quesadillas.) In the spirit of this, I created and tried a recipe of my own for Butternut Squash Pizza.

Inspired by the flavor combinations of a pasta dish in the Martha Stewart Everyday Foods cookbook, I used whole wheat pizza dough (store-bought, but still somewhat local as it came from a bakery in NY state), spread pureed butternut squash on in place of the sauce (frozen, yes, but still seasonally appropriate), and topped with Parmesan cheese, caramelized onions, rosemary, and a sprinkle of shredded mozzarella. The end result was quite tasty.

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