It’s been one of those days. I wish it had been overcast, drizzly, and sans a toddler pulling the long-suffering cat around by the tail so that I could have just buried my head deeper under the covers and snoozed all day long. Instead, I worked up a nice oil slick of sweat pushing Little Friend on the playground swing while my eyes squinted in the sunshine. My cold of the past few weeks has hunkered down, and I’m suspicious it may be mustering forces in the form of a sinus infection.
All the more reason to highlight today’s Treasure finding as part of Belle Squeak’s green week. I know green has become the political banner of anything remotely environmentally conscious, but I mean the green I see around me. The green asparagus, the green bunches of kale at farmers’ markets, and the green slime on my back deck that needs to be pressure washed over Memorial Day weekend. While going green usually means trips to the great outdoors, my cold has inspired me to stay indoors as much as possible, and as a result, I am reminded of ways to go green without leaving the relative comfort of my computer chair. Namely, two blogs I’ve recently discovered that respectively have made me want to guzzle raw milk and do a wikipedia search for “ramps” so I can use them in a Pork Chop Waffle with Ramp and Rhubarb Sauce recipe. So for all of my fellow armchair green travelers, this one’s for you.
The Nourished Kitchen
Nourished Kitchen, at last count, has 5,739 fans on Facebook. I won’t disclose my own friend count, but let me assure you it’s embarrassingly fewer. The author of the popular blog is Jenny, a self-proclaimed “advocate for farm fresh foods and sustainable agriculture.” Reading her perspectives on life and food, I’m ready to be her 5, 740th fan. In her personal information section, she writes, “I believe that food is something worthy of celebration.” And celebrate it she does. Like all good hosts, online or otherwise, she draws others into her celebration. Reading her post on raw milk, I felt equipped with both information and inspiration, and despite recent foreboding news reports on the safety of a local Pittsburgh dairy provider of raw milk, I want to jump on Jenny’s bandwagon and take an unadulterated sip.
I am happy to ferret out Nourished Kitchen updates from the junk mail that flocks to my inbox. I eagerly click the links to find out about such goodies as Spiced Apple Sauce with Red Wine and A Nourishing Menu for Mother’s Day. While the blog is a recent discovery of mine, I wish I had known about it much sooner. Trolling her site, I find insights about grass-fed beef, homemade yogurt, sprouting grains, and making bone broth. I know these are all things my great-grandmother would have known how to do. In an age of grocery-store convenience, I don’t. And I want to. The Nourished Kitchen recognizes our busy modern lives while also acknowledging that we have to carve out time for the important stuff. And real, healthy food? That’s important.
“Eat real food,” author Michael Pollon exhorts. “Not edible food-like substances. Eat things your great-grandmother would have recognized as food.” If you’ve lost your great-grandmother’s know-how on preparing real food, Jenny from Nourished Kitchen has the answer. She has developed an online cooking class that will show us all how to prepare nourishing, homemade meals that will be scarfed up by adults and kids around our dinner tables. Add to the compelling reasons to join the class her promise to save money and eat seasonally, and I’m sold. The cooking class begins on June 1st and enrollment ends on May 31, so let me encourage you to navigate away from my post for a moment to sign up at The Nourished Kitchen. (Just be sure to navigate back and keep reading about the next gem of a “green”-inspired blog.)
Admission of a semi-retired English teacher: I hate trying to spell the word “Corduroy.” By the time I finish writing about this site, I hope to have mastered the spelling. Corduroy Orange is worth writing about, especially because this blog focuses on local produce and cooking in the Pittsburgh area. Author Jesse Sharrad shares his passion for creating food that is both healthy and locally sourced. For this reason, his blog is a treasure trove for all Pittsburgh dwellers.
Corduroy Orange invites participation with its readers. Jesse urges his adoring public to email him with foodie questions and promises to research and post his answers. With recent posts sharing studies on getting kids to eat vegetables and a debate over what qualities make a good cook, it’s impossible to avoid the communal nature of discussing, and not just eating, food. And since Jesse is a local food chef, he makes appearances in the Pittsburgh food scene. He recently conducted a live waffle-with-a-twist cooking demonstration at the Waffle Shop in East Liberty. Some chefs treat cooking like a high stakes poker game, holding their cards (or recipes or knives) close to their chests. Jesse shares techniques and resources so openly, he removes barriers from cooking naturally and locally. For anyone attempting to navigate the Pittsburgh scene for real food, Corduroy Orange will provide a dependable road map.
(Just an aside: I’ve now typed Corduroy six times. I still have to look up how to spell it.)
If sprouting seeds and sautéing ramps are a bit beyond your current culinary expertise, but you’re still interested in eating locally, turn to LocalHarvest.org for help in finding local farm markets, CSAs, and sustainable produce. In Pittsburgh, the Grow Pittsburgh organization is doing exciting things with sustainable urban agriculture. If you, like me, have a stuffy nose from a wretched spring cold and can’t smell a thing simmering on your stove, read The Nourished Kitchen and Corduroy Orange while you’re recovering.