Recipes and Raspberry Response

In response to the questions from my What’s Been Cooking post, I only have links for three of the recipes:

Burghul bi Jibn wal Batinjan
Khoresht-e-Bademjan
Crystal’s pizza crust

The spicy green pepper chicken was one of my made-up recipes, as was the eggplant in balsamic vinegar based sauce for the farfalle. I wouldn’t know where to start to try to type out what I did for either dish, because I’m afraid I would forget something and y’all would make it and it would be awful. As I’ve mentioned before, I make up a lot of things when I cook, and those were two times it happened to work out. Sorry!

In another comment, Heather E. mentioned that when she went to her Farmer’s Market, some things were not as cheap as the grocery store, like berries. The thing I really like about Farmer’s Markets is that you can ask questions. My first question would be, “Are they organically grown?” Organic berries are more expensive than non-organic, but berries are top of the list of fruits and vegetables that you want to buy organic if you can.

I’ll let you do your own research on what you think about organic vs. regular food. And what you think about big organic vs. local farms. People write books on the subject, so articulating the nuanced arguments for and against is probably outside the scope of a blog post.

Personally, I’m willing to spend more for organic foods in some cases. My first priority is meat and dairy and eggs. Then I try for organic vegetables and fruits if I don’t intend to peel it, and then by how washable they are (if I’m buying regular produce, I at least want to wash off as much of the chemicals as I can).

I’d also rather spend a little more to buy from local farmers than from agribusiness, even “big organic” agribusiness. Why? You can learn about the details and complicated economic points from a variety of sources (If you’re really interested, I would say that two good places to start are Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
by Barbara Kingsolver and The Omnivore’s Dilemma
by Michael Pollan), but basically I think the fresher something is, the healthier it is. I’d rather pay a little more for produce that was picked that morning than produce that was picked a month ago in South America when it was not yet ripe, flown hundreds of miles to a warehouse, packaged, stickered, put on a truck, driven across the country, and then laid out in my grocery store getting “misted” every few minutes so it doesn’t look as tired as it is.

Again, that’s just me. I do buy some regular produce, and I buy some frozen organic produce from Costco, and I just try to make the best decision I can about groceries any given week. It’s a work in progress, and hopefully I’ll get more consistent and have an increasingly healthy pantry/fridge/freezer situation as time goes by.

Really, sometimes the berries ARE too expensive. And Heather E., I apologize for springing off of your innocent and simple comment to wax eloquent on my views! I’m not really responding to your comment, it’s just what got me started. 🙂

Oh, and here is my Grandmother’s spaghetti sauce recipe, as a reward for those who read the post this far!

1 pound ground beef, browned and drained
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon parsley flakes
1 Tablespoon basil
2 teaspoons salt
2 cans (14.5 ounce) of stewed or diced tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste

Simmer on low heat for one hour, stirring occasionally.

Note: My grandmother and my mom and all of my aunts swear that you have to make this sauce in a cast iron pan. Something about how the acid in the tomatoes reacts with the iron. Anyway, having tried it both ways, I can say that there IS actually a taste difference when you use an iron pan, and we prefer it in the iron pan. But if you don’t have a cast iron pan, it will still work. 🙂

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