At the end of a long hard day of farm work and kids, with a deployed husband and everything on my shoulders, the last thing I want is to spend an hour cooking dinner. So instead I yank a bunch of baby beet greens out of the ground, grab a couple hands full of sunchoke tubers and a few scoops of baked pumpkin that I have staged in the fridge from a pumpkin I baked a few days ago. I chop the beet greens fine, cube the sunchokes up small and toss them into a hot pan with some local free range pig lard from our friends at Cook Pigs ( remember, real lard is the new margarine). I sauté the sunchokes until tender. I then add the chopped beet greens to the same pan with a little salt & pepper and spoon a couple scoops of pumpkin into a pile in the pan and warm it with a little honey and nutmeg. Start to finish maybe 15 minutes, including washing the dirt off and only using 1 pan. Amazing dinner. I also often add a hunk of meat that can be braised quickly in the same pan. The beet greens can easily be substituted for kale, swiss chard or collard greens.The sunchokes can be substituted for beets, carrots, turnips, rutabagas or parsnips. The pumpkin can be substituted with butternut, acorn or any other winter squash. Mix it up, keep it simple. This is farm to table.
I can’t even begin to tell you how often I hear people tell me how they would love to eat better but they are just too busy to cook from scratch. It’s complicated recipes with lots of ingredients that take time. It’s taken me a while to learn this, but food doesn’t have to be complicated to be good. And good food can be cheap too. Here in southern California we have the luxury of being able to grow a garden all year round. A small plot in any yard can yield an incredible amount of food. If you actually eat what you grow and break your habit of buying everything from the grocery store you can eat amazingly healthy for very little money. Hunting is an excellent way to provide fresh healthy meat for your family. If you just can’t bring yourself to grow a garden consider joining a CSA where you get a good quantity of whatever is in season every week. Change up your way of thinking about cooking, toss the cookbooks and packaged food and I promise you’ll never look back.