Garden Diary

Thursday, October 07, 2010

The always interesting Bob Waldrop from Oklahoma city has an engaging and interesting series of blog posts from September on food security. Some of Bob's fears may be unfounded, but his basic concern that many families don't have any food security is definitely worth considering.

When I lived in Vermont, a coworker who was Mormon told me that part of the regular practice of Mormons was to keep 6 months of food available per family at all times. Perhaps a reflection of the difficult times they experienced in the early years after the trek to Utah?

While we shouldn't be pulling down our barns to build bigger ones, the idea of providing for a rainy day is plain common sense. On a farm, we would expect to can, put things in the root cellar, etc. Well, city dwellers need to do the equivalent. My family has always stored a good amount of non-perishables: rice, pasta, dried beans, etc. Anyway, take a look at the beginning of Bob's post below and give it some thought.

How much food is a year's supply for a family of four?

When starting a food storage program for your family, the most critical thing is to know how much food your family eats in a year. If you are going to store what you eat, and eat what you store, the first step is observation of your own kitchen.

But to give an idea as to what this could involve. . . I went to the governments My Pyramid site which describes their recommended daily consumptions of the various food groups (vegetables, fruits, oils, dairy, protein, grains). They have different recommendations for men and women, boys and girls of various ages. The plan below is based on a family of four -- a mother and father, a teenage boy age 14-18, and a young child age 4-8.

I don't know that anyone actually eats to the government recommendations, or even if that is a good idea, since government diet recommendations are heavily influenced by politics. So I caution folks against following these amounts without doing research into what your family actually eats.

With those caveats, however. . . here it is. . .
Veggies 2,084 15 oz cans
Grains 593 lbs
Fruits 1,564 15 oz cans
oils 12 gallons
dairy 251 gallons
peanut butter 13 quarts
nuts 13 lbs
beans 268 lbs
eggs 67 doz eggs
meat/poultry/fish 226 lbs
Using Oklahoma City supermarket prices, except for the meat which I priced at the levels prevailing in the Oklahoma Food cooperative. . . the price if bought all at once would be $5,453 plus sales tax, or $454/month. The dairy I priced as bulk powdered milk.

Visit Bobaganda for the rest.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Garlic Soup Recipe

Well, my friends, we are into cold-flu season, so I am re-posting my garlic soup recipe. I recently had need to make it and although I'm thrilled to make this for pure enjoyment, I confess it really is a cure for sickness! you go, filed under the category of "Food I Would Serve Jesus"!
Read before beginning: The ingredients are on the consertive end; adjust to your own taste, and don't be afraid to add more garlic! (I usually add about a cup of whole cloves) I would advise using the old adage "less is more" the first time you make it, but once you have an idea as to what it is like, you can better adjust according to your own taste/needs.

* 1/3 C. whole garlic cloves (This is IMPORTANT: note that you may NOT substitute mere minced garlic in a jar!)
* 1 Tbsp minced garlic
* 1 Tbsp. roasted garlic
* 1 tsp fresh thyme, or 1/4 tsp dried thyme
* 1 tsp fresh basil or 1/4 tsp drid basil
* 4 cans of vegetable broth (or 2 32 oz boxes of Swanson's vegetable broth)
(( I recommend low sodium))
* 1 medium onion
* 1 bay leaf
* 1 Tbsp. olive oil
* 1/3 C. Half-and-Half (I use fat-free)
* 1/3 C. parmesan cheese - shredded
* Creole seasoning
* Day-Old French or Italian bread

1. Add onions and some of the garlic cloves to a large soup pan with the T. of olive oil. When the onions begin to turn clear or brownish (don't over cook!), add the broth, basil, thyme, bay leaf, and garlic. Bring this to a boil.

2. When the soup begins to boil, reduce the heat and simmer for approximately 40 minutes.

3. In the meantime, make your croutons: Cube the bread, approximately 2-3 cups, and toast in the oven at 300 degrees. Remove from heat, place in a paper sack, coat with apx. 1 - 2 Tbsp. of olive oil and season with the Creole seasoning. (This is spicy- be conservative at first!). Set the croutons aside.


4. When the soup has simmered for the 40 minutes, add apx 1 1/2 C. of the croutons and stir in with a wire whisk until they have mostly dissolved. At this point, the whole garlic cloves should be "mushy".

5. Remove the bay leaf

6. Add the half-and-half and parmesan cheese and immediately remove the soup from heat.

7. If you have a hand-mixer, use this to blend the soup to a smooth consistency. You may also pour the soup into a blender.

8. Serve immediately and garnish with the remaining croutons, parmesan, and creole seasoning.


**** the half-and-half, parmesan and bread can be omitted for a thinner, healthier broth-type soup with all the great flavor!

**** You may also use large chunks of potato if you can't find the low-sodium broth or if your seasoning gets too salty. Blending the potatoes into it instead of bread may also turn it into a thicker soup. Otherwise if you do use the potatoes, it's a great and easy way to make garlic mashed potatoes if you decide to reserve them to the side.

from the blog "Adoro Te Devote".
The Museum of Science (a former employer of mine) in Boston is hosting a series of events and lectures called "Let's Talk about Food". The first talk is this Friday, October 8, 2010.

See the event listings at the MOS web site.

Hat tip to the Boston Herald's food blog "Fork Lift".

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Family Food for Feast and Feria

This morning, Shawn Tribe who founded The New Liturgical Movement blog visited us at church with my friend David Clayton from Thomas More College in Merrimack, NH. We went out with fellow parishioner Phil Crotty before Shawn had to head out to the airport to head home.
So, having arrived home I went over to see the latests posts on the NLM blog. One of them is on resources for cooking and festival foods. One I had mentioned earlier, but the post below is a great survey of several books dealing with cooking and the liturgical calendar.


Liturgical Year reading and cooking is one of my favorite things to do. I admit my focus has changed somewhat since our sons’ food allergy diagnosis, but I still love reading the traditions and foods connected to the liturgical feasts and seasons, otherwise known to me as “liturgical cooking” (but just to clarify that I’m not cooking or creating “liturgy” but being inspired by the liturgy).

Why do I do liturgical cooking? Because I can incorporate symbolism, culture, history, and catechesis in all different varieties through the foods I serve at the table. Meals are natural conversation starters. They are the perfect place to start discussing the liturgical season, saint or feast of the day, the connections with the food and the liturgy of the Church...

read the rest over at Family Food for Feast and Feria.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Summertime bobagandistic thoughts about the August Oklahoma Food Coop order
Summertime. . . and the living is HOT!

Bob Waldrop's been an online friend for years; his web site is a treasure trove of good stuff on the social teachings of the Church. But working for the poor, as Bob has done, always brings you back to thinking about food. And so his latest blog is about the Oklahoma Food Coop. His most recent post starts off below:

It’s August in Oklahoma, and as we all have no doubt noticed, it is HOT. It was 91 degrees at 11 PM last night on our outside thermometer. Today Oklahoma City seems to be getting a bit of a break, thanks to that cold front that moved through early this AM. We won’t break 100 today, yee haw. It will “only” be 95 degrees or so....

All of which is a rather round-a-bout way to getting to the point of expressing appreciation for our farmers and producers who don’t have the luxury of staying inside with the AC during this critical season on the farm. Just as they brave the freezing winds and ice storms of the winter, our farmers and ranchers continue to keep faith with their land and their animals and their production during the heat of the summer...

Read the rest of Bob's thoughts on local food, home canning, refrigerator and hot-canned pickles, etc at Bobaganda.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

No dispensation for this Friday (St. Joseph) is needed

From Canonist Ed Peter's web site In Light of the Law:

That the general law of abstinence from meat on Fridays (c. 1251) does not bind on "solemnities" (like the Solemnity of St. Joseph, per c. 1246.1 and the Gen. Norms for the Lit. Year and Calendar) is so obvious that few commentaries bother to say "If the Solemnity of St. Joseph falls on a Friday, even in Lent, one need not abstain from meat." Nevertheless, the exemption from abstinence on solemnities is patent, and one need not bother pastors or bishops for a dispensation before enjoying a pepperoni pizza this Friday. Nuf said.

Read the rest at his blog, with a bit of commentary.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Hot-Stuff Shrimp Soup

Another cold, rainy late February night last night. So, to help warm things up, and help my wife Laurie clear her sinuses, I thought I'd experiment and try a spicy shrimp soup.


  • 1 pound shrimp, raw
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 Tbs oil
  • 3 scallions, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 dried chili peppers
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled & cubed
  • 1 zucchini, cubed
  • 1 large carrot, peeled & diced
  • 1 Tbs Southern BBQ rub
  • 4-5 sprigs cilantro, minced

Put the shrimp and 3 cups of water in a sauce pot to boil.

When the shrimp is done, drain the water but save it...this will be the stock for the soup.

While the shrimp is coming to a boil, dice the scallions, peel your garlic, and in a second pot begin sauteeing the scallions, garlic, and chili peppers in the oil. After 2 minutes or so, remove the chili peppers, and add in the zucchini, carrot, and sweet potato, along with the water from cooking the shrimp, which should be done at this point.

While this is simmering on low heat, peel the shrimp and toss in a bowl with the BBQ rub. After the soup has been simmering about 12 minutes, put in the shrimp and let simmer another 5 minutes or so. Add in the minced cilantro.

Serve this with bread and a salad.

Soup and Bread Suppers

Our usual fare during Lent has become soup and bread suppers, since I started following the older Latin and current Eastern discipline of removing not only meat but also dairy and eggs from the menu during Lent. In a shocking concession to weakness, I have, after the first go at it 3 or 4 years ago, allowed oil (but not olive oil) in the kitchen during this season, but the flesh is weak.

For the past year and a half, I've been meeting on Monday nights, when my wife is working a late shift, with my organist friend Fred for supper and vespers. And last Fall we included a new companion, Robert, in our weekly meals and prayer. So, this week they got treated to a typical Lenten meal, Canadian Split Pea Soup with bread and salad. I cheated on the bread, and used a garlic cibatta loaf from the local supermarket, but the soup is home-made, from a recipe in the Horn of the Moon cookbook.


  • 8 cups water
  • 2 cups uncooked yellow split peas
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil (or safflower, or canola)
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion (2 smallish onions)
  • 3/4 cup sliced carrot (1 large carrot)
  • 3/4 cup sliced celery
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 cup chopped, unpeeled potato
  • 1 cup chopped, peeled turnip or rutabaga (or double the potato)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Bring water to boil in a 4-quart soup pot. Add split peas, lower heat to a simmer, and cover loosely. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour, until split peas are tender.
Meanwhile, set a 10-inch fry pan over medium heat. Add oil and when hot, add the garlic, onions, carrots, celery, and thyme. Sauté until tender. Add sautéed vegetables, potato and turnip to the cooked peas; continue to simmer. Add the salt, vinegar, pepper, and parsley. Cook the souop 30 minutes more, covered, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and the peas have dissolved.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Shrove Tuesday
Our family has been keeping the tradition of pancakes for supper on the night before Ash Wednesday for many years. Even though all the children are away from home now, Laurie and I still kept up the tradition this year. Since we could indulge our more adventurous tastes, I made baked apple & pecan pancakes, based on a recipe from The Inn Cookbook.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees
2 cups flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Add 1 - 1/3 cups milk
3 eggs, beaten

pecans (about 1/2 cup)

peel, core and slice two granny smith or other tart apples

heat a cast iron skillet on the stove, add 2 Tablespoons butter, and brown half the apple slices. Add half the batter, then pop in the oven for 7 minutes. At the end of the 7 minutes, turn out on a plate, then slide back in the pan to cook on the other side for another 6 minutes.

If you have two cast iron skillets, you can do both pancakes at once. Otherwise, put the finished pancake on a warming plate and cook the second one.

Sprinkle the finished pancake with brown or demerara sugar and serve with maple syrup.

We added Canadian Bacon to the meal in honor of the Olympics this year : )

And that will be the last of eggs I eat until Easter!