When life gives you lemons, make marmalade

We’ve been quiet on the blog front for a while, but a lot has been happening on the personal front. The biggest change for me has been with work: as of September, I am no longer spending half my life in Asia — and my carbon footprint has shot down to human proportions.

Meanwhile, thanks in part to our ratty neighbours and compost challenges, Bonnie Lee has gone on a quest to create a local composting solution for multifamily dwellings, which has led to two things: she is working with LA Compost to bring a solution to Palms, and has become a member of the Palms Neighborhood Council Green Committee.

We’re also both members of the Technology Innovation Council which the USDA asked the folks at Food Cowboy to set up.

With all that going on, maybe we can be excused for having allowed two lemons to start looking a little dry — two lemons for which we had no immediate plans. We also had a big, sweet navel orange sitting around, so decided to try our hand at marmalade.

Home made marmalade

‘Twas lovely with breakfast

Orange and lemon marmalade (about 3 cups)

Ingredients

  • 3 small lemons (two of which were looking a bit, but not overly, dry)
  • 1 large Valencia orange
  • 3 cups water
  • 2.5 cups sugar

Directions (in pictures)

Future marmalade

1. Cut each piece of fruit into 8 wedges. Remove the seeds and drop wedges in a pot. (Tip: hold each wedge up to the light to make sure you got all the seeds.)

What the bells of Saint Clemens said

2. Cover with water, and boil for five minutes.
3. Turn off heat, and let sit covered overnight (for at least 12 hours)

Boiling away

4. Remove wedges from liquid (and leave the liquid in the pot — you will need it).
5. Cut each wedge crosswise into thin slices, and return to the pot.
6. Boil for one hour.

Testing

7. Add sugar to boiled fruit mixture. Basically, you should be adding the same volume of sugar as you have fruit mixture, but we used a little less. We had 3 cups of mixture at this point, and used 2.5 cups sugar.
8. Continue to boil, occasionally spooning some of the mixture onto a plate, letting it cool to room temperature, and running a spoon through it. When you get something with the consistency shown in the picture above, you’re done.

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March: It’s Celery’s Month

Does anyone out there know who decides which events, foods, people will be celebrated each month of the year? I ask because March is National Celery Month. (It is also Nutritional Health Awareness month, Women’s History month, and frozen foods month.) Why does celery deserve a whole month of celebration?

Sausage pizza with cornmeal crust

Celery: only good as a supporting role?

Personally I get it. This blog owes its existence to celery (or rather our lack of it) when we lived in Japan and pined for days when we could buy more than one stalk of celery at a time. Silly us. Now in Los Angeles, we always looking for new ways to use a full head of celery before it goes limp.

After all, there has to be more to celery than mirepoix and hors d’oeuvres?

Moving beyond Ants on a Log

Last March, Jean-Francois wrote about a surprisingly refreshing tall glass of celery. What he did not mention Pepsi’s attempt to market cucumber soda in Japan for a week or two. And Dr. Browns sells a celery soda. Maybe drinking celery (and cucumbers) might be fun way to bring out our Irish this week.

Celery is crunchy, naturally salty, and nutritious. It can be grilled, pureed, creamed, steamed, fried, pickled, infused, baked, and braised. Huffington Post has some fun ideas for celery, including a salsa with green olives and mint.

Yesterday, cooking for one, I attempted to make celery and mushroom ravioli. If you are vegan, try substituting wet okara or soy-cheese for the egg and cheese.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 chopped onion
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 5 button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 6 wonton wrappers

Recipe:

  1. Heat olive oil in skillet.
  2. Add onions and celery. Cook until translucent.
  3. Add mushrooms and salt. Cook until all water evaporates.
  4. Transfer onions, celery and mushrooms to food processor. Add cheese and egg and blend into a paste.
  5. Put about 1 teaspoon of paste in each wrapper. Use water or egg to seal the wrappers.
  6. Cook ravioli in boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes.

I ate these bundles with a lemon butter sauce. However, I have no photo to share because I ate them in 3 minutes flat. But I will try this again, maybe adding nuts to the filling to help give the meal more weight. And I will take a photo.

In January, The New York Times published five celery recipes that put my creative effort to shame. I can’t wait to try the “Pan-Cooked Celery with Tomatoes and Parsley” and “Celery Risotto with Dandelion Greens or Kale”.

Healthy Family, a blog dedicated to living organically and healthfully, also shares four celery recipes for March, including a breakfast drink, a soup, a salad, and a treat with salmon.

By the way, 22 March is World Water Day. May we all slake our thirst and raise our passions with a stick of celery, an ice cube, and Betty Friedan.

Weekend food waste roundup – 19 January 2013

19 January 2013Food waste a new opportunity for entrepreneurs | CNN.com — Its great to see more businesses built around tackling food waste (I’m a particularly big fan of Rubies in the Rubble; such a great idea). Thanks to my friends at Stanley Cottage Garden (if you like this blog, you’ll like theirs) for sending me this link.

UNK Aims to Reduce Food Waste on Campus | KHGI-TV/KWNB-TV/KHGI-CD-Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings – Project Clean Plate is a four day program designed to help students at the university of Nebraska at Kearney become more conscious of the food they help themselves to in the cafeteria, compared with what they consume.

Countess: Put up food prices to stop waste. Lady Mar says higher costs would stop Brits throwing away half their groceries | Mail Online – A strategy to reduce food waste from the House of Lords … doubt this would be popular, but there’s no denying that countries where food cost is high relative to income have lower consumer waste.

Future of food composting trial in Washington County holds regional importance | OregonLive.com — Residents are raising a stink about a local food-scrap composting facility in North Plains.

Campaign to cut food waste in West Somerset gathers pace | This is The West Country — Local activists in West Somerset are teaching other members of their community to waste less.

222 million tons in LA Times

Yesterday this URL got more than its usual amount of exercise thanks to an article in the LA Times: New app builds on efforts to reduce food waste. Most food waste articles focus on the magnitude of the problem, so it was particularly nice to be featured in a piece that was looking at what people are doing to make things better, including some who are already making a huge difference like EcoScraps and Food Cowboy.

It was my first interview, so I didn’t quite say everything I wanted to say the way I wanted to say it, but hopefully I’ll get other opportunities to bring attention to the food waste issue and things we can all do to make a difference.

A pig with a problem

The video below is the tale of a wee, sad pig with a nasty addiction, along with some of his reflections on life and food waste … the product of me spending way too much time on long flights and alone in hotel rooms, I suspect.

Warning: in addition to being a gripping yarn, the video is plug for the 222 million tons blog & our iPad meal planning app … though, after this entry, we’ll return to our regular programming: things to do with stone soup broth & veg that is on it’s way out, vermicompost updates, etc.