We had an active weekend tucsonivory-wise, and we plan to describe it over several different posts. In this one I will describe our meals from this weekend, since we’ve been neglecting to do that.

Somehow we didn’t plan our food purchases very well this week, and the result is that we’ve had to scrounge around a little bit to come up with decent meals. Fortunately we’ve been successful so far, but we still have two more days before our CSA pickup, and not a lot of options for local vegetables before then. This has reminded us of the importance of planning ahead and stocking up when things are available!

We made a nice dinner last night from the following:

  • Okra sautéed in olive oil with tomatoes and onion
  • Ground beef sautéed with tomatoes, onion, roasted Anaheim chile, and crushed chiltepines (native wild chiles)
  • Butternut squash baked with honey (left over from the night before)
  • Homemade whole wheat tortillas (from a few nights before)
  • Goat cheese
  • Apple cider

Dinner on 9-23-2007

Dinner on Saturday night

We enjoyed this meal thoroughly. As we were eating, our friend Chi stopped by and gave us two pomegranates from their tree and a container full of local carob flour. Thanks Chi! The pomegranates are a welcome treat, and we are so happy to get carob because we can substitute it for chocolate. Although carob is definitely not the same thing, it is certainly reminiscent of chocolate (hopefully enough so that we’ll be satisfied!). We think carob is delicious in its own right, anyway. It bears some resemblance to mesquite flour, which makes some sense as they are both legumes.

As a snack last night we had popped amaranth seeds mixed with olive oil, salt and guajillo chile powder. This has quickly become one of our favorite snacks – it’s delicious, healthy and fun to eat. Other snacks we’ve been enjoying during this experiment have been fresh fruit (mostly pears or apples), tortillas with goat cheese, baked squash seeds, and cherry tomatoes.

We were not able to make it to the St. Philips Plaza Farmers’ Market this morning (we were doing the Native Seeds/SEARCH Sustainable Gardening in the Desert tour, which we will write about in another post). Happily, our friends Alex and Jo-anne were going to the farmers’ market and generously got us some potatoes, tomatoes and eggplant. Thanks you guys!

For lunch today Marci made us a mean scramble from the leftover okra and three eggs from our chickens, as well as the remainder of the butternut squash from before. This made a fantastic lunch and I would definitely combine okra and eggs like this again!

For dinner tonight we decided to try making empanadas. We’d never made them before, but they seemed like a nice use for the ingredients we had. I combined slightly over 3 cups of wheat flour with the last tablespoon of our bacon fat, plus 2/3 cup olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and a little more than 1/2 cup of water. After mixing these ingredients and kneading the dough briefly, I rolled chunks of it out on our cutting board and then cut out 3 inch diameter circles using the lid from a yogurt container. In total the dough yielded about 25 empanada skins.

While I was making the dough, Marci prepared the filling. She made mashed potatoes using the potatoes from the farmers’ market, plus olive oil and salt. She then mixed this with the leftover ground beef from the night before. We placed about a tablespoon of this mixture into the center of an empanada skin, wetted the edge, folded it over, and pressed it shut using our fingers. We baked them at 400° F for 20 minutes. I made a sauce for the empanadas using some leftover juice from a beef roast we had cooked earlier in the week. To this I added a mashed tomato, lime juice, and guajillo chile powder. Marci also made a salad from lemon cucumbers, tomatoes, onion, green bell pepper, lime juice, and salt.


Empanadas filled with ground beef and mashed potato

The empanadas were great. I would experiment with some different dough, filling, and sauce recipes next time, but we thought they were pretty good for a first try!

On writing this post I realized that we’ve been eating a fair bit of meat lately. I think this has resulted partly from our failure to adequately shop for vegetables this week, but in any case I would like to get back to eating less meat.