from Jude’s Kitchen: zero-mile diet

The closer to home we gather our food, the better it is, and the better for us and the planet, says Carolyn Herriot.

spaghetti squash

There’s been much talk in recent years of the concept of a 100-mile diet, where all your food is sourced close to home. It’s spawned a number of dinners and diets based on sourcing your food even closer to home than 100 miles.

Now, Carolyn Herriot has suggested a home-grown diet in her new book, The Zero-Mile Diet Cookbook: Seasonal Recipes for Delicious Homegrown Food, published by Harbour Publishing.

It’s a follow-up to her Zero-Mile Diet: a Year-Round Guide to Growing Organic Food book, which includes creative strategies for food security, sustainability and a healthy lifestyle.

Her latest book includes 160 recipes, reflecting her efforts to grow as much of her own food as possible on her Victoria property, all of them using organic ingredients wherever she can find them.

Herriot believes connecting the garden to the kitchen is a more healthful and natural way to eat. In essence, she’s taking us back in time, to where our ancestors all had a kitchen garden which nourished the whole family—and I’m all for it.

This is a cookbook for vegetarians, although there are a couple of recipes for wild salmon in it, and she explains it’s not the consumption of animals that concerns her, but the methods used today to raise them.

The recipes are simple and look good, and the ones I’ve tried are excellent, plus there’s some good advice in the book about nutrition and eating habits.

For more recipes for locally-grown food, pick up a copy of my book, Jude’s Kitchen, wherever books are sold.


Cheesy Corn Bread

I haven’t made this yet, but I plan to try it. It looks delicious and should be great with a satisfying soup for a mid-winter meal.

1/4 c. (60 ml) olive oil

1/2 c. (125 ml) green onions

1 c. (250 ml) whole wheat flour

1 c. (250 ml) yellow corn meal

2 tbsp. (30 ml) baking powder

1 tsp. (5 ml) sea salt

1 egg

1 tbsp. (15 ml) liquid honey

1 c. (250 ml) milk

1 c. (250 ml) corn kernels

1/2 c. (125 ml) aged white cheddar cheese

Pre-heat oven to 375 F.

Saute the green onions in the oil until translucent. Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients.

In a medium-sized bowl, beat the egg with the honey and milk.

Add the wet to the dry ingredients and blend to a smooth batter consistency.

Add the sauteed onions (with all the oil) and the corn kernels and cheese to the batter.

Blend together with a wooden spoon and spread the batter in a greased eight-inch square baking pan.

Reduce oven heat to 350 F and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top is firm and lightly browned, and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Makes 16 two-inch square servings.


Char’s Spaghetti Squash

Squashes grow very well in the heat of an Okanagan summer, and the spaghetti squash is a very versatile vegetable. Here’s one simple way to cook it. This squash can be substituted for spaghetti in any dish calling for the pasta, and it’s delicious. Don’t overcook.

Try pairing this with the 2010 White Bear Pinot Blanc, an unoaked, crisp, dry white with a citrussy finish. A portion of sales of White Bear wines go towards protection of the coastal B.C. rainforest.

2 oz. (56 g) raw cashews

2 c. (475 ml) cooked spaghetti squash

1 tsp. (5 ml) sea salt

1 tsp. (5 ml) fresh-ground black pepper

1/2 tsp. (2.5 ml) fresh-grated nutmeg

1/4 c. (60 ml) butter

3 tbsp. (45 ml) lemon juice

3 tbsp. (45 ml) water

Roast cashews by laying them on a baking pan and roasting them in a 300 F oven, shaking every five minutes until they are lightly browned.

Cook the squash by cutting it in half lengthwise, removing the seeds and scraping out any membrane. Season the flesh with sea salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Put the squash, cut-side down, in a baking pan with a little water to just cover the bottom of the pan.

Bake in a 350 F oven for 30 minutes or until a knife goes in easily and the flesh is al dente.

Scrape the spaghetti-like strands of squash out of the skin.

In a large frypan, saute 2 cups of cooked squash with butter, lemon juice and water for five to 10 minutes.

Sprinkle with the roasted cashews and serve hot.

Serves 4.