Sunday, December 9, 2012

Meat and a Menu

We try to be very conscious of our meat consumption, as meat production has a HUGE environmental impact. I'm actually slowly compiling a blog entry about the different reasons we strive to limit our meat consumption to about a pound a week for each of us. In addition to environmental reasons, our bodies start feeling it when we've eaten a lot of meat (or a lot of restaurant food).

 We've eaten a LOT of meat the last couple weeks, mostly as a result of our two Thanksgiving turkeys - we got at least six full meals out of each turkey (including Thanksgiving dinner with the other five members of my family), made two gallons of turkey stock from the bones, and have about six pounds of meat frozen for future use. We also have a bunch of "weird pieces" of turkey that are being saved in the freezer as cat and dog treats. We've gotten a lot of use out of those two birds!

 Since we've eaten meat almost every day for the last two or three weeks, we're going to take a bit of a break for a few days before delving into the 80 pounds of grass-fed beef we bought from a local farmer. I also haven't cooked the rabbit yet! That will come soon after a few days of vegetarian meals. I got out into my garden, finally, this afternoon. I planted a bunch of stuff a few months ago and it has been slowly and steadily growing. Cool weather plants can withstand overnight frosts (and many say winter greens improve in taste after a hard freeze) but they grow much more slowly due to the shorter days of sunlight.


 I realized my garden is actually shaded most of the day due to the sun's lower position in the sky. Nonetheless, things are growing: mizuna (an Asian green that's gorgeous and feathery), romaine lettuce, golden beets, a lone Swiss chard plant, snow pea vines, kohlrabi seedlings, and some volunteer "salad bowl" lettuce that reseeded from my spring planting. I'm thankful for the abundance that is steps from my front door and have resolved that this week we will eat something from the garden daily.

 Here's our happy vegetarian dinner menu for the next few nights. It's pretty exciting to be getting some eggs from a couple of our pullets (young chickens). The quality of the eggs is just so much better than even local farm-raised eggs that we were previously buying.

 Sunday: Homemade pizza topped with onion and sweet corn + braised mizuna + side salad
Monday: Mizuna goat cheese quiche + Caesar salad
Tuesday: Soy chorizo lentil soup (with mizuna instead of spinach) + grilled cheese sandwiches
Wednesday: Butternut squash pasta (photo below) + braised mizuna

 I love menu planning. Even though we rarely eat the meal on the day I've designated, the meals I've planned for the week usually all get made within that week. That's what counts, right?

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