Since 2013, I’ve been celebrating Food Revolution Day with a group of bloggers that met when we worked through Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table. We’ve all moved on to other projects, together and separately, and added new blogging colleagues along the way.
Today, we’re convening again to contribute our voices to Food Revolution’s mission: to talk about how “children access, consume and understand food” and to ensure they have “access to good, fresh, nutritious food for generations to come.”
Our celebration is taking place across two cook-along groups started by alumni of French Fridays with Dorie: Cook the Book Fridays and The Cottage Cooking Club. We have one Food Revolution Ambassador in each group, Mardi of eat. live. travel. write and Andrea of The Kitchen Lioness, and each had a unique take on this year’s Food Revolution Day theme, which is #FeedtheFuture. Jamie Oliver released ten recipes to learn and share that he believes can teach you all the skills you need to feed yourself for the rest of your life. Using this as a template, each of our Food Revolution Ambassadors came up with challenges appropriate to the book their group is working with.
Cook the Book Fridays: Ham, Blue Cheese, and Pear Quiche
Mardi has taken the lead on Food Revolution Day, first in French Fridays with Dorie and now in Cook the Book Fridays. She chose David Lebovitz‘ Ham, Blue Cheese, and Pear Quiche from My Paris Kitchen for the group to prepare this week, as a “must know” recipe. Quiche is almost infinitely variable, and can accommodate gluten-free, vegetarian, and even vegan diets, with some simple ingredient substitutions.
It’s a dish that highlights a skill that’s just as important for a healthful diet as the ones covered in Jamie Oliver’s “starter pack” of healthy recipes – baking. Knowing how to make your own crusts, breads, and pastries can empower you to choose the best ingredients and use them in delicious and healthy proportions.
Quiche is also a great dish to help you avoid food waste – nearly anything in your fridge that needs using can be put into a quiche. And if you get into the habit of keeping savoury tart doughs in your freezer, it’s easily a weeknight meal option or a last minute potluck solution. I’m exemplifying this tonight – the quiche is in the oven while I’m writing this post.
I decided to follow Mardi’s lead and “minify” this recipe. I made muffin-tin servings of quiche, which are easy to share. I made the full recipe of tart dough, freezing half. My quiche crust is an interesting colour – I used organic blue cornmeal in place of yellow cornmeal, as that’s what I had on hand. It’s ground to a fine texture, which is a plus for a crust. Cornmeal can often lend a gritty texture to doughs like this.
I halved the quiche filling, though. I’ve only got so many taste-testers available this weekend. I didn’t vary David’s recipe and I’m glad. This is a rich, sophisticated quiche. Ham, blue cheese, and pear are classic flavour partners. That said, I’ll use this quiche recipe as a jumping off point whenever I have some cream cheese hanging out in my refrigerator. As I said before, a world of possibilities can be contained in the crust of a quiche.
You might notice there aren’t any photos of my quiches. It was dark by the time I finished my post, so I’ll add some tomorrow, so you can see them at their best.
You can read through the Cook the Book Fridays crew posts for this Food Revolution Day here. And consider joining this community of wonderful cooks and lovely people, as we work our way through David Lebovitz‘ My Paris Kitchen.
The Cottage Cooking Club
Since we just wrapped up cooking our way through Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall´s River Cottage Veg, Andrea took a different route for this group’s challenge. She asked us to choose up to ten recipes from the book that qualify as “must know” dishes and to share the techniques and skills we learned in making them.
My mind turned to categories, rather than specific dishes, so I’ll share a few of the things that River Cottage Veg helped improve in my own kitchen.
Roasting deepens flavour
If you were brought up the way I was, most vegetables got roasted alongside cuts of meats or as a part of stews. Otherwise, they received a stove top or steamer treatment. But, roasting brings out the best in many vegetables and several of Hugh’s recipes are oven-roasted improvements on stove top staples.
Homemade sauces and condiments are easy and delicious
You really don’t know how good something can be until you’ve eaten it fresh out of the kitchen. Condiments and dressings are easy to make and so much better than the ones you can buy at the supermarket. Besides, you’ll improve your knife skills when you process all those beautiful aromatics.
Great flavour starts at the base
When you work at creating a delicious flavour base, whether that’s a scratch curry paste or an infusion of dried mushrooms, your dish will be more than the sum of its parts. It doesn’t take long to add flavour, so there’s no reason to skip steps.
Over the last two years, our group picked up or refined cooking skills, encountered new ingredients, and learned new approaches to familiar ones. However, the greatest gift that working through this cookbook gave us was to reinforce the truth that vegetarian and vegan eating can be flavourful, varied, healthy, and more than enough. I think that qualifies as a Food Revolution, don’t you?
You can find the rest of the group’s Food Revolution posts, here. I encourage you to check them out – you’ll meet some wonderful bloggers and get some great inspiration for healthy, delicious eating.
And you can join in on the Cottage Cooking Club’s next adventure, cooking through one or both of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall´s River Cottage Every Day and Love Your Leftovers – you can find the details, here.
I believe that people need access to safe, affordable, whole foods; access to the skills and techniques to prepare foods; and access to the housing, income, and safety that will allow them to cook. This will ensure the health of future generations and the planet, reducing the waste of food, packaging materials, human potential, and environmental resources that an industrial, processed food system can enable. Participating in initiatives like Food Revolution Day can only help those goals along.
You’ll find plenty of posts, photos, videos, and more if you search the #FeedtheFuture and #FoodRevolution tags on your social media channels, encompassing a huge range of perspectives on what it means to bolster food security for coming generations.