This is me, trying my hardest to be a lovacore and not succeeding! Eating locally makes sense. It's a way to build a more self reliant economy. It is also better for the environment since imported food uses more fossil fuels to transport it to supermarkets than locally grown produce. For an entertaining yet thought provoking account of one family's attempt to adopt a lovacore or local foods only lifestyle, I highly recommend that you read the book Animal, Vegetable, Mineral by Barbara Kingsolver with Steven L. Hopp and Camille Kingsolver. This book documents the Kingsolver-Hopp family's attempt to ONLY eat seasonal food that they grew themselves or that was produced in their neighbourhood.
After reading this book last year, I immediately became a convert to the church of Barbara. I fully embraced the idea of a kitchen garden. I wanted to make my own cheese, can my own vegetables and make jam. I started by planting a herb garden. I even bought a few vegetable seedlings and manure from the agricultural depot. Yes. I was going to do my part to prevent global warming and rising food prices.
I started thinking. Maybe I could also raise chickens, start an apiary, rear cows - no wait, I'm afraid of cows. How about goats? They give milk from which I could make my own cheese. I shared these thoughts of a greener world with my other 'saner' half who patiently reassured me that while it was indeed a noble dream, my utopia fantasy was somewhat flawed. First off we live in an apartment complex - not a farm. Also, I already have a job which makes the business of rearing a family challenging enough without wanting to add goats to the mix.....Hmm, all valid points. Bummer, don't you just hate when the voice of reason rains on your parade.
Still every little bit counts. I pressed ahead with my herb garden now
My righteous, sustainable, local-food supporting zeal was further tested when it came to making what has become a favourite cake of this family. Pine nuts are definitely not local. They aren't even sold here. I acquired this ingredient in the usual manner via Facebook and my sister. I posted to her wall. the urgent message. SEND NUTS. She was kind enough to mail them to me. I justified my weakness for this foreign import by rationalizing that the plane which brought the letter sized package of pine nuts was on it's way here with the mail anyway. Even Ms. Kingsolver is forced to admit that there were some imported items, like coffee and spices, which she couldn't live without.
While I may not be able to live as austere a lovacore lifestyle as did Barbara Kingsolver, her book has given me much to think about as I try to be a more responsible citizen of this world. She has made me take a good hard look at my shopping habits with a view to making improvements. So tell me, do you support the local food movement and is there any imported food that you just can't live without?
Cornmeal Rosemary Cake with Pine Nuts and Orange Glaze
* adapted from the Best of Fine Cooking (Fall) 2007
yeild: one 9 - inch cake
1 1/2 cups all - purpose flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
1/3 cup toasted, coarsely chopped pine nuts
1 Tbs fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 TBS finely grated orange zest
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup cream cheese, at room temperature
4 large eggs
1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1/4 lb) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
2-3 tbs sugar
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 1/2 cup sifted confectioner's sugar
2 tbs fresh orange juice
1 tsp, finely grated orange zest
Make the cake: Butter a 9 X 2 inch round cake pan. Line the bottom with a round of parchment paper. Butter the parchment paper. Position rack in the center of the oven. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, mix the flour with the cornmeal, pine nuts, rosemary, orange zest, baking powder and the salt.
In a large bowl, use a hand mixer and whisk the cream cheese to soften it. Add the eggs one at a time, beating at medium speed to combine. Add the sugar and mix until smooth. Using a rubber spatula, fold half of the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Then fold the rest of the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Mix until smooth. Still using the rubber spatula stir in the melted butter until blended.
Scrape batter into prepared tin. Bake for 40 - 45 mins until the cake is a nice golden brown or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out looking a bit moist and the sides have begun to pull away from the pan.
Make the Orange Syrup
While the cake is baking mix the orange juice and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook until the sugar dissolves. Use 1, 2 or 3 tablespoons of sugar depending on the sweetness of your oranges and to your taste. Remove from heat.
Cool cake in pan for 5 minutes before turning it out onto a plate. Remove the parchment paper and invert cake again onto a cardboard round or another cake plate. Poke ho;es all over the top of the cake with a wooden skewer or toothpick. While the cake is still warm brush it with the warm orange syrup. Give the syrup time to soak into the cake. Use up all the syrup. Let the cake cool completely.
Make the Glaze.
Boil a small saucepan of water. Get a small bowl of ice water ready. Put rosemary in boiling water for one minute to blanch them. Remove with a slotted spoon and set them in the ice water. Drain and spread them on a paper towel to dry.
In a bowl whisk the confectioner's sugar and orange juice until smooth and then mix in the blanched rosemary and the orange zest.
When the cake is cool transfer to a wire rack set over some wax paper. Pour glaze over the cake. or glaze over the cake then transfer to a cake plate. Sprinkle with orange peel and rosemary. Remove rosemary garnish before eating as the woody texture can be a bit sharp.
The texture of this cake is slightly grainy due to the cornmeal. I like the texture but make sure and use a finely ground cornmeal if you think that might bother you. This is a perfect tea-time cake. I love it with a cup of coffee. It's a perfect balance of sweet and tart with subtle, almost minty notes from the pine nuts.
NB. Most American cake recipes call for a lot more sugar than suits my tastes. I usually only use about 3/4 cup sugar where an American recipe would call for 1 cup. The original recipe asks for 1 1/3 cups sugar. I have left the original measurement because I know that many people prefer a sweeter cake. However, I prefer to use just one cup of sugar for this.