Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Perspective On Earth Day

I've never been a big fan of Earth Day. Probably because the corporations I worked for always made a big deal out of it and then went right back to doing business as usual.

Today I look at Earth Day differently; we have become a locavore household doing what's right for the planet and us. The cookbook pictured here is my gift to myself for Earth Day. Placer County where I live in Northern California, is a wonderful place to have access to farmers markets year round.

One of the authors of this cookbook, Joanne Neft, is the inventor of PlacerGrown ( She started eating locally long before locavorism was popular. This cookbook is one more step on her road to preach the benefits of buying and eating local. She's also from Minnesota (my home state) so that's another reason to like her.

At the end of 2008 she sent out an e-mail to everyone she knew to invite them for dinner at her house each Monday night of the year. She could only seat 4-6 people so you had to get your reservations in early. Places at the table filled up fast.

On the Saturday before the Monday dinner, Joanne and Laura Kenny (the chef) went to the farmers market in Auburn, CA to choose the food for Monday night's dinner. If it wasn't available there, it wasn't served.

The cookbook is organized by month and date so you know what to expect at the farmers market at what time of year. If it's January, there will not be asparagus.

At the end of 52 weeks they had recipes that had been tested on local eaters. Then they began to put it together in a cookbook, which just arrived at local stores.

Here's an example of a dinner; this one is for April 20th, which is about as close as I could come to today.

+ Watercress salad with strawberries and sweet and sour vinaigrette
+ Baked halibut cheeks
+ Black quinoa with mushrooms and snow peas
+ Sauteed kale
+ Fresh strawberries with pistachio biscotti and sabayon Grand Marnier sauce.

A note about the halibut cheeks. We are lucky to have a local fishing company ( that has wonderful fresh, non-farmed fish every week at the Auburn farmers market and several others in the area. We even get wild salmon, which they bring down from Alaska. Farm-raised fish are not healthy for the environment or you.

So that's how I'm celebrating. What about you?
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