Ethiopian for Earth Day
How privileged we are to be friends with a chef! Intaba dazzled us with an Ethiopian feast when we gathered at the home of our adopted grandmother for an Earth Day pot luck today. She made her own fermented buckwheat flour injera bread, which we topped with savory braised cabbage, chickpeas and spinach, spicy chicken wat and a lentil stew. Delish! She got most of the recipes here (from RecipeZaar). It seemed appropriate to honor the cuisine of a nation often beset with famine due to droughts and war.
I made a citrusy green spinach salad that seemed a bit bland beside the well-spiced fare. My dessert, a “Strawberry, Rhubarb and Banana Crostata,” got much better reviews. More on that tomorrow. And we toasted the evening with fruity gin and tonics, the signature drink of our host.
Earth Day is certainly celebrated more here in green Oregon than it was back east. Here it’s a week long celebration, like Carnival. The Oregon State organic growers club had a big kick-off event at their farm this afternoon, encouraging the guests to help them plant 10,000 onion and leek seeds. You should see the abundant variety of produce they sell on campus later in the season. Then there was their chicken tractor. It just pulled on my heartstrings. I want one. But next year. Just breaking into gardening is more than we can handle this summer.
Then the first of the spring Wednesday Farmers Market was held downtown for the first time today. It’s old location, at the Benton County Fairgrounds, was a closer bike ride from our house. But this new location is much more festive and will draw larger crowds, promoting development and revitalization downtown. Plus, it’s now held in the late afternoon and evening to encourage folks to head to the market, then picnic or dine at a surrounding restaurant. They’re having new food vendors too, including grilled gourmet pizza’s from Newport’s Pacific Sourdough. And unlike some farmers markets, at the ones in Corvallis and Albany, regulations exist to insist the produce sold comes from the six surrounding counties. The OSU organic farm inspired me to pick up some leek seeds there.
Everywhere you look, there are signs of spring, and more importantly, gardening, here in Corvallis. It’s contagious. You want to go dig around in the dirt yourself. What’s the worst that could happen? Even the young ones have green thumbs here.
And speaking of Earth Day, hear are some tips for reducing your “cookprint” in the kitchen. There’s always more we could do.