Preparing local, organic food is a rewarding experience. Our taste buds are designed to enjoy fresh, nutritious foods, so eating local and organic will be naturally tastier. Aaron and I have been cooking all our food from scratch for the last 3 months (1). In the process, we’ve learned traditional skills like baking and culturing yogurt. It’s helped us save money and reduce our environmental impact; it’s also been a lot of fun.
Here are some recipes that have become family staples.
Stir-Fried Vegetables and Brown Rice [Serves 2 to 4]
This is a versatile stir-fried rice. You can make it with almost any vegetables laying around in your kitchen. Peas, corn, carrots, bell peppers, zucchini, and mushrooms are my favorites.
If you want to add meat or eggs, just stir fry them on a separate pan and add them to the vegetables along with the rice.
- 2 cups brown rice, soaked in water for 30 minutes to 1 hour before cooking in a rice pot. This will give the rice a softer texture.
- Vegetables of your choice, for example:
- 1 cup of chopped onions
- 1 cup of chopped carrots
- 1 cup of green beans
- 1 cup of broccoli
- 1/2 tbsp oil or butter, for greasing the pan
- 1/3 tbsp of soy sauce, adjusted to your taste
- Grease a pan with oil, then cook onions on high heat until they start to brown.
- Add the chopped vegetables to the pot. Stir fry on medium heat until the vegetables are cooked. Keep stirring so the veggies don’t burn.
- Add the cooked brown rice to the veggies.
- Season with soy sauce and mix well.
Rice and Lentils [Serves 4 to 6]
This simple dish has a savory flavor. I’ve only used green lentils, but you could try other varieties.
- 3 cups brown rice, soaked in water for 30 minutes to 1 hour before cooking in a rice pot. This will give the rice a softer texture.
- 6 cups green lentils, rinsed and cleaned of pebbles
- 3 cups chopped onions
- oil for greasing the pan
- salt and pepper
- (optional: chopped scallions)
- Saute chopped onions until they turn brown and caramelize.
- Add lentils and water to cover over lentils. Cook on high heat until they boil, then simmer until the lentils become slightly tender (about 30 minutes).
- Season with salt and pepper. (Season before adding brown rice, so that it’s easier to mix.)
- Add cooked brown rice and mix well. You can also add some chopped scallions.
Maple Roasted Carrots
This simple, tasty dish is great for kids who doesn’t like veggies.
The recipe calls for real maple syrup, but you can substitute it with local honey.
- About 2~3 lbs carrots, (7 cups chopped)
- 2 tbsp oil or butter
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1/3 cup real maple syrup
- Wash and chop carrots into bite size pieces.
- Grease a baking pan lightly. Toss carrots in olive oil, maple syrup, and cinnamon on the baking pan.
- Bake at 425F (220C) until carrots are tender, slightly brown, and caramelized.
Kale with Bacon
Chop bacon and pan fry until crispy. Set the bacon aside while you use the bacon grease to stir fry kale. Now, season and add the bacon back in. I use two rashers of bacon for a big bunch of kale, but you can use far more if you love bacon.
Tell us if you liked the recipes and if you made any modifications.
1 If you’d like to learn some old-fashioned cooking skills, The Backyard Homestead is a great source of inspiration. It teaches you how to make cheese, culture your own yogurt, bake your own bread, and even smoke your own sausage.