Amanda Kimble-Evans is stopping by my kitchen this morning to chat about what's filling her garden (and her belly!) and her unusual use for diaper cream.
Amanda is a writer and editor specializing in organic gardening and farming. Growing up surrounded by small farms and large gardens in rural Pennsylvania, Amanda was raised to have a close relationship with the food on her plate -- a relationship she continues to cultivate at home and through her work. As associate editor at the Rodale Institute, she keeps the website filled with the latest in organic farming and organic living information. She also crafts articles on global food and environmental issues for Organic Gardening and Mother Earth News magazines, and blogs about mothering organically.
1. Why is living organic important to you?
I've been gardening organically since I was a toddler and now I have one! Capturing and communicating the words, good work, struggles and successes of the farmers, scientists and dedicated eaters growing toward a regenerative world is both a passion and an honor. But the most rewarding part of my day is seeing my son stealing a basil leaf or handful of green beans from the garden.
Rich soil brimming with life, clean air to breath and food that is pure is the reason we demand organic. These things should really be the inalienable rights of every man, woman and child.
2. What was your favorite food growing up?
Do I have to choose one? Asparagus, fresh-baked bread slathered with butter, beef and barley soup, corn on the cob (eaten raw while standing in the garden, preferably). My parents had a huge garden and I had a superwoman stay-at-home mother who really made the most amazing food, so I was lucky.
3. What's your go-to comfort food now?
Right now I'm o.d.-ing on shelling peas. The less you do to them the better. Raw? Yum. Just steamed with a big dollop of butter? Yum. Mashed with some mint? Yum.
And blueberry rhubarb jam. I adore blueberries. Blueberry pie, blueberry crepes, blueberry muffins, blueberry pancakes. What I don't like, have never liked, and swore would never like is blueberry jam. It's too sweet, too flat, too ugh. It always tastes like its missing something. But add a little rhubarb and the blueberry gets its groove back.
The best part about blueberries is, like not-quite-ripe apples, they act as the gelling agent. No pectin required.
Blueberry Rhubarb Jam
8 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)
4 cups rhubarb, chopped into blueberry-sized pieces
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup water
4 cups sugar
In a large saucepan, combine blueberries, rhubarb, lemon zest, lemon juice and water. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, reduce heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Stir in sugar. Increase heat to high and boil vigorously about 10-15 minutes until jam begins to set (thickens and gets shiny), stirring frequently. Remove from heat, skim off foam and stir for 3 - 5 minutes to suspend fruit evenly throughout jam. Fill sterilized jars and seal.
Makes about 4 pint jars or 8 half pint jars.
4. What's the one thing in your kitchen you just couldn't live without?
My husband. We both love to cook and we both love to eat, so we've always shared the meal-making. It's a marriage of mutually appreciative stomachs.
5. What magazine, website, book, album or product are you most obsessed with right now?
Lusa Organic's Booty Balm. It's supposed to be natural diaper rash cream, but we use it on cuts and scrapes, dry skin, cracked lips and general rashes. Anything and everything. It is our magic wonder-balm (and it smells phenomenal, too).
6. What's the most important news story today that you think we all need to pay more attention to?
"Most important" is a tough one. I think people tend to get overwhelmed when they hear about all the things going wrong with our world. We figure there is nothing we can do, resign ourselves to eventual disaster and keep on doing what we've always done.
I'd say, if you hear a news story that lifts you up and makes you want to learn more about the good work someone else is doing, or inspires you to change something in your life, then that was the most important news story for you at that moment. News that moves us toward a better world is what we should all be aiming for.
7. Where do you get your news?
I subscribe to a number of e-newsletters that I can browse: New York Times, Scientific American, Washington Times, Science Daily, Huffington Post, Rodale.com. But some of the most interesting news items I've seen have come from friends on Facebook.
A Visit to my Kitchen: Marion Nestle - Maria's Farm Country Kitchen
Natural Gas "Fracking" Threatens National Water Supply, Human Health - Rodale.com
For more from Maria Rodale, go to www.mariasfarmcountrykitchen.com.