Archive for the ‘Friday Fruits and Veggies’ Category

h1

mmmMMmmmm…

January 25, 2008

from http://serendipitouschef.blogspot.com/
[image from here]

red spinach?  it’s in my produce co-op basket this week and i can’t freekin’ wait!  sauteed with a little olive oil, garlic, red pepper flake, lemon juice…

mmmMMmmmm…

h1

Friday Fruits and Veggies: Thanksgiving!!!

November 17, 2007

I love Thanksgiving.  It is my favorite holiday by far.  No gifts, no baskets, no staying up until midnight. 

Just food. 

Brilliant.

This week’s co-op basket has some Thanksgiving gems:

Spinach
Garnet Sweet Potatoes
Red Onions
Celery
Cranberries
Grannie Smith Apples

Aww Yeahh!  It’s Thanksgiving alright.  Cranberry bread is on the to-do list for tonight if I can keep my eyes open.  If I have a few berries left over I’ll throw them into an apple crisp.

Here’s my cranberry bread recipe:

    Need

Juice and grated peel of 1 orange
Boiling water
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup chopped fresh cranberries (i find throwing them in a zip bag and smashing them with a bottle of wine or other blunt instrument works best to get them started)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (use the same bludgeoning technique as above)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda

    Do

Preheat the over to 325` and butter one standard loaf pan or two small loaf pans. I prefer doing a few small loaves.

Put orange juice in a 1 cup measure. Add enough boiling water to the orange juice to make 3/4 cup. Add grated orange peel and butter to juice and water and stir until the butter is melted. Set this aside.

In a mixing bowl, beat the sugar and egg together with a whisk. Add the orange mixture and stir until blended. Add cranberries and walnuts to the bowl.

Sift together flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. If you are lacking a sifter simply fluff the dry ingredients with a fork or whisk until the mixture gets a bit lighter in volume. Stir the dry mixture into the wet mixture.

Pour the batter into the greased pans and bake for between 40 and 60 minutes. I know, there are lots of minutes between 40 and 60 but you should check the loaves at 40 minutes by inserting a toothpick in the center to check for doneness, and keep checking every 10 minutes until they’re done.

Good luck!

h1

Friday Fruits and Veggies: Quick Hit

November 2, 2007

not much time to post today. my inbox at work is full and i’m leaving early TO GET A TATTOO!!. i have to fit a full days work into three quarters of the time.

so, without further ado, here is what i have in my produce basket this week:

Baby Romaine Lettuce
Cucumber
Cauliflower
Alfalfa Sprouts
Baby Carrots
Gala Apples
Bananas

good thing, too. rolling off the detox still means a lot of salads. i’ve also discovered the deliciousness of a wide range of grains – quinoa, millet, pearl barley, amaranth. if i get a second over the weekend i’ll post some recipes.

h1

Friday Fruits and Veggies: Fall Is Here

October 13, 2007

My Friday Fruits and Veggies for this week are…drum roll, please…..

Rainbow Chard
Jewel Sweet Potato
Delicata Squash
Parsnips
Basil
Gala Apples
Plum Angeleno

A basket of Fall! Here in Southwest Florida we’re supposed to have a cold front this weekend so I might have to bust out a few soups on Sunday. I make a close to perfect Spanish White Bean soup with spicy sausage or chorizo, saffron, white beans, peppers and some kind of leafy green, this time the chard from my veggie basket (I’ll post the recipe later). This basket is also begging for a potato and parsnip puree/soup. Tonight I’ll make a quick pesto with the basil. Maybe I can get Mr. D to make his delicious spaghetti squash stuffing for the Delicata. Pretty, please?

In other food news, New York will see the opening of a new documentary about food. I can’t wait for it to make its way to our tiny little Art House Theatre.  King Cornis about two friends who move to Iowa to get to the bottom of where their food comes from. Why Iowa, you may ask? Well, Iowa is prime farm country for growing corn, specifically the type of corn that is made into high fructose corn syrup and other processed foods. And this is important, because?  Michael Pollan, quoted in this New York Times article, has a few things to say about corn:

If you take a McDonald’s meal, you don’t realize it when you eat it, but you’re eating corn…Beef has been corn-fed. Soda is corn. Even the French fries — half the calories in the French fries come from the fat they’re fried in, which is liable to be either corn oil or soy oil.
So when you’re at McDonald’s, you’re eating Iowa food. Everything on the plate is corn.

It’s attack of the corn!  It’s everywhere!!  RUN!!!  Now don’t get me wrong, I actually love the stuff, can hardly contain myself for the three or four weeks during the summer when Florida Sweet Corn is at its sicky sweetest and cheapy cheapest.  I’m not bashing fresh corn here, it’s the genetically modified, agri-businessed, processed to death shit that rubs me raw.  To get a better idea of the role corn plays in politics, America’s obesity problem, economics, etc., check out Pollan’s book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma.

Any interesting corn facts you’d like to share?

h1

Friday Fruits and Veggies: Fiesta Time

October 5, 2007

chilis.jpg

 I’m back on the wagon with Friday Fruits and Veggies.  Yea!

On tap for this week:
Escarole
Red Pepper
Tomatoes
Cilantro
Avocado
Bananas
Limes

Looks like a Mexican basket to me! This is the perfect excuse for me to run over to my local Tortilleria for fresh corn tortillas. Sunday would be a great day for Chicken Soft Tacos. In the past I’ve used a Bobby Flay recipe for the chicken:

New Mexican Style Soft Tacos w/ Hacked Chicken
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds chicken legs and thighs, skin removed
Salt
3 tablespoons ancho chile powder
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 ancho chile, coarsely chopped
2 New Mexican chilies, coarsely chopped
4 cups chicken stock
6 sprigs cilantro, plus more chopped, for garnish
12 flour tortillas, warmed
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and ancho chile powder. Sear, skin-side down, in the oil until golden brown. Turn over and brown on the other side. Remove the chicken to a plate.
Add the onion to the pan and cook until lightly golden brown. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer. Add the chicken back to the pot, add the chiles, stock, and cilantro, and bring to a boil. Cover and roast (or keep on the stove over med-low heat – ed.) in the oven until the chicken easily falls away from the bone, about 40 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pot and strain the cooking liquid into a bowl.
When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove bones and cut or shred the meat into bite-sized pieces. Place the reserved cooking liquid into a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add the shredded chicken, turn off the heat and let warm. Top tortillas with warm chicken and garnish.

Ed. Note – If you’re not into spicy foods, cut out the chilies and substitute one jalapeno, stemmed, seeded, and cut in large pieces so you can pull them out at the end.

What I love about this recipe is the technique. Although hard to believe, the flavors here are secondary to the method which I call “sear and simmer”.  You can easily use this recipe as a guide to make a really subtle chicken and rice by adding thyme or sage in place of the cilantro, maybe some diced carrot or celery instead of the chilies, cipollini oinions, shrooms, whatev. Shred the chicken over some rice cooked in one part water and one part of the chicken cooking liquid and you’re golden.

I employ this method most frequently when I make my version of chicken cacciatore – sear chicken, add onion, garlic and herbs, deglaze with wine, add canned tomatoes, olives, shrooms, etc. and simmer until sauce is reduced and chicken falls off the bone.

Since it is essentially being stewed, the chicken gets spectacularly moist and delicious, keeps well in the fridge and heats up nicely. The other great thing about this recipe is that it’s relatively cheap since it calls for dark meat (use white if you wish). You can double or even triple the recipe (if you have the vessel for it) and feed a crowd very inexpensively especially if, like me, you can get homemade tortillas at about a buck a pound.

For my tacos, I’ll top them with lettuce (maybe I’ll sauté the escarole instead?), tomato, avocado, radish, cilantro, and some kind of cheese. Mr. D will no doubt add jalapeno and maybe a little hot sauce, that Devil. A squeeze of lime on the tacos, and in a Modelo, and we’ll be good to go.

How is your weekend shaping up food wise?

h1

Friday Fruits and Veggies

September 14, 2007

dancing_banana.gif

It’s Friday Fruits and Veggies Time, Friday Fruits and Veggies Time, Friday Fruits and Veggies with a baseball bat.

My co-op basket this week includes:

Bok Choy
Daikon Radish w/tops
Sweet Candy Onions
Mung Beans
Green Peppers
Ginger
Bananas
Apples Gold Supreme

Yummy! I’ve been cutting back on my sugar and white carb intake and only treating myself when I have a huge craving, so depending on the number of apples, I may make a pie. I’m also envisioning a great stir-fry with the bok choy, daikon, onion, mung beans, peppers and ginger. I also found a simple daikon, carrot and cucumber salad; julienne the veggies, toss with salt and pepper and honey mustard dressing.

Cutting the sugar and white carbs is not easy. I’ve had really good intentions lately but the execution is seriously lacking. It sucks because I remember how good I felt when I went on the South Beach Diet back in 2004. With my new living situation, I just can’t seem to get back there.

Now before everybody gets all freaked out about me going on a “diet”, let me say that I was a very reluctant participant at the start. Reason number one, I think that in our culture there is way too much emphasis on dieting for the sole purpose of complying with an American standard of beauty created and reinforced by the Patriarchy. Number two, I don’t think many diets are designed with overall health in mind. Perhaps because the emphasis isn’t on health but beauty, as described in reason number one.

But South Beach was very convincing. My Grammie, a type two diabetic, was encouraged by her doctor to read the South Beach book and try the diet. She did. Not only was she able to control her blood sugar like a champ, she lost a much needed 10-20 lbs. of Grade “A” Prime Heart Attack Fat from around her middle. My boyfriend-at-the-time and I were stunned. This is a woman who ate with abandon; she is a true Yankee who puts mayonnaise and butter on everything including fruit salad, and has never in her life refused dessert. She offered us her copy of the book and the rest is history.

If you’re unfamiliar with the South Beach concept it’s pretty simple on the surface – eat more “good” protein, eat more “good” carbs, and for chris’sake, move more. The first two weeks is almost exclusively lean protein and vegetable based and you are encouraged to eat a few times a day. You can have up to 90 calories of “sweet” per day but no fruit no booze and limited caffeine. The third week you start introducing more whole grains and low sugar fruits; maybe a serving of each per day. I followed the book version of the diet pretty religiously only cheating when it really couldn’t be helped – you haven’t eaten in a few hours, you show up for a meeting after work, meeting host has ordered pizza, it’s the closetst thing to dinner you’ll see for the next three hours, you eat it.

The overall results were pretty staggering. I lost about 20lbs and boyfriend-at-the-time lost almost 40 within the first six months or so. I felt great physically. The diet really detoxified my system and I got to a point where I couldn’t eat too much sugar or bread or pasta or fruit juice. My blood sugar would skyrocket and I would pass out within 25 minutes of eating the offending item.

I eventually modified my South Beach diet to exclude all chemical sugar substitutes (something the diet relies too heavily upon, I think) and to include natural sugars like raw organic cane juice, stevia, agave, etc. I also started drinking beer again which was difficult because too much and my body would go into glycemic shock. I was careful to choose only high quality micro brews and to only drink one or two. If I wanted to party I stuck with red wine and boyfriend-at-the-time used this no-beer period to explore the finer points of scotch whiskey. I avoided high fructose corn syrup like the plague and became an obsessive label reader.

The choices available to me opened dramatically when Whole Foods came to town. I eventually realized that I wasn’t on “The South Beach Diet” anymore; I was just eating healthier. I started reading about food additives, the high levels of hormones and antibiotics in meat and dairy, unsanitary and inhumane farming practices, how the corn industry has ruined small farming and our health. I took a greater interest in what I was putting into my body and made it a priority in my life.

After boyfriend-at-the-time and I split up I was able to keep up the good eating without issue. With Mr. D it’s not been so easy. Before I was living by myself and able to control all of the food that came into my house, plus I was spending all of my own money. Now I have Mr. D’s preferences to take into account – what kind of things he likes to eat and how much he is willing to spend on particular items. It’s difficult, even for me, to justify spending $6.99 per pound on free range, no antibiotic, no hormone chicken breast. How am I supposed to get Mr. D to agree to spend that much? I know he cares about the fact that “there’s shit in the meat” but I guess he’s just not motivated, for whatever reason, to make a huge life style issue out of it.

Maybe my goal for this week will be to sit down with him and have it out. Explain my position and see if I can get him to come over to the dark side, even just a little. I mean, eating that crappy chicken that costs $1.99 per pound can not only make YOU sick (think cancer from the hormones and germ resistance from the antibiotics), it makes the earth sick (think ground water pollution, soil degradation, destruction of biodiversity). When you buy chicken at $6.99 a pound there is value added – as an individual you’ll spend less on health care and as a society we’ll pay less for environmental care. Plus, $6.99 a pound chicken actually tastes like chicken! Imagine!!

h1

Friday Fruits and Veggies

September 7, 2007

My Boyfriend, Mr. D, and I belong to an organic co-op. We pay about $50 a month for a weekly basket of organic produce. It typically breaks down to 1/3 leafy greens (chard, romaine, spinach), 1/3 veggies (onions, potatoes, squash) and 1/3 fruit (pears, apples, oranges). The co-op organizer updates the “what’s in this week’s basket” section of the co-op’s website on Thursdays. I pick up the basket-o-goodness on Fridays.

I want to start blogging about my intentions for the week as they relate to what I receive – what’s in this weeks basket, what am I really excited about, what’s Mr. D excited about, what will rot before we touch it, what recipes am I going to try, etc.

I also want to start blogging about food in general.  Hopefully, my Friday Fruits and Veggies posts will include a discussion of something on my mind related to food.

I’m flying by the seat of my pants here since I just came up with the idea about five seconds ago. I draw my inspiration from Daily Kos diarist orangeclouds115’s Vegetables of Mass Destruction series.

I guess I’ll start by saying that I have issues with the fact that 99.9% of the produce I receive each week is from industrial organic farms; it’s mono-cropped on huge swaths of land all over the world, picked by underpaid farm workers, and then flown and/or trucked thousands of miles to some refrigeration warehouse and on and on. It requires huge expenditures of resources. It’s not local or “sustainable” and therefore it’s an ethical and moral compromise on my part. I’ll write more about the compromise later, but in the meantime, check out The Omnivore’s Dilemma.

So, what’s in my basket this week? Drum Roll Please…

Rainbow Chard

Portabella Mushrooms

Jumbo Carrots

Broccoli Crowns

Acorn Squash

Red Plums

Bartlett Pears

I’ll need to pick up a few additional things at the grocery, but should be able to make a main dish for about three meals, with leftovers, from this basket. I’m most excited about making a plum sauce for chicken. I also found a great recipe for red onion and almond stuffed squash and can’t wait to try stuffing the chard leaves to make quasi-dolma.  The broccoli will go in salads and maybe as a side to the plum chicken.  Mr. D and I will eat the pears (happily as i’m off the refined sugar once again) and maybe juice the carrots depending on their taste.  The biggest challenge will be the mushrooms.  I am not a huge fan but Mr. D is so I’ve encouraged him to find a good recipe for us to try.  I’ll let you know how everything turns out!