Let's EatSeasonal Recipes
It never fails: every holiday season my daughter makes the same request for my Curried Butternut Squash Soup. And while this is quite the compliment, I try to remind her that I have a whole folder full of recipes for butternuts. She never wavers, and I always give in. This year will be no exception. But that concession doesn’t stop me from encouraging her to explore my other butternut favorites, like the layered casserole I made a couple Christmases ago, or the Blonde on Blonde Pasta dish that has become my personal favorite. In fact, I try something new with butternuts every year, including this year.
A few weeks ago, I was chatting it up with my friend Jane—that’s Jane Zappia the proprietor of Pop’s Pies—as we were on our way to see one of our favorite farmers, Bruce Haas, the owner of Daydream Farm in Greenville, IL. We were almost giddy because Bruce’s amazing green apples had come in, and it was a bumper crop. Bruce brought his entire haul to the Land of Goshen Community Market—the Fujis, the Delicious, the Gala….oh, the mouthwatering recipes Jane and I were contemplating.
We love Halloween in my house—the sweet part of it, right? The little trick-or-treaters in their costumes, the homemade goodies for family and friends at harvest gatherings, the seasonal displays of pumpkins and gourds, squeals and laughter. But we don’t mind getting a little salty either, especially when it comes to snacking: just the right combination of salt and sugar is the magic incantation for those treats so good you just can’t stop eating.
But they should be at least a little healthy right? I mean, if you are going to eat a lot of a snack, it should have nutritional benefit, don’t you think? Okay, before you think I’ve taken all the fun out of Halloween, consider my newest creation: Sweet and Salty Roasted Chickpeas. A little bit corn nut, a little bit Payday candy bar in a protein-packed snack. TaDa!
Everybody knows by now that I love fall and winter squash—just about any kind, from pumpkins (that are food not decorations) to butternuts. And by far, my favorite is delicata, which until recently could only be gotten at the farmers markets. The grocery stores are so slow to catch on the fabulous local food, but delicata squash turn up regularly now at major chains, though I still get all mine from local my farmers.
In college, I took two years of French. I loved studying and speaking this beautiful language. You can literally read a grocery list in French and create poetry. Pommes de terre, les haricots verts, et rôti de boeuf—that’s potatoes, green beans and roast beef, y’all.
But today? It’s pain perdu!
The kitchen as classroom—it’s certainly not a new concept. A culinary hero of mine, Alice Waters, was one of the first chefs to identify this idea with her Edible Schoolyard Project, a project that has since taken on a life of its own and been replicated in myriad ways globally, helping children understand where their food comes from, that a healthy plant-based diet can be delicious when deliciously prepared, and how cooking fosters skills that we all need. This idea is different from seeing a kitchen as a place where one learns to cook; it’s reimagining this functional space as a place where one cooks to learn.
If you keep up with this blog, you’ve learned by now that I am the veggie lover and my husband Don is the meat lover. We do cross paths on occasion—I am a strong believer in quality bone broth as part of my healthy winter regime, and Don eats (for the most part and with only a small amount of continual reluctance) my vegetable concoctions. That said, neither of us is willing to adapt in any significant way to the other’s lifestyle. We agree to disagree.
So when I find a vegetable and ways to cook it that make Don clean his plate, it’s a repeater. Which is exactly what I hit on with this new eggplant-inspired curry. And don’t you think the name is just too cute? Hubba Bubba—what’s not to love about that?
While I count ice cream among my top 10 favorite desserts—pretty close to number one, in fact—nothing beats a fruity sorbet on a hot summer day. It is sweet, clean, light and cooling to the entire body. I have never met a sorbet I didn’t love, including some off-the-wall ones that combine herbs and ground pepper flakes with standard fruits and flavors. Pineapple, mango and cayenne anyone?
Right now, though, I’m all about berries—blueberries and raspberries, specifically. The farmers markets are brimming with them. They are so good and so versatile, but their season is so short! When you buy, don’t forget to use a little restraint and freeze some for pies this coming fall and winter (I had to remind myself of this several times.). This week, however, I’m doing something frozen and super simple…let’s make a berry sorbet!
Carrots are, perhaps, one of the most familiar and popular of vegetables. Maybe the first veggie you ever ate—I do recall carrot sticks with cheese whiz….oh my. But carrots can be sort of scarce at farmers markets. You can find them, to be sure, but carrots take up lots of space in the vegetable patch and their perfumed tops are a deer and rabbit favorite—so not easy to grow and maintain. So most of us buy our carrots at the grocery. Imagine my absolute delight, then, when two of my favorite farmers—Jackie Mills of The Family Garden and Keith Biver of Biver Farms—started bringing beautiful carrots to market! I was shameless in the big bag I brought home.
My featured cake gets heavy inspiration from a September 2009 issue of Delicious Living Magazine; the cake has become a family favorite that I’ve made annually, especially when brunch is happening in our house because it is so delicate, fragrant and subtly sweet–perfect for morning munching. When my daughter had to eliminate gluten from her diet, I created a modified version for her—a Strawberry Sunshine Cake that, while it’s not the same, is pretty delicious, too.
Well we are closing in on Cinco De Mayo, yes? Not going to a big party? Then let the party come to you! I knew when the latest New Hope Network Blogger Box arrived, my little starter set of Zubi’s Organic Queso de Jalapeño, Crema de Jalapeño and Zubi Salsa were going to be a big hit. So I just didn’t tell Don they were vegan. A slight omission that he never even questioned. He just kept shoving tacos in his mouth and reaching for more sauce.
April may be the cruelest month according to poet T.S. Eliot, but for Don, it’s a food fiesta. Every April, we clean out the deep freeze, defrost and scrub it, getting it ready for the new market season ahead. Everything’s gotta go, and for Don it’s sort of like when you were little and the electricity went out and you had 10 gallons of ice cream beginning to melt. Gotta go, right?
Here’s Don: “Look! Another package of ham hocks!” “Did you forget about these ribs?!” “Pork chops…who knew they were buried beneath those green beans!” Yes, meat extravaganza doesn’t even cover the giddiness. But for me, it was all about that one-pound bag of green beans.
I’d like you to meet a new special friend: Here’s Maya, or rather Maya Two. She’s a gift from my friend Jane Zappia—yep Pop’s Pies Jane Zappia. Jane called at the end of March and said: “Would you like some sourdough starter? I have more than I need.” OMG. Can you say Soooooo Hippie! Of course I would!
Kefir is a natural for smoothies, much like a runny yogurt with a bit more tang and TONS of probiotics. When my latest New Hope Network Blogger Box arrived with a sample of Growing Naturals A.M. Energy One & Done SuperShake, it was a no-brainer. Let’s make smoothies!
Ever since the Women’s Movement began in the 70s, women have taken on one challenge after another. While we have won many hard-fought victories, it seems to me that some what we’ve gained is something we’ve had all along… the ability to multi-task. No offense guys, but women are natural organizers.
I have several friends with whom I share a lot of passions—love of the outdoors, farmers markets, gardening, and environmental activism, among many other loves. Food is always top of the list, and I’m sure this is not a surprise to you. Conversations with my friends about food come up all the time, and sometimes these heart-to-hearts on all things yummy, healthy and local turn into something really special—in this case, bacteria. Say what?
You know me: why buy power bars when you can make them yourself? You will have total control over the ingredients, avoid the plastic wrapper and enjoy a much more delightful dining experience. Well, that’s my opinion, anyway. And making your own bars, snack balls and cookies is much easier than people imagine. This recipe makes quite a supply of tasty, healthy, flexible bars that will be ready in your frig for up to two weeks. After that, they are probably still fine to eat, but will lack flavor and freshness. However, I’m guessing that if you make them and eat one, storing them longer than two weeks just won’t be a problem. Yummy.
Don and I have only made one brief trip to the fabled French Quarter, but we loved the history, the cultures and the food…especially that Cajun and Creole cooking! The Louisiana city simmers with beauty and sizzles with passion. The traditional dishes are seasoned with myriad cultures—African, French, Native American, Spanish, and Caribbean.