Friday, November 25, 2011

Confessions of a Recovering Food Addict

The garden is my favorite place to spend my time. Seeing it each day filled with beautiful fresh vegetables is exciting. That reality has not always been the case. Several years ago I was much more likely to spend my time at the fast food places filling my stomach with fries and milk shakes or sitting in front of the TV snacking. I was a junk food junkie and my palate wanted nothing of real food. I was addicted processed carb's and fried foods. Through a 12 step program and a great deal of research on eating real food I came to understand my life depended upon eating fresh whole food. I have been transformed by a diet of real food straight from the garden. I lost 100 pounds and I have maintained that for over 4 years. The best of it is how great I feel every day, Real food is real life.

Mustard Green pea soup

Kick up your standard pea soup recipe with a mess of mustard greens. I had a pot of pea soup and some fresh mustard greens from the Levy garden so I put 2 cups of broth in the blender and 3 cups of the greens and pureed them. Then I stirred the greens into my soup and wow it was souper. Try this new way to get your greens. I think I will bump up my lentil soup next time.
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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Ami's Salad

I made a delicious salad tonight – thought I would send the recipe. The amounts I'm not good at – next time I will remember to measure but it was delicious! I think this is close to what two salads would be. Thanks for all the wonderful, happy lettuce from Nathan's Garden!! I had such a great time moving those little lettuces today, they are FILLED with LOVE from me :)

In large bowl mix:
1 leaf – mexican oregano - finely chopped
Mixed lettuce greens
2 large radishes 
1/2 yellow pepper
Handful of pea shoots
Handful of crushed walnuts
Sprinkle crumbled goat cheese on top

In another bowl mix:
Juice from 1/2 a lime
1 teaspoon of honey
1 teaspoon olive oil
Splash of vinaigrette
Dash of salt/pepper

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Close-to-Fresh Tomatoes in August

Several months ago before our garden stopped glutting us with large and juicy tomatoes, we ate them any way we could just knowing that all good things come to an end.  We had so many that I decided to experiment with freezing them

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Summer Greens Cravings Lead to Taste Testing Weeds

Many of you know that Brenon Duff is a true "raw" man and Nathan and I were fortunate to have a private one-to-one with him last Sunday afternoon.  His insight on eating raw is a great blessing to those who know him. His Sunday Lecture last fall had a measurable impact on my eating habits.  I've been drifting into eating raw for the past 6 - 8 months and my body feels very different. I am also maintaining my 45-pound weight loss with no struggle.  I feel lighter and more alert. I go through experimental phases with raw eating and find that when I stop juicing and cut back on the hummus, etc. I feel like I am hungry all the time. Then I eat and eat and cannot be satisfied.  During one of my "I'm starving" moments last week,  I had an epiphany that sounded something like this:
"Ingesting food just to stop my stomach from feeling hungry does not necessarily feed my body's need for nutrition. For me, giving raw food to my body is providing it with the nutrients it needs.  I can tell because I can go longer without feeling the need to eat. Until I give my body the nutrients it demands, it will continue to send me a message that I am starving."
Back to juicing I went and my body said "ahhhh......thank you"...

In the interest of getting more greens this summer--raw for me and cooked for Nathan--with Brenon's guidance

Monday, July 11, 2011

why eat organic?

Yes, it's better for your health. Eating locally and organically, however, also reduces stress on ocean populations of such adorable birds as the Black Skimmer, which I had the privilege of watching on Anna Maria Island yesterday. 

How do chemicals applied in Iowa affect birds on Anna Maria Island? Agricultural chemistry makes its way from the bread basket of America, washing from the farms and production centers across the midwest to the Gulf of Mexico via the Mississippi River and its tributaries. Chemistry washes off the land, into the waterways, flowing toward the ocean, collecting in the Gulf and creating a large dead zone. Additionally, local chemistry applied to lawns and gardens in the form of weed killers, bug sprays, fertilizers, boat maintenance and water features, have a much shorter route to travel, washing out from Tampa Bay and environs.

Shorebirds such as the Black Skimmer are sensitive to chemical changes in the environment. They depend on a healthy saltwater population of smaller organisms, especially during nesting season. If their food becomes distressed by agricultural chemistry, and populations of the small ocean animals they eat diminishes, the bird populations will also suffer. Why should that matter? 

They're part of the circle -- that continuation of birth and renewal that propels this planet into the future. If their part of the arc is removed, the circle gets lumpy and things don't roll along so smoothly. Nature has connected things effectively and efficiently with minimal waste, and she will accommodate for the changes man makes in her plan. She will continue to do so long after my time, and probably long after oil companies, hedge funds, insurance companies and multinational conglomerates have reaped their last dividends. Her accommodation has some difficult times ahead for humans, however, and we may not like what she's got in store for us if we continue to disregard her distress signals.

Your choice to eat organically, locally, and intelligently has far reaching effects. As a recent transplant from Idaho and Colorado, I am happy to see a growing demand for locavore foods here in the Tampa Bay area and look forward to connecting with those who work to make a difference. The benefits are huge. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Golden Hubbard Squash & Cannellini Bean Soup

I made a new resolution yesterday: To use up all the bagged dried beans I have accumulated in the cupboard. Those bags are slipping and sliding all over each other and I am tired of moving them around. So today I made soup. First, I...

  • Soaked white cannellini beans and cooked them last night
  • Sauteed some dried lemon grass and Vidalia onions in extra virgin olive oil until the onions started to caramelize then added chicken stock. For some reason, I cannot seem to eat enough Vidalias this year.
  • Peeled, chunked, and roasted Golden Hubbard Squash (it really is a vivid yellow gold!) until the chunks started to caramelize. They looked like pineapple chunks and tasted so sweet.
  • Large-sectioned several deep red Cherokee Purple tomatoes that had to be eaten. I would never usually "waste" such an expensive tomato in soup but the look of the soup was so unique because of it. The non-acidic taste of these heirlooms continues to surprise me!
  • Everything got put in the soup pot along with some chopped fresh arugula, Red Malabar Spinach, Tulsi basil, a little more lemon grass, sea salt, and ground pepper.
The results were beautiful, smooth tasting, and a nice light yet substantial dinner soup for Nathan and I tonight. Gorgeous looking too!

Golden Hubbard Squash & Cannellini Bean Soup

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Chicken Ranch Frittata

I am an experimental cook, not all I do comes out well but I will try and share what does. This frittata is one of the good ones. (blogging it was an afterthought) It came about from having one of those mornings where I didn't think I had anything for a full breakfast. It is very versatile and would be wonderful with fresh spinach or sauteed fennel among other things.

Preheat your oven to 350.

1/2 onion (sauteed)
4 large eggs
1c. milk
1/2 self rising flour (Bisquik would work well here, just cut your salt in half)
2 tsp fresh parsley
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1c. shredded cheese of choice (I used a sharp cheddar, my preference is a gruyere swiss
1/2 c. meat of choice. optional (I used a summer sausage because it is all I had)

Whisk together the eggs, milk, flour and spices. Add in the onions and meat and cheese, combine well. (This would also be a good time to add any veggies you wanted in your frittata) Pour into a small oiled pan and bake for about 35 minutes (all ovens differ). Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes before cutting into it. The frittata will fall as it cools and no longer be poofy. Slice into quarters and plate.
Serves 4 light appetites or 2 hungry men.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Recipes & Research

For the sake of everyone, I decided to stop publishing the list of recipes and links on the weekly Market opening notice. Instead, I'll provide a weekly link to this blog post so that it will still be accessible to everyone.  We recognize that some of you depend on us to point you in the right direction

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Pesto Craving Resolved

I just had to have pesto today and I decided to be adventurous at lunchtime. It paid off...  I toasted pine nuts and walnuts and scored the peel off one of Annie's (of Annie's Urban Farm fame) fresh Meyer's lemons and then juiced just half of it. They are very juicy. I gathered small amounts of kale, swiss chard, arugula flower tops, brussel sprout leaves and washed and lightly towel dried them all. Then I put it all into the food processor adding sea salt, fresh ground pepper, solid salted BUTTER (yum), extra virgin olive oil, the lemon juice and peel, all the nuts and some parseman cheese. 

I actually forgot to

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Marinaded Kohlrabi

I've been boasting about this recipe for over a year now and thought I should finally write it down. I got it from some great chef (I believe it was Chef Fred Lucardie) of the Tampa Bay American Culinary Federation many years ago and have never been able to find the original copy of it. But I do remember the ingredients:  "kohlrabi, lemon wedges,

Mulberries, Bananas, and Yogurt "OH MY!"

I didn't have any apple or mango juice that this smoothie recipe called for so I skipped it.  The result was wonderful without the added fructose and it was not too tart (which I don't care for).   I finished off two leftover containers of no-fat yogurts (so my husband can have it), plain and vanilla greek.  We loved this smoothie and Rebecca's mulberries!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Greens to Braise (Soup by Ami Bowen)

Ami responded to our request for feedback on one of the mixed greens packages the Market offers for braising.  She was happy with the combination of broccoli leaves, collard greens, and beet greens. If fact, she made soup!
Ooh - most delightful soup I have made ever! I cleaned them and chopped them up with a sweet potato, a few small red potatoes, carrots and some mustard greens, added water and celery salt, a little red chili and that’s it. DELICIOUS!
Our thanks to Ami for sharing her recipe!  [ market managers]

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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Moroccan Spiced Chicken and Fennel

This dish is a wonderful blend of spices and flavors and I loved it. I consider it mild and not spicy "hot." I substituted spelt berries for the couscous. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Just Call Me “Carrot Top”

Maybe I’m going overboard with this “waste not, want not” attitude but when I read that carrots tops are a controversial subject on the internet—some say they can be toxic when eaten--I just had to defy that argument and taste them.  

Don’t Toss Those Collard Stems

We have been growing and eating collards for the past three years and the stems always feel so tough that I am prone to tearing collard leaves off their stems and tossing the stems into the kitchen compost bucket.  

(From the looks of that bucket I have yet to make peace with the mustards my husband insists he will cook and never does.)  Ah…but I digress!   I read recently that collard stems can be eaten

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Results for Black Bean Asian Sauce

“So enough, already, with the michihili!” they cried out. Relax… this post is about the bean sauce recipe I posted about.  I just happened to pour it over michihili stems which I cooked for a zillion years first. We ate the flowers raw, of course. Michihili flowers when mature.

The recipe for Asian Black Bean Sauce turned out great!  I made a few changes to it

Barbara Kingsolver Would Probably Love Michihili

Many of you now trying michihili are likely savoring the zesty flavor of this Chinese cabbage type.  I know I am.  But lately I’ve lost my patience (again) with the stems which require a lengthy cook time, can be fibrous and therefore not totally chewable. So a few nights ago I decided to prepare the leaves and “opt out” of messing with the stems.  Stress relieved! I stripped the leaves as outlined in blog post The Challenge of Michihili and steamed them just as I would young collard greens or baby beet greens. The juicy taste of fresh michihili greens restored my commitment to continue eating them.

So why do I keep trying to assimilate michihili into my diet? As I’ve been trying to “waste not, want not” with this Asian vegetable, I realize that I am applying one of the practices that Barbara Kingsolver prescribes in her best seller “Animal Vegetable Miracle”. Last year I posted comments on this book in another blog and they apply in this case as well. 

My continuing adventures with the abundance of michihili in our garden, for as long as it lasts, stem back to an important lifestyle classic of our times and a must read for those moving towards a self-sustaining lifestyle. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Black Bean Sauce on Asian Vegetables

At a recent holiday party someone told us that the best Chinese restaurant in town was located near where we live.  Talk about "local"! The ABC Chinese Seafood Restaurant is in walking distance from our home and we've never been there, probably because it is in a strip mall near an auto parts store. I mean, how good could that be? 

Well, open mouth, insert foot.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

My First Local Honey (at least I’m willing to admit it!)

How can I be over 55 and never have tasted “local” honey? In fact, I only recently heard about how local honey can help allergy sufferers.   Like some of us, I haven’t been paying too much attention to the honey that I’ve been buying other than to make sure it is made in the USA.  What a surprise when I went to check the leftover brand in my cupboard tonight

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Lunch of Leftovers with Cilantro and Italian Parsley

When I’m in a hurry I still try to eat healthy and today was no exception.  I had almost finished eating my quickly prepared lunch when I realized I was missing a photo op! 

So here is my lunch using leftovers my husband wasn’t going to eat.  My quick fix included a bunch of cilantro that had to get used

Friday, January 7, 2011

New Year - New Food

I'm very happy to to have found St. Pete Locally Grown! There's nothing better than fresh food that helps people in my own community! I'm turning everyone at work onto the site!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Beet Greens Recipe

 I found this on a blog from mizk1 - Wash the greens well to remove any grit. Chop the stem into 1/4" pieces (bundle together and chop) and the leaves in 1/2" strips (roll in cigar shapes and slice).

Monday, January 3, 2011

Delicious Fresh Beet Greens & Seasoning of Mustard Greens

I made this recipe [with fresh beet greens] last night and it was DELICIOUS!  Also, have you tried the Mustard Greens with some vinegar?  It can enhance the natural flavor and sweetness in foods, especially bitter greens.    Best, Jane

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Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Michihili Challenge

Michihili is one of a number of cylindrical-shaped Chinese cabbage types. But wait! It doesn't taste anything like cabbage (to me) and its beautiful greens are worth getting acquainted with.  We have been harvesting michihili greens in The Garden for weeks