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Posted 8/20/2015 6:23am by Erin Caudell.

Besides being super easy to prepare and sweetly delicious, beets have many health benefits too.They are known to be a super cleanser and purifier of the liver and blood. Beets contain betaine and tryptophan which help relax the mind and aid in a sense of well-being. The ancient Romans even used them as an aphrodisiac. Their high levels of boron directly correlate to the production of human sex hormones. Beets are definitely a feel good food.

The best method of preparation is to cut off the greens, wash the beets and wrap them in foil. Roast in the oven until a skewer glides through the beets (about an hour depending on their size). Store beets with the greens attached in a loosely sealed plastic bag. You could also shred them to eat raw in salads. Don’t forget to eat the greens too! Prepare them as you would spinach or chard. For those that aren’t sure they like beets try them in a veggie cake mixed with potatoes. Crisp Beet and Potato Cake

1 pound peeled and shredded russet potatoes

1 ½ teaspoons salt

4 medium beets

¼ cup snipped chives

2 tablespoons butter

Toss shredded potatoes with salt. Trim stems and dangling roots from beets. Remove skins with veggie peeler. Shred beets in box grater or food processor. Mix potatoes, beets and chives. Heat 1 tablespoon of butter in a 10 inch nonstick skillet. Distribute mixture evenly in pan to make 1 giant pancake. Cook over medium heat, pressing down with spatula until underside is crisp and browned, 10 – 12 minutes. Slide pancake onto plate. Invert onto another plate, brown side up. Add remaining butter to pan. Slide pancake into skillet brown side up. Cook until second side is browned, 8 – 10 minutes. Slide finished pancake onto plate. Cut into wedges and serve.

Posted 8/12/2015 11:10pm by Erin Caudell.

Napa translates loosely in Chinese as “leaf.”  Like other leafy veggies, this Asian favorite is very low in calories and high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamins A and C.  If you search online there are a million variations for a raw napa cabbage slaw.  It’s excellent in miso or clear broth based soups, kimchi, stir-fries, or spring rolls.  Napa is crisp and mild with pale green ruffled leaves and it is more perishable than its other cabbage cousins. So use it quick and keep it simple on these warm summer days for a refreshing salad, slaw or stir-fry. 

Stir-Fried Napa Slaw 

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil – grapeseed, olive or canola will all work

1 Tbsp. minced garlic

1 Tbsp. minced ginger

1 small head of shredded napa cabbage

1 cup shredded carrots

2 Tbsp. Asian Sesame Ginger Dressing (Bragg’s brand is my favorite)

Juice from ½ a lemon

¼ cup sesame seeds

¼ cup diced scallions

¼ cup chopped cilantro  

Optional: Top slaw with left over diced chicken (warm or cold) 

 

Put oil in skillet over medium high heat and sauté minced garlic and ginger about 3 minutes. Add cabbage and carrots to skillet.  Stir-fry veggies for 3 to 5 minutes or until cabbage is slightly wilted but still crunchy.  Turn off heat and move stir-fry to serving bowl.  Add dressing and add chicken if desired.  Squeeze juice from ½  lemon. Toss everything together.  Top with sesame seeds, scallions, and cilantro.  Serve warm.

Posted 8/7/2015 9:18am by Erin Caudell.

Everyone’s favorite summer veggies are ripe and finally don’t have to be shipped in from another state.  Locally grown fruits and veggies taste so much better because they can stay on the vine longer and spend less time travelling to you.  What can you do with all of the delicious tomatoes and peppers?  There are a few recipes that I can’t live without in the summertime, like Black Bean Salad and Tomato Pepper Soup.  Whip up some quick and cool dishes to enjoy some easy summer living and eating.  Or just eat a handful of those cherry tomatoes that are so sweet they taste almost like candy!    

Black Bean Salad

 1 (15oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup cooked corn, canned, frozen or fresh from the cob

1 bell pepper diced

1 cup cherry tomatoes halved

¼ cup chopped onions or scallions

Juice from 1 lime

1 Tbsp olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste ½ cup cilantro, chopped    

Optional: to add some spicy heat 1 jalapeno or any other type of hot pepper, diced  

To make, place all ingredients except the cilantro in a bowl.  Stir together.  Let sit in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving to let the flavors mingle.  Add chopped cilantro right before serving.  (If you don’t like cilantro, substitute with parsley or basil.)  

 

 

Tomato Pepper Soup (serves 2 – 4)  

2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved

1 bell pepper, chopped

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp ground coriander

1 Tbsp ground cumin Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup vegetable broth  

Optional: to add some spicy heat 1 jalapeno or any other type of hot pepper, chopped  

Place the tomatoes and peppers onto a baking sheet and sprinkle with coriander, cumin, salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil. Bake until the tomatoes are very soft and the peppers are starting to caramelize, about 45 minutes. Scrape into a medium saucepan, using a spatula to remove all the juices, and then add the vegetable broth. Puree with an immersion blender, and then taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper if needed.  Serve warm or cold.                              

Posted 7/29/2015 11:29am by Erin Caudell.

Put a cape on this veggie and call it a dietary superhero. Swiss Chard is a leafy green with edible and colorful stems. They are easy to recognize with their white, orange, yellow, pink and red stalks. One cup of chopped and boiled chard leaves and stalks has only 35 calories and an amazing 636% of your daily vitamin K. That is the vitamin that makes our time in the sun or the vitamin D supplements we take more effective, as vitamin K helps our bodies absorb vitamin D. Rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, you can feel good about eating this food for bone health, blood sugar regulation, and to reduce inflammation. Store in a tightly sealed bag in the refrigerator and wait to wash the leaves until just before you use them. Most recipes suggest sautéing the chard for a quick and simple side dish.

 

Parmesan Swiss Chard

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp butter

1 Tbsp minced garlic

½ small onion chopped

1 bunch Swiss chard (stems and leave separated)

½ cup dry white wine

1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (or to taste)

2 Tbsps fresh grated Parmesan cheese

Melt butter and olive oil together over medium heat. Stir in garlic and onion and cook for about 1 minute. Add chard stems and wine, simmering about 5 minutes until stems are softened. Stir in chard leaves and cook until just wilted. Stir in lemon juice and Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Posted 7/22/2015 11:01am by Erin Caudell.

 What’s up, Doc?  Its carrot season, that’s what’s up.  These colorful carrots are going to have subtle flavor differences and not so subtle color differences from Bug’s favorite giant orange carrot.  They are white, yellow and purple.  The white and golden carrots are a bit milder, the purple sweeter and sometimes more peppery. Maybe your kid will be willing to give that purple looking carrot a try. The most creative recipe yet for the carrot just might be Linsey Pollak’s Carrot Clarinet.  Enjoy the TedX presentation.  

Linsey Pollak - Carrot Clarinet

Posted 7/22/2015 11:00am by Erin Caudell.

Created in Argentina as a sauce for flank steak, this is great as a marinade for chicken or fish too!  

½ cup packed fresh parsley leaves

½ cup packed fresh cilantro leaves

4 garlic cloves

½ seeded and chopped jalapeño pepper

2 tablespoons chopped scallion or onion

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon dried oregano

¼ cup red wine vinegar

¾ cup good olive oil salt and pepper

  Pulse parsley, cilantro, garlic, onion and jalapeño in a food processor until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and pulse until well combined. Store in sealed container in fridge for up to 2 weeks.  Serve on chicken, fish and beef.  

Posted 7/1/2015 2:19pm by Erin Caudell.

The botanical name of Lamb’s Quarters is Chenopodium album, but it has a handful of other more interesting names: goosefoot, fat hen, wild spinach, and pigweed. According to the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, “their ancient name was ‘all good’, and all good they are. They contain more iron and protein than raw cabbage or spinach, more calcium and vitamin B1 than raw cabbage, and more vitamin B2 than cabbage or spinach.” The wild spinach moniker is a clue as to how to use this food in your recipes, by replacing spinach for lamb’s quarters in casseroles, salads, quiches and dips or try it in your breakfast smoothie.    

Lambs Quarter Mango Green Smoothie 

1 mango 

1 banana 

2 handfuls of Lambs Quarters

 2 cups water

  Blend and enjoy! 

Posted 6/25/2015 6:59am by Erin Caudell.

Love garlic?  You’ll love garlic scapes.  These curvy green stalks are part of the hardneck garlic plant, and are usually cut off about a month after the plant starts sending out shoots in order for more energy to be sent to the growing garlic bulb below ground.  While we are waiting for those fresh new bulbs of garlic later in the summer, we get to enjoy some of that wonderful flavor now. The flavor of the scape is more subtle than the freshly chopped bulb.  For this reason you’ll find a plethora of recipes for garlic scape pestos and dips, and can be used like green garlic or green onions to top salads.  You can sauté them alone or in a stir fry, but their flavor is even more subtle when cooked. Depending on how strong you like that garlic flavor, this can be a good thing or maybe not.  Store garlic scapes in the refrigerator and use them within the week for best flavor.  

Garlic Scape Compound Butter - Beautiful green butter to finish meat dishes or spread on warm bread.  

½ cup coarse chopped garlic scapes

1 stick unsalted butter

1 tablespoon lemon zest

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

½ teaspoon salt  

Place ingredients in a food processor or blender.  Blend until thoroughly mixed.  Transfer butter to parchment paper and roll into a tube.  Store in fridge or freezer and slice off a coin or two as you need it.

Posted 6/17/2015 12:58pm by Erin Caudell.

 

Love those kale chips at the grocery, but don’t love the price tag?  Make your own!

1 bunch of kale

1 tablespoon coconut oil (melted)

1 teaspoon garlic powder (or spice of choice)

Salt and pepper to taste  

Preheat oven to 350° Pull kale from stem and rough chop it.  Place kale, coconut oil, and spices in bowl and massage until all the kale is coated with oil.  Arrange on baking sheet in single layer.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Remove crisp leaves, and if any aren’t done bake the rest for another 2 minutes or until done.  

Note:  You can use any oil or spice that you like to change up the flavor.  These chips don’t have nuts, tahini, or yeast, so they may look and taste different from what you’re used to at the grocery. We love them with our favorite no salt seasoning blend. After taste testing with different oils, coconut oil was the winner by holding more seasoning flavor onto the kale. Don’t worry; the coconut flavor won’t carry over to the kale.  

Also, the easiest way to get lovely crispy kale in the oven is to toss the baby leaves or chopped large leaves on your frozen pizza when you pop it in the oven. No need to coat in oil or season.  The pizza does that for you.

Posted 6/9/2015 3:53pm by Erin Caudell.

Aren’t these snap peas?  No they are not.  Instead of popping these pods, pull the stem along the seam to open the green peas. This variety has fibrous inedible pods (unless you want to save them with your other veggie scraps to make stock) but sweet plump peas inside.  Only 5% of English peas make it to market fresh.  Most are directly frozen for purchase year round, since their season is so fleeting, like spring in Michigan.  

These peas are easy to prep! Boil peas in 1/4 inch of simmering, generously salted water for two to four minutes until tender. Drain and serve with a large pat of butter.  If you would prefer to be dairy-free, toss with a splash of olive oil and a handful of your favorite fresh herbs. Mints compliment the peas nicely. You could also put these gently cooked peas in a pasta salad, tuna salad or rice dish.