Posts tagged ‘food’

April 7, 2013

Renewal: The Promise of Spring

It was a long winter in our household. After nearly three long years of struggle, my mother finally succumbed to her battle with cancer. Blessed to be with her when she died, it has taken me a couple of months to catch my breath, and reset. My blog, started as we waited to learn of her diagnosis, has suffered mightily from the darkness of winter and the sorrow of a lost parent. But over the past several weeks, I have found that stories have been bubbling up to the surface, and the desire to write, and share my photos of the world around me have re-emerged. And it is spring, and the promise of new life surrounds us. Here are some of the stories that I expect to show up on the “pages” of the Family Foodie Survival Guide. Which one do you want to read first?

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December 3, 2012

The SOLE Routine in the Dark Days

It’s relatively easy to eat locally in the summer season. The market is overflowing with more abundance than one can possibly cook, and the CSA delivers overflowing bags of produce, and the garden outside of the kitchen door ALWAYS has something that needs to be cooked.  But as the month of December dawns, the farmers’ markets are dwindling in size, the CSA has stopped, and although our arugula is trying hard to keep on growing (and 65 degrees today surely helped), our garden is no longer a reliable source of food.

So, what is a family to do when we are trying to eat at least one  entirely SOLE-sourced meal (for those of you new to this acronym…that is Sustainable, Organic, Local, and Ethical)?

Well this family is truly blessed to live where we do — because although the types of local food clearly reflect the realities of the winter season, we are by no means deprived.

In fact, at our market on Saturday (East Falls Church Market, our regular Saturday market), we saw, and purchased, this incredible ruby-leaved lettuce.

Can you believe the rich color of the leaves? Oh and they are delicious too!

Can you believe the rich color of the leaves? Oh and they are delicious too!

Now this lettuce played a starring role in salads that accompanied dinner both Saturday and Sunday. But before I share that with you, let me tell you our other SOLE sources over the winter season.

Our walkable Westover Farmer’s Market just got approval for a Sunday morning market, so we can get our favorite bacon and newest favorite bread (Portuguese corn bread)!

And on Tuesday morning, we wake up to our milk and eggs from South Mountain, as well as whatever else we have decided to order (Swiss cheese and sweet bologna for tomorrow).

If I need some chicken for dinner midweek or some local beer and wine, I’ll head over to The Westover Market and Beer Haus, and for some jam and organic grains The Local Market is a great source….

And so really, runs to my local grocery store are reduced to TP, organic beans and rice, and citrus needs.  I am pretty sure that I can live like this for a  long time.

And our local meals for the weekend?

Saturday morning:

Sunday morning:

Sunday night:

Easy as can be, right?

If you’d like to see what my fellow SOLE-food bloggers are up to this winter, please follow along at our Google Reader log.  Lots of wonderful stories to read, and if you eat venison, apparently we will learn lots about different ways to prepare it from Annie and Susan this winter!

Please do join in … we are looking forward to an awesome adventure through the winter months.

November 11, 2012

Some Recipes On My To Try List

http://m.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/food/recipes-make-it-freeze-it-take-it/2012/11/06/0d5e363e-2792-11e2-b4f2-8320a9f00869_gallery.html

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October 20, 2012

Just Another Saturday

When the morning begins with sunshine and a trip to the Falls Church Farmers’ Market, you can be pretty sure it’s going to be a good day. There were lots of wonderful things at the market today. We still have some summer produce (tomatoes and watermelon were seen today!), but lots of fall produce too.

Our two favorite finds are in the picture below: chanterelle mushrooms and fresh ginger! Must use the ginger and the Napa cabbage in a dish this week.

The chanterelle mushrooms were featured in our breakfast today – with lemon thyme from our garden. They have a wonderful flavor and texture and were quickly consumed! Eggs, cider, and bacon from our dairy delivery (South Mountain Creamery). The avocados, of course, are not. On a side note, when we lived in Bolivia, we had an avocado tree in our front yard. There is nothing like being able to wake up and walk outside and grab an avocado off the tree for breakfast….not something we can do here in Northern Virginia.

And we just had to spend some time in the back yard because it was so darn beautiful out!

 

Now to bring the day to a close with some beautiful singing.  Here’s hoping you had a wonderful Saturday too!

October 15, 2012

Shopping Local-Style

Little time to write. But still some time for shopping at the farmer’s market. Although my schedule has been less than ideal for the past month or so, I have relied on the farmer’s market, our CSA pickup, and the milk, eggs, and meat delivered from our dairy to sustain our family.  No one has gone hungry, and my time at the grocery store has been quite curtailed. I am ready for some sanity to return to my day to day, but am blessed that I can nuture my soul and body while I shop for our daily bread.

Here are some pictures of what we got at the market this week. Although the temperatures can’t quite decide whether to exist in the warm or cool zone, this hasn’t affected produce available at the market. The colors are the rich deep reds and oranges and yellows of fall.

With some deep greens, and the whites of cauliflowers to share in the reds and yellows and oranges, we are ready to start the week.

Now, if I could only get the Man of the House to prep that kale that is sitting in the fridge waiting….

What’s your favorite fall season veggie or fruit?

September 1, 2012

First of September Many Colored Market

I never realized how colorful the end of summer market is. I used to think that when the peaches and tomatoes were in prime season that the colors at the market would be most plentiful. But as we walked and shopped this morning, I was struck by the variety of colors that are available now – as the melons come into prime season, and the peppers ripen to reds and yellows and oranges, and as the eggplants are exploding in many different shades of purple.

If I cut open these beautiful canary melons and cantaloupe, we would add some more yellows and oranges to our color spectrum.  We added one of these amazing cantaloupes to our basket.

It was hard to walk away from these eggplants, but I have some from the CSA and anticipate getting more on Tuesday.

I really just want to roast all of these peppers and store them for the dark days of winter.

Rainbow peppers

The okra is an amazing color isn’t it!

Purple okra

It’s hard to believe it’s time for apples already!

After enjoying the colors, and after a crepe and some donuts, we left with several bags of delicious produce. The mushrooms are for a mushroom lasagna, the okra for gumbo, the sandwich steaks for mini-fajitas…the sausage and loaf of country white were consumed at brunch already!  Sweet potatoes, green beans, and corn will make wonderful side dishes over the week.

From the East Falls Market on the first of September

And tomorrow we’ll visit the Westover market to add peaches and apples from Twin Springs to our weekly haul, andouille for the gumbo, shallots for the lasagna…and more I’m sure!

Hope you are getting lots of wonderful food from your farmer’s market visits this weekend!

August 9, 2012

Yellow Squash Casserole and CSA Week 10

I was visiting with my mom the other day, explaining just how much yellow squash I had in my house… and she said, “You know, I really love the yellow squash casserole that they serve at Ted’s (Ted’s Montana Grill that is).”  Now I rarely try to reproduce meals that we love from restaurants, but I thought that we could give this one a go, since no one in my immediate household had ever tried it.

So, once I got home, I started the Internet search, and came across a recipe on the Food Network. It looked straightforward, so I jumped in. (For the full recipe, do visit the link – I’m just going to hit the highlights here).

First off, turn the oven on to 350 degrees.

Next, chop up lots of yellow squash and a couple of carrots.

Barely cover them with water, bring to a boil, then simmer until tender (I was tempted to skip this step and go right to baking it in the oven, but I believe it was critical to the creamy texture that you get at the end…)

While the veggies are bubbling, you should melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a skillet, add one chopped medium yellow onion, and sautee slowly until translucent. Then add a minced garlic clove and let it soften too. Remove to a mixing bowl.

Then, add another tablespoon of butter to the skillet, and add 1/2 cup of crumbled Ritz crackers. Toast ’em until they are golden.

Drain the squash (which should by now be plenty tender) and mash slightly when you add to the onions. Add 1/2 cup cheddar cheese (or more to taste), a dash of hot sauce, and 3/4 cup of crumbled Ritz crackers (try to keep them on the counter… I found that they kept going all over the floor).  Mix it all up good. Add salt and pepper. Stir in 2 lightly beaten eggs.

Then, put it in a greased medium baking pan, and cover with the toasted crackers. Let cook for about 30 minutes, uncovered.

Then eat! Although I was greeted by the family with some questionable expressions when it was served, they all enjoyed it — and even went back for seconds.  I’m not sure if this actually counts as healthy, but we sure ate some squash!

What else came in our CSA this week?  Here’s a photo for the records:

More pesto making and some slow roasting of tomatoes, and some creation of tomato sauce are on our weekend plans — and some baba ganoush too, I think!

What are you planning to do with your summer produce over the weekend? Any plans to preserve some summer goodness for the dark days of winter?

August 6, 2012

SSFC Week : Considering Corn Chowder

Now you may think that August is not soup weather. And generally you would be right. But when the Family Foodie moves into August, we moving into the time for our almost annual trip to the beach. And the beach means Ocracoke Clam Chowder.

This week, as I was considering the bountiful produce in my kitchen, I had a brainstorm — let’s make a chowder with the corn and the potatoes and the tomatoes. It won’t be Ocracoke Clam Chowder, but it will surely get our taste buds ready for the real thing.

So, for our SSFC meal this week, Corn Chowder was made. Following the ever useful Mark Bittman*, here’s what we did.

1. Remove the kernels from 6 ears of fresh corn. Keep ’em in a bowl until Step 3.

2. Place the corn cobs and 2 cups of water in a pot. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat so the water bubbles gently, cover and cook, for a half hour or so. Leave the cobs in the water until you’re ready to make the soup. Then remove then and save the broth.

This step is totally worth having made the recipe. I would not have thought to do this, but what a great way to make some wonderful flavorful broth to add to the soup. And for the clam chowder, adding this delicately flavored broth will nicely cut the sometimes strong flavor of the clam broth…

3. Then you make the roux. Well, he doesn’t call it a roux, but that’s what it seems like to me. Put 4 tablespoons of butter or oil in a soup pot. When the butter is melted, add 1/2 cup chopped scallions (we actually used little leeks) and 1/2 teaspoon of sugar. When the scallion is soft, turn the heat down a bit and stir in 1/4 cup of flour. Cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture turns golden.

You’ll have a nice roux at this point.

4. Now, add 1 quart of milk or half-n-half (we used half-n-half) and the reserved corn cob broth to the pot, and raise the heat to medium-high.  Stir or whisk constantly until the flour is dissolved and the soup starts to thicken, about 2 minutes.

It’s starting to smell quite delicious.

5. Stir in 1 peeled large potato, cut into small dices, and the reserved corn kernels into the soup. Bring to a boil, cover, and lower the heat. Stir occasionally until the potatoes are cooked.

6. Add diced fresh tomatoes to the broth when the potatoes are beginning to soften.

7. Taste and season.

Because I was thinking about clam chowder, I added some Phillip’s seafood seasoning for some additional flavor.

Accompanied by a cucumber-pepper salad with a soy sauce-rice vinegar vinegrette, all was good!

*Bittman’s recipe can be found in his book, How to Cook Everything Vegetarian

June 26, 2012

SSFC Week 4: Mexican Chorizo, Tomato Salad

It’s hard to believe that summer only officially started a few days ago.  It has been so warm, and as the farmer’s at the market have been telling us, everything is about two weeks ahead. And this means that we are already eating cherry tomatoes daily.  Not that I’m complaining mind you.

So, for our SOLE food challenge this week, we thought we’d feature the tomatoes front and center. (Click on the badge if you’d like to see what the other members of the challenge are cooking).

First, you start with  bowl of beautiful multi-colored cherry tomatoes.  Sungolds, black cherries, and “stripies” — not sure if that’s the official name or not :)!

And then you add whatever sounds good to the bowl! We added cucumbers, fresh mozzerella from Blue Ridge Dairy, basil from our CSA, and dried orange mint from last year’s garden. Tossed it with  homemade balsamic vinagrette. Yum.

While the cutting and dicing was happening, we were pan frying some Mexican chorizo from Smith Meadows Farms.

And, we were adding toppings to our vissychoise (still had some left), sliced fennel, fresh feta, and cilantro.

The rice cooked away in the rice cooker.  And then it was time to eat.

No leftovers from this meal.

P.S. For those of you readers who are local, the Mexican chorizo was really good – even the Picky Eater ate hers all up!

June 10, 2012

Cherries and Golden Cauliflower

That’s what’s new for us at the market this week. We went a little overboard on purchasing last week – between two farmer’s markets, one CSA delivery, and the milk delivery, I’m having to readjust where I buy what (and when)!

On Saturday, at the Falls Church Market, we found sweet cherries, and golden cauliflower, and verdant green beans, and beautiful red potatoes to supplement our regular bacon and bread acquisitions.

And on Sunday, at the Westover Market, we added cucumbers, and tomatoes, and onions, and feta, and some hamburger to our larder.

The bacon, and most of the country white loaf have already been consumed. And the cherries didn’t make it past brunch on Sunday.  But we are planning to make a fritatta, and a cucumber-feta-tomato salad. The green beans will probably be roasted, and I am thinking that the golden cauliflower would task lovely in a curry. Maybe for Meatless Monday?! We will just have to see.

Here’s hoping you had a weekend filled with wonderful food!

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