Posts Tagged ‘locavore’

Swedes, Bergman and Berries

May 25, 2010

Whenever I eat wild strawberries I can’t help recalling the classic Bergman film, Wild Strawberries….or as the Swedish refer to it as Smultronstallet

Strawberries are in season and, for those of you keeping track, they are by far my favorite fruit. Did you know there are over 600 varieties? When available, I go for the small wild ones, which are unbelievable!

A few quick tips:

Strawberries are delicious as is, but you can add them to most anything.  Try them in smoothies, pancakes, salads, oatmeal, dipped in chocolate, frozen into pops, you name it.  The possibilities are endless.

Strawberries are a great source of vitamins A and C. They also contain fiber, potassium, folate and antioxidants and flavonoids.

Don’t wash your strawberries until you are ready to eat them because they spoil quickly.

Be sure to purchase your strawberries organic since they are a regular on the “dirty dozen list.”   (You can download a wallet size version of the list here.  http://www.foodnews.org/walletguide.php. )

Here is a super easy recipe for Stawberry and Rhubarb Popsicles:

Ingredients
8-10 medium strawberries, hulled and chopped
1 cup rhubarb,chopped
1 tablespoon agave nectar
2 tablespoons water

Method
Simmer the berries with rhubarb and water until very soft about 8-10 minutes.Puree in a blender or processor.Cool a little.Pour in the molds.Freeze for 6-8 hours.
To get the Popsicle out,dip or run under warm water,and slowly pull them out.

And finally, for my fellow strawberry fanatics, check out the next strawberry festival here:

http://www.troyohiostrawberryfestival.com/cwt/external/wcpages/strawberry-festival/index.aspx

Something Amazing Just Popped Up

May 13, 2010

Imagine gelato, sorbet or frozen yogurt made fresh daily, using only hormone-free milk, locally sourced ingredients, no high-fructose corn syrup, gluten free (depending on your creations), no artificial colorings or flavorings and preservative free.  Not only that, what if it came on a stick and (control freaks get ready) you could customize it to your own personal taste by dipping it in chocolate, rolling it in stuff like pistachios and brownie chunks and biscotti chunks.

Oh, now you’re listening.

I’d like to introduce you to my new best friend Popbar.  Here’s how it works.  You choose your basic popbar and then pick your “poppings” (their word, not mine).  Poppings include almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, shredded coconut, granola, coffee grains, biscotti crumbles and brownie chunks.  If that is not enough, then you get to choose a signature dip dark chocolate, milk chocolate or white chocolate.  Double dipping is not only allowed, it’s encouraged.

If you’re not in the mood to make your own, don’t worry they have many pre-made flavors to choose from.  And by pre-made, I mean made that day. As in, just before you walked in to Popbar, some dedicated Pop-nician (my word) was lovingly slathering chocolate and brownies on the gelato you were dreaming of. It’s like they’re reading your mind.

From vanilla gelato dipped in chocolate with drizzled chocolate on the bottom to chocolate gelato dipped in dark chocolate with hazlenut poppings, the choices are pretty much endless. You can even go guilt-free with their popsorbetto, made with 100% fruit. Which is fine. More brownie chunks for me.

Check them out at http://www.pop-bar.com

Radish Chips anyone?

May 6, 2010

Radishes really don’t get the respect they deserve.

Usually just seen as a fun, colorful garnish, these little earthy-spicy guys are not only versatile but a great source of vitamin c and rich in minerals like sulphur, iron, and iodine. Braise them, drop them in salads with fennel and grapefruit, you can even bake them. Pick some up at your local farmer’s market and try this easy, delicious, nutritious, low-calorie recipe for Baked Radish Chips:

Ingredients:

10 radishes

1 tsp chili powder

½ tsp garlic salt

½ tsp paprika

Directions:

  1. Thinly slice radishes
  2. Steam in microwave for 5 minutes
  3. Put in bowl with spices; stir
  4. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes, flip the chips and bake for another 10 minute, lo

It’s Meatless Monday! (although some of us wish it was Mother-In-Law-less Monday)

May 3, 2010

When it comes to raising kids everyone has an opinion, and unfortunately most people are not shy in sharing.  When new mothers are at their most vulnerable (and sleep deprived) “advice” from family and even strangers can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.  My advice is relax.

The other day my vegan client, who wants to raise her kids vegan, called me in tears.  Her mother-in-law was attacking her choice and told her that her kid not only needed iron, but that not giving her child meat was child abuse.  First off, yes iron is important.  Secondly, consider moving in the middle of the night without a forwarding address.

Actually, the most common nutritional deficiency among babies is lack of iron, which causes anemia.  Babies are born with a store of iron that lasts around 6 months and after this they need to get iron through food.  For babies the best sources of iron is breast milk, iron-fortified formula, iron fortified baby cereals or prune puree.  For bigger kids and adults there are many vegan ways to get it.

Some iron rich foods for vegans are swiss chard, lima beans, tempeh, enriched bagel or cereal, tofu, quinoa, spinach, lentils, blackstrap molasses, soybeans and dried apricots.

Also be sure to eat foods rich in Vitamin C to better absorb iron.  And did you know that food cooked in a cast-iron skillet (especially acidic foods like tomato sauce) has an increased iron content?  Sometimes even 20 times more!  Also, giving milk separately from meals also promotes iron absorption.

Here’s a super easy and convenient way for kids and adults to get iron on the go.  As in when you’re walking away from a know-it-all, blowhard mother-in-law.

½ cup of walnuts

½ cup peanuts

½ cup of dried apricots

½ cup of raisins

¼ cup of chopped dates

Just mix and go.

And now for some self-promotion

April 21, 2010

Do you ever want to try and change the world but just don’t have the energy? A march can be too taxing. Writing your congressman – who has the time? Isn’t it enough that I wash my foil before I recycle it?

No. But that doesn’t mean you have to actually leave the house to make a difference.

Take a stand without getting out of your Snuggie by going to MMMunchmerch.com. Yep, we’ve got merch. Sexy t-shirts and adorable onesies. They’re your chance to tell the world that you believe in grassfed beef, organic food, eating locally and super cute babies. Who could be against super cute babies? That would be like Oprah being against ratings. Or Kate Gosselin being against publicity. It just doesn’t make sense.

All MMMunch Merch is 100% organic for that smooth, smug feel and scientists have proven they make you look ten years younger. Except the onesies. They’re just super cute.

Come on, do your part. And tell your friends.

MMMunchMerch.com

Attention! I have something very important to disc- What’s that, there’s biscotti? Hold, please.

April 20, 2010

I was all set to write about the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act today. It’s an important piece of legislation that affects each and every one of us. And it merits a serious and thoughtful discussion.

But just can’t get the biscotti I made last night out of my mind.

Oh well. So, let’s talk about polenta biscotti.  Yep, po-len-ta. Doesn’t really sound that great, but truth be told, it’s fantastic.  Not too sweet but definitely sweet enough, just the right amount of crunch and not half bad for you.  Funny, you could say the exact same thing about my husband.

The recipe is below. Don’t be put off by what looks like a lot of steps.  They are super easy to make. Enjoy polenta biscotti in the morning, for a midday treat or for a little snacky-poo after school. And another perk – kids love them.

FYI, polenta biscotti are pretty low in calories, if you can eat just a few. My “few” happened to be the entire batch.  I can’t stop noshing on them.  As I write this I am wiping away the crumbs still left on my computer.

p.s. Did you know biscotti is plural?  The singular is biscotto. But who eats biscotto? Not me.

Polenta Biscotti

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour (I used whole wheat)

1 cup sugar

½ cup fine cornmeal, or polenta

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

3 large eggs

2 tablespoons of canola oil or mild flavored olive oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation

  1. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of oven, preheat to 325 and coat two large baking sheets with cooking spray.
  2. Whisk flour, sugar, cornmeal (or polenta), baking powder and salt in a large bowl.  Whisk eggs, oil and vanilla in another bowl until frothy and well combined.  Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir with a spoon until a soft dough forms.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured work surface.  Divide it in half and shape each half into a log 12 inches long by 2 inches wide. (I had my daughter measure)  Brush off excess flour and place the logs on one baking sheet.
  4. Bake the logs on the upper rack until almost firm when pressed on top 20 to 25 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool on the pan for 20 minutes; reduce the oven temperature to 300.
  5. Place the logs on a cutting board and slice diagonally into ½ inch thick slices using a serrated knife.  Divide the biscotti between the two baking sheets, standing them up about 1 inch apart.
  6. Return the biscotti to the oven and bake until lightly colored and dry 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool(the biscotti will crisp as they cool)

Recipe from EatingWell.com

Clean Plates? There’s an app for that.

April 16, 2010

Clean Plates, written by nutritionist Jared Koch, is a must-have resource for any one who likes to eat like you and I like to eat. Think Zagat for us New Yorkers looking for fresh, local, organic and whole foods.

With Clean Plates, Jared has partnered with food critic Alex Von Buren to compile a list of 75 of the most delicious and healthiest restaurants in the Big Apple.

This invaluable guide is this Nutritional Nanny’s dream.  Imagine finding gluten-free options, hormone and antibiotic free meat and naturally sweetened deserts at your fingertips and for only $13.95! And while the book is a handsome addition to any home library, you don’t need to carry it around with you every day. Yep, they even came up with the mobile version.

Get yours at cleanplatesnyc.com now and yes, you’re welcome.

Can you freeze cheese?

April 13, 2010

Do you remember the scene in Albert Brook’s Mother when Debbie Reynolds pulls out a huge block of frozen cheese she has been saving for years to make him a sandwich?

I remember watching that wondering who in the hell would freeze cheese except jewish mothers.  Wait a minute, I’m jewish and a mother…

Frozen cheese doesn’t really do it for me, but in these rough economic times who am I to throw away anything? I usually call my mother-in-law for questions like this but she was playing tennis so I checked on the next best source for food storage rules, Stilltasty.com.

According to stilltasty.com it seems that cheddar cheese can stay in the fridge up to 6 months and last in the freezer 6-8 months, while blue cheese stays 1 week in the fridge and 3 months in the freezer.

The best cheeses to freeze are Camembert, Cheddar, Edam, Mozzarella, Muenster, Parmesan, Romano, Provolone and Swiss.  Cut into blocks or grate it and wrap it in foil or plastic wrap and don’t forget to put them in freezer bags.

Don’t bother freezing softer cheeses like cream cheese, cottage cheese and ricotta.

Now you know.

It’s Meatless Monday – So stick it!

April 12, 2010

Kebobs are one of the oldest inventions known to mankind – created seconds after someone invented something called “the stick.” They are also one of my favorite things to feed kids, especially the picky ones.

Kebobs are win-win and here’s why. First off, they’re fun. Come on, it’s food on a stick. In kids terms, that’s a riot.  Secondly, kids can make them on their own.  (Even toddlers can make their own kabobs – try using popsicle sticks) And lastly, no dishes to wash!!

Kebobs can be savory, sweet, tangy you name it.  Think of kebobs as your go-to for transforming ho-hum leftovers into exciting delish meals that even the finickiest of eaters will enjoy. And yes, they’re perfect for meatless Mondays.

Some of my favorite kebob combinations for summer are watermelon and mint, mixed fruit and coconut and grapes and feta.

But there are a billion other combinations. Figure one out and jam a skewer through it. Tada!

Here is an easy kid-tested and approved recipe for  Sweet Corn, Cherry Tomato and Tofu Kebabs from Annabel Karmel’s First Meals:

Sweet Corn, Cherry Tomato and Tofu Kebabs

1/2 lb firm tofu, cubed

6 cobs baby sweet corn, halved

1 zucchini, trimmed and sliced into round chunks

8 cherry tomatoes

Marinade:

1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce

1 1/2 tbsp honey

1 1/2 tbsp Chinese plum sauce

1 tbsp vegetable oil

1 green onion, finely chopped

Combine the ingredients for the marinade.  Put the tofu in a shallow bowl and pour on the marinade.  Cover and leave to soak for about 1 hour.  While the tofu marinates, soak four wooden skewers in water to stop them from burning under the broiler.

Thread the tofu cubes and vegetable pieces alternately onto the skewers.  Brush with some of the marinade.  Cook under a hot broiler or on the grill for about 3 minutes on each side, basting occasionally, or until the vegetables are tender and the tofu is nicely browned.

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Food Matters

April 9, 2010

Turns out, you don’t have to be sick. That’s the big news of my new favorite film, Food Matters. Filmmakers James Colquhoun and Laurentine ten Bosch take a long hard look at the medicines that are marketed to us everyday in the form of magic bullets.

Go ahead and eat that fried chicken from Popeye’s. Just pop a Lipitor. High blood pressure? Take a diuretic. Indigestion? How about some Pepcid? Trouble in the bedroom? Hello, Viagra.

Actually, there’s a better way. Food Matters explores alternative ways of treating and preventing chronic illness through Nutrition and Natural Therapies.

Yep, food can fix you. And we’re talking about the big problems here – Cancer, Heart Disease, Depression and more.

Check out FoodMatters.tv for more info. You can learn more, order the DVD or even stream it right to your computer.