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Fresh produce

Fresh produce, Healthy, New Year's, Salads, Vegetables

3 yummy choices for salad-a-day resolutions

January 5, 2016

My friend Elena once set a clear and simple personal goal: eat a salad everyday. The resolution was straightforward and easy to measure, exactly as a doable goal should be. Elena’s idea was that by committing to a daily dose of green, she was assured of a healthy injection — no matter what the rest of the day brought.

I love salads – and I love this idea. It checks so many boxes. Salads are affordable and generally good for you. You can change them up daily, creating something substantial and rich in protein, or something light and refreshing. They’re seasonal, portable and naturally stress-reducing. All that crunching takes your mind off life’s realities.

This week, I’ve got three comforting and filling salads that will start your new year off right. Enjoy.

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Citrus, Desserts, Fresh produce, Fruit, Kumquats

Fresh Kumquat Cake a Great Use of Winter Fruit

December 10, 2015

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, kumquats are in big supply in southern Louisiana and other parts of the country right now, overloading backyard branches and appearing in the produce aisle in pint-sized containers. According to the LSU AgCenter, we grow two kinds of kumquats in Louisiana, the oblong Nagami and the rounder, sweeter Meiwa.

I have a couple of Meiwa kumquat trees in my herb garden, and every year, I struggle to use the crazy abundance of fruit that won’t stop coming. They’re like sharks teeth. Pick one, and it seems like a dozen more are right behind it in varying stages of ripeness, ready to take its place.

This simple kumquat cake is moist and flavorful and is a great way to use 2 cups of fresh fruit.

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Farmers Markets, Fresh produce, New England, On the Road, Summer Produce, Tomatoes, Travels, Vegetables

On the road: Vermont, the mothership of local produce

August 25, 2015

Here’s what’s  interesting about Vermont. Farmers markets and farmstands are out in the middle of nowhere sporting the most centerfold-worthy produce you’ve ever seen. There they are, situated along rural roads and byways with no trace of other retail around them holding fruits and veggies so lovely they look like they never wore dirt. Vermont’s farmstands I find particularly intriguing because they’re quiet little gourmet markets at the edge of functioning farms, and God bless ’em, they’re often open seven days a week, (a completely different arrangement than the weekly farmers market many of us enjoy). Here are a few glimpses of Crossroad Farm, a 30-year operation in Post Mills, Vermont.  It was a favorite spot of my grandmother’s, who spent her summers in the area. My family and I love visiting here.

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Desserts, Fresh produce, Fruit, Peaches, Southern

Best homemade ice cream flavor in summer? Answer: peach.

July 20, 2015

Homemade peach ice cream is a tradition across the South, and it’s an incredible treat to savor before the peach season fully slips away. Growing up in Georgia, I have a soft spot for peaches and lots of memories of fresh, churned ice cream with peaches front and center. This was THE flavor ice cream to make in the summer, and I know plenty of people for whom this is still an important seasonal ritual.

As as kid, I didn’t fully appreciate it. In fact, I remember preferring flavors like Rocky Road or “Chocolate Ripple” or something studded with cookie dough or Snickers bars. Peach ice cream was boring and for grown-ups. I’ve come full circle, and thank God my kids have better taste than I did.

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4th of July, Farmers Markets, Fresh produce, Healthy, Local, Tomatoes, Vegetables

5 fast and easy uses for summer tomatoes

July 8, 2015

Fresh local tomatoes are ripening in full force around the country, and at no time during the year will they taste this authentic, this juicy and this meaty. But the pressure to enjoy each and every precious one is killing me. I bought a bunch last week at our farmers market, and then my mother-in-law plied me with a big bag — an overrun from her brother’s wildly productive garden. We’re using tomatoes as fast as we can around here in BLTs, cucumber and tomato salads and tomato sandwiches on shamelessly squishy white bread. I love them diced over morning eggs, and nowadays, a simple plate of sliced tomatoes replaces a requisite green salad at dinnertime.

But what else can you do with fresh juicy summer tomatoes? Plenty. Here are a few ideas to make sure none of those tasty beauties goes to waste.

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4th of July, Corn, Farmers Markets, Fresh produce, Healthy, Herbs, Local, Louisiana, One Pot, Soups, Squash

Corn and squash soup brims with summer goodness

July 1, 2015

One of the easiest ways to use fresh summer produce is in a luscious seasonal soup. I know, it’s hot outside, but your AC is probably on full blast, and soup is an inside dish. Corn soup (…and its many versions) is a longtime favorite around South Louisiana, but adding squash to the mix creates depth and wholesome goodness. Thanks to the Red Stick Farmers Market for planting the seed with their annual Corn & Squash-tastic event last Saturday celebrating the summer bounty. The idea of combining the two got stuck in my head and led to this simple recipe, which gives me a chance to do something different with yellow squash. I admit to getting stuck sometimes on expanding my use for it.

This soup tastes rich, but it’s really pretty healthy. A portion of the corn is pureed with a little broth to create a creamy consistency without actually using cream.

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