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Hungry for Louisiana

Cucumbers, Farmers Markets, Fresh produce, Hungry for Louisiana, Squash

Get Pickled! Quick refrigerator pickles for the cucumber bounty

June 24, 2016

If you have an abundance of summer produce, but the thought of traditional canning sounds daunting, this recipe is the answer. Quick pickles are an easy and flavorful use of a variety of seasonal vegetables, but they work especially well with items that are in full swing right now: cucumbers, squash and zucchini. Throw in sliced onion and peeled garlic cloves for extra flavor and hot peppers for added punch.

The method couldn’t be easier. You’re simply creating a straightforward brine with vinegar, water, sugar and salt on the stovetop, turning off the heat and adding thinly sliced vegetables. Transfer everything into an airtight container in the fridge for a couple of hours and you’ve got an incredible bread-and-butter pickle that will enhance a range of dishes.

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Appetizers, Beans/Legumes, Farmers Markets, Hungry for Louisiana, Tomatoes

Bruschetta with Black-eyed Pea Hummus and Fresh Summer Tomatoes

June 17, 2016

Mid-June. Oh man, there’s no better time of year when it comes to fresh foods here in the South. We wait all year for the true taste of tomatoes, peaches, watermelon, blueberries, peas, beans and other local treats, and when they start pouring in from farms, it’s a mad rush on putting them to good use.

In this summery appetizer, sweet, juicy local tomatoes are perched on toasted bread slices that have been slathered with garlicky black-eyed pea hummus. It’s a great way to start the night, and it’s built on layers of seasonal flavors. Look for fresh black-eyed peas from local farmers, but frozen ones work well, too.

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Farmers Markets, Hungry for Louisiana, Vegetables

Two bean salad with lemon-Dijon vinaigrette

May 17, 2016

Fresh green beans are one of my favorite vegetables, in part because they’re one of the few that all three of my kids like. It’s crazy how hard that is. And now that beans are in season* and emerging from numerous regional farms, I’m having a field day cooking with them.

Frequently, I blanch a batch and put them in a food storage bag in the fridge, taking out handfuls a couple of times during the week to sauté for dinner. I love them tossed in a hot pan with olive oil and fresh garlic, then doused with a little soy sauce and topped with basil slivers. Or sometimes I add lemon peel, toasted almonds and fresh chives. They’re amazing with Hollandaise, and I love them served as an hors d’oeuvre with spicy peanut sauce. These guys are versatile.

This week, I’m combining fresh, blanched green beans with gorgeous wax beans, also in season, and using them as a salad with fresh tomatoes, crumbled feta and a homemade lemon-Dijon vinaigrette.

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Farmers Markets, Food and Culture, Food Systems, Hungry for Louisiana

Baton Rouge Gallery exhibition provokes discussion about food systems

May 11, 2016

Toward the end of a lively discussion that spanned school lunches, GMOs and the terminal “freshness” of Hostess cupcakes, Fullness Organic Farm founder Grant Guidroz delivered my favorite comment of the day.

“I’m not looking ‘up’ for the solution,” said Guidroz, about undoing the legacy of America’s agriculture policies, which benefit mega-farms and have contributed to obesity. Instead, he believes it will come from a growing number of grass-roots consumers who, one by one, are shifting the way they think about food.

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Chicken, Hungry for Louisiana, Weeknight

This Chicken Will Change Your Life

May 4, 2016

Spatchcock.

What a word.

It’s fun to say, and even more fun to pull off.

This classic technique of deboning and flattening a chicken is honestly one of the easiest and fastest ways to create a juicy bird, and it’s done in a fraction of the time it would take you to roast one in the traditional manner. Best yet, because you’re able to expose most of the skin during roasting, you end up with lots of golden brown crispy goodness.

All you have to do is remove the backbone.

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