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Vegetables

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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Farmers Markets, Local, Louisiana, Sandwiches, Soups, Southern, Vegetables

Meatless Mains: Curried 3-squash soup with fresh tomato bruschetta

November 19, 2015

Here’s one for my vegetarian pals, or anyone who likes to incorporate an occasional meatless main course: a veggie-centric soup-and-sandwich combo made with fresh farmers market ingredients.

A couple of weeks back, I posted on 5 fall produce soup ideas, and briefly mentioned this one: roasted butternut squash soup studded with sautéed summer squash and zucchini. It showcases the range of produce available in south Louisiana right now. We can still get a lot of summer produce alongside the inaugural harvest of fall vegetables. And with fresh tomato bruschetta on the plate, too, this dinner takes advantage of Southern vegetables that refuse to be confined to just one season.

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Appetizers, Fall flavors, Herbs, Vegetables

Homey and woodsy, chanterelles on toast perfect simple supper

October 28, 2015

The other day, my friend Anna-Karin Skillen and I were talking about chanterelles. They’re in season in her native Sweden right now, as well as in the U.S. on the northwest coast, in New England and other spots. I’ve been drooling lately watching a Facebook friend from Seattle document her family’s foraging trips, the kitchen table blanketed with fresh (and free!) chanterelles, soon be thrown in a scorching skillet or tossed in buttery pasta or noodle soup. Just this week, the Boston-based radio program, Here and Now, featured a segment on fall mushrooms, complete with easy recipes by resident chef Kathy Gunst, who had picked up several different wild mushroom varieties from Boston-area farmers markets.

ChanterellesNatural

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Labor Day, Salads, Tailgating, Vegetables

Bleu cheese coleslaw great for Labor Day and fall tailgates

August 26, 2015

I am a huge, huge coleslaw fan.

Given a choice between coleslaw and potato salad, I’d choose the former every time. I love the crunch of the cabbage. I love the range of dressings, from creamy to vinegary. I love to experiment with old-fashioned, church supper versions steeped in mayonnaise-y simplicity, as well as modern takes that incorporate stone fruits or Asian flavors. I love slapping coleslaw on a hot dog or a pulled pork sandwich. And I love when the homemade barbecue sauce on my smoked baby back ribs seeps into the adjacent pile of slaw on my plate.

With Labor Day right around the corner and the fall football season nearly upon us, it’s time to get into a slaw routine. It’s incredibly easy to make at home with fresh ingredients, and a lot cheaper than using packaged cabbage and bottled dressing.

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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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Cooking with Kids, Healthy, Vegetables

Healthy snacks for the back to school frenzy

August 18, 2015

Recently, my friend Katy asked if I had any suggestions for healthy snacks for young people. Her high school aged daughter is a dancer, and finding lunchbox and afternoon snacks that offered nutritional value and not just empty calories was a challenge. I’ve got two swimmers and a runner in my household, and now that school has resumed, I’ve been asking myself the same question. Truly nutritious snacks take more thought than that oversized box of Sun Chips from Costco, and it’s not easy when you’re operating at break-neck, back-to-school speed.

For advice, I shot an email to the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, an international leader in nutritional research and a sometimes overlooked local resource here in Baton Rouge. In addition to ground-breaking metabolic research, Pennington also has lots of easy recipes and healthy eating tips. PBRC staff members Alisha Prather and Stephanie Malin fired back a list of kid-tested snacks that don’t require a ton of ingredients.

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