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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Farmers Markets, Fresh from the Gulf, Hungry for Louisiana, Pasta

Light and right for spring: Penne Primavera with Fresh Gulf Shrimp

April 28, 2016

This week’s recipe is one of those no-rules ones that’s adaptable at will. Pasta with fresh Gulf shrimp and lightly sautéed seasonal vegetables is something I absolutely love to have around the house this time of year. It’s cozy, healthy and packed with flavor. Change out the vegetables as the season evolves. Clip some herbs from the backyard to make it sing. Serve it with a simple salad and a crusty loaf of bread for an easy dinner. The only labor-intensive part is peeling the shrimp, but it’s well worth it.

Clean-up is easy; I use one large sauté pan to cook all the ingredients except for the pasta.

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Asian, Fresh produce, Hungry for Louisiana, Salads

Cool and tangy Thai larb a perfect springtime salad

April 20, 2016

The local butter lettuce in my fridge was calling out for larb, the simple, adaptable Thai salad generally made from minced pork or chicken cooked in broth with the addition of fish sauce, lime juice and other spices. Served at room temperature and tucked in lettuce or cabbage, larb (or more properly, larp or lahp) is sublimely citrusy, gently spicy and full of pleasing crunch.

It’s also really easy to make. Here’s how:

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