Quick Tips: Skirt Hanger Recipe Holder

Skirt Hanger Recipe Holder

Just saw this trick in The Wall Street Journal, of all places! It does a good job displaying full-sheet recipes, which recipe card and cookbook holders can’t accommodate very well.

Recipe: Spring Garlic-Chive Sauce

Survivor Chives

Survivor Chives and Garlic. We love the spring herbs because they arrive with their bright flavors despite wild weather fluctuations. These chives and the garlic below just survived a surprise storm that dumped 14″ of snow and dropped temperatures to 9 degrees!

What a wonderfully versatile sauce!  Use it over baked potatoes; to top chicken, fish or pork; over pasta with vegetables; as a condiment to perk up soup; as a salad dressing; or as a sauce for cooked vegetables (like carrots.)  

Spring Garlic-Chive Sauce

Combine in the cup of an immersion blender and process a minute to combine:

  • 2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. apple juice concentrate (or other fruit puree, like pear or peach)
  • 2 Tbsp. high quality olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. honey mustard
  • 1-2 shakes cayenne pepper, more or less to taste
  • ¼ tsp. sea salt, more or less, to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Add to lemon-oil mixture and process again to make a thick dressing with a little texture:

  • 1/2 to 1 cup roughly sliced chives (about 3/4 to 1½ oz.), more or less to taste
  • ¼ to ½ cup roughly sliced green garlic shoots (from about 4-5 medium shoots), more or less to taste.

Green Garlics rising up from the last year’s fallen leaves.

Use as is for a tangy, sharp flavor.  For a milder flavor, use the smaller amounts of herbs, simmer in a small saucepan for a couple minutes, and/or add a little more apple juice concentrate.

Meal Idea: Microwave Breakfast Quiche

One Upping the Ubiquitous Breakfast Burrito

Microwave Breakfast Quiche

Go one better than a breakfast burrito with this fast, breakfast quiche that is easily transportable.  Double the recipe and cook in separate dish for a time-free breakfast the next day.

Breakfast burritos are everywhere.  While they are a lot healthier than donuts to be sure, it’s always wise to step back from a craze and evaluate the common wisdom, especially for foods that “everybody” assumes to be healthy.  Taking an objective view of the standard breakfast burrito, what I see is:

  • a tortilla that is white, rather than whole grain, and
  • makes up the largest part of a take-out burrito,
  • leaving very little space for good protein, like eggs and beans
  • but incorporating a significant amount of high-fat cheese
  • yet lacking completely in vegetables
  • or including them in negligible amounts;
  • in other words, a breakfast option that is a step in the right direction, but leaves plenty of room for improvement.

Microwave quiches are a quick option that takes no longer than stopping to buy a ready-made burrito.  If you have time, be sure to use some of the beautiful spinach coming into season now.  Otherwise, packaged or frozen work as well.  Because red peppers are nowhere near in season, I use strips that I froze last autumn, also a timesaver, as is ready made pesto.  For a GF option, use Food for Life’s brown rice tortillas (they work surprisingly well.)

Step 1:  Saute Vegetables  In 1-2 tsp. butter or olive oil, saute 1/2 to 3/4 cup red peppers diced to 1/2.”  Once they are lightly browned, add a couple good sized handfuls of fresh chopped spinach and cook just until it begins to wilt, stirring frequently. (Timesaver:  use about 1 cup frozen chopped spinach and cook until completely thawed.)  For flavor stir in 1-2 Tbsp. of your favorite pesto or 2 tsp. dried leaf basil, 1 tsp. Italian Herbs and a pinch of chili flakes.

Step 2:  Prepare “Crust”  Lightly butter a small casserole dish.  Tear a whole grain tortilla into 5-6 pieces and lay enough pieces over bottom of dish to cover.  Top with cooked vegetables and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Step 3:  Add Cheese If desired, sprinkle vegetables with a high-impact (i.e., a-little-goes-a-long-way) cheese like Parmesan or a goat chevre.

Step 4:  Make Egg Mixture  In a small mixing bowl, beat together 2 eggs and 3/4 cup milk or soy milk.  Pour gently over the vegetables.

Step 5:  Microwave  Cover and cook in 2-minute intervals at 50% power, stirring gently between intervals to bring uncooked interior parts to outside of dish.  Cook until entire quiche is done to taste.

Step 6:  Top with Tomatoes  Also optional, top with high quality chopped canned tomatoes for color and flavor, especially if not using cheese.  Microwave 30 more seconds to warm tomatoes.

Enjoy a 100% healthful breakfast.

Eating Well–Without Trying So Hard or Worrying So Much

“Healthy eating:”  Two words with the power to spark enormous stress.  Those two words can easily send our minds swirling with confusion–and likely as not, a good measure of guilt as well.  “Am I doing enough?  Am I eating too many carbs?  Should I be juicing more?  Are eggs on the good list or bad?”

Suspended Judgment:  There’s a secret for happy and healthful eating, but can you first even imagine that eating well is a lot easier than you think?  Could you believe that it doesn’t have to be really hard, guilt-laden or worrisome?


Autumn Bounty

Seasonal Bounty. Limiting our produce choices to what’s in season has the curious consequence of making it easier to cook meals that are healthy and delicious.

Seasonal Eating:  The key to eating well, happily and easily, without worry or guilt.  Let me make the case, beginning with a definition of “seasonal eating.”  Seasonal eating is really place-based eating, i.e., for the place where you find yourself, eating what the earth provides, when the earth provides it, in the amounts provided by the earth.

“Place” is a critical to seasonal eating.  The term is otherwise meaningless since at any one point in time, a produce item is “in season” somewhere in the world and can be found in the produce aisle of your local grocery store.  Only when eating is tied to place do we reap the many benefits of a true seasonal approach.  In an interesting paradox, it is the limiting aspects of place-based eating that are the source of its many advantages.

Read on to discover the many benefits–health and otherwise–of seasonal eating. . . .  I’ve discovered at least a dozen.

In the meantime, if you’re ready to start the seasonal eating journey, join us for one of our Healthy, Seasonal Meal Making Classes.

Eating Well–Without Trying So Hard or Worrying So Much (part 2)

 Seasonal Eating = Good Eating, Automatically    

I’ve been transitioning to place-based eating for close to a decade (see the previous post).  With each passing year, I discover more and more amazing benefits–a whole dozen now:

  1. Nutritional Depth  Nutrition experts continually exhort us to eat a wide variety of vegetables, in other words, a lot more than the broccoli, spinach, carrots and green salads that form the vegetable backbone of our harried lives.  Happily, eating a rainbow of vegetables is automatic when the seasons dictate our vegetable choices.  Without even worrying about it, we’ll eat the entire, stunning array of fruits and vegetables produced over the course of a year, from spring’s radishes, sorrel and green garlics to winter’s collards, parsnips and beets.
  2. Green Garlics

    Why am I so excited by green garlics? Because I haven’t seen them for 10 months, just like the spring clothes that have been stuck in the back of my closet for months! But hurry and enjoy their mild, fresh garlic flavor; they last only a few weeks before disappearing til next year.

    Creative Depth  Bored cooks are cooks highly susceptible to ditching the stovetop, leaving few options other than less-than-healthy readymade foods.  Engaged cooks, on the other hand, have the best chance of getting real, whole foods meals on the table.  Fortunately, interest and engagement are additional automatic by-products of seasonal eating, since local produce is constantly changing, season to season and even month to month.  Just when tomatoes and zucchini become tiring, the winter squashes appear, adding fresh new appeal to menus.  Kind of like getting out your spring clothes after a long winter.

  3. Connection  Good health is, of course, bigger than what we eat.  Among a variety of other contributors is mental comfort.  Place-based eating connects us to the place we live, creating a sense of nurture, comfort and security–a good foundation for good health.
  4. Comforting Boundaries  Speaking of comfort, many shoppers feel just the opposite  as they head into a typical produce aisle.  Towering stacks of produce from every corner of the globe are more likely to provoke overwhelm than comfort (proof that sheer abundance is not a sure fire solution to mealtime boredom.)   Seasonal produce “limitations,” on the other hand, provide comfortable boundaries.  With only 10 to 20 produce items to consider at any one time, venturing beyond our usual produce standbys is a manageable proposition.
  5. Autumn Produce Combo

    From whatever is in season, simply create a pleasing color combination and pleasing flavor is practically guaranteed.

    Simplicity   Everyone wants easy–and seasonal eating delivers here, too.  Don’t ask me how the magic works, but in almost every case, whatever is in season pairs well with whatever else is in season.  Winter squash and the last of the red peppers, spinach and strawberries, tomatoes and basil–great color and flavor combinations present themselves with nary a thought.

  6. Super Taste  Speaking of flavor, it goes without saying that produce is tastiest when it’s in season and picked fresh–which is what happens with place-based eating.
  7. Time Savings  Superior-tasting produce is produce that doesn’t need a lot of time-consuming preparation.  Often, simple (and quick) is best.
  8. Eggplants

    Cookbooks often direct home cooks to peel and salt eggplant before using. This is done partially to combat bitterness, something that happens when eggplant has been around for too long, e.g., when it is shipped long distances. When using fresh-picked eggplant, however, I have never needed these time-consuming steps.

    Affordability  Common wisdom often repeats the line about produce being prohibitively expensive.  But buy in season and it can be enjoyed in affordable abundance.  In fact, buy in such abundance that you can preserve some and you’ll reap the benefits of healthy produce consumption year round.

  9. Just What We Crave and Need  On my seasonal eating journey, I’ve found it interesting, but not surprising, that the foods provided by my place fit my needs perfectly.  On cold winter days, I crave energy-dense roots, potatoes and squash; I’m happy to oven roast them and heat the kitchen at the same time; I don’t mind taking time to make soups and stews and braises.  Things like cucumbers and watermelon have no appeal until the hot days of summer, when they are like electrolyte-filled “sports drinks” for me.  And hardly do I want to heat an oven or spend much time cooking indoors, so the ease of just quickly sauteeing zucchini, slicing a tomato and boiling corn a couple minutes suits me just fine.
  10. Frozen Zucchini Skillet

    We all know how prolific zucchini can be–and cheap–but only in August and September. So freeze some and enjoy affordable nutrition in March and April–in a quick skillet dish like this, for instance.

    Grateful Miracles  More and more research is showing the powerful health benefits of simply being grateful.  Seasonal eating is an easy pathway to a grateful life.  Gradually, we get attuned to what our place is providing us now.  And lo and behold, even in cold Colorado, you can’t help but notice how considerate nature is!  Not only does she provide a raucous cornucopia of produce in the summer months, but as the weather cools, she delivers a huge array of winter squashes, storage fruits and root vegetables that can be stored until spring.  With just a little work installing an unheated cold frame, we can grow winter greens and fresh herbs to perk up the storage vegetables.  And of course, we can dry, freeze and can all sorts of fruits vegetables to last through the cold months.  Even with all this abundance, however, there comes a point, around early April, when we’re about to die of boredom.  And then, in a small miracle, along comes asparagus.  Could you ask for more?

  11. Environmental Health In the quest for good health, it’s easy to get self-absorbed and forget that we can only be as healthy as the place where we live, i.e, the earth that provides the very ingredients we need for good health.  Happily, plant-based eating can reverse a lot of the damage to the earth inflicted by a globalized food industry that has become singularly profit-driven.  The most notable benefit of place-based eating is an enormous reduction in food miles and associated carbon costs.  But localized eating also allows us to source directly and choose products grown sustainably and to support the production of vanishing plant varieties for increased biodiversity, among many other things.
  12. Economic Health In a similar vein, place-based eating allows us to support a diverse range of growers, from micro to medium-sized operations that not only strengthen the fabric of our economy.  The diversity and distribution they bring to the country also serve as a vital–but surprisingly overlooked component of true national security.

With so many advantages and benefits, why would we possibly opt for a limited repertoire of subpar, over-priced produce requiring extra preparation?  Interesting question with definitely doable solutions.  Read the next post. .  .

Eating Well–Without Trying So Hard or Worrying So Much (part 3)

Making the Leap

Resisting Peer Pressure  If seasonal, place-based eating yields so many helpful benefits, why do we tolerate the many downsides of the global food system?  In a nutshell, most of us don’t really decide what we eat.  Food marketers largely decide what our hand reaches for at the grocery store.  So if this is your year to begin joining the wonderful convergence of good that comes with seasonal eating, begin by re-gaining the decision-making power over your food choices.  It often takes eating in a way that others view as strange and weird. So get comfortable making food choices free of the peer pressure generated by food marketing experts.

Start a Learning Adventure  If seasonal eating doesn’t generate immediate interest, it’s often because we have such a limited repertoire of meal ideas.  When spinach comes into season, for example, we eat it steamed with lemon juice every other day!  Actually, there are so many things that can be done with each vegetable besides piling it on the side of the plate.  So many flavor partners, produce companions, entrees to be brightened with their colors!  If you have trouble imagining spinach 15 different ways, then join one of our Whole Kitchen seasonal meal making classes and begin developing the valuable skill of weaving produce into meals every which way.

Enjoy a Non-Seasonal Food Budget  Seasonal eating is a choice we get to make.  Unlike our ancestors, we  don’t have to go hungry when the food landscape is barren, and no one is watching that you buy only seasonal at the grocery store.  Over the years, I’ve developed a “budget approach,” happily enjoying things like citrus, ginger, chocolate (of course), olive oil, fish sauce and so on, but being mindful to limit reliance on long-haul items to a dozen or so at a time.

Strawberries in a Basket

“Absence makes the heart grow fonder,” a sentiment that applies as readily to produce as the human heart. With no fresh strawberries in Colorado after September, imagine how extraordinarily gorgeous they look and taste when they reappear in June–a surprise that is lost in the global marketplace where strawberries are available anytime, any place.

There’s a way that good eating can be a natural, easeful part of our lives.  Can you believe that making and enjoying healthful meals can be just another part of life, no more or less issue-laden than going through our morning and evening routines, getting to work, finding time to meet with friends, getting to appointments and so on.

Ready to begin transitioning to this kind of eating?  Ready to make the joyful discovery that less is more:  less in the way of selections actually brings more interesting variety and nutritional depth to mealtimes.  Come join one of our classes and start the journey.

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