Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Rick in vitamin C and K, calcium and beta carotene, kale often makes the top of the list of healthiest foods, most likely because it contains lots of carotenoids (pigments that carry oxygen) and is a natural anti-inflamatory. Basically, people who eat diets high in these dense nutrients live longer lives without disease. If this information isn't enough to sway your thinking, then a bowl of my hearty pasta should do the trick.
I call it peasant food because it's cheap to make and sticks to your ribs, but it's also very dense in nutrients and good for your heart fats (olive oil and walnuts). There's a nice balance between carbohydrates and proteins, which gives one sustained energy, and it's serious comfort food that is simple and rewarding to make.
Posted by missmel at 9:19 AM
Monday, March 28, 2011
She eyed me a bit suspiciously and after a long pause, repeated, "Do I have any Marguez for sale?" The wind kicked up a bit and my patience started to flag, but she was the only one (to my knowledge) who had Marguez, so I had to keep my cool; I nodded and then she went on into a long soliloquy that covered, in turn, raising lamb, a secret recipe, and an FDA crackdown. I nodded my sympathies and then, in whispered voice, she confided that while she didn't have any with her that morning, she just so happened to have two half-pound packages back at her ranch and could bring one the following week. It took a lot for me to get her to agree to giving up both packs, but after a few more minutes she agreed. It would have to be secret, though, and she wouldn't list them on her board, so if I wanted Marguez, I needed to be there the following Saturday. Period.
Posted by missmel at 8:33 AM
Saturday, March 12, 2011
I've a deep love and respect for the earthiness of turnips and rutabagas and parsnips, the sweetness of fennel, the bright bitterness of collards and Tatsoi; I love cabbages and radicchio and endive, and the cauliflowers and broccolis, but while my vegetable bin seemed to overflow, the same didn't always seem true of my fruit basket.
At some point I realized this had more to do with my own mindset than reality, and off I ventured to the local farmer's market. It would be a trip that would forever change my life, particularly because at the time, I lived in Southern California and in spite of all the agricultural land that fell to new home construction, citrus was still a booming crop. It was there that I discovered the Myer lemon, a cross between an orange and a lemon, and, an all time favorite, the Blood orange. But a funny thing happened over the next two years--Blood oranges disappeared from the farmer's market and the fruit stands that lined the old highway that snaked inland from the coast; they had never been available at the grocery store so I made no attempt to look there. As par for the course, this only made me crave them more and sent me in search of them-- an odyssey that would last many years.
Posted by missmel at 2:37 PM
Thursday, March 3, 2011
That's me. So, when Ken came home the other night with a lumpy brown paper bag and a Cheshire grin on his face and announced he had a surprise for me, I knew that the Artichoke Man must have stopped by his office. When I opened the bag and peered in to see 7 beautiful, medium-sized artichokes, I was thrilled, for not only would I get to eat artichokes, but it also meant that Spring was on its way and soon enough, all the delights of the new season would be bountiful and ready to enjoy.
Before I espouse on how to cook, or even eat, an artichoke, perhaps a bit of artichoke trivia to brighten the day. First off, the artichoke is truly a Mediterranean discovery. First discovered in Sicily, the ancient Romans actually would candy the hearts with honey and cumin seed, which is sort of fascinating to me as well as how someone somewhere hit upon the genius idea of actually preparing and eating an artichoke the way we do now; it must have been hell to have been an early artichoke aficionado--one's mouth literally torn to pieces from the sharp leaves and well, raw artichokes, at least the older ones, are very bitter. Anyhow, discover a better way to eat them, they did, and the artichoke moved around Europe and gained popularity, eventually riding the seas to Louisiana with the French and then soon after, taken by the Spanish to California. Now, virtually every artichoke eaten in the United States originates from Monterrey County, which just so happens to be about 90 minutes up the road from me, and, 80% of all artichokes are grown in a little town called Castroville, which is located in Monterrey County. Finally, just to note, in 1947 Marilyn Monroe was crowned the Queen of the Artichokes in Castroville, which is a bit ironic since at one point, the artichoke was also considered to be an aphrodisiac.
Posted by missmel at 9:14 AM