Archive for September, 2009

We Have A Winner!

Congrats to Elizabeth A. the winner of our First Anniversary Giveaway. Thanks to everyone for entering the contest. I received many suggestions for tips, recipes, and blog posts. Again, my thanks for visiting, and my thanks for entering the giveaway.


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DSCF50301. I recently bought a bunch of fresh cilantro at the supermarket. Organic cilantro mind you. (OOOhhh. Who cares right?) Well the reason I tell you this is the cilantro was filthy dirty. (I can still hear my mom say, ” You need to take a bath. You’re filthy dirty”. Double the dirt. Double the emphasis on dirty.) The cilantro was covered in brown grit. Upon returning home I washed said cilantro twice in cool water and laid it in my dish drainer. (I love to let vegetables drain there too.)  Now for the reason I tell you this: organic does not imply clean. Organic produce is still grown in dirt or brown grit as the case may be. So whether your produce is organic or conventional, always, always, always wash it. And yes, sometimes you might even have to wash it twice.

2. This time last year my kids finished their bumper-crop tomato sale in front of our house. This year our tomatoes, grown in a raised vegetable bed in our back yard,  have been anything but bumper. What’s the deal? I chalk it up to more rain, less sun, more cooler weather. Not the best for tomatoes. This is why a farmer’s market is so great. This weekend I have a bunch of recipe testing to do for my upcoming cookbook, and another project, and need to fresh tomatoes. I know what I’m doing on Saturday morning.

3. I’m not much for excessive kitchen gadgets. That being said, over the past month, much to my surprise, I’ve purchased, and am very much enjoying, two new kitchen gadgets: a citrus reamer and an immersion blender. Lemons, limes, smoothies, and milkshakes watch out. Last weekend I even made hummus with the immersion blender and sometime before that a fresh parsley sauce. Love them both and I highly recommend either to any one who wants to squeeze more juice from a citrus fruit or to blend more soy and fresh berries together for a most delicious breakfast drink.

4. For some reason I’ve been wasting a lot more produce lately than typical. (Just keeping it real here.) I’ve told you many times that I grocery shop once a week. One caution to those of you who might be trying this routine: watch the produce purchases. By shopping every week I have the tendency to “stock up”, but as you know produce has the tendency to not last one week. Bananas, avocados, and salad greens are particularly troubling. I’m probably wasting in produce what I’ve saving by not eating out. Excuse me while I go cry in my dish towel.

5. Have I told you lately that I love the weather in my area this time of year. Cooler days (no AC needed) and cooler nights (windows open) are a beautiful thing. We even replaced the window in our full-view storm door with a screen. I now have a cross-breeze from the back to the front of my house. Fresh air makes me tick whether I’m cooking, cleaning, writing, or anything in between. Gotta love September.

6. ps: Did you notice we missed Tip Tuesday? The holiday on Monday messed me up. I’ll make it up to you next week.

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2007_0714FarmersMarket0023Monday – Black-eyed Peas with Greens (Kale) Soup, Brown Rice, Silver Dollar Corncakes

Tuesday – Split-roasted Chicken, Macaroni and Cheese, Green Peas

Wednesday – Sloppy Joes, Green Beans

Thursday – Pasta with Roasted Tomato and Black Olive Sauce, Steamed Broccoli

Friday – out to dinner with the best male cook I know. Ordered pizza for kids.

Saturday- dinner at park: Pesto Hummus, Pita Chips, Sandwiches, Apple Slices, Edamame

Sunday- dinner at a picnic. I took Red Beans and Rice with Chili Vinaigrette.

Just in case you’re wondering: Why Do I Share “What We Ate Last Week”?

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black-and-white-pot-ladyHappy Anniversary to this blog:  Wow, what an interesting year. I’ve learned, learned, and learned some more about keeping up with a blog and writing posts that keep you coming back. Thank you, thank you for visiting .

My goal is to help us all stay healthy through our kitchens and cooking, all while trying to eat as much fresh food as possible. (With a FEW Cheeze-its and store-bought cookies thrown in to keep things real.)

In celebration I’m having my first giveaway. The winner will receive one copy of the 75th anniversary edition of the Joy of Cooking, one copy of The Ultrametabolism Cookbook, and one 2010 Joy of Cooking page-a-day calendar

To enter, click the Contact button at the top of the page and send me your e-mail address and one (that’s right one) suggestion for what you’d like to see on this blog, a tip Tuesday topic, or anything else you think I might need to hear. Deadline for entry is 12:00 a.m. EST Tuesday, September 8th.  Thanks again for visiting and good luck with the giveaway.

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Buying Organic Produce

DSCF7224Today is Tip Tuesday and today I offer a tip about buying organic produce. 

When I walk into a supermarket the choices of organic produce are numerous and quite often more expensive than conventionally-raised produce. When you walk into a Whole Foods (or as I like to say “Whole Paycheck”) almost all the produce is organic. Farmer’s markets are a mixed bag of organic and conventionally-raised produce. 

Some cooks make a serious commitment to eating only organic produce for health or other personal reasons. As for me, I buy organic produce whenever possible, and affordable, but all the produce we eat is not organic. So how to decide?

The Environmental Working Group published a shoppers guide which identifies The Organic Dirty Dozen – fruits and vegetables with the highest amount of pesticide residue, and The Clean Fifteen – conventionally-raised fruits and vegetables with less pesticide residue. Their guides help me direct my food dollars toward organic produce with the most bang for my buck.  Download the guide or iPhone app, or order a refrigerator magnet here.

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