Tamari-Marinated Spring Power Bowls

Tamari-Marinated Spring Power Bowls

Tamari-Marinated Spring Power Bowls

I realize I talk a lot about my CSA box these days (side note: this is completely on my own volition, they do n-o-t sponsor my recipes or anything) but I will say that our most recent CSA delivery was especially good. We had… spring green beans! Big carrots! Beautiful red onions! Plus some of my favorite usual suspects: kale, cabbage, etc. After a long weekend of not-so-stellar eating, I was ready to devour these vegetables and get my life back on the right track… with a power bowl!

“Power bowl” is just my way of describing any giant bowl packed full of good-for-you components. Mostly vegetables, some protein, a small amount of good fats, and possibly a healthy grain (although not in this particular version), and some sort of flavorful homemade dressing/marinade. Basically as balanced and natural as you can get – meaning you can eat a huge amount of it and get tons of nutritional benefits without worrying about your portion size. I really like eating huge amounts of things, so this works out great for me.

Tamari-Roasted Spring Power Bowls

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CSA box rainbow carrots

CSA Cooking: Sweet Potato Rainbow Hash

Rainbow Breakfast Hash

Big news! We finally made the leap into signing up for our own CSA box! This is something my bf Rob has wanted to do for awhile, and the rest of the roommates and I quickly got on board.

The natural choice was Johnson’s Backyard Garden, an Austin favorite. If you’re not familiar with CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), here’s an explanation from JBG:

Community Supported Agriculture is much different than going to the local grocery and buying your vegetables. It is a direct partnership between you the consumer, and our farm. CSA members pay in advance for a share of the upcoming harvest and are ensured access to truly nourishing food, food that is grown locally, organically and is delivered when most nutritious and fresh. What’s more, the shareholder cultivates a relationship with their farmer, the land, and with other shareholders. CSA is an opportunity to use your money to support valuable causes: responsible land stewardship, a vibrant local food economy, a healthy community, and the success of local farmers.

Can’t argue with that. Especially considering the amount of vegetables I eat on a weekly basis. We’re getting a medium box every two weeks, plus a half-dozen farm fresh eggs. Our first box, which was delivered last Tuesday, held delights such as sweet potatoes, rainbow carrots (absolutely gorgeous!), kale, spinach, parsley, and even daikon. The fun thing about getting a CSA box is it’s kind of like being on Chopped, except for instead of crazy ingredients it’s a bunch of super fresh, organic produce. You still have to figure out ways to cook it at its peak before it starts going bad, though!

CSA box rainbow carrots

Last Saturday morning I wanted to use up some of our beautiful vegetables and, obviously, try out some of those eggs in our morning meal. I decided to go the hash route. I’ve never put carrots in a hash before, but their crisp sweetness was great with the sweet potatoes. I added some leftover chopped organic chicken breast to bulk up the protein, plus some leftover red  and green onion (not from JBG, but duh, gotta have some onion). The result? A gorgeous rainbow of colors, flavors, and texture. Adding a runny-yolked egg was really just gilding the lily.

Sweet Potato + Carrot Rainbow Hash

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Why Does Organic Almond Butter Cost $18?

I spent $18 on organic almond butter. It wasn’t on purpose. Co-ops, like farmers markets, bring out the reckless shopper in me. I see lots of awesome food. I buy lots of awesome food. And, well, I just forgot to check the price.

At the Takoma Park Silver Spring Co-op register I thought my total was a bit high, but I picked up quite a few items, and as I don’t frequent the co-op that much, I didn’t think much of it.

I adored that almond butter, both dressing up my oatmeal and slipping it right into my mouth with a spoon. Then I checked the receipt and HOLY SHIT. A 16oz jar of Woodstock Farms’ Organic Almond Butter, crunchy, unsalted cost $18. I thought it was a misprint. I called the store, thinking it may have been $8.

But no. That thing is 18 bucks. I tried to get ahold of someone at the company to find out why this particular nut butter cost so much, but I never got a hold of anyone. Are almonds difficult to grow or pick or process? Is it that much more difficult to grow organic versus conventional almonds? Are almonds that much more valued?

Please, please, please tell me. Why does this particular nut butter cost so much fucking money?

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Feed Us Back: Comments of the Week

– Everyone seems to like this week’s food chart meme, although not my name has a problem with the guide to eggs:

Really great collection. I liked it except for the bit on the cage-free/organic egg thing. Organic farms don’t necessarily treat their hens any better, and the certification “cage-free” is really misleading. The hens can still be in awful conditions (cramped, gravel yard with no grass, beaks clipped when chicks, males killed at birth, etc.) Just thought you’d like to know.

– Aussie EMD offers some updates to the Top 10 Foods Only Australia Invented:

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When Life Gives You Lemons…Turn Them into Syrup

Ed. Note: While I sat all morning and ran cards through the ATM, Julia worked her ass off selling Richfield Farms’ fabulous produce at the Mt. Pleasant Farmers’ Market all summer. I sat; she fielded questions about zucchini. I sat; she made change in her head. I sat; she hulled boxes back on the truck. Of course, she loved every minute of it and has now turned her attention to canning. Here’s her dabble in marmalading.

Despite the ridicule from my friends—all of them Southern with canning-loving grandmothers—dropping mostly not-so-veiled references to me being an 80-year-old Southern grandmother, and my boyfriend just saying I was nuts, I decided to become a canner. Over the summer months I put up dozens of jars of preserves, whole fruit and tomato sauce. Then November hit, the market ended, and I got bored.

Several weeks ago, after a canning lull, I began to feel the itch.  Trader Joe’s had organic meyer lemons – bingo. Now normally I’m not a big freak about organic foods, but with citrus, it’s different. The toxins from any sprayed pesticides are stored in the peel, and so for something like marmalade, which uses the peel, it’s important to start with a non-tainted fruit. Who needs pesticides on top of the always present botulism threat?

Not wanting to squander my precious finds, I did quite a bit of pre-marmalading research on my favorite canning blogs (One Green Generation and Food in Jars) and ended up creating my own recipe based off a few I found. Normally with canning I stick to a specific recipe—again the threat of botulism is scary—but lemons are super acidic, and there’s a lot of sugar, so I felt pretty safe taking a few liberties.

My first marmalade attempt turned out more like a syrup and the taste is fabulous: sweet, tart and acidic with the chewy zest providing a good counter point to the runny liquid.  Next time I’ll trust my instinct and let it cook longer. But I’m loving the new things I can do because of the more liquid texture: a salad dressing with red wine vinegar and a little olive oil; with mustard to marinate chicken; topping for vanilla ice cream; glaze for a cake; and of course, a way to dress up plain yogurt.

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Alice Waters Says…Eat Your (Organic) Garlic


Our friends over at Good Bite have an interview this week with Alice Waters, locavore extraordinaire, author of the new book In the Green Kitchen: Techniques to Learn by Heart, and all-around culinary superhero.

What ingredient does the average home cook need to make more use of these days?
Garlic – it’s the spice of life. It’s something you can’t ignore. Its presence makes a really big difference in the taste of food. And it’s of course, very very good for you.

What do you tell all the grocery store shoppers out there that are still buying the pre-chopped and diced garlic?
It’s a whole other world — that’s not garlic for me. Because garlic is something that changes very quickly, in the presence of oxygen, when it’s opened up, and exposed to the air, the flavor changes. And so, you need to cut it, and use it right away. Peel it, and use it.

Now, again, going back to the standard grocery store shopper. Being forced to choose between organic or local — if they have to choose, what do they do?
Well, I want both. And so I make a point of going to the farmers market, and if I’m at the supermarket, I go right to the produce director in the back, and say, where did this food come from? Where was it grown? When did it come into your store? Can I get it locally and organically? I think that the big markets want to sell, and if you say that you’re ready to buy, they’re interested.

What should every home cook go home and learn to do right now?
Make a vinaigrette for a salad. Just A simple little salad dressing. Rub that garlic in the bottom of the bowl, use a little vinegar and olive oil and you can make a salad.

More AW, on farmers’ markets, school lunch, and cooking tips, over at Good Bite.

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Is Organic Always Good?

organic market

We all know Gansie is a huge proponent of farmer’s market/local produce, and that the nation’s First Lady has recently been a prominent supporter of vegetable garden fun. A lot of my friends belong to this CSA or that CSA. And everyone I know seems to be buying or farming organic these days. Organic is one of those words that often gets bandied about in the local-foodie/farmer’s-markety circles. I was reminded of this fact when ES fan and new ES commenter NeeNee, who also happens to be one of my best friends from undergrad, recently reported to me:

I’m getting my green thumb on. I’ve had a severe problem at garden stores this spring, but we hope to be totally overflowing with veggies this summer. However, good plants grow in good dirt, and our dirt is friggin terrible. It has no organic matter, and we can’t possibly make enough compost to make it good. I’m ashamed to say that I’m not a very organic farmer….

Sorry, NeeNee, I didn’t ask for your permission before I broadcasted your addiction to gardening to the whole world via the interwebs! But as I was saying, I recently read this Huffington Post article on organic farming, Organic vs. Conventional: Have you been robbed?, that led me to question whether organic is really all that good. Now I’m not sure that NeeNee has all that much to be ashamed of. The author of the afore mentioned article,Makenna Goodman, a sustainable-living blogger and free-range egg farmer from Vermont, describes the reason she chose not to farm organic eggs, but instead opts for feeding the chickens cheaper grain and letting them roam free on her bucolic Vermont farm. Makenna argues:

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