I owe a debt to my weekly farm delivery. Beyond the fact that it injects fresh, locally grown vegetables into my life on a regular basis, I’m grateful for the way it has nudged me, time after time, to experiment in the kitchen. Case in point: were it not for my CSA bag, fennel and I would probably be strangers still.
Author Archives: Four Cooking Together
Christine’s Crossing — Green Smoothies 101
It’s time once again to hear from Health Coach, Christine de la Cruz—this month on the subject of green smoothies…
Do you ever wonder what in the world you are going to do with all of the gorgeous greens you receive on Wednesdays? Some weeks I can barely fit them in my refrigerator—which is actually a great problem to have. My solution to not wasting one fabulous bit is to make green smoothies!
Include a green smoothie in your diet every day for 30 days, and you will see some of these awesome benefits: improved digestion, increased energy, weight loss, glowing skin, luxurious hair, improved sleep and better moods. Who’s not on board now? And the best part is that you don’t have to change anything else you are consuming.
When fall rolls around our backyard trees become living factories, churning out yellow-green fruit by the bushel in two varieties: all-American Golden Delicious apples and crisp Asian pears. Fruit falls nearly as quickly as we can scoop it up, and luckily both are versatile in the kitchen and on a plate. We find the Asian pears are best suited to raw preparations such as salads and sandwiches—or simply eaten out of hand. The apples head into savory baked tarts and cooked chutneys as well, not to mention the sweet bites we’re unable to resist. (And that wipe away the angst of back-to-school, if only temporarily.)
Scrambled Eggs with Greens and Mushrooms
When it comes to eggs, it’s tough to know what story the labels really tell. Cage-free, free-roaming, natural, free-range: In our minds we picture open, grass-flecked barnyards with black dirt below and blue sky above, and plenty of room to run, extend feathered wings and peck at grubs. In the simplest sense, a chicken’s life as it should naturally be. It turns out that labels don’t always mean what they imply and in the case of free-range and free-roaming (the only ones regulated by the USDA), far less. In order to apply the free-range and free-roaming label the USDA expects that producers allow hens access to the outside. The labels don’t speak to whether birds have room to move, or actually make it out the door. Or whether they are treated humanely and allowed to engage in natural behaviors, like pecking in the dirt. In a free-range barnyard all of these may be true—or may not.
Almost-Guatemalan Stuffed Squash
One of the fortuitous by-products of writing about food is that friends and acquaintances share tidbits of all sorts. Emails arrive with bold promises: Best Brownies Ever! Incredulity: Beet Cake? And practical advice: Dinner Tonight. I pour over old family recipes, tips for massaging kale and recipes for tasty green smoothies even kids will love—treasured food secrets, every one. The more I read, the more I’m struck by what I don’t know about food—and the wealth of what my fellow cooks are willing to share.
The correspondence keeps me plugging away some weeks—like a letter from home invariably will on a lonely stretch at over-night camp—and offers nuggets to ponder just when I’d thought the bottom of the barrel had been scraped. Earlier this summer I received just such a note from my friend, Liana. For the past two summers she and her three daughters have ventured to the colonial city of Antigua, Guatemala, to spend a month immersing in the language and local culture. And of course, the food.