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UPDATE2: Success!! No mold!
Berries are a bit of an enigma, but I think I’m getting to the bottom of it. I noticed that whenever I buy raspberries, blackberries or boysenberries at a regular grocery store they grow moldy very quickly, sometimes in less than a day. And at $4.00 for half a pint, who can afford that gamble?!
Traditionally blueberries have been a safer bet, they have fewer wet spots where mold likes to grow. But I really only care for the taste of the organic ones (one of the downsides of having an over-developed gustatory sense), so they can still be hard to get.
But I think I made a discovery this morning. It seems that if I buy my berries at the Farmers’ Market, they last much longer. Today for breakfast (a combo of Dorset Cereal’s muesli and Flax Plus by Nature’s Path) I finished off the blackberries and there wasn’t yet even a hint of mold. This is the third time in a row I have come out of the market with mold-free berries. They taste better than the store bought ones as well and are the same price or less.
My theory is that they are fresher. The guy I bought them from said they were “picked yesterday,” which on Saturday meant Friday. All that shipping of the mass-produced berries at Whole Foods must be too much for the delicate little guys.
Anyone else have any tricks for keeping berries fresh and mold-free?
As my trip to the Farmers’ Market on Saturday was winding down, my attempt to avoid making any more purchases was thwarted when a glistening pile of baby savoy cabbages caught my eye. You should have seen these things, they were absolutely adorable. Most were no bigger than a lemon, and they have such bright green, crinkly leaves they look as though they could blossom into one of those Cabbage Patch dolls I had as a child. I bought five or six of the small heads and have been thinking about what to do with them ever since.
Tonight I decided I would try braising them. I’ve never braised anything, and part of me wonders if I really know what braising is. Luckily for us all, Wikipedia knows everything.
Normally cabbage is shredded into strips before braising, but I wanted to try and maintain the beautiful appearance of this vegetable so I opted to cut them in half instead. In a hot pan with shimmering olive oil I threw in one diced leek, added the cabbage halves face down and salted liberally with fresh ground sea salt.
I seared the faces of the cabbage for a few minutes until they were slightly browned. I then added mirin (a sweet Japanese cooking wine), about 3/4 cup of water and a sprinkle of shichimi (a Japanese 7-spice chili mixture I found this weekend at Rainbow Grocery). I read about these two exotic ingredients when I was learning about how to make udon in my favorite soup book, so I was excited that I found them and curious how they would taste. The mirin is very thick and sweet, great for cooking; the shichimi is savory, has a slight sesame taste and not too spicy.
I also wanted to add the crimini mushrooms I bought this weekend at Rainbow, but they were already moldy. So sad, last time I make that mistake. But I still needed something with a creamy texture to counteract the soft, sweet cabbage. I decided to add a few of the garbanzo beans I made the night before in the pressure cooker (I made Indian food yesterday, curried okra and chickpeas). Eureka!
I simmered the veggies 20 minutes, covered, stirring occasionally. I had to add more liquid after about 10 minutes. In the mean time I boiled some soba noodles, sticking with the Japanese theme. Soba noodles are made of buckwheat, so they are much healthier than most other kinds of noodles. Of course I only made a tiny amount to give the dish substance.
I stirred my creations together for a delicious, healthy dinner!
Today I am compelled to have more contact with people I know who care about food and health. Newspaper articles are a fantastic venue for conveying information on a specific topic, but the daily grind is really where all the action is. So I have decided to launch this site as a tool for us all to share information about life, food and fitness.
My goal for Thought for Food is to give you insight into the workings of a healthy diet and lifestyle. Posts will range from critical reviews of the latest nutrition research to the best recipes for seasonal dinner experiments. I encourage you each to share your thoughts and ask questions–tell us what does and doesn’t work for you–and we can all learn from it.
Ultimately I want to have more interaction with each and every one of you. In my experience, it is the people I have the most contact with who are the happiest and most successful at reaching their fitness goals.