For The Love Of Food

by | Feb 25, 2011

For The Love of Food

Welcome to Friday’s For The Love of Food, Summer Tomato’s weekly link roundup.

This week we finally have definitive proof that the Biggest Loser and Dr. Oz are pure evil. It was just a matter of time. Also, a thought provoking piece on food prices, more condemning news for diet soda and a new recipe search tool from Google.

I read many more wonderful articles than I post here each week. If you’d like to see more or just don’t want to wait until Friday, be sure to follow me on Twitter (@summertomato) or the Summer Tomato Facebook fan page. For a complete list of my favorite stories check out my links on Digg. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you.

Links of the week

What inspired you this week?

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Farmers Market Update: Fruit Bonanza!

by | Jun 14, 2009
Red-Orange Apricots

Orange-Red Apricots

I was completely out of control at the farmers market this weekend. It’s embarrassing really. I have absolutely no self-control when it comes to NOT buying stone fruit and berries. None.

Consequently I spent way more money than I normally do at the market. But after thinking about this for a few hours I realized I would be crazy to have done otherwise.

Boysenberries

Boysenberries

Pluots

Pluots

There is no other time of year when you can get perfect, meaty, sweet and tangy cherries in 3 or 4 different varietals. Apricots come in all shape, sizes and colors, and a mushy one cannot be found among them. Plums and pluots are like the hand-picked candy of God herself. There are only a few weeks left in blueberry season, but boysenberries and blackberries demand your undivided attention. Strawberries are as sweet as they will ever be.

Strawberries

Strawberries

Rainier Cherries

Rainier Cherries

What else was I supposed to do?

But at $5-8 dollars a pound it put a serious dent in my wallet. The thing is though, these are real treats. I cannot buy them the rest of the year even if I wanted to. The cheaper ones at Safeway are not even worth discussing.

I easily spent $30 on fruit today, which I never do. Luckily the luscious kale I bought was only $1.75 and is 2-3 large servings. The baby savoy cabbages came in at under $2 as well.

The summer squash I bought last week from Lucero farms were ridiculously sweet and delcious, especially the yellow ones. They are even good raw! I bought a bunch more this week, as well as a few of the self-proclaimed “world’s best cucumber.”

Baby Eggplants

Baby Eggplants

Purple Onions & Cucumbers

Purple Onions & Cucumbers

A few eggplants are starting to show up too.

For those of you who are as excited about summer tomatoes as I am, Oliveto restaurant (Oakland) has started Tomato Watch 2009. Tomato Watch is an online video journal documenting the tomato crops of some of the best tomato farms in the Bay Area. Don’t miss the action!

For the first time I bought soy milk from Hodo Soy, the maker of my favorite tofu. I’m lactose intolerant and therefore prefer soy milk in my breakfast cereal and coffee (unsweetened, full-fat soy milk, of course). Traditionally I have bought Silk brand unsweetened soy milk, but I recently learned that since Silk was bought by Dean Foods they have switched from U.S. grown organic beans to conventional soy beans largely imported from China. I think it’s safe to assume everything from China is filled with lead and cyanide (kinda kidding, but kinda not), so I no longer buy Silk. I’ve been experimenting with Wildwood, but I thought I would try something new this week. I’m interested to see what Hodo can do.

There are so many amazing varietals of stone fruits at the market right now I can’t even pretend to keep up with them all.

Do you have any favorites? Please tell me about them in the comments!

Today’s purchases:

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How To Get Started Eating Healthy: Essential Groceries

by | Apr 10, 2009
Fresh Herbs

Fresh Herbs

Having the necessary pantry items is critical to getting started eating healthy, but obviously you need a lot more than that if you actually want to cook fresh, delicious food. Today I have prepared a list of groceries that should always be in your refrigerator. Many of these items are fresh, which means you need to buy them regularly.

(This post is part of the series How To Get Started Eating Healthy. Part one is Stock Your Pantry. Subscribe to Summer Tomato to get more free healthy eating tips)

As I have explained before you must set aside a small amount of time once a week to do your grocery shopping or else healthy eating will be nearly impossible. This time needs to be non-negotiable; you must find a way to make it happen.

So why not start to upgrade your healthstyle this weekend?

Put these groceries on your weekly shopping list and never take them off:

  • Shallots or leeks These are members of the onion family, but milder and sweeter than you might be used to. Even if you think you do not like onions, I recommend starting most vegetable dishes with one of these ingredients. Shallots are like small, mild red onions. Leeks are like large green onions, but tender and delicate in flavor. Here you can see pictures of leeks and shallots.
  • Garlic People feel very strongly about garlic, some can’t get enough while others avoid it. I have found myself in both camps at some point, but now I am somewhere in the middle. I go through a small bulb every week, but rarely use more than one clove per dish. With subtle amounts of garlic you can add depth and dimension to your meal. Too much can overpower all the other flavors.
  • Lemon As I explained when discussing vinegar, acidic foods are extremely important in cooking. Lemon has the added bonus of possessing an amazing zest that adds both sweetness and brightness to your food. I panic a little if I don’t have lemon in the house.
  • Parsley Flat leaf or “Italian” parsley is the perfect herb for everything. I always buy it, even if I do not know what I am going to use it for. It is also rather robust and keeps longer in the fridge than more delicate herbs, like cilantro. If you do not normally cook with parsley, definitely buy some and try it in your next vegetable dish. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
  • Fresh herbs Of all the other fresh herbs, I usually only pick one or two to have in my kitchen at once. Which ones I choose depends on the other foods I am buying. Mexican food thrives with cilantro and oregano. French style vegetables are beautiful with thyme. I cannot live without rosemary on my roasted potatoes. Mint is perfect with Moroccan food. Experiment! Fresh herbs can change the way you approach cooking. If you don’t know how to use something, Ask Me! or ask Google :)
  • Eggs I do not buy eggs every week, but I buy them regularly (always a half dozen farm fresh eggs). They are incredibly versatile and a great, quick meal any time of day. Check out my favorite scrambled eggs recipe.
  • Tofu or tempeh However you think you feel about tofu should probably be reexamined. It can be very delicious when prepared correctly. Regardless of the claims of Dr. Atkins, science tells us it is actually much healthier to get your protein from vegetable sources. I love meat in all its forms, but during the week I usually stick to vegetable protein and fish. And sometimes eggs.
  • (Soy) milk I use soy milk for my cereal and in my coffee. I know many people prefer different kinds of milk, and whatever you choose is fine. If you currently drink dairy milk, my only warning is to use it very sparingly. Consuming cow’s milk is strongly linked to increased risk of prostate cancer, breast cancer, osteoporosis (I know!), acne, type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis. If you were raised in America and do not follow nutrition science, I’m sure this sounds insane (it did to me). Unfortunately it is true. Easy on the milk.
  • Condiments I mentioned last time I keep my soy sauce and almond butter in the refrigerator. The other condiments I keep handy are tahini, mustard, tomato paste, capers and olives. None of these are absolutely necessary, but they are nice to have around to mix up your flavors. They do not need to be purchased very often.

These groceries are always in my refrigerator and it is fair to say that I consider them essential. However, this list is by no means exhaustive.

Please share with us your favorite essential groceries so we can all benefit.

Subscribe now to get more free healthy eating tips.

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