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FOR THE LOVE OF FOOD: Why you should embrace “boredom,” gyrotonics is the new pilates, and olive oil is fine for high-heat cooking

by | Jul 7, 2017

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

Next week’s Mindful Meal Challenge will start again on Monday. Sign up now to join us!

This week why you should embrace “boredom,” gyrotonics is the new pilates, and olive oil is fine for high-heat cooking.

Too busy to read them all? Try this awesome free speed reading app to read at 300+ wpm. So neat!

I also share links on Twitter @summertomato and the Summer Tomato Facebook page. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you.

Read the rest of this story »

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10 Tasty Carbs That Won’t Make You Fat

by | Mar 20, 2013

Photo by Denna Jones

We all know the story. Eating carbohydrates causes a spike in blood sugar, which results in a surge of insulin. Insulin shuttles all that extra sugar into your fat cells and you become obese. Over time, your poor helpless organs become resistant to insulin and you develop type 2 diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure, thereby shortening your life by 7 years.

All of that is true.

The story is more complicated, however, because all carbs are not created equal.

Read the rest of this story »

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5 Unconventional Tips To Save Time In The Kitchen

by | Apr 9, 2012

Photo by r.reveche

Darrin Carlson helps smart, busy men learn how to cook real food at Lean, Mean, Virile Machine. When he’s not doing analytical chemistry he’s trying hard not to fall off his surfboard. You can follow him on Twitter @Darrin_Carlson.

You may not be able to spend a couple of hours in the kitchen every day, but that doesn’t mean you should have to fall back on microwaveable mac and cheese either.

Although it’s important to build healthy habits by learning to prepare your food from scratch, most of us still have to devote a lot of time to work, school, friends, family, and other obligations.

This is why these five unconventional kitchen hacks are bound to come in handy.

5 Unconventional Tips To Save Time In The Kitchen

by Darrin Carlson

1. Peel potatoes without a peeler

Peeling potatoes can be a pain. Here’s a way to simplify the process.

Instead of peeling the potatoes before cooking them, peeling them after. The process of cooking the potatoes causes their skins to loosen (almost like a honey badger), allowing you to remove it freely.

Get a pot of water boiling and add the potatoes. Boil for about 45 minutes and pour out into a colander in the sink. Turn on the cold water above the potatoes. Hold one potato under the water stream, twist and pull to remove the skin. Holding potatoes under cold water cools down the exterior enough that you don’t burn yourself, while the inside remains hot.

2. Peel garlic without a knife

Traditionally, you needed to peel garlic cloves by whacking them with the side of a knife to loosen the skins and then peeling off by hand. But if you have to peel quite a bit, you can save yourself a lot of time by ditching the knife altogether.

Start out by separating the cloves by pushing down on the bulb with the heel of your hand. Then, take the cloves and toss them into a large mixing bowl (or a covered saucepan). Then, cover it tightly and shake it as if your life depended on it for a few seconds. The skins should peel off during this process.

3. Peel a hard-boiled egg fast

If you’ve only got a couple of hard-boiled eggs to peel, the best way is to use the “blowout” method. Pinch off both ends of the egg and bring one up to your mouth while holding your hand on the other side. Now, blow hard into the egg and it should slip out through the other end and into your hand!

If you’ve got a lot of eggs to peel (or you’re afraid of scaring your dinner guests off), you can also use a method similar to the one above for peeling garlic. After removing the eggs from boiling water and cooling, put them into a large mixing bowl or saucepan and cover. Shake for a minute and the shells should come right off.

4. Peel a banana like a monkey

Sick of mangling your banana every time you try to peel one? Tired of making the end all mushy when you try to peel the stem back? Take a cue from the way monkeys eat them.

Instead of peeling from the stem, go after it from the opposite side. Pinch this end between your fingers and it should split. You can then peel the sides down without having to squish the fruit.

5. Chill a bottle of wine quickly

Now that you’ve put in all the hard work learning how to peel potatoes, garlic, eggs, and bananas like a boss, you’ve earned a drink. But what if that pinot grigio is still at room temperature?

No problem. Fill up a sink (or bucket) with cold water. Add a few dozen cubes of ice and a handful of salt. Put the bottle in and stir it around. In about 15 minutes, you should have a perfectly chilled bottle of wine!

Water is a better conductor of heat than air, and adding salt lowers the freezing point, allowing you to quickly chill wine (or anything else, for that matter).

What are your favorite unconventional ways to save time in the kitchen?

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For The Love Of Food

by | Sep 9, 2011

For The Love of Food

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

This week’s top 10 require careful reading and a little extra thinking, but it’s worth it. Learn why daily activity is more important than formal exercise, how habits can affect your food intake, some encouraging news from the USDA and more.

Want to see all my favorite links? Be sure to follow me on on Digg. I also share links on Twitter (@summertomato) and the Summer Tomato Facebook fan page. 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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Office Hours: How bad is diet soda, healthy potatoes and how to eat on airplanes

by | Jul 14, 2011

We had a fantastic office hours discussion last week about diet soda, the health advantages/disadvantages of potatoes, sushi, eating on airplanes/in airports and more. Thanks to those of you who participated.

The next live event is scheduled for next Tuesday, July 19 @ 6pm PST, and we will be discussing Soy: Good or Evil? To participate and learn more about the exclusive Tomato Slice newsletter check it out here.

Go here to see previous episodes.

Show notes:

How To Break A Diet Soda Addiction: Tips From A Former (Diet) Cokehead

Questions and comments welcome below.

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Farmers Market Update: Living Easy

by | Sep 12, 2010
Black and Green Figs

Black and Green Figs

It’s finally summertime in San Francisco. Woohoo! And what a beautiful day to return to my beloved farmers market.

Since I was sick and working on finishing my thesis I hadn’t been to the market in weeks, a lapse I haven’t made in years. It was terrible. But now that those things are behind me I was thrilled to return to the market today and stock up on delicious foods to get my healthstyle back on track. Life is good.

White Nectarines

White Nectarines

Sungold Tomatoes

Sungold Tomatoes

We are currently at the peak of summer: tomatoes are ripe, stone fruit is juicy and greens are plentiful. Now is your chance to get the best peaches, nectarines, figs, melons and pluots. I was so taken by the iridescent pink glow of these pluots I forgot to look at the name of the varietal (or maybe I’m out of practice).

Pluots

Pluots

I was sure to grab enough lettuce, cucumber and tomatoes for salads this week. I also got some kale for dinner, and green beans for more pickling.

Sharlyn Melons

Sharlyn Melons

Green and Yellow Beans

Green and Yellow Beans

I am also seeing the beginning of some of the fall fruits like grapes, pears and apples.

Comice Pears

Comice Pears

Grapes

Grapes

The apples looked amazing today. There are so many heirloom varieties I’ve never heard of, I grabbed a few different kinds just to get myself acquainted. I’m particularly excited about these pink pearl apples I found at the Apple Farm.

Jonathan Apples

Jonathan Apples

Pink Pearl Apples

Pink Pearl Apples

Nature never lets us forget that the next season is right around the corner. I spotted potatoes today and *gasp* winter squash. As delicious as they are, I don’t think I’m quite ready to make that leap yet, I’m going to enjoy the rest of my summer first.

Potatoes and Winter Squash

Potatoes and Winter Squash

There were a couple other interesting finds today in San Francisco. Langier Ranches was offering a fruit called paw paws, which look like a mango but taste more creamy and less acidic. I was also ecstatic to see my favorite bean company Rancho Gordo has started offering heirloom corn tortillas. Yes, I bought some.

Heirloom Corn Tortillas

Heirloom Corn Tortillas

Paw Paws

Paw Paws

Today’s purchases:

What did you find at the market this week?

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Farmers Market Update: Perfect Day

by | May 30, 2010
Bay Bridge

Bay Bridge

Saturday was a perfect day in San Francisco. It was warm, clear and beautiful. The farmers market was full of cherries, peaches and strawberries, and I tasted the best apricot ever at Frog Hollow Farm.

Basically it was too nice to stay inside writing about it. Photos will have to suffice today.

Bing Cherries

Bing Cherries

Green Garlic

Green Garlic

Loquats

Loquats

Peppers

Peppers

Potatoes

Potatoes

Red Onions

Red Onions

Saturn Peaches

Saturn Peaches

Shallots

Shallots

White Peaches & Apricots

White Peaches & Apricots

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Farmers Market Update: April Showers

by | Apr 11, 2010
Asparagus and Radishes

Asparagus and Radishes

I made a San Francisco rookie mistake today at the farmers market.

Yesterday was so incredibly beautiful I didn’t think it was possible we could have rain today. I was wrong and should have known better.

Completely unprepared, I found myself at the farmers market in the rain with no umbrella, a light hoodless jacket and tiny little non-waterproof shoes. Consequently, I didn’t feel much like lingering and did most of my purchases at just a few farms.

But despite my quickness to depart, I did notice the arrival of fava beans this week. Exciting!

First Fava Beans

First Fava Beans

Another rookie mistake I made was not showing up early enough to get the good strawberries. Anyone who visits the market regularly knows that the most special items tend to be gone by 9am. This morning I was told my strawberries were gone by 8:30. When the weather gets warmer there will be strawberries by the truck load, but until then the early bird catches the worm.

But I didn’t miss out completely. The artichokes I bought last week were so mind blowing that I had to get them again. I also noticed that collard greens are looking particularly tasty.

Collard Greens

Collard Greens

Small Artichokes

Small Artichokes

And though radishes have been around for a few weeks, they are just now starting to look really beautiful.

Carrots have also been impressing me the past few weeks. Every time I eat one I think with pity about all the kids growing up thinking that those flavorless bagged “baby carrots” are what vegetables really taste like. The real thing is as sweet as candy.

Adorable Carrots

Adorable Carrots

This week I finally broke down and bought an heirloom tomato. I’ve been putting this moment off knowing they wouldn’t be quite good yet. But these are starting to look pretty awesome, so I took the plunge. It was good, but not great.

Heirloom Tomatoes

Heirloom Tomatoes

Fresh eggs are not to be missed this time of year. Even if you cannot afford to eat them regularly, I recommend heading to the farmers market and picking some up at least once. You’ll be amazed. Use them to make a special brunch. (Pro tip: Try them with a sprinkle of smoked paprika)

Meyer Lemons

Meyer Lemons

Eatwell Eggs

Eatwell Eggs

You should also stock up on Meyer lemons while you have the chance.

And though these are things I didn’t actually buy, they are great examples of why I love my farmers market so much. Purple potatoes and low sugar jam FTW!

Very Low Sugar Jam

Very Low Sugar Jam

Purple Potatoes

Purple Potatoes

Today’s Purchases:

Is it spring for you yet?

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Farmers Market Update: Embracing Winter

by | Jan 10, 2010
Purple and Green Cabbages

Purple and Green Cabbages

Winter is a subject I usually prefer to ignore, and in California this is pretty easy to do.

Although temperatures approach freezing at night, rarely do things actually freeze. We have our farmers market here in San Francisco year round, and overall I realize I am utterly spoiled.

But that doesn’t make it any easier to get excited about winter.

It’s still cold. It’s still gray. It gets dark early and the nights are long. Everything and everyone seems to want to hibernate, especially me.

But this weekend I decided to embrace winter and all its glorious produce. I think I was inspired by all the delicious recipes around the blogosphere. Who knows. But today I was excited about parsnips, braising greens, mushrooms and citrus, and barely even noticed that my pomegranates and peppers are out for the count.

White Carrots

White Carrots

Winter greens and root vegetables are especially exciting to me right now. I know this sounds weird, but until you’ve tasted them at the height of season (as we are now in), it is hard to know what I mean.

The difference is that during a lot of the year hearty greens and root vegetables like turnips and kohlrabi can be very bitter and spicy. They are edible in this state, but require a lot more work to be delicious. Right now all these vegetables are sweet, almost like candy.

Cabbages and Kale

Cabbages and Kale

Watermelon Radish

Watermelon Radish

If you don’t believe me, head down to the market and try some of the samples. People’s ooos and ahhs from their surprise at the delicious flavor of daikon and kohlrabi is audible throughout the market. Nobody expects vegetables to be this sweet.

The same is true for the brassica, things like cabbage, kale and collards. All these vegetables can be bitter and pungent when eaten out of season, but now they are as sweet and delicious as fruit.

Trumpet Mushrooms

Trumpet Mushrooms

Yukon Gold Potatoes

Yukon Gold Potatoes

Another thing you don’t want to miss this season is the mushrooms. Truffles are expensive, but a small domestic white truffle can be purchased for around $10 or less and can make a spectacular treat for a weekend brunch. The chantarelle mushrooms are also big and flavorful this time of year. Personally I am loving the flavor and texture of trumpet mushrooms cooked up in a little olive oil and parsley.

Citrus fruit are the stars of the fruit scene, though you can still find some lingering pears and persimmons. I love the size and flavor of the clementines this time of year, but am looking forward to the grapefruits, pomelos and navel oranges sweetening up.

Citron

Citron

And it is hard to complain too much if there are Meyer lemons around.

Now is also a great time to get heirloom beans, dried chilies, sustainable meats, dried spices, tropical fruits, walnut oil, dried fruit and artisan cheeses.

Asian Pears

Asian Pears

Limes

Limes

Today’s Purchases:

Have you embraced winter?

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Farmers Market Update: Grand Lake Oakland

by | Oct 25, 2009
Tomatoes

Tomatoes

I’m delighted to introduce you to Stephanie Stiavetti who agreed to step in and cover the Grand Lake farmers market in Oakland while I was away this week.

Stephanie Stiavetti is a Bay Area freelance food and nutrition writer. Besides writing for magazines and radio, she also blogs about living a healthy gourmet (and gluten-free!) lifestyle at Wasabimon.com. Her top priority in life is eating well in every sense of the word and making sure people know that eating healthy can be a delicious endeavor.

You can also follow her on Twitter under the name @sstiavetti.

Thanks so much Stephanie!

Farmers Market Update: Grand Lake Oakland

Hello everyone!

This is Stephanie from Wasabimon, and I’m excited to be guest posting today on Summer Tomato. Darya’s asked me to take care of the weekly Farmers Market Update while she’s in Vegas, and since I live in the East Bay, today you’ll be getting a tour of Oakland’s Grand Lake Farmers Market.

For those not in the know, Oakland has a thriving farmers market community. With over ten markets throughout the week, East Bay residents have a lot of opportunities to buy organic, locally grown produce. Here’s just a sampling of what you can find at the Grand Lake market, which happens every Saturday from 9am – 2pm year round.

I love the colors of the market this time of year. So many bright colors as summer comes to a close! First I picked up a few of my obligatory (though no less lovely) squash and peppers from Capay Farms:

Peppers

Peppers

Squash

Squash

Right across the way was Rodriguez Farms, who have some of the best potatoes and strawberries around – and who doesn’t love the fact that we can get local strawberries this time of year? Yay California!

Strawberries

Strawberries

Potatoes

Potatoes

Next up were the gorgeous radishes and carrots at Ledesma Family Farms. There is always so much color in this booth and I need to wear sunglasses when I go inside:

Radishes

Radishes

Carrots

Carrots

After wandering around a little bit (and indulging in some kettle corn, my favorite treat), I hit the jackpot at Toscano and Sons. They have the sweetest cherry tomatoes ever! They make such a perfect addition to salads, and I can never resist them.

Cherry Tomatoes

Cherry Tomatoes

Toscano also had baby shallots and young leeks, which are just about my favorite things ever. I’m such an allium nut – I don’t cook with them all the time, but I love how there are so many different levels of flavor within the onion family:

Leeks

Leeks

Baby Shallots

Baby Shallots

Happy Boy Farms was full of lovely winter and summer squash, and as usual their herb table was full of the freshest, most fragrant greenery. Their heirloom tomatoes were off-the-charts colorful, though I had to resist the urge to buy any since I already have some at home. Happy Boy also has my favorite salad mix, with edible flowers mixed in with the rest of the greens. I mean, how could you resist this beautiful display?

Salad Greens

Salad Greens

I also discovered something new at the farmers market this week. I’ve seen jujubes before but hadn’t ever stopped to inspect further. These little Chinese dates are really good and I highly recommend you grab a handful if you ever see them!

Jujubees

Jujubees

Then how could I not stop and smell the roses at Western Sun Floral?

Roses

Roses

And on the way out the door, I stopped by my favorite stand, Marshall’s Farm Honey. Since I avoid refined sweeteners, honey is a mainstay in my kitchen:

Honey

Honey

I had a fabulous time at the Grand Lake Farmers Market today, and I hope you enjoyed my little photo tour. Thanks, Darya, for letting me share!

<3
~Steph

What did you find at your farmers market this week?

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