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FOR THE LOVE OF FOOD: Why big goals lead to failure, how friends sabotage your health, and why vegetables are the best path to weight loss

by | Feb 10, 2017

For the Love of Food

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

A quick heads up that starting next week I’ll be traveling until early March (Kevin is turning 40!), so I won’t be posting Friday links. The podcast will continue as normal.

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

This week why big goals lead to failure, how friends sabotage your health, and why vegetables are the best path to weight loss. 

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.

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Foodist Approved: Roasted Butternut Squash, Farro and Kale Salad Recipe

by | Dec 22, 2015
Butternut, farro and kale salad

Butternut, farro and kale salad

This delicious salad with roasted butternut squash, farro and kale has become my family’s go-to nourishing winter salad to fight the onslaught of cold viruses.

One bowlful has it all going on: crisp kale, sweet butternut, hearty farro, salty Parmesan, and an addicting homemade dressing. It’s chockfull of vitamins and minerals including C, K, A, calcium, magnesium, and potassium—all enhanced by the enzyme-rich apple cider vinaigrette. But of course the best reason to eat it is that it’s delicious.

Prepping a butternut squash requires a good quality chef’s knife and a little muscle power (learn the best technique here), or many grocery stores sell it freshly cubed to save you time. You’ll just want to chop the cubes into smaller 1/2-inch pieces for guaranteed roasting perfection.

Make this colorful salad as an impressive side dish on a Sunday night then stowaway the leftovers for a work lunch that will be the envy of the office.

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Foodist Approved: Fennel and Pear Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette

by | Mar 12, 2014
Fennel pear salad

Fennel pear salad

I’m ready to say goodbye to soup, stews and roasted vegetables. Now that the days are getting longer and warmer, I’ve been craving refreshing salads.

But I find it a challenge to shop this time of year. Our bodies are asking for new revitalizing foods, but summer’s alluring produce still seems far off. Don’t be tempted to buy artificially ripened tomatoes or strawberries from far-off places, instead embrace salads that celebrate winter vegetables.

I’ve made this fennel and pear salad for just about every get-together I’ve been to in the last month. It’s rare that a salad gets the limelight at a dinner party but this simple, yet sophisticated, salad always does just that.

I recommend making a large batch of the red wine vinaigrette to have on hand all week (this recipe makes enough for 2-3 family size salads). It pairs perfectly with any type of salad and stores well in the fridge. If you prefer, you can cut the vinaigrette recipe below in half and that will be plenty for this dish.

I hope you enjoy, and let me know if this becomes your new favorite end-of-winter salad!
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For the Love of Food

by | Feb 7, 2014
For The Love of Food

For The Love of Food

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

This week (also includes links from last week when I was stuck on a wifi-less flight) shivering is the new running, cheap food is elitist, and one daily soda raises heart risk even if you aren’t overweight.

Want to see all my favorite links? (There’s lots more). Be sure to follow me on on Delicious. I also share links on Twitter @summertomato,  Google+ and the Summer Tomato Facebook page. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you. (And yes, I took that pepper heart pic myself).
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6 Simple Ways to Stay Fit in the Winter

by | Feb 3, 2014

Photo by michael pollak

Sub-zero temperatures and 12 feet of snow? Pffff. That doesn’t stop foodists from staying active.

Last week I asked those of you who live in the colder regions of the planet how you’re keeping fit despite the extreme weather this winter. And just as I had hoped, you demonstrated an extraordinary level of imagination and creativity.

As a California native who has only experienced snow and freezing weather a handful of times, I learned a ton about your winter healthstyles and I’m thrilled to share your insights.

A few patterns emerged that seem to work for a lot of different people:
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How Do You Stay Fit in Winter? [Win a signed copy of Foodist]

by | Jan 27, 2014

Photo by bgbabygirl

Earlier this month I was at the farmers market and asked one of my favorite farmers how he’s doing. “I’ve been out of water for a month,” he told me. “And I won’t have more until it rains. I’m looking for new land.”

It’s been two weeks since then, not a drop of water has fallen, and smoke has filled the skies from the wildfires in the hills.

We aren’t having winter in California this year.

While 75 degree days in January sounds awesome on the surface, it certainly comes with its downsides. As I stroll to the gym each day in a t-shirt and sunglasses hoping that my post-workout shower water won’t be rationed, my brain struggles to imagine what it’s like to fight blizzards and the polar vortex.

That said, even though snow and ice make me feel like a fish out of water, I can guarantee you that I’d figure out a way to get my workouts in regardless of weather.

We all face different challenges to staying fit year round, and we each have to find strategies that work for us and our particular situation. This presents an excellent opportunity to harness the power of the internet and the collective wisdom of Summer Tomato readers to share ideas and solutions.

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Farmers Market Update: January in San Francisco

by | Jan 29, 2012
Romanesco

Romanesco

January in San Francisco is apparently a zillion times nicer than summer. Sure we had some rain last week, but it was so warm, clear and beautiful today I actually went to the market in a summer dress. After last year’s summer of fog, this is was glorious.

Bay Bridge

Bay Bridge

I don’t know if this is global warming or what. It’s certainly strange to see tulips, usually a hallmark of spring that appears in early April or late March, on the last weekend in January. Hard to complain though.

Tulips in January

Tulips in January

Despite the sun, most of the produce is still fairly wintery. One of the reasons I love this time of year is that brassica vegetables (the leafy greens) are so delicious now that eating lots of them is an absolute joy.

Cauliflower

Cauliflower

I can’t get enough kale, broccoli, and cauliflower. This weekend we got a bunch of cabbage, daikon and carrots to make a big batch of healthy, probiotics-filled sauerkraut.

Leeks, Cabbage and Daikon

Leeks, Cabbage and Daikon

And speaking of carrots, they and other root vegetables like turnips and radishes are as sweet as can be. My puppy Toaster has learned to prefer these amazing farmers market carrots (yes my dog loves vegetables, go figure) and will actually turn his nose up at the ones I get at Whole Foods. Such a snob!

Colorful Carrots

Colorful Carrots

It’s also a great time for fennel.

Fennel

Fennel

For those of you still obsessed with my winter squash recipe, unfortunately they’re getting harder to find. That is, unless you prefer delicata the size of a watermelon.

Organic Winter Squash

Organic Winter Squash

All in all it was a lovely day. Happy winter!

Yellow Oyster Mushrooms

Yellow Oyster Mushrooms

Today’s purchases (~$20):

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Farmers Market Update: New Years

by | Jan 15, 2012
Pink Radishes

Pink Radishes

FINALLY! I’m back at the farmers market. It’s been so long. After going to Maui, New York, Paris, Las Vegas, LA and Disneyland, I couldn’t be happier to be back in SF with my beloved local produce.

I feel like I missed the fall altogether, but the winter seems to be going along splendidly without me.

Asian Pears

Asian Pears

This time of year, apples and pears are winding down and citrus fruits will be the center of attention for awhile.

Satsumas

Satsumas

I got myself a stack of blood and navel oranges, and of course some Meyer lemons.

Meyer Lemons

Meyer Lemons

But I’m just as excited about the rest of the winter produce. Something amazing happens to vegetables this time of year. Though I can usually find tasty kale and cabbage year round, in the winter they become sweeter and their flavor becomes irresistible. Same is true for broccoli and cauliflower.

Winter Produce

Winter Produce

Romaine Lettuces

Romaine Lettuces

Root vegetables also make a turn for the sweeter side. Though you are probably already familiar with carrots and beets, this time of year you should branch out and try turnips, rutabagas, and radishes.

Assorted Turnips

Assorted Turnips

Just like the leafy greens mentioned above, root vegetables that can get very spicy and hard to eat during the warmers month, but become sweet and crisp when the weather cools.

Purple Turnips

Purple Turnips

I love to slice up a small radish or turnip and add them to my kale to add an extra dimension of flavor and texture. But many of the root vegetables can also be eaten raw. Daikon, a large Japanese radish, is one of my favorites.

Daikon

Daikon

And though I prefer purple kohlrabi slightly cooked, I had to show off how huge these guys were. They’re normally the size of a baseball or smaller. Not today!

Monstrous Kohlrabi

Monstrous Kohlrabi

I picked up a few other odds and ends today as well, including some fresh bay leaves to use in the slow cooker this weekend.

Culinary Bay

Culinary Bay

I can’t tell you how excited I am to be back at the market and back in the kitchen again.

Today’s purchases:

Want to share your farmers market with Summer Tomato readers? Read this to learn more.

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Farmers Market Update: Las Vegas

by | Dec 4, 2011
Organic Pink Lady Apples

Organic Pink Lady Apples

I love featuring markets that are unexpectedly vibrant. As a desert, people don’t generally assume Las Vegas will offer much in terms of fresh, artisan food, but Kari Rose shows us otherwise.

Kari is the owner of Hip Chix a women’s & children’s clothing wholesaler that supplies to boutiques, salons and online websites. She also runs Little Hip Chix, a place where children learn about fashion and the basics of sewing.

Farmers Market Update: Las Vegas

by Kari Rose

Las Vegas

Las Vegas

Who says Vegas has no culture? I am a native of Las Vegas and boy, has Vegas changed. Every time I tell someone I live in Vegas, they say, “Where?  On the strip?”

Vegas is more than hotels, showgirls and gambling. We have several communities with great shopping, restaurants, parks, theatre and farmers markets.

Farmers Market

Farmers Market

Vegas farmers markets started here in 1999 in local community parks. Now, we’ve got a number of markets including one of my favorites, Fresh52 & Artesian Market (fresh52.com). This market is in two locations weekly: Summerlin and Henderson. The Summerlin location (Tivoli Village at Queensridge) is closest to my home and has become my Saturday ritual.

This market has 30-40 vendors and anywhere from 500-1500 shoppers weekly. One of the things I love about this location is how the market is nestled in a European Shopping village. In the summer, with the Vegas triple-digit temperatures, it is nice that there is an indoor walk-in area too.

This market features locally and California grown seasonal produce, baked goods, gourmet oils, salsa, spices, teas, nuts and handmade crafts.

Last weekend the Fresh52 & Artesian Market was quite festive.  I was greeted by Christmas carolers, Santa and Nutcracker characters promoting their upcoming performances at the Paris Hotel here.

Carolers

Carolers

My first stop, Pink Lady apples from Bentzler Family Farms-Fresno, CA-Organic. So crisp and juicy. Next stop was D&D (Dan & Debbie Garrison) for some vegetables. This couple gathers fruits and vegetables from many farms in Fresno, CA (Yang Farms, Thao Produce & Bentzler Family Farms) throughout the week and brings them to Las Vegas.

One of my interesting finds was the exotic fruit, Budda Hand from Murray Family Farms in Bakersfield, CA. The Budda Hands were interesting looking and so fragrant you could smell them from several feet away.

Buddha's Hands

Buddha's Hands

The indoor, walk-in portion of the market had lots to offer….

Fresh Produce

Fresh Produce

I was happy when I saw three heads of cauliflower waiting for me for my favorite weekly dish from Darya, Curried Roasted Cauliflower. I never liked cauliflower until I tried her recipe and now my daughter & I are hooked!

Cauliflower

Cauliflower

There are a handful of locals producing homemade salsa, jam, honey, pasta, olive oil & balsamic vinegar. One of my favorite vendors is True Foods (truefoodslv.com). I stop by the booth each week to see Scott and pick up three containers of his salsa. He makes 5 styles: House, Scott’s Pico, Taco Shop Green, Death Salsa and Guacamolito. My favorite is the House (cilantro free) but his most popular is Guacamolito. When I spoke with him today I loved his salsa even more.

True Foods Salsa

True Foods Salsa

He told me he met his wife at age 12—they were high school sweethearts, got married and both became middle school science teachers (with Master degrees). When they had a child, they decided to take turns taking a sabbatical from work so they could start their business and stay home to raise their child.

Right now Scott is taking his turn staying home, making salsa, and caring for their child. On the weekends, he and his wife sell their salsa at the farmers market. They also distribute to Whole Foods.

Salsas

Salsas

Dried Fruit – Valley Best: Locally grown although the tropical are from California ()

Dried Fruits

Dried Fruits

Jams – Miguel’s Homemade Salsa & More: (Pahrump, NV), No preservatives, uses Las Vegas farmers market produce &  grandmother’s recipe.

Jams

Jams

Teas & Seasonings – Bloomin’ Desert Herb: 85% locally grown herbs-organic & fare trade

Dried Herbs

Dried Herbs

Honey – Pahrump Honey Company-est. 1999

Mesquite Honey

Mesquite Honey

This honey is delicious! It’s pure, raw, desert honey from bees working the Great Basin Desert.
Bistro Blend:  Locally produced balsamic vinegar, olive oils and basting sauces—All oils and vinaigrettes are from Napa. I mix the Basil Garlic Parmesan Vinaigrette with their Meyer Lemon Olive Oil, toss it in my vegetables or drizzle it over mixed greens. Delicious!

I stopped to taste some great smelling sausage…

Sausages

Sausages

Tassoni’s Italian Sausage – locally-made, no preservatives, MSG, or nitrates (25% less fat and sodium). They make several great flavors (Sweet & Hot Romano Cheese, Sundried Tomato & Garlic, Cilantro & Onion, Andoville & Bratwurst) my favorite was the Sweet Romano Cheese.

Another great stop was Veg Out. When a vegan couple lost their jobs, due to the economy, they decided to start their own business. They make 5 new vegetarian dishes weekly using locally grown ingredients, no added fats and oils.

Veg Out

Veg Out

There were many other vendors I enjoyed getting to know. At this booth you can buy delicious Cajun boiled peanuts made with pickles. The peanuts had the consistency of a baked potato.

Boiled Peanuts

Boiled Peanuts

One more thing … I usually buy these delicious dill green beans each week. They remind me of my Dad who had his own recipe. He was always canning and loved to share with his friends.

Pickled Green Beans

Pickled Green Beans

Of course, I couldn’t leave without having a little taste of dessert. I found homemade fudge with holiday flavors:  Pumpkin, Candy Cane & my favorite (featured flavor) Red Velvet.

Red Velvet Fudge

Red Velvet Fudge

The market wasn’t at full capacity due to the holiday weekend so my purchases were lighter than normal. These were my purchases for the day:

  • Apples-Bentzler Farms-$7.50
  • Red Peppers, Cauliflower, Beets, & Onion-D & D-$14.25
  • Raw Cinnamon Honey-Pahrump Honey-$12.00
  • Salsa-True Foods-$9.00
  • Sausage-Tassoni’s-$5.00

Worth every penny… nice afternoon, great food and a great time putting this together.

The goods

The goods

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Farmers Market Update: Perth, Australia

by | Jul 17, 2011
Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi

Carol Matasci is originally from Hawaii, but has been living in Perth, Western Australia for a year and a half. She’s an engineer who loves food and farmers markets.

Farmers Market Update: Perth, Australia

by Carol Matasci

The Subiaco Farmers Market is held on the local primary school grounds every Saturday morning and has become a bit of a ritual for us. All produce comes from Western Australia, with an emphasis on those who produce what they sell and on organic and ethical production. I get excited to see people getting closer to where their food comes from, especially young children.

Subiaco Farmers Market

Subiaco Farmers Market

The market is always bustling with families, people of all ages, and their furry companions. Farmers and vendors sell the freshest fruits and vegetables, ethically raised meats, seafood, honey, olive oil, cheese, eggs, and a variety of cooked foods and treats. I love to get breakfast at the market and listen to the live music.

Food Well Thought

Alice’s stall and her creations

This week I indulged in some stewed apples topped with muesli, yogurt, and honey from Alice Duzevich of Food Well Thought. Alice is passionate about fresh foods made with whole food ingredients that have been minimally processed. She let me taste biscotti she made with kaffir lime leaves from Myaravale Farm a few stalls down. Her foods are so creative and her flavor pairings are inspiring.

Rhubarb

Rhubarb

It’s the middle of winter here in Australia, and although I envy those of you in the northern hemisphere with your peaches and tomatoes, I can’t be too upset with the variety that is still available in Perth. Rhubarb is in season almost all year here, and the ruby red stalks look (and taste) so happy despite the cooler weather.

Mushrooms

Mushrooms

Mushrooms are also in season all year here. Fresh Mushrooms is here every week with button and portobello mushrooms from Casuarina, Western Australia peeking out of their brown paper bags. Their flavor is hard to resist, and I’ve never found supermarket mushrooms that compare.

Apples

Apples

Apples, pears and citrus are at their peak this time of year. We picked up a bag of oranges, and I have an Alice Waters recipe for an orange and olive salad in mind. I also stopped by Alive Juice for some freshly squeezed orange juice slushy. This week, they had juice from Valencia oranges. Alive Juice uses only fresh oranges, not ones that have been stored. They will be squeezing more Navel oranges in the coming weeks as those come into season.

Lemonades

Lemonades

Passing by the Myaravale Farm stall, I tasted their lemonades. A cross between an orange and a lemon, the lemonades look like lemons but are sweeter and less acidic. The lemonade trees at Myaravale Farm in Keysbrook, Western Australia are still young, so the crop is small. I couldn’t resist taking a bag of them home with me.

Beets

Beets

I like to buy a new vegetable or fruit every time I go to the farmers market. Past experiments have included rhubarb, fennel, and broccoflower. This week I picked up a few beets, which I have very little experience with. Next week I think I’ll try kohlrabi. Does anyone have any inspired, wintry recipe suggestions for either?

Broccoli

Broccoli

This broccoli is always delicious simply sauteed with olive oil, salt and pepper, and freshly squeezed lemon.

Lilies

Lilies

Photo:  Lilies

Caption:  Valley Flower Farm Lilies

My sweet boyfriend buys me lilies from Valley Flower Farm every other week because he knows how much I enjoy them. Valley Flower Farm could make more money if their flowers weren’t so fresh: one bunch lasts a full two weeks, which is a prime example of the quality you find at a farmers market.

There was also a new stall this week selling blueberries and blueberry plants – I briefly considered buying a plant, but I’m a little intimidated. It looks like the kind of plant I could kill, and I take it personally when my plants die. I think for now I will focus on seeing the plants I already have through the winter, but I might get up the courage to grow blueberries in a few weeks.

Today’s purchases:

  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Apples (Lady Williams, Pink Lady, Granny Smith)
  • Navel oranges
  • Lemonades (Myaravale)
  • Avocadoes
  • Garlic
  • Snow peas
  • Roasted carrot, cashew, and mint dip (Food Well Thought)
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