For Easter: Jacqueline, the "Dusty Baker" has a recipe for beautiful pastel-dyed tea eggs, achieving beautiful tones with an assortment of teas and herbs such as raspberry earl grey and chamomile. Caveat: this recipe dyes peeled, hardboiled eggs, rather than shells; no doubt the same ingredients could be used for natural dyes, however, just like more traditional sources such as onion peels, beets, etc. If you try it, share your results here with us. (Photograph courtesy of The Dusty Baker.com.)
And while we're on the subject of naturally-colored easter eggs, Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. tells us how to how to do it naturally with this easy recipe. Her handy chart offers several coloring options, most of which are found readily at the co-op or are already in your cupboard.
So you're a veganista, or vegan-curious, and looking for some fresh Easter recipes? Take a look at some of these at at VegKitchen. The crustless tofu quiche with mushroom and herbs is hitting my sweet spot; while the spring greens salad with endive and oranges (I would use blood oranges, myself) would be a great way to use the red endive we have at FH right now. I would use blood oranges for this recipe.
Because not all of us will be able to sit down to an easter feast (and that's an increasing number of us): Check out the Neighboring Food Co-op Association's (NFCA) "Food Co-ops and Healthy Food Project". The project focuses on ways that co-ops can serve the needs of all community members but especially those at low-income levels, who often have the least access to fresh, healthy food.
Our recent member survey tells us that FH customers tend to be more highly-education than the general population as a whole, which may also indicate but does not guarantee higher income levels. The survey also reminds us that we still have a lot of work to do in the community at all income and education levels. How can we best achieve that goal? (Thank you Ellen Anthony for sharing the link):
"In the U.S. 23.5 million Americans (including 6.5 million children) live in areas with limited access to affordable and nutritious food, particularly in low-income neighborhoods and communities. The recent recession and its aftermath have had a dramatic impact on communities across our region, affecting people’s ability to provide themselves and their families with healthy food...
"Food co-ops would appear to be an effective tool for supporting healthy food access, locally rooted economic infrastructure and ownership opportunities due to the values and principles of the movement...For many food co-ops, there is the central challenge of being affordable to all sectors of the community while also facilitating economic support of food systems that provide high nutrition, protect human and ecological health, and promote fair relationships with producers and farmworkers."
*Last week on our Facebook page, we had a lively discussion about our favorite ways to eat blueberries. (The consensus? Grab handful, pop into mouth, chew and repeat.) Then Loretta McElwee found this scrumptious recipe for grilled chicken breasts with blueberry chutney, from the Vitacost website. I think this recipe would also work great with pork chops, or seafood, also at Fiddleheads, but will it work with tofu, tempeh or seitan? Anybody game to give it a go?
*Sweet Tanka Chili, comes from Marco Frucht , an Uncasville-based NAMA-nominated songwriter (for his song "Frybread"). Like a lot of contemporary music by Native American artists, who work in every musical genre, Marco's recipe marries traditional elements with unexpected surprises: nitrate-free, hormone-free Tanka Bites (bison meat nuggets with cranberry and spices); cumin, cayenne and black beans; jalapeno and sweet potatoes. (Check out the link to his Reverbnation page above for a calender of upcoming appearances.)
*Co-op on the March: A Little Insurrection of Good Taste is a wonderful article written by author, political activist and FH tea buyer Frida Berrigan in time for our forth anniversary on Feb 4. She sets down in words the experience and the very feel of being a part of FH - as staffer as well as customer - more accurately and engagingly than I could imagine possible.
*Ellen Anthony, shared an "action alert" from the Organic Consumers' Association: you can contact the FDA if you believe we have the right to know about dioxins (remember Agent Orange?) in our food supply: http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_24750.cfm
*Since we're speaking of politics and going off the subject of food for a moment - your forebearance I ask, gentle reader - did you see this article in Sunday's New York Times about the deaths and injuries of Chinese workers making Apple products, thanks to the company's willingness to ignore health and safety violations? But thanks as well to our insatiable demand for the newest Apple products at the lowest cost. It also puts paid to the warm and fuzzy image Apple has so carefully cultivated. (And as it happens, I'm typing this on an Apple desktop 'puter, so it's a chilling reminder that I'm part of the problem as well.) How does that relate to food? Not at all - until we remember that how we treat workers any place around the world, in any industry - including food production and argriculture - is all part of the same philosophical paradigm, whether the end product is cheaper toys or tomatoes.
Did you know that January is National Hot Tea Month? Lindsey Goodwin suggests 31 ways to celebrate the month and expand your beverage repertoire. (And of course, you can get everything she mentions - black, green and white teas, herbal tisanes, etc - at Fiddleheads.)
Grow and Behold, a kosher meat website on our links page, has an intriguing recipe on their blog for beef flanken with...blueberries. The recipe calls for fresh or frozen berries, both available at the co-op right now. FYI - "flanken" refers to the first five short ribs of the beef rib cage, cut across rather than parallel to the bones. I'd try this recipe with regular short ribs and I suspect it would be awesome with pork ribs or chops. (Thanks for this find to Allen Longendyke, our fresh foods buyer, a.k.a. "the man who brings us turkey at Thanksgiving, hams at Christmas; and wonderful cheeses and soymilk, etc, all the year round.")
On our Facebook page, Ellen Anthony shared a link to a myriad of egg recipes on The Incredible Edible Egg.org. (Anyone else remember those commercials?) The global climate change we're experiencing means the hen's bodily rhythms are confused* and they are laying when they normally wouldn't. Ergo, we have eggs at co-op. Now's the time to try those recipes for chocolate souffle, snow eggs with pistachio custard or poached eggs with tomato-cilantro sauce that you've been meaning to get around to.
Cathy Elton's onion tart with greens and cashew cream is perfect for those of you who 1) are looking for new ways to use the chard or kale you bought from the co-op; 2) are wanting a simple gluten-free crust recipe (this one uses chickpea flour); 3) want to eat healthier without sacrificing flavor, or 4) don't give a flying fig about any of the above, you only know that tart looks crazy-delicious.
Dry skin? Try this salve you can make at home with melted beeswax and coconut oil from Cara at Health, Home & Beauty. The beeswax keeps the coconut oil from solidifying, as it does at room temperature. Thanks to member Loretta McElwee for the find!
Sheila Herbert signed this petition to support the authentic fair trade movement, and kindly brought it to our attention on Facebook. 243 people have signed it thus far from across the US and Costa Rica, as well as Canada, Italy and the UK. Fair trade - paying farmers a living wage for their labor and their products - is one of the central tenants of our philosophy at Fiddleheads, and to the co-operative movement in general. (I've just added my name to the petition. Will your's be next?)
And in economic news: Hostess (maker of Twinkie and Ho-Ho's) is filing for Chapter 11 protection. I know that the employees (blue and white collar) never end up the winners in this sort of thing, so I feel for anyone who is going to lose a job, no matter where they are on the corporate ladder. On the other hand, I think back to all those yellow sugar-and-lard filled sponge tubes that our moms put in our lunch boxes back in the day, with the noblest intentions to give their kids a healthy lunch with a treat - because they knew we were just going to pitch the apples they gave us anyway. And I can't help but think "They had it coming. People eat differently nowadays than 40 years ago; did they not see the writing on the wall?" (Full disclosure: it's not that I was an ultra health-conscious kid who rejected Twinkies in favor of the apples and such. It's just that I wanted the sugar-and-lard filled chocolate cupcakes instead.)
*Of course the poor hens are confused. I can't even figure out from day to day if I can lower my storm windows or if I need to wear a turtleneck when I go out.
A) What is the correct pronunciation of the word "Quinoa"?
3) "All I know is that when I tried to say it at the Christmas party,
everyone laughed at me. Since then I prefer to keep to myself."
4) "I have no idea what you're talking about. Is that some Native
American rock band?"
B) Well, what exactly IS quinoa?
1) "A seed of a plant that is a member of the goosefoot family, native
to South America. Humans have cultivated it as a food source for
over 3000 years. Did you know it's a great source of vegetable
protein and that the Aztecs....."
2) "Some sort of fluffy stuff my health-crazy spouse/significant other
keeps foisting on me. *sigh* The things I do for love."
3) "Enya's latest album?"
4) "If it's not a Native American rock band then I still have no idea
what the heck you're talking about."
If you're looking for the answers, go to the bottom of this article - or try Hari Krishna. (Yes, that was a shameless theft.)
Most of the references to quinoa I've seen refer to it as a grain. But according to this article(and if it's on Wikipedia you know it's got to be true, right?), quinoa is "a species of goosefoot...grown for it's edible grain-like seeds. It is a pseudocereal rather than a true cereal or grain, as it is not a member of the grass family." *end horticulture lesson*
I'd never heard of it myself until just a few years ago; now it seems nearly everyone has heard of it, and for good reason. It's a source of vegetable protein (just how much, exactly, is under debate), gluten-free and easily digestible, making it a boon to the veganarian menu, and to anyone suffering celiac's disease (or related allergies). It's also quick and easy to make, ready in about 10-15 minutes on the stovetop compared to 30-45 minutes needed for brown rice or wheatberries. Even though it's not a "true grain" it can take the place of rice, etc at any meal. And it's extremely versatile: it's soft texture and bland flavor let the stronger ingredients shine in any dish. (I've had it for breakfast in place of oatmeal, which is carb-heavy and makes me a bit sleepy by lunchtime.)
If you're new to it and trying to find out how to make the most of it, the recipes available online are literally, countless; the problem is not finding a recipe, but choosing one. A few ideas to get you started:
Lemon Quinoa with Asparagus and Feta from the Cookthink website caught my eye almost immediately because of it's "sunny" quality and balance of flavors. Substitute 1/2 tea. dried in place of the 1 tea. fresh herb called for. Substituting fresh cilantro, flatleaf parsley or basil would give it a different character, I should think, but might be worth a try anyway.
Cooking Quinoa, as you might imagine from the name, has so many recipes I didn't know where to begin - until this recipe for Quinoa Chocolate Bars stopped me dead in my tracks. Yes, chocolate - real chocolate - plus coconut butter, almonds, a bit of salt. Some of the dried cherries or blueberries from our Bulk section would be amazing in these. A very informative website, hundreds of recipes, but lots of images and can be slow to load. (It seems to work better with Safari than Foxfire.)
What Would Cathy Eat? is one of my favorite go-to websites for recipes that are veganarian AND heart-healthy, which are not always the same things, as well as plain delicious. A few that are perfect for what it's in season and available at the co-op right now: Curried Quinoa with Cauliflower and Stuffed Kabocha Squash with Quinoa and Chickpeas. I've seen a lot of recipes online that use quinoa as a stuffing for all varieties of hard squash, so you can really give your imagination free play here.
Quinoa can also be sprouted as a microgreen; here's some instructions from yet another quinoa-dedicated website called (what else?) Quinoa Health Tips. (At this point, quinoa just might be more famous than the Beatles.)
Hopefully that will get you off and running if you're new to quinoa; if you were ahead of the curve and it's already a part of your menu, what are your favorite ways to use it? Share in the comments section here or drop me an email.
Answers To "The Quinoa Quiz":
A) #1. If you answered #2-4, do come to the Bulk Section of Fiddleheads where we will answer all your questions, and then some. And hopefully save you from embarrassment at your next party - just don't attempt to say "tumeric".
B) Also #1. If you said #3 or 4, then see answer to A (above) and get thyself down to the co-op. If you said #2 - we admire your dedication to your partner and your willingness to try new things. (That said, you probably deserve a little payback. Five words: Last Thanksgiving. Your Uncle Jack. 'nuff said.)
On Monday my friend Miss Bliss and I toddled over to Milford for a bit of shopping (somebody got her Xmas present early), and then stopped at Edge of the Woods Natural Marketplace ** on the west side of New Haven for more shopping and lunch. EOTW is that rarest of creatures, an independent, family-owned, urban grocery store that started life as a co-op in 1977. (We'll sidestep the politics of that for the moment, shall we?)
When I've mentioned EOTW to friends and acquaintances in our edge of the woods this week, none of them had heard of it, or they vaguely thought it a restaurant of some sort. I suppose I can understand why, as it's not in the trendy downtown area near Yale and the New Haven Green, the British Museum or either of the train stations. You have travel west on Whalley Avenue towards West Haven and Edgeville, in an area with a working-class and ethnic feel that is decidedly not "chic" in any way. It's a bit funky inside in the best sense of the word; think the original Wild Oats before it lost it lost it's charm. Their cafeteria/ready-to-eat area includes hotbar, salad bar, bakery and deli and made-to-order sandwich counter, all tucked off to the side of the store so as not to interfere with the shopping aisles. Beyond the cash register is a cozy little eating area that resembles a greenhouse. All of their offerings fall somewhere on the veganarian scale, including the made-to-order wraps. Everything is economically and sensibly priced, even for budget-conscious folks like Miss Bliss and myself. The old-fashioned bakery case is overstuffed with whole grain breads, a variety of muffins, cookies and cupcakes, all baked on premises. (I just stopped myself from buying a tiramisu cupcake or a fudge brownie, and instead chose a large double-chocolate cookie and an apple cinnamon muffin. Both items were labeled as vegan, gluten-free, and soy-free; Miss Bliss is on a strict diet at the moment and I didn't want her to feel deprived of something sweet.)
What a lunch it was! While my friend enjoyed a heap of roasted and well-seasoned mixed veggies (eggplant, mushrooms, squash and the like) with salad on the side, I was less disciplined. Root veggie pancakes, crisply browned on the outside and tender within, were dolloped with mixed-fruit sauce of stewed dried fruits such as apricots and blueberries - not your grandmama's latkes and applesauce. Then I helped myself to a portion of leek and butternut lasagna, blanketed with sweet, melting cheese. Baby spinach and red bell pepper slices added a contrast of color, texture and temperature; lastly some tender green peas because they were fresh, tender and, frankly, cute. That well-loaded plate of food, it should be pointed out, cost me $7 and change and was well worth every bite; my friend's more modest portion was about $3-something.
I was intrigued by the brussels sprout pate with walnuts and miso, available and priced by the pound in the deli case, but didn't buy any; I noticed that a few other people did, however.
My friend glanced skeptically at my loaded platter; I assured her that it was meant for two meals, with some to be saved for the drive back home to New London. I wish I could tell you that is exactly what I did do. But, I shouldn't like to compound falsehood atop of gluttony.
After I saw the brussels sprouts pate I was determined to find a recipe (my new-found love of sprouts is well-recorded here), but I kept coming up with versions that included horseradish, not a walnut or a spoonful of miso in sight. The nearest approximation is a roasted chestnut and sprout pate recipe posted just days ago on the Rocket and Roses (love the name) Vegan Kitchen blog from the UK. I'd replace the chestnuts with toasted walnuts from Fiddleheads, which have distinct flavor of their own I've come to appreciate in the last few years. (If the walnuts you buy taste bitter, it means they've gone rancid.) FYI: the "rapeseed oil" referred to in the recipe is what we call "canola oil" on this side of the pond.
As to the butternut and leek lasagna, there are so many variations on the internet that it's nearly absurd, with no way to tell which is "closest" to the EOTW version, other than knowing that what I ate did contain cheese and eggs. This vegan version from the blog Dinosaur Egg seems fairly simple to make and reasonably similar to what I had, sans the eggs but adding pine nuts. If pine nuts are unavailable or beyond your budget, once again walnuts make a very respectable substitute. There is also this version with shiitake mushrooms that sounds delicious if a bit more complicated and is neither vegan nor heart-healthy. (Why throw half-and-half in the blender with the butternut puree except for it's tongue-coating and artery-clogging properties? Broth and herbs would bring out the squash's natural flavor rather than masking it.)
I have no way of knowing who first created or published a recipe for butternut leek lasagna, when I see a recipe repeated so many times online with the some of the exact same wording, I suspect a chef, cook, blogger or cookbook author not getting proper credit.
**Full disclosure: I'm not employed by EOTW, not connected to the owners or employees by way of kinship or acquaintance, and am NOT receiving any gratituty or compensation for writing this. Not even a free brownie. Alas. Someday, gentle reader, I shall find a way to make a living from all of this, but until then....
Some recent links from 'round the 'net and on the Fiddleheads FB page:
Squash, Chickpea and Red Lentil Stew - Sioux Mackey found this hearty seasonal recipe on the Stronger Together Co-op website. Cilantro is used as garnish, not an integral ingredient, so no worries if you have to omit.
And speaking of cilantro: a lengthy discussionon a Chowhound forum re: substitutions for cilantro.
Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francis' original "Five Minute Artisan Bread" from 2007, on the Splendid Table website from NPR. (Lynne Rossetto Kasper, how do we love thee? Let us count the ways...)
Had you ever heard of pumpkin challah? I hadn't. Megan shows us how it's done at Simple Bites.
Possibly the simplest granola recipe I've ever come across: Five-Ingredient Granola with Fruit Butter from Marisa at Food in Jars.
For Your Health: The venerable Rodale Organization reports a recall on 41,000 pounds of Tyson beef - and we are not surprised.
(Above: Wild rice pilaf with butternut squash; recipe and photograph copyright Cathy Elton, 2011.)
A few weeks back I'd posted a link on the Fiddleheads FB page to Cathy Elton's Healthy Thanksgiving Challenge on her blog What Would Cathy Eat? that's worth a revisit. 25 people, including yours truly, submitted recipes that are new twists on old classics, all vegan or vegetarian and healthier than the traditional versions and offerings: lower in fat, sugar, gluten-free and so forth.
Then again, when I think about what appeared on our holiday tables back when I was growing up - gelatinous "gravy" from a can or jar, dehydrated "stuffing" from a box, potatoes cloaked with margarine and dolloped with sour cream, plus the ultimate triumph of corn syrup, the pecan pie - perhaps it isn't such such a challenge after all.
Thanksgiving is over of course but another set of holidays is "around the bend". (As your brain will most likely be by the end of January, particularly if you work in retail.)
But these recipes don't need the excuse of a "holiday" to give them a go; they are their own reason for being. Most utilize the wonderful, earthy ingredients particular to the season, (brussels sprouts, cranberries, winter squash, pears, etc); others make the most of items available throughout the year, such as garlic, quinoa and other grains.) I'm particularly intrigued by the vegan-apple pear, the quinoa bake, the variations on stuffed winter squash, the persimmon-arugula salad (I'm guessing that the escarole at the co-op from Hidden Brook Gardens, or any bitter green, would probably work as well), the wild-rice pilaf with butternut squash pictured above, the...well, you get the idea. Instant classics, every one.
Of course if you really wanted to add meat or eggs or dairy or, a cup of butter to any of them, that's easily enough done, but I doubt you will once you give the originals a try.
If you try any of these, do share your experience. (Rocked your world? Not so much?) And if you have a favorite seasonal recipe to share, especially along the lines of Cathy's challenge, and particularly using fresh ingredients available at Fiddleheads or whatever co-op is near you (but not exclusively so in either case) do drop me an line (see my addy in the sidebar) or share it in the comments.
/recipe-archive.htmlPrintable pdf files of the recipes on this blog can be found on our Recipe Archive Page.
Text and photos copyright 2011-2013 Janice Janostak unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved.