Tag Archives: eat local

Seasonal Eats: Spring Edition

12 Mar

I’m trying a new series on the blog this year and I’m really excited about it!  Around Western PA, the snow is melting and the daffodils trying their hardest to force spring into existence. I thought it would be an appropriate time to roll out a seasonal recipe spotlight.  I hear the same thing from a lot of people: “I want to eat locally and seasonally.”  Seems simple, right?  Just hit up the local farmer’s market, grab some veggies, and done?  It is and it isn’t…

You might be interested to know that not all the veggies sold at your local farmer’s market are local.  Or seasonal actually!  While I’ve gotten plenty of resistance with this tactic, I don’t ever hesitate to ask my local farmer’s market vendor if they are re-selling produce or if it’s home-grown.  I’ve touched a few nerves over the years, but I don’t see anything wrong with expecting transparency from a grower.  I’m not a snob about it and it doesn’t stop me from purchasing out-of-season food (farmer’s have to make money during he slow seasons, too!), but I like to know as much as I can about the food I buy.  If you want to eat locally, make sure you ask if you’re eating locally.  Either way, you’re supporting a local food producer/grower/vendor – but educate yourself about what you’re buying and why.

If you’ve ever grown your own food, you know that some things don’t just spring up year round.  In Western PA, there is a very limited amount of seasonal product that’s available from March-April.  It’s still early spring and that means LOTS of greens, but it also means some staples like broccoli, carrots, beets, mushrooms, rutabagas, and turnips.  There are some things I usually pass over because they seem a little intimidating – like artichokes, kohlrabi, even endive is a mystery to me.  Well not this year.  This year I’m embracing all the things I’ve never embraced before.  That’s what 2015 is about, remember?  So this year, I’m not only embracing local, seasonal eating – I’m going to try as much of the produce that my region has to offer!

March-April in Western PA:

Artichoke, Arugula, Asparagus, Beets, Beet Greens, Bok Choy, Broccoli, Broccoli Rape, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cardoons (not sure I’m this adventurous yet!), Carrots, Cauliflower, Chard, Chicory, Collards, Cress, Dandelion Greens, Endive, Fava Beans/Greens, Fennel, Garlic, Kale, Kohlrabi, Leeks, Lettuce, Mushrooms, Mustard Greens, Onions, Parsnips, Pea Shoots, Radishes, Rutabagas, Scallions, Spinach, Sprouts, Sunchokes, Tatsoi, Turnips

If you have been curious about how to work with any of the ingredients found in this list, shoot me a comment and I will make sure I find a great way for us to get comfortable with them.

Keep an eye out for the new series on Twitter and Instagram, I will be posting under the hashtag: #springeatsSFTS

Seasonal-Eats-Spring-Edition

Arugula + Black Bean Stuffed Sweet Potato w/ Poached Egg

28 Jul

This recipe is so simple it feels wrong to toot my own horn, but that’s my very first poached egg you guys.  Ever.  I feel like I should get a foodie gold star right now!  Poached egg dance!  Poached egg dance!  Poached egg dance!  (PS – IDGAF if you think eggs are meat.  I consider this a meatless recipe, so put it in your Meatless Monday rolodex, yo.)

Stuffed-Sweet-Potato-Black-Beans-Arugula-Poached-Egg


Arugula & Black Bean Stuffed Sweet Potato w/ Poached Egg (from How Sweet It Is)

  • sweet potato
  • arugula
  • black beans, drained and rinsed
  • shredded cheese
  • 1 lg egg
  • olive oil, salt, pepper

First, cook the sweet potato using your method of choice (microwave, slow-cooker, oven, etc.).  Since I don’t care for the skin, I usually bake mine in a 400*F oven for about an hour, remove the skin and put the potato in a small dish.  You do you, though.  While the potato is cooking, I suggest tossing some arugula in extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper:

arugula-olive-oil-salt-pepper

Then, a great idea is to start fretting about cooking a poached egg.  This includes, scouring Pinterest, rapid-firing search terms into Google, calling your mom and cursing her for not answering, and then finally realizing you have 13 eggs in the house so just friggin’ throw one in some water all ready.  But not really throw!  Because you have to be careful with eggs, you know.  Anyway, I did what I was told and followed Smitten Kitchen’s tutorial for the perfect poached eggs. As I waited for my water to boil, I topped my sweet potato with some cheddar cheese, about 1/2 c. of black beans which had been rinsed but were unseasoned, and my arugula.

Stuffed-Sweet-Potato-Arugula

This was probably the most nerve-wracking thing I’ve ever done right here!

1st-ever-poached-egg

Having absolutely no frame of reference for if something is done or not really creates anxiety when you could ruin your whole dinner with one little poke.  But then….

Stuffed-Sweet-Potato-2

With great risk, comes great reward.

Bruschetta, Avocado, & Mozzarella Chicken

24 Jun

Since I posted a fall-flavored Meatless Monday recipe yesterday, I knew I had to share a full-on-in-your-face-SUMMER recipe today!  This is another spectacular recipe I found over at Iowa Girl Eats – I will fan girl over her recipes every. damn. day.  Go check her out!

Bruschetta-Avocado-Mozzarella-Chicken-Balsalmic-Reduction



Bruschetta, Avocado, and Mozzarella Chicken

  • 1/2 c. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts – pounded to about 1/4″ thickness
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 c. bruschetta (homemade or store bought)
  • sliced Mozzarella cheese
  • olive oil, salt, pepper
  • spinach

Preheat the broiler and pour 1/2 c. balsamic into a small skillet and bring to a boil.  As soon as the vinegar begins to boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer it off for about 10-15 minutes.  It will begin to get syrupy and reduce a ton.  You know it’s ready to go when it coats the spoon: Balsamic-Reduction

Meanwhile, heat 1 T. olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Season the chicken with a little salt and pepper, then cook it 7ish minutes per side or until your meat thermometer reaches 165*F.

Chicken

**I don’t mess around with “cook until pink” or “until juices run clear.”  After having a kitchen under construction so long, I’ve learned that lighting can be the difference between food poisoning and a great dinner.  Always go for the thermometer to check if meat is cooked!**

Delallo-Italian-Tomato-Bruschetta

When the chicken is ready to go, spoon enough bruschetta on top to make you happy!  I have never purchased pre-made bruschetta before and I was pleasantly surprised with this Delallo Italian Tomato mixture.   Doesn’t hurt that Delallo is based right here in Pittsburgh.  The pre-made bruschetta was the best idea I didn’t mean to have.  Honestly, it was so sweet that it complimented everything perfectly – I don’t even really like tomatoes!!  Add onto that your sliced avocado, and finally top it with a piece of mozzarella cheese. Chicken-Bruschetta-Avoacdo-Mozzarella

At this point, your balsamic reduction is probably done so just go ahead and set that aside until you are ready to eat!  Pop the chicken into the broiler and cook it until the cheese gets melted and toasted to perfection.

Serve on a bed of spinach with the balsamic reduction!

Bruschetta-Chicken-Avocado-Mozzarella

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How’s that for a 20 minute meal?!

 

5 Thing Friday

6 Dec

1.  We finally got a chance to see We’re The Miller’s this week.  It was absolutely hysterical!  I will not put any spoilers here, but you should definitely watch it if you get a chance.  I was worried that the previews gave away all of the funny parts, but even Hollywood promotional materials couldn’t ruin it.

Flanders

2.  Mother Jones came out with a pretty good article about BPA this week.  After years of public outcry and evidence of toxicity, the endocrine disrupting chemical known as BPA is being banned from plastic bottle manufacturing and baby/child products.  However, think tanks are forecasting the BPA industry to see even more growth over the next 6 years. Despite Americans’ increased focus and awareness of environmental/health issues, North America is the third largest regional market for BPA in the world.  Wha?  I just don’t understand.

3.  The dates have been announced for Pittsburgh’s Winter 2014 Restaurant Week, which will run from January 13th-19th.  Make sure you check out the PRW website and make a reservation somewhere you have never been!  I strongly recommend checking out restaurants that support the Farm To Table or Eat Local movements – and yes, they are labeled so on the website.

PRW14

4.  The NY Times released a Civil Behavior piece questioning whether college applicants should address their own sexual identity it in their application essays.  The author’s advice to applicants is to research the college to which they are applying for and then decide whether to address the issue based on the intended admissions department.  It’s disgusting that applicants are chastised for not “digging deep enough” or “getting personal enough” when representing themselves in these essays, yet should sometimes withhold their sexual identity, which is at the very core of that identity.  If you aren’t gay or aren’t yet gay, let me tell you – its a pretty big part of your personality, self-image, history, and more than likely will direct your moral compass and values.  More often than not, coming out is something that you battled with yourself or your family or your friends or schoolmates or teammates or neighbors.

BIAC

So, yeah.  Lezbihonest, it’s not cool to ask people to omit/cover up such a huge part of their core self to simply BE WORTHY ENOUGH TO EARN AN EDUCATION from a higher institution which has promised the general public to better society.  Needless to say, this article made me want to get in the car and drive to the closest conservative college and suck face with my girlfriend in the middle of the admissions office.  DURING prospective student tours.

5.  So. Many. Babies.  None of them belong to me though – so big congratulations go out to David & Melanie, Roney & Alicia, Meg & Dennis, Ed & Di, and anyone else who popped one out over the last few weeks.

Weekend Ponderings:

  • Do you think LGBT college applicants should address their sexual identities?  Only if it suits their overall topic?  Avoid it completely?
  • Which restaurants are you going to try this for 2014 Pittsburgh Restaurant Week?

Friendsgiving + Thanksgiving

29 Nov

Thankfully for you, I am posting photos from the last 2 days for you to stare at while you’re in line Black Friday shopping:

Tequila

Creme de Tequila from the Floyd’s Mexican honeymoon

Friendsgiving1

Kevin's smoked turkey

Kevin’s smoked turkey

clockwise from left: mashed potatoes and gravy, 7 layer salad, rolls, cranberry sauce, smoked turkey, sweet potatoes, collard greens, mac and cheese, stuffing

clockwise from left: mashed potatoes and gravy, 7 layer salad, rolls, cranberry sauce, smoked turkey, sweet potatoes, collard greens, mac and cheese, stuffing

Present, but out of frame: Ciara, Trina, Ryker, Charles, and Damon

Present, but out of frame: Ciara, Trina, Ryker, Charles, and Damon

 

Pre-dinner munchies at my mom's

Pre-dinner munchies at my mom’s

thanksgiving13.dinner

traditional spread at my mom’s house

Friendsigving.65

pumpkin pie with ginger streusel

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