May 16 2011

What’s “Cooking” Today

Salads, but these are anything but boring:

La Quercia Prosciutto with wilted spring greens, sweet and salty pine nuts & saba

This is some of the tastiest prosciutto I’ve ever eaten and it’s made right here in the United States! Iowa to be exact. These farmers of La Quercia were inspired to make the best prosciutto after taking a trip to Italy and sampling some of the finest cured meats in the world. They certainly have succeeded, so if you can get your hands on some, I promise you’ll thank me.

Shaved local asparagus with cracked hazelnuts and "Sofia" goat cheese

House smoked trout with beets, mache and preserved lemon creme fraiche

Warm potato terrine, crispy pig's ears, wild watercress & grilled ramp gribiche

May 8 2011

The Organic Choice

Certified Organic is food that is grown without the use of synthetic or chemical pesticides or added hormones.

I could probably spend the next twenty postings writing about the benefits of buying organic, but I’ll hold off on the preaching for now. In the meantime, below is a useful chart to help guide you through your produce purchases.  I realize that buying organic may be cost prohibitive for many families, so this should help when faced with the choice.

Highest in Pesticides (i.e. try to buy organic):

Peaches, Apples, Sweet Bell Peppers, Celery, Nectarines, Strawberries, Cherries, Pears, Grapes (imported), Spinach, Lettuce, Potatoes

Lowest in Pesticides:

Onions, Avocado, Sweet Corn (frozen), Pineapples, Mangoes, Asparagus, Sweet Peas (frozen), Kiwi, Bananas, Cabbage, Broccoli, Papayas

Source: Environmental Working Group and the Organic and Natural Experience (ONE) Tour and On Cooking

May 4 2011

You are what you eat…

…and never has a statement been more true!

This is a MUST READ,  especially for all parents out there.  Has anyone  else heard of  rBGH – recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone?   Admittedly, I hadn’t before my sustainability class. And I couldn’t wait another day to share this important information. rBGH is a hormone given to cows which increases their milk production by 10-15%. Sounds like a great idea right? More milk  feeds more people. And we have lot of starving people on this planet. The problem is that when we drink milk from cows given rBGH, we are ingesting this hormone ourselves. While the effects on humans consuming rBGH milk is not clear, it is believed this hormone can lead to an increased risk of certain types of cancer (breast, colon, prostate), as well as an early onset of puberty. Which makes perfect sense when you think of the purpose of a “growth” hormone. Got milk? I hope its rBGH-free…look for it on the label.

For a list of local rBGH-free dairy brands please check out the below link:

May 1 2011

Sunday Supper

Here’s what I’m cooking tonight…..Spaghetti and meatballs with a homemade marinara.   Is there really anything more comforting??

Worth mentioning is a new found favorite gluten-free substitute for traditional pasta (and also quite delicious) called quinoa pasta.  Personally, I love the Ancient Harvest brand found at Whole Foods. For those of you who missed the memo, quinoa is considered a “super food” – a term sometimes used to describe foods full of nutrients with health and disease fighting properties.  You really should get on quinoa bandwagon if you haven’t already.  It’s also high in protein and fiber which helps make you feel full and keep you satiated. As a grain, it is delicious cooked on its own in a little chicken stock or mixed with fruit and nuts or even grilled veggies. The combinations are endless. And the best part…cooking time is 10-15 minutes for those on the run. So with the ever increasing concern over gluten allergies, this makes a great substitute all your guests can enjoy. I promise even though most die hard carb lover will not be able to tell the difference.

And for a list of 10 other Super Foods, check out this link on WebMD.