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Talking Turkey: A Poultry Primer | 11.14.2016
First time cooking a turkey? Or just want a refresher before the big day? You’ve found your primer.
This Week’s Local Produce | 07.25.2016
Flathead cherries are in! Enjoy every morsel of these Montana-grown delicacies. Get ’em while you can!
Enjoy summer’s bounty and find seasonal, farm-fresh produce for your meals everyday at the Co-op.
Local produce is available while it lasts. Check out the store for new arrivals all summer long!
New This Week
Beans – green, yellow, & purple
What’s local now?
Local Producer Spotlight: White Deer Ranch | 01.01.2016
White Deer Ranch
Lee and Roxanne , the Owners of White Deer Ranch, believe that if they take care of the earthworms and the honeybees with proper earth stewardship, everything else will thrive. They grow micro-greens in their historic ranch building converted to a greenhouse. Pick up these highly nutritious and tasty plants at the Good Earth Market in the produce section in 2.5 oz clamshells. Micros can be used in salads, smoothies, topping your favorite dish savory dish. A fantastic ingredient in pesto, dips, stews and more! Its fresh and its local!!
What is is? A microgreen is a tiny vegetable green that is used both as a visual and flavor component or ingredient primarily in fine dining restaurants. Fine dining chefs use microgreens to enhance the beauty, taste and freshness of their dishes with their delicate textures and distinctive flavors. Smaller than “baby greens” and harvested later than “sprouts” microgreens can provide a variety of leaf flavors, such as sweet and spicy. They are also known for their various colors and textures. Among upscale markets, they are now considered a specialty genre of greens that are good for garnishing salads, soups, plates, and sandwiches.
Edible young greens and grains are produced from various kinds of vegetables, herbs or other plants. They range in size from 1” to 3” including the stem and leaves. A microgreen has a single central stem which has been cut just above the soil line during harvesting. It has fully developed cotyledon leaves and usually has one pair of very small, partially developed true leaves. The average crop-time for most microgreens is 10–14 days from seeding to harvest.
TOURS AND ON-FARM STORE
Lee and Roxanne invite you to come visit them at their ranch/farm, which is organic certified for hay, pasture and foraged plants, to learn more about the animal systems that integrate with farming and ranching systems to renovate and regenerate the land. You can buy free range eggs, microgreens, dried herbs, mushrooms, Roxanne’s natural creams and potions and MORE at the Farm Stand located on the porch of the Yellow House where they live.
Schedule a tour for individuals or for groups. The tours are very affordable and might include all or any of these topics, a demonstration or a classroom setting and can be set up to suit different age groups and interest levels. Fun sights to see anytime of year are the microgreen production in the greenhouse, beehouse, pastured pigs, mobile chicken coop, dwarf goats, Jersey/Angus cross cattle and the farm store. They often include some refreshments or tastings of their homegrown goodies.
This is agricultural tourism in motion! See how we experience a back-to-the-land approach to vacationing, which is authentic, relaxing and educational. Two different rental houses to choose from that fit many family sizes or couples.
Known in Turkey as cacik, this garlicky mixture of green vegetables, fresh herbs and yogurt can be served as a salad or as a dip with pita and raw vegetables. Traditionally, cacik is made with a number of vegetables, including cucumbers, cabbage and beets.
2.5 oz. clamshell of sunflower microgreens
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill or 1 teaspoon dried
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or 1 teaspoon dried
1 tablespoon fresh chopped mint or 1 teaspoon dried
2-3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 cup thick greek style yogurt
1/4 cup chopped fresh scallions (optional)
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and use short bursts to chop the sunflower into small bits and to mix the ingredients together. To prepare without a processor, chop all ingredients finely and mix together. Refrigeration only makes the flavors combine better, so make a double batch and save it in a lidded jar in the refrigerator.
New Wines & Ciders for Your Holiday Table | 11.11.2015
As I write this in October, my thoughts are about beers and ciders, as well as feature wines for the fast approaching holiday season. We’re bringing in several new feature wines for your Thanksgiving table, as well as wines that will be as festive as your Christmas and New Year’s celebrations.
Have you tried any of our delicious ciders? My favorites are from the local, award winning Montana Ciderworks in Darby, MT. These are English-style ciders crafted from Bitterroot Valley Apples and they are delicious!
North Fork Traditional is gently bubbly, with a true cider flavor. Expressive bittersweet apple character with wood, grass and smoke notes; this semi-dry cider balances the faintest sweetness against sharpness, astringency, and tart fruit. This cider received a Gold Medal at the 2013 Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition. The blend includes hard-to-find traditional cider apples and crab apples alongside Bitterroot Valley apples. North Fork offers a clean, aromatic finish that enhances the flavor of savory foods.
The Darby Pub Cider, a semi-dry, New World style cider is another award winner from Montana Ciderworks – an approachable, effervescent cider made for sharing with friends. Appley with wood and spice notes, this medium, semi-dry cider was awarded Silver Medals at the 2014 Great Lakes International Cider & Perry Competition and at the Northwest Cider Awards.
If there’s a holiday that begs for wine, it’s Thanksgiving. More than any other beverage, wine is tied to the harvest, to bounty, to the very core of what we are thankful for. A tip for choosing your Thanksgiving wine…with so many flavor variables going on, everything from cranberry sauce laced with orange peel, to Brussels sprouts with chestnuts, to sausage and wild rice stuffing, don’t get too hung up on a quest for the perfect match. Besides, it’s really the feeling around the table, the combined effect of the food, the wine, the people and the ambience that counts most.
We’ll have several feature wines that we’ve chosen specifically for Thanksgiving in addition to the highly anticipated arrival of Beaujolais Nouveau. According to Wine Country Travel, “at one minute past midnight on the third Thursday of each November, from little villages and towns, over a million cases of Beaujolais Nouveau begin their journey through a sleeping France to Paris for immediate shipment to all parts of the world. Beaujolais Nouveau is as about as close to white wine as a red wine can get. Due to the way it’s made – the must is pressed early after only three days — the phenolic compounds, in particular the astringent tannins normally found in red wines, aren’t there, leaving an easy to drink, fruity wine. This, coupled with the fact that it tastes best when chilled, makes for a festive wine to be gulped rather than sipped, enjoyed in high spirits rather than critiqued. As a side note, it makes a great transitional wine for anyone wanting to move from white to red wines.”
written by Pam Kemmick, our former Grocery Manager & Beer & Wine Buyer, Pam has moved to produce as our new Produce Manager! Stop by and say hi.
New Summer Rosé | 05.17.2015
Carpineto Dogajolo Rosato
A dry, elegant rosé from internationally acclaimed Tuscan producer, Carpineto. The lastest edition to their entry-level line of wines, this rosé, made from a blend of 100% Sangiovese, has enticing floral aromas and bright fruit flavors.
The name Dogajolo was invented by Carpineto’s founders, derived from the Italian word doga, meaning “stave” — the narrow strips of wood used to form oak casks. Carpineto Dogajolo Rosato shows vibrant floral aromas of rose and myrtle with hints of fruit, like apples, currants, and sour cherries. A refreshing wine with an invigorating acidity and a clean finish, enjoy as an aperitif or paired with antipasto platters consisting of cured meats and mild cheeses. Also excellent with grilled fish!
Domaine de Fontsainte Gris de Gris
The Fontsainte vineyards surround the hamlet of Boutenac in the area known as “The Golden Crescent” in France, a swath of land whose sunny setting and cool sea breeze create a beautifully balance terroir. The first vineyards at Domaine de Fontsainte were planted by the Romans. Artifacts found in these vineyards, such as an old coin dating from the time of Marcus Agrippa in 25 A.D., are a testament to its antiquity.
Yves Laboucarié’s family has been making wine here since the seventeenth century and believe that “great wines are made in the vineyard” and less in the cellars. They farm the land sustainably and keep treatments to a minimum. Many of their vines are older, especially the parcel known as La Demoiselle, which recently celebrated its hundredth year.
Look for the highly affordable and supremely delicious Gris de Gris, a saignée rosé made from Grenache Gris—among the finest rosés on the planet. Expressive and particularly tonic, the wine immediately gives off notes of raspberry, cherry and freshly picked strawberries – followed by exotic aromas such as pineapple and mango. Stunningly balanced, this is an extremely appetent wine! Ideal as an aperitif with toast and crushed olives, or with wok-fried vegetables and garlic mayonnaise, grilled fish, lamb tagine, or finely roasted chicken with rosemary.
Sean Minor Four Bears Vin Gris
Sean Minor Family of Wines has a passion for coaxing things out of the earth and bringing them to the dinner table. After beginning a career in finance, Sean Minor began working with Napa Valley’s Beaulieu Vineyard. Realizing he had a passion for winemaking, Sean took classes in viticulture and enology and learned the trade at several vineyards in Napa Valley and the Pacific Northwest. Sean Minor Family of Wines was founded in 2005 with a focus on creating great, affordable wines.
Sean Minor’s Vin Gris is a pale salmon color with vibrant aromas of ripe strawberries and watermelon. On entry, the wine displays bright tangy flavors of raspberries, cherries and strawberries. Throughout the mid-palate and finish, raspberry and cherry fruit characters are balanced with spicy and crisp acidity that linger creating a refreshing and lengthy finish.
A to Z Oregon Rosé
The 2014 A to Z Oregon Rosé leads with aromas of strawberries, tangerine, watermelon and grenadine with hints of thyme and hibiscus then opens to reveal plum, apricot and more strawberry notes. Clean, balanced and approachable with generous fruit, the crisp and juicy A to Z Rosé integrates excellent texture with firm acidity finishing long and pretty.
Fall Foods for the Whole Family | 08.24.2014
Fall is back-to-school time as well as harvest time for a variety of super nutritious fruits and vegetables. Why not send your kids back to the classroom full of the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants their bodies will need to stay healthy as cold season sets in?
Squashes are among the cheapest and easiest fall fruits to prepare, and they pack a powerhouse of nutrients, including potassium, carotenoids, folate, and fiber. Best of all, they are both kid friendly and baby friendly, being a great food for infants.
To prepare squash, simply split any variety (acorn, butternut, pumpkin, spaghetti) down the middle with a large knife, scoop out the seeds, place the halves flesh-side down in a pan with ½-inch of water, and bake at 350 degree for 45-60 minutes. The squash is done when a knife sinks easily into the flesh. To serve, scoop out the flesh and add butter and cinnamon to taste.
A high-quality butter from pastured animals will add Vitamins A and K2 to your dish as well as a healthy dose of saturated fat. Wait a minute, did I use healthy and saturated fat in the same sentence? Yes! Research is chipping away at the myth that saturated fat is bad, when in fact both saturated fat and cholesterol are essential for growth and development. See westonaprice.org for a wealth of information on the benefits of fat and other nutrient-dense foods—or do a Google search for the recent spate of articles in the news!
Spaghetti squash can be a fun food for kids since it looks like, well, spaghetti! After baking, scrape out the flesh with a fork and serve with butter, salt, and pepper, or with a little pasta sauce and Parmesan cheese.
Fall is also harvest time for that universal symbol of education, the apple. Making homemade applesauce or apple butter can be a fun project for the whole family, and can spare your kids the high-fructose corn syrup and other sweeteners added to commercial products.
To make your own applesauce, simply cut apples into 1-inch chunks (no need to remove the skin—it has lots of nutrition!), sprinkle with cinnamon, and steam for about 10 minutes, or until the apples are soft. Place steamed chunks into a food processor and puree with a few squeezes of lemon juice. You can also add a tablespoon or two of virgin coconut oil for extra flavor and nutrition.
For apple butter, place 10-20 sliced apples in a slow cooker with an inch of water (again, no need to remove the skin). Sprinkle with a generous amount of allspice and cinnamon and cook on low for 8-10 hours, checking periodically to make sure there is enough water in the bottom of the cooker to prevent burning. Puree the apples with the remaining water using a stick blender (or transfer to a food processor), adding a tablespoon or two of vanilla extract as you blend. If it’s too thick, add small amounts of water until you achieve the right consistency.
Cori Hart is the local chapter leader for the Weston A. Price Foundation, committed to reintroducing nutrient-dense foods into the Standard American Diet. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Eat Seasonally: Sprouts | 12.25.2013
Sprouts are that rare superfood that hits the sweet spot between flavor and nutrition. In addition to classic alfalfa sprouts, look for zesty radish, peppery broccoli or savory onion sprouts, as well as crisp and crunchy mung bean sprouts.
At Good Earth Market, local producer The Growing Business, owned by Daphne Zortman, provides us these delicious greens. Daphne started growing sprouts with her sister back in 1984, and she’s still the type of person who likes to get in there and get her hands dirty. She enjoys eating her own sprouts and is convinced of their powerful health benefits. “They’re a powerhouse of nutrients,” she exclaims, adding that her sprouts are very natural, too, being grown in well water and then cleaned – there’s very little processing that goes on.
It’s hard to improve on the classic sandwich combo of turkey, avocado and sprouts, but how about radish sprouts, fresh goat cheese, and tomato on multigrain bread? Or onion sprouts, cream cheese and cucumber on rye? Sprouts go beyond sandwiches, too – use mild-flavored mung bean sprouts to garnish everything from stir-fries to soups.
Quick Vegetable Bibimbap
This recipe is a delicious signature Korean dish, literally meaning “mixed rice”.
Serves 6, ready in 1 hour
- 1 cup uncooked medium-grain brown rice
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp vegetable oil
- 1 c. carrots, cut into matchsticks
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 c. zucchini, cut into matchsticks
- ¼ lb button mushrooms, thickly sliced
- 6 oz fresh spinach
- 4 green onions, sliced
- ½ lb baked or fried tofu, cut into 1-2 inch squares
- 1 c. cucumber, cut into matchsticks
- 2 oz mung bean sprouts
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of ground black pepper
- 6 large eggs
- ¼ c. hot sauce (Gochujang, Sriracha or other hot chili paste)2 tsp tamari
- 1 T. water
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1 tsp. rice vinegar
- ½ tsp sesame seeds
Start cooking the rice according to package directions. In a small bowl, mix together all sauce ingredients. Set aside.
In a wok or large skillet, heat the sesame and vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add carrots and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add garlic, zucchini, and mushrooms and stir-fry for another 2-3 minutes. Add spinach, and stir-fry just until it’s wilted and tender (about a minute). Remove from heat and toss the vegetables with the tofu, cucumber, bean sprouts, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Set aside vegetables, and fry 6 eggs over easy.
To serve, place a scoop of rice in each bowl, top with some stir-fried vegetables, place a cooked egg on top, and garnish with sliced green onions. Serve the sauce on the side for drizzling.
Eat Seasonally: Sweet Potatoes | 11.20.2013
One of nature’s simple pleasures, the humble sweet potato brings healthy, wholesome sweetness to home-cooked meals. Sweet potatoes are nutty, smooth and full of beta carotene, vitamin C and fiber. Bake small sweet potatoes whole (like baking potatoes) and top with scallions, sour cream, crumbled bacon or sautéed mushrooms for a flavorful alternative to an old favorite; or try something new and add steamed, cubed sweet potato to a coconut milk-peanut curry over rice. For updated comfort food, try a Cuban-style pork stew with seared poblano chilies and chunks of rich sweet potato in place of, or in addition to, regular potato.
Go to www.strongertogether.coop for more tips and hints on using seasonal veggies.
Yam What I Am
Try this twist on a holiday staple. Spicy and tangy, this salad is ready-to-eat in our Deli Café!
Ready in 1 hour
- 3 lbs. garnet yams, peeled and cut into ½” to ¾” cubes
- 8 garlic cloves
- 1/3 c. olive oil
- 1 pinch dry chipotle pepper (or more to taste)
- 1/3 c. brown rice vinegar
- 1 c. pecans
- 3/4 c. dried cranberries
- 1 bunch green onions, diced
Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine cubed yams, garlic and olive oil in a roasting pan and bake until yams are soft, but not mushy (about 40 minutes). Drain and retain olive oil and garlic cloves. Combine garlic, olive oil, and chipotle peppers in food processor or blender and blend until well-mixed. Add garlic mixture and all other ingredients to yams and mix well.
We still have lots of local squash and pumpkins rolling in of all sizes, shapes and colors!
Holiday Shopping List | 11.08.2013
The Main Course
Succulent poultry and flavorful substitutes!
□ Natural turkey (Mountainview Colony, Lavina)
□ Heritage turkey (Lazy SR Ranch, Wilsall)
□ Lamb (Lehfeldt Ranch, Lavina)
□ Ham (Lazy SR Ranch, Wilsall, or Amaltheia Dairy, Belgrade)
□ Goose (Moutainview Colony, Lavina)
□ Duck (Mountainview Colony, Lavina)
□ Organic Beef Steaks and roasts (BBar Ranch, Big Timber)
Skip the Bird
No turkey? No problem? Try our other delicious options.
□ Field Roast Grain meats
Simple and flavorful starters
□ GEM Hummus (Chipotle, Spinach Feta, Bell Pepper, Classic, Red Lentil, Sundried Tomato)
□ Pineapple Mango Salsa (Kenny’s Double D Salsa, Billings)
□ Homemade Cranberry Salsa from the Deli Cafe
□ Homemade dips & spreads from the Deli Café
□ Holiday party trays (for special order in the deli – just ask a clerk!)
Snacks & Treats
□ Organic mixed nuts
□ Roasted nuts (for a limited time only – Good Earth Market roasted nuts, too)
□ Yogurt pretzels
□ Chuck & James Chewy Granola (Sidney)
□ Local chocolates (Martinson’s Chocolates, Huntley)
□ Organic dark chocolate
The season’s best local and organic produce!
□ Local Apples (Ross Orchards, Fromberg, & Boja Farms, Big Timber)
□ Local garlic
□ Green beans
□ Local onions
□ Local pumpkins
□ Local russet potatoes
□ Local squash
□ Sweet potatoes
Bake it fresh
□ Chocolate chips
□ Gluten-free flours and mixes
□ Gluten-free pie shells
□ King’s Cupboard chocolate sauces (Red Lodge, MT)
□ Local eggs
□ Local flour (Wheat Montana, Three Forks)
□ Organic flour
□ Organic sugar
□ Organic Valley butter
□ Frozen pie shells
□ Organic pie spice
□ Pumpkin puree
□ Spices (buy from our bulk department to save money and get fresh spices in the amount you need!)
□ Vanilla extract
Save time and eliminate stress.
□ Stuffing mix
□ Turkey gravy mix
□ Vegan & gluten-free gravy mixes
□ Frozen veggies & fruits
□ Cranberry sauce
□ Cream of mushroom soup
□ French fried onions
□ Frozen pie shells (whole wheat, spelt, and gluten-free)
□ Frozen pies (Time 2 Savor, Billings)
□ Fresh breads (On the Rise, Bozeman)
Delight your guests
□ Mulling spices
□ Organic sparkling cider
□ Perrier sparkling water
□ Local wine (Yellowstone Cellars & Winery, Billings, & Ten Spoon Vineyard & Winery, Missoula)
□ Seasonal local beers
□ JK’s Farmhouse Summer Hard Cider
□ Local teas (Tumblewood Teas, Big Timber)
Eat Seasonally: Apples | 09.18.2013
Beautiful, delicious, and healthy, apples are a triple win! With so many varieties of apples to try, it is no use playing favorites. Try a perfect Honeycrisp apple – its glacier-crisp crunch and perfect sweet-tart balance may challenge your ideas about health food. Pie enthusiasts will want to try tart regional varieties like Granny Smith apples, adding lots of flavor without overdoing the sweetness. Try toasting chopped apples with root vegetables when the weather gets cold, or use a cheese grater to shred fresh apple onto a green, leafy salad with curried raisin vinaigrette, and enjoy the sweet and savory flavors of a changing season.
Watch for unique local varieties from Ross Orchards. See our Produce page for a list!
Brown Bag Apple Salad
Prep time: 15 minutes
1 apple, cored and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup fresh pineapple, cut into 1-2/inch pieces
1 cup seedless grapes, halved
1 small orange, peeled and segmented
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons apple juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup granola
Pinch of cinnamon
3 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt (optional)
In a large bowl, mix together all of the ingredients and serve immediately. If making the salad a day ahead, add granola just before serving.
Serving suggestion: Pack the apple salad into individual serving containers and top each with equal amounts of the granola (if the lunch box/bag will not be in the refrigerator, leave out the yogurt). Substitute orange juice for apple juice or lime juice for the lemon juice for an even perkier flavor.
Reposted by permission from StrongerTogether.coop, where you’ll find articles about you food and where it comes from, recipes and a whole lot more at www.strongertogether.coop.
Drink Like a Roman | 08.20.2013
The tangible evidence of antiquity’s amphitheaters and coliseums dot the European landscape, but the influence of the great Roman society is felt all around us. It was a multifaceted culture covering much of the globe, fostering a great value in education and community. Their endurance and influence staged the foundation for much of the world’s language, politics, philosophy and art.
This progressive lifestyle spread throughout the modern world via conquest and imposed example; winemaking was no exception. Romans believed that wine was a necessity of daily life, occupying religious, medicinal and social roles. As their empire grew, it became more important to understand the vine. They sought out to produce better quality grapes, vigorously planting new vines to compete with the growing population and demand for export. Wine grapes were planted throughout the empire, simultaneously establishing the fundamentals of wine making.
Their blossoming society was centered around Rome and, like their majestic ruins, many of the wines have stood the test of time. Just south of the town of Rome lies the Frascati region of Italy. Geological evidence traces their cultivation of grape vines back to the 5th century BC. Frascati is and has been planted with grapes indigenous to the Mediterranean basin and is best known for producing crisp and refreshing white wine meant to be consumed through the afternoon heat. Or perhaps August in Montana.
MEMBER PRICE $9.99
August 1 – September 31
Reg. price $11.99
2011 Villafranca Frascati Superiore
Produced by the Gasperini family in the prestigious area of D.O.C.*, Frascati has upheld the most modern technologies, with a great respect to tradition, since 1909.
Made from 65% Malvasia, 15% Trebbiano, and 15% Grechetto (Greco). Intense yellow color with greenish reflections. Characteristic persistent fresh and fruity aromas of melon and almond notes. Excellent as an aperitif and paired with fresh fish, seafood or white meat.
*D.O.C. (Denominazione di origine controllata) – a system regulating the details of wine production put in place by the Italian government. Similar systems can be found throughout the world.
Written by Lena Olson of Winegardner’s Wines. Learn more at www.winegardnerswines.com.
Summer YUM! | 07.30.2013
We asked staff and member/owners which produce they’re most looking forward to this summer. Here are their responses:
Lindsey Battle, with Kimmie & Max IV
“Our family likes to make sweet potato chips. And these little guys love bananas & apples. We also make kale chips and carrot fries in coconut oil. The carrots I fry, the rest I bake.”
GEM’s Board President
“My favorite fruit is actually what most people think is a vegetable – the ripe, red tomato. You need to slice it, add a dash of red wine vinegar, a dash of olive oil, a little salt & pepper, and a little basil. Let it sit and, oh my, you have the essence.”
Local Producer Committee Chair
“Basil. I’m obsessed with the stuff. I like to add it plain to salads, like a green salad or a couscous salad, or even with steamed broccoli. It has so much flavor, it brings everything to life. Or I make pesto. It freezes really well in ice cube trays. Pop them into a freezer bag and they’re handy all winter.”
“One of our favorite things to do is wash and pluck grapes off the stem and put them in the freezer. Like little mini grape popsicle bites! We eat these all the time in the summer. They’re so delicious!”
“APPLES! The local apples are brilliant here. There’a tree in my backyard just loaded and the funky ones are starting to fall now. You have to watch for bugs if you’re wildcrafting, but that’s still a lot of fun. I prefer local apples, but am eating Galas from New Zealand now. I really like the old-fashioned varieties, too. They used to grow so much here! Our area is great for fruit. I eat ‘em raw. I also like the local berries (lots of antioxidants!) and local Flathead cherries (good for the intestines!).”
“Apples are always good. I’m looking forward to them. Everybody likes the tomatoes and the watermelons. I like all of the local because it’s picked ripe and has more flavor. I love supporting local and appreciate the early farmer’s market you had this year. With the tomatoes, I just slice them and drizzle a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Or put them on a baguette with some feta or mozzarella, and a little basil. I like them cooked, too.”
Lead Grocery Clerk
“I’ve been into avocadoes, like guacamole, or cut up with tomatoes as a side dish. It’s cool and refreshing in the summer, and good with a little salt & pepper. It seems like they taste fresher in the summer because they’re in season.”
“I LOVE BBar Ranch burgers, and the way I fix them is very unique. I put what I like on them, in them. I dice onions, quarter small, fresh mushrooms (don’t chop them any smaller or you won’t taste them), a few chopped jalapenos, cubes of blue or cheddar cheese (you can grate it, but then you won’t get the tasty pockets or cheese). I cook them medium, never well and make them huge – ½ pound hamburger with all the fixings. All ingredients go in raw – my favorite summer food!”
“Those pluots have been so amazing. They’re like candy, but better for you, obviously. I had never had them before I started working here. They’re incredibly juicy – two a day makes you a happy person.”
Summer is well upon us with warmth and sunshine. Our skin takes a beating with the elements of dry hot wind, pool water, and too much sun. How can we continue to have beautiful glowing, hydrated skin all summer long?
The season of summer has its own special foods, color, elements, and influence. The element of summer is fire and this element rules the heart and small intestine. The heart represents not only the actual heart organ, but the emotional state and memory. When our hearts are healthy, we are able to solve problems effortlessly and arrive at brilliant solutions. The emotion for the summer heart is joy, and the sound is laughter.
The fire element is associated with the color red, so all foods that are red in color, including tomatoes, red peppers, beets, strawberries and cranberries benefit the heart and small intestine. Lycopine, an antioxidant, is very beneficial for the heart organ.
Some foods that are calming include mushrooms, brown rice, oats, and jujube. Herbs such as chamomile, catnip, skullcap, passion flower, and valerian are calming and very helpful when your mind is racing and you cannot go to sleep.
The summer skin can have too much redness, such as having flushed faces, rosecea, eczema, and psoriasis. Where there is too much redness in the face, the foods that are bitter can combat chronic congestion in the nose, lungs or face, as well as yeast overgrowth, obesity and skin eruptions. Bitter foods are very good for anybody who suffers with congestion on the face. The bitter taste also increases intestinal muscle contraction, which helps with the peristalsis movement in the intestines. This means good movement in the digestive system, and good digestive movement removes toxins in the body and helps clear the skin. Some bitter foods include rhubarb, kale, watercress and celery.
Other great foods for summertime are roasted red peppers, watermelon, or chilled tomato soups to bring back the fluids lost during perspiration. Of course, drink plenty of water and use sunscreen.
Managing the hydration levels in the body and skin is very important for having beautiful skin. As mentioned above, eating foods that have a water content is the best way to get that extra water into our systems.
Watermelon, our most famous summer food, is amazing and in my next workshop, we will explore just how amazing watermelon is and how it benefits our skin and body.
During the summer months, nature is at its most expansive, abundant manifestation. The sun is at its highest, food is plentiful, and all plant life is full of vital life force. So eat healthy summer foods, be filled with summer Joy, laugh a lot, and infuse the energy of the color red. All this will enhance the summer glow with your skin that the vital life force produces.
Learn more about summer foods and protecting your skin at Susan’s next workshop, Saturday, July 13, 1:00pm-2:00pm. Susan Reddig, B.S., is a Licensed Esthetician at Clinical Skin Solutions of Billings, and Holistic Healthy Eating Coach. Susan’s focus is on beautiful skin through safe product and healthy eating.
Tips for Great Grilling | 07.03.2013
Are you ready to take your grilling skills to new heights? Here are a few tips: Use a blend of spices, salt and herbs as a rub for grilled meat, fish, or tofu. Blends like Cajun, jerk, or tandoori spices add color, crunch and flavor.
Marinades are another great way to spice up grilled foods. A basic marinade starts with oil, a sour element, and salt or seasoning. Tempeh and halloumi cheese are unusual bases for a tasty marinade, and great on the grill.
Hit the sweet spot with grilled fruit, like bananas, peaches, nectarines or fresh figs. Just cut them in half, lightly coat with oil, and grill just a few minutes per side. Grilled fruit is amazing with ice cream.
Grilled Vegetables with Tomato Apple Chutney
Prep time: 50 minutes
· 2 T. vegetable oil
· 1/3 c. yellow onion, diced
· 1 ½ t. fresh ginger, peeled and minced
· 2 cloves garlic, minced
· 1 t. brown mustard seeds
· ½ t. ground cumin
· ½ t. salt
· 3 large tomatoes, seeded and diced
· 1 small apple, peeled and diced
· 1 T. apple cider vinegar
· Black pepper to taste
· 2 pounds of mixed vegetables (zucchini, yellow squash, peppers, mushrooms, eggplant, potatoes, fennel, onions in any combination), cut in 2- to 4-inch pieces
· Vegetable oil
· Salt & pepper to taste
To make the chutney, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion and ginger for a few minutes and then add the garlic and mustard seeds; sauté for 2 more minutes. Add the cumin, salt, tomatoes, apple, vinegar and a pinch of black pepper. Stir well, turn the heat down to low, and simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Remove from heat and reserve. The chutney may be made up to 7 days in advance; keep leftover chutney refrigerated for up to a week.
To grill vegetables, preheat grill to medium-high. Drizzle the chopped vegetables lightly with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill the vegetables a few minutes on each side until cooked to desired tenderness. Serve with warm tomato chutney.
Serving suggestion: For an easy summertime meal, serve the grilled veggies with couscous or brown basmati rice, or use to top a pizza or foccacia bread.
Eat Seasonally: Strawberries | 06.06.2013
Strawberries are one of the most-anticipated fruits of the summer; they are sweet, fragrant, and juicy, with a flavor that is unmistakable. These berries might be small but they are packed with vitamin C and five different antioxidant compounds, which means they are a natural choice for a healthy diet. It’s easy to use such tasty fruit; simply wash, slice, and top with whipped cream or vanilla yogurt for a simple dessert, or make a divine topping for ice cream and pancakes by stewing fresh strawberries, your favorite sweetener, and diced rhubarb until tender and falling apart. Don’t forget drinks: frozen strawberries compliment beverages from lemonade to champagne!
Peppered Strawberries with Crème Fraiche
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons cracked black pepper (coarse)
- 1 pint strawberries
- Begin making the crème fraîche about a day and a half before you plan to serve this dessert. Place whipping cream and buttermilk in a jar with a lid. Add 2 tablespoons powdered sugar, cover securely and shake for 15 seconds. Set aside in a warm room temperature spot (70-75 degrees F.) for approximately 24 hours, stirring once or twice, until mixture is very thick. The warmer the temperature of the room, the faster the cream will thicken. It should be the consistency of yogurt.
- Stir thickened crème fraîche well and refrigerate for at least 6 hours before serving. Covered tightly, crème fraîche will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
- Wash and dry strawberries, leaving any green leaves or stems attached. Gently dip and twist the bottom half of each strawberry into the crème fraîche, then sprinkle lightly with fresh cracked black pepper before serving.
Add a teaspoon of vanilla extract to the crème fraîche, and spoon it onto fresh blueberries, sliced peaches, pies or brownies. Plain (unsweetened) crème fraîche can also be used with chopped fresh herbs or threads of saffron as a sauce for fish or poultry.
Reprinted by permission from StrongerTogether.coop. Find articles about your food and where it comes from, recipes, and a whole lot more at www.strongertogether.coop.
Eat Seasonally: Asparagus | 04.26.2013
Forget about the robin, asparagus is the real first sign of spring! This much-adored seasonal vegetable epitomizes the season: fresh, crisp and juicy, a beautiful shade of spring green. Its flavor is distinctive and quite sweet when fresh. Although asparagus is easily enjoyed lightly steamed and barely dressed with butter and a squeeze of lemon, it is irresistible when roasted or grilled and served with garlicky French aioli or a spicy sesame-soy dipping sauce. Eggs and asparagus are natural friends: try chopped asparagus and mushrooms in a quiche with goat cheese, or a quick and easy egg scramble with asparagus, tomatoes, and brie.
Asparagus Antipasto Platter
Prep time: 30 minutes active, 75 minutes total.
1 pound (1 bunch) fresh asparagus, woody ends trimmed
1 cup canned artichoke hearts, drained and halved or quartered
¼ pound prosciutto, thinly sliced
¼ pound salami, sliced into bite-sized rounds or pieces
1 cup Kalamata olives (or other olives of choice)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/3 pound sliced Provolone cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed or minced
¼ teaspoon Italian seasoning
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 lemon, zest and juice
Pinch each of salt and ground black pepper
Blanch the asparagus in boiling, salted water for 3-4 minutes, then rinse with cold water or cool in an ice bath. Drain well. Zest the orange, and juice half for the dressing. In a small bowl, whisk all of the dressing ingredients together. Toss the blanched asparagus and artichokes in 2 tablespoons of the dressing and marinate for 60 minutes. Once asparagus and artichokes have finished marinating, arrange the antipasto on a large platter, and drizzle with the remaining dressing. Serve with fresh crusty bread or baguette slices.
Reprinted by permission from StrongerTogether.coop. Find articles about your food and where it comes from, recipes, and a whole lot more at www.strongertogether.coop.
Container Gardening | 04.24.2013
Growing your own food is fun, satisfying and delicious—and it’s easy to do even if you don’t have traditional garden space! Fact is, if you have a patio, balcony, or even just a windowsill or doorstep, you can grow your own little vegetable garden in containers.
It doesn’t take much horticultural savvy to grow produce in pots, either. Here’s what you’ll need to know—about container plants, pots, soil, and care and feeding—to get started.
What to Grow: Keep growing habits in mind. Read plant tags, seed packets, and catalog descriptions with an eye towards words like “compact”, “bush”, “small”, “mini”, “dwarf”, and “tiny”, or “well suited for container growing”. You can grow a variety of vegetables and flowers, even fruits. You might also place a small fruit tree (like a dwarf apple) in a big pot. When combining plants in the same container, keep in mind that partners need to have compatible needs for water and sunlight!
Containers: You can purchase a variety of functional—and beautiful—pots, but anything that can hold soil can be used for growing your bounty. You’ll need to match the size of the container to what you’re planning to grow.
If the pot doesn’t have holes near the bottom, ensure proper drainage by drilling some yourself (about 1/4 to 1/2 inch in diameter). To prevent soil from washing out, add mesh to the bottom of the pot. Clean your containers well with soap and hot water or a natural disinfectant before planting in them.
Light & Temperature: Most vegetables like plenty of sunlight, but some (like leafy greens) can tolerate partial shade. If a plant calls for full sun, that means it needs between 6 and 8 hours of direct sun per day. Partial sun means 4 to 6 hours of sun daily.
The best temperature range for most plants is between 55 and 75 degrees F. You’ll want to wait to plant your containers outdoors until after the danger of frost, but one of the advantages of container growing is that you can haul the pots indoors (or easily cover them) if the temperatures dip.
Soil: Fill your containers with good, organic, sterile potting soil (to 3/4 inches below the rim or lower to allow for watering). Do not use “topsoil” or soil from a garden, which will become too compact and may contain disease or insects. You can also make your own customized potting soil.
Water: You’ll want to keep the soil around your plants moist but not soggy. Plants dry out more quickly in pots than they do in the ground, so depending on the type of container you’ve chosen, the plant, and the environment, you may need to water it every day—or even twice a day. Water the soil, and occasionally the leaves, until the water runs out the bottom of the pot (this will ensure plant roots have access to sufficient water and helps wash away any buildup of salts).
Nutrients: Whenever you water your container, nutrients are leached from the soil, so you’ll want to add fertilizer every week or two or use a diluted fertilizer with every watering. There are plenty of good organic fertilizers; these will provide macro and micronutrients, minerals, amino acids and vitamins. Compost or compost tea, fish emulsion, liquid seaweed, kelp meal, and worm castings all provide excellent organic fertilizer for container plants.
Whether you’re adding an array of containers to your already bountiful garden plot or a single potted tomato to your doorstep, you’ll find container gardening fun and rewarding.
Food for Skin: Spring Foods for Clear Skin | 03.29.2013
Spring Fever’s bite is just around the corner. We are anxious to smell the fresh air, feel the warm breeze and enjoy the promise of new life and rejuvenation. During the Winter season, the cocooning and self reflection can now give way to the creative and bursting energy of Spring. This energy is reaching from the depths of the earth and pushes with an upward rising movement stretching to the Heavens. The very thought of Spring with its many colors and clean fragrance will refresh, nourish, and stimulate. The color of Green is the energetic life color of the trees, plants, leaves, and grasses.
In Spring, the element of Wood is symbolized by the tree that has roots planted in the earth and branches reaching to the Heavens. The trunk holds life between the two worlds. The human organs that correlate with the Wood Element are the liver and gallbladder. The liver is the organ in charge of helping the body break down toxins and when it is functioning properly peace and harmony are felt and there is focused direction and self-responsibility. When it is stagnated, there is anger, depression, and frustration.
The Spring skin is the acne skin. This skin is red, inflamed, and congested. There may be rashes, allergic reactions, and eczema flare ups. This is a good time to do a liver detoxification and eat simple dishes with lots of green vegetables. Sour foods also stimulate the liver and gallbladder. The sour taste has an absorbing astringent function, stopping abnormal discharges of fluid from the body, like excessive sebum on the face. Examples of sour foods are vinegar and lemons. Anybody who has papules and congestion on the face should drink a hot cup of water with one-half a lemon first thing in the morning. The hot water and lemon stimulate the liver to release bile and break up fats. Other examples of sour foods are limes , pickles ,sour apples, sour plums, leeks, blackberries, grapes, mangoes. olives, raspberries, tangerines, tomatoes, sourdough bread, adzuki beans. Vegetables include broccoli, parsley, lettuce, carrots, alfalfa, beets, zucchini, shitake mushrooms, artichokes, cucumbers, celery, endive, and watercress. The liver can be nourished and assisted in healing by eating foods and herbs that enhance the wood element. Drinking a tea with dandelion, beet greens, and lemon will go far and is so simple to do.
This Spring is a great time to get some healthy nutrition through green smoothies. Smoothies are fun and easy to make in your blender or nutibullet type of mixer. An awesome green smoothie is one made with green vegetables and green fruits along with a small amount of antioxidant berries. By helping the liver and gall bladder be strong, the skin will become clearer and healthier.
Your Spring challenge is to stand tall, stretch for the heavens and keep your feet grounded to the earth. Join me for our next class on seasonal foods that promote healthy skin!
Learn more about spring skin solutions at Susan’s workshop, Food and Skin: Spring Detox and Clarity on Saturday, April 13, 1-2pm. Susan Reddig, B.S. is a licensed esthetician at Clinical Skin Solutions of Billings, focusing on beautiful skin from the inside out. www.billingsclinicalskinsolutions.com.
From the Local Producer Committee | 02.19.2013
As we enter the heart of winter, thoughts of leafy greens, ripe, red tomatoes, and other crisp vegetables fresh from the local farm or garden can seem like a dream. But, while the earth slumbers under a blanket of snow and the sun lingers far away over southern climes, the Local Producer Committee has been striving to make the dream of farm fresh produce a reality sooner than later this spring. We are working with about a dozen local producers to offer an Early Season Farmer’s Market this year.
On the first four Saturdays in June, before the Yellowstone Valley Farmer’s Market opens in July, the Good Earth Market will host morning markets in our parking lot. Customers will be able to find a fantastic variety of spring produce from several of our local producers. We’ll even have starter plants ready to hit the warm soil in your own garden. Some of the favorite producers you’ve come to expect at our booth during the Yellowstone Valley Farmer’s Market in July will join us, including Kenny’s Double D Salsa, das Kuchenhaus baked goods, and Lehfeldt Lamb sausage. There will be a little something for everyone, from GF Harvest’s Gluten Free Oats to bison jerky from Broken Willow Bison Ranch. We hope this news helps you survive the colds months ahead and fuels your dreams of spring!
by Heather Ristow, Local Producer Committee Chair
Eat Seasonally: Carrots | 01.31.2013
Carrots are convenient, nutritious vegetables that are very versatile, thanks to their natural sweetness. Enjoyed around the world in dishes both sweet and savory, they add a hearty dose of vitamin A, fiber, antioxidants and vitamin C to your diet. Grate fresh carrots to add a splash of vibrant color to leafy salads and slaws, or make a comforting side of sliced, steamed carrot coins topped with a pat of rich honey butter. Store trimmed, cut carrot sticks upright in a glass half-full of water in the refrigerator for a quick, on-the-go snack with your favorite dip or dressing.
Carrot and Sweet Potato Tzimmes
Prep time: 15 min. active, 75 minutes total
3 tablespoons butter
2 cups yellow onion, chopped
3 cups medium carrots, peeled and cut crosswise into ½- to 1-inch rounds (about 1 pound)
3 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 1 pound)
3 cups apple, peeled and cut into
1 cup prunes, coarsely chopped
1 cup dried apricots, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons honey
1 medium orange, zest and juice
2 medium lemons, zest and juice
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Salt and pepper, to taste
In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté until soft, about 10 minutes. Add all the remaining ingredients, stir, and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to a low simmer. Cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally. The vegetables should be very tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serving suggestions: While this combination of stewed fruits and vegetables is a delicious side dish with baked chicken, it is also a fillings vegetarian entrée served with rice, barley or kasha.
*Tzimmes is a traditional Jewish dish made from carrots and dried fruits cooked slowly and sweetened with honey. It is often served during Rosh Hashanah, with the round carrots symbolizing gold coins and prosperity.
Reprinted by permission from StrongerTogether.coop. Find articles about your food and where it comes from, recipes, and a whole lot more at www.strongertogether.coop.
Food and Skin: Winter Skin Survival | 01.09.2013
Replenish, Build, Conserve, Hydrate
It’s the new year – time to burrow in and begin to replenish the skin, body, mind, and spirit. Winter means shoveling snow, bitter winds, bundling up with layers, and dry, scratchy skin. Winter also is a time for the crackling sound of the fireplace, cuddling up in a warm electric throw, or cooking a favorite soup or stew that will warm the insides and relieve the bone-cold chill.
In the season of winter, the element is Water and the color is black. Water energy is flowing, deeply internal, and the base of life. Water energy encourages hibernation and self-reflection. One can consider this a time of storing energy and replenishing so that when spring comes there will be bursting of new energy and growth! Winter skin has a tendency to be dry and itchy. We may notice wrinkles, a pale complexion, dark circles under the eyes, hyper pigmentation, red blotchiness, fluid retention, and clogged congested pores.
Which is the best way to thrive in winter and save our skin? First, for survival is the need to honor the winter quietness and stillness that is deep within all, to have a place of fulfillment and peace. Next, eat foods that nourish the Water Element. Some suggestions are watermelon, blackberries, blueberries, eggs, cloves, ginger, cinnamon bark, everything in the onion family, chicken, salmon, caviar and seaweeds. Salty and spicy flavors encourage health, but use sea salt rather than regular table salt. Making soups or stews will be warming and will help us tolerate the frosty days. Soups continue to be easy on the digestive tract, helping the body maintain its quietness.
Now for the skin. An excellent supplement for skin health is taking a fish oil supplement and eating non-white fish, like salmon. Fish oil lubricates, helps relieve the winter aches and pains, reduces inflammation, and can help to relieve that dry itchiness. Topically, it is very important that ingredients such as hyaluronic acid are in your moisturizer or lotion. Another soothing skin option right from our kitchen cupboard is olive oil. Nothing could be easier! Use your olive oil to blend with regular moisturizers, apply right after showering, or add some sugar to exfoliate. Do something fun, like indulging your skin in a berries mask and eating dark chocolate. Your skin will love you. And you will love your skin.
This winter avoid the itchies, the flakies, and the reddies by eating healthy warming soups and foods, applying topical soothing oils, and finding time to retreat for self-reflection, meditation and energy conservation. These simple steps will do more for your skin than you can imagine. In January of the new year, take the challenge to change your approach of skin health care to nourish your whole person. Winter is the time to Replenish, Conserve, Build, and Hydrate.
Learn more about winter skin solutions at Susan’s workshop, Food and Skin: Winter Skin Survival on Saturday, January 12, 1-2pm. Susan Reddig, B.S. is a licensed esthetician at Clinical Skin Solutions of Billings, focusing on beautiful skin from the inside out. www.billingsclinicalskinsolutions.com.
Making Your Own Stock | 01.02.2013
Soup stock is the foundation for many of the tastiest soups, and it’s a flavor enhancer for many a dish too. But canned and packaged stocks are generally high in sodium and may include artificial ingredients, like monosodium glutamate (MSG). You can find healthier and organic varieties at your co-op, but if you use stock frequently in your cooking, it can get expensive. Despite what you may think, making your own stock requires minimal effort, costs little money, and will keep you, well, stocked for months.
There are a million and one uses for a good homemade stock, including:
- Making your own soups and stews
- Adding depth to homemade pasta sauces
- Using in place of water or butter to infuse rice, couscous, or other grains with flavor
- Braising greens and other vegetables
- Deglazing pans to make gravy
- Substituting for wine in any recipe
The most versatile stocks are chicken and vegetable stock, but the possibilities don’t stop there. Beef stock, fish stock, chili stock, ginger stock—the list is limited only by your imagination. For the sake of simplicity, file away this basic how-to for chicken or vegetable stock and improvise from there.
What you’ll need:
- 1 pound chicken bones (if making chicken stock); reserve the bones every time you roast a local, pastured chicken and freeze in a plastic bag until you’re ready to make stock
- 1 pound assorted vegetables: carrots, celery, onions, garlic, or other root vegetables, washed and chopped into large pieces
- 1-2 dried bay leaves
- A few handfuls of fresh herbs: thyme, rosemary, sage, parsley, or whatever else you have on hand, washed and added to the pot, stems and all
- 2-3 tablespoons whole spices: black peppercorns, coriander, caraway, fennel, etc.
In a large soup or stockpot, add all the ingredients and cover with 12-16 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for 3-4 hours. The liquid should reduce slowly; if it seems to be drying out quickly, add more water and turn down the heat.
After 3-4 hours, strain the stock, discarding all solids (it’s okay if a few whole spices escape the strainer). You should be left with 8-10 cups of stock. Season to taste with salt or just wait to salt until you use it in a recipe. Divide stock into one-cup portions in small plastic bags or containers and freeze (this way, you can thaw just as much as you need).
Just one Sunday afternoon spent making a batch of stock can save you $20-25 on the store-bought variety over the course of a few months. And you’ll have a healthier, more flavorful ingredient to use in your kitchen—no bones about it.
Reposted by permission from StrongerTogether.coop. Find articles about your food and where it comes from, recipes and a whole lot more at www.strongertogether.coop.
Drinks to Warm Up Your Holidays | 12.04.2012
Hand off a hot beverage — to dinner guests, neighbors who drop by or kids during story time — and you instantly warm both tummies and hearts. Make sure you treat yourself too; wrapping your hands around a warm mug in the midst of a cold day can help you unwind!
Traditional favorites include hot cider, cocoa, teas and coffees — all so good there’s no need to look for replacements. But by adding just a few of the right spices, you can transform these everyday winter drinks into extraordinary festive fare.
Tips for Spicing Up a Variety of Hot Drinks
* Mull to be merry. Mulling a beverage simply means heating and spicing it. Sometimes sweeteners and/or other beverages are added, too. Mulled apple juice or cider is classic, but why not mull other favorites, like cherry, raspberry, white grape and cranberry juices, as well as red and white wines? Just be careful not to boil the wine or you’ll ruin the taste and evaporate the alcohol. Good mulling spices include allspice, cinnamon, cloves, fenugreek, ginger, lemon peel, nutmeg, orange peel and star anise. Have fun experimenting — or streamline your routine by stocking up on a mulling spice mix.
* Give the crock a workout. Fill your crock pot with an aromatic and warm spiced beverage and keep it on low throughout the day. You’ll have a ready-to-serve treat at any time, and your home will be scented, too.
* Make an impression with homemade gifts. For simple but lovely homemade gifting, combine the dry ingredients for a special hot drink in a small jar or canister and tie with a festive ribbon. Punch a hole in a recipe card with mixing directions and attach to the ribbon. For even easier gifting, simply place a package of beverage mix — like those mulling spices — in a festive mug and tie with a ribbon. Or choose a special tea and deliver it in a pretty cup and saucer.
* Stock up on cinnamon sticks. Indispensable for mulling, cinnamon sticks also spruce up hot party drinks when used as swizzlers.
* Spruce up your black teas. Add cinnamon sticks, orange peel and/or lemon peel to any black tea. Sweeten, if you like, with honey or brown sugar. To richen the flavor even further, add a tablespoon or two of cognac.
* Enliven green teas with crystallized ginger and sliced fruit (like pears).
* Think ethnic. For Spanish flair, add black pepper and chilies or cinnamon to hot chocolate. For French influence, thicken cocoas with cornstarch or arrowroot and stir in some Grand Marnier and vanilla extract. Top with a pinch of freshly ground nutmeg.
* For a mocha drink, simply use strongly brewed coffee in place of some of the liquid in your favorite hot cocoa recipe.
* Add quality flavorings or extracts for an instant flavor boost. Frontier Natural Products offers every option from almond to walnut for any hot beverage — including milk, cocoa, tea and coffee.
Here’s the recipe for deliciously rich toddy that adds delight to any gathering:
Visions of Sugarplums Toddy
4 cups milk, divided in half (dairy, rice, or soy)
2 Tbsp. honey
1/8 tsp. cardamom powder
4 oz. white baking chocolate, chopped
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. nutmeg powder
4 6-inch cinnamon sticks
Warm 2 cups of the milk, honey, cardamom, and baking chocolate in a saucepan until chocolate is melted. Add remaining milk and heat until warm. Stir in vanilla. Pour into cups, sprinkle with nutmeg and add cinnamon stick stirrers. Substitute almond extract (or another flavoring, like peppermint extract) for the vanilla now and then. At a toddler’s tuck-in time, serve without the chocolate to induce slumber. Makes about 4 servings.
Reprinted with permission from Frontier Natural Foods Co-op.
Holiday Meal Makeover | 11.16.2012
A celebratory dinner should be exactly that: a time to share delicious food with family and friends. While many people wish to serve traditional family favorites, for most, there’s still plenty of room to liven up your holidays with a few new flavors, local foods, and even nutritional boosters. Here are some ideas for making your holiday meals fresh, easy, and fun.
- Consider a slightly new twist on the centerpiece of many a holiday meal, the turkey, by choosing a local, heritage breed, and/or smoked turkey (these are very popular items at many co-ops). Heritage breeds are typically moister and more flavorful than commercial turkeys. For more information on heritage breeds and general turkey tips, check out this turkey tutorial.
- Give that classic green bean casserole a makeover with fresh green beans, a spritz of lemon, and a topping of toasted pine nuts. Boost the cranberry sauce with a handful of fresh or dried fruit and a dash of cayenne. Use brown rice or quinoa as the basis for your turkey-day stuffing this year, and toss in some walnuts and chopped local apples.
- Instantly transform the typical fare with seasonings: spice your eggnog with cardamom instead of (or as well as) cinnamon this year, and sprinkle tarragon on plain mashed potatoes. Or add some festive flavors to an otherwise ordinary recipe, like these Eggnog Spiced Sugar Cookies.
- Make gravy like Grandma (or your favorite cooking show chef) if you like, but don’t feel obligated! There are some top-notch, healthful cooking mixes available that are especially helpful this time of year. You’ll find delicious, organic gravy mixes, dessert mixes, and seasoning blends for salad dressings and dips at your co-op.
- Bring the unexpected to the table by adding an entirely new recipe or two to this year’s menu. Sweet Potato, Red Onion & Fontina Tart or a Winter Squash Risotto are two great options that use seasonal vegetables in new combinations. Focus on just one or two “special” dishes to complement your main course—especially if you’re serving appetizers, a couple delicious sides are all you really need and will allow you to spend more time with your guests.
- Great dishes needn’t be complicated made-from-scratch recipes, either. Purchase some strikingly flavorful, easy-to-prepare foods to serve alongside the usual. A plate of Brie with Orange Preserves and Almonds would be a memorable addition to any menu.
- Unless you adore kitchen duty, never refuse a guest’s offer to bring food — and remember you can count on your grocery store for prepared foods, too. Visit the bakery department for lovely desserts (you may want to order pies, cheesecakes, and other specific favorites ahead of time). While you’re there, choose some cranberry date scones or pumpkin pecan muffins to treat family and/or guests to special breakfast fare. You may even consider picking up a couple of extra quick breads to give as gifts!
- If you’ll be hosting guests for more than just the main meal, look to the deli for speedy main course items and sides (like lasagna, smoked salmon, wheatberry salad, golden beet and kale salad, or roasted root vegetables).
- Don’t forget to stock up on some local wine and beer, too. Pair a good beverage with an array of cheeses or cookies for an instant party when unexpected guests arrive!
It takes just a little planning and a good source for great food to pull off a wonderful holiday meal — something full of tradition, genuine nourishment, and good will.
Posted by permission from StrongerTogether.coop. Find articles about your food and where it comes from, recipes and a whole lot more at www.strongertogether.coop.
Eat Seasonally: Pear Galette | 10.31.2012
Pears, like apples and raspberries, are members of the same plant family as the fragrant rose. With over 3,000 varieties, pears appear in many shades of red, purple, yellow, green, and brown. Peak pear season ranges from late summer to early winter, when common varieties like Bosc, Bartlett, and Red Bartlett are readily available. Look for juicy, exquisite French varieties like D’Anjou seasonally. When ripe, pears change from a green to yellow hue visible through their primary color. Pears are a good source of fiber and vitamin C. Add chopped pears to a quinoa and spinach salad or try an open-faced sandwich with arugula, Camembert and grilled pears on a baguette.
Posted with permission from www.strongertogether.coop
Serving Size: 6 servings
Total Time: 1 hour, 25 minutes; 30 minutes active
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs (1 for dough, 1 for egg wash)
- 1 teaspoon milk
- 5 tablespoons butter, cold and cut into small pieces
- 2 tablespoons apricot jam
- 2 largeAnjoupears
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
- To make the dough, whisk together flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or fingers until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In a small bowl, whisk together one egg and milk. Add half of the egg and milk mixture to the dough and mix to incorporate. Mix in the remaining egg and milk, and make the dough into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. After refrigeration, roll out the dough into a 9 to 10-inch circle and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush the top surface of the dough with the apricot jam, and return it to the refrigerator until the pears are ready.
- Preheat oven to 425°F. While the oven is heating, quarter and core the pears, then slice them lengthwise into quarter-inch slices. Place the pear slices in a fan shape on the chilled circle of dough, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border. Drizzle melted butter over the pears and then sprinkle with sugar and nutmeg. Gently fold the edge of the dough up and over the pears to form a rim. In a small bowl, beat the remaining egg and brush the rim and edges of the dough with the beaten egg. Place the galette in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes until the edges are browning. Let rest a few minutes before slicing.
The beauty of this fruit tart is in its irregularly-shaped handmade crust. Serve warm with French vanilla ice cream or brandy sauce and whipped cream.
Butternut and Mushroom Steel-Cut Risotto | 09.25.2012
Recipe submitted by Member/Owner Maia Dickerson, “The earthiness of the mushrooms combined with the sweetness of the roasted squash makes this a great fall dish. The steel-cut oats re-place traditional Arborio rice lending a little chewiness to the creamy texture, making this one of my favorite comfort foods.”
Serving size: 3-5
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 30-40 minutes
Ready in: 60 minutes
1 small to medium squash, peeled and diced
1/2 T. oil
11/2 tsp. sage
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
3/4 c. water
14 oz. vegetable broth
1 tsp. butter
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 c. sliced brown mushrooms
1 c. steel cut oats
1/2 c. white wine
1/4 c. shaved parmesan
Toss squash with oil, 1/2 tsp. sage, and salt and pepper. Roast squash at 400° for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from oven and let sit. In a small sauce pan, heat water and vegetable broth, simmer on low making sure not to boil.
In a large skillet, melt butter and add onions and garlic, cook for 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until the juices are released, 3-5 minutes. Stir in the oats, add wine, and cook for 1 minute. Next, add 1/2 of the broth mixture to the skillet. Stir frequently, cook until liquid is mostly absorbed. Add broth mixture a 1/4 c. at a time, stir frequently, be sure all the liquid is absorbed between each addition. Remove from heat, add squash, parmesan, 1 tsp. sage, and salt and pepper to taste.
Heal Your Skin with Fall Foods | 09.10.2012
Do you know that food is good for the skin inside and outside? When I look at seasonal foods that are beneficial for the skin, I love to find new ways to integrate nature’s Elements into a skin care routine. These Elements are connected to the seasons that influence our foods and our bodies. Learning how to choose a seasonal food for topical use in order to produce smooth and healthier skin appearance can motivate all of us towards a healthier lifestyle.
Our skin transitions through the seasons and we may find we need to use a different product or have a clinical facial to boost the cellular process. The transition period, according to some traditions, is called the Earth Element. During the late summer, we experience a brief pause between the high energy of summer and the hot sun to shorter days and cooler nights. The Earth Element is associated with the colors yellow and orange -foods like pumpkin, squash, butternut squash, yellow peppers, peaches, nectarines, papaya, pineapple, mangoes, and corn benefit the bodily organs of Earth, the spleen/pancreas and stomach. The fall has a tendency to see dry and scaly skin as the skin may not be exfoliating fast enough and the metabolism of the skin may be slow. The Earth Element manifests itself around the mouth and a weak Earth Element (digestion) shows up on the face as sagging eyelids and jowls, and loose skin under the chin.
So, help! It looks like my Earth Element is sagging! What can I do? Here is a list of spices and seasonal foods that can help to tonify and warm the earth (digestion): ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, fennel, and nutmeg. Fall foods that can be added to your meals are carrots, sweet potatoes, parsnips, turnips, pumpkin, rutabagas, onion, leeks, and barley. The best way to eat these foods are cooked and made into a soup. Soups are comfort food, since they are easy on the digestive track.
We now have a basic understanding of what foods to eat from the Earth season that will help from the inside. So which food would be a great all around topical treat to give our skin that healthy glow we are all looking for? I definitely have a favorite. It is a food that has multiple uses and functions all season long. It is high in vitamin C, Vitamin A, anti-oxidants, enzymes that exfoliate, has emollients, phospholipids, Vitamin B, Salicylic Acid, sugar, zinc, and on and on. This food has an amazing oil that is awesome for the skin.
To discover this exemplary food that is nutritious for our body inside and outside, join me for the first in a seasonal series of “Food and Skin” workshops, “Fall Foods that Promote Healthy Skin“, (Saturday, September 15th at 1 p.m.). I will share recipes and provide tastings for Soup for Sagging Skin and a facial/body mask. This workshop explores foods harvested in the fall that we can use to help manage problematic or aging skin.
Susan Reddig, B.S., is a Licensed Esthetician at Clinical Skin Solutions of Billings .