Seasonal Eating

Matthews Farmers Market, where I do the bulk of my grocery shopping, goes into official winter mode after the special Christmas market on Wednesday. I may have to branch out and visit some other local farmers markets to get us through our first winter of seasonal eating. It will be a challenge for sure. I’m already looking forward to spring when I’ll be eating vegetables from my own garden again and filling my bags at the farmers market with everything except leafy greens and root vegetables.

Mise en place for Rachel Ray’s Cod with Fennel and Onion: chopped Fennel, Fennel Fronds, Onions and Parsley and my addition, carrots (which I pan roasted separately).

I bought those REAL baby carrots from the farmers market last weekend. (Not those bleached and whittled down carrots you get in a bag from the grocery store.) Carrots are in season now, so we’ll be eating them more often. I have to admit it was a pain to wash all those tiny carrots. They were too small to peel, so I had to scrub each one with a produce brush. Sheesh! (But in the end it was worth it.) I only bought one bunch so there were only enough for us to have a few each. What was I thinking? This weekend I snagged two bunches, but wonder if I should have made it three… Anyway, here’s the finished product.

My version of Rachel Ray's cod with Fennel and Onion... with carrots.

 

Did you know that Trader Joe’s has a sustainable seafood plan. It won’t be in full effect until December 31, 2012 (bummer), but at least they’re working on it. It’s really hard to find quality, sustainable seafood. Here’s a quote from their website:

“In our efforts to offer seafood options that fit customer needs ranging from food safety and taste, to concern over the environment, we have established the following goal: all of our seafood purchases will shift to sustainable sources by December 31, 2012. This applies to all formats of seafood we offer: frozen, fresh, canned, etc.”

Here’s another delicious cod dinner with turnip kimchi (thanks Mom), nori, broccoli and rice. I marinated the fish Korean style for about 15 minutes (soy sauce, Korean chili paste, a touch of sesame oil, green onions and garlic) then broiled it. The broccoli was steamed and then tossed with sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic, green onions, salt and pepper and red pepper flakes.

About once a week we have roasted chicken with seasonal sides. Last night it was steamed spinach with freshly grated parmesan cheese and yummy butternut squash risotto. (There is too much stock in this recipe though. I only used 3 cups). I usually rub melted butter or olive oil over the chicken, then fresh minced garlic (or garlic powder when I’m feeling lazy), onion powder, celery salt, salt and pepper and sometimes paprika or dried or fresh herbs. You can season it any way you want. Pastured chickens don’t need to cook as long as conventional chickens. About an hour (maybe an hour and 5 minutes at the most) at 375 degrees usually brings a four pound pastured bird to an internal temperature of 160 degrees, which is acceptable for a pastured chicken. Anything more and the breast will be a little on the dry side. A conventional chicken would probably need to be cooked about 15 minutes longer so that it reaches the recommended internal temp of 180 degrees. (Place the therometer between the thigh and breast when checking for doneness to avoid piercing the meat and letting those juices run out.)

I only buy pastured chicken these days. They’re better for you. They do cost more, which is why I hardly throw any of it away. Once we’ve eaten most of the chicken, I boil the leftover carcass (for about two hours with a couple tablespoons of vinegar) to make homemade, organic, pastured chicken stock and pick the remaining meat from the bones before tossing them in the trash. I don’t know how much organic, pastured stock would cost in the grocery store. I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen it. I usually get a couple quarts of stock each time. A quart of organic “free range” stock costs around $4.00. And just in case you didn’t know, free range isn’t the same thing as pastured. Pastured stock would cost more.

Burgers with Alton Brown’s Chipotle Smashed Sweet Potatoes ( 5 star recipe from FoodNetwork.com, but the chipotles were way too hot and overpowering – inedible, next time I’m only adding a few peppers) and broiled zucchini. Oh how I’ve missed you zucchini. I’ve been craving summer foods and this dish was inspired by that. The cranberries and sweet potatoes were seasonal (though I barely touched the potatoes) and the burger and zucchini hit the spot for my summer food cravings. This meal was the stand out favorite for the month. I remember trying a pork burger from the Harvest Moon Grille while we were on the Know Your Farms Tour a few months ago. I didn’t have enough ground pork for our family of five, so I combined grass fed ground beef and pastured ground pork with an egg and some barbecue rub that Brian and I mixed up. I know it sounds crazy (unless you love cranberries as much as I do), but I made cranberry mayo to go with it – two parts mayo, one part leftover whole cranberry sauce. It was a little on the pink side, but the sweetness complimented the burger so well. Brian was initially turned off by the color, but after tasting it he promptly stole half my mayo. (It was okay though. I thought that might happen, so I made twice as much.)

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About Michele
Wife and Mom of three girls doing her best to lead the family into a healthier lifestyle and evolve gracefully.

3 Responses to Seasonal Eating

  1. Babygirl says:

    EVerything looks amazing. Wow, after reading this post I am soo hungry. Really nice post

  2. Pingback: A Year on Real Food « HealthyMamma's Blog

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