Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving

Hope all my readers had a wonderful Thanksgiving feasting and visiting with family. Our tables were prepared with all kinds of yummies - collards, peas, green beans, sweet potato casserole, cheeesy mashed potatoes, chicken pastry, all alongside the turkey and dressing. After lunch I took pictures at the farm for the website http://www.wisechoiceproduce.com/untitled1.html

While out on the farm I saw the old pecan tree, forlorn and barren, still standing on what we call the family homeplace. It brought back memories of an old family Thanksgiving tradition. When I was a child we would eat lunch at my Grandmother's house, along with all my cousins, aunts, and uncles from my father's side of the family. Afterwards, we would trek out to the family homeplace to gather pecans. My dad's youngest brother, Eggbert, was about 20 years old or so, and he would climb the tree to shake the limbs. I remember my grandmother yelling constantly, "Eggbert! You be careful now! Don't you fall out of that tree!" We'd all work together, filling the baskets, and later divide our harvest between all the families. Pecans for the winter!

What are your fond or favorite Thanksgiving memories or traditions? Please share by posting a comment.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pretty Colors

This dish was prepared with red pepper, sweet potato, butternut squash, yellow squash, zucchini, and onion. Tossed about in a mixture of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, thyme, and rosemary and roasted for about an hour. Prepared by Dina with yummy veges from Wise Farms. Perfect for any Thanksgiving table.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

How Well do you know your Roots?

They can be red, white, or orange. They can be round, oval, or oblong.  They can be sweet, bitter, or mild. Even the tops are edible. They are fall's favorites - root vegetables.

1st picture (l-r) - beets, turnips, daikon radish.
2nd picture (l-r) - turnips, rutabaga. Notice the difference in the color.

They can be roasted, boiled, stir fried, baked, juiced, or grated into salads. When eaten with greens or orange roots such as sweet potatoes and carrots, the food combinations work together to provide the highest nutritional value because the lighter colored roots release chemicals in digestion that aid the absorption of the beta-carotene, or cancer-fighting agents, found in the the darker colored veges.

Beets and Spinach Salad

First, wash 3-4 small-to-medium-sized beets really good. Boil in water for 50 minutes, or brush with olive oil and wrap in aluminum foil and bake at 400 for 1 hour. Allow to cool slightly. Then, dice the cooked beets.

In a heavy-bottom saucepan (I prefer my fam-favorite iron skillet) heat 3 tablespoons olive oil. Add 1/3 cup orange juice, 1 tsp sugar, and 1 tsp fennel seeds. Stir until sugar has dissolved. Add diced beets; stir gently to coat. Remove from heat.

Wash, pat dry, and arrange spinach leaves in a salad bowl. Spoon warm beets on top and drizzle the remaining orange juice syrup mixture over salad. Serve and enjoy!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Friday, November 12, 2010

What to do With the Seeds

Pumpkins and fall squash have lots of seeds. Seems a shame to throw them out. They are packed with zinc, iron, omega-3 fats, vitamin E, folate, and magnesium. In other words, very good for the immune system, helping to protect against hormone-based cancers, such as prostate cancer.

The seeds are most edible when roasted. Wash and dry the seeds and toss in a little olive oil. Spread on a baking sheet and roast on low heat for 50-60 minutes. Great for snacking and adding to salads, breakfast cereal, and yogurt.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

An Even Better Butternut

I'm still living up to my challenge of testing new and different ways to cook fresh vegetables so I can break out of my "same old, same old". This week I cooked butternut squash, and how I wish I could step out of this monitor and offer you a sample to taste. The squash was absolutely delicious! Here's what I did.

First, I washed the squash really good, and halved it down the middle. I scooped out the seeds and pulp, and began to slice and dice. At first, I started peeling the squash, but that was taking too much time. After all, I am a working mom, and I didn't want to spend all night in the kitchen. So, I left the skin on some of the pieces. Decided I would test and see how they turned out.

Then, I got out my roasting pan; the more shallow the pan, the better. I placed the squash in a single layer on the pan, and poured a couple tablespoons olive oil over the squash. Then, I tossed the squash around a bit to cover them with oil, added a few tablespoons water, added a few shakes of cinnamon, and added a few shakes of nutmeg.

I roasted the squash at 375 for a good 45-50 minutes. As I said before, they were absolutely delicious, even the pieces with the skins. From now on, no need to peel. Leave the skins on. They soften as they cook, and did I mention they were absolutely delicious. Tomorrow, what to do with the seeds.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

More Cool Pics

Raspberries grown here. Photos by Jason Cox, courtesy of Sylvia Fisher.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Really Cool Pictures

Really cool pictures of raspberries growing under the hoops at Lewis Farms in Rocky Point, NC. Available now at the market and hopefully they will continue producing into early December. Yes...they taste as good as they look. Pictures courtesy of Sylvia Fisher.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Root Vegetables

'Tis the season for root vegetables. As their name implies, root veges are the edible root of a plant. Pictured here is a rutabaga. Other popular root veges are turnip roots, beets, red radishes, daikon radishes, and the more popular carrots and potatoes. They keep well after harvest when stored in a cool, dry place.

Try mixing and pan roasting a variety of roots. Simply peel and dice, add salt and pepper, and toss in olive oil. Add to roasting pan and cook at 400 degrees for about 45-50 minutes, or until tender. Great side dish with greens and main course.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Move Over Jif

Move over Jif. Mom has a new peanut butter. Fresh ground peanuts. Just like a soft-serve ice cream machine, it's as easy as flippng a switch and filling the cup. These machines are new to the Dining Hall at NCSU and are also at Whole Foods. I simply could not believe the taste. Really, you should try it.

Fall is the season for peanuts. Whether roasted, boiled, or ground into peanut butter, peanuts are loaded with antioxidants and monounsaturated fats (the good fats), which protect against heart disease. According to my source, "100 Best Health Foods", peanuts also have amino acids to boost mood and brain function. No wonder peanut butter is one of my "feel good" foods.