Tag Archives: potatoes

Local Organic Passover and Easter

24 Mar

Feast days are great days to show your friends and family how simply you can incorporate local, seasonal and organic foods into your routine (and not-so-routine) eating.  If you aren’t so confident, especially in these winter-into-spring days, here’s some inspiration for your Passover and Holy Week gatherings.

Eggs and certain meats play heavily into a lot of these celebrations.  Luckily for you and your farmer, eggs are often available (thanks to the hens) year round, and provide some valuable income for those farmers who don’t have an abundance of vegetable and fruit crops.  For this and plenty of other reasons (note: we can’t verify how scientific the linked studies are, but seem to be well-accepted; we do notice a real taste and quality difference at the table, though), we urge you to buy your eggs from a farmer!  With eggs, you can make food for your suddenly-vegetarian cousin, nephew, whomever.  These dishes help stretch out your food dollar as well.  Try your hand at a frittata, a quiche, a savory bread pudding, or a Spanish tortilla filled with NY cheese, herbs, onion, any spring greens you’re fortunate to find locally-grown, and of course our workhorse, the potato.  And as for the meat (and dairy if you’re using it this holiday), we urge you to research how hormones and pesticides accumulate in animal tissues.  When making something like schmaltz, do you want to be concentrating untold contaminants into this rendered fat?  Besides, that chicken probably cost you a bit more than the supermarket chicken, don’t let the extra bits go to waste, make that schmaltz! The simple recipe for rendered chicken fat (schmaltz) from an NPR article tells you all you need to know.  How proud would you be if your schmaltz was local and organic schmaltz?

Spring means still-chilly weather and a feeling like we need to take a little of the heaviness out of our diet.  Perfect for broth-y spring soups that could care less that the long-stored veggies look a little less pristine and plump these days.  The classic Matzoh ball soup is locavore makeover-ready.  Find as many of the ingredients local and organic, (chicken, garlic, herbs, carrots, perhaps some other veggies too) and you’ve done a great thing without overriding your traditions.  If you’re not tied to a particular holiday soup, work with any local vegetables you can find, add plenty of chopped or crushed herbs for brightness, and you’re mostly there!  Dice up that last butternut squash or bag of potatoes and add them into the soup pot for a dainty treatment of these hefty winter staple vegetables.

Fresh recipes aside, did you preserve anything this summer or fall?  If spring holidays aren’t the right time to open those jars, is there any hope for this world?  Even I, stingy and apocalypse-ready, will be opening some jars preserves and pickles at this time of year, and cooking down the last of the frozen strawberries into something heavenly.

Honey also plays into a lot of our recipes this time of year.  While it’s definitely too cold for any new honey, there’s often a farmer or beekeeper who still has some honey from the last year.  Just like eggs, this is a crucial economic helper for the farmer in this season of transition from storage foods to fresh growth.  Of course, there are plenty of food-safety and -quality issues that would also drive you to find local honey (not to mention eggs and meats).  Can you make your charoset with local apples and honey?  We bet you can!

If you’re more flexible on your celebration dishes, may we suggest:

Carrot and beet salad with honey dressing–more beautiful than easter eggs!

Roasted carrots (instead of baby carrots in the linked recipe, just cut down regular carrots into uniform sticks or spears); find some local butter and herbs to enhance!

Dilled potato gratin (ok, the opposite of the spring broth soup idea, but filling for a crowd!)

Egg bread can use local flour and eggs (I just realized it may seem strange that I’m used to eating a Jewish traditional celebration bread for celebrations during the time of year when my Jewish friends can’t eat flour…sorry guys!)

NY wines!  Don’t forget (if you don’t need Kosher for Passover wine) to drink local if you drink with your celebrations.

Organic Matzoh? Easter chocolate/candy?  Probably can’t get these locally, but you KNOW there are fair-trade, organic options that are mighty tasty, right?  Check a natural foods store for that sort of thing.

 

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Loca Mom Goes Locavore

22 Sep

My name is Kristina and I work in the NOFA-NY office supporting CSA education and outreach and helping to develop our programming in food access – making the organic products of our member producers more accessible to all.  It’s exciting, and challenging, work.

I am also the mother of a 1 year old.  I can definitely say that too, is exciting and challenging work!  Baby N.  took her own sweet time deciding to eat and is just at the beginning of her career as an consumer of solid foods but, she’s on her way.  She enjoys raw beans, tomatoes, and carrots from the garden.  As we have been introducing more solids into N’s diet  I, like many nutrition conscious, organic gardening, hyper-busy, and foodie parents –  decided  I wanted to make my own babyfood.  The Locavore Challenge seemed like the perfect time to work with what’s in the backyard: organic produce at the peak of freshness.    I developed a couple of recipes that Baby seems to love, and I will copy them below.

In the interest of truthfulness, however, I should preface the recipes with a disclaimer.  Even though I, myself, signed up for the month-long locavore challenge — I find myself, all too often, eating Pepperidge Farm Goldfish and Saltines that I’ve picked up off the floor or mashed into her carseat.  A substantial amount of my food intake is her drops, cast-offs, and rejects.  I have increased my own intake of rice cereal, prunes and oatmeal, and the aforementioned Goldfish, substantially.  Consequently, there is another advantage to preparing food for her from local, organic produce:  my own diet will improve as well!

Here are the recipes:

Golden Garlicky Mashed Potatoes;

2 Yukon Gold Potatoes (Peacework farm / GVOCSA)
½ clove crushed Garlic (backyard garden or Peacework farm / GVOCSA).
2 Tbs Plain whole milk yogurt (I make my own)
Tofu, cubed (Soyboy , Rochster)
Handful Spinach (backyard garden)
Organic Flax Seed Oil (NOT LOCAL)
Red Star Nutritional Yeast Flakes (Oakland, CA – NOT LOCAL!)

Cut the potato into ¼ inch cubes.  Boil or steam the potato until very soft.  Just before the potato is done, throw in the spinach so it cooks until soft (mashable).

Strain potato-spinach mixture and put into metal bowl.  Mash with a potato masher or big fork.

Add tofu and continue to mash

Stir in yogurt, flax seed oil, garlic, and nutritional yeast.  The color of the mixture should be warm golden yellow (with green threads).  Use your own sense of your baby to adjust the texture (more or less chunks).  I add a “little” salt to taste.

Baby N loves this dish.  At first she spit all the skins out.  As she’s been learning to eat – she eats the skins of the potato, too!  It’s really tasty – I certainly don’t mind cleaning the bowl with my fingers!

Blended Beets with Yogurt and Dill (easy to make messy to eat!)

This is simple:  steam or boil the beets until very soft.  Mash with yogurt 2 small or one large beet – cubed (backyard garden)
dill weed (backyard garden)
Yogurt (make my own or 7 Stars)
and dill to taste.  You can add cottage cheese if you can find it locally.

Serve.  Watch out, the beet color gets everywhere! (See photo left.)

All done!

Locavore Challenge Month is almost done.  I’m hoping that these and other experiments in home-made local food will continue.  Though I trust they will be supplemented by a steady stream of Goldfish and Saltines.

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