Why Celeriac

Kelsey MacDonald, Seacoast Eat Local Intern

celeriac

            What is that funky, knobby looking vegetable at the market? It’s celeriac! Celeriac is a root vegetable, a cousin of your traditional celery. It’s leaves are not eaten, but have the delicious celery smell; a tease when weeding. Like its cousin, they both have a long growing season; celeriac takes about 112 days from seed to harvest. Its inner beauty has the starchiness of a potato with a delicate flavor of celery and parsley topped with a slight nuttiness. It is not watery like celery and is a great addition to other roasted or mashed root vegetables with some garlic. It is a great complement to many meats, makes a great stew for these cold winter days, can be fried (see recipe below) or can be eaten raw as snack sticks or in a salad or slaw. When cooked it is silky and smooth, and when raw its flesh is crispy.

celericpic

            Feeling adventurous and ready to try one next market? You can always find celeriac at Heron Pond Farm and sometimes other farms at the winter markets. You can pick the best one by ensuring there are no soft spots and keep in mind about one-quarter of the weight will be peeled off during preparation. You can store it in your refrigerator for two to three weeks in an unsealed produce bag. When ready to prepare it, take a thin slice off of the bottom and cut the knobbiness off of the top down to the flesh. It is best to peel the edges off using a chef or paring knife, whichever you are more comfortable with as opposed to a peeler because the skin is so thick.

 

So why celeriac?

Low calories and fat with only 42 calories per cup cooked.

It is a good source of fiber, vital for digestion.

Celeriac is highest in vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, and phosphorus.

Vitamin C is an antioxidant, which helps immunity and prevents scurvy.

Vitamin K is needed for blood coagulation and calcification of bones.

Potassium is a mineral and electrolyte assisting in essential body functions.

Phosphorus is a necessary mineral for bone health.

You may not be too familiar with this unique and fun vegetable because it is not very commonly used outside of Europe and West Asia. It was commonly used in ancient European times and is most popular in France and Italy. In France, the most popular recipe is Celery Remoulade, a side dish of shredded celeriac with a mustardy mayonnaise and lemon dressing (see recipe below). Give Celeriac a try the next time you are shopping at the market!

 

 

Celery Remoulade

celery remoulade

http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2010/04/celery-root-remoulade-celeri-rem/

  • 1 cup (240 g) mayonnaise, homemade or store-bought
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt, plus more, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 1/4 pounds (1 kg) celery root
  1. Mix together the mayonnaise, mustard, 1 teaspoon of salt, lemon juice, and a few grinds of black pepper.
  2. Peel the celery root and grate it coarsely.
  3. Mix the dressing with the celery root and taste, adding additional salt, pepper, mustard, and lemon juice, to taste.

Note: If the salad is too thick, you can add a few spoonfuls of whole or low-fat milk to thin it out.

 

 

French Friend Celeriac

celeriac fries

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6551175

 

3 large celery roots, peeled

Juice of 1/2 lemon

3 cups vegetable oil

Salt

Juice 1/2 lemon into a big pot of water and put it on to boil.

Julienne the peeled roots by using a mandoline (a device with adjustable blades) on the French-fry setting. If you don’t have a mandoline, peel the roots, cut them into 1/4-inch slices, then into 1/4-inch sticks, and put them in a bowl of acidulated water.

Add celeriac to the pot of boiling water and blanch for 5 minutes. Drain and dry well.

In the same pot or a deep-fryer, heat the vegetable oil until smoking (about 350 degrees) and start deep frying in batches until golden. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Reheat in the oven before serving.

Sources:

http://www.eattheseasons.com/Archive/celery_root.htm

http://www.urbanorganicgardening.org/celery-and-celeriac.html

http://www.fao.org/wairdocs/x5403e/x5403e09.htm

http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2395/2

 

 

Now Introducing: Kohlrabi

Now Introducing: Kohlrabi
Emily Whitmore, Seacoast Eat Local Intern

Pictures from Emily Whitemore, and http://www.reneesgarden.com/

Kohlrabi. What is that? Some sort of spice? A car? Wrong, it’s a vegetable! For those of you who have never heard of kohlrabi before, it’s a native to Germany and means “cabbage turnip.” As a member of the Brassica family, kohlrabi is a cabbage that looks like a root vegetable but actually grows above ground. There are purple, white, and light green varieties, all with white flesh. It is a cool-weather crop, so now is the best time to pick up fresh kohlrabi from the winter farmers’ markets!

I know you’re probably wondering what kohlrabi even tastes like. Typically the bulbs are the part that is eaten, but the stem and leaves are also edible. Kohlrabi bulbs are described as a mildly sweeter version of broccoli stems while the leaves have a similar taste profile to kale or collards. When raw, kohlrabi has a pleasantly crisp texture. For those who have never cooked with kohlrabi, the good news is that kohlrabi is a very versatile vegetable and can be eaten raw or cooked. Enjoy your kohlrabi roasted, pickled, steamed, or even slaw-style!

Want to hear the best part? Not only can kohlrabi be prepared just about any way you would like, but is also a guilt free food as it comes along with an abundance of nutrients and health benefits! It is also naturally low in calories and has no fat or cholesterol. Here are a few of the many benefits:

  • Very rich in Vitamin C – eat kohlrabi to help prevent those pesky winter colds!
  • Health promoting phytochemicals that are believed to have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects
  • Rich in Vitamin B6 which is important for digestive, immune, and cardiovascular function
  • Fiber which is beneficial in digestive health and lowering cholesterol levels
  • Potassium which plays a role in maintaining blood pressure and bone and muscle maintenance

Delicious AND healthy, you can’t go wrong with kohlrabi! So next time you’re snowed in (and knowing New Hampshire it won’t be long) take a break from shoveling and treat yourself to a nice warm bowl of creamy kohlrabi soup. See the recipe to this tasty dish below. Enjoy!

Creamy Kohlrabi Soup.
kohlrabisoup
Picture and Recipe from
http://easteuropeanfood.about.com/od/soups/r/kohlrabisoup.htm

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 pound kohlrabi bulbs, peeled and chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes

PREPARATION

  1. Melt butter in a large pan with a lid. Add onions and cook gently until soft, about 10 minutes. Add kohlrabi and cook 2 minutes.
  2. Add vegetable stock, milk and bay leaf to pan, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 25 minutes or until kohlrabi is tender. Let cool a few minutes and remove bay leaf.

Using an immersion blender or conventional blender or food processor, puree soup until smooth. You may want to strain the soup through a fine sieve if the kohlrabi is especially fibrous. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve in heated bowls with hearty bread of choice.

Sources:

http://www.healwithfood.org/health-benefits/eating-kohlrabi-good-for-you.php

http://www.thekitchn.com/kohlrabi-is-weird-heres-what-you-can-do-with-it-ingredient-spotlight-189813

http://www.gardenguides.com/130185-history-kohlrabi.html

http://www.reneesgarden.com/articles/kohlrabi.html

Getting Real With Red Velvet!

Getting Real With Red Velvet!

By Kelsey MacDonald, Seacoast Eat Local Intern

 

golden beets   3_varieties_of_beets

I love beets and all you can do with them! They are great sliced raw, shredded onto a salad, pickled, roasted, in a soup, and believe it or not sometimes in dessert. The three most common beets seen at local farmers’ markets are golden beets, Chioggia beets, and the dark red beets. The golden beets are generally quite sweet. The Chioggia or candy cane beets are mild, with less of the typical earthy flavor. While the dark red beets have the traditional earthy flavor and deep red juices. Be cautious, as these can stain easily, so gloves are preferable when preparing them.

 beet salad pics

February is traditionally a time when most think of red, love, hearts and sweet things. Beets are a great way to incorporate all of these plus are heart healthy! Their red color is very prominent, aside from the golden beets, in all beet dishes. This comes from a phytonutrient known as betaine, which gives beets anti-inflammatory benefits. As a result, beets are known to help against heart disease, preventing unwanted inflammation and helping to decrease the risk of atherosclerosis, heart disease and Type II Diabetes. Preparation of this root vegetable is a great way to show love for your body and those you are sharing your meal with as they provide many beneficial nutrients. Beets are a great source of folate, manganese, potassium, copper, and A, C, and B Complex vitamins. This powerful combination of vitamins and minerals can decrease the risk of certain birth defects, high blood pressure, and anemia, while also aiding in eye and nerve tissue health. They provide a great source of energy due to natural sugars but are naturally low in fat and calories. They are in fact one of the top sugar containing vegetables, which is why there is an entire industry built around sugar beets. Despite all this natural sugar, beets are a very healthy addition to a balanced diet due to being an excellent source of dietary fiber (3.8 gm in 1 cup of beets), and their high dose of vitamins and minerals.

A great way to incorporate these vegetables into your Valentine’s Day celebration is to try them in cupcakes. Red Velvet Beet Cupcakes that is! They incorporate the traditional chocolate while featuring the beet color without an over powering flavor. I opt for Santa Barbara Chocolate white chocolate couverture. I was able to make my own with some local ingredients from the winter market. They are delicately spongy and moist while satisfyingly sweet. These sweet endings can be made vegan and are great just the way they are or topped off with cream cheese frosting. See the recipe below.

 

red velvet cupcakes
Picture: Kelsey MacDonald

Natural Red Velvet Cupcakes

Serves: 24 mini cupcakes + 3 regular sized cupcakes, or 12-14 regular sized cupcakes.

Ingredients

For the cupcakes

  • – ¾ cup freshly puréed beets (boiled until tender, then puréed)
  • – ⅓ cup oil (I used Sunflower Oil from Coppal House Farm)
  • – 1¼ cup sugar
  • – 1½ tsp vanilla extract
  • – 1¼ cup flour
  • – ¼ tsp salt
  • – 1½ tbsp natural cocoa powder (NOT dutch processed)
  • – 1½ tsp baking powder
  • – 1 cup almond milk (or other milk)

 

For the icing

  • – ¼ cup Butter
  • – 1 block cream cheese (250g)
  • – 1 to 1½ cups icing sugar
  • – a splash of vanilla extract

 

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Mix the beet purée and oil until incorporated.
  3. Add sugar, vanilla extract.
  4. In a bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder.
  5. Alternate adding the flour mixture and milk until incorporated into the batter.
  6. Divide among cupcake liners, filling them ¾ full, and bake for 15-20 minutes (for mini cupcakes) and 20-25 minutes (for regular sized cupcakes) until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean when poked in the middle.
  7. To make the cream cheese icing, whip together all ingredients (add the icing sugar ½ cup at a time until it reaches your desired consistency)
  8. Pipe onto cupcakes as desired. The beetroot may discolor the frosting if left for too long, so if you are piping this ahead of time, do not do so more than 24 hours ahead of time.
  9. Keep the cupcakes in the fridge and let sit at room temp at least 30 minutes before serving.

http://alimentageuse.com/home/2013/06/14/natural-red-velvet-cupcakes-made-with-beets/

 

Other sources:

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=49

http://urbanext.illinois.edu/veggies/beet.cfm

http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/beets.html

Photographs:
http://wise-habits.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/3_varieties_of_beets.jpg /
http://eatboutique.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Beet-and-Apple-Salad-1.jpg
http://www.healthbenefitstimes.com/9/uploads/2013/05/Golden-Beet.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

Butternut Squash Done 6 Different Ways!

Butternut Squash Done 6 Different Ways!
Sarah Jacobson

I absolutely love winter squash! It’s warm, filling, and nutrient packed. My favorite variety lately has been delicata, because of its edible skin and ease of preparation. Yet, there are many other varieties, such as butternut that simply cannot be replaced! I find that for me it is best to cook in batches. This cuts down on cooking time, cleaning, and gives me lots of leftovers to use throughout the week or to freeze for later.

IMG_3163

 

Butternut is a classic winter squash that most people are familiar with. You will find them in abundance at fall and winter farmers’ markets. The bright yellow-orange skin is an indication that this squash is high in beta-carotene which is converted to Vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is important for eye health and promotes healthy skin. Butternut is also an excellent source of vitamin C, which is used by the body for wound healing, gum health and also aids the body in the absorption of iron. While naturally low in calories, squash is also a dietary source of fiber, keeping your feeling full longer after eating. It is a perfect healthy addition to any meal – Try it roasted and cubed on a salad with cranberries and feta, add to your favorite stir fry rice bowl, or try it in a healthy breakfast hash!

Like most winter squash they have a thick tough outer skin. This is helpful when storing them over many months during the winter, but it can also be a task to cut through when cooking. Instead of spending time cubing and peeling, I simply cut my squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and bake them in their skins. Once cooked the flesh can be scooped out easily and either mashed as a side, or pureed to go in other dishes or soups. Check out the Seacoast Eat Local Pinterest page for Butternut for even more ideas!

butternut

Below I have some photos of  squash I roasted using very different spices and flavors. This was a fun way to cook the squash because I ultimately ended up with 6 different dishes, all of which were cooked at the same time and on the same pan! Talk about easy! All of the squash was cut in half, cleaned out, and drizzled with a bit of olive oil. We baked them at 375 degrees until tender. For the squash that we wanted to put “sauce” on  we scored the flesh with a fork – this helped keep the toppings in place so they could seep in as it cooked. If your squash is rolling away on your pan you can simply make a shallow, flat cut on the back side to create a flat surface.

The six varieties of seasonings are as follows (clock wise):
Sriracha & Brown Sugar
Minced Garlic, salt & pepper
Chinese 5 Spice
Ginger & Honey
Olive oil, salt & pepper
Maple Syrup, Cinnamon, Nutmeg & vanilla

Our favorite was the maple syrup with cinnamon and nutmeg. Next time I plan to use fresh grated ginger instead of dried and just a tad bit more honey. Feel free to experiment! Squash lends itself well to spicy and savory seasonings as well as sweet.

For the Love of Romanesco

For the Love of Local Farmers, Eat Your Produce!
Kayla Parker, Seacoast Eat Local Intern

Romanesco
Romanesco

For the Love of Romanesco!

It was the last and coldest day of the outdoor farmer’s market in Portsmouth, but if you had braved the elements, you may have noticed that with the change of weather came another slight change in crop variety. One vegetable that gained a lot of attention this weekend was the Romanesco Broccoli. I wasn’t sure what to think of this unusual light green, crowned vegetable myself, guessing that it must be some unusual type of cauliflower.

IMG_3016

Why You Should Love Romanesco Broccoli
Also called Romanesco cauliflower, this vegetable’s roots (no pun intended) can be traced back to 16th century Italy, and is a cross between the broccoli and cauliflower plant. It is a good source of potassium, vitamin C, carotene, and zinc. Zinc is a mineral that can act as an antioxidant as well as aid in immune system function. A low calorie food, with only about 25 calories per cup raw, the Romanesco has also been described as more easily digested than regular cauliflower. With a slightly nutty flavor and ability to maintain its structure when cooked, it can be used in a variety of dishes in which you might use either regular broccoli or cauliflower.
Nutrient profile from  bonduelle.org and nutritiondatsa.self.com

How to Love the Romanesco Broccoli
For my recipe I decided to treat the Romanesco like regular broccoli and toss it in a delicious pasta dish. Romanesco can also be used in soups, sautees, grilled or roasted in sections or whole.

Local roasted Romanesco tossed with pasta, chicken and tomatoes
Recipe devised from a recipe that I’ve made using regular broccoli
Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 medium head of Romanesco
2 medium tomatoes
4 medium chicken breasts
½ lb whole grain pasta (I used brown rice fusilli)
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 ounces cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Cut head of Romanesque into quarters and toss in 1 tbsp olive oil. Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes or until slightly tender.

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil on medium heat in large pan. Cut chicken breasts into bite sized cubes and season with salt and pepper and cook in olive oil until done, about 8-10 minutes until golden brown on the outside and the internal temperature reaches 160 F. .

Dice two medium tomatoes and set aside. Grate 6 oz of cheese and set aside.

Boil pasta as directed (will vary depending on pasta used). Drain and move to a large bowl. Remove Romanesco from oven and chop into smaller pieces. Add cooked Romanesco, chicken, tomatoes and cheese into pasta and lightly toss. Serve hot.

 

 

For the Love of Local Farmers, Eat Your Produce! Segment 5: Pumpkins!

For the Love of Local Farmers, Eat Your Produce!
Kayla Parker, Seacoast Eat Local Intern

pumpkins

For the Love of Pumpkins!
With halloween coming up at the end of the month, there are pumpkins everywhere! Did you know that there was a difference between the type that you carve and the ones you can eat? I sure didn’t! Sarah from Seacoast Eat Local gave me this great, simple recipe idea, but as I set out into the market to do my shopping, she told me to make sure that I asked the farmers which one I could use to make a soup. I spotted a plethora of beautiful pumpkins over at the Riverside Farm’s tent and headed over. I told the farmer what I was looking for, and she helped me pick out a sugar pumpkin that would work for my recipe of the week.

Why You Should Love Pumpkins
Pumpkins are a delicious type of winter squash that is extremely versatile in cooking. They can be eaten sweet, as in a pie or mashed with cinnamon, or they can be made into a savory soup, like the recipe I have added below. Pumpkins are a nutrient dense vegetable, at only 30 Calories per one cup cubed, They are a good source of B vitamins, Iron, Magnesium and Phosphorus. They are also a very good source of vitamins A, C, E Potassium, Copper, and Manganese. Vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin that acts as an antioxidant to help protect cells in the body from oxidative damage by free radicals.
Nutrient profile from nutritiondata.self.com

 

How To Love a Pumpkin

soup in a pumpkin

 

Local “Soup in a Pumpkin”

Ingredients:
1 sugar pumpkin
1 qt chicken or vegetable broth
1 Leek
3-5 Cloves of garlic
Rosemary
Sage
Parsley
Salt to taste

Move wire rack in oven down far enough that the whole pumpkin will fit in. Preheat oven to 400 F

Cut off top of pumpkin and scoop out insides. (Don’t throw out the seeds, these are great for drying and roasting for a snack later!) If the stem of the pumpkin is long, cut it so that it’s no more than a ½ an inch tall to prevent it from burning. Place pumpkin on a baking pan or sheet.

Thinly slice the leek and garlic and place in bottom of the pumpkin. Add chopped rosemary, sage, and parsley

Fill pumpkin with 1 qt chicken or vegetable broth and place pumpkin top back on

Cook pumpkin for 1 to 1 ½ hours or until pumpkin feels soft. This will ultimately depend on the size of the pumpkin that you used**

Remove pumpkin from oven, scrape insides into broth, add salt to taste, and serve hot

For an alternative way to serve this delicious soup, puree the pumpkin with some of the broth. This modification was my personal favorite!

** The recipe I used said 2 hours, but I checked on mine after about one hour and 20 minutes, and as you can see, there was some browning and 1 hour would have been sufficient.
Recipe modified from Purewow.com

finished soup

For the Love of Local Farmers, Eat Your Produce! (Segment 2)

Segment 2: For the Love of Eight-Ball Zucchini!
Kayla Parker, Seacoast Eat Local Intern

Every week just before the close of the Portsmouth farmer’s market, I walk around with my cart asking the farmers if they would like to donate any food to our local food pantry (part of Seacoast Eat Local’s Gleaning program). All are very generous, and I end up with a wonderful variety of donations.

IMG_2733Kayla at market

Last week when I did my normal rounds Kelsey, a fellow classmate who works at Heron Pond Farm’s stand, told me to help myself to some of their “eight-balls”. I looked around, a little confused because I wasn’t too sure what those were. Kelsey, noticing my confusion pointed to a crate of little round green and yellow zucchini’s and I headed over to them. As I picked them up I asked her what people usually did with them. She told me most people prepared them just like any other type of zucchini, but they are perfect for stuffing!

Why You Should Love the Eight-Ball Zucchini

The eight-ball zucchini is a variety of summer zucchini not typically seen at the grocery store, but don’t let this throw you off. It has the same nutritional profile as the long slender types, and can be used in different ways thanks to its unconventional round shape.

One average sized eight-ball (just over 300 grams) contains approximately 50 calories, including 1 gram of fat (mostly Omega-3 from its seeds) 11 grams carbohydrate (four of which are dietary fiber), and 4 grams of protein. It is a good source of Vitamin A, and a very good source of potassium, manganese and vitamins C, K, B2, and B6.
Nutriient profile from whfoods.org

How to Love an Eight-Ball Zucchini
Stuffed Local 8-Ball Zucchini
Makes 4 servings

8ballzuchini

Ingredients:
4 8-ball zucchini
1/2 onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
4 medium sized mushrooms chopped
2 tsp. olive oil
1 lb. very lean ground grass-fed beef (less than 10% fat)
1 tsp. seasoning blend of choice*
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
4 oz coarsely grated cheese of choice**
1/4 cup tomato sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

*I used a rosemary, thyme, marjoram, and fennel blend
**I used a local raw milk cheddar

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 375 F. Cut stem and flower ends off zucchini, trimming off the smallest possible amount of the skin and taking care to cut it off evenly, since this will show. Cut zucchini in half lengthwise, then using a pointed teaspoon or melon baller, scoop out most of the zucchini flesh and seeds, leaving an even 1/2 inch of flesh attached to the skin. If your zucchini are rolling around a lot, you can cut a thin slice on the bottom side of each to make them sit up. Chop the removed flesh and seeds and set aside in a large mixing bowl.

Heat olive oil in heavy frying pan and saute chopped onions, mushrooms, and peppers until they are just starting to soften, about 5 minutes. (They will cook more in the oven, so they don’t need to be fully cooked at this point.) Remove and add onions, mushrooms, and peppers to the chopped zucchini flesh, pouring off any excess liquid. Add ground beef to the hot pan and cook until starting to brown. When meat is about half cooked, add seasoning of your choice and garlic then continue to cook until meat is well browned, breaking it into small, pieces with the side of your turner. Remove and drain cooked ground beef then add to mixing bowl.

Add chopped basil, cheese, tomato sauce, meat to vegetable mixture, and gently combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Choose a roasting pan with sides at least two inches high and just big enough to hold the zucchini. Spray pan with nonstick spray or a light misting of olive oil. Stuff zucchini with stuffing mixture, packing in as much as you can into each zucchini, and mounding it up as high as you can, until all stuffing is used.

Put zucchini into roasting pan, putting them close together so they hold each other stuffing-side up. Roast uncovered about 20 minutes, until zucchini is tender-crisp, and filling is hot and slightly browned. Serve hot.

Recipe modified from http://www.kalynskitchen.com/

For the Love of Local Farmers, Eat Your Produce!

For the Love of Local Farmers, Eat Your Produce!
Kayla Parker, Seacoast Eat Local Intern

If you grew up in any way similar to me, your parents constantly told you to “eat your vegetables”. Luckily for my parents, I liked most vegetables, even as bland as they had been prepared. Yet there always still seemed to be a few varieties that I just didn’t have a taste for, no matter how great my mom thought she was at “hiding them”, (which in my opinion she was not very good at).

I realized while working at the farmer’s market in Portsmouth recently, that there are some fruits and vegetables that just don’t sell as well as others. At the close of the market, farmers collectively have an overabundance of certain types of them. I recognized that some of the local produce may not be familiar to people, or they might just not know what to do with it.

Eat Your Vegetables! In this series I’m going to tell you the same thing your parents did, but instead of the old “because I said so” mentality, I’m going to give you clear reasons as to why you should eat them and how to turn them into something that you will love instead of just trying to hide them in something else. As I feature the different types of seasonably available produce, one thing that that I will emphasize is the importance of locally sourced ingredients in these recipes. In doing this, not only will you have the best tasting selection of food, but you will also be supporting local farms and communities.

Segment 1: For the Love of Eggplant!

Why you should Love the Eggplant
This vegetable is an interesting one to look at, with many different colors, shapes and sizes. From long and cylindrical, to round and stout; its colors range from purple, to green, to white, even striped! A good source of dietary fiber, eggplant contains some B vitamins, potassium, and folate. Although the peel can be a little tough, you should eat that part too! It contains two specific phytochemicals, which are chemicals naturally found in fruits and vegetables and have been shown to be beneficial to health. Chlorogenic Acid and o Nasunin (a flavonoid), both of which protect against free radicals. At just under 30 Calories per cup cubed, it’s a great way to meet the requirement for your daily intake of vegetables.
Nutrient profile from whfoods.org

How to Love the Eggplant:

I know what you are thinking, what the heck do I do with an eggplant besides making the traditional eggplant parm? Those were exactly my thoughts too, but, after a little research I found a really great grilled eggplant and tomato sandwich recipe that I tried out for myself. This recipe was so easy; I could make it a few times a week if I wanted. Pair it with a soup or a side salad to create a delicious and satisfying meal for lunch or dinner!

Locally Sourced Grilled Eggplant and Tomato Sandwiches
Serves: 2
Cooking Time: 15 min

eggplant

Ingredients
2 Medium sized Italian eggplants* sliced ¼ inch thick lengthwise
2 TBSP olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, minced
4 finely chopped fresh basil plus 4 large fresh basil leaves
4 Slices of whole grain bread**
1/2 large tomato, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
2 slices of cheese of your choice*** approximately one ounce each
*I used the striped Italian eggplant, but you can use whatever is locally available.
**Having Celiac, I used whole grain gluten free bread and it worked just the same
***I chose mozzarella!

Instructions
Prepare grill (medium-high heat).
Combine oil, garlic, and chopped basil in small bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
Brush eggplant slices, bread, and tomato slices with garlic oil.
Grill eggplant until very tender and slighty charred, turning frequently, about 5 minutes per side.
Arrange bread and tomatoes on grill during last 3 minutes of eggplant-grilling time and cook until bread is golden and tomatoes begin to soften, about 1 minute per side.
Transfer 2 bread slices to plate.
Top each remaining bread slice with eggplant, cheese, tomato slices, and whole basil leaves, dividing evenly.
Season with salt and pepper.
Cover grill until cheese just melts, about 1 minute.
Transfer sandwiches to plate. Top with second bread slices. Garnish with basil sprigs and serve.
Modified recipe found at recipelion.com

Spring Greens at snack time

kalechipsSpring has finally arrived and with it lots of fresh new greens and other delicious foods are coming into season. We’ve got one more Winter Farmers’ Market in Exeter and we are featuring Spring Greens this Saturday! It can sometimes be difficult to turn friends onto new foods, especially dark leafy greens. We’ll have lots of great ideas and recipes at the market, with a cooking demo showcasing fresh greens from the market. One of my favorite and easy snacks that can help convince even the biggest healthy food skeptic is Kale chips. They are quick and easy to make, can be seasoned to your liking and are still packed full of healthy nutrients.

Kale Chips
1 large bunch kale
few pinches sea salt
~1 tsp oil
pinch red pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prep your kale by cutting or tearing out the midstem, collecting the leaves in a large bowl. The curly leaf kale always works best for me as its structure supports the leaf while drying out in the oven. I remove the midstem because it cooks so much slower than the leaf. If you take the chips out before the leaves burn the stem will remain chewy and soften any kale chips that don’t get eaten immediately.
After the stems have been removed drizzle oil over the leaves. I used sunflower oil locally made and available at the winter market! I have a nice hand pump oil mister that lets me get a really light even coat. You don’t want the leaves dripping with oil. After a light mix with the oil you can season to your liking. I used Maine Sea Salt and Chili Powder from the market but you can try any number of combinations.
Spread out the kale on a baking sheet with parchment paper. To ensure even crispness, make sure the kale isn’t stacked on top of itself. Pop the sheet into the oven and bake between 10-15 minutes. Check around 10 minutes to move around chips and test crispness. Once crisp remove from oven, let cool and enjoy!

 

kaleseeds

If you’re like me, the kale chips quickly become a snack time staple. Why not try growing a few of your own this year? Stop by the Seacoast Eat Local table to buy seeds to plant a salad and snack garden in your backyard or just in a pot in the window!

 

Local sweeteners are more than a treat, try substituting them next time in the kitchen.

Sweetener: Why Natural is Better and Ways to Use Maple Syrup and Honey
There has been an awful lot of talk about sugar and artificial sweeteners in the
media recently, and being a health coach, I for one am really glad that it’s getting a

maple

lot of buzz.
Why? Because refined sugars and artificial sweeteners are not good for your health – both are highly addictive and cause inflammation in the body. Inflammation can lead to degenerative diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
The good news? We have two natural sweeteners that are made fresh right here in the Seacoast Region – maple syrup and honey – that are much better alternatives than refined sugar and artificial sweeteners.
When I work with clients I always tell them to go the natural route with sweeteners because they have health benefits that processed sugars just don’t have. Below I’ll share more information on both maple syrup and honey, as well as ways to use them including some tasty recipes.
Maple syrup: Contains over 50 antioxidants and many beneficial minerals such as manganese, calcium, zinc, potassium and riboflavin. Maple syrup has also been known to aide in digestion, inflammatory disease, and muscle recovery in athletes. Maple syrup can be used anywhere you would typically use processed sugar like in baked goods and sauces. Tip: Try it in your morning cup of joe. Maple syrup is very sweet and a little goes a long way, so start off with a teaspoon and add more to taste.
Recipes: Healthy Pumpkin Pie {Gluten-Free}Autumn Spiced Cookies {Vegan & Gluten-Free}
Honey: Contains antioxidants and has anti-bacterial properties. This natural sweetener has been used for years to help cure common aliments like colds, sore throats, and seasonal allergies. If you are looking to reduce your seasonal allergy symptoms, purchase raw honey – the closer it is made to your home, the better. Like maple syrup, honey can be used anywhere you would typically use processed sugar. It works well in dressings and marinades. Tip: Sweeten your tea with honey for an antioxidant boast.
Recipes: Winter Cabbage SlawGluten-Free Pancakes with a Warm Blueberry Sauce

honey

 

You can also visit the Seacoast Eat Local Pinterest page for a number of recipes using local sweeteners or other delicious farm fresh ingredients. Over the years Seacoast Eat Local has put together recipe cards using great items available at the Winter Farmers’ Market.