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Monday, July 21, 2008

Eating Good in the Neighborhood

Like many folks, I am growing increasingly concerned with where my food comes from. But Long Beach is, unfortunately, a tad deficient in the natural and whole food type markets. We do have a Wild Oats store, but the prices are prohibitive, so I only go there for specialty items.



We do, however, have several Farmer's Markets throughout the week. I have been trying to go to them more often, and to also buy from the pitiful organic produce section that is offered at the local grocery stores. Last week after running out of tomatoes for the recipes you will see in just a sec, I bought two golf ball sized, orange, hard-as-a-rock tomatoes for an ungodly sum from the organic section of the grocery store. We do live in one of the most produce rich areas of the country, don't we? I get the sneaky suspicion a lot of California's produce is shipped elsewhere, and we are somehow left with inferior imports in the grocery stores.

Anyway, back to the Farmer's Market. I went a little overboard last week, and bought more than I could reasonably use. In order to cut down on potential waste, I tried a few new recipes*



Peach crisp



Zucchini bread



Pesto



Gazpacho and bread made in the least utilized appliance in the house



Steak with cilantro chutney, summer squash, and fingerling potatoes



jalapeno poppers



and I made some banana nut bread using leftover organic bananas, as for some reason they are sold in bound bunches of 6 versus being loose and allowing you to choose how many you want. Barbara would be disappointed in me, I'm sure...

Of course there is the big scare lately about at least three of the main ingredients (tomatoes, cilantro, and jalapenos) used in these recipes. It was comforting to know my items were not of concern, being grown here and not in Mexico. I will feel even better once we move into our new pad and I can start a garden. Nothing beats home grown!

* Recipe source unless otherwise stated in a newer issue of Betty Crocker. I'm old school, I guess. I always love how the the recipes turn out, and only find it necessary to double up on the seasonings. Everything else is right on. I was struck this week at how this basic cookbook has evolved with time. For example, in my book are only three recipes for liver (two chicken and one beef) in the book, and about 20 recipes for jalapenos. I suspect circa 1950, this ratio was reversed.

13 comments:

Nancy McCarroll - Arts, Crafts and Favorites said...

It all looks yummy; was the pesto recipe in the old book also? I'm on a hunt for a pesto recipe since we just had a farmers' market visit and one litte half baggie full was $1; not a bad price, but I need to use it up NOW! I'm off to search...

eviedee said...

Holy crap! Can I come over for dinner please? Everything looks delicious!

Sarabeth said...

wrDon't apologize re Betty; I'm right with you, especially for baking recipes. I started cooking at about 10 with this book
http://cgi.ebay.com/SPIRAL-BETTY-CROCKER-S-NEW-BOYS-AND-GIRLS-COOK-BOOK_W0QQitemZ260204797953QQihZ016QQcategoryZ29223QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
which I also still have (and use). Your dishes look great. And congratulations on your family news! Hope you are feeling well.

leslie said...

hey!! swing by my house asap, i have bushels of tomatoes and need to get rid of them (i also have a couple "things" for you) i have a ton of peppers too, i need to make those pepper popper thingys, sound great! those dishes all looked amazing and i hope your zucchini bread came out good (it looks good!) i made some in my 50 year old stove and it came out pretty dry (it also didnt help that i tried to make a "healthy" version, bleck!, the zucchini chocolate cake though came out great. come by or call soon so i can swing by with the goods.

Leslie said...

that all looks so delicious...i really enjoy a great farmer's market. those peaches look great!!

Junie Moon said...

Farmers' markets are a wonderful resource. I visited some in different cities I toured on vacation and was amazed at the bounty to be found.

Pecos Blue said...

Wow that looks great. Did you do all that in one day? Great use of stuff.

Jenn Maruska said...

Wow - looks like you've been super busy in the kitchen! And it all looks healthy and tasty, too! : )

Shelly G & Hope P said...

It all looks so yummy...It made me hungry just looking at it....

Sarah Doyle said...

All the food looks SOOOOO GOOD! You're right about "can't beat homegrown!" We have a small garden - tomatoes, okra, squash and cucumbers this year. Would love to have an even bigger garden, but don't know if we'd have time for it. You stuff looks GREAT!

Sarah Doyle
http://SewingBusiness.com
http://SarahJDoyle.com

Gina said...

That looks so good!!

Nancy McCarroll - Arts, Crafts and Favorites said...

YUM!!!! Love that fresh stuff and your pictures!

kidlet said...

I was perfectly satisfied with my simple dinner until I saw that photo of the peach crisp. Now I'm going to have to go out to eat.

You owe me money.