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Tag Archive | "Fresh Market"

Basil—The King of Herbs


DIG-Fresh-market-sweet-basil-plantFresh Market

By Vicky Babcock

 

Ah basil. Its heady aroma, its varied and intense flavors, its striking foliage.  How could one not love basil? Its popularity is world-wide, yet none more so than here, with our blend of cultures and cuisines. America’s love affair with basil most likely stems from its association with Italian cuisine, flavorful sauces and pesto. Yet basil was not always loved and it is not native to Italy.

Some sources suggest that basil derives its name from the terrifying basilisk—a creature in Greek mythology, half lizard, half dragon, whose stare could cause madness and death. Perhaps this is the source of the belief, first recorded by scribes dating pre-206 BCE that basil “exists only to drive men insane.” It is also the first known written record of basil in any context. Both the Greeks and the Romans associated basil with hatred. Western European lore claims that basil belongs to the devil and for basil to grow well, one must curse the ground it is planted in. The French idiom, “semer le basilica,” to sow the basil, is synonymous with going off on a rant. Nicholas Culpeper believed it was poisonous. He also adhered to the belief that basil could produce scorpions and that smelling too much basil could create a scorpion inside the brain. Conversely, basil is held by some to protect against scorpions and the herbalist, John Gerard, noted that those who ate of basil would feel no pain from a scorpion sting. There are as many advocates of basil as there are detractors.

Native to India, the word stems from the Greek “basileus” meaning “king.” Jewish folklore suggests that it adds strength while fasting. It is sacred to the god Vishnu in its native country and the goddess of love in Haiti. In Hindu, holy basil, or “Tulsi,” is a symbol of love, fidelity, eternal life, purification and protection.

Basil is a member of the mint family. Its essential oils show both antifungal and insect repelling properties and components of the plant have been proven to be toxic to mosquitoes. The herb is an excellent source of Vitamin K and manganese, and a good source of Vitamins A and C. It is heart healthy, being a good source of beta carotene, a powerful antioxidant that protects against free radical damage and also prevents free radicals from oxidizing cholesterol in the bloodstream. Only after it has been oxidized does cholesterol build up in blood vessel walls. Because free radical damage is a contributing factor in other conditions, such as asthma, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, basil may help to lessen the progression of these conditions as well. Studies have shown that components of the oil can act as an anti-inflammatory by inhibiting an enzyme called “cyclooxygenase.” Many common over the counter non-steroid anti-inflammatory medications, including aspirin, ibuprofen and acetaminophen work by inhibiting this same enzyme.

Basil is best consumed fresh, as drying changes the flavor. For cooked dishes, add this herb at the end of the heating process to maintain flavor and nutrition. For future use, try freezing basil in ice cube trays with water for soups and sauces. Or try our recipe for pesto below.

 

Pesto 

1 large bunch of basil, leaves only, (about 2 cups, packed) washed and dried

3 medium cloves of garlic, peeled

1/3 cup raw pine nuts

¾ cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese

A few tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil

Salt to taste

In a food processor, pulse basil, garlic and pine nuts briefly—do not over process.  Add cheese and pulse a bit more.  Blend in olive oil and add salt to taste.

Great on sandwiches or over pasta.  Refrigerate.

Makes about 1 cup.

 

Fresh Market is brought to you by Solon Market located at 15185 Algoma Avenue.  For more information call 616-696-1718. Like us on facebook for updates.

 

 

 

 

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Fresh Market: Rhubarb


By Vicky Babcock

DIG-Fresh-market-rhubarb

It is January. In an old shed near Wakefield England, a group of men move carefully among the rows of rhubarb, plucking the pink stems by candlelight.  Most of the shed is in darkness and the atmosphere is hushed.  There is an air of reverence here, as if some rude cathedral.  If one listens quietly, states the farmer, Janet Oldroyd-Hume, one can hear the rhubarb grow.  Is this some sacred rite from pagan days gone by—some obscure celebration of the solstice?  No.  It is the harvest of the forced winter crop, cast in darkness to encourage rapid growth.  Oldroyd-Hume relates the tale that led to this remarkable scene.  In 1817 or thereabouts, the legend goes, workers digging a trench in Chelsea inadvertently covered some rhubarb roots with soil. Upon removing the soil, they discovered that the rhubarb, seeking daylight, had grown long pink stems. “Luckily, it was Chelsea,” Oldroyd-Hume quips, “so they tasted them.”   Ian Jack-the Guardian, January 2008.

Welcome to the Rhubarb Triangle—a 9 square mile area between Rothwell, Morley and Wakefield famous for its forced rhubarb.

Most rhubarb, as is Michigan’s crop, is grown naturally and harvested in the early to late Spring.  The bright red stalks, native to China and dating back over 5,000 years, add a festive look to pies and jams and its tart distinctive flavor makes it an excellent choice for sugared desserts. Rhubarb was given the sobriquet, “pie plant” as it is a vegetable, but is treated as a fruit.

Before sugar’s introduction to the world, rhubarb was treated primarily as a medicinal plant—its roots are a powerful laxative that is still used today.  As sugar became more available and popular to Europeans, so too did rhubarb.   The vegetable lost favor during wartime sugar shortages—people grew tired of eating the plant with little or no sugar and so turned to other more costly fruits to round out their diets. It’s been reported that, for a brief time during WWI*, it was advised to use rhubarb greens as a food source in Briton—this was quickly rescinded as it became abundantly clear that the leaves are toxic to both humans and animals.

Ben Franklin was said to be responsible for the introduction of rhubarb to North America in 1772.  And Marco Polo wrote extensively about this medicinal herb.  In the late 1800’s, Russians brought the stalks to Alaska to treat scurvy as the plant is rich in vitamin C. Rhubarb is low in calories and high in fiber, making it a highly desirable plant for our diet as is.  However, few of us can tolerate the bitter stems without a touch of sugar.

*Note:  Although many sources state WWI, others state WWII.  I even found a reference to Americans being advised to eat the leaves as opposed to the British.  One of the sources that I would have trusted most contradicted itself within the same article.

Rhubarb Bread Pudding

3 cups bread cubes

3 cups chopped rhubarb

1 ½ cup sugar

¼ tsp. salt

3 eggs, beaten

1 stick melted butter or margarine

Combine—spoon mixture into 8×8-inch pan.  Bake at 375º 40 minutes.  This is delicious warm from the oven, but can be reheated or eaten cold.

Fresh Market is brought to you by Solon Market located at 15185 Algoma Avenue.  For more information call 616-696-1718.  Like us on facebook for updates.

 

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Fresh Market the Cranberry


AWE-Cranberries-rgb

It is commonly held that there are only three fruits native to North America—blueberries, cranberries and Concord grapes. While I am not certain of the accuracy of this statement, cranberries are indeed native to America. Native American Indians used the berry as both a food source and a wound medicine, as well as a dye.  Its name is said to come from a variation of “craneberry,” so called because the early settlers from Europe thought the flower resembled the head of a crane.  Also referred to in various parts of the world as mossberry, fenwort or fenberry, marshwort, bearberry, bounceberry (a common method of testing for quality was to bounce them) and Sassamanash.

The rich red color of the berries lends itself well to festive occasions such as Christmas and Thanksgiving. Indeed, many of us associate the fruit solely with Thanksgiving and have not enjoyed the many dishes that can be created from this versatile berry.  If your experience with cranberries has been limited to cranberry relish, it’s time to open the door to a world of culinary possibilities.  Cranberries—used to flavor meats for centuries—make a good addition to breads and desserts as well as salads and cereals.  Because of their tart flavor they are best consumed in a sugared dish or paired with another fruit such as the apple.

Cranberries are one of the Super Fruits. This nutrient rich berry carries its own natural anti-biotic and has been linked—in the form of juice—with urinary tract infections relief in women. Cranberry juice consumption can aid in the prevention of tooth decay as it helps prevent the build-up of plaque. Studies indicate that extracts may have anti-aging effects.  Cranberries are high in vitamins C and K as well as fiber.  Vitamin K promotes cardiovascular health. It, along with phosphorous in cranberries assists in bone and tooth health.

An Indian legend describes how the cranberry came to be:  Long ago, the Yakwawi’àk, or Mastodons, walked the Earth, placed here by the creator to be useful to man. The monstrous beast was fierce, powerful and invincible and a great help to the Lenape’wàk .  But the powerful creatures turned on them and waged war on all of the animals—a great battle was fought. Many lives were lost and the ground ran red with the blood spilled.  Yet the Yakwawi’àk were nearly impossible to kill! Slowly, the battlefield turned into a great quagmire and many of the hugh creatures drown. The Creator, angry with the monstrous beasts, threw lightning bolts, killing all but one bull. Badly wounded, the beast fled to the far north, where it is said, its evil spirit remains. Evidence of the great battle can be seen today. You can find the bones of the Yakwawi’àk as well as other animals in the marshes. The Lenape’wàk were saddened by the lives lost and the loss of potential food and furs. In remembrance and compassion, the Creator caused the cranberry to grow in the marshland so that it might be used as food for mankind. The deep red color of the berry was to remind us of the blood that was spilled on that terrible day.

Cranberry Cake with Butter Cream Sauce

3 T. butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 cup evaporated milk

2 cups all-purpose flour

3 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, thawed and halved

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy; beat in milk.  Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture.  Stir in cranberries.

Pour into a greased 9-in. square baking pan.  Bake at 350º for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack.

Butter Cream Sauce

½ cup butter, melted

1 cup sugar

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 tsp. vanilla extract

In a saucepan, combine melted butter, sugar and cream; bring to a boil, stirring often.  Boil for 8-10 minutes or until slightly thickened.  Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla.  Serve warm over Cranberry Cake.

Fresh Market is brought to you by Solon Market located at 15185 Algoma Avenue.  For more information call 616-696-1718.  Like us on facebook for updates.

 

 

 

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Fresh Market—the Cabbage


AWE-Cabbage

By Vicky Babcock

 

Everyone knows that babies come from the cabbage patch, right? But do you know where cabbages come from?  According to Roman mythology cabbages sprung from the tears of Lycurgus, King of the Edonians of Thrake.  Lycurgus had reason to cry cabbage tears, having angered the god Dionysos whom he had persecuted.  As punishment he was struck mad and in this sad state, slew his wife and sons.

Cabbage is one of the earliest domestic vegetables, likely dating as far back as 1000 B.C.  They are from the family Cruciferae, from the Latin for “cross”, so named because the flowers of this family are cross-shaped.  While many varieties of cabbage can be found today, the most common and familiar to us are the green and red cabbages.  The savoy cabbage, also fairly common, was developed by German gardeners during the 16th century.  Not all cabbages are equal as red and green and savoy all have slightly different nutritional values.  For a nutritional powerhouse, you can’t go wrong with cabbage!  Generally speaking, one cup of raw, shredded cabbage contains only 50 calories and a whopping 190% of the RDA of vitamin C.  It is an excellent source of vitamin K with 91% RDA in one cup, shredded.  It is also an exceptional source of manganese, vitamin B6 and folate as well as a good source of thiamin, riboflavin calcium, potassium, vitamin A, fiber, protein and magnesium.  With virtually no fat, it is a dieter’s dream!

Cabbage, in the form of sauerkraut, was used by Dutch sailors to prevent scurvy during long ocean voyages.  Captain Cook believed in the medicinal value of sauerkraut and his ship’s doctor used it for compresses for wounded sailors.  Long before this the cabbage was recognized as a valuable medicinal tool—Greeks and Romans believed that the vegetable could cure almost any illness.  Both the Egyptians and the Romans believed eating cabbage before a night of drinking would prevent them from feeling the effects of the alcohol.  While I found no support for this theory, cabbage juice has been used to treat stomach ulcers and to relieve constipation and cabbage has been linked to cancer and stroke prevention.

Love of cabbage was the undoing of the Man in the Moon, whom, it is said was banished to Earth’s satellite because he had been caught stealing a cabbage from his neighbor on Christmas Eve.  The heaviest cabbage on record was grown by Scott Robb of Palmer, Alaska and weighed 138.25 pounds.  The largest cabbage dish used 80,191 cabbage rolls and weighed 1,221 pounds.  Babe Ruth wore a cabbage leaf under his hat during games to keep cool—he would change it for a fresh leaf every 2 innings.  World Cabbage Day is on February 17th.  You can use red cabbage water to determine pH—it will turn red in acidic solutions and green in basic solutions.  In a neutral solution it will stay purple.  You can make red cabbage water by chopping up one large red cabbage and boiling it until the water turns a deep purple.  Cool and refrigerate.

 

Sautéed Cabbage

1 small head savoy or green cabbage, about 2 ½ pounds

1 thinly sliced onion (optional)

2 tablespoons butter

Salt to taste

¼ to ½ teaspoon pepper

¼ tsp. nutmeg or ginger

Directions:

Cut the cabbage thinly as for coleslaw—discard core.  In a large pan, sauté in butter until tender and slightly browned—approximately 10 to 12 minutes.  Add seasons and serve as a side.

Fresh Market is brought to you by Solon Market located at 15185 Algoma Avenue.  For more information call 616-696-1718.  Like us on facebook for updates.

 

 

 

 

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Fresh Market – The Pear


By Vicky Babcock

Ginger Glazed Chicken and Pears a la Orange

Ginger Glazed Chicken and Pears a la Orange

 

Because they are considered hypoallergenic, pears are often one of the first foods we introduce to babies.  Soft and easily digestible compared to other fruits, these are excellent choices for first time foods.  As children, we remember growing up with canned pears and Fruit Cocktail.  Given that association, many of us might label the pear as a “kid” food.

Not so. Pears—especially in its natural state—are an excellent choice for our diets at any age! Even more so than others, pears are a fruit that should be consumed with the skin intact, as the skin contains a majority of the phytonutrients (about 75-80%) and about one-half of the dietary fiber.  These phytonutrients have been shown to provide us with antioxidant as well as anti-inflammatory benefits. Consumption of pears has been associated with reduced risk of several chronic diseases, including heart disease and type 2 diabetes—often referred to as adult-onset diabetes.

In addition, the consumption of pears has been shown to aid in the prevention of cancers such as colon, stomach and esophageal cancers.

The pear is a member of the rose family, joining a large group of fruits including apples, cherries, peaches, plums, raspberries and strawberries.  It is an Old World fruit, originating in both Europe and Asia as well as some parts of Africa.  The ancient Chinese believed the pear to be the symbol of immortality.

There are over 3000 varieties of pears throughout the world.  Most pears grown in the United States are of European origin.  The Bartlett, best known of these varieties, is most often the choice for canned pears.  In Europe, it is known as the Williams.  It was renamed by a Bostonian, Enoch Bartlett when he purchased an orchard and began distributing them himself, not knowing they were already named.  Other varieties you might recognize include the Bosc, the Green Anjou, the Red Anjou and the Red Bartlett.  Red varieties are higher in nutritional value as they contain anthrcyanins, a powerful antioxidant .

Because a pear ripens from the inside out, it can be difficult to determine when it is ripe.  We recommend pressing gently at the top of the pear near its stem.  If it gives to pressure it is likely ripe for eating.

Ginger Glazed Chicken and Pears a la Orange

Ingredients:

2-3 T. butter

About 8-10 chicken tenders

Morton’s Nature’s Seasons or similar seasoned salt

2 T. soy sauce

2  T.  white vinegar

1/4  cup (or less) sugar

1  tsp. ground ginger

2 T. dry white wine

½ cup orange juice or 2 T. orange liquor

1 onion, cut thin

1 unpeeled pear, cut into 1/4-inch slices

1 cup rice, cooked in 2 cups water with 2 bullion cubes (3 cups cooked rice)

Arugula

Directions:

Season chicken with Nature’s Seasons and braise lightly in butter in large pan over medium heat on both sides. Remove from pan—do not rinse pan.  Add soy sauce, vinegar, sugar and ginger and heat until sugar melts.  Add wine and orange juice—stir.  Add onion, pear slices and chicken; cover and simmer over medium low heat until chicken is cooked through and onion is tender—about 12 minutes.  Serve over rice.  Add a couple leaves of Arugula to the side of the plate. (Although this was originally intended for garnish, it adds a nutty flavor that truly enhances this dish!)  Serves 4-6.

Fresh Market is brought to you by Solon Market located at 15185 Algoma Avenue.  For more information call 616-696-1718.  Like us on facebook for updates.

 

 

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Fresh Market—the Pumpkin


 

By Vicky Babcock

 

Nothing says Fall quite so well as the pumpkin! Its bold color and robust texture are characteristic of the season. It is a fall favorite in the U.S., selling over 1 billion pounds annually in its relatively short season. Over 90 percent of our nation’s processed pumpkin comes from the State of Illinois, with a majority (85 percent) being processed for sale with the Libby’s ® label.  Most Americans today have never made a pumpkin pie that has not come out of a can.

Pumpkin popularity grew enormously in the U.S with the advent of the Jack o’ Lantern, a tradition brought over by Irish immigrants, who used carved turnips in their home country as lanterns to chase away evil spirits.  According to legend, Jack tricked the Devil into agreeing to never claim his soul. When Jack died, the Devil gave him a lit coal to light his way in the afterlife. Jack placed the coal in a turnip and became known as “Jack o’ the Lantern.”

Pumpkins, as other squashes, are native to America and Native Americans grew and harvested them for centuries. It was one of a group of crops known as the “three sisters” and was grown in conjunction with corn and beans. The corn stalk provided a pole for the beans to grow, while the pumpkin covered the ground, providing cover to deter weeds and to keep the soil moist. The Iroquois legend of the three sisters speaks of a Sky woman who fell to Earth, becoming the first woman on Earth. Being with child, she gave birth to a daughter who in turn, gave birth to twins by the West Wind. The woman died in childbirth and the children buried her; from the ground where she lay, sprouted corn, beans and pumpkins, which served as the main food staples of the Iroquois.

While pumpkins are most popular here as a carving base these days, the fruit is loaded with nutritional value. Pumpkins are high in vitamin A and beta carotene; the seeds are high in protein and rich in a highly nutritious, flavorful oil. The flowers and the leaves are edible and considered a delicacy in some countries.

Some little known facts:  pumpkins are used as a feed for livestock; the raw fruit can be used as a supplement to chickens during the winter to aid in egg production; the biggest pumpkin on record weighed in at a whopping 2009 pounds; Columbus brought the first pumpkins back to Europe from the New World; the largest pumpkin pie ever made was over five feet in diameter and weighed over 350 pounds; canned pumpkin (not pie filling) has been recommended by veterinarians as a supplement for dogs and cats experiencing ailments such as constipation, diarrhea or hairballs.

Still not convinced that you should buy a pumpkin? Consider pumpkin chucking. A competitive sport in which teams build devices to throw a pumpkin as far as possible.

Crustless Pumpkin Pie

1 32oz can of pumpkin

1 12oz can of evaporated milk

4 eggs

3 teaspoons pumpkin pie mix

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 cups sugar

1 box yellow cake mix

1 stick butter

Pecans to scatter on top as desired.

 

Mix pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, pumpkin pie mix, salt and sugar in bowl.  Pour in 13”x9” cake pan. Cover with 1 box of Yellow Cake mix.  Scatter pecans on top.  Melt butter and drizzle over the top. Bake at 400 for about 40 minutes.

Fresh Market is brought to you by Solon Market located at 15185 Algoma Avenue.  For more information call 616-696-1718.  Like us on facebook for updates.

Note:  Solon Market will be closed October 5 for Red Flannel Festival. We will be open again the following week.

 

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Fresh Market – Garlic, the “Stinking Rose”


_AWE-Fresh-Market-GarlicBy Vicky Babcock

 

Thanks to Bram Stoker’s Dracula, everyone is aware of the power of garlic to ward off vampires, evil spirits and the like. It is rich in folklore, dating back—by some reports—over 7,000 years. Garlic has been found in the tombs of Ancient Egyptian Kings and was given to their slaves as part of their diet to ward off illness and increase strength and endurance. Greek soldiers and athletes used garlic for these same properties and Roman soldiers consumed garlic before battle for courage. The Egyptians swore on garlic, invoking the Ancient deities, much as we use the Bible in courtrooms today.

Garlic was placed on piles of stones at cross-roads by the ancient Greeks as a protection from demons as it caused them to become confused and lose their way. This also served as a meal for Hecate, the goddess of the wilderness. Europeans believed garlic had the power to ward off the evil eye and Central Europeans considered it a deterrent against devils, vampires, werewolves and the like. Dreaming of garlic in the house is considered lucky and to dream of eating garlic means you will discover hidden secrets.

Garlic originated in Central Asia. It derives its name from the Old English garleac—spear leek. The Greeks had another name for it—scorodon—the “stinking rose.” Indeed, its pungent odor—the bulb gained the sobriquet halitosis during the 1920’s—appears to be a critical part in its role as a natural insecticide. And pungent bulbs (garlic included) have been used for centuries to aid in the prevention and fighting of the common cold. The Cherokee used it as an expectorant for coughs and for croup. Modern science supports its role as a preventative, although experts caution that it has not been proven to fight pre-existing colds.

Garlic is a heart healthy food. Components of it aid in lowing blood pressure, as well as helping to prevent blood clots. Because of these factors alone, be sure to check with your doctor if you are on any medications before using garlic in quantity. Components of garlic also aid to reduce oxidative damage to blood vessel linings, a key factor in increasing risk for cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and atherosclerosis, commonly, hardening of the arteries. Garlic is very high in vitamin B6 and high in vitamin C. It is also a rich source of Manganese, which helps your body maintain strong bones, nerves and blood sugar levels. It also helps to promote optimal function of the thyroid and protects your cells from free-radical damage.

Garlic is an important ingredient in most spaghetti sauces, goulash and many tomato-based foods.  It is highly prized in Italian and Oriental cuisines and blends its unique flavor well with chicken, shrimp and lemon. To make the most of its nutritional value, chop garlic and let rest for a bit before using; toss into the recipe towards the end of the cooking process.

And about vampires?  It turns out garlic really does keep the bloodsuckers away—blood sucking mosquitoes, that is.

 

Easy Scampi

¾ cup butter

¼ cup chopped onion

3 to 4 garlic cloves, chopped

1 pound uncooked med. shrimp, deveined

¼ cup dry white wine

2 T. fresh lemon juice

Salt and ground pepper

 

Melt butter in medium skillet over low heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté until golden.  Add shrimp and stir just until pink. Remove shrimp and place in ovenproof dish. Cover lightly and keep warm. Add wine and lemon juice to skillet and simmer about 2 to 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and pour over shrimp.  Serve with rice or noodles.

 

Fresh Market is brought to you by Solon Market located at 15185 Algoma Avenue.  For more information call 616-696-1718.  Like us on facebook for updates.

 

 

 

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Fresh Market: The Butternut


AWE-Fresh-market-butternutsquashMeet the Butternut, a winter squash similar in flavor and texture to the pumpkin, but without the thick skin. Butternuts are harvested late in the season, usually October. However, as with much of the produce this year, they appear to be ripening earlier. You have probably seen a few coming into Market already.

Diligent research has given me little history on this tasty squash. One source (the Stow Independent) credits Charles Leggett with its development in the mid-1940s. It most certainly has its roots in the Americas, although it is relatively new to the table, arriving (according to some sources) in the 19th century.

It is considered a pumpkin in Australia and New Zealand, where the two are used interchangeably.

With all due respect to its summer cousins, winter squashes are a powerhouse of nutrients, far eclipsing that of the zucchini or summer squash.

The butternut is an excellent source of Vitamins A and C, providing a whopping 457 percent and 51 percent RDA respectively, in one cup, cubed. Vitamin A has been identified as a deterrent against breast cancer as well as age related macular degeneration. It is heart healthy, protecting against heart disease. Low in fat, yet high in dietary fiber, the butternut is an excellent choice for your diet. It provides significant amounts of potassium and vitamin B6 as well, important to bone health and the function of the nervous and immune system respectively.

Butternut is a versatile squash, lending itself well to soups, casseroles and dessert dishes. It can be baked or microwaved whole for an easy fix. Remove the peel and seeds while still warm, then puree for a buttery flavored soup or a base for pumpkin pie.

 

Holiday “Pumpkin” Pie

1 ½ c. cooked and pureed butternut squash

½ c. sugar

½ tsp. salt

1 ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. ground ginger

½ tsp. ground nutmeg

½ tsp ground cloves

2 large eggs, slightly beaten

* 1 ¼ c. Holiday Nog

1 tsp. orange liquor or brandy

1 9-inch unbaked pastry shell

Whipped cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 400◦ F. In large bowl, combine squash, sugar, salt and spices.  Blend in eggs, nog and liquor. Pour into pastry shell. Bake 50 minutes or until knife inserted halfway between edge and center comes out clean. Cool. Refrigerate. Serve plain  or with whipped cream.

*Substitute Holiday Nog with milk if desired—add ¼ c. sugar

Fresh Market is brought to you by Solon Market located at 15185 Algoma Avenue. For more information call 616-696-1718.  Like us on facebook for updates.

 

 

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Fresh Market—the Potato


BLOOM-potatoesThe Muscogee (Creek) consider the potato as a gift from the Creator, given to provide sustenance and to define the new breed of mixed bloods born after the advent of the “others” (white men). The clan of the Muscogee is passed through the mother’s family but, because the “others” belonged to no Muscogee clan, the children born of these mixed marriages had no clan. After much prayer and hardship, the Creator was induced to provide the potato, a food that though underground, could see in every direction—the eyes, when planted, would provide them with food forever—and the White Potato Clan came into being.

Yet potatoes, which originated in the Andean mountain region of South America, are believed by experts to have been cultivated by the Indians for 4000 to 7000 years. This durable vegetable was able to be grown at high altitudes and became a staple of these peoples. They were brought to Europe by Spanish explorers in the early 16th century and used on Spanish ships to prevent scurvy. European governments promoted this nutritious inexpensive foodstuff but much of the public was suspicious of a product that was not mentioned in the Bible and considered it poisonous because it was a member of the Nightshade family. Indeed its poor reputation in Europe led to the belief by many that eating them would cause leprosy.

There is little doubt that this lowly crop had a big role in demographics and population of the United States as well as other countries. During the early 1800s Irish farmers depended almost exclusively on the potato as it was inexpensive to produce and the economy was poor. But this strategy failed when a potato blight (1845-1846) wiped out most of the crop—the Irish Potato Famine was responsible for nearly three quarters of a million deaths and hundreds of thousands fled their country in search of sustenance. Many (including my ancestors) landed in the United States.

The potato, in its natural state, has many healthy qualities. It is a good source of vitamin C, copper, potassium, manganese and dietary fiber. The potato is an important source of B6 vitamins, containing over 20% of our daily value in one cup of baked potato. Vitamin B6 is essential to the production of new cells as well as aiding in neurological activity, our body’s messaging system—specifically cell to cell. Some of these neurotransmitters are; serotonin–lack of serotonin is linked to depression, melatonin, which is needed for a good night’s sleep, epinephrine and norepinephrine—hormones that help us respond to stress, and GABA which is needed for normal brain function. It is best to leave the skin on, as much of its nutritional value is concentrated just under the skin.

Considered by many to be a comfort food, potatoes now enjoy the distinction of being one of the most widely used natural food products throughout the world and Americans love their potatoes! Unfortunately, we tend to negate the food value by adding unhealthy choices or cooking in oils.

Some healthy choices for serving potatoes include baked (without all the cheese, butter and sour cream—try vinegar), lightly fried with a touch of olive oil and steamed or boiled in clear soups. For heart health, keep the salt down to a minimum or use light salt, a more healthy alternative.

The potato is a member of the nightshade family and as such, all green parts of the plant are inedible, including the green parts of the tuber itself. Potatoes should be stored away from sunlight, to prevent the development of toxic compounds such as solanine and chaconine. This toxin affects the nervous system, causing weakness and confusion. These compounds protect the plant from predators and are mostly concentrated in the leaves, stems and fruits.

Potato skins, along with honey have been used as a remedy for burns in India. Burn centers there have experimented with the use of thin outer layers of the skin to protect the burns while healing.

Baked Potato Wedges 

4 baking potatoes, scrubbed and unpeeled

4 T. olive oil

½ to 1 tsp light salt

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp. fresh  chopped rosemary

¼ tsp. pepper (optional)

Cut baking potatoes into wedges (about 6 per potato)  Place in a covered bowl or zippered bag.  Add remaining ingredients and toss to coat.  Bake on cookie sheet in pre-heated 400◦ oven for about 30 minutes, turning half-way through.   Lightly sprinkle with salt if desired.

 

Fresh Market is brought to you by Solon Market located at 15185 Algoma Avenue.  For more information call 616-696-1718.  Like us on facebook for updates.

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Fresh Market—Broccoli


BLOOM-broccoli‘’I do not like broccoli, and I haven’t liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it.  And I’m President of the United States, and I’m not going to eat any more broccoli!’’ George Bush Sr., defending his edict to ban broccoli from the White House and Air Force One.

Within a week, broccoli growers in California, outraged by the comment, shipped ten tons of the vegetable to Washington D.C. where it was donated to local homeless shelters  to feed the hungry.

Bush may have done broccoli a favor in the long run as the ensuing firestorm brought broccoli into the public eye as never before! This manmade member of the cabbage family has had a love-hate relationship with humankind since its conception as early as the first century BCE.  The Romans were enamored with the crop and served it with herbs and wine as well as in cream sauces. Drusius, the son of Roman Emperor Tiberius, loved broccoli so much that he gorged on it (excluding all other foods) for an entire month.  It was only after his father chided him for “living precariously,” that he was induced to give it up.  It was during the Roman Empire that broccoli became a staple of their warriors who believed that it enabled them to gain strength for battles.

Despite its early success, its introduction into England and France in the early 18th century did not fare well.  And although broccoli received its debut in the United States over 200 years ago, it did not obtain favor with the general public until the D’Arrigo brothers, Stephano and Andrea, immigrants from Italy, established The D’Arrigo Brothers Company and created “the brand name Andy Boy, named after Stephano’s two-year-old son, Andrew. They advertised by sponsoring a radio program and featured ads for broccoli on the station. By the 1930s the country was having a love affair with broccoli. People were convinced that broccoli was a newly developed plant”(Wikipedia).

Broccoli is another powerhouse vegetable, rich in vitamin A and beta carotene, a powerful antioxidant which has been found to help protect against cancer and aging.  Because beta-carotene is a fat-soluble vitamin, pairing foods rich in it with fats such as nuts or olive oil can help the body absorb it more readily. A cup of cooked broccoli provides as much calcium as 4 oz. of milk and as much Vitamin C as an orange while weighing in at only 44 calories. Eaten raw, one cup chopped comes in at only 24 calories! Looking to boost your potassium? Need iron? Adding fiber to your diet? All are reasons to put broccoli on the table.

 

Ham and Broccoli Roll-ups

1 Bunch fresh broccoli or 1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen broccoli spears, cooked and drained

5 thin slices cooked Ham

½ cup Mayonnaise

3 T. Flour

½ tsp. Salt

1/8 tsp. Pepper

1 ½ cups Milk

1/3 cup grated Parmesan or Cheddar Cheese

Fine dry Bread Crumbs

Wrap ham around broccoli spears.  Place rolls in shallow casserole.  In small saucepan, stir together mayonnaise, flour, salt and pepper.  Gradually stir in milk.  Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until thickened.  Add cheese, stirring until blended.  Pour sauce over rolls.  Sprinkle with bread crumbs.  Broil 4 or 5 inches from source of heat 2 minutes or until bubbly.  Serves  5.

Fresh Market is brought to you by Solon Market located at 15185 Algoma Avenue.  For more information call 616-696-1718.  Like us on facebook for updates.

 

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