Cooking in Season and Staying Within Reason

Seasonal Produce

I am finally feeling a bit more focused which always helps me to keep my nutrition a priority.  I know that vegetables and fruits — the greener the better, the darker the berry, etc., — will be my path to improved nutrition but this time a better fruit and vegetable plate is in demand.  I will look for only organically grown and locally farmed fruits and vegetables.  And to help me I found some wonderful links that beautifully and graphically chart what fruits and vegetables are available during what time of year making them the freshest, easiest to find, least expensive and oh so flavorful!

The 4 seasons:  Martha Stewart’s Seasonal Produce and Recipe Guide

Fruit & Vegetable, A-Z seasonal listing.

A-Z grid chart of what’s in season when (click here)

A-Z harvested or from storage (the produce you eat off-season is most often frozen for freshness)  (click here)

And for your smart phone, some apps which keep you abreast of what’s available when are reviewed here.

Seasonal Produce

Purchasing and cooking with seasonal produce has the following benefits:

  1. More flavorful dishes
  2. Less money spent on when they are easier to find
  3. Freshness since they are locally grown, they are on your plate soon after harvesting
  4. They keep fresh in your refrigerator longer (just in case you haven’t located a good recipe to use them in)
  5. Less time spent on traveling from farm to store

A colleague recently gave me a sampling of veggies that she and her husband grow in their backyard right here in Queens New York!  The tomatoes and basil were so flavorful and fresh, I still have basil left from the package she gave me two weeks ago!

Perhaps that’s the way to go – buy land to grow your own produce, pick it fresh right before cooking – save time, money and help to improve the environment as well as your own health!

New York City has everything anyone could ever want for…

Soon to come, my very own fig cookie bars!  Figs are blossoming and getting ready for cooking, so stay tuned.

 

Figs


Contents: Coconut, Carrot, Curry

Curried Carrot Coconut Soup

Curried Carrot Coconut Soup

 I have to admit although I am a veggie lover, I have never been a fan of carrots; not cooked carrots any way. The taste variations are amazing depending on how they’re cooked (or not cooked).

Carrots are always around too, yet they seem to sink into oblivion when I’m in the produce section. Orange or coral, is one of my favorite colors so I wonder how I’ve avoided carrots till now.

While perusing the web for new and tantalizing ideas in food, I zeroed in on a carrot soup presented by a fellow food blogger. The ingredients of the soup contained many that I have used and love and the chef pureed the soup which “cream-ifies” the carrots therefore making it much more amenable to my liking.

I continued searching around and discovered that carrot soup is an easy dish to make and can be made using any number of different spices and herbs. The idea of curry and coconut came to me as my mind wandered east to the flavors of Thailand where both curry and coconut are staple ingredients in their dishes.

Just an aside: I haven’t had good Thai food in quite a while and I rarely, if ever, attempt to replicate it or most other Asian dishes for that matter; sometimes you just have to eat out.

I’ve made many pureed soups before using sweet potatoes, squash, pumpkin, leeks, the usual suspects, so I am not a novice. I went with my instincts and used some of my favorite ingredients for this tasty soup that I am very proud to say, is quite delicious and of course, full of flavor!

Curried Carrot Coconut Soup

Some extra soup to savor…

Curried Carrot Coconut Soup

…or share?

Curried Carrot Coconut Soup

 Yes, soup in the summer!  These carrots are fruity and refreshing, even in the warm weather.

Here’s the easy recipe.

Curried Carrot Coconut Soup

Ingredients:

3 C organic carrots, peeled and cut
1 large onion, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
¼ t red pepper flakes
2 t curry powder
¼ t salt
1 t minced ginger
5 C vegetable or chicken stock
6 oz. coconut milk
1 T brown sugar

Process: 

Sauté the following: onion, carrots, ginger, garlic; add the stock, pepper flakes, curry powder, and salt and cook until the carrots have softened (about 25 minutes); add the coconut milk and sugar; cook for another 10 minutes and allow to cool. Puree the mixture until smooth, reheat and serve.

Suggestion: Adding a squeeze of lime offers another layer of flavor.


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