July To-Do’s

June 21, 2010

I love looking at recipes. I look at hundreds of recipes and pictures of food daily and I’m always adding to my laundry list of new things to cook, but sometimes I feel that if I don’t write them down I won’t get to them. So below are a few food “to-do’s” for July.

1. Make homemade ice cream with new peanut butter that I found in Madison – Go nuts! Yumbutters

2. Try at least one new recipe a week with the majority of the ingredients from the recipe being in season and locally found.

3. Start eating more salads. I’m not a big fan of salads, so start being more creative on how to spice up the traditional salad that everyone thinks about.

4. Use more fresh cilantro. Use more fresh herbs in general.

5. Go to a farm at least once a month until harvest season is over. Go strawberry picking in July. Raspberry picking in August… Visit some dairy farms and cheese producers.

6. Eat less meat. Eat less bread. Eat more veggies. I need to keep reminding myself this. I guess this can go along with numero in this list.

7. Finish at least four of the books in my summer reading list. I like reading, but I don’t often get that much time to sit down and do it. Make the time!

Eggs, Tomato Sauce & Tortilla

June 17, 2010

I’m always looking for easy, healthy meals to try. I’m constantly on the go – running around between work, soccer, errands, home to see my family and spending quality time with good friends – unfortunately I tend to eat a lot of pasta because it is quick and easy. Don’t get me wrong. I love, love, love pasta. However, I tend to love homemade pasta, in a slow-cooked, homemade sauce, and this takes time too! Not to mention the constant carbs that I should just try to avoid every once in awhile. So today while I was browsing my new favorite recipe site, Saveur Magazine, I came across an interesting recipe for Eggs Poached in Tomato Sauce. The recipe description? This classic Israeli breakfast, a dish of Libyan origin, can be served as a main course for any meal of the day. Sounds good to me. Of course, I didn’t really follow the recipe at all. I rarely ever follow recipes. I don’t have anything against recipes. They are wonderful and I know the food world would be lost without them! But I tend to look at a picture, maybe skim the ingredient list, and go! So that’s what I did tonight. After a long night of soccer -a mosquitos, a big bruise on my knee and a winning game (yes!) – I came home and made my own “Eggs, Tomato Sauce & Tortilla” recipe. This recipe was so easy and absolutely delicious. I’d vary the spice levels based on who you are cooking for, it was a bit spicy for me, but I still loved it and will make this again and again. It only took 15 minutes to make!

Eggs, Tomato Sauce & Tortilla

1 1/2 cups tomato pasta sauce (can make homemade if desired)

1/4 cup water

1 tsp curry powder

1/2 tsp ground (or fresh) ginger

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1 garlic clove, chopped

a pinch of red pepper flakes

a pinch of sea salt

1 whole wheat tortilla

2 slices butter

2 eggs

cilantro, to taste

Heat a single-portion sized sauce pan on the stove-top, on medium. Pour in tomato sauce and water. Mix until the tomato sauce thins out. Add all spices. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn heat down to low, so the sauce won’t overcook while your breaking the eggs. Break both eggs directly over sauce in pan – on opposite sides of the pan from each other. Bring the burner back up to medium. Cover pan with lid. While this is cooking, toast one whole wheat tortilla. I like to toast tortillas directly over the gas burners. Just put a burner on medium and place the tortilla on the burner until it begins to crisp up. Flip once and let the other side crisp up. Place tortilla on a place and spread with butter and salt, to taste. By now, the tomato sauce and eggs should be done. Turn the burner off and let the sauce cool. While the dish is cooling down, chop up cilantro. Add cilantro to top of egg dish and serve in pan. Walla!

Eggs, Toast & Brats

June 16, 2010

Last week I went home for the weekend to celebrate my birthday with the family. Home is in Milwaukee. Actually the suburbs of Milwaukee. New Berlin. I always enjoy going home to spend time with my younger brother and sister and parents. I also enjoy going home to cook. My parents have a great kitchen, bigger than mine, and its wonderful to be able to cook with everything I need right at my fingertips. Saturday morning I was getting ready to make pulled pork and pulled chicken tacos for my birthday party that night, but in the meantime, I was hungry and needed breakfast. It is hard to stick with my farmers’ market and local grocery requirements when home, but I do my best, and overall the goal is still to have healthy food, good, wholesome food. I’d say mission accomplished, and in a fast and delicious meal. I love eggs. Those are always a go-to for me. We had eaten fresh brats from the butcher the night before so we had chicken, feta, spinach brats, beer brats and Wisconsin Cheese brats on hand. This recipe is easy and delicious. You can definitely switch up the ingredients based on what you have available.

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Spinach, Feta & Beet Salad

June 15, 2010

From March until May we hosted a “Biggest Loser” challenge at work. I was the winner out of the females! The secret… cut out alcohol. I lost 10 pounds in two weeks simply by not drinking. Isn’t it amazing what a few extra microbrews or glasses of wines adds on?

Because I was one of the winners I won a gift certificate for the Dane County Farmers’ Market. PERFECT! Read the rest of this entry »

The United States of Arugula, Er Asparagus?

June 10, 2010

In one of my previous posts I had mentioned my summer reading list. I’m really excited about this list and can’t wait to have endless Sunday’s soaking up the sun at the pool and checking these books off my list. The first book I started is titled, United States of Arugula.

Love it. So far.

The book is about the history of food in the United States and that there are so many different cultures that have affected the way that people eat which is why we should embrace the diversity of food in the United States and not look down upon it.

Instantly, I was torn. Between the sustainable ideas of eating locally and the contemporary, idealist ideas of eating foods from so many different cultures because we can!

Thus, I have a confession to make. I’ve been slacking on my Madison Market Challenge. Furthermore, I’m changing the challenge. For the rest of the challenge, until Labor Day, I will still be abiding by the rules previously applied, for my grocery purchases. However, because of my lifestyle, love of good food and new-found ideas in this book, I am stepping away from a concrete challenge and simply challenging myself to a new lifestyle.

And here is where I will, continue to, tell you about it.

So yes, you will see many market finds. But you make also see a few new food finds that I have had the pleasure of experiencing. Overall, the main challenge rules still apply:

“Anything I make during the summer 2010 will come from local farmers in Madison. My end goal? Turn this into a lifestyle, rather than a challenge.”

This past Tuesday was my birthday and because I’ve been so busy between work and activities with friend’s I haven’t had much time to cook or write. This will change. It must! In the meantime, here are a few more photos of what I’ve been eating.

Previous asparagus pictured was purchased from the farmers’ market.

Strawberries at the Wednesday market.

Zucchini, bread and eggs all from the farmers’ market.

Salmon from Lake Michigan.

Last minute homemade pizza on my birthday Tuesday. This is what this challenge has already taught me – you have to plan your meals out so much more when you only have the market at your disposal twice a week. I wish we had more daily markets as Europe does. All pizza ingredients – Feta (President – Wisconsin brand), roasted tomatoes and multigrain crust from Sentry Metcalfe’s. Wine from Botham Vineyards, in Wisconsin – Vin X, my favorite. Za was then topped with arugula.

Rubber Meets the Road

June 3, 2010

June 1 marked the start of my farmers’ market challenge. Just my luck, I was in Chicago for work all day, thus I did not end up eating local affair.

So yesterday was really my “start.” Wish me luck, until Labor Day all of my groceries will be purchased from local producers.

One day in and I feel great. Definitely a lot healther than the plethora of backyard barbecue food I devoured over Memorial Day weekend. Read the rest of this entry »

Saturday Market Grocery List

May 28, 2010

Here’s a list of what I plan on getting at the market tomorrow:

  • Fresh lettuce or spicy greens
  • Stella’s Hot and Spicy Cheese bread
  • Sandwich bread
  • Chicken
  • Eggs
  • Wisconsin Cheese
  • Some sort of oil to make salad dressing
  • Cucumbers
  • Asparagus
  • Morel mushrooms

Anything else in season in Wisconsin that I’m forgetting? Also, if anyone has any great recipe suggestions for these ingredients, please let me know!

Until tomorrow. Cheers!

Everything But the Kitchen Sink

May 27, 2010

I’ve spent this week concentrating on two things when it comes to cooking and eat:

1. Eating out at all my favorite places in Madison. I know. I know. This isn’t about indulging and then “suffering” because it won’t be suffering at all! It’s about a lifestyle change. But Madison has more restaurants per capita than any other city (or so that’s always been the rumor) and there are so many great places to enjoy here. I had sushi this week, ate at my favorite Mexican place, enjoyed locally produced ice cream, a BLT and fries (pictured above) and had Wisconsin (see, see) deep fried cheese curds from a great restaurant that serves a lot of local food, The Old Fashioned. Yum.

2. Cleaning up my pantry and fridge. I tried oh-so-hard to not go grocery shopping and finish using up any leftover ingredients that I had around. One can imagine, that by the end of the week there wasn’t much to work with in my kitchen. I think all that is left in the pantry, as I write this, is a bag of brown rice, wheat bran and Thai rice paper. The fridge: cranberry juice and spicy spring greens (from the farmers’ market last week).

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Wednesday Market 101

May 27, 2010

The Dane County Farmers’ Market runs twice a week – Saturdays and Wednesdays – aren’t we lucky here in Madison? I often get the opportunity to venture to the Wednesday market during my lunch break, and let me tell you, it is a pure delight to be able to attend a farmers’ market during the middle of the week. If only I had the option to attend it daily!

Even though there aren’t as many farmers to choose from, there is still an array of options at the Wednesday market, and in May!

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My Summer Reading List

May 26, 2010

As I plan on making a lot of lifestyle changes this summer, I’d like to read more. While I learn about the Dane County Farmers’ Market and all the food Wisconsin has to offer, I’m interested in gaining a broader knowledge about food and the culture that surrounds it.

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