Persimmons & Pomegranate – Oh My!

You probably remember that when I challenged you to “eat something scary” that  I had persimmons ripening on my counter and was a little scared of them.    I’m a bit behind in reporting back and got a gentle nudge (thanks Michelle) to give you my thoughts.

Let me tell you – there is NOTHING about these little beauties to be afraid of!

My friend, Jeannie, told me just to let them ripen to a bright orange, then peel and eat.  That’s exactly what I did.

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These are beautiful, sweet fruit and not at all what I expected.    I guess because it sort of looked like a tomato, I expected the internal structure to be more like one too.   Nope!    The texture is more like  a plum (but no pit).   And my oh, my are they juicy!

The next day I was visiting my favorite grocery store, Central Market, and what caught my eye?  The latest issue of Edible Seattle with a persimmon on the cover!

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I try desperately not to buy magazines any more because I rarely get them read, and I have a small (ok – huge) issue when it comes to send food magazines to the recycling bin.    There might be a recipe I need…..

This article brought me up to speed on the persimmon.   The fruit’s tree  is native to Japan, but has become popular in the pacific northwest.     Hmm, I could grown one in my backyard (I can hear my hubby groaning).   They are several  varieties – Fuyu (what I had) and Hachiya  being the most popular in the US.    Most are seedless but not all.

Fun note:   Although not there yet, it seems most back issues of edible Seattle  are available online.
www.edibleseattle.com

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When I got both persimmons and pomegranate in last week’s farm box, I had a feeling it might be a yummy combo.   Don’t you just love it when you’re right?  I do, and I certainly was this time.   The tangy bitterness of the pomegranate plays wonderfully off the sweetness of the persimmon.

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And can you say GEORGEOUS?  I love food as pretty as it is tasty.   This goes on my must have list.
No more fear of persimmons!

© Alicia Myers Leifheit and FoodisaJourney.com, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Alicia Myers Leifheit and FoodisaJourney.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower

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It’s hard not to like this simple dish.    It’s even won over a few cauliflower “haters” I know.   It works just as well for a weeknight dinner as it will Thanksgiving and is easy to double or triple the recipe.   I can’t tell you how well it reheats, there’s never been any left to find out.

Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower

1 head cauliflower – chopped into 1 to 1.5 inch florets
Olive Oil (for coating – 1 or 2 tbsps)
Garlic Powder
Sea Salt
Fresh Ground Black Pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.   In a 8×8 glass Pyrex dish toss the cauliflower and the olive oil.   Sprinkle with garlic powder, salt and pepper.    Roast for 20 – 30 minutes or until tender and starting to brown.    Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and roast for an additional 7-10 minutes until cheese is melted but not crunchy.   Serve warm.

© Alicia Myers Leifheit and FoodisaJourney.com, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Alicia Myers Leifheit and FoodisaJourney.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Let’s Veg Out on Thanksgiving

Oh, if only I wasn’t talking about food…  but alas, I am.

Earlier this week I talked about changing up your Thanksgiving menu.  Here are some of the yummy things I’ve been testing for my contribution of side dishes.

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This is the Wild Rice, Fruit & Pecan Stuffing that I had mentioned.   It’s not my recipe – I stumbled across it and OMG and I glad I did!   This stuff is WONDERFUL!    Crunchy, sweet,  nutty…. it’s a downright party in your mouth.    It’s SO good no one will even care that it’s healthy!

A couple of notes:
1.   This has the recipe wonderful benefit of never having to see the oven and can be partially prepped the day before.

2.   Wild Rice takes a long time to cook and different brands cook differently.    Make it ahead (it reheats great) and plan to babysit it a bit unless you already know how the brand you are using will cook.

3.   You may want to make a double batch(or second if you don’t have a big enough pan to double).   This stuff will go really fast.  And if not, aren’t leftovers the best part of thanksgiving?

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This is my yummy Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower.   Simple and easily multipliable.   It doesn’t look like much, I should have put it in a pretty bowl, but trust me it’s great.   Glenn would never eat cauliflower before and now even asks for seconds!

I’ll leave you with a few more delicious things that have hit my inbox this week.    Watch this weekend for Cranberry recipes yet to come.

Here are some other great recipes to try…

Vegetarian Thanksgiving  – Take Part

Brussels Sprout Salad with Red Onion and Pecorino  – Not With Out Salt
(Brussels Sprouts are still on my “Scary” list and this still looks good!   I’ll have to try it after we get back from Thanksgiving!

Sweet Potato Casserole (Grain Free / Paleo) –  Deliciously Organic

A Grain Free Thanksgiving – Against all Grain
I really want to go to her house for Thanksgiving!  Great recipes for every course!

Holiday Recipe Guide – Klesick’s Family Farm

And some resources:

EWG’s Healthy Thanksgiving Guide

10 Ways to Healthify  Your Thanksgiving, Stay Sane and Eat Like Royalty  – Fooducate

© Alicia Myers Leifheit and FoodisaJourney.com, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Alicia Myers Leifheit and FoodisaJourney.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Challenge #4 – Cleaning Up Thanksgiving Dinner

A lot will be different for us this Thanksgiving.    It’s the first time we’ve had to fly instead of drive.   It’s our first year with Grant & I being gluten-free.    And, it’s the first year I’ve really pushed to clean up the Thanksgiving menu.    It’s a lot – and honestly it’s feeling that way.

scan0001It’s hard dealing with food allergies and different ways of eating when you travel, let alone over the holidays.    It’s takes research, organization and planning.

I had a sense of dread about even mentioning changing up my contribution  (veggies) to the Thanksgiving meal.    I’ve done Thanksgiving just about every year since I’ve been married with my husband’s family.    My first Thanksgiving with them I made Green Bean Casserole (the one with cream of mushroom soup and durkee onions) and Broccoli Casserole ( broccoli topped with velveeta, butter and ritz crackers) and have every year since.    It’s what I ate every Thanksgiving growing up.    Last year I made it a little better by moving to organic soup and crackers, but I knew it wasn’t the best option.

This year I knew I couldn’t do it.    It’s food that I know I can’t eat.  My body won’t tolerate all the additives and preservatives.    Both dishes also contain gluten, another no-no.    But it had become tradition, and I wasn’t sure if change would be embraced.

I started with an email to my mother-in-law asking about why we never had sweet potatoes and mentioned that I was thinking of changing up the veggies.     The sense of relief that I felt when she wrote back “I think it would be great to change it up” was enormous.  We’re still working back and forth to finalize some details, but here’s what it looks like we’ll be having:

  • Roasted Cauliflower w/parmesan cheese
  • Italian Style Roasted Zucchini (because Grant LOVES it)
  • Butternut Squash
  • Fresh Cranberry Sauce
  • Wild Rice, Fruit & Pecan Stuffing

(I’ll be posting  recipes yet this week)

I was also pleasantly surprised when I got an email from my mother-in-law saying that after reading my Facebook post (Food Babe: Toxins vs. Tradition – if you didn’t read it you need to! ) she went and sourced a local turkey!     Woo – Hoo!

Sometimes to make the change, all you have to do is be brave enough to propose it.

So I ask you, even it’s it’s one little thing, how can you make your Thanksgiving a little “cleaner” this year?   I’ll look forward to knowing your plans.

© Alicia Myers Leifheit and FoodisaJourney.com, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Alicia Myers Leifheit and FoodisaJourney.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Tuesdays and a Box of Good

DSC_3889Tuesday has become my favorite day of the week.    And yes, it has something to do with food.    I get my farm box, my “Box of Good”, delivered to  my door step at some point during the day.    I’m sort of like a kid waiting for Santa.   Is it here yet?   Is it here yet?  I drive Grant crazy on Tuesdays.

My “Box of Good” is just that, a box packed full of all of the best organic and GMO free produce  that’s in season provided by the wonderful folks at Klesick Family Farm.

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We we moved to Washington last winter, I had an angel guiding me to these folks.    I’ve used and loved traditional CSAs and the past but Klesick’s has taken it a step further to give you tons of flexibility AND they deliver.   That so totally ROCKS!

But when I think about it, I think I love the people behind this food as much as the food itself.   Tristan, the owner, has a passion for what he does.    He’s part of the change in the food movement.    The group of people at the farm have the same beliefs about food that I do – that it should be organic, GMO free and REAL.    It feels really good to know that the people providing my food agree with me.  It’s empowering and my  “Box of Good” is a weekly inspiration.

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How pretty is this!

So my wish for each of you is to find your own farmer.     Here are some resources to help you get started.

Finding a CSA
(What is a CSA?  Community Supported Agriculture.  You buy into a portion of the farm for the season and the farm provides you with a weekly share of what  is produced.   Prices vary depending on area of the country – as will the produce provided.)

Now is actually a great time to start researching CSAs as many start selling shares in January and February.

Local Harvest – searchable database for farms, CSAs, farmers markets and all things organic close to home.

Eat Well Guide  – searchable CSA database

How to Find & Join a CSA – great article with all the questions you should ask yourself before joining.

And don’t hesitate to ask around at your local farmers market.    A lot of these people run their own CSAs.  If they don’t, they  most likely know who you should talk to.

p.s.   No promotional fee has been paid for this post.  I just really believe in them and what they do.   If you would happen to sign up with Klesick’s,  I do get a free bag of coffee. 😉

©Alicia Myers Leifheit and FoodisaJourney.com, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Alicia Myers Leifheit and FoodisaJourney.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Simple Potato Leek Soup

From Klesick’s Family Farm
(these are the awesome folks who provide my farm box each week)

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3 large leeks, white and light green parts only
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
Kosher salt
6 medium to large Yukon Gold potatoes
8 cups low-sodium chicken broth (or homemade vegetable stock or water)
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Sour cream, for serving (optional)

Slice leeks in half lengthwise and wash thoroughly. Cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick half-moons. Heat olive oil and butter over medium heat in Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot. Add leeks and garlic and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until leeks are softened but not browned, about 10 minutes.

While leeks are cooking, fill large bowl halfway with cold water. Peel potatoes, placing each in bowl of water immediately after peeling to prevent browning. Cut each potato in half lengthwise and slice into 1/2-inch-thick half-moons. Drain potato slices and add to pot along with stock and a few generous grinds of pepper. Raise heat to high and bring soup to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until potatoes are very soft, about 20 minutes.

Puree soup with an immersion blender or in batches in standing blender. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve with sour cream if desired. Soup reheats well and will keep in refrigerator for up to one week.

Reprinted with permission from Klesick’s Family Farm.

© Alicia Myers Leifheit and FoodisaJourney.com, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Alicia Myers Leifheit and FoodisaJourney.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Balsamic Roasted Red Cabbage

DSC_4093Cabbage is one of those veggies I didn’t eat as a kid.     I don’t know that it was ever even fixed in our house.   Maybe in the rare cole slaw, but I seem to remember eating that out of little styrofoam containers. So when I got a full head of red cabbage in my farm box  I was feeling serious underwhelmed.    I try desperately to use everything that comes.    It’s a good exercise in being creative and stretching our palate outside it’s normal limits.     But I was REALLY hesitant about what I could do with this cabbage.    The only thing that came to mind was fish tacos and since I’m the only person who eats fish in the house…. well, I knew it was time to hit Pinterest. After doing a bit of oogling, I came upon the theory of roasting it.    Roasting is probably my favorite thing to do with veggies.   You add some olive, oil, garlic, salt and pepper and it’s pretty much a win in my house. So here it is! Balsamic Roasted Red Cabbage Adapted from Family Friendly Food 1 head red cabbage, chopped 1 large red onion, chopped 3-5 cloves fresh garlic, diced (we LOVE garlic) a couple glugs of olive oil (estimated at 3-4 tbsp) Sea Salt Fresh Ground Pepper 1/4 to 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar (more = stronger taste, we love the stuff) Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Chop the cabbage in half, then in quarters – then cut out the core from each piece. DSC_4096 Rough chop the quarters into about 1” pieces.    Throw the cabbage into your biggest rectangular pyrex.   Rough chop the onion and throw that on top of the cabbage.   Dice the garlic and throw that on top.   Sprinkle with salt and pepper to season.   Give it a glug of olive oil. DSC_4100 Stir it all up.   You want enough olive oil to have a light covering on everything.   If not,  give it a bit more and stir again.    Drizzle on your balsamic and give it a good stir.   Roast for 40-50 minutes, stirring about half way through. And here’s what you get! DSC_4108 Not only is this GEORGOUS, it tastes wonderful! This makes a big pan.    It was great as leftovers, I even ate it cold (but I can be weird like that). Note:  the recipe I based this one on calls for sugar to be added for sweetness.   I think the onions add plenty – but feel free to add a couple teaspoons of agave for the last 20 minutes if you like it extra sweet. © Alicia Myers Leifheit and FoodisaJourney.com, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Alicia Myers Leifheit and FoodisaJourney.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.