Slow Cooked Butternut Squash & Apricot Stew

Butternut Squash-Apricot-Stew (1)

I have a tendency to hoard food. There’s no basis for this habit. I’ve always been well fed (too well fed as my scale sometimes notes) and never gone without, but for some reason I have this anxiety that if I eat it all, I can’t get it again. Maybe it happened when I started taking this locavore thing so seriously. The realization that strawberries can’t grow year round in the northeast. I need to get my fill while they’re in season, preserve their flavors as best I can and hunker down for a round 9 months without seeing them again. By the time strawberry season finishes, I’ve stuff myself so full I can’t imagine having even the smallest of berries. That lasts for about a month or so, then the cravings return with a vengeance. Preserving helps, knowing that I have fresh strawberry jam to last the winter puts me slightly at ease. Until it doesn’t. I only have 6 jars to survive the winter (let’s forget about the other few dozen types of jam I also have stored up in my pantry). I panick. Will they really last? So I ration myself, allowing myself only a small spoonful of the sweet chunky jam every few weeks, determined to make my inventory last. Fast forward 9 months later, as strawberries start to surface at the greenmarkets and I find myself still left with 4 jars. I’ve rationed too well and find myself pushing jars of jam on everyone I know (thanks for holding the subway door for me; here, have some homemade jam) so I can start fresh in the new season.

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I Forgot How Delicious Dieting Could Be

Ginger Lime Chicken Over Mixed Greens

I might have overindulged a little a lot over Thanksgiving. But I can guarantee I’m not the only one. Go ahead, fess up!  I haven’t been to the gym in over a week and feel pretty sluggish. I know I need to get healthier but needed something to jump start my health kick. Answer? “Look Better Naked Two Day Cleanse”. It’s not meant to be followed long term, but just something motivate you with quick results. Not the most local menu but you can always add your own twists. Local milk smoothie and if I was more motivated this summer I could have used local frozen berries instead of the organic ones I bought. Local greens are still pretty easy to find and so it the produce. The biggest problem is the cucumbers and asparagus, but for two days I’ll cope.

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Needed to share this wonderful piece from Adam Roberts at the Huffington Post via one of my favorite blogs: Don’t Eat Dirt. The list is so true! Don’t be afraid to experiment, do what you know and add some extra flair and I don’t know that I’ve ever cooked a meal without a little wine (except maybe breakfast)!

Don't Eat Dirt

When I saw this post by Adam Roberts, I knew I had to share it. These “quick tips” are essential advice for becoming a better cook.

As most of you know if you have followed me very long, I grew up in a cooking household. I have been at my father’s ankles in the kitchen ever since I could get there on my own. While there are many amusing stories about learning to pour and stir to the day I REALLY learned the difference between tsp and tbsp (it was salt, lol), I can honestly say that all of those stories and more are the reasons I am a good cook today. I am often amazed at the little things that I assume are common knowledge and most people really don’t know them when it comes to cooking. That is thanks to my dad.

Anyway, here are Adam Robert’s “10 Quick…

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My Signature Meatloaf

Not my prettiest plate but guarantee the flavor is there!

How can you not love meatloaf? One of the most classic comfort food dishes. I mean it’s meat, and stuff, shaped into a loaf. Wait, maybe I’m not selling it right… Okay so the concept isn’t the most appealing but the flavors you can get out of it are pretty amazing. There’s no need to stick with ground beef or traditional meatloaf mix. Step out of the box–turkey, pork only, lamb–go for it! We started making our own meatloaf mix with local pork and veal and grassfed beef. We would get just shy of half a pound of each, then mix it at home. I swear the humanely raised stuff tastes better! But yes, it is expensive, so for financial reasons, we tend to stick with grass fed beef only.

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Peas Please!

You know when someone makes a sassy comment about you and you stand there awkwardly and blurted out some lame response? Then half hour later, while on your way home, you think of the PERFECT comeback, but your enemy is no where in site. Yeah, that’s kind of how I cook sometimes. I get super excited when spring turns to summer and there’s so much yummy FRESH produce at the farmer’s markets–I almost don’t know what to do with myself. So I buy things–kale, mustard greens, various squashes, rhubarb–and when I get home experience total cooking-block and can’t think of anything creative to make! That’s what happened with the peas.

Last year, I discovered fresh peas at Fort Greene Greenmarket for the first time. Now I know where peas come from and how they grow, but for some reason I had never seen them fresh before, only frozen, canned or dried. Kind of like chamomile, I’ve seen it dried and love it in tea, but never seen it fresh–except for THIS WEEK in my Tribeca CSA share, but that’s for another day. Anyway, back to the peas… After my new discovery of fresh peas, I was super eager for them to arrive at the market this year. I waited, and waited, and then one week as I did my weekly visit to the City Hall Greenmarket, there they were. Then again at Fort Greene, and again at Grand Army. Fresh peas everywhere! So I bought them on a few occasions, brought them home, and was stumped. What they heck do you do with peas?

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