Winter Vegetable Highlight and Recipe—Cabbage

Cabbage is one of the most widely available and inexpensive vegetables on the planet. It comes in many varieties and can be grown at different times in the season, which is key to popularity up here in New England, where the weather is so very unpredictable. Not only is it beautiful to look at, but cabbage is very versatile to cook with; it can be eaten raw or cooked, stuffed, baked, sautéed, chopped up into coleslaw, or stirred into hearty soups and stews. It really is only limited by your imagination, as it works well with almost any other ingredient.

Cabbage is also rich in Vitamins A and C, as well as calcium and potassium, and can last about a week in the refrigerator by itself. When you’re buying cabbage, you want to look for fresh, crisp-looking leaves, with heads that seem heavy for their size.

A friend of mine recently told me she hates cabbage and can’t seem to find any good way to prepare it, so I thought I would also add a great recipe to either warm you up to cabbage with, or maybe shake up your normal cabbage-preparing routine. Enjoy!

Braised Red Cabbage with Apples        Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium red cabbage, cored, quartered, and shredded
  • 4 firm cooking apples, peeled, cored, quartered and sliced
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • Salt, pepper to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup red wine

Instructions:

  1. Combine the cabbage and apples in a large bowl. Add the vinegar and a pinch of salt. Toss well.
  2. Heat the butter and oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and saute until tender but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the cabbage and apples, stir well, and add the wine. Bring to a simmer, cover, and simmer gently under the cabbage is tender, about 40 minutes. Add a little water as needed to maintain a simmer. Season with salt and pepper to taste, serve hot.

Source: The Farmer’s Market Guide and Cookbook

Aimee’s Post: My First Seacoast Eat Local Winter Farmers’ Market

This past weekend, I attended my first farmers market as a Seacoast Eat Local Intern, and I had so much fun! One component at the market that I loved was the smell of the broth from one of the vendors. The next day I went home and found an incredible soup recipe, and I thought what better thing to write about than how to make homemade soup, particularly in this cold weather. I also am currently fighting an illness, so luckily I had leftovers of this, and I hope it brings comfort to any of you battling illness right now. This is a recipe I found from Taste of Home, and it turned out absolutely delicious for me! Also, I would recommend visiting your next farmers market to pick up some of the ingredients for this soup!

Ingredients:  

  • 2-1/2 pounds bone-in chicken thighs
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons pepper, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 10 cups chicken broth
  • 4 celery ribs, chopped
  • 4 medium carrots, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 cups uncooked egg noodles (about 8 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Instructions:

1)    Pat chicken dry with paper towels; sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon pepper and salt. In a 6-qt. stockpot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken in batches, skin side down; cook until dark golden brown, 3-4 minutes. Remove chicken from pan; remove and discard skin. Discard drippings, reserving 2 tablespoons.

2)    Add onion to drippings; cook and stir over medium-high heat until tender, 4-5 minutes. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Add broth, stirring to loosen browned bits from pan. Bring to a boil. Return chicken to pan. Add celery, carrots, bay leaves and thyme. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, until chicken is tender, 25-30 minutes.

3)    Transfer chicken to a plate. Remove soup from heat. Add noodles; let stand, covered, until noodles are tender, 20-22 minutes.

4)    Meanwhile, when chicken is cool enough to handle, remove meat from bones; discard bones.

5)    Shred meat into bite-sized pieces. Return meat to stockpot. Stir in parsley and lemon juice.

6)    Adjust seasoning with salt and remaining 3/4 teaspoon pepper. Remove bay leaves.

(Ultimate Chicken Soup, Taste of Home.)

Melissa’s Post: Slow Roasted Shallots

I had a wonderful first experience at the winter market this past Saturday at the Exeter High School, and it was so lovely to meet with many of you that stopped by the SEL table throughout the day.

One of the very first things I noticed about the environment of the market was the wonderful smell of onions and garlic! It got me thinking about some good recipes to really highlight some of our winter vegetables. I overheard some customers at market saying that they were running out of ideas to work with cold-season gems, so I wanted to share a roasted shallots recipe with you all. This recipe is for a side dish that pairs best with game birds, steak, chicken, and turkey. I can almost smell that deliciousness from here! Enjoy!

Slow Roasted Shallots      Serves: 4

Ingredients:

·      12 shallots, peeled

·      4 cloves garlic, peeled

·      1 cup olive oil

·      4 springs thyme

·      1 tablespoon Kosher salt

·      1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Directions:

1.     Preheat oven to 250°F

2.     Combine all ingredients into a shallow baking dish, toss to mix well.

3.     Roast, stirring occasionally, for about 1 ½ hours, or until shallots are soft, carnalized, and a deep golden brown.

4.     Discard thyme and rosemary springs and serve.

Source: The Farmer’s Market Guide and Cookbook, Sally Ann Berk

Aimee’s Post: Harvest of the Month

Today, for my blog, I thought I would talk about a wonderful program known as “Harvest of the Month.” The goals of this program are very simple- seasonal eating, healthy diets, and supporting the local economy. The harvest for the month of February is cabbage. Despite the fact that it does not sound all that exciting, cabbage packs a wide variety of nutrients- particularly vitamin K, vitamin C, and folate! Therefore, it might be worth trying this month! A simple cabbage recipe, that is one of my personal favorites, is braised cabbage. The recipe below yields four servings, and requires the following:

Braised Cabbage  

  • 1lb cabbage (1 head)
  • 3/4 stick of butter (6 Tbsp)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Salt and pepper to taste, any herb or spice, or even bacon!

Directions:

  1. Slice cabbage into 1/2 inch-wide ribbons and place into a wide pan with the water.
  2. Cook, covered, over medium heat until the cabbage is tender, approximately 10 minutes.
  3. Drain the cabbage and toss with butter, salt, and pepper.

If that isn’t enough to convince you, check out how beautiful this vegetable is!

I hope you all enjoy this beautiful vegetable! 

Aimee’s Post: Joining the SEL Intern Team!

Hey everyone! My name is Aimee, I am excited to be one of Seacoast Eat Local’s new interns! This is my first time working with Seacoast Eat Local, and I am looking forward to working with a wonderful organization that puts a strong emphasis on healthy and locally sourced foods.

A little bit about my background, I am a senior at the University of New Hampshire of the Nutrition and Dietetics program. I have a dual major in Ecogastronomy, in which I study sustainable food systems and how they impact various aspects of life- including nutritionally and economically. As you can see, I devote my studies to food and sustainability.

My interest in Seacoast Eat Local stems from my desire to work in the field of community nutrition and public health. I have done some work at a local food pantry that puts an emphasis on locally grown food, and I thoroughly enjoyed this work. Through my work at this food pantry, called the Waysmeet Center, I discovered where my strongest interests regarding nutrition were and have been working to expand my experiences in it.

Before college, I grew up in Nashua, New Hampshire. I often went to farms to find different vegetables with my parents and friends, and those trips were always enjoyable. I remember being interested by all the types of foods at farms and farmers markets that could not be found in our regular grocery stores (typically Hannafords or Market Basket) and I am excited to work at the farmers markets with Seacoast Eat Local and spread my excitement about food!

If anyone has anything they would like to see on this blog, do not hesitate to reach out! I hope to see you at the markets soon!

Also, this is a picture of me at one of my favorite farms! Parlee Farms, in Tyngsboro, MA, has a pick your own flowers and blueberries in the summer time! I am in their beautiful flower field, and fun fact- it was pouring in this picture!

Melissa’s Post: Back at SEL!

Hello there! My name is Melissa, and I am one of the Seacoast Eat Local interns this year. This is my second time around with SEL, having interned over this past summer at the farmer’s markets, and I’m very excited to be working in a great environment and be totally surrounded by wholesome, locally grown foods again!

I am a senior at UNH in my last semester of the Nutrition and Dietetics program, as well as a dual major in EcoGastronomy, which is the study of sustainable food systems and its impact it has socially, economically, and nutritionally. I can’t wait to graduate, and while I haven’t sorted out my exact dream job, I feel a strong pull towards community nutrition and sustainable local foods—so you could say this job is a great fit for me!

One of my favorite parts about the markets would have to be watching the young kids get all excited about being able to pick out the fruits and veggies they want at the market, and seeing them have the same excitement about picking fresh carrots as I’ve heard some little kids get excited about candy. It warms my heart as a future nutrition professional, and makes me think about how I was raised around food. I didn’t have parents who were really into it and brought me every week to help them pick out our groceries like I see many children with their parents, but instead grew up the rather “conventional way”. I grew up in Hooksett, NH, a nice town in the middle of Concord and Manchester, but spent most of my time in either Hooksett or Manchester. I was fortunate enough to be able to visit the Manchester market almost every weekend of the summer when I was about 11 or 12, and though the market is pretty small there, I loved everything the market had to offer, and wished I could have spent more time there. But my parents just weren’t into it, and I was pretty much only allowed to go there to grab a little snack after they picked me up from the nearby summer camp. Looking back on an adult and experiencing the market every week now, I’m so happy for all of the little kids I see running by with our wooden tokens, racing to find a bundle of carrots or rhubarb, sort of wishing I had the same up-bringing, but knowing that it only enriches the advice I will give to parents as a future dietitian, because I believe that once the children think it’s fun and are on-board with healthy eating choices, the rest of the family just sort of follows suit, and it leads to better chances of a healthy lifestyle sticking in a family over a longer period of time.

I’m looking forward to this spring with SEL to experience a spring harvest for the first time, and I’ll be sure to provide some fun, interesting blog posts in the future for recipes and nutritional information, so if you have a request in mind, don’t be a stranger! Come visit me at the Rollinsford markets, I would love to meet you and chat!

Kaidy’s Post: Pear Apple Crisp

Pears are a member of the Rosaceae plant family, along with apples, peaches, plums, cherries and an abundance of other fruits. There are many different varieties of pears, however the most commonly grown in the United States include Bartlett, Anjou, Bosc and Asian pears. Pears are in season in the seacoast area through October, however they are still available at the farmer’s markets and can be used if you have some leftover from this year’s harvest!

One pear has approximately 100 calories, 28 carbohydrates, and 5.5 grams of fiber. A pear also contains 12% vitamin C, 10% vitamin K, 7% copper and 6% potassium of the daily recommended values. Due to their high vitamin C content, pears help support a healthy immune system and help to prevent free radical damage. Pears also contain a large amount of soluble fiber, which helps to maintain blood glucose levels after eating a meal and has also been shown to decrease blood cholesterol levels.

Ever since I was little I always loved eating pears. I would always have them when I went over to my grandma’s house. She would leave them on the counter, by the window and let them ripen until they were soft and juicy and delicious. They are the perfect snack to hold you over in between meals or even for a little after dinner dessert. Below I have shared one of my favorite ways to incorporate pears into a healthier dessert dish.

Apple Pear Crisp

Apple Pear Filling

3 pears, peeled and sliced
4 apples, peeled and sliced
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3 tablespoons raw honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons of lemon juice

Crisp Topping

1 cup regular oats
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350.
2.  To a large bowl add, sliced pears, sliced apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, raw honey, salt, and lemon juice. Gently toss to coat all the fruit with the spices.
3.  Pour fruit mixture into 13×9″ baking dish.
4.  In medium bowl, add regular oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and butter.
5.  Using your hands combine the butter into the dry ingredients until everything is combined and crumbly.
6.  Sprinkle Crisp topping on top of the fruit mixture.
7.  Bake for 35-40 minutes, until top is browned.
8.  Remove from oven and serve! (optional: top with vanilla ice cream)

Kaidy’s Post: Kung Pao Brussels Sprouts!

Brussels Sprouts are part of the Brassicaceae family along with kale, cauliflower, broccoli and mustard greens. They are also referred to as a cruciferous vegetable.  This vegetable resembles mini cabbages and are usually loved or hated for their bitter taste. Brussel sprouts are in season in the seacoast area from the beginning of October through the end of December.

Brussel sprouts contain 28 calories and 2 grams of fiber per half cup serving. They also contain 137% vitamin K, 81% vitamin C, 12% vitamin A, 12% folate and 9% manganese of the daily recommended values. Brussel sprouts are also extremely high in antioxidants, especially the antioxidant kaemperfol, which has been shown to reduce cancer cell growth, ease inflammation and be beneficial for heart health. They are also high in fiber which promotes a healthy digestive track and regularity.

There are many ways to eat brussels sprouts from boiling, sautéing, steaming and my personal favorite: roasting. If you aren’t a fan of these bitter sprouts, roasting caramelizes the outside making their taste not as harsh. Adding seasonings like garlic, salt, olive oil and even a little parmesan cheese can also neutralize the taste of this cruciferous vegetable.  Below is one of my favorite recipes for roasted brussels sprouts!

Kung Pao Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups quartered Brussels sprouts
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped scallions
  •  ¼ cup reduced Sodium Soy Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Rice Vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  •  ¼ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon corn starch
  • 8 dried Chinese red chilis
  • ½-¾ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, divided
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons peanuts
  •  4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450° F.
  2. Toss Brussels sprouts with olive oil and place in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  3. Roast until tender and slightly crisp, about 25 minutes.
  4. While the sprouts are cooking, whisk together the scallions, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sugar, water and corn starch in a small bowl.
  5. Right before the sprouts are done cooking, heat a wok (or fry pan) over medium-high heat.
  6. Add in the chilis, ½ teaspoon red pepper and black pepper and cook until slightly toasted, stirring often.
  7.  Add in the peanuts and cook another minute until toasted.
  8.  Reduce heat to medium and add in the garlic and ginger and cook another minute.
  9. Add in the corn starch mixture.
  10.  Cook for 4 to 5 minutes until thickened, stirring occasionally.
  11. Add in the cooked Brussels sprouts and toss until hot and coated with the sauce.

Sofia’s Post: Acorn Squash!

Acorn squash is a small squash that looks like an acorn- how cute! Acorn squash are most commonly found in dark green variety (you can also find orange and white) with an orange flesh that is nutrient dense. The best time to buy acorn squash is at winter markets as it is in season in North America from fall through winter. Acorn squash, which is typically considered a winter squash, is actually part of the summer squash family and is related to zucchini.  Acorn squash pairs well flavors such as apples, sausage, bacon, garlic, sage and nutmeg.

Nutrient information:

Acorn squash contains vitamin A, niacin, folate, thiamine, vitamin B-6 and vitamin C. To keep the high amounts of vitamin C, steaming or baking the squash is more efficient instead of boiling. Each serving of acorn squash contains high amounts of potassium and magnesium along with small amounts of iron, calcium and phosphorus. Winter squash is one of the best sources of the antioxidants, which can lower risk of cancer, neurological disorders, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. In order to get the most nutrients out of your acorn squash, it is recommended to eat the vegetable 3-4 days after purchase and cut right before cooking.

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Ingredients:

  • 3 small acorn squash, cut in half lengthwise and seeds scooped out
  • 1 lb. of ground sausage
  • 1 large onion, sliced thin
  • 4 tablespoons of butter or olive oil (split)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 apple, chopped
  • 2 cups of spinach, chopped
  • Herbs to taste: rosemary and thyme
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Bake the squashes face down (seeds removed) for 20-30 minutes.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil over low heat and add all onions, stirring every 5 minutes for 25 minutes.
  4. In a different pan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil on low; add garlic and sausage, cook for 8 minutes or until browned. Add apples and herbs and cook until softened. Add spinach, salt and pepper. Mix in the caramelized onions.
  5. Stuff the cooked acorn squashes and put in the oven on broil for 5 minutes.

 

Sources:

HealthyeatingSF gate.com

paleorunningmomma.com

Erika’s Post: Meal Planning and Easy Crockpot Recipes

With the cold weather likely impacting your motivation, it can be hard to get up the energy to cook during the week. Meal planning can be an easy and time saving solution. What better time of year to put that crock pot to use for some warm comforting meals!

So how do you plan for fresh meals during the winter months when local in-season produce doesn’t feel as accessible? Head to your local winter farmers market and see what you can find! Be open to trying new things and looking for recipes based off what is available.
Think about what you might like to try and cook with. There are many things that you may not have liked in the past but are maybe open to trying in a different way now. Hate horseradish? Try a creamy cauliflower and horseradish soup. Ever heard of salsify (or oyster plant)? It was popular with the victorians but fell out of fashion in the 20th century. Would you be open to trying different spices? Spices are a great way to add flavor and complexity to a dish.
You may wonder if it will be expensive to buy in bulk and make meals ahead of time. The good news is that it is usually easier to buy items in bulk at the market, especially when they are in season. Also, the great thing about crockpot meals is that you can make a lot of food at once and refrigerate or freeze to eat later on in the week, saving money by not buying take-out at the last minute.
Think of a day in the week that you may be able to set aside some time to prep and cook meals ahead so that you can come home from work and not have to worry about cooking a meal. You can simply reheat the meal that you have already prepped in advance!
Here are some crockpot meals you can make with some produce available in the winter time to give you some inspiration: