It is that time of year again: gardening season in the Pacific Northwest. Finally! It was a strange Winter here with record precipitation and colder-than-usual temperatures. My garden is about a month behind the typical schedule. Still....better late than never.
If you haven't yet got your hands dirty, now is the time. Even if you don't have garden space, most of us can find room for a Container or two. There is something absolutely satisfying about picking your own lettuce for a salad or slicing up a radish that was grown steps from your kitchen. You can't get more local with your eating than that!
For more tips on eating locally, join us for our Monthly Market cooking demos at the Verdant Community Wellness Center over the next several months. We will be featuring PNW grown and raised foods gathered from the various Farmers' Markets. The cooking demos will include several recipes and, of course, food samples to share. Yum!
Happy Local Eating,
Over the last several months, Amanda and I (Anna) have been leading a Seasonal Eating class at Verdant Health Commission in Lynnwood. During each class, we create recipes to emphasize seasonal and local produce. We cook the recipes, discuss various nutrition topics, and taste test all the food at the end of class. (That seems to be a favorite part!)
During our most recent class, we prepared dishes that highlighted a variety of local and seasonal produce for the month of August—corn, potatoes, tomato, cucumber, onion, plums, melon, berries, parsley, basil, mint, arugula, grass fed beef and more! The recipes we utilized were fresh, light, colorful and, of course, nutritious.
First up, we prepared the Herbed Potato Salad.
The recipe for this potato salad was a fun twist on a traditional potato salad, using an olive oil based dressing instead of mayonnaise. We chose to use olive oil, as research shows it helps to reduce inflammation in the body and is great for heart health. The combination of herbs in the dressing offered beautiful color, mouth-watering aroma, and a punch of flavor to the sauce. Additionally, herbs contain a variety of polyphenols (plant compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties), which research shows help protect against a variety of diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer and more.
During class we discussed the concept of resistant starch. Resistant starch is a type of dietary fiber in starchy foods, such as potatoes, corn, grains and beans. When these starchy foods are cooked, and then cooled, the starches form a crystalline structure, which makes them resistant to digestion (hence the name “resistant starch”). By being resistant to digestion, these fibers offer a whole host of health benefits! To read more about the long list of benefits of consuming resistant starch, as well as ways to incorporate more into your diet, check out THIS article!
Color indicates nutrition! Even greater, different colors indicate that the different foods contain different phytonutrients (for example, red/pink could indicate that a food contains the antioxidant lycopene; orange, beta-carotene; purple/blue, anthocyanin). These phytonutrients provide amazing health benefits, stemming from protection against heart disease to cancer prevention.
As a side note, grass fed beef can be quite expensive. One way around the cost is to purchase 1/4 or 1/2 a cow from a local farmer and split the cost with a friend or family member. From personal experience, doing so can cut the cost of grass-fed beef down by about half. The website www.eatwild.com is a great resource to find local farmers who sell pasture-raised beef, pork, poultry and dairy. At the end of the day, though, we have to balance our own personal values with our budget. So of course, do what you can, when you can!
Thanks to those who joined us for this class! We had a lot of fun, great conversation and, best of all, tasty food! We enjoyed all of our participants and hope you join us for the final installment of our Seasonal Eating series on August 22nd. For more information on class schedules, head to www.verdanthealth.org.
Let’s face the facts: as much as we may love our kale, good things do not last forever. We have all faced the disheartening moment when your once-crisp spinach turns into a pile of bruised, unappetizing mush. Never fear, there are a few tips that you can use along the way to prolong the quality your leafy greens! Our last visit to the farmer’s market included sharing such tips, in addition to classifying different greens, and ideas for preparation. Families gathered ‘round to spin the “head of knowledge” and put themselves to the test. Have you used produce wash on your greens? Apparently such an act, despite us believing it’ll benefit us, is a big “no-no”. Are you on top of your salad game? Look below to find out!
We love our spinner - can you tell? This week it is a "salad spinner"!
Top Tips for Washing Leafy Greens from Eatright.org
Bruised greens? No problem.
Both of the recipes below have enough flavor and texture to disguise most lettuce that crosses into the “not ideal for salads” zone. The kale chip recipe is not only packed with B vitamins, it provides a crave-worthy salty and crunchy alternative to the average bag of chips! And the green smoothie is so good, spinach is the last ingredient you- or your family members- will think of when you sip on it.
Preheat oven to 250 F. Wash, spin or pat kale dry. Remove the stem and cut or tear kale into bite site pieces. Toss kale in oil. Cover baking sheets with parchment paper. Spread kale leaves over the sheet and sprinkle seasoning of choice. Bake for 30 minutes. Kale chips should be crunchy and green. They burn easily, so be sure to check on them and adjust the time as needed.
YIELD: 2 servings
2 cups Spinach, 4 Strawberries, 1 cup orange juice, 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt. Blend until smooth and enjoy!
Combine vinegar, oil, mustard, and sugar in a jar with a tight-fitting lid; shake well.
Toss spinach, blueberries, goat cheese, and hazelnuts in a large salad bowl.
Drizzle with dressing and toss gently; serve immediately.
If you’re lucky enough to frequent the Everett Farmer’s Market, take this recipe along with you! Almost all of the above ingredients can be found at the market right now. If your shopping loyalties lie elsewhere, not to worry. This salad is composed of in-season produce that can be found almost everywhere in the PNW. No hazelnuts? Almonds slices or pumpkin seeds will do the trick! Adding a hardboiled egg, chicken breast or salmon fillet would also revamp this salad from a snack to an evening meal.
I hope salading down in the kitchen with your newly acquired lettuce facts will help you find your inner peas. :)
Feel free to visit us for another beautiful day at the Everett Farmer’s Market, this Sunday, July 24th!
Summer fruits and vegetable harvests are always a treat to look forward to, aren’t they? There are few things in the world as delightful as enjoying a bowl of freshly picked cherries in the heat of July. Sound Dietitians spent the last Sunday of June at the Everett Farmer’s Market, highlighting this magical little drupe; cherry nutrition facts, varieties, tips for storage, and delicious recipes were provided. Did you know that cherries contain both iron and protein? Thus making them an even more perfect addition to your pantry for snacking, smoothies and sauces! Peer down below for some great cherry recipes to add to your summer to-enjoy list.
Here is the lovely Amanda, providing cherry knowledge to market shoppers. Check out our booth every other Sunday to see what we’ll have in store next!
Looking for something light and quick to prepare? Bite into a simple yet satisfying cucumber-cherry salad! The cherries contribute a whole-new pop of sweetness to this traditional Japanese side dish.
YIELD: Makes 4 servings
2 cucumbers (1 1/4 pounds), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound sweet cherries, pitted and halved
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
In a medium bowl, toss the diced cucumbers with the white wine vinegar and olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Add the halved cherries and cilantro leaves, toss lightly and serve. (Recipe adapted from http://www.foodandwine.com)
Divide mint leaves, cherries, and honey into two glasses. Mash all ingredients with the back of a wooden spoon. Stir in lime juice and dissolve honey. Add ice cubes and top with seltzer. Stir and enjoy!
Cherry chicken wraps make for a fresh lunch, or omit the tortillas and you have a great salad to bring to a summer pot-luck. This tasty recipe packs enough macronutrients to give you sustained energy throughout the day!
1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add ginger and chicken and sauté until cooked through, about 7 to 10 minutes. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together remaining 1 tablespoon oil, vinegar, teriyaki sauce and honey until mixed together. Add and toss together chicken mixture, cherries, carrots, chives and almonds.
3. To Serve: Spoon 1/12 of the chicken/cherry mixture onto the center of each wrap; roll up wrap around filling and serve.
Nutrition per serving with Tortilla: Calories: 269; Carbohydrates: 29g; Fiber: 6g; Protein:18g; Fat: 9g; Sodium: 300mg
Ready… Get Set… Grill! Just in time for Memorial Day, Sound Dietitians joined the Everett Farmers' Market on Sunday, May 29th. Though the morning sky was full of clouds, the afternoon proved to be a beautiful market day. Patrons filled the market aisles looking for fresh produce and delicious goodies. Since grilling weather is upon us, your neighborhood nutrition experts provided grilling safety information and recipes featuring items from our market vendors.
Are you a grilling expert? “Do You Know Safe Grilling Temps?” activity board was available to challenge your knowledge. What is the safe internal temperature for fish? Ground beef? Chicken? We had dads, restaurant cooks, and self-proclaimed foodies give the challenge their best effort.
Click on the link for more information on food safety: http://www.doh.wa.gov/YouandYourFamily/FoodSafety/Tips
Separate ground beef into 4 equal sections and form into patties. Cook on the grill for about 6-7 minutes on each side, or until the center of the burger reaches 160-165 degrees F. In the last few minutes, top burgers with cheese. If desired, toast buns on the grill for several minutes. Garnish with microgreens and enjoy!
Grilled Bok Choy
Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat, and lightly oil the grate. Slice the bottom off the head of bok choy, and remove and clean the stalks. Sprinkle seasoned salt and 1 teaspoon of black pepper over both sides of the stalks. Lay the bok choy stalks on the preheated grill. Brush with butter, cover the grill, and cook until the bok choy stalks show grill marks and the leaves are crisp at the edges, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the bok choy, brush with butter, cover, and grill the other sides.
Spinach and Strawberry Balsamic Salad
1 clove garlic, crushed
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoons dijon mustard
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
Come visit us at the Everett Farmers' Market next on Sunday, June 12th! Pick up some recipes and discuss local seasonal fare. It’s going to be a beautiful day!
In the Pacific Northwest we take special pride in local foods. Our farmers’ markets are robust with music, tasty treats, colorful produce, and fresh foods. This past Sunday Sound Dietitians enjoyed a day at the Everett Farmers' Market at the Port of Everett. Despite the clouds that blanketed the sky and a light mist of rain, true Pacific Northwesterners joined us in a beautiful day at the market.
In collaboration with Sno-Isle Co-Op and the Everett Farmers' Market, we were able to meet market patrons to spread information about the local co-op and nutrition education regarding portion sizes, when to see a dietitian, and most deliciously… recipes! These recipes were constructed with seasonal and vendor inspired ingredients. Ever heard of garlic scapes? These are the green and edible tops of young garlic. Another recipe features fresh pasta. At the market, find creative pastas such as red pepper or nettle fettuccine. Take a peek at some of the great recipes below!
Spicy Spring Green Mix with Sliced Radishes
Wash and dry greens. Wash and slice radishes. Top with your favorite dressing or make your own.
Easy Vinaigrette: ¼ cup vegetable oil, ¼ cup vinegar or lemon juice, 1 tsp fresh minced oregano, 1 minced garlic clove or 2 tsp minced garlic scapes, salt & pepper to taste
Spicy Pork Chops
Thaw your locally grown chops in the refrigerator in advance for a day. Remove from packaging and coat both sides with a chili-garlic sauce (or your personal favorite). Allow to marinate for at least 20 minutes. Grill over medium heat, flipping every 5 minutes, until an internal temperature of 145 degrees F is reached. (Take care to not over-cook the pork, as this can easily happen!) Remove from the grill and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Trim fat and portion into servings. (Large chops are often 2 servings.)
Since the ingredients could be found at the market that day, market customers could also participate in a recipe scavenger hunt. Participants were given a list of ingredients as a shopping list that doubled as a scavenger hunt list. Families skimmed the farmers market for the vendors that sold recipe ingredients. Once all vendors were filled in on their list, families redeemed their lists for a nutritious prize… trail mix!
We had a great time sharing a beautiful market day with the local market patrons and vendors. Please join Sound Dietitians at the Sunday Everett Farmers Markets on these dates: 5/29, 6/12, 6/26, 7/10, 7/24, 8/7, 8/21, 9/4, 9/18, 10/2, 10/16.
Pick up a recipe, play a game, try a sample, and talk with your local dietitians and nutrition experts!
See you there!
A place for our consultant Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) to share nutrition science, yummy and healthy recipes, tips on seasonal ingredients, and other nutritional musings. Enjoy!