Buying local: a smart choice
You might be surprised by the variety of fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses and beverages produced year-round in your region. There are many reasons to privilege these locally made products, and it’s a lot easier than you might think.
Why buy local?
Buying local ensures that you’ll get in-season produce. This means that products destined for local markets are harvested when they’re ripe. Many studies have found that naturally ripened fruits and vegetables contain higher concentrations of important nutrients compared to artificially ripened varieties.
In addition, buying local is better for the environment. Food transportation is a significant source of greenhouse gases and when you buy local products, you reduce your carbon footprint.
Furthermore, buying from the source, especially at farmers’ markets, allows you to learn more about how your food is produced. This fosters a stronger sense of community.
Finally, buying local allows you to support the local economy in your region.
Where can I buy local?
In some areas, stores are required by law to indicate the place of origin for the fruits and vegetables they sell. If provenance information isn’t available, you can always ask someone. Additionally, some stores have dedicated sections for local products.
Depending on the season, you might also be able to find a farmers’ market in your area. Buying directly from producers allows you to stay informed about what you consume. Another option is to seek out food co-ops or delivery services that supply fresh produce.
Buying local has many advantages, and it’s easier than many people think. Keep an eye on what’s in season and privilege these products to get tastier and cheaper meals
4 sustainable foods you should be eating
Do you want to eat healthily and do your best for the planet? Here are four sustainable foods you should be eating.
1. Pulses like beans, lentils, and peas are a great source of protein and iron and don’t require much water to grow. They also fortify the soil with nitrogen, making it easier to grow other crops.
2. Molluscs such as oysters, mussels, clams, and scallops are nutrient-dense and remove pollutants such as carbon from seawater.
3. Local and organically grown fruits and vegetables help promote healthy soil and keep harmful pesticides from water sources. Moreover, you aren’t supporting carbon-intensive supply chains when you buy local, in-season fruits and vegetables.
4. Seaweed is highly nutritious and has a low environmental impact. Without fertilizers, it gets everything it needs to grow from the water around it. Seaweed also filters excess nutrients from seawater, such as phosphorus and nitrogen.
Try including some of these foods in your weekly meal plan.
Classic Irish soda bread comforts the soul
Irish soda bread might be one of Ireland’s most famous foods, but the technique — leavening bread with soda instead of yeast — is probably, even more American than apple pie.
Native Americans prepared the first quick bread with pearl ash, a potash-derived natural soda that reacted with mild acids like sour milk or honey to release carbon dioxide bubbles.
Irish soda bread came along much later when commercial production of baking soda made it cheap and widely available. When famine and poverty ravaged Ireland, basic soda bread, which could be prepared with just four ingredients, helped families survive. Eventually, necessity turned into a tradition, and today, just about every Irish family has their own traditions regarding this classic staple. Experiment with this simple recipe, and maybe you can create your own.
1-3/4 cups buttermilk
1 large egg
4-1/4 cups flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for hands and work surface
3 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cubed
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a round cake pan or pie dish. Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl; then cut in cold butter into flour mixture with a fork, your hands, or a pastry cutter. Whisk buttermilk and one egg together and add to the flour mixture. Bring the dough together with your hands into a circular loaf and score the top with a very sharp knife. Bake in a pie dish or cake pan until golden brown — about 45 minutes. Cool for at least 10 minutes in the pan before transferring it to a wire rack.
How modern pizza came to be
You could say that pizza connects the world since it is beloved in every county, but it really took the connected world to create the pizza.
For one, tomatoes are actually a New World fruit (and yes, tomatoes are fruit), native to South America. Early European explorers brought tomatoes back to Europe, including Italy, where they became a mainstay ingredient in many dishes, such as pizza.
Meanwhile, flatbreads topped with various ingredients have been around for centuries. Flatbread is easy to prepare and quick to cook. In the 18th century, Naples was a boom town with a swelling population to support trade. Dock workers and other low-wage laborers needed quick and cheap food. Thus, pizza was born, initially as street food.
Vendors could cook large flatbreads topped with various things, including tomatoes and cheese. When someone came to buy a slice, the vendor could simply cut off as much as the person could afford.
Initially, pizza was scorned by most wealthy people, who preferred more complicated (and expensive) dishes. Eating simple flatbreads was seen as something for the poor. Many Italian cookbooks from the 19th century skipped over pizza.
On a visit to Naples in 1889, King Umberto I and Queen Margherita, the rulers of unified Italy, decided to sample some of the local fares. Queen Margherita ordered a flatbread recipe from a local cook. He came up with a cheese, basil, and tomato mixture on flatbread, allegedly in honor of unified Italy’s white, green, and red flag. Now called the Margherita pizza, this dish paved the way for modern pizza. Some say this also constituted the first pizza delivery since the queen didn’t actually go on the street — The cook delivered it.
Each year, Americans alone consume more than three billion pizzas. Every day, Americans eat more than a hundred acres of pizza.
Caesar pasta salad
If you love salads, you’ll definitely fall in love with this divine twist on a classic.
• 1 box (16 ounces) Campanella (or other short pasta of your choice), cooked and drained
• 2 cups romaine lettuce, torn
• 16 cherry tomatoes, halved
• 1 cup store-bought croutons
• 2 chicken breasts, cooked and diced
• 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish
• 1/4 cup store-bought mayonnaise
• 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
• 1 clove of garlic, minced
• 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
• 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 2 tablespoons lemon juice
• Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Combine the pasta, lettuce, cherry tomatoes, croutons, and chicken in a large bowl.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients.
3. Pour the dressing over the pasta and toss well. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4. Arrange pasta salad in serving bowls and top with grated Parmesan cheese.
Maple piña colada
Prep time: 10 minutes
• 2 1/2 ounces white rum
• 1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup (preferably amber syrup for its rich flavor)
• 2 cups frozen pineapple chunks
• 3/4 cup coconut milk
• For decoration, a paper umbrella and maple flakes or a slice of pineapple
1. Put the first four ingredients into a food processor and blend at high speed for at least 60 seconds until smooth. If too thick, dilute it with a little water.
2. Pour into two of your favorite glasses.
3. Decorate with a paper umbrella, maple flakes, or a slice of pineapple.
Created by: Patrice Plante, mixologist
Source: Maple from Canada
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Servings: 8 to 12 cookies
• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1 cup quick oats
• 1 large egg
• 1 cup maple sugar
• 1 1/2 cups sour cream
• Maple nuggets to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
2. Sift together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder in a bowl. Mix in the oats.
3. In another bowl, beat the egg with the maple sugar. Add the sour cream.
4. Pour the dry mixture into the wet mixture.
5. Use a 2-ounce ice cream scoop to portion the cookies onto a silicone baking sheet, spacing evenly.
6. Sprinkle each cookie with maple nuggets.
7. Bake for 15 minutes.
Created by: Nancy Samson, chocolate maker
Source: Maple from Canada
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