Taming raw ingredients: Roasted tomatoes and a (pastured) chicken in every pot

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A tomato ripe for roasting. Photo by the author.

(Cross-posted from my Examiner.com page on D.C. farmers markets)

Cucumbers by the quart. Fifteen-pound watermelons. Hunks of farmstead cheese. Entire organic chickens. Smiling at you from a farmer’s table, they look delicious. Plunked down on the kitchen counter, they get a little more complicated. Turning them into good-for-you meals is the next step, and that task sounds mighty intimidating.

It’s a familiar feeling, though. Life is full of major chunks you have to deal with, and trying to take shortcuts isn’t the best solution. Taking the time to break down a major challenge like moving to a new city or asking for a promotion can be invigorating and ultimately lead to better circumstances. So it is with food.

“If you live a really fast-paced life, which most of us do, you’re usually grabbing and going,” says Monica Corrado of Simply Being Well, a Takoma Park-based holistic nutrition counselor who teaches holistic cooking classes in the D.C. metro area. “With a little preparation, you can grab and go with nutrient-dense meals.” Continue reading

Tomatoes and watermelon—perfect on their own

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Cross-posted from Examiner.com

What’s with tomatoes and watermelon this year? I have seen them side by side at local farmers markets, of course, having both come into season recently. But in an odd development, I started to see them together in recipes, too.

At first, I noticed the usual myriad recipes for watermelon-feta salad sometimes included halved cherry tomatoes. Then came the watermelon gazpacho. Then, as if that weren’t enough, watermelon bloody Marys have now poured into the fray, celery sticks and all.

While I cheer combinations like chipotle and chocolate or peaches and basil, I just can’t get into this one. Continue reading

Disastrously Delicious: Food Writers Get Together and Shake Things Up

The following is cross-posted from The Jew & the Carrot

Ratatouille

A group of Jewish food lovers, a spread of delectable dishes, and milkshakes made of laughter. If it were possible for one afternoon to be too good, this is where it would start.

A group of Jew & the Carrot writers, editors, and friends faced the risk—overflowing goodness and all—this past Sunday. Of course, it all started with the food. I arrived at host Avigail’s Clinton Hill, Brooklyn apartment to find hand-layered ratatouille swirling from the center of a clay baking dish, crusty homemade beer bread, a cake topped with the purple velvet of baked plums, aromatic rosemary bread, peach-basil salad, and made-from-scratch yogurt. That alone nearly tipped the scales to the side of the too good. Did I mention that we washed this down with homemade sparkling ginger-grapefruit juice? Spiked with gin? Continue reading