30 Sep

Ten Benefits to Buying Local

In these hard financial times, supporting local businesses is so important! Here is what our local Sustainable Business Council has to say about the benefits of buying local:

  1. Independent local businesses in communities with buy-local campaigns have higher sales growth than those in areas without a campaign.
  2. Independent local businesses return more money to the local economy than non-local businesses.
  3. Buying from and contracting with locally-owned businesses supports local jobs.
  4. Small firms (that are generally locally-owned) give more to charity on a per-employee basis than larger ones.
  5. Local residents have a greater influence on actions taken by locally-owned independent businesses than on non-local firms, which encourages the businesses to engage in more sustainable practices.
  6. There is a positive correlation between the number of small- to medium-sized local businesses and community wealth.
  7. Communities with a higher concentration of small, locally-owned businesses have healthier populations.
  8. Fuel consumed to get locally-produced products to market is often lower, reducing greenhouse gas emission and dependence on foreign oil.
  9. Locally-owned businesses often pay more in local taxes per dollar of revenue and thus provide more local government services to the community per dollar of revenue.
  10. Buying local builds community and supports your friends and neighbors.

Ten Benefits to Buying Local

23 Sep

Mario Batali’s Eggplant Parmesan Stacks

Mario Batali’s Eggplant Parmesan Stacks

Serves 4 to 6

2 large eggplant, about 1 pound each
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper
3 cups basic tomato sauce, warm (recipe follows, or use your favorite)
About 12 leaves fresh basil (from 1 small bunch)
3/4 to 1 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced about 1/8-inch-thick
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs

Heat the oven to 450° F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or foil.

Slice each eggplant into 6 disks about 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick. Brush both sides of each disk with olive oil, lightly season both sides with salt and pepper, and place evenly spaced on the lined baking sheets.

Roast the eggplant until the slices are tender throughout and lightly browned, about 30 minutes, flipping the slices once and rotating the pans top to bottom for even cooking. Check to see that the slices are tender by poking in a few places with a fork (if some slices are taking longer than others, you can remove the tender ones to a plate and continue roasting the rest).

Lower the oven temperature to 350° F. Scoot all of the smallest eggplant pieces to one of the same lined baking sheets, and on the other, place the 6 largest eggplant slices, evenly spaced.

Over each slice, spread a scant 1/4 cup of tomato sauce and sprinkle with a couple leaves of basil (torn into a few pieces if very large). Place one slice of mozzarella over each and sprinkle with about a teaspoon grated Parmigiano. Place a smaller slice of eggplant over each of the disks and repeat with tomato sauce, basil, and the 2 cheeses.

Bake uncovered until the cheese is well-melted, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small skillet, toast the breadcrumbs over medium heat with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt until golden and crisp, stirring often. Set aside until the eggplant is ready, then sprinkle the toasted bread crumbs over the top of the eggplant, and serve immediately.

Basic tomato sauce:

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil 1 Spanish onion, 1/4-inch dice 4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced Salt 3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves, or 1 tablespoon dried 1/2 medium carrot, finely grated 2 (28-ounce) cans peeled whole tomatoes, crushed by hand and juices reserved

In a 3-quart saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and a pinch of salt and cook until soft and light golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the thyme and carrot and cook 5 minutes more. Add the tomatoes and juice and bring to a boil, stirring often. Lower the heat and simmer until as thick as oatmeal, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with more salt to taste. This sauce keeps 1 week in the refrigerator or up to 6 months in the freezer.

22 Sep

Baba Ganoush Tahini

Baba Ganoush Tahini

Ingredients

1 Eggplant
1 Lemon, juiced
8 oz Plain Yogurt
1 Teaspoon Garlic, minced
1/2 Cup Tahini Sauce
Water

Instructions:

Juice the lemon and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Slice the eggplant into rounds, leaving the skin intact, then place in a greased baking dish and bake for 30 minutes or until soft.

Remove from heat, cool and peel. Roughly chop and add to a food processor with the garlic, 1/2 of the lemon juice, yogurt, salt and pepper. Pulse until smooth.

Add in the tahini sauce, salt and pepper to taste, remaining lemon juice and about one tablespoon of water. Pulse until combined.

Serve with pita chips and enjoy!

21 Sep

Garden News – September 21, 2017

It’s wet and chilly out there!  I had to harvest some things this morning, which I really  don’t like to do when the plants are wet.  You can easily spread bacterial diseases like powdery mildew from plant to plant when touching them.

Some of you have been asking about funny  looking leaves on your tomatoes and squash.  So here is a picture of what the disease really looks like.

plant disease

If you catch it soon enough there are natural remedies that can be foliar sprayed….like baking soda and water, diluted milk, and if you happen to have a plant duster, any clay like bentonite or a product called Surround can be used.  It is too late at this point to do much about it in this cooler Fall weather.    But now you know what to watch for next year in your gardens or pots.

Here’s some of the goodies you will find in your box this week.  Swiss Chard, Scallions, Jalapeno and Cayenne Peppers, Carrots, Eggplant, Summer Squash and tomatoes.  The cucumbers are still in abundance, so you will be getting them, too.  I  hope you are using them in soups,  salads and dips and stretching your boundaries a little  to use them in some of the recipes I gave you a few weeks ago.

12 Sep

Corn, Black Beans, and Tomato Stuffed Pattypan Squash

Corn, Black Beans, and Tomato Stuffed Pattypan Squash

Serves 5
Ingredients:

3 large pattypan squash
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups cooked black beans (or 1 can, drained and rinsed)
2 ears corn, kernels cut off
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 Tbsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
salt to taste
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions:

Put the squash in a large pot with about 1 inch of water. Cover pot, bring water to a boil, and let the squash steam until they begin to get tender (about 7 min). Remove squash from pot and let them cool. Once they’ve cooled, cut off stems and scoop out as much of the inside of each squash as possible. Roughly chop the scooped out squash and set it aside.

Heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Saute onion until it’s tender, and then add garlic and cook for an additional minute. Stir in chopped squash, beans, corn, tomatoes, and spices and cook for a few minutes. Place the squash shells into a large baking dish and stuff them with the bean mixture. Top each squash with a pinch of cheese. You will likely have tons of the bean mixture left, so pour this into the dish around the squash shells or bake it in a separate dish. Bake at 350 for 20 min.

08 Sep

Patty Pan Lemon Bread

Patty Pan Lemon Bread

Serves: 12

A very lemony Patty Pan Squash Sweet Bread that is light and airy. Perfect for breakfast, brunch, dessert or as an afternoon snack with tea or coffee you will be pleasantly surprised at just how much lemon flavor comes through. A divine treat for lemon lovers!

Ingredients

For The Bread
2 cups cake flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 eggs, room temperature
½ cup vegetable oil
1⅓ cups sugar
½ cup buttermilk, room temperature
3 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 Tablespoons lemon zest
1 cup Patty Pan squash chopped in a food processor
For The Lemon Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoon lemon zest

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease one 9×5 loaf pan with vegetable shortening
Triple sift first three ingredients; cake flour, salt and baking powder and set aside
In the container of a blender add the next six ingredients; eggs, vegetable oil, sugar, buttermilk, lemon juice and lemon zest. Blend until well mixed.
In three batches, add flour mixture to blender. Pulse until just blended. About 5 pulses, then add next batch, pulse 5 times, add last batch of flour and pulse 5 times more. Be careful to not over mix.
Fold in chopped Patty Pan squash with a spatula right into the blender
From the blender container pour batter into the loaf pan and bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Check midway through baking. If top or sides are browning too much, cover with a sheet of parchment paper and continuing baking.
Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes in pan. Remove from loaf pan to a rack with parchment paper sheet underneath
Mix glaze ingredients together thoroughly. Pour over still warm Patty Pan Lemon Bread. Pull parchment paper from under cooling rack and replace with a new sheet. Pour the lemon glaze from the first parchment sheet back onto the Patty Pan Lemon Loaf to capture as much of the lemon glaze as possible. YUM!!!
Cool completely, slice and serve
NOTE: Add optional 1 cup chopped toasted pecans or 1 cup frozen blueberries or both to batter before baking