Monday, July 16, 2012

Raw Vegetable and Seed Chips

Eating living foods in their raw state is a trend in healthy and nutritious food preparation. Raw vegetables and seeds retain their vitamins, minerals, and flavor that is otherwise lost in the cooking process. Using organic vegetables and seeds insures that you are getting only the best possible foods ingredients that are free from commercial fertilizers and pesticides. This recipe is also a great way to use up vegetables that would otherwise spoil or be thrown away.

 These raw vegetable chips have a rich taste and are a great substitute for unhealthy snack foods. You can use your favorite vegetables, fruits and seeds to make these chips.

 A food dehydrator makes drying these chips fast and easy. These can be made in your oven if you have a warm setting, but I find the dehydrator works best.

Preparing Raw Vegetable and Seed Chips

Makes 80 3-inch chips

2 Large tomatoes or 2 cups cherry tomatoes any variety
2 large carrots chopped
2 stalks celery chopped
¼ onion chopped
½ cup fresh basil
½ cup fresh cilantro
 1 TBS chili powder (salt free)
1 tsp low sodium salt (salt substitute can be used)
1 TBS granulated garlic

½ cup chia seeds
½ cup sesame seeds (white)
½ cup brown flax seeds (whole)

Place the tomatoes, carrots, celery, onion, basil, cilantro, chili powder, salt, granulated garlic in a blender or food processor and puree into a thick liquid. Taste for seasoning.

Place in a bowl and mix in the seeds with a large spoon.

Line your dehydrator trays with non stick sheets (paraflexx) or silicone works best.

For each cracker use 1 TBS of mixture. Place on non stick sheet and with your clean finger; press out into a 3 inch circle (or any shape you like). Make sure that the crackers in thin. Do this until all the mixture is used.

Set your dehydrator to 115nd dehydrate for approx 6 hours. Turn chips after 6 hrs and continue to dry until the chips are crisp and dry.
 Store in an airtight container and enjoy!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Saturday Is a Great Day to Visit Local Farmers and Fresh Markets

It is July in Georgia and on most Saturdays during the late spring, summer and early fall months; you can find local farmers markets springing up in most towns large and small.

Throughout the week, I research which markets will be open in my area and then plan on visiting 2 to 3 of the markets on Saturday morning.

Getting to the market early is your best bet to have the greatest selection of the in season produce, fruits, breads, pasta, eggs, and meats. The popular and limited quantity merchandise goes fast and if you wait too late, you may be out of luck.

As the Farm to Table concept of shopping for fresh foods catches on, many more people are visiting their local farmers markets. In turn, many local farmers markets are now offering a wider selection of fresh, in season food.
Because the food in season changes weekly, each visit to the farmers market can be a new and adventurous culinary experience. It is always best to buy what is in season. This ensures that the food is at its peak of freshness, flavor and optimum nutrition.
You can find a map of the United States that shows what produce and fruit is in season for each month at all you have to do is click on the seasonal food map navigation tab, and then click on your state to see what is in season. Then you can see recipes for those in season foods.

This week I visited the Jasper Farers Market, in my hometown of Jasper, Georgia. The market is held on Saturday mornings and Wednesday afternoons during the summer months. This market is getting larger each week. They offer a selection of locally grown produce, fruits, plants, coffee, ice cream, and crafts.
The market is located in Lee Newton Park, Jasper GA 30143 Hwy 53 and Stegall Street

I also visited the Alpharetta Farmers Market, in Alpharetta Georgia. This is a larger market held on Saturday mornings from 8:00 until 12:30 during the summer months until October. The market has a great selection of produce, fruits, plants, flowers, meats, cheese, baked goods, cosmetics, coffee, ice cream, crafts and much more.
The market is located off the square in Alpharetta at 29 Main Street, Alpharetta, GA 30009  
Eating foods in season and as fresh as you can get them is a rediscovery of an age old concept. Buying only what you need for a few days can insure that the foods that you buy will be as fresh as possible and retain their flavor, color vitamins and minerals. Preparing the foods in a simple style lets the natural flavors of the foods stand out. This was grandma’s secret!

Visit your local farmers markets. There are many new markets popping up each week.

Next week I plan to visit the farmers market on the square in Canton Georgia and Buckhead at the Cathedral of St. Philips.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Fat Free Oven Fried Organic Green Heirloom Tomatoes

It’s July in the south and most every farmers market and garden plot is overloaded with ripe and green tomatoes. I have planted many varieties of heirloom tomatoes in my kitchen garden and now have a bounty of green tomatoes in various shapes and sizes.  This is a great way to use your tomatoes if you are too impatient to wait for them to get ripe.

This recipe is ideal for people on a fat restricted diet. It has all the flavor of good old fashioned southern fried green tomatoes without all the fat and calories. Flavoring the tomatoes with fresh herbs and spices replaces the need for high fat frying. They are delicious, and satisfy the craving for this traditional southern dish. By the way, Italians pickle, fry and use green tomatoes in many dishes

Preparing Fat Free Fried Organic Green Heirloom Tomatoes

2 Servings

1 or 2 Medium Organic Green Tomatoes (Heirloom tomatoes make a pretty presentation and great flavor)
1 Egg White
1 TBS Skim Milk
4 Ak Mak Sesame Crackers (These can be purchased at Whole Foods and Publix. They are organic, lowfat, and low sodium)
¼ tsp. Cayenne pepper
½ tsp. Rosemary
½ tsp. Oregano
½ tsp. Basil (You can use any combination of your favorite herbs and spices. This gives the tomatoes their flavor)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Place a wire rack over a sheet pan and lightly spray the rack with cooking spray so tomatoes will not stick.
Slice tomatoes into ¼” slices. Make sure they are not too thick.
Lay tomatoes on a plate and season with the herbs, spices, salt and pepper on both sides, making sure that the tomatoes are well seasoned.
Mix the skim milk and egg white together until well blended and place in a shallow bowl.
Crush the Ak Mak crackers in a plastic bag until they resemble fine bread crumbs. Place in a shallow bowl.
Coat each side of the tomatoes with the egg wash mixture.
Dredge tomatoes slices in the cracker crumbs until well coated.
Place the tomato slices on the wire rack in a single layer.
Bake at 400 degrees until golden brown and crispy. Do not burn. (A convection oven is ideal for this)
Taste and adjust seasoning.

Serve these tomatoes with a sprinkling of fresh minced herbs and course stone ground mustard. Enjoy.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

A Bounty of Organic Vegetables at your local Farmers Market

Organic Green Beans and Heirloom Tomatoes

At this time of year, July, all varieties of green beans are abundant at your local farmers market. Even better most of the produce offered at your farmers market is organically grown. To make sure, just ask when you are making your vegetable and fruit selections.
Heirloom tomatoes have made a welcome comeback to the market and even your own garden. You can find a wide variety of vibrant colors, textures, and tastes all wrapped up in these healthy delicious tomatoes.
Preparing the Organic Green Beans and Heirloom Tomatoes with a light Vinegar Dressing

2 Servings

1 cup Fresh Green Beans trimmed and cut into bite size pieces
2 medium Heirloom Tomatoes sliced into wedges
1 TBS Apple Cider Vinegar
½ tsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Optional)
¼ tsp. Fresh Oregano (Dried can be used)
¼ tsp. Fresh Rosemary (Dried can be used)
¼ tsp. Fresh Thyme (Dried can be used)
1 tsp. Stone Ground Mustard
1/8 tsp. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes (Optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Wash and trim green beans. Cut into bite size pieces
Cook beans in boiling water just until tender, do not overcook. You can also steam or microwave (2minutes)  the beans until tender.
Cut tomatoes into small wedges
Mix vinegar, olive oil (optional), oregano, rosemary, thyme, mustard, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
Toss beans and tomatoes with the dressing and serve.
You can garnish the dish with more fresh herbs, red pepper if you like. Enjoy!

Omitting the olive oil makes this recipe low in fat and low in calories. Great for any meal.