more veggies please…in season this April!

For maximum nutrition, we’re better off eating closer to the source and relying on Mother Nature for seasonal produce to keep us in balance
~Terry Walter, “Clean Food”

There are thousands of different approaches to eating out there, eating seasonally is just one of them. I like seasonal eating for many reasons, including how it allows me to connect with my community better…through farmer’s markets/farm stands, and I to support the local economy 🙂 I think that everyone should simply find which approach works best for you and parallels how you view yourself, food, the environment, and sustainability. That being said, knowledge is power, so here is a list of veggies and fruits that are in season this April. Enjoy!

Vegetables: zucchini, rhubarb,artichokes,asparagus,spring peas,broccoli,lettuce, arugula, dandelion greens, fava beans, fiddlehead
fern, leeks (end of season), morel mushrooms

Fruits: pineapples,mangoes, limes, oranges

“The seasons are what a symphony ought to be: four perfect movements in harmony with each other” – Arthur Rubenstein

Bison Bolognese

As a follow up to my post touting the advantages of bison, I thought I would post a recipe that uses it. Bolognese is a traditional Italian red meat sauce, with a heavy emphasis on the meat component (originated from Bologna, Italy). While I love meat and bolognese, changing ratios of traditional dishes to increase the vegetable content is always a goal of mine. Most of the time I end up liking the veggie heavy version better (or at least just as well!). I added red bell pepper, zucchini, and mushrooms this time around because they were fresh and calling to me at the grocery store. Experiment with different vegetables if those don’t tickle your fancy.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb ground bison
  • 5 medium carrots, diced
  • 4 stalks of celery, finely diced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 medium zucchini, halved and sliced
  • 8 oz cremini (baby bella) mushrooms, sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 can diced tomatoes (28 oz) (or fresh if you have them)
  • 1/2 cup red wine**
  • Fresh oregano, parsley, and basil, rough chop
  • salt & black pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp crushed red pepper (optional or use less if you don’t want too much heat)
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional topping)

Directions

In a stock pot or Dutch oven, sauté the carrots, bell pepper, celery and onion in olive oil. When vegetables begin to soften – push to the sides of pot. Add bison to middle of pot to brown. After the bison is browned and the carrots are somewhat soft add garlic, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper to taste. Cook for an addition minute or two. Add in the rest of the vegetables, cooking for another 5 – 8 minutes until begin to soften. Add tomatoes and red wine, reduce heat to medium low and cover for 20-40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add fresh herbs 10 minutes before finish. Serve over pasta (I love linguini) and top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

**Note: A great tip that a great chef once told me: “Cook with the wine you want to drink. Why skimp on flavor in your meals with bad alcohol…that’s just cooking blasphemy.” 🙂

more veggies please…in season this March!

Since the beginning of the year I have been trying to heavily increase the amounts of fruits and vegetables in my diet. With a heavier emphasis on vegetables because I already eat a lot of fruit. This has led me to find new and fantastic vegetables I had never eaten (Kale *smiles*) or cooked with before and thus a slew of new recipes as well. So I thought now that Ihave increased the consumption of those things (it is a continual challenge for me), why not now try,  for diet and health reasons along with sustainability and eco reasons, to focus on eating more local and in season fruits and vegetables.
The short list for March:
Broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, collards, celeriac, garlic, kale, leeks, mandarins, oranges, parsnip, pears, potatoes, rhubarb, rutabaga, spinach, tangerine, turnip, watercress,
Best this month: Spring Green Cabbage

This is a great guide to when what fruits and veggies are in season and what to look for when you are selecting them! (In Season)

An a little inspiration to eat more plants from Michael Pollan’s book “Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual”:

“Rule 22: Eat mostly plants, especially leaves…

Scientists may disagree on what’s so good about plants – the antioxidants? the fiber? the omega-3 fatty acids? – but they do agree that they’re probably really good for you and certainly can’t hurt. There are scores of studies demonstrating that a diet rich in vegetables and fruits reduces the risk of dying from all the Western diseases; in country where people eat a pound or more vegetables and fruits a day, the rate of cancer is half what it is int he United States. Also, by eating a diet that is primarily plant based, you’ll be consuming far fewer calories, since plant foods – with the exception of seeds, including grains and nuts – are typically less “energy dense” than other things you eat. Vegetarians are notably healthier than carnivores, and they live longer.”

While I am not a vegetarian nor am I promoting that lifestyle, I support the notion that we as Americans need to increase our consumption of fruits and vegetables, especially vegetables. It has been found that “flexitarians” – people who eat meat a couple times a week (in contrast to multiple times a day) – are just as healthy as vegetarians. Reducing the number of meals a day we eat with meat and increasing our consumption of vegetables can help us not only lose weight but become more holistically healthier.