Saturday, February 8, 2014

Harvest Stew

I love going to the Alachua County Farmer's Market and experiencing new culinary discoveries.  This is the Harvest Stew we made this week.  
Our first step was to remove the packaging from 2 pounds of ground pork that we purchased from Graham Farms and cook the pork in the crock pot on high for a few hours.  There is a thin layer of wax paper on the pork so make sure you remove that.  When the pork is cooked, we break it up into crumbled pieces and freeze one pound for use later in the week, and set the other pound aside for use in the stew.  We drain the juice and put it in the refrigerator so that we can skim all of the fat from the top.  The fat free broth is added back to the crock pot for part of our stock.  

Next, we cut up 3 onions and 3 mild peppers and sauteed them with corn in coconut oil.  When the vegetables were caramelized, we added them to the crock pot.

We love the fresh tomatoes we find at the Farmer's Market.  We cut up all of the tomatoes making sure not to loose any of the juice and added it to our already hot iron skillet.  We also added our bunch of fresh parsley, salt and chipolte.  When the tomatoes had cooked down in their own juices and made their own tomato sauce, we added the sauce to the crock pot as well.  
I diced our carrots and put them in the microwave for a few minutes.  Then, I sauteed them in the same skillet to caramelize the flavor.  When they were starting to brown, I added them to the crock pot as well.  

Finally, I sauteed the purple cabbage in the more coconut oil.  It helps the cabage retain its color and sweetens the flavor.  
For an additional boost of flavor we washed the carrot top greens thoroughly and then juiced them.  

The simmered juice added a wonderful flavor to the broth for the stew.  

Here is the wonderful pot of Harvest Stew we enjoyed this week.  The only other items added were a few cups of water and some chic peas.  Yum!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Farmer's Market Food Challenge

  • Eat locally grown and produced food purchased directly from local growers at my local farmer's market (Alachua County Farmer's Market)
  • Eat seasonally
  • Eat healthily and increase the nutritional value of the food I am eating and serving my family
  • Rise to the creative challenge of feeding my family delicious and healthy food from the farmer's market
  • Reduce the amount of money we spend on food
  • Reduce my carbon foot print
  • Support local farmers and producers
  • Get to know the growers and their products and discover what my family enjoys eating and how they like it prepared
  • Adapt, modify and create recipes using items from the Farmer's Market
  • Try to get to the market early enough every Saturday so as not to miss key items that are offered like eggs, milk and strawberries, but also place orders with farmers for items that are critical to my food supply for the week
  • Only buy enough food for one week unless there are items that are seasonal that will freeze well.  
2 Month Check-In:
  • We have discovered that we like some carrots better than others.  We even know how to pick out turnips now.  Who knew?
  • We have our staple items that we use every week
  • We are creating new recipes almost every week 
  • We are becoming more confident in spending all of our food budget at the Farmer's Market.  We spent less than $10 at Publix this week.
  • We are practicing a no trash policy.  We bring our own bags and so far the only things we have had to buy in their containers are yogurt, milk and ranch dressing.  We will find ways to reuse those containers.  Other containers we return to the farmer the next week.
  • We have eliminated the need for canned foods and artificial seasonings or ingredients.  I now know how to cook with all fresh ingredients and seasonings and create flavor full meals.