Archive for April, 2008

At Market: Spring Onion Potato Gratin

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

spring onions, originally uploaded by foodietots.

The market was in full swing this past weekend. A warm, sunny Saturday morning brought out summer-like crowds. The first strawberries were available from Virginia’s Three Way Farms, where I also picked up asparagus, spring onions and white radishes. Maryland’s Toigo Orchards was back with hot house tomatoes and baby cukes, plus ever-popular apple and cranberry cider samples. (One of the few times we allow the toddler to have juice.) I got a bag of arugula from another Maryland farm, and wood ear mushrooms from the mushroom lady.

For our (local) Sunday dinner, I made a spring onion potato gratin to accompany our grilled NY strip steaks (first grilling of the season!), and roasted asparagus. Friends brought a Barboursville Cab Franc (2005 Reserve) that was excellent. Dessert was the strawberries, macerated in lemon thyme, lemon zest, a pinch of sugar and balsamic vinegar, alongside creamy cambozola cheese and Ficoco (fig and cocoa spread).

The gratin was adapted from an Epicurious recipe. It is a lighter version that doesn’t have the usual cream and cheese, but was still wonderfully creamy and rich. (It does have a lot of butter, so not entirely low fat by any stretch.)

Recipe: Spring Onion Potato Gratin

2.5 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 bunch spring onions, bulb and bottom inch of green stems, thinly sliced (tops of stems reserved for later use)
2 T fresh lemon thyme (or regular thyme)
10 T butter
2/3 c dry white wine
2/3 c water
sea salt

Preheat oven to 400* and lightly oil a large shallow (13×9) baking dish. In saute pan, melt 6 T butter over medium heat. Add shallot, spring onions, thyme and a pinch of salt and cook until onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high; saute until onions are tender and begin to brown. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter, water and wine to skillet; bring to boil then remove from heat.

Toss potatoes with onion mixture and another pinch of salt, making sure potato slices are coated with liquid. Spread evenly in baking dish. Cover with parchment paper (press down on top of potatoes) and then foil. Bake 50 minutes, then remove foil and cook another 15-20 minutes, until top is golden.

Recipe: Braised Cauliflower and Garbanzos

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

Garbanzos are another popular bean – even our cat enjoyed these, helping himself to a few when I was distracted by the toddler.

1 sm. yellow onion, diced
1 cauliflower, cut into bite-size pieces
1 15oz can garbanzo beans, rinsed & drained
¼ c yellow raisins
½ t paprika
½ t ground coriander
1 T olive oil
½ c water

Toss all ingredients except water, place in shallow baking dish and add water. Bake covered at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Serve over couscous for a hearty side dish – or as a meatless entrée with a salad on the side.


Earth Week: Pantry Faves

Friday, April 25th, 2008


Two essential items in the FoodieTots pantry are broth and beans. My favorite broth brand is Pacific – all natural, organic, and comes in handy 1-cup individual cartons that minimize waste when you know you won’t finish a whole full-size carton within the week. I was annoyed that they didn’t have a low-sodium version of the free-range chicken broth, until I had a chance to compare with conventional brands and discovered that it has the same sodium level as the Swanson’s low sodium. Pacific does have lower sodium options, they’re just not stocked at every grocery, and don’t come in the smaller sizes. To further reduce the sodium, I usually do a half-stock, half-water mix when using it in soups or to cook couscous, quinoa, etc.

In my quest for the best organic canned beans (more on that later), I discovered Eden — a family-owned, environmentally-conscious company based in Michigan. They are unique in the bean market in that most of their beans have *no* added salt. And most significantly:

Eden Organic Beans are packed in lead free tin covered steel cans coated with a baked on oleoresinous c-enamel lining that does not contain bisphenol-A (BPA). (Oleoresin is a natural mixture of an oil and a resin extracted from various plants, such as pine or balsam fir). These cans cost 14 percent more than the industry standard cans that do contain BPA. This costs Eden $300,000 more a year. To our knowledge Eden is the only U.S. company that uses this custom made BPA-free can.

(Read more on BPA and canned goods here.)

Earth Week: Fast Food Faves

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

Rather than the usual doom-and-gloom Earth Day posts, I thought I’d highlight a few of my favorite earth-friendly companies and products this week. Sure, fast food is rarely a smart choice, but as busy parents, it’s virtually impossible not to give in to the lure of a quick and sure-to-please meal. Two of my favorite healthier fast food picks are Chipotle and Chicken Out.

I love that Chipotle:

  • Serves only naturally-raised pork, and is investing heavily in bringing local pork producers on board;
  • Serves as many organic beans as it can find (30% currently);
  • Buys rBGH-free sour cream;
  • Is steadily increasing its sourcing of naturally-raised chicken and beef;
  • At many locations, recycles beverage bottles;
  • Makes quesadillas for kids (an off-the-menu secret) and salads for the parents that give you the taste of a burrito with out quite as many calories.

And at Chicken Out (a local chain, similar to Boston Market):

  • Serves all-natural, free-farmed local chicken;
  • Sides include kid-friendly faves like chunky applesauce, sweet potatoes, and sesame-ginger green beans.

Recipe: Turkey & White Bean Chili

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

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turkey white bean chili, originally uploaded by foodietots.

White – cannellini or Northern- beans are a mild choice that nicely complement ground turkey in this healthier chili. I add zucchini, but you could use just about any vegetable you have on hand — carrots, peppers, sweet potatoes would all go well. The toddler devoured this – though the sour cream topping may have been an added incentive.

1lb. ground turkey
1 yellow onion
2 cloves garlic
1 zucchini, diced
1 14oz can diced tomatoes (I prefer fire-roasted)
1 14oz can white beans, rinsed & drained
1 6oz can tomato paste
½ c water or chicken stock
2 t ground cumin
1 t chili powder
½ t smoked paprika

Brown ground turkey in saucepan over medium heat. Stir in onion and garlic and cook until soft, 2-3 minutes. Add seasonings, tomato paste, beans, tomatoes, water/stock and zucchini. Simmer over medium low heat for 20-30 minutes.