The Final Goodbye…or is it?

So as some of you may or may not know this blog began as a class assignment for Online Journalism I. It’s now the end of the semester and 25 posts, 500 pictures, and 9 recipes later I’ve come to the end of the ride. But, like a squirmy little kid who just can’t get enough of that vomit-inducing roller coaster (I shouldn’t be writing vomit on a food blog now should I?…) I’m going to keep riding this thing and see where it takes me.

Why? Well, it’s been fun, informative and a lot of good has come my way since it’s start. I’ve met a ton of interesting folk (see my posts about Drew Lazor and the ladies of the Reading Terminal Market), eaten some interesting and delicious food, and accomplished my goal of figuring out how to be a better omnivore. All that said however, I realize that there are tons more interesting individuals  to meet, delicious food meant to be eaten, and a wide range of information about ecologically friendly cooking waiting for some sifting through.

What can readers expect for the future of my blog? More of the same…PLUS more videos (they’ll get better as I learn to talk to the camera, I promise), more reporting, more recipes, more colorful and overly descriptive writing from myself, and more fun. So don’t stop reading now cause I’m just getting ready to roll my friends!

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Asparagus…I heart you: Video, Recipe, Pictures in ONE!

Like  Spike Jonez dangling his newest epic masterpiece over our heads for the past two years, I’ve been teasing you (all four of you) followers with promises of a video post in my blog. Well hold on to your butts because my premiere cooking video in which I repeat the word asparagus over and over again has finally graced the front page of my blog!

Why asparagus? Well, I love asparagus and it also happens to be in season at the moment meaning that it’s an ingredient that we should take advantage of. So I decided to create a simple and delicious meal based off of a recipe supplied by a budding Food Network star. In true Omnivore fashion I adapted this recipe to accommodate my personal tastes, supplies, and skills (and don’t forget you can do the same thing!).

Now, this is a recipe post, so I’m going to give you the recipe, but before we start cookin’ I figured that I would use this opportunity to create a little picture progression depicting the best way to shop with ecological friendliness in mind at your local grocery store (because even I will admit that due to my current location I really can’t go to the farmers market and speciality store every week for my grub – I’m a college student for chrissakes and I don’t have the money nor the time! So trust me, I feel for you peeps who are in the same predicament).

Go Get This:

  • 8 large, cage free eggs
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese
  • 1 – 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 lb. (3 cups) asparagus
  • 2 tbsp. sour cream
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • salt and pepper to taste

So, when you’re going and getting these ingredients it’s important to keep some things in mind as you shop. 1. Examine your veggies!

Examine Your Veggies!

Examine Your Veggies!

Don’t be afraid to put your grubby mitts all over the food your about to buy because you want to make sure that you’re buying products that are fresh, ripe, non-smelly, and all around non-funny looking. When buying asparagus, examine the ends and make sure their moist, not moldy and if they seem a little dry you can cut the bottom portion off, stand them up in a container filled with a little water and store them till you ready to cook.

When you’re shopping in the produce section of your store, in general, sniff out where all the organic stuff is hidden (almost all stores have a section of

The Organic Section!

The Organic Section!

produce that is “organic” these days) and compare prices, ripeness, etc. and see if you can locate the fruit or vegetable. Is there any indication of where the stuff is coming from? Find out!

The other major ingredient in this dish – the eggs – are another item made for smart shoppers. When buying eggs, look to see if the package says “cage free” don’t worry about “organic” or “omega 3s and beyonnddd!” or anything else. All you dscf1211should be worried to know is that the chickens producing these eggs were vegetarian fed and kept in a humane living environment.

When shopping for other ingredients in your every day life, check out some vegetarian friendly products such as soy milk and soy-based imitation frozen foods and give ‘em a whirl! If you decide that you simply don’t like them, that’s totally cool, but at least give them a try, because the more animal friendly food products you incorporate into your diet, the less impact you’re having on the well-being of the environment…just think about it please. Thanks.

If you've never tried soy milk I'm telling you TRY IT! You can use it in all of your cooking, it doesn't go bad nearly as quickly as regular milk does, and it's super good for you! Oh and did I mention it tastes good too?

If you've never tried soy milk I'm telling you TRY IT! You can use it in all of your cooking, it doesn't go bad nearly as quickly as regular milk does, and it's super good for you! Oh and did I mention it tastes good too?

Try some Morning Star and Boca products - They're much better than you might imagine!

Try some Morning Star and Boca products - They're much better than you might imagine!

Now we can start cookin’ with gas! Or electric if it suits you.

Now Do This:

Eat and Enjoy! P.S. Special Thanks to Megan McLaughlin and Andrew Baker for their hard work in producing this video. They’re the best, people.

50 Ways to Eat Green (According to Bon Apetite)

I’m still mildly baffled as to how I came across this article seeing as how I’m a cheapskate with no money to spare on pricey food magazines, but I’m glad I did nonetheless. Hugh Garvey’s article lists 50 different ways we can all take steps to help the earth through food – and that includes cooking it, eating it, and storing it amongst other methods. Some of his tips seem a bit on the “well duh” side, but others (like using your dishwasher – when it’s full to the brim and organized that is – because studies have shown that most dishwashers outperform human beings in water efficiency!) are interesting and easy means of cutting our carbon footprints. A great read that’s got a hefty helping of useful tips, I highly recommend checking out this article.

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Oh and did I mention that April is Earth month?! So you should be taking extra special care to treat Mother Nature with some respect. : )

RECIPE: Lemon Glazed Sour Cream Pound Cake

I had a dilemma recently:  Every now and then when I’m visiting my parents I’ll stop at Sam’s Club with my dad so that I can overstock my cooking supplies with an enormous abundance of crap I probably won’t use, which is why I had ended up with a gigantic vat of sour cream. Now, I’m sure most of you are thinking, “Why buy a huge tub of sour cream? Do you really use it that often?” Yes I do…Yes I do – I put it in omelettes, on nachos, in wraps, on vegetables – basically on everything I cook (along with a violent shake of hot sauce mind you) but after having had it opened for a little while and realizing that I barely had made a dent in it, I figured I’d better do something with the stuff. Being the queen of waste not want not I decided I’d scour the internet to find recipes incorporating sour cream that I could also make with ingredients I already had on hand. Hence, this blog post about Sour Cream Pound Cake.alsdkjfd

I looked up a few different recipes that incorporated sour cream and found this recipe that convinced me to try it out solely based on the fact that it had so many great reviews to its name. With the addition of some lemon juice, lemon zest, and a lemon glaze (all of which were made with a pile of lemons I had on hand…I <3 lemons in case you can’t tell) I was able to bake up a pretty delicious cake (or at least that’s what my friends told me…). It ended up being surprisingly rich and moist, and the lemon glaze added a perfect balance of tart/sweetness that I think I would have missed had I not put it on there. (Recipe after the jump!)

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Farmers Markets of Philadelphia

It’s raining, and I can guess that most of you are probably P.O.ed because it’s supposed to be spring and we keep getting teased with one beautiful day out of an entire rainy week. Remember that saying, though? “April showers bring May flowers?” Well, flowers aren’t the only things that April pulls from the darkness, however, and most Philadelphians and New Jerseyites can see the birth of these changes firsthand simply by taking a walk through their neighborhoods or going for a nice, long drive, which will reveal to many that, hey, the farmers markets are opening up again.

Although there are a few farmers markets that stay open all year round, many markets go into hibernation for the winter only to return each year with new and fresh produce from local producers. These places, however, are suffering just as any other business is due to a favorite topic of discussion amongst the suit and tie folk of the work world:  our suffering economy. And most of these critics are telling us consumers to stop fearing the dollar and spend when we can so that we can give the economy the boost that it requires.

So what does this have to do with the farmers market? Patronizing the local markets of our city means that we are putting money back into the hands of the farmer, the local baker, the small shop owner, and perhaps even your neighbor instead of the invisible corporation that we know too little about. By creating a map mashup of all the best farmers markets of the Philadelphia and surrounding area, I am suggesting that we utilize the local producers’ best assets and inspire growth in the communities we live in by frequenting the people who care about supplying us with fresh and quality products.

Of this map mashup I’ve created Continue reading

A Product Review: Frieda’s Organic Polenta

Frieda's Sun Dried Tomato and Garlic Polenta

Frieda's Sun Dried Tomato and Garlic Polenta

I’ve never had polenta. So when I walked by this little golden log sandwiched in between the tofu and veggie patties at my grocery store’s meager organic foods collection, I had to stop and pick it up. The package of Freida’s Organic Polenta promised a low-fat, scrumptious, and hearty helping of ready made polenta whose only requirement was to be thoroughly heated either by microwavable means or stove top cooking. I opted for the stove top (of course!) – a bit of good olive oil in a hot pan and that was it.

So how’d it turn out? Eh, so so. It was fine, so long as it was paired with something that had some taste, which is why I decided to saute up some portobellos in some tomato sauce (it was jarred, I’m not going to lie – I was in no mood) and call it a day. What would have helped

sauteed portobellos with polenta and tomato sauce.

sauteed portobellos with polenta and tomato sauce.

Freida’s polenta? Some seasoning. I found it extremely bland; however, I will say that the texture of the product was good considering it came in the form of a stiff, waxy-looking log.

So, would I recommend picking up the product. Sure – It’s a good, healthy substitue for pasta and rice, and the fact that it’s organic helps. But, just like pasta and rice, you have to add something to it, or it’ll be as bland as can be, I promise.

Seasonal Food Guides

So, if I’m going to keep talking about the importance of eating sustainable, local, and organic foods then perhaps it might seem suitable to include a means of finding out what, in fact, that means for your area.  This Eat Well Guide provides an interactive map of the U.S. and Canada where you can click on your specific state to find out what veggies are fresh and which are rotten in your area. By clicking on your state you’ll be able to find out what produce is in season and what you can expect for the coming summer, fall, winter, etc.

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So, why is it so important to know what produce is in and what is out? The environmental cost of transporting non-seasonal food to our favorite grocery stores is greater than you might realize. Having a shipment of produce delivered thousands of miles creates a weighty carbon footprint that greatly affects our planet, not to mention these foods are often sprayed with chemicals in order to keep them from turning during their long plane ride to the market. By purchasing seasonal food from your local market you eliminate those environmental costs while also putting money directly into the hands of your local farmer, which usually costs less than buying foreign food – which should feel pretty good for you as a savvy consumer.