Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Tips for Tuesday
In Season: December

Eating in season saves money, provides optimal nutrition, and supports local farmers. In North America, find many of the vegetables, fruits, nuts, meat, poultry, and seafood, below, in season, and in markets, for the month of December.

beans (south) + beets + bok choy + broccoli + broccoli rabe + broccolini + brussels sprouts + cabbage + carrots + cauliflower + celery + celery root + chard + collard greens + cucumber + grapefruit + fennel + leeks + lettuce + mushrooms + mustard greens + parsnips + peppers + potatoes + pumpkin + radishes + rutabagas + salsify + scallions + snap peas + spinach + squash + sunchokes + sweet potatoes + turnips

Fruit and Nuts
chestnuts + cranberries + kiwi fruit + oranges + pecans + persimmon + pomegranate + tamarillo + tangerines

Meat & Poultry
duck + goose + partridge + pumpkin + pheasant + quail + rabbit + turkey + venison 

clams + crab + mussels + oysters + scallops

And a couple of great links, with maps, charts, and interactive resources, to keep yourself, and those you love, eating well:

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Eating with the Locals: Farmhouse Delivery Austin

Disclosure: I was given a bushel weekly share of seasonal Farmhouse Delivery produce in exchange for my stint taking over the Instagram mic one Friday through Sunday, Sharing some of the ways I put the beautiful bounty to use, all additional condiments, spices, seasonings, proteins, and more, were added at my own expense. The commentary, over-the-top hashtagging, and preparations are my own.  

For information on CSA shares through Farmhouse Delivery, please follow this link.

My Farmhouse Delivery included green tomatoes, bok choi cabbage, broccoli, Texas grapefruit, Honeycrisp apples, hydroponic lettuce, french breakfast radishes, and cool weather greens. 

I began chronicling with the delight of finding my share parcel carefully perched upon my doorstep one Thursday, noon. Flinging the carton open, all the freshness that awaited me, below.

Inspired, I ran with it all weekend long. I'm still enjoying some of the things I received and produced. (I'm saving the apple kale kimchee, rustic brandied apple sauce, and a few other surprises, for another post!)

We can't wait! #Repost @maggiecperkins with @repostapp.
So excited to receive my basket of #fresh from @farmhousedelivery! I have big plans for this bushel, and I'll be sharing them all weekend via the @farmhousedelivery #instagram account. Stay tuned! #localfarms #vegetables #seasonal #locavore #atxfarmers 

You totally had us with "fried green tomatoes"! #Repost @maggiecperkins with @repostapp.
I'm taking over the Farmhouse Delivery Instagram feed this weekend, enjoying the fruits (and vegetables) of local farmers' labors, beginning with iconic, southern fried green tomatoes, with a creole shrimp cream sauce--stay tuned for details, and follow the action with @farmhousedelivery on Instagram.

Hi friends! Batter up! I'm Maggie, @maggiecperkins here, and with the privilege of a bushel of #FRESH, I'll be taking over the Instagram feed for the weekend. You can catch me in Austin's food world as marketing coordinator and guest chef with @texasfarmersmarket, managing the excitement of @austineatsfoodtours, and blogging all about it on #NotesFromMaggiesFarm, at www.frommaggiesfarm.blogspot.com. Starting with an iconic Southern favorite, #FriedGreenTomatoes with a Creole Shrimp Cream Sauce. Stay tuned! #farmers #localfarms #vegetables #southernfood #farmtotable #locavore

Hi friends! @maggiecperkins here, eating these @farmhousedelivery #greentomatoes, Southern fried, with a #creole #shrimp cream sauce, #extraspicy! Hearty enough for supper, with a simply-dressed salad of @farmhousedelivery greens. #maggiemakesdinner #NotesFromMaggiesFarm #FriedGreenTomatoes #FRESH #southernfood #farmtotable #foodblogger

I'm saving my #greentomato scraps to make #homemade #vinegar. In a large jar, combine 2c scraps, 4c water, 1t brown sugar. Cover with muslin, and place out of direct sunlight to ferment for 8 weeks. Strain through several layers of cheesecloth, then cover with a lid, letting sit, undisturbed, another 4 weeks. Strain liquid, again, into clean storage bottle or jar, cap and label. Today, I'm experimenting with the addition of #cardamom to the mix. #fermentation #diy #kitchenproject #homemadevinegar #useitall #foodblogger #NotesFromMaggiesFarm

Hi friends, @maggiecperkins here, with a quick lunch from my @farmhousedelivery #bokchoy, made from this #NotesFromMaggiesFarm recipe with only 4 ingredients. Pan roasted with toasted sesame oil, glazed with mirin and oyster sauce. Did you know that allowing bok choy to rest for 10 minutes after cutting optimizes its many health benefits? #nutrition #locavore #localfarms #farmtotable #FRESH #superfood #asiangreens #simplerecipe #foodblogger

This #rainyday weather is perfect for a little bit of canning. My friend, Brenda, put by her remaining green tomatoes this morning. Have you ever had this #sweetandsour #southernfood favorite? Perfect with #leftover #turkey. #canning #preserving #puttingby #condiment #kitchenproject #diy #farmtotable #foodblogger #NotesFromMaggiesFarm

Hi friends, Maggie (@maggiecperkins) here. I used the remaining #bokchoy from my @farmhousedelivery bushel, along with #kale, #collards, and #lettuce to make an old, traditionally African soup, learned at the feet of #chefs in #NOLA-- #Gumbo Z'Herbes, made with smoked, dried #chorizo from @daidue, smoked ham, and seasoned with #thyme, #allspice and #cayenne. First you make a roux.... #recipe #foodblogger #farmtotable #creole #neworleans #firstyoumakearoux #NotesFromMaggiesFarm

Two beautiful heads of broccoli from my @farmhousedelivery await me tomorrow, and I think this #orangebeefbroccoli #recipe from #NotesFromMaggiesFarm will be its first use. What are your favorite broccoli dishes/preparations? #broccoli #farmtotable #FRESH #chinesefood #locavore #recipe #foodblogger

Unwilling to get on with her day, @maggiecperkins eats her @farmhousedelivery #FrenchBreakfastRadishes just as the French do-- with butter and fleur de sel, at any time of the day she pleases! Imagining herself in a Paris cafe, she'll take the #frontpage and espresso, black, please. (But she's not done with those radishes yet! Stay tuned!)

Save those #radish greens! Add the tops to #pesto, #soups and #stews (like last night's #Gumbo Z'Herbes), #fermented #kimchee, or a simple prep of #smotheredgreens. Today, @maggiecperkins sautes them briefly with #Speck ham from @antonellischz, adds a dash of #hotpepper vinegar and #fleurdesel, served with #cracklins #cornbread, for a simple but satisfying late lunch. #useitall #farmtotable #localartisan #farmers #quickmeal

Quick Pickled Radishes #NotesfromMaggiesFarm Brine: bring to a boil 1 quart of equal parts water and rice wine vinegar, unseasoned, spiced with about a teaspoon, each, of brown mustard seed, cracked red pepper, coriander seed, fresh ginger, grated, 1/4 c brown sugar (light), and 1tablespoon sea salt. Reduce heat and summer 20 mins. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Cover about 3-4 c combined sliced radishes, chopped radish tops, sliced or whole scallions, baby pearl onions, or any other seasonal fresh vegetables you have on hand, with cooled brine. Weight vegetables with a heavy saucer or plate to keep immersed in brine. Refrigerate for as little as 30 minutes, or as long as 24 hours(flavors will intensify). Serve as complement to meat, poultry, beans, greens, or simply to top fresh lettuce for a refreshing salad. #FRESH #farmtotable #foodblog #recipe. #quickpickles

#Honeycrisp Apples and #Broccoli from @farmhousedelivery are ready for their closeup. They'll have star billing with a simple crumble of bacon, and a dressing of #balsamic, #walnutoil, and #local honey. Keep an eye open for this @maggiecperkins #recipe on #NotesfromMaggiesFarm.

It's been great sharing my @farmhousedelivery bushel with you this weekend! Like what you saw? I'll be sharing these recipes and more on @maggiecperkinsand #NotesfromMaggiesFarm. Please follow along. You guys are great! Calling it a night with local snacks including this goat Gouda and treats from @antonellischz, #honeycrispapple slices from my delivery, and broiled Texas grapefruit slices, also from my @farmhousedelivery bushel. BROWN SUGAR-BROILED TEXAS GRAPEFRUIT SLICES Preheat broiler. Slice grapefruit 1/4 inch thick. Mound brown sugar atop slices. Grate fresh ginger over sugar. Broil on silicone -lined baking sheet until edges brown. Remove from heat and allow to cool. (I eat these beauties peel and all.) Night, y'all!

Thank you to Farmhouse Delivery for the opportunity to create and develop recipes, and savor seasonal vegetables and fruits. A special thank you, also, for the warm welcome of FD's loyal Instagram following. You guys are the best!

For more Instagram food fun, please follow us both at @farmhousedelivery and @maggiecperkins. Can't wait to follow you back!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Tips for Tuesday
In the Garden: December

The leaves fall, the wind blows, and the farm country slowly changes from the summer cottons into its winter wools.--Henry Beston

A typically-Texas kind of December begins with days of highs approaching 80 degrees, but we know what's just around the bend. This season, there have been those highs in the 80s and lows in the 30s--some even in the same day! December demands a Texan's patience. And his entire wardrobe.

Happily, December's garden is gracious; it knows our days are busy with holiday preparations and doesn't require much attention. A few plantings for us--most notably lettuce, which loves the cooler weather, and a little low-effort maintenance allows for time curled up with a cup of tea, and our favorite seed catalogs, with dreams of flourishing spring.
Fertilize: Feed winter bloomers such as alyssum, dianthus and especially pansies every 4-6 weeks.

Water: Water everything well before a freeze to protect against cold injury, but avoid overwatering.

Transplant: Transplant bare root and container grown roses, shrubs, trees, groundcovers and vines so they get established before warm weather arrives next summer.

Prepare Soil: Prepare dormant beds for spring planting: clean out dead and spent plants, compost to enrich the organic content of the soil. Send in soil samples (forms available at the Extension Office). Check winter mulch and replenish if needed. Stockpile leaves for mulching and composting throughout spring and summer.

Lawn Care: Run mower and trimmer engines dry of gasoline, drain and change oil. Take them to the repair shop now to avoid the spring rush. Clean and oil ALL tools before storing for winter.

Diseases/Pests to Look for: Watch for scale, mealy bugs and spider mites on houseplants. Root rot fungus thrives on over-watered houseplants.

Things To Plant In December

Flower Plants
Alyssum, butterfly weed, calendula, candytuft, cornflower, dianthus, daisy, liatris, nasturtium, ornamental cabbage and kale, phlox, snapdragon, stock.

Flower Seeds
Bluebonnet, calendula, candytuft, cornflower, feverfew, gaillardia, gayfeather, larkspur, nasturtium, sweet pea.

Agapanthus, allium, alstroemeria, amarcrinum, amaryllis (in container), crinum, hyacinth, liriope, monkey grass, muscari, star of bethlehem, rain lily, society garlic, spraxis, aztec lily (sprekelia), watsonia.

Lettuce, Radish, Spinach
Protect cool-season vegetables from hard freezes with row covers.

Bare root or container-grown pecans, fruit trees, grapes, berry bushes

Other Things To Do
Time to get the garden ready for the new growing season.
Clean, repair and replace garden tools.
Create a garden plan to help organize your chores and planting schedules.
As an alternative to the traditional Christmas tree, try a container tree or shrub (conically shaped) to be planted in your landscape later.
Order spring vegetable seeds now.

Courtesy of the Garden Guide for Austin & Vicinity, published by the Travis County Master Gardener Association, copyright 2000-2002, via The Central Texas Gardener.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Austin's Best Bets for Holiday Gluttony Recovery

I can't believe I ate the whole thing! 
Maggie C. Perkins

If the recent glorious gluttonous holiday feasting has you feeling a bit bloated and off your healthiest game, find these favorite Austin-area healthy eating resources for a nutritious nudge of inspiration, encouragement, and self-discipline. Buckling your belt securely, you'll be on your way back to your finest and fittest for the festivities yet to come with the help of these local fitness favorites.

photo courtesy of Skinny Limits

Four levels of cold-pressed, unprocessed raw juice cleanses, including a low-sugar option, with prices beginning at $54.00 for 6-16oz. bottles.

Skinny Limits, with 7 locations for pick-up as well as overnight shipping, offers cleansing programs, as well as a la carte juices and smoothies at 7 locations. Skinny Limits also offers a coaching-supported 3 day cleanse, for those of us who could use a little cheerleading.
photo courtesy of JuiceLand

Four levels of juice cleanses including a build your own option, programs include 6 (16oz) juices, daily, beginning at $53.95.

Juiceland, with 10 Austin-area locations, offers cleansing programs as well as over 75 a la carte juices, smoothies, hot juices, shots, and cocktails, alongside a selection of vegan salads and sides, many gluten-free.

photo courtesy of Juice Society

Cleanse of 1, 2, 3, and 5-day durations, delivered in home, $60.00 per day.

No additives, preservatives, or pasteurization, Juice Society aims to support the organic farming community with their glass-packed hand-crafted, small batch juices. Hand pressed, packed, bottled, and delivered to the Austin-area.

photo courtesy of Daily Juice

Offering 5 unique cleanses comprised of 8-16oz. juices, at around $60 per day.

Daily Juice Café, with 2 Austin-area locations and 2 more on the way, offers a la carte juices and smoothies, grab-and-go salads and sides, to pick up or dine in.

photo courtesy of Daily Greens

Offers cleanses of self-chosen lengths with 3 cold-pressed fruit and vegetable juices for $30 a day, available for pick-up or overnight delivery.

Daily Greens juices are available at local markets, as well as the newly-opened Daily Greens Juice Bar, located on Springdale Road. 

photo courtesy of Snap Kitchen

Three juice cleanse programs, ranging from $47-$54, and a build-your-own-option, all with online support, offering delivery or curbside pickup at 3 Austin-area locations.

Snap Commit, a 21-day meal plan of 3 daily calorie ranges priced from $575-$750. Gluten-free, Paleo and vegetarian meal plans also available.

photo courtesy of My Fit Foods

Promotes a 21-Day challenge developed in-store under the guidance of a ‘nutrition coach’, with prices varying according to individual program.

My Fit Foods offers portion-controlled a la carte meals and snacks, as well as nutritional beverages and supplements, at 6 Austin-area locations.

Of Note to the Non-Conformist

Are you a rugged individualist when it comes to food and fitness plans? Like to follow your own road less traveled? Below, find our favorite locals for developing or maintaining your self-guided gluttony recovery plan:

Photos courtesy of Soup Peddler's Real Food & Juice Bar, Mother's Cafe, Counter Culture, Mr. Natural, Casa de Luz, and The Picnik, Austin. 

For a healthy dose of Comfort and Convenience: Soup Peddler’s Real Food & Juice Bar
For Vegetarian and Vegan vittles: Mother’s Café, Counter Culture, and Mr. Natural
For Macrobiotic munchies: Casa de Luz, and Paleo provisions: The Picnik, Austin

Portions of this article were published by CultureMap Austin.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday
Meet Me at the Market

Mueller Farmers' Market

Farmer’s markets are more than places to buy food. They’re important parts of the community. I meet my neighbors there, and I meet farmers. Since most of us are urbanites, we have very little contact with the countryside, but the countryside always supports the cities. Cities cannot survive without rural areas to feed them. At the farmers market, city meets country. People learn about where their food comes from and the people who grow it.-- Michael Pollan

Red Rabbit Cooperative Bakery

Engel Farms

Bernhardt Farms

Engel Farms

Bernhardt Farms

Kitchen Pride Mushrooms

Johnson's Backyard Gardens


Hairston Creek Farm

Scenes from the Mueller Farmers' Market, Austin, Texas.
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