Culinary Corner

Fresh farmers market fruits & vegetables taste good, are good for you

Special to The CambrianJune 13, 2013 

Since cutting 15 inches off my hair for Locks of Love, I have received a gratifying unanimous vote for the new look, thank you very much, but the point I hoped to make was that mature women’s hair is as acceptable as youth’s. It has been a little disconcerting to look in the mirror each day as I morph from Gatsby’s Daisy, to Meg Ryan at her perkiest, to Sharon Gless in “Burn Notice” and now the regal Queen Elizabeth II.

I have also learned about how many local mature women of Cambria have been clipping and sending all along — maybe a dozen or so — without any fanfare. So, many thanks for that to continue; please go to www.locksoflove.org for pertinent details. I am aware that there have been questions raised about the Florida-based charity, but I personally will take a chance on their integrity.

Questions are also being raised about the nutritional value of fruits in the popular contemporary plant-based diet plans. For some folks, even natural sugar is a health issue, but I choose to include fresh fruits in my daily regimen. A friend who is diabetic asked which fruits would be beneficial without causing a “sugar-insulin spike.” After contacting the local county farm bureau, they listed many of our favorites to enjoy, especially the delightful kiwi fruit, avocados, watermelon and blueberries.

Not being a qualified nutritionist, I also referred the question to my friend Mary Bianchi who, after an impressive career in the field, is to be the program director for the University of California Agricultural Extension Office in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties. She referred me to the Michigan State University Extension’s wonderful website which illustrates how one may balance the benefits, especially antioxidants, with fewer than 15 carbs per generous portion. Go to http://bit.ly/166zgAr.

You will note how well our farmers market provides for our well being, as well as knowing that folks like Carol and Mike Broadhurst were out very early, hand choosing each blueberry for you that morning. I also love the great vegetables which are enticingly displayed, especially the lovely kale, recently identified as a super-food.

For fresh unfiltered fibrous smoothies, I chose a quart of Julia’s, which she blends onsite: fresh kale and beets, balanced with oranges and ginger, the best of both worlds.

Coupled with golden cauliflower steamed and mashed with a little Greek yogurt, and squash blossoms stuffed with cheddar and sautéed in a little butter substitute, it’s my favorite meal after returning from the market.

Fall will bring many of the choice veggies, such as purple cauliflower for the fresh crudité platter. Walnuts will be joined by local pistachios, one of those under-recognized power snacks with high nutritional value, according to their brochure and site, thegreennut.org. Imagine, 49 pistachios is a full serving! (Now I must confess that I did buy a large, $6, bag of the new brown sugar Kettle Corn to share, because that’s the only size it comes in. It was outrageously delicious. Maybe we can convince them to package the caramel flavored goodie in the small bags, too. Talk about a sugar-spike!)

Kale in a Kettle

1 bunch fresh kale, scrubbed, ribs removed, and shredded

1 clove Elephant garlic

8 oz. fresh mushrooms, scrubbed dry and sliced

1 can water chestnuts, drained, rinsed, sliced and dry

Olive oil, butter or substitute

Okay, so I use a sauté pan, not a kettle. Have all ingredients ready at hand, because you want to cook quickly before the kale loses its bright color. Heat the pan, add in the oil and/ or butter combination; sauté the garlic, add the mushrooms and water chestnuts. Stir in the shredded kale and toss only until hot and slightly wilted. Season to taste and serve immediately. Next fall, substitute pistachios for the water chestnuts. (One could use fresh spinach, but kale holds up much better as it cooks down.)

Consuelo Macedo’s column is special to The Cambrian. It appears on the second, fourth and any fifth Thursdays. Please send recipes and ideas to Consuelo, c/o The Cambrian, 2442 Main St., Cambria CA 93428; or email to Cambrian@thetribunenews .com.

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