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Healthy Eating


The Food Matters Project: Sweet Potato and Corn Fritters

This is what it's come to. If you look at the photo on the left, you'll see the light. I think we should take a moment to mourn its loss, don't you? The earlier sunrise does make it easier for me to wake up at 6 am, but the 5 pm sunset makes me utterly helpless when it comes to taking blog pictures. If you look at the photo on the right, you'll see the glare from my kitchen bulb, and my shadow from standing over the plate with iPhone in hand. Sigh.

But onto the recipe! It's quite good, with bright flavors, and easy to prep in advance. When it came to making the fritters, I followed Mark Bittman's recipe, but decided to use a lone avocado and Greek yogurt to slather alongside instead of the Thai dipping sauce.

For the original recipe, visit Aura's blog. 



The Food Matters Project: Soba Noodles with Avocado, Corn and Grilled Salmon

With Alaskan king salmon in season, I knew it would be the "something seared on top" component of this dish. Beyond that, I wasn't satisfied with just a grilled corn and avocado salad, but wanted something to really chew on and bring some heft to the meal. Tender soba noodles made this a seasonal, filling salad for yesterday's lunch.

For the original recipe, visit Jenn's blog.


1 ear corn, shucked and kernels removed
1/2 to 3/4 pound wild Alaskan king salmon
1 8 ounce package soba noodles
1 large avocado
Handful of parsley
Buttermilk, as needed

Chives, for garnish

Heat some oil in a cast iron pan to medium-high. Add the corn, season with salt and pepper, and stir to combine. Cook for 3-5 minutes, until most of the kernels are charred. Set aside.

In the same pan, add more oil and warm on medium-high heat. Season the salmon with salt and pepper, then add to the pan, skin side down. Cook for three minutes on each side, or until the salmon is medium rare. Set aside on a cutting board to cool.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season with salt and add soba noodles; cook according to package directions; drain, reserving a bit of the cooking liquid.

While the water heats up, blend the avocado in a food processor with salt, pepper, and a handful of parsley. Add buttermilk slowly to thin it out to the consistency of a dressing.

Pour the soba noodles into a mixing bowl and add the dressing a spoonful at a time (you will likely have some leftover). Toss until well combined, adding a splash of the cooking water to thin if needed. Add the corn and chives (if using), and toss again. Flake the salmon into large pieces. Divide the noodles among plates, and top with the salmon and extra chives.


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When you don't cook, the marketers win

Cooking used to be an absolute. If you wanted to eat, you needed to make it yourself. But times have changed, and recently caught up with food historian Laura Shapiro, who has some strong opinions on the topic:

"The whole idea of 'no time to cook' was invented out of thin air to promote packaged foods."

After instant meals were distributed to troops in World War II, the concept entered civilian life in the form of microwaveable meals, frozen foods, and packaged products. Over the next 50 years, our cooking habits changed drastically, both parents started working full time, and our lives seemed more hectic. it also doesn't help that for many of us, the line separating our professional and personal lives has blurred. We are busier, that's certain, but it's a question of priorities.

Cooking isn't about time. It's about knowledge, confidence, and whether or not healthy food is a priority to you and your family.

Over the past few decades, marketers have tried to convince us that we need quick cooking. But like most things in life, cooking is a choice. We can choose to heat frozen pizza or we can choose to make meals from real ingredients in our own kitchens.

Gourmet gets it right: "When people say they’re busy nowadays, they’re right. But—too busy to cook? If you’re comfortable in the kitchen, you can assemble a simple meal faster than it would take to get Chinese food delivered. If you’re not accustomed to cooking, or if you’re totally wiped out at the end of the day, preparing even a simple meal will seem impossible. Those are all true human conditions of the present day, but they aren’t about time."

How to find time to cook

Habits take time to form, even the good ones like flossing or exercise, so it's best to ease into things with a few simple steps.

1. Make food a priority. This doesn't mean you have to shop solely at the Farmers' Market or cook from scratch every night. Initially, it only requires acknowledgement. Once you make a decision to care more about cooking, you'll naturally find new rhythms as you introduce new ingredients and try new recipes.

2. Work it in. The reason takeout is more appealing to someone who has had a long day is because it's mindless. It doesn't require you planning what to make ahead of time, shopping for ingredients, or fiddling with pots and pans. Sometimes we need mindless, but certainly not every night. Even planning a few meals a week well in advance will save you when you walk in the door.

3. Develop your skills. If technique is what's holding you back, sign-up for a local cooking class or start recording cooking shows in earnest. These kinds of tutorials are designed to offer tips and skills to make cooking easier, not harder.

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10 Slave-Free Tomato Recipes

Food Bloggers for Slave-Free Tomatoes is only two weeks away, so it's time to start planning your posts! To inspire you in the kitchen, here are 10 worthy tomato recipes you might consider featuring.

1. Buckwheat Crepes with Corn, Tomatoes and Goat Cheese

2. Sweet Tomato Jam

3. Puy Lentil Salad with Cherry Tomatoes

4. Grilled Steak Salad with Tomato Vinaigrette

5. Charred Corn Salad with Basil and Tomatoes

6. Coconut Rice Salad with Cherry Tomatoes and Corn

7. Roasted Tomato Tart

8. Smoky Spanish Tomato Soup

9. Trout, Tomatoes and Basil in Parchment

10. Grain and Pesto Salad with Cherry Tomatoes



The Food Matters Project: Skirt Steak Fajitas with Chimichurri

It's been quite a while since I've brought a piece of meat home, so today's meal was a rare treat in my house. It's 1 pound of grass fed skirt steak, held between a tortilla smeared with guacamole and dotted with onions and peppers. Oh, and the fragrat chimichurri that sort of stole the show.

I used the chimichurri in place of cheese in the fajitas, and loved the flavor it lent to the meal. To make the chimichurri, I used 1/2 a bunch of cilantro and 1/4 bunch of parsley. To that I added a very small garlic clove, pinch of red pepper flakes, and salt. I whirled it in my Vitamix with enough oil to thicken it up. That's it!

For the original recipe, visit Lexi's blog.