Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Beets with Garlic and Walnut Sauce

We have gorgeous big beets from Johnson's Backyard Garden in the market right now. Both golden beets and chioggia beets (pink outside with white and pink stripes on the inside) are heirloom varieties that are a bit sweeter than your average red beet. They are great to cook for someone who says they don't like beets. I was once one of those people who stuck thier tongue out at the thought of beets, but the golden beet - roasted with a bit of fresh squeezed orange juice on top - opened my taste buds to the beet world beyond the canned pickled beets that I abhorred as a child.

This recipe from the New York Times is one of my favorite way to cook beets. It balances perfectly a savory earthy nuttiness in the garlic and the walnuts with a touch of sweetness in the beets and orange juice. Enjoy!

Beets With Garlic-Walnut Sauce

Published: February 27, 2009
Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

2 pounds red beets, about 4 large, trimmed of greens
1/4 cup olive oil
6 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 cup walnuts
2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
Salt and black pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves, for garnish.

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash beets well. While still wet, wrap them individually in foil and place on a cookie sheet or roasting pan. Bake beets, undisturbed, for 60 to 90 minutes, until a thin-bladed knife pierces each with little resistance. (They may cook at different rates; remove each one when it is done.)

2. Meanwhile, put oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. When it is warm, add garlic and cook until fragrant and beginning to soften, about 6 minutes. Add walnuts and continue to cook until they begin to color, about another 4 minutes. Let mixture cool slightly and then put it in a small food processor; process until you have a relatively smooth paste. Add orange juice to taste and sprinkle with salt and lots of pepper.

3. After beets have cooled, peel off skins. Slice beets into wedges or cubes and toss with dressing. Taste and adjust seasoning, garnish with parsley and serve.

Yield: 4 servings.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Two Classes this Saturday!

Join us in the Market Saturday morning, Dec 17th,  for two fun and educational classes.

First, at 10:30am is the weekly Gardening class. This week we'll be learning how to start veggies from seed. Believe it or not, the time to start veggies for your spring garden is less than a month away! Starting your own seeds can save you money and open up a whole new variety of choices that you'll never find in transplants at the garden center. Learning to start your garden from seed is a must for any gardener who is interested in growing heirloom varieties for taste, nutrition, and fun!

After Gardening class stick around for dessert! At 11:30 join Dr. Dave and the Wilco Wellness Cafe to celebrate the sweetness of the holidays. First Dr. Dave will do a no-bake pie crust demo and then the party gets started with mouthwatering raw dessert sample treats like chocolate almond pie, apple pie and even raw cheesecake. And for you raw foodies out there who want to show off you favorite raw dessert bring it out to the party to celebrate the New Year! Continue the conversation over lunch at the Monument Cafe after the program.




Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A 50 year decline in the nutrient value of our food

This month's Mother Earth News reports that the conventionally grown vegetables we eat today are less rich in protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin, and vitamin C than they were 50 years ago. This report is based on the research of UT's Dr Donal Davis.

Since Davis' research was published in 2004, other studies have shown that modern varieties of wheat are half as rich in protein as varieties grown 100 years ago, heirloom cornmeal is significantly richer in a wide range of nutrients than modern varieties, and commonly grown varieties of broccoli in 1950 contained 13g of calcium, where the common super market varieties today contain only 4.4 g of calcium! This is a travesty! Links between dietary nutrient deficiencies and cancer are well documented.
Chart reprinted from Mother Earth News

On the UT website, Davis explains the reason behind this devaluation. “We conclude that the most likely explanation was changes in cultivated varieties used today compared to 50 years ago,” Davis said. “During those 50 years, there have been intensive efforts to breed new varieties that have greater yield, or resistance to pests, or adaptability to different climates. But the dominant effort is for higher yields. Emerging evidence suggests that when you select for yield, crops grow bigger and faster, but they don’t necessarily have the ability to make or uptake nutrients at the same, faster rate.”

Another reason resides in the soil. The application of nitrogen fertilizer causes plants to grow quickly and increase yields, but they tend to absorb more water and have less nutrient density. Your vegetables are only as nutritious as the soil is healthy! Sustainable and organic farming focuses on building a balanced soil holistically, allowing the plants that grow in these healthy environments to absorb more nutrients. A review of 97 independent studies published in 2008 shows that food grown on nurtured soils in organic systems today are as much as 25% more nutrient dense than conventional crops.

These studies give us yet another reason to choose heirlooms vegetables (rather than modern varieties) that have grown on soils that have been cared for. This is one of the many reasons we here at the Monument Market are commited to bringing you local, organic products. Here you can be sure to please your body and your taste buds!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Gluten Free Bread Tasting & Info Session This Sunday!

Jean from Serious Sourdough will be at the Market Sunday from 10am to 12:30pm sampling her wide range of delicious gluten free breads and baked goods. Come out for some tasty treats as well as to learn about what grains she uses to mimic wheat breads so incredibly well, including teff, the often overlooked ethipoian wonder grain.

Friday, December 2, 2011

December Gardening CLasses

 
Melissa Savoy Cabbage in the Monument Garden
We have three exciting gardening classes scheduled this month. All classes are Saturdays at 10:30 in the Market and will last 1 hour or so.

December 3rd: "December in the Garden". Learn what tasks are in store this month in your garden. Just because it is getting cooler doesn't mean there isn't plenty to do!

December 10th: "Beneficial Insects". Learn about the friendly bugs in the garden - how to identify them, how they help, and how to encourage them to take up residence in your garden.

December 17th: "Starting Veggies from Seed". Just after the new year it will be time to start transplants for you spring garden. Come find out what you need to be able to start all your veggies from seed yourself!

Then we'll be taking a break for the holidays. Classes will resume January 7th with "January in the Garden".

Hope to see you there!


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

We have TOMATOES!!!


Sand Creek Farm in Cameron has brought us a bounty of beautiful tomatoes for your enjoyment. The fall tomato crop snuck in just before this weekend's freeze, so don't delay. Come in today to choose from celebrity red slicing tomatoes or a colorful medely of cocktail tomatoes including porters, lemon boys, sungolds and juliets. (The Juliets are from the Monument Garden).

Friday, November 18, 2011

Learn How to Grow Veggies All Winter!

It is not too late for gardening this year! Come out to the Market Saturday at 10:30am to learn what you can grow now and how to build cold frames and hoophouses - simple, cheap structures to help protect your garden through the periodic cold snaps of a Texas winter.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

This Saturday @ The Market

Come on down to The Market and join Dr. Dave this Saturday, at 11:30a.m. for The Monument Market's second Wilco Wellness Cafe! This week Dr. Dave wil be discussing eating healthy breads and edible flowers.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Local Food Creates Jobs

On this gloriously rainy day I came across a recently released USDA report that looks at trends in locally marketed food. The report talks a lot about the demographics of farmers selling local food and where these farms tend to be, but one of the most interesting factoids it contains is this:


Fruit and vegetable farms with local food sales employed 61,000 workers in 2008, or 13 full time employees per million dollars of sales, while fruit and vegetable farms not engaged in local food sales employed only 3 full time employees per million dollars of sales.

As Mother Jones' Tom Philpott puts it, "In other words, a dollar you spend at the farmers market supports four times as many workers as a dollar spent at the supermarket."

Everytime you choose to shop at the Monument Market, you can be sure your food dollars are going to create jobs right here at home!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Indoor Composting Class This Saturday!

We are so excited to host Emily Fitzgerald from Microbial Earth Farms this Saturday at 10:30am to talk to us about a couple alternative approaches to composting - both of which can be done indoors!

The focus of the talk will be on Bokashi Composting, a method that uses microbes to ferment your food scraps in a bucket in your house, providing you with both a nutrient tea to use as a liquid fertilizer and organic matter that you can then bury directly in the ground. Unlike standard backyard composting, this method also allows you to compost meat and dairy!

Emily will also talk to us about vermicomposting a.k.a using worms to make compost for us! Feel free to bring any composting questions you may have. Emily is a wealth of knowledge.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Introducing the Hakurei Salad Turnip

It was a crisp fall day a few years back when a farmer, hosting an educational workday on his lush organic farm, hopped down from his tractor to pull bunches of whited tender globes from the moist earth. "You have to try these," he said as he handed out a veggie snack to all of us eager young farmers. I had never really thought about turnips. They just never struck me as an interesting vegetable. But this Japanese salad turnip, sometimes called a Hakurei turnip, was a crisp, succulent treat, and has remained on the top of my fall veggie favorite list since that day.

So now I say to you, feeling a bit like a turnip evangelist - "You've got to try these. You'll love them, I promise." Eat them raw - sliced, diced, cubed or julienned - in a salad, with dip, or on their own. Or you can roast the roots or add them to soup, if you can get them that far - they so are good raw! And the greens can be sauteed or mixed into a salad raw as well.

Try them sliced in a salad of your favorite mixed baby greens, apple slices, and your favorite vinaigrette. Yum!


And here is a preview of a future salad - a baby cauliflower, nestled within it's leaves. This will probably appear on the market shelves near the end of the month!

Friday, November 4, 2011

November Gardening Classes

A chill came in last night, but it appears the Monument Garden stayed frost-free. In preparation of the potential freeze, we covered some of the frost sensitive plants that we weren't ready to give up on yet with a floating row cover. This spun-bound polyester lightweight cloth provides 4 degrees of frost protection while being light & water permeable. Row cover can extend the life of frost sensitive plants when temperatures take a dip. It appears we could have gotten away without it last night, but better safe than sorry! A big thanks to Clayton who helped me fight the wind while putting the covers out  yesterday afternoon.
Frost sensitive peppers hide under row cover, while cabbage & broccoli in the next row do fine in a cold snap.

This Saturday come out to the Monument Market at 10:30 am to learn more about what to expect and what tasks to plan in your garden this month.

Here is the Gardening class schedule for November. Classes are Saturdays at 10:30am in the Market:

November 5th: November in the Garden: Preparing for Winter - The first Saturday of every month is an overview of gardening tasks for the month. Learn what you can plant, harvest & plan to do in the next few weeks.

November 12th: Guest Speaker Workshop: Bokashi Indoor Composting with Emily Fitzgerald from Microbial Earth - We are excited to have Emily come in to teach us how we can get microbes to work for us in the soil and in our compost. She'll be highlighting an indoor composting system that uses microbes to ferment our food. You can even compost meat with Bokashi - come find out how it works!

November 19th: Season Extension: Cold Frames & Hoop Houses for the Home Garden - Learn what you can grow throughout the winter with just a little protection. We'll discuss simple structures and techniques for keeping frost at bay to extend your harvest!

November 26th: No Class due to Holiday Weekend

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Arugula!

harvesting arugula from the Monument Garden
I wanted to share with you my favorite arugula recipes. Also known as rocket, this spicy green is high in vitamins A and C. Arugula seeds were used in aphrodisiac concoctions back in Roman times. Now the greens are more popular, giving salads a little extra kick.


If they are too much for you by themselves, try mixing them with baby lettuce or spinach. Or if you are looking for even more spice, try the purple osaka mustard greens I harvested this morning!


The sweetness of roasted beets is the perfect companion for arugula. Try substituting the Peach Infused Balsamic Vinegar that we just got into the market this morning for regular balsamic in the recipe below!


beet & goat cheese arugula salad

Ingredients:

DRESSING:
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3 Tablespoons shallots, thinly sliced
1 Tablespoon honey
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
SALAD:
6 medium beets, cooked & quartered
6 cups arugula
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted & coarsely chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 large avocado, peeled, pitted & cubed
3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled


Directions:

1. Line a baking sheet with foil. Preheat oven to 450°F.
2. Whisk vinegar, shallots and honey in a medium bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in the oil. Season the vinaigrette, to taste, with salt and pepper. Toss the beets in a small bowl with enough dressing to coat. Place the beets on the prepared baking sheet and roast until the beets are slightly caramelized, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes. Set aside and cool.
3. Toss the arugula, walnuts, and cranberries in a large bowl with enough vinaigrette to coat. Season the salad, to taste, with salt and pepper. Mound the salad atop 4 plates. Arrange the beets around the salad. Sprinkle with the avocado and goat cheese, and serve.
recipe from recipegirl.com
Arugula and Bacon Quiche

Crust
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into small pieces
  • 4 tablespoons (about) ice water

Filling
  • 6 bacon slices, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallots
  • 8 ounces arugula, stems trimmed, leaves coarsely chopped (about 5 1/2 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup shredded Gruyère cheese (about 2 1/2 ounces)

preparation

For crust:
Blend flour and salt in processor. Add butter and shortening. Using on/off turns, process until mixture resembles coarse meal. Mix in enough ice water to form moist clumps. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic and chill until dough is firm enough to roll out, about 30 minutes. Roll out dough on floured surface to 12-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom. Trim dough overhang to 1 inch. Fold overhang in and press, forming double-thick high-standing sides. Pierce crust all over with fork. Freeze crust 30 minutes. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and keep frozen.)
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 400°F. Bake crust until golden brown, piercing with fork if crust bubbles, about 20 minutes. Transfer crust to rack. Reduce temperature to 375°F.
For filling:
Cook bacon in heavy medium skillet over medium-high heat until crisp, about 5 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels and drain. Add shallots to same skillet and sauté until tender, about 2 minutes. Add arugula and sauté until just wilted, about 1 minute. Remove from heat. Add balsamic vinegar; toss to combine.
Sprinkle arugula mixture, then bacon over crust. Whisk cream, eggs, salt and pepper in large bowl to blend. Stir in cheese. Pour mixture into crust.
Bake quiche until filling is slightly puffed and golden, about 35 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes. Cut into wedges.

recipe from epicurious.com

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Two Classes the Saturday!

Now that our gardens have been graced with cooler weather you may be finding that you have more bounty than you know what to do with! Come out to the Market at 10:30 am on Saturday to learn a variety of methods to preserve the harvest. Find out how to enjoy homegrown tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, okra, basil, & fruit in the depth of winter (or in the hottest part of summer)! We'll discuss canning, pickling, drying and freezing, complete with recipes!



Arugula! Yum!
Another way to put your fresh harvest to good use is by making green smoothies. At 11:30 am join Dr Dave of the Wilco Wellness Cafe to learn helpful info about improving your health with different delicious green smoothies using local greens (including monument garden kale!), fruits, nutbutters and superfoods. Find out more at http://www.meetup.com/Wilco-Wellness-Cafe/


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Why Buy Organic?

At the Monument Market we are committed to carrying only organically and locally produced items. But what is so great about organic produce anyway?

First, let us define "organic." At the base organic food has been grown without the use of synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, fungicides or pesticides, but the essence of the difference between organic and conventional food systems is really about a difference in mind set about the relationship between humans and nature. Instead of hubristically trying to fight, sterilize and tame nature with chemical inputs, organic farmers work in tandem with, and learn from nature's cycles. Organic farmers know that nature is not something to conquer, but something to nurture as it nurtures us. In practice this manifests in soil building with the use of compost, returning from the soil what we have taken in harvest, and in creating biodiversity instead of monocultures so that pests and diseases have less room to take over. A diverse system is much more resilient than one of uniformity.

This holistic approach to agriculture produces food that is better for you and your children, better for the environment, and can produce more nutrition per acre than conventional food.

Better For You And Your Children
According to the EPA:
"Laboratory studies show that pesticides can cause health problems, such as birth defects, nerve damage, cancer, and other effects that might occur over a long period of time." 

"Pesticides may harm a developing child by blocking the absorption of important food nutrients necessary for normal healthy growth. Another way pesticides may cause harm is if a child's excretory system is not fully developed, the body may not fully remove pesticides. Also, there are "critical periods" in human development when exposure to a toxin can permanently alter the way an individual's biological system operates."

The 12 most pesticide laden foods to be sure to buy organic!
Earlier this year the Environmental Working Groups released a shopping guide that highlights the fruits and veggies with the most and the fewest pesticide residues - the "Dirty Dozen" and the "Clean 15." You can download it here.

There have also been a variety of health issues reported to be caused by Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO's). It is believed that as much as 80% of processed foods in the average grocery store contain GMOs. You can assume that anything that contains conventional corn, soy, canola, or sugar beets probably has some GMOs in it. Because there is no law demanding that producers label their products if they contain GMOs, the only way to know for sure that what you are not eating them is to buy organic.

Our food is only as nutritious as our soil is healthy. Because organic farmers spend so much time and effort caring for the soil, that wide range of nutrients produces a healthier and more nutritious vegetable.  Not to mention the health benefits to growing your own organic food!

Better For the Environment
A healthy and fertile topsoil is one of the most important, and most ignored natural resources we have. Soil is a living dynamic ecosystem that we rely on everyday to provide the nutrition we need to survive.  The number one task for the organic farmer is care for this precious resource, cycling what would otherwise be waste back into the soil to then become the fodder for the next round of growth.

The edge of the Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico
Instead of this holistic cycling of nutrients, conventional farming relies on synthetic nitrogen, often in excess, which then can runoff into water ways, feeding algae blooms in rivers and lakes as well as the Gulf of Mexico. If the algae bloom is big enough, the algae use up all the oxygen in the water, creating a "dead zone" where no other life can exist. This year the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico measured 3300 square miles, the size of Rhode Island and Delaware combined.

GMO's also add to environmental pollution. A large portion of GMO crops are "Round Up Ready," meaning they can be sprayed with Monsanto's Round Up herbicide without being harmed. This has caused a new breed of Round Up resistant "superweeds" to be appearing in field across America. This causes even more herbicide to be used. since 2006 herbicide use has gone up 48%, according to a study by the Organic Center.

This is not the image I associate with food!
And don't get me started about terminator seeds. Straight from science fiction, these seeds have been bred to not reproduce, so farmers cannot save the seeds of their harvest and have to buy more from Monsanto. Aside from the disregard for basic human rights and food sovereignty, the biotech companies are flirting with environmental disaster with this one. It is already been documented that genes from GMO crops can transfer to similar species - such as between canola and wild mustard. Just imagine what could happen if terminator genes spread between species. This foolishness alone makes me want to do what I can to boycott GMOs.

More Nutrition Per Acre
Motivated by a continuing rise in global food prices, in 2004 the UN began a study of organic agriculture and food security in 24 countries in East Africa. Over the course of the next 4 years the UN documented a 116% increase in crop yields when the farmers switched to an organic growing system. They also found that the farmers could save money on chemical inputs, favoring locally available organic inputs, thus having more money to spend on education and health care. This study confirms that the assertion that we need conventional agriculture and GMO crops to feed the world in nothing more than a well publicized myth.

Another study “Health per Acre: Organic Solutions to Hunger and Malnutrition” by Dr Vandana Shiva and Dr Vaibhav Singh released earlier this year, looks at organic farming in India. This study encourages food researchers to measure agricultural wealth, not in yield per acre, but nutrition per acre and posits that when studied under this lens, intensive, diverse organic farming can provide much more of the nutrients necessary for human health per acre than conventional agriculture.

Some, but not all of the producers at the market are "Certified Organic" meaning that they have been vetted by the USDA's National Organic Program (NOP) to confirm, as quoted from the NOP's website "that the food or other agricultural product has been produced through approved methods that integrate cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. Synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering may not be used."

If the producer is not certified organic, we review their practices to make sure that they meet our standards. Many small farmers grow using organic methods but do not have the finances or time to go through the rigorous paperwork required to be certified by the USDA. That's one of the great things about buying from local farmers, you can always go to their farm to confirm for yourself that they are growing sustainably!

Friday, October 21, 2011

A customer shares her Market finds...What's on your table?


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

In anticipation of the forthcoming cold snap, we had a delicious, comforting dinner last night that was filled with treasures from the Market. I served creamy blue grits (Homestead Mill) topped with fried eggs (Vital Farms) and sausage (Richardson Farms). The meal was made complete with a salad made from fresh spinach (not sure of the source, but it was fresh and delicious). I topped the salad with some raspberries and walnuts (not from Monument Market, but needed some color and crunch!). I have attached some pictures. Thank you for continuing to offer local, fresh products. We love your place!

Hope



Hope, thank you so much for your wonderful pictures. Might we suggest some delicious Gala apples to go with that spinach salad next time you are in? We sure appreciate your patronage and look forward to your next visit!


Do you have a delicious dish you'd like to share with other Marketeers? Send an email to jmurphy@themonumentcafe.com and share your culinary creativity with us!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Learn How to Grow Herbs!

Aromatic, beautiful, nutritious, medicinal and easy to grow and maintain, herbs should be a mainstay for anyone who loves to cook. You can't beat the culinary delight of few pinches of fresh herbs, growing an arms length from the kitchen, to enhance the flavor of your favorite dish. Come to the Monument Market 10:30am this Saturday, October 22nd to learn the secrets to growing a successful herb garden. The class will be repeated Wednesday, October 26th at 1pm. Whether grown in containers on your windowsill, or added to your vegetable or ornamental garden, everyone can and should grow herbs. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Notes from the Garden: Asian Greens

This week we've started harvesting some beautiful, huge heads of napa cabbage. High in vitamin A & C and calcium, this crunchy wonder is a fall season star. Use it in stirfrys, soups, wraps or make it into wonderfully light slaw. Napa cabbage slaw is a great side dish or easy potluck offering. My favorite way to enjoy napa cabbage slaw is on fish tacos! Yum!

Also fresh from the garden is baby bok choy, perfect stir fried with a bit of fresh ginger, garlic, soy sauce and a splash of sesame oil. For a full, fast meal add fresh gulf shrimp to the mix and serve with Texmati Rice!

Spicy Napa Cabbage Slaw with Cilantro Dressing
Gourmet  | August 2008
by Ruth Cousineau

  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar (not seasoned)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon grated peeled ginger
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 fresh serrano chile, finely chopped, with seeds
  • 1 head Napa cabbage (1 1/2 pounds), cored and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1 bunch scallions, sliced
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
Whisk together vinegar, sugar, ginger, oil, chile, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add remaining ingredients and toss well. Let stand, tossing occasionally, 10 minutes.

Fish Tacos with Creamy Guacamole and Lime Napa Slaw
From foodandwine.com
  1. 2 Hass avocados—halved, pitted and peeled
  2. 1/4 cup low-fat sour cream or Greek yogurt
  3. 1 small jalapeño, seeded and thinly sliced
  4. 2 tablespoons minced red onion
  5. 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  6. 5 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  7. Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  8. 1 small head of napa cabbage, shredded (4 cups)
  9. 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for brushing
  10. 2 pounds of your favorite fish, cut into 2 inch slices
  11. Ten 7-inch flour tortillas, warmed
  12. 2 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced
  13. Hot sauce, for serving
  14. Lime wedges, for serving
  1. Light a grill. In a medium bowl, mash the avocados, sour cream, jalapeño, red onion, cilantro and 3 tablespoons of the lime juice. Season the guacamole with salt and pepper and press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the guacamole.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the cabbage with the 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and the remaining 2 tablespoons of lime juice. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Brush the fish with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over moderately high heat until lightly charred and cooked through.
  4. To assemble each taco, spread a dollop of guacamole on a tortilla. Top with a piece of fish, a few tomato slices and a large spoonful of the cabbage slaw. Serve with the hot sauce and lime wedges.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Organic Pest Control Class!

tomato hornworm
This Saturday, October 15th, at 10:30am we'll be discussing how to control common garden pests without the use of synthetic pesticides. Come out to the Monument Market learn methods to keep a balanced biodiversity in your garden and defend your veggies from unwanted munchers! If the weather is nice we'll meet outside in the biergarten.

If you can't make it on Saturday, the class will be repeated Wednesday, October 19th at 1pm.

Let me know if there are any specific pests that you'd like to have included in the discussion by commenting here or e-mailing me at michelle@themonumentcafe.com.

See you there!



Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Eat Local & Seasonal!


Yard Long Bean & Flower
One of the unique characteristics of the Monument Market is that we carry all local seasonal items. This means that everything is super fresh but that there will be many items that are only available at certain times of the year. Since we are not flying in apples from New Zealand or berries from Chile, we have to rely on the unique gifts that each season brings us. There’s no “jetlagged” food here!
We are lucky in Texas to be able to grow food year round. There are two natural lulls in the harvest in August/September, due to the heat, and in January/February, due to the cold. These slow periods might leave us with a few less choices, but they are short in comparison to the long winter that much of the country must wait through before they see fresh local produce again. 

You can break up most veggies into cool season lovers and warm season lovers. Generally leaves and roots are cool season lovers. This includes lettuce, spinach kale, cabbage, carrots, beets, radishes, and broccoli & cauliflower (which are really immature flowers).  Fruits, pods, and seeds are usually warm season lovers, such as tomatoes, beans, eggplant, okra, peppers and melons. There are a couple that defy this simplistic separation - sweet potatoes are a root that relishes the heat, and peas are a seed and pod that really prefer the cool, but most veggies follow the rule.

a super Armenian Cucumber!
Right now and into November is one of the most delicious times of year in Central Texas as it is still warm enough for the fruiting crops like cucumbers and okra, but cool enough to start seeing kale and bok choy and other yummy greens.


Why Eat Locally & Seasonally -

As soon as a vegetable or fruit is picked, it’s nutrients begin to break down. The sooner you can get a veggie from the soil to your plate, the more nutritious, not to mention delicious it will be.

It is more delicious, because it came fresh from your neighbors garden. Most grocery store food was bred to stand up to shipping abuse and to store well, not for flavor. Real food might not last as long on a truck, but it sure tastes better.

Local food is traceable to its source. This is important for food safety reasons. You can trust that the farmer is taking the correct precautions to avoid any food safety risks when you know that this is the same food she feeds her child and that his business relies on your satisfaction and good health. Most food safety scares happen when food from all over the world is streamed together, quickly spreading what may have been a minor problem and making it very difficult to isolate the disease origin.

Local food, especially when grown organically, has a much lower carbon footprint than food shipped from across the world. (More about Organic Food in a post coming soon...)







Secrets to eating seasonally:
Let your meal planning be inspired by what you find at the market or from your local farmer, rather than heading to the store with a specific recipe in mind.



Use our Harvest Calendar chart to get an idea of what veggies will be in season at the same time when planning recipes or flipping through cookbooks.



Get ideas from farmers and market managers for their favorite seasonal dishes. You’ll often find that those who love to grow food also love to cook and eat it!



Preserve the harvest! Freezing, drying and canning are great ways to have your favorite flavors even when they are not in season. I'll be teaching a "Preserving the Harvest" Class the last Saturday in October at 10:30am...



Here are some wonderful cookbooks that focus on seasonal cooking, but you may have to tweek some of the recipes to get them to fit our unique Texas seasons :



Local flavors : cooking and eating from America's farmers' markets  1st ed.
 Madison, Deborah.
Eating local : the cookbook inspired by America's farmers
 Fletcher, Janet Kessel.
Grub: Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen
  Anna Lappé & Bryant Terry
Farmer John's Cookbook: The Real Dirt on Vegetables
 John Peterson, Angelic Organics
The harvest eating cookbook : more than 200 recipes for cooking with seasonal local ingredients
 Snow, Keith.
Cooking in the moment : a year of seasonal recipes  
 Reusing, Andrea.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Backyard Chicken Workshop this Saturday!!!


If you've ever had a farm fresh egg, you'll know what a wholly different thing it is compared to a standard grocery store egg. The flavor is richer, the yolk more yellow and full, and they are better for you. According to a 2007 study performed by a  Mother Earth News  that compared pasture raised eggs from flocks across the country to USDA nutrient data for commercial eggs they found that eggs from hens allowed to graze on fresh pastures contain as much as

• 1/3 less cholesterol 
• 1/4 less saturated fat 
• 2/3 more vitamin A
• 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids 
• 3 times more vitamin E 
• 7 times more beta carotene

Read more: http://www.motherearthnews.com/Real-Food/2007-10-01/Tests-Reveal-Healthier-Eggs.aspx#ixzz1a7VLSUf

In the Market we carry eggs from Austin based Vital Farms who raise their hens on "plenty of salad and exercise."

Or you can raise hens yourself and only have to go to your backyard to find a superior egg! This Saturday at 10:30am in the Market, Pattie Meyers will share her 16 years of backyard chicken raising with us. She'll also have information about the current Georgetown codes pertaining to chicken raising. If you've ever thought about raising your own chickens, you don't want to miss this, but if you can't make it on Saturday, I'll be repeating what I learn in the class Wednesday, October12th at 1pm. Hope to see you there! I'm so eggcited! (Sorry - I couldn't bear to make it all the way through this blog post without some sort of egg-pun)