Saturday, March 14, 2009

Spring is on the way... to my stomach

Fresh in today: The first spring vegetables! I try very hard to eat locally and organic because my food will have had less of a carbon footprint and be more flavorful. Generally, my rule of thumb is that I'll eat Washington produce whether or not it's organic (though it's preferred of course) and "nearby" organic produce from British Columbia, Oregon, and California. I occasionally buy organic from Mexico (bananas are one of my weak spots), but I never buy from South America. There's a reason whatever it is isn't growing nearby right now! Trying to grow food in the wrong season or shipping it in from somewhere where it is the right season are not reasonable answers. There's only so much to go around, and I'd like to minimize the impact of my typical American uber consumer habits. Eating more or less locally also heightens my appreciation of the seasons and reminds me that my food comes from the earth and her cycles. Luckily, my local Whole Foods is amazing. Spring produce is trickling in, and I couldn't be more excited!

These dandelion greens were gorgeous. I bought them specifically as an ingredient for Mark Bittman's green mashed potatoes, and they worked really well. This might have been the first time I've ever cooked with dandelion greens, but they didn't seem too hard. A bit like arugula, but not too much peppery bite. The final mashed potato-y goodness was yummy and good for me--full serving of greens with all that fluffy mash!

The real kicker, though, was the green beans. Green beans! I haven't seen organic green beans from California since... well, probably since the last time I lived there. Which was about five months ago, and that's a crazy long amount of time considering they're hands down my favorite vegetable. I do love roasting green beans, but since that's what I've been doing all winter with my roots, I changed tactics. Sauteed the green beans with some sliced leeks, olive oil, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. That's it--so easy! Made sure to keep them a bit crispy so they'd still have that nice springtime crunch. It was heaven. Made myself put some away in a tupperware for lunch this week... but I kind of want to heat it up and eat the rest of them right now. :)

(Also, side note: I've noticed my favorite food pictures tend to be close-ups with some of the curve of the bowl showing. I swear I take other shots, but these just keep ending up as my favorites! My flickr page shows a bit more diversity, but not much. What do you think--too much of one view? Or is it just a good shot for so many things that it's worth it?)

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