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Friday, September 9, 2011

Inspired by... what the chefs know


If you like to cook then you likely already know that reading cookbooks and reading and subscribing to (at least one) cooking magazine can teach you a lot! I mean reading. Not just following the recipes.


I subscribe to one magazine a year. This year it's Cooking Light and I am really enjoying it! I probably end up making, on average, five dishes from each edition. Most have garnered a repeat performance.


Because of this, I can personally recommend this magazine to you. And trust me, the subscription price is far, far lower than the cover price you see at check out! (BTW, Cooking Light doesn't know I exist, this is my personal opinion and recommendation. I am not being compensated in anyway.)

One of the first features I look at every month is First Bites: What to eat right now. It highlights foods currently in season. Why is that important?

Chef Daniel Ahern says,

"Flavor comes from freshness. Eating in season is one of the easiest, and least expensive, ways to improve the quality of your food immediately." Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef, pg. 46

Did you get that? Wow!

Food is more flavorful and less expensive if you buy it when it's in season. Seems like a no brainer – right? Do you do it? I have to admit, it was not something I thought about when I prepared my grocery list every week. Just because the items are available (seemingly fresh) in your produce aisle, does not mean they are "in season."

Why are seasonal foods more flavorful and less expensive?

A couple of reasons. Produce begins to loose it's nutritional value as soon as it's harvested. And foods that have been "forced" to grow, often don't have the same nutritional value. (you can do a Google search for more specific facts on this subject) All this affects flavor. As does how long the produce has been sitting around. Seasonal produce is being harvested close to home, so you're purchasing it closer to harvest time.  It is also less expensive because the stores aren't paying to have it shipped in from Chile or Mexico.

So how do you know what's in season?

Well, your first clue will be the price!  Red peppers are 88 cents a piece at my grocer right now. At other times of the year they can be close to $2 each! I've even seen them close to $3!! You can guess what's been in my shopping cart lately!

If you subscribe to a cooking magazine, you can also get a clue as to what is in season by reading the current issue. (When you clip recipes, note the cover month)  Many times, this has prompted me to cook "outside my box" by trying new ingredients or combinations of ingredients I wouldn't have normally put together.

Case in point. I was perusing my September edition of Cooking Light last week and came across their recipe for Mac & Cheese: the creamiest ever! Who doesn't love Macaroni and Cheese? I flipped to the recipe and... what's this? No buttery, heavy sauce here. They squashed out half the calories and 3/4 of the saturated fat by using a trick in the sauce.

You'll never guess!

Here's a hint:


I had to make this recipe, just to see how it came out. Honestly, I was pretty sure I wasn't going to like it.

It was delicious!


Here's the recipe.

Let me know what you think!  I'd also love to hear your thoughts about cooking in season and how you save money at the grocery store!




PS Another good resource for a list of season foods is Brittany's blog, Real Sustenance. Every Sunday she has a linky party called Seasonal Sunday. Recipes must contain at least one season food. Check it out!



Sharing inspiration here:

Tidy Mom

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your comment on my K. What a great recipe! I am going to have to try it. You are a Texas lady too! I am in Coppell.


If you read something here that inspired you, I’d love to hear about it. Please know I appreciate every comment! Thanks so much for stopping by! Blessings, June