High-tech tomatoes. Mysterious milk. Supersquash. Are we supposed to eat this stuff? Or is it going to eat us? ~Annita Manning
Wednesdays have officially become one of my favorite days of the week. Why? American University’s Farmers Market! Every Wednesday students and staff head to the quad, ready to stock up on fresh fruits and veggies, cheese, homemade bread and more!
The fruits and veggies are courtesy of Agora Farms who gets their produce from Amish farmers in Lancaster, Pa. I left with a bag of apples, zucchini and red bell peppers!
Mmm home-made bread from Upper Crust Bakery. I’ve heard good things. This may have to be a purchase for next Wednesday..
Today I considered myself an esteemed Locavore.
Never heard of it? A Locavore is a person who makes an effort to eat locally, which provides benefits to both the earth and your body. Eating this way…
- Keeps local farmers in business
- Preserves the environment
- Reduces use of pesticides and chemicals
- Increases intake of whole foods —> reduces intake of processed
- Ensures freshly picked produce, which = great taste!
- May mean more nutrients in the food you eat (research still developing)
How can you eat locally? It’s easy! Farmers markets are popping up everywhere, so check out the ones in your area. No markets near you? No biggie. Grocery stores are now putting local foods on display. I was happy to see signs like this in Whole Foods (my love) helping people choose local items.
Walking home after my food-shopping spree I smelled basil in the air, followed the scent and found a gardening community! A great option for local eating. The wait list to get a spot is 1-2 years..there must be more Locavores in DC than I thought!
Now that we’ve covered how to get your local food, let’s get to the good part. Cooking it! I went with a simple Quinoa dish, with a side of sautéed veggies. Quinoa is one of my favorite foods so for those who don’t know what it is, I will gladly share.
Quinoa, pronounced “keen-wa” is a seed-like grain that cooks just like rice! It was first eaten by Incan Warriors as their fuel for battle because it gave them such good energy and power. Take that triple-protein shakes. Why I love Quinoa:
- Tasty, nutty flavor
- It’s a complete protein (has all of the amino acids your body needs)
- High fiber to keep you regular
- High in essential nutrients
- Very versatile! Can be used in tons of recipes, and served either as a main or side dish
I picked out a recipe from Epicurious, one of my go-to food websites. My farmer’s market zucchini wasn’t part of the recipe so I cooked it up on the side with some spinach. Preparing this dish was so easy. Perfect for chefs of any level.
I was excited to try this dish, but wasn’t prepared for the greatness! It was a perfect mix of veggies and spice, and brought out the flavor of the Quinoa. I thought my reaction was biased since I am a Quinoa lover, but that changed when I heard “woah!” from the kitchen. It was my roomie’s boyfriend after he sampled a bite. Success!
The recipe I picked out was called “Quinoa with Black Bean and Cilantro” but that name definitely didn’t do it justice. I shall call it…
Heat oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and red pepper; sauté until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in next 4 ingredients. Add water; bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until Quinoa is almost tender, about 14 minutes. Add beans and 1/4 cup cilantro; cook uncovered until heated through and liquid is fully absorbed, about 3 minutes. Transfer to bowl; sprinkle with 1/4 cup cilantro and cheese, if desired.
Easy, tasty, healthy…and perfect. Serve as a side dish or eat it as a main meal. Use local, organic or any plain veggies, whichever you prefer. Have it Your Weigh