Thursday, October 25, 2007

Green Halloween at Green City Market

Join Purple Asparagus for the Green City Market's 3rd Annual Halloween Party!

Make a goody bag and fill it with healthy treats from the farmers. No costume? No problem! Our expert face painters will transform your child into the scary monster of their dreams (or nightmares).

When: 10am-12pm on Saturday October 27
Where: Green City Market (located at the south end of Lincoln Park between Stockton and Cannon Drives)

Be there and be scared!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Who wants pie?!

Sunday, October 14, 2007, is the 3rd annual Bucktown Apple Pie Contest benefitting Friends of Holstein Park and I, along with Tracy Kellner of Provenance Food and Wine and Naomi Stepanek of Tipsy Cake, will be one of the judges! Renowned pastry chef Gale Gand of Tru and Nancy Mathieson of the American Pie Council will be among the finalist judges.

Pie not your game? Come on by to hear great bluegrass music by Tangleweed, bring the kids to decorate pumpkins, bid on something great at the silent auction or just take your chances on the $1,000 cash raffle.

Friday, October 5, 2007

The Naturally Healthy Children's Expo is this Saturday and Sunday from 10AM-6PM, at Chicago's Navy Pier! It promises to be two great days of family fun, good for parents, children, grandparents, and parents-to-be! Activities for kids include sing-alongs, storytelling, a worm farm, art projects, and a farmer's market. Adults can participate in informative sessions about children's health and wellness; creating a healthy, chemical free home; and cooking and buying healthy food. As an added bonus, there will be plenty of great products and free samples.
I will be emceeing the Healthy Kitchen and doing a cooking demonstration of the following recipes at 10:30am on Saturday and Sunday where I hope to show that snacks don't have to be orange and deep-fried for kids to like them. The following are the recipes that I will demonstrate.
Red Pepper Hummus on Pepper Shapes
Makes approximately 2 cups

1 red pepper
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
¾ cup dried chickpeas or 1 15-ounce can chick peas, drained
¼ teaspoon baking soda, if using dried chick peas
1/3 c. tahini, well stirred
1/3 c. fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper

EQUIPMENT SUGGESTED: Medium-size bowl, colander, medium saucepan, food processor.

Cooking the chickpeas: If using dried chick peas, put them into a medium-size bowl and cover with water. Add ¼ teaspoon baking soda. Soak for 3 hours. Drain the chickpeas and put into a large pot with water to cover. Bring to a boil, skimming the foam that rises to the surface and cook until tender approximately 30-45 minutes. Drain the chickpeas over a bowl so to reserve at least ½ cup of the cooking liquid.
Roasting the pepper: Rinse pepper. If you have a gas stove, turn a burner to high and put the pepper directly on the flame, turning it until all of pepper’s skin is blackened. If you have an electric stove, preheat your broiler and put the pepper on a small oven proof pan directly underneath the burner. Again, turn until all of the pepper’s skin is blackened. Put the pepper into a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap until the pepper is cool enough to handle. Peel the blackened skin off of the pepper and remove the seeds. Roughly chop.
Make hummus: Put the pepper, garlic, chick peas and tahini into a food processor. Through the feeding tube, pour the lemon juice and olive oil and puree until completely smooth Add salt & pepper to taste.
Do-Ahead Notes: The hummus can be made up to two days ahead and kept in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Bell Pepper Shapes

3 bell peppers, preferably 1 orange, 1 yellow and 1 red


METHODS: Slice off the top and the bottom of the peppers. Make a cut lengthwise down the middle of the pepper and remove the seeds. Using either a knife or cookie cutters, cut the pepper into squares, rectangles, circles and triangles.
The following recipe is a great use for the bell pepper scraps created by making the bell pepper shapes.

Tomatoes Filled with Minced Ratatouille
Serves 4

4 plum tomatoes
½ eggplant
½ yellow squash
1 cup red pepper scraps
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large garlic clove, minced
½ teaspoon Banyuls or other good red wine vinegar
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
5 rounds ground pepper
¼ cup fresh bread crumbs, preferably from a brioche
1 ½ tablespoon unsalted butter
½ teaspoon snipped chives
¼ teaspoon thyme leaves
1 teaspoon basil, chopped

METHODS: Preheat the oven to 400º F. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Have a medium bowl of ice water ready. Lightly score an “x” at the base of each tomato. Blanch the tomatoes by submerging in the boiling water for 1 minute. Shock the tomatoes by placing into the ice water. Peel the skin. Finely mince the eggplant, yellow squash and red pepper scraps in a food processor. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute just until fragrant. Add minced vegetables and cook until softened approximately 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. While the vegetables are cooking, seed and chop the flesh of the tomatoes. Add to the vegetable mix and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Add vinegar and cook for 5 more minutes. Season to taste. Mix the bread crumbs with the butter and the herbs. Fill the tomatoes with the vegetable mixture. Top with bread crumb mixture and bake for 10 minutes or until the tomatoes are tender and the filling heated.
Mango Salsa
Serves four children for a snack, multiply the recipe accordingly.

1 firm-ripe mango
1 scallion or green onion
1 small sprig of cilantro
2 teaspoons lime juice
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

METHODS: Wash the mango. Cut the flesh away from the pit. Light score each half and fold backwards to create a "hedgehog." Cut the cubes away from the flesh with a spoon and place the cubes into a small bowl. Rinse scallion. Trim the end and finely chop. Chop or tear the cilantro leaves into small pieces. Mix mango, scallion, cilantro and lime juice in a small bowl. Add salt & pepper to taste.

Whole Wheat Tortilla Spikes

6 whole wheat-flour tortillas
Cooking spray
Kosher or sea salt

METHODS: Preheat oven to 400º F. Slice the whole wheat tortillas into ½-inch slices. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and place the tortilla spikes on top. Spray the spikes lightly with cooking spray and sprinkle with a little salt. Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned and crispy. Cool in pan on a baking rack.
Homemade Berry Soda
Serves 1
2 ounces strawberries or raspberries, fresh or frozen
2 ounces white grape juice (you may need to increase the amount of grape juice depending upon the sweetness of the berries)
1 teaspoon lime juice, optional
4 ounces of seltzer water
METHODS: Mash the berries. Mix with white grape juice and pour into a tall glass filled with ice. Add lime juice and seltzer water.
Pumpkin Tortellini with Sage-Butter Sauce
Serves approximately 6

1 approximately 3 lb. sugar pumpkin, halved
1/3 c. grated parmesan cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Nutmeg to taste
1 lb. round or square wonton wrappers
1 stick unsalted butter
1 tbsn. finely chopped sage

METHODS: Preheat oven to 350° and cut a piece of parchment to fit a baking sheet. Put pumpkin halves on parchment and bake until soft, approximately 1 hour. Remove flesh from peel and puree in food processor or mash. Mix in parmesan cheese, salt and nutmeg. If using square wonton wrappers, cut out a circle with a round cookie cutter that nearly reaches the edges of the wrapper. While working with one wonton, keep the remaining wrappers covered with a moist towl. Put a scant teaspoon of filling in the center of the wonton, brush edges with water, fold in half like turnovers and seal. If making tortellini, press the edges together well with your fingers or the tine of a fork. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil, lower to an aggressive simmer and add pasta, cook for 3-4 minutes or until tender. While the pasta is boiling, melt the butter in a sauté pan add sage and sauté until fragrant. Serve the pasta dressed with the sage butter sauce.
Please also visit Purple Asparagus at our booth to get more information about our activities and events.