Author: Kath Dionese

How To Season Cast Iron Skillets

C A S T iron skillets will last a lifetime with proper care. I’m lucky to have inherited my grandmother’s pans. They’re 80 plus years old and she cooked everything in them. There’s something different about the aroma of Italian meatballs frying in cast iron verses a toxic non-stick Teflon pan. Cast iron can go from stovetop to oven and withstand high oven temps. A well-seasoned skillet will give you eggs that slide right out of the pan. If you purchase new cast iron, it’s going to need to be seasoned. Check out thrift stores and garage sales first for a cheaper alternative. Don’t let rusty and messy cast iron scare you. A good scrubbing with hot soapy water and a scouring pad will do the trick. Avoid pans with small cracks or pits. Let’s get to seasoning. Clean your pan with hot soapy water and dry thoroughly with paper towel. Apply a very thin layer of any organic food grade oil or shortening. More is not better in this case. The first time I …

Five New Super Greens to Grow

If you have a home garden, you’ve probably grown lettuce, kale, spinach or chard. We tend to stick with what’s done well in the past, but this year why not try something new? Maybe you’re curious about some other varieties but weren’t sure of their taste or if they’re easy to grow. Either way, if you haven’t ordered your seeds yet, don’t fret. Go online and check out what’s new to you. We’ll give you a great list of organic seed companies at the bottom of the page. Tat Soi Love spinach? Then you’ll love tat soi. (pronounced tot soy) If you’ve eaten stir-fry, you’ve had tat soi. Grow this Asian green yourself; it’s not likely to be found at the local grocery or farmer’s market. It’s super easy to grow and goes from seed to plate in 21 days for baby leaves, 45 for full size bunches. Tat soi is tender enough for fresh salads or add it to soups at the end of cooking. Use it just like spinach. A quick sauté with …

Happy Earth Day From Three Lily Farm

To celebrate Earth Day this year we’re welcoming new friends from Three Lily Farm up in Maine. While planting trees and improving recycling practices are the usual virtues sung on Earth Day, for Frank Giglio, chef, teacher, farmhand, poppa to Wilder and co-founder of Maine’s Three Lily Farm- everyday is Earth Day! Frank and his family aren’t living the life most of us are accustomed to. He lives far from town. His family makes their own butter. Their home is solar powered. Frank and his family are what us city and suburban dwelling folk often refer to as “off-griders”… Situated on 26 beautiful acres is the farm that Frank, his wife Camille and son Wilder call home. A wild forager’s dream-scape, the family’s expanse is filled with gardens, wild foods and animals. While it may seem daunting to consider leaving behind the conveniences of modern living, Frank and his family say while they had little experience prior to moving to their farm, there is no place they’d now rather be. Please welcome Frank to Garden Eats …

The Pleasures of the Table, and of Life, are Infinite…

My grandmother loved Julia Child, something I didn’t understand since my grandmother was Italian and Julia cooked mostly American and French recipes. None the less, when we were kids and we even went near the TV when “her show” was on, Italian words went flying. It became the norm to have one of Julia’s cooking shows on in the background during our weekly Sunday pasta dinners. Today, my daughter Christine who admits she collects cookbooks for the photos says that Julia’s books are some of the only cook books she follows the exact recipes from. I was never interested in Julia’s fascinating life until I saw the 2009 movie Julie & Julia. The film contrasts the life of Julia Child in her early culinary years with the life of young New York blogger Julie Powell. Powell attempts to recreate all 524 recipes in Child’s cookbook in 365 days. Even if you don’t enjoy cooking, it’s a great flick. I hope you find these tidbits about Julia’s life as interesting as I did. Julia Child: Had …

The “Dirty Dozen Guide to Food Additives”

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is known for its popular “Dirty Dozen List” that consists of the most heavily pesticide sprayed fruits and vegetables. Now they’ve released the first ever “Dirty Dozen Guide to Food Additives.” We need to know what’s in the food we’re feeding our family, and the U.S. food system and its regulations have failed us. There are over 10,000 food additives allowed in the U.S. which have been shown to cause cancer, developmental issues in children, DNA damage and many more serious health concerns. Many of these additives are banned in Canada and European countries. We’ve all seen the words “natural flavors” listed as food ingredients. This term is so misleading to consumers and EWG states “Consumers may be surprised to learn that so-called “natural flavors” can actually contain synthetic chemicals such as the solvent propylene glycol or the preservative BHA. Flavor extracts and ingredients derived from genetically engineered crops may also be labeled “natural,” because the FDA has not fully defined what that term means. (Certified organic “natural flavors” must …

A Quick Guide To Organic Food Labels

By now we all know that organic fruits and vegetables are healthier and contain more nutrients than their chemically sprayed counterparts. More and more studies are proving that organically grown plants provide more antioxidants and polyphenols, which of course are great for our health. Antioxidants “eat up” damaging free radicals that can cause cell damage which leads to disease. Four to five servings a day of organic fruits and vegetables will help prevent heart disease, cancer and other degenerative diseases. So how do we know that our hard-earned money is buying the best organic foods available? Here’s a list of labels we see stamped on our food and what they mean. 100 Percent Organic For any food labeled 100 percent organic, every ingredient must be organic. No ifs ands or buts here. The 100 percent organic label also ensures the product is free of genetically modified organisms (GMO) and carries the seal of Non-GMO Project Verified. USDA Organic Any product containing this seal must have at least 95 percent organic ingredients and also owns the …