Conscious Cook: Apples, apples everywhere

“Anyone can count the seeds in an apple, but only God can count the number of apples in a seed.” — Robert H. Schuller The tapestry of autumn in New England is tinged with splendor, as nature sheds its robe of green and garbs itself in the richly textured colors of fall. As leaves begin to turn deep shades of burnt orange, russet, gold, umber and burgundy, conscious cooks seek out lavish and luscious seasonal ingredients. Apples are a beloved fall crop. Not only are apples a wonderfully nutritious, natural food, but picking apples is a marvelous way to enjoy … Read more

Conscious Cook: The flavors of September

“Up from the meadows rich with corn, Clear in the cool September morn.” —John Greenleaf Whittier Do you feel the warm, slow, afternoons starting to slip away? Dusk comes a tiny bit sooner each day and the whisper of fall is in the air. Yet the sweet succulence of summer lingers on. The sun still burns brightly, igniting the flesh of late season crops, most especially freshly picked, locally grown, farm-stand corn. Connecticut grown corn has been particularly toothsome this year. From South Windsor to Seymour, I have sampled ears that have been luscious and suffused with sugar. When corn … Read more

Conscious Cook: Savoring the season

“Summer should get a speeding ticket!” — Unknown Summer will soon fade into fall, and these lingering days of abundant sunshine are meant to be savored. Harvest time is in full swing and local farm markets offer an explosively colorful vista of late season fruits and vegetables. Purchasing locally grown produce is a tremendously healthful way to prepare a delicious life. Fresh peaches fill the air with their intoxicating scent. Gather up a big basket of these fragrant fruits and treat yourself to cobbler, pie or shortcake. Or preserve them for winter by canning, freezing or making jam. Fat, juicy … Read more

Conscious Cook: Fresh summer herbs delight the senses

“An herb is the friend of physicians and the praise of cooks.” — Charlemagne Fresh herbs have delighted the senses and tantalized the taste buds for centuries. In medieval times great bundles of herbs were strewn on castle floors as a natural air purifier. Brides of this day often choose to wear delicate crowns of flowers interwoven with herbs upon their heads, and both Western and Eastern medical practitioners may employ herbal remedies for their patients. Many cooks are quite passionate about utilizing herbs in their favorite recipes. Especially bountiful summer herbs, which perfume the garden with their titillating scents … Read more

Conscious Cook: You say tomayto, I say tomahto

“It’s difficult to think anything but pleasurable thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato.” — Lewis Grizzard Tomatoes, tomatoes everywhere! In August, farmers’ markets overflow with round, red globes of goodness. The splendid summer heat has ripened the Big Girls and Boys, Beefsteaks, Jet Stars, Yellow Pears, Sweet 100’s, and heirloom varieties such as Oxheart, Cherokee Purple and Brandywine to a fantastic state of rich, sweet succulence. How glorious is the sight of these swollen, scarlet fruits, tumbling off the vine, so heavy and full of pure, natural flavor? Summer fresh tomatoes are incredibly delicious. Utterly simplistic summer tomato preparations are … Read more

Conscious Cook: Keeping cool as a cucumber

“Some people change their ways when they see the light, others when they feel the heat.” — Caroline Schroeder When 90 degree temperatures and drenching humidity are invoking plenty of sweat, irritability and heat exhaustion, it’s time to cool the body and mind down with something extra refreshing and hydrating. What could be more invigorating than garden fresh, crisp, crunchy cucumbers? With a 95% water content, cucumbers will successfully rehydrate the system, while supplying rejuvenating benefits to the body, inside and out. As a wonderfully natural beauty aid, cucumbers can bring welcome cooling relief to tired, swollen eyes. Find a … Read more

Conscious Cook: When spring comes marching in

“The stormy March has come at last, With wind, and cloud, and changing skies; I hear the rushing of the blast, That through the snowy valley flies … For thou, to northern lands again, The glad and glorious sun dost bring, And thou hast joined the gentle train And wear’st the gentle name of Spring” — William Cullen Bryant With March comes the joyful prospect that winter is nearly done and a conscious cook’s thoughts can turn to spring. The lighter, luscious flavors of a new season will be a delightful tonic to the senses and the system. As the … Read more

Conscious Cook: Slow and steady

Slow and Steady Vegetable Stew

“January is here, with eyes that keenly glow, A frost-mailed warrior Striding a shadowy steed of snow.” — Edgar Fawcett The New Year is here, and with it, a desire to detox and decompress from the mega merrymaking of the holidays. Refreshing, restoring and rejuvenating the body and mind becomes of paramount importance with the beginning of a new year. Deeply warming and nourishing foods will help reset your system and return your focus to a welcome state of wellness. Satisfying soups and stews, nutty grains, healthy fats such as olive oil and avocado, fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, and naturally … Read more

Conscious Cook: The glory of a new year

“Glory to God in highest heaven, Who unto man his Son hath given; While angels sing with tender mirth, A glad new year to all the earth.” — Martin Luther New Year’s Eve is a glorious occasion to reflect upon the past year, to cherish fond memories, acknowledge important events, and be humbled and educated by challenging moments. With the new year comes new opportunity to prepare a delicious life. While many choose to celebrate New Year’s Eve at a sparkling soirée or decadent dinner party, many conscious cooks choose to revel in their own kitchens. New Year’s Eve at … Read more

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