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Cranberry Kale Salad

If you're reading this, and you're like, "Really, just another kale salad?" then feel free to go on with your day. You know kale salad. I don't need to tell you. Otherwise, this is for you. I realize I've written about kale salad plenty of times before, and I also realize that if I posted a spring mix salad with tomatoes, and then another spring mix salad with cucumbers, you'd think I didn't think much of you and your creativity. That's not the case. But kale salad needs a voice. I made this salad last week for a friend's family's holiday dinner. I had made something similar the year before and resisted writing about it, but this year when I made it again for many of the same people I realized there was a serious need out there to continue discussing kale salad publicly. People wanted the recipe because using kale instead of spring mix or romaine or whatever still isn't the norm for a lot of folks. So I continue in my kale salad advocacy campaign. This is my go-to winter kale salad. I know it's April, and we're all excited about the brand new veg that are on their way. Go ahead and make a kale salad and add those veg. But even without the bright green goodness that spring and summer bring, this is a pretty mean salad. To read about my conversion to kale, please click here. To read about an awesome kale salad for summer, please click here. Otherwise, let's add some tangy dried cranberries and some onion and make this salad happen. Destem your kale. Wash your kale. If you placed your onion and cranberries on top of your unwashed kale for a photo, wash them too. Thinly slice your onion. I rely on a mandoline for this, but if you're handy with a knife, that works too. I think thinly sliced onion is salad's best friend, kale or otherwise. Greens that have spent quality time in the fridge with thinly sliced onion don't need much in the way of dressing. They're ready. Get some salt. This is kind of a lot of salt. I used a little more than half a teaspoon for a bunch of kale (two hearty servings). This gets drained so you're not ingesting all of it, but you need a good bit to start with. I prefer to use sea salt or other coarse salt - this is "fine," but it's coarser than table salt. Get some vinegar or lemon juice. I usually go with lemon juice, but last week I tried vinegar and it worked really well, so I'll bring that into the rotation. About two tablespoons. Add that to your salad. This salad is in a clear bowl, but I think it looks like it's levitating. Kale salad is wonderful, but perhaps not magic. Now massage it. The vinegar (or lemon juice) and salt will tenderize it. With your bare hands - checking first for papercuts and hangnails, what with the vinegar and all - tear it up, twist it, wring it out, and generally mush it around. Spend 3-5 minutes on this per bunch of kale (last week's four-bunch salad required a tag team effort). As you're doing this, green liquid will pool at the bottom of your bowl, as illustrated in the blurry photo below. This is your friend. Rub the kale into the liquid. Wring out the kale. Rub it into the liquid again. Your kale will radically decrease in volume. Your fingernails will turn green. Add in your cranberries (a cup or so per bunch) and onions (a quarter of a red onion, sliced very thin). Toss that together and stick it in the fridge. Let it chill with that green liquid for at least an hour, but overnight is really best. After a while in the fridge the kale will be more tender, the onions will be more mild (and greenish), and the dried cranberries will have plumped a bit and be softer. Drain off the remaining green liquid. You can serve it as is, or dress it like any other salad. I like to use strawberry balsamic dressing and candied walnuts. This recipe is cross-posted at SaturdaysMouse.com where I’m working on making food out of food. Cranberry Kale Salad
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Wash and destem the kale. Add salt and vinegar and massage for 3-5 minutes, tearing the kale as you go. Kale will decrease in volume and green liquid will gather in the bowl. Add cranberries and onions, toss vigorously and refrigerate for at least an hour, overnight is best. Drain and serve, as is or dressed. Serves two to four. Prep time: 10 minutes Wait time: at least 1 hour
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Eat and Greet at Miss Rachel's Pantry April 17th

Is your wish for a delicious vegan dish? Whether you’re a member or just want to learn more about the South Philly Food Co-op, you are invited to join us for a specially prepared feast of vegan tapas at Miss Rachel’s Pantry Here are the details:
  • What: Vegan tapas (bruscetta, mini tacos, caramelized onion tartlets, mini cupcakes and more)
  • When: Wednesday, April 17th from 6:00-8:00 pm.
  • Where: Miss Rachel’s Pantry 1732 W. Passyunk Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19145
  • Why: To say hello to old and new members or to find out more about the South Philly Food Co-op
  • How: Reservations are required. Go to our ticket leap site to make a reservation.
  • The cost to attend is $15 for adults and $8 for children (10 and under) which will be paid at the door.
  • Please note that this is not a fundraiser for the South Philly Food Co-op. All money collected goes to Miss Rachel’s Pantry to cover food costs.
Onion Tartlets
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Behind the Scenes : The Co-op Committees

401392_626295027396544_2015582821_n If you wanted to know how The Co-op  has turned into one well-olive-oiled machine, it's because of the drive and hard work of it's committees. Every month the committees turn in a summary of updates, and today we wanted to share it with all of you. It's some of the best source of information to keep up with The Co-op's progress. Check out our March 2013 Committee Report and read the latest happenings. We think it's pretty exciting and we hope you do too!
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Sarah's Garden: Bean Update

Just checking in to show you the amazingly fast-growing bean: photo.JPG Crazy!  Soon it's going to be big enough to need something to grow on, which should be about the time when I can put it outside.  Which means I have to build the raised bed/trellis in these next few weeks.  Okay!  Game on, bean.
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This bee dying thing? A pretty big problem

Today's New York Times has a story (fortunately for the purposes of educating people, it's their "Most Emailed" story of the day so far) about the continuing die-off of honeybees, which is apparently getting even worse. The article mentions several different theories for why this is happening with special emphasis on the possible role of a pesticide derived from nicotine that actually gets delivered through the plants themselves. I imagine most people who read this blog have some idea of how serious this issue is but in case you didn't here's the fun fact of the day from the article:
Nor is the impact limited to beekeepers. The Agriculture Department says a quarter of the American diet, from apples to cherries to watermelons to onions, depends on pollination by honeybees. Fewer bees means smaller harvests and higher food prices.
(Emphasis added.) And I'm pretty sure that the quarter of the American diet being most effected is not the one that includes diet soda, cheeseburgers and pixie sticks. So what can be done? Start voting with your wallet. Shop at places where the food was produced by small-scale farmers who avoid these kinds of pesticides. Consider CSAs, farmers' markets, and local co-ops. Your budget may take a hit in the short run but that's nothing compared to the hit we're all going to take if one-quarter (the good quarter) of our diet disappears.
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Food Fermentation 4/14

fermentation Come learn how to pickle, ferment and otherwise agitate your friendly kitchen ingredients into new and delicious food items.  Join us Sunday, April 14, 2013 from 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM at East Passyunk Crossing Civic Association and Town Watch Center, 1729 S. 11th St.  We'll check out how to make sourdough bread, pickles and yogurt - including tasting samples of these items made by our instructor, the fabulous Amanda Feifer of Phickle.com, in her own South Philly home.  This is a ticketed event. Amanda promises that we will not die from eating ferments, and that they are fun and simple to make.  No special equipment required. Ready to make some at home? We have 15 take home culture tickets at $25 for Co-op members, $30 for non-members. Just want to learn more? We have 10 observer tickets at $15.00 Amanda is a pretty popular lady, and her recent classes have sold out quickly.  Sign up for your ticket!
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Sarah's Garden: And On The First Day Of Spring...

photo.JPG My first tomato seedling popped up!  It's just a little one compared to some of the other seedlings I have, like this bean: photo.JPG Which actually just popped up yesterday too!  Such a nice, strong stem, little bean. photo.JPG And these are little broccolis.  I planted eight seeds and there are seven seedlings which is pretty good, if you ask me.  My first two years of starting seeds I always planted many more than I needed because I was afraid lots wouldn't sprout or that I'd kill some once they did.  That never really happened and I just ended up throwing out all the little seedlings I didn't have space for.  This year I actually made a plan for my garden and figured out how many plants I have space for.  I still planted a few extras, just in case - I really only have room for two broccoli plants - but if I only have to get rid of five extra baby plants instead of 20 I'd say that's an improvement. photo.JPG And then we have mustard greens - three kinds.  Again, I only have room for a few plants of each kind of mustard green so I only planted a few seeds for each.  I'd like to note here that the broccoli seeds are from 2010 and seem to be fine.  I keep my unused seeds in a paper bag folded over and taped shut (for darkness) in one of the drawers in my fridge, away from any food.  The tomato seeds are saved from last year, too.  So I must recommend this method of storing seeds. photo.JPG Lastly, I found myself with an abundance of wooden chopsticks - the kind you get with takeout Chinese food, which is strange since we don't order Chinese takeout very often.  I don't know why I didn't do this earlier, but obviously their secondary purpose - after utensils, of course - is as plant markers!  Duh, Sarah. photo.JPG Above is an embarrassing photo of my garden "plan."  For my birthday next month my father has agreed to build me a raised bed for the sunny part of my backyard!  Thanks, Dad!  I measured it out and decided that 3'x10' would be a good size for the space, against my neighbor's wall that he has graciously allowed me to attach a trellis to.  So the beans and tomatoes will have something to grow on!  Then I did something strange - I looked up each plant in my copy of Square Foot Gardening to figure out how many plants I could reasonably fit.  No more crowding as many tomatoes in as possible!  (And note that you're supposed to plant ONE tomato plant per square foot which is definitely not what I was doing in the past.)  If I do end up with extra plants, which I most likely will since I planted a few extra seeds each, I can still grow things in containers around the raised bed. Happy spring, everyone!  Here's to sprouting seeds!
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Arts and Crafts Happy Hour This Friday

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Like Arts & Crafts? Like Happy Hour? Like The South Philly Co-Op? I know we all love these things and we figure you do too.

On Friday, March 22nd creativity through Art & Food come together for an Adult Art Open House at Queen Village Art Center, 514 Bainbridge Street, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Meet Art Center faculty, get creative, meet new people, and get your wine and cheese on.

RSVP Here.

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Creamy Roasted Garlic Hummus

Hummus is one of those foods that I had never thought of making on my own, until one day I did, I was shocked at how quickly it came together. Other than causing me to purchase tahini, which I really had no other use for, hummus is simple. Average hummus is simple. Ok hummus is simple. But you can do better too. Chickpeas, tahini, lemon, oil, water, garlic, salt, processor. That's all you need. Garlic hummus is one thing, roasted garlic hummus is entirely another. The garlic flavor is milder, nuttier, and more distributed throughout the hummus. There aren't tiny bits of garlic throughout, rather some of the creamy goodness is chickpeas and some of the creamy goodness is garlic, and the flavor is deep and rich and integrated. This is just better. Garlic. First, roast your garlic. I'm making a little over two cups of hummus and using 5 small heads of garlic. This is a lot. Use less, unless you love garlic. My garlic is old. My garlic is not bad, but it's not super fresh either. So my garlic has green sprouts. Some people argue strongly that you need to remove these because they're bitter. Some people say that you need to remove these because they're tough. I don't listen to those people, but if you're particularly sensitive to this, go ahead and remove any green sprouts. Otherwise, just use your garlic. Cut into each head to expose all the cloves, spritz with olive oil and either place in a tiny covered container or wrap with alumnum foil. Roast at 400 for an hour or so until the cloves are brown and soft and sweet and nutty. Set aside to cool. I know, you're saying to yourself, "That's a lot of wasted garlic!" To which I say no. We don't waste garlic. You're looking at a woman with a freezer full of bread ends and mushroom stems and brown bananas. Pick your garlic ends out of their papery shell and freeze them. They'll be a bit milder when they're defrosted but still perfect for mincing into whatever dish you're making. Chapter Two: Chickpeas. Either you've soaked and cooked some chickpeas or you've opened a can or box of garbanzos. I like these because I don't have to worry about the can...and if you're not worried about cans, I suggest you don't Google and go on your merry way eating out of cans without the bat of an eye. We have too much to worry about. Peel your chickpeas. This is tedious, sure, but so is eating gritty hummus. Peeling one chickpea is fun. By the 50th chickpea it's not so much. Pinch it between your forefinger and thumb and shoot it into a bowl, retaining the skin between your fingers. Make gun noises. Until that gets old. Rub a handful between two open palms and separate the skins from the chickpeas. Fill a bowl with water and chickpeas. Assault the chickpeas underwater to loosen the skins and then skim the surface of the water for floating skins. There are several ways to do this. I promise it's worth it. I think naked chickpeas look like tiny turkeys. Picture a turkey on the scale of a Lego minifig. If your Lego men and women have a kitchen, a chickpea would be their turkey. Now you're almost done. Chickpeas and garlic go into a food processor or your little as-seen-on-tv chopper or your million-dollar blender. Add your garlic. This is an impossible to photograph process, because your hands will be sticky with garlic. First, make sure your garlic is cool enough to touch. Then squeeze it out of it's papery shell into your food processor. This is fairly icky, but it's worth it. Give that a whir in the processor. Here's a secret...a lot like my carrot secret... I don't love tahini. As much as I love peanut butter and sunflower seed butter, I don't love tahini. I also don't want my hummus to taste like peanut butter or sesame paste. So I don't use as much tahini as the other recipes in the world call for. It's ok. If you love tahini, you could add more of that and less olive oil. It's on you. A quarter cup of tahnini and a quarter cup of olive oil is a good start. The juice of a lemon. Give that a whir together until it's all incorporated. Now season. Salt. Cayenne. Maybe some onion powder. Chives. Whatever pleases you. I hold to my belief that onion powder is an entirely different food than onion. Onion powder has an ability to pull a dish together much in the way that salt lets you taste it. But lots of "real" cooks out there tell us that if we're using dried spices we aren't really cooking. Don't listen. This is really cooking. Ok, no heat, but still. Preparing. Either way, start light, especially on salt, and build. Give it a whir and ask yourself if it needs more. Give it another whir. At this point, if you're like me, you have delicious, smooth hummus that's a bit too thick. Water time.  Add a couple tablespoons and whir. How's it doing now? Ok, add another tablespoon. What's it like? Keep going until you have super smooth creamy hummus in the thickness you prefer. I like it pretty thin, but not runny. It thickens and the flavor intensifies a bit as it sits in the fridge.

 This recipe is cross-posted at SaturdaysMouse.com where I’m working on making food out of food.

Creamy Roasted Garlic Hummus Ingredients
  • 4 small cloves garlic
  • 1.5 cups cooked or canned chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup (plus a spritz) olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon (more to taste) salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2-3 tablespoons (1 lemon) lemon juice
  • 2-4 tablespoons water
Instructions To roast garlic: Preheat oven to 400. Slice ends off heads of garlic to expose cloves. Spritz with olive oil. Roast in small dish with a lid or wrapped in aluminum foil for an hour until brown and soft. Set garlic aside to cool. Peel chickpeas either by shooting them out from between thumb and forefinger, rubbing between hands or another method. Discard skins. Add chickpeas to food processor, fancy blender or little chopper. Squeeze garlic in. Blend until chopped finely. Add olive oil and tahini. Blend. Add salt, lemon and cayenne. Blend more. Add water by the tablespoon, blending in between until desired consistency. If using cooked dried chickpeas, use cooking liquid instead. Serve cold or room temperature. Details
  • Prep time: 10 mins
  • Cook time: 1 hour
  • Total time: 1 hour 10 mins
  • Yield: 2 cups
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Take Action to Label GMO Food

Let_Me_Decide_Logo_WW   Dozens of states are working on legislation that would require labeling of food containing Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO). Groups like Food and Water Watch are working to make such a labeling law a reality. The risks of GMO foods are unclear, in large part because the research so far conducted has been inadequate in scope, duration, and independence, because the vast majority of the research has been conducted or funded by companies selling GMO crops. These companies use their patent rights to limit independent research on their products. Please take action by signing the Food and Water Watch petition demanding labeling of GMO foods in Pennsylvania.
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