Front Porch Fredericksburg - January 2018

Page 14

New Year’s Resolution

Everything Greens

hasselback potatoes

Join the FXBG Food Co-Op

welcome back sun!

by james kyle snyder

By M.L. Powers

By Liz Ritoli

Cooking With Kyle

So there I was, hanging out with my grad-student girlfriend, contemplating dinner. All kidding aside, Mitzi is amazing: CFO/COO, full-time law student, and married to a high-needs husband! Where does she find the time?! On this cold sleet-filled day, when I asked what I could make her for dinner, she simply answered, “something warm.” It is really hard for me not to make her anything she wants – even if it is a vague request. I went straight to some knowgood-comfort foods: steak, potatoes, and Mitzi’s steamed broccoli and red peppers. YUM! I did the steak as easily as I know how – a tasty marinade of 1 TBS each: soy, Worcestershire, yellow mustard, maple syrup and a pinch of ground herbs ~ into a Ziploc bag with the air removed ~ then I sous vided them at 138 degrees for 2 hours and finished them on a white-hot cast iron pan 30 seconds per side. Prep was about two minutes and they almost cooked themselves to a perfect just-pastmid-rare. A couple of great things about this method are: you do not have to be



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good on a grill and you can let the steaks remain in the bags a little longer or shorter, depending on the rest of the meal. Finishing only takes one minute total! The broccoli and red peppers got cleaned, seasoned, held until the potato was almost done, and then steamed together for about 8 minutes. Again, almost no time needed to prepare or plate. Now for the hardest part of the meal - the potato. One of her favorite comfort foods is a baked potato. Ya-see, she’s from Idaho and has fond memories of the best, warm, satisfying potatoes the world has ever seen. I need to up my potato game to get into the running here. Thank goodness for the Hasselbacken Restaurant in Stockholm, Sweden ~ back in the 1700s. I guess back then you needed to be creative or the king had you beheaded. Sometimes the history of the food is as fun as eating the finished product. Any potato can be used. Multiple little reds can ring a festive plate. Goldens will look like a fan of potato chips. Russets, like these, can complete a hearty winter meal, skin on or skin off. I was making a fancy comfort meal for my studious bride, so these got peeled. The process is amazingly simple. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place the potato’s flattest side on a cutting board and border the long sides with a chopstick or some other thin wooden item. These will act as stops so you do not cut the potato all the way through. Make multiple parallel 1/8 inch cuts along the long axis of the potato so it looks like a long stack of connected chips. Combine 1 Tbs melted butter with 1 TBS of olive oil and brush the mixture over the potatoes in a rimmed baking dish; sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes. The individual slices will begin to separate. Reapply the butter / oil mixture (and 1 TBS of panko if you want a really crispy top) and back into the oven. Bake to desired crispiness. If you want them faster, turn on the broiler and watch carefully! Again, total prep time was about five minutes. Plan ahead and you can have everything coming off at exactly the same time. Serve to the table with your favorite potato toppings, pour the wine, and listen to the praise for of a meal that was simple, easy, and delicious. Be well! Kyle Snyder appeals to your palate and your other senses when it comes to good, simple, healthy eating


January 2018

Front porch fredericksburg

Many people don’t buy into the idea of New Year’s resolutions. It’s hard though not to pay attention to all the hoopla about what changes we should make. Inevitably, one thinks about healthy habits we could adapt. Fredericksburg is a health conscious community with many avenues to address this issue. One way is help promote the new food co-op which has been forming over the past few years. A cooperative is a member or worker owned organization. The Fredericksburg Co-o op is a member owned co-o op that will open a full service grocery store to sell local, organic and vegetarian options. In addition to sourcing local produce, they plan to offer local products like honey, coffee and baked goods, and because they are a full service grocery store, they’ll also carry products not produced locally - although local will always be the preference. Typically, the magic number to open a store is 1,000 members, and Fredericksburg is more than half way there. As of the middle of December, there were 581 members, an increase of one person per day over the month. This is a promising increase. It costs a family $200 to get in the organization on the ground floor. Once the co-op is open, members will receive benefits such as a say in what is sold, discount days, and equity once the coop begins to show a profit. Eventually, they hope to have a cafe attached and availability to cooking and other food related classes. This past summer the food co-op was often at the Farmer’s Market where they had a table to sign up members, as well as educate about the benefits of the co-op. Food co-ops have been in existence in some form as far back as the late 1800s. During the depression of the 1930s, there was a resurgence of the model to help farmers and local businesses succeed in a tough economy. Today there ops being formed is a new wave of food co-o

across the the country as more and more people prefer community owned groceries rather than chain grocery stores and local products rather than corporate farming. The food coop organizes monthly social and educational activities. During the fall, they had happy hours at Legume and Red Dragon Brewery. The January schedule is available on both the website ( and Facebook page, and includes an “Eat Your Veggies” session at the downtown library on January 14 from 2-2:30 in addition to other events. Understanding our food needs is a topic that changes often, promoting and demoting ideas at any given moment. Reverting back to nature has always been a current of thought in a health driven society. However individuals look at the changes that are occurring in our world, it can be agreed on that we need to look at how and what we are eating. Sometimes, “we are what we eat” can be a scary premise. But knowing and understanding is half the battle. Why not start out 2018 on a positive note by becoming a co-op member. M.L. believes in all things local, including food!

“And the seasons they go round & round And the painted ponies go up and down We're captive on the carousel of time We can't return we can only look behind From where we came And go round and round and round In the circle game” ~ Joni Mitchell, “The Circle Game” *

C L THE HAPPY M The Only Thing We “Overlook” is the Rappahannock! Monday ~ Saturday: 11am ~ 9pm Sunday: 12-8pm 1017 Sophia Street

540-899-0140 (ph)

540-899-0141 (fax)

Rand Sompayrac & Richard Moncure, Proprietors

Serving Breakfast Sandwiches 10am ~ 11:30am Open Monday – Friday at 6am Open Saturday – Sunday at 7am Serving Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner $5.00 Weekly Lunch Specials

540-373-8300 620 Caroline St. FXBG, VA

Lunch 10am ~ 4pm Open Monday ~ Saturday 10am - 4pm 540.371.2233 826 Caroline corner of Caroline & George Streets

Sometime in mid-November, during a particularly dark and dreary week, it dawned on me that winter was on the horizon. I had a sudden urge – no, a need - to bake bread and make soup, lots of soup. So, I cooked, I ate, and I watched the days get shorter, as they will until, the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. On that blessed day the sun begins to travel northward in our sky, increasing daylight hours minute by minute every day until the Summer Solstice in June. For millennia, cultures around the world have celebrated the Winter Solstice, the “birth of the new sun,” with candles, fires, delicious food, and general merry-making. The ancient Romans coaxed the sun back with extra lamps and candles during Saturnalia, a gift-giving holiday that began a few days before the Solstice. Yule, an ancient Scandinavian holiday, began on the night before the Solstice when Nordic pagans celebrated the birth of the pagan Sun God, Balder. Falling within days of the Solstice, we have Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa celebrations and customs that make beautiful use of candles, fires, and lights. Celebrating the return of the light lives deep in our human cellular memory. The green world senses the diminishing light, too. As the days get shorter, fruit trees give up their fruits, and garden plants begin their final push, offering late season tomatoes, a second stand of kale or parsley, or a zucchini or two that hid too well. Root and tuber plants collect their energy and nap under ground until springtime. Perennial seed-

bearing plants tidy up by dropping seeds and drying-down to create natural mulch. Like we do, plants anticipate winter and prepare for spring, that time when the sun is high enough to warm the soil and wake up seeds and roots. Renewal and growth are predictable, a reliable cycle that flows from season to season. We know, as do the plants, when it’s time to take a rest, collect our energies, and begin preparing for the cycle to start again at the first inkling of spring. At Downtown Greens, putting the garden to bed for the winter is a service to the plants and a gift to everyone who spends time working there. It’s very peaceful to prune and mulch in the low, red light of an autumn sunset. Garden work at the end of the growing season feeds that part of us that needs to smell damp earth, hear the rustle of the dry leaves, and see children playing in the rows of arugula and overgrown cabbage plants. Over the winter these garden memories will nourish us until we start the next cycle in the spring. It makes no difference how we measure the turn of the year - from solstice to solstice or by another celestial event. Instinctively we recognize and to respond the changes happening around us; over and over we ride the merry-goround of time while the songs repeat again and again. My friend Kay Allison spoke outside of time when she said, “Everything in the universe is subject to change - and everything is on schedule.” By the way, the sun is back, right on schedule!! Liz Ritoli is a Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Ayurvedic Health Counselor, and Yoga Teacher. She loves teaching children to cook, working in the gardens at Downtown Greens, and plays flute when the spirit moves her . . . Photo by Liz Ritoli - Sunrise, Garhwal Himalayans, Sursingdhar, Uttarakhand, India, March 2017

front porch fredericksburg

January 2018


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