Farro and Black Beans Stuffed Red Bell Peppers

Farro and Black Beans Stuffed Red Bell Peppers

There is something about stuffing veggies that makes them interesting and also delicious. So when I saw these little red bell peppers at Boggy Creek Farm, I knew this was the way to go!

ingredients

For this preparation I wanted to combine a basic seasoning that brings me back home when I was little: sautéing chopped onions, garlic, and tomatoes seasoned with dried thyme, cumin, salt and pepper. This is sort of a dumbed down version of  the Colombian Sofrito called hogao or guiso. And I love it! Because it tells my belly this is how “homecooked” food is supposed to taste like, but also it’s what takes to make a well seasoned meal (in my mind of course!). So to speak this is comfort food to me.

Colombian "sofrito"

My version of Colombian “sofrito”

I wanted this recipe to also be meatless and the seasoning lend well to it, as it is very rich. So a grain like Farro sounded like a good ingredient to add to the mix. For those unfamiliar with Farro, this is an ancient grain (like quinoa or millet) that has nutty flavors and a great semi-hard texture that adds crunchiness to salads Continue reading

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#cookingtogether with Seasonal Ingredients at Hope Farmers Market

Last Sunday we were at Hope Farmers Market cooking together seasonal recipes with Matt. The idea was to source the ingredients needed for the recipes right from the market while demonstrating their preparation.

And it was a lot of fun! We got to interact with many folks while cooking with fresh ingredients from the Market. We also got to showcase some ingredients people weren’t too familiar with, like Sweet Potato Leaves and Asian Melons. Wait! Did you just say “Sweet Potato Leaves”? Is that even edible? Yep! You can only get to know about greens like this when you shop at the Farmers Market or if you get them from your CSA.

To our surprise Sweet Potato Leaves have a mild flavor and are very tender, so their are a great alternative to lettuce when making a salad. They also seem to have higher concentration of nutrients than the potatoes themselves1. While new to us, these greens are commonly used as a vegetable in other countries. So next time you see them at the Farmers Market make sure to give them a try! In our crostini recipe we pair them with arugula which is very flavorful making a delicious combination. Think of sorrel, and malabar spinach as other summer greens alternatives to mix them with.

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Sweet Potato Leaves

As for the Asian Melons, they don’t need much introduction. They are to me the perfect melon: sweet, easy to deseed, and small. Don’t get me wrong, I love watermelons, but I’m always trying to figure out what to make with so much of it. And Continue reading

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#cookingtogether and chat about The Happy Kitchen with Joy Casnovsky from the Sustainable Food Center

Last week we met with Joy Casnovsky from the Sustainable Food Center in Austin to cook together. We were really eager to learn more about The Happy Kitchen/La Cocina Alegre® program which Joy leads at SFC as this is a well established program in the city of Austin that promotes healthy cooking at home. So it only made sense to talk about this while cooking a delicious, seasonal dish from The Happy Kitchen Cookbook: Summer Squash Medley (recipe below!)

LIVE LISTA: Tell us bit about your role at the Sustainable Food Center.

JOY CASNOVSKY: I’ve been at SFC for almost 7 years. My role here is the program director of the Happy Kitchen/ La Cocina Alegre program which is one of the three main programs of SFC, these being: Grow Local, Farm Direct, and The Happy Kitchen. Our mission is to cultivate a healthy community, increase the access to affordable and nutritious food and support the local food system.

“Our mission is to cultivate a healthy community, increase the access to affordable and nutritious food and support the local food system”

Through these programs we are helping people grow their own food, as well as access food at Farmers Markets and other venues that sell farm direct produce. At the same time we are creating outlets for farmers to sell their products. And once you get your food, no matter from where it comes from, The Happy Kitchen is there to help create something healthy, fun and hopefully delicious.

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As we started our conversation we got into cooking. Joy started with the “mise en place”, which in French means “putting in place” referring to setting all of the ingredients ready for cooking. This is something that professional cooks for a more organized way of cooking and definitely something to apply at home too!

 

L.L: What got you interested in cooking and teaching?

J.C: I’ve always liked to cook since I was a kid. I really wanted to be a waitress when I was a child [laughs]. I would make my parents sit at the table and I would tell them “you have to take the order with me!” So I think cooking with my mom, and then with Continue reading

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Cooking at Home by Cooking Together + Roasted Chicken Recipe

We are excited to launch today our Cooking Together campaign which promotes cooking at home. We will be rallying until the end of the year to get supporters for it, sharing experiences of cooking together and ways of incorporating more home cooking in our daily lives. The idea of this campaign is simple: cooking together is a way of making cooking at home a more sustainable activity. And by this we mean, a conscious activity that we can practice on a regular basis, not like a chore, but something to enjoy.

Our Story

The idea of this campaign comes from something that has worked for Matt and I since we met (even before we got married!) Sharing the activity of cooking made it something interesting to do and beyond the need of feeding ourselves. Here’s our story: we were roommates while interning at a museum about 8 years ago (that’s how we met). At the time our cooking skills were pretty basic, but the interesting thing was how different our backgrounds were. I came from living in a big city in Colombia and Matt came from living in a small town in Tennessee. I remember how cooking basic things for me like “Arroz con Pollo” (a chicken and rice dish) or staple dishes for him like Chicken Parmesan would pick our interests cooking and talking about it. While that may have been the “catch” for us to approach cooking in our lives as a couple in a different way, being able to sustain this activity on a regular basis for the last 7 years has been due to the fact that we have done it (and keep doing it) together.

“At the end of the day we think the most rewarding thing is not only to have this delicious meal in front of us that we made from scratch, is the fact that we enjoyed doing it, and that is what this campaign is all about.”

We may not cook every night together, although those are the best nights as we can enjoy it more splitting tasks and leaving room for important discussions such as to “why you should boil water in a pot with the lid on?”, or “why tossing a salad with the dressing is better than adding it later on the plate?…” but the gist is that we can count on each other for making cooking at home a regular practice. We play the game of taking turns for cooking, depending on who is the busiest, or become the masters of certain tasks (like bread making or pasta making). At the end of the day we think the most rewarding thing is not only to have this delicious meal in front of us that we made from scratch, is the fact that we enjoyed doing it, and that’s what this campaign is all about.

The Purpose

The facts and figures are out there, cooking at home while not in decline any more (the good news!) has yet a long way to go for it to contribute solving issues like obesity and malnutrition as well as making of our food system a more fair one. On the good side as well, the trend of men cooking at home is on the rise! However, one of the biggest issues seems to be cooking quick and easy meals that use a high amount of processed foods vs cooking from scratch real whole foods. And it is not an easy task. These days going to the grocery store to find real whole foods can be a challenge, trying to figure out in a nutritionist style if the ingredient your are getting was made with the real stuff… which opens the following questions:

From “Cheap Eats: How America Spends Money on Food”, theatlantic.com

How much of what we buy at the store can we and should we make ourselves at home? Should we get out of our comfort zone and shop more frequently at Farmers Markets? Should we subscribe to a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture)? Should Continue reading

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Summer Flavors Every Day Meal Plan + Tortellini Recipe

Fresh from our summer garden this meal plan will make you fall in love with eggplant, interesting summer greens like lamb’s quarters and amaranth leaves, as well as, summer staples like peaches, peppers, and tomatoes. We are also including below our to-go recipe for making our own tortellini, so don’t miss it!

Meals Included in this Plan

Ricotta Tortellini with Roasted Tomatoes and Bell Pepper Sauce

Tomatoes and peppers are the staple of the summer and this recipe combines them both in a delicious roasted sauce that you can make ahead to prepare this meal in a cinch any day of the week. Fresh mixed greens are the perfect paring for soaking the delicious pasta sauce.

 

 

Prosciutto Salad with Peaches, Blue Cheese, and Herbed Crostini

Peaches and prosciutto are an excellent pair in this fresh and delicious salad that uses seasonal greens such as lamb’s quarters, amaranth leaves, mustard frisee, and baby arugula. Be sure to use fresh greens available in your locality for the best flavor.

 

Continue reading

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Simple Eggplant Baba Ghanoush

It’s eggplant season! And that means time for unlimited amounts of Baba Ghanoush! And while Baba Ghanoush is not a complicated dish, this recipe makes it so that you can prepare it with just a few ingredients (no tahini needed) using fresh eggplants during the summer where they are at their best.

It’s rare to hear people raving about an eggplant dish, but this is definitely one that makes the difference. For those unfamiliar with Baba Ghanoush just picture the consistency of a creamy dip with the pungent flavor of fresh garlic, notes of rich and earthy cumin, plus the sweet and smoky flavors of eggplant slowly cooked. We can assure that non-eggplant believers will convert with it (have see in it happen!) You can roast or grill the eggplants, which lets you enjoy this dish as part of a cookout, or any day of the week. We paired them with flatbreads and have it as side dish, or with a hefty summer salad for a complete meatless meal.

Eggplant Goodness

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Roasted Eggplants

We certainly don’t need to be up-sell when it comes to eating a veggie. If it comes straight from nature, is edible, and ripen we don’t argue about nutritional information. However it’s always good to know a bit more about the amazing treasures Continue reading

Seasonal Meal Plans

Announcing Seasonal Meal Plans

Seasonal Meal Plans are now available on Lista. You can now save time planning your meals and focus on getting the best ingredients from your favorite farm and cooking delicious and healthy every day!

We love planning our meals around the season because it just makes sense: you cook with the best and freshest ingredients right when nature makes them available to you. Cooking seasonally is something we really started to think about when we started receiving our local box and we have enjoyed doing it since. However we have to admit that it changed the way we think when doing our meal planning. We used to start by picking the recipes we liked or craved the most. Now it’s the reverse, we start by choosing ingredients that are in harvest and local to us, so we get the best flavors and know where they are coming from. It’s also a great way to prop up the local economy.

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Baba Ghanoush with Flatbread & Melon-Kale Salad, from “Beat the Heat” Meal Plan

What’s in a Seasonal Meal Plan?

Seasonal Meal Plans include 4 Week Night Meal Recipes. These recipes are originally created by us at Lista, inspired by the flavors of the season in combination with Continue reading

Interview with Faith Gorsky from An Edible Mosaic

An Edible Mosaic, Everyday Recipes with Extraordinary Flair

We start the month of July featuring An Edible Mosaic, a blog that gathers international recipes and american classics with an emphasis in seasonal dishes.

Faith Gorsky, author of An Edible Mosaic, shared with us her passion about food and culture and her experiences of writing about food while living in the Middle East.

Live Experiences as an Inspiration for Writing and Cooking

LIVE LISTA: Tell us bit about you.

FAITH GORSKY: My favorite thing to do is go into the kitchen hungry, open the fridge, and start creating. (And when my husband, Michael, cooks with me, it’s just icing on the cake.)

I was born, raised, and spent most of my life in Upstate New York, but I’ve also lived in Florida, Syria, Jordan, and Kuwait. I love to travel, especially to places steeped in rich culture and history. One of my favorite cities is Damascus, Syria…it’s scented of jasmine, spices, and apple tobacco, tastes sweet like toot (berry juice) and salty like bizzer (roasted seeds and nuts), and feels like another world.

I enjoy reading (cookbooks mostly), vintage shopping (especially in old markets), watching movies (of all genres), and am enamored with ancient cultures (especially Rome and Egypt).

My favorite foods are apples, grapes, spinach, and Indian butter chicken, and my vice is Swiss dark chocolate.

Photos of Faith's Trip to Damascus, Syria

Photos of Faith’s Trip to Damascus, Syria

 

One of my favorite cities is Damascus, Syria…it’s scented of jasmine, spices, and apple tobacco, tastes sweet like toot (berry juice) and salty like bizzer (roasted seeds and nuts), and feels like another world.

 

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Molokhia Waraq

L.L: How did the idea of blogging about food started?

F.G: I started my blog the day after Mother’s Day in 2009 to share the Mother’s Day meal that my family and I made for my mom. I wanted to show that someone like me – who is by no means a professional chef – can make a decent meal to share with loved Continue reading