Why Wednesdays? – Why I Eat . . . Some of My Favorite Foods #8

A Note About This Feature:  Why Wednesdays is a Move Eat Create weekly feature determined to turn the mid-week doldrums upside down and celebrate things I love to do and blog about.  Currently, the focus is on food, cooking, and eating.

 

I get really excited about food . . . and about eating . . . and about cooking.  Food, when you remove social stigma and guilt and all that other gross stuff that can be attached to it, is so much fun.

photo credit: funadium via photopin cc

photo credit: funadium via photopin cc

As a pretty unadventurous person (I am NOT going to be skydiving anytime soon), food is a way in which I actually get to take chances and try new things pretty much anytime that I want to.  As much as I like this variety, I am also a loyal person and I am very loyal to certain foods.  Certain foods (both singular ingredients, as well as fully formed dishes) are featured heavily in my dining rotation.  I may go even so far as to call them my favorite foods.  Though, please don’t think that because something isn’t on this list, I don’t love it.  I fully reserve the right to add to this list at any time and please realize it’s not entirely comprehensive, but it is a start.  I wanted to share a list such as this because I believe that learning what and how people eat can offer a unique insight into someone and I hope this gives you a bit more of a picture of who I am.  Plus, maybe you’ll be inspired to partake in some of these items, too, and I’m all about spreading the foodie love.

So without further adieu, here are (in no particular order) some of my favorite foods – those that make their presence in my life time and time again – along with a reason or two about why I love them so.

(Also, I’d love to hear what would make your list.  What am I missing that you would recommend?)

Love Crunch Granola

Granola – I love granola.  Correction: I am madly in love with granola.  I could eat it every single day.  I eat granola alone, with yogurt, and sometimes in bar form.  But, my absolutely favorite way to eat granola is in a bowl with non-dairy milk.  This makes me unbelievably happy.  I have tried many kinds, but some of my favorites are Nature’s Path Organic Love Crunch Carrot Cake and Kind Cinnamon Oat with Flax Seeds.  Plus, locally, the granola at Compote is OUT OF THIS FLIPPING WORLD.  Healthy, hearty, delicious.

Mr. Move Eat Create’s chowders.  He makes both a broccoli chowder and a potato-corn chowder that are the food equivalent of cuddling up in a cozy, warm blanket.  Serve them up with his from-scratch whole wheat biscuits and I am a happy woman, indeed.

Onions and garlic.  Any meal that starts by sautéing onion and garlic is a meal that I can support.  Period.

photo credit: Esteban Cavrico via photopin cc

photo credit: Esteban Cavrico via photopin cc

Dave’s Killer 21-Grain Bread with almond butter.  I eat this all the time.  It’s breakfast, it’s a snack, its lunch alongside fruit.  It is one of the simplest, most satisfying food experiences I have ever known.  Thanks, Dave.

My friend and roommate’s spinach and pepper lasagna.  Serious comfort food, but made seriously healthy.  Lasagna used to be on the bottom of my list when it came to Italian food, but not anymore.  I request this dish over and over again and am never, ever disappointed.  Some day I will take pictures for you and you will want it, too.

Cauliflower – A vegetable so often shrugged off for being bland or unexciting, but that’s part of what makes it great.  The versatility is incredible.  You can do so much with it!  Plus, it’s loaded with vitamins C and K, giving it super anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.  Woo!

Non-dairy ice cream.  More specifically, So Delicious Almond, Coconut, and Soy Milk ice creams.  I just have no words.  The name is totally deserved.  I am rarely without some in my freezer.

Berries – All types of them.  I add them to my granola.  I eat them straight from the carton.  I use them in desserts.  There is really no better grab and eat snack.

strawberries

Beans – If you can believe it, I didn’t think I liked beans until a couple of years ago.  These days, I am happy to eat them.  Full of protein and fiber, beans are not only delicious but adaptable to whatever cuisine I’m in the mood for.  Black bean burritos.  Kidney bean curry.  White bean cassoulet.  The list could go on and on and on.  I’ll happily take ’em canned or dry!

Vanilla & Cinnamon – I really don’t care what baked good you’re feeding me if it has these flavors.  Just hand it over.  I will eat it and be delighted by my two favorite baking spices.  Just talking about it makes me want a muffin.  Or a scone.  Or a cookie.  Or pancakes.

Blueberry Scone from Sweetpea

Lemons – A go-to for me recently for it’s alkalizing properties in the body, I’ve been adding it to a glass of water in the morning to start my day.  But long before that habit, I’ve known it’s wonderful to dress up just about any sauteed or steamed vegetable, as well as salads, baked treats and any other number of dishes (squeeze some on those beans I mentioned earlier and all of a sudden you’ve got a bright, savory main course ingredient).

I could ramble on for quite some time, but I really should get going.

Plus, this is making me hungry.

Happy Eating!

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Previous Entries in This Series:

#7 – Why I Eat . . . Strictly For Myself

#6 – Why I Eat . . . Local

#5 – Why I Eat . . . To Heal and To Fuel

#4 – Why I Eat . . . Food From My Own Kitchen

#3 – Why I Eat . . . Plants!

#2 – Why I Eat . . . With Reverence

#1 –  Why I Eat . . . Thoughtfully

The Oregon Berry Festival . . . and 10 lbs really is A LOT of fruit!

Last weekend was the Oregon Berry Festival and I had the opportunity to spend a bit of time there on the lovely warm Saturday afternoon we had.  This is a small festival, but what it lacked in size, it more than made up for in berry-goodness.

It was held in Portland’s Pearl District at the Ecotrust Building, a beautiful modern retail space with an outdoor courtyard-like area.   In the courtyard several local farmers were on hand to share their bounty.  Booths were seriously overflowing with berries of all kinds – raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, tayberries, and others I had never heard of!  It was a gorgeous sight.

Inside, the festival had space for vendors who weren’t growing the berries themselves, but who sure knew how to put them to good use.  Berry liqueur, cocktails, preserves, pastries, and juices were there for the tasting (and buying!).  

It was a really fantastic little piece of the local food scene and I took a home a delicious pint of raspberries which I later used to make a raspberry sauce for peach parfaits (more on those below).

I suspect the reason that I only bought one lone pint of berries at the festival was that I arrived there straight from a farmer’s market, where I had collected on a Groupon purchased a few weeks back.  The Groupon entitled me to 10 lbs of peaches and apricots from a local farmer.  Now, when I purchased that Groupon I was seriously excited (I also have one for 10 lbs of apples and pears to pick up later in the season).  I love fruit.  I love locally grown produce.  And, I love a deal.  I saw the offer and snatched it up right away.

I didn’t really stop to figure out how much 10 lbs is in regards to peaches and apricots.  You should probably know that I am notoriously bad at this sort of thing.  Something is seriously awry in the part of my brain that allows most people to estimate weight, size, space, et cetera.  I am always WAY off.

I arrived at the Farmer’s Market, happily handed over my Groupon voucher to be redeemed, and I was told to select the fruit I wanted.  A scale was at the ready and I could weigh it out myself.  I started sorting through standard peaches, donut peaches (extra yum for those), and apricots, placing the chosen ones in my bag.  After a couple of minutes, I figured I surely had to be at least halfway there.

I was wrong.

I placed my bag on the scale and it read: 3 lbs 2 oz.

Seriously?!  I already had enough fruit to last me the week!  I kept going and repeated this startling process a few more times before I finally was finished and made my way through the crowd with my huge bags of peaches and apricots slung over my shoulder.

I clearly just had no idea how little these fruits actually weigh.

Once home, I had to figure out what to do with all of it.  I had intended on making parfaits with what I thought would be about a third of the peaches (and turned out to be about a twelfth of them!), which is what prompted me to buy the raspberries at the festival.

After all was said and done, I made the parfaits (which were quite tasty), used all the apricots up to make homemade apricot-vanilla bean jam (SO good), and have been snacking on the rest of the peaches all week.

I will certainly try to be more prepared when the time comes to cash in on my apple and pear voucher in a couple of months.

In the meantime, I share with you my recipe for Bourbon-Poached Peach Parfaits with Raspberry Sauce.  Enjoy!

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Bourbon-Poached Peach Parfaits with Raspberry Sauce  

makes 3 parfaits

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups water

½ cup brown sugar

2 tblspns bourbon

½ long or 1 short vanilla bean (split lengthwise)

2 tblspns lemon juice, divided

3 peaches, stones removed and quartered

1 cup fresh raspberries

2 tblspns confectioners’ sugar

12 oz greek non-fat yogurt (plain or vanilla)

¼ cup crushed graham crackers (I used Annie’s Organic)

Directions:

  1. Put the water, brown sugar, bourbon, 1 tblspn of the lemon juice, and vanilla bean into a pot and heat over medium-low until the sugar is dissolved, stirring frequently.
  2. Once sugar is dissolved, bring the mixture to a boil, add peach quarters and let simmer for 7-8 minutes.  If the syrup doesn’t cover them entirely, turn peaches over halfway through.  Pierce with a fork and test to ensure the peaches are soft.  If they are, remove from pan, peel off skins, and let cool.  (The remaining syrup can be discarded or used to poach other fruit if you like).
  3. While the peaches cool, make the sauce.  Toss raspberries, confectioners’ sugar, and remaining 1 tblspn lemon juice into a blender or food processer.  Process until liquefied and combined.  Push through a strainer to remove any raspberry seeds.
  4. Assemble the parfaits when ready to serve.  First, place two peach quarters in the bottom of each glass.  Top with a few spoonfuls of yogurt.  Drizzle raspberry sauce on next.  Repeat these layers in each glass one more time.  To finish, sprinkle crushed graham crackers on the top of each parfait.

Note:  I imagine that these parfaits would be equally good with crushed nuts or granola in place of the graham crackers.  And, you could always use ice cream instead of yogurt for an even more decadent dessert  – though I do think these were fantastic as is!