Calzone with Kale, Ramps and Sausage

College girl has spoken. Enough with all this healthy food; it is time for some real grub. College girl being, well, a college student holds firm to the belief that pizza is one of the blocks of the food pyramid. In fact she informed me that the government considers pizza a vegetable. This kind of thinking makes me wonder if all our tuition payments are really money well spent.

Still how can I disappoint our darling? She is home for such a short time and I love to make her happy. Still, I think she can handle a little healthy while satisfying her pizza craving. Looking in the refrigerator I found half a bag of baby kale and a handful of ramps. Add these to some Italian sausage and we can placate her cravings and my consciensce.

My concern with using the kale on pizza is that the kale would dry out too much when baking the pizza. If I enclose it in the dough in the form of a calzone, the moisture from the dough, meat and cheese should almost steam the kale to combine it with the sausage. Now I really am the fun mom. Instead of just pizza that we have made so many times, we did something fun and different. We made a calzone! Now let’s just hope she isn’t reading this to find out she just got conned.IMG_1375 Continue reading

Wedge Salad with Buttermilk Ramp Dressing

A few nights ago, I went out to eat at a favorite local restaurant with a friend. Being in amazingly great shape, she eats the sort of food that I now only dream about. While I ordered my salad with grilled chicken and a vinaigrette my friend ordered a wedge salad. The wedge salad is the poster salad for sinful eating. All that creamy dressing, bacon and mounds of blue cheese should come with transportation to the hospital for the coronary it is sure to cause. But I still wanted one. Watching her eat it, I decided I could surely make a wedge salad that while maybe not entirely healthy, would certainly be an improvement.


So I set out to find a dressing. Williams Sonoma has a recipe for a Wedge Saladwith a Buttermilk dressing which sounded pretty good. Well, except I didn’t have any chives. Perhaps instead of chives, I could use the ramp greens. Really, what isn’t better with ramps? Fortunately, I had a pint of buttermilk and had just made yogurt with the milk I bought from Shetler Family Dairy at the farmers market. I love it when most or all of my ingredients are locally grown.

Blender dressing Continue reading

Welcome Back Sara Hardy Farmers Market

Finally! My return up north in Interlochen Michigan dovetails nicely with the return of the Sara Hardy Downtown Farmers Market in Traverse City. In fact, I have decided that my up north season should be defined by the start and end of this market.

Getting up Saturday morning, I was anxious to resume my weekly farmers market ritual. After the long cold winter the crops are just beginning to take off. Most of the farmers use hoop houses to grow greens and starts for more tender crops to extend the growing season. This early in the year, the produce offerings are primarily greens. Kale, lettuce and arugula were plentiful. I also found some lovely mild radishes. This is also the time for two of my favorite foods–ramps and asparagus.

Asparagus Continue reading

Healthy Eating

Why is something that sounds so simple, is in reality difficult for so many of us? Recently The New York Times posted an article in its column, “The UpShot”, entitled Simple Rules for Health Eating by Aaron E. Carroll. The rules Mr. Carroll outlines really should be considered a road map for a healthy relationship with food.  This isn’t another “diet” being sold as the latest greatest way too lose weight or cleanse your gut or make you a better athlete. Instead, he offers up a few simple common sense tenants to a life long way of life.

There you have it. Just follow these seven simple rules and you have the keys to the kingdom of healthy eating. Well, except it isn’t always that easy. Really, there is nothing new or novel in these steps. The problem is developing the discipline to follow the plan. For some of us, we have an unhealthy relationship with food. For me, many of my food choices are like hanging out with the wrong group of kids at school. Those “bad kids” are so much more fun to be around. They do what they want and don’t worry about the consequence. Stay out all night and skip class the next day? Sure! Eat that pasta with fatty meat and lots of cheese instead of grilled meat and fresh vegetables. Yes! I walk through the grocery store and the smells and sights of the bakery beckon me near. Watching television, the constant advertisements for snack foods and fast food restaurant make me crave chips and french fries. I watch cooking shows; I read food blogs. I love food-all things sugar, fat, baked. I just keep eating. Continue reading