Sunday, May 8, 2011

Spa Girl says this one's for my MOM, a woman unquestionably ahead of her time!

There is definitely a movement to buy locally grown food, and the locavores are winning! It's not just about CARROTS anymore! 

If you listen to all the chatter about fine food these days you know the buzz words:  fresh, organic, natural, 100 mile diet, locally grown, regional food, food patriotism, and sustainability--to name but a few!  Everyone it seems wants simpler, less refined, chemical-free foods that will support overall good health. 

Local farmers and producers in the UK, Europe, Canada and the USA are working collaboratively to provide on-line resources.  Where I live, I shop all summer at the farmers market and all winter I have organic produce delivered right to my door, which I select and order on-line.  Delightful for so many reasons!

It is all about eating a balanced, healthy diet which many nutritionists suggests equals, 60% complex carbohydrates, 20% fat and 20% protein.  Today's spa cuisine is sophisticated and savvy and is as varied as a spa treatment menu.  The best of the best celebrate the joys of eating locally and  Chef's are looking to create a culinary experience that is aromatic, beautiful, flavourful, and of course nourishing.

Eating should be all about food that tastes good and is nutritionally balanced, low in salt and sugar, made with the best natural ingredients you can find, foods that support good health, boost lean muscle mass, which helps speed up the metabolism, like exotic lean meats, nutty grains, crunchy vegetables, sweet stone fruits and fragrant herbs, chillies and all those delightful citrus flavours.  

My mom always said variety, moderation and a good balanced diet was the key to successful eating.  She was also a big fan of home gardens and local markets.   Thanks Mom! 

A little taste of delightful Spa Cuisine: fresh asparagus are starting to pop their heads up in backyards and market gardens everywhere, here's a great recipe for Asparagus Soup--one of Spa Girls favourites!

  • 2 pounds fresh asparagus
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 4 tablespoons butter divided
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 quart homemade chicken stock
  • generous grind of black pepper
  • 2 small garlic cloves, mashed
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
  • French bread and goats cheese
Clean asparagus; cut off tips and break off ends. Reserve ends. Blanch tips in boiling water about 2 minutes, then plunge into ice water; drain, set aside. Reserve stalks. In large skillet, saute onion in 2 tablespoons butter. Add carrots and celery; saute for 2 minutes. Add asparagus stalks; saute 10 minutes. Add 1/2 cup chicken stock; cover and simmer 10 minutes. Puree mixture in blender. Heat remaining chicken stock in large pot; add asparagus ends, pepper, garlic, tarragon, and salt. Simmer for 30 minutes. Strain liquid, discarding solids. Stir pureed mixture into liquid. Melt remaining butter in a saucepan; stir in flour. Cook and stir for 1 minute. Gradually stir in milk; stir until thick and smooth. Stir in soup mixture; simmer, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add reserved asparagus tips; heat through.

Top each serving with a dollop of sour cream, or I also like to toast a few slices of French bread, then melt, under the broiler, a chuck of goats cheese and float on top of soup!  Oh so good.

Happy Mother's Day Spa Girls...

For the Asparagus lovers...

How to choose locally grown produce at your farmer's market...

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