A Note of Thanks from Julie:

WholeFoods2I want to thank all of you who shopped at Whole Foods of Madison on June 7th for “Grow It Green”, Morristown’s 5% day. The day was a huge success and I really appreciate your support.

Too Much of a Good Thing?

cucumbersInBasketCan you have too much of a good thing? On this mid-July day, my daughter’s 14th birthday, our good thing is cucumbers! Admittedly I got a little carried away with my enthusiasm for cucumbers this year and put 7 plants in our garden.

This gardening season has been slow and while we are still waiting to harvest some of our tomatoes, tomatillos, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cabbage we are up to our eyeballs in cucumbers! We have given some away to our fellow community gardeners but still had a lot to use up in a hurry. Thus we set out to cucumber it up.

We made some into a batch of really fast pickles… also on the agenda, cucumber juice and cucumber soup. Hands down the really fast pickles were the favorite. They make a great side dish for any dinner and they are super fast and easy. See the recipe for Really Fast Cucumber Pickles below.

Better Grilling with Meats and Veggies

BarbecueFamilyIn the summer many of us love to grill and I am no exception. Cooking your meat or fish and your vegetables on the grill is convenient and leaves you with a significantly cleaner kitchen — all good, right? Not so good if you put your unmarinated meat or fish on the grill and cook it at high heat.

Animal proteins and fish contain amino acids and other compounds that when cooked at high temperatures are converted into cancer causing compounds called Heterocyclic Amines (HAC’s).

The good news is there are a couple of things you can do to drastically reduce the amount of these compounds in your food.

Grill your foods at a lower temperature (if using a gas grill) and don’t cook it until it’s well done (very well done meat is associated with higher levels of these harmful compounds)…you don’t want to see those black lines across your meat or have the outside of the meat black and charred.

Marinade your meat or fish. Using marinades reduces the amounts of HCA’s by an average of 70%. Some marinade ingredients that have been tested and found to be effective are extra virgin olive oil, garlic, rosemary and sage. All marinades have a beneficial effect and the greatest boost comes from marinades containing very antioxidant rich foods. High Antioxidant foods block the formation of HCA’s. Try using high antioxidant foods or juices like cherry, pomegranate or acai in your marinades.

Researchers at Michigan State University found that mixing ground beef with tart cherries drastically reduces the HCA’s produced…experiment with adding tart cherries to your ground beef — it not only reduces HCA’s but retards spoilage of the meat as well — those antioxidants sure come in handy!

And don’t forget that vegetables don’t form heterocyclic amines so have fun grilling your veggies! See the recipe for grilled Zucchini below.

Recipes of the Season

cucumberPicklesReally Fast Cucumber Pickles (you can double, triple, quadruple… as needed)

2 cucumbers
3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 small red onion, chopped
3 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
Sea salt and fresh pepper to taste

1. Peel Cucumber and slice into rounds or spears.
2. In separate bowl whisk together vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper until sugar dissolved.
3. Add cucumbers, onion, and dill and mix well.
4. Let stand for 5 minutes before eating.

chickenBreastAcai Marinade for boneless chicken breast (enough marinade for 2 – 3 pounds of chicken)

1 cup acai juice, or substitute cherry or pomegranate juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 Tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Sea salt and fresh pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in shaker bottle or glass jar with lid.
Shake well to combine and pour over chicken.

zucchini-groupGrilled Honey Lime Marinated Zucchini with
Manchego Cheese

1/4 cup fresh lime juice (juice from about 1 1/2 limes)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons honey
4 cloves fresh garlic, pressed
generous pinch of ground cumin
handful of cilantro, chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 – 5 small to medium sized zucchini squash, scrubbed
Manchego cheese, grated

1. In a shaker bottle or glass jar with a lid, combine all marinade ingredients and shake vigorously.
2. Scrub zucchini and peel if zucchini is large. Slice zucchini and place in marinade for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally, while you prepare the rest of your dinner.
3. Grill zucchini on medium heat for about 10 – 15 minutes per side depending on thickness of slices. Sprinkle with additional sea salt and cumin, to taste, while grilling.
4. Remove from grill and sprinkle with Manchego cheese.

This marinade is also delicious on chicken breasts – recipe makes enough for 4 split chicken breasts. Serves 4 – 6.

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