Purchasing seasonal foods is a healthy and cost effective way to approach food shopping. Grocery stores tend to stock up on these items in bulk because they are plentiful, making them less expensive for you. Fortunately in September there is a wonderful selection. Of course, purchasing from Farmer’s Markets is the best!
CALAMARI WITH BANANA PEPPERS
Prep time: 15 minutes. Cooking time: 15 minutes. Serves: 4
2 tbsp virgin olive oil
1 cup sliced banana peppers
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
½ cup flour
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp sea salt
½ lb cleaned & cut squid rings & tentacles
Deep fryer with vegetable oil or deep saucepan
Garnish: Fresh lemon halves
Heat oil in sauté pan. Add banana peppers, sprinkle with pepper and oregano; cook until tender. Mix together flour, cayenne and salt in a medium-sized bowl; coat squid (sparingly). Heat the oil in deep fryer. Drop small batches in oil and cook until golden, about 1-1/2 minutes. Remove from oil and set aside on a stack of paper towels to drain. When all squid is cooked and drained, add to banana peppers, mix together and serve with the lemon halves.
Hint: Soak the calamari pieces in lemon juice for 5 minutes. A bath in this acidic juice will help make the squid tender.
Note: Calamari becomes tough and chewy when it is cooked too long. High heat cooking calls for somewhere between 30 seconds and 2 minutes.
MARINATED BEAN SALAD
This is a great dish to make and keep in your fridge for a snack when you get hungry. Good for 3 to 4 days with more flavor each day!
Prep time: 15 minutes. Chilling time: 15 minutes+. Serves: 4
1 large ripe fresh tomato, chopped
2 cups fresh green beans cut into 1-inch lengths
2 cups or 1 15oz can lima beans, drained & rinsed
2 cups or 1 15oz can kidney beans, drained & rinsed
6 medium cloves garlic, minced
½ cup finely chopped onion
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano (or 1 tsp dried oregano)
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
½ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
Fill the bottom of a steamer with 2 inches of water. While steam is building up in steamer cut green beans. Steam for 5 minutes. A fork should pierce them easily when they are done. Drain and rinse canned beans. Let beans sit in colander for another couple of minutes to drain excess water. Mix all ingredients together. Let marinate for at least 15 minutes, or it will keep in the refrigerator for a few days.
These berries may not be the most popular, but definitely one of the healthiest. The dark blue skins are full of antioxidants, which help keep your body healthy inside and out. While they are in season either go “berry picking” or purchase extras. They freeze very well and hold their nutritional value, which means you can enjoy them year round. A cup of blueberries is only about 84 calories and 14% of your daily fiber.
The Smoothie below is a great standby – quick breakfast, etc.
BLUEBERRY SMOOTHIE: A DRINKABLE MEAL
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup of other berries of fruit
10 ice cubes
1/2 cup almond milk (I like chocolate)
1/2 cup of rolled oats or quinoa
1 scoop of your favorite protein powder
1/2 cup of plain Greek yogurt
Two handfuls of spinach or kale & even a carrot
Add all ingredients to your blender. Blend until smooth and creamy. Pour into glasses and enjoy!