How farmers are getting to know the neighborhoods they serve?Read More
1. Keep Your Blood Pumping
Join a yoga studio or look into Grid’s list of intramural sports leagues on Page 51 to find the perfect low-key workout. It’s never too cold to run or bike.
2. Plan the Perfect Garden
It might not be warm enough to put a shovel into the ground, but you can crack open your seed catalog and let your imagination run wild.
3. Test Old Seeds
Place 10 seeds in a folded, damp paper towel. Keep the wrapped seeds in an open plastic bag placed in a warm area. After a week, if fewer than half have sprouted, buy new ones.
4. Save Your Soil
Water outdoor container gardens; dry winters are unkind to your soil.
5. Start Your Starters
They’re just seeds now, but if you plant them inside, by the spring you can have broccoli, cabbage, onions and leeks ready to plant.
6. Clean Your Cleaning Tools
In preparation for spring cleaning (spring is on its way, right?), replace your vacuum filter, soak your mop head in hot water and wash your broom bristles.
7. Maintain Your Resolution to Eat Healthy
Enroll in a cooking class at your local food co-op and explore foodfitphilly.org for more ideas about your healthy lifestyle.
8. Replace Your Air Filters
Replace any air filters from your heating system before the end of winter to prevent mold, pollen and other allergens from entering your home.
9. Shop Locally for Valentine's Day
Surprise your sweetheart and support the local economy with that one-of-a-kind, personalized gift that only a neighborhood merchant can provide.
10. Start Planning a Neighborhood Cleanup
Contact organizations such as Keep Philadelphia Beautiful and borrow tools from the Philadelphia Managing Director’s Office at the Community Life Improvement Program, where you can also coordinate trash pickups with the Philadelphia Streets.
Parsnips and Carrots
by Peggy Paul Casella
These earthy-sweet cousins have a lot in common: They both belong to the Umbelliferae (or Apiaceae) family of plants—along with parsley, fennel, celery, cumin, coriander and dill—which are characterized by feathery leaves and umbrella-shaped clusters of flowers. They both grow wild in Europe and West Asia, and they were both used for centuries as aromatic flavorings before being cultivated to produce larger, edible roots. In fact, according to the Oxford Companion to Food, ancient writers did not distinguish between carrots and parsnips at all, using the same Latin word pastinaca for both.
Though parsnips and carrots are considered fall vegetables, light frost actually intensifies their sugar content. That’s why many farmers store them in the ground after the growing season has ended and bring them to market throughout the winter, when fresh, locally grown vegetables are hard to find.
In terms of nutrition, parsnips and carrots are rich in dietary fiber, antioxidants, potassium, manganese, B vitamins, and vitamins K, C and E. Carrots get the prize for immune-system-boosting beta-carotene (they’re the nutrient’s namesake, after all) and more than 100 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A. Parsnips contain high levels of folate, which aids in heart health and helps boost metabolism. While all common parsnip varieties are icicle-shaped with thin outer skins and creamy, off-white flesh, carrots come in a rainbow of colors, including white, yellow, orange, red, magenta and purple.
Choose parsnips and carrots that are firm with no obvious blemishes or hairy rootlets. If you buy them with their tops still intact, clip off the greens before refrigerating and use them in pesto, or sprinkle them over salads and other dishes in place of fresh herbs. (If the greens are not detached, they will suck the moisture out of the roots over time.) The parsnip and carrot roots will keep in a loosely closed plastic bag in your refrigerator’s crisper drawer for about two weeks.
Uses: Roast them, add them to soups and stews, slice them for gratins and other casseroles. Cut them into sticks to make oven fries. Shred them for quickbreads, cakes, muffins and other baked goods. Shave, shred or chop them into raw salads and slaws. Pickle them. Boil and mash or purée them as an alternative to mashed potatoes.
Carrot and Parsnip Oven Fries
1 pound medium carrots, scrubbed, peeled and cut into 3 x ½-inch fries
1 pound medium parsnips, scrubbed and cut into 3 x ½-inch fries (peeling is optional)
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Preheat the oven to 450 F.
In a large bowl, toss together the carrots, parsnips, garlic and oil. Sprinkle the paprika over top and season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss well, then spread the mixture out in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet.
Roast the fries for 10 minutes, then flip the fries and roast for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until they are tender and caramelized.
Remove the baking sheet from the oven and season with more salt and pepper as needed. Then toss the fries with the parsley and serve hot.
Peggy Paul Casella is a cookbook editor, writer, urban vegetable gardener, produce peddler and author of the blog Thursday Night Pizza.
A new kind of food truck is rolling into town. One that isn’t just serving meals, but that allows diners to harvest and cook their food too. In April, Greener Partners, a five-county, Greater Philadelphia-based nonprofit that connects communities through food, farms and education, is launching their Farm Explorer – a 24-foot trailer that holds living vegetable beds and a community kitchen all hauled by a biodiesel Ford F-150 truck.
“The raised beds on Farm Explorer will mimic the (seasonally changing) raised beds in the fields of Hillside Farm, creating the most authentic farm experience we can,” says Helen Nadel, education specialist for Greener Partners. “Allowing children to have the experience of pulling food from the dirt and tasting how delicious it is can be a real ‘Aha!’ moment.”
Farm Explorer was inspired by research that found a curriculum combining gardening and nutrition education improves student attitudes and preferences for fruits and vegetables. Greener Partners hopes to connect children and families to their food through physical, sensorial and practical experiences. The end goal is to increase general health, reduce obesity rates and reconnect people with the pleasures of real food.
by Katie Cavuto-Boyle MS, RD
As the quest for healthy food in the cafeteria continues, consider taking the matter of feeding your children (and yourself) into your own hands. We asked Philly food celebrity Katie Cavuto-Boyle for some guidelines to help us make the brown bag delicious and nutritious.
What to Eat
by Marion Nestle
North Point Press; $16
Marion Nestle, author of Food Politics and nutrition professor at New York University, has been fighting the good food fight for years now, and her latest book continues her critical approach to what we put in our bodies. What to Eat sounds like a question, and the book provides many, many answers in over 600 pages.
by Dana Henry
The school bell rings and teenagers fill the entrance halls of University City High School. Many are running and some are calling out to their friends, relieved from a long day of classes. A young man apologizes to the woman at the front desk who just reprimanded him for cursing. A tall girl with broad shoulders playfully shakes a boy in glasses who looks about half her size. An unplugged metal detector rests beside the padlocked front doors, and several feet away are a few pregnant girls.