Wednesday, March 14, 2012

ALLocal Dinner at Local 149

If you're in the Boston area and love to support sustainable businesses while eating delicious local food, you have to check out the upcoming ALLocal Dinner at Local 149 
The Sustainable Business Network of Greater Boston (SBN for short) has hosted 12 ALLocal Dinners over the past few years.  I've personally attended several of them and can't recommend them enough.  

ALLocal Dinner at Local 149
Monday, March 26, 2012
149 P Street (Between 6th St. & Columbia Rd.)
South Boston, MA 02127
6-7 PM, Cocktail Reception with Island Creek Oysters
7-8:30 PM, Dinner
$55 per person

I just registered and would love to see you there, so join us at Local 149, a neighborhood restaurant with an affinity for local food. Chef Leah Duboius will create an eclectic and authentically local meal.
The evening will start with Local 149s resident Mixologist, who will feature craft cocktails infused with Eva’s Garden herbs of Dartmouth, MA. C.J from Island Creek Oysters of Duxbury, MA will shuck oysters for the cocktail hour accompanied with varied accoutrements.

The main course will feature short ribs from Second Chance Farm/Longfellow Creamery in Avon ME or a   vegetarian option of "Free Form Lasagna" with Eva's greens from local farmers.

Getting there:  Local 149 is located at 149 P Street in South Boston. Street parking is limited.  MBTA bus routes MBTA Bus Route #7, #11 serving Broadway Station and South Station on the MBTA Red Line nearby.

Monday, March 5, 2012

GIVEAWAY: Superfood Budi Bars Keep Me Full ALL Morning!

There's a store in Porter Square that I help keep in business. Cambridge Naturals stocks a great selection of supplements; healthy snacks; bulk herbs, spices, and tea; personal care products and essential oils; candles; and more. The staff there is very helpful and they have a lot of demos in the store on the weekend. I discovered Culinary Cruisers there one weekend and fell in love with Katalyst Kombucha, brewed right here in MA. Sometimes the folks from Taza Chocolate (stone ground right here in Somerville) show up to sample and every once in a while, there are free chair massages!
Recently, I met Micahel McCarthy at Cambridge Naturals sampling his delicious and nutritious Budi Bar. I tasted a few bites of his anytime superfood bar and was sufficiently impressed, so, in true FSTS fashion, I started asking Michael all about his food product and we talked for a while (while I noshed on a few more bites of budi).
I have a ton of admiration for entrepreneurs in the food business. They have to source ingredients they feel good about and can get reliably, figure out where to assemble and package those ingredients, and get those perishable goods to market. Then people have to buy them, eat them, and like them enough to buy them again! Sound easy? I think not.
So... back to Michael and his Budi Bar. Turns out, Michael is a graduate of IIN (Institute for Integrative Nutrition in NYC) with a great life story. After working as a money manager for most of his career, he decided to leave the money business to pursue his dream of becoming a baker. Michael didn't want to be just any baker. He wanted to bake with superfoods and he wanted some street cred. So he enrolled in Nutrition School at IIN and after completing the program, he moved to Germany to become a European Artisnal Baker. He studied at the German Bakers Academy before moving back to Boston to take some mind/body and entrepreneurship classes at Harvard. Now Michael spends his time baking up healthy new ideas (like Hemp Bread and Gluten Free Pizza Dough) and the Budi Bar is just one of those ideas.
Budi bar combines coconut, nuts, chi seeds, hemp seeds, green tea amino acid, and milk into a delicious and nutritious snack that will keep you full for three hours thanks to the chia seeds (as long as you wash it down with some water or tea). Chia seeds (yes, the kind that you spread on a chia pet!) are full of Omega 3s (they have more of these healthy fats that combat inflammation than most other plant sources, including flax and don't need to be ground). Some of the Budi Bars have stone-ground Taza chocolate and Michael's currently working on a vegan version that should be out soon (which I was very excited to hear since milk is the first ingredient on the label).
I met Michael for tea this past weekend and learned even more about Budi and his experience starting a superfood company. We had a great conversation and he gave me a bunch of Budi bars to sample and give away to you. Just comment on this post (full giveaway rules below) for a chance to win one!)
Dark Chocolate and Almonds? Yes, Please, and Thank You! 
I've been eating them for breakfast all week and love them. I don't usually like to eat packaged foods and have never been a fan of protein/breakfast/meal replacement bars, but these bars are delicious, nutritious, and filling. They're high in fiber, protein, and omega 3 and have under 200 calories, which is impressive given the generous proportions of chocolate and nuts! You can learn more about the ingredients here and see the nutrition facts here.
View from above. See the seeds?!
The bars themselves are moist and sweet. Michael entered them into the New England Dessert contest in 2010 and 2011 and won best healthy dessert 2 years in a row! They're that delicious. 

Are you excited to try a Budi Bar or what? I've got a good number of them to give away, so your chances at winning one are pretty strong. 

Here's how to enter:
There are lots of ways to enter, so read the full list and enter more than once. Just make sure that for each entry, you leave a separate comment! 
  • Sign up for From Seed to Stomach's RSS feed. In the right sidebar, just click on the button that says "Posts" where it says "SUBSCRIBE TO FROM SEED TO STOMACH"
  • Sign up for From Seed to Stomach's email. Toward the top of the right sidebar, just enter your email address where it says "SUBSCRIBE! GET AN EMAIL ALERT FOR EACH NEW POST!"
  • Follow @FrSeed2Stomach on Twitter and tweet a link to this post mentioning @FrSeed2Stomach.
  • Follow @budibar on Twitter and tweet a link to this post mentioning @budibar. 
  • Like From Seed to Stomach on Facebook and share this post.
  • Like Budi Bar on Facebook.
  • If you’re a blogger, post a link to this giveaway (include link in your comment).
  • Email 5 friends a link to this giveaway.
  • Stumble this post.
  • Join this site.
Again, for each entry, you have to leave a separate comment below!!

Drawing Details:
Giveaway ends in on Thursday, 3/29/12 at 11:59 pm Eastern. All winners will be chosen randomly and announced on Friday, 3/30/12. GOOD LUCK!! 

Friday, March 2, 2012

I Ate a Duck Egg at POSTO!

There's this fancy pizzeria called POSTO in between Davis Square and Porter Square. It opened in 2010 and despite the rave reviews and convenient location, I didn't make it there until last night. I met a friend for dinner after yoga. We talked shop for a bit, as she's designing the invitations and programs for a fundraiser I'm organizing. Then, we got to work feeding our hungry bellies! POSTO's menu highlighted local ingredients and the cocktail menu was creative. They had a great selection of unique appetizers, tasty (albiet meat-filled) looking pasta dishes, entrees (including a tempting seasonal vegetable lasagna), and wood-fired pizzas.

I started with a blood orange martini that really hit the spot. This has been a stressful couple of weeks. My mind and body really needed yoga. But after yoga, it really wanted vodka. :-) The martini was great, but didn't beat the best blood orange martini ever (that honor is reserved for a great restaurant in Baltimore called Pazo).

I was so torn between pizza, pasta, and the appetizers that I really couldn't decide. The special, though, seemed really intriguing, so I decided to be daring and ask about it. Our *fabulous* waiter said the duck egg with polenta and garlic puree was a hit, but that it was a little on the small side. I don't usually eat big dinners, but this gave me the opportunity to try two things on the menu, since a small entree meant I might be able to make room for an appetizer.
I need to remember to take pictures before I dig in! The missing  arancini was in my mouth by the time I snapped this!
Arancini!  They were yummy and the portion was generous, so I shared with Liz (OK, I made her eat one). If you've never tried arancini, you're missing out. Arancini means "little orange" in Italian, because that's what these crispy fried breaded cheese-stuffed rice balls look like. Ours came in a shallow dish with lots of earthy marinara and were delicious.
Look at how bright that yolk is!
My entree was really different. The duck egg was HUGE and the yolk was cooked perfectly. It was perfectly runny and not slimy at all. It was served with a fluffy polenta cake that was perfectly seasoned and browned. I love polenta with eggs and have actually made over easy eggs served over polenta and topped with marinara sauce for dinner myself. *I should do that again soon.* Back to my special duck egg. The polenta cake was accompanied by some fresh arugula which was plated atop a mild garlic puree. And to top things off? A wood-fired Parmesan crisp. I've been known to make Parmesan crisps to serve with my saucy egg over polenta dinner, so I really loved the way this completed the dish. So what does a duck egg taste like? It's a little gamier than an egg from a chicken. That's all I can really say. It was delicious and I'm glad I tried it because when else are you going to find a duck egg on a menu?!
Do you notice the multi-colored yolk? It gave me some pause as I thought, "baby ducky." 
Because the menu listed many of the original sources of their ingredients (lots of VT cheese and beef, for example), I felt very comfortable asking our fabulous waiter about where my egg came from. He told me that all of their ingredients were sourced as locally as possible and checked with the chef. When he came back to report on the origin of my duck egg, he said, "You're never going to believe this. JERSEY!" We all had a good laugh because honestly, that was the last answer we would have expected. Just typing that made me realize I have absolutely no knowledge of duck egg farming or of duck eggs at all... so I did a little research and in case you're also curious, you can check out to learn more and actually buy duck eggs online. eHow had some great info, too. Fascinating stuff!

Back to dinner. Liz got a lobster and scallop tortellini dish. POSTO! makes it's own pasta and the tortellini were big and beautiful. They serve their pasta in two sizes and even the larger portion was about half the size of pasta dishes at America's big chain restaurants. Liz cleaned her plate.

We were still talking as we finished our entrees, so we decided to split a cherry-chocolate cake for dessert after consulting with our waiter for his suggestion. I ordered a side of vanilla gelato, which went really well with the rich cake. The cake was like a warm crumbly brownie. I loved the walnuts and the cherries.

I will definitely head back to POSTO soon and will do my best to try their wood-fired pizza next time!

Question: Have you ever eaten an egg from an animal other than a chicken?! Think! There are a lot of different kinds of eggs out there! ;-)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Navigating a Winter Farmers Market

Does your community have a Winter Farmers Market? Are you trying to eat more locally sourced seasonal produce? If so, this post’s for you! I adapted it from a post I wrote for the Union Square Farmers Market this past fall when the market manager decided to extend the season until November 19. The same rules apply for shopping at a winter farmers market, so here are some of my tips to help you navigate your way through local produce during the colder months:
Photo courtesy of @miccitysons
 Plan ahead! Many markets solicit product lists from their vendors and share them on their websites, via email, on their Facebook pages, or through twitter. This time of year, you can expect to find great root veggies, like carrots, potatoes, radishes, rutabaga, turnips, and celery root. Farms are also producing dark leafy greens like collards and kale, which tend to taste even better after light frosts. They’re full of great nutrients to rebuild your immune system. Many markets sell root veggies, squash, cabbage, and apples until cold storage stocks are depleted. Some markets have resellers that source produce from farms further away. I've even found fresh Florida citrus at my winter market!
Circle the market before you buy anything! This is a good thing to do at any farmers market because many of the vendors will have similar produce. You should compare the quality, price, and farming standards. Not all carrots are created equal! If you know you want potatoes, how important is it that they're organic? Are you willing to pay an extra $.50/lb for the peace of mind that no pesticides might provide? 
• Know your budget! Will this be your only grocery purchase of the week or will you be stopping by the grocery store on your way home? Some items at the farmers market can carry a price premium while others are cheaper than you would find at your local supermarket. Be savvy and don't forget to bring cash, in case your market doesn't accept credit/debit cards. 
 Try something new! See a vegetable you’ve never cooked? Ask the farmer about their favorite ways to prepare and eat it.  Take it home and look up some recipes online or in your favorite cookbook and be adventurous. There are lots of cookbooks on the market now that organize the table of contents by season. Magazines are also great sources of fresh new recipes using seasonal ingredients.
 Bundle up! Don’t let the cold weather stop you from going to the market. Just put on some extra layers and a pair of those cool fingerless gloves if your local market is held outside all year. I’m lucky to have a wonderful indoor market held in old Armory down the road from my house. For you Bostonians, the Somerville Winter Market is held every Saturday that is held from 9:30 – 2:30 every Saturday. 
 Track down the farmers! Not all of the vendors will be at the market all of the time, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find them. Talk to the vendors about where you can find them when they’re not at the market. You can check their websites for more information.

What tips do you have for shopping for locally sourced produce in the winter months?