Summer Ingredients: The East Texas fresh home cooking challenge

Published on Wednesday, 25 June 2014 00:13 - Written by Beth Lytle food@tylerpaper.com

Editor’s Note: Farmers market, produce stands and locally-grown produce available in the grocery store gives us great possibilities in the kitchen. It also offers a chance for creativity because many of the same vegetables are available throughout the summer and we might get tired of eating them the same way.

I asked Beth Lytle, one of my favorite fresh food enthusiasts, to take the challenge. She was asked to provide ways to feed a family – breakfast lunch and dinner – with ingredients acquired from the farmers market, produce stands or her farmers co-op box that is provided by Beth’s Little Market in Lindale.

Beth is a native of Hawkins. She teaches yoga at many locations throughout East Texas and lives with her husband, Brian, three boys and two dogs in Flint. She also loves to write, paint and enjoys music and travel.

After packing on around ten “happy pounds” over the past couple years, I recently decided that something needed to change. And I didn’t mean a diet. I wanted change. Real, lasting, sustainable, hopefully even pleasant CHANGE. Much to my delight, the local farmers markets opened their doors just as I made this determination; and, as it turns out, they have played a key role in making these changes not just doable, but easy and fun.

Every week, my family and I look forward to unpacking the homegrown, freshly-picked treasures of our CSA from Beth’s Little Farm Market in Lindale. We’ve visited the fabulous Rose City Farmer’s Market several times. And even with all that, once or twice a week, I still find myself dropping by the Buckley Farms produce stand at the four-way stop in Flint, just minutes from our home.

With a couple new, kitchen tools I requested for Mother’s Day — a vegetable Spiralizer and a Ninja blender — we have been eating delicious, nutritious meals and snacks every day for the last six weeks. And, to top it off, I’ve lost five pounds.

When food is good – in the sense of being grown with care, healthful, whole and close to the source of life – you can taste and feel the difference. It becomes easier to make smart eating choices.

There is joy in sampling the abundant variety of fresh produce, local dairy, homemade baked goods. There is creativity and curiosity and satisfaction that comes from trying new ways to prepare these vibrant foods. Eating becomes a source of self-nurturing rather than impulse, addiction or guilt. Good food is good for the body and good for the soul.

Whether it’s breakfast of pure yogurt and homemade granola from Waldo Way Dairy, topped with strawberries from the back of a truck in the Juls parking lot... a lunch of corn salad with fresh grown tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and cilantro... a smoothie made from cold watermelon, blueberries and kale for an afternoon snack... or zucchini noodles with spicy garlic marinara sauce from scratch for dinner... our local East Texas farmers can help change the way you feed yourself and your family.

Summer Corn Salad

INGREDIENTS

1 ear fresh corn

1 cucumber

1 med-large tomato

1 small, sweet onion

cilantro

DIRECTIONS

Cut the corn from the cob. Peel and dice cucumber. Dice tomato and onion. Chop cilantro. Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Season with salt. Optional: sprinkle with vinegar or Italian dressing. Serves 2.( Ingredients from Beth’s Little Farm Market, Lindale, and Buckley Farms produce stand, Flint.)

Zoodles & Sauce

INGREDIENTS

3 cloves garlic cloves

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 large tomatoes

1 sweet onion

handful of fresh basil

cracked pepper

coarse salt

2 medium zucchini

olive oil spray

DIRECTIONS

Heat olive oil in large saucepan. Chop fresh garlic, to taste, and saute in oil. Dice tomatoes and onion, chop basil and add all to saucepan. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer while preparing zucchini. Stir occasionally. Peel zucchini and “spiral” with a Spiralizing tool to make noodles. Spray skillet with oil and heat zucchini noodles till tender, turning occasionally. Salt lightly. Top noodles with sauce, sprinkle with shredded parmesan cheese. Serve immediately. Serves 2. Spiralizer available at Bed, Bath & Beyond. (Ingredients from Beth’s Little Farm Market, Lindale, and Buckley Farms produce stand, Flint.)

Kale Smoothie

INGREDIENTS

Equal parts Cold watermelon, blueberries and kale

DIRECTIONS

Blend thoroughly. I like to use the Ninja blender because it does a better job than a regular blender at liquefying all of the ingredients. Adjust the ingredient amounts to your taste. This combination makes a delicious, power juice, chock full of vitamins and antioxidants. (Ingredients from Rose City Farmers Market, Tyler, and Buckley Farms produce stand, Flint.)

Cutline for Yogurt Photo:

Waldo Way Dairy Products

Need a quick and delicious breakfast, or even a satisfying dessert? Try the divine “cream and sugar” yogurt from Waldo Way Dairy, topped with their homemade cinnamon granola and fresh, local strawberries. (Ingredients from Rose City Farmers Market, Tyler.)