Catalyst Cooks

Make. Food. Happen!

Organic, Sustainable, Local, Seasonal… What’s a “Catalyst Cook” to do? January 12, 2012

Filed under: © Jen Antila and Jen the Catalyst, 2010 to present. — Jen Antila @ 9:53 am

Hello there again,

After writing yesterday’s post about the Wedge Coop, I woke up remembering January of 2010.

I like to make things happen, but sometimes I’m just not quite sure how to do it.

If you’re in that same spot-  you’re a working guy or gal and too busy to cook or maybe you’re just not that into your kitchen or you want to want to put good meals down on your table in an organic, sustainable, local, seasonal way (and you’re not even sure what that means… click the link for a primer)…. here are four easy ways to start.

  • Learn what’s in season.  I’ve linked to a Minnesota website, but if you are reading this anywhere from the Upper Peninsula (hi Joan!) to Down Under (hi Colette!) you can put this search term in Google: “(your location here) seasonal cooking”

When you know what’s in season, you also know what is available/fresh/tasting good at your local grocery store or market.

  • Buy a local cookbook or two.  My favorite is the St. Paul Farmers Market produce cookbook, and I might just buy the Minnesota Table.  There are lots of websites and blogs that publish seasonal recipes.  To find them for your area, you can modify your Google search to say: “(your location here) seasonal cooking recipes” and/or “(your location here) seasonal cookbook”

These types of cookbooks will give you great ideas and recipes to cook what’s available in your area, in season and tasting good.

  • Subscribe to a cooking magazine. Cooking Light is my go-to magazine- I have 9 years’ worth stashed in my kitchen.  Having just reviewed my 9 issues for Jan/Feb- I find things in the magazines from this time of year that I wouldn’t find in June.  Jan/Feb features chilis, stews, soups, Chinese new year recipes, and Valentine’s day treats.  While these are not as directly connected to Minnesota, Cooking Light is more seasonal than a general cookbook.

When you get your magazine every month, you can choose a recipe or two to plan and cook.  It’s a great regular reminder that comes directly to your home- and makes you want to get into your kitchen.  And it’s a small investment- currently, you can get two years of Cooking Light for $24.

  • Check out your local newspaper.  Minneapolis and St. Paul are lucky to have two fantastic papers – and great food writers.  The Star Tribune comes to our door every day, and I always look forward to the Thursday Taste Section.  St. Paul’s version is great too.   Both feature recipes, restaurant reviews, and articles on the latest food news and trends.

Check your newspaper, especially online, for information on local farmer’s markets and recipes.  If your newspaper has articles on local restaurants or chefs, it will likely write about what the chefs are cooking- and if you’re lucky, your area chefs will have their finger on the pulse of what’s tasting good, right now.

Do you have any good ways to get in touch with local, seasonal, organic, sustainable food?  I’d love some new ideas!

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