Thursday, November 17, 2011


Tuesday was a beautiful fall day in Detroit so I decided to take advantage of it by pulling a bunch of the carrots that were still in the garden. Here is my carrot patchAnd some of the carrots that came out of it.

I got to thinking that it is such a shame to toss all the tops into the compost bin and wondered if they were edible. I went into the house to peruse my cookbooks. The first book I took off the shelf was Deborah Madison's Local Flavors. I picked it up at a neighborhood estate sale for $1 and have made quite a few recipes from it. It was here that I found this recipe

Carrot Top Soup

1 bunch carrots, tops and roots, about 6 medium
2 T. butter
3 T. white rice
2 large leeks (I didn't have any leeks so I used onions from my garden)
2 thyme or lemon thyme sprigs (I used lemon thyme and because we love it, 4 sprigs)
2 T. parsley, dill, celery leaves or lovage (I used parsley)
salt and pepper
6 cups Vegetable Stock (I used my homemade stock)

Wash and chop the carrot tops. You should have about 3 cups loosely packed. Grate or finely chop the carrots. I used a combination of yellow and orange ones.

Chopped Carrot tops and carrots:

Melt the butter in a soup pot. Add everything except the stock. Cook for several minutes, turning over a few times, Add the stock, bring to a boil and simmer until the rice is done.


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Souper Saturday

This time of year, and as the weather turns colder, we make and eat soup at least once or twice a week.
One of our favorite soups is Italian Bean and Squash Soup from Moosewood Restaurant's New Classics. You can use just about any type of winter squash and any type of beans.

Here's the recipe:
1 T. Olive Oil

3 1/2 cups finely chopped onions

6 large cloves of garlic, minced

1 celery stalk with some leaves, finely chopped

1 3/4 cups crushed tomatoes with juice (15 oz. can)

1 quart vegetable stock

1 t. dried oregano

pinch of crushed red pepper

4 cups diced peeled butternut squash

3 1/2 cups cooked pinto beans ( two 15 oz. cans, rinsed and drained)

1 t. salt

freshly grated pecorino chees (optional)

Heat the oil in a large soup pot and saute onions, garlic and celery about 10 minutes, until soft. Add the tomatoes, broth, oregano, red pepper flakes. Bring to a simmer. Add the squash and cook until tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add the beans and salt and pepper. Cook until beans are heated through. Serve hot topped with the cheese if desired.

I use my own canned Vegetable Stock, which tastes wonderful and compared to store bought, is so much cheaper. (Store bought vegetable stock ranges from $1.79 per quart to $2.99 per quart for organic). Canning your own stock takes some time and effort but so worth it! I also can tomatoes out of my garden and dried beans so they are ready to use. It's a great way to use your own garden harvest or support local farmers. Canning fresh produce in season tastes better and can be much cheaper. I can usually find dried beans from one of the local farmers down at Eastern Market.

For the batch pictured above, I used pinto beans. I also used the sweet dumpling squash, garlic, onions and tomatoes from my own garden. Enjoy

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Detroit Does Have Grocery Stores, BUT

There is an ongoing debate about food in the City of Detroit. Sometimes called a food desert, other times called a food swamp, the city has no national chains with stores in the City.

According to the Annual Report on the Detroit Food System which was published in May, 2011 and released at the Detroit Food Policy Council’s Powering Up the Local Food System Summit, there are 79 full service grocery stores in the City of Detroit. These stores are independently owned, but with one exception, not by Detroit residents.
At the Summit, we heard from residents who shop in their neighborhood. Some were satisfied with the stores, others were not. We heard from many Detroiters who were not happy with the quality, price and/or customer service at their local grocery stores. Many shop at these stores because they have no other options; lack of transportation was a main reason given.

We also heard from residents who admitted that they rarely go in their neighborhood grocery store, preferring to shop outside the city. The real and perceived reasons: quality, price and customer service.

The Detroit Food Policy Council, through its Healthy Food Access Work Group and the Detroit Food and Fitness Collaborative’s Food System Work Group, are working together to identify ways to improve access to healthy, fresh and affordable food. We want to hear from Detroiters on this issue.

If you are interested in this issue, try this:
Make a list of grocery items that you purchase on a regular basis. Go to your neighborhood grocery store and if you do most of your grocery shopping outside of the city, also go to the suburban store that you regularly shop at. Purchase the items on your list, taking note of the quality and availability of the items, the format and condition of the store and the customer service that you received. Compare the two. What did you find out?

If you are willing to share your experience, please send an email to me at