Friday, August 31, 2007

Celebrating the End of Summer with Food

Labor Day BBQs signal the unofficial end of summer - even though summer feels like it lasts until November here in the Valley.

While we are not hosting a Labor Day party this year, we will be attending one and bringing a side dish. I've decided to make a tasty, colorful salad that takes advantage of the season's fresh sweetcorn and tomatoes. This salad is easy to make and holds up well on a buffet. If you don't have access to fresh corn, frozen roasted corn in your grocer's freezer will work almost as well.

Corn Salad with Basil Vinaigrette
6 ears of corn, cooked, cleaned, and removed from the cob OR 1 – 12oz bag frozen roasted corn (Trader Joe’s is fantastic!)
3 large tomatoes, diced
1 large onion, diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons white vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

If using frozen corn, thaw in refrigerator and drain.
In a large bowl, toss together the corn, tomatoes, onion, basil, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Chill at least one hour before serving.
Serves 4

Thursday, August 30, 2007

How Old Is That Food I Bought Today?

In researching local food sources, I found that, on average, our food travels 1,500 miles before it reaches our dinner tables, according to 100 Mile Meals. This means our "fresh" food is probably 5-8 days old by the time it reaches our grocers' shelves.

Gaining momentum is a movement to eat more locally produced food. By doing so, local growers are supported, and an awareness created of what is actually produced within a 100 mile radius of our own back yards.

The trick is trying to eat mainly (or only) locally produced foods. I'm going to give it a shot, so I and my company will participate in the September 2007 Eat Local Challenge and make this an option for my clients as well.

Off to find recipes using the tasty ingredients produced within my 100 miles.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Foodies and Winos

I am just back from the USPCA's annual conference, held this year in Philadelphia. Aside from the interesting classes that I attended, the best part of the conference had to be the people I met and the friends I made. Over many, many glasses of wine, I got to know chefs from all over the country. The sharing of helpful hints, war stories, and names of reasonably priced packaging suppliers was plentiful as we ate, drank, and laughed our way through the weekend.

During the conference, one of the classes I attended was given by Mark Tafoya of The Gilded Fork. This particular class was titled, "Harnessing the Power of the New Media," and was all about using blogs, podcasts, and other new media as a way to boost our businesses. While I am miles away from any sort of podcast, consider this my first attempt at blogging. If I get really daring, I might attempt to make my own changes on my website

Another memorable class I attended was a Food Styling class, given by the master food stylist, Denise Vivaldo. What a fun gal she is! While I haven't really started experimenting with food styling, the image above is of a dish I made while writing my monthly food column for My Hometown Estrella magazine.
All photography is by Michelle Roles Photography in Avondale, Arizona.