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Apr 24th
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Diggin' It

dining hotplaFebruary's garden features an abundance of root vegetables, greens, citrus and pears. When it comes to eating with the seasons, this bountiful selection is perfect for a Valentine's month salad.

Beginning with beets, which as a child I encountered only as pickled, crimson disks on Italian salads, there are more tasty ways to eat them, including raw.

Roasting well-washed beets takes 35 to 60 minutes depending on size. Coat the vegetables lightly with oil, and then cook at 375 degrees F in a covered casserole or wrapped in foil. They're done when a thin knife easily pierces to the core. When cool enough to handle, the skin practically slips off with the help of a dull knife. To avoid pink fingers, wear gloves when handling the red ones.

More unusual is the Jerusalem artichoke, or sunchoke. It's a bumpy tuber that can be eaten raw and unskinned. I always discard the end slice, the cut made during harvest, as theoretically some organisms could have begun feasting on the sugar. Circular slices are as crisp as fresh water chestnuts, but not as sweet. They can also be steamed or boiled and mashed like potatoes.

I grew up eating ripe yellow Bartlett pears, but now I can choose a not-as-shapely green Anjou, a sweet, cinnamon-colored Bosc, or a buttery, bulbous Comice. For salads, I like firm fruit.dining diggin 

A dozen Meyer lemons were hanging on my tree this morning, destined to dress this winter bounty. I made a simple vinaigrette with 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg, and a tablespoon each of olive oil, Dijon mustard and balsamic vinegar.

Local spinach, sliced pears and sunchokes, with julienne of fresh beets, and sweet, roasted wedges combined to create a colorful celebration of winter.
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Best of Santa Cruz County 2014

The 2014 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll Come on in, and have a look around. There’s a lot to see—hundreds of winners selected by thousands of GT readers across Santa Cruz County. So if some of this looks familiar, it’s probably because you helped make it happen. But there are always new things to discover, too—you could go to a different winner or runner-up every day in the Food and Drink category alone, and you’d be booked just about until next year’s Best of Santa Cruz County issue comes out.

 

Something Essential Disappears

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Sugar: The New Tobacco?

Proposed bill would require warning labels on sugary drinks Will soda and other saccharine libations soon come with a health warning? They will if it’s up to our state senator, Bill Monning (D-Carmel). On Feb. 27, Monning proposed first-of-its-kind legislation that would require a consumer warning label be placed on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in California. SB 1000, also known as the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act, was proposed to provide vital information to consumers about the harmful effects of consuming sugary drinks, such as sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened teas.

 

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