Santa Cruz Good Times

Apr 18th
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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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Cardinal Grand Cross in the Sky

Following Holy Week (passion, death and burial of the Pisces World Teacher) and Easter Sunday (Resurrection Festival), from April 19 to the 23, the long-awaited and discussed Cardinal Cross of Change appears in the sky, composed of Cardinal signs Aries, Libra, Cancer, and Capricorn, with planets (13-14 degrees) Uranus (in Aries), Jupiter (in Cancer), Mars (in Libra) and Pluto (in Capricorn), an actual geometrical square or cross configuration. Cardinal signs mark the seasons of change, initiating new realities.


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.


Film, Times & Events: Week of April 17

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >


Growing Hope

Campos Seguros combats sexual assault in the Watsonville farmworker community Farm work was a way of life for Rocio Camargo, who grew up in Watsonville as the daughter of Mexican immigrants. Her parents met while working the fields 30 years ago, and her father went on to run Fuentes Berry Farms.
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