A3: Arugula & Avocado

Sunday morning was a pleasant surprise for me. My son called and we decided to go over to the Farmer’s Market together. It is rare that he has a Sunday off, so when I made the suggestion he jumped. It had been raining for days so the landscape was moisture laden and the light was eerie in the fog here along the coast. But, oh how the green things thrive. My kid showed me his happy discovery when he’d put a dying holiday evergreen miniature outside and it came back with a vengeance.

Over the past week I have written about my desire to eat locally grown food. For me, this is Activism that goes beyond the political petitions, phoning, etc. Activism now means living my beliefs. I signed on to the 100 foot diet challenge at Path To Freedom. (Although I do admit I misread it as 100 mile diet challenge and thought of my Farmer’s Market.)

This New Year begins in a really baby step kind of way with my trip to Sunday’s Farmer’s Market. After several months of chips and dip, I don’t have my eating patterns back in sync yet. I decided that I would have some fun with it. So, I am going to eat locally – which translates to growing some of my own, eating seasonal vegetables and fruits too - AND I am especially going to eat foods beginning with the letter of the week.

It is clear that this is the ‘A” week at the make-a-(green) plan blog, right? I decided to start with Arugula and Avocado. Did you know that in the pagan rituals ‘Air’ represents mental activity, thoughts, reason and intellect, memory, knowledge, persuasion, birth and friendship, freedom, clarification and expression? I didn’t either until I stumbled on it. But it reminds me that I could make a game – a knowledgeable, convincing game - of my menu planning.

My first thought was simply to think of both the arugula and avocado for good salad makings. But, I came across a great arugula pesto recipe, an idea I found Googling to a site named In My Kitchen Garden.

Farmgirl's Arugula Pesto

1/3 cup of your favorite olive oil
1 ounce garlic (about 6 cloves), peeled and sliced
6 ounces arugula, preferably very young leaves
3 ounces freshly grated pecorino romano or other hard cheese (about 1 cup)
1 cup canned garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed (about 5-1/2 ounces)
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Add salt to taste and more oil if desired. Will keep for at least a week in the refrigerator. Cover with a thin layer of olive oil if you are the type of person who gets upset when the top of your food turns a different color.

The reason this recipe appeals to me is I am about to do a major U-turn with my eating patterns.

Full disclosure, I am out of sorts with my past months of impulse eating and the last week of cold and food cravings. One week into the year begins with me having a refrigerator full of half eaten food gone off. I need to toss old cooked broccoli, the last of the middle-eastern food, two egg cartons full of used shells, 2 bowls of homemade hummus, a carton of French onion dip mixed with yogurt and a container full of romaine lettuce. The reason I haven’t dealt with this is I wanted to have a composter ready. That may not happen because I failed to plan this. It is a whole other story for another post.

Being a firm believer in making it easier to do the right thing (make-a-plan), I don’t think I can screw up with a delicious dip on hand. I suspect that giving myself a really nutritious, dark green, locally-grown, seasonal dip I can eat at every meal with cut up vegetables is bound to make eating better pretty easy. My variations this week can be using avocado in a dip, and making more yogurt cheese (my contribution to our holiday meal). Dips are a really good way for me to eat vegetables mindlessly and not take on the cooking, heating commitment.

For more than a year I ate hummus with cut up vegetables every day for an afternoon snack. I love it with a passion and it is a tasty way for a vegetarian wannabe to get protein, and a potable food when there is no refrigeration around (hikes, errands, etc.) I also have black beans and rice on hand without needing to go to the store for anything more. This arugula pesto and the avocado are both good green compliments to these comfort foods. A black bean with rice meal is another favorite menu item (twice weekly) for me.

I am glad I found In My Kitchen Garden because there were so many ideas for arugula pesto alone. I know I will visit again.

But for sheer inspiration you can’t beat this family from Pasadena, California. I introduced this video in November and I will embed it again, as I said I’d do at the onset. It is worth watching more than once.
Avocado photo