Monday, August 22, 2011

Farm-to-Table, Delivered Fresh to Your Doorstep!

GrazeDelivered began in our area about a year ago, and delievers artisinal foods, prepared meals, and farm fresh meat throughout Fairfield County.  The idea came about when Westport mom, Christy Colasurdo, teamed up with Vermont-based friend Julianna Doherty Konczal, to bring quality foods being produced by small, family run farms to a wider market.  By keeping prices on par with WholeFoods, they are hoping to gain a loyal client base who want the added convenience of free delivery to their door.   Think Peapod, but with high-quality, Vermont-sourced, artisinal foods.  It's the perfect solution for busy people who want to feed their family wholesome, pesticide-free, minimally processed, regionally produced foods without having to squeeze in several trips to the market each week.

Speaking of convenience, my favorite thing about Graze is the "bistro", where you can order a wide variety of homemade prepared meals and/or recipe kits for busy families.  Everything is made with "the best seasonal Vermont produce, meat and cheeses." Dishes can be ordered a la carte and are packed in small portions for families with diverse tastes and/or eating schedules.  A special 'kid-friendly' menu includes options like free-range chicken tenders (which are also  gluten-free),  mini-meatballs, and taco kits, which include pre-marinated, cooked meat wrapped up with all the fixings.  The whole family will love the weekly pizza or burger kits, and those with grown-up palates won't want to miss the "globally inspired" or "traditional" dish of the week.  There are plenty of other prepared options, including vegetarian and gluten-free entrees, plus soups, salads, sides, grains, pestos, and salsas.

I barely got our first delivery unpacked before my kids tore open the bags of freshly baked raspberry mini-muffins.  Our fresh milk, probiotic yogurt, and farm fresh eggs made for a perfect start to our busy day.  Our order included a Pizza Kit, which was a pre-baked flatbread pizza crust, sauce, grated mozzarella, and lots of freshly cut veggies including colorful peppers, onions, and mushrooms.  The kids loved assembling our dinner and I loved the convenience of needing only to turn on the oven (or grill, had it not been pouring rain!).  We also tried the tender chicken fingers and mini-meatballs packed in a delicious tomato sauce.  It felt good knowing all the meat came from animals raised in a sustainable and humane environment.  My husband and I enjoyed the "globally inspired" butternut squash ravioli with maple cream sauce and chicken entree.  The portions (ours served two) were so simple to heat up on a busy evening and took the stress out of dinnertime.

Even if you love too cook and don't want prepared foods, Graze is also a great way to get Vermont farm-fresh milk, eggs, artisan cheeses, hormone/antibiotic/nitrate-free meats, and even baked goods as part of a weekly delivery.  Like with the bistro items, you can choose to have a standing order, or you can switch it up each delivery based on your needs that particular week.  They really have all your bases covered.  They didn't even forget Fido!  Organic, Vermont-made dog food and biscuits are all part of the fun!

I'm such a big fan of eating seasonally, eating locally, and supporting our regional sustainable-practices farms.  By combining Graze Delivered with a CSA share or trip to a local farmers market for fresh Connecticut-grown fruits and veggies, you may never need to go to the grocery store again!   Cheers to that!

1-888-WE GRAZE

Click here for more information about Tracy's Connecticut cooking classes at The Secret Ingredient Cooking School, or to read her other blog, Season to Taste.

Monday, August 15, 2011

"What's Cooking?" on Connecticut Channel 12

The Secret Ingredient is what's cooking!

You may have seen me on Channel 12 over the weekend demonstrating one of my very favorite side dishes, a Black Bean Salad with Cilantro.  As promised, here's the recipe!  Enjoy!

Black Bean Salad with Cilantro
Serves 6 as a side dish
 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
½ cup diced carrot
½ cup diced red pepper
2 scallions (green parts only), sliced thinly
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
For the dressing:
1 clove garlic
¼ cup red wine vinegar
½ cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine beans, carrots, peppers, and scallions in a large bowl.  Prepare the dressing by combining  the garlic, and vinegar in a small bowl.  While whisking, add the olive oil in a steady stream to create an emulsion.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Pour over the salad and mix gently but thoroughly (gently to avoid mashing the beans).  Add the chopped cilantro and mix again.  Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.  
This can be made up to one day in advance.  Store in refrigerator in an airtight container.  Check seasonings before serving.

Click here for more information about Tracy's Connecticut cooking classes at The Secret Ingredient Cooking School, or to read her other blog, Season to Taste.