Tag Archives: fresh

Olive Tree Bakery: Greek desserts, cookies, and specialty items

Greek 9According to Greek mythology, the olive tree became a symbol of peace and victory when two gods, Poseidon and Athena, competed for the title of reigning deity of Athens.  Poseidon, the god of the sea, laid his claim by striking his mighty trident into the wall of the Acropolis and from it sprung a well of brackish water. But it was the goddess of wisdom and skill who won possession of the city by offering a more beneficial and gracious gift to the land. She knelt beside the pool of water and planted an olive branch that would grow to become a tree. It is the same act of benevolent gift giving deeply rooted in Greek culture that makes Anna Troussas one of our most unique and elegant vendors at the ENFM. Her authentic Greek cookies, breads, and pastries are prepared with the most quality ingredients that keep customers returning,  and the love she puts into her work springs from a tradition that can be tasted in every bite.Greek 10

Anna was born in Hunstville, AL, where her father, Nick Koralis, was working for IBM. He met his soon-to-be wife, Carol, and the couple moved to Tallahassee, FL, where Anna grew-up. Though her father was born and raised in Greece, Anna had never visited the island until the three family members traveled there for a vacation. By the end of the trip Anna declared that she would be staying when her family returned home to America. She found a job, purchased a car, enjoyed the culture, drank coffee, and what was supposed to last only a summer grew to become 3 years of Anna immersing herself in the country of heritage. Within that time, she met and married her husband, Spyro Troussas, and the couple moved back to the States in 2011. They settled in Franklin, TN, where her parents and sister Christina had relocated.

Greek 3I asked Anna about the significance of cookies and pastries in Greek culture and cuisine. “It’s all about coffee, ” she begins. ” We love our coffee in Greece, and we love to spend time with each other. It’s about taking the time out of your schedule to sit and enjoy coffee and a conversation with someone, and cookies pare a perfect pairing. ”

It is this experience and knowledge of Greek culture and cuisine that equipped her to begin baking seriously when she arrived back in the States. She had always baked for friends, but she had a desire to do more and was encouraged by them to start her own business. She first applied to the Franklin Farmers’ Market and was surprised when her application was accepted. Within 2 weeks, Anna created her menu, finalized her recipes, and developed her packaging. She works out of her home kitchen in Franklin and sells at 3 Nashville markets: East Nashville, Franklin, and Hip Donelson. Her mother Carol supports the bakery in every way she can and Anna even Skype’s with Nikoleta, her enthusiastic mother-in-law from Greece, who offers advice and guidance in Anna’s work. Greek 4

Like many, Anna comes from a long line of women who pride themselves in their abilities to prepare food. It is the way they show love and care for their families and friends and it is extremely prominent within Greek tradition, Anna says. There is a myriad of female characters who have influenced her work and recipes with history and stories behind them. Most recipes Anna has created herself, but one in particular she did not. Her favorite cookie, the coffee cookie. Anna obtained the recipe from her aunt (or theia) Popi, who immigrated to America from Greece to be married to a man she barely knew. Popi never learned to read, write, or drive a car, Anna recounts, but she was known for her delicious coffee cookies. She prided herself for these cookies , and Anna fondly remembers them as a child. Similar to a biscotti in shape and texture, they are traditionally topped with sesame seeds and filled in the center with a layer of cinnamon.  When Popi passed, Anna was determined to pass on her aunt’s love by learning the recipe and giving the cookies as gifts, she says. “I have one every morning with my coffee. Well, maybe more than one, ” she says with a smile.

Greek 2Another popular item is the traditional koulourakia, which are simple twisted butter cookies that are sold in lovely cellophane pouches . Her handy-work is so meticulous and perfect that they resemble something found in a specialty store, yet each one is prepared and hand-twisted by Anna. “I’ve been making these cookies almost my entire life, ” Carol says, “but not even I can help her. Mine just don’t measure up. ” She also offers a powdered-sugar coated almond cookie that is a favorite amongst children, and a traditional sweet Easter bread that is made with a spice found only on the Greek island of Xios.

Greek 6Though all of Anna’s treats are, her famous baklava stands out the most. A popular Greek pastry made of gooey layers of phylo dough, nuts, and often times honey, baklava is a decadent dessert. Anna uses a combination of walnuts, almonds, and pecans, and makes a chocolate variety as well.  She even sells  baklava in a jar, which is beautifully packaged with a pewter ribbon and perfect to give as a gift. It can be purchased individually or purchased in lovely gift baskets with her other assorted baked goods.Greek 7

She also delivers to customers who can no longer make the markets, and with the ENFM ending its 2014 season, she is not opposed to making deliveries. “This has been my dream since I was a child, and I’m very happy about it, ” she says. “It means something to me that my customers love my stuff. If I can bring them some happiness, I will. I’m so thankful.”

We’re thankful for you, too, Anna.

If you are interested in keeping up with Anna and the Olive Tree Bakery, please “like” her Facebook page at http://tinyurl.com/theolivebranchbakery.

About the author: Rebecah Boynton has a BS in horticulture from Auburn University. She is a writer, an advocate, and volunteers at the East Nashville Farmers’ Market.

Waste Not, Want Not

recycling logo

Waste not, want not.  Few would argue with the wisdom of such a principle, but even fewer fully understand the extent to which it can be carried out in household, much less kitchen management. The idea of low to no household commodities waste is sometimes dismissed as a quaint, antiquated holdover from grandparents and great-grandparents who survived the economic depression that hit the US between World Wars.  To many, it has been rebranded. Gramma’s frugality now bears the shiny new title, “sustainable living.”

Is this a bad thing?  Absolutely not. In fact, to cadge a phrase from Martha Stewart, it is a very good thing.

Like organic food production, upcycling/recycling/using every bit of everything from snout to tail is a shiny new concept surrounding older ways that have been kept alive by choice and circumstance.  Those who live in less developed parts of the United States, citizens of aboriginal North American reservations, urban dwellers who understand the need for commodities to be used up of because of the lack of space and resources for disposal, and yes, many college students.

Think you’re already using everything in every way possible?  Here’s a quick way to tell if that is the case:  What does your curb look like on the days the garbage truck rolls through?  If you’re doing everything you should be doing, your average household waste for that week should fit into one, maybe two t-shirt bags.

No? Are you still screaming (on the inside, where it counts) “Hefty! Hefty! Hefty!” as you trudge to the sidewalk?   It’s okay.  We all do it sometimes. If you’re doing it every week, you need to know that it is possible to wean your wastebaskets and trash cans from a steady diet of stuff that could be recycled into rugs, clothing, planters and even fashionable vegan shoes. Keep in mind this kind of change does not have to be a zero sum proposition.  You can start small.  Just start!

Let me help you out with this.  Do you eat Annie’s Mac ‘n Cheese?  The next time you’re in the mood for comfort food and you tear open a package, ad you’re waiting for the water to boil, take a look at the box. Yes, the bunny is cute and the bumper sticker offer that has been open since I was an undergraduate is still on the side. What you’ll also find are tips on how to reuse that box before it finally ends up in your recycling bin.

Low to no waste isn’t limited to paper and plastic.  Take a look at that pretty yellow oval in your CSA box.  For those of you who have never tried spaghetti squash, you’re missing out.  It has the texture and taste of a good veggie pasta prepared al dente the way the school cafeteria ladies never intended. Don’t let this tasty, healthy treat go to waste.

I consulted with my friends and fellow veggie fans, Sylvia and Bill Red Eagle, on the best ways to use every bit of a spaghetti squash.  Starting from the inside out:

Seeds: The tangle of seeds and mushy, fibrous stuff needs to be removed before the rest of it can be cooked.   Once you’ve scooped it out, begin to knead it and you’ll find the seeds will start to fall out.  Rinse them off, buff them barely dry with a clean dishtowel and then spread them out on a cookie sheet.

They’re great plain or you can season them with any of the following: cayenne, chili powder, garlic salt, grated parm or asiago, or cinnamon and a little sugar or (a tiny, tiny amount of) stevia if prefer a sweet snack.  Once you’ve seasoned them or not, pop the tray in an oven set at 275 degrees for five to ten minutes or until the seeds are dry, crisp, and slide around.

This recipe works with any squash or pumpkin seed and those seeds, called pepitas by my father’s people (who also refer to corn as maiz, go figure…) are a great source of protein and fiber.  One cautionary note:  they are very rich in Omega-6, which do weird things to Omega-3s, which you and I and everyone we know  needs.  So, as Cookie Monster might say, they’re probably best eaten as a sometimes snack when you happen to be cooking a winter squash.

Flesh:  Some people boil it, some steam it, the Red Eagles like to cut it in half and bake it flesh side down until the fibers pull away into “noodles”.  They like it as a side with butter, salt and a little sauteed garlic or garlic scapes when they’re in season or as a “chili mac” when the weather in Ft. Worth gets a little colder.  I like it topped with a good “tom ‘n three plus” marinara ( tomatoes, onions, garlic, peppers plus herbs and wine).

The Skin, Stem and Seed Muck:  All of it composts beautifully.  If you have established a place for birds and other neighbor critters to visit and grab a bite, you’ll find that they see the seed muck is like, the best snack ever to squirrels, titmice and black capped chickadees.

So, let’s review.  You started with this ornery hard thing that you wondered if you could use as part of a centerpiece or a decoration for the guest book table at church and now you have a tasty snack, a great meal that is light on the carbs, and some good karma from feeding your fellow earthlings.  Best of all, none of that ended up in the trash.

Hungry for more?  Talk to your local farmer about their favorite ways to use winter squash.  You might want to check out these recipes by two of my favorite chefs/foodways preservation advocates:

Emeril Lagasse’s herbed spaghetti squash is an easy dish after a rushed day.
Rick Bayless’ “Worlds Greatest Chili” includes winter squash as part of his refit of a home kitchen classic.
Bon appetit and keep green!

by Jas Faulkner 

 

BUTTERNUT SQUASH PIZZA RECIPE

BUTTERNUT SQUASH PIZZA RECIPE
(serves 2)
1 cup very thinly sliced peeled and seeded butternut squash
EVOO for drizzling
Coarse salt
1/4 cup fine yellow cornmeal
Pizza dough
6-10 small fresh sage (or basil) leaves (torn if larger)
at least 1-2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1. Preheat the oven to 500 F. Drizzle squash with oil in a bowl and season with salt.
2. Spread cornmeal on baking sheet. Stretch dough into 9.5 inch round; transfer to baking sheet. Drizzle dough with oil, and arrange squash on top, leaving a 1/2 inch border. Bake 10 minutes. In the bowl you used for the squash, toss herbs with garlic, & drizzle with oil to coat. Sprinkle herb mixture over pizza & continue to bake until crust is golden brown, about 10 minutes.
*Cheese / Tomato Sauce : One can also add mozzarella cheese or another white cheese or your choice, like Romano or even tomato sauce, making this a bit more traditional. Top the crust with these additions, after baking the dough, but before adding the squash. Of course, you can always add more cheese on top too!
Submitted by Magda Underdown-Dubois

Slocal: Yes, It’s Local and So Much More

The Slow Food Movement might be new to you, but it has been around since the late eighties, first as a SLOCALgrassroots effort to move away from the increasing presence of fast food in the diets of working Italians and eventually in the US, where prominent localtarian proponents such as Michael Pollan and Alice Waters took up the cause of promoting a way of eating that was smarter and gentler on us and the planet.  

Slow Food promotes the idea that local, sustainably grown and homemade are always the best choices. If Nashville Master Gardeners Jami Anderson and Russell Kirchner have their way, it could be the approach we all take towards filling our plates and pantries.

Educating themselves about the true nature of mainstream corporate food production in this country inspired them to start producing their own food five years ago. As they learned how much of the value of real food is lost in the process, they began see the importance of local food production.

“Learning from many illuminating documentaries about the food industry (and reading enormous amounts about it as well) reinforced our desire to grow healthy fruits and vegetables that are pesticide-free, fresh, and have as much of their full complement of original nutrients as possible. Likewise, learning about the triggers of a fast-food diet to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease piqued our dedication to the slow-food movement. The continuing depletion of fossil fuels and air quality due to the transportation of food from far-off places to the table made us even more aware of the importance of growing food that is local.”

This was also the inspiration for the name and mission of their company. Slocal Foods is more than just a pretty herb stand situated among the vendors at the East Nashville Farmers Market. Of course you can get basil that will make your kitchen (not to mention your pesto,) smell like a little bit of culinary Nirvana and move on to the rest of your visit. Before you do, take a few minutes and look around. You’ll see herbs you might not recognize. You’ll see plants that, if you let them, will help turn your home into a greener and maybe tastier sanctuary. All that from a fresh sprig or a live plant?  Really?  

For you salt and pepper cooks, Anderson will attest that expanding your taste vocabulary can be daunting.  “…cooking with herbs can be intimidating to people who aren’t chefs and may not have even heard of some of them. That’s why we offer free recipes with the purchase of any herb that uses that herb as a main ingredient, fresh, dried, or live at our Farmers Market booth.” Still need some convincing? Take a look at one of the many recipes you’ll find this season at Slocal Foods. 

Aside from their interesting history and the sensory delight herbs offer, Anderson went on to explain why and Kirchner focused on herbs as part of their life work as teachers and activists for Slow Food: “Farmers markets are great resources for fruits and vegetables that are local but we noticed a gap in the supply of fresh herbs. You can buy some herbs at chain groceries but often they come in plastic (yuck) clamshells and sell for around $3 for just a few (often moldy) sprigs. Neither freshness nor quality is guaranteed in most instances. Selection is also limited to a few mainstream herbs as well. Our herbs are raised organically from seed in rich, composted soil right in our own backyard and we offer many herbs you won’t find for sale in a store.

See what they are offering each week at http://slocalfoods.com. Call Slocal at 615-480-5347 for restaurant herb supply accounts.

– Jas Faulkner

HOW TO STORE & USE VARIETIES OF FALL SQUASH

They are so versatile and tasty. Here are some tips for navigating the kitchen with fall vegetables including butternut, acorn and spaghetti squash.butternut squash
-Use a sharp knife. Cutting through the peel can be difficult!
-You may steam them, boil them, bake in a water pan, cook in the crock pot, roast or grill them. There are many different ways to cook squash
-Baking them in the oven with no water will make for a less “water logged” squash. It can make a difference in recipes!
-Spaghetti squash, as the name indicates, is a great noodle replacement but can also try it as crust in an egg breakfast or pizza.
-You can store these squashes in a cool dark place for a year or longer. As long as they don’t show signs of mold or soft spots, they’re made to store.
– Tips by Stacy Geny of Paradise Produce – East Nashville Farmers Market

Chubby Bunny Baby Food

JeminaChubby Bunny was founded in 2012 out of the Nashville kitchen of Jemina Boyd. After several of her friends became new mothers, Jemina began noticing that they wanted to feed fresh, healthy foods to their babies. However, making your own baby food can be time consuming, and most new moms would prefer to spend their valuable free time with their little ones instead of in the kitchen. What began as an effort to help out new families has become a business.

Growing up in a family of six where Jemina’s mom made her own baby food, she is no stranger to the process. Jem and her family are constantly experimenting with new fruits + vegetable combinations, along with herbs and spices, to make seasonal flavors that your baby is sure to love. All of the baby foods are made with organic, fresh ingredients that are sourced from local farms when available. They’re also taste tested and approved by a panel of very picky little eaters.

Come and see Jemina and her tasty creations at the East Nashville Farmers Market on Wednesdays from 3:30pm-7pm.

Melon Basics

cantaloupeGet your first, fresh melons of the season this week at the East Nashville Farmers Market!!

What to Look For: Look for those that are fragrant and heavy. Press the end opposite the stem to feel for a bit of give. Give the melon a tap; you’ll hear a hollow thump if it’s ripe.

How to Store: Store whole melons in a cool spot. If cut, cover wedges in plastic and refrigerate up to four days.

Watermelon-Peach Salsa and Tomatoes

watermelon-peach-salsa-and-tomatoes-sl-x

Recipe from Southern Living July 2011 Photo: Beth Dreiling Hontzas; Styling: Amy Burke

Come and get your fresh and local ingredients for this quick and easy recipe at the East Nashville Farmers market this Wednesday.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup hot pepper jelly
1 tablespoon lime zest
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 cups seeded and diced fresh watermelon
1 cup peeled and diced fresh peaches
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
1/3 cup chopped fresh chives
3 cups baby heirloom tomatoes, halved
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Garnish: fresh basil sprigs

Whisk together pepper jelly, lime zest and lime juice in a bowl; stir in watermelon and next 3 ingredients.  Season halved baby tomatoes with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste; spoon into cocktail glasses. Top with Salsa. Garnish, if desired.

Recipe: Tomato, Basil and Goat Cheese Bruschetta

bruchettaCome out to the East Nashville Farmers Market to get your fresh ingredients for this wonderful summer recipe.  

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Fresh Tomatoes, Chopped (Roma Preferred)
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Finely Minced (may Add More Or Less To Taste)
  • 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
  • ½ cups Basil, Chopped
  • Kosher Salt And Fresh Cracked Pepper To Taste
  • 1 whole French Baguette, Sliced On The Diagonal, 3/4 Inch Thick
  • 1 clove Garlic, Peeled And Sliced In Half
  • Goat Cheese, To Taste

Preparation

In a medium mixing bowl, add chopped tomatoes, finely minced garlic, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and basil together. The longer they sit, the better it will be. Make a few hours ahead or overnight. Add kosher salt and pepper to taste.

Toast baguettes on a cookie sheet just until slightly browned. Rub halved garlic clove over the toasted side to infuse bread with flavor. Spread with goat cheese to taste. Spoon tomato mixture on top of the bread and serve.  Also goes well with pasta.

Recipe from TastyKitchen.com

Support Your Local Farmer With One Meal At A Time

10013743_10202860779534696_475239739_nCHALLENGE ACCEPTED?

Can you commit to cooking just one meal a week that is completely purchased at the market while supporting your local farmer? It’s simple.

You can buy local corn tortillas, onions, lettuce, ground beef, and cheese.  Then top that with salsa for an easy quesadilla supper.

Or you could buy fresh berries or peaches, croissants, granola, jam or honey and finish with yogurt or cheese for a gourmet farmers market breakfast. 

Of course, if cooking just isn’t your thing there is no reason to worry.  You can also find plenty of prepared foods from our vendors and food trucks as well.  

After you see how truly easy and delicious it can be, you will surely want to add more. Please share your results with us. Have fun!

We look forward to seeing you and your family on Wednesday.