Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Aren't you sweet enough?

Today's CSA special is Roasted Ratatouille with Green Basmati. The Roasted Ratatouille is loosely based on the classic French dish made famous by an animated Disney rat - patty pan, yellow crookneck and new zuccini with spring onions, tomatoes and fresh herbs. The rice is an organic brown basmati cooked with red chard and herbs.

And from our pick-your-own extravaganza Michael has made Summer Borscht with lemon crème fraîche (vegetarian). If you run into Michael ask him how the Russians taught him to make this soup, or rather refused to teach him. It's a funny story complete with bad accents and grandiose hand gestures.
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For those of us watching BGL (blood glucose levels) or carbs or exchange points, foods with a low glycemic load are our friends. The glycemic index of a food measures how much of a rise in blood sugar a carbohydrate triggers–the higher the number, the greater the blood sugar response. The glycemic load factors the glycemic index and portion size to give a more accurate measuring tool.

This stuff is complicated and tedious. If you are interested, more information can be found at Suffice it to say that Blue Agave Nectar has a GL of 1 per serving (clover honey is about 15 and table sugar is about 7). A teaspoon of agava nectar is equivalent to 3 teaspoons of sugar and counts as a "free food" (2 teaspoons are 1/2 a carb exchange, but has the sweetening power of 2 tablespoons of sugar!).

And I am very excited to report success with making jam using agava! This was my Sunday evening snack - Banana Bran Bread with fresh Black Raspberry Agava Jam - and it was de-lish!

Black Raspberry Agava Jam
1 pound black raspberries (red raspberries, blackberries, etc. should work as well)
2/3 cup Organic Agava Nectar
3/4 cup cool water
1 pkg. pectin for less or no sugar recipes (this is important. Your jam will not jell unless you use a pectin specifically marked "for less or no sugar recipes")

Mash fruit in a 4 quart sauce pan with a potato masher. If you do not like seeds, force some or all of your fruit through a food mill or strainer. Add agava nectar to the fruit. In a small bowl or glass combine the cool water and pectin. Mix thoroughly so there are no white lumps (I use a blender or a stick blender). Combine pectin/water with the fruit. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring often. When a hard boil is reached (you can not stir down a hard boil) stir constantly and boil for exactly one minute. Remove from heat. Either proceed to canning or put in refrigerator to store. Makes 3 half pint jars, plus a bit left over for the cook.