Seasonal eating will improve your meal.

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The last time I ate broccoli was five months ago. I am now stalking my broccoli plants looking for a hint of a head. Protecting it from insects and making sure it has the right amount of water as the weather cools. My planting schedule tells me that I should harvest it in the middle of November, but you never know with the natural world. My early lettuces bolted in the heat of September before they were big enough to make a salad for two people.

I haven’t eaten broccoli, not because I didn’t want it, but it doesn’t grow very well in the summer months where I live. …


A simple healthy fall snack food.

Sweet Potato Hummus Ingredients
Sweet Potato Hummus Ingredients
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Having healthy snacks available in the fridge makes eating healthy so much easier.

By preparing healthy snacks ahead of time and having them ready to go, your options in the fridge become easily accessible.

I love to turn vegetables into snack food and sweet potato hummus is my healthy snack food of the fall season.

Sweet Potatoes Versus Yams

Sweet potatoes are the root vegetables native to the Americas that are also known as yams in the United States.

The word yam came over from Africa. A true yam is a different root vegetable similar in appearance but in an unrelated biological family with a different texture and flavor. …


But way better than what you can buy.

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Masala Chai is one of my favorite beverages to drink in the winter.

It’s like a hug from my imaginary Indian grandmother.

It’s why pumpkin pie flavor is so popular. We don’t genuinely care about pumpkin. We love the spices, sugar, and cream that become masala chai.

At times I can see why the Europeans in the 15th century would embark on a months-long water journey.

Quick lesson: Masala = Spice, Chai = Tea, but going forward, I’ll use the word chai to refer to the aromatic sweet drink that Americans consume.

Don’t be intimidated by chai.

Chai seems like a mysterious blend of exotic ingredients, but nowadays, you can get most of the spices at any large grocery store. …


Planting garlic makes me wonder.

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The heads of garlic are swollen.

The sprouts growing inside each clove push out through the tip.

The plant is coming out of dormancy.

It wants to live.

We separate the cloves and bury them in the ground.

The sugar in the clove will give it food until it is able to reach sunlight.

Photosynthesis captures the sun’s energy forming a new plant.

Sending new roots into the ground.

In the spring a flower emerges, wanting to form seeds.

We cut the flower off, but the plant survives.

It sends energy to the root, storing sugar.

The plant withers and we pull them from the ground. …


This year we get the opportunity to invent the Thanksgiving that we want.

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As a cook, I love Thanksgiving. As a chef, I love that people still cook on Thanksgiving so that chefs can be home with their families.

I love that the stores are packed with people that will go home and make their favorite dish for their family.

I got into the food business because I love cooking for my family, and I got out of the food business because I love cooking for my family.

Preparing a meal for your family can be a rewarding experience. …


Save money, time and avoid the fillers by learning about what’s in your food.

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During one of my first cooking experiences, I remember looking at the back of a taco seasoning packet and realizing that I already owned the spices it contained. And I didn’t know the purpose of the other ingredients. The packet only cost a dollar, but I understood right away that I didn’t need it.

I experimented the next couple of times I made tacos and came up with a simple “recipe” of chili powder, paprika, garlic, cumin, and oregano. I use the word “recipe” lightly. …


Utilize these two methods to use up vegetables from the garden.

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At the farm, we would host an open house each fall and make two vegetable soups straight from the farm. Served with salad and bread, it was the most effortless catering event I have ever seen. The members that visited the farm raved about the soup and always asked for the recipes.

I thought this was odd because the recipes were so simple. There were barely recipes to share. But I would walk them through the steps and write down the formula the best I could.

I wanted to convey the message that you can make a soup from any vegetable following a few basic techniques. …


Just like people, vegetables come in all different shapes and sizes.

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The grocery store doesn’t allow us to appreciate this variation. Everything needs to be the same size and weight for consistency when pricing.

When you grow vegetables or buy them from a small farm, you inevitably end up with an assortment of items that don’t fit into the boundaries of a regular recipe.

Last week, I passed out one rutabaga for each member of our farm. Some of the rutabagas were close to harvest, and we needed to thin the planting. I knew I needed to supply a recipe assisting our members in using this solitary root.

The easiest way is to include it with other vegetables with similar textures and cook them together. So I suggested a mixed roasted vegetable recipe. …


Made from scratch green beans with a simple recipe improves the texture and taste.

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Returning to college after Thanksgiving, during my freshman year, I first learned that Green Bean Casserole was not a secret family recipe. I was a little crushed, and a lot embarrassed that I never noticed that the recipe is plastered on cans of fried onions and cream of mushroom soup. To me, it was a special dish that reserved for holidays and turned plain frozen green beans into a creamy, luxurious dish.

I like to think that there is a history behind the food that we eat. In the case of Green Bean Casserole, there is history. …


A dozen is nice but not for your waist.

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Scones are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. They’re one of my favorite baked goods. If you think that you don’t like scones, likely, you have never had one fresh from the oven.

I love sweets in all their forms. But I have a grievance with the recipe business.

I spent many years cooking for just myself or me and one other. The problem is that baking recipes usually make enough food for a large family or a small party. Single people don’t need two dozen cookies hanging around, tempting us to finish the plate.

I spent a long time in restaurant kitchens eating the freshest baked goods I could get my hands on. I have scoffed at two-day-old cookies because I have eaten too many fresh out of the oven. …

About

Julie Moreno

A chef trying to get others to cook their own food

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