• A Slice of Tomato Pie
  • How to Make Homemade Mayo
  • Detox With Dandelion Tea
  • Zucchini Lasagna
  • Raw Tomato, Corn, and Basil Soup

A Slice of Tomato Pie

Summer may be winding down, but tomatoes are still coming on strong. Which is a bummer, because the frost will do them in shortly. But while you have them, might as well enjoy them. And if you’re tired of Caprese salads (heresy, I know) or slicing them up for sandwiches, then do I have a treat for you: tomato pie.

I believe it’s one of Newton’s laws which states that almost everything is better tucked inside a flaky pie crust. If not him, then I’m gonna claim it.

Tomatoes are no exception – there’s almost nothing better than that first bite of a tomato, just picked and still warm from the sun, but when you put that same tomato into a crust with fresh basil, and top it with cheese and your homemade mayo, I think the tomato pie wins in most cases. The tomatoes cook down a bit, which concentrates their flavor and sweetness, plus you have the added creaminess of mayo and a light crunch from the crust. Summer perfection.

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How to Make Homemade Mayo

Mayonnaise is easy to come by. Conveniently packaged and sitting on the grocery shelf proclaiming to be some kind of miracle, it’s hard to miss.

But (of course you knew there was a “but” coming) like many convenience foods, that convenience comes with a price, and not just dollars. Take a look at the ingredients the next time you see a jar of mayo – notice some funny stuff that you don’t usually have in your kitchen, like xantham gum, modified food starch, or cellulose gel? They’re also usually laden with preservatives (how else could it have a shelf life so long?), and most of the volume comes from soybean (most commonly) and canola oil, both of which are almost always GMO.

Okay, so now that the scare-mongering is out of the way, how about I just tell you that homemade mayo is easy to make, cheaper than anything you could buy, and tastes a Hellman’s of a lot better (did I just do that?) than, uh, Kraft.

Homemade Mayo - lifefromthegroundup.us

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Detox With Dandelion Tea

Ahhh, dandelions. That ubiquitous lawn weed is the nemesis of suburban homeowners everywhere (don’t fight them; it’s useless). But actually, as is the case with a lot of “weeds,” dandelions are chock full of goodness, and have been widely used in traditional healing for millennia.

They’re one of the best leafy green sources of beta-carotene and vitamin A, and also contain significant amounts of vitamin C, fiber, potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, and a variety of other trace minerals (for further reading, go here). In fact, dandelions are widely recognized to be better even than spinach, one of the original “superfoods.” If Popeye ate dandelions greens instead, he’d be an absolute beast. So if you feel the need to wage war, at least put them to good use!

Dandelion Tea 1 - lifefromthegroundup.us

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Urban Farmer Cleveland

I had a cool opportunity last week to attend a special dining event at a new downtown restaurant with about twenty other local bloggers. Urban Farmer opened earlier this spring and has been on our “must-visit” list since we saw the construction last year, and I’m happy to report that it was well worth the wait.

Urban Farmer is a bit of a hybrid – it’s a red-blooded American steakhouse, but it’s set up in more of a farm-to-table mold than a steakhouse typically would be. The menu is, of course, meat-centric, and in addition to the usual suspects, offers a neat option for a steak tasting: a sample of grass-fed, corn-fed, and dry-aged served right next to each other. Seems like a cool idea to be able to compare them like that. In addition, they’ll tell you where each steak is coming from and what’s unique about it. Not something you see every day.

Just about everything here screams “local” – from the menu (food and drinks), to the homemade canned produce adorning the walls, to the list of their area farm suppliers displayed prominently above the kitchen, it’s obvious that they take “local” seriously.

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Zucchini Lasagna

Although it hasn’t been the best year for squash, zucchini are seemingly always in abundance, which means people are seemingly always trying to offload them onto neighbors. Or at least come up with interesting ways to use them.

If you’re buried in cucurbits, then you should appreciate this recipe for zucchini lasagna, an easy and versatile take on traditional Italian. This version just uses zucchini “noodles” instead of your usual pasta. So I guess that makes this a good gluten-free option too. And it doesn’t have to be limited to zucchini either – we sliced up some eggplant and tomato and layered that on too.

Zucchini Lasagna - lifefromthegroundup.us

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