Getting inventive with organic fare

The Baltimore Sun

Simply Organic

By Jesse Ziff Cool

The Organic Food Shopper's Guide

By Jeff Cox

Wiley / 2008 / $17.99

This green and white paperback, small enough to tuck in your reusable market bag for reference, is a more practical guide to the nuts and bolts of buying organic foods. It's organized by item, and each has easy-to-spot information on its season; buying, storing and preparing it; and how much it benefits you to seek out an organic version. There's a handy section on how and why to buy organic wine, and a resource guide for learning more.

But Jeff Cox, former editor of Organic Gardening magazine, offers more than a shoppers' guide. Inside this unassuming package is a pretty decent cookbook, with recipes like Caldo Verde (Portuguese Kale Soup), Raspberry Clafoutis, and Radish Salsa.

When blueberries hit their peak, we'll be making the Vegan Blueberry Muffins again. They had a nice body and crumb that made the blueberries the star. After our first batch, we added a couple of tablespoons of sugar to the batter, and found that the sugar seemed to achieve the right balance of sweetness and help the muffins rise and brown.

Asparagus and Scallops

Serves 4

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons sugar

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 whole canned chipotle chile pepper, pureed or minced

3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro

1 pound sea scallops

3/4 cup yellow cornmeal

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 pound asparagus, trimmed

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

lime wedges for garnish

In a small bowl, combine the oil, lime juice, sugar, garlic, chile pepper and cilantro. Let sit for at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, remove and discard the tough muscle from the scallops. In a small bowl, combine the cornmeal, coriander, salt and black pepper. Toss the scallops in the cornmeal mixture and set aside.

Pour 1/2 cup water into a heavy skillet. Bring to a boil over high heat. Add the asparagus. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 4 minutes, or until tender-crisp. Remove to a platter and keep warm. Wipe the skillet and add the butter. Place over medium heat to melt the butter. Add the scallops and cook for 2 to 4 minutes, turning once, until lightly browned and opaque.

Divide the asparagus evenly among 4 plates. Top with the scallops. Drizzle with the chipotle dressing and garnish with lime wedges.

From "Simply Organic"

Per serving: 403 calories, 24 grams protein, 18 grams fat, 5 grams saturated fat, 39 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams fiber, 52 milligrams cholesterol, 531 milligrams sodium

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