How to (best) clean fruits & veggies

A co-worker recently pulled me aside to ask how I could possibly afford to feed my family on a single income. “Organic is so expensive,” she complained. “I don’t know how you do it.” I smiled and said “it’s simple, I don’t always buy organic.” Knowing me and how I feel about food and what I feed my family, this seemed to come as something of a shock to her. But the truth is organic produce can be prohibitively expensive for a family as large as my own. Rather than break our back paying for what can be dubiously labeled organic, we thoroughly clean our produce in a solution of water and distilled vinegar. The latter, it turns out, is pretty remarkable at removing all of those unwanted baddies left clinging to your favorite fruit and veggies.

So go ahead, while no one’s looking, buy the cheap kale. Just make sure it cleans up well 🙂

Tri (our) Pasta Salad!

 

Yesterday was Sunday brunch-becue day! Steak & chicken shish-kabobs required a light and refreshing side, so we decided go with a tri-colored pasta salad. This dish was especially fun because a major component, the tomatoes and cucumbers, began as its own side dish (compliments of a guest), but when deciding what to add to the pasta I ended up combining the two and voilà, lunch!

Tri-Colored Pasta Salad

Tri-colored Pasta

Sea Salt

Ground Pepper

Distilled Vinegar

Olive Oil

Chopped Kalamata Olives

Ice

Boil a pot of salted water (salted water makes all the difference between bland and flavorful pasta). Taste the pasta. It should be soft but still able to hold its shape (this is called al dente). Strain and immerse in ice water to flash chill. Strain again, add a splash of olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper to taste, mix and set aside. Skin and slice cucumbers, slice tomatoes, add to pasta alongside the olives and mix again. And that’s it! A quick, light, perfect compliment to any barbecue!

Tip: Chopped pepperoni and/or cubed cheddar can be added to spruce up the salad even more!