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THE

Defender Picks

 

Samedi

December 20th

Little Maker presents Last Waltz

One Eyed Jacks, 9p.m.

A tribute to The Last Waltz - Part II

 

Pelicans vs. Trail Blazers

Smoothie King Center, 6p.m.

The world of Portlandia blazes down South

 

Nutcracker Ballet

Tulane’s Dixon Hall, 2p.m.

Its not Christmas without the Nutcracker

 

Irvin Mayfield’s Birthday Celebration

Royal Sonesta, 8p.m.

Trumpet Mafia, Jonathan Batiste & Special Guests

 

Pine Leaf Boys

d.b.a., 11p.m.

Local grammy nominees take the stage

 

Dimanche

December 21st

Caroling in the Square

Jackson Square, 6:30p.m.

Join in the tradition of communal holiday song by candlelight in front of the Cathedral

 

Saints vs. Falcons

da Dome, 12p.m.

Who dat rivals migrate to the Crescent City for some action

 

Nutcracker Ballet

Tulane’s Dixon Hall, 2p.m.

Its not Christmas without the Nutcracker (final show)

 

Creole Christmas

Preservation Hall, 2:30p.m.

Holday jams with Lars Edegran and Big Al Carson

 

Lundi

December 22nd

NOCCA Presents Home for the Holidays

House of Blues, 6p.m.

A concert for Daniel Price foundation ft. Trombone Shorty, Rebirth Brass Band, TYSSON

Mardi

December 23rd

Lightwire Theater

The Joy Theater, 3p.m. & 7:30p.m.

A glow in the dark dancing light show

 

Costly Cuisine

You Can't Have it All: The Challenges of Eating Local



For the entire month of June, The NOLA Locavores group is running its third annual Eat Local Challenge, a 30-day call to action to New Orleanians to consume only ingredients – including oil and seasonings – that were farmed, raised or caught within 200 miles of the city. Lauren Zanolli explores the financial constraints of local eating and offers recipes for low-cost locavores. 

 

 

Today’s Ingredients:

Zucchini and Sweet Potato Bread

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp grated ginger
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 ½ cups grated local zucchini (about 1 medium)
  • 1 ½ cups grated local sweet potato (about 1 medium)

 

Kale, Sweet Onion and Bacon salad with Acadiana Honey dressing

 

  • 1 small bunch Perilloux Farm kale (rinse and chop, discarding thick bottom part of stems)
  • ¼ sweet Louisiana onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 piece thick cut Chapapeela Farms bacon
  • 1 large Monica’s Okra World cucumber, peeled and sliced
  • 1 small handful Mississippi blueberries
  • Apple cider or red wine vinegar
  • Acadiana honey
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Vegetable oil for cooking
  • ½ lb Gulf shrimp, peeled and deveined (leave heads on)
  • 3-4 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • ½ large lemon (zest and cut into large wedges)
  • 1 lb small local yellow and red creole tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 medium local zucchini, ribboned using a vegetable peeler
  • ½ medium sweet Louisiana onion
  • 1 cup Jazzmen white rice
  • 1 ½ cup water
  • Pad of butter
  • Bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Slap ya mama! Cajun seasoning

Zucchini Ribbons with Lemony Shrimp, Sweet Onions and Creole Tomato Sauce over Rice

(makes 2 servings)

  •  
  • ½ lb Gulf shrimp, peeled and deveined (leave heads on)
  • 3-4 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • ½ large lemon (zest and cut into large wedges)
  • 1 lb small local yellow and red creole tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 medium local zucchini, ribboned using a vegetable peeler
  • ½ medium sweet Louisiana onion
  • 1 cup Jazzmen white rice
  • 1 ½ cup water
  • Pad of butter
  • Bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Slap ya mama! Cajun seasoning

I started the challenge Tuesday morning with a visit to one of the Crescent City Farmer’s Market’s weekly gatherings, conveniently located near my house at 200 Broadway Street Uptown. The entrance to the market is a cheery site. You’re greeted by tables full of budding herbs, multi-colored chalkboard signs listing what’s on offer, and rows of white tents shading each farmers’ fresh-picked goods.  Running in the middle of the day, from 9am to 1pm, this market’s customers are mainly college students, young moms and probably other lazy writers like myself. 

 

I had no real purchasing strategy, a mistake I would later learn to correct. Instead I figured I would just scan the market and see what’s cheap and looks good. The bargain hoarder in me immediately snapped up the amazing deals at Monica’s Okra World stand. Three for $1 jumbo cucumbers!  Two for $1 large pattypan squash! And yes, I need that 2 lb basket of zucchini for $1! Between Monica’s squash-a-palooza and the other fantastic vendors, I ended up leaving with what felt like 15 pounds of vegetables strapped to my back and jutting out of my bike basket – all for under $10. As I trudged home in the thick heat, I developed a newfound sympathy for those mules that work on South American jungle farms.

 

It was only after I got home and unloaded my haul that I realized I didn’t actually have enough ingredients for a full meal. Storm clouds clearly rolling in, I begrudgingly got back on my bike and set out for the one-two punch combo of Whole Foods and Rouse’s to stock up on food staples.

 

My first stop was the Tchoupitoulas branch of Rouse’s, a New Orleans-based grocery store chain with a long-standing emphasis on supporting local vendors and communities. “Buy Local!” signs scattered the aisles, pointing customers to Louisiana-made goods. Their selection for local vegetables was meager – a few boxes of zucchinis and tomatoes. But I was able to stock up on po’ boy bread and Mississippi blueberries on sale, along with proteins for the week, including locally-caught shrimp and sausage and bacon from Amite, Louisiana, thanks to a new partnership between Rouse’s and a small pork and duck producer called Chappapeela Farms. I also made sure to grab the usual suspects like garlic and lemons (not local).

 

Next up was Whole Foods aka “Whole Paycheck,” a chain I like to hate on as regularly as I shop there. Any store that has a refrigerated case of $4 kombucha at the front door can’t help but feel a little snobby. But if you know where to look there are good deals to be had. Plus I’ll go anywhere for free cheese samples.

 

Unable to find locally produced dairy within my price range at the farmer’s market, the best I could do in this department was goat cheese from a farm in Austin ($8.99/lb), and Whole Foods’ 365 brand eggs, also from Austin ($1.49 for a six-pack). At over 500 miles from New Orleans, Austin might barely qualify as “local-ish,” but at least its closer than Wisconsin. The store’s bulk section is also great if you need to just buy a little flour or grain at a time.

 

Just one day into the challenge, I quickly learned that no single grocery store or market – at least that I had found – was able to offer everything I usually cook with at reasonable prices. In order to be a budget locavore, flexibility is key – you never know exactly what will be available at a market, and you might need to make a few stops in order to fill up your pantry without breaking the bank. The current reality is that some things, like flour or sugar, are very hard to find from local producers at grocery store-comparable prices.

 

At any rate, after two rounds of schlepping groceries in the heat I had enough food booty stockpiled to start cooking, local-style.

 

Today's Recipes: 

Breakfast: Sweet Potato & Zucchini Bread, cost per serving: $.42 

  • Set oven to 350?. Butter and flour a 9” loaf pan. Grate zucchini on largest slots of grater. Set in colander and let drain. Grate sweet potato and set aside.
  • Sift first five ingredients into a medium bowl. Set aside. Beat sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla with a whisk until blended. Squeeze water out of grated zucchini and place in egg mixture. Add sweet potato and mix. Slowly add flour mixture and blend thoroughly. Add to prepared pan and put in pre-heated oven. Bake for about 1hr and 20 minutes, or until knife comes out clean. 

Lunch: Kale and Bacon Salad, Side Bread, cost per serving: $4.04

  • Heat pan over high heat, add sliced onions, stirring constantly. Cook for a few minutes until onions start to brown, lowering the heat if needed so they don’t burn. Remove from pan when browned.
  • Add more oil if needed and put bacon in pan. Cook on both sides until browned and remove from pan. Chop when cook enough to handle.
  • Add all ingredients in a bowl and top with dressing. Serve with a chunk of po’ boy bread.
  • Dressing: Add vinegar, honey, pinch salt and pepper in small bowl. Add oil and whisk to blend (use a 3:1 ratio for oil to vinegar). Adjust proportions and seasoning to taste.

Dinner: Lemony Shrimp and Creole Tomato Over Rice, cost per serving: $2.80       

  • Place shrimp and about one clove minced garlic in a small bowl. Top with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste and a squeeze of lemon. Let marinate. Slice the zucchini lengthwise using the vegetable peeler to make “ribbons.” Set in a colander and top with some salt; let drain. Place rice, water, butter and bay leaf in small saucepan. Heat into boiling then reduce heat; simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Heat large pan over medium heat and add enough olive oil to cover the pan. Place 1-2 cloves’ worth of minced garlic in pan and stir until fragrant (1-2 minutes). Add half of the tomatoes and some salt to taste; let simmer for a few minute. When most of the tomatoes are mostly dissolved add the rest of the tomatoes and let simmer for a few minutes more. Set aside. Reheat the pan on high and add olive oil. Throw in the onions and cook until a little browned. Turn the heat down to medium and toss in the rest of the garlic, followed shortly by the drained zucchini ribbons; salt to taste. Sautee for a few minutes, until zucchini is just about tender. Add the onion/ribbon mixture to the tomato sauce. Turn the heat up and add the shrimp. Flip after 1-3 minutes or when the shrimp is pink on one side. Add the tomato and zucchini mixture into the pan and simmer until shrimp is pink. Finish with lemon zest and another squeeze of lemon, if you like. Optional: top with Slap Ya Mama! for a little spice.
  • Save squash and rice leftovers for the next day: Heat in microwave and add egg, goat cheese, sausage or anything else you like!

 

Correction-6:45pm. The Lemony Shrimp Recipe is $2.80 per serving, not $7.28

 

The opinions contained in this column belong to Lauren Zanolli alone, and do not represent the views of the NOLA Defender Editorial Board.

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Contributors:

Dead Huey Long, Emma Boyce, Elizabeth Davas, Ian Hoch, Lindsay Mack, Anna Gaca, Jason Raymond, Lee Matalone, Phil Yiannopoulos, Joe Shriner, Chris Staudinger, Chef Anthony Scanio, Tierney Monaghan, Stacy Coco, Rob Ingraham,

Staff Writers

Cheryl Castjohn, Sam Nelson

Art Listings

Cheryl Castjohn

Photographers

Brandon Roberts, Rachel June, Daniel Paschall

Film Critic

Jason Raymond

Puzzler

Paolo Roy

Art Director:

Michael Weber, B.A.

Editor:

B. E. Mintz

Published Daily by

Minced Media, Inc.

Editor Emeritus



Stephen Babcock