Eat Local 

When traveling we always try to make it a priority to shop and indulge in the local produce and cuisine. Fresh local fruit is always a great choice and tastes delicious. Look for local farmers markets while visiting your destination. Farmers markets are very popular and easy to find, plus you get the freshest produce and you’ll support the local economy while doing so. 

One of the worst things to do when traveling, especially overseas or out of the U.S. is to purchase or order items that are not native to the destination you are visiting. Sometimes it might be second nature to order something that you would normally at home but you don’t realize what resources it might actually take to get these items shipped to where you are.   “Fresh” really might not be “fresh” by the time it get’s to you.

One of the wonderful benefits of traveling is having the opportunity to experience different cultures and foods all-while breaking out of your “comfort zone”.

Here are some of our favorites while visiting our favorites:

-Costa Rica: papaya, mango, passion fruit, plantains, pineapple

-Hawaii: lychee, pineapple, coconut, mango, strawberry papaya

-Mexico: prickly pear, guayaba, avocados, dragon fruit, cherimoya

-Northern California: pears, grapes, cherries, apples

-Central California: strawberries, artichokes, figs, grapes, berries

-Southern California: avocado, grapefruit, pomegranate, lemons, kumquat

To find a local farmer’s market while traveling, stop by or call the local visitors center, search online or get friendly and ask the locals!

Poached Artichokes

Happy National Artichoke day! I absolutely love all things artichoke. I mean come on…what an amazing addition to your favorite pasta dish, on a pizza, in a dip, they make a perfect salad topping or seriously just as good all by its little lonesome. How could you not love this versatile veggie. I could eat a whole artichoke just for din 🙂 As we celebrate this fun holiday – National Artichoke day, I share my favorite way to make this tasty side dish, or full meal…enjoy! When shopping for artichokes, I look for medium to large-sized, tight and bright green colored selections. I also keep an eye out for when they are on sale because they can get a little pricey. The prime artichoke season starts in March and continues through late April.
To prepare your artichokes, cut the stem and remove all the little leaves towards the stalk. Cut the tips of each leaf off with scissors (see above). Once the tips are cut, take a large knife and cut the top of the artichoke off – about 1/4″ to 1/2″. Prepare a large pot of boiling water with the following:

1 onion – thinly sliced
1 lemon – thinly sliced
4-5 garlic cloves, smashed
1 tbsp. ground black pepper
1 1/2 teas. red chili pepper flake
3/4 c. red wine vinegar
2 tbsp. whole black peppercorns

Salt the water like you would when preparing pasta. I don’t mean a pinch, salt it up so it tastes like the sea 🙂  Bring the water to a boil, add 1-2 artichokes and boil/simmer covered for 45 min- 1 hour. Cover the artichokes with a plate if needed to keep them under the water. Test the artichokes by pulling the outer leaves and taste for “doneness”. Once done, remove artichokes from water and drain upside down in a bowl. Serve with your favorite dipping accouterments. Bon appetit and happy National Artichoke Day!