There are many Americans with limited access to fresh produce. Read more about this issue over on the blog and learn how you can help. #drinkgooddogood #sponsored

I’ll admit that I sometimes take for-granted the wonderful produce Eric and I have access to. Our weekly vegetable pick up is full of locally grown, organic ingredients. For those items that might be missing, we’re within walking distance to a farmer’s market or grocery store. It’s a luxury, I know, and it’s one that many residents in areas around Boston and other cities don’t share.

Around the country, nearly 24 million Americans live in what are referred to as “food deserts.” In fact, there are 71,000 people in Boston who live without ready access to fresh fruits and vegetables. That’s nearly enough people to fill up half the Boston Common! Which is why I’m thrilled to be partnering with Naked Juice and Wholesome Wave on their Drink Good. Do Good. campaign to educate folks about food deserts in urban environments. Even in Boston, which is surrounded by countless farms, there are areas of the city where people do not have many options. Not all neighborhoods have stores or farmer’s markets, so for individuals without access to a car, it’s a challenge to acquire fresh ingredients. And, of course, there’s the issue of affordability. In parts of the city, like Dudley Square, 50% of the residents make $25,000 a year or less.

As a part of their Drink Good. Do Good. program, they’ll be donating up to 500,000 pounds of produce these communities. And you, dear readers, can help too! Simply take a photo of yourself holding a piece of fresh produce, post it on Instagram and use the hashtag #drinkgooddogood. Lastly, tag a friend to do the same. For every person who posts, Naked Juice will donate 10lbs of fresh produce.

Learn more about the Drink Good. Do Good. campaign here. 

There are many Americans with limited access to fresh produce. Read more about this issue over on the blog and learn how you can help. #drinkgooddogood #sponsoredThere are many Americans with limited access to fresh produce. Read more about this issue over on the blog and learn how you can help. #drinkgooddogood #sponsoredThere are many Americans with limited access to fresh produce. Read more about this issue over on the blog and learn how you can help. #drinkgooddogood #sponsored

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Naked Juice and Wholesome Wave. Working with these brands to get the message out about such an important issue is something I feel strongly about. As always, any opinions expressed in this post are my own.

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  • September 4, 2015 - 11:07 am

    Heidi @foodiecrush - I LOVE this idea! I was stunned to see for myself that even in the heartland where corn fields dominate the landscape, it’s essentially a food desert because all of the corn is being used for ethanol and other products rather than eating and farmers don’t farm other produce because it isn’t money making. It’s mind boggling. I’ll totally post a selfie, or at least a photo of fresh veg at the farmer’s market :) Off to spread the word. How long will this initiative last?ReplyCancel

    • September 4, 2015 - 11:14 am

      Brian @ A Thought For Food - That’s another major issue as well. The documentary King Corn covered some of that. We don’t have that as much in these parts, but it certainly has an effect on other areas of the country.

      Thanks for taking part in the campaign! Good question about the duration. I’m assuming that it’ll at least run until they reach their goal.ReplyCancel

  • September 4, 2015 - 10:18 pm

    Tieghan - Oh my gosh, this is so cool! What a great idea and beautiful photos too! :) Can’t wait to post some fresh veggies!ReplyCancel

  • September 5, 2015 - 11:20 am

    Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence - Awesome initiative!! Thanks for sharing Brian.ReplyCancel

  • September 10, 2015 - 9:20 am

    Joanne - This is awesome. I’m pretty sure I can dig up some produce in my fridge to photograph myself with!ReplyCancel

Chilled Plum Soup // A Thought For Food

I consciously took a week off from blogging. As much as I fought it, I think I needed a little break. Once again I was finding that I was putting pressure on myself to post because that’s what I’d grown accustomed to. That’s not a reason to blog. It’s not why I want to blog. So, I took a little time off. I’m back now and feeling pretty darn good about this space, the creative process, and, most importantly, the recipes I plan to share over the next few months.

There was a bit of an inner struggle about what to post. I knew I wanted to do something seasonal, but I felt like I’d covered all the bases recently with the dishes I’ve created using tomato, corn, cherries and berries. What was there left to do? I looked through the local market and saw these beautiful plums. I didn’t know exactly where it was all going, but I knew I didn’t want to do a cake. Been there, done that. Poached? Eh. Not really doing it for me. Ok, so cooked and then turned into something. A soup. Cold. That’s summer, but then, maybe, just a little hit of fall flavors. Cinnamon and ginger. This is one of those dishes I knew was going to work as soon as I smelled it cooking. Our whole house filled with the aromas that I find so comforting in the cooler months, and, yet, here we are with a chilled soup to enjoy during these last hot and humid days of summer.

Yogurt makes for the ideal garnish for a sweet soup like this, which needs a bit of tang to balance it out. In recent months, I’ve really grown to appreciate all the ways one can apply yogurt to a dish. For those interested in such a subject (believe me, I wasn’t at first, but now I’m hooked), my friend, fellow blogger, and cookbook author, Cheryl Sternman Rule, recently came out with Yogurt Culture. Just flipping through the book will have you rushing to the store to pick up a container.

Chilled Plum Soup // A Thought For FoodView full post »

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  • September 2, 2015 - 6:52 am

    Agnes {Cashew Kitchen} - Mmmm YUM! I’m kind of obsessed with plums right now, loving it!
    What a brilliant idea to make a cold soup out of them! Even if we definitely don’t have any warm summer days left here in Sweden any longer hehe :(

    I remember eating “fruit soup” in my childhood, served with cold milk and tiny almond button cookies. I think this soup will throw me all the way back to that childhood :)
    And what an interesting twist the tarragon! Gonna have to give it a try :)

    Love,
    AgnesReplyCancel

  • September 2, 2015 - 9:39 am

    Naomi - I totally get you on blogger fatigue and the pressure to post. LOVE that you took a week off!

    I’ve never even thought to use plums for a soup – great idea. Love the yogurt addition.ReplyCancel

    • September 2, 2015 - 11:57 am

      Brian @ A Thought For Food - Yup… Needed a little break. But I can never stay away that long.

      This soup is totally perfect for this time of year. Fall flavors but totally refreshing.ReplyCancel

  • September 2, 2015 - 9:50 am

    Jason Sandeman - I love this soup! I have an Italian plum tree in my back yard that gives off so many plums in a year it is ridiculous. This is a great use of the many plums I would have there. I don’t like agave myself, but it’s all good, maple syrup would fit the bill just fine too!ReplyCancel

    • September 2, 2015 - 11:56 am

      Brian @ A Thought For Food - This soup was definitely a pleasant surprise. So fun that you have that tree… though I’m not sure what I’d do with all of them.

      Maple or honey would be perfect. :-)ReplyCancel

  • September 2, 2015 - 1:21 pm

    betty - Oh this is so pretty!! I’ve been downing chilled mung bean and chilled corn soups, but this plum one sounds amazing!! It just so happens I have a ton of plums in my kitchen… :) Thanks for sharing!

    PS that garnish!!!ReplyCancel

    • September 2, 2015 - 4:11 pm

      Brian @ A Thought For Food - Thanks Betty! Both the mung bean and corn soups sound amazing and something I’d totally love on this 90+ degree day.ReplyCancel

  • September 2, 2015 - 8:56 pm

    Tieghan - Brain, good for you for knowing when you need a break!! Honestly, that is a hard to thing to do, so I admire you for it!! :)

    Love, love, love the plums!! Totally creative and I am sure delicious!ReplyCancel

    • September 3, 2015 - 10:02 am

      Brian @ A Thought For Food - It was nice to have a mini break, but, as I’m sure you’re aware, it’s hard to stay away for too long.ReplyCancel

  • September 3, 2015 - 9:47 am

    Joanne - This is the perfect way to get me re-excited about plum season! And it’s totally gorgeous as always. Love the hint of ginger and cinnamon…perfect way to add a hint of fall flavors!ReplyCancel

  • September 3, 2015 - 10:38 am

    Heidi @foodiecrush - We all need a vacation once in a while to recharge, so good on you! I love fruity soups and can imagine this one with a few chopped pistachios on top. Looks gorg!ReplyCancel

    • September 5, 2015 - 2:58 pm

      Brian @ A Thought For Food - I think this one was my first fruit soup and I’m now hooked. I agree that some pistachios would be wonderful! Or maybe toasted hazelnut.ReplyCancel

  • September 4, 2015 - 8:36 am

    Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles - I use plums far too little in my cooking and baking, I just realized. Beautiful soup!ReplyCancel

  • September 6, 2015 - 8:36 pm

    Cheryl - B-R-I-A-N!

    I myself had a partial digital detox due to recent travels, and so I missed this lovely homage until just now. Thank you for sharing my book with your readers. Also, loving the fancypants yogurt spiderweb garnish. Well played, my friend!ReplyCancel

  • September 14, 2015 - 12:22 am

    Nik@ABrownTable - This is such a beautiful chilled soup, Brian! The colors, the flavors and the styling. Considering how hot it has been here, this soup would be the perfect way to stay cool. Also, Cheryl is awesome and so is her book :)ReplyCancel

  • September 15, 2015 - 9:14 am

    Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence - Gorgeous colors, flavors and swirl work! I can never seem to swirl like that 😉ReplyCancel

Buttermilk Biscuits with Mushroom Gravy | A Thought For Food

The moment came where I had to make a decision: do I go the easy route and bust out the food processor or mix the butter in by hand. Normally, I’d go with the former, but right now I feel like taking my time and getting my hands dirty. This is how Jessica does it in her book, Stir, and, having just finished reading it, I felt compelled to follow in her footsteps. Rubbing each cube of butter into the flour with my fingertips, I could focus on the feel of the dough and how it was forming. At the point it resembled a “coarse meal,” I picked up the bowl of buttermilk I’d mixed together (a combination of milk and white vinegar, because we rarely have buttermilk in the house) and drizzled it in as I circulated a wooden spoon.  When all was combined, I gave it a taste. As a cook, I can’t help but try uncooked dough before it hits the oven. This met all the marks: buttery, a touch of sweetness, and a hit of salt. While the biscuits baked, I mixed together the vegetarian mushroom gravy. We had some cherry tomatoes around, which gave the sauce some acid and sweetness. I’ve now made this twice for breakfast, though, I think it’d would make for a delightful dinner as well. Just throw together a light green salad on the side and you have a meal.

I should step back and talk about Stir a bit more. This was a book that I knew nothing about before its release. I didn’t know who Jessica was despite her living in Cambridge and being a fellow food blogger who created her site, Sweet Amandine, around the same time I did. But as soon as her book came out, her name kept popping up around the blogosphere. I marked it down on my books to read this summer and I’m so glad I did. This isn’t a cookbook, which she states very clearly from the start, though there are recipes. Instead, Stir: My Broken Brain and the Meals That Brought Me Home focuses a brain aneurism that she endures and the subsequent complications from the illness and corresponding procedures. But food has always played a powerful role in her life. Following her time in the hospital, she struggles to get back into the kitchen… so she turns it into a goal. If I can bake x, it means I’m still me. The writing is striking, personal and honest. But, most importantly, it’s inspiring. It made me think hard and deep about the important things in my life. And it made me want to get into the kitchen and make something, with my hands, and feed it to the people I love.
Buttermilk Biscuits with Mushroom Gravy | A Thought For FoodButtermilk Biscuits with Mushroom Gravy | A Thought For FoodButtermilk Biscuits with Mushroom Gravy | A Thought For FoodButtermilk Biscuits with Mushroom Gravy | A Thought For FoodButtermilk Biscuits with Mushroom Gravy | A Thought For FoodButtermilk Biscuits with Mushroom Gravy | A Thought For Food

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  • August 19, 2015 - 10:48 am

    Liren - Thank you for introducing me to Jessica, her blog, and her book! I have grown a special place in my heart for biscuits, and lately, I’ve also been enjoying using my hands – why does it feel more real that way? I love how you made a vegetarian gravy, too, Brian – I would sop it up very happily!ReplyCancel

  • August 19, 2015 - 10:52 am

    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar - That gravy is so delightful! I want to put it on everything from those biscuits to french fries! Yum!ReplyCancel

  • August 19, 2015 - 9:43 pm

    Tieghan - Oh butter by hand is the only way to go. Plus, I HATE cleaning my food processor, so I avoid getting it out at all cost. :)

    This looks insane!! Loving that gravy!ReplyCancel

  • August 21, 2015 - 8:26 am

    Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles - So when I think of mushroom gravy, it’s always of the creamy variety. I want to try this, with tomatoes. It sounds lovely!ReplyCancel

  • August 22, 2015 - 3:26 pm

    Sandra Lea - This is good ol’ comfort food. I am always happy to see a recipe for a vegetarian gravy. I can’t wait to try this but plan on waiting for the weather to cool down, I don’t want to turn my oven on right now. As you well know, the weather in the Boston area has been hot and humid lately.ReplyCancel

  • August 25, 2015 - 8:25 am

    Joanne - Stir has been on my reading bucket list also. It definitely sounds inspirational, but also the kind of book that makes you think! And want to get in the kitchen ASAP. I am so into this veg biscuits and gravy. Perfect for late summer/fall brunching!ReplyCancel

  • August 25, 2015 - 11:05 am

    Rebecca {foodie with family} - Stir is now on my “to-read” list! Biscuits are one of those things that are absolutely defining to my life, having grown up watching my grandma make her good, southern buttermilk biscuits my whole life, so this post really hits home for me. Always by hand. Always get the flour under your fingernails. Somehow the biscuits taste more like they should that way.ReplyCancel

  • August 25, 2015 - 12:03 pm

    Meredith in sock monkey slippers - Stir has been on my list so, it looks like it needs to happen soon. And this recipe! Hats off to you sir.ReplyCancel

  • August 28, 2015 - 7:01 pm

    todd wagner - Those biscuits look perfectly flaky! Comfort food at it’s absolute best :)ReplyCancel

  • September 10, 2015 - 8:37 pm

    Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence - When making biscuits, I like to use my hands to mix the butter. Pie crust, I use the machine 😉 Loving the vegetarian gravy here!ReplyCancel