The green grocer


Carrot indignation


The other day my daughter asked me for a treat. When I handed her a carrot, she responded, “That’s not a treat. That’s healthy.” 

“Well, excuse me,” I thought and walked off in a huff. 

Since when did “healthy” and “treat” become mutually exclusive? Better yet, why would we even label something unhealthy as a treat in the first place? Is something that leads to diabetes or weight gain or cardiovascular disease really a treat? Seems more like what a vengeful person might give to an enemy!

Now before you start writing your letter to the editor suggesting my column be changed to the Green Grinch, let me clarify. I’m not really suggesting (especially during the height of the holiday season!) that we all adopt an austerity program. That would be impossible for anyone who has tried the yogurt peppermint pretzels from Creative Snacks Co. at the co-op right now. I’m only giving a shout-out to moderation, and a gentle nudge toward the practice of tasting with our health buds. This is where we train our taste buds to recognize, appreciate, and eventually crave the flavors found in nature, rather than those created through excessive processing. Start practicing now. New Year’s resolutions are just around the corner!

Oh, and by the way, my daughter did end up eating that carrot.


Taste with Your Health Buds Training Recipe (AKA Garlic Mushrooms with Fresh Basil)



1 pound small white button mushrooms

1 quart water

2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

1 bay leaf

1 tablespoon lemon juice


3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

Pinch of white pepper

Pinch of salt

1/2 teaspoon tamari (optional)


1. Wash mushrooms, remove stems, and set aside. 

2. In a deep saucepan, combine the water, bay leaf, lemon and two smashed cloves of garlic and bring to a boil. Add mushrooms, bring to a rolling simmer and poach until the mushrooms are tender, approximately three to five minutes. Remove the mushrooms from the pot, drain well and cool in refrigerator for 30 minutes. 

3. In a stainless steel bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, olive oil, basil, garlic, pepper and tamari (optional). Add the cooled mushrooms and toss to coat. Let stand 15-30 minutes for flavor to develop, tossing occasionally. For best flavor, let them stand at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving.

Be the Star of the Holiday Party 

Create an antipasto platter starring these poached mushrooms, along with semi-hard cheeses like smoked Gouda or dill Havarti. The mushrooms can be made a day in advance and stored in the refrigerator.


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