Jun 082014


If you’re looking for a comfort meal centered around beef, here is just the entrée for you. This recipe incorporates vegetables, fruit, grains, dairy, and protein all into one dish. The meatballs simmer in a tomato and milk sauce for an hour; making them juicy, flavorful, and hard to resist.

Purple riceedited


Jalapeño Rice Meatballs in Tomato Sauce
Makes 18-20 medium-sized meatballs

1 lbs. ground beef
1/3 cup uncooked rice
½ cup onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño, minced
2 tablespoons green peppers, diced
4 tablespoons green onion, chopped
4 medium tomatoes, diced
1 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon sugar
Salt to taste

For the sauce, combine the tomatoes, milk, two garlic cloves, salt to taste, and the sugar into a saucepan on medium heat. Add a teaspoon of the jalapeño if desired, adjust according to your desired heat level. Allow it to cook down while preparing the meatballs, stir occasionally. Add more milk or water if it becomes too thick.

In a large bowl, add the beef, rice, green peppers, jalapeño, green onions, remaining garlic cloves, and salt to taste. Mix it all together and shape into meatballs.

Over medium heat, brown the meatballs in a large skillet. Drain the fat, then add the tomato sauce to the skillet. Cover and cook on low for 1 hour.

Notes: If you’re worried about the spice level, you can omit the jalapeño and add another vegetable if you wish. The spice level in this dish came out just right for me – it wasn’t too spicy, but I could still taste the jalapeño. If you want more veggies or herbs in your meatballs, add them in. This dish is rather forgiving, so feel free to be creative with it. The sauce cooks down quite a bit, so if you prefer more sauce I would suggest adding more tomatoes and milk.

Produce tip: If you haven’t been able to find local garlic yet, a farmer sells it at The Marketplace at Armstrong Park (901 N. Rampart St.) on Thursdays from 3-7 pm.

Jun 032014


On Sunday, June 1st, the Eat Local Challenge kicked off with the 2nd Annual Urban Farm Bike tour. A collaboration between the NOLA Social Ride and the Eat Local Challenge, Sunday’s event was the first of two tours that are scheduled for the month of June. If you missed this past tour, you can still catch the second one on Sunday, June 29th.

The ride began at 9 a.m. at CRISP Farms (1310 Lesseps St.), near the intersection of St. Claude and Poland. Despite the threat of rain, over 35 dedicated riders showed up for the five garden tour. Zachary George, one of the CRISP Farms leaders and resident of the house on site, gave an informal tour to interested participants. From an edible fruit forest to a hydroponic system, CRISP is both a garden and a practice in permaculture. Continue reading »

Apr 022014

growing local nola sign

On Monday evening, New Orleans Food & Farm Network and Recirculating Farms Coalition hosted a special preview of their plans for the upcoming food and urban farm center Growing Local NOLA in the Central City lot located at 1750 Carondelet. The site will soon serve as the new location for the offices of both organizations. From community growing spaces and outdoor farm to table cooking classes, Growing Local NOLA has a lot in store for New Orleans residents. Continue reading »

Mar 272014

In May of 2013, I first met Ica Crawford at the Bayou Boogaloo festival inside the giant Slow Food tent on the banks of Bayou St. John. She was representing Our Garden, a non-profit organization she established. I was excited to discover a new urban agriculture organization. My eyes immediately jumped to the interactive display behind her. Hay, dirt, and seed packets lay on top of the table, surrounded by rocks, brochures, and information about the biological structure of plants. Impressed, I turned to Ica to learn more, “What’s a seed bomb?” Ica explained that a seed bomb contained clay, hay, dirt, and a seed. One simply places a seed bomb on a vacant lot, and with water, the seed will grow and bring life and food to the space. Ica handed me a packet that contained a basil seed and one of the detailed brochures. Continue reading »