New cookbook: Take the GMO out of your cooking

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If you worry about where your food comes from, you may want to pick up Tracey Medieros' new cookbook.

Medieros, a resident of Vermont, released a new cookbook in early October, "The Vermont Non-GMO Cookbook: 125 Organic and Farm-to-Fork Recipes From the Green Mountain State." The book, from Skyhorse Publishing, contains profiles of farmers and chefs throughout the state, accompanied by their recipes, along with some of Medeiros' own. Colorful photos, profiles and recipes tell the story of how with a little planning, research and knowing your local growers, you can eat organic and GMO (genetically modified organisms) free.

Medieros was born and raised in Massachusetts, graduating from Northeastern University in Boston with a bachelor of science degree. She earned a paralegal diploma from New York University and a diploma in culinary arts from Johnson and Wales University. She then embarked on the culinary journey that has led her to this cookbook, her fourth. She is also the author of "The Connecticut Farm Table Cookbook" (The Countryman Press, June 2015), "The Vermont Farm Table Cookbook" (The Countryman Press, May 2013), and "Dishing Up Vermont" (Storey Publishing, April 2008). In addition, she writes "The Farmhouse Kitchen: A Guide To Eating Local" column for Edible Green Mountains Magazine.

She recently took some time out during her current book tour to answer a few questions via email.

Q: What led you to get involved with the organic and non-GMO movements?

A: While I was writing my second cookbook, "The Vermont Farm Table Cookbook," some of the folks I talked to in the food community were leaning in the direction of organic and non-GMO. As time went on, the number of people who supported this philosophy kept growing. I liked what I was hearing and began to do my own research. Of course, The Vermont Labeling Law really brought the value of transparency to the forefront. Even though the law was nullified, the benefits of eating organic and non-GMO dictated my food choices and the importance of knowing what is in your food.

Q: How does one begin to adopt an organic, non-GMO lifestyle?

A: I would recommend starting with local food producers and visits to farmers markets. Read food labels, look for produce that carries the USDA organic seal. To carry this seal a product must be made up of 95 percent organic foods. Look for non-GMO certified foods represented by the Non-GMO Project, which is now on over 45,000 products. Start with staples, such as eggs, bread, milk and vegetables.

Q: What is one misconception about adapting an organic, non-GMO lifestyle?

A: Some consumers feel that adopting an organic, non-GMO lifestyle would be too expensive. In some cases, certain products may cost a little more. Be a smart consumer, shop at farmers markets and farm stands and buy what is in season.

Q: Is it difficult to find the foods?

A: Organic and non-GMO foods are becoming more available as consumers are becoming concerned with knowing what is in their food. Because of this demand, markets are carrying an ever-growing line of organic and non-GMO products, which are supplied by the increasing number of farms that are following organic and non-GMO guidelines. ... Shopping at Cooperatives and joining an organic CSA is another great way to find organic, non-GMO foods.

Q: Other than being the state you reside in; did you choose to highlight Vermont for any other reasons?

A: I highlighted Vermont because it was at the forefront of the non-GMO movement being the first state to pass the historic GMO Labeling Law and fight for transparency in our food system. The Green Mountain State has led the nation in its quest to know what is in your food, forever changing the way Americans eat.

Q: What was involved in writing the cookbook? How long did it take to compile? Did you test each recipe?

A: This cookbook involved months and months of research with many hours spent contacting and interviewing its many contributors. It took approximately one year to complete. Each recipe was tested by either myself or a recipe tester that I hired.

Q: What inspired you to include the profiles of the farmers and businesses in the book?

A: The profiles put a face on the hard-working folks who took time out of their busy lives to share their stories with me. I wanted the readers to not only savor the delicious recipes, but walk in these folks' shoes for a bit and share their thoughts, dreams and passion for what they do.



Medeiros will have a meet-and-greet and book signing event at Phoenix Books Rutland
from 1 to 3 p.m.on Saturday, Dec. 9 To learn more about the author and her books go to: www.traceymedeiros.com or @tmedeirosvt

Black bean and sweet corn salad

Recipe from Wood's Market Garden

Makes 2 quarts

This salad is delicious served chilled or at room temperature. "Our kitchen seems to be the happiest when making recipes with a Tex-Mex flair. This recipe is great for summer dinner parties and gatherings. It makes a nice big family-size bowl." — Courtney Satz, owner, Wood's Market Garden

INGREDIENTS:

Dressing

Makes about 3 4 cup

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil 5 tablespoons fresh lime juice 1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Salad

3 cups cooked black beans, drained, or 2 15-ounce cans, drained

2 cups sweet corn kernels, from about 4 ears of corn, parboiled, or frozen and thawed

1 pint multicolored cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced

1/2 jalape o pepper, seeded and diced

1 teaspoon salt

2 ripe Hass avocados, cut in half lengthwise, pit removed, peeled, and cut into 1-inch chunks

1/3 cup crumbled whole-milk cow feta cheese, preferably Maplebrook Farm

2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro leaves, plus extra for garnish

Freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS:

To make the dressing: In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, lime juice, and zest. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the beans, corn, tomatoes, onions, jalape o pepper, and salt until well combined. Add the dressing, tossing until well combined. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. Right before serving, gently fold in the avocados, cheese, and cilantro. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with additional cilantro and drizzles of lime juice, if desired.

Margaret Button can be reached at mbutton@berkshireeagle.com and 413-496-6298.


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