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Welcome Chef Jenny Cornelius to the Indie Plate Team!



Welcome aboard, Chef Jenny Cornelius!


Indie-pendents, please help us welcome Chef Jenny Cornelius, former sous chef at Nino's Italian, to the Indie Plate culinary team!

Jenny brings to Indie Plate her years of fine dining experience and an established team dynamic with our culinary lead Chef Elton Hyndman, also owner of Nino's Italian. We have worked diligently to establish a highly-skilled kitchen team, and with Elton and Jenny's direction, we're ready to start rockin' and rollin'!

"When I was growing up, we rarely went out to eat. Both my parents enjoyed cooking at home, and I enjoyed eating. I was never afraid of eating what was on my plate and I loved getting my hands in anything in the kitchen. Summer days at home I'd make it a project to try out recipes as often as possible from forming raw hamburger patties, to rolling out spicy cheese-straw dough, and upon my older sister's request, making simple sandwiches for lunch because I had “the touch”. After a short time, I came to find that I had a knack for making something tasty from whatever we had on hand-- which is a skill I think I was able to tap into at Nino's when I began coming up with specials. Surveying the ingredients we already have, I'd ask what can I make with this? What can I pair with that? This is what excites me about coming to Indie Plate. I get to see what is in season and have fun with local ingredients.

 

Body image and eating disorders were always at the table in the Cornelius house (of girls). My sisters and I always had an uneasy eye on nutrition facts, fad diets, workout plans, waist lines, low-fat, sugar free, diet coke, 100 calorie snacks, etc! It's been an issue that I've grown up with, and could easily feel powerless over. But as I've grown in my culinary skills and my relationship with food has evolved, I have become more and more passionate about how certain foods react in the body, which ingredients pack a nutritional punch to a meal, and where those ingredients come from.  I'm absolutely thrilled that through Indie Plate I have relationships with our farmers as well as with nutritionists and dietitians in Baton Rouge who are eager to help me design meals and recipes with integrity and optimal health in mind.
 

You could call me a locally sourced cook. I've been working in restaurants around Baton Rouge since I was 17. I started as a busser at the Little Village downtown, then as a hostess at Little Village on Airline for about 2 years. Then I found a little gem called Yvette Marie's where I worked front and back and graduated to manager for a few years.  Although it's a quaint space, the lunch rush is major! And it was exhilarating! I realized how much I enjoyed working through busy shifts in the kitchen setting and wanted to learn as much as I could about cooking more professionally. I asked to pick up shifts at Bonanno's fine catering (owners of Yvette Marie's) but before I could get my hands in their dough, I met Elton and Randee Hyndman of Nino's Italian. So I asked them to take a chance on me. And the rest is history! I've been so honored to be their sous chef for the last 6 years. They've taught me so much more than I can say. We've been through a lot together, and I'm proud to be not only Elton's student and sous, but his friend.  And I'm so excited to bring our Nino's philosophies over to Indie Plate.

 

Coming to Indie Plate is truly a culmination of my life's work and passions and my hope is that passion will be palpable in our meals.  "

-Chef Jenny Cornelius


4 Simple Strategies for Sticking to Your Healthy Resolutions

by Maria Oanh Do 

Every year, millions of people promise themselves a year of healthy eating, and a year later, millions of people find themselves in the same place making the same goal. That doesn't have to be you! Lifestyle changes are difficult, especially diet changes, but with a few simple strategies, your resolutions can turn into results! With advice from Austin-based personal trainer and LSU alumna Kathryn Alexander, here are 4 strategies to start and maintain your healthy resolutions:

1. Start thinking about where your food comes from

This very simple shift in thought will change your diet forever (or at least it did to mine)! Just walk into your nearest grocery store and ask yourself, "What did it take for this chicken breast to get here?" If the answer is a laundry list of chemicals and extensive mass transit, it is likely not your best option. Move on and look for more transparent options. Indie Plate is one. Your farmers market is another. This simple question of asking where your food comes from will lead way to maintaining a healthier diet.

Pros

  • With just one question, you'll start purchasing better, healthier food, without even realizing it.
  • You'll begin buying fewer processed items and more whole foods without feeling like you're "on a diet".

How do I accomplish this? 
Shop local.  Most times, the foods you purchase locally from small farms and artisans are free from harmful preservatives, chemicals and hormones. They are also free from mass transit, which drastically reduces their carbon footprint. If you live in the Baton Rouge area, take a look at indieplate.com to get local groceries delivered for free. 

 

2. Get Enough of What You Need

Here, your goal is to simply make sure you give your body what it needs. This means your priority is not restricting yourself but simply adding nutrition.  "First, identify how much protein, fat, carbs, water, and fiber you need. You make sure that you reach these targets every day," says trainer Kathryn Alexander. 

Pros

  • When you get enough of what you need, you have less room to splurge. 
  • You won't be nutrient deficient.
  • You won't feel restricted.
  • No guilt for when you DO splurge because you already have enough of what you need.

How do I accomplish this? 
Drink your fruits and vegetables! Dr. Betsy Buchert, Indie Plate customer and  functional wellness doctor at Mint Health in Woman's Hospital, recommends drinking your colors (see photo below) AT LEAST once a day; twice a day once you've built the habit. It's the easiest and most convenient way to make sure you're getting tons of nutrition with the least amount of work. I personally portion out 7 ready-to-blend smoothies at night twice a week (as shown in photo) and keep them in my fridge to blend for breakfast. TIP: Ensure your smoothies are at least half veggies (greens, squash, etc.) so your smoothies are not high in sugar. 

Options for Smoothie Ingredients

  • Winter CSA Subscription from Inglewood Farm through Indie Plate gets you fresh fruits and vegetables on a weekly basis delivered for free.
  • Place weekly orders for local produce from indieplate.com to stock for your smoothies. You'll be surprised at how quickly you'll run through them once you start drinking your veggies!

 

3. Focus on Fixing Your Worst Habit

According to Kathryn, this can be a game changer.  "The best example is drinking full sugar sodas or sweet teas. I’m a Southern girl and I love my sweet tea, but I can't have multiple glasses every day. (I could, easily. It’s delicious! But I choose not to). This is actually an ok problem to have, because this adds up so quickly, and eliminating or reducing it will add up quickly in your favor, " says Kathryn.

Pros

Just like worst habits add up quickly, the effects of reducing them from your diet will too.

 

4. Don't eat the things you know you shouldn't

Kathryn calls this one the "Common Sense Diet."  If you have definitive goals to lose weight, you know you probably shouldn't have that chocolate cake. This tip is for people who have general self control. Though it requires some willpower, the common sense approach is the simplest alternative to counting calories (which we all know is NOT fun). 

Pros

  • Common sense approach is much simpler than a hyped-up restrictive "diet" of counting calories, carbs, etc.
  • It's common sense. All you need is yourself and your brain!

How do I accomplish this? 
I recommend pairing the "Common Sense Approach" with tip #2 about "Getting Enough of What You Need".  Once you have gotten all your nutrition in for the day (whether it's in a smoothie or a meal), you'll have less room to splurge.

 

You got this.

All four strategies emphasize one thing: eating healthy does not have to be a chore! Unless you are bodybuilding or need to lose a lot of weight for health reasons where you'll need something more thorough, these simple strategies will help you build a healthy lifestyle that will keep you eating well on a regular basis. They're a great start for your 2017 healthy eating resolutions!

 

 

Food Subscriptions to Keep you Eating Healthy in 2017

 

 

 

 

Winter CSA Subscription by Inglewood Farm & Indie Plate

Deliveries start January 12, just in time for New Years
Sign ups accepted on a rolling basis

 

 

Grocery List Subscription by Indie Plate 

The brand new Grocery List subscription delivers grocery essentials on a weekly basis: 2 proteins, 3 vegetables, 1 fruit, 2 prepared foods and printed cooking tips for $50 or less each week. 

Sign ups accepted on a rolling basis 

Indie Plate Testimonials: Paul Bartage, COO

Paul Bartage- His Indie Plate Experience
By Maria Oanh Do

Ah, our operations guru.

Paul’s an intellectually curious MBA student from LSU who brings youth, perspective and wit to the “indie” plate.  His appreciation for local food stems from the simple “it tastes good” statement. So good, that if Paul had his way, we would have to pay him in pork shoulder every week! Paul wears many hats in the 4-person company as the quality control officer, director of operations, and a crucial delivery driver. So if you’re an Indie Plate regular, you just might’ve even met our operations guru!

When Paul’s brother Ben (our CEO & Co-Founder) brought Indie Plate to fruition, Paul saw an opportunity to learn more about the business of food, tying perfectly into his MBA, and to learn more about food itself.  Here’s Paul’s experience with working with Indie Plate and how the business has changed his food perspective:  

“I would say the biggest change in how I view food is the transparency.  I can look at all the inventory we have at Indie Plate and know where each item has come from.  “These carrots here are from Fekete in Albany, the milk comes from Feliciana’s Best out in Slaughter, the black drum is all from the Port of Delcambre”.  And after going to these places and meeting the producers, I have found a great appreciation for knowing where your food comes from and how it’s grown.  Food should not be sustenance manufactured for the masses- it should be personal and have meaning in your life.”  –Paul Bartage, COO





Indie Plate Testimonials: Peru Sharma, Operations Manager


Peru Sharma- Journey to Indie Plate
By Maria Oanh Do

He's probably one of the hardest people you will ever have to track down, if not, THE hardest person to hold down, but every Saturday morning, you can count on catching our operations manager at the Red Stick farmers' market with his familiar brown baseball cap and super cool sweater jacket (his words, not mine).

Peru's love for food stemmed from his childhood in India, a culture whose food makes my mouth water both from utter deliciousness and fiery fear.  Twelve years of school at Texas Tech and LSU got him his PhD in chemical engieering, but soon after, Peru discovered that what he actually wanted to do was something he was passionate about: food.

Chemical engineer turned local food entrepreneur?  It was definitely not the next logical step for any person in his right mind, but for Peru, food was priority and to be able to be an entrepreneur in the foodie world made perfect sense. Plus, Peru's never in his right mind, anyway; he's only a few ways away from being completely insane, but that insane flame ignited what is the Indie Plate we know today. Now, Indie Plate's creation is an entirely different story that definitely deserves another blog, but for now, let's hear from the the food lover himself: 

"Indie Plate has changed my view of food from volume-driven to quality-driven.  I don't read the calorie labels on food anymore trusting that if it's all-natural, grown locally and purchased from a farm, I know it'll be good for me.  As an avid cook, the quality of ingredients makes all the difference.  Everything I cook, even if i mess up, comes out delicious because the ingredients used are so fresh and succulent.  I eat what I want knowing that coupled with an active lifestyle I'm coming out ahead.  And I've seen health differences all around me. The past 2 winter seasons I haven't caught a flu (knock on wood), which like clockwork always came every December.  My energy levels are up and I just feel stronger and healthier overall." -Peru Sharma, CEO & Co-Founder
 





Fall Pork & Kale Soup

A 1-pot warm wintery soup made with fresh ingredients from our marketplace....Perfect for a cold winter night, when you can bundle in on your couch and enjoy dinner and a movie with the entire family!!

What You'll Need

1 Pound Pastured Ground Pork (or any other ground meat of choice)
2 Tomatoes, chopped
2 Turnips, sliced
1 Cup Cream
2-3 Cups Stock depending on how thick you like your soups
1 Bunch Kale of your choice
1 Bunch Green Onions, chopped
8 Cloves Fresh Garlic, minced
4 Tablespoons Fresh Butter


How To Make

1) In a skillet, brown ground pork seasoned with salt, pepper and paprika. Set aside.
2) In a large pot, add tomatoes, onions, garlic and butter and saute for 2 minutes.
3) Add cream and cook stirring occasionally for 2 minutes.
4) Add browned pork and turnips. 
5) Add stock. Bring to boil and reduce heat. Let simmer for 10-12 minutes.
6) Add kale. Let simmer on low heat for 5-7 minutes.
7) Season to taste and Serve!




Farm To Table means Head To Tail Consumption, By IndiePlate

All of us want to support the farm to table movement, but sometimes we fail to realize that for this movement to really take hold and grow from a niche to a regional and national phenomenon, we as a people have to change how we look at farm products. We all want the perfectly grassfed ribeye steak or a delicious pastured pork chop, but what we often fail to realize is that a ribeye or a pork chop is a very small part of a whole cow/hog. To give you an example, bones skin fat and organ meats comprise about 30-40% of hogs and cattle while steaks, bacon and pork chops are only about 25% of the animal. What about the rest of the animal? A local farmer puts their blood, sweat, tears and money in humanely raising the ENTIRE animal, but when we all just demand a small part of the entire animal, what's a farmer to do with the rest. So here at IndiePlate, we have taken a pledge to find new ways of making it easy for you to enjoy consuming all parts of an animal, AND TRULY MAKE FARM-TO-TABLE A SUSTAINABLE MOVEMENT - we call this "HEAD-TO-TAIL" eating!





Head-to-Tail, Bone Broth from Animal Bones - By IndiePlate

"Why should I consume bone broth?"

Because bone broth is an incredibly rich source of minerals, like calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium, in forms that your body can easily absorb. Glycine and proline are also present in high amounts. These amino acids are not found in significant amounts in the typical meats we eat. Chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine are also present! These reduce inflammation, arthritis, and joint pain. Last but not least is collagen! This protein is found in connective tissue of vertebrate animals. It is abundant in bone, marrow, cartilage, tendons, and ligaments. Collagen is responsible for the gelatin in bone broth! Many of these nutrients will benefit our digestive health, muscle repair and growth, our nervous system, our immune system, reduced joint pain, reduced inflammation, prevention of bone loss, and builds healthy skin, hair, and nails. Sorry, but broth (often labelled “stock”) from the grocery store uses a highly processed method that leaves it lacking in the many of the beneficial nutrients we just talked about, especially the gelatin! Also, other preservatives and additives like MSG could be inside store bought broth/stock. It’s so easy to just make your own and reap all the health benefits!

“No thanks, I’ll just buy packaged broth from the store.”

Sorry, but broth (often labelled “stock”) from the grocery store uses a highly processed method that leaves it lacking in the many of the beneficial nutrients we just talked about, especially the gelatin! Also, other preservatives and additives like MSG could be inside  store bought broth/stock. It’s so easy to just make your own and reap all the health benefits! 

“Okay I’m sold, but how do I make it?!”

It’s so easy! Place 1-2 pounds of bones (beef or pork or both) into a slow cooker. 

Add your favorite flavorings such as chopped onions, herbs, garlic, celery, carrots, salt, and pepper. 

Add 2 Tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar (this helps pull the nutrients out of the bones).

Fill with cold water until the bones are fully submerged.

 

Cook on LOW setting for 10-24 hours depending on amount and size of bones you use. 

Once finished cooking, strain the liquid into a large pot and refrigerate overnight

­­The next day, skim the fat layer off the top. Keep this fat and give yourself a high-five! You’ve just rendered beef tallow! (or pork lard). Cook your vegetables in this fat!

After skimming the layer of fat off the top, you should be left with a gelatin-like broth! Broth will stay good in the refrigerator for a few days, so freeze what you don’t use for later use. 

Add the gelatinized broth to your cooking recipes as a great flavor enhancer. Use it in any recipes that call for stock or broth, or as a base for soup!

You can also drink it straight! Just warm it up until it simmers and then sip it like coffee or tea! It’s a wonderful rich, savory and relaxing elixir! 

 






Meet Our Producers - Iverstine Family Farms - By Tyler Thigpen & IndiePlate


First generation farmers are somewhat of a rarity these days due to rising costs of land and production and a culture that’s gravitating towards a more urban way of life. According to the USDA, over half of America’s existing farmers will retire in the next decade, leaving consumers who prefer the taste, quality and ethics of sustainably, locally produced foods in a slow foods deficit. Galen Iverstine of Iverstine Farms in Kentwood, Louisiana, is a young, new farmer that has embraced the challenges of developing a new farm to bring consumers local beef and pork raised in an environmentally conscious way. 

“For me, the desire to farm came out of wanting to have conviction associated with my profession,” Iverstine says. “I come from a long line of hard workers and grew up around manual labor and machinery.  With a desire and physical ability, I asked the question, ‘Why not me?’ I dove in headfirst. Making [farming] about something bigger — healing top soil, feeding families, being part of a local food economy — makes it more of a mission rather than an occupation.”

Established in 2009, Iverstine Farms rests on 65 acres of pastureland. Throughout the years, Galen has acquired an additional 60 acres, including 20 acres of hardwood forests that separates two large rolling pastures. The forested area is part of what makes Galen’s operation so unique in that he forages his heritage pigs among the trees, allowing the omnivorous livestock to root through the soil and debris to find invertebrates, roots and other edibles. This style of raising pigs is similar to how pigs have been raised in Europe for centuries and allows for a unique, complex and flavorful pork product.

 “Most of [the pigs] we raise are Berkshire pigs,” he says. “By raising [pigs] in the forested areas, we are able to use them to keep underbrush down, and allow our more desirable trees to thrive.  Every root, grub, shrub, grass and bug adds to the complexity of the taste in the fat of the hog.  The fat is where the flavor is.”

Iverstine raises his cattle with the same goal of producing quality, tasteful beef. Everyday, he and his assistant on the farm rotate the cattle to an adjacent paddock within the pasture.

 “Most of our cattle are half Brangus, half Angus calves,” says Galen. “I am trying to get back to some original grass-based genetics, and get away from breeds that have been bred to adapt and grow in the feedlot environment.”

This year, Iverstine’s father will join the farm, allowing Galen to offer sustainably raised chickens and turkeys, both of which he has experience raising in the past. The farm-raised poultry will add to Iverstine Farms’ repertoire of consciously produced meats, allowing Galen reach a wider audience.

 “We believe connecting the customer with the farmer adds to people's understanding of the complexities our local food system,” Iverstine says. “By connecting directly with consumers, they are able to become more aware of where their food comes from. Consumers begin to realize that cheap food has its costs. By putting a face with their food, they realize that every dollar they spend on food becomes more important in our local food system.  By giving them the information, they can become a more informed consumer and make the best decision they can with their food dollars.”

Click here to visit Iverstine Family Farms' WebShop on IndiePlate.


Tyler F. Thigpen is a wetland scientist, a farm to table columnist, and co-coordinator of Pig and Plough Suppers (https://www.facebook.com/PigandPlough), a slow foods dinner series celebrating our Louisiana foodways by promoting chef collaborations that feature foods grown and raised in south Louisiana.






Being Vocal About Local - By IndiePlate & Daphne Olivier, R.D.


The “eat local” movement that has taken hold all throughout the country has several practical and logical reasons that support this trend. So what’s behind it? Why would someone go out of their way to eat foods that have been grown locally? With the change in our food system over the past decades our shift on what is needed for a healthy, nourishing meal has also changed. Eating locally is the beginning of bringing back the connection to our food. Here are ten reasons why eating local is beneficial.

  1. Food Safety: The government estimates one in six Americans get ill from eating contaminated foods each year with nearly 3000 deaths. According to the Centers for Disease Control there were 10 E. coli outbreaks between 2010 and 2012. They were linked to everything from cheese and bologna, to hazelnuts, peanut butter, and spinach.  These outbreaks occur because of a complicated food system-from growth to travel to purchase. The incidence of contaminated foods is significantly decreased when the foods are grown and harvested near you.

  2. Quality:  Foods that are grown locally don’t have to go through the rigors of transportation across states (or countries) and storage for long periods of time. Consequently they are much fresher when they get to your plate. They are picked at their peak, right before they get to your plate, which ensures the highest quality.

  3. Nutrition: Eating locally ensures you will be eating with the seasons. In any given area farmers are subject to grow what the season will support. Nature has a way of telling us, based on the food it supports, what is best for us to eat during each season of the year. For example, early spring is all about tender, leafy vegetables like chard, spinach, lettuce, and parsley. Warmer climates support cooling foods like summer squash, zucchini, berries, peaches and plums. All cooler fall and winters warming foods like winter squashes, sweet potatoes, carrots and kale.

  4. Taste: Eating with the seasons ensures that we get the tastiest foods on our plate. Foods that are in season just taste better. Consider how good strawberries taste when spring blossoms, full of sweetness and crispness or how delicious a big red tomato tastes in the peak of summer!

  5. “Shelf Life”: On big issue often discussed is that produce in the fridge has to be thrown away before it can be consumed. Our local producers harvest their produce right before it is delivered to us after which it is delivered to you – A total time window of 72 hours or less. Therefore, once you get it home it has a longer shelf life.

  6. Local economy:  Every time you purchase something that is not from a locally owned business your money is leaving your community. Shopping local keeps money in the community to create local jobs, and protects our local culture. Research estimates that every dollar spent on local commerce generates nearly twice as much income for the local economy than if that dollar were spent on a multi-national business.

  7. Environmental Impact: According to Michael Pollan, the average food item travels approximately 1500 miles to get to your table.  Buying local means you eliminate a large part of the supply chain that requires fossil fuels for transportation.

At IndiePlate we want to enable this Farm-to-Table movement. Come join us and support your local food producers, your local economy, and your environment. Shopping at IndiePlate is just a small part of this bigger good!

Daphne is a food passionista, farm girl wanna-be, and registered, yet unconventional dietitian. She has worked in a variety of clinical nutrition settings before deciding to start her practice, My Food Coach in Lafayette, LA. Through her practice, Daphne focuses on providing the body with the nutrients it needs to bring itself into balance. Her practice revolves around providing education, empowerment, and support to allow you to make changes necessary to maintain optimal health. Click here to visit her website and read more about a variety of food and diet-related topics.





A Case For Grass-fed Meats, Part 1 - By Daphne Olivier, R.D.

Over the past several decades, red meat has faced a lot of criticism. It has been blamed for medical conditions such as heart disease, cancer, and now diabetes. There are growing amounts of people who eat meat, but not red meat because of the bad rap that red meat has gained. We want to clear up a few things in defense of red meat. Part 1 of this series will identify what red meat is and part 2 will discuss what red meat is not.

What Red Meat Is
Just to clarify, red meat comes from a small variety of animals which include beef, lamb, venison, and buffalo. Like many other protein sources, these meats offer a varied nutrient profile. While all meats are good sources of protein and B vitamins (niacin, thiamine, and riboflavin); red meat is higher in iron, zinc, and vitamin B12. Another place that red meat is beneficial is based on the fatty acid profile. While these nutrients can be found in other places, red meat offers a source that is natural, absorbable, and approved for regular consumption.

Fatty Acid Profile
Fats come in many forms, and they are not all created equal. Saturated fat, although it has been criticized for its role in heart disease, it is actually a very healthy, necessary fat for our body. Did you know that if saturated fat is not consumed through the diet it will be made by the bacteria in the large intestines? Wild, isn’t it!? On the other hand, unsaturated fats are either monounsaturated or polyunsaturated. The monounsaturated fats are they types found in olive oil and avocado. While polyunsaturated fats (vegetable oil, canola oil, soybean oil) have been touted for several decades, research has proven that this praise was misplaced. Polyunsaturated fats are now known to cause inflammation.

The fatty acid profile in beef is primarily saturated (remember, this is good) and monounsaturated. While grass fed beef is ideal, the digestive process of these animals allows the saturated fat and monounsaturated fat to remain consistent despite what these animals are fed. However, the omega-3 and CLA fats are significantly higher in grass fed beef, but there will be more on that to come in part 2.

Iron
Iron is a metal that is essential to support the human body. It is necessary for oxygen transportation throughout the body; it is essential for building proteins, enzymes, and regulating cell growth. Generally speaking, the intestines regulate the absorption of our iron and we absorb only a fraction of the iron we consume. Red meat provides the body with the most efficient form of iron, with a higher amount and higher absorption percentage than other food sources of iron such as vegetables and legumes.

Zinc
Zinc is one of the most abundant trace elements in the body. It is used for various functions including building numerous enzymes and proteins; it is also crucial for optimal brain development in children and function in adults, DNA gene expression, and cell death. Low zinc levels can be associated with type 2 diabetes, depression, various forms of cancer, and infertility. There are various food sources of zinc, but as you may have guessed, red meat ranks up there as one of the highest.

Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin which must be consumed through our foods, as the body cannot make it on its own. B12 is absolutely necessary for nerve and brain function, cellular metabolism, and building DNA. B12 deficiency has been linked to fatigue, depression, and, in extreme cases, mania and psychosis. Red meat and liver are some of the highest sources of vitamin B12, which are highly absorbable.