Where do you live?
I live in Coral Gables – very close to Coconut Grove.

How long have you lived in the area? 
….a long time.

Where are you originally from and what brought you to town?
I’m originally from Connecticut. My husband’s work brought us here in 1986.

Please share about what you do for a livelihood or what keeps you busy during the week?
I’m busy 24-7! I have two syndicated columns on the Tribune News Wire. My Quick Fix column goes to over 6 million readers every week all over the United States and Canada. You can read it in the Wednesday issue of the Miami Herald. And, I am doing a lot of Facebook Live videos and 5-minute audio interviews which get aired on 880 AM the Bloomberg Biz. I just interviewed Daniel Boulud – the famous chef – who reinvented his DB bistro kitchen into Boulud Sud. You can see the interview on my Facebook page. (Linda Gassenheimer)

At the moment, I am promoting my 7th book the 12-week Diabetes Cookbook, published by the American Diabetes Association. I’m on their nutritional advisory committee.  A third of our nation is either diabetic or pre-diabetic.  

…that’s a little bit of what I am doing right now…..

How often do you come to the market?
…never often enough.

What’s your favorite thing to buy at LNB Grovestand and why?
How could I pick a favorite?! It’s like picking which of your children is your favorite. I think what LNB has done so beautifully is to save, promote and bring to life the tropical fruits that we don’t normally see. This is terrific!

I bought a jar of the Turmeric Tonic last weekend, and I just had some. I’ve known about turmeric for several years and have written about it and all its good properties. In the past, I’ve bought fresh turmeric – but what a mess!! I am delighted that I don’t have to make the mess and you can make the mess for me.

What have you made with ingredients bought at LNB Grovestand?
Putting turmeric into rice will of course make your rice yellow – and in many parts where I’ve lived they use turmeric as part of the flavoring for paella when they wanted to not spend so much on saffron. 

What’s your favorite thing to buy at other stands at the market?
I think Mr. Green Dean, at the Gables market, does a great job. He happens to grow sorrel (the green sorrel). I learned about sorrel when I lived in France.  There, it’s call oseille and looks like spinach but has a very lemony flavor. I bought some the other day, from the market, and took it home and made soup. It’s so delicious that I’ve been feeding it to my husband, who’s been sick, and he just loves it.

(how to make sorrel soup below)

The best deal at the market is:
I don’t look for a deal. My deal is to get the very beautiful, freshest ingredients you can find. So, I guess it depends on what you think a deal is. You can’t get these foods in a supermarket. These foods are straight from the farm – still filled with vitamins, freshness and flavor. Many of the fruits and vegetables in the supermarkets are a week old or more before we get to buy them.

I wish the market had:
One thing I’d like is for farmers to have more seed stock to make better fresh herbs. It’s hard to find young sweet basil.  It can be bitter sometimes and it shouldn’t be.  You can’t make a really true pesto sauce unless you have really sweet basil – like the kind they have in Genoa, Italy.

Favorite market story:
I originally started the Pinecrest Farmer’s Market.  I was the executive director of Gardner’s Market and started the market in front of the store on 124th street. Then it grew into where it is now.  When I started, I couldn’t get the farmers to want to be involved. They all worked so hard they didn’t want to come on a day off and work more. But, I cajoled them – and they came. They had such a wonderful time; the market just grew and grew.

One of things I did at that time, which I think was a lot of fun, was partnering with Palmetto Middle School. We had contests for the students to come to the market and pick vegetables and create a recipe. There were prizes and even the teachers in the school participated. Their science class created the Taste of Palmetto based on the recipes.

Most-frequented local restaurants and what dish to order:
So many restaurants you go to, you don’t know who’s the chef that night. One day it’s good and another it’s different. My advice is find your local treasure, where you know the chef is the owner and they are there.

Do you have a recipe that you would be like to share?
Sorrel Soup! First of all, you need to find really wonderful fresh Sorrel. It’s hard to find, but you can find it at the market. It’s really wonderful.

Start by cooking onions in butter. There are wonderful sweet onions in the market now – the big ones. They look like a great big over-grown scallion and are perfect for this. The secret to this recipe is to cook the onions down until they’re absolutely sweet – without getting brown at all. Then, add the washed and shredded sorrel and some very low salt chicken broth. It cooks for about 10-15 minutes and then you puree it in a blender.

Add a little salt and pepper and that’s it. One secret – Put a little crème fraîche or cream in the bowl before adding the soup.

What’s the area’s best-kept secret?
On the medical side – I think that the Diabetes Research Institute is an unbelievable local secret. I don’t think people realize that it is one of the top three diabetes research institutes in the world. I mentioned diabetes before and I’ll mention it again because one in four adults 65 or older is a diabetic. It’s costing our nation about 245 billion dollars a year in medical expenses – not to speak of the toll on everyone’s health.

On a different note, I think Fairchild Garden and the Kampong are assets to our community.  I love to walk through and absorb the plants, sounds, and everything that’s there. They are very peaceful.

Rainy-day activity:

The most romantic spot around:
For me, my most romantic idea is to have a wonderful meal at home, quietly, with a good bottle of champagne.

Do you participate in any community or philanthropic events that you would like to share? 
I am on the board of the Funding Arts Network, called FAN. Over the years, they have given over 4 million dollars to the arts. I think the arts are important. I think we are a more civilized nation and community if we can support the arts.

Look what’s happening with the Arsht Center, the Performing Arts Center in Broward, and the New World Symphony. What a wonderful thing we have here! I love going to the New World Symphony, in the evenings, when you can sit on the lawn, listen to the music, and on this huge screen watch the whole concert. You’ll see families picnicking and all age groups enjoying it. Not a sound is made during the music. Even more beautiful – the whole park is full – and when you leave – not one piece of paper or any mess is left there. It’s just wonderful to see the community in this light.

Do you own your own business or offer a service? Would you share a pitch about yourself or company with the community?
My new book is about making food. It’s called The12 Week Diabetes Cookbook and the subtitle is – Your super simple plan for organizing budgeting and cooking amazing dinners. It’s 12 weeks of recipes. My theory is that, if you have the food in the house –  you are more likely to cook a heathier meal. At the beginning of each week, I give you a shopping list for the entire week and recipes based on that list. Also, it’s a book for a budget. The average meal is about $5 per person per meal. All of the recipes have been vetted by the American Diabetes Association.

Is there a question that you would like to ask the LNBs?
Are you thinking of expanding your selection of produce? And, more than a question, I just hope you continue to do the wonderful work you are doing.

If you would like readers to be able to contact you, how should they get in touch?