Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Devil's Food Dictionary

Skewer: The thinnest, pointiest member of the LADLE family, and by reputation the most sinister. In the cynical view of Oscar Wilde, it was " a Tongue depressor that wishes it were a boning knife."

Saturday, March 28, 2009

State of the Plate

Decisions, Decisions.... where to eat, what to order..... check out the annual Style Weekly State of the Plate issue available all over RVA.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

artisanal soy sauce

This is from a recent posting by Tasting Table, a great online foodie resource:

Umami in a Bottle
America's first artisanal soy sauce

There are plenty of American-brewed soy sauces out there: Kikkoman bottles some 25 million gallons annually on Wisconsin's Lake Geneva, and Yamasa turns out more than 1.7 million gallons a year at its Oregon plant. But our sushi and high-end Asian deserve a better condiment--and they can get it, thanks to Kentucky-based Bluegrass Foods, makers of America's first artisanal soy sauce.

Working in the back of an old Louisville factory, Matt Jamie combines non-GMO soybeans with locally grown winter wheat and ferments the funky mash in old bourbon barrels tossed out by Buffalo Trace and Woodford Reserve distilleries. The barrels are also used to make Bluegrass's Kentuckified Worcestershire Sauce.

The final product is lighter in color than your average sushi joint sauce, free of caramel color, hydrolyzed soy protein or any of the other additives that often go into commercial sauces. It's also more delicate in flavor, making up for what it lacks in saltiness with a deeply earthy, umami character and the slightest hint of bourbon sweetness. Kentucky Bluegrass soy sauce won't put much of a dent in fried rice, but it's exactly what sashimi wants.

Bluegrass Soy Sauce is $5 for five ounces at bourbonbarrelfoods.com

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Cheese Mule

Last night I went to a friend's 40th Birthday Party- i expected a raucously good time, but what surprised and delighted me to no end was a cheese plate on the buffet. A friend of the host had visited from France, and carried along a stash of some raw milk cheeses.

Saint Felicien

This is a raw milk cheeses that comes from the farms in the Rhone-Alpes area of France. The French call this caille doux. Affinage (maturing) is a least two weeks.

Pont l'Eveque

One of the oldest of French cheeses. Its origins trace back to the 12th century under the name of d'Angelot. It was only in the 17th century that it took its name from the village where it was made, namely, Pont L'Eveque. The village is situated between Lisieux and Granville in Normandie. This cheese obtained the AOC rating in 1976.


Well known throughout the world, Camembert is the cheese the most often copied, but connoisseurs know that the true Camembert comes from only five departments in Normandie. It is produced from raw milk and ladled into cheese vats.

Local Goat Cheese

This was was an unnamed wonder from the local fromagerie- covered with a light fuzz of mold and a tangy undertone.

*** cheese information courtesy of www.fromage.com

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Sowing Seeds - The Southern Exposure Way

Round 1 of seeds have arrived from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange‏

Arugula GREENS 28g seed, USDA Certified Organic

Wando PEA, SHELLING (ENGLISH) 57g seed

Calabrese (Italian Green Sprouting) BROCCOLI 2g seed, USDA Certified Organic

Detroit Dark Red BEET 5g seed, USDA Certified Organic

Chioggia (Dolce Di Chioggia) BEET, STRIPED 3g seed, USDA Certified Organic

Sweet Valentine LETTUCE, ROMAINE .5g seed, USDA Certified Organic

Yugoslavian Red Butterhead LETTUCE, BIBB (BUTTERHEAD) .5g seed, USDA Certified Organic

Curly Cress (Garden Cress) HERB / NATIVE PLANT 2g seed

Fennel, Florence HERB / NATIVE PLANT 1g seed, USDA Certified Organic

Bloomsdale SPINACH 5g seed, USDA Certified Organic

Deep Purple ONION, BUNCHING 1g seed

Contender (Buff Valentine) BEAN, SNAP (BUSH) 28g seed, USDA Certified

Go ahead and plant yourself a delicious summer--dig here

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Breakfast of Champion

Thanks to Cereal Art and Amazon Blog Al Dente for this post :

Breakfast of Champion

Ryan Alexiev
Hank Willis Thomas

In “Breakfast of Champion” Thomas and Alexiev are commenting on the iconization and consumerization of the President of the United States. The piece appropriates the religious imagery of Byzantine mosaics to create a sugar cereal image of President Obama. Does the election of Barack Obama symbolize a victory of substance over cynicism or of packaging over product? The mosaic proposes the question: “Is Barack Obama a modern messiah in the world of politics or marketing?
Perhaps he is both. Only time will tell. Underneath the glossy surface of the piece is the artists’ attempt to understand how to critique and question something they too are seduced by. (An idea we were trying to get at) - The sugary sweet mosaic, made of thousands of cereal bits, depicts idea of what a healthily balanced breakfast (democracy) might look like when considering the role that marketing plays in myth building around corporate and political brands.

Hank Willis Thomas' work deals with complex issues of race, identity, class and history in the age of consumerism. He investigates how commercial marketing and branding is geared toward specific racial groups and raises questions about visual culture, the power of logos, and media representation of African Americans. Ryan Alexiev explores the history and social implications of consumerism through his art. Alexiev creatively uses different forms of media to illustrate his ideas.

Hank Willis Thomas was raised in New York City. He received a B.F.A in Photography and Africana Studies from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts in 1998. He received an M.F.A in photography and an M.A in Visual Criticism at the California College of the Arts in 2004. His work has been widely published and exhibited internationally, most recently in 30 Americans at The Rubell Collection in Miami, an Aperture publication and his second one person exhibition at The Jack Shaiman Gallery in New York.

Ryan Alexiev was born in Los Angeles and raised in Alaska. He received a B.A. in History from the University of California at Berkeley in 1994 and an M.F.A from the California College of the Arts in 2007. He has exhibited at The Moore Space in Miami, The Wadsworth Atheneum, the Nathan Cummings Foundation and has just completed a solo exhibition at the Mission 17 gallery in San Francisco.

Thomas and Alexiev collaborate frequently, and were recently commissioned along with the ©ause Collective to create a video installation for the Oakland International Airport which was also selected for inclusion into the 2008 Sundance Film Festival.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Rules to Eat by

Writer Michael Pollan, author of the "Omnivore's Dilemma" and "In Defense of Food",” has been a catalyst for dialogue about how we eat. The New York Times wellness blog features an article where he wants to aggregate opinions from readers about what rules govern their diets.

To weigh in, click here.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Bottled Water an Energy Drain

An important message from Gizmag:

"New research from the Pacific Institute estimates that bottled water is up to 2000 times more energy-intensive than tap water. Similarly, bottled water that requires long-distance transport is far more energy-intensive than bottled water produced and distributed locally. Indeed, when all the sums were done, it seems the annual consumption of bottled water in the U.S. in 2007 required the equivalent of between 32 and 54 million barrels of oil—roughly one-third of a percent of total U.S. primary energy consumption.The article, “Energy implications of bottled water” by researchers Peter H. Gleick and Heather Cooley, is the first peer-reviewed analysis of its kind and appears in the February 2009 edition of Environmental Research Letters.“As bottled water use continues to expand around the world, there is growing interest in the environmental, economic, and social implications of that use, including concerns about waste generation, proper use of groundwater, hydrologic effects on local surface and groundwater, economic costs, and more. But a key concern is how much energy is required to produce and use bottled water,” said article co-author Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute. “It turns out the answer is, a lot.”The authors note that a single estimate of the energy footprint of bottled water is not possible due to differences among water sources, bottling processes, transportation costs, and other factors. Gleick and Cooley calculate the energy requirements for various stages in bottled water production, including the energy to manufacture the plastic bottles, process the water and the bottles, and transport and cool the final product. Combining the energy intensities for these stages, the analysis finds that producing bottled water requires between 5.6 and 10.2MJ per liter—as much as 2000 times the energy cost of producing tap water. The authors further estimate that to satisfy global demands, the energy equivalent of 50 million barrels of oil per year is used just to produce the bottles, primarily made of PET plastic, almost all of which are currently made from virgin, not recycled, material.
For water transported short distances, the energy requirements of bottled water are dominated by the energy to produce these plastic bottles. Long-distance transport, however, can lead to energy costs comparable to, or even higher than, the energy to produce the bottle. In the article, the authors calculate the energy costs of three different scenarios for a bottle of water consumed in Southern California—a locally produced bottle and bottled water from both France and Fiji transported to the region.
“With the U.S. consumption of bottled water exceeding 33 billion liters a year, and with intensifying efforts to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, these data should help identify ways to reduce the energy costs of bottled water and may help consumers themselves make more environmentally sustainable choices,” said co-author Heather Cooley, senior research associate at the Pacific Institute. Based in Oakland, California, the Pacific Institute is a nonpartisan research institute that works to create a healthier planet and sustainable communities. Through interdisciplinary research and partnering with stakeholders, the Institute produces solutions that advance environmental protection, economic development, and social equity—in California, nationally, and internationally.

For more about the fight, link to http://ithinkihateplastic.com/site/