Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Saveur 100 Wants Your Opinion

Calling all food lovers: We’d like to share your favorite ingredients, recipes, wines, spirits, restaurants, markets, chefs, cookbooks, cooking tips, kitchenware, and more, in the pages of SAVEUR magazine. All the items for next year’s SAVEUR 100, our annual tribute to a hundred great things from the world of food, will come from you, our readers. After all, you’re some of the most passionate and knowledgeable food lovers we know.

Saveur 100 Voting

Monday, July 20, 2009

Summer Loving # 3= Blueberry Cobbler



A few weeks ago i went blueberry picking with my 3 1/2 year old- $ 1.00 a pint to pick your own. We didn't have a bountiful harvest, but enough to mae a few batches of cobbler. I found a recipe on Epicurious for Bill's Blueberry Cobbler (Gourmet, August 1998)that is one of the easiest and best recipes I have tried. I added a twist of my own to spectacular results:

Ingredients

3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter (I USED SALTED AND LOVED THE ZING IT ADDED TO THE CAKE)
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup milk
2 cups blueberries (about 11 ounces)

I ALSO ADDED a T of lemon zest and a squeeze of lemon juice

Preheat oven to 375°F.

In an 8-inch square or other 2-quart baking dish melt butter. Into a bowl sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg and stir in sugar until combined well. Add milk and whisk batter until it is just combined. Pour batter into melted butter; do not stir. Pour berries into center of batter; do not stir. Bake cobbler in middle of oven 40 minutes, or until cake portion is golden and berries exude juices.

Summer Loving # 2= Cucumber Gazpacho




This soup, is kind of like a white gazpacho, without the tomatoes, and the ingredients can be mixed a bit with good results. It's a very refreshing soup- a great starter on a warm evening.


Cucumbers, peeled and seeded
Buttermilk ( A combo of chicken broth and sour cream works too)
Cilantro
Hot pepper (can be any number of varieties) to taste- I recommend starting on the not as hot side - its harder to turn the heat down
green onion or a sweet onion like vidalia
crushed garlic
salt & pepper to taste

Mix all the above ingredients in a food processor and play with proportions of liquid to solid depending on your consistency preference.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Summer Loving # 1 = Pesto Genovese





The arugula and lettuce is on holiday until fall and the summer garden is in full swing. Cucumbers and squash are abundant, and tomatoes are ripening on the vine. During the past few weeks I have pulled out some of my favorite summer dishes which I will attempt to translate into recipes below:


Pesto Genovese

Originating in the port town of Genoa in the Liguria region of Northwest Italy, Pesto’s name comes from the Latin word pestare, to pound or crush, and literally refers to the original process of pounding the garlic and herbs in a mortar and pestle( hmmm, see a similar root there). Thank god for the Cuisinart, which makes whipping up a batch of pesto a snap.


Ingredients

about 2 cups of washed and dried basil
2-3 cloves ofgarlic
Handful of pine nuts ( other nuts work in a pinch)
~1 cup Olive oil
~ 1 cup fresh Parmesan cheese
salt & pepper to taste
freshly ground nutmeg


Process

• Pulse olive oil and garlic in blender
• Add pine nuts and pulse some more
• Slowly add basil leaves and keep pulsing
• Add cheese and seasonings and give it a final whirl

Hint: sometimes if I am making a big batch to freeze, I leave out the cheese and freeze in iec cube trays. When frozen pop them into a Ziploc, and add cheese when you are ready to use.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

GMOs are not the answer - Oppose Casey-Lugar bill



"Changing the focus of US international development policy from direct food aid to agricultural investment in the developing world is a laudable goal. But declarations by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack that biotechnology and GMOs are the answer are misguided and ill-informed. As a recent World Bank/UN report recently concluded, GMOs are unsuited to the developing world. We urge you to oppose Casey-Lugar and any bill that contains earmarks for, investment requirements in or promotion of GMOs abroad."


Click here to sign the petition

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Michael Taylor's Views on Food Safety

La Vida Locavore nicely summarizes the views of the new FDA Food Safety guy, Michael Taylor

He says his vision is "rooted in" a 1998 NAS report "Ensuring Safe Food from Production to Consumption." He calls for:

1. Taking a farm-to-table approach to preventing food safety problems;

2. Using risk analysis to better understand potential hazards, design interventions, and prioritize prevention efforts;

3. Collecting necessary data to support risk analysis, through monitoring of the food supply, foodborne illness surveillance, and food safety research;

4. Harnessing the primary role of food producers, processors, retailers and consumers in preventing food safety problems;

5. Implementing preventive process control, such as HACCP, throughout the food industry;

6. Establishing science-based food safety performance standards;

7. Carrying out a modern inspection program to support the vigorous enforcement of food safety standards;

8. Integrating food safety efforts among federal, state, and local food safety agencies;

9. Allocating government food safety efforts and resources in relation to risk and opportunities to reduce risk; and

10. Observing sound food safety practices at the final preparation and consumption stage through well-informed commercial food handlers and consumers.

And here's the thing... these are all good ideas, IF they are applied properly. IF you identify that major risks in our system are unhealthy conditions in factory farms and fast line speeds in slaughterhouses and eliminate those risks, you will probably make real progress towards a safe food supply. But is Taylor willing to do that? Is anybody in our government? So far, no.

Furthermore, I question the government's ability (or interest in) applying these principles to small, independent producers.

The government tends to craft laws in a way that are most suitable for large corporations, but they apply them to everybody. I'm not saying that small producers cannot cause foodborne illness or that they are inherently safe, but I'm saying that we have a trade-off to consider. We should either regulate the little guys fairly or not regulate them at all (instead of regulating them unfairly, with laws written for big corporations).

For the full report, click here

Monday, July 06, 2009

Feed the City Soul




Plan to attend Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden's Green Tonic symposium on August 4-5 to learn about " Urban Gardening for Health and Wholeness."

It's an event for neighborhood organizers and community leaders, urban planners, architects and designers, public officials, health advocates, local food activists, students, master gardeners, and more.

Of particular interest to foodies may be a workshop on Food Security, Access, Nutrition, and Health.

For more details check out the website and register today

when you just can't eat it

have you ever had a piece of fish that arrived a little late to the table... like a few days ?

a piece of meat that was either still moving or cooked to death ?

a hitchhiker that just doesn't belong.

do you want to know how to handle the situation ?

when to send it back

Friday, July 03, 2009

A Garden with a Mission

Last Saturday I had a chance to visit one of my favorite Richmond spots, the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens. Jonah Holland, the marketing guru for the gardens, took a group of local bloggers on a special tour. In addition to the wonderfully appointed new rose gardens, and the children's area with a great climbable Mulberry tree, the special Butterfly exhibit is worth the trip alone.




One of the garden's secrets is unfolding on a plot behind the conservatory. What looks to be about an acre of land has been cultivated and worked by volunteers in growing a host of vegetables- tomatoes, squash, peppers, eggplants and other goodies. And the best part of the equation is that Richmond's Foodbank stands to benefit with a goal of 10,000 pounds of fresh produce this summer.




Lewis Ginter was one of the city's 20th century visonaries. And the garden does a great job of maintaining his legacy. Plan to attend Green Tonic on August 4-5 to learn about " Urban Gardening for Health and Wholeness." For more details check out the website and take time to smell the flowers

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

A sum of its parts




As we prepare our grills for cook-outs this July 4th weekend, many of us will be grilling burgers of some sort. Today's New York Times offers up a bevy of tips from some of New York's finest chefs. From bun to meat to toppings, a good burger is a sum of its parts.


take a big bite