Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Monday, June 23, 2008
I'll also be subjecting you to all things composting, biking, what's happening in downtown LA, corporate social responsibility, green living, international trade, poverty, the produce business, the progress of my plants, gardening, painting, transporation in LA, electronica, Oaxaca, travel, Africa, public health, carbon emissions, swimming, sea otters, baby chickens, farm tours, hippies, restaurants, cooking... pretty much all the things I like to yap and yap and yap about.
Click your heels... let's go!
Thursday, March 13, 2008
In the spirit of the impending Spring, Michael Kuntz, someone who works on our Market Basket Program at the Santa Monica Market, shared the following Asparagus Mushroom Risotto. Risotto is often one of those dishes that is thought to be complicated and time consuming - with a few good quality ingredients and some tips, Michael sheds some light on an Italian tradition.
Michael Kuntz Asparagus Shiitake Risotto:
Feel free to use this recipe as a template for experimentation. You can substitute the vegetables herein for any that suit your fancy. This dish can easily be made vegan by replacing the butter with more oil and excluding the cheese. You do not have to forsake the risotto’s creaminess to accommodate veganism. The rice grains themselves produce the “all’onda” texture, which literally translates to “to the wave.”
3 Tbs butter
1/4 C olive oil
1 Large bunch asparagus ( About a pound) Cut into ½ inch rounds
1/4 lb Shiitake Mushrooms Remove stems from caps and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1 Small onion Chop to medium dice
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 ½ C Arborio rice
½ C Dry white wine
5 C Vegetable or chicken stock. (I like Organic Gourmet Bouillon)
½ C Parmesan cheese Finely grated
Juice and shaved rind of one small lemon
While prepping your ingredients, bring the stock to a simmer. You will want to keep the stock at a low simmer throughout the cooking process.
Make sure you have all your ingredients prepped and close at hand before you begin cooking. In a heavy bottomed, 4 quart sauce pan, heat the olive oil and 2 Tbs butter. Saute the asparagus and mushrooms over a medium heat for four minutes or until they begin to soften. Remove 3/4 of them and set aside for later use.
Add the onion, salt and pepper and saute until translucent. Add the rice and saute for three minutes, stirring continuously to avoid sticking. When the rice has absorbed the moisture of the onion, add the wine.
This is the point of no return. From here on you will have to stir the risotto more or less non-stop. Stir the rice until it has absorbed all the wine. Then add a ladle of simmering stock. Stir continuously until it is absorbed. When you pass the spoon along the bottom of the pan and there is an empty space that remains, add the next ladle of stock.
Continue this process, tasting occasionally, until the rice obtains the consistency of al dente pasta. Should you run out of stock add warm water. When the rice is done add the remaining butter, vegetables, lemon and cheese. Make sure that the risotto flows freely by adding a final ladle of stock that does not get fully absorbed. Stir well and serve immediately. Makes 4 generous portions.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Wow. Laura Avery, Market Supervisor of the Santa Monica Farmers' Markets, I salute thee. The Santa Monica Market has kicked it up a notch. While poking around the market today browsing about for interesting things for a few clients, I passed by a strange vendor. My first thought, you must be new, came just before I noticed his three metal bins on his table. And what IS that you have there?
And with all the depressing news about how aqua-farming is hurting our oceans and coastline ecosystems, sustainably minded aqua farms are they way to safely enjoy these delectable goodies.
I picked up a dozen Luna Oysters which were harvested just a day ago for a mere $8. Carlsbad Aquafarm will be at the Santa Monica Wednesday market each week. Run oyster lovers, run!
Monday, February 18, 2008
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Year of the Potato: Bringing spuds back
The potato is back on top! This year, the spuds take over the limelight as 2008 marks the Year of the Potato. And no, this isn't a gimmicky ploy by the French fry industry or the chip lobby. The potato reaches for a higher cause this year and brings us back to what all foods are supposed to do: Give us nutrients.
The potato is being hailed for its ability to play a huge role in the fight against global poverty and economic development for rural communities. The Year of the Potato also brings attention to the rapid loss of potato farmland in North America. In 1900, more than 300,000 potato farms speckled America, growing all kinds of potato varieties that each have their own flavor, color, and texture profile. Now, only 12,000 potato farms remain in the U.S. In fact, Europe and America have been surpassed in potato production and consumption by Asia.
Like its counterpart rice, which had its own year back in 2004, the potato is an excellent source of complex carbohydrates, protein, and vitamin C. Easily grown and harvested, increased attention and focus on potato farming globally means economic development for poor farmers and preservation of our small potato farmers here.
So go on, give the spud a second chance. The Potato Famine of the 1800's is wayyy behind us now and we gotta give some love back to the potato! To get you started, look for these potato farmers at the Santa Monica Wednesday Market: Jerry Rutiz Family Farms, Weiser Family Farms, Pritchett Farms, Xiong Pau (japanese yams, sweet potatoes), and Windrose Farms.
And try this spud-inspired recipe with your local, farm-fresh produce!
Year of the Potato-Leek Soup
- 2-3 leeks
- 1 small yellow onion
- Approx. 2-3 potatoes (russet, yukon golds, butterballs)
- 2-3 cups of chicken/veg stock
- 1/2 tsp unsalted butter
- 1/2 tsp salt
- pinch of pepper
Place a deep pot over medium heat and melt butter. Add leeks (dice up the white/light green part only!) and chopped onion and sweat until both are very tender and translucent. Add 2 cups stock, diced potatoes, and salt. Raise heat to medium high and boil. When you see large bubbles reduce heat to simmer and recover to cook for 15 more minutes, until potatoes are tender when pierced. Let soup cool and puree in blender or food processor. Work in batches so as not to overfill and return pureed soup to pot. Adjust consistency by using remaining stock if needed. Reheat gently, stirring until visibly steaming. Ladle into bows and enjoy!
Monday, February 11, 2008
Not that there haven't been some major set-backs (my giant "roast of root vegetables" did not go so hot and I'm too prideful to ask around at the market where I went wrong... how hard can a root roast melody be? They'll all laugh and point at me!).
And some things magically come out well despite the fact that you brazenly look at the recipe and think, "I don't have ingredient A, D, and F, and I'm gonna wing it!" Enter my Accidental Muesli.
In an attempt to make this incredible sounding power bar with only the things we could find offhand in my mom's kitchen, we ended up not with powerbars, but a crunchy sweet muesli. Which will come in handy when my bro and I take off for Arizona and la canyon grand cette week-end. I've been munching on it all week with yogurt and mixed it into my oatmeal... horray for experiments that go wrong in all the right ways!!
Around 1 cup dried coconut
1 1/2 cup rolled oats
1 cup bran flakes cereal
1 cup pecans
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup maple syrup
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup raisins
Per Heidi's instructions on her site, we toasted the nuts and coconut on a cookie rack at 350F. Just until the coconut was nice and brown which was under 10 minutes with my mom's spiffy oven. Placing all the nuts and coconut in a mixing bowl and adding in the rolled oats, we moved over to the stove and poured the maple syrup, sugar, salt, and vanilla in a deep pot and brought it to a boil while stirring constantly.
At this point we are munching on the toasted coconut and nuts. Again I repeat, toasted coconut is food of the gods. De. Lic. Ious.
After bringing the maple syrup to a rolling boil, we poured the sauce over the nuts and stirred to incorporate fully. I then attempted to press the mixture into a pyrex dish to set into bars but foud that my mixture was much too flaky and sticky...
So totally wonderfully granola-y that you'll be picking and pouring into yogurt, stashing in your car for a rush-hour snack, or putting over pancakes.