Monday, March 30, 2009

Carolina Gold

2 months ago I went to visit my peeps in Columbia, South Carolina, and took a moment to visit Anson Mills (see my photo gallery on the SFUSA blog). Glenn Roberts--heritage grain genius, artisanal food entrepeneur, and all around great guy--handed us bags of rice on our way out, bags that have been idling in my freezer until last week's potluck lunch at the office.

I made two iterations; the first was the filling in Mark Bittman's stuffed peppers (or as I like to call them, "Amy's stuffed peppers"). The second, I made up, and darned if it wasn't good. Mostly, I think, because it showcased the rice-beautiful Carolina Gold.

1 leek, washed, trimmed, and sliced into thin half moons
1 cup Anson Mills Carolina Gold rice

2 cups water

3 tbsp Kerrygold butter
fresh basil leaves, chiffonaded (ribbons)

the zest and juice of one lemon
salt, pepper

In a big saucepan, saute the leeks in 2 tbsp of the butter until soft and transluscent, salting a bit as you go
add the rice, stirring to coat
add the two cups of water, bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to a simmer
cook 15 minutes or so until rice is moist and fluffy
take of heat and toss with remaining butter, lemon zest and juice, basil ribbons
more salt and pepper to taste
if you don't like it, add more butter!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

2 Breads whose Roots are Twin*

Many a time I've wondered what the scoop is with Sullivan Street Bakery. One day I woke up and it looked the same in every way, down to the crumble of each and every bread, except it was called "Grandaisy." But they were still selling bread in Sullivan Street Bakery bags at Murray's, so it clearly wasn't a rebranding.

I heard rumors of a divorce.

Then, because I am slow like that, I finally just read an article from October's Atlantic Monthly, written by Corby Kummer, called "Half a Loaf," in which he explores what happened in this situation--as well as the larger issues including who has the rights to a recipe, who can claim a signature delicious loaf (especially if it is merely a subtle riff on a European classic).

A great read.

(Plus, Corby's got a whole new food section on Atlantic Monthly's website and it rocks).

* An oblique reference to an Alice Walker poem I love..."I am the woman offering two flowers whose roots are twin. Justice and Hope/ Hope and Justice/ Let us begin."


Check me out in my new gig as a contributor to the Huffington Post blog.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Sustainable Farmers=Rockstars

It's a sign that at least one thing is going right in our crazy world when small organic farmers get treated like rockstars. There's Rosie Perez....and Mena Suvari....and that giant gorgeous Inuit supermodel from the 90s...and a bunch of girls in stilettos drinking cocktails and not eating the marvelously artistic passed hors d'oevres...and my high school buddy Anna's rough-hewn and lovely portraits of sustainable farmers in the Pacific Northwest, shirtless in the fields, the center of all the fuss.

Last Thursday I attended the launch of the USA Network's Character Project, a photo exhibit, and a forthcoming book, as far as I can gather. And there were Anna's pics, alongside the works of luminaries such as Sylvia Plachy and Eric Ogden! The exhibit has left NYC but you can check it out in other locations.

And to gaze at more of Anna Mia Davidson's farmer portraits, including one of her husband John, click here.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Put your Insidious Big Ag Ads Here!

Thanks to my buddy Jack for this one. We both agreed that these series of high fructose corn syrup ads that have hit the airwaves and the magazine pages are kind of douche-y (as in Massengill ads from the 80s, though also kind of douche(bag)-y as well).

Friday, March 06, 2009


Sometimes I miss things so intensely, it's hard. It's such a basic human emotion, I realize, but it can be futile, especially if the person or place you're missing ain't ever coming back.

I miss Brooklyn.

But I work there! But I hang out there! But it still EXISTS! Can I still miss it? Well, I do.

Last night after work I headed deeper into Brooklyn with one of my favorite food buddies to Buttermilk Channel for a cocktail and some bacon nuts and other treats; then walked up to Black Mountain (a little gem) and sat by the fire eating truffle-y, mushroom-y mac and cheese and sipping red wine.

It was awesome, because how often do you get to scratch the missing itch like that?

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Go Meat- and Dairyless One Day a Week

From an article in the latest Mother Jones:

"According to a 2008 report from Carnegie Mellon University, going meat- and dairyless one day a week is more environmentally beneficial than eating locally every single day."

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Eating From my Larder

As posted on today (and as pinged by Mark Bittman on his blog today--sweet!):

The fact that the cabinet door to my “pantry” is suddenly busted has made ignoring its contents difficult. For example: two cans of tuna packed in oil, and I cannot remember the last time I ate canned tuna. My concerns about seafood (un)sustainability have made me shy away from eating fish lately. When did I even buy those cans, and why?

Then there’s that half bag of quinoa. Um, how long until quinoa goes bad? Half bags, too, of pearl barley, lovely little green lentils, couscous, risotto….the list goes on.

Also, there’s the matter of my freezer, which given other freezers I’ve seen (like the one at my Mom’s house—sorry, Mom) isn’t so bad. But it’s got two big bags of corn kernels I froze in late August, and if I don’t eat them soon, they’ll be losing a competition against fresh summer corn at the market. Also, a plastic liter seltzer bottle full of whey, and about a dozen bagel halves from my nephew’s bris (n.b. he was born September 20th).

Eating what you have on hand has been a much-discussed topic these days for the food obsessed. For example, I’ve just discovered that our editor here at Civil Eats is also participating, via the Washington Post's blog "A Mighty Appetite," in what Kim O’Donnel is calling "Eating Down the Fridge," a title I like.

I discovered the idea on the New York Times Diner’s Journal blog, which alerted me to a contest brewing on eGullet: “National Eat the Stuff in our Freezers and Pantry Week.” I don’t have the stocks to participate in this contest full on (I love eGullet because it’s hard core—these people have boxes of Parmalat, powdered milk even, for crying out loud); but I decided to read about the contest and shadow, as best as I could.

First, there are rules, as explained by the staff at eGullet:

1 - No stockpiling.

2 - No endangering your children.

3 - No making yourself miserable.

4 - If you decide to participate in this experiment, you’re making a commitment to chronicle a week’s worth of meals starting on whatever day you normally shop.

5 - Have fun, and keep everyone posted on your progress!

SobaAddict70 shares a list of everything he had, and whoah—this dude must live in the suburbs, because where would I put all that? Steven Shaw (aka “Fat Guy”) discusses the merits of freezing milk and I feel like I am back in the scary wilds of my mom’s freezer; I may have a dozen bagels from 2008, but darnit, I have my limits.

OK, so first things first, I decide to use the quinoa. I cook up a half box and it makes an insanely large bowl of quinoa, more than I can imagine eating this year, let alone this week. I douse it with sesame oil from the pantry, and toss in some peanuts from my freezer (I keep a lot of nuts in the freezer: pecans, pignoli, hazelnuts, walnuts). It was pretty dull. The prospect of eating 85 servings of this makes me very sad indeed. So I go out and buy out-of-season-but-organic scallions and red bell pepper, and a small bottle of sake in which to sautee some onions from my fridge drawer. The first assignment and I have already broken the rules! In fact, these past few days, I keep learning this sad lesson again and again. I try to use the things in my larder, and to make anything halfway decent, I need to buy more things. And then to use those things, I need to buy even more things. It’s a vicious (if often delicious) cycle.

I take comfort in the loosey goosey goings-on over at eGullet. Plus, the photos are riveting. I cannot believe all the cool (and, well, strange) things people have kicking around. It kind of makes me want to live with some of them, or at least you know, hang out together at mealtime. One person harvested dandelion greens from their backyard in Texas! Also worth mentioning there seems to be a deep love of Costco over there on the boards.

OK, next dish. With the corn, a peak-of-summer corn chowder with a fridge drawer potato, some fridge drawer onions and celery, and the remainder of the red pepper. Then I buy some fresh basil—doh! I am really very bad at this indeed. (But, but, but, remember how Mark Bittman said dried basil is bad? I had agreed with him, but now I wish I had some so I didn’t have to transgress like this….)

But all is not lost; tonight I will defrost the pork chops from Bradley Farm, and with the rest of the frozen corn, a little of the precious remaining milk I’ve got, as well as the half bag of Wild Hive Farm stone ground cornmeal from my freezer (ohhh yeah, cornmeal and flour go in the freezer at my house) I will make a corn pudding.

I may not have much of a larder, and I may be buying a lot of supplements, but I am a) having a blast following the contest and b) doing a fine job of clearing out my stores, and c) spending less money as I do it.

This week I have made egg salad (very tasty on ancient toasted bagel); I have used those frozen overripe bananas to make a banana bread for my new parent friends; I have eaten down my fridge. I have looked it in the eye and shown it who’s boss.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Not about food but who doesn't love puppies?

I heard that sites that have porn or post wacky pics of kittens and puppies get a lot of hits, so, uh, here goes. I don't know what you do at your job but at my job we play with puppies.