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Whole Foods: the anti-Twinkie lifestyle

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They should call them "Underloved food plants" [Dec. 30th, 2008|07:46 pm]
Whole Foods: the anti-Twinkie lifestyle

likethewatch
In the spirit of the Ark of Taste, there is a Wikipedia category for Underutilized Crops.

How many do you eat regularly? Collect them all!
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Picnic food [Jul. 7th, 2008|12:13 pm]
Whole Foods: the anti-Twinkie lifestyle

likethewatch
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I really like Mark Bittman, aka The Minimalist. Here are his 101 20-Minute Dishes for Inspired Picnics. Each is accompanied by a short description that also serves as recipe. I am a confident cook and will attempt some of these; a less-certain man of the kitchen might go hunting up an example recipe or two for an idea of ratios. A few of the ideas that sounded really good to me:

3. Curried egg salad. I like egg salad and was thinking of making one soon. I usually tart it up with mustard, but I might try curry powder next time. He posts another salad of roasted cauliflower with curry powder and raisins at 25: that also sounded good. Am I just craving the curried wheatberry and chickpea salad I'm making this week? There's more potato and egg salad recipes, too, from 43 to 48.

9. Gazpacho. When the tomatoes come, I will make gazpacho and eat it immediately. There are no real alternatives with gazpacho: the tomatoes have to be really good, and gazpacho doesn't keep for more than a few hours.

20. Horta, a cold salad of cooked dark leafy greens dressed with olive oil, lots of lemon, and salt.

33. A white bean salad with tomatoes and anchovies. Bring on the cold, oily fish. Then kiss me. I love it.

Lots of good ideas all grouped by sections, with whole pages of ideas of sandwiches, grain salads, and so on through desserts. My boyfriend makes the best ginger cookies I've ever had, and I want to try sandwiching them with a whip of cream cheese, honey, and lemon zest like Bittman suggests in 98.

I had been stressing about what to bring camping this month, so I'm glad to get some fresh ideas, especially ones that will use some of my farm share vegetables. It's early yet for summer food, but when they are in season here I'll be glad to have this list. I will also break out last summer's Cook's Illustrated in which they feature several excellent fruit salads. If you need a fruit salad recipe, hit me up. I have a couple for melon and berries that are outstanding, and I usually prefer to eat fresh foods mostly unadorned, so that's saying something.
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Mark Bittman video [May. 29th, 2008|02:14 pm]
Whole Foods: the anti-Twinkie lifestyle

likethewatch
http://www.ted.com/talks/view/id/263
Mark Bittman: What's wrong with what we eat

He's not the most riveting speaker on the TED site, but I am a big fan of Bittman. I consult his "How to Cook Everything" daily, on average. His politics are closely aligned with those of Michael Pollan, another of my favorite food writers. This talk gives a brief on how our diets have changed since 1900 in the U.S., and the elements of industrial food that are responsible for many of the diseases associated with the Western lifestyle: principally, that we eat too much meat, dairy, and processed foods, and not enough plants.
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Endangered traditional American foods [Apr. 30th, 2008|12:00 pm]
Whole Foods: the anti-Twinkie lifestyle

likethewatch
“Renewing America’s Food Traditions: Saving and Savoring the Continent’s Most Endangered Foods” is a new book by Gary Paul Nabhan on endangered food plants and animals in the U.S., and efforts to revive interest in their use. Mentions Slow Food U.S.A.'s involvement in the project to preserve these foods. Reviewed in To Save a Species from Extinction, Get People to Eat It" in today's New York Times.
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How to Cook Collard Greens [Jan. 30th, 2008|05:42 pm]
Whole Foods: the anti-Twinkie lifestyle

likethewatch
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I found this on Culinate, but it's from Cookus Interruptus, which looks like it's aimed squarely at my demo: local, organic, healthy food for busy people. In the episode above, Mom starts demonstrating how to cook collard greens when her adult daughter comes in to say their car has rolled down the hill and the cops need to talk to her. Hard to say how scripted it is, but the episode is neatly bundled, sly, and slow-paced all at the same time. I'm going to watch all of the posted episodes now.

On the subject of collards, I will add that I think my method is a little easier and may preserve more of the nutrients. At least, that is what I have always thought of steaming versus boiling, but I could be wrong.

I stem the collards, then roll a stack of leaves up and slice the roll. I put all the sliced collards in a steamer and steam them for just a few minutes until they're bright and have a good chewing texture. The Cookus Interruptus method is to parboil the greens, shock them with cold water, then slice them.
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Dietary fat, cholesterol in blood, are not indicators of heart health [Jan. 28th, 2008|08:20 am]
Whole Foods: the anti-Twinkie lifestyle

likethewatch
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/27/opinion/27taubes.html

Myths about cholesterol and saturated fat being linked to heart disease, exploded.

I like finding these articles in mainstream press because I get tired of the way my tin foil hat crinkles when people repeat these myths, and like having a link to send them that might change their mistaken beliefs.

So here you go: cholesterol in your blood is not an indicator of heart disease. Neither is saturated fat in your diet. Eat naturally occurring fats in a balanced diet, stop worrying about the fat from animal products, and put down that nasty margarine, because we know the trans fats *will* kill you.
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Jamie Oliver kills a chicken on national TV [Jan. 16th, 2008|05:14 pm]
Whole Foods: the anti-Twinkie lifestyle

likethewatch
Chefs’ New Goal: Looking Dinner in the Eye New York Times, January 16, 2008.

I am very impressed with Mr. Oliver. Here's a quote from the article:

"A chicken is a living thing, an animal with a life cycle, and we shouldn’t expect it will cost less than a pint of beer in a pub."


Jamie Oliver is a celebrity chef—known as "the naked chef" because of his minimalist preparations. He recently used his newly obtained license to slaughter livestock in the UK to slaughter chickens—humanely—on British TV before a studio audience. He did this to raise awareness of how livestock are industrially raised and slaughtered.
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Boston Baked Beans [Jan. 11th, 2008|03:44 pm]
Whole Foods: the anti-Twinkie lifestyle

likethewatch
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I write myself long e-mails when I'm doing internet research, and my favorite way to tackle a standard dish is to look at as many reputable examples as I can find, and learn some golden ratios, secret ingredients, tips, and such from studying them. Here's an e-mail I sent myself on Boston Baked Beans. The weather here is cold and wet now (we're in western Massachusetts), perfect weather for this dish. It's traditionally served with Boston brown bread, but I'm going to buck tradition and serve it with sweet cornbread and steamed greens.

The Bean Bible (http://www.beanbible.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=38&mode=thread&order=0&thold=0
) has many recipes for baked beans, but their "favorite," "most popular" recipe is a disappointment: it calls for canned pork n' beans! The recipe linked above is one of the recipes that calls for dry beans. Most recipes call for small white beans such as navy or pea beans, but occasionally I find a recipe that calls for some portion to be great northern or lima beans, and one that called for pintos.

After the beans, the basic ingredients are sweeteners with strong dark flavors like molasses, maple syrup, and honey; spicy mustard; onion; and fatty meat for flavor, either bacon or salt pork. (Of course, I plan to use duck bacon.) Other additions include tomatoes, garlic, coffee, bourbon, bell peppers, catsup, Worcestershire sauce, BBQ sauce, apples or apple butter. This recipe ( http://www.whats4eats.com/recipes/r_be_bostonbeans.html) makes a few suggestions for variations, and says that the author prefers beans w/o tomato because the maple flavor is more prominent.

Baking soda is sometimes added to soften the beans. This recipe (http://www.recipesource.com/fgv/beans-grains/00/rec0075.html) from an established Boston restaurant uses the soda in the pre-soak boiling of the beans. Another source ( http://www.centralbean.com/storeandsoak.html) says that soda may give the beans a "soapy" flavor, and since I'm going to cook it for half the day, I'm not worried the beans won't soften. A Google search found many sites that warn against using soda for the soapy flavor, darkening of beans, and reduction of bean flavor.

http://southernfood.about.com/od/crockpotbeans/r/bl36c5.htm
The above recipe (for Boston Baked beans, from Southern Food, heh) is one of the most basic recipes I've found, with only 8 ingredients. Like some other, more complicated recipes, it seems to make a fetish of layering ingredients or otherwise putting them into the pot in some special order. It shouldn't matter.

The best recipes I've seen call for cooking this very slowly (250-275 degree oven) for 5-10 hours, using presoaked beans. Some bake the beans, some cook them on the stovetop, and at least one ( http://www.knouse.com/index.cfm?do=displayrecipe&recipeid=101 which also uses apple butter) has you cook them on the stovetop til nearly tender, then bake the rest of the way with the savory ingredients.
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(no subject) [Dec. 27th, 2007|12:14 am]
Whole Foods: the anti-Twinkie lifestyle

00goddess
I recently bought some unusual sweet potatoes at the farmer's market, and they look like this:



They have white flesh rather than the orange I'm used to.

Can anyone tell me anything about this variety and provide any suggestions for tasty preparation
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Buttercup Squash [Nov. 19th, 2007|03:54 pm]
Whole Foods: the anti-Twinkie lifestyle

likethewatch


I would like to introduce you to the buttercup squash, quite possibly the tastiest winter squash. The flesh is very dark orange, heavy, and quite sweet. Cut the squash in half, seed it, then bake it cut side down in an inch of water for two hours at 350 degrees, and you will be eating the most delicious winter squash you've ever tasted.

I usually like butternuts and kabochas, which are both sweet and not very fibrous at all. I don't like acorn squash so much because they're not very sweet and the flesh is so fibrous.
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