Archive for October, 2011
Here’s a fall dish that will warm you up with heat, spice and some love on a plate.
Ingredients – goulash
2 large, sweet onions
1 tsp tomato paste
2 ½ lb chuck roast cut into 2” cubes
1 TB caraway seeds
1 TB hot Hungarian paprika (found in 5 oz tins)
2 TB sweet Hungarian paprika (also in tins)
1 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp sea salt
1 carton 26 oz(preferably organic) beef stock
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
Slice onions thinly and place in a large oven-safe pot over medium heat. Put an oven-safe lid on it and let simmer for 30-40 minutes, until soft and caramelizing. Add tomato paste, let simmer for a couple of minutes. Then add meat and all other ingredients. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then place in oven for 2 ½ hours or until meat is tender. While it is cooking, make the pancakes below. When meat is tender, remove the meat to a warmed bowl while you reduce the liquid in the pot to 2 cups. Serve meat and sauce over the pancakes.
Ingredients – pumpkin pancakes
4 oz all-purpose flour
½ TB baking powder
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp allspice
¼ tsp cinnamon
1 large egg, beaten
8 oz pumpkin puree
1/3 cup half and half
cooking spray and butter for griddle
In a mixing bowl, scale flour, add other dry ingredients and stir with a whisk to “sift”. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir until just combined. Spray a griddle or frying pan with cooking spray, heat to medium high and add a small pat of butter to the pan or griddle. Add enough batter to make a pancake 4” in diameter. Flip when golden, remove when the other side is golden. Serve pancakes under the goulash for a special treat.
Do you ever have that savory craving? You know, the one that requires something acidic, a little salty with just a bit of decadence (the power of cheese) to make it complete? This dish is low-carb but still lends satisfying flavors without heading off the plank. It’s chicken piccata with sautéed spinach, and not like Mom used to make. That’s okay sometimes, you know.
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
sea salt, pepper, to taste
8 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 slices of bacon
2 TB flour
juice of one lemon
1 TB capers
¼ cup chicken stock
1 10oz package fresh spinach
1/8 tsp fresh nutmeg
½ tsp minced garlic
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Carefully slice the chicken breasts lengthwise to create four fillets. Pound them until thin with a mallet. Season them with sea salt and pepper. Put two oz of cheese on each and roll up. Set in a baking dish.
Saute bacon until cooked, but still soft. Cut each slice in the middle, for four pieces. Wrap one piece around each chicken roll (it will go about halfway).
Sprinkle flour over the breasts and into the baking dish. Add lemon juice, capers and chicken stock.
Bake for 30 minutes.
While they are baking, and using the pan you sautéed the bacon in, heat it to medium-high heat. Add the spinach, nutmeg, garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Saute briefly until wilted. Remove to a plate.
When the chicken is done, place each roll on a plate and serve with spinach and lemon wedges. Serves 2 as an entrée, 4 as an appetizer.
As far as the eye could see were fields of wheat, softly swaying in the breeze. The sky was so blue it was almost azure. The sun shone brightly over the heartland of America. The occasional silo interrupted the blanket of gold; a reminder that these are the homes of farmers. These are the people who feed us and the world.
It was a breathtaking sight.
Stopping for a moment to stretch my legs, I walked into one of the wheat fields. The wheat felt unyielding, like straw waiting to be packaged into neat cubes of hay. I was surprised it wasn’t what I expected. Little did I know that years later, the farm industry in this country would be involved in a prickly controversy that was far more of a surprise than that special day.
Genetically modified food was a distant thought back then; an idea with promises to increase crop yields, eradicate pests damaging cotton and corn and making our favorite vegetables look prettier and last longer. Maybe we could finally make a dent in world hunger, if we could get rid of that pesky distribution problem in some nations.
It sounds too good to be true.
Studies are now showing crop yields are not larger, pests are becoming superbugs resistant to these genetically modified seeds and farmers are dependent upon them since they are designed to sprout for one season, then they have to buy more.
By contrast in North Dakota, canola sprouts from Canada are found growing through cracks in the sidewalks and out in the wild. These genetically modified plants are combining with our plants and spreading at an unknown pace, possibly into organic farms, making it impossible to certify them as organic any longer.
National Institute of Health studies are showing toxicity levels higher than the standard in Roundup Ready harvests. Farm workers are getting sick and so are the livestock that eat the leftover plants. Studies are showing infertility problems and concerns about new allergens showing up in the food supply. With upwards of 90 percent of soy crops being modified, what does that mean to families buying soy formula and people on a vegetarian diet? The people most dedicated to health are those most at risk.
No one is really trying to stop any of this. At this point it might be impossible anyway. What do 80 percent of those polled in California want? They want genetically modified food to be labeled as such. They want to know what they are eating, as was promised in 2007 on the campaign trail for the presidency.
For years now, people have been afraid to talk about these issues in a public forum. I do so at risk of retribution to myself and my family. I’m doing it anyway, because it’s important enough to take that step in the hopes we will start really talking about it, without fear and with a positive outcome in mind.
The former Monsanto employee appearing on my show this Saturday has a research background and left the company of his own accord after he was disheartened and afraid of some of the actions he felt were irresponsible and possibly dangerous.
His claims are backed-up by research scientists in the field of genetics. The scientist we spoke with had even more concerns about the future of our food supply.
Every week I wonder if it will be my last show. This week is certainly no exception. We begin Saturday afternoon at 3:30 on WWBA AM820 News. “See you” on the radio and pardon me now, while I go make sure I’m registered to vote in the next election.
It’s the end of food as we know it. That’s a broad, very generalized way to put it, so let me explain. First, I have to give you some background leading me to this conclusion.
My parents were blue-collar Democrats, growing up we ate pot roast, pasta (no one called it “pasta” back then), pork chops and the other standard dinners American families ate in that era. Vegetarianism was considered an extremist notion, pursued by fringe-y attendees of Woodstock years before. Gasp.
Something happened over the years, and it really began in California with Alice Waters. Although she is almost continually harassed and the brunt of many a chef’s joke, she started an American trend. It wasn’t vegetarianism per se, it was eating fresh ingredients in the French manner, purchased that morning at open-air markets and local farms.
The San Francisco/Berkeley area was largely considered forward-thinking and as the country followed their lead in food trends, people across the country started making healthier, fresher meals in their own areas.
Fast forward to 2010 when the Food Safety Modernization Act was just a proposal “on the table”. I asked people what they thought of it on my social media site, Eat St. Pete!, and it was met with grave apprehension. A few actually implored that I speak out on their behalf because they felt they had little input to change or stop this law from passing (yeah, right). It did indeed pass and caused a major change in platform thinking.
Phil Lempert from the Today Show appeared on my radio program, Food Nation Radio Network, during the massive egg recall in 2010, strongly asserting the Act be passed due to the large amount of people becoming sick from salmonella in eggs. When I mentioned that the current statistics at that time actually showed less people getting sick from this “outbreak” than the number of people getting sick from eggs generally on a day-to-day basis, he was not happy. It turns out his sponsor was Egg Beaters, a pasteurized egg product. No conflict there. Let’s just say after the interview, there was no polite “goodbye” on the studio line.
I didn’t really understand it until recently. Realize, I read food articles from all over the world every day. It’s part of what I do for my sites and for planning my show. The difference is clear. Many Democrats now want major reforms and support for laws further regulating food; the way it is grown, who grows it, how it’s distributed and more. Many Republicans want less regulation of food and think there are too many laws about food on the books already.
Too little regulation is ill-advised. Due to the modification of some crops, it may become more necessary than ever to monitor our food supply, particularly from large farms, not smaller ones currently most affected by the Act. It’s a strange, strange time.
It could all be just politics in play, which means no matter who is in power the same outcome will occur with more laws being passed affecting food on the dinner table. After all, we can’t really decide for ourselves if we want to eat genetically modified food, can we? We are not scientists. It’s best not to label the produce and other GM products because we probably wouldn’t buy it. And it’s perfectly safe, right? Maybe, maybe not, but let’s not pass the one law we need, requiring accurate labeling of GM food so we can research each product and be informed consumers. One site about GM food is below for your perusal.
In a perfect world, people would abandon party platforms and look at each issue separately. We’ve become so conditioned and so busy, we buy whatever the party we belong to is selling. Who will be hurt in the end? We will. Do I expect this to change? No, I don’t. Welcome to the politics of food.
Join us October 8th at 3:30pm at the Appliance Gallery luxury showroom in Largo, FL for samples of menu items from Cafe Ponte paired with wines and other beverages. Appliance Gallery is located at 13055 Starkey Road in Largo. 727.530.5150
This event is free and open to the public.
What is it about a perfectly cooked short rib that is so satisfying? Maybe it’s the texture or the marbled fat that gently melts into the dish as it simmers. Whatever it is makes it a favorite in my house.
This recipe was inspired by the first chilly morning we’ve had this fall. Pumpkin short rib pasta with fresh fettuccine. It’s a keeper and practically cooks itself. Here it is:
2 1/2 lbs short ribs
sea salt/pepper to taste plus 1/2 tsp sea salt
1 large onion
1 cup baby carrots, whole
2 cups pumpkin puree
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp sweet paprika
3 cups chicken stock
8-10 oz fresh fettuccine
parmesan cheese, for grating
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Turn up the heat on an oven-safe dutch oven to high. (You could also brown the spare ribs and put all the ingredients in a crock pot.) Generously salt and pepper ribs and add them to the hot, dry pan. Sear until browned on all sides. Cut the onion into large chunks and add to the pot. Add the carrots, pumpkin puree and chicken stock. Add the allspice, paprika and additional 1/2 tsp of salt. Cover and place in the center of the oven. Turn down to 275 F after 15 minutes. Let simmer for 2 1/2 hours or until fall-off-the-bone tender. Put on water to boil for the pasta. Salt the water generously. Carefully remove the pot from the oven and set the short ribs only on a platter to cool slightly. Shred the meat, discarding the bones, etc. Put the liquid and vegetables (carefully) in a food processor. Buzz until smooth. Add fresh pasta to boiling water. Boil for 2-3 minutes until tender. Add shredded meat, sauce and drained pasta to a large bowl. Toss and serve with grated parmesan.