This Week’s Minimalist: 101 Things to Grill

Need grilling ideas? See today’s Mini, just in time for the Fourth; there are 101. Let us know how they go, and happy grilling.

Posted in American

A Black Market No More

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by Paula Crossfield (Civil Eats

When the New York Times reported on the growing phenomenon of underground food markets in New York City back in June, the Greenpoint Food Market was forced to shut its doors.  

The New York Times article “put us on radar with the officials,” wrote Joann Kim, the market’s organizer and founder, in an email to market devotees. “Since then we have gone back and forth with the city trying to find a solution to how the market can keep its mission while adhering to rules and regulations.” Continue reading

Posted in Farming, Food Politics

Convenience Food that Makes Sense

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I like Bob’s Red Mill, and I’m glad they’ve made inroads into mainstream supermarkets. I sometimes think they go a bit too far (what won’t they grind?) but so what?

I mean, I found myself with this so-called soup mix – which contains, as you see, beans, lentils, and whole grains. I have most of the things listed here – maybe not kamut, certainly not triticale or whole oat groats, but a fair approximation. (Of course finding them is another story, but we’re not going to discuss the state of my cabinets.) The stuff sat on the counter for a few days, with me scorning it: “What do I need a soup mix for?” Continue reading

Posted in American

Politics of the Plate

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By Barry Estabrook  

One More Reason to Avoid Farmed Salmon

Prince Edward Island bills itself as a bucolic haven of pristine beaches, white clapboard farmhouses, and quaint fishing villages. But the province is also home to one of the scariest places I’ve ever visited. There, in 2002, I toured a small warehouse-like building housing a dozen aquariums containing salmon that were genetically modified to grow twice as fast as normal salmon.

In one tank, a biologist showed me fish that were about the size of hot dogs. In an adjacent tank, salmon easily the size of my forearm paddled in listless circles. The fish in the two tanks were exactly the same age and had been fed identical diets. The giants, however, carried a gene that from a cold-water dwelling ocean pout that continuously enabled them to produce a growth hormone. Normal salmon stop excreting growth hormones when water temperatures cool. Continue reading

Posted in Food Politics

This #$!% Has Got to Stop: Part Six

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It’s easy enough to despise Chocolate Cheerios, but they point the way to an understanding that organic food can hardly be considered blameless when it comes to the relentless drive of Big Food to addict or at least hibituate children to eating what amounts to dessert for breakfast.

A few days after we posted a picture of the looming display of Chocolate Cheerios, I happened to be staying in a house where someone bought a package of Cascadian Farm Organic Chocolate Granola. After one glance at the Granola label, I decided to go on both companies’ websites and do a little nutritional comparison. Continue reading

Posted in Food Politics

Solstice Greetings

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By Clotilde Hryshko   

In the 1991 movie Raise the Red Lantern, the character played by Gong Li was wife #4 to a lord of a powerful family in 1920’s China.  The wives all ate together and they knew each other’s status partially based on the food served.  Gong Li’s character always desired spinach and tofu.  The movie stuck and replayed in my head for many reasons but her continual requests for this dish became my fixation.   

Many years later at the end of a rainy June market we had lots of spinach left.  I wasn’t in the mood to freeze it and took the opportunity to finally come up with my version of “spinach and tofu”.  I crumbled tofu with scallions in a skillet and cooked them until the water had evaporated.  The spinach I steamed in batches and when cool squeezed out any excess water.  I added the chopped spinach to the tofu, salting to taste.  From there I used this as my filling for egg rolls.  It became one of my favorite dinners to make for Father’s Day.  I take no credit for how well the tofu and spinach work together.  Nor is there any claim to authenticity.  I serve the egg rolls with a sesame-chili paste, sometimes adding peanuts.  Continue reading

Posted in Farming, Produce

Sunday Supper: Radish Salsa

Recently on Kitchen Daily I wrote about the cucumber and its many uses; from pickles to salads and salsas–all of which in the heat of the summer are a welcome change from turning the oven on. If you’re looking for something a bit unusual this weekend, this radish salsa is one of my favorites–and yes, it includes cucumber.  

Radish Salsa

Makes: About 2 cups

Time: 30 minutes

Radishes are a classic salsa ingredient in Mexico, and the technique—mixing a vegetable (or fruit) with onion, an acid, chiles, and fresh herbs—is downright common. 

2 cups chopped radishes, like daikon, red, or a combination (about 1 pound)

1/2 English cucumber, peeled and diced

1/2 small red onion, chopped

1 scallion, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon minced fresh chile (like jalapeño or Thai), or to taste, or hot red pepper flakes or cayenne to taste

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, or more to taste

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Put all the ingredients in a medium bowl and mix thoroughly.

2. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more chile, lemon, or salt as needed. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to a day.

 
Posted in Produce

Wonderberry Jam, Take One

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by Cathy Erway 

[Cathy writes about Wonderberry Jam and much more on her new blog Lunch at Sixpoint. -mb]

One of the cool things about gardening is that you get to grow things that you didn’t even know existed. Browsing the catalog at Baker’s Creek, Seeds of Change or Seed Saver’s Exchange, some of my favorite sites to find crazy heirloom seeds, is like opening the door to a third dimension of food, where cantaloupes come in fifteen distinct shapes and flavors, and eggplant can be ghost-white, green, golden or red. Or rather, welcome to agriculture, pre-monoculture, again. Eight-ball zucchini, anyone? 

I still don’t know of anyone else who’s heard of wonderberries. They seem to have slipped through the cracks of popular food culture, and that was what probably compelled my boyfriend, Shane, to order seeds for the plant. From the start, it was one of the most prolific growers, beating its neighboring brassicas and lettuces in its race to regenerate. Branches and leaves multiplied. Flowers blossomed and withered in early spring. Now, we’re looking at three great bushes that seem to want to crawl out of their keg-containers and blanket the rooftop with berries. Maybe that’s why they were regarded with “wonder.” 

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Posted in American, Produce

Spontaneous Stock with a Strong Scent

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By Kerri Conan

Last weekend I got one of those gee-I-wonder-what-will-happen-if flashes. I was standing at the sink, snipping the tough ends from the bottoms of just-picked garlic scapes, the lily-like flowers that sprout up from hard-neck garlic as the plants start to form bulbs underground; there should be some in farmers markets for at least the next week or two.)

Anyway, the pile of these extremely fragrant green sticks is growing, and they’re weeping a little garlicky nectar from the cut ends—sort of like tears—and now I’m thinking surely there’s a way to save my precious darlings who never hurt anyone from the compost heap. Or at least delay their demise.

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Posted in Produce

From Inventory to Dinner: Scallops and Peas

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by Edward Schneider

In another place, Mark recently wrote about the genesis of a dish. In some of my stories here and elsewhere, I try to describe this too, though not explicitly, and when Jackie and I are together in the kitchen I’ve been doing my best to tell her what goes through my mind as dinner is prepared. Her contribution turns our meals into real collaborations – and it palpably improves them. 

Mark describes opening the refrigerator, pondering its contents and starting to cook. For me, a dish starts to come together – for good or for ill – before that, on my six-minute walk home from the office. I may not know exactly what the fridge and the pantry hold, but I have some idea of the staples and the more recent accessions – and of the scraps and leftovers that should be eaten before they need to be cast aside. 

Continue reading

Posted in American, Seafood