The Last Blackberry


By Kerri Conan 

The garden has been behaving so strangely this year that we actually ate the last blackberry before the first tomato. Let me tell you: plucking that final berry was a big bummer. 

I usually roll with the ebb and flow of the seasons and never get too attached to any one crop. But without tomatoes to pick up the slack a juiciness vacuum suddenly loomed large. I looked down at the handful of motley berries in my colander and made one last pass through the patch, lifting branches, looking for one more that might have eluded my glance. Funny how wacky weather makes you pay more attention to every bite. 

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Posted in Farming, Produce

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


Pop-Tart sushi (crushed Pop-Tarts wrapped in fruit roll) from the just-opened Pop-Tarts World in Times Square (the place was packed). In a moment of sugar-induced delerium I may have uttered the words, “well balanced” (because of the slight tartness of the pulverized strawberry(?) Pop-Tarts). Then my senses returned and told me “this #$!% has got to stop.”

Posted in Behind The Scenes

The New Vegetarian Sandwich?


Staff lunch from No. 7 Sub in Manhattan: General Tso’s Tofu with seaweed and pickles, Eggplant Parm with fontina, yellow squash, pickled jalapenos and BBQ potato chips (on the sub), Zucchini Cubano with smoked gouda, peaches and pickled daikon, and an fBLT (the “f” stands for fake, presumably), with soy bacon, lettuce, green and red tomatoes. We love the innovative vegetarian sandwiches (they make meaty subs as well). Some are better than others: the seaweed on the fried General Tso’s Tofu is a knockout, the BBQ potato chips on the Eggplant Parm are a nice, crunchy touch, the soy bacon… not that good. Either way, we’re happy to get a break from mozzarella with roasted red peppers.

Posted in Chinese

Pasta with Grilled Corn and Roasted Garlic


by David Latt 

Recently my wife and I spent a week in Sonoma County exploring restaurants, inns, and wineries, and came across a dish of grilled corn with a roasted garlic and butter puree at Jackson’s Bar and Oven in Santa Rosa.  It occurred to me that the combination would be great with pasta; here’s my adaptation:  

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Posted in Italian, Recipes

Senate Passes Child Nutrition Bill: Now What?


by Jill Richardson

Last week, the Senate unanimously passed the Child Nutrition Reauthorization, a bill that would do just about everything to improve the school lunch program – except fund it. This is no small exception, considering that a tiny percentage of schools are currently able to follow the USDA’s nutrition regulations. How will they be able to comply with improved regulations with only six additional cents per lunch? And, although it passed in the Senate, the bill may still die on the House floor because some in Congress think even six cents is too much.

The school lunch debate has devolved entirely into a fight over the budget, and a rather disingenuous one at that. If members of Congress truly need to cut the budget somewhere in order to adequately fund healthy school lunches, they need not look further than the Pentagon. Representatives and Senators so love to fund weapons programs that provide jobs in their districts that they continue purchasing fighter jets even after the Pentagon begs them not to. (For example, the C-17, the F-35 engine, and the F-22.)

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Posted in Food Politics

Dueling Pigs


by Edward Schneider

Jackie and I started buying pork from Flying Pigs Farm at the Union Square farmers’ market years ago, but we keep ordering pig meat in restaurants that claim that theirs is somehow special. And we keep being disappointed: other pork rarely has as much flavor as Jen and Mike’s – Jen Small and Mike Yezzi being the farmers. Rarely, but not never: We were impressed a while ago with a Mangalitsa loin (see Mark’s account of a similar roast) and thought it might be fun to cook one of those simultaneously with Jen and Mike’s and see which was more popular among our guests. 

Well, the distributor was fresh out of Mangalitsa, but had just received something that sounded interesting: small (one-and-a-third-pound) roasts cut from the shoulder of Ibérico pigs, the black ones that are known mainly for the exquisite hams their legs get turned into. I ordered two, one of them destined for the freezer.  

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Posted in American

Vitamin Water Lawsuit

Here are two reports, one from John Robbins and the other from Michele Simon, on CSPI’s (Center for Science in the Public Interest) lawsuit against Coke, specifically their Vitamin Water. According to John Robbins, Coke is defending itself by claiming that “no consumer could reasonably be misled into thinking Vitaminwater was a healthy beverage.” Gotta love that. -mb

Posted in Food Politics

Cuke = Hot Dog Bun? Why Not?


by Cathy Erway 

Perhaps it’s a maternal instinct of tucking things in, but I’m a fan of stuffing food inside other food. So when I signed up for the Great Hot Dog Cookoff for the third time this year, all I could think of was: what’s going to be the bun? 

Previous exploits in this cookoff, a benefit for City Harvest, had led me to roll up tofu dogs inside nori with sushi rice, bake a hot dog inside a flaky pastry with brie and raspberry jam, and steam Asian buns to put hoisin-slathered hot dogs inside. What was going to be the vessel for the almighty (and, in my opinion, otherwise boring) American barbecue food this year?  

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Posted in Produce

Senate Passes Child Nutrition Bill, Cuts Funding For Food Stamps


by Paula Crossfield

In a surprise move last week before heading out for five weeks of recess, the Senate passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act with unanimous consent, which means all 100 senators agreed to pass the bill without an individual vote. The bill allots an additional $4.5 billion dollars over ten years to fund federal child nutrition programs including school lunch.

First Lady Michelle Obama supported the bill as part of her Let’s Move campaign to fight childhood obesity, writing in an op-ed in The Washington Post last week,”This groundbreaking legislation will bring fundamental change to schools and improve the food options available to our children.”

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Posted in Food Politics