Monday, August 31, 2009

Let's Talk Salsa.


It's August, and you're eating, breathing and living tomatoes. Your lips are raw from that tangy tomato acid and you can't stand another caprese salad, but you still eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner because you vaguely remember that time late last winter when you were dreaming in red and snarling at the mere glimpse of kale and chard. Still, tomatoes are getting old, and there are more right now than ever. What's a locavore to do? Well, I'm going to recommend two lovely dances to perform with your tomato excess, ones that will leave you satisfied and stocked up for the winter season: the salsa and the can-can.

Well, I hope you like long hours in the kitchen better than bad puns. Canned salsa is an ideal way to use up an excess tomato supply, but the process is time consuming. Expect to spend three hours in the kitchen, and longer if you are using an electric stove. Justify the time by remembering you're preserving historic foodways and learning a new, interesting skill. Canning connects you with the past and stores summer in a jar to savor during those cold, depressing months when all you're eating is butternut squash and toast.

Start by visiting the National Center for Home Food Preservation's website on canning salsa. Note that the proportions of tomatoes, sweet peppers and other vegetables to total acid is very specifically formulated. Deviating from the recipe means risking a poisonous salsa (fear the botulism!), and aspiring canners are advised to stick carefully to the recipe at hand. I admit that before this summer, I always thought canning salsa was as simple as throwing together a quick pico de gallo (a fresh, chunky, uncooked salsa) and boiling it in a hot water bath. I was wrong! Canned salsa is cooked prior to canning. Here is the recipe I used (Chile Salsa II, taken directly from the website above):
  • 10 cups peeled, cored, chopped tomatoes
  • 6 cups seeded, chopped chili peppers -- a mixture of hot and sweet.
  • 4 cups chopped onions
  • 1 cup vinegar (5 percent)
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
Necessary canning supplies include:
  • Large canning pot, preferrably with rack insert for jars
  • Pint or quart jars with new lids and rings
  • Jar funnel
  • Tongs for picking up jars
Before touching a single tomato, start by preparing all canning supplies. Put glass canning jars in the dishwasher and start the cycle, so that they will be freshly sterilized when the salsa is done. Fill the canning vat and heat it up. Boiling a big pot of water takes longer than you think.

Now it's time to attack those tomatoes. Boil water in another big pot, and submerge as many tomatoes as you can for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Transfer tomatoes into a bowl of cold water with a slotted spoon and pull off skins. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. This takes a long time. Listen to some music.


Coarsely chop tomatoes and throw them into yet another large pot. Now, de-seed the peppers and coarsely chop them using a food processor. Take care with all hot peppers -- I recommend wearing rubber gloves. I had some trouble in estimating how many hot peppers to include in the salsa, and the result ended up being quite mild since I was afraid to overdo it. I included 1 hot pepper per quart of salsa in the recipe. There could certainly have been more. Use the food processor to chop the onions as well. As an aside, if you don't own a food processor, my lovely fiancee showed me how to chop dry ingredients using just a blender: fill it 2/3 full with peppers or onions, then submerge ingredients in water. Pulse blender on a low setting, periodically checking the chopped size of the contents, then pour out into a strainer. This worked really well for me, though the size was not uniform.


Add spices and vinegar, then bring the whole salsa to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Now, finally, it's time to can. Had enough?

Since that vat of water should be boiling by now, all that remains is to jar the salsa. First, put the new jar lids in a saucepan and cover them with water. Boil this on the stove while dealing with the salsa. Sterilizing every tool is important. Now, use the jar funnel to easily spoon the salsa out of the pot and into the jars. Poke a spoon down into the salsa to remove any air bubbles, and do leave about a half and inch of headroom between the top of the salsa and the top of the jar. If you fill the jars too full, a seal may not be created during the water bath process. Take lids out of boiling water and place them on jars. Secure with rings (you do not need to boil these). Now place jars in canning vat and boil them for 15 minutes.


Keep some of the salsa in the refrigerator to try on-the-spot. Was it worth the time? Yes...canning salsa may be time-consuming, exhausting, and challenging. But then, some of the best things are.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

NPR Talks "Big Dairy"

Recently NPR reporter John Burnett tackled the giant issue of "Big Dairy" and the consolidation of Dairy processing and distribution. It was a "driveway moment" for me. I was a little surprised when I realized how this story had moved others who don't usually follow food related issues.
Click here to read or listen to NPR's August 20 story entitled Independent Farmers Feel Squeezed By Milk Cartel.
Click here to read highlights from NPR's interview with Rick Smith the Head of Dairy Farmers of America.
Click here to read or listen to a July 24 story on the effect of the recession on dairy farmers.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Pat's Eggplant Lasagne


Eggplant-it's one of those vegetables that looks so beautiful with its glossy coat and stout form, but is so intimidating to so many market shoppers. What to do with it once you get it home? One of my favorite recipes comes from my mother- in- law who substituted 1/2 inch think length wise slices of eggplant for lasagna noodles. Perhaps she originally tried this noodle free dish to benefit a member of our family with a gluten allergy, but the end result is delicious enough to convince even the most eggplant shy that this late summer gem is one valuable vegetable.

(Note: I goofed here and cut the slices width wise..still works fine)

Like just about any eggplant dish your very first step is to prepare the eggplant. Cut off the top. Peel the skin. Cut the eggplant long ways in to about 1/2 inch slices, cutting across the full width of the eggplant. Lay the eggplant out on a large platter or a couple of plates in a single layer. Liberally salt the eggplant slices and allow them to sit in their salted state for about 1 hour. This water removing process is key! After that, quickly rinse each slice and lay them out on a flour sack towel to pat dry.

Pre-heat oven to 350

For 4-6 servings will need:

1 large eggplant (I have never used the long slender oriental eggplants for this dish, but imagine they would work perfectly. I am guessing you would need 2 large of this long straight form.)

about 9 ounces ricotta cheese

1 standard size ball of fresh mozzarella sliced into 1/4 inch slices

1/2-1/4 cup fresh, finely chopped parsley
Salt and pepper (remember your eggplant will likely still be rather salty from the above process so you may want to leave out the salt until you've tasted the fully completed dish)

For the Sauce:

1Small can of tomato sauce or make your own sauce with...
1 Quart canned tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
2-3 cloves garlic (minced)
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tbsp. olive oil
Fish the tomatoes out of the quart jar (setting aside the liquid) and put them in a food processor until you have a puree'. In a medium sauce pan on medium-low heat heat the olive oil. Add the minced garlic and the crushed red pepper flakes. The second the garlic starts to sizzle (in under 30 seconds) add your pureed tomatoes, most to all of your tomato paste, and a little salt. Turn the temperature down and let the sauce simmer on low heat for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. I leave the pot lid on the pot but slightly ajar while the sauce cooks to avoid sauce splatter all over the stove top. The left over juice from your quart of tomatoes is just in case you let it go a bit to long and it becomes too thick. If you only make the 4-6 servings of lasagna you will have extra sauce left over.
Once you have your eggplant salted and your sauce on the stove, you can start mixing your Ricotta cheese mixture. As usually I am not a big fan of measuring while I cook, but I am guessing that you will need about 9 ounces of ricotta (half of a 18oz container). In a medium mixing bowl combine the ricotta cheese, 1 egg, all the parsley, and fresh ground pepper.

I use a 2-1/2 quart Pyrex baking dish with a lid. Start off by covering the bottom of the baking dish with a thin layer of tomato sauce. Then lay down a single layer of eggplant slices, covering the bottom of the dish. Next use a spoon too spread a layer of your ricotta mixture over the eggplant slices. Spoon another thin layer of sauce over the ricotta. At some point in the middle I add just a few slices of mozzarella. Keep layering until your last layer of eggplant. Here you skip the ricotta and do just a light layer of sauce topped off with a full layer of mozzarella slices.
Bake at 350 for 1 hour. Leave dish covered until the last 2o minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for about 2o minutes before serving.
As a bonus, I have found that this dish freezes really well so I always make a lot a once (perhaps double this recipe). Once the lasagna has cooled completely, overnight in the fridge works best but isn't necessary, I cut it up into single serving sizes, wrap each serving in a layering of wax paper and aluminum foil and put several of these in a large freezer bag. For months after I can easily remove and thaw a serving whenever I need a night off from cooking.

Great Deals At The Lakeside Farmers Market

Last year a lot of us were worried about the success of Northside's Lakeside Market. As the 2009 season has rolled by, however, the Lakeside Market has only gained momentum, picking up more vendors and more customers along the way. I shop Lakeside's Wednesday afternoon market and have been really pleased with the selection of fruits, vegetables, and specialty treats like blended teas that use locally grown herbs. This summer there have also been meats, cheese, bread and eggs, but on a less routine basis.

Here is some of the wonderful produce and great deals I found at this market....

For $1, Twelve, count 'em Twelve small to medium, red, orange, and yellow bell peppers! This was not a pre-packed assortment, but a box of peppers that you could pick through and select which ones you wanted. I was the last person to get to these peppers and still walked away with a nice selection.

For $2, a pint of Sun Gold Cherry tomatoes.

For $1, a quart of super sweet Muscadine grapes.

For $2, a box of Sun Gold Tomatoes (seen in the large white soup bowl) from Blue Bird Produce.

For $2.50, a bag of new potatoes.

For $2.40, two large peaches from Agriberry. Also from Agriberry the pint of Blackberry which are delicious, but not necessarily a deal at $5.00.

For $4.00, three very large Brandywine tomatoes.

The spaghetti squash, yellow squash, and zucchini all came from Byrd Farm, and there was so much more I could have bought of course. If you haven't been to Lakeside Market recently and you live in the Northside area give it a try. I am positive you will walk away happy.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Five Late Season Tomato Recipes

Or, get 'em while you can!

Tomato and Watermelon Salad with Feta and Basil


This salad is particularly beautiful if the watermelon and tomatoes are different colors. There is a small, golden watermelon that is perfect for this salad.
This serves one- multiplies easily.

bed of arugula
1/4 small watermelon, cut into bite sized wedges
1 tomato, cut in bite sized wedges
1/4 small red onion, very thinly sliced
a couple of leaves of basil. torn or julienned
2 oz feta
sea salt
drizzle of olive oil

Layer ingredients, and serve.

Ten Minute Gazpacho

I make this lovely soup before I go to work in the morning- with a food processor, it is so simple!

coarsely chop:
2 large tomatoes, cored
1 small red onion
1 clove garlic
1-2 cucumbers, peeled
2 sweet peppers (Jimmy Nardellos are my favorite)
1 jalapeno pepper
about 5 leaves of basil
2 TBS. red wine or white balsamic vinegar
2TBS. olive oil
salt and pepper
1-2 cups tomato or veggie juice, to your taste

Add veggies to your food processor one at a time, pulsing a few times between additions. I like doing them in the order I have listed here because I want my tomatoes, onion and garlic finely chopped, and my cukes and peppers coarsely chopped. I like mine thicker as well, so I use less tomato juice.

Fried Green Tomatoes

This is the batter we use for our Stuffed Squash Blossoms, and have found it is delicious on fish as well.

Mix in small bowl:
1 Cup of flour
1/2 Cup cornstarch
1 Cup beer
1 egg
salt and pepper to taste

3-4 green tomatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick

Heat Canola oil for deep frying

Dredge each slice in batter, then place in oil, turning once. These fry quickly.

Eat warm with pesto mayonnaise.

Stuffed Tomatoes
We found these great "stuffing tomatoes" at The St. Stephen's Market and knew that we had to put them to good use. Stuffing tomatoes are hollow on the inside like a pepper, and have a firmer outer layer. These were even shaped a bit like a bell pepper, but don't be fooled they are indeed tomatoes. I found a delicious and quick recipe from Alice Waters that is perfectly suited for the busy, seasonal cook. If you can't find stuffing tomatoes Alice actually recommends the Early Girl variety as an ideal "sweet late-season tomato" for stuffing.


You can peel these tomatoes first by dipping each one in a pot of boiling water for just about five seconds, but we skipped this step and found that in the case of stuffing tomatoes it was unnecessary.


Pre-heat oven to 375


1. Rinse about 5 to 6 small to medium sized tomatoes and cut across the top just as you would a bell pepper. Clean the inside of any seeds. Salt and pepper the cavity.


2. Make a filling of fresh bread crumbs using a heavier bread , fresh chopped garlic, and plenty of fresh basil. Slice off a few slices of the focaccia and tear them into large chunks. I used a food processor, tossed in the bread pieces, a few cloves of pealed and coarsely chopped garlic and a heavy fist full of washed basil leaves. Run the processor until the mixture is uniform in size with all ingredients mixed through out. I used the rosemary and onion focaccia from the vendor Bread for The People, and found this to work perfectly for the stuffing tomatoes. Since the stuffing tomatoes have less moisture than a regular tomato the focaccia was helpful and the seasonings within the focaccia worked great.

3. Fill each with the stuffing mixture, packing it down as you go and mounding it up a bit on top.


4. Pack the tomatoes together tightly in a shallow corning wear type baking dish. Drizzle each one lightly with olive oil. I also topped each one off with a little freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Bake for about 30 minutes.


Oven Roasted Tomatoes


We love this recipe for it's simplicity and versatility. Roasted tomatoes taste wonderfully rich and can be used as a simple appetizer atop a slice of focaccia or as bruschetta. They also can be added to canned tomatoes for a delicious sauce, or placed upon a homemade pizza with caramelized onions and olives. Roma and other smaller tomatoes work best for this recipe. This is adapted from a combination of a few recipes. This temperature works well and since it is the same as for the stuffed tomatoes, both dishes can be prepared at the same time and served as appetizers. Pre-heat oven to 375 (Cook time: About 1 hour)


Pealing the tomatoes by dipping them in boiling water for just a few seconds makes for a much nicer eating experience in this case, but it is optional. Slice tomatoes length wise, remove seeds.


There are several ways to roast tomatoes and get great flavor, my favorite however is to use a heavier, shallow corning wear type dish and cover the bottom of the dish with a thin layer of olive oil. Add herbs to the oil (we used whole basil sprigs) and garlic slices. Place a single layer of tomato slices on top. Season with salt and pepper and lightly drizzle with olive oil. Cook covered for the first 20 minutes or so and then uncovered for another 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Goochland Market Winter Co-Op

This just in from Lisa Dearden and the Goochland Farmer's Market....
"FRESH FOOD ALL YEAR ROUND
We are working on developing a Co-op program designed to connectfamily owned and operated farms serving the Goochland, Virginia area with customers in search of local food year during the winter season when the Goochland Farmers Market is not open. Our Co-op wouldrepresent more than a dozen local farms and businesses serving Goochland County.
The program works on a weekly cycle with orders opening Wednesday evening. Pick up at a location within Goochland Courthouse would be on Tuesday afternoon.
Our Winter Season would run from November 4th through April 27th.Registration would be in the range of $50.00-$75.00, for the six month season; these fees cover logistics, basic administration and marketing expenses as well as the maintenance of our website.
If you think you may be interested in joining the winter Co-op,please take a moment to fill-out this short survey form and we will contact you directly:http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=gIJQW5RnyKU_2fFXRlKhLpwg_3d_3d"
Also, if you like Pie and Cake... and really, who doesn't, then head out to the Goochland Farmer's market this Saturday, August 22, for their annual pie and cake auction to raise money for the market and the Center for Rural Culture. Auction starts at 10:00 a.m.

Goochland Farmers Market Featured on Virginia Home Grown

The Goochland Farmers Market will be featured a week from today on Virgina Home Grown. You can catch up with whats new at The Goochland Farmer's Market at 8:00 p.m. on the August 25 episode of Richard Nunally's Popular PBS program. Lisa Dearden, the Executive Director of the Center for Rural Culture says that this show will conclude with a call in portion to answer your questions. Virginia Home Grown is a monthly program now in it's ninth season and is a great resource for all things agricultural and horticultural around Virginia.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

New Study Says No Nutritonal Benefit to Eating Organic

(This post was originally written on August 4th)
I've been hearing a lot of headlines over the last few days about a newly released study comparing the nutritional quality of organically grown foods to that of conventionally grown foods. Until today all I had heard was the big headline "New study shows organic produce to be no better for you than conventionally grown produce." A headline very similar to this was running on NPR.
I knew I had to learn more about this study. I immediately bristled at this headline and am concerned about the impact such headlines could have. Just a few minutes into my own 'research' and I was feeling a bit better about the reality behind those headlines. The UK study conducted by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and published July 29 in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, is based on a close examination of 162 previously published articles from a 50 year period, starting in 1958 and leading up to February 29th, 2008. 50,000 papers were looked at and of these the researchers deemed 162 to be relevant and in the end only 55 of those were deemed rigorous enough to be included. From all that I have now read the conclusions drawn by these researchers may not match the full scope of their findings. More than that, the media has been trumpeting headlines that dismiss all conflicting evidence even perhaps from within this very study. And yes, I know this is what media headlines do.
All the same, here are a few ways the type of head line I mentioned above is problematic...

1. The study did not look at chemical residues or other contaminants
2.The study only looked at Nutrient differences for the 13 most commonly reported nutrient categories.
3. There actually seems to have been some significant differences in 2 of the 13 nutrients in addition to what this research team deemed "nutritionally insignificant" differences in the other 10 nutrients. At issue here for me is the history of science claiming to know the full scope of nutrients and nutrient levels needed to meet all of our bodies needs. What seems to follow is the discovery of previously unknown, but necessary elements of our natural diet, or the realization that previously known but disregarded minerals, acids and nutrients are far more important than once thought.
A response written by The Organic Center states in part that "The London team reported finding statistically significant differences between organically and conventionally grown crops in three of thirteen categories of nutrients. Significant differences cited by the team included nitrogen, which was higher in conventional crops, and phosphorus and tritratable acids, both of which were higher in the organic crops. Elevated levels of nitrogen in food are regarded by most scientists as a public health hazard because of the potential for cancer-causing nitrosamine compounds to form in the human GI tract. Hence, this finding of higher nitrogen in conventional food favors organic crops, as do the other two differences.
Despite the fact that these three categories of nutrients favored organic foods, and none favored conventionally grown foods, the London-based team concluded that there are no nutritional differences between organically and conventionally grown crops."
In response to the amount of criticism leveled against this study, Tim Smith, the Chief Executive of the Food Standards Agency ( the agency ultimately responsible for the UK Study) has written an open letter to interested parties about the independent organic review. In part, his letter states that "The Food Standards Agency would like to set the record straight, following publication of the study last week that compared the nutrient content of organic food with conventionally produced food. This review was commissioned by us to ensure that our position on organic food is up to date and reflects the weight and balance of current scientific evidence. This research had also been called for by the organic sector to review emerging research in this area.
Pesticides were specifically excluded from the scope of this work. This is because our position on the safety of pesticides is already clear: pesticides are rigorously assessed and their residues are closely monitored. Because of this the use of pesticides in either organic or conventional food production does not pose an unacceptable risk to human health and helps to ensure a plentiful supply of food all year round."

To Read the full response to the UK study from The Organic Center click Here.
To Read an informative article concerning this study by Paula Crossfield in the Huffington post , click here. ( This one is good and full of links to information on other recent studies)
To Read the Science Daily Article Click Here. ( A general sort of media response)

To Read a response by Marion Nestle click Here.
Finally, To read the post that I think really hit the nail on the head read This.

Williamsburg Farmers Market Wins National Best!

For those of you who pay attention to these things I am sure you've heard the news. The National Farmland Trust contest for best Large, Medium, and small farmers markets in the country has been completed. In the end thousands of votes were cast for markets all over the nation and when they were counted the Williamsburg Farmers Market received the highest number of votes for best mid-sized farmers market. Congratulations to everyone at the Williamsburg Market.

To see the winners for best large and small size market and to see the list of the twenty markets across the country to receive the most votes check out the National Farmland Trust website.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Frog Bottom opens Winter CSA membership

Very exciting news from my CSA, Frog Bottom Farm- they are selling shares now for their winter CSA. There will be several places to pick up during the 7 week season including St. Stephen's Church, which will hopefully be hosting other vendors with eggs, meat and perhaps pasta for the Wednesday evening pick up.
According to the Frog Bottom blog,
The Winter CSA is a 7-week mini-season that begins immediately after the regular Summer CSA season ends. It will include vegetables like lettuce, scallions, broccoli, cabbage, mei qing choi (a smaller bok choy), root vegetables, winter squash, and cooking greens (collards, kale, turnip greens, mustard greens).

I have really enjoyed my summer produce bounty with Frog Bottom, and have already joined on for the winter season as well. The offerings from Frog Bottom are always thoughtful, beautiful and delicious. You can learn more about the Frog Bottom winter CSA here. Register soon! Space is limited!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Julie and Julia and me

Directly after seeing the film Julie and Julia, I went home and cooked supper. I was not up for making anything fancy, but I did want to make something that makes me happy, just like the film did. So I made breakfast for dinner- hash browns and eggs. I know- a meal almost embarrassing to admit to cooking after watching such great gastronomic inspiration. Yet the meal to me was comforting, and besides, I am in the middle of a larger project- pickling watermelon rind.

I first tasted pickled watermelon rind at the summer camp where I was a cook for a summer during college. This was the kind of camp where we made everything from scratch, where we scrambled the eggs each morning in bacon grease. It was serious work, and I learned a lot. I loved it there. The women who I worked for were significant influences in my fascination with food, as well as my introduction to the pickled watermelon rind.

That brings me back to the film, which I thought was great fun. It is probably the only film I can say that I liked better than the book. There was so much life in the way Julia Child interacted with food- she loved it so much, she often lost her senses. I can relate to that for sure. I also appreciated the emotional twists and turns of working on a project like both Julie and Julia encountered. Often there are times when I cannot remember why I am working on the projects I take on- sometimes everything feels so futile, other times, the work takes strides I could not even imagine.

What I do know, is that I wish I could take the best characteristics from each woman as my own- the 'courage of her convictions', as it were. I was inspired by the willingness of each woman to forge ahead with no real idea of where her path was going. I definitely wish I had either one of their precision. I am semi- famous for not reading directions, which, when making pickled watermelon rind is very important. Turns out, you need to have three days for three separate soaking periods, plus boiling in between. I am pretty sure both Julie and Julia would have read ahead in order to prepare... I am also sure they would have know what one DOES with pickled watermelon rind once on has made it, but ah, well- onward, upward and 'Bon app├ętit!'

Dan Barber's Latest.. "You Say Tomato, I Say Agricultural Disaster"

Here is an op/ed piece by Dan Barber that probably should be read by every person who buys, sells, or plants vegetables.

"As we begin to grow more of our own food, we need to reacquaint ourselves with plant pathology and understand that what we grow, and how we grow it, affects everyone else."

Click Here to read the full article.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Veggie License Plates

My friend Krissi who works with Vegan Action asked me to pass this opportunity along.

Vegan Action, the Vegetarian Festival and the Vegetarian Society, are co-sponsoring a new license plate for Virginians!


This beautiful plate was designed by RVA's own Noah Scalin. In order to make it available to everyone, there must be 350 prepaid applications for the new design by the end of November 2009. The group will submit these along with the plate design to the General Assembly and then to the DMV for approval.

Please take a few minutes and just $10 to support the Vegetarian License plate proposal.

Visit http://www.veggieplates.org to make it happen.

Monday, August 3, 2009

My New Book List

I love shopping for new books! Love, Love, Love it! Of course there are always two impediments to actual book buying the first being time the second being money, but isn't that the case for just about everything in this world. Yesterday I was able to spend a little time in the Barnes and Noble and walked away with Little Heathens :Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression by Mildred Armstrong Kalish. I've been talking a lot lately with a good man I know who happened to grow up on an Iowa farm during the great depression, still owns the farm and, at eighty years old, travels back to Iowa several times a year to help with the farm work. After talking with him I couldn't pass up this absorbing and inspiring looking memoir. With great reviews by Elizabeth Gilbert and others.

I also walked away with The Gardeners A-Z Guide to Growing Organic Food by Tanya L.K. Denkla (1994, updated and republished in 2004). Since 1997 she has worked as Senior Associate at the UVA Institute for Environmental Negotiation. Within the last couple of years she has also helped found and conduct the Virginia Natural Resources Leadership Institute. This is on top of finishing her pre-med requirements and writing one of the most successful organic gardening guides around. As always, however, there were way more books than could fit in my basket. Here is a quick run down of five more I'm adding to my reading wish list (with their links to amazon.com all with free supper savor shipping! Whoopee!

1. Farm City by Novella Carpenter. This book is being reviewed by everyone, positively. Chronicling Carpenter's experience farming inside a troubled Oakland California neighborhood, Farm City gets into the head on gritty of urban Oakland farming... reputedly with wit, intelligence, and compassion.
2. Life is Meals: A Food Lover's Book of Days by James and Kay Salter. This book contains all kinds of practical, historical, and fantasmical information about food, and it's preparation, preservation, presentation, and of course, it's consumption. Mostly this book is beautiful! I was so tempted by it's pretty pages.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Out of the Kitchen, Onto the Couch

Great article in the New York Times today by Michael Pollan!


"...here's what I don't get: How is it that we are so eager to watch other people browning beefcubes on screen but so much less eager to brown them ourselves? For the rise of Julia Child as a figure of cultural consequence -- along with Alice waters and Mario Batali and Martha Stewart and Emeril Lagasse and whoever is crowned the next Food Network star -- has, paradoxically, coincided with the rise of fast food, home-meal replacements and the decline and fall of everyday home cooking."

Read the entire article here.