Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Dana's Fish Chowder

I have SO MUCH to blog about this week but have been busy/lathargic/weird/overwhelmed with school stuff, blah blah anyway. I'll share my thoughts before too long, but with the cold weather holding on, I offer my sister's fish chowder recipe as a placeholder (it's delish!):

1.5 cups smoked salmon
1 cup smoked white fish (optional)
1 can chopped clams
1 can crab meat
half lb. cooked devained, de-tailed shrimp

3 leeks, bottom half chopped up
3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
4-5 red skin potatoes, cubed
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 cups frozen sweet corn
handful of freshly chopped chives for garnish

3 cups seafood stock
2 cups clam juice
4 table spoons tomato paste
half cup of dry vermouth
2 cups milk (not skim)
Half cup cream
4 table sp. pepper
2 table sp. salt (to taste)
2 table sp. olive oil

In a large, heavy bottom stock pot, heat oil and sautee leeks and garlic for three mins.

Add celery and potatoes simmering on low to med. heat for 5 mins.

Add stock,clam juice, tomato paste and vermouth raising heat to med-high. Stirring constantly. Simmer for 15 minutes. If you have a bay leaf throw one or two in at this point. As your soup begins to become aromatic, add some salt and pepper. If you like Old Bay seasoning, you might toss in a few shakes at this point.

Reduce heat to a simmer (making sure at this point NOT to allow the soup to boil). NO BOIL! But keep your heat consistent. Look for a simmering bubble around the edge of the pot.
Now it's time to add all fish items and the sweet corn, and milk.

Wait a few minutes. Taste the soup. Does it need salt? Pepper? More stock? Now it's your turn to be the chef, as I will not be there looking over your shoulder!

Finish the soup with 1/2 cup of cream. Stir in making sure you never boil the soup, as the milk will break and separate.

Ladle into bowls and garnish with fresh chives and black pepper. Serve with a simple green or Ceasar salad and warm popovers, crusty baguette, or cornbread!
Wine pairing: Dry French Chardonnay from the Macon, Alsatian Pinot Gris, a dry Vouvray, or cold beer in a frosty mug.

Monday, March 23, 2009


I'll blog about this tomorrow.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Greenwashing Alert: Tom's of Maine, Burt's Bees, Naked Juice and More

Greenwashing: a term used to describe the practice of companies disingenuously spinning their products and policies as environmentally friendly, such as by presenting cost cuts as reductions in use of resources. It is a deceptive use of green PR or green marketing. The term green sheen has similarly been used to describe organizations that attempt to show that they are adopting practices beneficial to the environment (wikipedia.org).

Just learned from the Organic Consumers Association that all of these brands are owned by bigger, nastier conglomerates. Please, please read full article here if you buy these products and you think you are doing a good deed by doing so. Not to mention Odwalla Juice, Kashi cereal, and The Body Shop.

Greenwashing is more prevalent than ever as a marketing tool. See my previous article (from way way back in New York, New Fork history) on the topic.


The Organic Consumers Association, based out of Finland, Minnesota is amazing. I swear they are on top of everything when it comes to food agriculture, sustainability and organics and above and beyond that with social justice/animal rights issues, etc. I get their "Organic Bytes" Newsletter in my email and every time I want to post pretty much all of it in my blog. So, today I will give you a sample (see below). I suggest you subscribe yourself: http://www.organicconsumers.org/

Also, they are on Twitter and Facebook. Here's one of my favorite snippets from this week's newsletter:

Join OCA's Delegation to Cuba and Help Lift the Travel Ban:
Since 1990, Cuba has carried out the world's most comprehensive and successful organic food and farming revolution, including the ongoing cultivation of over 60,000 organic urban gardens that supply 50-80% of its urban food needs (learn more). The Organic Consumers Association and our friends at Global Exchange and Food First are organizing a study delegation May 21 -29 to Cuba to see and experience firsthand how our Caribbean neighbors have survived economic depression and a life-threatening cut-off of oil and food imports by moving from chemical-intensive agriculture to nearly 100% organic and local production. And of course in the process of carrying out this organic revolution, Cubans have qualitatively improved the island's public health, biodiversity, and environment, not to mention drastically reducing fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas pollution. OCA invites you to join Ronnie Cummins and other leading organic food and farm activists for this once in a lifetime inspirational trip to Cuba from May 21 -29. OCA believes that the only way we can overcome our own domestic economic, food, health, energy, and climate crisis is through sharing information and "best practices" with organic practitioners and communities across the globe. This is a major reason why we are calling on Barack Obama to immediately normalize relations with Cuba. Please visit OCA's Cuba Delegation web page for more information.

Go further! Its high time to lift travel restrictions to Cuba for ALL Americans, restore our right as citizens of the United States to travel freely, and take a giant step toward restoring our country's reputation in Latin America and the world. Take Action: Support the Freedom of Travel Bills in the House and Senate.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Food Democracy Now just sent me this:


If you care about the environment, human health and sustainable and organic farms:

It’s time to act!

Write to the USDA in these final 24 hours for the comment period to close the loopholes regulating genetically-engineered (GE) crops, also referred to as genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Tell the USDA that the loopholes regarding GE crops must be closed and to suspend approval of additional GE crops until truly independent, peer-reviewed testing can be performed.

While supporters claim this technology is safe, thorough testing was never completed before GE crops/GMOs were introduced into our food chain. Already more than 60 percent of packaged foods sold in U.S. supermarkets contain genetically-engineered food that American consumers unknowingly eat everyday.

Not only is this a great concern for consumer health, but also for family farmers who must pay exorbitant technology fees for the GE seed, and for the environment and sustainable and organic farmers whose crops can become contaminated due to GE drift.

If you care about food safety, it’s time to make your concern about GE food known! The USDA is accepting public comments on a proposed rule about GE until the close of business March 17th.

Tell the USDA that it must ensure the safety of GE technology for eaters, farmers and the environment!

If you want to learn more about concerns regarding genetically engineered food, watch The Future of Food tonight and this week on DIRECTV Channel 375 and DISH Network Channel 9410. Visit LinkTV for schedule. http://www.linktv.org/programs/future

Please send in your comments now!



(FYI, I clicked the submit online link and it didn't work for me, so please go to this link at the USDA website and fill out a form with the information below to let the USDA/Secretary of Agriculture know your concerns.)

How to Submit Comments to the USDA:

Include “Docket Number APHIS-2008-0023” at the top of your correspondence or in the subject line of your email.

Online Instructions:

1. Click here to send your comments to the USDA electronically or go to:


The result with Document ID number "APHIS-2008-0023" is the Interim Final Rule for comments on Importation, Interstate Movement, and Release into the Environment of Certain Genetically Engineered Organisms

2. Click on the “Add Comment” icon and follow the instructions on the next screen.

Tell USDA to: 1. Withdraw the proposed rule; 2. Release the EIS for public review and comment and to be used as a basis for further rule-making; and 3. Suspend all new GE crop approvals until the above has been satisfactorily completed and unless and until GE crops are proven safe.

SAMPLE LETTER (Please cut and paste)

To whom it may concern,
Docket No. APHIS-2008-0023
Regulatory Analysis and Development
PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8
4700 River Road Unit 118
Riverdale, MD 20737-1238.

Re: Docket No. APHIS-2008-0023, Importation, Interstate Movement, and Release into the Environment of Certain Genetically Engineered Organisms.

I am very concerned about the risks posed by genetically engineered crops. They threaten human health, family farmers, and the environment. I urge USDA to withdraw the proposed rule, publish the Environmental Impact Statement for public review and comment, and suspend all new GE crop approvals in the interim.

After USDA releases the EIS, a comment period of at least 90 days is needed so the public has the opportunity to fully participate in a transparent process on this important issue. This will not only aid in the development of the final EIS but also in the drafting of a new proposed rule. The current proposed rule does little to close the loopholes in the regulations the rule is designed to replace and it creates more gaps than it fills.


Friday, March 13, 2009

heels turned black

No Longer No Longer
What You Ask
Strange Steps
Heels Turned Black
The cinders the cinders
They light the path
Of these strange steps
Take us back take us back

Flow sweetly hang heavy
You suddenly complete me
You suddenly complete me
Flow sweetly hang heavy
You suddenly complete me
You suddenly complete me

Oh oh aaayyy
Oh oh ayyee
Oh oh aaayyy
Oh oh ayeee

No wonder no wonder,
Other half, strange steps
Heels turned black.
The cinders they splinter
And light the path
These strange steps
Trace us back trace us back

Flow sweetly hang heavy
You suddenly complete me
You suddenly complete me
Flow sweetly hang heavy
You suddenly complete me
You suddenly complete me


-Yeah Yeah Yeahs, "Hysteric"

Kristof on Pigs

I really enjoy Nicholas Kristof's pieces for the New York Times. Though he usually doesn't dabble in food issues, I found this piece incredibly compelling. Here's a snippet:

The larger question is whether we as a nation have moved to a model of agriculture that produces cheap bacon but risks the health of all of us. And the evidence, while far from conclusive, is growing that the answer is yes...
...The larger question is whether we as a nation have moved to a model of agriculture that produces cheap bacon but risks the health of all of us. And the evidence, while far from conclusive, is growing that the answer is yes.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Happy Birthday Mom!

I hope you enjoy your cake... xo

Lagerfeld Redeemed?

After the Plus Size-Fashion post earlier this week, I stumbled upon this on Jezebel:
Beth Ditto Strips, Stage-Dives...
An article talking about how Beth Ditto, notorious front singer of The Gossip who constantly flaunts her fecundity and non-conformity, was performing at a show for Paris Fashion Week in an outfit designed by none other than Karl Lagerfeld (former heavy person) who made very sweeping remarks seen three or four posts down about the necessity for a svelte 'impeccible' physique that he liked to design for.
Ditto's been popping up on runway front rows all week, I've noticed. But why would she do so if she couldn't even fit into haute couture stylings?
Curious, I read a bit more about Ditto and found this on Wikipedia: "Recently she has refused to play in-store at Topshop stores citing her dissatisfaction with their clothes range not available in her size. She went as far as to offer to design clothes for them saying, 'Give me the job. I want to design. I want you to make clothes for big girls - big boys. I want you to make big sizes.'"

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

love for obama mama

Article in the NYT yesterday about how the First Lady champions The Cause, though when reading this article there is a distinct factor that is overlooked in its comparison of the White House family to the average American family: they have their own private chef. Do the Obamas enjoy cooking themselves? The reason people so often default to fast food chains is because they are not inclined to wield a sautee pan themselves or are 'pressed for time'. It can not be overlooked in the paradigm shift of American thought on food that preparing, touching, making, tasting as you go are all absolutely imperative elements in becoming acquainted with what is entering your body.
I will certainly give this article its due kudos, however, because it shows the realness of 'the problem' for Americans on so many levels, from the president's kids to homeless people--we all need fresh, healthy foods. It was nice to read an article compositing all of Mrs. Obama's efforts and her frankness about the issue.


So my parents had me
To the disgust of the prostitutes
On a bed in a brothel.
Surprisingly raised with tender care
'Til the money got tight
And they bet me away
To a blind brigadier in a game
Of high stakes canasta.
But he made me a sailor
On his brigadier ship fleet.
I know every yardarm
From main mast to jib sheet.
But sometimes I long to be landlocked
And to work in a bakery.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Paris vs. New York Eating

Oh, I loved the bagel image they posted with it:

This article by Alexander Lobrano in the New York Times today was fun.
Sort of made me appreciate my digs a little more, but I could counter every single one of these things with an item of Parisian perfection. Ah, I miss the days when I was a young girl in France...

Monday, March 9, 2009

Plus Size Clothing

Recently, there has been a bit of a raucous about the fact that many clothing designers do not design for the 'average American woman' who these days happens to weigh 162 pounds and is overweight. This is something like 60% or more of the female population, so why aren't fashionistas tapping into this undertapped market? Does high fashion (or even regular fashion) necessitate having a smaller physique? Which leads to the question...can anyone whose body is overweight or obese truly ever look fashionable in the eyes of the fashion community? Does fashion rely so much on the body? I am inclined to 'weigh in' on this issue, but will somewhat refrain. It does raise a number of questions for me, not just about using clothing as a tool to regulate health/nutrition, but also about fashion: Does fashion necessarily hinge and rely on the framework of a svelte physique? Can a plus-sized woman be considered 'fashionable'? How does a canvas of art vary so widely in our definition of beauty, but body image usually stop at the slim and trim?

The LA Times ran a piece recently on this mentality that I admittedly at least used to adhere to at times. Honestly, I'm not sure how I feel about this 'issue' these days. Full article can be found here. And here is some takeaway:

Designers whose bread and butter rests on their ability to create an aura of cool exclusivity (basically, the bulk of designers seen on the runway, save brands with lifestyle extensions, such as Michael Kors and Calvin Klein) worry that sallying into the market will dilute their brand's mystique and, ultimately, their sales.

Prada designer Miuccia Prada may have had these concerns in mind when she stated that she would not sell clothes over a size 10.
And it's on these loftiest of perches that the hypocrisy of the fashion industry seems most glaring. Some of the world's most lauded designers and fashion critics are -- or have at one time been -- too broad in the beam to fit a leg into the designs they create and coo over.

Still, compassion is in short supply. When Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld, who spent most of his adult life battling a serious weight problem, created a capsule collection for H&M in 2004, the newly svelte designer was incensed that the retailer manufactured the collection in larger sizes. "What I designed was fashion for slender and slim people," he said. And in an interview in the March issue of Harper's Bazaar, he sniffed, "The body has to be impeccable . . . if it's not, buy small sizes and less food." Issues, indeed.

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Raw Milk Debate

The debate, from the LA Times.
Today, Will Ron Paul End the Ban on Raw Milk?
Your thoughts?

From the NYTimes, 8 Dishes for Lean Times

There is some good stuff here. I rock black bean burritos quite often.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Other Responses to A. Waters' Take on School Lunch Reform

Mark Bittman, from his Bitten blog (nytimes):
My take: There is a tendency among all of us who work with food regularly to become more than a little precious about it. (Whenever you start discussing which kind of salt you’re using, or which variety of beet you prefer, watch out.) And when we do, we forget that most people in the United States neither know nor care about such things, and that a large percentage of those are not, in general, eating well.

And here is Tom Lee from the Internet Food Association (Um, who is this guy--it's perfectly articulating what I was trying to say...GENIUS, PLEASE READ):
The Pretentious is the Enemy of the Good
February 23, 2009
by Tom Lee
Ezra and I have been going back and forth a bit in the comments to his post about Alice Waters’ school lunch proposal — I think the $5-per-lunch number she’s quoting is ridiculously high. I found my latest addition to the thread beginning to sprawl, so I thought I might as well just turn it into a post and see if pushing it to the top of the page can spur further discussion.
Ezra says:
It is certainly true that kids can be fed very cheaply, and it may be true that there is somewhere between $2.40 and $5.00 where you’re also feeding kids a healthy lunch and supporting the sort of local food economies you want to sustain. But given that a McDonald’s meal costs around $5, I’m skeptical. And it’s not clear to me why subsidizing a $5 for kids who can’t afford it is an excessive amount here.
I think the “you can get fast food meals for $5″ argument is telling. Yes, we can safely assume that fast food ingredients are worse quality than what we’d like to feed schoolchildren. However, that fast food menu price also reflects commercial rent; substantial marketing expenditures; and much more food, and meat, than is necessary for a kid (or anyone, frankly).
Using the numbers Ezra quotes earlier in
his comment, if we assume labor and equipment costs remain fixed but decide to pay three times as much for ingredients — a huge jump! — Waters’ estimate would still be about 50% too high.
I suspect there are reasons for this — reasons which invalidate my assumption of fixed labor costs. From reading the linked article, it’s clear that Waters is envisioning menus that are healthier, that rely more on on-site production and fresh ingredients, and which she and her supporters find more personally compelling. That’s all fine, but I’d say that only the first of those should be an actual policy goal. Adding “and kids will eat it” is probably worth doing, too.
There’s really no good reason to dismiss frozen foods or centralized production. I understand that Waters isn’t a fan of those things; that’s understandable given her credentials and background. But the goal here is to wind up with healthier kids, not to train itty bitty aesthetes. I like eating sophisticated food, too, but it’s a luxury good — and one that would be wasted on most kids, anyway. There’s simply no compelling case for favoring a casserole or soup produced on-site in a school over a frozen one if they’re both using the same recipe and same quality of ingredients. Yes, factory-produced food is frequently unhealthy. But the the idea that there’s some inherent health disadvantage to food produced through economies of scale is just a lazy heuristic.
If our goal is really to feed these kids properly then we ought to be looking seriously at how to make that happen rather than musing about the Platonic ideal of the school lunch. That means being realistic about how to achieve our goals as simply and cheaply as possible. And here it really does seem simple: brutally reduce kids’ unhealthy lunchroom options, come up with approved national menus and fund the existing school lunch infrastructure a little bit better.
I believe this is a genuinely important thing for us to do, and such a relatively easy thing that there’s no justifiable reason for failing to do so. So I got a little irked when I saw Waters throwing around terms like “organic” and “locally produced” in her proposal. I enjoy foodie pretension as much as the next guy (ask me about my strongly-held opinions regarding shallots as a sandwich onion replacement!), but dicking around with that nonsense while middle schoolers are contracting diabetes is frankly inexcusable. This crusade deserves to happen, but Waters is the wrong person to lead it.