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Monday, February 20, 2012

In Organic We Trust

In Organic We Trust trailer What do terms like “organic” and “natural” mean? Are they marketing terms or something more? The documentary “ In Organic We Trust ,” begins by taking a deeper dive into what the public thinks organic is all about and also how big corporations are getting in on the act. Through a very Morgan Spurlock style film with animations and interviews, filmmaker Kip Pastor raises as many questions as he answers. While we might want to believe that organic produce is healthier, the film refers to research that shows, that's just not the case. And it turns out pesticides are often organic. Yet the numbers are climbing when it comes to organic consumption in America. At the root of the film is the question--is organic a philosophy? If so, what is it? The interviews with government critics, educators, farmers and food entrepreneurs are illuminating, but I wish the film had gone further into the philosophy that is the underpinning of organic, a philosophy of tak...
Monday, February 13, 2012

Avocado Tofu Salad with Ponzu Recipe

This is a zen salad. For one thing, like meditation, it requires slowing down. Normally salad is something you throw together at the last minute. Not this one. Patience, little grasshopper. You need to marinate the tofu overnight. It's also simple and straightforward. And it requires no oil. I know what you're thinking, what does THAT have to do with being zen? I'll tell you. This is an enlightened salad. The avocado is rich enough that you really don't need any additional oil. I know there are people out there who don't like tofu, but I wonder, have they had any good tofu dishes? I like tofu with something to really give it flavor and tang. Ponzu sauce is perfect. The extra firm texture of this tofu really shouldn't bother even people with "texture issues." But if you or your guests really are adversed to tofu, you could certainly substitute diced chicken breast or chunks of seared tuna. This salad is perfect for when your are trying to eat hea...
Friday, February 10, 2012

Oliveto's Whole Hog Dinner 2012

After experiencing one of the Whole Hog dinners at Oliveto last year, I couldn't wait to do it again. This time I brought along a friend Susie , who had just moved to the neighborhood. While it may seem like everyone is jumping on the bandwagon and doing a whole animal dinner, the one at Oliveto is one of the oldest and surely one of the best. For one thing, it's a la carte, so you can eat and spend as much as you like. This year chef Jonah Rhodehamel focused the selections and there were more rustic options, but it's not all ears and trotters. First up was a very hearty favata bean soup made from dried fava beans. Restaurant owner Bob Klein is the mastermind behind Community Grains and really knows his beans! The soup had tender chunks of braised pork, a chewy crouton and plenty of lift from a minty herbal puree. This is the kind of soup I would make and eat all week long. Next up was a spectacularly good lasagna from Calabria called Sagne chine it had the lightes...
Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Winter 2012 Fancy Food Show Cookies

At the Winter 2012 Fancy Food Show there were quite a number of truly great cookies. Last year I discovered Vin Tucci , biscotti made with wine, for pairing with wine and also Cookies and Corks cookies designed to pair with wine. This year in the new products showplace I tried Napa Cookie Company's Wine Snaps . These thin little cookies have a nice crunch and buttery flavor with a spicy kick of black pepper. Red and white wine versions include wine in the recipe and are designed to pair with wine. Sturdy enough to top with cheese like a cracker, but sweeter. I love these cookies and I love this trend! Another cookie that includes a beverage in the recipe as well as for pairing are Biscottea . Designed to pair with coffee and tea, they include a variety of ground tea and coffee in each shortbread cookie. Flavors include favorites like Earl Grey, Chai, Mint and even Rooibos. I liked the coffee ones too, that come in Espresso, Cappuccino and Mocha. For a more classic pairi...
Friday, February 03, 2012

Love begins in Winter

There's nothing more cozy than cuddling up on the sofa with a book and a box of chocolates on a chilly Winter day. And it seems I'm not alone in my love of pairing chocolates with a good read. For Valentine's Day this year one of my favorite chocolatiers Richart has combined a big box of chocolates with a book of short stories, from an award-winning writer Simon Von Booy. Even better, there are twelve specific chocolates that pair with passages from the book! The gift is called Love begins in Winter ($75), after the name of the book. I haven't experienced any of the lovely pairings yet, but I spoke with Benjamin Auzimour in charge of Richart in North America, and he shared one of his favorites: "Here's an extract that I like, about happiness, to be read while tasting a Petit Richart filled with salted butter caramel coulis, which will enhance the warmth of the feelings created by the scene. We can sense Simon's precise, concise, although almost impre...