Wednesday, January 5, 2011

(mostly) whole wheat bread

So I finally feel comfortable enough to really start improvising with bread baking. I guess it’s not rocket science or anything, but it has intimidated me, so I have tended to stick pretty closely to recipes. This is the second time I have made this bread and I am continuing to tweak it as I go along. Overall, I do think it’s pretty darn tasty, and I’ve gotten some good feedback about it, too (so it’s not all in my head…).

I’m not sure if I have mentioned it on this blog or not, and I know it might seem fairly obvious, but it bears repeating; read through all recipes (preferably a couple of times) so you know what is suppose to happen before you start.


2 ½ c of warm water

1T of active dry yeast

2 ½ T brown rice syrup (or sweetener of your choice)

3 ½ c whole-wheat flour

2 ½ c unbleached all purpose white flour (more for kneading)

¼ c veg. oil (preferably a mild tasting one or a light olive oil)

1T salt

Yields 2 loaves


Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and mix in the brown rice syrup; let sit for a few minutes.

Mix together the rest of the ingredients and add in the yeast mixture, mixing well; let sit for about 10 minutes.

Prepare a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes; add additional flour as necessary (but try not to add too much).

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a cloth; let rise for about an hour until it has doubled.

Punch down the dough and knead a bit and return it to a ball like shape on your floured surface; let it rise for another half hour.

Punch down the dough again and divide in half; form into loaf and place in well oiled pans and. cover with the cloth for about 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees; bake for 45 minutes.

Let cool on a wire rack before cutting.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

turkey meatballs for B :)

Parsley Turkey Meatballs

Again, its been awhile...this grad school thing is really getting in the way of blogging about food! And I guess, to be honest with myself, I have let crafting take on the role of major source of procrastination lately. I'm still cooking, but for some reason just not getting around to writing about it :(

This little project, though, was inspired by my dear friend B, who has moved far, far away! We were talking about writing recipes and I thought it would be good to start with something simple so she suggested meatballs. That always sounds good to me! Since its the fall, I decided to make them into a soup and use some CSA veggies, namely the spinach, to make a spinach and rice soup (in a veggie broth) with turkey meatballs, to really make it a meal.


1 lb. ground turkey (dark meat)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 Tbs chopped parsley
1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 c bread crumbs
Salt & Pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl. Heat pan (preferably a cast iron 12 inch skillet) over medium high heat. Form meatballs - I made small meatballs, about 3/4 inch in diameter, since I was using these for a soup. Feel free to make them what ever size you want, and adjust cooking time accordingly. Again, since these were destined for a soup, I just browned them and let them finish cooking in the broth. Spinach and Rice soup with Turkey Meatballs
(in a new bowl I just made - oh crafts!)

One thing that I think is helpful in a recipe is to give the ingredients in the order that they will be used (not so important in this example) and also in the form that they will be added if possible. I think that this helps cooks get there mise en place together, even if they don't tend to do this consciously.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A mid-summer's carbonara

So it appears that we have hit that point of the summer where the zucchini is flowing like and open tap. I love summer squash of all kind, but sometimes I find it a little bit of a struggle to keep things interesting. Yesterday I decided to try and play around with incorporating a few zucchini into a carbonara, which for some strange reason I kind of associate with the summer. I think I heard somewhere once that carbonaras developed because Italian miners would be away for days at a time sometimes, so they would take along foods that survived well without refrigeration, namely pasta, eggs (which my farmer friends confirm do not need refrigeration) cured meat (traditionally pig jowl), and Parmesan cheese. I'm not sure how true that all is, but it does add up to a quick and tasty sauce that requires minimal cooking (the hot pasta is added to the beaten eggs and tossed to quickly "cook" the sauce which also contains the grated cheese and usually some freshly ground black pepper).

My twist on this dish added zucchini which I sauteed in duck fat (because I wasn't using pork of any kind I needed some source of yummy fatty flavor!) along with some green garlic. I then added some chick peas and chopped parsley (also from the CSA), with a little pasta water to round out the veggies. The cooked whole wheat pasta was tossed into four beaten eggs along with about half a cup of grated cheese and lots of freshly ground pepper. I then mixed in the veggies and served with a little more cheese and pepper to taste. This is really a pretty light sauce, as opposed to many American versions which add heavy cream (absent from the traditional Italian preparation).

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A food co-op grows in Queens

So hopefully the word is getting out that we are working on starting a food cooperative in the great borough of Queens. The following is a press announcement sent out recently from our group.

Let me know what you think!

Queens Harvest Food Co-op Wants YOU to Eat Well

Queens Harvest Food Co-op, slated to open near the end of 2011, is entering its second year of planning and is recruiting members and volunteers to help make the project, which will bring healthy, affordable food to western Queens, a reality. The next general public meeting will be held on Monday, July 19th from 7:00-8:30 pm, at Queenswest Arts Loft, 21-25 44th Ave, Suite 105, in Long Island City (click here for a map). All are invited to attend.

The Queens Harvest Food Co-op recently adopted a working model that will enable anyone, regardless of membership or volunteer status, to shop there. The main difference between a food co-operative and a regular grocery store is that the members own the store, self-dictating pricing, sourcing and membership. Unlike the some other co-ops in the city, which operate on a “closed model”, in which only working members may shop, the Queens Harvest Food Co-op will be open to the public. Shoppers who choose to volunteer their time to help run the store will get a discount, and busy shoppers who do not have time to volunteer will pay market prices. Reflecting the economic diversity of Western Queens, co-op organizers hope that this model will allow as many people as possible to enjoy the benefits of co-op shopping.

This working model reflects the guiding principles of the co-op, which include social responsibility, sustainability, and community. The Queens Harvest Food Co-op will provide products affordable to all community members, employ socially responsible practices and product sourcing, and aim to accept food assistance programs (such as WIC and SNAP). Greener than your average grocery, the co-op will also employ sustainable practices, such as buying and selling minimally packaged products and selling items in bulk bins, support and purchase from independent, local, sustainable and organic sources wherever practical and possible, and be built and operate as environmentally responsibly as possible. For the community, the co-op plans to offer educational opportunities and resources for healthy living, social responsibility and sustainability, as well as to honor diversity and be a welcoming place for all people.

Queens Harvest Food Co-op ( invites you to our next meeting to learn more about the project. We have a need for enthusiastic volunteers from all walks of life and worlds of experience. Please email for more information or to RSVP for the July 19th General Meeting at 7:00 pm, at Queenswest Arts Loft, 21-25 44th Ave, Suite 105, in Long Island City.
For press inquiries only:
Contact Diane Kolack, 718-753-6938,
Co-Director of the Outreach Committee for Queens Harvest Food Co-op.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Okay, so its been a while...

Well I know its been quite a while, but I think I finally have time to get back to a little leisurely pondering... just in time to start working on my dissertation! I think that I will use this space to keep doing more of the same; recording what I'm cooking, reviewing books and films on food, commenting on various assorted food/environment/society topics that catch my fancy. I may also start chatting about my research a little more...because then it will feel less like procrastination. Let's see what happens!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Conscious crap - my response to a post on John Mackey in the Yale Sustainable Food Blog

The original post can be found here. In it, the author describes Makey, CEO of Whole Foods, vision of conscious capitalism as a way to " promote a healthy relationship to food in this country". I, as you can imagine, am a bit critical of this position.

My comment to the post:

I recently saw Gus Speth (Yale Dean of Forestry and Environmental Studies) speak at our college about environmental challenges that are ahead of us and the ways that various sectors have tried to address it thus far. Though he stopped short of providing any concrete solutions, his discussion of having to face a post-capitalist society was the most interesting to me. He identified, as the founder of such organizations as the NRDC, how working in the system to try to change has not worked. I think the type of capitalism Mackey suggests, is a continued attempt to gloss over the real structural problems that face the environment in general and the food system in particular. In short, it is just more "green-washing"; attempts to buy our way out of a problem that is fundamentally rooted in consumerism, while trying to make us feel better at the same time. So while Mackey runs a business, which means his first responsibility is to make profit for his shareholders, Whole Foods of course has found something people wanted to buy - a passive ethic and a pretense to real food consciousness - that at the same time does a great job of maintaining the status quo.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

NYT article: Urban Food Systems and Better Nutrition

There is an interesting article describing policy initiatives that aim to promote better nutrition by increasing access to local foods. Proposed policies would provide incentives for supermarkets and farmers' markets to locate in areas of need while restricting fast food restaurants. This policy would also require some public agencies to purchase a quantity of food from local sources.
This type of initiative is exactly the kind of systemic change I have been interested in for shaping a healthy, just and sustainable food system. While studying for my "first exam" this winter, I have gotten really into thinking about Kurt Lewin's notions of life-space and channels and gate-keepers (I wish I could say I had picked up on the relevance of this during my course last year...) and the consequences of how these issues shape the way people eat. It really all came together for me when one of my study-mates (thanks T!) said that Lewin was saying that if you want to change the way people eat you have to change the ways food gets to them. That just crystallized all my interests in food-system change in a single -forward sentence. Given this idea, I think that these policy initiatives are a great step and its about time that officials start thinking about shaping the food environment instead of the continual focus on individual lifestyle change.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Eating green in the white house

Well, as you may have noticed I'm not a very big Daily News reader, but this article looking at the new assistant white house chef discusses the focus on eating locally and sustainably. Its interesting to me that this spot light on local food not only is an effort to green wash the new administration (who selected Tom Vilsack, aka best friend of industry, for secretary of agriculture), it also highlights the way in which eating locally is good for the economy (which I agree with on the local scale). Its not a very good article all in all - sort of short and superficial, but it does show how the concept of local food is continuing to rise to new levels of prominence in the contemporary discourse.
Any thoughts?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Feeling alienated because of commodity fetishism?

Then buy local... well not necessarily local, but one Brooklyn resident (in another life experiment for a year in the vein of No Impact Man, Barbara Kingsolver, Gary Nahban among others (as opposed to long standing lifestyle change found in folks like one of my heroes Joan Gussow)) tried buying only from producers whom he knew, or at least met one of the workers along the commodity chain. His project is called the Consumer Reconnection Project and his blog can be found here. He met producers from local farmers (my favorite!) to athletic shoe producers in an attempt to demystify the social relations of production (at least in my words). In his words he set out to "become aware of my own dependence on blind consumption, and gain an understanding of the people and processes involved in making commodities available to me." A noble project regardless of the underlying theoretical framework I would say. Check out his site and think about the "who" and the "how" behind what you buy (along with the food you eat).

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Root veggies and Chicken Pot Pie

I decided to use up some root veggies by making a chicken pot pie - and yes, I literally baked it in the pot, which made it pretty simple and easy to clean up. I think you can use just about any hearty veg in this kind of dish. I made this right before getting the second share from our winter CSA, so I was happy to use up the rest of my carrots (of course we got more) and some of the potatoes (help, I need more potato recipes!) in something comforting and hearty to help warm us up in these gloomy gray winter days.

This is sort of a conglomeration of lots of recipes I have read and a bit of improvisation. Use your favorite pie crust recipe - I pulled together a quick flaky pie crust using the food processor, and it came out just right. If you want to avoid the pastry making, you could also top this off with a sheet of puff pastry to make things simpler.

For the filling:
3 c of a mix of cooked root veggies of your choice (I used about 2 c carrot and 1 c potatoes)
2 c cooked chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
1/4 c butter
6T a-p flour
1 c milk
2 c chicken stock
fresh or dried herbs of your choice
salt and pepper to taste

preheat the oven to 425 F
in a 2 1/2 to 3 quart pot:
make a roux by melting the butter and whisking in the flour, cooking until mixture turns golden
whisk in the milk and stock
stir regularly as it thickens and comes to a simmer
add herbs and salt and pepper
stir in cooked chicken and let simmer gently for about 10 minutes so the flavors come together
stir in veggies and check seasoning
let cool a little
tuck the pastry over the top of the pot when everything is cool enough to handle
bake for about 30 - 40 minutes until bubbling and the crust has turned golden