Archive: May 2006

Sustainable Seafood Hook Up: The Details

Salmon, shrimp, tuna - they're among our favorites on the grill. But before you head to the seafood counter, arm yourself with important information on both ecological and health fronts. The information below comes from Monterey Bay Aquarium's (MBAYAQ) Seafood Watch program and Oceans Alive, a seafood program of conservation group Environmental Defense (ED). Seafood rated "eco-friendly" encompass various criteria, but here are a few terms to get you up to speed at the seafood counter: No By-catch: By-catch is a term referring to fish that are caught unintentionally (remember the hubbub over dolphin by-catch during tuna catches?) Some or all of it may be returned to the water, but by that point, it's often dead or dying. An estimated one fourth of the worldwide fishery catch is discarded each year as by-catch, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). What a waste! Trawling nets are a...

By Kim ODonnel | May 31, 2006; 12:00 PM ET | Comments (5)

Catch of the Day, Part One

It's not news that seafood is a lean source of protein and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids -- undoubtedly a good thing. The new hitch? In our quest to eat lean and do the seafood thing, the oceans have become polluted and severely overfished. For the consumer, this means two things: many of your grill-friendly favorites are getting either scarce and/or are contaminated with methylmercury or polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), scary stuff resulting from industrial pollution. Indeed, it's rough sailing at the seafood counter. If it's difficult for a journalist to decipher this complicated, constantly changing scenario, I know it must be overwhelming for regular folks who just want to eat fish without worry or guilt. I digested quite a bit of information at "Cooking for Solutions," a sustainable seafood and agriculture event hosted by the Monterey Bay Aquarium (MBAYAQ) in Monterey, Calif., earlier this month, and the overriding sentiment -- in...

By Kim ODonnel | May 31, 2006; 10:15 AM ET | Comments (0)

One, Two, Buckle My Berry

I've made cobbler and I've tried my hand at slump, but until this weekend, I had never done a buckle. Most Americans are familiar with cobbler or crisp, which come from a lexicon of classic American desserts featuring baked fruit. The difference between the two is all in the topping - crisp is 'crispier' with butter, brown sugar and sometimes rolled oats; cobbler is often crowned with biscuits. But a buckle -- what the heck is that? I like to think of it as a trifecta -- part fruit, part topping, with an extra bonus component of cake. I am beginning to think that the buckle is far superior to the cobbler, although my opinion may sway, depending on the fruit being used. As many of you know, there's nothing quite like a peach cobbler, but I'm thinking that berries are best in a buckle. In the recipe below, blueberries...

By Kim ODonnel | May 30, 2006; 11:17 AM ET | Comments (11)

Crumbs From Memorial Day Weekend

Well, I was wrong - in spite of my predictions on Friday, there was nary a drop of rain the whole weekend. My wrong made everything right in the al fresco dining department - such magical weather for all the outdoor feasting one could ever hope for! Here are some of the highlights from my long weekend: Sunday night it was an impromptu get-together with friends at their place, where we dipped simply grilled shrimp into a green sauce that took me all of five minutes to make in a food processor. Here's what you need: 1 bunch cilantro, 1 small handful of fresh mint leaves, 2 cloves peeled, smashed garlic, 1 plum tomato (or 12 grape tomatoes), ½ chile pepper, seeded and deveined, 1 2-inch hunk of peeled fresh ginger. Throw it all in the food processor and whiz until completely pureed. I like to add a squeeze of...

By Kim ODonnel | May 30, 2006; 9:41 AM ET | Comments (2)

Steaks n' Burgers

I grew up watching my father grill everything from burgers to whole turkeys in the middle of July. I learned that as soon as Memorial Day weekend rolls around, Dad pulls out the grill and we start eating lots of charred stuff for dinner - at the beach, in the backyard, even when we go to Uncle George's for dinner. What is it about our culture that seduces us into a grilling frenzy? Memorial Day weekend is infamous for being rainy (and yes, this year is looking like no exception), but that doesn't stop any of us. We luvvvv our grills, and we'll grill anything - pizza, mussels, peaches - just to get a whiff of charcoal and a taste of smoke. Wanna see how much we love our grills? Grill guru Steven Raichlen, who's penned several grill-centric books, including "The Barbecue Bible" shows off his seven favorite grills in...

By Kim ODonnel | May 26, 2006; 10:22 AM ET | Comments (15)

Meat of the Vegetarian Matter

Yesterday's vegetarian chat touched on how one transitions to vegetarianism and morphed into weighty discussion of the highly personal quality of such a journey. A few leftover comments include: Boston, Mass. "I don't think people can convert to being omnivores to vegetarian overnight. I'm not a full veggie (yet), but I started by cutting almost all red meat out of my diet and eating at least two veggie dinners per week. Next I decided I'd only eat ethically kept meat, which is more expensive, so my meat eating reduced for reasons of wallet. Once I went veggie for two weeks to try it out, and the temptation to eat meat was overwhelming. So I'm in favor of gradual life changes -- but then I'm not (too) concerned about killing animals to eat them, which I understand is a powerful motivating factor for many vegetarians." And a reader from Colorado wrote:...

By Kim ODonnel | May 26, 2006; 8:16 AM ET | Comments (1)

Local Goodies, Six Days a Week

Yesterday was opening day at Clarendon Farmers Market, located by the Clarendon Metro stop in north Arlington. It was slow going - with a small handful of vendors, a trickle of shoppers and a power outage for the musicians - but none of that mattered. The market was a reminder that the Washington area is brimming with local produce NOT just on the weekends, but six days a week. Farmers are bringing their goods into town every day but Monday (even they need a rest), so there's really no excuse not to shop locally this summer. 

Early-season lettuces and other green goodies from Sunnyside Farms, at Clarendon Farmers Market Below is a day-by-day list of area markets, abridged from the Food section's annual list of farmers markets in the Washington area. I've culled from their exhaustive resource to make the point that there's a good chance of a farmers market...

By Kim ODonnel | May 25, 2006; 11:30 AM ET | Comments (7)

About This Blog

A Mighty Appetite is your daily online bread. Your guide, Kim O'Donnel, dispatches directly from her kitchen, with recipes, ingredient discoveries and the stories and people she encounters along the way. Every weekday, Kim dishes up something to chew on -- from last night's leftovers to the latest on sustainable seafood. When at home, she keeps close tabs on local farmers' markets and seasonal goodies, and when on the road, she keeps a diary of her culinary adventures that have included Puerto Rico, the Pacific Northwest and post-Katrina New Orleans....

By Kim ODonnel | May 25, 2006; 8:28 AM ET | Comments (4)

Why Savor Summer?

I have been waiting for summer ever since the last one. 

My enthusiasm for food began at an early age. It is truly my favorite time of the year, when ties get loosened, panty hose get ditched and everyone licks ice cream. With the arrival of Memorial Day weekend -- this very weekend -- we start to change our attitudes. That oversized rulebook, packed with the awful things we must and should do from September through May? Somehow, it magically gets lost. It's as if there's a switch-flicker in our brains, opening up space and time for beachcombing, road tripping and outdoor supping way past our bedtime. It's a chance to catch up with our dormant, winterized selves and get reacquainted with the neighbors. For a cook, summer is a luscious platform, from which one can do raw or cooked, grilled or chilled, sea or pasture. We pack a picnic,...

By Kim ODonnel | May 25, 2006; 8:27 AM ET | Comments (17)

 

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