Archive: June 2009

A Plea for Red, White, Blue -- and Local

Last September, I wrote about Roger Doiron’s grassroots campaign for a White House garden. Now Doiron, who’s based in Scarborough, Maine, is taking his home-grown ideas to another level -- one of stars, stripes and all things patriotic. (Photo courtesy of Foodindependenceday.org) Founder of Kitchen Gardeners International, Doiron has launched (in partnership with IATP Food and Society Fellows and the Mother Nature Network) Food Independence Day, a campaign to make your Fourth of July cookout local and sustainable. Remember last summer’s Eat Local Challenge? The same idea applies: Try sourcing as many of your feast fixins within 100 or 200 miles of where you work or live. In doing so, you’re doing your part to stimulate the local economy, a highly patriotic act, says Doiron. It’s not just the voting public Doiron’s after; he’s circulating an online petition asking for participation from America’s 50 governors, “to lead and eat by...

By Kim ODonnel | June 30, 2009; 7:00 AM ET | Comments (6)

Meatless Monday: Moo Shu, Hold the Oink

Moo shu veg fixins. (Kim O'Donnel) I’ve become a regular at Real Food Has Curves, the latest Web venture for cookbook duo Mark Scarbrough and Bruce Weinstein. Last week, the guys threw something together that I knew would be perfect for this meatless space, something they’re calling Moo Shu Vegetables, a slimmed down version of the Mandarin pork, egg & pancakes classic, but with no less flavor or zing. What makes this dish a league beyond the same-ole stir fry are a few key components: the sauce, the aromatics and the crunch. Hoisin sauce, often referred to as Chinese barbecue sauce, gets an extra boost with sesame oil and black pepper, plus an aromatics trio of scallions, garlic and fresh ginger. Nothing fancy here, but the combination is truly tongue popping. The vegetables in question are all crispers -- stuff that doesn’t wilt easily and needs just a short...

By Kim ODonnel | June 29, 2009; 11:03 AM ET | Comments (13)

EDF: From Anxiety to Creativity

Jill Nussinow is a northern California-based cookbook author, cooking teacher and recipe developer who teaches people about the joys of buying and eating fresh farmer’s market and homegrown produce. She is the author of "The Veggie Queen: Vegetables Get the Royal Treatment" cookbook and the DVD, "Pressure Cooking: A Fresh Look, Delicious Dishes in Minutes." Her companion Web sites are Pressure Cooking Online and The Veggie Queen, which includes a lively blog. (Jill Nussinow) I head into this week with unusual trepidation and anxiety. My stock-in-trade is food, and making sure there's plenty of it. How will I manage without shopping? It’s one of my major activities: I run into “real” people versus my "virtual" buddies. My twice weekly jaunts to the farmer’s market and occasional stops to the natural food store fulfill my “face time”. Will I survive? I discover that there’s more to this challenge than I...

By Kim ODonnel | June 26, 2009; 1:00 PM ET | Comments (2)

EDF Realization: Size Doesn’t Matter

Allen Williams recently traded in his Silicon Valley dot-com career to pursue freelance food writing from Vancouver, B.C. Allen enjoys food exploration and combines childhood farm-style cooking with urban flavors at his blog, Eating Out Loud. When taking a break from cooking you’ll also find Allen sharing his vintage recipe card collection on his hobby site, Recovered Recipes. A peek inside Allen Williams' pantry in Vancouver, B.C. (Allen Williams) In all honesty, I’ve feared Kim’s Eating Down the Fridge challenge ever since signing up. I found myself lured in by the prospect of making creative MacGyver-like meals but grew concerned about our 520 square-foot condo which we had just moved to a few months ago. The pantry is petite and the refrigerator narrow and not very deep. It’s the smallest space I’ve ever lived in, and I wasn’t sure if it contained enough food to sustain two adults for...

By Kim ODonnel | June 26, 2009; 7:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

EDF: A Report from Poland

Busy mom-of-four Jessica Sirotin, a native of New Jersey, has spent the past 15 years living in Eastern Europe. Currently based in Warsaw, Poland, Sirotin has also lived in Russia and Hungary, and has enjoyed, mostly, every minute of it. (Jessica Sorotin) It would be wonderful to think that changing how and what my family consumes is being carried out in the measured and careful way I had planned. In execution, however, I find myself pressured by both circumstances and my four kids. Nevertheless, I think I have a fighting chance at success. My husband’s family is of Russian/Polish extraction, and in the 15 years we have lived in Eastern Europe (Russia, Hungary and Poland) I have taken to heart many of their ideas about managing the pantry. Even though Communism ended here almost 20 years ago, many people still remember the food shortages and remain very pro-active about...

By Kim ODonnel | June 25, 2009; 7:00 AM ET | Comments (6)

EDF: The Challenges – and Joys – of Cooking for One

A native of Falls Church, Va., Bren Herrerra is a freelance food and travel writer and personal chef based in Atlanta, Ga. She shares her love for Cuban and Latin fusion cuisine in her blog, Flanboyant Eats. Bren tells me she throws back five shots of Cuban espresso daily to wear her many hats. Her latest gig is a biweekly cooking segment on "Daytime" TV. Bren's green tea ice cream cups. (Bren Herrera) A friend once told me I should treat myself like a queen when it comes to cooking. Her bright suggestion came after my ongoing complaint that cooking for one is simply not fun. I’m single, with no real responsibility for others’ nutrition; therefore, I find myself extremely lethargic, come dinnertime. I find little interest or appeal in cooking for just me. In Latin households, eating is as much about fellowship with friends and family and political...

By Kim ODonnel | June 24, 2009; 7:00 AM ET | Comments (7)

When EDF Is Not a Game, But Real Life

In May, when I made a save-the-date announcement on the EDF Facebook Group page, I received an e-mail from west coast reader Jill Blevins, who knows a thing or two about eating down the fridge -- and not by choice. “I was homeless with four kids,” she writes, “twice, and know what it's like to be poor, to think food stamps are a gift from God and to eat down the fridge for weeks straight, hoping the kids would sleep late so I'd only have to feed them two starchy meals.” I asked Blevins, who’s currently based in Oregon (and no longer homeless), to share her candid perspective on making do with what you’ve got on hand. Jill Blevins. (Family photo) Asking me to abstain from food shopping is like asking an anorexic to please cut back on the eating for a while. It’s not the shopping that keeps...

By Kim ODonnel | June 23, 2009; 7:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

Emptying the Fridge on Meatless Monday

Stefanie Gans is a freelance food writer and co-editor of the food blog, Endless Simmer. Her writing has appeared in the Washington Post's Express, Onion’s Decider DC, BusinessWoman Magazine and Young Women Misbehavin’. She lives in D..C, always has her nails painted and finds daily inspiration from avocados. (Stefanie Gans) I got it easy. It’s simple to start off right, but just like New Year’s resolutions and spring flings, the newness will soon fade. And then you’re left with a fridge full of slimy greens and rank yogurt. So I’ve taken the lead-off position quite seriously. I want to set the right tone. The Eating Down the Fridge challenge is actually not intimidating if you plan a bit for the week (like Miss Karin does here), although sketching each meal is not my idea of fun. I like the freedom of mood-induced dishes because I surely cannot predict my...

By Kim ODonnel | June 22, 2009; 2:15 PM ET | Comments (3)

Eating Down the Fridge: A Week of Menus

Karin Calloway is a recipe developer and journalist who works as the food columnist for The Augusta Chronicle, online chef for Viking Range Corporation and editor of Augusta Family Magazine. She and her husband, Bond, live in Augusta, Ga., with their two teenagers. Karin “tweets” about what she’s cooking at twitter.com/KarinCalloway. (Photo courtesy of Karin Calloway) Kim’s blog has been stored in my favorites for some time, and I read about the Eating Down the Fridge challenge in March with much interest. When I read that she was holding the challenge again, I sent her an e-mail to see if the readers of my column in The Augusta Chronicle could join in. I promoted the challenge in last week’s column, and am looking forward to hearing how my readers are using what they have on hand. I’m participating in the challenge, too, and since I work in recipe development,...

By Kim ODonnel | June 22, 2009; 8:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

Celestial Feasting, Fete-ing on the Solstice

On Sunday at 1:45 a.m. ET (or Saturday night at 10:45 p.m. if you’re on the west coast), the sun arrives at its most northernmost point and briefly stands still before moving in the other direction. All this celestial activity results in the longest day of the year, also known as the summer solstice. In fact, the word solstice comes from the Latin words sol (sun) and stitium (to stand still). If the weather cooperates, I highly recommend spending as much time outdoors, celebrating the energy of the sun. Here in Seattle, I plan to attend the 21st annual Solstice Parade in Fremont, an event that promises great merriment, food, drink (and rumor has it) naked bicyclists. In the course of my research, I’ve learned festivities will be carrying on from coast to cast, including an all-night party in Philly, a museum hootenanny in Cleveland, yoga sun salutations in New...

By Kim ODonnel | June 19, 2009; 7:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

Channeling Dad With Potatoes

On my Dad's lap at the age of 3. (Family photo) I knew my father for 16 years. His life was cut way too short at the age of 37; in fact, my kid brother is now older than my father at the time of his death. A lifetime -- 27 years -- has since passed, one of hopes and dreams both fulfilled and dashed, love lost and found, continents traveled, graduations, jobs, hurricanes, wars, a wedding and plenty of crumbs. I’ve carried on just fine, she says with a stiff upper lip, but inevitably at this time of year, when the rest of America salutes D-A-D with a tie or a new grill toy this Sunday, I get nostalgic for a man who’s been gone since the Reagan administration. His name was John. He voted for Nixon. He liked to watch the cop show “Hill Street Blues.” His...

By Kim ODonnel | June 18, 2009; 7:00 AM ET | Comments (23)

Saying 'Yes, Darling" to Strawberry Fro Yo

(Kim O'Donnel) You know how Jersey has tomatoes, Georgia has peaches and Texas has pecans? Well, Oregon has strawberries. Until I moved to the Pacific Northwest, I had no idea. So I got a pint on the side of the road along route 26 last week while driving to the Oregon coast with my mom. After alternating stints in the fridge and rides in the back seat of the car, the pint began to show signs of distress, but it was far from a lost cause. A spinach salad with strawberries might be out of the cards, but I wondered how I could maximize the flavor of these intensely flavored sun-kissed morsels without entering them in a beauty contest. With the summer solstice approaching this Saturday, my thoughts have turned to my ice cream maker and how I’ve not taken her out for a spin in a year, since...

By Kim ODonnel | June 17, 2009; 7:20 AM ET | Comments (10)

Tasty Summer Reads

Wherever you live and no matter your wallet size, the mere mention of the word ‘summer’ beckons, reminding us to take off our shoes, walk in the grass and yeah, maybe even get lost in a book. I’ve been an avid reader my entire life (at the age of three, I requested my own copy of the newspaper), but it is during summer when my literary appetite turns voracious. More than any other time of year, summer is when I devour biographies and memoirs for my mental escape, and I’ve been known to mix up new releases (just finished “Losing Mum and Pup” by Christopher Buckley) with old favorites that I love to crack open and revisit, particularly if they’re travel and food related. To that end, I’ve dished up a batch of five edible memoirs that not only earn a space on my over-crowded shelves but that get re-read,...

By Kim ODonnel | June 16, 2009; 7:42 AM ET | Comments (7)

Meatless Monday: Cilantro Pesto

Today’s piece is inspired by a turkey sandwich I had last week at Bread & Ocean Bakery located in the beachside village of Manzanita, Ore. Before you get your girdle in an uproar over my mention of turkey on Meatless Monday, hear me out: The secret to this magical sandwich, other than the house-made bread, is the cilantro pesto! (Kim O'Donnel) As many of you already know, June is garlic scape month, and I’m typically found scouring the farm markets for every last scape to squirrel away for freezer pesto. But like those scapes, cilantro is a spring/early summer crop that arrives way before basil; in fact, cilantro wilts under intense heat, so the time is NOW for a cilantro pesto party. After swooning over my sandwich, I meditated on what I’d need to recreate this thing of tongue-dancing magnificence. As I got to work, I discovered that unlike...

By Kim ODonnel | June 15, 2009; 7:14 AM ET | Comments (8)

A Week in the Life of the Kitchen

As 2009 approaches its midway point, I’ve decided to make a half-year resolution/determination – that it’s time not just to smell the basil but to stop before and after the whiff. Lately, I’ve noticed that I zoom through my weeks without reflecting on what I’ve tasted, sipped, slurped, mixed, chopped, simmered and chewed. Then I wake up and it’s June. So, in the interest of being mindful about being mindful, I’ve taken note of my week in the kitchen, at the market and on the road. It’s been a full week but perhaps no fuller than any other – the difference is that now I’m paying attention. Here’s a recap of this week at the Casa: * I’ve discovered that sunflower sprouts are my new favorite thing and I want to learn how to grow them myself * After a year-long hiatus, I made not one, but two batches of...

By Kim ODonnel | June 12, 2009; 11:59 AM ET | Comments (11)

Farm-to-Hospital

Today I’m dishing up a feel-good story. While poring through a review copy of EatingWell in Season: The Farmers’ Market Cookbook (the source of that great spinach soup from a few weeks ago), I learned about Dr. Preston Maring, who penned the introduction. Dr. Preston Maring checking out the goods at KP farm market in Oakland, Calif. (Photo courtesy Kaiser Permanente) Maring is an ob/gyn, who’s been practicing at the Kaiser Permanente (KP) medical center in Oakland, Calif. since 1971. These days, he wears a few other hats -- as Associate Physician-in-Chief --- and farm-to-table champion. In 2003, Maring started up a farmers’ market in the hospital parking lot, making it the first of its kind. Held year-round every Friday, Maring’s market, which is run in partnership with a northern California farmers’ market association, is completely organic. It has helped to spawn markets at 29 other KP hospitals throughout California,...

By Kim ODonnel | June 11, 2009; 7:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

Hey Sugar (Snap), Whatcha Up to Tonight?

(Kim O'Donnel) It’s pea season, a short-lived window when you can leave that bag in the freezer just where it is because baby, you’ll never have peas as sweet as they are right now. Me, I’m a sugar snap girl, and I love them raw, unzipped from their jackets, as an afterschool snack. But when dinnertime comes around, here’s what I’m thinking: * With rice – and lots of lemon zest, torn leaves of fresh mint. As a pilaf, hot or cold, or as a risotto, seasoned with white wine and green garlic, topped off with grated Parmigiano… * A twist on the ole peas ‘n’ carrots that we all liked to push around with our forks as kids: Peas like coconut milk, yes they do. Make an impromptu Thai-style curry with a few tablespoons of red curry paste and a small handful of chopped shallots cooked in oil,...

By Kim ODonnel | June 10, 2009; 11:30 AM ET | Comments (7)

Campfire Cake

I have my nose in Mary Karlin’s new book, “Wood-Fired Cooking,” my mouth watering at the sound of her garlicky grill-smoked clams and wood-roasted artichokes. I’m trying to decide what will be first on my wood-fired-inspired menu, and then I stumble upon a recipe for chocolate cake. A slice of chocolate cake after being "baked" on the grill. (Kim O'Donnel) But this is no ordinary indoor domestic goddess kind of cake; instead, it’s got all the makings of cowgirl cookery (or a very rogue Girl Scout). Instead of the Suzy Homemaker oven, this cake comes to life over a pile of smoldering coals, and yes indeed, you can call the neighbors and tell 'em all about the cake you baked on the grill. What’s more, there are no eggs in this cake. There is no butter, either. In fact, there is nothing dairy or egg-ish about it (unless you make...

By Kim ODonnel | June 9, 2009; 8:05 AM ET | Comments (9)

Meatless Monday: Taking Stock

We interrupt today’s regular recipe program for a wee bit of meat-less reflection (in other words, the recipe I planned to share with you failed miserably during testing). Rather than mope over my meatless mishap, I’ve decided to turn this unexpected turn of events into an opportunity – to talk about what we’ve done, where we are and what we’d like to accomplish going forward. We’re now in Month 10 of this weekly meat-less recipe feature, which we kicked off last September in response to a speech by UN climate change official Rajendra Pachauri, who said if there was one thing we could to do to help save the planet, it’s taking a break from meat once as week. As noble and virtuous of an idea this may sound, implementation – and consistency -- are very different things altogether. If we are going to talk the talk, we really...

By Kim ODonnel | June 8, 2009; 8:30 AM ET | Comments (13)

Eating Down the Fridge Honor Roll: Summer '09

This list will be updated daily until June 19, 2009. If you'd like to be included, send me an e-mail with your city and state (and country, if applicable -- we've got EDFers from Denmark and Poland in the house!). In the subject line, please type "EDF Summer." And for those of you just joining us, here's some background on the first challenge held in March. P.S. If you live in the Twitter-verse, I've created a hashtag so you can search all EDF-related tweets: add #EDFsum to all tweets. Kristin Adair & Phil Morton Arlington, Va. Dede Apfelbaum Arlington, Va. Ann Augunas King of Prussia, Pa. David Bennett Washington, D.C. Amanda Bensen Washington, D.C. (Food blog: Food & Think Cristina Bernadini & James Kane Redwood City, Calif. Vani Bhartipudi Seattle, Wash. Genevieve Bieniosek Silver Spring, Md. Jill Blevins San Francisco, Calif. Laurel Bowers Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Marisa Brandt Seattle,...

By Kim ODonnel | June 5, 2009; 2:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

Ask Kim: The (Cook) Doctor is In

You seem to like it when I have office hours, so what the heck, let’s go crazy and do it again as you gear up for the weekend. Is there a cook-top project on your agenda? (Family photo) I’ve got a notion to “bake” a chocolate cake, campfire-style, as part of my latest obsession with cooking over indirect heat on the grill. (Last weekend, it was beer-can chicken,which was a hoot, and if you’re interested in details, tell me so in the comments area. It’s been written about to death over the years, but I’m game if you are.) I also have a new obsession with sunflower sprouts, which are bringing me such gustatory joy I am considering growing my own in the front yard. (any tips?) My mother is en route from Philadelphia for her first visit to Seattle in several years, and I plan to feed her...

By Kim ODonnel | June 5, 2009; 7:00 AM ET | Comments (37)

The Savory Side of Rhubarb

Rhubarb chutney and the stalks from whence it came. (Kim O'Donnel) Mother Nature’s ruby-red stalks from the buckwheat family don’t like the heat, so snatch’em, I mean hoard’em, while you can. Most folks --this cook included -- associate rhubarb with dessert because of her lip-puckering tang that begs for sweetness. Don’t get me wrong; I’m a sucker for rhube-y cake, buckle and fool (I even tucked some into a cherry cobbler last weekend). But lately, I’ve been wonderin’ -- as the rhubarb clock tick tocks away -- how I could enjoy her not just at dessert but with dinner now and (ideally) later this year. The answer is a pot of rhubarb chutney, a sweet (dates) ‘n’ sour (apple cider vinegar) combo that cooks and acts like some of our other favorite saucy accompaniments, namely apple sauce and cranberry sauce. Mauve in color and sassy in flavor (with a...

By Kim ODonnel | June 4, 2009; 7:00 AM ET | Comments (6)

Psst. You Got Cukes? I Got Oregano. Wanna Trade?

These are the kind of conversations the folks at Veggie Trader would like you to be having on their new Web site. (Photo courtesy of VeggieTrader) A cross between Freecycle and Craigslist, Veggie Trader is an online classifieds service connecting home gardeners within their respective food sheds. In order to buy, sell or trade (and I think even to browse), you need to register with the site, which is free. Searches can be done by zip code and/or category (e.g. fruit, veg, seeds). If you live in Alabama, for example, and like figs, you might want to get in touch with “Edith,” who reports that her fig tree “will be loaded with figs around the end of July.” According to its blog, VT had 3,000 registered members by the end of May, but the listings remain rather lean in the early days of the site. (To wit: A search for...

By Kim ODonnel | June 3, 2009; 7:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

Notes from the Oregon Coast

The goal: Get out of Dodge by me-self for three days and do it by car. Astoria-Megler Bridge, which links Oregon to Washington state. (Kim O'Donnel) The destination: The Oregon coast, about 3 ½ hours from Seattle. A room was booked at the Ocean Point Inn, a small oceanfront property located in the hamlet of Arch Cape. Coincidentally, the Inn is featured in the June issue of Travel & Leisure. The operative words for my out-of-Dodge experience: Ocean. Front. The prep: Other than a print-out of Google-ized directions and a fold-up map on loan from a friend, I headed on the highway like a babe in the woods, unbeknownst of what lay before me. After three hours on the road, I made a pit stop in Astoria, Ore., where the Columbia River (almost) meets the Pacific Ocean and the northern tip of the 347-mile coastline I was about to meet....

By Kim ODonnel | June 2, 2009; 7:00 AM ET | Comments (5)

Meatless Monday: Spinach Soup Made for Goldilocks

You remember our sassy fairytale girl G., the one who snuck into the Bear family country cottage, ate up all their porridge, sat in all their chairs and had the nerve to sleep in all their beds? (Kim O'Donnel) Well, that’s who came to mind as I sipped on a bowlful of emerald green spinach puree that I whipped up in just 30 minutes last week. Neither too thick and potage-y, nor too thin and brothy, I reckon Miz ‘Locks would deem this gorgeous dairy-free soup “just right.” The credit for such soupy savvy goes to the folks at EatingWell magazine, which has just published its latest cookbook, “EatingWell in Season.” As much as I love to eat my spinach, I’ve long wondered how I might drink it, too, but without the heaviness of cream, yogurt or buttermilk to help it all go down the hatch. The trick here...

By Kim ODonnel | June 1, 2009; 7:30 AM ET | Comments (16)

 

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