Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Dead Blog

Well, after more than 2 months of not posting, I think it's time to declare this blog officially dead.

However, our Seattle Cooking Club is alive and well, and eventually I'll catch up on posting all photos and descriptions of our recent exploits over at Wordpress. Much veggie goodness is going down on Monday nights, thanks to Kristy, Jay, Chevon, Traci, Zeb, B. and myself.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Send in the Clones

It seems that U.S. consumers can expect to see more experimental technologies gracing their dinner plates, this time in the form of meat and dairy from cloned animals. Yes, thanks to the FDA, corporate lapdog - er, government watchdog - these products will likely appear on supermarket shelves without special labeling.

Does this make you uncomfortable? It should. As activist Jeremy Rifkin has pointed out, agriculture and biotech companies often shirk the burden of proof in terms of food safety, allowing the public and Mother Nature to serve as guinea pigs. While I'm not disputing the findings of these studies, a glance at their abstracts reveals very small sample groups. A study of pigs published in the journal Theriogenology compared meat samples from 242 clone offspring and 162 control animals and concluded that the meat was not chemically different. Likewise, a study of milk and cheese from nine cloned and five control cows found that "milk produced by clones and conventional cattle were essentially similar and consistent with reference values from dairy cows farmed in the same region under similar conditions," though the milk from some of the clones had a yellow or greenish cast depending on fat content ("Compositional analysis of dairy products derived from clones and cloned transgenic cattle," Laible et al.). Which brings me to another point - for most of the public, there's a obvious "yuck factor," not to mention religious or ethical questions, in eating meat and/or dairy derived from clones. A recent poll conducted for the Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology revealed that only 22% of Americans feel that foods derived from animal cloning are safe. So instead of requiring labeling on these products so that consumers can decide for themselves whether to eat meat or milk from cloned animals, it appears the FDA will pursue the same course it has with plant-based GMOs, placing them all in the "Generally Regarded as Safe" (GRAS) category and leaving consumers in the dark.
The last thing that angers me about the push for allowing companies to market food from cloned animals is that this is not about making food safer or more healthful for consumers. This is simply a way for agribusiness to fatten their bottom line by treating animals as "units of production." According to today's opinion column in the Seattle P-I, this should come as no surprise, as "
the plan is a logical extension of an industrialized food system that treats plants, animals and nature with an often-reckless disregard."
I hope you'll excuse my absence of recipe posts lately. I'll remedy that soon and share some of my New Year's food resolutions with you. Happy New Year!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Anti-Turkey Day

It's been a while since my last post, but I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the Anti-Turkey Day feast at my friends' house in Seattle a couple Thursdays ago. Our friends Kristy and Jay played host, preparing veggie chili, enchiladas, and salad with homemade dressing. I made two kinds of potatoes, hummus, and tofu pumpkin cheesecake from Sarah Kramer's latest book. Jackie brought stuffing, pink dessert, and three bottles of wine (though she needs far less to feel tipsy!).

Our afternoon and evening were spent stuffing ourselves, not a bird, for which I was thankful. Though I've never sampled Tofurky, I've heard comments ranging from "pretty good" to "tastes like cardboard." I think I'll skip it. For what others think of Tofurky, click here and here.

Since Jackie came all the way from Spokane to dine with us, I made her mom's mashed potato recipe, which was quite tasty and reheats nicely.

Swedish Green Potatoes

6 potatoes, peeled
1 stick butter/margarine (I used Earth Balance Buttery Sticks)
3/4 c. light sour cream
2 t salt (maybe a little more)
1 t sugar
1/4 t pepper
2 T chopped chives or onion
1 1/2 t dill (often a touch more)
1 pkg. (10 oz) chopped spinach, thawed

Cook potatoes and mash. Mix in butter, sour cream, salt, sugar, pepper, chives and dill. Squeeze moisture out of spinach and add to potatoes. With electric mixer combine until fluffy. Place in greased casserole and bake at 400 for 30 minutes.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Too Darn Hot

The weather, it's not. The asparagus fajitas we had tonight, however, were (see previous post for recipe). B added an extra serrano pepper to the mix, and I danced around the kitchen, swigging my bottle of New Belgium's summer seasonal Skinny Dip and listening to Ella Fitzgerald sing the Cole Porter Songbook (did I mention we found our first record store in Tacoma today?). Too Darn Hot, indeed. Too darn tasty.
I'm looking forward to next week and my friend Kristy's Anti-Turkey Day feast, which my friend Jackie will be traveling all the way from Spokane (and hopefully safely across Snoqualmie Pass) to attend.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Tabula Rasa

Forgive the quality of this image, but I just had to illustrate the sorry state of our refrigerator earlier this week shortly after we moved into our new apartment. Let's see: on the top shelf we have soup (tomato as well as potato and leek) and sriracha. And on the bottom we have Newman's Own Chunky Roasted Garlic Salsa and Roasted Garlic Tomato Sauce next to Kirkland Plain Organic Soymilk. That's it. Thankfully we went to Fred Meyer (no relation to that other Fred Meijer back home) and stocked up on a few things. I'd love to start cooking again, but our kitchen, like the rest of our apartment, is very small. Ever since our stuff arrived yesterday it's become even more of a challenge to circumnavigate it all as we move from room to room.

Despite the near-constant rain (oh, I know, I am in the Pacific Northwest), Brandon and I are now venturing out a bit. Today we took Tacoma's Light Rail down to a pizzeria next door to the Harmon Brewery. Tomorrow we're headed to the Olympia Film Festival to see some animated shorts. Sunday we'll probably spend some time with my cousin and his wife. Then it's back to work for me and back to the job search for Brandon.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

On the road

We are currently on day three of our move, spending the night in Bozeman, Montana. So far the trip has been uneventful. In fact, we're all in suspiciously good spirits.

We spent our first night with my brother in Minneapolis. We picked up my sister and, on her suggestion, went out to dinner at Khyber Pass Cafe, an Afghan restaurant in St. Paul. I got a vegetarian combo plate, with very yummy lentil dal.

We traveled to Rapid City last night and started our day at Mount Rushmore. It was a gorgeous day, though bitterly cold. Tomorrow we'll stop in Missoula for lunch, hopefully at this restaurant. Then it's on to my friend Jackie's for a homecooked meal and to spend the night. We should arrive in Seattle early Friday afternoon.

Thanks to everyone who came to see us off this past weekend. I'm going to miss you. However, I'm excited about joining a progressive community and doing some of the things I've always meant to. I'll be sure to keep you posted on all my exploits.

Friday, October 27, 2006

World Go Vegan Days

So my friend Roanna both decided to do IDA's World Go Vegan Days, today through Sunday. She was vegan for several years, including several during which she was a server at a nonvegetarian restaurant; I just went vegetarian at the beginning of this year. Update: Sunday evening, taking a break from the last of moving/cleaning. With the exception of Melissa's delicious chocolate cherry pecan cookies last night (I couldn't resist!), I've done well. It's been harder than normal because of the move, but I think that's why I chose to do it now. My little weekend experiment proved that a vegan diet is no harder to follow than Atkins, and thankfully a whole lot healthier. (Apparently you can do a vegan Atkins program, but I'm certainly not condoning it). So if I choose to go beyond ovo-lacto vegetarianism, I know that with a little vigilance I can succeed. However, veganism is more a lifestyle than a simple diet, but more on that later.

This week is a week of "lasts." Last time seeing people, last trip(s!) to Founder's, and - what good timing - our last CSA pickup. We let Ali take all the veggies, seeing as everything is packed away and the movers are hauling it out to the truck as I write this. Last Saturday Trillium Haven had its fall festival, an outdoor potluck with events like hayrides and pumpkin carving for the kids. I brought tofu larb from a recipe from Cooking Light magazine, replacing the fish sauce with Bragg's to make it vegetarian. I also brought fudge, which was the first thing to disappear from the potluck table. I hope that our CSA experience in Washington will be as enlightening (who knew how to cook kohlrabi?) and enjoyable as this summer's. My only regret was that I was always working on veggie pickup nights, and didn't get to meet the other shareholders and feel like part of a larger community as a whole.