Saturday, September 30, 2006

Reset the crotchelator

Well, I seem to have fallen pretty far behind in my blogging exploits. And I haven't posted any food photos in over a month (owing to the fact that, unlike everyone and their brother, I still do not own a digital camera). As many of you know, I've been quite busy lately, what with a new job and upcoming cross-continental move to deal with. So here is a soup recipe to tide you all over.

Red Lentil Carrot Soup

1 1/4 cups red lentils
2 medium-to-large carrots, chopped
3 to 4 cloves garlic, chopped/pressed (too much is never enough)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups vegetable broth (you can be cheap and use Rapunzel's vegan bouillon cubes instead of the stuff in a can - I won't tell)
3 cups boiling water
salt and pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot and cook the carrots, onion and garlic over medium heat until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes.

Add the lentils, vegetable broth, and boiling water. Season with salt and pepper and bring up to a boil. Simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes until the lentils are very tender. You may need to add more water as the soup cooks if you don't like your soup thick (I do). Allow to cool for 10 to 15 minutes.

Pour about half the soup in a blender and blend until smooth. Please make sure the soup is sufficiently cool and that you fill the blender less than halfway. I do not want to be responsible for your second-degree burns. Place in a bowl or other clean receptacle. Blend the other half of the soup. Return the soup to the pot and warm until hot enough to eat. Enjoy with homemade bread.

And if you're wondering why the weird title for this post, it's a song from one of my favorite albums, A Society of People Named Elihu, by Atom and His Package. Atom now plays in a band called Armalite, with the awesome vegan/political activist/frontman for many, many bands, (including Lifetime, Paint It Black, and Kid Dynamite) Dr. Dan Yemin, who was just featured in Herbivore magazine. Maybe you should listen to one of these bands while you make soup. It's good music to chop carrots to - just watch your fingers.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Economies of scale?

All this coverage of the E. coli outbreak that's been linked to fresh spinach has defenders of traditional (i.e. corporate) farming pointing the finger at organic farmers, saying their products are less, not more, safe than their conventional conterparts. But is that really the lesson we should be taking away from the recent E. coli outbreak?

Of course not. The lesson we should learn is not that organic produce isn't safe, but rather, buy local and know your grower. As large corporate farms begin to dominate in supermarkets, let's not forget that eating local is a better alternative. For example, I just learned that Earthbound Farms, a large organic producer under Natural Selection Foods, now ships over 1 millions cases of packaged vegetables per week. Obviously, many of us live in climes where it's nearly impossible to buy local produce in the winter, but we should take advantage of our opportunities in the warmer months.

The Grand Rapids Press, thankfully, did cover the story from that angle, as did NPR.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Local Food Week

September 10 - 17th!

Check out these events:

Sunday, September 10 - Organic Harvest Festival at the Blanford Nature Center, with proceeds to benefit Mixed Greens' food literacy programs in Grand Rapids Public Schools.

Monday, September 11 - A Preservation Party sponsored by the Greater Grand Rapids Food Systems Council (GGRFSC) Want to learn how to can or freeze the summer's bounty? Email Cynthia Price at

Tuesday, September 12 – Community Gardens Tour. Stop by Mack's Garden next to the South East Community Association offices, 1408 Madison Ave. SE, to join a free guided tour or pick up a map and do your own. For more info, email Tom Cary at

Thursday, September 14 - Buy Fresh, Buy Local – Select Michigan Day! Celebrate the 2nd annual event by spending the afternoon at the Southeast Area Farmers Market, on the corner of Franklin Street and Fuller Avenue.

Friday, September 15 - Women's Farm Tour, sponsored by the West Michigan Forum for Sustainable Agriculture. Filmmaker and photographer Cynthia Vagnetti will join an afternoon tour of several area farms run by women.

Saturday, September 16 - Local FoodFarmFilm Fest, a food-tasting and screening of films about food and farming presented by Farms Without Harm and GGRFSC at the Wealthy Theatre.

Sunday, September 17 - Annual Heirloom Tomato Festival at Trillium Haven Farm. Taste 45 different heirloom tomatoes, and enjoy recipe tips from chef Amy Sherman.

For more information about events, visit the Farms Without Harm website. See you there!