Saturday, December 31, 2011

Organics Evolving?

On Friday, November 18, 2011, 90 pounds of tomatoes were harvested from the Victoria's Vegetables greenhouses. This may be the longest tomato growing season ever recorded in Central Oregon.

I found this piece in the New York Times by Elisabeth Rosenthal to be quite interesting.  I am not sure I agree that lumping the two terms Organic and Sustainability together is very fair.  To me they are seperate ideals but are so easily connected in a wholesome food system.  It is refreshing to see information about this topic so consumers aren't blindly flocking thru the snow to their closest mega-grocery and assuming everything is peachy between them and mother nature because their little plastic clamshell of tomatoes is labeled organic.  Good luck on your search for organics!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

How to Make the Perfect Jell-O Shots

"Hello, this is Konrad.  Yes I've started the Jell-o shots.  Telegram all your friends this shin-dig should be outstanding."

You can catch this quick little video on Chow, or you can follow my even easier 12 step method to making the perfect Jell-O shots:

1.       Procure your favorite booze.  Usually vodka is used for making Jell-O shots, but anything works.

2.       Have a long pull off that freshly opened bottle then find your favorite flavor of instant Jell-O.  It will most likely be in the very back of the cupboard and dusty.

3.       Take a sip of booze and set measured amount of water to heat.

4.       Take a sip of booze, and then dissolve Jell-O mix into water.

5.       Take a sip of booze and reconsider adding any to the Jell-O at this point.

6.       Take a sip of booze while finding a proper container to portion the Jell-O.  One large bowl will be fine.

7.       Take a sip of booze, and make room in the refrigerator to chill the Jell-O.

8.       Take a sip of booze before retiring to the recliner for a nap.

9.       When you wake up you will have only a little bit of booze left and none in the Jell-O.  Not a problem!

10.   Take a final sip of booze as you will only need about 4 ounces to finish things off.

11.   Using a whisk stir the Jell-O into chunks and mix in the booze left that didn’t get drunk.  It only has to be enough to add bite.

12.   Spoon this spiked mixture into shot glasses and get a good laugh off the person who gets WASTED from your Jell-O shots.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Holiday TV Special

If you are somehow offended by the bullying of Rudolf, nudity or snowmen, or the occasional donning of gay apparel you most definitely do not want to do everything you can to watch No Reservations holiday special episode.  You can find some info here, and even more info here, but it will all make more sense after you've seen the full hour show.  I highly suggest you spend your time wisely and watch this very special holiday treat. 

If nothing else check out one of the gems I took from the show; Vegan Black Metal Chef.  There is equally something right and wrong with this, just like what Christmas has become. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Coconut Curry Chicken and Carrots

This is a quick and easy recipe that brings some international flavor to a nice week-night diner.

Four pieces boneless chicken thighs
Twelve ounces carrots cut into inch chunks
One tablespoon chopped garlic
One medium sweet onion, sliced thin 
One tablespoon curry powder
Four ounces each chicken stock, coconut milk
One heaping tablespoon spicy mango chutney

 Trim chicken of skin to your liking.  I like some crispy skin, but usually trim chicken thighs by placing them skin side down on the cutting board and trimming any skin or fat that is not under the meat.  If you are completely removing the skin  then quarter chicken thighs because they will brown more and cook slightly quicker.  Using a non-stick skillet start chicken thighs skin down and cook until some fat is rendered then increase heat to medium-high.  I do this because the skin browns and crisps nicely opposed to putting them in a hot pan in which the skin tends to burn before it turnings crisp.  Season the chicken meat with salt and curry powder.  Once the skin has nicely browned flip then add the carrots, garlic and onion and cook this for about 5 minutes, but be sure not to burn the garlic.  Add the liquid to the chicken, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes.  Finally add the chutney and increase heat and reduce till liquid in quite thick and coats the chicken.

Serve with plain brown rice and hot sauce.  If you have fresh ginger or coriander go ahead and use them, but I don’t keep them on hand at my home.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

I like Killing Flies

I recently watched a documentary called “I Like Killing Flies”.  Due to the unique perspective of Kenny and the fact his station in life is behind a hot stove in a small kitchen I found the whole film quite interesting.  He offers more than 900 items on the menu, all from scratch in a kitchen the size of a walk-in closet, from which Mr. Shopsin runs his tiny family-owned Greenwich Village restaurant.  After spending his day feeding neighbors, during a lull in the cooking Kenny holds court for the camera offering up wisdom and wit on life, death, sex, politics and sometimes food.  After 32 years at the same storefront his family must find a new kitchen and this is also a major topic of the movie.  I highly suggest viewing this film, but if this sounds only somewhat interesting let me offer a few of Kenny’s more interesting observations.

On ones duty in life:
The first duty of everybody in life is to realize that they're a piece of shit. Selfish and self-centered and not very good. You're willing to sacrifice 20 thousand people in another country just so you can go to a Wings concert. You sacrifice the lives of a hundred thousand Chinese female babies just so you can rent this fucking camera and do your stupid art project. No problem! You're a piece of shit. Once you realize you're a piece of shit it's not so hard to take. Because then you don't have this feeling that you're a good person all the time. And let me tell you something, feeling that you're a good person all the time is like having a brand new car with no scratches on it. It's a real responsibility which is almost impossible to live up to. Being a piece of shit and then occasionally doing something that's good and true is a much easier place to be. I think that's really important and I always try to raise my kids to understand that they're not that terrific. And that not being that terrific, that's okay 'cause most people who say that they're terrific, Bill Clinton, Cardinal Egan, anybody you want to talk about, they're not so terrific. Martha Stewart, they're not so fucking terrific either. And there's nothing wrong with being not-so-terrific. In fact, it's what the whole ballgame is about, being not-so-terrific... and accepting it.
On a sour relationship with an exterminator:

A few years ago someone found a roach in their soup.  It certainly doesn’t mean anything in the history of the universe, but your relations with that person, is just you, them and the soup.  It’s a huge event of incompetence on your part…..They come to your place for something other than good food, satisfaction, and this women got nothing but abuse.  A horrendous event for both parties.
On his culinary standards:

It’s ok to do stupid things, not that we have high standard, but they are going to put it in their damn mouth.
On cooking:
Most of cooking is a matter of mechanics, not aesthetics, not cuisine.

On how to treat people:

They are all decent, people who treat other people with respect. It’s a mark of high civilization to treat people with respect who don’t deserve it so you try to treat everyone with a morality that makes you a good person regardless of if they deserve it or not.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Tangerine or Clementine?

A Tangerine is a small orange colored citrus fruit that is a subspecies of the Mandarin orange.  It is characterized by being much easier to peel, split into segments and less tart than an orange.  Tangerines have been cultivated in China for over 3,000 years.  Chinese tangerines were introduced to Florida and the U.S. market by a missionary, Rev. Barrington, in 1883.  Unlike oranges tangerines can be successfully grown from seed opposed to grafting which produces a more hearty cold resistant plant.  The word ‘tangerine’ was originally used to describe a native person of Tangier, Morocco in the early 1700’s but stuck as the name for the citrus fruit we now know during the 1800’s.

A clementine is also a subspecies of the Mandarin orange which is easily peeled and less tart than an orange.  Unlike a tangerine it is almost always seedless, and in fact has been marketed as a ‘seedless tangerine’ in the past.  Father Clement Rodier is said to have discovered an accidental hybrid citrus fruit in the garden of his orphanage in Algeria and this was the origin of what we call a clementine, but now know there is a genetically identical variety of citrus known as the Canton mandarin that has been growing in China for nearly 3,000 years.

Clementines were introduced into California as a commercial crop in 1914, but their market exploded in the U.S. after the historically harsh winter of 1997 devastated the domestic Florida orange crop.  Due to their short growing season, only from late November thru January and their increased price and decreased availability they have very recently been marketed as ‘Christmas Oranges’.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Creamy Brown Rice, Braised Greens, Pork Sausage

Creamy Brown Rice with Greens and Pork

Two slices bacon, cut in one inch lengths
Half pound spicy Italian sausage
One sweet onion, diced
Six garlic cloves, sliced
One bunch mustard or turnip greens, cut in one inch strips
One tablespoon honey 

Three cups water
Two cups chicken stock
Half cup brown rice 

In a heavy bottom pot begin to render the bacon.  After 5 minutes add the sausage and break up into small chunks and brown.  Sautee the onion and garlic over the meat until soft then stir in greens.  Add honey, liquid and rice then bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and cook uncovered for an hour and half or until the rice has begun to break down.  Lastly, season with salt, black pepper and tobacco sauce to taste.  Serves as a meal for two or a side dish for four. 

Brown rice (or "hulled rice") is unmilled or partly milled rice, a kind of whole, natural grain. It has a mild nutty flavor, is chewier and more nutritious than white rice.