A year of pescetarian parenting and related discoveries.

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Wednesday, September 29


                             Tell congress to pass the child nutrition bill today!
     In the next 36 hours, the House is set to vote on the much anticipated Child Nutrition Re-authorization Act (CNR). Tomorrow, on September 30th, the bill will expire if Congress does not act. If that happens, our kids will lose out on the best shot they've got at improving the quality of their school lunches.

Monday, September 27

More about the business of food

     More logic we have to fight;


Friday, September 24

Funky Fish

   I love salmon, it is a superfood, and make a point of eating it once a week on average. It is one of my specialties, and I can cook it in countless ways. I was horrified when I first heard about the so called Frankenstein fish, transgenic salmon, and my immediate reaction was to wail a war cry that it would never, ever cross my lips. But the following post I share with you today presents some interesting food for thought. At the very least, we owe it to our children to study this issue thoroughly without accepting misinformed conclusions, before we decide what we are going to feed them. It is terribly trying that feeding our children has become such a complicated endeavor, but accepting that it has, and taking these decisions seriously, is part of how we model good earth stewardship to them. If you are inclined to skip reading the article here is just the last line, and the writer's conclusion;

     "To my mind, the transgenic salmon is a wise, indeed elegant, contribution to our blind pillaging of our waters."


Monday, September 20

Heirloom Harvest Barn Dinner

     Last night I had one of the most memorable meals I have ever had the pleasure of partaking in. I was one of the lucky souls seated at the table seen above for the second annual Heirloom Harvest Barn Dinner at Berry Hill Farm in  quintessentially scenic Stratham, New Hampshire. The dinner was the inspired dream of chef, restaurateur and organic farmer Evan Mallet, who shoulders a deep personal and professional commitment to the noble idea of renewing America's food traditions. He is very active in RAFT New England Grow-Out, The Slow Food movement, and the Chef's Collaborative (see www.chefscollaborative.org). He is in the center of his team in the barn's prep area in the picture below;

     This year the grow-out vegetables, which are all heirloom (meaning they are both indigenous and endangered) were an interesting variety of eleven fruits, vegetables, and beans most of which have never graced the lips of this life-long veggie lovin' native. We were reminded that there was a time not long ago when the people of this region ate only what was fresh, local and organic. Most of the groceries came from the yard. And we were reminded in dish after creative dish, that they ate well. It is sad to realize, but I am thankful for the lesson, that these heirloom foods, and many others, will be lost to all of us forever, if we don't start growing, eating, and ordering them with some serious frequency. Chef Evan shared this years featured heirlooms with a team of gifted cooks to create a menu fit for a kingdom. (When I mention one of them I will highlight it.)

      Upon arrival we had drinks (all relatively local) and hors d'oeuvres on the lawn. There were three kinds of treats being passed by pretty people; truffled Maine lobster and red fife wheat tabbouleh, slow-roasted pork and forellenschuss (an heirloom lettuce) galantine with heirloom beans and oka pico de gallo, and duck confit on RAFT rosti with Wethersfield onion marmalade. The last one, I must confess, was my runaway favorite. Rosti, the national dish of Switzerland, is pan fried grated potato. With the delightful duck confit and slightly sweet marmalade on top, it melted in my mouth like a classic comfort food cloud. I had two!

      The first course was my least favorite, but only because I am not a fan of ceviche. It was sea scallop ceviche with Jimmy Nardello "Caviar", trophy tomato - lemon verbana whip and an oka muskmelon and nasturtium salad. Ceviche is a raw dish of ancient origin using primarily citrus marinades to prepare the fish. One must enjoy the texture and temperature. I didn't, but all of my neighboring diners did. Side dishes, as shown, are used to complement. The clever "caviar" was actually created from the heirloom sweet Italian frying pepper, and played tasty tricks on the eye and tongue. The muskmelon, originally bred by Quebecian monks, was sweet and satisfying, my highlight. This dish was paired with a micro-brewed pale ale, and as you can see was plated in the most pleasing way.

     The second course was simply superb, both in taste and in presentation. We were served lobster two ways; claw en brioche with roasted Jimmy Nardello pepper aioli,  and ginger and scallion tail with spiced long pie pumpkin puree, with an heirloom Boston marrow turnip, squash, and bean hash between them. Both were so satisfying but the claw, which tasted like a little lobster BLT, was outstanding to me. The tail went surprisingly well with pumpkin puree, and it all paired perfectly with a smooth sauvignon blanc.

      The third course was prepared by top-gun Chef Evan, and consisted of a generous portion of Moroccan-spiced braised lamb (two different cuts) in grilled long pie pumpkin rings with Gilfeather turnip greens, with curried trophy tomato chutney and a dried bean cracker bread. The meat was lovingly prepared, so moist and tender no knife was needed. The veggies were intriguing, but the chutney was a show stealer. I kept dipping my cracker bread into it. All went well with my favorite beverage; (excepting the robust porter I had sampled earlier) a light zinfandel.

      Though I was pretty full by the fouth course and generally don't indulge in dessert, there was no way I was passing on the final course; long pie pumpkin panna cotta with maple bourbon creme anglaise, topped with a brown sugar shortbread and spiced pumpkin seeds. Panna cotta, which means cooked cream in Italian, seemed to me, the perfect way to use a pumpkin, and a perfectly heavenly way to end such a paradisiacal  meal.

Sunday, September 19

Crab and Cheddar Chowder

     Here you can see that, in a bit of both butter and olive oil, I began by adding some minced garlic and chopped onion, then adding uncooked vegetables one at a time; carrots, celery, and mushrooms, followed by the precooked veggies. When everything had cooked awhile I stirred in some flour and fresh herbs as well as dried dill weed. Next came a container of fresh crab meat. Then slowly stirring in some white wine, followed by some half and half, and skim milk.
    Stir gently til everything is warm, then at the end of cooking time, stirring in a handful of rich cheddar cheese until melted. ~ A lovely way to introduce Summer to Autumn.

Wednesday, September 15

Corn Sugar, Hah!

     This is really nasty marketing that you need to be aware of, and why children have to be taught, at very young ages how to read labels and identify tricks designed to fool them. I've used my failing eye sight as a reason to get my daughter to read labels to me the last couple of years, and it has brought out many excellent conversations about food and nutrition that I don't think we would have had otherwise. She is becoming much more aware now. But as you'll see by the following article the bad guys are always trying to stay one step ahead...


And here is some info on how to avoid the stuff altogether;


Saturday, September 11

Best Ever Beet Salad

     I'm writing to you from my brand new laptop - back in business!

     Well, you remember those beautiful beets I wrote about last time, when I was using just the greens? I promised something amazing was coming with root of the plant, the beets, and here it is (finally)...

     I readily admit that I love a well designed salad. When a really well chosen bevy of tastes come together and surprise your palate in an unexpected way, and it is all good for your body to boot! I have to say that this Beet Salad was one of the most delicious salads I have ever had. Honestly. Even leftovers the next day tasted great which is generally not possible with salad at all. Please do yourself a favor and try this one. Even if you are not a fan of beets, try it, with the freshest beets you can find. I double dog dare you to not like it.

Here is the recipe;

          Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese, Candied Walnuts, and Dressing 

For the citrus dressing:
1/2 shallot, minced
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Whisk all ingredients together.
For the salad:
1/2 pound medium beets, trimmed and scrubbed
1 large bunch fresh spinach
4 ounces fresh goat cheese
1/2 cup candied walnuts ( I roasted mine in maple syrup)
For the salad:
  Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wrap washed beets individually in aluminum foil. Place the foil packets on a baking sheet and bake until the tip of a sharp knife easily slides through the beets, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Halve each beet, then slice into bite sizes.
  Layer washed and dried spinach on platter, followed by beet slices, and then crumbled cheese and nuts. Pour dressing on top just before serving. 

Friday, September 3

Open to Grace | Peace and Carrots | Yoga Blog | Yoga Journal

You may not know that I am a children's yoga teacher. I think it is as crucial for young children to learn lessons of caring for their bodies with exercise and self calming techniques as it is to learn about doing it with good food, so this new blog appealed to me. You might enjoy it too. Open to Grace | Peace and Carrots | Yoga Blog | Yoga Journal

Beet Greens topped with candied walnuts and coconut crusted sea scallops

     Last night my daughter and I went out for a fantastic dinner of a salmon skin salad with ika maki. Delightful! But today I want to talk about beets. My very nice neighbors shared their beet bounty with me recently. For many years I disliked beets having only had bland beets out of a can as a child and always remembering a horrific taste experience I once had then when washing a bite down with a swig of orange soda. (That tells you a lot about the nutrition parameters of my youth!) Now, as with so many other fresh local, organic goodies I so appreciate beets. So much so that the pile you see below, will be posted about twice. This meal uses only the greens. From here they were chopped off and washed....

Next, while still wet, they were sauteed in a bit of olive oil, butter, garlic, and seaweed gomasio, until soft.

     When fully cooked remove and layer in a serving platter. In the same pan, I use a wok pan, heat a bit of maple syrup or honey (whatever is local and fresh) and then stir fry a handful of walnuts until fully coated and toasted. Sprinkle on top of greens evenly.

     While pan frying I had baked some lovely coconut crusted sea scallops prepared by my fish monger. You could prepare the scallops any way that you like them. These though were delicious. Layer them attractively atop the greens and nuts for a beautiful presentation at the table.

     Here is my serving, just before I devoured it. We had it with roasted potatoes as you can see, but a nice artisan bread would have been a better accompaniment. Next you'll hear about the root of the beet which is actually even yummier!!