Monday, May 31, 2010

Put these on your Netflix list

A couple documentaries have come out in the past few years that were well marketed enough to bring a bit of food education into the average household. I wish more people would watch more of these movies. Here is a list of "must see" foodie films.

Food, Inc.- Probably the most popular, and for good reason. "The filmmaker takes his camera into slaughterhouses and factory farms where chickens grow too fast to walk properly, cows eat feed pumped with toxic chemicals, and illegal immigrants risk life and limb to bring these products to market at an affordable cost."

King Corn- My personal favorite because of its ironic humor. "Engrossing and eye-opening, KING CORN is a fun and crusading journey into the digestive tract of our fast food nation where one ultra-industrial, pesticide-laden, heavily-subsidized commodity dominates the food pyramid from top to bottom - corn. Fueled by curiosity and a dash of naivet‚, college buddies Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis return to their ancestral home of Greene, Iowa to figure out how a modest kernel conquered America. With the help of some real farmers, oodles of fertilizer and government aid, and some genetically modified seeds, the friends manage to grow one acre of corn. Along the way, they unlock the hilarious absurdities and scary but hidden truths about America's modern food system."

Supersize Me- Hopefully you've at least heard of this one by now. "Documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock makes himself a test subject in this documentary about the commercial food industry. After eating a diet of McDonald's fast food three times a day for a month straight Spurlock proves the physical and mental effects of consuming fast food."

THE FUTURE OF FOOD offers an in-depth investigation into the disturbing truth behind the unlabeled patented genetically engineered foods that have quietly filled U.S. grocery store shelves for the past decade. From the prairies of Saskatchewan Canada to the fields of Oaxaca Mexico this film gives a voice to farmers whose lives and livelihoods have been negatively impacted by this new technology. The health implications government policies and push towards globalization are all part of the reason why many people are alarmed about the introduction of genetically altered crops into our food supply

Sweet Misery- Although many artificial sweeteners have been proven toxic and dangerous since they were first created, they have somehow still ended up in our food. "This documentary is a close examination into what some consider to be a "hoax": aspartame toxicity. This documentary attempts to look at what is definitively known about aspartame and discovers that the label "hoax" in this case is a dangerous misconception. This controversial documentary is sure to open eyes to the possible dangers of what lurks in our food."

The World According to Monsanto- Did you know that much of the world's seed supply is owned by one multi-billion dollar company? Did you know that they genetically alter these seeds to require one kind of fertilizer that the very same company produces? Do you know the terrifying implications of that? It kind of makes me wonder why this DVD is hard to find...

Saturday, May 22, 2010

"At least it's not as bad as going vegan..."

I am really having to swallow my epicurean pride right now...I've always made fun of people who say they are allergic to wheat. "Wheat is the new peanut!" I always liked to say. No, no, it's not me who's discovered a legitimate gluten allergy- it's the man I cook for, who, upon getting some blood work done has discovered that his dry skin is due largely to the fact that he eats too much wheat...and dairy, eggs, and almonds apparently. And while that doesn't sound that bad (We both agree, "It's not as bad as going vegan"), you'd be surprised at how many dishes and foods have at least one of these ingredients.


Ok, scratch that entire opening paragraph.

New Title: "How to show my love"

So, for the summer, at least, Raj can't eat wheat, dairy (butter is OK), or almonds. As a baker, I find this an enormous- but really fun- challenge. You all know by now that I don't like fake things- tofurkey, milk substitutes, etc, so I refuse to go out and buy some wheat free baguette.* However, wheat gluten also shows up in a plethora of surprising places. Oats, for one, unless you buy them specifically gluten free. This has blossomed into a request for home made granola, which I am working on as we

My experience in trying wheat free baked goods from other places and in making them myself is that wheat substitutes don't do very well. Luckily, I have a repertoire of naturally flower free desserts such as coconut macaroons, and flourless chocolate cakes.

I did buy all purpose gluten free flour just to see what I could do with it. It's made of an assortment of dried bean flours and potato starch, and although it probably wouldn't do very well in things that need flour for texture like cookies and muffins, it makes a fine substitute for flour when it is needed to simply absorb moisture. I made pear, raspberry, and chocolate crisp last night (substituting walnuts for almonds) with the new flour, and it was absolutely divine.

*Although, Raj has expressed in interested in trying out Wheatless in Seattle

Friday, May 14, 2010

Deep thoughts of the day.

As hard as it has been for my body to adjust from Los Angeles to Seattle in the cold months, I must say when the weather warms up, the Californian in me comes out rather quickly. As I sit outside and eat a cookie, the sun reminds me that sooner or later I will have to be putting a bathing suit back on.

I'm not sixteen anymore. What I eat makes a difference.
Today I was thinking about a conversation I overheard last summer. I was sitting on the beach at the Seattle Tennis Club near a woman and her friend.

Ok, I was totally eaves dropping.
I had seen the woman before. She's in her mid forties, totally gorgeous, has 3 beautiful older children and and infant. I'm sure her husband is a Microsoft exec or successful lawyer or something. Oh, and did I mention that she is very petite and has probably .5% body fat? The bee-yotch made me feel like a hippo tromping around on the sand.

I'm sure she's very nice. I don't know her at all.

My ears perked up when she started talking about how she stays fit.

"I only have to work out sixteen hours a day..."
She didn't say that, but she did say, "I eat pretty healthy, I don't starve myself or anything...but I haven't had a cookie or ice cream in about ten years."

Hold the phone...excuse me, ma'am, I was rudely listening in on your conversation about how you manage to stay perfect. Did you say what I think you just said? Mmhmm, that's what I thought.

No thanks. I think I'd prefer to keep my less than perfect, sugar filled life, if you please.

Thanks for listening.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

It's time! It's time!

Disclaimer -don't go to Seattle farmers markets to save money on groceries. If you do, you will most likely be disappointed.

And now that we've gotten that out of the way, let me tell you how much I love farmers markets. There's just something so old-worldly about them- like I am some lovely Parisian woman* in the 1920's strolling around speaking French** and picking out only the freshest of what the wonderful season has to offer.

Farmers markets are one of my favorite summer activities. Sure, Seattle has a few year round, but most would consist of me waking up at 6am on a Sunday and driving 30 minutes...we all know how likely that is...Anyway, May through June is about the time where all the other markets begin opening up again. Here is the schedule:

University District (Saturdays, 9am-2pm, Year-round.)

West Seattle (Sundays, 10am-2pm, Year-round.)

Broadway (Sundays, 11am-3pm, May 9 - December 19)

Columbia City (Wednesdays, 3-7pm, April 28 - October 20)

Phinney (Fridays, 3-7pm, May 28 - October 1)

Lake City (Thurs, 3-7pm, June 3 - October 7)

Magnolia (Sat, 10am-2pm, June 5 - September 25)

I actually can't go as often as I would like. Many run on week days, and since I am constantly always usually working, they prove difficult to get to. As wonderful as they are, I need to remind myself that it's worth prioritizing.

*'cause you all know that's my dream
**People usually look at me like I'm crazy when I do this

Monday, May 10, 2010


On a note completely unrelated to food, a few other ladies and I have started another blog. I am advertising for us, because I think we are collectively hilarious.

The star of mother's day...

Was my mom, of course.

Runner up was the lunch we had. Grilled bratwurst, fruit salad, and this asparagus salad.

It's amazing, fresh, easy, healthy, and fast. Just like mom....kinda....

1. Chop 2 bunches of asparagus into millions of tiny coins (slice not-lengthwise).
2. Crush a clove of garlic into a few tablespoons of olive oil.
3. Mix salt and squeezed lemon (teaspoon, perhaps, each) into oil.
4. Mix everything together.
5. Stir in about a quarter cup of parmesan cheese.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

The best ways to spend $5 (on food) in Seattle

Is that all you have? No problem! Despite what you may think (and you know who you are), I'm a fairly low maintenance girl. I do not need (nor do I usually like, actually) extremely posh dining. I just like good food, and as that is the case, I have managed to move my way around the city, discovering all the best $5 treats as I go. That's not easy to find 'round these parts, so I have done all the hard, delicious work for you. I tried to find a few things for the list that are not sweet. So, It's not all sweet, anyay...

The Best Ways to Spend $5 in Seattle:

1. Pulled pork sliders at Sazerac's happy hour- $4 I can't really tell you what I love so much about the pulled pork at Sazerac, but I can tell you that once I got there when happy hour was over and begged the waitress to make them up for me anyway. I love them that much. Add the $4 organic greens and $4 house syrah, and you've got the perfect meal.

2. Croissant and cup of tea at Le Fournil- $2.95 This little bakery does one of the best 'take me back to France' croissants in the city. Add a cup of Harney and Son's Paris tea, and I'm almost there. I think coffee is included in this deal as well. Also, for $4.95 you can have the same deal but with a croissant sandwich rather than a plain croissant.

3. Mangodilla from Agua Verde- $5.25 I cheat, yes, but this used to be $4.95. Trust me, it's worth the extra 30 cents.

4. Hot fudge sundae from Coastal Kitchen- $4.95 House made hot fudge, whipped cream and pecans in just the right individual size that you don't want to share.

5. Ice cream cone from Scoop Du Jour- $3 Sure, for that price you could get a pint of the exact same ice cream at the grocery store, but this is about the experience. On a (rare) warm and sunny day in the summer when the sun is up til 10, it's so fun to go after dinner, pick out your flavor, and then stroll around the beautiful Madison Park while eating. It's also the perfect date.

6. A meal at Ezell's Chicken- somewhere around $5 For health reasons, I wouldn't recommend eating at Ezell's more than, say, once in a decade. However, there's a reason Oprah likes this place- it's dang good!

7. Two donuts and two cups of coffee from Top Pot- a little more than $5 But definitely less than $5 for one. It's another great cheap date, especially when you have time to sit around and chat in the cafe.

8. Nutella strawberry panini from Volunteer Park Cafe- can't remember the price, but it's less than $5. I don't need to tell you how toast, nutella, and strawberries taste together. Especially when it's made by someone else.

I know I have more, but I have to think about it for a little while. Be ready for part 2!

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Current obsession: the apple

"If you're not hungry enough to eat an apple, then you're not hungry."

We live in a world where everything has been done somewhere at least once. Chefs try desperately to think of new and inventive ideas to keep people on the edge of their dining chairs. Restaurants plow through fads the same way Dior and Gucci circulate fashion- lemongrass flan, curried chocolates, you name it. And just as the present dominance of leggings, denim dresses and clogs prove, everything comes back around at some point.

If there was an official least cutting edge and creative food the apple would be it. How is it, then, that I am just discovering how wonderful and apple can be? Is it coming back around?

Even as a child, I didn't prefer to eat them when I had the choice. Most of what I know about apples I learned in my seventh grade science project "Does an apple a day really keep the doctor away?" In this research, I gleaned that apples are about 80 calories and that they may better help keep the dentist away, because they can serve as nature's toothbrush.

Why, then, am I suddenly in the past couple of weeks reaching for a Pink Lady every time I feel hungry? I'm not talking about tarts, or pies. I'm just eating fresh, juicy, crisp apples. My fruit bowl is overflowing with Fujis and Braeburns, which I am grabbing every time I leave the house. I have no explanation for this. But as long as my prevailing choice of snack food costs roughly 75 cents apiece, I think I will ride the wave and enjoy!

I feel like this guy:

Monday, May 03, 2010

Solid Potato Salad

No, I don't have a recipe for potato salad. I just wanted to make sure that everyone I come in contact with for the rest of my life sees this video.

Take my plate, fill it up, and bring it right back!