Slow Money; Pickling; Tomato Frenzy; Women Farmers
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The theories behind the Slow Food movement just might be able to fix our economy. Woody Tasch explains the concept of Slow Money.
These days, more and more women are become farmers. Lisa Kivirist talks about the growing population of women in agriculture.
Just what does it take to be the restaurant critic for the New York Times? Frank Bruni gives us the details on the disguises, aliases and fake credit cards that come with the job.
Also this week, advice on what to do with your bounty of produce. Brian Yarvin has some ideas for all those tomatoes in season right now. Linda Ziedrich gives us a primer on making pickles. And Valerie Gordon makes fruit creams with fresh ingredients.
Plus Jonathan Gold eats incredible Mexican food in Boyle Heights. Helena Echlin offers advice for dining with an unemployed friend. And, Laura Avery shows us what fresh at the Santa Monica Farmers Market.
Market Report ()
David Karp writes a weekly column for the LA Times. Find Indian Blood Freestone peaches at Tenerelli Farms and Yingst Ranch. They will be at markets for one more week. The peaches have a thick skin with a lot of fuzz.
Amelia Saltsman, author of the Santa Monica Farmers Market Cookbook, is using sweet carrots and fresh ginger for a delicious soup.
Carrot Soup with Fresh Ginger
1 1/2 lbs carrots, peeled and chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 lb potatoes (about 2 small), peeled and chopped
1 knob fresh ginger, about size of ping pong ball, peeled and finely chopped
1 to 2 Tablespoons butter
About 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
In a wide pot over medium heat, sauté the carrots, onion, potatoes, and ginger in the butter with a little salt until softened, reducing the heat as needed so the vegetables don’t brown, about 10 minutes. You can cover the pot part way through cooking time to help steam the vegetables to soften.
Stir in about 2 cups of stock, adjust heat so you’ve got a nice simmer going, and cook, partially covered, until vegetables are tender and liquid is a bit reduced, about 10 minutes. Add another cup of stock and cook until vegetables are very tender. Puree the soup with a stand or immersion blender. It will probably be pretty thick. Stir in remaining stock until soup is thickness of heavy cream. If necessary add some water. Season to taste with salt.
© 2009, Amelia Saltsman.
Tomato Frenzy ()
Brian Yarvin is the author of Too Many Tomatoes: Classic & Exotic Recipes from Around the World.
10 lbs very ripe plum tomatoes cut in quarters
2 cups water
1 tsp salt
1. In a pot large enough to hold all the tomatoes, heat the water over medium heat, and bring to a simmer.
2. Mix in the tomatoes, and cook for about 15 minutes or until they start to soften and break down. Reduce the heat to low, add the salt and keep cooking for about 2 hours or until the volume of liquid has reduced by one-third. Remove the pot from the heat, and let it cool for at least 30 minutes.
3. Hold your food mill over a large, clean bowl. Make sure the whole thing is solid; if it's not, you'll have a real mess on your hands. Put a bit of the cooked tomatoes in the mill and start cranking. Soon the soft pulp (along with a few well-cooked pies of skin) will start collecting in the bowl. This is the passata-that is, the stuff that's passed through the mill.
4. When you've run all the tomatoes through, it's time to put them up. I prefer freezing in small quantities. Place 1 cup of passata in a heavy duty freezer bag, press all the air out, zip it shut, and label it clearly with both the contents and the date you prepared it. They will keep for at least 3 months.
Roasted Tomatoes with Twelve Flavors
1 Tablespoon butter plus extra for baking dish
1/2 cup chopped fresh pear
1/2 cup chopped fresh apple
1/2 cup chopped fresh pineapple
1 cup orange juice
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup chopped almonds
1/4 cup shelled pistachios
1/4 cup raisins
1 tsp orange zest
1 tsp lemon zest
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar
4 medium tomatoes
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Heat the butter, pear, apple, pineapple, orange juice, walnuts, almonds, pistachios, raisins, orange zest, lemon zest, mint, vanilla extract, cloves, and sugar in a saucepan over medium low heat. Cook, stirring, until all the fruits are tender and a syrup has formed, about 20 minutes. Keep warm until you're ready for step 4.
3. Make sure your tomatoes can stand up on their own. If they can't, slice a bit off the bottom. Now use a melon baller or grapefruit spoon to hollow out the insides. Place the hollowed-out tomatoes on a buttered baking dish.
4. Stuff the hollowed-out tomatoes with the fruit mixture. Pour any remaining liquid over the tomatoes.
5. Bake until all the fruit is cooked through, about 40 minutes. Serve warm.
The Secret Life of a Restaurant Critic ()
Frank Bruni recently stepped down as restaurant critic for the New York Times, a post he has held for the last five years. His new book is Born Round: The Secret History of a Full-Time Eater where he recounts his past struggles with food. Frank's last column as the restaurant critic answered many of the questions he was asked over the years.
The new critic for the New York Times is Sam Sifton.
Picking up the Tab ()
Helena Echlin writes the Table Manners column for Chow.com. According to Helena, much tact is needed when treating an unemployed friend to dinner. Her first tip is to take him or her to an inexpensive or mid-priced restaurant and casually offer to pick up the tab.
Breed Street ()
Jonathan Gold writes the Pulitzer Prize-winning Counter Intelligence column for the Los Angeles Weekly. For excellent Mexican food, Jonathan recommends heading to a parking lot on Breed Street, north of Cesar Chavez Avenue. With its taco trucks, carts, stalls and balloon animal clowns, the lot is transformed into a street festival. Jonathan likes the tacos al vapor and the barbacoa.
Find all of Jonathan's suggestions on the Good Food Restaurant Map.
Fruit Creams to Die For ()
3360 West 1st Street
Los Angeles, CA 90004
Women Farmers ()
Lisa Kivirist is a farmer in Wisconsin. She is also a W.K. Kellogg Food & Society Policy Fellow and the co-author of ECOpreneuring and Rural Renaissance. She and her husband run Inn Serendipity, a farm and bed and breakfast.
According to the USDA's 2007 Census of Agriculture, the number of women farmers increased 19% between 2002 and 2007. Most of these farms are located in the Western U.S. and in New England. In 2007, 30 percent of American farms were operated by women.
The Women's Food and Agriculture Network is a national non-profit that supports female farmers.
Slow Money ()
Woody Tasch is the author of Inquiries into the Nature of Slow Money, which takes the principles of Slow Food and applies them to finance. He believes that modern companies are too big and our financial system is too complex.
Until last year, Woody was the chairman of Investor's Circle, which invested in ventures promoting sustainability. In the $130 million that they've invested over the last 17 years, 14% has been invested in food and organic-related companies.
Woody is now the Chairman of the Slow Money Alliance.
In a Pickle ()
Linda Ziedrich is the author of The Joy of Pickling. She recommends that beginners start by pickling green beans in vinegar.
Tarragon or Basil Beans
6 garlic cloves, sliced
36 whole black peppercorns, crushed
3 lbs young, tender snap beans, trimmed, if needed to 4 inches
6 tarragon sprigs or 12 basil sprigs
3 1/2 cups white wine vinegar
3 1/2 cups water
2 Tablespoons pickling salt
1. Divide the garlic and peppercorns evenly among 6 pint mason jars. Pack the beans vertically into the jars, adding 1 tarragon sprig or 2 basil sprigs to each.
2. In a saucepan, bring to a boil the vinegar, water and salt. Pour the hot liquid over the beans, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Close the jars with two-piece caps. Process the jars for 5 minutes in a boiling water bath, or pasteurize them for 30 minutes by immersing them in a water heated to 180 to 185 degrees.
3. Store the cooled jars in a cool, dry, dry place for at least 3 weeks before eating the beans. After opening a jar, store it in the refrigerator.
Pickled Eggplant Cubes
3 cups white wine vinegar
2 1/4 lbs slender eggplants, peeled and cut into 3/8 to 1/2 inch cubes
2 Tablespoons crushed garlic
1/3 cup loosely packed small fresh basil leaves
2 tsps pickling salt
1. In a nonreactive saucepan, bring the vinegar to a boil. Blanch the eggplant in the vinegar for 2 minutes, in three or four batches. In a bowl, toss the eggplant with the garlic, basil and salt.
2. Pack the eggplant into pint mason jars and pour the boiling vinegar over, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Close the jars with two-piece lids. Process the jars for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.
3. Store the jars in a cool, dry, dark place for 1 week or longer before eating the eggplant. After opening a jar, store it in the refrigerator.
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