Friday, October 30, 2009

Natalie Portman and Vigilante Veganism

Don't you love the alliteration?

Came across this post on Salon today. I have to say there was a very interesting conflict among the ideas expressed both by the subject of the article and some of the posters commenting on the article.

I tried vegetarianism for a while and I have nothing against those who want to pursue this lifestyle. Frankly it doesn't work for me anymore because it's just too difficult to fulfill my protein need.

I will say, however, that many vegetarians I've met are insufferably sanctimonious. I certainly understand Tony Bourdain railing against them. If a person were to look at what goes on in nature, you know, that whole "Circle of Life" shtick, the way of things is to eat or be eaten. I remember a not-terribly-recent letter to the editor by someone complaining about neighbor cats and how they shouldn't be allowed out because when they killed birds in the area her vision of what "nature" was about was interrupted. Honey, cats killing birds IS nature. And yes, when the dog of my mother's neighbor killed another neighbor's cat, that was also nature. I wonder whether when vegetarians who are so against killing and death receive gifts of dead mice from little Fluffy are they upset?

For those who choose to be vegetarian for the sustainability aspect, I'm fine with that. I've had lots of neighbors who produced their own meat. At age 12 I was shocked when the people next door slaughtered their cow. But I can say that the animal was dispatched as quickly as possible and it seemed like a mere matter of seconds between the shot and the truck from Walt's Custom Slaughtering hoisting it up and going at the carcass with a chainsaw. Where I grew up (Vancouver, Washington) it used to be quite rural and all the 4H kids raised animals whose end, no doubt, would be in someone's freezer. Gordon Ramsey's show (on The F Word, I believe) detailed him taking the pigs his family had raised to slaughter. They showed the act and it did not appear to me as though the animals (Trinny and Susannah, LOL) suffered much pain between. Plus, he had the humanity to show some degree of conflict about having it done.

Industrialized meat production is not a pretty industry by any means. Remember the turkey murder that was filmed behind Sarah Palin talking about how great and fun it was to be at the turkey concentration camp?

There are in fact safety issues to be considered due to commercial meat production, which is why I have come to believe that the safest meat a person can get comes either from your own backyard or that of a neighbor, or anyone else who deals with it on a smaller scale.

I grant vegetarians every right to express their opinion and it would be nice to have the same freedom reciprocated. But hey, I don't tell you what to eat (Beano) so don't tell me. There are worse evils in the world to worry about.

PS-- in the Salon article Portman is quoted as saying she's a vegan. That is simply not the same thing as vegetarian because vegans don't eat dairy or eggs. Many of the recipes from that episode of Top Chef were clearly not vegan.

I also wonder whether she uses leather products such as shoes, purses, coats, etc. Oh, and "animal rights?" Let's stop killing people and then we can deal with animals.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Calphalon Rocks!

Got my new pan yesterday, have to hide it away from The Brat due to his tendency to put pans on the stove, turn the burner on and forget about it (love that ADHD!). In less than 24 hours we went though 2 dozen eggs. So far my fave involves sauteed shroom and cheddar.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

She Didn't Take Much Persuading

Only the briefest of mentions in an email to Sharmagne ("say why don't you compile these and publish your own cookbook?") LOL I am the editor and already have the table of contents. Now to the fun part of formatting and layout! I'm in heaven!

The working title is The Brown Hackle Lodge Cookbook, named for her fishing lodge in Arlington.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Last Night's Dinner

I had 2 pounds of defrosted ground beef in the fridge that I knew had to be used soon. I figured meat loaf was a good, fast, easy way to dispose it all at once. My honey is Italian so we tend to use a lot of traditionally Italian ingredients such as garlic and parmesan cheese. So here's what I did:

I cut 4 slices from a loaf of artisanal sourdough garlic bread and toasted them to make bread crumbs. Added about a teaspoon of dried oregano and maybe twice as much dried basil. I'm growing basil but it's getting cold now and it isn't exactly looking great these days.

Placed ground beef in a large mixing bowl, add 2 eggs, about a cup of grated parmesan, some salt and pepper. I sauteed a chopped red onion, 3 cloves of garlic and 5 or 6 chopped cremini mushrooms. I mooshed everything together, adding the crumbs at the end. Shaped into a log in a greased 9x13 pan and baked at 350 for about 40 minutes.

The ends were fine but the middle was still a bit pink, so I nuked those slices for 1 minute and they were fine.

Honey couldn't stop saying "girl, that thing is delicious." It's a pleasure to cook for someone so easy to please.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Yes, Euell, Many Flowers Are Edible

Sharmagne Leland St.-John was one of my very first good Internet pals. I had been working at AOL for a few months and begun exploring the many message boards. In the Royalty section, I noticed many posts referring to a person named "Sharm," but never saw her posting. She seemed to evoke tempestuous feelings in others as to a man, they either loved her or reviled her. I began to wonder whether this mythical being, who no one could stop talking about, was real or legend. It wasn't long before people started accusing me of being her.

One day, after a year or so, she returned to the boards. Amazed, I emailed her and said I was so glad to see that she existed because so many posters thought I was she. That was the beginning of a great friendship.

Today Sharmagne and I are colleagues on a poetry site and yes, we've met in real life. She never fails to amaze me with her endless creativity, schmoozing ability, and generosity. Not to mention the occasional hilarious hot-headed outburst. Rock on soul sistah!
Recipes courtesy of Sharmagne Leland-St. John

Rose Petal Bread

This unusual recipe dates back to Medieval times and is perfect for serving at an outdoor luncheon.

2 packages active dry yeast
2 cups warm water
6 tablespoons honey
7 cups unbleached white or whole wheat flour
1 2/3 tablespoons coarse salt
6 whole eggs plus one egg yolk
1 cup currants, softened in warm water
6 tablespoons melted butter
Butter for greasing bowls and cookie sheet
1 1/2 teaspoon rosemary
1 1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup finely chopped rose petals * (1 - 2 dozen red roses)
Several drops of red food color

Pour 1/2 cup warm water in a large bowl; sprinkle with the packages of yeast. Stir in the honey and let stand for 5 minutes.

Add the remaining warm water and 2 1/2 to 3 cups of flour. Beat by hand with a wooden spoon about 200 strokes. Cover with a damp cloth, put in a warm place and let the dough rise for 35 to 45 minutes or until doubled.

Punch the dough down and beat in the salt, melted butter and 5 whole eggs and the one yolk. Stir in the softened currants.

With a pestle and mortar, crush the rosemary, basil, cinnamon and the rose petals to make a paste. Add the herb mixture to the dough in the bowl and knead it, blending well. The bread should be a delicate rose hue. If the color from the petals isn't strong enough, use the red food color sparingly.

Using a spoon, beat in the remaining flour. Knead the dough until it comes away from the sides of the bowl.

Lightly flour a bread board or a slab of marble and turn the dough out onto it. Knead until smooth or elastic, about 10 to 12 minutes. Add small amounts of flour if the dough becomes too sticky to handle.

Place the dough in a buttered bowl. Cover with a damp cloth. Let it rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size (about 50 minutes).

Punch the dough down. Cover it and let it rest again until it has doubled in bulk. (30 minutes)

Again punch the dough down. Turn it onto a floured surface and let it rest for 5 minutes. Shape the dough into one or two free form twists or coils. Place on a buttered cookie sheet, cover lightly with a towel and let rise in a warm place until it has doubled again. (25 minutes)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Brush the loaf or loaves with the remaining whole egg, lightly beaten.

Bake for about 50 minutes until nicely browned and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped lightly with the knuckles. Place the bread on a wire rack to cool.

*Use ONLY rose petals which are free from pesticides. These may be purchased from a florist or home grown in an organic garden.


Nasturtium Salad

Harvest the nasturtium leaves flowers. The medium leaves and flowers are best. You may also find these in most gourmet markets.

40 Nasturtium leaves
20 Nasturtium flowers
2 heads of Butter lettuce
3 hard cooked eggs peeled and sliced into rounds

In the bottom of a large salad bowl prepare the dressing, stirring well to
dissolve the salt.

3 teaspoons peanut oil
2 teaspoons nasturtium vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
2 or 3 pinches white pepper

Wash the leaves, flowers, and lettuce. Spin in a salad spinner until dry. Set the flowers aside.

Tear the butter lettuce into bite sized pieces. Put the nasturtium and lettuce leaves into the bowl, add egg rounds and toss until all the leaves are coated. Sprinkle the flowers on top. Toss again just before serving.

Nasturtium Vinegar
Harvest and wash at least 20 nasturtium flowers. Boil a jar or decorative bottle until sterilized. Fill the jar or bottle with the nasturtium flowers and pour rice vinegar over them. Seal and put in a cool dark place for 3 weeks.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Welcome to Hakuna Fritatta!

Just one more meaningless, noisy blog dealing with food on the interwebz. This blog was inspired by the arrogance and general douchebaggery brought about by, who seems to think that only they and Food Network should be allowed to post about food. Since their site is awash in pay-per-click advertising seemingly paid for by Food Network they have offered $25 to food blogs who shut down and post their incredibly tacky ass poster showing that now owns their ass.

Dunno, selling one's soul to FN for a lousy $25? Dignity and not being a whore...priceless.

Well guess what Eater? Eat me!