Posts tagged ‘Mark Bittman’
Clearly getting married and then getting settled into my new life has kept me busy, because I was totally unaware that Mark Bittman published a new cookbook early last month! (Thank goodness for Facebook!)
The book, Kitchen Express: 404 Inspired Seasonal Dishes You Can Make in 20 Minutes or Less, has 101 recipes for each season and according to the review they’re “delicious”, “sophisticated” and “simple”. Needless to say, I’m pretty excited about this discovery. I’m definitely seeing if I can get it from the library soon…though I’m pretty sure I’ll end up owning it.
Just when I thought my Mark Bittman obsession was fading…
I very much enjoyed taking the “Holier than Chow” quiz from Time Out New York.
Your Score: 55
You’re a Discerning Diner. You know what you like and it often includes gussied-up grub. But you’re just as happy scarfing a Papaya Dog any day of the week.
Really? I think I may be a bit more of a snob than that, but…quizzes are quizzes (therefore I must take them!)
In other news, the highlight of my day (week, month, year?) was that Mark Bittman (@bittman) retweeted my “Vegetarianism: an Eating Disorder” blog post, and its up to 243 views! Thanks to all those who are reading! I realize this blog has been evolving, and I appreciate your readership. And some day, I may stop talking about Mark Bittman so much. Maybe.
Also exciting: the fact that I’ll be sharing my vegetarian lunch of the week, Sage-Mushroom Barley modified from The Flexitarian Diet, with one of the teachers at school tomorrow, since she’s vegetarian and I made way too much (what else is new?). It’ll be nice to share with a vegetarian, instead of my parents who are still perplexed by this change in my eating habits.
Tellingly, I rarely see any teachers eating the school lunch. Seems strange that this needs to be said, but if it’s not good enough for us, why do we give it to our students? This isn’t just about a stale peanut butter and jelly sandwich, it’s about social justice.
As I mentioned before, the school lunch issue is a big one. I suspect that no educator reading the “Teacher, Revised” blog post would be surprised by its content (at least, I’m not), but it’s refreshing to see someone outside of education who has lots of “foodie” connections making themselves aware of the issue and sharing it on Twitter. The accompanying class blog, 510 Eats Well, features student comments and insight–why are we feeding our students so poorly? What sort of message and model does it give students when we feed them junk? I think Oatey is genius–way to involve students in the process of creating change to benefit them!
The blog mentions legislation proposed late last year, but I used THOMAS to see what else what happening on the school lunch front. The most exciting result was the Child Nutrition Promotion and School Lunch Protection Act of 2009. We need to “amend the Child Nutrition Act of 1966”? You think?! 1966?! The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Education and Labor.
Add to my to do list: Compose a letter to the Committee members, further educate myself on this issue
11:43: All I’ve eaten this morning was half a granola bar (still too sweet, I haven’t changed my mind) and a hand full of walnuts. I want real lunch. Time to finish the fried rice started this morning.
11:44: Gather ingredients: oil, bell pepper (green; you should’ve seen the produce selection at the supermarket last night!), onion, the rice I cooked this morning (now plenty cooled) soy sauce.
11:47: Prep veggies. This always takes longer than I expect it to. I’m a slow dicer.
12:00 Holy crap, this onion is strong. Eyes are crazy watering. I usually don’t react to onions.
12:03: My nose starts running. Wow.
12:07: Done cutting that dumb onion, start cooking it in hot oil. Add the peppers after a couple minutes.
12:12: My Man calls; we discuss rice while I stir the vegetables.
12:22: Add the rice to the pan. Mark Bittman says (in the cookbook) to break up the rice chunks with one’s fingers. I burn myself doing so and switch to using a spatula.
12:30: It’s not very brown…let it sit for a few minutes.
12:34: Add the soy sauce–now it’s brown!
12:38: Finally sit down to lunch! It’s pretty good…I think the rice is cooked a little unevenly, but certainly edible. Definitely perfect for school lunch this week. Both parents try it and think it’s decent. Success!
This concludes the cooking portion of my weekend. Just kidding, I still have to make brownies or something for debate. *sigh*
In these crazy times, its nice to get some good news. The Obama’s planted their vegetable garden. I realize I’m probably the last food blogger on the planet to write about it, life got busy and my Reader got out of control.
For those who haven’t been paying attention, the NY Times reports that the garden will have
55 varieties of vegetables, including “red romaine, green oak leaf, butter head, red leaf and galactic lettuces, spinach, chard, collards and black kale, shallots, shell peas, sugar snap peas, broccoli, fennel, and rhubarb and onions.”
The article goes on to discuss the blogosphere’s calls for the Obama’s to include beets in the garden. I think 55 vegetables is probably sufficient, and we can live without the beets, but perhaps I’m in the minority on this. Alice Waters is, of course, estatic about the garden.
Andrew Martin wrote a lengthy article for the NY Times detailing the current state of the food movement, begging the question “Is a Food Revolution Now In Season?” Of course, many of the ideas have been around for years, and, in the case of Alice Waters and Chez Panisse, decades. But at any rate, people are noticing, myself included. Clearly, I can’t pretend to not be jumping on the bandwagon just like everyone else.
Mark Bittman’s article in the NY Times discusses the “revolution” and the fact that eating well isn’t as simple as eating organic:
To eat well, says Michael Pollan, the author of “In Defense of Food,” means avoiding “edible food-like substances” and sticking to real ingredients, increasingly from the plant kingdom. (Americans each consume an average of nearly two pounds a day of animal products.) There’s plenty of evidence that both a person’s health — as well as the environment’s — will improve with a simple shift in eating habits away from animal products and highly processed foods to plant products and what might be called “real food.” (With all due respect to people in the “food movement,” the food need not be “slow,” either.)
Hence, the organic status of salmon flown in from Chile, or of frozen vegetables grown in China and sold in the United States — no matter the size of the carbon footprint left behind by getting from there to here.
Marion Nestle, a professor at New York University’s department of nutrition, food studies and public health, “Organic junk food is still junk food.”
And really, that’s what it comes down to for me. Clearly, eating organic, or vegetarian, or local isn’t the complete solution to America’s diet problem. The solution is eating better overall, more vegetables, less red meat (Huffington Post reported today that a new study shows that Lots Of Red Meat Increases Mortality Risk), less sugar and empty calories. I’m not leaving tomorrow to go lobby Congress for better school lunches, more funding for organic farmers or a ban on candy. I’m going to keep only eating meat once a day, trying to consume more produce and educating myself. When I can, I’ll feed others and share with them what I know. I really think that’s one of the best things I can do. That’s how I got into this movement and I think word of mouth is a good way to get others into eating right as well.
In closing, I really appreciated this quote from Ed Levine at Serious Eats: “This food revolution, like all revolutions, is a marathon, not a sprint, and you have to be in it to win it.”
Also, my very own copy of How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman arrived in the mail today :)
I realize posting about the organic/slow/vegetarian food movement and Taylor Pork Roll on the same day may seem contradictory. It probably is. I believe that there are generally better ways of eating, but that’s no reason to not eat food simply because it tastes good on occasion. I can’t be good all the time.
Continuing with the Mark Bittman theme, I made granola bars last night based on the ones in How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. I’m not sure why I felt the pressing need to do so; I’m sure we have a giant Sam’s Club box of Quaker Chewy Granola Bars in the basement and I like those just fine. But the recipe really intrigued me, so I went for it.
Bittman offers several variations on his No Bake Granola Bar recipe, and I combined a couple of them. It should be mentioned at this juncture (its surprising that it hasn’t come up sooner, really) that I am pretty close to obsessed with peaches and peach flavored things. So, given all the options, I had to select dried peaches as my fruit of choice, but any dried fruit will work. Now, without further ado,
1/4 cup oil (I used Canola; Bittman recommends grapeseed or corn)
2 and 1/4 cups granola (whatever looks good to you, I used the plainest I could find)
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped (granola and nuts combined should total 3 cups; adjust amounts to taste)
1 and 1/2 cups dried peaches (or other dried fruit)
1. Using a food processor, combine the peaches and oil until smooth. Add water as necessary to achieve this. I felt like I needed to add a lot of water to get my peaches to form something close to smooth. I’ll spare you the photo, because it doesn’t look appetizing.
2. Warm the peach mixture in a small saucepan on the stove so that it becomes even softer.
3. Mix the granola and walnuts in a large bowl. Add the peach mixture a bit at a time and coat all the granola.
4. Press into an 8 or 9-inch square pan with your fingers. Trust me, I tried pressing them with the spatula and they did not stick together.
5. Cool in the refrigerator. Cut into squares and enjoy.
They’re pretty tasty. I don’t eat cereal, so I’m thinking this is going to be breakfast for the next few days. I’m already brainstorming the other variations I want to try–apples, chocolate, cranberries, coconut…