January 18, 2012


In case you missed it, there's a lot of good news in the Local Food Movement. Especially in the Northern Heartland, stories of resilience abound:

* The Minneapolis City Council just incorporated a Food Council (a  government-business-citizen coalition) to support all local food efforts (community gardens, farmers markets, entrepreneurial businesses, composting, etc.) 

*Law makers in Minnesota, responding to consumer pressure, defeated proposed bills that would have made it illegal to produce undercover videos of livestock factory farms. 

* Across the region, small portable grocery stores, corner markets, food trucks are bring local food to food desserts. 

*Scientific evidence shows organic is better: organic chicken carries less risk of salmonella; organic milk is more nutritious; organic carrots have more nutrients.

*Rodale Institute's recently published long-term study proves that organic farming IS JUST AS PRODUCTIVE as conventional and it's better at building soil. (This is key because "yield" is at the heart of the "feed the world" discussion.)

It's a good time to read up on these good food matters. Here are some links to brighten your day:

The Best, Worst and Most Overlooked Food Stories of 2011
Alternet - Dec 16, 2011
Here's a look at what (sometimes baffling) stories Americans found most compelling and several important ones they missed.
The good food news of 2011
Grist - Dec 22, 2011
2011 was a big year for food politics. In case you dozed off anywhere along the way, read up on the year's most important stories below.
BOOK: Cultivating a Movement: An Oral History of Organic Farming and Sustainable Agriculture on California's Central Coast


Carrot Apple Parsley Slaw
Serves 2

3 carrots, grated
1 apple, cored and grated
1/4 cup grated red onion
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon crushed cumin seeds
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Put the carrots, apple and onion into a medium bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, honey, cumin seeds then whisk in the sunflower oil. Toss with the carrots, then toss in the parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

January 5, 2012


Enlightened Plateful

There's the paradox of January. How we crave a break from rich celebrations, but in this month of dark and cold, we want to feel warm and full. If, as Camus said, "Contradiction is perhaps the subtlest of all spiritual forces," then in January we should eat lots to feel light. But how to find seasonal vegetables is the Northern Heartland kitchen's conundrum; nothing is coming from this frozen ground  So, to get to the root of good eating, eat roots. Local radishes, carrots, turnips, rutabagas and parsnips abound. 

Shown above is a simple slaw of beauty heart radish (often called watermelon radish), carrots, cabbage and pea sprouts, all grown from within 100 miles of my Minneapolis home. The radishes were harvested a while back but they store nicely and are available in co-ops. Pale green outside, they are shockingly pink within, their flavor is mild, the texture is crunchy, and they're delicious for snacks or tossed into a stir fry. The carrots, also harvested late October, have converted their carbohydrates into sugars and thus sweetened over time, as have the turnips, which are now mild enough to shave and serve raw. Rutabagas are more astringent, but a little bit, shredded adds a nice, cleansing bite. 

This plateful is dressed with a fresh ginger-orange vinaigrette made with local sunflower oil and a little pumpkin seed oil. OK, so the ginger is from Hawaii (and so fresh it doesn't need to be peeled) ; the oranges from Florida are tangy and sweet. This easy toss up makes a nice side or light meal topped with a little sliced chicken. Be sure to finish it off with a few squares of good dark chocolate and January, a fine, satisfying meal, filling, bright and enlightening.

Ginger Orange Vinaigrette
Makes 1/2 cup

1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
2 teaspoons honey, or more to taste
1 tablespoon pumpkin seed oil (optional)
1/4 cup sunflower oil

In a small dish, whisk together the orange juice, ginger, and honey then whisk in the pumpkin seed oil and sunflower oil.