Organic Food & Recipes

Recipe: Twice Baked Irish Potatoes with Stout Beer and Fresh Kale…

From Cooking Up A Story

Ivy Manning—In the Kitchen

First, Ivy Manning visited with Shari Sirkin, of Dancing Roots Farm, and learned more about kale. Now it’s time to take that kale into the kitchen and create something delicious and easy to make, with ingredients that are commonly found in most kitchens! Full Disclosure: I made this Irish Potatoes dish for my family—it’s wonderful!

“What’s your favorite potato story?” Gene Theil, the spunky potato farmer nicknamed “ Gene the Potato Machine,” asked me one crisp November morning as I chose from his table of russets. I drew a blank. “Everyone has a potato story,” he assured me. It finally dawned on me: colcannon. My grandmother used to make the satisfying mash of kale or cabbage and potatoes for me when I was a kid. She said its origins came from necessity when times were tough in Ireland. Women would add kale, cabbage, or even seaweed to their mashed potatoes to stretch the meager harvest;– the greener the colcannon, the tougher the times. Gene was happy to hear that he was right again, we all have a potato story. My love of simple but comforting colcannon inspired this satisfying variation of double- stuffed potatoes; it’s a sort of Irish soul food, if you will.

The Graying Lions of Organic Farming…


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From NYT
Slide Show here

BIG SUR, Calif. — Among the sleek guests who meditate and do Downward Facing Dog here at the Esalen Institute, the farmers appeared to be out of place. They wore baggy jeans, suspenders and work boots and had long ago let their hair go gray.

For nearly a week, two dozen organic farmers from the United States and Canada shared decades’ worth of stories, secrets and anxieties, and during breaks they shared the clothing-optional baths.

The agrarian elders, as they were called, were invited to Esalen because the organizers of the event wanted to document what these rock stars of the sustainable food movement knew and to discuss an overriding concern: How will they be able to retire and how will they pass their knowledge to the next generation?

Michael Ableman, a farmer and one of the event’s organizers, said the concerns were part of a much larger issue, a “national emergency,” in his words. Farmers are aging. The average age of the American farmer is 57, and the fastest-growing age group for farmers is 65 and over, according to the Census Bureau.

During their meetings, some of the farmers worried that their children would not want to continue their businesses and that they might have to sell their homes and land to retire.

Organic Recipe: Pasta with Raw Tomato Sauce..


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From Let There Be Bite

This sauce is always a crowd-pleaser because it celebrates two flavors that are not often found “raw” on a pasta: ripe summer tomatoes and high-quality extra virgin olive oil. Not only does it have the look and “mouth-feel” of a tomato-cream sauce, the olive oil gives it a richness that doesn’t feel as guilty as heavy cream.

· 4 large organic heirloom tomatoes
· 1/2 cup pine nuts
· Fresh organic basil, marjoram, thyme
· 1/4-1/3 cup organic extra virgin olive oil, to taste
· Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
· 1 cup parmigiano reggiano, finely grated
· 1 clove garlic, thickly sliced
· Organic asparagus, zucchini, or zucchini blossoms
· 1/2 lb farfalle pasta

Bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta.

Meanwhile, bring water to boil in another pot that will hold all the tomatoes. With a knife, make an “X” on the bottom of each tomato that just breaks the skin. Cook the tomatoes in the boiling water for a couple minutes, or until the skin starts to break away from the flesh. Remove the tomatoes. When the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, remove the skin from the tomatoes (they should strip off easily from where the skin was cut).

Put the pine nuts in a small pan over medium heat to toast for a few minutes. Be careful—they toast quickly! Set aside off the heat.

Rinse and dry whichever vegetable you opt to use. If using asparagus, discard the bottom one-third of the asparagus and slice on the diagonal into 1/2-inch pieces.

Grilled Pitas with Caramelized Onions and Goat Cheese


From TheDailyGreen

The onions can be cooked up to 3 days in advance — just bring them to room temperature before spooning over the goat cheese.

SERVINGS
8

COOK TIME
35

TOTAL TIME
50

INGREDIENTS
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 jumbo onions (1 pound each), coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
Four 6-inch pitas, sliced horizontally in half
6 to 7 ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves

PREPARATION
1. In nonstick 12-inch skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add onions, sugar, and salt, and cook 15 minutes or until very soft, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook 20 minutes longer or until onions are golden brown, stirring frequently.

2. In cup, stir remaining 2 tablespoons oil with tarragon and thyme. Brush cut sides of pitas with herb mixture; spread with goat cheese, then top with caramelized onions.

Carbonara-Based Life (recipe)


From JASON PETERS
Front Porch Republic Blog

There’s a story (if memory serves) about a little spat that affected the greatest and best-dressed rock band ever.

(I confess that, given the inveterate mendacity of consciousness, one never knows for sure whether one is being ironic or sincere.)

During a rehearsal or a sound check or something, Neal Schon was wailing away on his guitar, as was (and is) his wont—and long may he wail—when the ever-humble Steve Perry came over and turned his amp down. “They want to hear the voice,” Perry said, pointing to himself. “The voice.”

Divorce was inevitable, and eventually it came, and I, like many whose musical tastes are impeccable, regretted it. But still there are days when, standing in my kitchen, inching toward the vital late-afternoon decision as the lights go down in the city, I want to hear both the wailing guitar and the soaring pinched voice. And that can mean only one thing: I’ve decided to feed the troops some carbonara (and maybe hope for some lovin’, touchin’, and squeezin’).

That this culinary delight (not to mention this melodious word) is not on the lips of more people is a mystery, given how good it tastes and how simple it is to make. Of course you can make it more complicated if you want to, and that’s okay by me (first rule of cooking to music: more time in the kitchen is better than less). Any way you want it, that’s the way you need it.

Carbonara makes use of two important staples that, were I the head of the USDA, would be food groups unto themselves: bacon and eggs. (Bacon! Is there anything it can’t do? And, O, thou egg! How noble in design, how infinite in flavor! In form and moving how express and admirable!)

Faithful reader—and even you, my enemy, benighted though you be—hear the words of the greatest and best-dressed rock band ever: be good to yourself. Make your move across the Rubicon.

Get a pound of bacon.

How About Some Stinging Nettle Soup?



From HEATHER ARNDT ANDERSON
Via Culinate

It’s been said that as long as you’re near water, you’ll never go hungry. Cattails have been hailed as “nature’s supermarket” and arrowhead has been called the “swamp potato”; watercress graces the menus of the fanciest restaurants.

But even Euell Gibbons, the father of the modern wild-food craze, makes a glaring omission in his forager’s bible, Stalking the Wild Asparagus: There is not a single mention of stinging nettles.

Stinging nettles are delicious, abundant, and oft-overlooked. And you don’t even have to live in the sticks to find them.

Stinging nettles (Urtica dioica) grow in swampy places and riparian corridors along streams throughout North America, Europe, Asia, and northern Africa. They resemble a mint, though they’re in their own botanical family (the Urticaceae). They’re easily identified by their pairs of deltoid (slightly triangular), dentate leaves (opposite-decussate in orientation), with fine spines covering the stems and leaves.

In the Pacific Northwest, they first poke their little heads out of the alder and cottonwood duff in February or March, in search of spring’s first warming sun — depending on your neck of the woods, they’ll be out a little earlier

Organic Garlic Mashed Potatoes With Cheese (Aligot) and Psychedelic Mashed Potatoes Recipes


From GREG ATKINSON
OrganicToBe.org

Purple or “blue” potatoes are smooth textured and excellent for mashing. Peel the potatoes and cut them into uniform small dice, so that they cook rapidly and evenly. Use just enough water to barely cover the potatoes, and when you drain them, just before mashing, save the cooking liquid and pour some back into the mash to make a smoother purée. The outrageous color is especially effective with dark or red meats and brilliant green vegetables. It’s nice to know that anthocyanins, the pigments that make some vegetables purple, are healthy antioxidants. Use this same technique to make mashed parsnips.

Makes about 6 cups, serving 6

3 pounds organic purple potatoes
1 tablespoon kosher salt
About 6 cups water
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch bits

1. Peel the potatoes and cut them into 1-inch cubes. Put the cubed potatoes and salt in a heavy, 1-gallon stockpot and cover them with the water. Cook the potatoes until they are fork-tender and just beginning to fall apart, about 15 minutes.

2. Drain the potatoes through a colander over a bowl or another pot to save the cooking liquid. Force the cooked potatoes through a ricer, or, if no ricer available, put the drained potatoes back in the pot in which they were cooked and mash them with a potato masher or a whisk. Whisk in the butter and just enough of the reserved cooking liquid to render the mashed potatoes smooth and creamy.

My Best Organic Blue Cheese Potato Salad


From DAVE SMITH
Ukiah

Some conventional potato farmers say they won’t eat the potatoes they grow for market because of the toxic sprays they use. So only leave the skins on potatoes you eat if they are grown organically. After experimenting some over the summer, this is my best yet potato salad. Love them organic carbs.

1. Boil organic red potatoes with skin on. Remove from heat and place potatoes in a large bowl.
2. Sprinkle organic golden balsamic vinegar over potatoes, stir, sprinkle, stir.
3. Let cool in a bowl, or if in a hurry, put in the freezer or refrigerator for a bit.
4. Steam some organic cobs of corn. Slice off the corn kernals; chop or dice the potatoes and any of the following ingredients needing it. Add to the potatoes, corn, crumbled organic blue cheese, crumbled free-range bacon, hard-boiled organic eggs, organic red onions, organic italian parsley, salt, pepper,  then toss. Stir in organic mayo.
5. Taste, adjust ingredients, serve, and get stuffed.
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Focaccia: Easier than expected, tastier than you knew


From FRANCIS LAMB
Salon.com
Story here

Light-textured, shiny with olive oil, and creamy-flavored, this complex bread only seems complicated to make

OK, so it’s not true that I’ve never baked before. Despite my fears, I’ve tried at various points to exorcise myself of my dough timidity, and once even scaled the Great Focaccia Mountain and turned out a few decent rounds. They had all the things you’d want in focaccia — a tender, light crumb, a thin pliant crust that crisped with a nudge in the toaster, and a rich flavor of olive oil. It was great, exciting and … totally lost to me after I made it, because I only did it once and tried to sneak away while I was batting 1.000.

But in baking school, kneading my way through literally dozens of loaves of bread, I felt myself growing more comfortable with doughs of all sorts, increasing in difficulty from the 1-2-and-done loaves of Irish brown soda bread to the tough-but-fair mass of bagels to incredibly sticky, challenging gloops that wanted to glue themselves to my hands, my workbench, my neighbor’s hair. Midway through Day 3, by the time we got to the school’s quick, straightforward recipe for focaccia, it felt like a vacation. It turns out that my Great Focaccia Mountain is actually more like a quaint little hill, but who says things need to be hard to be great?…

Story here
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Garlic-Roasted Lamb Shanks with South American Jalapeño-Parsley Salsa (Organic Recipe)


From THE WELL-FILLED TORTILLA

Garlic-Roasted Lamb Shanks

[Recipe dedicated to Owens Family Farm, Hopland. -DS]

We usually think of stewing a lamb shank, as in osso buco. But you can also treat the shank like a mini leg of lamb. It roasts to perfection and produces the same kind of full-flavored morsels that dark meat lovers insist on. As with any roast, plenty of garlic is never out of order.

Serves 4 to 6
Takes 2½ hours

4 local pasture-fed lamb shanks (9 to 10 pounds)
24 garlic cloves, cut into slivers
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 large organic red peppers
2 cups cooked organic chick-peas
1½ tablespoons fresh lime juice
1½ tablespoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
18 organic corn or 12 flour tortillas, warmed or crisped just before serving

Toppings
South American Jalapeño-Parsley Salsa (see below)
2 cups organic sour cream

1. Heat the oven to 475ºF.

2. With your fingers, push the garlic slivers into the natural openings in the lamb shanks and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Arrange the lamb shanks and bell peppers in a single layer in 1 or 2 roasting pans. Roast for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven heat to 350ºF and roast until the peppers are soft and the skins are wrinkled, about 1 hour more. Remove the peppers and continue roasting the shanks until the meat is well browned and pulling away from the bones, about 50 minutes more. Remove and let cool enough to handle.

More at OrganicToBe.org
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Julia Child’s Famous Potato Leek Soup (Organic Version)

For about 2½ quarts, serving 6 to 8

4 cups sliced organic leeks—the white part and a bit of the tender green
4 cups diced organic potatoes—old or baking potatoes recommended
6 to 7 cups water
1½ to 2 tsp salt, or to taste
½ cup or more organic sour cream, heavy cream, or créme fraîche, optional

Special equipment suggested: A heavy-bottomed 3-quart saucepan with cover.

Simmering the soup: Bring the leeks, potatoes, and water to a boil in the saucepan. Salt lightly, cover partially, and simmer 20 to 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Add the cream, taste, and correct seasoning.
~
See also: “When you think about it, a breakfast cereal is a bizarre product — there is nothing natural or normal about eating manufactured flakes and puffs created by giant machines in factories, shipped around the world and sealed in plastic for months…” Against breakfast cereal at Energy Bulletin
~
Image Credit: 1961, public domain
~~

Joan Gussow, Matriarch of the Organic Movement


From EDIBLE MANHATTAN

A woman who wouldn’t stop asking questions, and her seminal role in today’s food fight.

Last spring, when hundreds of alums and faculty of the nutrition program of Columbia University Teachers College gathered to commemorate the department’s 100th anniversary, one speaker riveted the audience. Shoulders back, patrician chin jutting forward, Joan Gussow strode toward the stage. A recent octogenarian, she remains in remarkable shape.

“Good morning. I don’t come with slides,” the seasoned speaker quipped to immediate laughter. “But I have to say that if anyone told me 35 years ago that I would be speaking after a Manhattan borough president had talked about New York City’s foodshed, I would have thought they were smoking dope.” More laughter and applause. “So this is a thrilling moment for me.”

Thrilling because for the past 40 years-half her life-Gussow, a longtime occupant of the Mary Swartz Rose chair of the college’s Nutrition Program, the oldest in the nation, has been waging a tireless war against the industrialization of the American food system. Long before mad cow, avian flu, E. coli or the “diabesity” epidemic made headlines, Gussow foretold the impacts of the post-modern diet on public health, ecology and culture, “depressing generations of graduate students,” as she now puts it, with the news that “life as they knew it was not sustainable, and destined to come to an end unless we urgently changed our ways.” And along the way she didn’t just lay the foundation for modern-day locavores. She also challenged nutritionists everywhere to look up from their microscopes to see the cafeteria, the factory farm and beyond.

“In many places we have begun serious dialogues about the corporate malnourishment of our children,” she told the crowd last spring. “We have painfully begun to fix school lunch, and we have a family in the White House that is publicly committed to local, organic food and has begun digging up part of our national lawn for a vegetable garden.  It is hard to not yield to a kind of heart-lifting optimism.”

More at Edible Manhattan
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Why We’re Fat and Why To Buy Locally-Grown Food


From THE CONSUMERIST

Click Here To Enlarge
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Get Off The Fat Train That Features Chemical Industrial Food, and Get Healthy With Fresh, Locally Grown Organic Food

YOU’LL GET EXCEPTIONAL TASTE AND FRESHNESS
Local food is fresher and tastes better than food shipped long distances from other states or countries. Local farmers can offer produce varieties bred for taste and freshness rather than for shipping and long shelf life.

YOU’LL STRENGTHEN OUR LOCAL ECONOMY
Buying local food keeps your dollars circulating in our community. Getting to know the farmers who grow our food builds relationships based on understanding and trust, the foundation of strong communities.

YOU’LL SUPPORT ENDANGERED FAMILY FARMS
There’s never been a more critical time to support our farming neighbors. With each local food purchase, you ensure that more of your money spent on food goes to the farmer.

YOU’LL SAFEGUARD YOUR FAMILY’S HEALTH
Knowing where our food comes from and how it is grown or raised enables us to choose safe food from farmers who avoid or reduce their use of chemicals, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, or genetically modified seed in their operations. Buy food from local farmers you trust.

YOU’LL PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT
Local food doesn’t have to travel far. This reduces carbon dioxide emissions and packing materials. Buying local food also helps to make farming more profitable and selling farmland for development less attractive.

BUYING LOCAL IS EASY
Our Farmers Markets are now opening year-round locally, our Co-op features locally-grown produce, and our CSA’s (here, here, and here) are serving up local organic abundance.

When we buy local food, we vote with our food dollar. This ensures that family farms in our community will continue to thrive and that healthy, flavorful, plentiful food will be available for local future generations.
~~

Pasta and Beans


From Culinate.com

Have you tried this Italian staple?

Whether pasta e fagioli — literally, pasta and beans — is an Italian soup with pasta in it or a pasta sauced with beans is a matter of proportion and preference. I like it as a soup thick with beans and pasta.
Featured recipes

* Pasta e Fagioli alla Fiorentina
* Pasta e Fagioli alla Veneta
* Pasta and Bean Soup (Pasta e Fagioli)

The notion of two starches combining to become an Italian staple at first seems difficult to fathom. But try pasta e fagioli. This dish of modest ingredients is capable of providing great pleasure and satisfaction.

Creamy beans give way to pasta’s toothsome give. Seasonings of aromatic rosemary, tangy tomato, garlic, and sometimes pancetta or prosciutto infuse the mellow beans. As they cook, the beans exude a silky broth that absorbs garnishes of green olive oil and Parmesan cheese.

When I want to make soup into a one-dish dinner, I turn to pasta e fagioli. Its ingredients are easy to find or make substitutions for. Its bean-and-grain combo provides a vegetarian protein. Making it can be as easy as simmering cannellini beans with garlic, tomato, and rosemary, and then cooking a short, hollow pasta such as tubetti or macaroni in the beans.

When I want vegetables, too, I serve bowlfuls with a small pile of garlicky sautéed greens on top. Kale, dandelions, or broccoli rabe are good choices. I have also added cubes of the last of the winter squash to the simmering beans, with rich results.

The only deal-breaker to making a decent pasta e fagioli is that you have to begin with dried beans. There is no way around this…

More at Culinate
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Twice Baked Irish Potatoes with Stout, Onions, and Kale (Videos)


From COOKING UP A STORY

Cooking Fresh with Ivy Manning — In the Kitchen

First, Ivy Manning visited with Shari Sirkin, of Dancing Roots Farm, and learned more about kale. Now it’s time to take that kale into the kitchen and create something delicious and easy to make, with ingredients that are commonly found in most kitchens!

“What’s your favorite potato story?” Gene Theil, the spunky potato farmer nicknamed “ Gene the Potato Machine,” asked me one crisp November morning as I chose from his table of russets. I drew a blank. “Everyone has a potato story,” he assured me. It finally dawned on me: colcannon. My grandmother used to make the satisfying mash of kale or cabbage and potatoes for me when I was a kid. She said its origins came from necessity when times were tough in Ireland. Women would add kale, cabbage, or even seaweed to their mashed potatoes to stretch the meager harvest;– the greener the colcannon, the tougher the times. Gene was happy to hear that he was right again, we all have a potato story. My love of simple but comforting colcannon inspired this satisfying variation of double- stuffed potatoes; it’s a sort of Irish soul food, if you will.

From the Fields: Kale here

Potato Recipe and Instructions here
~~

Here’s The Beef (With Organic Grass-Fed Steak And Hamburger Recipes)



From GREG ATKINSON
OrganicToBe

Not long ago, I spent a day at a ranch in Central Texas where my father grew up. One of his childhood friends was showing us around his section of grazing land. Bluebonnets and Indian paintbrush were blooming, and along the horizon, a small herd of cattle stood in silhouette against the clear blue sky punctuated with puffy white clouds.

“I’m leasing the land now to a fellow who’s raising grass fed beef,” explained my father’s friend. “He wants to keep it all natural.” As we walked, my Old Man and his friend shared memories of their childhoods during the Great Depression when their parents worked at the nearby cotton gin.

“Do you remember the burgers?” my father’s friend wanted to know. “I used to ride my bike from the cotton gin into town to buy hamburgers for the crew. They charged a nickel apiece, but if I could get five other guys to order one, the burger joint would give me six burgers for a quarter and I could keep one for myself. Those hamburgers were the best-tasting things in the world.” My father agreed; nothing like ‘em. “Beef just tasted better then.”

Egg In The Eye (Organic Recipe)



From JESSE COOL
Organic To Be

Both of my kids, who are grown and cooking for themselves now, never tired of this dish. In truth, the best part was always the little piece of toast that came from the cutout circle in the middle of the bread, where the yolk peeks through. Jonah, my youngest, was very happy when I buttered an extra slice of bread, cut it into little pieces, and toasted it, so he could have more crispy toast for dipping in the yolk. This recipe calls for only 1 egg per person. You can cut a larger hole in each bread slice and cook 2 eggs inside.

6 bread slices (white, wheat, Italian, sourdough, potato, English muffins)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
4 organic, free-range eggs
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Grass-fed lamb — Which foods are you willing to pay top dollar for?


From KELLY MYERS
Culinate.com

All the recent articles filled with tips on slashing your grocery bill are making me uneasy.

I am not opposed to most of the advice. In fact, I agree with it. Yes, we should shop mindfully, cook from scratch, and eschew convenience foods. This is true whether the economy is flush or tanking.

Let’s get reacquainted with these practical habits; let’s become better cooks.

What bothers me, though, is a certain tone. Underlying the lists of helpful hints, I detect a set of beliefs about food’s relative importance. Or unimportance.

One: We are like broken records, forever thinking that food ought to cost less. Are farmers’ markets really to be regarded as an occasional indulgence — as I have seen them characterized — when the fruits and vegetables for sale there are among the most nutrient-dense and healthful foods to be found?

Two: When the cost of living goes up, one of the first places we look to cut corners is on what we eat, to compromise on what we put into our bodies.

When we scale back, I fear that instead of practicing the peasant’s art of turning humble fare into a nice spread, we merely substitute poor-quality ingredients. This is a half-baked effort to eat the way we always have, but for less money… More at Culinate
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