Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Kathy York: Guest blogger

Kathy York is a recent convert to the merits of eating and cooking healthfully at home.
Here is her story, with photos of one of her yummy luncheons to which I was fortunate to be invited.

Kathy writes:

I saw the movie Food, Inc. and was appalled (which I think was their intention!).  Even though the main message of the film was to be informed about how food is made and processed in our country, I felt compelled to change the way my family shops for food and what we eat.  So....I am making the transition to organic foods and locally available whenever possible.  The timing of my viewing of the film also converged with the new TV show by Jamie Oliver called Food Revolution.  He was trying to change what kids eat at school (and at home).  He is against food additives for the most part and is using education to try to teach our nation to cook whole and healthy foods.  I haven't been interested in cooking for a long time.  My son has an eating disorder called food selectivity which occurs frequently in the autism spectrum.  He doesn't try new foods and smells cause him to shut down and cry.  So that leaves me to cook for myself and my daughter and she just wants what her brother has.  I hate the kid food but am usually too tired to make anything special for myself.  So this change to cooking, and shopping for organic food is a huge one for my family.  I have embraced it whole heartedly and am enjoying the slower pace.  My son's diet has not been affected by our new change, but my daughter is delighted in trying the new foods.  It is fun to have her company to both cook and eat!  Meanwhile I have started both kids on a special project to grow vegetables in our own garden.  And, it has inspired me to start cooking for our Art Quilt Bee, which is where you met this savory pie!

Russian Carrot Pie
from the Enchanted Broccoli Forest by Mollie Katzen

Nut Crust:
1/2 cup finely minced nuts (any combination) careful with the food processor not to turn the nuts into butter
dash of salt
4 Tbs cold butter
1 1/4 cup flour (I use 1/4 whole wheat flour, 1 cup white flour)
3-5 Tbs cold water

Process the nuts, flour and butter until it is a fine meal texture, then slowly toss with a fork to add the cold water.  Roll out the dough to form the crust.

3 Tbs butter
1 cup onions
1/2 tsp salt
1 lb carrots
1 Tbs white flour
1/12 cups cottage cheese
1/2 cup grated mild white cheese
1 beaten egg
lots of freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp dill weed
3 Tbs wheat germ

1.  Melt the butter in a large skillet.  Add onions and salt.  Cook over medium heat while stirring about 5-8 minutes until onions are soft.
2.  Add the carrots, stir, and sprinkle in the flour.  Cook and stir until the carrots are tender but not mushy.  You can add up to 3 Tbs. water if it is sticking to the pan.
3.  Beat the cheeses and egg in a large bowl.  Add the cooked carrot and beat well.  Stir in black pepper and dill and spread into your eagerly awaiting Nut Crust.
4.  Sprinkle the top with paprika and wheat germ.  Bake for 15 minutes at 375 oF and another 30 minutes at 350 oF.

Kathy York

“There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly.”
Buckminster Fuller

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Company Potatoes

Company Potatoes - the Basic Recipe
8-10 large potatoes, slice 'em up to cook
or you could use red potatoes - about 20-25 - skins on
1 can Cream of Chicken Soup - undiluted (you can use Healthy Choice too)
1 cube of butter, sliced (you can use unsalted butter)
3T chopped green onion
1 tub of sour cream (you can use low-fat)
salt and pepper
1/2-1 lb cheddar cheese, grated
Cook the potatoes till fork tender, turn out into a large bowl and mash.  Add all of the ingredients, except cheese and mash together, then use a spoon to mix it up completely.  Spread into a 9x13 glass baking pan, and sprinkle the top with the cheddar cheese and bake for 1 hour in a 350 oven.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The San Antonio version of organic home delivery

all these items were part of the "local box"

all the produce is wonderful

After the CSA I belonged to folded I looked around for an alternative.  At the time, I didn't have access to a good farmer's market.  That has since changed with the emergence of the Pearl Farmer's Market near the old Pearl Brewery.  I love the Greenling service!  Based in Austin, they delver produce directly to your home in San Antonio once a week.  They use local purveyors of produce, eggs, milk, and all sorts of meat and bakery.  Everything I have ordered in the two years I have been using the service has been outstanding.  Anyone in the San Antonio/Austin-area should check it out!

Monday, May 3, 2010

The French Laundry Dining Experience

The French Laundry in Yountville, CA owned by Thomas Keller; a nine-course meal and then some, complete with a 2 month in advance reservation policy for an incredible 3-hour dinner; the ultimate dining experience begins with this clothespin attached to your white cloth napkin.  We were there to begin the celebration of my husband's 60th birthday - a restaurant that he dreamed of dining at.  they offer 2 menus - mainly meat and vegetarian.  BTW, service is included in the price.

Oysters and Pearls
  Thomas Keller's signature dish to start.  "Sabayon" of Pearl Tapioca with Island Creek Oysters and White Sturgeon Caviar.  His restaurant in NYC Per Se also begins with this amazing dish. 
 Thomas Keller believes that all you need are 3 bites, the first one being the best, 2nd and 3rd tasting more of the flavors, and probably the next bite (which wasn't there) the diner would be getting bored with the dish.  This wasn't the case for me, I wanted more, 
Tartare of Japanese Bluefin Tuna
Candied Kumquats, Fennel Bulb, Green Almonds, Garden Blossoms and Black Truffle Coulis 
The flavors burst in your mouth with each bite, and the flavors melding together to create a masterpiece of concoctions
Beets and Leeks
Main Lobster Tail "Pochee au Buerre Doux," King Richard Leeks, "Pommes Maxim's" and Red Beet Essence.
When I finished this course, I had a biggest urge to lick the plate.  That shade over the leeks and lobster was a fan of thinly slice potato that was like a potato chip - oh so yummy.  The leek portion was in the shape of an egg.  The flavors together were more than amazing and one of the best dishes I've ever had the pleasure to eat.
Salmon Creek Farms Pork Belly
Asian Pears, Tokyo Turnips, Watercress and Szechuan Peppercorn
Elysian Fields Farm Lamb Rib-Eye "En Persillade"  
"Collier d'Agneau," White Bean Puree, Green Garlic, Jingle Bell Peppers and Parsley Shoots  not my favorite course because with every bite of the lamb, I tasted liver, and that little round piece of meat on the right is a lamb neck.  The visualization of that got the better of me.
"Scharfe Maxx"  
Hen Egg, Sacramento Delta Asparagus, Pickled Ramps and Dijon Mustard Emulsion
Coconut Milk Sherbert 
Vanilla-Roasted Maui Gold Pineapple, Madjool Dates, Cashew Nuts and Candied Ginger
Peanut Butter "Bavarois" 
Crunchy Feuilletine, Milk Chocolate "Whip" and Gros Michel Banana Sorbet
An assortment of chocolates and a jar of chocolate covered macadamia nuts were served to bring a close to our once-in-a-lifetime dinner experience.  We were given the menus, the nuts, shortbread cookies and chocolate for Steve's birthday at the end of our meal.  Our bill came on a vintage laundry tag complete with the hole at the top, string and perforated portion at the bottom to tear off.  We all got to keep our wooden French Laundry clothespins.  And to top off the evening, we got a tour of the kitchen, probably because we were in the last seating (9:15pm reservations) and we were in the kitchen by 12:15am.  I am still in awe of this dining experience.  p.s.  I did forget one course, but with this new Blogger, I haven't quite figured out to insert it in the lineup, but it was a salad of compressed English cucumber.