Turnip Hong Bao


Turnip Hong Bao

This delicious recipe violates my personal culinary principle of avoiding …

See Turnip Hong Bao on Key Ingredient.


Did I really go two entire months without posting a recipe? Well, please give me a pass! In the meantime I have packed up and moved to Australia. Look for some restaurant reviews as well as some new probably Asian flavored recipes. There are legions of good restaurants here in Melbourne, any ethnicity you want, with the notable absence of Mexican and South American influences. I made these hong bao because it’s something I always wanted to do. They are quite involved and time consuming but worth it in the end.

Aztec Power Chocolate


Aztec Hot Chocolate

This is an adaptation of the original way the Aztecs …

See Aztec Hot Chocolate on Key Ingredient.

This is a power drink for adults. Adjust the chile to your taste/tolerance. It’s vegan if you leave out the dairy ingredients. I actually prefer this chocolate with no dairy.

Death Star Yuppie Composter

My it’s been a while since I posted here. Not to worry, I have several in the queue, but in the mean time I thought I’d show you our new composter. I guess all those years being married to me must have rubbed off on my hubby because it was his idea to get this thing. I was fine with our happy-go-lucky pile and rot method of composting, but maybe my husband doesn’t like looking at the colorful assortment of kitchen scraps in various stages of decomposition out the back window. Anyway, this thing keeps it enclosed, turns it automatically, and aerates better than just a pile. Since it’s just the three of us, we don’t create kitchen scraps like we used to when there were six. I haven’t harvested any compost yet, but I can say it’s very warm in there. After I built this, I noted a striking similarity to the death star in the original Star Wars, so now it’s the family lingo, “Who’s turn is it to feed the Death Star tonight?”

Sweet Po-Tacos


Sweet Potacos

I slightly modified this recipe from my friend marisuewrites at …

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Serving suggestion: I served it with guac, nopales, lime, cilantro and salad. 4-09-003

Mysterious apparition in my kitchen


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The other day I was eavesdropping on a twitter conversation between toonlet and captaincursor where they referred to tortillas and molds and I read fast and thought they were talking about tortilla molds (AKA tortilla presses or tortilleros) or maybe molds that grow on tortillas (which can come in brilliant pinks and greens if you leave the tortilla in a dark damp place long enough.) Such is the power of suggestion!

Sure enough, when I took out my tortilla press, something totally surreal happened! I tried to immortalize it with a toon of my own, but I knew all you shrewd skeptics would only believe photographic evidence. Thanks to the magic of digital photography, we were able to document the apparition! Do not read any more unless you have excellent bladder control!

Read the rest of this entry »

Sesame Kale & Seaweed


Kale Sesame Seaweed and Ginger

Kale and Seaweed aren't usually tops on anyone's …

See Kale Sesame Seaweed and Ginger on Key Ingredient.

This is a seriously healthy recipe that is actually delicious.
Sorry I haven’t posted for so long! I was not able to post pictures easily until I got multiple equipment failures fixed. It’s difficult to diagnose point of failure when several things fail at once, but we did it. Everything is working now so I will start pushing out the recipes that are in various stages of readiness in the queue. Look for another kale recipe coming soon, and some other healthy delicious goodies.

MACA doesn't like white house organic garden

Back in December I made a blog post urging the first lady elect to create an organic victory garden on the white house grounds. Well, guess what, they’re doing it! Who wouldn’t think that is sweet? Apparently “some people” don’t like this because of the implicit message it sends: EXACTLY THE ONE PEOPLE NEED TO RECEIVE in my opinion. Witness below the entire text of a letter sent to Mrs. Obama by MACA [i.e. the lobbying arm of the pesticide industry.] The letter speaks for itself. I have no further comment, except sheesh these people are SICK!

March 26, 2009

Mrs. Barack Obama
The White House
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mrs. Obama,

We are writing regarding the garden recently added to the White House grounds to ensure a fresh supply of fruits and vegetables to your family, guests and staff. Congratulations on recognizing the importance of agriculture in America! The U.S. has the safest and most abundant food supply in the world thanks to the 3 million people who farm or ranch in the United States.

The CropLife Ambassador Network, a program of the Mid America CropLife Association, consists of over 160 ambassadors who work and many of whom grew up in agriculture. Their mission is to provide scientifically based, accurate information to the public regarding the safety and value of American agricultural food production. Many people, especially children, don’t realize the extent to which their daily lives depend on America’s agricultural industry. For instance, children are unaware the jeans they put on in the morning, the three meals eaten daily, the baseball with which they play and even the biofuels that power the school bus are available because of America’s farmers and ranchers.

Agriculture is the largest industry in America generating 20% of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product. Individuals, family partnerships or family corporations operate almost 99% of U.S. farms. Over 22 million people are employed in farm-related jobs, including production agriculture, farm inputs, processing and marketing and sales. Through research and changes in production practices, today’s food producers are providing Americans with the widest variety of foods ever.

Starting in the early 1900’s, technology advances have allowed farmers to continually produce more food on less land while using less human labor. Over time, Americans were able to leave the time-consuming demands of farming to pursue new interests and develop new abilities. Today, an average farmer produces enough food to feed 144 Americans who are living longer lives than many of their ancestors. Technology in agriculture has allowed for the development of much of what we know and use in our lives today. If Americans were still required to farm to support their family’s basic food and fiber needs, would the U.S. have been leaders in the advancement of science, communication, education, medicine, transportation and the arts?

We live in a very different world than that of our grandparents. Americans are juggling jobs with the needs of children and aging parents. The time needed to tend a garden is not there for the majority of our citizens, certainly not a garden of sufficient productivity to supply much of a family’s year-round food needs.

Much of the food considered not wholesome or tasty is the result of how it is stored or prepared rather than how it is grown. Fresh foods grown conventionally are wholesome and flavorful yet more economical. Local and conventional farming is not mutually exclusive. However, a Midwest mother whose child loves strawberries, a good source of Vitamin C, appreciates the ability to offer California strawberries in March a few months before the official Mid-west season.

Farmers and ranchers are the first environmentalists, maintaining and improving the soil and natural resources to pass onto future generations. Technology allows for farmers to meet the increasing demand for food and fiber in a sustainable manner.

* Farmers use reduced tillage practices on more than 72 million acres to prevent erosion.
* Farmers maintain over 1.3 million acres of grass waterways, allowing water to flow naturally from crops without eroding soil.
* Contour farming keeps soil from washing away. About 26 million acres in the U.S. are managed this way.
* Agricultural land provides habitat for 75% of the nation’s wildlife.
* Precision farming boosts crop yields and reduces waste by using satellite maps and computers to match seed, fertilizer and crop protection applications to local soil conditions.
* Sophisticated Global Positioning Systems can be specifically designed for spraying pesticides. A weed detector equipped with infrared light identifies specific plants by the different rates of light they reflect and then sends a signal to a pump to spray a preset amount of herbicide onto the weed.
* Biogenetics allows a particular trait to be implanted directly into the seed to protect the seed against certain pests.
* Farmers are utilizing 4-wheel drive tractors with up to 300 horsepower requiring fewer passes across fields-saving energy and time.
* Huge combines are speeding the time it takes to harvest crops.
* With modern methods, 1 acre of land in the U.S. can produce 42,000 lbs. of strawberries, 110,000 heads of lettuce, 25,400 lbs. of potatoes, 8,900 lbs. of sweet corn, or 640 lbs of cotton lint.

As you go about planning and planting the White House garden, we respectfully encourage you to recognize the role conventional agriculture plays in the U.S in feeding the ever-increasing population, contributing to the U.S. economy and providing a safe and economical food supply. America’s farmers understand crop protection technologies are supported by sound scientific research and innovation.

The CropLife Ambassador Network offers educational programs for elementary school educators at covering the science behind crop protection products and their contribution to sustainable agriculture. You may find our programs America’s Abundance, Farmers Stewards of the Land and War of the Weeds of particular interest. We thank you for recognizing the importance and value of America’s current agricultural technologies in feeding our country and contributing to the U.S economy.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions.


Bonnie McCarvel, Executive Director
Janet Braun, Program Coordinator
Mid America CropLife Association
11327 Gravois Rd., #201
St. Louis, MO 63126

Vegetarian Zuppa di Fagioli


Zuppa di Fagioli

Another Tuscan traditional recipe that doesn't have refined white …

See Zuppa di Fagioli on Key Ingredient.


A splash of cooking sherry adds just the right sweetness to this delicious, creamy and robust soup. I starch mine up with whole grain barley (a substitute for the traditional Roman farro, which is hard to find these days). A little Parmesan cheese is a great topping for non vegans, and I also fried up some Italian sausage as a toss-in for those in my family who think they must have meat.

Zuppa di Porcini


Zuppa di Porcini

My trip to Italy (specifically Tuscany) inspired this vegetarian version …

See Zuppa di Porcini on Key Ingredient.

I spent Spring Break 2009 in Italy, so I couldn’t let that go by without blogging about it. Pizza, pancetta, gelato, white bread, and white flour pasta are abundant in Italy. All those items are either vorbuten or strictly limited from my personal diet, although I have to admit, barring the meats, I did sample them. Processed white wheat flour, according to my son who spent a term in Siena, is about the only food basic that’s still cheap, so of course there’s a lot of it. We found the prices of food to be exceptionally high in Italy at the exchange rates in effect during our trip. For the equivalent of $10 US you can get approximately one small a-la-carte side dish in most places. I went looking for the simple hearty peasant fare in Tuscany, and during the search I did find simple arrugula salads and soups that were both delicious and satisfying. On arriving home, I was fired up about duplicating or at least approximating some of those Italian dishes, and this soup based on boletus edulus (in Italy known as porcini) is one effort.

I had some frozen roasted chestnuts left over from Thanksgiving. I perked them up with a few minutes in the oven. I recommend chestnuts as a topping if you have any. I also had some sun dried tomatoes that I preserved way last summer. As promised, they gave this soup a nice summery zing that is lacking from the store tomatoes one buys at this time of year. I also threw a little chopped parsley on it.

Next time I make this soup I’ll increase the rosemary or augment with dried. Usually rosemary is overpowering, but the fresh rosemary that I purchased was underwhelming. I tossed some more on the soup and saved it, after realizing that the amount in the recipe was inadequate. Please note with rosemary that your mileage may vary.
This soup is suitable for both vegans and vegetarians.

Ditch that dumb USDA Food Pyramid

hfg_300pixelsObesity rates in the USA have spiraled ever upward since the government issued the famous and attractive but, in my opinion, severely flawed “food pyramid” recommendations. Of course anything the government gives you is influenced by lobbyists. In my opinion the biggest problem with the pyramid is that it does not distinguish between refined processed carbohydrates and whole grains. The former are terrible. The latter are good. The pyramid lumps them all together.

I discovered and had to pass along the word. HonestFoodGuide gives away a full color PDF that has much more up-to-date cutting edge information about what sorts of foods promote/prevent which aspects of health and disease, and is a way better and more flexible guide to foods. They are not influenced in any way by Big Ag. What’s more, it’s VERY VERY VERY simple. If you want it quickly, click the graphic in this post to download it.

For a very reasonable price they offer a laminated version that also comes with audio CD’s on nutrition, and if you want to buy a bunch they are only $2 apiece.