June 23, 2015

Hakurei Turnip and Shiitake Mushrooms on Soba Noodles

If you've never experienced the bliss of crunching on a Hakurei turnip, you're missing out. What I love about Hakurei (aside from its creamy tender awesomeness) is that it's not readily available in most grocery stores even though many farmers grow them. What this means is that you have to seek it out. It's a vegetable begging to be pursued and found, ideally close to its place of origin and the hands that grew it: at farm stands, farmer's markets, or through a CSA share with a local farmer. In a world where we are spoiled enough to find pretty much anything we could dream of at one-stop grocery stores, I get a secret pleasure knowing that there are still some things that you need to get right from the farmer who grew them.

I've been making various incarnations of this Hakurei & soba noodle recipe pretty much non-stop this spring, ever since I laid hands on the first Hakurei of the season. I can't seem to get tired of it. I could eat it (and have done so) for days on end. It's tasty, light, healthy, and quick to make.

I was lucky that one of our neighbouring organic farms, Bahner Farm, had a lush bed of Hakurei and kindly harvested some so I could make this month's recipe video. I loved working on this video because a) I got to visit Bahner Farm, b) got to eat a LOT of soba noodles and Hakurei, c) got to try out my new bling bling knife from Le Creuset (it's nothing short of amazing!!), and d) I got to make my baby turnips dance to another fabulous Lullatone tune. (I always did love to play with my food). 

You can find the recipe over on PBS Food

Now, go forth my friends and eat some Hakurei!

June 11, 2015

Your help is needed + chocolate sesame smoothies!

I'm fairly certain I'm not alone in saying that given the choice, I'd rather spend my time looking at food porn than reading about agricultural policy or writing a letter to my elected representative. But no matter which way you slice it, food is political. And if you love food and believe you've got a right to know what you're eating, there are 2 things happening right now that are putting our food democracy at risk. One is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the other is a bill making its way through Congress, called the DARK Act. If you don't have time to read on, it takes 30 seconds to send a letter to Congress: here and here. It may seem like it won't make a difference, but these types of letters do have an impact and the more people sign on, the greater that impact. 

First, the TPP. A strange beast that no one has fully gotten their head around yet for the simple reason that the documents are top secret. They haven't been publicly released and even most Congress members haven't been able to read the details of the agreement. The TPP is a massive free trade deal that would give sweeping new powers to corporations and make it illegal for countries to pass laws protecting health care, labour wages, consumer rights, and the environment if any of those laws were seen as obstacles to selling a product. So if TPP passes, it will have devastating impacts on our democracy, our environment, our farmers, and needless to say, on our food. Basically, it's NAFTA on crack. TPP documents have also identified GMO labelling as an "unjustified trade restriction". What does this mean? It means that just as we are finally on the verge of winning GMO labeling in the US, the TPP could eliminate the ability of countries around the world to label GMOs or impose common sense restrictions on the sale of genetically engineered seed and food in their countries. Tomorrow, Congress votes on fast-tracking the TPP, so it's very important that as many people as possible sign this petition.

The second thing is the DARK Act which is quickly working its way through Congress and would deny the right of individual states to pass GMO labelling laws. Vermont is the first state in the US to have passed an unconditional GMO labelling law and it is set to take effect on July 1, 2016. Monsanto and its junk food industry friends are in a panic. They've already filed a lawsuit against the state of Vermont, and now their lobbyists are hard at work to pass the act (HR1599), which would make it illegal for individual states to label GMOs. If they're so proud of their GMOs, why not label them and give us all the choice whether to eat them or not? 90% of Americans want GMOs labeled and if this act is passed, Congress would be siding with biotech companies instead of the vast majority of citizens. Click here to add your voice to the petition against HR1599. You can also write a letter to your elected rep and click here to find out if your Congress member is a sponsor of HR1599. The best thing to do is to call your elected rep's office directly and simply ask them to oppose HR1599 because we all have a right to know what we are eating.

Have you made it this far? If so, I love you. And I give you this chocolate sesame smoothie, I hope you like it! 

And in case you missed this one on my Facebook page this week, it oh so delightfully nails the problem with GMOs…