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Showing posts from November, 2011

GH Thanksgiving Recipes

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If you saw yesterday's GreenHouse Thanksgiving photos, and are hungry for more, today I'll give you all the tools to recreate some of those dishes themselves.

Of course, I assume you don't need to make 25 servings of each, so I'll pare down the ingredient amounts, but if you do want the full 25 servings versions, just let me know!

As with any good menu, this one began with some imagination, lots of internet and cookbook research, and a trip to the farmer's market (in my case, the first indoor winter farmer's market of the season!). Many of the ingredients were from our Dane County Farmer's Market: the sweet potatoes, potatoes, apples, salad greens, cranberries, wheat bread for stuffing, eggs, and carrots. The onions and garlic were from the local farm of the GreenHouse Program Coordinator.  And the rest of the ingredients all came from the Willy St. Co-op. Pretty cool.

The full menu:

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GreenHouse Thanksgiving 2011
Sweet Potato Biscuits  Cranberry Sauce  Gree…

GreenHouse Thanksgiving

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In addition to the delicious Thanksgiving feast I had on the day itself, I got to share a Thanksgiving-style meal with the students at the GreenHouse during the week before the holiday.

About eight student chefs joined me--some with lots of cooking experience, some who were just starting out--and we managed to cook a meal for 25 people, with 7 different dishes, in just 3 hours.

It was kind of a heroic feat, if I do say so myself.

I'll be back tomorrow to share the recipes from the night, but because there were so many beautiful photos, I thought I'd dedicated one post to the images themselves. All of the photos below, except for the fourth and seventh are by Kat Cameron.

So here we go:

The prep. Making vegetarian gravy, apple pies and vegetarian stuffing:

Justin convinced me we had to have green bean casserole, so, for him:

Starting to come together! Vegetarian stuffing, green bean casserole prep, gravy, green salad:

Mashed potatoes and white beans with rosemary and garlic, …

Scenes from Thanksgiving

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Wanna know what my Thanksgiving looked like?

It looked like a full plate of delicious food, with brussels sprouts and pretzel rolls and simple stuffing and chunky applesauce, all for me:


and like four of my favorite people in the world:



But also like the joy of shared food, brought potluck style by different family members, who all took me in and made me feel at home:

and like adorable nephews and cousins who run around with joy and share secrets and use their outside voices, but can never actually look at the camera at the same time:


And what did your Thanksgiving look like?

Break #5

Break #4

Today's links:


One beautiful food photo: Roasted Eggplant with Tomatoes and Mint (from Smitten Kitchen)One interesting food-related article: Honey Laundering and the Global MarketplaceOne recipe to try: Thanksgiving Turkey Cake
Happy Thanksgiving!

Break #3

Today's links:

One beautiful food photo: Carved Watermelon TurtleOne interesting food-related article: Mark Bittman, At Thanksgiving, No Turkeys Here (an awesome list of resources)One recipe to try:  Apple Pie, Baked in an Apple

Break #2

Today's links:
One beautiful food photo: Poppy Seed-Crusted Butternut Squash with Kale and Pomegranates (fall colors through food)One interesting food-related article: Michael Pollan on The Farm Bill: New Film From NourishOne recipe to try: Raw Carrot Cake

Fourth Grist Post

Check out my fourth post over at Grist:


Thanksgiving marked the seasons in a post-seasonal world

I'd love your feedback!



Thanksgiving Break #1

We're going to be taking a break this week over Dining and Opining, so although I won't be putting up new posts with original content, I'll check in each day with links to:
One beautiful food photoOne interesting food-related articleOne recipe to try Feel free to share your own links in the comments! 

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For today:

One beautiful food photo: Heirloom tomato wreathOne interesting food-related article: From NPR, Local Food Is No Small Potatoes: Farmers Rake In Almost $5 BillionOne recipe to try: Raw Butternut Squash Salad

Tofu-Walnut Meatless Balls

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In our family, I'm often the one who likes to make up wacky recipes and try out new things in the kitchen, while JH often sticks to his favorite standbys. But last week, when we had some tofu in the fridge that needed using, I suggested making some sort of meatless-balls to go with spaghetti, and JH stepped right in and said he wanted to try to make them without a recipe, just combining ingredients and seeing what we came up with.  His ingenuity paid off, and now you get an inside peek into what he came up with.

Besides the actual combination of ingredients, another good idea he had was to pre-bake the little guys in mini-muffin tins, so we'd be sure that they maintained a spherical shape:


While he was working on the meatless-balls, I put together a saucy mixture of sauteed onions and garlic, Portuguese kale (from our Harmony Valley CSA box), and tomato sauce:

Once the balls came out of the oven, we mixed it all together:


And then serve the yummy mixture over spaghetti mixed w…

D&O as Wall Art

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We recently did a bit of rearranging in our bedroom, which opened up some wall space.  In thinking about what to hang there to add some color to our room, I was inspired by my Mom's recent redecorating. She, being a devoted Dining and Opining fan, found a few images from the blog that she loved, had them blown up and printed, and then framed them for some walls in my parents' house.

I went a cheaper route, printing regular 4"x6" food photos from the blog to create a sort of matrix collage that adds up to one larger wall hanging. I just used little pieces of blue painter's tape, rolled up to function as double-sided tape, on each of the four corners of each photo.  I arranged the photos in roughly rainbow color order (from red in the top left to green-ish in the bottom right) beforehand, and then hung them up, using the bottom middle photo (the open-faced sandwiches) to frame the remaining photos around. I used a yard stick to make the even space between each row.…

Thanksgiving Flow Chart

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Turkey Day Coach

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from digitalgallery.nypl.org
My pal AC recently called me his "vegetarian Turkey Day coach"--and I was so happy about this label, that I figured I'd share some of my coaching with you.

You see, AC had heard some of the awful things about the way that modern day grocery store turkeys are produced, and he wasn't so happy about the fact that baby turkeys have their upper beaks snipped off, or that in the fourth week turkey chicks are packed into a room with 24-hour-a-day bright light, which disrupts their natural sleep cycles, so that they can be kept awake and force-fed all day long. He wasn't  thrilled about the fact that conventional turkeys are pumped full of antibiotics to keep them from getting sick from the over-crowded conditions, or that they have been bred to have so much white breast meat that they can't stand on their own, and can't reproduce without artificial insemination. (Read more in this recent article: The Truth About Turkey).


But, althoug…

Eating and Memory

Way back in August, I put out a call for help in prepping the seminar I'm teaching this semester, "Composing a Shared Meal: Food, Ethics, and Community." Many of you shared wonderful suggestions, and I apologize that I haven't been better about updating you with how the semester has gone. I'm happy to offer reflections if people are understand.

Regardless, now I'm back to ask for help with yet another seminar that I may be teaching in the spring.  This one is going to be focused more on writing and oral history, with a tentative title of "Eating and Memory: Writing Oral Histories of Food." (I tried to get away form the ubiquitous Pithy Title [colon] Descriptive Phrase Formula, I really did, but I just couldn't escape.)

Here's a blurb I've written up about it:

We’ve all heard the phrase “you are what you eat.” This seminar examines that idea from all angles, considering how identity and culture are tied up with diet, how what we and our fa…

Global Meals Press

My friend KK put together a piece on the GreenHouse Global Food for Thought Meals, for the Badger Herald, one of the student papers. I'm sharing it here!

Global Food for Thought combines cuisine, culture New residential program brings food into focus, offers taste of the worldMonday, October 24, 2011 4:44 p.m.


The GreenHouse Community is unfamiliar to most. Situated on the first floor of Cole Hall, the learning community focuses on the concept of individually defining sustainability and finding ways to enact those newfound beliefs. As with many learning communities, the GreenHouse offers relevant programming for its members and small seminar classes to provide students with focused, unconventional learning opportunities.
The Global Food for Thought Meals began as a seminar and is now a regularly occurring part of GreenHouse programming. Led by GreenHouse Food Intern Anna Zeide, the Global Meals are, as she puts it, “an innovative series of dinners that expose students t…

Vegetarian Caesar Dressing

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Remember those tofu croutons from last week? 

They pair especially well with a Vegetarian Caesar Salad (which is NOT actually what's pictured above--that's just a pretty salad photo to give you some eye candy or, erm, eye salad [new term for the health-conscious eater?])

Most Caesar dressings have anchovies (or at least Worcestershire sauce, which itself usually has anchovy paste), and so this dressing recipe I'll share with you is exciting in its ability to maintain that creamy tang minus the oily fishes.

For a typical Caesar salad, toss a bunch of greens (romaine lettuce is standard) with grated Parmesan, croutons (of the bread or tofu variety!), and some of this dressing. Or, mix it up, and use this dressing on other kinds of salads, or even as a nice sauce for roasted vegetables. Anyway you use it, it's delicious.

Vegetarian Caesar Dressing from  Moosewood's Simple Suppers: Fresh Ideas for the Weeknight Table

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar or cider vinegar 2 t…

Illustrated Food Rules

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Have you heard?!

Michael Pollan has a new illustrated edition of Food Rules out, with beautiful drawings by Maira Kalman (whose "And the Pursuit of Happiness" blog at The New York Times was just stunning and sometimes made me cry.)

If you thought his Food Rules couldn't get any better, just wait until you see Kalman's drawings, which are rich and beautiful. Like this one for the rule "If You’re Not Hungry Enough to Eat an Apple, Then You’re Probably Not Hungry."



See Kalman hilariously narrate some of her drawings here (like the comment "I wasn't as pure as I thought I should be [when Pollan asked her to illustrate the book], and I told Michael that cheese doodles play an important part in our family history. He forgave me for that."):



And Pollan was also on the Colbert Report last week, talking about this little slip of a book:



Some of my own favorite Food Rules, you ask?  Well, here are my Top Ten, with the numbers from the original Food Rule…

Grist Post #3

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Re-posting my third Grist Food Studies post, which went up last week:


College Students Plant Seeds of Change 

 (some of my awesome GreenHouse students)
If you've ever visited the University of Wisconsin, you've probably eaten some Babcock ice cream, perhaps while enjoying a sunset on the Terrace. It's just one of those things that people do.


But last week, some of the students in the food ethics class I student-teach began to ask questions about how Babcock ice cream is produced -- whether it's organic, how many processed ingredients it includes, if all the milk is produced locally, whether the cows are happy, and so on. We decided that we'd take some time during our next class session to do a little digging, including finding the contact information of the dairy store or food science administrators who have some say in how Babcock dairy products are made.

This conversation left both my students and me with smiles on our faces. What I found particularly mo…

Happy Birthday, Mama!

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Happy Birthday to my wonderful Mama!

Some of our joys and shared food over the last year:



Tofu Croutons

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Last week, I wrote about the wonderful soup and salad meal that JH made for me, complete with potato-leek soup recipe.

I mentioned the tofu croutons that were part of the salad, and in the comments, Robin asked for the recipe.


As I sat down to write the recipe, I began to feel at a loss, since we typically make it without following any particular rules. But then I remembered that the original inspiration for this tasty salad topping came from a great cookbook, one from Moosewood called Simple Suppers: Fresh Ideas for the Weeknight Table.

So, I returned to the source. But the particular recipe I found was only a general approximation of the simpler method we use. Here's what Moosewood had to offer:

Tofu Croutons
1 cake firm tofu (about 16 ounces), cut into 1" cubes 1 T olive oil 2 T soy sauce 1 1/2 tsp rubbed sage 1 T ground fennel seeds 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes 3 garlic cloves, minced Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Oil a baking dish and spread tofu cubes in a single layer…

Best Catalina Alternative

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So, as I've shared before, Justin's Mom's Taco Salad recipe is one of our favorites around here, and one we return to often.

But, as described in this post, I always felt bad about using the Kraft Catalina dressing that the recipe calls for. This feeling of badness came primarily from the scary list of ingredients in that Kraft staple:


Ingredients: High Fructose Corn Syrup, Tomato Puree (Water, Tomato Paste), Soybean Oil, Vinegar, Salt, Water, Contains less than 2% of Modified Food Starch, Phosphoric Acid, Dried Onions, Xanthan Gum, Potassium Sorbate and Calcium Disodium Edta As Preservatives, Citric Acid, Guar Gum, Natural Flavor, Red 40, Yellow 6, Blue 1. 


And even though we discovered a good home-made version of this Catalina, it still didn't quite hit the spot, and sometimes it felt a little onerous to pull out the food processor and all. Sometimes you just want to grab something from the pantry without having to make it from scratch, right?

We tried a few …

Happy Mail

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The doldrums* I've been stuck in for the last few weeks were partially abandoned yesterday when I came home to more happy mail in one day than I ever get, except for my birthday!


Opening these exciting packages and discovering the wonderful contents within gave me such a deep sense of joy and gratitude towards the kind friends who had so thoughtfully and appropriately chosen gifts for me and mailed them, without any special occasion needed.

The first package I opened was from my dearest family friends, MS and ES, who have been my second-string parents for as long as I can remember. It contained a wonderful screen-printed shirt with a canning jar on it that read "Yes We Can...Eat Local" and a logo for the Root Cafe. I wrote about this terrific cafe in Little Rock, AR, way back in my first week of blogging here at D&O. And I'm happy to report that the cafe has been thriving ever since, and that I now get to advertise it's awesome-ness here in Madison, with this…

Cider Pressing

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We're now well on our way to creating our first fermented beverage, which we will have taken from tree to bottle from start to finish!

And in keeping with the seasonal theme, we've focused on sweet, rich, caramel-colored hard apple cider!

The inspiration for this project (especially on Justin's part) was twofold: (1) A professor in Justin's department (for whom we farm-sat last month) makes delicious hard cider that we've often enjoyed, and (2) Our friend MH organized a cider pressing event for the Madison Fruits and Nuts group, where we'd have access to local organic apples, a cool hydraulic apple press, and expertise.

The pressing took place at this new community workshop called Sector67, which is really impressive space with all kinds of equipment and tools that would be too expensive for an individual to own, but which work really well when used on a cooperative basis. Check out the organization's website to learn more.


So, Sector67 loaned its parking …