it's the serrano peppers from mexico, in case you were wondering.

this fall, all "country of origin" will be labeled on food. as consumers, we know very little about our food. npr did this excellent story on shitake mushrooms and the inability to trace them, find it here. i actually podcast "npr: food." it's quite lovely and informative.


still in love.

with avocados.
even though the fda put you on the "bad" list, i still love you.


this is why i'm hot.

it's freakishly hot in my apartment. it's "can't sleep, can't eat, can't do anything" hot. 

i made a cool, spa-like drink to try to cool me off. i blended a handful of green grapes, israeli cucumber, and mint with a squeeze of lime, as well as half a blender of ice and water. it was a little chunky, so blend it a lot or put the mixture through a sieve. i poured half a glass of this mixture and added sparkling water and lemon. tasty and refreshing. 

but i am still hot. it's a sauna in here. 


and, now, the morning news.

1. tomatoes are off the "salmonella list." peppers have yet to have been cleared, but eat the tomatoes, kids! did anyone stop eating them? i didn't. i wouldn't survive. also, the fda has yet to clear tomatoes for the fall; they are truly unsure of what is happening.
2. the cost of corn is skyrocketing so much that farmers who use corn for feed can no longer afford it. businesses are closing. today, the nytimes did a story on the catfish farmers in particular. here's an excerpt:

Corn and soybeans have nearly tripled in price in the last two years, for many reasons: harvest shortfalls, increasing demand by the Asian middle class, government mandates for corn to produce ethanol and, most recently, the flooding in the Midwest.This is creating a bonanza for corn and soybean farmers but is wreaking havoc on consumers, who are seeing price spikes in the grocery store and in restaurants. Hog and chicken producers as well as cattle ranchers, all of whom depend on grain for feed, are being severely squeezed.

Perhaps nowhere has the rise in crop prices caused more convulsions than in the Mississippi Delta, the hub of the nation’s catfish industry. This is a hard-luck, poverty-plagued region, and raising catfish in artificial ponds was one of the few mainstays.

Then the economics went awry. Feed is now more than half the total cost of raising catfish, compared with a third of the cost of beef and pork production, according to a Mississippi State analysis. That makes catfish more vulnerable. But if the commodities continue to rocket up — and some analysts believe they will — other industries will fall victim as well. Keith King, the president of Dillard & Company, calculates that for every dollar the company spends raising its fish, it gets back only 75 cents when they go to market.

3. lunch bunch. i have been making lunch for kim and myself all week. tasty sandwiches of provolone, tomatoes, and cucumbers, zesty pasta salad, handfuls of cashews and grapes, homemade brownies. that's just the beginning. there are other goodies to be had from the farmers market, like apricots. yep. anyhow, i didn't make lunch today; i like to treat myself to a burrito each friday. whoohoo!
4. my camera battery is on its way back from canon, so soon there will be photographs of my food adventures again. i know you can't wait.


mayonnaise fruit.

i think most people either love or hate mayonnaise. i love it.

my mother makes a fruit salad with mayonnaise. i know it sounds weird, but i remembered its existence the other night and so i had to indulge. you just cut up fruit and then mix in some mayonnaise (not too much, just enough to make it creamy) and some sugar (yes, real sugar). let it sit a moment. eat.

my mother uses apples, pears, canned mandarin oranges, strawberries, bananas, and raisins. i, apparently, had very few of the original ingredients, so i used nectarines, kiwis, plums, strawberries, raisins, and currants. 

again, i know it sounds weird. it is weird. but tasty. 


it continues.

the largest foodborne outbreak in a decade. 

jalapeno and serrano peppers are now on the "do not eat because you might get salmonella" list. really, they are unsure about the serranos, but alluded to the fact that people cannot tell them apart from jalapenos. oh, and cilantro. the fda obviously has no idea what is happening, but apparently, 25-40 people have reported illnesses each day, bringing the total number to over 1000. the fda is looking for farms that were growing tomatoes, and then switched to peppers. 

i guess they are looking for a salsa farm. 


cobbler cobble hill

my camera is misbehaving. well, not the camera itself. it's either the battery or the battery charger. so no new photographs for the moment. poo.

anyhow, i made peach-blueberry cobbler for july 4th at natalka's new house. (she actually lives in an old school!) i had never made cobbler before so i placed a lot of trust in the recipe of the may 2008 cooking light. it asked for blackberries, but they were too expensive so i used blueberries. it was so easy and tasty. find the recipe here.

i also made lemon-ginger frozen yogurt. i made ice cream for natalka's birthday last year and never got to give it to her. i used a new recipe, this one from the may 2008 bon appetit. we're all magazines today. it was light and fresh, sort of like pinkberry but better, and homemade. i don't understand the fanaticism around pinkberry; it's just yogurt. expensive yogurt.

by the way, i love cooking light magazine. it's so good. it never asks me to use weird processed ingredients, or anything out of season. the recipes are tasty, and there are lots of vegetarian ones.

what cooking or food magazines do y'all use? any?


blake's quesadillas.

blake seems to think that, because i take pictures of the food i make and write about it, his creations deserve to be on the blog as well. i am not so sure about that idea, but i promised him many moons ago that i would blog about his tasty quesadillas.

the thing is, i don't even know how he makes them. they are that one thing that blake always makes, and i never do (i have made them before, but with no regularity). i know he pan-cooks the inside vegetables, probably in safflower oil, and heats the tortillas somehow. he puts the shredded cheese (monterey jack? cheddar? no clue.) on one tortilla and then places the other one on top.

i think this is a sign that blake needs to write in and explain. this was actually a kodak moment; these were delicious. as courtney's mom, judy, would say, "incroyable!

p.s. that's spanish rice in the middle.


on the way to maracas bay

on the way to maracas bay, there is a look-out point that sells all sorts of local treats. our favorite was mango with chutney. it's in the second jar from the left. we just couldn't get enough, a perfect blend of sweet and savory.

these treats were super sugary, with lots of coconut. kind of make your teeth hurt.

oh, and this guy serenaded us. he was definitely part of the look-out experience.

shark: in my mouth, not the water.

so, i ate shark.

i know, i know, i've been a vegetarian for more than half of my life, more than 16 years. not a bite of anything not vegetarian. not even close.

i think a lot about food: where it comes from, how it was transported, how it was prepared. obviously. i have a blog about it. BUT, i also love to travel, and i have been thinking a lot about being a good traveler and how much of that is based on eating the foods of other cultures. a friend of a friend ate eyeball in mali. it was supposedly an honor to have it offered to you. i have been to france many winters in a row and have never had foie gras on christmas eve, which is seemingly a tradition. this is really the tip of the iceberg. there are many, many places i want to visit, and it's not always easy to be a vegetarian. sometimes, i think it's just downright rude, like it's stuck-up, like i think the rules should be bent for me, which i don't.

in trinidad and tobago, it was quite easy to eat vegetarian food. there's a huge indian influence, and everything from roti to doubles is already made for vegetarians.

on the beach in maracas bay, the dish to eat is called bake-n-shark. the bread is the "bake." it's a deep-fried batter that's not actually greasy. the shark is also fried, and also not greasy. there are a variety of sauces to add to your sandwich, from ketchup and mustard to curries and pepper and garlic sauces.
i decided i had to try it. i mean, when else could i get a fried shark sandwich?

it definitely wasn't the best thing i've ever had, but i feel good about the decision to eat it. i am also unsure of the kind of shark, but i like to believe it was a great white.



they lied to us.
obviously, it's not the first time.

we were told that corn-based ethanol would make the gasoline prices lower. and i guess it did, for a moment, as we recovered from the damaged refineries of hurricane katrina. but the effects of the weather were seemingly excluded. how? in a world thinking of climate change, this was left out?

ethanol is only about 6% of our transport fuel, but is expected to go up to about 20%, or so i've heard. this means that when we have bad weather, like in iowa, and crops are damaged, our gas prices will shift. this is separate from the cost per barrel of oil of which we are already obsessed.

we don't know how much corn has actually been lost from last month's floods. what we do know is that corn supplies have shrunk, and the simple economics of that means that prices will rise.


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