September 2008 Archives

Starting 1 October 2008, supermarkets and grocery stores all over the United States are required by law to disclose the country of origin for many whole food products. Fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats are the primary products covered in this new labeling law, however, many products are excluded from labeling requirements. As an example, a head of butter lettuce or iceberg lettuce will carry country of origin labeling, while a spring mix of lettuce will not because the mix is "processed". The labeling is based on Farm Bill legislation dating back to 2002, which originally required country of origin labeling (COOL) for beef, lamb, pork, fish, perishable agricultural commodities, and peanuts. The 2008 Farm Bill further defines required labeling to include chicken, goat meat, ginseng, pecans and macadamia nuts. The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service provides additional details, although does a better job of spelling out the requirements in plain english. The grocery store in my town already does a good job of spelling this out, so it will be interesting to see if I notice any changes as the law takes effect.

I got this recipe from a Hebrew Cookbook Called "The Treasure of Al Ha Shulchan" which means "The Treasure of On the Table". "On the Table" is a Hebrew food Magazine filled with recipes and ideas. The treasure is a book with all the most popular recipes from
the series.

Wonderful Sweet Salad with Feta, Pears and Walnuts in Baguette Cups

I adjusted the recipe quite a bit. Here is my version.

6 pears (peeled)
1/2 a cup of vinegar
1/2 a cup of sugar
1 tablespoon of salt
1/2 a cup of water
1 stick of cinnamon
A pinch of cardamom
6 slices of baguette.
1 endive (broken into pieces)
A few handfuls of lettuce (I used a regular mixed greens)
1 carrot (cut into strips)
120 grams of feta cheese
1/2 a cup of walnuts

1. Bring pears with vinegar, sugar, salt, water, cardamom and cinnamon to a boil.
Cook for about 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and let cool. Cut pears into sticks.
Keep sweet dressing for later.

2. Heat oven to 400 degrees.

3. Pull out the insides of baguette slices (the soft part) Toast in oven for 5 minutes.

4. Mix all the rest of the ingredients (including pears) except for the nuts and cheese. Pour 1/4 of a cup of dressing on top and mix.
5. Fill baguette cups with salad and top with feta and walnuts.

The recipe calls for pomegranate seeds as well. You can use some if you find them.
I didn't use them.

Note: I usually have extra salad left over and I just eat it with the leftover dressing.

pear salad

By far, one of the most loved books on cooking in my house is Culinary Artistry by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page. The book explores cooking in a way that makes it a constant point of reference for meal planning and recipe creation. One of my favorite sections of Culinary Artistry is the section in the middle that helps match flavors so that you get combinations that taste great together. Robin seems to have a gift for these food pairings and rattles them off when I blindly ask what goes with [insert any food here], but I'm blundering when it comes to matching flavors beyond the most rudimentary combinations. The best way I've found is to look at recipes other people have written and assume they weren't complete idiots.

Dornenburg and Page are back with a new book,The Flavor Bible, which takes this concept of flavor matching to new heights. The Flavor Bible dedicates 374 pages to a thoroughly researched collection of flavor combinations across all of the major world cuisines. The book is not a cookbook, but rather a cross-reference of these elusive flavor match-ups aimed at saving you the hours of research required to make your meals taste exceptional. Like previous offerings from the authors, The Flavor Bible is a compilation drawn from some the best and brightest chefs around the globe, distilled down into a highly usable reference destined to be stained with sauces from the love it receives in your kitchen.

Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg with The Flavor Bible Karen and Andrew are in Seattle this weekend as part of their book tour for The Flavor Bible and graciously took time out of a sunny September Saturday to visit with a handful of local food bloggers, trade tips on Seattle dining hot spots, and share their insight on persistence in getting published as a food writer. On hand for the conversation were Seattle's food blogging ringleader, Keren Brown (aka Frantic Foodie), Ronald Holden of Cornishon, Seattle Tall Poppy, Michael of Herbivoracious, and Plate Lunch.