Sunday, July 8, 2012

Birchwood Cafe

This weekend I had brunch at Birchwood Cafe in Minneapolis, whose slogan is "Good Real Food." Fantastic Real Food would be a better description of my meal: an asparagus, fontina, and quinoa waffle, topped with treats like hazelnut honey butter and rhubarb.

Birchwood features many local and organic ingredients. I was also excited to find that they sell seed packets to support Northfield's Grow a Farmer Fund! A quote on their wall struck me as an apt reflection of what I've learned from Food Truth: "Innumerable measures bring us this food; we should know how it comes to us"- Zen Meal Prayer.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Open Farms

I recently spent an evening volunteering at Open Farms in Belle Plaine, MN. I was blown away by the farm's beauty and the organization's wonderful mission! Open Farms is an organic farm run by the nonprofit Open Arms of Minnesota ( The produce grown there is used to cook delicious and healthy meals for people with life-threatening illnesses. Volunteers cultivate the vegetables, prepare the meals, and deliver them to people in need. 

In the Real Food movement, we talk about food that "truly nourishes" consumers, producers, and communities. The meals that pass through Open Arms fulfill that ideal splendidly! This week I pruned tomatoes, and I'm excited to follow those tomatoes from the earth, to the kitchen, to the table as I continue volunteering.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Rotblatt + ice cream! TOMORROW

Who can't wait for ice cream tomorrow (more like a few hours from now) at Rotblatt??? Who cares if it's gonna be cold; there's nothing like a nice helping of altruism to make you feel like a good person while you guzzle down some traditionally Rotblatt-y refreshments. Come eat delicious, homemade ice cream and support beginning Northfield farmers. All proceeds go to the Rural Enterprise Center's Grow a Farmer Fund, which provides loans to local, low income farmers to start poultry production.

This was from an email that Dylan Gessner sent me when I asked if fundraising was allowed:

"We on Rotblatt Crew like to think of ourselves as altruistic people, what with all the funsiez we give out in the shape of 12 oz. cans o' beer. So yes, of course, please bring your good cause to our fine event, and we'll all have a grand ol' time!"

Read "5.26" instead of "5.22 & 5.23" and "Rotblatt" instead of "Sayles." Also - TOPPINGS :)
Follow up will be coming tomorrow (or more like Sunday)

Also, stay tuned for a fiery post from Taylor Owen regarding Stevie P. and the Real Food Commitment...

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Stir-Fry: Cooking 101 with Bon Appétit!

I wish it were last weekend again. Even if the weather was as dreary as it was today, at least we didn’t have the dismaying prospect of Monday classes dampening our moods. Even better was that last Sunday we could look forward to celebrating the last few hours of our daylong vacation cooking yummy food with fantastic people. Last Monday afternoon, Bon Appétit and Firebellies joined forces to launch Cooking 101, Carleton’s first-ever campus-wide event that gives students the rare opportunity to use the LDC facilities while learning to cook a meal from scratch. With the generous help of Executive Chef Michael Delcambre, Executive Sous Chef Daniel Watrin, and Dining East Sous Chef Gibson Price, the twelve of us learned how to prepare our very own stir-fry.
Chef Michael teaching us how to cut chicken

Chef Daniel explaining how to cut veggies
The chefs enthusiastically demonstrated everything from proper knife-handling form to preparing our own stock to peeling ginger with a spoon to tossing stir-fry with gusto. The eclectic ingredients in our cornucopia consisted of naturally fed chicken from Ferndale Market; fresh vegetables including baby bok choy, mushrooms, ramps (wild leeks which are awesome and can be found in the arb), peapods, ginger, garlic, and more; and a delicious concoction of a sauce that carried a hint of teriyaki flavor with a secret ingredient: orange.
Divided into three teams that were each lead by one of the chefs, we embarked on our delectable mission. Vayu, Taylor, and I, assisted by Gibson, elected to make a vegetarian stir-fry, in which we replaced the chicken with seitan. I was fascinated by the artistry with which Gibson flipped the stir-fry into the air with such precision and adroitness, and I hope to one day gain even an iota of that skill.
Left to Right: ramps (yum! so fresh and crisp, with a peppery aftertaste), garlic (of course!), ginger (crucial in azn cuisine)
Tori + Yawen + mushrooms + baby bok choy (d'aww)
Stir-fry was originally invented by the Chinese to be quick and delicious, which proved to be true for us. Ideally, the actual stirring part of stir-fry takes about three to four minutes because all of the ingredients are parboiled. This means that they are partially boiled beforehand and therefore cook sooner when they are introduced into the menagerie in the scathingly hot wok. For us, the stir in stir-fry took about ten minutes, and the whole cooking process took less than half an hour. We were able to enjoy the fruits of our labors in no time.
Chef Gibson and his cool flippy skills
So triumphant
Stay tuned for the next installment of Cooking 101 next midterm break. Anybody have any scrumptious ideas for what to cook then? Hope to see you all there joining in on the fun!
Yes, you're hungry now.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

we all got them. and inn accordance with Marika-gets-hurt-within-the-first-2-weeks-of-moving-to-a-new-country-where-she-cant-speak-the-native-language, I hurt my feet. 
I ran in the imperial palace grounds, which are lovely and line with cherry blossoms and full of people walking their dogs, ext, but is unfortunately a trail made of small black sharp rocks that are hard to run on. 
I tried last monday, with my roommate Jojo, the day after we moved to Kyoto and realized my feet hurt a few hours later. 
I didn't run again after that, but proceeded with the usual adventuring... aka walking 5 to 8 miles a day and over the weekend climbed to small mountains. Needless to say my feet hurt a lot more come monday, so I rounded up my friend BIll (who speaks way better Japanese than me, and went to a walk in clinic.

tell me again why we do not have government subsidized health care?
I don't even speak the language or have insurance, yet I get an appointment for the same day, talk to them for like 15 minutes in broken Japanese and they give me the best possible treatment.
two steroid anti-inflammation drugs direct injection into the foot tendons which have apparently developed tendonitis. I did not know this was possible, but apparently it is.
yesterday my feet still hurt, but today they feel great. bang up job Japan.

so yeah. All's well now. and for people suffering from other problems with inflamation, ask your docotor about injections! they are great.
yay medicine.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

federal subsidies

Federal farming subsidies: where are they going? are we feeding people 'real food'? or feeding the pockets of big ag? 
This figure makes me cry a bit inside. If you want to look more into the complexities of lobbying and how it determines consumer food intake, I recommend reading the introduction of "Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy: The Harvard Medical School Guide to Healthy Eating" by Walter C Willett M.D. 

This is the pyramid backed by the USDA. 
notice there is no distinction between types of meat dairy or oils, just the relative amounts of each that should be consumed. 

In his book Dr. Willett re-examines the USDA approved food pyramid and compares it with the most up to date, reliable meta studies on human nutrition and disease prevention. This is the pyramid he came up with:

notice a difference? The food groups more heavily subsidized by the US government are much larger on the USDA pyramid than on the one published by an independent source. 

read the introduction of Dr. Willett's books to see how the meat and dairy producer lobbyists were able to get the current pyramid approved by federal oversight.