Saturday, June 30, 2007 

Got Moo-lah?

You might have to pay a load for that 1/2 caf double splash of non-fat extra dry latte.
Effective Sunday, the California department of food and agriculture has set the price California dairy operators will be paid at a record $1.98 per gallon of milk, up from $1.06 a year ago. The minimum retail price for a gallon of low-fat milk, said the Department, will be $3.10, compared to $2.10 in January.

The State posts the "lowest reported lawful retail price'' for milk due to a law that says milk cannot be sold below cost.

The price spike -- the result of a drought in Australia, tightening supplies from Europe, higher demand in asia and the diversion of feed corn to ethanol plants -- also threatens to jack up the cost of cheese, lattes, chocolate bars and pizzas. - SFGate

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Monday, June 25, 2007 

Grocery Workers Vote to Strike

Whether they actually do or not, that will be decided later. But the vote is in...and they want to put that on the front table. Keep in mind:
  • Workers haven't received a pay raise since 2002
  • The stores want to up (some by 100%) their medical co-pays
  • The stores want to add a third tier for paying lower wages compared to the current two tiers
  • They are trying to drive out older workers then hire younger, much lower paying employees

Total CEO Compensation
Corporation CEO 2003 2004 2005 2006 % Increase
David Dillon $3.7 Million $4.0 Million $5.1 Million $8.3 Million 124.3%
Steven Burd $1.0 Million $2.3 Million $9.2 Million $7.0 Million 600.0%
Jeffrey Noddle $3.9 Million $5.7 Million $9.5 Million $11.9 Million 210.5%


And last time there was a strike, it seems that the supermarkets were up to "no good"

The California Attorney General brought suit against the big three supermarkets (Vons, Ralph's, Albertson's) for anti-trust violations....and won the case.
Attorney General Bill Lockyer today won a landmark court ruling that holds grocery chains are liable for any antitrust violations arising from a profit-sharing agreement they entered prior to the start of a months-long labor strike in Southern California that ended February 2004.

"This ruling, the first if its kind in history, is a significant legal victory for consumers and law enforcement officials, not just in California but potentially across the country," said Lockyer. "The decision stands for the principle that businesses cannot violate the most basic tenet of antitrust law, conspiring to keep prices artificially high, and then escape accountability just because they broke the law during a labor strike." - California Office of the Attorney General
And Ralphs was fined $70 million for it's additional wrong doing.
Ralphs pleaded guilty in July to felony charges including indentity theft, money laundering, obstruction of justice, false use of a social security number and conspiracy arising from the company's ill-fated plan to secretly rehired striking or locked-out workers during a work stoppage in 2003 and 2004. The court imposed a $20 million fine and ordered Ralphs to pay $50 million in restitution to an 19,000 workers and their unions.

..Judge Anderson remarked that the company's conduct displayed a "pervasive and powerful corporate culture that exalted the value of profits and win at any costs above the rule of law." - California Wage Law blog
You know, if the supermarkets are claiming they have no money to pay their workers, perhaps they should find lower paid executives...perhaps they shouldn't break the laws and pay high fines for doing so.

I prefer the Farmer's Markets anyway. Unfortunately, one of my favorite little grocery stores Lazy Acres is owned by Albertson', buh bye if there is a strike. And, if there is a strike, I will forever shift my "big store" business to Gelson's and Trader Joe's.

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Saturday, June 23, 2007 

Good Food on KCRW

Has an interesting show today, including one segment on Aguas Frescas.
Aguas frescas (Spanish for "fresh waters") are a fresh juice drink whose popularity in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean has finally reached the U.S. Their irresistibly refreshing and simple combination of fruits, sugar and water make them the perfect antidote to the heat of summer or to complement a spicy meal. Jimmy Shaw, owner of the Loteria Grill (at the Farmer's Market) recently brought a sampling of aguas frescas to the Good Food studios, where he discussed his favorite flavors for this thirst-quenching drink.
Good Food with Evan Kleiman

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Friday, June 22, 2007 

Happy Chef Blogging Friday

Meet Scott Carsberg of Lampreia restaurant in Seattle. He was the 2006 James Beard Foundation Award winner for Best Chef Northwest/Hawai'i.

Chef Carsberg has had a long history in the restaurant/food business, more than a quarter of a century in fact, involving a myriad of experiences.

He started working as a busboy at 14. He had a stint on an Alaskan fishing boat. While still in high school, he was an intern at the restaurant in the Four Seasons hotel in Seattle

After the Four Seasons he talked his way into a job at Le Pavillon in Washington, D.C. He then went to work in Italy at Villa Mozart.

After six years of working and eating in Italy and Germany, Mr. Carsberg moved back to Seattle where he met his future wife, Hyun Joo Paek. Together they opened Lampreia, maxing out their credit cards, working for no money, establishing a restaurant the old-fashioned way.


He's also had a long history of running hot or cold with the diners at Lampreia.

According to the Seattle Post Intelligencer:
"It's heaven or hell. Chef Scott Carsberg is a genius or he's nuts. In dozens of online reviews, Lampreia's ultra-expensive dinners are described as dreamy or an absolute nightmare.

...Why would anyone put up with this nonsense?

Well, the food is extraordinary. Pristine ingredients cooked beautifully and painstakingly plated as if they were edible sculpture.

It was the black truffle gnocchi that convinced me of the kitchen's capacity to dazzle. These pillowy soft pasta look a little like a Hershey's Kiss, a flurry of snow-white shredded sheep's-milk ricotta nestled against the intensely flavored, whimsically shaped gnocchi. For days I couldn't stop thinking about this dish."

He also helped develop a gorgeous "on-line" cookbook, coming from Washington you knew it had to be "All About Apples."

From the Seattle Weekly:
In an era of virtual reality, it was only a matter of time before someone came up with a virtual cookbook. What wasn't to be expected was that the first virtual cookbook would be not only useful and informative but drop-dead gorgeous. The joint creation of Lampreia chef Scott Carsberg and Hillel Cooperman's food blog,, All About Apples is a step-by-step 100-page manual that, if every meticulous instruction and illustration is followed to the letter, will allow an average cook in an average kitchen to re-create an eight-course tasting menu, every course employing apples in a different fashion. Crab rolled in paper-thin Red Delicious tissue; Buckeye apple stuffed with foie gras; red-cabbage soup with apple gelée; red prawns with cooked and raw Zumi apples
Download the FREE PDF of "All About Apples" HERE courtesy of

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007 

Wednesday...Top Chef Night

Just "Eat It!" or "Reheat It!"

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Sustainable Filet-o-Fish?

Interesting "nugget" of information from Gristmill
McDonald's fish sandwich is more sustainable than Nobu's menu (the restaurant for the stars), because it is sourced from an Alaskan fishery certified by the Marine Stewardship Council. McDonald's, though, does not advertise the MSC label because then it would have to pay a licensing fee.
Kudos Mickey D's! Who knew?

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Ideal Bite is celebrating 2 years!

nd, of course, they will be celebrating with "organic" cake mixes.
or better yet....maybe they will bake it "by scratch"

Sign up for daily "Green Tips" from food, to clothing, to gifting...and more.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007 

KING CORN the Movie to see

The Sustainable Table has a nice little round up on this.
King Corn is a humorous and touching documentary about two best friends who decide to move to Iowa to grow an acre of corn – after finding out (through laboratory hair analysis) that their bodies were made primarily out of….corn. But this is not your typical buddy picture. While it does trace a year in the life of two friends, the film is really about the history of corn in modern America and the filmmakers’ relationship with the crop they’ve decided to grow.

After the somewhat shocking discovery about their bodily composition, Ian Chaney and Curt Ellis move to a small county in Iowa (where, coincidentally, both had farmer great-grandfathers) in order to find out how they (and most other Americans) ended up made out of corn. The two friends convince an Iowa farmer to lend them an acre of land to plant their corn crop. They purchase genetically modified corn for planting, and with the help of their neighbors, some heavy machinery, and lots of chemical fertilizers and herbicides, they end up growing a bumper crop of corn. But as Ian and Curt show us – this isn’t your sweet summer corn-on-the-cob we’re talking about – it’s corn bred specifically for industrial applications. The two friends decide to find out what happens to the corn they’ve grown after it leaves the grain elevator – and find that tracing their crop is easier said than done. Ultimately, however, they come to the conclusion that their corn is likely destined for one of two American industries: animal feed or corn syrup.
Pop yourself up some organic popcorn, squeeze some organic lemonade, get settled into the couch and watch this movie.

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Monday, June 18, 2007 

Welcome to the new America

Where hunger...oh, sorry "food insecurity", abounds.

Roughly 2.5 million low-income adults in California can't afford to adequately feed their families, resulting in health problems and household stress, according to a UCLA report released this week.

The report measures food insecurity, which can range from reduced quality or variety of diet to skipping meals because of costs. In 2005, 30 percent of low-income adults statewide reported choosing between food and other basic needs, according to data from the California Health Interview Study. Among them, 9 percent experienced a disruption in eating habits or skipped meals. The study did not include the homeless.

In Orange County, the UCLA report says an estimated 190,000 low-income adults struggle to buy food, and about 36,000 people sometimes go hungry. The numbers don't include children. - OC Register

In the land of Disneyland, there are kids that go hungry.

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Sunday, June 17, 2007 

Happy Father's Day Bill

Just a note to wish you a happy Father's Day, on which ever golf course you're playing.

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Saturday, June 16, 2007 

Gilroy...Garlic Capital of the World

True or false?

· Gilroy, Calif. is the “Garlic Capital of the World?”

· California produces 99 percent of U.S. garlic?

· Garlic is grown in Gilroy?

Answers: true, true, and false (almost).

“There is one garlic grower left in Gilroy — he has probably 30 acres in the corner of a vegetable field,” says (Bill) Christopher (of Christopher Ranch).

...China went from a measly 50,000 pounds of garlic a decade ago to 2 million to 3 million pounds last year, and for the first time more fresh garlic was imported into the U.S. than was produced in California.- Western Farm Press
Next time you are out shopping, ask yourselves....forget the price tag on the much is that garlic REALLY costing us?

And if you are in California July 27 - 29, stop on by for the Garlic Festival!

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Thursday, June 14, 2007 

I wrangled Butterflies today

Originally uploaded by j_jyarbrough
I had no idea that they can be shipped overnight inside coolers secured in see through envelopes, either alone or with a travel buddy. Hundreds. Chilled. Awaiting re-birth in the warmth of the sun.

Opening up the packages...watching them start wriggling their bodies...soaking up the sun slowly unfurling their wings and flitting away, hesitantly, often coming right back like an insect boomerang to gently land on my nose, shirt or head, was truly magical.

Apparently we almost missed getting the butterflies shipped. Something about the Homeland Security department having a problem with them.

Who knew?



Ciao, Clay!

The Chef representing Santa Barbara got tossed last night on Top Chef. When the judges use the word "inedible"'s not a good thing. The "Cored Apple of Doom"

OK, Clay....It's back to the SB University Club for you.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007 

I'm not going to try it....YOU try it!

I'm not going to try it...Hey, let's get Mikey....he won't eat it...he hates everything!

The thoughts meander back to that old Life cereal commercial when I ran across this story.
Cucumber-Flavored Soda Sold in Japan

Japanese are staying cool as a cucumber this summer with "Pepsi Ice Cucumber" - a new soda based on the crisp green gourd.

The soft drink, which hit stores here on Tuesday, doesn't actually have any cucumber in it - but has been artificially flavored to resemble "the refreshing taste of a fresh cucumber," said Aya Takemoto, spokeswoman of Japan's Pepsi distributor, Suntory Ltd. - Detroit Free Press

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007 

Cooking with Tyler...

Over at AOL Food! and he's got his official website up and "rockin!"

hubba hubba.

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Saturday, June 09, 2007 

The Birth of Boomer Cuisine!

Has it really been 25 years? Oh, dear. The Silver Anniversary of The Silver Palate Cookbook. An interesting interview on KCRW's Good Food:
Published in 1982, The Silver Palate Cookbook became a beloved classic that changed not only American cooking traditions but also the way we entertained. It taught home cooks to be daring with food, and how to use fresh, seasonal ingredients and artisanal breads and cheeses in a style that made it seem we'd been entertaining in this smart sophisticated way forever. Included in the James Beard Who's Who of American Food and inducted into the Cookbook Hall of Fame, The Silver Palate is being re-issued to commemorate its 25th anniversary. Authors Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins talk to Evan about their process in creating the cookbook and how they feel about its legacy.
Jessica's Biscuit has the 25th anniversary copies (both hard cover and soft) with autographed bookplates!

This is one of those "must have" cookbooks. If you don't have one in your working cookbook "stable", time to dash off and get one now.

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It's Not Fillet Powder....


Rags to Riches went from her knees at the start to her nose at the wire.

"One small stumble for giant payback for fillykind."

What a Belmont! I'm sure to check in with Left at the Gate for follow up coverage.

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Organic Green Washing

The Organic Consumers Association alerts us to "non" organics being sold as such.

Aurora Organic supplies milk for several private label organic milk brands, including Costco's "Kirkland Signature," Safeway’s "O" organics brand, Publix’s “High Meadows,”Giant's "Natures Promise," and Wild Oats’ organic milk. Aurora Organic received a failing grade from the Cornucopia Institute's survey of organic dairies for its practice of intensive confinement of dairy cows. For pictures of Aurora Organic's operations, follow this link. The Cornucopia Institute recently blew the whistle on Aurora Organic's greenwashing and its bogus certification of animal welfare.

Additionally, its been revealed that much of the soy for Dean Food's White Wave tofu and Silk soymilk products are sourced abroad, primarily from Brazil and China. Environmental standards and workers' rights are routinely violated in these two countries.
And just as the USDA wants to "relax" organic standards.
Demand for organic food in the U.S. is booming as consumers seek products that are more healthful and friendlier to the environment. Sales have more than doubled in the last five years, reaching $16.9 billion last year, according to the Organic Trade Assn. in Greenfield, Mass., which represents small and large food producers.

But with big companies entering what was formerly a mom-and-pop industry, new questions have arisen about what exactly goes into organic food. For food to be called organic, it must be grown without chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Animals must be raised without antibiotics and growth hormones and given some access to the outdoors.

..."Adding 38 new ingredients is not just a concession by the USDA, it is a major blow to the organic movement in the U.S. because it would erode consumer confidence in organic standards," said Carl Chamberlain, a research assistant with the Pesticide Education Project in Raleigh, N.C. - Latte Times
The market place for "organic" is growing. If a business wants to sell things "organic", it should be just that. ORGANIC. The business shouldn't try changing the rules just to sell product. It should try producing and selling a product that the market actually wants and correctly labeling it.


Friday, June 08, 2007 

Somewhat Random Flickr Friday....

John and Elizabeth Edwards
Originally uploaded by justhman.

When Elizabeth Edwards publicly announced that her cancer had returned, I sent her a card telling her I was wishing her and her family well and sending my prayers (Buddhist as they are.) And, to thank them for representing my father, who has retired in North Carolina.

Imagine my surprise when I received a little notecard in the mail....
Dear Jill,

When I announced my cancer had returned, the outpouring of compassion and support I received was overwhelming.

I appreciate that you took time from your busy life to think about me. Your kindness lifts my spirits and your caring touches my heart.

I'm feeling strong and appreciate all your support. Thank you so much for the encouraging words.


Elizabeth Edwards

Dignified. Compassionate. Classy.

Namaste, Elizabeth!

(and yes....I donated $6.10 to get Bobbie Edwards Pecan Pie to celebrate Mr. Edwards birthday on Sunday- 6/10.)

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Thursday, June 07, 2007 

Who knew that Pineapples

could be delicious wine.....

Maui Blanc

A soft, semi-dry wine made from the juice of Maui grown pineapples. Its pineapple flavor is subtle with a lingering finish. This wine can be served for all occasions and is a great compliment to Pacific Rim cuisine.

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007 

Top Chef Season Three - Santa Barbara is represented!

Chef Clay Bowen (Sous Chef, Santa Barbara University Club)

The season officially heats up June 13th.

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A Tragedy in the Kitchen - 1968

June 6, 1968.

Bobby's words have always inspired me.

"There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why... I dream of things that never were and ask why not."

Franklin Avenue had a wonderful blog noting the slow destruction of The Ambassador Hotel.

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Monday, June 04, 2007 

Montgomery County, Maryland

A suburb of the Nation's Capital.
It's school system has a bigger budget than the FDA.
It's county budget is twice that of the FDA.
The FDA is responsible for inspecting over 200,000 food processing facilities in the United States, but because their staffing is so inadequate, they can get to most only once every 10 to 15 years.
William Hubbard, a former associate commissioner of the FDA, writes a stomach churning editorial in the Boston Globe

(hat tip to the Ethicurean)

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Sunday, June 03, 2007 


The Idaho Potato Commission is enlisting spud lovers across the country to work their magic in front of the camera with the launch of an Internet video contest...on YouTube, or in this case, uTuber. This contest is "no small potatoes..." I kid you not.

Maryanne finally escaped Gilligan's Island and is now preparing potato dishes fit for the Professor and hyping this contest.
Check it out! or you can go to their special contest site,

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Saturday, June 02, 2007 

Director Robert Rodriguez' 10 Minute Cooking School

Sin City Breakfast Tacos!

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Friday, June 01, 2007 

It's June....Did you know that's it's also....

National Candy Month
National Dairy Month
National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month
National Iced Tea Month
National Papaya Month
National Seafood Month
National Turkey Lover’s Month

* June 1: National Hazelnut Cake Day
* June 2: National Rocky Road Ice Cream Day
* June 3: National Egg Day
* June 4: National Cheese Day
* June 4: National Frozen Yogurt Day
* June 4: National Cognac Day
* June 5: National Gingerbread Day
* June 6: National Applesauce Cake Day
* June 7: National Chocolate Ice Cream Day
* June 8: Jelly-Filled Doughnut Day
* June 9: National Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie Day
* June 10: Herbs & Spice Day
* June 10: National Iced Tea Day
* June 10: National Black Cow Day
* June 11: National German Chocolate Cake Day
* June 12: National Peanut Butter Cookie Day
* June 13: Kitchen Klutzes of America Day [oh, day! ;-) ]
* June 14: National Strawberry Shortcake Day
* June 15: National Lobster Day
* June 16: National Fudge Day
* June 17: Eat All Your Veggies Day
* June 17: National Apple Strudel Day
* June 18: National Cherry Tart Day
* June 18: International Picnic Day
* June 19: National Dry Martini Day
* June 20: National Vanilla Milkshake Day
* June 21: National Peaches and Cream Day
* June 22: National Chocolate Eclair Day
* June 23: National Pecan Sandy Day
* June 24: National Pralines Day
* June 25: National Strawberry Parfait Day
* June 26: National Chocolate Pudding Day
* June 27: National Indian Pudding Day
* June 27: National Orange Blossom Day
* June 28: National Tapioca Day
* June 29: National Almond Butter Crunch Day
* June 30: National Ice Cream Soda Day

Gentlereaders....get your calendars ready!



Random Flickr Foto Friday

Lethel Peppermint Chocolate Cake

Originally uploaded by hannahliesje.
1 package devil's food cake mix

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/3 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 recipe Peppermint Buttercream Frosting (see below for recipe)
Chocolate Ganache (see below for recipe)

1. Prepare the chocolate ganache. Let the ganache cool.
2. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease two round 9-inch cake pans.
3. Place the cake mix, cocoa powder, buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat two minutes more. The batter should look thick and combined. Divide the batter between the prepared pans.
4. Bake 28 to 30 minutes. Cool completely.
5. Meanwhile, prepare half a recipe of peppermint buttercream frosting.
6. Layer the cakes with the peppermint buttercream frosting in the middle. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the chocolate ganache that has cooled and is spreadable.

Chocolate Ganache

3/4 cup heavy (whipping) cream
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

1. Place the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to boil, stirring. meanwhile, place the chopped chocolate in a large mixing bowl. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is melted. Stir in the peppermint extract.

Peppermint Buttercream Frosting

8 tablespoon (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup finely crushed peppermint candy (about 7 peppermint sticks)
3 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
2 to 3 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

Place the butter in a large mixing bowl, and blend with an electric mixer until fluffy, 30 seconds. Add the peppermint candy, confectioners sugar, 2 tablespoon milk, and peppermint extract. Blend until everything is well incorporated, 1 minute, and beat until frosting lightens and is fluffy.

Source: The Cake-Mix Doctor

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