Archive for the ‘noteworthy’ Category

April Fool’s Day fish stew

April 5, 2011

Returning home from work on a Friday night inevitably sings for pizza delivery. Last Friday night I decided to make a basic cioppino style fish stew. I stopped at the market after dropping a friend off on the way home from work. I grabbed some shrimp as well as a couple of small fish steaks (Halibut, Cod or even a light Tuna will work). However; on this go around, I chose a fish I had never heard of before called Escolar (more on this fish later) . I grabbed 3/4 of a pound as well as 4 small Italian sweet sausages and headed for home.

The recipe for the stew is as follows:


– 1 large  soup pot

– 1 large saute pan

– 1/2  a yellow onion diced

– 3 celery stalks diced

– 1 yellow or red pepper diced

– 2 yukon potatoes cubed

– 1 carrot diced

– 1 can of fire roasted chopped tomatoes

– 1 1/2 cups of chicken or vegetable stock

– 2 tablespoons of dried basil

– 1 tablespoons of dried oregano

– 1 teaspoon of dried red pepper flakes

– salt and pepper to taste

– 1/2 to 3/4 pound of shrimp shelled and deveined

– 3/4 of a pound of fish steak (you want a steak because there are fewer bones which are easily removed)

– 2 tablespoons of wine ( I used red and white because I had the urge)

– 3 cloves of garlic minced


1. In the soup pot bring the tomatoes and broth to a boil.

2. Add the wine and boil for an additional minute to burn off the alcohol.

3. Reduce to a simmer and add garlic and spices.

4. In the frying pan heat oil over a medium heat and saute onions, carrots, celery and peppers until the onions are wilted (translucent).

5. When vegetables are ready add to the soup pot and continue to simmer.

6. Brown sausages in same pan vegetables were sauteed in until almost cooked through (about 5 minutes on medium).

7. Remove sausages and slice into 1/2 inch rounds when cool enough to touch.

8. Add to soup and simmer for another 1/2 hour to an hour (longer is better).

9. Return soup to a medium heat (almost rolling boil) add fish steaks and allow to cook for 5 to 8 minutes (keep an eye on them). Poke with a fork they should not fall apart but should yield a bit. Add shrimp and cook for 3 minutes.

10. Reduce heat and serve with nice bread or polenta.

Note: This keeps for about a day; perhaps two, so do not make a huge amount.

During the meal; which turned out well, my wife asked me about the fish. I admitted not knowing about escolar and proceeded to look it up on Wikipedia. The normal info was there such as location, genus, etc., but about halfway down the page I noticed some interesting subheads. The first was titled “Consumption” and the second was labeled “Effects of consumption”. I kept a straight face as we had just finished our meal. Everyone had polished their respective plates, and it looked like a great evening was in the making. The description for the effects was colorful, but the general gist is that I had just poached the equivalent of an  Olestra or Olean steak. I must admit the fish was delicious and buttery. Thankfully, I had served far below the troublesome portion size per person and even less to my son. It is now several days later and we are all fine.

My take away is that either the ingredients in the stew may have minimized the effects, or as a friend suggested we are some of the tribe who can eat this fish with no ill effect. The larger question is where is the FDA and labeling for products which are known for having these side effects?

I am thankful that is so easy for the public to get information quickly, but I would love for our government agencies to be held to a higher standard.

One last discovery “white tuna” is not “white tuna” it is; 9 out of 10, times escolar. So as you sit down to that lovely sashimi avoid the albino tuna.


another Italian film and a “borrowed” blood orange recipe

June 21, 2010

I watched another remarkable Italian film last night. The film “Il Divo” by Paolo Sorrentino was historically fascinating, visually striking and the acting was great. I am not normally a huge fan of docudramas but this story of the Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti was wonderful, dark, exciting, and disturbing. I would definitely recommend this one.

The Recipe

This is a small appetizer or snack which I have made a few times. I found it in a small Italian cookbook I found in Goodwill; the dust sleeve was missing so the title is escaping me. I will circle back and give credit where credit is due although I think this is a fairly common recipe. It is incredibly easy to make.


3 or more naval or blood oranges (I like the blood oranges for taste and visual)

Olive oil

Dry or fresh chopped oregano

Dry or fresh chopped basil

Dry red pepper flakes

A large colorful serving plate


1. I like to roll the oranges with a slight amount of pressure on a table for a few seconds to get the juices going, but this is not mandatory. It really depends on the season and the oranges.

2. Wash the oranges under cold water for a few seconds.

3. Slice the oranges into 1/4 inch rounds and arrange on your plate.

4. Sprinkle each slice with your herbs.

5. Drizzle with a generous amount of olive oil, but don’t drown them.

6. Let stand for at least 10 minutes. Do not place in fridge or the olive oil might start to congeal.

7. Serve with small forks and a nice crusty bread.

8. Enjoy.

haven’t posted about food in a bit

May 24, 2010

I must admit I am fascinated and appalled by the train wreck of corporate shame happening in the Gulf of Mexico right now. Who isn’t?

Found an interesting video post by an outraged booming expert (oil spill cleanup) which I wanted to share.

There is some strong language, but if your small children sitting in the back seat blurt out “F**K BP F**KING F**KERS,” while on a summer road trip is that really so bad?


a book about food

May 5, 2010

I have been reading or listening to audio books about food often lately. Many are extremely concerning, interesting or just alarming. Unfortunately, the alarming tend to be the most prevalent on my list right now. However, I have been listening to a great book which approaches the topics in an interesting historical way. Ann has a great way of approaching the subjects; it is analytical and sensitive. I have noticed that even though much of the subject matter is tough, scary, and important I do not come away with a sense of impending doom. If you have a moment grab a copy or listen to the Audio book.

Kitchen Literacy:

How we lost knowledge of where food comes from and why we need to get it back

by Ann Vileisis

Kick-Ass the movie

May 3, 2010

It is all there in the title. Mark Millar, this boy is fun. I am glad the Comics Code Authority of the 50s is long dead.

I can see that some will find it…well you read the reviews. I don’t make it to the movies as often as I would like, but this one is worth seeing.

The disclaimer: Super violent, graphic, gratuitous, desensitizing and brilliant with lots of blood.

I would suggest large quantities of sugary treats.

in honor of earth day we are releasing a new round of GMOs

April 22, 2010

There should be so many disclaimers on this story I can only list the most important ones.

1. I am not, nor have ever been a scientist.

2. I am not, nor have ever been a lawyer.

3. I am not, nor have ever been anti government (although I wonder some times if the big they always have “We the peoples…” best interests in mind…).

4. I am not a farmer and can’t even begin to express how much respect and gratitude I have for the people raising our food.

5. I like corn, and eat a good amount of corn product although I have recently given up drinking Coca Cola something I did every day for over 20 years. Honestly, I am pretty sure I have consumed a small ponds worth of High Fructose corn syrup. I’ll tell you about the soda cessation once I stop flickering back and forth between psychotic episodes and paralytic malaise (completely unrelated I am sure).

The Scoop

The USDA deregulated a new type of GMO corn yesterday. Today is earth day. I am sure no thought was given to this by anyone involved, but I think it is wonderful in its level of irony.

Wall Street Journal online article

Agriculture Online article

Syngenta started their petition for deregulation status of this new corn trait in August 2007

The USDA petitions pending and granted url (you can read the petitions and the USDA recommendations here)

Once the USDA reviewed Syngenta’s 1125 page petition the USDA allows for a 60 day public review before posting its final recommendation (as far as I can tell).

Here is a screen capture of the petition site with the document highlighted in yellow below:

During the 60 day review only 35 comments were received from interested parties (the breakdown is interesting).

Below is a quote pulled from the USDAs final 91 page recommendation as well as another screen capture of the USDAs document highlighted in yellow:

On January 13, 2010, APHIS published a notice in the Federal Register (75 FR 1749- 1751, Docket No. APHIS-2009-0072) announcing the availability of the Syngenta petition and the APHIS PPRA and EA for a 60-day public review and comment period. This comment period ended on March 15, 2010. APHIS received a total of 35 comments from various groups and individuals. Nineteen comments supported deregulation, while 16 comments generally opposed the development and use of genetically engineered foods.

Those supporting a determination of nonregulated status included six academicians, six individuals from the corn industry, four corn trade groups, and three corn growers. Those opposing a determination of nonregulated status included a corn grower, two Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) (supplied four comments), and 11 individual consumers.

-USDA Recommendation (see below screen capture for location of the document)

We can’t cry over spilled milk if there are only 16 comments opposed to a new GMO being introduced.


Now I don’t know if this new GMO corn is bad, but I do know from reading some of the USDA recommendation that it does cross pollinate with other corn strains. I think this is about midway down the page on page 17 of the USDA recommendation. Again I am not a scientist but I think there is a mention of lessening the possibility of cross pollination by creating buffer zones:

Methods of spatial and temporal isolation are widely used when seed producers are seeking to minimize the influx of pollen from outside a seed production field.

-USDA Recommendation (see above screen capture for location of the document)

Humor me, but in the event of an all out nuclear conflict I keep one of those laminate topped metal sided school desks in my basement, don’t you.

A brief history:

So here are some sensationalistic snippets of fact taken out of context and posted for the sole purpose of sparking a teeny amount of interest.

Syngenta has two parent companies, AstraZeneca and Novartis and is one of Monsantos, Dupont and Bayer’s chief competitors in the GMO market.

interesting overview

AstraZeneca had been a Swedish company called Astra and Zeneca was originally part of Imperial Chemical Industries. One early project which they worked on a few years back was a rival to Monsantos “terminator” seeds which make seed saving impossible. The seeds of these GMO plants produce genetically sterile seeds. AstraZeneca’s version was called (by detractors) the “Verminator” because it contained fat genes from a rats genome. I think I read somewhere that AstraZeneca had stopped work on this project.

A series of thoughts and top of mind questions:

Can we call any corn raised in the United States organic?

Where is this non-GMO corn raised, and how can non-contamination be guaranteed?

If it is not possible to guarantee no cross pollination why should anyone pay extra dough at Whole Foods or elsewhere for “non GMO” corn products?

How as a culture that relies so heavily; and has such faith in the use of science and technology, can we move forward in a way which leaves a good legacy for our children?

In summary:

It is never my intention to overtly target or slander any company, AstraZeneca has many products which do amazing things for people who rely on there medicines for survival. However, as I become more aware of food topics I am having a hard time not becoming angry. It is the opinion of many in the scientific community that there is not enough long term testing on these crops, and that live field testing is dangerous. I guess we (or our children) will find out.

a quote

April 19, 2010

As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air –however slight–lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness.

– Justice William O. Douglas

someone had to do it

April 16, 2010

Someone had to do a follow up to one of the finest books written in NYC in the last decade;

and here it is…

If you find yourself in need  of a watering hole, or the rat worm is trying to gnaw its way through your stomach lining, treat this brilliant project as your go to guide.