wicked fast cucumber salad

June 11, 2010

I often hear about eating from frozen packaged nuclear toaster dinners as being the norm and not the exception. I have considered the wisdom in this practice; shopping for fresh ingredients, gardening, preparing and cleaning up eats so much time. I imagine tallying the members of the family, counting the number of meals we might potentially eat together and filling the cart.

This recipe is not as easy as the aforementioned dream, nor does it pack the number of fat calories and mountains of fat and sugar (although it does have some). I fashioned this as a hybrid pickle slash Japanese inspired salad. I think the first time I made this salad I was out of pickles and  was grilling piles of meat in the back yard on a practice survivalist fire pit (one never knows when the zombies will take over).


Cucumbers (as many as you like) peeled and sliced thin

Rice wine vinegar (not to be mistaken with rice wine)

Sesame oil

Black pepper

Salt or Soy sauce (I use salt because it doesn’t turn the cucumbers tan)

A large non reactive bowl (non metal)


1. Toss the peeled and thin sliced cucumbers into the bowl.

2. Add about 1 tablespoon of rice wine vinegar per cucumber.

3. Add 1/2 teaspoons of sesame oil per cucumber.

4. Add a little salt or soy sauce to taste.

5. Mix well and place covered in the fridge for about an hour.

6. Remove from the fridge and toss lightly before serving.

I like to serve this alongside other salads and piles of heavy charred grilled products (veggie or carnivore).


baked marinated tofu

June 1, 2010

This is a great addition to a vegetarian lunch; it makes a great sandwich with vinaigrette, lettuce, and tomatoes. It works in a bento style lunch as well (as seen above) thick sliced on a bed of vegetable fried rice with baked sweet potato rounds. Hot or cold this is filling and delicious.

My recipe has been an experimental process based on various versions from local markets. I can’t stand paying an arm and a leg for a healthy alternative which can so easily be done at home.


1 or more blocks of extra firm Tofu.

cheese cloth or unbleached paper towel

1 tablespoon of light soy sauce

1 teaspoon of dark soy sauce (you can double up on the light if you do not have dark soy sauce)

2 cloves of minced garlic

small handful of minced onion

1 tablespoon of rice wine vinegar (or lemon juice and 2 tsp of sugar)

1 tablespoon good ketchup

1/3 cup water


1. Drain and wrap tofu in cheese cloth or wrap in paper towels between some plates (for weight).

2. Set aside for about an hour.

3. Add all other ingredients to a gallon ziploc or other container and place tofu gently into container.

4. Make sure block(s) are well coated with marinade.

5. Place marinating tofu in fridge and proceed with your day (leave it in the fridge for at least 2-3 hours),

6. Turn tofu in marinade a few times if you remember.

7. Heat stove to 350 degrees and place tofu and sauce  in a lightly oiled and foiled baking pan (at least 2″ deep).

8. Place tofu in oven and bake for 30 minutes or until nice and brown. Remember to  turn the tofu in sauce to get a nice glaze.

9. Enjoy, and remember to experiment with whatever you can think of for a marinade.

The bento style lunch box reminds me of some amazing drawings my friend used to draw called KRUNK. Perhaps we will get lucky and he will read this and send me one from the archive to post.

dal recipe revealed

June 1, 2010

I received this recipe from my sister a while back and left it in one of the comments as an easter egg, but it’s really good. I felt obligated to repost. Belly up to the table rice, Naan, a big spoon and enjoy.


1 c yellow lentils (yellow split peas works as a substitute)
4 c water
1 tsp salt, divided
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tbsp canola oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds (I use powder)
1 med onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (I don’t do hot so I add curry at this point instead)
2 mangoes, peeled and diced
1/2 c fresh cilantro

Place lentils in a colander and rinse until water runs clear. Combine lentils, water, 1/2 tsp salt and turmeric in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, partially cover and cook, stirring occassionally, for 15 mins.
Meanwhile heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over med heat. Add cumin, cook about 30 seconds. Add onion, cook until soft about 4-6 mins. Add garlic, ginger, coriander, cayenne and remaining salt and cook for 1 more min. Stir the garlic mixture nad mangoes into the lentils. Return to a simmerr, stirring occassionally until the lentils are soft and falling apart about 10-15 mins. Stir in cilantro and serv over rice or whatever.

Wow how do you have the time to do this?

This recipe appears here without the express consent of Eating Well Magazine where it appears in the Feb 2010 edition so don’t sell it or profit from it!

jam jar vinaigrette

May 24, 2010

Here is a nice vinaigrette dressing with a shaken not stirred approach. I was hoping to fancy up a dressing for a salad we were going to have while barbecuing last year and worked this one out. I remember a rasberry vinaigrette I had a long time ago.

As I reached into the fridge for the jam jar I noticed it was empty; you know the deal if you have ever lived with someone. We have all experienced the “almost” empty Ice Cream container syndrome. “There was a full serving when I put it back in the fridge.” I am sure this particular one was my fault, I probably just didn’t feel like rinsing out the jar for recycle (they melt it down anyway WTF). The moment I picked it up I knew I had to figure something out; and being stubborn, a regular dressing was out of the question.


Mostly empty jar of jam (any flavor will do I happened to have rasberry at the time)

3 Tablespoons of Olive oil

2 Tablespoons of rice wine vinegar

1/2 Tablespoon of Oregano

1/2 Tablespoon Basil

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes or black pepper

1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard

1 Tablespoon water


Add ingredients to jar, replace lid, shake vigorously, you’re done.

Serve on salad, marinade something and grill it, or do both.

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?


Oh wait, it’s not 5,000 barrels per day

May 21, 2010

Oh wait, it’s not 5,000 barrels per day it’s between 76,000 and 104,000 barrels per day.


Oh, and it won’t ever reach the coastline…except when it does.


Get ’em while you can…


Question: Is that more than beluga caviar from the furthest reaches…?

Nice green logo though. When I first saw it, I thought it was a flower.
Perhaps it was meant to be an environmental detonation of some sort.

Just saying.

BP made somewhere in the neighborhood of 5.6 Billion in the first quarter of this year.

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.

Don’t eat the potatoes. Why? There spoiled. A no egg frittata.

May 3, 2010

Yeah, I admit I was listening to 3rd Bass in the car on Saturday and getting jiggy while running errands (picture David Herman’s performance in Office Space and you are just about there). I bring this up because there is one song which opens with a sample from an older song which starts “Don’t drink the milk.” “Why?” “It’s spoiled.” I don’t know why, but this makes me laugh every time.

Later, I was talking on the phone with a friend and he mentioned the blog and suggested that I out the potato as the “pesticide sponge” it is. What, the potato? For real? Word. The upside is that organic potatoes are not that much more than regular ones, you can grow your own in a tire if you want to go survivalist, or plant ’em with your kids and tell them they can have french fries again when they harvest (how’s that for motivation?). Seriously, I love the potato and after all this dark talk I got to thinking about favorite recipes. One of my all time favorites of my young adulthood was the frittata. My son is allergic to eggs so I have not made one in a long time which pushed me to work one out.

I know this one might be a stretch; as many people do not like tofu, so for those who want to use eggs I will defer to the biggest cookbook in the world for a traditional recipe.


1 block of firm tofu drained, weighted and dried in paper towels for about an hour (I usually slit the packaging and give it a good squeeze, wrap it in paper towel, and put it between two plates with a cook book on it).

1/2 cup each (or more) of onions, red and green peppers, and tomatoes (chopped box or canned tomatoes are fine)

1 dried ancho chile soaked, seeded, and scraped with the blade of a sharp knife ( you should net about a tablespoon of goodness)

1/4 cup of Shredded Pecorino

1/4 cup of grated aged Gouda (I like the aged and hard cheeses for taste and it cuts down on the artery and gut clogging factor a little)

3 or 4 small potatoes red or yukon (organic if you can, grown in a tire is even more bad ass) sliced into 1/8″ or 1/4″ rounds

3 tablespoons of cooking oil (Olive oil blended with canola and a tsp of sesame is nice)

At least 3 cloves of garlic minced

1 small decent tomato cut into rounds or sun dried

1/4 cup of scallions chopped fine

1 teaspoon each of tumeric, cumin, red flake pepper, and salt

1 tablespoon of buter

2 tablespoons of broth

1 10 inch saute pan

1 10 inch pie pan (a clear glass one works well so you can check to make sure the potatoes do not burn)

1 mixing bowl


1. Preheat the oven to 350

2. Butter the pie pan and additionally coat with a little oil

3. Saute the potatoes in 2 tablespoons oil for a few minutes or until lightly browned

4. Remove the potatoes and place on a clean brown paper bag or paper towel to drain (non printed is best)

5. Saute the chopped veggies, ancho chiles, and garlic in a little of the left over oil for a minute until the onion starts to wilt (becomes translucent).

6. In a mixing bowl crumble the tofu and add the veggies, vegetable broth, spices and 1/2 the cheese.

7. Arrange the potatoes on the bottom of the greased pie pan, cover with tofu mixture and pat down to create a level surface.

8. Arrange tomato rounds on top of frittata, sprinkle with remaining cheese and place in middle rack of oven for 30 minutes or until tomatoes and cheese are beginning to brown.

9. Check sporadically to make sure potatoes do not burn.

10. Remove and serve. I like a little red sauce or taco sauce with mine, but ketchup makes it more palatable for the kiddies.

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.