After years of research, an animal scientist looking for ways to keep inflammation down in cattle came up with a novel approach: feed them flax. The flax in their food helps keep animals healthy and has an added benefit for those who later eat their meat: omega-3 enriched beef.
Nonetheless, the organized mopping up of waste, the gardens and the webs of community activity materializing amongst these efforts — they coincide with a cultural shift — certainly in the Bay Area, and, to some extent, nation-wide, in large cities — pushing back to a time when food production was not industrialized, when pathways from farms to tables were clearer, more straightforward and less harmful to the environment.
Yes, this 1950s staple is my route to affordable steak sandwich success. Made from either the top or bottom round, cube steak undergoes a serious pounding that helps tenderize it into submission. So, although you start off with a chewier piece of meat than the upmarket prime rib roast or tenderloin, you end up with something that works beautifully when pressed into a bun. As a busy mom, I also love that this dish takes less than 10 minutes to make.
I’ve created a few easy-to-make soups that can be made in less than ten minutes from foods most of us have on hand in our freezers and pantries. As any working mom can tell you, quick and easy is essential for a week-night dinner, and these recipes are both; yet I also love how these homey pantry soups are made almost entirely of vegetables, making them just as nutritious for my family as they are tasty.
Nothing says comfort food like a chicken pot pie. After all, this relative of the savory meat pasty contains the homiest of ingredients: butter crust and gravy (oh yeah, and chicken too). As I mentioned last week, making a pot pie is a great way to use leftovers from a roasted chicken. But you shouldn’t think of this dish as only a method for getting rid of that dark meat or white meat no one wanted on baked chicken night. After all, pot pies — with gravy bubbling out of the cracks of their buttery crusts — are so good that I often roast a chicken simply so we can have pot pies the next day. And, unlike other dishes, this meal tops the favorites list for both kids and adults alike, so everyone is happy on chicken pot pie night.
Now I realize that many people don’t like to make a whole chicken because they think it’s difficult and time intensive. But, just like pudding and pancakes, nothing could be further from the truth. Unlike boneless and skinless breasts, which often need to be dolled up in a pan with other ingredients because they become dry and a bit tasteless when baked on their own, a whole chicken is a simple endeavor that has juicy results. In the name of full disclosure, I need to admit that baking a chicken takes between an hour and an hour and a half, but other than the first 5-7 minutes of prep work, this is all baking time.
My Creamy Chicken and Rice Casserole is a good example for how this type of dish can really stretch your food dollar. Whether you use leftovers from a previous night’s dinner or start from scratch, you only need to use about half the meat you would normally serve your family because the rice adds substantially to the dish. And, with some local onions and mushrooms added into the mix, it is ample enough to feed a family of 4-6 people while costing less than $15 to make. Truly the perfect savory mid-winter meal.
The free samples — cheese cubes with toothpicks, tiny paper cups of soup, chips with dips, and so forth — make shopping for groceries a lot more fun than trolling malls for mattresses, knee braces, and power tools. You know this because — at least from time to time — you’ve done it too.
In San Francisco, however, Whole Foods is by far the best destination for handouts. At least that’s what I once thought.
So if you’re looking for a way to give back to your community this holiday season, or all year, here are some local volunteer opportunities at organizations offering food to those in need. If you know of a great program not listed here, please include it in the comments section.
Tough times call for tough decisions. The California unemployment rate now stands at over 12 percent, and I’ve been underemployed since April. My cup of beans and rice runneth under, so I’m taking a cue from all those folks who have told me Henry is so cute they could just eat him. In short, I have a modest proposal.
It’s disheartening to see that the obese population is numerous states is over 30%, with other states close behind. Yet, although I appreciate Mr. Boustany’s commitment to healthy choices, I don’t think providing “incentives for wellness care and prevention” is realistic without first implementing legislation to make healthier foods accessible to everyone — rich, middle class and poor.
These last two weekends in the Bay Area have shown that there are indeed thousands of people willing to stand in long lines in the full heat of summer to try any tasty treat served from a bicycle or cart, tent or renovated taco truck.
I love to entertain, but hosting a dinner for 8-10 people can get pretty expensive. Between the main course, side dishes, and dessert, the grocery bill can easily run over $100 (and that’s a modest calculation when shopping for organic and sustainable food in the Bay Area). But what if you could impress your guests without breaking the bank? Would you believe me if I told you I made a dinner for 9 people that cost under $30?
Broccoli rabe, also known as rapini, is one of those vegetables people seem wary of cooking at home. Whenever I buy a bushel, it seems there’s always someone standing next to me asking what it is and how I’ll cook it. They usually have a curious yet skeptical look on their face, as if to say “that looks mildly interesting, but I’m sticking with the chard.” If you only shop in a grocery store, you may never have even seen it for sale as it’s mostly available at farmers’ markets and Asian produce stores. But if you find yourself in one of those places, I highly recommend buying a batch. Just look for the plant with dark spiky green leaves, small florets (often with tiny white flowers) and medium-sized stalks. It looks a bit like a dandelion greens / broccoli hybrid.
I am sure I am not alone in examining all parts of my budget during this time of economic strife. (In fact, this post was late because I am in the midst of epic research on how to cut down my phone bill.)
Since I believe so strongly in buying good, sustainably raised food from local purveyors, it can sometimes be a challenge to reign in spending.
I’ve been reading a lot about the rising cost of food. The general media is painting a fairly dim picture of the current state of food prices and accessibility, and Jennifer Maiser’s recent articles on BAB helped enlighten us about the politics behind these stories and the reactions to them. Anyone who has walked into [...]