Boycott Barilla

Yet again there is another food related foot in mouth incident of bigotry. The food world had just been through the Paula Deen drama.

Now Guido Barilla, of Barilla Pasta has jumped on the anti-gay bandwagon .

You probably have a box of Barilla pasta in your home right now. I did.

Barilla Boycott

Barilla Boycott

From the Independent by Michael Day 

Guido Barilla, whose firm has almost half the Italian pasta market and a quarter of that in the US, told Italy’s La Zanzara radio show last night: “I would never do an advert with a homosexual family…if the gays don’t like it they can go an eat another brand.

“For us the concept of the sacred family remains one of the fundamental values of the company.”

He added: “Everyone has the right to do what they want without disturbing those around them”. But then the pasta magnate upped the ante by attacking gay adoption. “I have no respect for adoption by gay families because this concerns a person who is not able to choose,” he said.

Guido Barilla’s firm has almost half the Italian pasta market and a quarter of that in the US.

When these things come out, I am curious if the anti-gay folks will rally in solidarity and boost the sales of the offending company.

I am not sure Barilla got the memo that politics and business do not mix, especially if you sell a consumer product. Does Barilla really want to loose his gay and gay supporter sales to champion his private believes?

Maybe. He’s rich. What does he care. But his shareholder care, which is why he apologized.

But I don’t buy it. I say let him sit with his believes and own them in the market place.

This is the last box of Barilla pasta I plan to buy.

I’m going to go with my local Michigan Brand Al Dente.

Or why not make your own homemade pasta.

Here is a recipe for Homemade Pasta from openly gay pastry chef David Lebovitz

Homemade Pasta

Homemade Pasta from http://www.davidlebovitz.com

Homemade Pasta Dough from http://www.davidlebovitz.com

1 1/2 pounds (665g) – 4 servings

7 ounces (200g) all-purpose flour
7 ounces (200g) coarse semolina
or 14 ounces (400g) flour
4 large eggs, at room temperature

Mix together the flour and semolina in the bowl of a stand mixer, or mix them up and create a mound on the counter top with a crater in the center. If using a stand mixer, add the eggs to the dough and mix them together with the paddle or dough hook until well mixed. On the counter top, crack the eggs into the center of the flour and semolina. Use your fingers to gradually draw the dry ingredients into the center, mixing them with the eggs. The dough will be hard to mix at first – a pastry scraper will help you draw it all together – but eventually it will come together and be relatively smooth.

Knead the dough with the heel of your hand for at least three minutes until the dough is very smooth. The dough should not feel sticky. If it sticks to your fingers, knead in a small amount of flour, just enough so your fingers come away clean when you pull them away. Wrap the dough and let it sit at room temperature for an hour.

(You can keep the dough for several hours at room temperature.

Shaping the pasta:

To roll out the pasta, on a lightly floured surface, cut the dough into six or eight pieces. Working one piece at a time, fashion each piece into a rough rectangle, then pass it through your pasta machine on the widest setting (usually #1). Fold dough in half or in thirds and pass it through again. Then fold and pass it through one more time.

Continue passing the pasta through the machine, closing down the opening of the rollers a few notches with each pass (and dusting them very lightly with flour or semolina if the dough is sticking) until you’ve reached the desired thickness. Then, if you wish to make fettuccine or spaghetti, use the pasta cutter attachment to cut the sheets into the desired thickness, or cut the pasta by hand on the counter top with a chef’s knife to whatever size strands or shapes you want.

Once rolled, fresh pasta should be dusted with semolina (preferably) or flour to keep it from sticking if you’re not going to cook it right away. You can lay it on a semolina- or flour-dusted baking sheet or linen kitchen towel, until ready to boil. Or drape it over a suspended rolling pin or pasta drying rack until ready to use.

Cook for 2-3 minutes in boiling water.

Ground Tomatoes

Ann Arbor Food

Ground Tomatoes

I was at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market yesterday getting my fix of my favorite salsa from Nightshade Army Industries. I bought four jars, 3 red 1 green and Stefanie threw in a bag of ground cherry tomatoes.

The have a paper like husk wrapper like tomatillos, but are sweeter and are better raw.

They are sweet and fun to eat because of the wrappers, which makes them a fun party food.

Some say they have an almost tomato cross with a mango flavor. I think they have more of a sweet tomato with an sun dried tomato flavor.

They are my new thing. I try to try new vegetables each year. Last year was amaranth stem.

Homemade Energy Bars

Ann Arbor Food

Energy Bars

I have been on a health kick lately, so I’ve been making my own version of a health bar. There are whole sections of health food stores with these. Some are OK, but most taste like cardboard. And many load them up with questionable Soy Protein Isolate, a refined protein filler.

Packing a energy bar with Soy Protein Isolate helps with texture, moisture and creates a nice high protein ratio on the label, but it is questionable if its healthy.

My snack bars are full of natural goodness. They are 1 part toasted sesame seed, 1 part toast oats and two part organic rice crispy, with enough rice syrup and nut butter to hold them together.

Are they low fat, low sugar and high protein? Probably not.

But I’d rather have these then anything in a vending machine or on the health food store “health bar” shelf.

Feel free to adapt the recipe. I include options below.

Either way, most health bars are still high calorie with 200-250 calories just like a candy bar. I am not sure where these rank on calories, probably about the same. But my trick is to cut them into small squares and grab one when I need it.

Its sure better then hitting up my co-workers never ending Halloween bowl with candy.

Ann Arbor Food

Rice Crispy Bars

Homemade Energy Bars: Base Recipe

1 cup of unhulled toasted sesame seeds (or untoasted hulled)
1 cup of Toasted whole oats
2 cups of organic rice crispy
1/2-3/4 cup rice syrup
1/2 cup of peanut butter (natural just ground peanuts and salt, I use health food store freshly ground)
2 tablespoons of maple syrup
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
pinch of salt

Options:
coco powder
Almond butter
Other nuts and seeds (pecans, almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, cashews)
Dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, apricots, dates, etc..)
Toasted Coconut
Chocolate chips
Coco nibs
Sweet miso (cooked with the syrup mixture if using)
Crumpled Seaweed Nori

Procedure:

Wash and drain the sesame seed. Place in a cast iron plan and slowly toast until the seeds are toasted. A test is when the seed do not stick to a metal spoon and you can press them into powder. (If you are using hulled sesame seeds you do not need to toast them)

Next toast the oats for a few minutes on medium heat until it is slightly brown.

Place the seeds, oats and the rice crispy into a large bowl.

In a sauce pan, combine the peanut butter, rice syrup, maple, salt, vanilla and cinnamon. Heat just until the mixture melts together.

Add the warm mixture to the seed, oats rice and mixture to combine.

Press the mixture into a pan in an even level about an inch thick. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate to set.

Cut square from the pan. Eat at room temperature.

Ann Arbor Food

Homemade Energy Bars

I like to cut them into squares and put them in snack size ziplocks. Each bag is about the size of a health snack bar. They make great work snacks and travel food.

They usually don’t last long, but you can refrigerate or freeze them.

Drying Mint for Tea

Ann Arbor Food

Ann Arbor Food Mint

Emily and I have been organizing our efforts toward developing Tea blends. I kind of went nuts buying mint at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market last week. I jumped into drying mode. The taste of fresh “dried” mint tea is soooo much better.

Here how to do it.

1 Wash your mint

2 lay out on dried towels to dry

3 Place on screen racks and direct a fan at them until the leaves are dry

4 Tie up in bunches, hand them on sting and have a fan on them.

You can opted not to have a fan on them, but the quicker you dry them the better. Mint can turn brown quickly.

Within a few days, the mint will be crackle dry.

De-leave the stems and store in a dry tin.

Use 1/8-1/4 cup of mint leaves per 8oz cup of tea.

Dried full leave mint tea has a lot of air in it, so the amount may seem more then you think.

Ann Arbor Food

Ann Arbor Food Drying Mint

Ann Arbor Food

Ann Arbor Food Harvesting Dried Mint

Ann Arbor Food Fresh Dried Mint Tea

Ann Arbor Food Fresh Dried Mint Tea

Greek Salad

Ann Arbor Food

Greek Salad Ann Arbor Food

This is the Real Greek Salad version I had when i was in Greece. No baby spinach, no olives, no fancy dressing, no peppercini.

1-2 peeled and sliced cucumber
1-2 ripe tomatoes large wedge or diced
salt and pepper to taste
a little olive oil to drizzle
and a huge slice of feta

Enjoy

 

Nettles Tea

Ann Arbor Food

Ann Arbor Food

Here’s a pick of a dried nettle leaf. I don’t know why I never thought of drying out my nettles until now.

I am a big fan of fresh nettle tea as a cleansing tea to make the seasonal transition. I always buy a bag full when they appear at the Farmers Market some time in the Spring, but I always get too much. I do make some tea, but most has gone bad.

Stinging Nettles are a pain to harvest because they have sharp tiny burs that sting the skin. But they go away after they are cook in a tea or if they are dried.

To dry the nettle leaf (don’t dry the streams), I simple place them on a bakers cooling rack for a few days.

Once dry it is crumpled up and stored in a tin, which can last for at least a year. I combine my nettles with dried mint with a 1:1 ratio.

You’ll need a lot to make a tea, like around 1/4 cup because they are very light.

Ann Arbor Food

Ann Arbor Food

 

Emily and I are in the works with starting our own Tea Company. More on that later.

Dean Chopped from Food Network

I can’t say I am surprised Paula Dean was dropped by the Food Network. I thought she was over when she lied about having diabetes for three years, while presenting her over the top fatty and sugary food.  She then announced that she will be the spokes person for a diabetes drug.

Her new scandal, she said the N-word and then somehow tried to justify it. I am not sure the advise her handlers gave her, but I assume it should have been to say, “I AM SORRY” as big and as sincere, and to as many people who will listen. Just say “I am sorry” and repeat it a million times.

And you have to mean it and you have to change your ways and be a model of good behavior.

But Dean did none of that. Instead she held this out until court and put herself on the record about saying the N-word and upped the ante by implying she also says other off color joke about other groups.

From: Food Network Drops Paula Deen, NYT

She also stated that “most jokes” are about Jews, gay people, black people and “rednecks.”

I am not sure where this was coming from with Dean. Did she think that she is a redneck, so this is all OK?

But lets not forget how this all started.

From US News and World Report

…not only did Deen admit to using the n-word, but also making anti-Semitic, racist and homophobic jokes, as well as having planned a “southern style wedding” in which she hired black waiters to take on the appearance of slaves

She was supposed to come on the Today Show to explain herself, but cancelled, which sent the message that she either could not really explain her behavior or she did not have the courage to answer potentially tough questions.

Will she make a come back? Will her supporters say the folks who agree that most JOKES are about those OTHER PEOPLE who are Black, Jewish, Gay or Redneck, give her another chance?

Will the PR wing of her empire do their magic and keep the Paula Dean “Gravy Train” rolling?

I’ll be curious to see this play out. Food Network dumped her, but she also has a magazine with a million subscribers, cookbooks, endorsements, restaurants etc….

I can’t imagine advertisers be excited to support a magazine with her picture on the cover especially if boycotts are started against the advertisers and products in protest. 

Also foodie tourists to Savannah who were once excited to go to Dean’s restaurant will avoid it especially Northerners.

I love Savannah. And I Love the South, which is not a given for a suburban Jewish kid from New Jersey. Yes, a Jew who is among the four groups of people who all jokes are about according to Deen.

When I was in Savannah last, I met a group of folks from New York who were doing a  food tour of the town. They had stopped at this cupcake place, Back in the Day, the best cupcakes in the world.

There was a sign picture of Paula Deen on the wall of the place.

The food tour stopped at Paula Deen’s.

Seeing these folks gave me the impression that the New South had arrived if New York City Jews were now flocking their for tourism, that the old racist South persona had finally faded away and we Northerners could embraces our Southern brothers around a plate of ribs and corn bread.

In no small part Paula Deen had lead the charge that the South was friendly and welcoming and that food brings folks together. Diabetes be damn, pass me another red velvet cupcake please!!!!

The irony here is that Dean who is known for her over the top friendly Southern hospitality and an ambassador for the South, the New South is now the face of old school Southern racism.

No one knows how this will play out. Maybe enough people who either buy her apology or side with her off color humor/attitude, to keep her food empire going.

Maybe.

Or Maybe not.

Maybe America and the South deserves another cook to represent them. Maybe the Food Network can build up another Southern Chef who does not make off colored jokes about slaves and the old South.

Southern American food (and food in general) is supposed to bring people together.

Maybe the Lee Brothers