Wednesday, January 28, 2004
Vegetarian Version of
Margaritaville® Famous Crab, Shrimp and Mushroom Dip
Thanks to Jimmy Buffet for his continued support of the Save the Manatee Club
2 tablespoons soy spread
1/4 cup minced celery
1/4 cup minced onion
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 cups soy creamer
1/2 cup potato flakes
1 1/2 cups sliced white mushrooms
1 cup TVP (textured vegetable protein)
1 cup firm tofu
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup shredded soy cheddar cheese
1/3 cup shredded soy Monterey jack cheese
2 green onions, sliced
2 loaves Italian bread
1/2 cup soy spread, melted (1 stick)
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1 Tbls minced fresh garlic
1. Melt 2 tablespoons of soy spread over low heat in a large saucepan. Add celery, onions and red pepper flakes, simmer slowly, (sweat) the ingredients over low heat for 20 minutes. You don't want the ingredients to turn brown, rather you want them to slowly cook until the celery softens and the onions begin to turn translucent.
2. Cook sliced firm tofu 4 to 5 minutes in a saucepan with 1 tsp of soy spread and a healthy pinch of "Old Bay Seasoning"
3. Boil TVP in water with a tsp of "Old Bay" for 1 minute until firm
4. Add soy creamer, potato flakes, mushrooms, TVP, seasoned firm tofu and salt to the pan. Turn the heat up a bit until the liquid begins to bubble, then bring the heat back down and let the mixture simmer for 20 minutes or until it reduces to about 1/2 the volume and becomes thick. Watch the saucepan carefully to make sure the mixture doesn't bubble over. In the meantime, crank your oven up to broil.
5. Prepare the bread by cutting the loaves into 1/2-inch thick slices. Combine the dried parsley flakes and diced garlic with a stick of melted soy spread in a small bowl. Brush some of this garlic spread on each side of the bread slices and toast under a hot broiler for 1 to 2 minutes per side or until the bread is toasted to a light brown.
6. When the dip has thickened pour it into an 8 x 8-inch casserole dish. Combine the shredded cheddar and jack cheese and sprinkle the cheese mixture over the dip. Broil the dip for 3 to 4 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Sprinkle sliced green onions and serve hot with garlic toast on the side, and some spoons or forks for spreading the dip onto the toast.
Vegan Recipe Interpretation From: Melanie V. Gramercy, LA
With thanks to
Original Recipe by Todd Wilbur
From: Top Secret Recipes
Makes 6 to 8 servings.
Because we like the use of "Old Bay" which lends its' seafood essence to Melanie's recipe we have included this drink suggestion: the
excerpt from: A Vegetarian Cooks' Book
The Green Cutting Board Press, 2004
1 1/2 oz vodka
3 drops Tabasco sauce
3 oz tomato juice
fresh ground black pepper
1/2 tps vegetarian Worcestershire sauce (see recipe below)
splash of fresh lemon juice
dash of sea salt; to taste
1/2 tsp "Old Bay Seasoning"
Stir or shake and pour over cracked ice, serve with a wedge of lime
Serving 1, 6 ounce 'Bloody Bay'
Vegan Worcestershire Sauce
by Joanne Stepaniak
6 Tbls water
6 Tbls brown rice syrup
1/4 cup tamari soy sauce
2 Tbls apple cider vinegar
1 tsp barley malt syrup
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp garlic granules
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
pinch ground cloves
pinch onion granules
Place all the ingredients in a blender, bowl, or jar with a lid.
Blend, whisk, or shake until the mixture is smooth and the powders are well incorporated, refrigerate
Tuesday, January 27, 2004
New Jersey Gets Tough On Animal Cruelty
by Charlotte LoBuono
Gov. James McGreevey (D-NJ) recently signed into law new legislation that would increase penalties for those who abuse and injure animals in New Jersey.
Acts of cruelty resulting in the death of an animal are now considered a third-degree crime. In addition, repeat offenders of animal cruelty laws, including those whose abuse was not fatal, will now face third-degree penalties of a maximum of five years in prison and $15,000 in fines.
The new law increases the civil penalties that may be collected by the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) to between $500 and $5,000.
The cosponsors of the bill, Assemblymen Doug Fisher, John Burzichelli, and Robert Smith, said repeat offenders will be subject to additional civil penalties.
Previously, state law did not distinguish between cases of animal cruelty that resulted in death and those that did not. It also did not
provide additional penalties for repeat offenders.
In the past, those charged with animal cruelty were charged with fourth-degree crimes, which carry maximum penalties of $10,000 in fines or 18 months in prison.
Fisher, Burzichelli, and Smith said that they were motivated to sponsor the bill by several horrific stories of animal abuse in New Jersey in the last two years.
© 2004 Animal News Center, Inc.
Friday, January 23, 2004
Good Morning New Hampshire! The chase is a foot and while we eagerly await your Primary results the Green Cutting Board will be changing OFFICE space, it's time... see you on the other side. Kerry on.
Thursday, January 22, 2004
Dedicated to the “NASA Mars Rover in Blackout”: Phone Home!
1/8 cup cashew butter
1 tbls almond extract
1 tsp maple syrup
¼ cup soy yogurt
1 ¼ cup soy milk
Blend together and enjoy.
Wednesday, January 21, 2004
The fast food interior design ambiance not withstanding our restaurant sports a handsomely trimmed display case filled to the brim with cheesecakes, gourmet cookies, chocolate and carrot cakes galore. Suspended overhead the bill of fare announced 'Bistro Gourmet at McDonalds, Gourmet our way' (which I took to be more of a threat than a promise.) Behind the case ready to take our order was the 'chef' appropriately outfitted in white chefs hat and blouse - I didn't make out any cuff emblems telling us where he might have attended chef school, I thought it best not to ask. We ordered the 'Veggie Panini' but declined the upgrade to a platter which included a regular fry and drink for an extra dollar, instead we chose ice tea, paid $5.50 for the panini and received a pager to await the freshly prepared sandwich. I lingered at the counter however to observe the panini process. I ordered a cappuccino for my mother in law while I waited.
The new veg panini, McD's version, consists of sliced eggplant, roasted red pepper, spinach, portabella mushroom and lots of cheese, Munster and mozzarella. The ingredients are pre-roasted or otherwise prepared in advance and stored in warmed stations entirely separated from the main kitchen - the 'burger and fries' section of the kitchen. I waited near the counter somewhat self consciously, as I'm used to standing in line at McDonalds and obversely, the 'line' seemed to view me with a degree of suspicion as if I had somehow failed to grasp the new rules at the new bistro, in fact it reminded me of milling about the front of Einstien's Bagels waiting for your name to be mispronounced signifying that your order is ready.
The chef quickly assembled my sandwich and placed it in the large commercial press to cook and turned his attention to my cappuccino. This was the first indication of trouble ahead. The panini press contained two other sandwiches besides mine; the paninis listed on the board were 'Philly Cheese Steak', 'Grilled Chicken' and 'Veggie.' I quickly calculated that my chances were less that 1 in 27 that all three were veggie, I was right. The veggie panini at McDonalds is not cooked on a separate grill and so inevitably takes on the flavors of steak and chicken during the cooking process. To be fair the advertising does not specifically proclaim 'vegetarian' cuisine only 'Bistro Our Way', though I suspect that McDonalds is being studied in its vague references to Veggie.
The panini arrived on an actual porcelain diner plate but heavy with cheese and slightly soggy. The pan bread was toasted to a golden and perfectly marked crispness but unfortunately, as anticipated, there was a distinct meaty aftertaste from the grill. Non-vegetarians would not notice this at all but any vegetarian after just a few weeks away from meat can taste the aromatic flavors instantly. That and the smell of cooking grease from the regular kitchen made for a less than perfect lunch experience. All in all this is still just a McDonalds and I fear that is not likely to change anytime soon. It's fast food, calorie laden and Bistro or no Bistro not much has changed accept of course the price.
Oh, and the cappuccino, Therese gives it wooden spoons out of 5. Well, its the thought that counts.
Monday, January 19, 2004
TGI Friday's Broccoli and Cheese Soup, Vegetarian Redux
by Eileen and Ted M., State College, PA
Based on a Top Secret Recipe from Top Secret Recipes.com
4 cups vegetable broth
1 cup water
1 cup Silk soy creamer
4 slices soy cheddar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon dried minced onion
1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning (Poultry seasoning is a mixture of marjoram, sage, thyme and other herbs)
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 cups broccoli florets (bite-size)
1/2 cup shredded soy cheddar cheese
2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley
1. Combine vegetable broth, water, creamer, cheese, flour, onion, poultry seasoning
and pepper in a large saucepan. Whisk to combine and to break up any lumps of flour, then turn heat to medium/high.
2. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat to low.
3. Add broccoli to soup and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until broccoli is tender but not soft.
4. For each serving spoon one cup of soup into a bowl and garnish with a tablespoon of shredded cheese and a pinch of parsley.
Makes 6 servings, vegan
Sunday, January 18, 2004
My husband and I vacationed in Louisiana this past summer and we were pleasantly surprised to find that contrary to our expectations, we're both vegetarians, there was plenty of great food to enjoy, especially once we had escaped the not so authentic regions of New Orleans proper. We rented a car and drove east toward Baton Rouge along the "airline" which parallels much of historic river road. This area is rich with old plantation sites and great, great authentic Cajun and Creolé cooking.
We took many side trips along the way just to delight in finding local food stops. One such trip is memorable above all others because it was so unlikely. I don't remember the exit exactly but it led us through several miles of back road surrounded by swamp occasionally clearing into small farms or towns. Eventually we came to a cross road that intersected near a bridge. There is a landing by the river there with a number of buildings; a tackle and bait shop, a gas station and a small diner by the wonderful name "That Dog Don't Hunt" Needless to say we couldn't resist, besides it was past lunch time and we weren't in any hurry at all. The dirt parking lot was fairly full, always a good sign and virtually every license plate was local - I'm funny, I notice stuff like that.
We parked and entered the ramshackle single story building which had large windows painted with pictures of 'gators', fish and busy men in boats chasing both. I was set to order ice tea and dessert, despairing of finding anything here that did not feature at the very least possum and venison. My husband was busy checking out the post cards and a very pleasant woman who called me 'cher' ushered me to a clean little table covered in a gingham oilcloth with fresh flowers in a vase and a little bottle of 'Crystal' hot sauce. She brought water with lemon and two menus. While I waited for my husband I glanced through the two-page bill of fare and was dumbfounded: at least half the items were designated 'Vegetarian'. There was Vegetarian Gumbo, Red Beans and Rice, Pea Soup, Smothered Mushrooms in Creolé Gravy, the list was amazing. To be sure there was plenty of meat and fish on the menu as well but the list of vegetarian dinners just knocked me out.
By that time my husband had found our table and he to was amazed by what he was reading, We quickly selected our lunches and like two kids in a candy shop could not wait for the waitress to return.
When she did we both pounced on her imploring her to explain why such a plenitude of vegetarian selections on the menu. She quickly explained that the owners, it turned out that she was one, were both born and raised in the area and were fourth generation Cajun. They wanted a restaurant that reflected their heritage and since that was local they used any and all local ingredients. The recipes were all original and handed down through their families. Barbara, that was her name, told us that while there was always plenty of fish and game to meet their needs they also had a great tradition of vegetable garden and wild herb additions to their table. As for the name of the restaurant well, that came naturally. It seems that Barbara's granddaddy had owned and operated the ferry at this landing before the bridge was built. He used to augment the family farm income by transporting travelers and livestock across the river accompanied by an old Chesapeake Bay Retriever named Fish… because that's what he did. He would spend all day chasing fish in the slow moving river while his buddy the barge captain ferried his passengers to and fro. The old man took a lot of ribbing about the dog from his peers who thought it was awful peculiar that such a fine big dog didn't prefer chasing rabbit or pointing deer in the swamp, all the old man could reply is, "That dog don't hunt."
When Barbara finished we were left to puzzle whether we had been victims of a tall tale designed to ward off curious patrons or perhaps a story to spark the imagination and stimulate an appetite for more. We ordered our lunch and ate with more relish than I can remember in many years.
Lunch at "That Dog Don't Hunt"
Somewhere in the Bayou
Smothered Mushrooms and Creolé Gravy over Noodles
1/ 2 pound of mushrooms coarsely chopped (any variety will do)
1/2 Cup eggless egg noodles (cook according to instructions)
1 small onion sliced thin
1 stalk of celery diced
1/2 red bell pepper diced
1/4 Cup flour
1/2 Cup of vegetable oil + 2 Tbls
Make a roux by heating the oil until almost smoking add the flour and turn the heat down to med low. Stir until the flour incorporates and the mix turns a medium dark brown. Remove from heat and set aside. Sauté onion, celery and red bell pepper in 2 Tablspoons of hot oil until softened, add the sliced onions and mushrooms, cook covered for about 5 minutes. Smother (cover) the cooked vegetables with the roux and add the seasoning, continue to cook another 2 to 3 minutes on low.
Serve with Creolé seasoned blackeye peas and a hearty rye bread.
Saturday, January 17, 2004
excerpt from: A Vegetarian Cooks' Book, The Green Cutting Board Press, 2004
This sandwich is the classic Monte Christo first thought to have appeared in southern California in the mid 50s. There have been many incarnations since, everywhere from New Orleans to Boston and now, a vegan version.
2 slices French bread
2 slices of soy Ham
2 slices of soy turkey
2 slices of soy Swiss cheese
1/2 Cup dry Bisquick� mix
3/4 Cup soymilk
1/3 Cup canola oil or vegetable oil, about 1/4 " in the pan
1/4 tsp vanilla
Heat the oil to medium high in a frying pan. Mix the Bisquick�, soymilk and vanilla in a shallow pan. The batter should be thick enough to coat the sandwich. Layer the ham, turkey and Swiss between the bread slices and coat the sandwich on both sides and all the edges. Fry the sandwich until golden brown and turn once to brown both sides. Dust with confectioners' sugar (optional)
Serve with home fries and blueberry syrup (see recipe below)
Makes one sandwich
1/2 pint of fresh or frozen blueberries
4 Tbls water
1/4 cup of raw sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp cinnamon
Combine all the ingredients in a heavy saucepan and reduce over medium high heat until syrup stage. Serve hot as a dipping sauce for the Monte Christo sandwich
Wednesday, January 14, 2004
We contacted Frey Vineyards in California and they affirmed their continued commitment to the Veg'n/ organic wine market. According to their web site, vegetarian wine is produced by a method that does not filter out wine sediment using a charred animal bone filter. This obviously takes extra time but the result is worth the extra effort. Taste these wines and we think you'll agree.
We chose a 1997 Frey Syrah. Syrah or Shiraz wine is known for spicy blackberry, plum, and peppery flavors that typify its north Rhone valley heritage. Its deep black currant fragrance and spicy undertones combined with the deep ruby/amber color told us that we had a true Rhone clone. This Frey Syrah has a slight tannic palate that is perfect conterpoint to a fulsome vegetable like braised Brussels sprouts, and as a dessert wine it is unbelievable with anything chocolate... recipe forthcoming.
Tuesday, January 13, 2004
This weeks entry:
Hooters Cuban Sandwich Vegetarian Version
Created by Maria S., Tampa, FL
Hooters first opened its doors in Clearwater FL, Tampa Bay Area, in 1983 and because Tampa Bay is generally conceded to be home to the Cuban Sandwich as well, we thought it would be a great kick off to our Secret Recipes Contest. Hooters Restaurants has popularized this sandwich well outside Tampa Bay and while they call the roll a "stogie" in their restaurants it still has the heart and soul of a true Sandwich Cubano.
A Cuban Sandwich is a blend of Spanish pork loin, hot capicola ham, cheese and pickle smothered in a sauce made of mayonnaise 2/3 mayonnaise and 1/3 spiced mustard with a good portion of hot sauce for good measure. This Cuban classic is usually cooked in a press which seals the goodness inside and flattens the sandwich while toasting the bread to a crisp browned exterior.
*Note: Cuban bread is traditionally made with lard because it was a readily available resource on the Island. The genuine article is almost impossible to find outside Miami and Tampa in the US and, in Florida, supermarkets carry it in that area but lard is not included in their formulation. To make Cuban bread yourself just follow a standard French bread recipe and cut in about 4 TBLS of softened vegetable shortening while adding the flour to the initial mix. Finally, before placing the formed rolls onto a greased baking pan sprinkle it with a ¼ cup of corn meal. Remember, what you're trying to achieve is a denser, slightly chewy bread loaf with a crisp brown crust.
1 Loaf of Cuban bread*, about 20" long and a smaller diameter than a French loaf
6 Slices Yves veggie ham
6 Slices Yves veggie turkey
4 Slices Swiss cheese
4 Slices Monterey jack cheese
2 Firm dill pickles sliced lengthwise
3 1/2 Tablespoons soy Nayonaise
1 1/2 Tablespoons spicy mustard
1/4 Teaspoon hot sauce
1/4 Teaspoon vegetable oil
Mix the Nayonaise. Mustard and hot sauce together to make the sauce. Slice the Cuban loaf in half lengthwise and spread each half with the sauce equally. Starting with the veggie ham and turkey slices fold in half and cover the bottom half of the loaf end to end. Cut the cheese slices in half and cover the ham and turkey. Crisscross the entire length with the pickle slices and top with the other half of the loaf. Cut the sandwich in half diagonally.
Heat a large black skillet to medium without oil and set the prepared sandwich halves side by side in the pan. Place another heavy black pan on top of the sandwich and press down firmly for several seconds to flatten the bread loaf to about 1 inch or about one third its original thickness. Cook for about 3-4 minutes being careful to check that it does not burn. When the bottom is crisp, brown and hard remove the weight and turn over, repeat for the top side.
Saturday, January 10, 2004
6 ounces of extra firm tofu
1 small onion diced
2 Tbls green bell pepper diced
1 Tbls Braggs liquid
1/2 Tsp tumeric
1 tsp canola oil
3 Fresh strawberries sliced
4 slices of soy bacon
2 whole wheat English muffins toasted
2 tsps Earth Balance
2 tsps strawberry preserves
In a pan over medium heat saute the onion and bell pepper in 1 tsp of canola oil until soft, not browned. Crumble the tofu, Braggs and tumeric, add to onion/pepper mix and saute for 2 minutes. Remove scramble from heat and cover.
Serve with soy bacon and toasted muffins topped with sliced strawberries and preserves. Fresh juice and coffee would be a nice touch... but hey, who's counting.
serves 2 (only two)
In a study recently released by NASA scientists 432 active and inactive astronauts were polled regarding their opinions concerning space food. The results were mixed but one uniform conclusion emerged, astronauts are a representative cross section of the larger earth bound population; they're "space food" junkies.
Topping the list of preferred comfort food for astronauts is M&Ms, followed a close second and in descending order of preference by, Kit Kat Bars, Tang, Moon Pies, Mars Bars, Lemon Sours and Big Macs. NASA scientists were interested to note that meat did not appear in the top five of the astronauts preferred food choices. Perhaps, suggested one scientist, "Big Macs are too unwieldy to eat in the weightless conditions that exist in most of outer space. At least in the presence of gravity your lunch, or if you prefer, launch partner can point out that the special sauce is dribbling down your chin instead of the less precise - kind of floating all over the place."
These results have NASA scientists puzzled, meat being the favorite food of just about everyone, and has led NASA to question the efficacy of proceeding full speed ahead with President Bush's new space initiative until a study can be conducted which would produce a revised space diet, one which more accurately reflects the nutritional norms of western civilization.
NASA Administrators therefore today launched a campaign to encourage private citizens and commercial food service industry groups to submit suggestions to NASA for the initiative designated "Une Nouvelle Cuisine pour L'espace Extérieur", translated: "A New Cuisine for Outer Space." Apparently the name derives from the rationale that if it sounds French, though it may never get off the ground at least it could be outrageously expensive thus fulfilling the first two goals of all previous NASA initiatives.
The study will include a comprehensive and detailed analysis of the entire food pyramid, excluding The Atkins Diet, a spokesperson stated that those items had not yet been classified as food and could not therefore be included in the study.
The intent of the study, as quoted by one scientist, "is to completely overhaul the diet and nutritional components of all future NASA missions to outer space. We're going to Mars after all, these guys are gonna be eating this stuff for months on end, not just weeks. We have to do whatever it takes to make sure that it's darn tasty."
Even as the announcement was being released by NASA suggestions began to pour in from private citizens and industry groups alike. What follows are some of the more notable entries.
From the kitchens of "Betty Crocker" came this dessert: Dehydrated Double Fudge Chocolate Cream Cheese Cake with Lemon Sour Drops. The astronauts would be provided with the usual boxed dry cake mix including two sealed plastic containers of dark chocolate frosting and white chocolate cream cheese. Upon arrival on Mars all the crew has to do to prepare the perfect desert for that first Mars Supper is to find water, mix with the dry ingredients and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, top with the cheese and chocolate frostings and, since they already have a good supply of lemon sours, add a few to the top for that special festive presentation.
From The Dairy Food Council and Kraft Foods came this proposal: Dehydrated Real Cheese and Macaroni Food. Boxed as a single serving or in multiples servings for a family of astronauts, these dinners are designed to provide convenience and the maximum nutritional value of cheese. To prepare a single serving the astronaut needs to find water and bring it to a boil, add the macaroni food, boil for five minutes or, as needed if the atmospheric pressure is lower that 1 earth standard. Add the Dehydrated cheese, mix to melt and serve. As an added nutritional bonus the box is made of dehydrated tofu and can be eaten as a crunchy accompaniment to the Cheese and Macaroni Food.
Another submission came from Melva Gustavsen of Bimidji, MN. Dehydrated Lutefisk and Savory Butter Sauce. For those of you who are not familiar with this traditional Scandinavian seafarers repast, it consists of Codfish soaked in a brine of lye water for several months to preserve it and then it is air-dried. Thus preserved Lutefsk may be stored safely for up to two millennia.
To prepare, first the astronauts will need to find some water and boil the dried Lutefisk until it's the consistency of raw fish, which has been stored in barrels of lye for several months. This may take from a few minutes up to a several hours depending on the millennial vintage of the particular batch. Heat the butter to melt and add salt and whatever indigenous herbs that can be found on site. It is suggested that found herbs be added to the dish off camera as NASA scientists take a dim view of astronauts eating any extra-terrestrial signs of life.
These are a small but revealing sample of the hundreds of suggestions and recommendations that have arrived at NASA headquarters from all over the world since the initiative was announced just this morning. NASA is grateful to all the interested citizens and industrial food mega manufacturers that have so eagerly lent their inspiration and culinary acumen to the study.
Administration officials plan to develop a new cuisine for future space initiatives until 2008 when Congressional funding of the program is scheduled to expire.
When queried by reporters after the news conference announcing the launch of the initiative NASA Chief Administrator and Executive Director Sean O'Keefe was quoted as saying, "I love that word, launch".
In a related story today an announcement by USFDA officials in Washington DC advised the press that all the "real" food and so called "food products" which would be supplied to future astronauts were to be certified safe before launch and therefore there should be no concern on the part of the American public with regard to the nutritional well being of future astronaut explorers. As for the matter of certification of the water that the astronauts will need to find in order to prepare this new cuisine a USFDA spokesperson replied that, "Water is water as far as the Agency is concerned and besides, our jurisdiction over the quality of drinking water does not extend to extra-planetary sites." This was later confirmed by an unnamed White House source. The USFDA statement went on to suggest however, as a precaution, that all future missions to space should be provided with a quantity of water purification tablets. These tablets could take the form of a remanufactured lemon sour drop that would be safe for human life but which when dissolved in suspect water would kill any unknown micro biotic life forms that could endanger the astronauts health. Officials were quick to stress however that this procedure should be preformed off camera as NASA scientists take a dim view of astronauts killing extra-terrestrial life forms when they find them. Following this announcement NASA Chief Administrator, Sean O'Keefe stated to reporters, "I love that word, launch."
In a final related story NASA Officials today announced that 431 of the 432 members of the college of active and reserve astronauts have voted to form a Committee of Astronauts to Reelect the President, or C.A.R.P. The one abstaining voice is that of Astronaut/Senator John Glen. Glen, in a separate news conference, announced the launch of an exploratory committee to seek his nomination for the Democratic senate seat representing the newly established colony on Mars in the 2008 elections. NASA Chief Sean O'Keefe declined to comment.
Finally, a note from the Editor: This is the first in a series of in depth reports from the Editor of our newly launched Green Cutting Board Press "Science and Technology Desk." Within these editorials we will cover events and trends in science and technology as they emerge and as they impact vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. We hope you will read these articles in the same voracious manner and with the same enthusiasm as that with which you have consumed our other offerings and that you will write to us with your comments and suggestions. When asked for an opinion regarding the launch of this new desk assignment, NASA Chief Sean O'Keefe accepted our invitation to lunch.
Thursday, January 08, 2004
The Publix employee stated that not all the breads were in fact egg washed, just certain ones: for instance French hamburger rolls The employee went on to state that the labels were printed with the egg wash ingredient included as a matter of routine, when in fact it did not actually certify the presence of the egg ingredient.
We sent shoppers to Publix, Winn Dixie and Kash n' Karry stores, eight outlets in total. This is what they found. Both Winn Dixie and Kash n' Karry listed egg wash on selected bread products and omitted it on others. We checked with personnel at Winn Dixie and Kash n' Karry who confirmed that they did distinguish between egg washed breads and non-egg washed as a matter of compliance with the FDA regulations regarding labeling. When we contacted Publix for clarification of their policy concerning this labeling discrepancy they did not respond to our request.
According to the Publix Store web site, Publix Super Markets is the largest and fastest-growing employee-owned supermarket chain in the United States. There are a total of 792 Publix supermarkets locations in 5 states: which include
Florida - 595
Georgia - 146
South Carolina - 33
Alabama - 11
Tennessee - 7
Our investigation revealed that at Publix Stores there is a significant oversight regarding implementation of FDA regulations concerning ingredient labeling. The USFDA has regulated product labeling in one form or another since 1862.You can read more about the function and responsibility of the FDA at their website. Use standards for labeling on all consumer products distributed in the United States is regulated by a uniform code known as Regulation 21CFR 101.4(a)(1) Food Designation of Ingredients, which states: Ingredients required to be declared on the label or labeling of a food, including foods that comply with standards of identity. The regulation means that failure to apply these standards constitutes non-compliance by a manufacturer and can garner severe penalties including but not limited to letters of complaint, fines and or criminal charges.
There exists a simplified procedure by which consumers may register their concern regarding non-compliance by any vendor in the United States. To report problems, including adverse reactions, related to any food except meat and poultry, contact the FDA district office consumer complaint coordinator for your geographic area.
If the problem involves meat or poultry, which are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, call the USDA hotline at 1-800-535-4555.
Many shoppers rely on accurate ingredient listing, mandated by the FDA, to make decisions that impact their health. Recent studies by the "American Family Physician", vol. 56, no.5, found that, "In the United States, the foods most commonly responsible for allergic reactions in children are milk, eggs and peanuts. About 20 percent of the population worldwide can be considered allergic."
According to the Vegetarian Resource Group web Site, "In a 2003 Vegetarian Resource Group Harris Interactive survey, 2.8 percent of those surveyed said they never eat meat, poultry, or fish/seafood."
The reality of manufacturer/supplier labeling compliance not with standing it is apparent that accurate and reliable ingredient listing on products is not merely the law, it is a corporate responsibility, a responsibility to be accurate, definitive, and most importantly responsive to comsumer requests for reliable information regarding the healthfulness and safety of the product they are selling. Law mandates it, the public deserves it and Publix owes it to their customers.
Thursday, January 01, 2004
If you are a vegetarian you're aware of the difficulties faced when trying to go out to eat. One restaurant may have some decent entrées but wholly miss the point when it comes to desserts or appetizers, still others may have grand salads and great vegetarian soups but nothing else on the menu that is not beefed up, stewed in chicken broth or littered with bacon bits. We've all tried exhorting the server to "please" tell the kitchen we don't want mayonnaise on anything and oh, by the way do you suppose I could substitute olive oil for the butter patties with my warm rolls, and that's only the better sit-down restaurants; fast fooders and mall stalls - don't even ask. So what is a vegetarian to do? If you're like us you have 3 or 4 vegetarian venues that you frequent regularly and they're fine else you would not patronize them, but what happens when you want to dine out with friends who are not and never will be vegetarians and who do not appreciate the ambiance of a restaurant the serves fruit smoothies, and I'm not referring to a frozen daiquiri from the bar. They're still your friends and eating out with friends is proven by the FNIC, located in the NAL and part of the USDA, to enhance ones mood, invigorate the heart and blood flow and in general it's good for us. So you go along to the bistro of the hour and feast on a house salad with vinegar, one or two suspicious appetizers, steamed vegetables and call it a meal
The problem is the food service industry, like any other business, plays to the audience. Restaurants don't want to turn away paying customers so they will usually bend over backwards to accommodate individuals in a group but unless they are prepared in advance sometimes the results are less than rewarding. That is why there are so many vegetarian dining clubs, bundled together vegetarians make a respectable clientele, appreciative of fine dining and willing to pay for it. What more could a restaurateur ask. A phone call in advance can usually arrange a special menu with most restaurants provided the seating is for 10 or more. Unfortunately that is not always possible; simple economics preclude a restaurant amending its menu for a couple dining out irregularly. With so few nationally recognized restaurants offering a solid vegetarian selection along with their regular fare it becomes hard to dine out vegetarian unless of course you live in San Francisco or Toronto.
Being vegetarians, we like to cook almost as much as we like to eat and since we started this ezine we have looked for ways to enable like minded vegetarians who like to cook to be proactive in their own communities encouraging local restaurants to add vegetarian and vegan selections to their everyday menus, providing suggestions to local food service operations: hospitals, church soup kitchens and catering services which participate in public events like ball games and concerts. Now, however we think we've hit on a novel idea that may impact major chain restaurants on a national level and in a positive manner. If you have not already discovered the web site "Top Secret Recipes" then allow us to introduce you. Top Secret Recipes is a fun, engaging and valuable site for anyone who likes to eat out and at the same time enjoys cooking at home. Here you will find the "Secret Recipes" of your favorite foods at national restaurant chains. Go ahead, take a look for yourself and then come back, we've got an idea.
You're back, what did you think, did you find a recipe secret, one you would like to try at home? Well, unless you're a tree stump you probably did and if not we're sure that you'll go back when the thought comes to mind, " I wonder how they made that?" So, here's our plan, Secret Recipes is a site that enables home cooks and food geeks to indulge in their favorite sport, hunting down and capturing that elusive recipe and making it your own, well not yours maybe, but yours/theirs, sort of thing. Anyway we came up with a contest, yeah we know, contests suck, specially cooking contests, they're a dime a dozen and all anyone wants to do is perfect yet another barbequed rib recipe for the godzillianth time. Our contest is unique though because there are no prizes, we're a small ezine as ezines go and we don't have any money for prizes. The reward for entering this contest is just that, you know, entering, What you do is go to Top Secret Recipes. com and find your favorite non vegetarian recipe, that would probably be the one you used to eat a lot before you became a vegetarian, and simply "vegetarianize" it. Send us the recipe we'll publish it and the winners will be chosen by our readers. Then, and this is the neat part, we will contact the owner of the "Secret Recipe" and deliver your vegetarian/vegan version, hereafter known as your VVV to them along with our own strong recommendation that they include it on their menu alongside the original. Your VVV now has a chance to be offered by some of our favorite national chains. Any monetary or other consideration that you work out with the recipient of your genius is your business, we'll just be happy for your success.
We've included a sample entry just because we like you and even if you don't enter our contest you deserve something for just being a loyal reader. Thank you
Vegan Version of Top Secret Recipes
Southwestern Vegetable Soup
Makes 6 servings
2 cups veggie broth
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, with juice
1 cup water
1 cup canned dark red kidney beans, with liquid (or black beans)
1 cup frozen yellow cut corn
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 4 oz can diced green chilies
½ cup diced Spanish onion
½ cup tomato juice
6 corn tortillas, minced
1 ½ tsp chili powder
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cilantro
salt and pepper to taste
Garnish (1 cup grated vegan cheddar/jack cheese blend, 1 cup crumbled corn tortilla chips)
Combine all soup ingredients in large saucepan or soup pot over high heat. Be sure to mince the corn tortillas into small pieces with a sharp knife before adding them to the soup.
Bring soup to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the soup has thickened and tortilla pieces have mostly dissolved.
To serve, ladle 1 ½ cups into a bowl, and sprinkle with garnish
All recipes should be sent to Editor: Secret Recipe Contest. We'll publish the winner but we won't retain any rights and you can have the recipe back to do with whatever you wish. In the probable case of a tie all the winning entries, or entrées if you prefer will receive the same first prize, our adulation. Judges decisions shall be final unless they change their minds and all winners will not be notified. Oh, and all relatives of anyone connected with this ezine or its sponsors (we don't have any so it would surprise us if that amounted to very many people) are most definitely encouraged to enter. Contest open to everyone, omnivores included, no purchase necessary, void in NJ?
We think that all the light hearted asides aside, this is a great way to capture the attention of the majors and let them know that vegetarians and vegans are an increasing voice in the market place and we deserve as much junk food as the rest of the public, just make ours vegetarian, thanks.
By the way, and our lawyers would probably tell us to say this if we had any lawyers that is: this contest is governed by a Creative Commons License, and its endorsement by any party other than The Green Cutting Board is neither implied nor assumed.