Monthly Archives: February 2011

Solidarity Forever

We love you, Wisconsin!

Tuna Tartare with a Texas Twist

Fresh jalapeños, scallions, sea salt and a touch of sesame oil is sandwiched between layers of pole-caught ahi tuna (1/4-inch dice) combined with  olive oil, fresh grapefruit juice, sea salt, black pepper and freshly-ground coriander.

The dish is plated with fresh Texas grapefruit pieces tossed with raw coconut aminos (think soy-free soy sauce), mirin and cilantro.  Toasted hemp seeds top the raw tuna..

Tuna Tartare with a Texas Twist

When eating raw tuna, take care to ensure that it is exceedingly fresh and that you keep it well chilled at all times.  I cut the tuna into steaks and place them in the freezer just until they begin to firm up, then dice, season and serve as quickly as possible.

Please don’t use any threatened species of tuna or those caught in an environmentally destructive manner!

Help Bring Austin’s Fair Foodistas to Tampa!

If you have eaten a tomato this winter, chances are very good that it was picked by a person who lives in virtual slavery..

“Hey out there to all our allies and supporters,

We at Fair Food Austin are writing today to ask you, our supporters, to think about donating $25 to help students, young people, and low-wage workers from the Austin area attend an upcoming march being called for by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), a migrant farmworker organization based in southern Florida.

We’re sure you all recall the Boot the Bell Campaign that the CIW won in 2005, where tomato pickers from Florida and their allies, including folks in Austin, boycotted Taco Bell for four years until the company agreed to stop human rights abuses, low wages, and ensure the end of slavery in their tomato supply chain.  Since then, the CIW and their allies the Student/Farmworker Alliance have together secured agreements with ten major global corporations (including McDonalds, Aramark and Whole Foods), many of which Austin played a crucial role in bringing to the table.  All these agreements work towards ending the poverty wages and abuses endemic to agriculture, and securing more dignity and power for working immigrant families, and have recently been joined and strengthened by agreements with some of the largest tomato growers in Florida!  Needless to say, their struggle has had ripple effects, and serves as an influence and model for other organizations, including Workers Defense Project here in Austin.”

read more..


Words like ‘freedom’, ‘justice’ and ‘democracy’ are not common concepts; on the contrary, they are rare.  People are not born knowing what these are. It takes enormous, and above all, individual effort to arrive at the respect for other people that these words imply. — James Baldwin

Pan-Roasted Sirloin with Mushrooms, Pearl Onions, Fresh Thyme and Cognac Demi-Glace

CLA-rich, grass-fed sirloin steaks are rubbed with kosher salt, then loosely wrapped and refrigerated overnight.  The steaks are wiped clean and seared in an iron skillet over high heat until nicely browned, then finished to medium-rare in a 550 degree oven.  Meanwhile, fingerling potatoes, brown mushrooms, pearl onions and elephant garlic are sauteed stove-top.

While the steaks rest, the roasting pan is deglazed with cognac and the brown bits scraped loose with a wooden spoon.  The finished vegetables are added to the pan with demi-glace, fresh thyme and smoked black pepper and heated through.  A knob of cold, pasture butter is whisked in just before serving..

Pan-Roasted Sirloin w/ Mushrooms, Pearl Onions, Fresh Thyme & Cognac Demi-Glace

One of the most flavorful cuts of beef, the sirloin is a steak cut from the rear back portion of the animal, continuing off the short loin from which T-bone, porterhouse, and club steaks are cut.

The sirloin is actually divided into several types of steak, with the top sirloin generally being the most prized.  The bottom sirloin is less tender, much larger, and is typically what is offered when one just buys sirloin steaks instead of steaks specifically marked top sirloin.

P.E.I. Mussels with Roasted Tomatoes, Green Garlic and Preserved Lemon

Sustainably rope-grown in the cold waters surrounding Prince Edward Island, these plump, tender mussels are steamed over a reduction of white wine, saffron and  preserved lemon, with green garlic, roasted tomatoes and shaved fennel.  Served over gluten-free, non-GMO corn pasta with fennel fronds and crunchy sea salt..

P.E.I. Mussels with Roasted Tomatoes, Green Garlic and Preserved Lemon

Consumed by humans for thousands of years, mussels are an excellent source of protein, vitamin B12, iron and selenium.

“Mussels must be thoroughly cleaned and rinsed several times before cooking; wild mussels will need to be scrubbed with a stiff brush to remove any barnacles, sand or grit and their beard must also be removed. This can be done by giving the beard a forceful tug with your fingers and pulling it away or by cutting it off with a small and sharp knife.

Rinse the wild mussels several times but do not let them sit in water, as freshwater will kill them.

Farmed mussels will have already been prepared for cooking and it will suffice to just give them a quick rinse under a running tap of cold water.” –helpwithcooking.com

Trivia: the pale white meat indicates a male mussel, while the females are a yellowish rust color.


Wild Rice with Smoked Turkey, Lingonberries, Wild Onions and Fried Sage

A densely nutritious meal from the Boreal forest, true Northern wild rice is cooked in roasted fowl stock with fresh lingonberries, then tossed with torn pieces of pan-fried smoked turkey, wild onions, fresh sage and rosemary.  Drizzled with hot stock and pan drippings..

Wild Rice with Smoked Turkey, Lingonberries,Wild Onions and Fried Sage

1 wild rice (if the instructions on the package call for less than 1 hour of cooking, it probably isn’t true wild rice)
2-3/4 cups homemade fowl or vegetable stock, boiling
1/2 cup fresh lingonberries, stemmed, rinsed and picked over (substitute cranberries)
1 tablespoon rendered turkey or chicken fat
pinch of sea salt

1 smoked turkey leg, skinned, pulled and torn into bite-size pieces
1/2 cup wild onions (both green and white sections), trimmed and cut into to 1/8-inch thick slices
12 whole, fresh sage leaves, stemmed
1 heaping tablespoon fresh rosemary needles
2 tablespoons rendered turkey or chicken fat
freshly-cracked black pepper

Heat 1 tablespoon rendered turkey or chicken fat in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat.  Add wild rice and stir to coat.  Continue cooking and stirring for 5 minutes until each grain is coated and glossy.

Add 2-1/2 cups boiling stock and berries and stir to separate rice.  Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until just tender, about 1 hour.  Salt to taste.

Heat 1-1/2 tablespoons rendered turkey or chicken fat in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat.  Add turkey and onions and quickly sear.  Add sage and rosemary and cook until herbs are crisp, about 2-3 minutes.

To serve, combine rice and turkey in warm soup bowls.  Stir the reserved stock and pan drippings together and drizzle over the top.  Season with freshly-cracked black pepper.

The species of wild rice most commonly harvested is the annual Zizania palustris.  Native Americans and non-Indians harvest wild rice by canoeing into a stand of plants, and bending the ripe grain heads with wooden sticks called knockers, so as to thresh the seeds into the canoe.

The size of the knockers, as well as other details, are prescribed in state and tribal law.  By Minnesota statute, knockers must be at most 1 inch in diameter, 30 inches long, and one pound in weight.  The plants are not beaten with the knockers but require only a gentle brushing to dislodge the mature grain.  The Ojibwa people call this plant manoomin meaning “good berry”.   Some seeds fall to the muddy bottom and germinate later in the year.

Several Native American cultures, such as the Ojibwa, consider wild rice to be a sacred component in their culture.  The rice is harvested with a canoe: one person vans (or “knocks”) rice into the canoe with two small poles (called “knockers” or “flails”) while the other paddles slowly or uses a push pole.  For these groups, this harvest is an important cultural (and often economic) event. –Wikipedia