Monthly Archives: December 2011

“We Are Farmers, We Grow Food For The People”

“On December 4, 2011, farmers and activists from across the country joined the Occupy Wall Street Farmers March for ‘a celebration of community power to regain control over the most basic element to human well-being: food.’”

The Farmers’ March began at La Plaza Cultural Community Gardens where urban and rural farmers addressed an excited crowd about the growing problems in our industrial food system and the promise offered by solutions based in organic, sustainable and community based food and agricultural production. This was followed by a 3-mile march from the East Village to Zuccotti Park, the birthplace of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

This is what happens when farmers join with their urban allies – Together we are Unstoppable! Please join the movement and spread the word!

Produced by Food Democracy Now!
Directed by Anthony Lappé, INVISIBLE HAND
In association with No Umbrella Films
InvisibleHandMedia.net

Andouille, Crab and Oyster Gumbo

Chocolate-colored roux, the Cajun/Creole “holy trinity” of red bell pepper, celery and roux, homemade shrimp stock, pecan wood-smoked Andouille, fresh crab and oysters..

For the Gumbo  (from a recipe by Andrew Zimmern, with slight modifications)

1/2 cup organic, all-purpose flour
4 ounces pastured butter
1 Spanish onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 fresh bay leaf
5 cups homemade shrimp stock (substitute chicken stock)
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 jalapeno, minced
1/2 pound fresh okra, sliced 1/4 inch thick
3 large tomatoes, finely chopped
1 pound andouille sausage, sliced 1/4 inch thick
3 cups bottled clam juice
1 pound lump crabmeat, picked over
2 dozen shucked oysters and their liquor
3 tablespoons organic Worcestershire sauce
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice
3 tablespoons filé powder (divided)
3 large celery ribs, cut into 1/2-inch dice
sea salt and black pepper
parsley, chopped for garnish
green onions, sliced for garnish

In a large pot, stir the flour and butter until smooth.  Cook over moderate heat, stirring every 45 seconds, until the roux turns a rich brown color, about 20 minutes.

Add the Andouille, celery, onion, red pepper, jalapeno, garlic, okra, thyme, bay leaf and half of the filé powder and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add the stock, clam juice, Worcestershire and tomatoes and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.  Stir in the remaining filé powder and add the crab, oysters and their liquor.  Season with salt and pepper and simmer gently for 1 minute to just cook the oysters.  Serve the gumbo with rice or bread.

Not the same recipe, but who doesn’t miss Justin Wilson?

 

Time To Rein In The Industry-Run USDA

Internal Documents Reveal USDA Dietary Guidelines Panel Dominated by a Profession Under Fire

Washington, DC–December 15, 2011–Under pressure from the Healthy Nation Coalition, the USDA recently revealed the identities of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines “Independent Scientific Review Panel,” which is credited with peer-reviewing the Guidelines to ensure they are based on the preponderance of the scientific evidence available. Seven out of the eight panel members are Registered Dietitians (RDs), chosen according to the USDA, “for their knowledge in nutrition communication and dietary guidance.”

At the same time, RDs across America are reeling from the news that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will not reimburse them to provide intensive behavioral counseling for obesity. While the Federal government appears to be relying on RDs as experts in the midst of America’s obesity crisis, it doesn’t want to pay them to help people lose weight.  This news comes as the American Dietetic Association (ADA)—the professional organization for RDs—is under scrutiny for its ties to food and pharmaceutical industries.

“An ongoing investigation by Congress recently revealed that the ADA receives over $1 million a year in payments from pharmaceutical companies and an undisclosed amount from companies such as Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Hershey. In addition to receiving payments from industries with obvious conflicts of interest, earlier this year the Alliance for Natural Health-USA revealed that ADA’s continuing education courses for RDs are being taught by the Coca-Cola Company’s Beverage Institute,”  stated Darrell Rogers from Alliance for Natural Health-USA. RDs have voiced their dissatisfaction with the ADA’s corporate ties, with members indicating that the ADA’s relationship with corporate sponsors has a negative impact on the public image of RDs and undermines the credibility of the profession.

Credibility has been further undermined by the lack of evidence that the methods RDs use to treat obesity are effective.  The ADA’s own Evidence Analysis Library contains few studies that demonstrate that dietitian-led dietary interventions result in meaningful weight loss.

As a result, many insurance companies, and now CMS, do not reimburse RDs for its treatment.  Tennessee’s state insurance doesn’t cover seeing a dietitian for weight loss. Why? “There’s really no evidence to support the fact that providing those services would result in a decrease in medical cost, certainly not immediately, and even in the longer term,” according to Dr. Wendy Long, chief medical officer of TennCare.

This lack of evidence may be due in part to the limited scope of dietetic education and practice. The ADA relies on the USDA as a scientific authority and follows its lead in most matters of nutrition, limiting the training of RDs to USDA-approved diet recommendations.

Valerie Berkowitz, RD, Director of Nutrition at the Center for Balanced Health and author of the award-winning nutrition guide “The Stubborn Fat Fix” states:  “Registered Dietitians lack education and practice in manipulating macronutrients [protein, fat, and carbohydrate] to switch fuel sources from carbohydrate to fat burning. It is unfortunate that educators do not acknowledge the therapeutic value of lower carbohydrate consumption at least as an additional tool to increase the success of medical nutrition therapy for obesity prevention and treatment.”

The ADA not only limits the training of RDs, it is sponsoring legislation in New York and multiple other states that would essentially restrict the practice of nutrition to RDs, and outlaw highly-qualified non-RD nutrition professionals from practicing. If successful, this would restrict consumer choice of nutrition professionals to those trained to follow USDA recommendations.

Given the ADA’s close ties with the food and drug industry and the lack of effectiveness for USDA-approved dietitian-led interventions for obesity, the public should be concerned about the dominant role that RDs and other ADA members played in the creation of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines. In addition to the Independent Scientific Review Panel being comprised primarily of RDs, ADA members were also one-third of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, the group of experts that creates the Report that guides the writing of the Dietary Guidelines. The majority of the USDA and HHS staff members who worked with the Committee or on the Dietary Guidelines are also RDs.

According to Adele Hite, Director of the Healthy Nation Coalition and lead author of a 2010 peer-reviewed article examining the limitations of the Dietary Guideline process, “The ADA is an industry-friendly organization. The USDA appears to rely on the dietetics focus of ADA-trained Registered Dietitians to confirm their own industry-friendly guidelines. The self-supporting relationship between the ADA and the USDA does not benefit either the credibility of RDs or the health of Americans.”

The Healthy Nation Coalition is an organization dedicated to improving the health of Americans through reforming national food and nutrition policy and does not solicit or accept contributions from the food or pharmaceutical industry.

Media Contact: Kimberly Hartke, Publicist
Hartke Communications
703-860-2711, 703-675-5557

Thunder Heart Bison Chili

Free-range, pastured American bison, onions, garlic, chilies, homemade stock and a selection of herbs and spices simmered on the back burner for hours..

For the All-Important Stock

2 pounds meaty, cross-cut oxtail
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup onions, chopped
2/3 cup celery, chopped
2/3 cup carrots, chopped
1 cup Madeira
8 cups cold, filtered water
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1/2 tablespoon peppercorns
1-1/2 tablespoons fresh thyme

Scatter the chopped vegetables in a cast iron skillet.  Place the oxtail sections over the vegetables and top each with a spoonful of tomato paste, then place the skillet in a 350 degree oven and roast until the meat is brown, the tomato paste has caramelized and the fat has rendered, about 75 minutes.

Use a slotted spoon to transfer the meat and vegetables to a heavy-bottomed stock pot, leaving the fat behind.  Pour in the wine and enough cold water to cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and skim off any foam.  Add the garlic, peppercorns and thyme and slowly simmer until reduced in volume by half, about 6 hours.

Strain the stock through a fine mesh strainer and store in clean glass jars for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 1 year.

For the Chili

1 pound bison stew meat
1-1/2 cups onions, chopped
2 tablespoons beef tallow
1 teaspoon cracked cumin seeds
2 teaspoons cracked coriander seeds
1 quart brown stock, divided (from recipe above)
1 14.5 ounce can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup New Mexico chili powder
1/4 cup smoked paprika
1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
1 teaspoon chipotle powder
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/2 tablespoon granulated piloncillo (optional; use if the chili powder tastes bitter)
1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon dried lemon peel, crushed (cuts through the fat and brightens the dish)

Melt the tallow in a Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering.  Add the meat without crowding (you may need to do this in batches) and brown on all sides.  Add the onions, cumin and coriander and cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add 2 cups stock, tomatoes, paprika, chili powders and oregano and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until the bison is tender, about 1-1/2 hours. Add remaining stock a little at a time as the chili reduces and thickens.

Add the piloncillo, cocoa and lemon peel, stir and simmer 20 minutes.

Ladle finished chili into bowls, top with Queso Manchego and chopped cilantro and serve immediately.

Help make a difference!  Please pledge to use only Animal Welfare Approved products in your recipes this winter.

French-Style Veal and Mushroom Stew

Quite similar to the French classic Blanquette de veau à l’ancienne popularized in America by Julia Child, this preparation features ethically-raised, pastured veal, brown mushrooms, garlic, onions, demi-glace, Madeira wine, heavy cream and fresh thyme.  Serve over smashed potatoes or egg noodles..

“Veal usually comes from the male dairy calf or Bob calves, mostly of the Holstein breed. The meat is delicate in flavor, firm, fine grained and of a light pink color. A good Ossobucco con Polenta, made of veal shank, and accompanied by a glass of robust Sangiovese wine, can be the perfect meal for a cold winter evening.

Organic and industrial farming methods of raising the calves differ:

In factory farms, calves are raised indoors in small individual pens and fed intensively and exclusively on milk substitutes with plenty of antibiotics added in for good measure. Herbaceous food is excluded from their diets, resulting in iron deficiency which produces the “desirable” almost white meat of most supermarket veal.

Organically raised calves are fed with their mothers’ milk; fresh, whole and still warm from the cow. After the calves are two weeks old they are kept outdoors (weather permitting), untethered and in small groups of 4-8 where they have adequate space for exercise and social contact with other calves.

Calves will want to pasture when outdoors, which is only natural as grass provides iron and vitamins which they need to grow healthy.

The meat of pastured veal will not be as white as ordinary veal, but that’s a small price to pay for supporting farms that raise healthy and happy calves. ”  –LocalHarvest

Grilled Red Wattle with Apples, Onions and Sage

Thick-cut, locally pastured Red Wattle pork chops are marinated overnight in fresh apple juice, garlic, sage, sea salt and black pepper, then grilled over an open wood fire to medium doneness.  The tender, moist chops are served with a glaze of caramelized onions and apples with a side of roasted baby Brussels sprouts with croûtons..

“The Red Wattle hog is a large, red hog with a fleshy, decorative, wattle attached to each side of its neck that has no known function.  The origin and history of the Red Wattle breed is considered scientifically obscure, though many different ancestral stories are known.  One theory is that the French colonists brought the Red Wattle Hogs to the United States from New Caledonia Island off the coast of Australia in the late 1700’s.  As they adapted well to the land, the Red Wattle quickly became a popular breed in the US.

Unfortunately, as settlers moved west, the breed began to fall out of favor because settlers came into contact with breeds that boasted a higher fat content, which was important for lard and soap.  Red Wattles were left to roam the hills of eastern Texas, where they were hunted to near extinction, until Mr. H.C. Wengler came across a herd in the dense forest and began breeding them into what they are today. Five year later, in a similar incident, Robert Prentice located another herd of Red Wattle hogs, which became known as the Timberline herd, after its wooded origins in eastern Texas…

Red Wattle pork is exceptionally lean and juicy with a rich beef-like taste and texture.”  –Slow Food USA