Jalapeno Cheese Grits with Charred Onions and Smoked Sausage

Organic, stone-ground grits with fresh jalapeños, charred onions and sharp cheddar, topped with a smoked sausage link and red enchilada sauce..

For the Grits

1/2 cup organic, stone-ground grits
1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped
2 medium jalapeños, optionally seeded, chopped
1-1/2 cups stock or filtered water
1/2 cup fresh, whole milk
1-1/2 cups sharp, raw cheddar, grated
1 tablespoon butter
sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper

Dry-roast the onion and peppers in a cast iron skillet until partially charred, about 10 minutes.  Set aside.

Bring the stock or water to a low boil and slowly whisk in the grits. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring continuously until nearly done, about 20 minutes.

Add the butter and milk and stir to combine. Simmer 5 minutes, stirring continuously.

Remove from heat and add cheese.  Stir until melted.

Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Crispy Cajun-Roasted Okra withTomatoes, Onions and Peppers

Perhaps most familiar to Americans as a component of gumbo, this West African plant happens to be a high-fiber, fat and cholesterol-free source of vitamin C, folate, calcium and potassium.  High in antioxidants, this health food is also popular in weight loss diets.

When cooked, okra can be quite mucilaginous (gooey), which some people find off-putting. In response, this recipe results in a crispy, non-gooey dish of delicious goodness..

For the Rice

1 cup germinated brown rice, rinsed and drained
1-1/2 tablespoons pastured butter
2-1/2 cups homemade chicken or vegetable stock
1-1/2 teaspoons celery seed
2 tablespoons fresh oregano
sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper

Heat the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan until bubbling, then add the rice.  Stir to coat each grain with fat, then cook and stir until lightly browned, about 2-3 minutes.

Add the stock and celery seed and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer until tender, about 45 minutes.  Remove from heat, add oregano and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and hold for service.

For the Tomatoes, Onions and Peppers

1-1/2 cups fresh heirloom tomatoes, cut into large chunks
3/4 cup yellow onion, cut into 1/2 to 3/4-inch pieces
1/2 cup fresh banana peppers, trimmed and sliced
olive oil for misting
sea salt and smoked black pepper

Line an oven-proof pan with foil or parchment paper.

Arrange vegetables around pan and mist with olive oil. Season with salt and smoked black pepper.

Place pan in 425 degree oven and roast until slightly blackened, about 30 minutes.

For the Okra

3/4 pound fresh okra, washed and trimmed
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning (typically paprika, garlic, black pepper, red pepper, caraway, dill and cumin)
sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper
olive oil for misting
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, reserved

Arrange the okra on a rack set inside a cookie sheet. Lightly mist the okra with olive oil and dust liberally with Cajun seasoning.

Season with salt and pepper, then place the pan in a 425 degree oven  and roast until tips and edges begin to brown, about 15 minutes.

Remove okra from roasting pan and add to the tomato mixture.  Toss and turn, return pan to oven and roast another 7-8 minutes.

To Serve

Spoon rice into serving bowls, then top with roasted vegetables.  Drizzle with lemon and pan juices and serve immediately.

Organic Brands Backing the Campaign to Defeat GMO Labeling

Original article by Katherine Paul
Re-posted from Organic Consumers Association, Aug 9, 2012

The next time you take a swig of Odwalla’s Organic Carrot Juice, or munch on a bowl of Orville Redenbacher’s Organic popcorn, take note: A lot of popular organic and all-natural brands are made by companies that are spending thousands of dollars to defeat Proposition 37, the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act. 

Donations are pouring into the campaign to defeat Prop 37. Among the big donors are companies like J.M. Smucker, Hormel Foods, Kellogg Co., Coca-Cola North America and PepsiCo. – companies that make a fortune marketing ‘natural’ and organic brands with slogans like “We’re good to the earth.”

All of these companies are members of the powerful Washington, DC-based Grocery Manufacturer’s Association (GMA), a multi-billion-dollar trade association which represents America’s $1.2 trillion “Big Food” industry. The GMA itself has already pitched in $375,000 to the anti-labeling campaign. And it’s still early in the game.

The GMA has more than 300 dues-paying members,  many of whom are purveyors of popular ‘natural’ and organic brands. These companies have either developed or acquired those brands in order to tap into the growing market for organic and “natural” foods: Annual sales of “natural” food products are estimated at $50 billion, organic at $30 billion.

We assume all GMA members oppose Prop 37, or they wouldn’t approve GMA’s hefty donations to the anti-labeling campaign. Those members include Starbucks, which sells a number of organic coffee brands, and Kraft, maker of Boca Burgers. Safeway, Inc. is also a member of GMA. The supermarket chain pockets annual sales of $400 million from its store-owned  O-Organics brand. You would think a company that markets “Ingredients for Life”   might stand up in favor of no GMO ingredients?

Safeway is an assumption, but when it comes to a long list of other GMA members, no assumptions are necessary. Here’s a list of food companies, all GMA members, and all marketers of “natural” and organic brands, who have directly donated to the campaign against GMO labeling – over and above the $375,000 the GMA has contributed on behalf of all its members.

Pepsi-Co $90,220.06 Tostito’s Organic
Tropicana Organic
Naked Juice
Coca-Cola $61,208.60 Odwalla
Honest Tea
ConAgra $56,598.50 Orville Redenbacher’s Organic
Hunt’s Organic
Alexia Foods
Kellogg’s $33,248.40 Keebler Organic
Kellogg’s Organic
Bear Naked
Morningstar Farms
Wholesome & Hearty
J.M Smucker $20, 395.80 Santa Cruz Organics
Smucker’s Organic Peanut Butter
R.W. Knudsen
Natural Brew
Tenderleaf Tea
Hormel Foods $19,657.70 Natural Choice
General Mills $19,400.28 Cascadian Farm
Muir Glen
Gold Medal Organic
Bimbo Bakeries* $17,783.30 Earth Grains
DelMonte $14,400.28 DelMonte brand organic pickles
DelMonte brand organic canned tomato products
Fruit Naturals
Hershey $8,440.28 Dagoba
Cargill $5424.94 White Wave/Silk
Organic Cow of Vermont
Campbell Soup Co. $5,340.56 V8 Organic
Prego Organic
Swanson’s Organic
Pace Organic
Campbell’s Organic
Bolthouse Farms
McCormick $5,302.10 McCormick Organic Spices

*Bimbo Bakeries also donated an additional $7,340.06 through its Sara Lee subsidiary.