Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Gone Coastal

I am happily back from the East Coast without any major impact from Hurricane Wilma. I do truly feel for all those who were affected. It must be a nightmare.

The highlights of my trip were (in no particular order):

  • Time spent at Judge Rotenberg Center in Canton, MA teaching staff and students about the benefits of heatlhy eating
  • My absolutely wonderful flight attendant Heather on Jet Blue who gave me a massage in-flight and helped heal my aching back
  • A day sitting and reading the Sunday New York Times
  • A fantastic Indian dinner at Masala Art in Needham, MA
  • Being featured on Radio at WFNX in Lynn, MA and on TV on Comcast Cable 8's Nightbeat Show from Boston that went to 3 million homes
  • And most importantly coming home safe and sound

While I enjoy being away, although I spent most of this trip working, I am most comfortable being at home. I immediately got back to real life and working on the Measure M campaign to have a 10-year moratorium on GE crops in our county (see

I urge you to watch The Future of Food as you will learn a lot about this movement and why we MUST pay attention or our food supply will be in danger, thus endangering us.

It's time to think about the vegetables. Check out my book at

Sunday, October 16, 2005

GE Free Battle Heats Up

The GE Free campaign here has forced people to take sides, as they ought to. I am of the mind that I don't want people to mess with my food. I get to choose if there are GMOs (genetically modified organisms) in what I eat. If GMOs are introduced into our food supply in this county, we are almost assured of losing organic agriculture. It's too much for me to think about. So I am spending some time telling people about Measure M, a 10 year moratorium on GMOs in Sonoma County. If you want to read more please go to

As I prepare to leave town for Boston, Measure M will stay behind. I'll focus on getting out the word about my vegetable-eating message. Now to see how I can pack some of my cooking equipment safely in my suitcase. Carry on is not an option on this trip but I will go armed with some extra fruit just to keep my fiber intake up -- it's crucial when you travel along with lots of water.

It will be an adventure to find what's fresh on the "other" coast. I am ready for fall.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Okra -- For Me??

Yesterday at the Santa Rosa farmer's market a woman who looked familiar said, "You're that healthy vegetable woman, aren't you?" Of course my reply was, "Yes."

We were busy picking out ripe peppers, red and orange ones for me and yellow for her. I asked her name and she told me Mary Ann. She went on to say, "I'm not sure why but this year everything tastes so great. Maybe because it's in season now." I told her that all seasonal vegetables taste great. We both paid and moved on.

I ran into Mary Ann a while later while I was eyeing eggplant and wax beans for an upcoming Spice class recipe for Green Beans with Tomatoes and Cinnamon. (It is alluring and delicious and wax beans will work well with the green beans for contrast. I will actually use 3-4 kinds of beans including Romano, pole and perhaps dragon tongue.) The next thing I heard was Mary Ann saying, "I have some okra for you. I already paid for it. Have fun with it."

It makes me wonder about my farmer's market shopping experiences and how they might differ from yours. Has anyone ever dropped some okra into your shopping bag on purpose? This was a first for me. Although I did recently contribute a dollar toward someone's green onion purchase. Maybe this was part of the "what goes around comes around" energy.

Indian or Creole food springs to mind with okra. I don't fry so it will end up as part of a mixed dish. I've made vegetarian gumbo before, at the request of a student who failed to show up that night for class. The soup was great and gave me a new appreciation for okra.

Today is GE Free Day here at the Sebastopol Farmer's Market. I want to support the effort. While I would go shop anyway, the main event featuring Percy Schmeiser, the farmer in the Future of Food, isn't until noon. There will also be 4 bands who will donate tips to the GE Free campaign ( In my opinion we must stop GMOs in Sonoma County so that we don't end up contaminating our food supply. So, off to shop and support clean, organic, seasonal and most of all delicious food.

I am more fired up now than before I went to see Percy Schmeiser. He's a farmer would could be anyone's grandpa, yet he is passionate about keeping the food supply safe for everyone. He actually spend half a million dollars to fight Monsanto and the Supreme Court still ruled that Monsanto owns the patent on their GE canola and he used their technology (even though he truly didn't want to). Percy says that the government doesn't want labeling of GMO food and wants to take away our choice. I certainly hope that people here vote YES on Measure M - banning the use of GMOs here in Sonoma County for the next 10 years. Anyone who cares about what they eat HAS to care about this. My soapbox is getting wobbly so it's time to step down.

My non-GMO lunch was so delicious today that I ate it all - eggplant, potatoes, peppers, okra, corn and tomatoes with Indian spices, topped with chopped organic cilantro. All I needed was a bowl of quinoa or red or black rice and it would have been complete but forgeoing that, I ate three bowls. That's what I so enjoy about fresh vegetables, you can eat abundant amounts. And, I get a workout carrying them at the market. Life is good.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Eggplant -- The End of the Season

I just wrote a blog about eggplant the other day and then the whole system was down. My blog just vanished into well, I just don't know where.

I went into great detail about the regular globe, white and lavender eggplant that I have been buying and how the season was short this year. I have not had quite enough.

My husband Rick and I went out for dinner to an unnamed (at this point) restaurant here in Santa Rosa. Along with the Caesar Salad that was far too expensive at $6.95 for 6 inner leaves of romaine with a tasty dressing, I ordered eggplant Parmesan. The 3 large eggplant slices were splendidly fresh and delicious. This dish wasn't layered and the rounds were delicately drizzled with a light bechamel sauce, cradled with marinara and served with pesto pasta topped with toasted pine nuts. All together it was yummy with the eggplant rounds retaining their firm but meaty texture -- the pleasant surprise being that it was not at all oily, which is often the case as eggplant just loves to soak up oil.

I like to slice eggplant and bake it and then use it in a variety of ways. Or maybe I make a quick (in the pressure cooker) eggplant and potato curry or Thai eggplant dish with red rice. I also like to grill eggplant but especially the Asian varieties which I did not purchase this year from Triple T Ranch and Farm (a Santa Rosa establishment with 2 nice farmers named Larry). So, while I lament the end of eggplant I am still relishing the thought of colored peppers that will appear for a few more weeks, along with the late season tomatoes.

Winter squash has started to arrive but I like to wait until November to eat it just so I can hang onto summer vegetables just a bit longer. While I enjoy winter squash, the time to eat it is when the weather is a bit coooler here.

I am going back east to Boston to do a cooking demonstration and talk at the Boston Vegetarian Food Festival ( on the 22nd of October. There I will l use squash since the cooler autumn air will make it seem more normal. If you are in the area, please stop by.

It's time to survey the vegetable drawer and figure out what to make for dinner.