One dollar can buy 1,200…

One dollar can buy 1,200 calories of cookies or potato chips but only 250 calories of carrots. Michael Pollan argues this is the year for everyone to get involved in the Farm Bill, and to realize it's really a Food Bill that effects everyone in the United States. I agree with him, but am not optimistic it will happen. At least, not this year. Maybe by the next Farm Bill.

Veal becomes more flavorful if…

Veal becomes more flavorful if it’s allowed to walk around, and that deliciousness has contributed to a rise in humanely raised veal consumption. More producers are allowing calves to roam pastures with their mothers, and using feed and grass in their diets in addition to milk. The result? Guilt-free, tasty veal. Of course, "The American Veal Association, a majority of whose members still raise their animals in crates, maintains that the new kinds of veal on the market don’t even deserve the name." They want it to be called "calf" or "young steer." I'm partial to the label "humanely raised veal" so you know what you're getting: a young calf that wasn't confined to a crate.

Dairy farmers go organic before…

cow_grazing.jpgDairy farmers go organic before upcoming rule change. Current regulations allow dairy farmers to feed their cows 80% organic feed during most of the transition year to organic. With an upcoming change to the rules (requiring 100% organic feed during transition), many farmers are now making the switch to organic. But don't expect organic dairy prices to drop any time soon. There's been more demand than supply for organic dairy for a while now, and the market will quickly absorb all the new milk. I just hope it means more access to fresh organic local milk for people, and less reliance on the ultra-pasteurized stuff.

NYC Trend Alert: high-end late…

NYC Trend Alert: high-end late night dining! Tribeca Vietnamese restaurant Mai House recently announced they'll be serving a late night menu "28 terrific plates, all priced at $10 or less from 10 PM on." Remember, Momofuku Ssäm Bar started out with a late night menu after 10 PM, which they then began serving at 6 PM because their early night menu wasn't nearly as delicious. So it looks like options for fancy late night dining in New York are increasing. Of course, there have always been options for non-fancy late night dining. And sometimes, nothing tastes better at midnight than a grilled cheese, if you ask me.

Regarding the poor man's sous-vide…

Regarding the poor man's sous-vide post from yesterday, it looks like boiling Ziploc bags is not recommended. From a consumer specialist at S.C. Johnson & Son (makers of Ziploc), "Ziploc bags are not designed or approved to withstand the extreme heat of boiling and therefore, using Ziploc bags to make any recipe that requires the bag to be boiled is not recommended." The plastic can melt at the temperature, and who wants to eat food merged with plastic?

Of course, if I'd read the recipes more closely, I'd have realized the salmon I was keen to try out doesn't even call for the faux sous vide prep, and is just slow cooked in the oven. The only recipe that calls for the use of freezer bag is the slow-poached shrimp, and that only wants water brought "to 150 degrees, just below a simmer." So you might be ok if you keep the temperature low, but consider yourself warned. [thanks Allan!]