Monthly Archives: May 2009

Local, Organic and Everything a Meal Should Be…

On Tuesday Samantha and I went to the Farmers Market at the Ferry Building to pick up ingredients for a meal that we were preparing for our last ESF class.  The only requirements were that all the ingredients had to be local and organic and it had to be delicious.  Sam  had the idea of doing two kinds of sandwiches, and since I am no foodie and was going to make banana bread I readily agreed.  We bought tomatoes, romaine lettuce, strawberries, avocados, chilies, focaccia bread, whole wheat bread, lemons, parsley, cilantro and skirt steak.  

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DSCN0679(Documenting Sam documenting the meal) 

The first sandwich was open-faced, it had Focaccia bread with a thin layer of  a parsley, cilantro, lemon and olive oil spread (that I made in a Food Processor, first timer woo hoo!), tomatoes and thinly sliced steak.  

DSCN0683   The second sandwich we made was on whole wheat bread, piled high with grilled chicken, bacon, lettuce, strawberries to replace the tomatoes and a avocado aioli….glorious

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One thing I noticed about the produce at the Farmers Market was that the size of the vegetables are much smaller than produce in commercial supermarkets.  Commercial produce is genetically engineered, its bigger and lasts longer so people think that they are getting more for their money.  But the taste is simply incomparable.  Silver has always said, “Once you taste a fresh, completely natural strawberry you just can’t go back to eating regular strawberries.”  And until I tasted  this  luscious, organic, beautifully over-priced strawberry  I thought it was kind of a crock of sh*t.

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Our last ESF class was filled with eating everyones homemade dishes, discussing the last chapters of Michael Pollans book The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and talking about our role in the future of Media.  Silver brought up how Professors often say that the future of the media is in our hands, and that it is up to our generation to solve the worlds problems through it.  He continued to say that he disagreed with them, that the responsibility is not solely ours but that the media we are currently making IS the future and to keep making it.  The videos that Ashton and Chris produce, the writing Teresa and Laura publish, the photos Samantha and Ali take, and the amazing work that every other person has done throughout the semester for our Easting San Francisco class is where the media is headed.  This future allows everyone to publish their work, to receive immediate feedback, to be creatively expressive, to combine the various aspects of their lives, their friends, their work, their hobbies, and their passions through one photograph, one video, or one blog post.  

Although I do agree with Silver and admire his aspirations for us as media makers, I personally want to try to take time to distance myself from it (who knows if that’s even possible).  After 4 years of being required and assigned to create media I have come to mildly resent it .  I don’t want to exist as an individual who has to Tweet every time something interesting happens in my life, I don’t want to feel that I have to write a blog post, or consciously think about taking a impressive photograph.  I want to want to do all those things.  And I know in time I will.

DSCN0688Look how wonderfully it came together. Bye ESF.

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Nopales

Cinthia, my roomate made this dip yesterday called Nopales and its wonderfully refreshing and healthy! Nopales is a vegetable made from the young segments of prickly pear, carefully peeled to remove the spines, basically…its cactus.  Nopales is extremely popular in Mexico and produces around $150 million worth of it each year.  Its an important ingredient in New Mexican cuisine, and is gaining popularity in the United States.  She prepares it by chopping up red onion, tomatoes, cilantro, jalapenos and a lot of cactus.  The cactus she uses comes in a jar, but the tartness and the crisp flavor of the cactus is surprisingly well preserved.  I have actually had it prepared with fresh nopalitos by her mom  when I went home with her for the weekend.  Anyway, its easy to make, really refreshing for a summer bbq or just a good way to spice up your average salsa.   

Here are some pics.

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DSCN0675This ones kinda blurry but you get the idea.

DSCN0677Here’s Cinthia with her Nopales! mmmm YUM!

Cole Valley

For our last ESF trip we travelled to Cole Valley to go to Zazie.  I have been to Zazie before with the oh so beautiful Samantha Blackburn for brunch but dinner was a whole different experience.  We all sat at one long table to enjoy our last meal together, we chatted and ordered some drinks as we waited to order.  Sam and I decided to split the flank steak in a brandy cream sauce , which is clearly the way a dead cow is meant to be cooked, topped with portobello mushrooms with asparagus and mashed potatoes.  

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We also got a side of the mac and cheese (which was one of the best things I have ever put into my mouth, I think Sam only had 2 bites).  

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Zazie only uses free-range, antibiotic and hormone free meats, and you can really taste the difference in the quality.  It also feels great eating a piece of a dead animal that was honored when it was alive, instead of abused and almost manufactured.  I started really paying attention to what I ate after I read the book Skinny Bitch, I had a strong reaction to it and starting eating vegan.  Reading in detail about how cows, pigs and chickens were treated, and how they were slaughtered disgusted me to the point where I was sobbing uncontrollably and refused to eat any animal products for 2 years.  Now, this was when I was in high school and my mom supported this lifestyle and actually did it with me, so I didn’t have to worry about prices or availability, and it was fairly easy.  When I went to college, trying to eat vegan in the school caf was almost impossible, so I started eating meat again and didn’t think too much of it.  After reading Michael  Pollans book Omnivore’s Dilemma, I expected to have the same reaction and was extremely surprised when I didn’t.  In his book he describes in painful detail the unnatural and inhumane treatment of cows in feedlots; how they are basically forced to eat processed corn to fatten them up to the point where there livers are abscessed , there muscle is marbled with fat, and can barely walk because their legs do not support their weight.  He also gives grueling details about how they are tortured into giving up their lives for our consumption.  While doing research for this blog post I went on Youtube and was re horrified by the mistreatment of cows, pigs and chickens, and will be giving up commercial meat until I can afford to eat free range meat.  I have always been a animal lover and have had pets that give up their love for me, I feel I can at least respect animals by eating ones that haven’t been murdered.  

Needless to say, we ate it all.

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After dinner we ironically went to McDonald’s for dessert, and I am usually all for McDonald’s.  I think that everyone hates on it because it’s fast food and there is a stigma about fast food after the film Fast Food Nation came out in theaters in 2001.  But its the epitome of capitalism, of America.  Every other corporation exploits and manipulates people just like McDonald’s does, so what’s the big deal? Why is it that when I say “I want McDonald’s” peoples reactions are along the same lines of disgust and repulsion? Maybe its because they have seen the horrible videos on Youtube I unfortunately just viewed.

I took this picture of the sprinkler system in the McDonald’s parking lot, they obviously need to repair their irrigation system, I mean we are suffering from a water shortage and drought…come on! 

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USF Garden

Some pics I took of the USF garden.  These are for a video Ashton is doing for ESF. 

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