Monthly Archives: May 2012

My Experience Volunteering: Strawberries and Salad Greens Day

The D.C. Farm to School Network hosted its third annual Strawberries and Salad Greens Day yesterday. Fresh, locally grown produce was served at dozens of schools throughout Washington, D.C.

I had the pleasure of helping to run a “Where Food Comes From” table in the cafeteria at a charter school in Northeast D.C.

Equipped with lettuce seedlings, strawberry plants, seasonality charts, a handful of trivia, and of course, stickers, two school volunteers and I attempted to explain local food to K-8 graders.

I was surprised by the fact that most of the students, even the older ones, had never heard of the term “locally grown.” Thankfully, I was able to hold their attention (with the promise of a sticker,) so that the students could point to local farms on a map of D.C. and understand that the local food comes from farms not too far away.

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Vegan Recipe of the Week: Comfort Food- Polenta Lasagna

Courtesy of Fat Free Vegan Kitchen

I made this recently for the “cannibal” of our show, Tom. Left out the Kale, since he’s not a huge fan of the greens. But he certainly was a fan of this creamy, rich and healthy dish! I used a prepared tube of polenta, which worked fine in thinly cut slices. Hopefully you will enjoy this as well!

Polenta Lasagna with Portabellas and Kale

If you use packaged polenta, slice it into 18 thin slices. If you make your own polenta, spread the cooked polenta out on a baking sheet and use a spoon or your moistened hands to spread it no thicker than 1/4 inch. When it has solidified, either cut it in half and use each half as one layer or cut it into an even number of pieces that you can fit together to fit your baking dish.

Ingredients

1 18-ounce package prepared polenta or 1 recipe of Quick Microwave Polenta
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 large portabella mushroom, cut into 1/4-inch pieces (about 2 cups, chopped)
4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/2 bunch kale (about 8 ounces after trimming), center rib removed and chopped into bite-sized pieces (may substitute spinach or other greens)
1 teaspoon dried basil
salt and pepper to taste
Cheese sauce (below)
1 1/4 cups marinara sauce (homemade or in a jar)
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped
vegan soy parmesan

“Cheese” sauce:
1/2 cup extra-firm silken tofu
1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk
1/2 cup vegetable broth
2 tbsp. cashew butter or tahini
1 tsp. onion powder
1 1/2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp. salt (optional)
1/8 tsp. white pepper
2 tsp. corn starch

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The Foie Gras Ban in California: Helping Us Move Forward

Chefs who are opposed to the foie gras ban that is scheduled to take effect on July 1st of this year will have to learn to live with it.

The foie gras ban was approved in California back in 2004, set to take effect seven years later.

In a last-ditch effort to repeal the ban, the Coalition for Humane and Ethical Farming Standards, or CHEFS came to speak out against the ban. Among these 100 chefs that have petitioned to terminate the ban are celebrity chefs such as Michael Chiarello and Tyler Florence. They propose alternatives to the ban on the basis that simply “regulating” the industry will “reform farming practices around the world.” They claim that the ban will create a black market for duck liver.

No lawmaker has offered to sponsor the opponents to the ban, and the California Legislature doesn’t feel it needs to focus its’ time and attention on their cause.

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