Marketing Real Food

What if we valued real food as much as we value packaged, processed food.  Not because it’s good for us, but just because it’s good??  Here’s an interesting article examining this question






Hi all

I thought you might appreciate this blog.  It is a great alternative perspective on many of the things we have been talking about in class, and helps remind us of simple ways to eat well 



This is a great blog and useful guide for eating on a budget!









I came across this blog and thought this piece of advice was useful.  Thought I’d pass it along to all of you.






Hi everyone

I decided it might be useful to have this list right on the blog, so here it is. Keep in mind there is lots of room for variety and flexibility.  The most important thing is to have what you need (more or less) to prepare whole meals at home.


  1.  Proteins (Animal, Vegetarian, or both)
  2.  Oil-Vegetable, Toasted Sesame, Olive        
  3.  Vinegars-Apple Cider, Balsamic, Rice, Wine 
  4.  Mustard, Mayonnaise, Condiments
  5.  Sweeteners-Honey, Maple Syrup, Sugar5. Flours-Whole Wheat, Pastry, Cornmeal, Gluten Free etc, baking soda, baking powder
  6.  Rice, Millet, Quinoa, Oats, Barley, Wheatberries etc.
  7.  Nuts and Seeds
  8.  Garlic, Ginger 
  9.  Fresh Herbs
  10.  Dried Herbs and Spices
  11.  Fresh produce-especially Green and Orange Vegetables, Fresh Fruit
  12.  Pasta
  13.  Canned Tomatoes
  14.  Eggs
  15.  Dried or Canned Beans 
  16.  Cheese-Parmesan, Feta, Cheddar
















New Address

Hello friends.  I am sure you have forgotten all about me and my blog, life and busy ness in the world of work and home is demanding.  Amazingly I have still been cooking (and baking and canning) up a storm, so keep looking for new posts with fabulous new recipes. (Not this week though, it’s 98 degrees in the shade here!)

Please note the new blog address:  www.goodlifecooking.net (NOT .com) and pass along

thanks, and happy cooking

As we settled into our Passover Seder last night, I felt a strange confusion….I love this holiday, the ritual and order of story and blessing, all wrapped within the emergence of springtime, symbolized by special foods representing the struggle and bitterness of a complex past, the sweetness and comfort of freedom, and the rebirth that is a new season.  

But wait, that’s the confusing part.  It just doesn’t quite feel like spring.  There is still a chill in the air deterring any buds from even considering emerging, and any farmers from planting.  

While I know it will come, I am READY I say.  Just as we denounce injustice in our Seder by saying ‘dayanu’-it would have been enough, I say ‘dayanu’ I AM READY FOR SPRING.  


In honor of this, I assigned this simple, fresh, crispy and spring-y salad to my students tonight. The recipe calls for asparagus, but we used snow peas with excellent results! Despite the coolness outside, our spirits were brightened as we crunched on this!




From Cooking up the Good Life (by me!)

Asparagus with Citrus and Olive Marinade



The combination of lemon and orange with the Mediterranean olives is fantastic. The strong flavors meet together, and enhance the freshness and spring feeling of this marinade. Add the slightly bitter, melt-in-your-mouth tenderness of fresh (and fleeting) local asparagus and it is a unique, tangy taste of the season.


The Family Kitchen: In addition to breaking the asparagus just right, kids can help peel and chop the citrus, and squeeze the juice. They will enjoy the sweet and tangy smell and the sticky juice on their hands, especially if they can lick it off.


2 pounds asparagus, trimmed (see Asparagus and Artichoke Pasta note on page X)

2 tablespoons olive oil

¼ cup water

½ red onion, sliced very thinly



Juice of ½ lemon

2 tablespoons honey

¼ cup olive oil

¼ cup champagne vinegar

2 teaspoons salt

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, minced or 2 teaspoons dried (See Growing Green Flavor, page X)

2 very ripe navel oranges or tangerines peeled, with seeds removed, and roughly chopped with juice

1 cup olives, pitted and chopped


Cut the asparagus into thirds and set aside. Prepare the marinade by combining the lemon juice, honey, ¼ cup olive oil, vinegar, salt, garlic and thyme and whisk well. Add oranges and juice, and olives, mix and set aside. In saucepan, heat water and 2 tablespoons olive oil. When almost boiling, place asparagus and red onion in pan, cover and steam until asparagus is bright green and tender–about 2 to 3 minutes. When ready, remove onions and asparagus from pan and cover with marinade.

Chill for up to 4 hours.

Serves 8 to 10

I was lucky enough to be selected as a Minnesota ‘delegate’ to the International Slow Food Convivium in Turin Italy.  Thousands of other delegates as well as farmers, producers, chefs, vintners and foodies converged on the old Olympic oval in the end of October. Below is a link to my first summary of my experience there.  Look for future posts about how I am using the interesting ingredients I returned home with!




Every year I go though the dilemma of whether to spend time putting tomatoes by, or to just eat them up.  Well, here I am again having that same conversation with myself.  I have a load of tomatoes I rescued just before our first freeze…now what to do with them?

I have been lucky enough to be teaching this fantastic class at the University of Minnesota: Cooking from a Food Systems Perspective.  We are learning a lot about our place in the food system, and also about how to be a more ‘responsible’ consumer, which I believe includes cooking seasonal food.  In the last two weeks, we have pickled, frozen, canned and prepared excellent long lasting items out of our very local (straight from Cornercopia, the student organic farm on the St Paul campus) ingredients.

While I’d love to ramble on about all the delicious things we did, and all the fun we had doing it, instead I will simply pass along this one, delicious and simple recipe for tomato jam.  This is not jam in the traditional sense of fruit, sugar and pectin.  Rather it is a basic cooked down, flavorful spread-more like fancy catsup.  And boy is it yummy!  I prepared this latest version with gorgeous small yellow and orange tomatoes leftover from class.  As I said, it is easy, yummy and makes everyone, grown ups and kids, happy.  See what you think.  Oh, and make a lot, this stuff disappears fast!

Tomato Jam  (from Cooking up the Good Life p. 3)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 jalapenos, deseeded and minced

1 inch fresh ginger root, peeled and minced

8 fresh tomatoes, diced with liquid

¼ cup maple syrup or sugar

1 teaspoon salt

Optional for serving:

Chevré cheese

Heat oil and sauté onion, garlic, ginger and jalapeno for about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, syrup and salt and simmer on very low heat until quite thick, about 30 to 40 minutes. Let it cool, for at least 2 hours or overnight in the refrigerator if possible. When the jam is cool, spoon onto cut polenta. To dress this dish up, top each piece with a small dollop of chevré  or other strong, soft cheese.

New Year, Old recipe

My mom is out of town this Rosh Hashanah, and aside from missing her motherly presence, we were also missing some guaranteed staples at our Jewish New Years table.   I was given the task of providing the carrot ring, or “something like it” for our holiday meal.  Carrot ring is the closest thing to cake for dinner that I have ever had, but apparently it is not a tradition in all Jewish homes OR in Jewish cookbooks.  I searched to no avail through all the Jewish cookbooks in my collection.

Luckily, I have in my possession 4 envelopes containing the handwritten recipes of my great Aunt Tillie, who passed away close to 20 years ago.  Admittedly, most of her recipes are not exactly my style of cooking, so while I keep them safely in a drawer, I don’t pull them out often.  This however turned out to be the perfect opportunity to investigate the envelope labeled “CARROTS-NOODLES-SALADS-JELLO-MOLDS”.  To my great pleasure, I came across exactly what I was searching for!

The recipe required only one adaptation-instead of  “Spry” (a vegetable shortening created in 1936 which rivaled Crisco until the 1950’s), I used butter.  Actual instructions were minimal, but clear enough that I followed along with relative ease.  The real treat was flipping through the yellowing recipe cards holding some of the only remnants of Aunt Tillie in her flowing blue ballpoint cursive. Some cards contain newspaper cutouts with ads for things like ” 2 bottles of catsup for 29 cents”, evidence of bygone days and a different era of food altogether. 

While I am not likely to use many of the recipes very often (there are probably as many that call for canned fruits and frozen vegetables as for fresh), I am thrilled to have this piece of the past and the opportunity to bring a little traditional flavor baked up with some sweet memories into our family celebrations.

The preparation was quick, and the result was a lovely, fluffy, and tasty bread like dish.  While it could not replace mom’s (or Aunt Tillie’s) presence at the New Years gathering, it was the next best thing.


1 1/2 cup butter (or shortening)

3/4 cup brown sugar (I used 1/2 sugar, and 1/2 maple syrup)

3 egg yolks (reserve whites and stiffen with whisk)

2 cups grated carrots

1 1/2 cup flour

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp salt

2 T. lemon juice

Combine dry ingredients and set aside.  Cream butter and sugar, add grated carrots.  Then add dry ingredients, lemon juice, and stiffened egg whites.

Place in oiled ring pan or bundt pan.  Bake 350 for 50 minutes