The Free Range Gourmet Free range thoughts on the finest ingredients, cuisine, and fine dining in Hawaii.
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Keep in touch with Hawaii's great food blogs over in the right-hand column. Podcasts too!    
Saturday, February 24, 2007

Market find: Real Wasabi from the Big Island


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

All You Can Eat is podcasting from Italy

Don Genova, journalist, broadcaster, blogger and podcaster, has relocated from Vancouver, BC to Colorno, Italy, near Parma in order to study for a Masters of Food Culture at the University of Gastronomic Sciences. Yup, the high-profile university associated with the worldwide Slow Food movement. He'll be there for a year.

I think he has made many listeners exceedingly jealous. I can barely cut a banana into uniform slices, so I'm not one who has been bothered by dreams of spending a year in Italy at such a prestigious institution. But I can still be envious. Part of me is thinking of all the fine cuisine Don has access to, literally in his back yard. He probably has Parma ham and Parmesian cheese every single day... maybe more than once... washed down with the finest wines... it boggles the mind.

Anyway, he is producing fine podcasts to fan our envy. You can hear the latest and catch up on back numbers from his podcast page. Click around a bit to read his blog with articles and pictures that go with his podcasts.

You don't need an iPod, the programs will play on your computer, laptop or can be downloaded to your mp3 player.

Don is straightforward, knowledgeable and articulate. I'm hoping he won't add in too many more commercial sponsors, though, but he says he is trying to pay for his tuition. One can adopt the old cooking maxim, too many commercials spoil the podcast, but for now, they don't detract too much from the enjoyment and the rare experience of being able to dream I'm in Italy also.

Check it out.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Lynne Rossetto Kasper visits Honolulu

Yes, she's been here and gone. Some people spotted her at the KCC Saturday Farmers Market a couple of weeks ago.

Splendid Table airs on Saturday mornings on Hawaii Public Radio, but if you missed the broadcast yesterday, you can catch the archived program on their website.

Here's the description from the podcast link:
This week we're bringing you a special one-hour program recorded in Hawaii. It's a look at the food and culture of Honolulu and its island of Oahu that few tourists see. We talk with legendary chef Alan Wong, tour the shops and markets of Honolulu's Chinatown, and take a whirlwind trip around the island of Oahu.
To stream the program, click here. The downloadable mp3 file is here.

It was fun to listen to the program. It should give tourism a boost (the sponsors included a whole flock of tourism organizations). The program was a series of interviews that left me wondering, though, where Lynne might have eaten while she was here, and what her own thoughts were about her experience. I'm glad to learn that she got to the Green Door and enjoyed it, and that she got to snack on some shrimp and shave ice on the North Shore. And disappointed that no one straightened out her negative view of poi. Did she try any while she was here?

Did she eat only in the hotel? Did she visit Mavros? Alan Wong? Nico's? Olive Tree? Zippies? Did she try a plate lunch? Did she just walk through Chinatown with Joan Namkoong, or did they stop in someplace to eat? Has she tried a Kau Gold orange (better than anything from Florida) or a ripe apple banana? At the market, did she buy any Hawaiian vanilla or try the very special Hawaiian honeys? Nevermind, I was just wondering.

The mp3 file will be great to send to your friends and relatives planning a trip to Oahu. Or email the link to those who can't afford a visit, just to make them jealous that you live here.

This one's a keeper. Download the program and store it somewhere on your disk for reference.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Court orders halt to new field trials of genetically modified crops

This news release from the Center for Food Safety describes a decision three days ago that applies to all future field trials of genetically engineered crops.

The suit relates to a 2003 case involving Roundup-resistant creeping bentgrass and Kentucky bluegrass. It may be of use to those testifying at the Legislature this year to protect Hawaii crops.
Washington, DC - In a decision broadly affecting field trials of genetically engineered crops a federal district judge ruled yesterday that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) must halt approval of all new field trials until more rigorous environmental reviews are conducted. Citing potential threats to the environment, Judge Harold Kennedy found in favor of the Center for Food Safety that USDA's past approvals of field trials of herbicide tolerant, genetically engineered bentgrass were illegal.
The link above leads to the text of the decision. More:
In seminal studies concerning environmental contamination from genetically engineered creeping bentgrass, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found multiple instances of the pollen from engineered bentgrass traveling several miles and transferring its traits to native grasses. Last year, EPA researchers found that the engineered grasses had escaped from field trials to contaminate a national grassland.

"These field trials threaten our public land, our communities and our health," said Lesley Adams, Outreach Coordinator for plaintiff Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center.
Yup, pollen travels. Prohibiting open fields of GMO crops in Hawaii should be a no-brainer.

Maybe the tables are finally turning on Monsanto and other researchers who disregard and indeed trample over our fragile environment.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Durian is back, but check yours out carefully

Durian was back at the KCC Saturday Farmers Market last week. We noticed it rather late, and probably all the good ones were already gone. What was left in the box were a few smaller and misshapen ones. By misshapen I mean that there were fewer than five lobes (sections) on the fruit. One looked like it had only three, and a really small specimen might have had only one or two sections (the picture above shows a full fruit, and the cutaway shows two sections, each with three seeds and the pulp).

The problem with buying a fruit with less than the full number of sections is that you're probably paying a high price for just husk. It's a pretty expensive fruit.

In Singapore, for example, those fruits would be sold at a deep discount. Actually, one haggles over the price, so the seller and buyer would agree at something less than they would if the fruit was fat and round and complete.

I don't know what they are doing at the KCC market--before my eyes, all the remaining fruit was snatched up. So if there was no discount built-in already, buyers were getting less perhaps than they hoped for. If you look at a few fruits you'll see that each section bulges out a bit, so you can get an idea if they are all there or not. Getting to the tent early also seems like a good strategy, so you have some choice.

Besides the articles I've posted here earlier, there is lots of new and interesting information on the Web. Google for it. Here is the Wikipedia entry, and here is an article with some creative ways to eat durian.

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Slow Food

You've read about the world-wide slow food movement. Hawaii has an active Slow Food group. Learn about or join Slow Food USA at the Slow Food USA website.

Where we're Eating

Nico's at Pier 38
Da Spot
Olive Tree Cafe
It's A Beautiful Day Kafe
Sogongdong Restaurant

More Links

eGullet Hawaii discussion group
Simple Cooking
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