Wednesday, July 06, 2011

The Sacred Literature of Fresh Tomato Deliciousness. Tomatoland: how modern industrial agriculture destroyed our most alluring fruit

It is almost time for the fresh Minnesota tomato, and of our local farmers markets will have loads of traditional and heirloom varieties -- soon, very soon.

Thanks to my friend Susan Marsnik, I have a new stash of Aleppo Pepper from Holy Land Foods in Minneapolis. Sprinkle this pepper onto your salad or onto your fresh tomato, and you will be very, very happy. You can also find Aleppo Pepper at Penzey's, either in a store or by mail order.

Thanks to James Beard Award winner Barry Estabrook and his new book Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit we can no longer kid ourselves that the "winter tomatoes" we all eat throughout the year are not just frequently tasteless, but an environmental trainwreck. But, to balance things out, those tomatoes are a billion dollar industry, supporting everyone from farmworkers (barely), to fast food workers (barely), and pizza and tomato soup lovers everywhere.

You'll find a great review in the New York Times, and a terrific interview with Estabrook at npr, and your favorite news outlet probably has a review, too!

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Toffee Waffles - what every waffle cone wants to be

Toffee Waffles: $5/four
If you have ever eaten waffle cones out of the box, Toffee Waffles will validate your suspicion that there might be a Really Amazing Member of the Waffle Cone Family out there somewhere. I found them yesterday at the Hopkins (MN) Farmers Market. Proper People's Toffee Waffles are what every waffle cone ever made wanted to be when it grew up.

These crisp and gooey treats are a perfect marriage of all of the food groups: flour, butter, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla, much of which is locally sourced in Minnesota: Swany White Flour Mills (organic unbleached flour); Hope Creamery (churned butter), Larry Schultz Organic Farm (eggs), Hastings Co-op Creamery (hormone-free milk and butter).

If you can bear to wait until you have a cup of coffee in your hand, one of Toffee Waffle's  highest and best uses is to sit on top of a hot cup of coffee until the center softens. Then, and only then, do you eat your Toffee Waffle. Bet you can't wait!