Tuesday, April 9, 2013

monsanto, and our children.............

Parenting Monsanto……Keeping our children safe from harm in today's chemically-saturated world is one of the great challenges of modern parenting, other than  raising a young boy..... The more I read the news, the more I want to look for toddler-sized quarantine suits on Etsy, but the most proactive way I can protect my son is to keep myself educated on these issues -- even if that means I get forehead wrinkles from excessive worry. In addition to the health of my child, I fear for the ecological health of the planet. Last time I checked, Earth is the only place we have to live, and what kind of future am I providing for my son if I am not cognizant of how my life and the decisions of my government effect our environment? That is why every parent should be aware of the Monsanto Protection Act and what it means for their family. When President Obama signed the Monsanto Protection Act, many citizens were outraged by this blatant violation of the Constitution. By approving this act, Obama has allowed Monsanto to exist above the law, since genetically modified seeds are now protected from any litigation involving health risks. That is strange, right…? If you were confident in your product, why would you be concerned about lawsuits involving health risks…? You may wonder how this applies to you, considering you don't buy Monsanto-Oh's for breakfast, but essentially, you are.
Monsanto's genetically engineered corn, soy, wheat and beet crops have infiltrated our entire food system, and you are eating their products every day and not even realizing it... Many people, including children, have developed deadly allergies to peanuts and other food products. Imagine the trauma for a child who has to deal with their mortality every time they eat -- how terrifying for the affected kids and their parents... According to PBS.org, some critics of GM foods feel that the possibility exists that those genetically modified food crops may unintentionally introduce a new allergen -- for example, a fish gene can be put into a plant.... Although I am fan of sushi, I don't really think it is necessary to cross-breed it with my strawberries -- especially considering the potential adverse reaction. PBS then goes on to explain, another potential hazard is the possibility that bacteria in our guts could pick up antibiotic-resistant genes found in many GM foodstuffs... in principle, it could exacerbate the already worrisome spread of disease-causing bacteria that have proven able to withstand our antibiotics. Beyond frightening and unforeseen potential consequences to human health, there are serious ecological effects we can't afford to ignore. As well as patenting all its seeds, Monsanto genetically engineered a suicide gene for

each seed and they don't even offer them therapy or xanax. Traditionally, farmers around the world have saved seeds in order to cultivate a variety of strands to help maintain bio-diversity….  Monsanto now forces farmers to use one seed that essentially kills itself so it cannot be used the next season, and therefore the farmers have to purchase new seed annually. This one seed is mass-produced in one location, resulting in mono-crop farming. So when you drive cross-country (like I just did several days ago), one-third of the time you will be staring at corn and soy fields making you wish the Children of the Corn will emerge and eat your eyeballs directly out of your sockets. Massive fields with one crop, created from one seed, become very susceptible to pests -- hence the creation of pesticides. And because there is no crop-rotation to replenish fields, the pesticides often seep further into the ground. You want to know something fun about pesticides….? A lot of them are made from Agent Orange. Yeah…! That stuff we used as a chemical weapon in the Vietnam War. Monsanto actually developed Agent Orange for the U.S. Government, but since it had some left over, Monsanto discovered the perfect market for it -- our food….! I know organic products are annoyingly expensive, but that is because organic farmers don't receive the subsidies that GM farmers do. It is not like organic farmers are bling-bling in diamonds because of all their profit from kale. They are barely scraping by trying to compete in a marketplace dominated by agribusiness. And think of it this way -- until the 1940s the whole world ate organic all the time. Because that was all there was. Of course this is a very complicated issue because millions of people are dependent on GM crops to survive, but as an individual or chef with purchasing power, how you spend your money will dictate where the market will start to lean (lets sway this market). Supporting local farmers and getting involved with Community Supported Agriculture will keep your costs down, and the more people who buy food grown without GMOs, the more companies will move in that direction. It can be difficult to make an assessment for yourself of the personal and environmental risks of genetically engineered crops, because both the pro and con sides of the argument are very impassioned. You can find massive amounts of research pointing you in either direction on this subject and that in and of itself should be a major warning sign. That the long-term consequences of these products are not yet understood means that we, the consumers, are essentially the test subjects of a global experiment involving our entire food system. What kind of responsible scientist uses humans as their guinea pigs…? Not to throw the mice and rats under the bus, but I would much prefer we test on them for a few decades before we use our children…. I have tried and have successfully kept as many GMO products away from my son as possible…. He was raised on an organic apple orchard in southern Maine for his first few years, that has helped immensely in the direction of our food supply…

maytag dairy farm....... is american blue cheese....!

On Thursday I was headed across the country on Dwight D. Eisenhower’s interstate freeway I-80 in Iowa of all places and saw a little sign that read- Maytag Dairy Farm…. The trip itself started off on a sour note- learning that my father has cancer; I quickly packed up from my digs in Sonoma, California and headed back east to be by his side… A quick exit and change in direction, heading north I hit the old farm road, three miles ahead and I hit the large brown packing plant and office building that is just before the old farmstead… Greeted immediate by the huge cheese case stocked with all of Maytag Dairy’s best… A separate case housed the big wheels, half wheels and wedges, but the main case offered Edam, Colby, Havarti, Cheddar, Brick and Farmers cheese….  I dove right in to a tasting led by one of the fair Iowa Blue Cheese Maidens… My favorite other than the twangy, salty and milky blue was the creamy Havarti….. Seeing my enthusiasm with American blue cheeses, especially the one that led the way for other American blues the president Myrna Ver Ploeg exited her office and took over as tour guide…  having the queen of blue cheese give me the tour was OFF THE HOOK….. she took me to the back and let me view the very private packaging room and the room where every wedge of Maytag Blue is hand-wrapped…  walking through the office area I also noticed a huge wood slab of a table, asking her about it she explained how it was made from the stone and wood from the original farmstead….. Then headed toward Providence, RI to make sure my pops had some support during his time of need…. I can’t thank the ladies of maytag dairy farm enough- thanks for all your hospitality, thanks……

Maytag is a gastronomic  American treasure, an American style blue cheese produced on the Maytag Dairy Farms outside of Newton, Iowa, the former home of the Maytag Corporation (think washers and dryers)... In 1938, Iowa State University developed a new process for making blue cheese from homogenized cow's milk instead of the traditional sheep's milk. In 1941, production of the cheese was started by Frederick L. Maytag II and Robert Maytag, grandsons of the founder of the Maytag appliance company, Frederick Louis Maytag I…. In the beginning, the milk for the cheese came from a prize winning herd of Holstein cattle that was established by E. H. Maytag, a son of the Maytag founder. The company is currently owned by the third and fourth generations of the Maytag family…. The process for making Maytag Blue Cheese was discovered and patented by two Iowa State University microbiologists, Clarence Lane and Bernard W. Hammer. Roquefort, another type of blue cheese, had been made for hundreds of years in Europe, but attempts to manufacture a similar cheese in the United States had thus far been unsuccessful. Difficulties encountered in making these types of cheeses produced a less than satisfactory product, and quality control would have been disastrous…. The problems encountered with producing Roquefort type cheeses in the United States for distribution were the lengthy time required to develop the artisan flavor, the mold growth not being uniform, the quality being below average for numerous lots produced, and the color of the curd being too dark. The process begins with homogenizing the milk that will be used for the cheese. In making Maytag Blue Cheese, the cream is separated from the milk, homogenized and then added back into the now skim milk. This would typically occur between 80 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit (27 and 38 °C) and 2000 to 3500 pounds-force per square inch (14 to 24 MPa) of pressure. This would allow for proper fat hydrolysis, which affects the flavor of the cheese. There is a ripening period prior to adding rennet (a mixture of enzymes that coagulates milk into curds and whey) to the cheese. A typical usage would be to add 3 ounces of rennet per 100 pounds of milk, allowing it to set in a temperature range of 85 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30 °C). Better results were achieved using 4 ounces of rennet per 100 pounds of milk and setting in a higher than usual temperature range of 90 to 92 °F (32 to 33 °C). According to Lane and Hammer's records, their alterations caused the cheese-making process to speed up from this point forward, with the time in between setting, cutting and dipping nearly cut in half. Also, after dipping the cheese and allowing it to cook in hot whey, the draining time was cut from 20–30 minutes to 3–5 minutes. Penicillium is then added to the finished product, which produces its characteristic green veins. After the rounds of cheese are made by hand, the cheese is aged in specially designed caves where they are exposed to high humidity and cool temperatures. The company still uses the same time-consuming method of hand making cheese, using milk only from four very local Newton dairy farms… 

The 411…
Maytag Dairy Farms  Po Box 806  Newton, Iowa  50208
www.maytagblue.com      catalog orders-   800.247.2458

Thursday, April 4, 2013

wild salmon..............dear mr. obama

Dear Mr. Obama  
(the current president of these states united)

As a chef who values sustainable wild salmon, I am writing to ask for your support of Bristol Bay, Alaska’s salmon fishery, where foreign mining companies are proposing North America’s largest open-pit gold and copper mine. Now more than ever our nation must defend sustainable, domestic food sources that are both healthy and affordable. Bristol Bay presents an opportunity to permanently protect one of our nation’s last wild foods and the thousands of renewable jobs that depend upon it. While wild salmon stocks have disappeared around the world, Bristol Bay remains a thriving salmon stronghold. Bristol Bay’s salmon have nourished Native people and communities for thousands of years, sustaining their subsistence lifestyle and culture. For the last 130 years, Bristol Bay’s salmon have supported a thriving salmon fishery which sustains over 12,000 jobs each year and generates over $350 million annually. With an average of 40 million salmon returning to its watershed each summer, Bristol Bay is one of the last great wild salmon fisheries left in the world, supplying over 40% of the world’s sockeye salmon. The proposed Pebble Mine, which foreign mining companies want to develop in Bristol Bay’s headwaters, could threaten and destroy all of this. With its massive size, sensitive location, and sulfide-filled ore body, the Pebble Mine is the wrong mine in the wrong place. In the event of an environmental disaster or toxic poisoning of Bristol Bay’s clean waters, Americans will bear the costs and the consequences. At the request of Bristol Bay Tribes, Native corporations, commercial fishermen, seafood processors, sport anglers, jewelers, chefs, and religious groups, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has conducted a Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment. We commend your Administration for building this scientific foundation that will help inform whether or not the EPA should use its authority under the Clean Water Act to protect Bristol Bay’s salmon fisheries. We urge you to stand behind their efforts and encourage an efficient review process that protects American jobs and resources. As our nation’s fearless leader, you can decide the fate of Bristol Bay and this irreplaceable national treasure that is at the core of our nation’s history and deserves a place in our future. By protecting Bristol Bay’s salmon fishery, we can protect the health of future generations, a native culture that has existed for thousands of years, and renewable jobs and opportunities for Americans. Are those big ass ears of yours open Obama, are they open… You only have a few short years to make right the gastronomic catastrophes you have created with your pride of former Monsanto employees.....!

Sincerely-  Chef Sebastian Carosi

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Los Angeles Farmers Market……………………..…@ 3rd & Fairfax

Arose on January 19th of the year two thousand and thirteen to a sweaty eighty degrees in the city of angels….. headed out to third and fairfax to the historic los angeles farmers market… history says the market was established in 1934, when a dozen farmers parked their trucks, piled high with local bounty on an open field to sell their wares… the field was once a legendary los angeles dairy as well… the market remains true to its LA roots to this day… it has been well over 13 years since I was last at the market, last time was when I was in LA building and cooking at Leila’s… this place has grown exponentially since my last visit, the chains have moved in-  come on, really- is johnny rockets is not part of the LA County Farmers Association….?  bounced in to The Farmers Market Salad & Juice Company for a big ass glass of fresh watermelon juice then it was on to the barbecued beef tongue tacos at 'LOTERIA… oh-yeah did I mention the hand-made tortillas that this grass-fed beef tongue is riding on……  damn these were a treat….  the horchata was delightful and sweet with a hint of cinnamon… over the years the market- a magnet for stars and gangsters alike has also offered a trout pond, a drive-in theater, a car hop burger joint, a permanent boy band and an antique mall… for angelenos the phrase-  MEET ME AT 3RD AND FAIRFAX is a happy part of los angeles lexicon… today it is a fricken landmark… the tacos-  off the hook…. and to think that Marilyn Monroe, Bugsy Segal, Bing Crosby, Barbara Stanwyk and Cecil B. Demille have all enjoyed the same tongue tacos…  a fabulous day in LA.....!

sonoma………..some bad-ass terroir (aka- dirt)


In late February early March I decided it necessary to camp in the mountains of northern sonoma county, california… I was perched directly above the famed vine-rich alexander valley, with AVA neighbors like the russian river valley, dry creek valley, chalk hill, green valley and rockpile…  as well as a ton of boutique wineries producing grape juice from this vinifera……. ohhhhh the silver oak cab……..!  remembering my first California olive oil tasting there in sonoma county with the man himself- francis ford coppola at his geyserville estate….  sonoma olive oil is peppery and piquant…  now spending day and night over the valley floor, gathering wood to make a fire to cook over and foraging the majority of my edible commodities overlooking the seghesio family vines… these wild edible commodities were plentiful in the fields and mountains but were nowhere to be found in any fashion or mentioned on ANY restaurant menu sonoma or napa-wide… here is a partial list of wild plants and animals that are indigenous to the sonoma valley-  california quail, venison, wild lake sonoma hogs, bite-sized bunnies and full size rabbits, steelhead, salmon, vine prunings for smoking, wild sage, wild fennel and fennel pollen, prickly pear cactus (tuna), rosemary and rosemary blossoms, cattails, miner’s lettuce, redwood sorrel, california laurel and the remains of many different mushrooms although it was very cold some nights….  these are some of the wild edibles available, beyond organic these edibles do not have a government sanctioned list of ‘OK’ organic chemicals to be used on them-  they are wild edibles…  every area of this glorious country that I happen upon I look hard to find what is and was indigenous to that region and its food culture, deepening my interest in the edible wild and the history of each item and where else it is found in the world…

drakes bay oyster company..........

On March 5th I decided that I HAD to go pay the farm a visit and show my support for american aquaculture...  especially one with such a long history in american / californian oyster production, giving us chefs a variety of oysters sustainably grown and harvested in different waters, estuaries, bays and inlets on both coasts, east and left….  having self-distributed these oysters themselves I have been very fortunate to have (ocean beauty) out of san francisco get these bivalves up to me when in the northern states several times a year for several years now…. most of these oysters stay right in the bay area, and while some of the general public slurps down hog island oysters, they may want to ask themselves- did the drakes bay oyster company outfit hog island with the stock being sold as hog island-  cause many a time, drakes has supplied hog island and tomales with bivalves…..  not that this matters, but drakes bay oyster company does supply the great state of california with over 40% of its consumable raw (and tub) oysters…. welcome to drakes bay oyster company (aka- the oyster farm), for it IS a farm…… from the village of point reyes station (home of the famous point reyes blue cheese), we headed south on main street (shoreline hwy one) and as we left town we went over a small green bridge- immediately turning right we were on sir francis drake blvd… we headed the remaining nine and a half miles to the little sign on the right hand side of the road that reads- DRAKES BAY OYSTER FARM….
following the oyster shell driveway we hit the farm…  this place is bad ass, there were atleast 15 people working the bay in front of us in various ways- some dredging, some cracking, some sorting, some headed back out into the bay with young oysters to drop…. in the first five minutes I saw atleast 3 of those employees crack open an oyster and slurp it down-  ahhhhhh  seeing the people eating the products straight from a harvest, that planted them in the first place is an inviting sight….  I sought out for my breakfast-  a pile of extra small drakes bay oysters overlooking drakes estero….  with all these niceties behind me, let me tell you why I am writing about this oyster farm… this farm is in peril of being shut down by secretary of the interior ken salazar…. the west marin pulitzer prize winning point reyes light volume LXVI no. 2 reported on Feb. 28th, 2o13 the drakes bay oyster company would be able to stay open- an appellate court ordered the obama administration to allow oyster farming to continue in drakes estero, this just days before the oyster farm could have been forced to close their doors, pay out 30 employees and destroy over 4 million oysters and numerous clams that have been growing over the past few years…. just shut the fucken doors and pretend like this little place of quality oyster production hasn’t existed for the past half a century, mind the 40% of cali’s oyster production…..  the pride of former monsanto employees that he now calls his administration are more than likely in both of his big ass ears on this one…..  when will this guy learn to leave food policy alone….  drakes bay oyster company provides great service to the community, as an innovative sustainable farm, an educational resource, and a part of the economic fiber of marin county… here is the following open letter to our secretary of the interior…..

Ken Salazar, Secretary of the US Department of the Interior
Dear Secretary Salazar,
Drakes Bay Oyster Farm, a beautiful and productive resource on the Point Reyes Peninsula, is in imminent danger of being a thing of the past. For generations this family farm, completely surrounded by the other family ranches and farms in the working landscape of the Point Reyes National Seashore, has been a popular visitor destination. The oyster farm’s 40-year renewable lease expires on November 30th.
Secretary Salazar, the continuation of this historic oyster farm is critical. Significantly, the National Academy of Sciences found that the oyster farm is NOT degrading the natural resources of Drakes Estero. Future generations depend on your decision to preserve jobs, history, culture, food, education and the environment. Please issue a renewable 10 year permit for the farm’s on-shore buildings as authorized by Congress, support the necessary upgrades to the onshore facilities, and allow the California Department of Fish and Game to continue to lease and regulate the shellfish production as they have since 1934.

Chef Sebastian Carosi
an avid drakes bay oyster shucker ‘n slurper…..
I know that this post may only reach a few people, but listen it only takes a few strong to help make things happen….  chefs, cooks, oyster aficionados, foodies, ag-business owners, californians, americans and all others support in any way possible, save your local food sources and supplies for following generations…. I shucked and slurped my briny breakfast bivalves down one by one….  I want this place to be around for my greedy memories and america and california’s gastronomic history and culture…
415.669.1149      open daily  8:30am-4:30pm
17171 sir frances drake boulevard  inverness, marin county california   94937