Saturday, December 22, 2007

Quick Meal Ideas

The Salad has been a point-saver for me. There's something about eating a giant bowl of food that makes me forget I'm on a diet! The salad is also a great way to use leftovers.

Here's a nice easy dressing that is low in points and makes a great sandwich spread or salad dressing

In a food processor, combine:

1/2 cup low-fat Sour Cream
1/4 Light Miracle Whip
4 canned roasted red peppers (in water, no oil)
3 Sprigs of Cilantro
Juice of one lime
Juice of one lemon
2 TBS roasted salsa

You're looking for a consistency similar to Ceaser Dressing. This makes about 8-10 servings and less than a point per 2 TBS serving.

This salad below is a leftovers suprise salad. It has chopped Romaine, 2 TBS of the dressing, canned mandarine oranges (with juice), and some leftover pork (about 2 ounces) that was warned in a pan with some spare stock and a spoonful of .Rotel Diced Tomatoes and Peppers. Makes a nice warm Southwest salad. Works well with pulled chicken or even leftover turkey meat. It's 1 point per each ounce of meat and a 1/2 point for the dressing and fruit juice. A huge bowl of food for less than 5 points.

Vietnamese Soup

This is a take on the Traditional Vietnamese noodle and broth dish. It is usually made with beef and pork and in a meat broth, but I've done this one in a seafood vain with spicy shitake mushrooms. It is also usually done with egg or rice noodles, but I found a line of Japanese Udon noodles at Safeway that are much lower in points. The are made from wheat flour and about 3 Points per serving rather than the 5-7 from rice noodles. And they are vary tasty as well!

I prepare the soup with noodles, broth, Bok Choi and Spicy Noodles. We ate it with a nice piece of seared white fish on top, but you can do it vegetarian. Another option is to cook off a couple ounces of lean beef. Slice the beef and add to the soup while it's simmering at the end.

For the Broth and Soup:

Start with 2 Quarts of a simple Veg Stock,
Add in one pound of white button mushroom, cut in half
Put in the rind of one small lime.
Simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes, until the broth picks up a nice, subtle mushroom flavour.
Strain through a fine mesh or chinoise.

NOTE: An option for giving it a nice seafood flavor is to add the shells of a pound of shrimp or poach some shrimp in the broth for use later. Perhaps for a salad of to add to the Pho later.

Cook Udon Noodles in a water until al dente. Strain and reserve.

Place a large pot over med heat and add:

Two heads of Bok Choi, chopped into 1 inch pieces
2 TBS finely sliced scallions
1 Cup of the Pho Broth
Cook until Bok Choi is wilted with a little crunch left in the middle.
Add in the Udon Noodles and the remaining Pho Broth, cooked Shrimp (if needed) and a small dash of low sodium Soy Sauce.

Simmer for 2 minutes and distribute into bowls. Garnish with the Spicy Mushrooms.

For the Spicy Mushrooms:

Slice 1 lb.

Shitake mushrooms

Combine one Fresno Chili, 2 Oz Fresh Ginger, One small shallot and two cloves of garlic in a food processor. This makes a nice asian food flavor base for Thai and Vietnamese food. This will hold in the fridge for a couple weeks and can be used for a meat marinade or for stir fry spice.

Place 2 TBS cooking oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add in one spoonful of the ginger-pepper blend and sweat for 1 minute, until it becomes fragrant.
Add in the mushrooms, coating them with the spices and oil. Cook until tender and turn up the heat slighty to brown and crisp the outsides of the shitakes.

Salsa Verde

This is a great sauce to make at the end of the summer as fall comes around. I like to make a large patch and then save individual meal packets in the freezer:


2 lbs Tomatillos. Peel the outter skin off and rinse under cold water to removed the sticky film. Cut all in half.
2 Large Green Tomatoes (conventional red can be used, but the color of the final sauce becomes brown if red and green are mixed) Cut in half
1 Large Green Bellpepper Chopped into about 1 inch squares.
3 Cloves of Garlic.
1 Sweet Onion Chopped
2 Jalapeños (if you're a fire-breather you can mix in 4-5 serrano peppers. Poblano will work if you'd don't like the spicy!) Remove the seeds and chop the same size as the onion
2 Quarts Vegetable Stock (See Veg Stock Recipes if you don't want to buy packaged stock)
1/2 Bunch of Cilantro
1 Strip of Bacon (wait...WHAT? bacon and health? I'll explain: The sauce should be started with the onions, garlic and bellpepper being sweat in oil. And if you have to use fat, why not make it tasty fat? It works out to be the equivelant of one tablespoon of Canola or Veg Oil. This recipe is for 4-6 meals, or 8-12 servings. Not so bad in the grand scheme of things!)

(0 points)

The size and shape of the veggies isn't too important since the sauce will be pureed when it's done.

Chop the bacon and place in a large pot over med heat. You want to render all of the fat out of the bacon, without burning or toasting the bacon. Once all the fat is rendered out, scoop out the remaining meat and discard.

Add the Onion, Garlic, jalapeño and Bell Pepper. Sweat the veggies over med-high heat until the onions are translucent. You don't want any carmelization or browning, as it will give the sauce an off-color and result in a less 'fresh' flavor.

Add the tomatoes, tomatillos and cilantro. Once the tomatoes and cilantro start to wilt, cover everthing with veg stock. Once it comes to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook until tomatillos are completely soft, about 30-45 minutes.

Remove from heat and puree in blender with immersion blender. Consistency should equivelant of soup.


Cut two pork loin chops (12-14 ozs total) into one inch squares.
Brown pork in large skillet on sauce pot.
Add 2 Cups of Salsa Verde sauce with 1 cup of water or veg stock.
Simmer over low heat for about one hour, until pork is tender and falling apart.
Serve over steamed white rice. Garnish with a little chopped red onion and cilantro!

with 1 cup rice (4 pts), 1/3 can black beans (1 point), 6 oz lean pork (6 points), 12 tortilla chips (3 points)=14pts total. A little high, but it's a treat! To cut points you could have less meat, more beans and skip the tortilla chips

Also good with Black Beans:

In a sauce pot, warm up a little prepared sofrito or roasted salsa. Add one can of black beans, one bay leaf and 1/2 cup of water. Heat over med heat until hot. Season with a little salt and black pepper.

All together this meal is relatively low in fat, as long as you're using a nice lean pork. It will also work with chicken or even fish, although the cooking times will vary. A half cup of black bean, one cup of white rice with 6 ounces of cooked pork is 13.5 points with WW. You can even add a hand full of tortilla chips for another couple points. Today we used some left over corn tortillas from another deal and fried them in canola oil. The are super-flavorful and you can cut them into any size and shape you want. Use make sure to sprinkle a little salt after you pull them out of the oil.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

It's all in the lack of planning

If you look at the last few recipe ideas and the two that follow here, you'll note that a lot the ingredients over lap or are used in different ways. There is a method to this. All of these ideas can be meals for a few days in row after a big trip to the grocery or market. No one likes to have to shop everyday (well, there are some of us!), so planning out a couple days in advance really helps. There is no need to for specific recipes to plan for, just pick up a bunch of the fruits, veggies and meats that you love. Have a couple ideas of what sounds good. Take a look at the weather before shopping. If it's going to be sunny and hot, you might want grab grillable goodies for some outdoor cooking and a couple melons in case cookies and cake don't sound good. If rain is in your forecast, grab some things you might want around if you want to make a soup. Maybe a can of strained tomatoes or a pint of cream to finish a soup. You'd hate to have to run to the store when it's raining tomorrow. And if you don't use the cream in soup, whip it for strawberry shortcake the next day. No harm no foul

Having a nice base panty of dried spices, olive oil, different vinegars, canned goods and grains allow you to go with the flow of what's in season or what the weather's like. I like to have red wine, balsamic and rice wine vinegars around. Canned corn can always find it's way into a meal year round. Same with a can of stewed or diced tomatoes. I always have dried chili flake, black peppercorns and bay leaf. It's also nice to have some rice, pasta or corn meal around. I like to have a box of Jiffy Corn Bread mix. You can used it for a quick side or for frying veggies or fish. Cost a buck or two and holds indefinetly.

It's always a good idea to have a second idea on the ingredients you buy. Food is expensive, no use throwing away something that has a second use. That half loaf of baguette makes great croutons for a salad. Little extra yogurt sauce? Drizzle a little on your eggs benedict as a Greek "hollandaise" substitute. Hot Day? Puree those cucumbers with some of the mint from your garden and that melon you bought for a little summer soup or even a fruity pre-bar-b-que cocktail. Rainy Northwestern Summer night? Stay in and make pita-pizzas with all your leftovers.

These are Pita Pizzas. I just have some whole wheat pita breads that I brushed with a little olive oil where the crust would be. Use can find a huge selection of pre-made pizza sauce near the canned tomatoes and pasta sauces. You can put whatever toppings you feel like. One of these has some shredded mozzarella and fresh feta on top of spicy italian sausage, arugula and diced peaches. It's an interesting combination of salty, spicy and sweet. The other is a supreme pizza with shredded and fresh Mozzarella and Feta on top of marinated artichoke hearts, arugula, roasted red pepper, tomatoes and spicy sausage with a little pinch of chili flake for heat. The pita bread crisps up nicely in a 400 degree oven. Bake them on a non-stick sheet tray until the crust turns barely brown and the cheeses start to melt.

Friday, June 22, 2007

More Summer Food: Quick Salad Ideas

Here's a couple quick simple salad/appetizers ideas with summer produce:

Carprese Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes, arugula, Mozzarella cheese and Basil:

For the vinagrette, add 1 part aged Basalmic Vin to 2 parts extra virgin olive oil. Whisk in a small amount of whole grain mustard for some complexity and depth. Season with salt and black pepper.

I like to place a nice bed of arugula on the plate to display the Tomatoes and cheese. A chiffonade of basil on top brings it all together.

To get the maximum flavor out of the tomatoes, season the wedges with a little salt and leave at room temp for 10-15 minutes before assembling the salad.

Summer Vegtable Pasta Salad

I like to use traditional rattatouie veggies for this dish. Eggplant, zucchini, squash, red pepper and onion. Saute all the veg in extra virgin olive oil with just a pinch of red pepper flake for a little spice kick. The trick to getting the consistencies right it to either sauté everything seperately or two add in ingredients in the order they cook. Start by sweating the onions, then the peppers, egglant, squash and zucchini. If you sauté the veggies seperately, under-cook them a bit and reheat them all together to get the flavors to become one.

Add all the veggies to some warm pasta noodles and toss with a little splash of balsamic and pinch of fresh herbs. Mint and Basil are good for these veggies.


Thursday, June 21, 2007

It's Summer and I'm cooking: Lamb and Chicken Pijitas

The temperature is right for clean, health, flavorful summertime cooking. Whenever the hot months role around, it always puts me in the mood for bright mediteranean food. A trip to the market will reveal sweet tomatoes, glorious stone fruit, fresh cucumbers and of course an abundance of deep green herbs. Since so many people like to keep it on the lighter side when the mercury rises, here are some hot food with cool flavor ideas.

Seeing nice cucumbers and dill in grocery aisle makes me think lamb. Most people associate lamb with over-cooked meals at home and mint jelly. Lamb can be on the lighter side if done right. Lamb's flavor, to me, is less "meaty" and more diverse. Chicken is also a good stand-by for summer. Why not both? There's no rule that says one meat per dinner! Goes great for what I call Lamb and Chicken "Pijitas." Tender pieces of meat like mexican fajitas, but with a mediteranean twist on the garnish and served with toasted Pita bread instead of tortillas.

Start with a quick yogurt-dill sauce. This can be done with fat-free yogurt for a dieters delight. Place one cup plain yogurt in a bowl. Add in a dallop of mayo for a thicker spreadable sauce. Add in small pinches of ground cumin, ground corriander and ground fennel seed. You can use the pre-ground that you find in the spice aisle. For a bit more complex flavor, toast whole cumin, corriander and fennel in a pan then grind the spices with a mortal and pestal. This really brings out the essential oils in the spices. Next, add in a mix of finely chopped Dill, Mint and Basil. Omitting or adding anything won't make or break it. Even lavender or fennel top could add an interesting twist. Squeeze the juice of half an orange in the yogurt. Work it until it's nice and encorporated.

You can take this sauce and thin it out with a bit more lemon and orange juice to use as a marinade on the lamb and chicken. it makes for a very subtle herb touch to the meat.

The "Pico de Gallo" of the pijitas also has a greek feel. Dice up a couple heirloom tomatoes, half of one cucumber and add in half as much halved red grapes. If stone fruit are good in your market, you can add in diced plum and peach to the salad. Add in a pich of chopped Dill. Work in salt and pepper along with a squeeze of lemon and orange juice and a quick splash of red wine vinegar for some bite and some extra virgin olive oil to bring it all together. It's best to make this first and let it stand at room temp while you cook. it helps 'marry' the flavors a little.

Sauté up the lamb and chicken and serve with the yogurt sauce and some fresh Feta cheese crumbles!

Monday, July 17, 2006

American Food Part II: Kitsch and Comfort

American food takes many forms. There are plenty of chefs doing Fine Dining American as well as an uprising of up-scale casual restaurants to fill the gaps. Then there is the ultimate in Americana. The American Diner.

In all countries, one can find cheap food so manipulated that the lack of fine groceries can be ignored. In France it's the brassiere. In Asia, it's the noodle house. In the middle east, it's the shwarma hut. And in America-the Diner. All of these places have the same general guidelines. Low cost, huge selection and Deliciousness!

The past fifties years have seen a spreading of the diner in franchise form. Denny's, Mel's and the greatest of all, The Waffle House. At The Waffle House, you can purchase a two egg plate with hashbrowns, toast and coffee for around five bucks. All of these restaurants offer quick service and standard menu selections including the traditional "eggs any style," the Patty Melt, The Reuben and Burgers with a dozen options. There is a lot of cross over on the menus, so the toppings on the burger and fillings for the omelets will probably look familiar. Since the margins for profit are so low in a diner, you can expect very fast service and pretty consistent preparations.

Out here in the SF Bay, there are a lot of independent diners as well, but they tend to be at a bit of a higher price point. A good example is Orphan Andy's on Market St. in the Castro. They don't offer hashbrowns (a deal breaker for this eater) and you can expect a large egg plate to run around 8 bucks. Not going to destroy your wallet, but a little higher than I'd like to pay. One of my favorites is in Napa. The Soscol Cafe (on Soscol, near First) has a nine seat counter and five booths and there is a line out the door every morning. The chef/owner, Mr. Ceja, comes from a family of great cooks. The food is consistent, not overly greasy, and cheap, especially for Napa. A perfect start to a day of wine tasting.

I mentioned above the Reuben and hashbrowns. I tend to use these as yardsticks for a diner. A Reuben is a sandwich of corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Russian dressing on rye bread. It's origin is debated. There is evidence it was first created in Omaha, Nebraska by Reuben Kulakofsky around 1937, but the Reuben family of New York claims to have invented it. Either way, it is a great American sandwich when prepared correctly. Thousand island dressings is found on many reubens these days, but the sweetness of salad dressing tends to kill the sandwich for me. One of the best recipes for Russian dressing I've tasted is from Chefs Phillip Wang and Jamie Prouton of the Boonfly Cafe. The horseradish adds a great bite to the salty corned beef. The recipe is below.

Hashbrowns are a touchy subject with me. They are simply griddled shredded potatoes. Perfect hashbrowns are crisp and brown on the outside and salty, buttery and soft on the inside. Just lacking one of these traits can make good hashbrowns bad. There are a million different ways to make hashbrowns that can yield acceptable results. A good solid recipe follows. If you want restaurant quality without the hassle, there are lots of frozen alternative available that come out pretty good if griddled properly. Med to High heat, fast enough to not steam in the potatoes, but be careful not to brown the outside before the inside is cooked through. I find a pile a half inch thick is workable and cooks through well. Hashbrowns are best cooked in clarified butter. Canola, olive oil and sprays can rob the potato of some taste while whole butter will brown and burn too fast for this purpose.

Enjoy these American diner classics and Happy Eating!!!

The Reuben:

Aprox. Four ounces of slice corned beef is a good portion for one sandwich. The meat can be heated in pan with a little water and butter. Place the 'kraut on the meat and the cheese on top of everything and place in a 400 degree oven until the cheese is melted and starts to brown. The bread should be a nice fresh, sweet rye. You can griddle the bread in clarified butter or toast it. Jarred Saurekraut works fine for this application. You can rinse the 'kraut in a little cold water if you find it too be too briny or tart. Here's a good spread recipe from the Boonfly Cafe (adjusted for home quantities):

Russian Dressing:

Slice six Roma tomatoes longways.
Toss Tomatoes in a little olive oil, just slightly coating the outsides.
Char Tomatoes over a gas flame or in grill pan. Tomatoes should be slighly black on the outside, but still hold shape.
Place Tomatoes into Food Processor and pulse to a rough puree.

Mince four Dill Pickle Spears and add to Food Processor with tomatoes as well as four cups of mayonnaise, two or three tablespoons Prepared Horseradish (depending on your taste for heat) and one teaspoon Honey. Pulse the mixture. It should be slightly lumpy, but without noticeable large chunks. Season with salt and black pepper. Yields appr. one quart. Spread should hold well in the fridge for two to three weeks. Spread liberally on rye and enjoy.


Place 8-10 russet potatoes on bed of salt and place in a 400 degree oven. Cook for appr. 20 minutes and check potatoes with a small pairing knife or other "poking" device. When potatoes are cooked about one half inch in from the skin, remove from oven. You don't want the potatoes to be fully cooked. This is just to par cook the potatoes enough that they will not 'rust' and bruise after they are shredded. After the potatoes have cooled, peel the potatoes along with the half inch of soft flesh. Grated potatoes on a coarse cheese grater into a large mixing bowl. 1/4 holes will work nicely.

Once potatoes are peeled, add 3/4 Cups Clarified Butter and incorporate into the potatoes. Season with salt and black pepper. Potatoes should be slightly salty. Place griddle pan or large saute pan over med-high meat. Be sure pan is hot and add a small amount of clarified butter in the pan before placing potatoes on. It should be hot, but not smoking hot. There should not be a large amount of oil in the pan, as the clarified will come out of the potatoes as they cook. Put potatoes in the pan and do not move for 2-4 minutes, or until the outsides start to turn goldenbrown. Moving the potatoes too much will result in steamed and mushy hashbrowns. Flip the potatoes and brown the opposite. Potatoes will be cooked through in about 6 minutes. Season again to taste and enjoy.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

American Food Part I: French Pasta?

I have become intrigued of late at the state of American food and culture . In a time when patriotism is reaching nationalistic levels, no one seems to be embracing the food as a solid player in the vast quilt that is American culture. There is a very real rennaisance happening in food of the Americas lately, yet the food media seems to dismiss American food as nothing more than kitsch and comfort. Very few chefs are being acknowledged for presenting Americana in fine form.

Out here in California, a lot of the fine American eateries are labeled with oh-so-trendy label 'California-French.' Having taken an interest in geography recently, it has come to my attention that California, despite would Ann Coulter would have you believe, is actually a big part of the United States of America. So a new nomenclature could be 'American-French.' But really, how confusing does that sound. It is not the fusion craze of the tech-boom years. It is not Hollandaise sauce on Macaroni and Cheese. I would also point out that the star chef of all star chefs, Alain Ducasse, has become famous over the years for his exotic and technically perfect risottos and pastas. I don't believe anyone would dare label his fine cuisine 'French-Italian.' (Especially after the mortal-kombat headbutt of the century-but that's another story.)

"California" cuisine does have legitimate roots. It is said to have grown from the likes of Alice Waters at Chez Pannise and others who write menus based on seasonality, thus creating and ever-evolving menus that reflect the bounty of the local farmer. California cuisine has actually made it's way across the Atlantic into Paris. There are now California-French restaurants springing up among the galaxy of Michelin stars that is the Paris landscape. So through this, I am to infer that the French don't support local farmers, that California is the standard of local cuisine? That hardly seems accurate.

American food is as diverse as its melting-pot population. Pizza, as most American's know it, is a creation of immigrants and the sons of immigrants who settled into New York City in the late 1800s and early 1900s. It is nothing close to the pizza of Naples, and yet is delicious and popular and as American as apple pie. Border America has also given birth to new forms of culture American fare. Mexican food has merged with the great southwest to bring about "Tex-mex" and the nouveau Southwestern flair a la Bobby Flay. There is Baja Mexican and Chipotle mayonnaise flowing like the Rio Grand. In NYC, you can find Americanized Puerto Rican, Moroccan, Indian, Thai, Chinese, Russian, you name it. All of the food lends respect to its native land all the while evolving into a very different, very American, product of its own.

Encourage the revolution. Drop the false hyphenated labels. American food is great and deserves praise and celebration. I will be doing new entries on this topic for a while, so please stayed tuned. Happy Eating.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

The 'Good' table

There is an air of excitement and anticipation when you walk into a new restaurant and follow the well dressed host past dining tables to your home for the next hour or two. We look around. We wonder; where are we heading? What will our view be like? Who will our server be? Who will we be sitting by? Are there kids around? Is the crowd old or young? Does the food look good? Are people happy? Is it loud, dark, quiet, bright, stuffy, cozy, cold, warm? Does it smell good? Do the people smell good? What is that smell?

And before all these questions can be answered: you're seated right by the door, to feel the breeze when all the other patrons file into the restaurant. Your server is the goofy guy who was hitting on the hostess when you walked in and that smell is the shmarmy manager's cheap cologne, which you are destined to smell over the aroma of your perfectly grilled steak and well balanced Pinot Noir companion.

We have all heard stories of the Maitre'd being handed benjamins by the rich and affluent to be seated in the "best table." They are either wisked off to a private corner with a view of unicorns prancing in a summer sunset to cuddle with their special someone of the night, or to the most center table so the that all the other diners can hear the ins and outs of investment banking and favorite trendy vodka drinks from six young, well-to-do beautiful people who can afford anything on the winelist, but can't decipher between lamb, beef or veal.

Am I bitter? You bet your ass and Gucci bag.

Being a young, relatively broke cook doesn't not allow for frivolous spending on fancy suits and $100 haircuts. My dining companion and I dress sharp, but not flashy and we are very knowedgeable about food and service. So why the bad tables and second rate service? It's the money.

"I can smell the money," the old, bitter, gay waiter once told me. He takes a look at the shoes and knows where to seat the couple. He can tell how much money they have, and how much taste they have. Unfortunetly for the the rest of us, there is no way to fake it.

A couple of my worst experiences have been in San Francisco. Recently, we dined at Kokkari, a decent Greek restaurant in the financial district. We had a reservation but we were running a few minutes late. We called 20 minutes before our reservation to alert them to our tardiness and arrived five minutes late. We were greeted with a smile and led to a table directly accross from the door. Being in SF, it was quite a cold breeze every two minutes or so. My view was of the hostess and manager chatting at the stand and playing with the computer. I saw walk-in guests being led into the main dining room to private tables.

Another bad experience was at Jack Fallstaff in SoMa. We entered an empty dining room and were led to a far back table, directly next to a curtain leading to the kitchen. I could hear the clatter of pans and kitchen spanish being butchered from my table.

My best seating was as Bouchon in Yountville, Thomas Keller's bistro. For one, all the tables are decent. There are no "in the line of fire" tables by the service door and the closest tables to the door are small cocktail tables for bar service. This can be attributed to Keller's obsession with perfection. I have no doubt the lack of breezy tables is not an accident.

One tatic that some restaurants employ is to reserve the less-than-desirable tables for walk-ins. Such is the practice at Fork in San Anselmo (Marin). The margins in the business are so low that restaurants simply can't afford to turn people away. But you don't want to stick a patron with plans with a view of handbags and belts. Thus is the compromise. One cannot not be overly dissapointed to get a table in a sold out restaurant. Being pickey after an impulse drop-in is not fair.

The fact of the matter is that things probably aren't going to change overnight. Hopefully, as the internet allows people to post their opinions and thoughts in plain view of the world, diners will be willing to share their experiences and restaurants will take note. We all deserve a decent table and should be treated like someone special. Yes, the large table in the middle will always be for the hot-about-towners, but the corners are all equal distant.

To eat, to cook, to write: About Me

If I was a dinosaur, I'd be a Foodasaurus! I am a chef in Portland, OR, by way of San Fransisco and Napa. I have worked in fine restaurants and resorts and would like to share my 'insiders' opinion on the food we eat and the service we receive.

I am not a critic, but a food writer. I would rather be the next Jeffrey Steingarden than the next Ducasse or Bauer. Food is the most basic of cultural color and can be discussed by anyone, anytime. I am not a 'foodie.' I find that nomenclature to be pretentious. Every human on the earth knows what tastes good, to them. I am anit-foodie. I don't want people to buy organic lettuce because it's 'hot,' or to dine out to 'be seen.' People should buy organic if they feel that it is more flavorful or support sustainable farming, not to keep up with the Jones at Whole Foods by buying the most expensive tomatoes. Dining out is to enjoy a meal, with or without company, and to leave satisifed. No feelings of wasted money or guilt should accompany of great meal. I look forward to sharing my experiences and thoughts with the world.