Crispy on the outside, soft in the middle with just enough seasoning to change your mind on what to expect from pumpkins.Parmesan Pumpkin Wedges
Prep time: 25 minutesTotal time: 60 minutesYield: Serves 2-4Ingredients
- 1 small sugar pumpkin
- 3 tablespoons bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 6 tablespoons parsley, chopped fine
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped fine
- 1 large fresh lemon, zested
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Pinch salt
- Pinch white pepper
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons mascarpone
- 2 tablespoons plain yogurt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried dillCooking directions
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Cut pumpkin in half. Remove top vine, scrape away seeds and pulp with rounded edge of spoon. Cut pumpkin lengthwise into wedges approximately 1/2 inch thick.
- In shallow mixing bowl combine bread crumbs, Parmesan, parsley, thyme, lemon zest, garlic, salt and white pepper. Stir until well blended, about 1 minute.
- Line baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly coat with olive oil. Place wedges on sheet and brush with remaining oil. Then roll wedges in mixing bowl, adding thick coating of bread crumbs. Return to baking sheet and place on center rack of oven. Cook about 30 minutes or until tender. If pumpkin wedges begin to blacken, cover with additional foil.
- Combine mascarpone, yogurt and dill in mixing bowl. Stir until blended, about 30 seconds. Plate wedges, drizzle with sauce and dust with remaining bread crumbs.
Pumpkin Bread PuddingPrep time: 20 minutesTotal time: 1 hourYield: Serves 6-8Ingredients
- 1/2 stick butter
- 5 cups crusty French bread, cubed
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 tablespoon ground flax seed
- 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup canned pumpkin
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- Pinch ground allspice
- Pinch ground cloves
- 4 tablespoons mascarponeCooking directions
- Place butter in 8-by-12-inch baking dish. Place dish on center rack and heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove when butter melts.
- While butter is melting, cut bread into small pieces using a sharp knife.
- In mixing bowl combine milk, flax seed, sugar, eggs and canned pumpkin. Gently stir contents until batter forms, about 1 minute. To prevent clumping, slowly add cinnamon, salt, ginger, allspice and cloves. Whisk about 1 minute, or until ingredients are well blended.
- Remove dish from oven. Add bread. Toss until cubes are evenly coated. Pour egg batter over top, soaking bread. Return to oven 25 to 30 minutes.
- Remove from oven to cool. Place mascarpone in small saucepan, simmer over low heat, remove when it begins to relax and liquefy. Plate bread pudding and drizzle with sauce.
Tiny, tasty treats you can toss in your mouth for a nutritious pick-me-up.
By: Jaymi Heimbuch
Wed, Oct 22, 2014
I love bite-sized goodies and these mini frittatas fit the bill. They are a perfect addition to a brunch spread since you can enjoy them without having a frittata be your entire meal. They’re also perfect as a filling snack when you get hungry between meals.As much fun as it is to say “ricotta frittata,” you don’t have to use cheese in this recipe. By all means, cheese lovers, follow the original! But if you’re like me and want to cut back on cheese and lower your carbon footprint, try these without cheese and use 1 percent milk instead of cream. They still turn out wonderfully — light, fluffy, flavorful and without the heaviness that cheese can add.With or without cheese, these mini frittatas are deeeeeeelicious. They pair perfectly with sliced fruit, a bit of fresh salsa, or with a salad of microgreens. This recipe is adapted from one by Kelly Rossiter.Prep time: 15 minutesCook time: 15 minutesTotal time: 30 minutesYield: 12 mini frittatas
Mini Swiss Chard, Spinach and Ricotta FrittatasIngredients
- 8 eggs, beaten lightly
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup 1% cream
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 3-4 leaves Swiss chard, de-stemmed and chopped
- 2 heaping cups baby spinach, chopped
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped
- 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
- 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepperCooking Directions
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease one 12-cup or two 6-cup muffin tins.
- In a large bowl add eggs, ricotta, cream and Parmesan and whisk together.
- In a small sautee pan, heat a drizzle of olive oil. Add the onions and saute until translucent and just beginning to brown. Add the Swiss chard, spinach, salt and pepper and stir until the greens just begin to wilt. Add the mixture to your bowl and stir to combine.
- Ladle the mixture into the muffin tins, filling each cup to about 2/3 to 3/4 full.
- Place the tins on the center rack of the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes or until the top edges are just turning golden brown. Test for doneness by jiggling the muffin tin; if the center no longer jiggles, then the eggs are set and they’re done.
- Remove from the oven. Let the frittatas cool in the tin for about 2 minutes. Scrape around the edges of the cup to lift each frittata out and place on a wire rack. Serve immediately or at room temperature.
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Recipe by Jerry James Stone – November 14, 2012
Like I said in my Fig and Sour Cream Popsicle recipe, popsicles are my new favorite food to make. I just love how creative I can be with them. Oh, and I plan to keep making them all year round.
I had been looking forward to pomegranate season as I didn’t really use them in recipes at all last year. I completely missed my opportunity. So the idea of freezing them to extend the season was of interest to me. And look how these Pomegranate and Limeade Popsicles turned out! The seeds inside the popsicle are just gorgeous, right?
- ⅓ Cup Lime Juice
- ½ Cup Granulated Sugar
- 2 ½ Cups Water
- 1 Pomegranate
Yield: 10 popsicles
1. Mix 1/3 cup of lime juice, 1/2 cup of sugar and 2 1/2 cups of water thoroughly until all the sugar is completely dissolved. This recipe for limeade is a bit sweeter than I like but you need to make your popsicle base on the sweet side as it will not taste as sweet when frozen.
2. Add the juice to your popsicle mold, but do not completely fill each one. We are going to add pomegranate seeds next.
4. Add the arils to the mold. You don’t want the pops to be jam-packed but the seeds should be evenly dispersed throughout.
5. Freeze for at least 7 to 10 hours as you want these pops to be rock hard. The pomegranate seeds will slightly compromise the structure of the pop so to prevent breakage they need to be frozen solid.
Hannah Bewsey & Katherine Paul / OCA
9th October 2014
Soils are naturally alive with complex ‘food webs’ of micro-organisms that sustain plants with moisture and nutrients, making them good to eat. But once the biota have been blitzed with agro-chemicals under industrial farming regimes, it’s our health that suffers. One more reason to grow, and eat, organic!
Not any more, according to soil health experts – unless the apple comes from a tree grown in healthy, organic soil.
And that orange you just ate to help ward off a cold? It’s entirely possible that it contains no vitamin C at all.
A study looking at vegetables from 1930 to 1980, found that iron levels had decreased by 22%, and calcium content by 19%. In the United Kingdom, from 1940 to 1990, copper content in vegetables fell by 76%, and calcium by 46%. The mineral content in meat was also significantly reduced.
Food forms the building blocks of our bodies and health. Soil forms the basis for healthy food. Unhealthy soil grows poor quality food. And poor quality food means poor health.
Even our mental health is linked to healthy soil, rich in microbes.
The answers lie in the soil – and its microbiology
So what’s happened to our soil? It’s been under assault since the advent of modern industrial agriculture, with its monocrops, fertilizers, pesticides and insecticides.
The term ‘biodiversity’ evokes images of a rich variety of plants-trees, flowers, grasses, fruits, vegetables-mixed in with an equally diverse collection of animals, insects and wildlife, all co-existing in a lush environment.
But there’s a whole world of biodiversity that lives beneath the surface of the earth – at least in areas where the soil hasn’t been destroyed. And that biodiversity is essential for the growth of nutrient-rich foods.
The Earth’s soil is a dynamic mixture of rock particles, water, gases, and microorganisms. Just one cup of soil contains more microorganisms than there are people on the planet.
These diverse microbes compose a ‘soil food web’, a complex chain beginning with organic residues like decaying plant and animal matter, and ranging from bacteria and fungi to nematodes (worms) and bugs.
Just by going about their daily lives in the dirt, these organisms decompose organic matter, stabilize the soil and help convert nutrients from one chemical form to another.
Living soil for living, nutritious food
This rich diversity of microbes affects most soil properties, including moisture content, structure, density, and nutrient composition.
When microbes are lost, the properties of soil that allow it to stabilize plants, convert chemicals, and perform other vital functions are also reduced. The microbe content of soil-its biodiversity-is nearly synonymous with soil health and fertility.
As Daphne Millier, physician, author and professor, writes, “soil teeming with a wide diversity of life (especially bacteria, fungi, and nematodes) is more likely to produce nutrient-dense food.
“Of course, this makes sense when you understand that it is the cooperation between bacteria, fungi, and plants’ roots (collectively referred to as the rhizosphere) that is responsible for transferring carbon and nutrients from the soil to the plant-and eventually to our plates.”
The impacts of industrial agriculture
Unfortunately, human interactions have negatively impacted almost all aspects of soil health-we are responsible for the degradation of more than 40% of worldwide agricultural land.
What have we done to the soil? For starters, we’ve destabilized our soil ecosystems through the widespread and reckless use of chemicals – herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers – that destroy nearly everything in sight, except the plants themselves (many of them genetically engineered to withstand herbicides and pesticides).
We end up with corn, soy, alfalfa and other crops that may appear ‘healthy’, but in truth, are nutrient-deficient because the nutrient-cycling quality of the soil has been destroyed.
And we do it as a matter of routine, even though it’s estimated that in the case of pesticides, for instance, only 0.1% of pesticides used actually interact with their targets; the rest pollute plants and soil.
As any gardener knows, nitrogen is one of the three essential soil nutrients. (Potassium and phosphorous are the other two). In order for nitrogen to ‘feed’ plants, it must first be converted to ammonium or nitrate.
Soil microbes, which are critical to the nitrogen cycle, achieve this conversion by feeding on decaying plant matter, digesting the elemental nitrogen contained in the decayed matter, and excreting nitrogen ions.
The newly available nitrogen is taken up by plants, where it becomes available to humans either directly (when you eat the plant) or indirectly (through consumption of grazing animals).
Excess nitrogen, chemicals, damage plant life
What happens when soil is stripped of the microbes required to complete the nitrogen cycle? Farmers often resort to fertilizers that contain nitrogen.
But the over-use of fertilizers leads to nutrients (like nitrogen) building up beyond the capacity of soil microbes to convert it into usable, absorbable nutrients. Too much nitrogen actually kills plant life.
According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, factory farming, where thousands of animals are confined in small spaces and fed grains (supplemented with antibiotics and hormones), rather than the forage nature intended, is behind much of the damage humans have inflicted on the soil.
At the core of industrial food production is monoculture-the practice of growing single crops intensively on a very large scale. Corn, wheat, soybeans, cotton and rice are all commonly grown this way in the United States.
Monoculture farming relies heavily on chemical inputs such as synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. In a monocropping system, what soil organisms aren’t destroyed by chemicals and over-tilling, are edged out when their plant symbionts are lost.
The impact of the loss of soil biodiversity is linked to the increase in asthma and allergies in western societies. The human immune system is developed early in life through exposure to environmental stimuli. When meat or vegetables are lacking in certain bacteria and microbes, children can’t formulate that early immune response and so may develop an allergic reaction later in life.
A worldwide crisis in soil health
If the numbers are any indicator, there’s a crisis in worldwide soil health that is rapidly becoming a crisis in human health. Converting from factory farms and conventional crops to pasture-grazing livestock and organic farming are the solution.
According to one study, it’s possible to more than double soil biodiversity by replacing conventional farming methods with organic farming.
But we shouldn’t be satisfied with simply scaling back the problem. Regenerative agriculture is a crucial tool for actively reversing the harm caused by Big Ag practices.
And there’s no time to waste – scientists say that a single centimeter of topsoil depth can take from 20 to 1,000 years to form.
Hannah Bewsey is a writer and researcher for the Organic Consumers Association.
Katherine Paul is associate director of the Organic Consumers Association.
This article was originally published by the Organic Consumers Association.
For related articles and more information, please visit OCA’s All About Organics page.
THE VOTERS WHO put Barack Obama in office expected some big changes. From the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping to Guantanamo Bay to the Patriot Act, candidate Obama was a defender of civil liberties and privacy, promising a dramatically different approach from his predecessor.
But six years into his administration, the Obama version of national security looks almost indistinguishable from the one he inherited. Guantanamo Bay remains open. The NSA has, if anything, become more aggressive in monitoring Americans. Drone strikes have escalated. Most recently it was reported that the same president who won a Nobel Prize in part for promoting nuclear disarmament is spending up to $1 trillion modernizing and revitalizing America’s nuclear weapons.
Why did the face in the Oval Office change but the policies remain the same? Critics tend to focus on Obama himself, a leader who perhaps has shifted with politics to take a harder line. But Tufts University political scientist Michael J. Glennon has a more pessimistic answer: Obama couldn’t have changed policies much even if he tried.
Though it’s a bedrock American principle that citizens can steer their own government by electing new officials, Glennon suggests that in practice, much of our government no longer works that way. In a new book, “National Security and Double Government,” he catalogs the ways that the defense and national security apparatus is effectively self-governing, with virtually no accountability, transparency, or checks and balances of any kind. He uses the term “double government”: There’s the one we elect, and then there’s the one behind it, steering huge swaths of policy almost unchecked. Elected officials end up serving as mere cover for the real decisions made by the bureaucracy.
Glennon cites the example of Obama and his team being shocked and angry to discover upon taking office that the military gave them only two options for the war in Afghanistan: The United States could add more troops, or the United States could add a lot more troops. Hemmed in, Obama added 30,000 more troops.
Glennon’s critique sounds like an outsider’s take, even a radical one. In fact, he is the quintessential insider: He was legal counsel to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a consultant to various congressional committees, as well as to the State Department. “National Security and Double Government” comes favorably blurbed by former members of the Defense Department, State Department, White House, and even the CIA. And he’s not a conspiracy theorist: Rather, he sees the problem as one of “smart, hard-working, public-spirited people acting in good faith who are responding to systemic incentives”—without any meaningful oversight to rein them in.
How exactly has double government taken hold? And what can be done about it? Glennon spoke with Ideas from his office at Tufts’ Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. This interview has been condensed and edited.
IDEAS: Where does the term “double government” come from?
GLENNON:It comes from Walter Bagehot’s famous theory, unveiled in the 1860s. Bagehot was the scholar who presided over the birth of the Economist magazine—they still have a column named after him. Bagehot tried to explain in his book “The English Constitution” how the British government worked. He suggested that there are two sets of institutions. There are the “dignified institutions,” the monarchy and the House of Lords, which people erroneously believed ran the government. But he suggested that there was in reality a second set of institutions, which he referred to as the “efficient institutions,” that actually set governmental policy. And those were the House of Commons, the prime minister, and the British cabinet.
IDEAS: What evidence exists for saying America has a double government?
GLENNON:I was curious why a president such as Barack Obama would embrace the very same national security and counterterrorism policies that he campaigned eloquently against. Why would that president continue those same policies in case after case after case? I initially wrote it based on my own experience and personal knowledge and conversations with dozens of individuals in the military, law enforcement, and intelligence agencies of our government, as well as, of course, officeholders on Capitol Hill and in the courts. And the documented evidence in the book is substantial—there are 800 footnotes in the book.
IDEAS: Why would policy makers hand over the national-security keys to unelected officials?
GLENNON: It hasn’t been a conscious decision….Members of Congress are generalists and need to defer to experts within the national security realm, as elsewhere. They are particularly concerned about being caught out on a limb having made a wrong judgment about national security and tend, therefore, to defer to experts, who tend to exaggerate threats. The courts similarly tend to defer to the expertise of the network that defines national security policy.
The presidency itself is not a top-down institution, as many people in the public believe, headed by a president who gives orders and causes the bureaucracy to click its heels and salute. National security policy actually bubbles up from within the bureaucracy. Many of the more controversial policies, from the mining of Nicaragua’s harbors to the NSA surveillance program, originated within the bureaucracy. John Kerry was not exaggerating when he said that some of those programs are “on autopilot.”
IDEAS: Isn’t this just another way of saying that big bureaucracies are difficult to change?
GLENNON: It’s much more serious than that. These particular bureaucracies don’t set truck widths or determine railroad freight rates. They make nerve-center security decisions that in a democracy can be irreversible, that can close down the marketplace of ideas, and can result in some very dire consequences.
IDEAS: Couldn’t Obama’s national-security decisions just result from the difference in vantage point between being a campaigner and being the commander-in-chief, responsible for 320 million lives?
GLENNON: There is an element of what you described. There is not only one explanation or one cause for the amazing continuity of American national security policy. But obviously there is something else going on when policy after policy after policy all continue virtually the same way that they were in the George W. Bush administration.
IDEAS: This isn’t how we’re taught to think of the American political system.
GLENNON: I think the American people are deluded, as Bagehot explained about the British population, that the institutions that provide the public face actually set American national security policy. They believe that when they vote for a president or member of Congress or succeed in bringing a case before the courts, that policy is going to change. Now, there are many counter-examples in which these branches do affect policy, as Bagehot predicted there would be. But the larger picture is still true—policy by and large in the national security realm is made by the concealed institutions.
IDEAS: Do we have any hope of fixing the problem?
GLENNON: The ultimate problem is the pervasive political ignorance on the part of the American people. And indifference to the threat that is emerging from these concealed institutions. That is where the energy for reform has to come from: the American people. Not from government. Government is very much the problem here. The people have to take the bull by the horns. And that’s a very difficult thing to do, because the ignorance is in many ways rational. There is very little profit to be had in learning about, and being active about, problems that you can’t affect, policies that you can’t change.
Breathtaking Planet Earth Black Panther Kitten 3 months old by ~Wild@Heart~Ian Lindsay. via Tumblr