All Posts By Food Network Kitchen

Feeling Peachy

by in In Season, August 6th, 2009

Thou shalt not covet. I know this. But lately I’ve been feeling peachy, making it very hard not to envy my neighbor in our community garden who had the good foresight to plant a peach tree last year.

So I’m using my neighbor’s peaches as inspiration to plot my own mini-orchard. If you’re similarly inspired, now is the time to start thinking about what fruit trees you might want to plant this fall, or next spring. Spring (in cooler climates) and fall (in warmer) are the best times to put fruit trees in the ground.

What? You don’t have room for fruit trees? Oh, but you do. Some fruit-loving geniuses have cultivated small-space, high-yielding dwarf and semi-dwarf trees that have helped many a small-space gardener get one step closer to their dream of having an orchard. What you do need is a little help from a local expert (from your local nursery, garden center or farmers’ market) who can tell you what varieties will grow best in your soil and climate.

If you have the good fortune to have a peach tree or two of your own already (or an orchard or farmers’ market nearby) don’t miss an opportunity to show off the fruits of your labor in a simple Tomato-Peach Salad or a luscious Caramel-Peach Upside Down Cake.

For inspiration and instruction on planting fruit trees at home, I recommend The Backyard Orchardist: A Complete Guide to Growing Fruit Trees in the Home Garden. And befriend a local farmer while you’re at it. They are a wealth of knowledge.

Sarah Copeland, Recipe Developer and Good Food Gardens spokesperson

The Going Gourmet

by in View All Posts, August 6th, 2009

A couple years ago, at a party, a colleague of my husband’s spent a long time urging me and Jonathan to convince FN to take its own name seriously — which is to say, make a show about the digestive process. We never managed to talk programming into it (ok, frankly, we never tried), but now there’s a cookbook that purports to handle, well, all ends of the process. This SF Chronicle interviewer is far, far, maturer than I would be — his entendre-to-sentence ratio is a downright civilized 1:1.

Rupa Bhattacharya, Culinary Writer

Mmm.

by in View All Posts, August 3rd, 2009
image courtesy Road To...
image courtesy Road To...

Every few months I stumble across the work of SF chef Ryan Farr, and every time I do so I’m delighted. I can’t tell if I’m more impressed by the butchery, the charcuterie, or the photography. Well played, sir.

Also, I’m pretty sure I once had a wooden dinosaur-making kit that looked not unlike that lamb carcass.

Rupa Bhattacharya, Culinary Writer

Paging Captain Obvious of the Obvious Brigade

by in View All Posts, July 31st, 2009

Blight or Blossom End Rot?

by in In Season, July 30th, 2009

tomato-blight-2

Thank you to the clever reader who discovered that the “blight” on Miriam’s tomatoes was not in fact late blight, but blossom end rot. Our colleague and fellow gardener Derek Flynn concurred, sending us to the photos of blight here and here, which confirm that late blight starts at the stem and works its way down, while blossom end rot shows up at the bottom of the tomato. Upon further inspection, Miriam also noted that her plants lacked the white powdery spores and brown spots on the leaves that are common symptoms of late blight.

We’re sorry if we misled you–we’re passionate and protective gardeners (and cooks), not botanists–but we want to set the record straight in case we sent you into a premature panic. The good news is, most experts report that while you have to forgo the fruit you find with blossom end rot, it doesn’t spread or infect the plant itself, and the same plant, given proper irrigation and healthy soil, may produce perfectly healthy tomatoes later in the season.

CONTINUE READING

It Came From The Library: Index Edition

by in News, July 29th, 2009

The first in an occasional ‘from the Library’ series wherein statistics caught in our weekly troll of the food media are offered up in highly digestible, if occasionally provocative, bits.

Number of national chain grocery stores in Detroit: 0

Percentage of total antibiotics used in the United States that is fed to healthy chickens, pigs and cattle: 70

Approximate annual weight of these antibiotics: 24 million lbs

Estimated total Americans spend on weight-loss products per year: $35 billion

Percent increase in American obesity rates between 1998 and 2006: 37

Percent by which the medical expenses of an obese American exceeds that of normal-weight Americans: 42

Estimated medical spending on obesity-related conditions in the U.S. in 2008: $147 billion

Percent of all medical spending that figure represents: 10

Estimated increase in the number of Americans suffering from gout in the last 30 years: 100%

Estimated increase in the number of calories the average American consumes per day over the last 20 years: 250

Estimated weight loss if the average American substituted water for sweetened beverages: 15 lbs

Estimated 10-year revenue from a 10% sales tax on fattening foods as defined by a national standard recently adopted by Great Britain: $522 billion

Estimated 10-year cost of healthcare reform: $1 trillion

Jonathan Milder, Research Librarian

Summer Blight

by in In Season, July 23rd, 2009

Monday morning, I began to write about the collection of tomatoes starting to ripen in my garden, ranging from vibrant yellow beauties the shape and size of gumballs to tiny green striated torpedoes and deep purple-maroon monsters with more crevices than an elephant’s trunk.

My writing was stopped short when our sous chef and fellow gardener Miriam showed up at my desk with news of the late blight fungus that is rapidly spreading throughout tomato plants in the northeast and Mid-Atlantic and likely to hit home gardens hard. The fungus, which is also found and carried in potatoes (think Irish potato famine of the mid-19th century), is sometimes found in small amounts in August and September, but this outbreak is on a scale rarely seen by plant pathologists and agricultural experts.

Although the fungus has been around for centuries, this outbreak is thought to have started in mass-market outdoor and gardening stores. Since Miriam and I buy most of our tomato plants from heirloom producers at the farmers’ market, we thought we might be safe.

Over the next few days, we gathered around every news and gardening report, filtering through the news that that for organic gardeners (like us), there is no known cure or prevention except extracting the plants and disposing of them (in the garbage, not compost). Fungicides can help prevent the fungus from spreading, but that’s an option many aren’t willing to make.  And as an organic gardener in a community garden that lives by that commitment, my own choice is limited.

We all went home, inspected our tomatoes, coddled them, and picked and cherished every healthy ripe tomato straight from the vine. We held our breath and hoped for hot sunny days (reported to kill late blight), exchanged worried glances during the rain, and promised that we’d continue to buy tomatoes from the farmer’s market, even as prices doubled, to support those that are quickly losing their crops.

Two days later, Miriam came in with an almost-ripe orange and yellow striped tomato wearing all the signs of blight. We stood in a quiet circle, inspecting her tomato, and patting her on the back, as if to say “we’re sorry this happened to you.” To lighten the mood, we joked about giving Miriam’s tomato a proper burial, and offered to sit shiva for her crop. But the truth is, the blight is no joke, least of all for the hundreds of farmers whose living depends on it — evidence that the many principles of sustainability, most primarily biodiversity, are wise ones. Planting large varieties of any plant in any garden or farm is the best defense against total crop failure.

Wherever your tomato plants came from, and however many varieties you’ve planted, I sincerely hope they will not be affected by the blight, and that you don’t give up on gardening if they do. And I hope just as fiercely that you’ll keep eating tomatoes, keep buying tomatoes, and keep our farmers (and tomatoes) in business for years and years to come.

Sarah Copeland, Recipe Developer and Good Food Gardens spokesperson

This

by in View All Posts, July 22nd, 2009

Zucchinimandering

by in View All Posts, July 20th, 2009

Far be it from me to get involved in other food media institutions’ test kitchen power struggles, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that my close friend (and college roommate) Andrea Albin is currently battling for zucchini supremacy over on the Gourmet website. Video can’t be embedded, but click here to see it.

Voting is here. While I’m not saying you necessarily have to vote for Andrea, a vote for Andrea is a vote for bacon and tequila, and really, how can you argue with either?

Rupa Bhattacharya, Culinary Writer

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