I have been a fan of Malibu Farm ever since I read a description of it in C Magazine, that evoked such a magical sense of place, I knew that a dinner there — and a chance, one should hope, to meet its sublimely visionary creatrix Helene Henderson — lay in my future. Alison Clare Steingold, writing for C Magazine, described it thus:
[o]ne pig, two dogs, two goats, 23 chickens, 10 raised beds, 50 fruit trees, 300 raspberry bushes, 400 grapevines and some peacocks. Add a beehive for raw honey, Viognier from down the way, zesty Bloody Marys courtesy of a brand-new local mixer and golden olive oil from a nearby Point Dume grove.
What more do you need to know?
There is, of course, the view to take in, and the simple, elegant, “why didn’t I think of that” lifestyle concept to contemplate, but the only real information you need is of the “how the heck can I eat there” kind. With last week’s opening of the Malibu Farm Pop-Up at Malibu Pier, there are now two options:
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Tags: Food, Helene Henderson, Locavore, Malibu Farm, Malibu Farm Pop-Up, Malibu Pier, Restaurants, Sustainability
Friday’s news that climate change is worse than we thought, has lit the fire under my feet, and gotten me to think anew about what it will take for us to make a sustainable world. With carbon dioxide in the environment now at levels not seen in 3 million years, a development that the scientist Maureen E. Raymo, of Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, said “feels like the inevitable march toward disaster.” Of course, nothing is inevitable. We always have options, though at current rates of environmental degradation our options are rapidly narrowing, which is why it’s high time we all up our game — and by we, I mean me, because I’ve been twiddling my thumbs and making do with half-measures when nothing short of a fundamental shift in the way I live will do.
My commitment to myself, then, is to figure out a way to do better. It’s tied up with the project of trying to live better (by which I mean richer, deeper, and more profoundly fulfilled). I talk big, mind you. I have friends who uprooted their whole lives, sold their home and hit the road in an RV three weeks ago in order to work on farms around the country on their way to setting down more sustainable roots, perhaps in a retreat center cum sustainable community that they’re dreaming up. Compared to what they’re doing, my little inquiring is child’s play. But I am earnest. I want to continue a project I first started dabbling in twenty-four years ago when I explored vegetarianism, a ten year journey that brought me full circle back to being a (more enlightened form of) carnivore, and sunk bricks into my toilet tank to reduce the waste of excessive water flow. One avenue of exploration I’m excited about is Edible Estates, the brainchild of Los Angeles artist Fritz Haeg. Haeg’s idea is simple: turn lawns into edible gardens. A similar project, L.A. Green Grounds, founded by South Central Los Angeles-based “guerilla gardner” Ron Finley, who recently gave a rousing talk at TED — more about him soon — does for abandoned lots and the underused patches of land between sidewalks and streets what Haeg is doing for the venerable American lawn.
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Tags: Edible Estates, Food, Fritz Haeg, Graham Hill, Mark Bittman, Ron Finley, The Life, You Should Know About, YSKA
Yesterday, I re-seasoned my cast iron skillets. If that sentence doesn’t make sense to you, then you definitely ain’t from the South. In the South, where my roots are planted deep, there’s just no good cookin’ ‘cept that you use cast iron.
I’m a Southerner through and through. Though I long ago transplanted myself — first to New York and then to L.A. — Southern roots run deep, which is why I found myself seasoning my cast iron, and thinking about meals eaten in my mamma’s house.
Cast iron lasts several lifetimes (we’ve been passing them down in Southern families for years), well seasoned pan cleans easily and never sticks, and cooking with cast iron even adds some low dose iron to every meal. Southern cooks fry chicken in cast iron, but I use mine to brown chicken on the stove before sliding it in the oven so it can bake. In fact, I love to cook anything in it that can benefit from the carmelized goodness that cast iron imparts better than just about any cookware I know and, unlike close rivals, like enamel coated cast iron favorite Le Creuset, cast iron is super affordable. Treat it right and you’ll be roasting potatoes and whipping up batches of skillet cornbread, and just about anything you can imagine, for years and lifetimes to come to come.
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Tags: Cast Iron Skillet, Food, Southern Cooking, The Life
Yesterday I discovered an amazing website called Eat Your Books. It’s an online library full of your favorite cookbooks. Add them to your digital Eat Your Books bookshelf and voila! All of your cookbooks become searchable by ingredient, author, book title or recipe name. The entry level membership, which allows you to add 5 cookbooks to your shelf, is free. An unlimited shelf is $2.50 a month or $25 a year. There’s also a bookmarklet that lets you add recipes to your bookshelf from any website — I’m looking forward to transferring my Epicurious recipes here so I can have everything under one roof — and there’s also a blog and opportunities to engage with Eat Your Books through social media, so you can stay connected to other people who care about food.
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Tags: Eat Your Books, Food, Recipes, TFRL, TFRL Lifestyle, The Life
I’ve been interested in food ever since I became a vegetarian the summer after I graduated from college. It was my gateway drug to foodie-ism and to all things healthy and environmentally sound. The impetus was an offending pork chop that I picked up from the A&P. It was disgusting. Turned me off to meat for a good ten years, until one day I had a craving for a pan-fried steak. Wise, by then, to the ways of good food, I drove myself directly to Whole Foods and bought a delicious if pricey grass-fed, hormone free steak which I fried up in an iron skillet with fresh rosemary and olive oil. Best meal I’ve ever had. I’ve been a dedicated omnivore ever since, though my vegetarian days have left their beautiful mark.
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Tags: An Everlasting Meal, Farm To Table, Farmers Markets, Food, Food Policy, Locavorism, Mark Bittman, Sustainability, Tamar Adler, The Life