Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Who doesn’t love pickles? Crunchy and salty, they satisfy two of the three addictive food cravings (you'll have to go somewhere else if you want sweet). Did you know that you could pickle any fruit or vegetable? Chutneys, sauerkraut, kimchi, carrots, beets, garlic, tomatoes, corn, green beans, even ketchup – the list is endless; you are only limited by the space in your refrigerator.

Pickling – also known as lacto-fermentation – preserves digestive enzymes, increases natural probiotics and enhances vitamin absorbability. Pickles can sit in your refrigerator for months and only increase in flavor. They also provide valuable nutrition during the winter months.

Traditionally, pickles of all kinds have been served as a garnish to meats. Medicinally, they can be used to aid digestion and resolve many gastro-intestinal disorders.

Modern mass-production techniques have changed the nature of pickles and eliminated their health benefits. So if you want to buy the real thing, look for words such as 'lacto-fermented,' 'raw' and 'unpasteurized.' If you find vinegar among the ingredients, the health benefits will have been lost. My favorite place to buy pickles is the Hawthorne Valley Farm stand at the Union Square Greenmarket. They have a huge selection and they'll let you sample. Personally, I live on their kimchi.

If you're adventurous enough to try your hand at pickling, you will find it incredibly easy. Some great books that can help along the way include:

the now infamous Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods
and the good old standby Making Sauerkraut and Pickled Vegetables at Home

Last, but not least, I would like to invite you to a pickling class and tasting. You will learn basic traditional pickling techniques and have an opportunity to taste a variety of pickles and chutneys. We will be making garlic pickles, ginger baby carrots and dill green beans. The workshop will take place on Saturday, August 9 at 7:30 PM and will be limited to 10 participants. Admission is $15. Please email me at sandra.dubrov at to reserve your spot.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Michael Savage attacks autistic kids.

Although this, clearly, was no off-the-cuff rant, inflicting more pain onto those who already suffer daily is plainly inhumane. But, that’s why Michael Savage gets the big bucks, kicking up shit storms to perk up media interest and ultimately advertiser dollars. This too shall go away after the requisite apology to the autism community and maybe some appropriate display of outrage by WOR.

Don’t know what I am talking about?

Angry? Here is an opportunity for a possible outlet. For every letter they receive, they expect 13,000 more feel the same way without acting.

Michael Savage’s major advertisers and contact info:
• Buckley Broadcasting/WOR Radio
General Phone Number: 212 642 4500
111 Broadway 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10006
• Home Depot
(770) 384-4646
• Sears
Sears Public Relations And Communications
(847) 286-8371
Website Contact:
• Radioshack
Media Relations
Riverfront Campus
Mail Stop #CF7-130_300
RadioShack Circle
Fort Worth, TX 76102-1964
Phone: (817) 415-3300
Fax: (817) 415-2585
1-800-99-AFLAC (1-800-992-3522)
Laura Kane, 2nd Vice President External Relations Aflac Incorporated
Mechell Clark, Media Relations Manager, 1-706-243-8004
• Budweiser
Anheuser-Busch, Inc.
One Busch Place
St. Louis, MO 63118
Website contact:
1 800 DIAL BUD (1 800 342 5283)
• Michael Savage
• Talk Radio Network
P.O. Box 3755
Central Point, Oregon 97502
Phone: 541-664-8827
Fax: 541-664-6250
• The Savage Nation
The Paul Revere Society
150 Shoreline Hwy, Bldg E
Mill Valley, CA 94941
Fax: 415-339-9383

WOR advertisers:
American Express
Boca Java
Consolidated Resources
Direct Buy
Dish Network
Ebay Motors
General Motors
Gallo Wines
Legal Zoom
Outback Steakhouse
Purina One
Simon & Schuster
Texaco Chevron
United First Financial

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Beets, beets, beets.

I've been remiss - beet season is in full swing, and I have not written a single word about them. Here's the skinny: we should all eat one a day - they are that good for you. Beets come in such warm colors - deep wine red, garnet, orange, golden yellow and buttery ivory. The lighter colors have a less intense beet flavor, and are less nutritious and juicy. And don't overlook the leaves - they can (and should) also be eaten, as they are packed with nutrition (the leaves more so than the roots).

Beets are very high in folate, manganese and potassium. They also have lots of fiber, vitamin C, magnesium, tryptophan, iron, copper and phosphorus, and possess very strong cancer-fighting qualities. Traditionally, beets were used to purify and rebuild blood and to cleanse the liver. Beets are known for the prevention of coronary and cerebral artery diseases, treatment of bladder and kidney stones, lowering of LDL cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure, and the reduction of inflammation. And if you eat enough, for no extra charge, you may even pee pink or red - an endless source of amusement for kids (especially mine). This is called beeturia and is completely harmless.

Beets have a synergistic relationship with carrots, and as such, the two vegetables are frequently used together to detoxify and heal degenerative illness.

To prepare: don't peel beets before you cook them; you'll preserve more nutrients and the skin slips off very easily after they are cooked. I prefer steaming or roasting beets - heat harms the anti-cancer activity so low-heat cooking is best. Try them raw or pickled for the full health benefits and crunchy texture (look for my upcoming newsletter on lacto-fermented foods and recipes). To remove stains from your hands, rub them with a slice of lemon.

This year I've been getting my beets from Yuno's and Norwich Meadow Farms. The roots are firm and juicy, and the leaves are consistently fresh, bright and crisp. They have good texture and a luscious, sweet flavor.



Ingredients for almond butter:
1/2 cup toasted Marcona almonds
1/2 garlic clove, chopped
Pinch of cayenne
1/2 to 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

To make almond butter:
Grind almonds to a paste with garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and cayenne in a food processor. With motor running, add just enough oil to make a silky paste. Season with salt.

Ingredients for beet salad:
1 1/2 lb small (2-inch) beets without greens (2 lb with greens)
2 tablespoons Sherry vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
3 tablespoons finely chopped chives

To make beet salad:
- Simmer beets in 3 inches of water in a large saucepan, covered, until tender, about 30 minutes.
- Cool in liquid, uncovered, about 30 minutes, then peel and cut into 1/2-inch wedges.
- Whisk together vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a bowl, then whisk in oil. Add shallot and chives and toss with beets.
- Pool some almond butter and top with beet salad.

Modified from a recipe I found in Gourmet magazine.

This is how Sasha, my three-year-old, likes them best. He calls them his treats.

8 beets, washed
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons of e.v. olive oil
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
Salt to taste

- Place beets in a covered baking pan, sprinkle with olive oil and bake at 350 degrees F for 40-45 minutes or until tender; cool.
- Remove beets from oven, peel and slice.
- Combine beets, oil, maple syrup, nutmeg and seasoning in a baking dish.
- Bake in moderate oven for about 15 minutes


3 pounds bone-in beef shank
3 medium beets, peeled and shredded
3 carrots, peeled and shredded
3 medium baking potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 tablespoon e.v olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
6 cups water
1/2 medium head cabbage, cored and shredded
1 (8 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup sour cream, for topping
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill and more for garnish

- In a large pot over medium heat, brown beef in oil. Stir in onion and water, reduce heat and simmer, covered, 2 hours, until meat is tender.
- In a separate pan heat the tomato paste and dilute with some beef broth, add into soup pot.
- Add the beets, and cook until almost done.
- Add the carrots and potatoes, cabbage, can of diced tomatoes, garlic, dill, salt and pepper and cook until tender, about 20 minutes.
- Taste and adjust seasoning.
- Ladle into serving bowls, and garnish with sour cream and fresh dill.


12 fresh beets, trimmed
6 large carrots, thinly sliced
1 cup crumbled goat cheese or feta cheese
2 tablespoons minced shallot
1/3 cup tarragon vinegar
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon raw honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup minced chives

- Place beets in a covered baking pan, sprinkle with olive oil and bake at 350 degrees F for 40-45 minutes or until tender; cool. Peel and cut beets into thin slices.
- Place carrots in a steamer basket; place in a saucepan over 1 in. of water. Bring to a boil; cover and steam for 6-8 minutes or until crisp-tender. Allow to cool and slice.
- Toss beets, carrots and shallots in a large bowl.
- In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar, mint, oil, honey, salt and pepper; drizzle over vegetables.
- Dot with crumbled cheese and sprinkle with chives.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Healthy Snacks

Last week, I started making my own dried fruit for the kids. There's so much available at the farmer's markets that I frequently get ahead of myself and buy too much, and some of it goes to waste. So, whatever the kids don't eat, I throw into the dehydrator. I've been making dried strawberries, cherries, peaches, apricots and beets. Sasha loves beets, so I figured I would try drying some and then let him snack on them in the winter.

I've also been making snack bars. I've made sprouted grain and fruit cookies, fruit and nut bars and some fresh fruit leather. I can't believe how cheap and easy it is! All of our leftovers are now incorporated into an endless array of easy snacks.

Why do I bother? Because I can't buy snacks of this quality - organic, made with absolutely the best ingredients, specifically designed for our tastes and super-nutritious. Dehydrating foods adds another important benefit: the vitamins and enzymes are preserved. To make my snacks even more nutritious, I sneak other not-so-greatly loved ingredients into them - pureed dark leafy greens, sprouts, spirulina and bee pollen to name just a few.

I've been using this dehydrator.

It's small enough to qualify as apartment size (they have larger ones, too), and according to the raw food crowd, it's the best there is. I think I'll write a newsletter with some of my more successful recipes, once I've had enough time to experiment. Meanwhile, these books have been really helpful:

How to Dry Foods
Trail Food: Drying and Cooking Food for Backpacking and Paddling

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th of July!

The youngest member of our family (currently residing in a planter on our balcony). Just wanted to share.