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Organic agriculture is a colossal hoax

Do those consumers who know what it actually means understand that in testing, nearly half the produce labeled as certified organic (by the USDA which defines what it means) and tested by the USDA's own certified inspectors contained prohibited pesticides and other substances that are prohibited from food labeled as certified organic? In other words, NOT organic by definition? Or that the produce they are buying as "certified organic" may well have been produced using conventional non-organic substances, but mislabeled? Do the consumers who know what it actually means understand that a farmer may obtain organic certification but then farm using conventional methods and get away with passing off the produce as certified organic and selling it at an unearned premium? That they are being fleeced?

about 5 hours ago
janniecooks in Food Media & News

Organic agriculture is a colossal hoax

The whole organic system you refer to is baloney. There is no results-based system in place here, just a typical bureaucracy that only serves the bureaucrats, not the consumers it purports to protect. You ARE getting 2,4-D in the organic produce you pay a huge premium for to ensure that there isn't this stuff present. That is the point of the article.

Since there is a huge premium charged for organic produce, don't you think people should at least get what they think they're paying for? According to the USDA's own testing, 43% of the produce samples tested positive for prohibited pesticides, some samples of which were mislabeled conventional produce (outright fraud) and some which was produce not protected from pesticides. Organic producers are opposed to more testing, and the whole system operates on trust and faith. Whole Foods even passed off produce imported from China as organic, including labeling some of it as it's house label "California Blend".

Talk about "improving" the system, not destroying it? What counts in the current system is faith in the farmer's good intentions, not the actual results. How about more stringent testing protocols and mandatory field testing to ensure that the foods actually do exclude prohibited chemicals? Heck even the USDA's agents are inept and testing protocols aren't followed. Almost half of the "certified" testing agents failed to follow the testing protocols of the USDA, the agency which governs this.

Ad hominem arguments that do not address the facts are a weak (but typical) response to an article discussing a seriously broken system that imposes huge costs on consumers while delivering zero benefit to anyone but the imposing authority. The article at the link reports on the USDA's OWN reporting.

about 6 hours ago
janniecooks in Food Media & News

Is Gatorade an acceptable generic name for sports drinks?

It's a brand name, not a generic name. None of the other brand names you mentioned are generic either. If you offer your guests a Costco sports drink you are not offering Gatorade. Since you're not trying to sell a generic product as a brand, you will not get into any legal trouble, and your guests will *probably* not quibble (hopefully since they're a guest in your home). But why not just offer them a sports drink and avoid the issue completely? I'd rather be offered soda and given a generic than be offered a Coke and be given something else.

about 7 hours ago
janniecooks in Not About Food
1

Organic agriculture is a colossal hoax

Organic produce is not in my grocery basket, but for those who do seek it out, this article by Henry I. Miller (a physician, the Robert Wesson Fellow in Scientific Philosophy and Public Policy at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, and the founding director of the Office of Biotechnology at the FDA) and Drew L. Kershen is an eye-opener.

Interestingly, organic certification is process-based, and agents only "attest to the ability of organic operations to follow a set of production standards and practices which meet the requirements of the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 and the [National Organic Program] regulations" (source USDA). The key phrase here is 'attest to the ability. . .to follow a set of standards and practices". Not whether the standards and practices ARE followed, just that the producer has the ability to follow them. Follow-up or field testing? Forget it. You're not getting what you think you paid for, folks. And you're getting a lot more than you think you are.

His closing paragraph sums it up nicely: "Organic agriculture is an unscientific, heavily subsidized marketing gimmick that misleads and rips off consumers, both because of the nature of the regulations and cheating. The old saying that you get what you pay for doesn’t apply when you buy overpriced organic products."

Read the whole thing:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/henrymill...

about 7 hours ago
janniecooks in Food Media & News

Where are the WATERMELONS?!!!?!?

if you google watermelon shortage you will find numerous explanations for what you are finding is, indeed, a shortage, mainly due to weather.

Jul 26, 2015
janniecooks in General Topics

What is worth making from scratch to save money?

You might want to take a look at this thread and get hold of the book it discusses from your local library:

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/1019246

Taste of egg

Cookies don't need eggs. Make cookies that have no egg. A basic cookie dough is 3 parts flour, 2 parts fat and 1 part sugar. Experiment with add-ins like chocolate or other candies, nuts, seeds, flavorings like your almond extract or other extracts, citrus zests, spices, sugars other than white sugar, toppings. The combinations and possibilities are limited only by your taste and imagination!

Egg added to a cookie dough makes a softer cookie. Using the ratio above you'll get a cookie with the crispiness and crunch of a shortbread. Since you don't like the taste of egg in your cookies, make a different cookie.

Preparing summer salads ahead of time?

I've never found the need to lay a paper towel in the bottom of the bowl of salad greens, nor is it necessary to support them above the bottom of the bowl/container on a rack. Then again, I am meticulous in drying the greens before storing them as I described. If well dried, no paper towel is necessary. If the greens are stored wet then obviously they will get slimy if other actions aren't taken.

Jul 13, 2015
janniecooks in Home Cooking

Preparing summer salads ahead of time?

Well, thank you for the support!

Jul 13, 2015
janniecooks in Home Cooking

Preparing summer salads ahead of time?

No charts or links for you, just my own experience. Depending on the ingredients and dressings, everything you mentioned can be made ahead, with a few caveats. The brown rice and black bean salads should be fine made a couple days ahead, but if tomatoes are part of the salad, or any veg that could become watery, they should be added the day of serving. Cabbage salads can become pungent and unpleasant, not to mention watery, when made too far in advance. It depends on your prep and the dressing.

As for a tossed green salad, you can safely make a good portion of it several days ahead at least, as long as you add the most tender greens just before tossing with dressing and serving. I frequently make up a huge bowl of cleaned and well-dried, torn up sturdy greens that I keep in my fridge for more than a week. Salad greens like romaine, radicchio, endive, frisee, red leaf lettuce, and parsley, keep well all tossed together and covered. Add herbs, onion or scallion, nuts and cheese just before tossing with dressing and serving.

Dicing peppers, onions, celery, and other small things like olives can be done ahead and stored separately for a few days without suffering, as can grated carrots. Carrots usually exude a lot of liquid when I grate them, so it might be preferable to julienne with a mandoline to keep them more dry.

Prepping a couple days in advance should present no problems, I'd be hesitant to add more time.

Low & Slow Scrambled Egg fans, have you tried this?

I don't see the point. Creamy and delicious scrambled eggs - two or three for one person, with only a glug of cream dded - take less than a minute to cook in melted butter at low heat. Cornstarch? No thanks.

Jul 13, 2015
janniecooks in Home Cooking

canning roasted red peppers?

The only safe way to can these is with a pressure canner.

http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can4_vegetab...

Jul 11, 2015
janniecooks in Home Cooking

Preserving pasta and Brittle pasta issue...can anyone help?

Jul 11, 2015
janniecooks in Home Cooking

Sauce for fresh pasta?

One of the best sauces for fresh pasta is Marcella Hazan's tomato onion butter sauce. It is light and fresh tasting, and especially terrific on fresh pasta, where the best qualities of both sauce and pasta shine. Hazan's tomato sauce is so simple it takes hardly any effort at all. Isn't making fresh pasta an awful lot of work?

here are a couple of links to the recipe:

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...
https://food52.com/recipes/13722-marc...

reliable kitchen scale?

MyWeigh scales. Mine is about 9 years old and still going strong, though I never use the battery only AC power; I bought it from OldWillKnotts. I first read about them here:

http://www.cookingforengineers.com/ar...

Here are a couple links to sources, and of course, there's always amazon.

http://myweigh.com/
http://www.oldwillknottscales.com/buy...

Jul 06, 2015
janniecooks in Cookware

Thomas Keller's simple roast chicken: how to preserve crispiness?

As treb says, don't cover it. Also, don't follow the instructions to baste it when you take it out of the oven. Adding the pan drippings to the crispy skin removes the crispness.

Vist the Le Creuset factory with David Lebovitz

David Lebovitz recounts his visit to a Le Creuset factory, documenting the manufacturing process from start to finish. Great photos and description of what goes into making the pots we all love, with a few photos of lovely vintage pieces. Great article!

http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2015/06/...

Jul 06, 2015
janniecooks in Cookware
2

Your favorite pub or restaurant . Would you mention to the manager that the restrooms are getting a little dirty ?

Dirty bathrooms are usually a good indicator of dirty conditions elsewhere where it counts. If they can't be bothered to keep the public bathrooms clean, do you think cleanliness in the the non-public areas is a priority for the establishment?

One more question about my tomatoes - last one- I promise!

Looks a bit top heavy. Are you pruning it - pinching off side shoots to encourage fruit production rather than foliage? That branch shooting off to the top right in the photo is going to cause your plant to topple over.

Jul 04, 2015
janniecooks in Gardening

Received a BUNCH of pork chops... what to do??

Here's a terrific treatment for thick, bone-in chops that gives a great result with tons of flavor. This has become a favorite in my home, and the cooking method can be adapted to use other flavors (that is, dredge - or not - sear, then finish with wine or other liquid and garlic in a 300-degree oven).

http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20...

I don't bother using fennel fronds. The ground fennel is a really great seasoning for these chops.

Canning Peach Butter

Yes you can just cook it more and then process it again in a water bath. But use the stovetop as a crockpot is designed to hinder evaporation.

Jul 01, 2015
janniecooks in Home Cooking

Sad news about a food writer/cook/traveler who had a huge impact

I was saddened to read about Paula Wolfert's diagnosis with Alzheimer's Disease in Saturday's WSJ. Ms. Wolfert's books were my first introduction to cuisines other than my own. Interestingly one of her books is the July COTM on home cooking.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/how-a-coo...

Jul 01, 2015
janniecooks in Food Media & News

Too much sugar in dessert recipes

I don't know if there is some formula one could apply, what I usually do is make the dessert the first time as the author wrote it, and if the result is too sweet but the dessert is worth making again, I make notes on the recipe and reduce the sugar each successive time until the sweetness is just right. With practice you'll be able to recognize when a recipe's sugar quantity seems excessive for your taste and can reduce it right off the bat. Even things like cakes, which despite being "chemistry" can often succeed with less sugar. Find a similar dessert you like, with a sweetness level to your taste, and compare the ratio of sugar to other ingredients - that will let you develop your own rule of thumb. Good luck.

Cooked Flour Frosting - I'm scared

You've already received other advice on adding the sugar with the milk/flour, which I have not tried, but I wanted to add that I have always made it by creaming the butter and sugar together. Grittiness has not been a problem. If you cream the butter and sugar until fluffy, starting with coldish butter (not fridge cold, but not room temp), and beat long enough (at the proper speed) the sugar should dissolve. Are you using a stand mixer?

Jun 30, 2015
janniecooks in Home Cooking

Cooked Flour Frosting - I'm scared

Don't fear this frosting, it's truly wonderful. Follow the directions here and you will end with something great:

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/760095

Jun 30, 2015
janniecooks in Home Cooking

Help! My tomato blossoms keep drying up

Not one solution, you'll have to figure out why it's happening based on your particular situation. Here's an excerpt that explains possible causes:

Blossom drop can be attributed to several causes, most often related to either temperature and / or stress.
Temperature Too High or Too Low
Lack of Pollination
Nitrogen - Too Much or Too Little
Humidity Too High or Low Humidity.
Lack of water
Stress from insect damage or disease
Too Heavy Fruit Set

Read for solutions to control blossom drop here:

http://gardening.about.com/od/problem...
http://www.tomatocasual.com/2007/09/0...

If those sites aren't to your liking, just search blossom drop and you'll find a plethora of articles, perhaps even one focused on the northeast.

Jun 27, 2015
janniecooks in Gardening

English Muffin Crouton Recipes?

Cube the muffins, let them dry for a couple hours if they're not already stale. Put crushed garlic in olive oil (or just skip the garlic if desired) in a skillet, heat at low heat until the garlic begins to sizzle and the oil is well flavored. Remove the garlic, increase the heat and toss in the cubes of bread. Let them brown on one side then toss them in the pan to brown the other sides of the bread cubes. Drain on paper towel and sprinkle with salt.

Jun 27, 2015
janniecooks in Home Cooking

making chocolate mousse with out gelatine or egg yolks

It could be the technique as well as the proportions that make a successful mousse. Here's mine:

Two cups heavy cream, 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, 4 large egg whites, 1 tablespoon honey. Heat half the cream to a simmer, remove from heat and add finely chopped chocolate, stirring to melt until well blended, then add the honey. Cool at room temp to lukewarm. While the chocolate is cooling, whip the egg whites to stiff peaks and separately whip the remaining cream to stiff peaks. Combine the ganache with the whites, first lghtening with one third of the whites (mix vigorously to combine). Then gently fold in the remaining whites, slowly and gently, until well blended and free of white streaks. Finally fold the whipped cream into this mixture.

Stiffly whipped egg whites, stiffly whipped cream, chocolate ganache at no more than lukewarm temp, and gentle - GENTLE - folding as outlined above should do the trick.

Good luck.

Jun 27, 2015
janniecooks in Home Cooking

When to get lunch/a snack on this trip?

Eat a hearty breakfast and bring some nuts? Four hours is not a terribly long time to go without food. Some people actually fast all day for days at a time during certain religious observations.

Jun 24, 2015
janniecooks in General Topics

Five-Star Dining on Leftover Scraps?

oh, no. what will the compost bins eat?

Jun 23, 2015
janniecooks in Food Media & News