Why vegetable gardening is a radical political act; how to avoid mushy, gross … – The Oregonian

Here are today’s hot food topics:

Democracy needs gardeners: Growing vegetables in a backyard garden plot can be enormously satisfying and a great way to stretch your food budget. And, since you grow the vegetables yourself, you have some of the greenest food around with a very low carbon footprint.  But do you think of growing your own garden as a radical political act? In Salon, author Megan Mayhew Bergman makes the case that it’s a great way to stick it to the man, and furthers democracy by decreasing participation in the corporate food world and the rise of monocultures. Small-scale, heirloom gardening promotes plant diversity and sustainable practices like crop rotation and composting, and reduces demand for industrially grown food. It may seem like a pointless protest in the grand scheme of things. But small acts add up.

Food finds from around the web: Here are some food tidbits worth chewing on.

  • Hate mushy oatmeal? You can make a perfectly textured batch in just 10 minutes. The secret: Mixing equal amounts of rolled oats and steel-cut oats, and three times the amount of water to oats. Simmer for 8-10 minutes, and you’ve got perfection. (The Kitchn)
  • Are chiles good or bad for you? Find out what science has had to say in a timeline of chiles’ best and worst moments. The good news generally outweighs the bad. (Bon Appetit)
  • Flax is where it’s at! Why you need to regularly partake of this omega-3-loaded superseed, and how to get it into your diet. (Eat Drink Better)

Jell-O salad.JPGView full sizeShaky High-Seas Adventure Jell-O Mold, based on Best Picture nominee “Captain Phillips.”€

What’s on my mind: Last week, I shared with you my Oscar party tradition of having a potluck viewing party, with people bringing dishes inspired by some of the nominated films. For last night’s Academy Awards, the potluck buffet was heavy with creativity. There was a corn and tater tot casserole inspired by “Nebraska,” dark-chocolate shot glasses filled with Chambord and topped with edible glitter that was inspired by the excess of “The Wolf of Wall Street,” and a lasagna-like dish called “Cheesy Italian Comb-overs,” a culinary homage to “American Hustle.” But the hands-down winner was a dish called Shaky High-Seas Adventure Jell-O Mold, based on Best Picture nominee “Captain Phillips.” It had a see of sea-blue Jell-O topped with Lego figures of cargo freighters and speed boats, with whipped cream forming the white-water wake. The partygoers who sampled it said that it was, well, just Jell-O. But points for creativity!  

Make it tonight: I love it when warm ingredients are used to wake up the flavors of a green salad, so I’ve got to give Cookin’ Canuck’s Roasted Mushroom and Romaine Salad a try. The dressing sounds simple yet perfectly delicious.

— Grant Butler


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