Archive for December, 2009

Smore Cookie Bars

This is my last post of 2009. I hope everyone has a very happy and healthy New Year.

We’ve had a cold going around the family. I think (fingers crossed) that we’re finally all doing better. We had tremendous success using some of the suggestions Stanley made in his wonderful post on Fighting the Flu with Real Food. I’ll re-link to it below.  Both my husband and I had bad coughs, and the recipe for the raw honey-organic turmeric mixture was amazing in how fast it cleared the cough.

I’ve been going to a yearly cookie exchange for a number of years now. It’s hosted by a good friends mother and it’s a great group of women.  I made S’more Cookie bars this year.  I don’t remember where I got the original recipe but I found the greatest Organic Marshmallow fluff. I’ll post a link below.  This was a BIG hit with the kids.

S’More Cookie Bars

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

1/4 cup organic brown sugar

1/2 cup organic sugar

1 large egg, preferable free-range and organic

1 tsp organic vanilla extract

1 1/3 cups all purpose flour

3/4 cup organic graham cracker crumbs*

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

2 king-sized organic milk chocolate bars

1 1/2 cups marshmallow creme/fluff (not melted marshmallows)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in egg and vanilla.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt. Add to butter mixture and mix at a low speed until combined. Divide dough in half and press half of dough into an even layer on the bottom of the prepared pan.

Place chocolate bars over dough. 2 king-sized chocolate bars should fit perfectly side by side, but break the chocolate (if necessary) to get it to fit in a single layer no more than 1/4 inch thick.

Spread chocolate with marshmallow creme or fluff.

Place remaining dough in a single layer on top of the fluff (most easily achieved by flattening the dough into small shingles and laying them together).

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until lightly browned.

Cool completely before cutting into bars

Makes 16 cookie bars.

*Note: 3/4 cup crumbs is approx 7 full-sized graham cracker sheets, whizzed in the food processor until fine.

Soy in prison diets prompts lawsuit

Soy in Illinois prison diets prompts lawsuit over health effects

Group says plant protein causes problems for inmates

By Monica Eng

December 21, 2009

Soy-enhanced chili mac, turkey patties with soy, soy-studded country gravy, soy-blend hot dogs, soy-spiked sloppy joes, Polish sausages packed with soy, soy chicken patties.

These aren’t items from the latest vegetarian diet, but rather dishes served over a week at Danville

Correctional Center, according to a recent menu. They’re also the basis of a lawsuit filed in U.S. District

Court this summer by nine plaintiffs who allege that the Illinois Department of Corrections is endangering

the health of the inmates — especially those with allergies, sensitivities and existing gastrointestinal and

thyroid problems — by serving them too much soy.

Tens of thousands of inmates in Illinois prisons are being fed “up to 100 grams” of soy protein a day,

according to the Weston A. Price Foundation, which is funding the lawsuit. The U.S. Food and Drug

Administration recommends consuming about 25 grams of soy protein per day.

Based in Washington, D.C., the foundation promotes the consumption of whole, traditional and

largely unprocessed foods. Foundation president Sally Fallon called the soy diet served in Illinois

prisons “the Tuskegee of the 21st century,” referring to the syphilis experiments performed on

African-Americans from the 1930s to ’70s. “Never before have we had a large population like this being served such a high level of soy with almost no other choice,” she said.

The plaintiffs are “suffering irreparable, actual harm by being forced to continue to eat food that has

too much soy in it,” according to an amended complaint filed in June.

The effects have ranged from acute allergic reactions and heart problems to gastrointestinal distress

and thyroid dysfunction, it says. Fallon said the foundation got involved after inmates from various Illinois facilities contacted her. Last month, the foundation hosted a local panel on the soy issue before its annual national conference in Schaumburg.

The plaintiffs are seeking an injunction that would stop the Department of Corrections from serving

soy in Illinois prisons as well as damages from the prisons’ contracted health care provider.

The department says it started serving soy-enhanced foods in March 2004 as a cost-cutting measure.

But it declined to comment on most aspects of the pending litigation and is awaiting a ruling on its

motion to dismiss the suit.

Nancy Chapman, executive director of the Soyfoods Association of North America, said she doubts

prisoners are consuming as much soy as the foundation alleges. “One hundred grams of any protein from plants or animals would not be economically feasible and would be an enormous load on the kidneys,” Chapman said.

Prison menus indicate inmates are served as many as seven soy-enhanced “meat” entrees a week. But

the foundation contends the inmates consume more soy through cooking oils and soy cheeses as well

as baked products enhanced with soy protein concentrates.

Once the darling of the health-food community, soy — especially non-fermented and genetically

modified soy — has fallen out of favor in some health circles. Last year the American Heart

Association urged the FDA to stop recommending soy as a way to reduce heart disease risk, saying

“direct cardiovascular benefits of soy protein or isoflavones are minimal at best.”

Scientific studies have volleyed back and forth on whether high soy consumption reduces or increases

cancer risk, inhibits mineral absorption and affects sperm concentrations.

But most agree that soy, especially unfermented varieties, can cause problems with the thyroid

function and digestion.

Recommendations vary on how much soy is healthy to consume. The American Dietetic Association

“believes that up to two servings of soy per day for adults could be part of a healthy diet,” said

spokeswoman Christine Gerbstadt. Examples of a serving include a half-cup of edamame, a cup of

soy milk, a half-cup of tofu or a slice of bread in which soy flour is a component.

United Soybean Board consultant and researcher Mark Messina similarly recommends 15 to 20 grams

of soy protein per day. Eating one soy burger (14 grams) and a cup of soy milk (7 grams) would

exceed that level.

Thomas Salonis, a former inmate who is not a plaintiff in the lawsuit, said he nearly passed out in

2008 from gastrointestinal pain at the Hill Correctional Center in Galesburg.

He was diagnosed by a prison doctor as being allergic to soy — one of the eight most common food

allergies in the U.S., according to the FDA.

The doctor even wrote out a note, obtained by the Tribune, saying Salonis was allergic to soy. But the

prison made no changes, according to Salonis. Finally, after a hunger strike, he was offered work that

allowed him to buy instant soup from the commissary for his meals, he said.

The Department of Corrections says it accommodates medical diets but did not provide details as to


At the panel the Weston A. Price Foundation hosted in Rogers Park, Salonis spoke about suffering

soy-induced stomach pain and bloating in prison. “Gas was really an issue,” said Salonis, who was released from prison last fall. “And most of my (cellmates) were real big, and they were like, ‘Hey man you gotta take that somewhere else.’ But I was like, ‘Where am I gonna take it?’ The whole thing was just offensive.”

The legal complaint alleges that tests show all nine plaintiffs have hormone, lipid and enzyme levels

consistent with thyroid damage caused by soy. Messina said soy intake is an issue only for those with

pre-existing thyroid conditions and/or iodine deficiencies. All agree that people with soy allergies

should not eat it.

The foundation says the Department of Corrections obtains most of its soy from Archer Daniels

Midland through its contracts with Central Management Services, which oversees food procurement

for the prisons. ADM said it has a contract to provide texturized vegetable protein and soy protein

concentrates to the department, but neither party would disclose the amounts.

The foundation also contends prisons are serving genetically modified soy, which it says can further

aggravate allergic reactions and mineral absorption.

Research by Monsanto, which developed herbicide-resistant soy, has found that the genetically

modified product has up to 27 percent more of a potential allergen called trypsin inhibitor than other

soy, said Jeffrey Smith, author of “Seeds of Deception,” a book that criticizes genetically modified


ADM said it cannot determine whether the soy products they supply to the Department of Corrections

come from genetically modified beans. The foundation has received nearly 200 letters about soy from prisoners in Illinois, Pennsylvania, New York and Florida, according to Fallon, who urges a return to older food-service models. “Ten years ago many prisoners grew their own food,” she said. “They raised their beef, their chicken,

their vegetables and there was enough left over to sell it on the open market. … We need to go back to

that at prisons all over the country, teach them skills, get them outdoors in the sunlight with animals,

eating real nutritious foods so they can truly be rehabilitated back into society.”

When Fallon hears from families of soy-sensitive inmates, she urges them to send their incarcerated

relatives money so they can purchase foods from the commissary.

“We recommend sardines, summer sausage and, of all things, SPAM,” said Fallon, who usually

advocates eating chemical-free meat from pastured animals. “They supply good protein, stable fats,

vitamins A and D, and good minerals. They are in general very nutritious foods and provide just what

they are missing in their prison diet.” Fallon said the foundation also is concerned about the growing use of soy in institutions serving children and the elderly.

“Illinois has a pilot program to bring this kind of diet to the schools, to growing children,” she said.

Indeed, Chicago Public Schools menus incorporate soy-based texturized vegetable protein into their

meat products and regularly serve doughnuts made with soy flour. Despite the alleged suffering of inmates, Fallon says the diet in Illinois prisons presents an opportunity “to see what happens when you feed people soy with no other choices. This situation has brought it out into the open.”

[email protected]

Soy in Illinois prison diets prompts lawsuit over health effects – …

Real Food Heals

Real Food Heals—How I Used Real Food to Restore My Health

By Stanley A. Fishman, Author of Tender Grassfed Meat

I was about to see “The Doctor” after surviving an asthma attack that almost killed me. The news was grim. The Doctor spoke with total confidence and authority as he pronounced my death sentence. I had severe COPD and emphysema. My lungs had suffered severe damage—damage so severe that they would never get better. In fact, they would get worse. I could slow the deterioration somewhat by taking heavy doses of steroids, which would have “side effects.” But this would only slow down the inevitable. Maybe I could get a lung transplant, but the waiting list was long. The anti-rejection drugs I would have to take would lower my immunity, and I was already having trouble fighting off frequent respiratory infections, even with antibiotics.

Eleven years later, I am healthier than I have ever been in my life. Asthma is no longer a problem. Actually, nothing is a problem. I have not taken any medication (prescription, or over-the-counter), for over five years. The lungs that would never heal—work fine.

After The Doctor pronounced sentence, I walked to my car. The short walk left me exhausted. I sat and thought. After much life experience, I had come to realize that we are often invited to participate in certain “dramas” that are common to our society. I had also learned that we often have the power to refuse to take part in the “drama,” and take another path. The Doctor had invited me to participate in an emphysema “drama.” The script was clear. I would get sicker and weaker, as the drugs that gave me temporary relief destroyed my body. I would suffer for a few years, turn into a complete invalid, and then die in some crummy hospital, struggling to breathe as the medication no longer worked. My family would suffer emotionally. It would be so sad, so tragic. I decided right there and then that I would have no part of that “drama.” I would reject it completely, and take another path.

But how? I had been brought up to believe in The Doctor. The Doctor was never wrong. The Doctor knew everything there was to know about health and sickness, life and death. The Doctor was to be obeyed completely, because he or she was The Doctor. But I had learned something about doctors in my years as an attorney. Many of them did great harm to their patients, through ignorance, harmful medical practices, carelessness, greed, exhaustion, or all of the above. Very often they did not know what to do.

I Had to Find Another Way

My great strength as an attorney was research. I decided I would use that ability to find another way. I had a client who had been trying for years to get me interested in alternative medicine. I would start there.

It was hard at first. For a while, I had to stop working. I had to sleep in a chair. (Luckily it was a very comfortable, huge, overstuffed armchair.) I could not climb stairs, or blow out a candle. It was a struggle to get out of bed. Every time I caught a cold or flu, it turned into bronchitis or pneumonia. I had various skin, digestive, and sinus problems. But things got better. I took as little medication as I could, despite the orders of The Doctor to take medication every day. I refused to take steroids. I tried a number of alternative remedies. Some helped, many were useless, and a few made things worse. I stuck with what worked and discarded the rest.

Several years later, my health had improved and stabilized. I could work, though not as much as I wanted. The asthma was not very active, unless I caught a cold. I could live a somewhat normal life. I had learned how to control asthma attacks without medication. But I still got bronchitis or pneumonia every time I got a cold or flu. Several times a year I had to resort to antibiotics, which dealt with the infection, but did great damage to my digestive system. I could not exercise. I could not climb stairs. I could not blow out a candle. I was exhausted most of the time. I still had various skin and digestive problems. I still had sinus problems. I would get depressed about my health. My hearing and eyesight had deteriorated, and I had almost no sense of smell. And I was not getting better.

My client got me to subscribe to an alternative doctor’s newsletter. One of his newsletters had a short summary of the research of Dr. Weston A. Price. And it had a reference to the Weston A. Price Foundation. I felt a thrill, as if I somehow knew that this was the answer. And it was.

Dr. Price Taught the Benefit of Real Food

I consider Dr. Price’s research to be the single most important scientific discovery ever made. Some of his most important findings were:

People who only eat traditional foods that have been valued and used for thousands of years do not have chronic disease. They do not have cancer, heart disease, asthma, tooth decay, diabetes, or any of the other diseases that plague modern life. They have no crime. They are calm and cheerful. They are fertile, and free of birth defects. People who eat modern processed, adulterated and chemicalized foods are vulnerable to every one of these chronic diseases, are often depressed or violent, and suffer from even more illnesses.

I spent many hours on the website of the Weston A. Price Foundation. I bought Nourishing Traditions and read it cover to cover. I learned the wisdom of Sally Fallon and Dr. Mary Enig, and others. I learned what to eat and what not to eat. I learned how to avoid toxic foods, oils, and cooking utensils. I learned of the blessings of lacto-fermented foods, and how to make some of them.

How I Changed My Diet

I stopped eating processed foods, unless they were organic. I stopped eating fast food. I gave up all soft drinks, including the cokes I used to drink every day. I stopped using polyunsaturated vegetable oils, and switched to traditional saturated fats. I avoided all unfermented soy. I gave up desserts and reduced my consumption of sweeteners to almost nothing. I started to eat pastured butter, pure organic milk, yogurt, and cheese, organic vegetables, lacto-fermented vegetables such as real sauerkraut, homemade bone broths, and hormone-free meats, including hormone-free liver, and other organ meats. I got a reverse osmosis system to purify our water. I avoided chemical toxins as much as I could. And my body slowly started to heal.

Then I got a cold and developed bronchitis. But I felt a strength and confidence in my body that I just did not have before. I drank a lot of homemade bone broth and got well. No antibiotics! Since that day, I have never taken any kind of medication. To paraphrase Hippocrates of Cos, the greatest of ancient physicians—my medicine was my food and my food was my medicine.

The final step was when I switched to grassfed meat and fat. Unfortunately, I ruined the first grassfed meat I cooked. It was tough and terrible. I put my research skills to work once again. I learned how traditional peoples cooked grassfed meat, and through trial and error, adapted their methods to the modern kitchen. This research became the basis of my cookbook, Tender Grassfed Meat: Traditional Ways to Cook Healthy Meat. Once I got grassfed meat to taste great, we switched completely to grassfed and grass finished meat. Every part of my body began to regenerate. I could feel it.

After years of eating only real food, every chronic illness I had is gone. I have no symptoms of anything. I sleep well, and wake up full of energy every morning, eager for the joys of the day. I am cheerful and optimistic. My eyesight and hearing have improved greatly, and my sense of smell has returned. I can easily climb stairs, blow out candles, leap out of bed, and do everything I could before I got sick. I have a powerful immune system that fights off everything.

Real food restored my health. Real food maintains my health.

I am not a doctor, and the above is not intended to be medical advice. The above is a description of how I improved my health with real food.

Thank you Stan for another wonderful post.  You can buy Stan’s cookbook at Amazon, link below. It’s one of my most used cookbooks – Mom

Organic Chocolate Cupcakes with Mocha Frosting

It’s birthday month here. Three of our four kids had their birthdays last week and the fourth is in a few weeks.  I let everyone pick what kind of cupcakes they’d like and bake them from scratch.

These were the best, so I’m sharing the recipes. Enjoy!

Chocolate Cupcakes, Makes 12:


3/4 cup unsweetened organic cocoa powder

3/4 cup organic all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon organic baking powder

1/4 teaspoon celtic salt or sea salt

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted organic butter, room temperature

1 cup organic sugar

3 large organic, free-range eggs

1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract

1/2 cup whole milk yogurt, or Greek yogurt or sour cream

Sprinkles (optional)


  1. 1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12-cup standard muffin tin with paper liners.


2. Into a medium bowl, sift together cocoa, flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each, then beat in vanilla. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with yogurt and beginning and ending with flour.

3. Pour batter into cups, filling each 3/4 full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, 20 to 25


4. Cool in pan 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, then spread with Mocha Icing using a table

knife or small offset spatula. Decorate with sprinkles, if desired.

Mocha Frosting, this recipe makes about 1 1/2 cups.  Perfect for 12 cupcakes.


1 2/3 cup organic powered sugar

2 tbs. organic cocoa power

½ cup organic butter

1/8 tsp Celtic or sea salt

3 tbs. hot, strong, organic coffee

1 tsp. organic vanilla extract


Sift sugar and cocoa power together.

Beat butter until soft. Add the sugar gradually. Mix until creamy.

Add salt and coffee and mix for another two minutes.

When the frosting is cool add the vanilla, mix well and spread. 

Read more great Fight Back Friday posts here:

GMOs in the News

GMO’s in the news

Here’s some recent GMO news, from around the world.

GE FREE NORTHLAND (NZ) Press Release l0 December 2009

Local Communities Reject The Risks Of GMO Land Use

The telephone poll on genetic engineering, recently commissioned by the Northland/Auckland Councils, clearly shows Auckland and Northland residents seek stricter regulation of any genetically modified (GE) plants and animals grown in their areas (or an outright ban on such activities).

The GE poll results show that concerns are widespread and the councils on the Working Party have been vindicated in adopting a precautionary approach in response to the wishes of their communities. Two thirds or more of those questioned favor regulation that would make users of GMOs legally responsible for any environmental or economic harm

The poll found clear support from the Northland and Auckland communities for establishing a GE-Free Zone, meaning only producing food that is GM free.

GE FREE NORTHLAND supports Northland councils acting on a local level to put in place substantive rules protecting their constituents and the environment from GMO land use. Extended lobbying of central government to date has failed to produce any result and there are still inadequate rules to protect primary producers, consumers, and the environment from users of GMOs.

GE FREE NORTHLAND Chairman Martin Robinson said today he applauded the commitment of local government to address the critical GE issue, as central government continues to ignore the concerns of many eminent scientists, territorial authorities and our key markets, as well as the majority of New Zealanders.

“The government needs to listen to the community. It is time for a strategy to protect and manage the New Zealand brand. If we are to succeed as a country and profitably export food to the world, someone needs to be able to stop GE contamination, unsustainable factory farming, and the destruction of our international reputation which so many Kiwi primary producers rely on,” said Martin Robinson.

“It is critical that the interests of local government are protected and the wishes of their communities are addressed.”

Martin Robinson said genetic engineering and the lack of strict liability has galvanised Northlanders, with the issue raising one of the most serious biosecurity risks to the region.

Councils’ concerns about GE relate mainly to uncertainties over the economic risks to conventional and organic food producers, the uncertainties over who should bear liability relating to these risks, and the failure by central government agencies to perform professionally.

Without a strict liability regime, innocent third parties and local authorities remain at risk. Liability for unforeseen adverse effects of GE needs to be satisfactorily resolved before any GE experiments are permitted in Auckland/Northland peninsula.

The majority of New Zealanders don’t want to eat genetically engineered food, and they don’t want genetically engineered organisms released into their backyard.

Northland is a prime candidate for REGIONAL EXCLUSION ZONE designation, due to its geographical location and the risks GE presents to our economy and environment.


How to avoid genetically modified organisms (GMOs) food products

December 2, 12:18 PMRaleigh Environmental Health ExaminerMonica B

The Institute for Responsible Technology (IRT) launched a new website that takes the guesswork out of how to avoid genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and gene-spliced food products. With polls indicating that 9 out of 10 Americans want GMOs labeled, 53% of Americans who say they would avoid GMOs if labeled. It also lists popular brands that don’t use ingredients from the eight GM crops such as GM soy and corn. It also lists dairy products that don’t allow the controversial GM bovine growth hormone.

If it’s not labeled organic, avoid products made with the “Big Four” GM crops: Corn, Soybeans, Canola, and Cottonseed, used in processed foods. Also, more than 50% of Hawaiian papaya is GM and a small amount of zucchini and yellow squash. Also, become familiar with their  list of invisible GM ingredients and avoid sugar from GM Sugar Beets.

The only feeding study done with humans showed that GMOs survived inside the stomach of the people eating GMO food. No follow-up studies were done. Various feeding studies in animals have resulted in potentially pre-cancerous cell growth, damaged immune systems, smaller brains, livers, and testicles, partial atrophy or increased density of the liver, odd shaped cell nuclei and other unexplained anomalies, false pregnancies and higher death rates.


Choice Organic Teas to be Non-GMO Verified

SEATTLE—Choice Organic Teas is the first tea company to enroll as an official participant in the Non-GMO Project’s Verification Program. The company’s flagship “Original” product line is in the process of being verified, with other products to follow.

The Non-GMO Project is a non-profit organization created by leaders in all sectors of the natural and organic products industry from the United States and Canada to offer consumers a consistent non-GMO choice for organic and natural products that are produced without genetic engineering or recombinant DNA technologies. It began as a collaborative effort among independent natural food retailers who wanted to ensure their customers had an abundant selection of clearly labeled, independently verified non-GMO choices. The Project verifies all types of products, including those (like tea) that are not yet produced commercially in GMO form. This allows shoppers to easily identify non-GMO items, and also helps reduce the likelihood of new GMO crops being commercialized.

“We’re proud to be at the forefront of yet another critical issue facing our industry and our customers,” says Ray Lacorte, head of operations for Choice Organic Teas. “By supporting the Non-GMO Project we hope to inspire other manufacturers to seek alternatives to GMOs into the future.”


GMOs could affect wildlife

Students Samantha Butenas, Brian Noland, Kyle Plyman and Mark Wagner examined the effects of genetically modified organisms on wildlife around the world.

“While genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have allowed for a new paradigm of development for agriculture, controversy remains as to the safety and potential adverse effects of GMOs on wildlife.

Insect populations in particular, whose destruction remains the object of many GMOs, have rapidly developed resistance to GMOs and the pesticides required for their maintenance. Genetically modified species of trees, also known as ‘Frankentrees,’ provide cause for concern about the potential imbalances that can result from GMOs.

In addition, genetically modified animals now allow for the realization of a ‘Frankenfuture’ of destructive potential for natural ecosystems and the wildlife they help to sustain.

Please visit our web site ( to learn more.”


And this is NOT good news:

Syngenta GMO maize finally approved for feed, food imports

Monday, 30 November 2009 15:05

After several months of impasse, Syngenta’s genetically modified maize type MIR604 has been finally approved by the European Commission today. The maize type has been authorised for food and feed uses as well as imports and processing in the EU (however growing it will not be allowed). The Commission says in a statement. Following to the EU’s decision, imports of soymeal and soybeans for animal feed could start again.

The request for authorization was addressed to EU Council after that the European Committee for Human Food and Animal Feed failed to find an agreement about the proposal – not in favor nor against it. Accordingly to the current legislation, the authorization request has then went back to the European Commission, which today has finally approved it.

“The MIR604 maize received a positive safety assessment from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) – which has been hit by recent polemics – and underwent the full authorisation procedure set up in the EU legislation”, the Commission said.


Peking Duck with Polish Flavors

By Stanley A. Fishman, Author of Tender Grassfed Meat

This is the best duck recipe I know. This recipe came about as a result of my quest to enjoy the famous Chinese dish known as Peking Duck. Every restaurant version I had was disappointing, so I decided I would have to make it myself. The key to a great Peking Duck was supposed to be a very crisp skin over moist, tender meat. All the recipes contained methods for achieving crisp duck skin. The classic way of doing this was to cut a small hole in the skin, insert a straw into the hole and blow through the straw until the air caused the skin to separate from the meat, which was supposed to dry the skin. This did not appeal to me. Other recipes suggested using a bicycle pump to inflate the skin. I did not find that very appetizing either. After the skin was inflated, the duck would be painted with a marinade, then hung up to dry in a cold, drafty place. I did not have a cold drafty place. Some recipes suggested hanging the duck in front of a powerful fan (which could result in droplets of marinade being sprayed all over the room). One even suggested using a hair dryer. I didn’t like any of these methods either.

Finally, I ordered duck at a Vietnamese restaurant. The skin was crisp and delicious. I asked the cook what she did to get the skin so crisp, and she pointed to the refrigerator (her English wasn’t very good).

I finally figured out that it was possible to dry the duck skin by placing it in the refrigerator. This I could do.

Another problem I had was with the marinades used for Peking Duck. All of them were loaded with sugar and soy, two substances I avoid eating. After much experimentation, I finally hit upon the perfect combination: Vietnamese refrigerator drying; Chinese roasting techniques; and Polish flavorings. This results in a duck that is truly heavenly.

Serves 4 to 6

1 (4 to 6 pound) Long Island Duckling. (This is the most common type of duck sold in the United States. It has a lot of fat, which is good. This recipe will not work with other kinds of duck.)

2 teaspoons coarse unrefined sea salt

1 teaspoon organic granulated garlic powder

1 teaspoon organic dried marjoram

1 organic apple, peeled and coarsely chopped into small pieces

1.2 or 3 days before you plan to cook the duck, prepare it for drying. Remove everything that is inside the cavity of the duck, including any large pieces of fat. Rinse the duck inside and out with filtered water, and dry thoroughly. Place the duck on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Place the uncovered duck on a refrigerator shelf (not the meat compartment), and let dry for 2 or 3 days.

2.Put one rack in your oven in the second lowest position. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Remove the duck from the refrigerator. Place the duck on a rack in a roasting pan that is at least 2 inches deep. The duck will release a lot of fat, so it is important that the roasting pan is deep enough to avoid any spillage.

3.Mix the salt, garlic, and marjoram together, and rub this mixture all over the duck inside and out. Stuff the duck with the apple pieces. When the oven is preheated, place the duck in the oven and cook for 30 minutes. This may generate a lot of smoke, so it is best to turn the fan on.

4.Carefully remove the roasting pan from the oven, being aware that there will be a lot of hot fat in the pan. Carefully remove the duck from the rack and put it on a plate. Remove the rack from the pan. Carefully pour the duck fat into a large heatproof bowl. Return the rack to the pan and place the duck on the rack. Pierce the skin of the duck all over with a large fork.

  1. 5.Return the duck to the oven, and turn the heat down to 325 degrees. Cook for 1 hour. Remove the duck from the oven and serve.


Read more great Pennywise Platter Thursday posts here:

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Stan is the author of one of my favorite cookbooks, Tender Grassfed Meat. I highly recommend it. You can buy it below.  Mom

Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

Peanut Butter Cups

12 mini cupcake liners – make sure to use mini’s

¾ cup organic semisweet chocolate chips

½ cup creamy organic peanut butter + 2 generous T to add to the melted chocolate

¼ cup organic powdered sugar

½ tsp. organic vanilla extract

Pinch fine sea salt or Celtic salt – if your PB is already salted, it’s optional to add more

One of our kids gave me ‘The Chocolate Factory’ a few years ago for Christmas. He likes chocolate. LOL So occasionally, especially around the holidays I make treats. This was a great recipe and a close, but much healthier version of the store bought Peanut Butter cup.  Aren’t they pretty? They’re delicious too!

Using a small double boiler (or The Chocolate Factory melting pot) melt the chocolate.

(You can also melt the chips in your microwave, keeping a close eye on them and stirring often to make sure they don’t burn. It should take between 1-2 minutes.) If you can’t find organic chocolate chips, find some without soy lecithin (Trader Joe’s has some) as all non-organic soy lecithin is genetically modified.

Once the chocolate is melted, add the 2 generous T of peanut butter and stir to incorporate.

Give it about 5 minutes to cool down a bit, it’s easier to spread around when not lava-hot.

Place a heaping teaspoon of melted chocolate in each mini cupcake liner and spread it all over the place with the back of a spoon. Repeat with all 12 liners.

Place the chocolate-covered liners onto a plate, into your fridge, to let it all harden.

Meanwhile, stir together peanut butter, vanilla, salt, and sugar. If your peanut butter is anything like mine, it should form a sort of paste that you can start kneading to make sure all gets incorporated really well.

The chocolate should be hard by now, so divide peanut butter paste into all 12 liners, pressing down gently to make sure the paste goes everywhere.

Top with heaping teaspoon of chocolate [melt it again if needed], spreading carefully so that none of the PB paste can be seen.

Chill in fridge for at least one hour, until ready to devour. Enjoy!

Yield: 12 “small” cups

Read more great Pennywise Platter Thursday posts here:

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Scientist Jeopardizes Career by Criticizing GMOs

 * By Ken Roseboro, ed.

      The Organic and Non-GMO Report, November 2009

      Straight to the Source

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Agro-ecologist Don Lotter published a paper titled “The Genetic Engineering of Food and the Failure of Science” in the 2009 edition of the peer-reviewed International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food.

The paper makes a damning case against genetically modified foods, saying the technology is based on obsolete science, that biotechnology companies such as Monsanto have too much influence on government regulators and “public” universities, and that university scientists are ignoring the health and environmental risks of GM crops. Lotter calls the introduction of GM foods the “largest diet experiment in history.”

Lotter has a Ph.D. in agro-ecology from the University of California, Davis, and a master of professional studies in international agricultural and rural development from Cornell University. He has taught environmental science, soil science, plant science, entomology, and vegetable crop production for Santa Monica College, Imperial Valley College, and UC-Davis.

Lotter does not have a tenured position and is currently working on an agricultural project in Tanzania. He half-jokingly describes his paper as “career destroying” because he says it will be difficult to find a position at a US university due to the general recognition at most US universities that GM foods are safe and will help “feed the world.”

If you thought publishing the paper would jeopardize your prospects for finding a position, why did you write the paper?

DL: I’m proud of the paper. This topic should be taught at universities. There is an enormous gap in public knowledge about this issue.

The science of genetic engineering is based on the one gene-one protein doctrine. Please describe this and why you think it is flawed.

DL: When they discovered the technology there was a simplified view that genes were in charge of the production of proteins. It is the entire basis for going forward with genetic engineering technology.

Then the Human Genome Project showed that humans have fewer genes than simple organisms, but we also have one to two million proteins. This discovery put an end to the one gene-one protein doctrine.

But by then there had been a massive investment in transgenics. The industry moved ahead with all their PR of “feeding the world” without any scientific basis for their technology. The doctrine has crumbled away, yet the industry has gone on.

In your paper you say that the process of genetically engineering foods is also deeply flawed. Can you give some examples of why that is the case?

DL: The promoter gene used in genetically engineered crops, the cauliflower mosaic virus, is a powerful promoter of inter-species gene exchange. Scientists thought it would be denatured in our digestive system, but it’s not. It has been shown to promote the transfer of transgenes from GM foods to the bacteria within our digestive system, which are responsible for 80% of our immune system function; they are enormously important. This is a huge flaw, but not even the biggest in crop transgenics.

The process of splicing genes into plant genomes, transgenics, causes serious genetic damage-mutations, multiple copies of the transgenic DNA, gene silencing. The ramifications of this damage, incredibly, have never been elucidated or even explored for that matter.

Do you think the increase in food allergies we are seeing may be due to GM foods?

DL: Yes, there is evidence pointing to it. The industry is powerful enough to stop any labeling legislation. Without labeling they can’t track these problems. We know that after the introduction of GM soy in Britain, there was an increase of soy allergies there.

In your paper, you write that the lack of oversight of GM foods has been a major failure of US science leadership. What makes you believe this?

DL: In the early 1980s, the biotech companies were successful in getting to oversee the regulation of GM foods. The scientific community should have stepped in, and said this is a radical technology, but it didn’t.

There has also been a restructuring of the relationship between industry and universities. The Bayh-Dole Act (which gives universities intellectual property control of their inventions) made universities more dependent on industry.

Universities saw transgenics as a big money source, and scientists who objected were harassed or pushed out.

Do you think any US university would fund studies on GM food safety?

DL: No, they are not doing that. Anyone who tries to conduct research looking at GM food safety is given trouble.

Universities should have a mandate to find problems with GM foods.

We need federal money to look at non-proprietary solutions, such as organic farming systems, to the world’s problems, and we should see whether proprietary approaches (i.e. GM foods) cause problems.

Unfortunately, non-proprietary solutions don’t get funding.

We can show that organic farming systems promote drought resistance; the Rodale Institute did this research. But if a GM crop had been found to resist drought, there would have been major news headlines saying that it will save the world.

Is the safety of GM food considered a given at US universities?

DL: Absolutely. The debate is not there. US scientists have abdicated their responsibility on this issue. They know problems exist but they don’t want to talk about them. Most scientists say we need GM foods to feed the world.

Some social scientists are saying there are problems (with GM foods).

I think undergraduate groups will bring the debate over GM foods to universities.

What type of agricultural approaches do you think will solve the world’s food production challenges?

DL: The IAASTD (International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development) report said that we can produce food using agro-ecological methods and successful green revolution methods. The report didn’t include transgenics.

The report was signed by 60 countries, but the US didn’t sign it.

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