Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Ogranic Foods: A brief overview

Organic foods, esp. produce, are becoming a staple in our local grocery stores. Why? Are organic foods better than non-organic foods? Healthier? Tastier? Here is a brief overview on what is an organic food and why it is better for you and the enviroment.
"Food that is labeled "organic" has been grown or raised without chemical fertilizers, pest killers (pesticides), weed killers, or drugs." Only natural pest killers, natural compost, and zero radiation are used when growing organic produce. The words "natural" and "free-range" are NOT regulated by the FDA, but the word "organic is." Double check your labels!
Organic produce can be costly because the farms are smaller than non-organic farms. Also, farmers feed their cattle organic feed and smaller, organic farms do not get money from the government while big farms do.
Organic foods are better for your body to digest. No odd toxins, pesticides, or germs for your body consume. Non organic produce are grown with chemical fertilizers, weeds are controlled with hericides, and insecticides are used to manage pests and insects. Not only are organic foods better for your body, but they are better for your enviroment and community. More money stays locally and goes straight to the farm, less transportation is needed to get the produce to your grocery store, and fresh food is located right at your finger tips!
Do you have to buy everything organic? Think, to buy, anything that you eat "the skin on." Such as: apples, bell peppers, leaf greens, carrots, berries (all types), peaches, graps, and celery. Organic produce are esp. great for pregnant women, growing children, and people with weak immune systems or food allergies.
Remember, organic foods are grown locally, in smaller batches, and help your community and body! Would you rather spend your money on good, organic produce or expensive doctor visits and prescriptions? Go Green.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Cake versus Pie Event (August 9th)

On Monday August, pie and cake bakers gather at Jessie Olsen's "Cake Spy" shop in Capital Hill. Jessie's shop, "Cake spy," is filled with "cupcake" artwork, greeting cards, and fun kitchen tools. I recommend going in on a rainy afternoon! (http://www.cakespy.com/) This super cute store was filled with professional and home bakers ready to share their delights. This event was to see if people liked cake or pie better. I was happily on Team Pie and baked my Mixed Berry Delightful Pie with my famous streusel topping.
The judges ranged from pie bakers, cake lovers, and Jessie herself (she did host the event)! In between tasting, pie and cake poems were read and people gossiped about their secrets to their pie crust and cake frosting. The atmosphere was sweet, fun, and magical.
When the winners were called, I did not hear my name. I did not feel bad because I did get many compliments on my pie and my pie server/carrier. Team Pie did come out as top dog and I feel proud to be a part of the winning team. What did win? A peach-blackberry pie (for Team Pie) and homemade ding-dongs (for Team Cake). All the entries, though, were tasty, creative, and made with love.
Lessons learned? People want a good, homemade pie and cake. Nothing fancy or over the top. A good, buttery, flakey crust, a delicious filling, and a nice crumb topping. This shows that basics and simple cooking/baking techniques are the fundamentals to a great baking/cooking career.