Saag Paneer

Makes

3 serving

Nutrition of Each Serving

  • 895 calories
  • 60g fat
  • 121mg cholesterol
  • 705mg sodium
  • 2775mg potassium
  • 58g carbohydrate
    • # g fiber
    • # g sugar
  • 48g protein

Ingredients

  • 1 jalapeño
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 12oz paneer
  • 16oz frozen spinach
  • 1 cup red onion
  • canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seed powder
  • ¼ teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds

Equipment

  • blender
  • spatula
  • frying pan

Steps

Preparation

  • Mince
    • 1 jalapeño
    • 5 garlic cloves
    • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • Chop
    • Dice 1 cup red onion, the smaller the better.
    • Cut 12oz paneer into small cubes.
  • Measure
    • ½ kosher salt
    • ¼ kosher salt
    • ½ turmeric
    • 1 teaspoon coriander seed powder
    • ½ teaspoon garam masala (personal preference)
    • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
    • 2 tablespoons canola oil
    • 4 tablespoons warm water
  • Thaw
    • Place the 16oz frozen spinach into a bowl and microwave for 5 minutes. Then place the 16 oz of frozen spinach into the blender and blend until they are smooth consistency.
  • Nice to have
    • Plate with with a paper towel

Cook

  1. Place the pan on medium heat and add 2 tablespoons canola oil.
  2. Once the canola oil is boiling hot add the cut 12oz paneer.
  3. Once the panner is golden brown on all sides, remove the panner from the pan and place them on the plate with a paper towel. Place to the side you will not use the paneer again until the final step of the dish.
  4. With the remaining oil in the saucepan turn the heat to high and add 1 tablespoon of cumin seeds.
  5. Once the cumin seeds have begun to change color and become fragrant add 1 cup of diced red onion adjust the heat to medium and stir.
  6. Once onions have fully cooked (turned clear), add the following ingredients into the pan:
    • 1 jalapeño
    • 5 garlic cloves
    • 1 teaspoon ginger
    • 4 tablespoons warm water
  7. Still using medium heat stir for a few minutes then add the following ingredients:
    • ½ kosher salt
    • ½ turmeric
    • 1 teaspoon coriander seed powder
  8. Stir for a few minutes then add:
    • blended 16 oz frozen spinach
    • ¼ kosher salt
    • 0 -½ teaspoon garam masala (personal preference)
  9. For 5 minutes continue to stir on medium – high heat to let the garlic and spinach cook.
    • Note: To avoid burning the spinach add tablespoons of warm water and keep the smooth liquid consistency.
  10. Once garlic and spinach appear to be cooked add the cooked paneer to the pan.
    • Note: To avoid burning the spinach add tablespoons of warm water and keep the smooth liquid consistency.
    • I highly recommend you taste and adjust any spices before the next step.
  11. Cook for 5 minutes and the pan should reach a boil. Remove from heat once paneer has softened.

Chana Masala

Makes

2 Servings

Nutrition of Each Serving

  • 453 calories
  • 21g fat
  • 0g cholesterol
  • 1184 mg sodium
  • 703mg potassium
  • 44g carbohydrates
    • 14 g fiber
    • 7g sugar
  • 12g protein

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup onion
  • 1 cup tomatoes
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh jalapeño
  • ½ teaspoon fresh cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon garam masala or ½ teaspoon chana masala
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 can garbanzo beans (15 oz)

Equipment

  • small sauce pan
  • spatula

Steps

Preparation

  • Dice
    • ¾ cup onion
    • 1 cup tomatoes
  • Mince
    • ¼ teaspoon fresh ginger
    • ¼ teaspoon fresh jalapeño
    • ½ teaspoon fresh cloves garlic
  • Measure
    • 3 tablespoon canola oil
    • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
    • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
    • ¼ teaspoon garam masala or ½ teaspoon chana masala
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • Canned Ingredients
    • Open and rinse in cold water 1 can garbanzo beans (15 oz)

Cook

  1. Place small sauce pan on medium heat and add:
    • 3 tablespoon canola oil
    • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  2. Wait for mustard seeds to pop and lower heat and cover for 5 minutes.
  3. Once the mustard seeds are full dark, stir, bring the heat back to medium and add:
    • ¾ cup onion
    • ½ cup warm water (90°F)
  4. Once onions have fully cooked (turned clear) then add:
    • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
    • ¼ teaspoon fresh ginger
    • ¼ teaspoon fresh jalapeño
    • ½ teaspoon fresh cloves garlic
    • ¼ teaspoon garam masala or ½ teaspoon chana masala
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup tomatoes
    • ½ cup warm water (90°F)
  5. Cover the small sauce pan and let simmer on low heat for 15 minutes.
  6. Stir the small sauce pan and add:
    • ½ cup warm water (90°F)
    • 1 teaspoon coriander
    • 1 can garbanzo beans (rinsed)
  7. Bring to a simmer and cover for 15 minutes.
    • Note: The goal is to burn off the excess liquid.

Bhajas

Makes

30 individual bhajas

Nutrition of Each and multiplied Calories by 2 since it is deep fried

  • 18 calories (36 calories- deep fried)
  • 0g fat
  • 0mg cholesterol
  • 20mg sodium
  • 20mg potassium
  • 3g carbohydrate
    • 0g fiber
    • 0g sugar
  • 1g protein

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chana flour (AKA besan, gram, chickpea flour)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh jalapeño
  • ⅓ cup yellow onion
  • ⅓ cup potato
  • ⅓ cup banana

Equipment

  • small pan for deep frying
  • slotted spatula
  • medium size bowl

Steps

Preparation

  • Measure
    • 1 cup chana flour
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
    • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • Mince
    •  ½ teaspoon fresh ginger
    • ¼ teaspoon fresh jalapeño
  • Slice
    • ⅓ cup yellow onion
    • ⅓ cup potato
    • ⅓ cup banana

Create the Batter

  1. Mix the following in a medium size bowl
    • 1 cup chana flour
    • ½ cup cold water
  2. Once you have pancake batter like consistency add
    • ½ teaspoon fresh ginger
    • ¼ teaspoon fresh jalapeño
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
    • 1 teaspoon coriander
  3. Make sure to maintain the pancake batter consistency add cold water if needed.

Cookin Time

  1. Bring 2″ of canola oil to high heat in a small pan.
    • Test the  heat of the oil by dropping a small piece of batter into the oil it should quickly rise to the surface. If not increase the heat.
  2. Coat the prepared veggies in the batter and drop them into the canola oil flip each one over and remove once golden brown.
    • Repeat for all prepared items.

Cilantro Mint Chutney

Nutrition of Cilantro Mint Chutney

  • 10 calories
  • 0g fat
  • 0mg cholesterol
  • 588mg sodium
  • 12mg potassium
  • 2g carbohydrate
    • 0g fiber
    • 0g sugar
  • 0g protein

Ingredients

  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon jalapeño
  • ½ bundle fresh mint
  • 1 bundle fresh cilantro
  • ½ lemon

Equipment

  • coffee grinder

Steps

Preparation

  • Measure
    • ¼ teaspoon cumin
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • ¼ teaspoon garlic
    • ¼ teaspoon jalapeño
  • Destem
    • ½ bundle mint
    • 1 bundle cilantro
  • Cut in half and juice ½ of lemon

Chutney Making Time

  1. Add the following into the coffee grinder
    • ½ lemon juiced
    • ½ cilantro
    • ¼ mint
    • ¼ teaspoon cumin
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • ¼ teaspoon garlic
    • ¼ teaspoon jalapeño
  2. Blend together and add the rest of cilantro and mint to your tastes.

Quinoa Wraps

Makes

8 quinoa wraps

Nutrition of Each quinoa wrap

  • 363 calories
  • 8g fat
  • 5mg cholesterol
  • 351mg sodium
  • 1089mg potassium
  • 58g carbohydrates
    • 11g fiber
    • 4g sugar
  • 16g protein

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 medium zucchini (~2 cups)
  • 1 medium red bell pepper (~2 cup)
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 lime
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1¼ cups vegetable broth
  • 1½ teaspoons chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon fine Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 8 burrito size flour tortillas

Equipment

  • large skillet
  • medium frying pan
  • spatula

Prepare Ingredients

  1. Mince
    • 2 cloves garlic
    • 1 jalapeno, ribs removed
  2. Dice
    • 1 shallot
    • 2 cups cherry tomatoes
    • 1 medium zucchini (~2 cups)
    • 1 medium red bell pepper (~2 cup)
    • 1 avocado halved, seeded, peeled and diced
  3. Chop:
    • ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves
    • 1 lime in half
  4. Measure
    • 1½ teaspoons chili powder
    • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
    • ½ teaspoon fine Kosher salt
    • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
  5. Rinse:
    • 1 cup quinoa
    • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans
  6. Have handy
    • Olive Oil
    • Cheese
    • Tortilla

Cookin Time

  1. Using large skillet on medium heat add: olive oil, garlic, jalapeno, shallots.
  2. Once garlic and shallots have cooked .Add the following ingredients to the skillet:
    • 1 cup quinoa
    • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans
    • 2 cups cherry tomatoes
    • 1 shallot
    • 1 medium zucchini (~2 cups)
    • 1 medium red bell pepper (~2 cup)
    • 1 avocado
    • 1 lime
    • ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves
    • 1¼ cups vegetable broth
    • 1½ teaspoons chili powder
    • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
    • ½ teaspoon fine Kosher salt
    • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
  3. Once the quinoa has flowered remove from heat.
  4. Bring a regular frying pan to medium heat. Put one tortillas into the pan heat one side, flip and add cheese to the heated side. once cheese has melted pull off the heat and repeat for the other 7 tortillas.
  5. Roll each wrap with a 1 cup scoop of the quinoa mixture from the skillet.

 

Coconut Kale Lentil Curry

Makes

6 servings

Nutrition of Each Serving

  • 287 calories
  • 6g fat
  • 0mg cholesterol
  • 386mg sodium
  • 51mg potassium
  • 42g carbohydrates
    • 15g fiber
    • 1g sugar
  • 16g protein

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 inch fresh ginger
  • 1 bundle of dinosaur kale
  • 1 lime
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup red lentils
  • ¾ cup french green lentils
  • 3½ cups water
  • 14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk

Prepare Ingredients (10 minutes)

  1. Mince
    • 4 garlic cloves
    • 1 inch fresh ginger
  2. Dice
    • 1 medium yellow onion
  3.  Chop
    • 1 bundle of dinosaur kale (de-stem for the best outcome)
    • 1 lime in half
  4. Measure
    • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 2 teaspoons mustard seeds
    • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
    • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
    • ½ cup red lentils
    • ¾ cup french green lentils
    • 3½ cups water
  5. Open
    • 14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk

Cookin Time (1 hour 15 Minutes)

  1. In a large pot over medium – high heat add the ingredients below and stir until the onions turn clear.
    • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
    • 1 medium yellow onion
    • 4 garlic cloves
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  2. Add the following ingredients and stir until all onions are evenly coated
    • 1 inch fresh ginger
    • 2 teaspoons mustard seeds
    • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
    • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  3. Add the following ingredients and stir.
    • 14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
    • 3½ cups water
    • ½ cup red lentils
    • ¾ cup french green lentils
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  4. Bring the pot to a boil.
  5. Turn the heat down to low and cover the pot. Stir ever 20 minutes and remove from heat after 40-50 minutes.
    • Note: The goal is to breakdown the red lentils.
  6. Stir all of the chopped dinosaur kale into the pot and return to simmer for a few minutes.

Sourdough Loaf

Makes

2 Sourdough loafs

Nutrition of Each Loaf

  • 1,258 calories
  • 278g carbohydrates
    • 35g sugar
    • 12g fiber
  • 0 fat
  • 50g protein
  • 3499mg sodium

Ingredients

Default Dough Ingredients

  • 525 grams water (80°F)
  • 20 grams salt
  • 200 grams active starter
  • 700 grams all purpose flour

Equipment

  • gram scale
  • dutch oven
  • large bowl
  • knife or razor blade
  • whisk
  • spatula or dough bowl scraper
  • bannton or parchment paper

Steps

Test Your Starter

  1. Add 1 teaspoon of starter to a cup of 80°F water it should float.

Make The Dough

  1. Pour 525 grams – water (80°F) into a large bowl.
  2. Add the 200 grams of active starter and mix thoroughly with a whisk. Mix until the floating cloud of starter is mixed completely into the water.
  3. Add 700 grams – all purpose flour and mix to form a sticky dough ball.

Autolyse Phase (Self Digestion)

  1. Let the sticky dough ball rest 1-4 hours in the large bowl.
  2. Add the 20 grams – salt. Use your hands to stretch the dough gently until the salt is mixed into the dough.

Add Air Bubbles

  1.  Pull the dough from under the dough ball up and stretch it gently as you pull it over the dough ball top. Release. Rotate around the bowl until the dough is stretched and pulled from each quarter of the bowl.
  2. Repeat Step 1 every 30 minutes 4 more times.
    • Note:
      • The dough has  become an elastic resilient dough that passes the window pane test (Pinch a little dough and pull it away from the dough ball, you should not be able to see through it).
      • If your dough does not pass the window pane test and it is still breaking before it goes transparent when pulled. Do another round on step 1.

Add More Air Bubbles

  1. Allow the dough to rise in a large deep bowl at room temperature for 1 hour or until it rises by 30%.
  2. Cover the bowl of dough with a plastic bag and set it in the fridge for 12 – 15 hours.
    • Why? It should continue to rise slowly so give it room in the bowl.
  3. Remove the dough from the fridge and let it sit on the counter in the bowl for 2 hours or until the dough reaches room temperature.
    • Why? The dough will soften and gently rise as it warms.

Create 2 Loafs

  1. On a clean un-floured counter pour out the dough into a large mass. Flour the top of the dough lightly but evenly. Divide the dough into two even round balls.
    • Note: Try to not push the dough down keep the air pockets you created.
  2. Let the dough balls rest for 20 to 30 minutes.
    • Note: They will spread out but should not fall off at the edge of the pancake. If they do, reform the loaves and bench rest them again to build the structure of the dough better.

Final Chance For Air Bubbles (Repeat for each loaf)

  1. Gently stretch and pull the dough from the sides to the middle of the dough ball.
  2. Place the dough seam side up in your floured/cloth lined banneton/bowl.
  3. Rise in the fridge 2-4 hours. 

Baking Time (Repeat for each loaf)

  1. PREHEAT oven to 450°F & set your empty dutch oven with lid in the oven for 30 minutes.
    • Note: Keep the formed loaf in your banneton or bowl in the fridge until you actually need to place it in your preheated dutch oven. Why? Cold dough will aide the oven spring.
  2. Pull out your VERY hot dutch oven remove the lid and add your dough.
    • Banneton: flipping the dough into the dutch oven as gently as possible seam side down.
    • Alternate method: Place high heat safe parchment paper over the bowl.
  3. Score the loaf with your lame knife or a razor blade or sharp scissors.
    • Why? So it looks cool no but really scoring helps the dough rise.
  4. Bake 30 minutes at 450°F in the dutch oven.
  5. Bake 10 minutes UNCOVERED Note: Remove the lid (and parchment paper).
  6. Remove loaf from the dutch oven.

Final Step (Repeat for each loaf)

  1. Check the center of the loaf should read about 205°F.
  2. 1 Hour let loaf sit on a cooling rack.
    • Why? hour to set the crumb

 

Poori

Makes

16 individual poori’s

Nutrition of Each – Double calories due to deep fry)

  • 60 calories (120  calories – deep fried)
  • 2g fat
  • 0mg cholesterol
  • 28mg sodium
  • 112mg potassium
  • 8g carbohydrates
    • 1g fiber
    • 0g sugar
  • 2g protein

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon jalapeño
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ cup water

Equipment

  • rolling pin
  • deep frying pan
  • slotted ladle spoon

Prepare Ingredients (5 minutes)

  1. Mince
    • 1 fresh chili and measure out 1 teaspoon
  2. Measure
    • 1 cup all purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon turmeric
    • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
    • ¼ teaspoon jalapeño
    • 1 tablespoon canola oil
    • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
    • ¼ cup water

Cookin Time (30 minutes)

  1. Mix the following ingredients into the all purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon turmeric
    • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
    • ¼ teaspoon jalapeño
    • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  2. Add 1 tablespoon canola oil to the flour
  3. Slowly mix the water into the flour ounce by ounce. You want the dough to be firm.
  4. Pour canola oil into deep sauce pan and put the pan over medium heat
  5. Once dough is firm break into 16 even balls.
  6. Roll each of the 16 balls into a 3″circle that is roughly 2 millimeter thick
    • Note: if the poori is too thin it will not get an air pocket when you deep fry it.
  7. Bring the pan full of canola oil to high heat
  8. Repeat for each poori:
    1. Once the oil has reached 575°F place one of the flattened circles into the oil and flip  to cook the other side (Should be less than 1 minute)
      • Note: If the oil is not hot enough the poori could not get the air pocket.
    2. Remove the poori from pan and place on paper towel.

Pizza Dough

Makes

Three 10-12 inch pizzas

Nutrition of Each Pizza Default Dough

  • 555 calories
  • 3g fat
  • 1555mg sodium
  • 111g carbohydrates
    • 5g fiber
    • 1g sugar
  • 15g protein

Ingredients

Default Dough Ingredients

  • 1½ cup warm water (105°F-115°F)
  • 1 package (2¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 3¾ cup all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

Whole Wheat Dough Ingredient Option

  • 1½ cup warm water (105°F-115°F)
  • 1 package (2¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 3½ cup whole wheat flour
  • ¼ cup  wheat gluten
  • 2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

Optional Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoon – extra virgin olive oil (Not needed if cooking pizza in a wood-fired pizza oven)’
  • Cornmeal for the bottom of the pizza to make it easier to move

Steps

Create The Dough

  1. Combine liquid ingredients – Let sit for 10 minutes until dry yeast is fully dissolved
    • 1½ cup warm water (105°F-115°F)
    • 1 package (2¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast
    • 1 teaspoon sugar
  2. Combine dry ingredients
    • 3¾ cup all purpose flour
    • 2 teaspoon kosher salt
  3. Combine liquid and dry mixtures and knead dough for 7-10 minutes.

Add Air Bubbles & Flavor

  1. Place olive oil in a deep bowl, place dough into bowl and coat the dough with olive oil. Then cover top of bowl with plastic wrap.
  2. Allow the dough to rise in a large deep bowl at room temperature for 1 hour at 75°F-85°F , then determine next steps:
    • Slow: let sit of an additional 24 -48 hours in the refrigerator. (Most complex flavors)
    • Medium: let sit of an additional 8 hours at room temperature
    • Quick: let sit of an additional 30 minutes in a warm place (75°F-85°F)

Note: Olive oil is not needed if you are using a wood fired over. Also, once the pizza dough has risen you can freeze it for later use

Create 3 Individual Pizza Dough’s

  1. Remove the dough from the bowl on a flour dusted surface and divide dough into 3 even balls.
    • Note: Try to not push the dough down keep the air pockets you created.
  2. Place each ball into its own bowl and let rise for 15 minutes – 2 hours.
  3. Flatten and stretch dough balls on a lightly floured work surface. Once the pizza dough is flattened to your liking let sit for 5 minutes.
    • Note: Can be skipped if on a time crunch.

Baking Time

  1. Preheat oven to 475°F, this can take anywhere from 15 minutes – 1 hour so take that into consideration. Get the pizza stone or thick baking sheet out and prepare the pizza toppings.
  2. Brush edges of dough with olive oil and let rise for 10-15 minutes.
    • Note: Can be skipped if on a time crunch.
  3. Add toppings.
    • Sauce
    • Cheese
    • Toppings
  4. Bake Pizza in the 475°F oven for 10 – 15 minutes.
    • Note: Place some cornmeal on the pizza stone to make it easier to move the pizza.

Pro Tip

Freezing Instructions: (Good for up to 3 months)

1. Divide dough into portion sizes
2. Place on parchment paper uncovered in the freezer for 15-20 minutes
3. Remove from freezer and place into individual freezer bags

Thaw Instructions

1. Thaw Pizza dough in refrigerator for 5-6 hours
2. Let the dough sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before stretching.

Fun Fact Friday: Food Related

Interesting:

  • One apple costs 33.2 gallons of water. Apple Juice costs 301.2 gallons per gallon of Apple Juice, and one glass cost 60 gallons of water.
  • One tomato costs 13.2 gallons.
  • One orange costs 13.2 gallons of water. One Glass of orange juice costs 45 gallons of water

Good News:

  • Organics is the fastest growing food segment, increasing 20% annually.
Bad News:
  • In 1970, the top five beef packers controlled about 25% of the market. Today, the top four control more than 80% of the market.
  • In 1970, there were thousands of slaughterhouses producing the majority of beef sold. Today there are only 13.
  • Prior to renaming itself an agribusiness company, Monsanto was a chemical company that produced, among other things DDT and Agent Orange.
  • In 1996 when Monsanto introduced round-up ready soybeans, the company controlled only 2% of the U.S. soybean market. Now, Over 90% of soybeans in the U.S. contain Monsanto’s patented gene.
  • In 1972, the FDA conducted 50,000 food safety inspections. In 2006, the FDA conducted only 9,164.
  • During the Bush administration, the head of the FDA, Lester M. Crawford Jr., was the former executive VP of the National Food Processors Association.
  • The average Chicken farmer (with two poultry houses) invests over $500,000 and makes only $18,000 a year.
  • Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas was an attorney at Monsanto from 1976to1979. After his appointment to the supreme court, Justice Thomas wrote the majority opinion in a case that helped Monsanto enforce its seed patents.
  • Approximately 32,000 hogs a day are killed in Smithfield Hog Processing Plant in Tar Heel, N.C, the largest slaughterhouse in the world.
  • The modern supermarket stocks, on average, 47,000 products, most of which are being produced by only a handful of food companies.
  • About 70% of processed foods have some genetically modified ingredients.
  • The SB63 Consumer Right to know measure, requiring all food derived from cloned animals to be labeled as such, passed the California state legislature before being vetoed in 2007 by Governor Schwarzenegger, who said that he couldn’t sign a bill that pre-empted federal law.
  • According to the American Diabetes Association, 1 in 3 Americans born after 2000 will contract early onset diabetes. Among minorities, the rate will be 1 in 2.

Water and Wine

This weekend, I went to Captain Vineyard to harvest Petite Sirah. Having never harvested wine I had no idea what I was getting myself into.  I was amazed to find Captain Vineyard is tucked into a residential hillside in Moraga, California. Captain Vineyard contains 3,500 lines that create the following wines:

  • Pinot Noir (600 vines)
  • Cabernet Sauvignon (200 vines)
  • Petite Sirah (1,500 vines)
  • Petite Verdot (650 vines)
  • Cabernet Franc (450 vines)
This boutique winery was like no other winery I have been to, being on a hillside and in Moraga, California numerous questions came to mind:
  1. What exactly is dry farming?
  2. How much water does the winery use?
  3. Where does the water come from?
  4. Did the drought impact a winery?
Captain Vineyard is a family business as well as a  green business,  Susan and Salah pride themselves on their unique approach to dry farming. After converting the steep hillside (backyard) into a terraced five acre vineyard, Susan returned to school at UC Davis to further understand Viticulture. She modeled the vineyard on the European hillside style, affording healthy stress and competition between vines. In 2005, the soil was ready for vines and approximately 3,000 vines were planted. The Moraga microclimate provided the ideal microclimate for grape-growing.  In 2007, 500 vines were added to include Cabernet Sauvignon.
What exactly is dry farming?
 
The vines do not benefit from irrigation. The struggle to survive puts stress on the vines and stress, if you ask some folks equals flavor, complexity and balance in wines. The first thing that happens when you stress a vine is the yield of that vine goes down. Fewer grapes are produced, so energy is concentrated on the remaining grapes.  This was extremely beneficial for Captain Vineyard because dry farming not only allowed them to turn their hillside into a vineyard, but the vines provided support for the entire project. Dry farming forces the vines to search for water, probing deeper and deeper into the soil so that they are prepared for drought.  To create this behavior, you must start by digging a hole next to the base of each vine. Whenever the plant begins to wilt, you dig into the hole next to the base of the plant and water the plant. Each time you water the plant you dig the hole deeper and deeper. This way the plant begins to search for future water deeper in the soil.
How much water does the winery use? 

With the use of Dry farming EBMUD praises Captain Vineyards for their smart water use. Traditional grape growers use as much as 20 gallons to make a single gallon of wine. The Captains implemented a spacing method called “5×3” meaning the vine rows are 5 feet apart, and plants are 3 feet apart minimizing water use. The vineyard also uses the drip irrigation and has trained their vines to use less water. Watering less frequently and for  a longer duration trains the root system to go more deeply into the soil, thus improving the water supply capability of the root system. Captain Vineyards saves up to 16,000 gallons of water per acre annually, using 67% less water compared to another vineyard of equal size. To give you a sense of the quantity of water consumed in 2009 the 2.5 acres of vines and only consumed 253,572 gallons. (the average person consumes 50 gallons a day)


Where does the water come from? 

Captain Vineyard is similar to other homes in their neighborhood and has a well that supplies most of their water. However, dry farming refers to the practice of relying only on natural annual rainfall. Therefore, the vineyard primarily relies on rain with very little irrigation.
Did the drought impact their harvest?

Globally the United States has the largest wine market, and California makes up about 90% of that wine market. In 2011, wine sales hit a new high of $32.5 billion for the United States. The recent drought had a limited impact on the quality of the grapes harvested this year. Drought means two things for a winery, quality of the harvest (higher Degrees Brix) increases but the quantity of harvest decreases. The increase in quality is due to the concentration of flavor and sugars within each grape and a reduction in pest/disease within the crop overall.  The Degrees Brix, is a scale that measures the sugar content of an aqueous solution. One degree Brix is 1 gram of sucrose in 100 grams of the solution, and it represents the strength of the solution as a percentage by weight (commonly used in wine, sugar, fruit juice, and honey). Typically in drought-stricken years wineries are known to produce less volume but the product has a higher value due to the high level of quality. This year was unique at the Captain Vineyards because the Degrees Brix was higher than last year’s average and the expected yield for this year was two tons larger than last year. Looks like dry farming and the consistent weather is working in their favor.

True cost ounce by ounce of water in 2012 (Bottled vs. Tap)

Ounce for ounce, water costs more than gasoline, even at today’s high gasoline prices; depending on the brand, it cost 250 to 10,000 times more than tap water. Globally the bottled water industry is now worth $46 billion. More than half of all Americans drink bottled water; about a third of the public consumes it regularly. Sales have tripled in the past ten years, to about $4 billion a year. This sales bonanza has been fueled by ubiquitous ads picturing towering mountains, pristine glaciers, and crystal-clear springs nestled in untouched forests yielding pure water. But is the marketing image of total purity accurate? Also, are rules for bottled water stricter than those for tap water?

Is there a health impact?

The bottled water industry promotes an image of purity, but in fact it is exactly the opposite. Bottled water has been seen to contain chemical contaminants (toxic byproducts of chlorination). According to the Earth Policy Institute, 86% of plastic water bottles in the United States end up in landfills, which has a long-term effect that could impact ground water.  The Environmental Working Group (EWG) conducted a study of 10 major bottled water brands. The laboratory test conducted by EWG at one of the countries leading water quality laboratories found that 10 popular brands of bottled water, purchased from grocery stores and other retailers in nine states and the District of Colombia, contained 38 chemical pollutants altogether. With an average of 8 contaminants in each brand, more than one-third of the chemicals found are not regulated in bottled water. The Achieves of Family Medicine, researchers compared bottled water with tap water from Cleveland and found that nearly a quarter of the samples of bottled water had significantly higher levels of bacteria. The NRDC reports, water stored in plastic bottles for ten weeks showed signs of phthalate-leaching. Phthalates block testosterone and other hormones.  One thing to keep in mind  phthalates in tap water are regulated, no such regulation at all for bottled water.

Where is all the Legislation?

In 2007, the State of California passed a law (SB 220) designed to reverse the dearth of basic public data about the quality of bottled water. The law mandates that water bottled after January 1, 2009 and sold in California must be labeled with both source and two ways for consumers to contract the company for the water quality report.  (96 bottled water companies present in California and only 34% complied with SB 220.

The State of California has legal limits for bottled water contaminants. However, unlike tap water, consumers are provided with test results every year of the source contaminants and purity. Bottled water industry is not required to disclose the results of any contaminant testing. Instead, the industry hides behind the claim that bottled water is held to the same safety standard as tap water. But keep in mind both bottled water and tap water suffer from the occasional contamination problem, but tap water is more stringently monitored and tightly regulated than bottled water. For example New, Your City tap water was tested 430,600 times during 2004 alone.

In 2008, more than 100 bottled water facilities were operating within California. Each of those facilities reports the amount of water extracted from groundwater sources to the state Department of Public Health.The Department of Public Health then relays the information to the State Water Board, who tabulates all water inventory of water rights for the state of California.  AB2275 was put in place in California to ensure that the state’s water is responsible allocated in ways that protect our environment, economy and quality of life.

The Food and Drug Administration oversees bottled water, and the U.S. EPA is in charge of tap water. The Safe Drinking Water Act empowers EPA to require water testing by certified laboratories and that violations be reported within a specific time frame. (Public water systems must also provide reports to customers about their water.) The FDA, on the other hand, regulates bottled water as food and cannot require certified lab testing or violation reporting. As a result, the FDA does not require bottled water companies to disclose to consumers where the water came from, how it has been treated or what contaminates it contents.

Economic Perspective:

The water bottle industry has grown to become a $10 billion (2010), doubling in growth over recent years. In 2004, Americans, on average, drank 24 gallons of bottled water, making it second only to carbonated soft drinks in popularity. Bottled water costs 10,000 times more than tap water, and 40% of bottled water comes straight from the tap. Some may say the appearance, odor, flavor, mouth, feel, and aftertaste impact their choice in which type of water they prefer to drink but what cost are they will pay. If you drank the 99-cent bottle today, then took the bottle home and continued to use it, you could refill it every day with tap water until July 3, 2017, before you’d spent 99 cents on the tap water.The NYT article “Bad to the Last Drop” provides a great perspective on the comparison of bottled and tap water.

However, bottled water is undeniably more fashionable and convenient than tap water. The practice of carrying a small bottle, pioneered by supermodels, has become a commonplace.

The ultimate price for water!

An interesting article was published in Cleveland Plain Dealer that described an interesting perspective on revenue generation of water fountains vs. bottled water. When the Cleveland Plain Dealer published an article about the disappearing water fountains halfway through the NBA season, the Cavaliers first said they were following advice from the NBA, that water fountains spread swine flu (the NBA never gave such guidance). The Plain Dealer pointed out that the removal was illegal — public buildings are required by building codes to have water fountains, the number based on capacity. Fans were so angry — once the paper pointed out that the fountains were gone; strange they hadn’t noticed — that the Cavaliers set up temporary water stations around the arena, so those who wanted a drink didn’t have to stand in line.
The Q then scrambled to re-install the fountains. By then, the Cavaliers alone had hosted 29 sold-out home games at the Q — almost 600,000 thirsty fans. If just 10 percent of those fans bought a $4 bottle of water they otherwise wouldn’t have, that’s nearly $10,000 in additional concession revenue, just for water, at each game.

Elimination of Bottled Water:

  1.  Grand Canyon eliminated the sale of bottled water inside the park within 30 days. John Wessel, regional director for the park service stated, ” Our parks should set the standard for resource protection and sustainability, I feel confident that the impact to park concession and partners have been given fair considerations and that this plan can be implemented with minimal impacts to the visiting public.”
  2.  Colleges Ban Bottled Water: The Association for the advancement of Belmont University, Oberlin College, Seattle University, University Ottawa, University Portland, University of Wisconsin- Stevens Ports, Upstate Medical University, Washington University in St. Louis have banned the sale of bottled water on there campuses. Schools on a similar track who have banned plastic bottled water from dining halls include: Gonzaga University, New York University, Stanford University, Stony Brook University, and University of Maryland. Schools where the students are campaigning to ban bottled water include: Brown University, Cornell University, Evergreen State College, Pennsylvania State University, and Vancouver Island University
  3. In April of last year Concord, Ma. banned the sale of Bottled Water, Making international headlines. However when the ban was intended to go into effect in January of 2012 voters at the annual town meeting rejected the proposal and instead proposed to educate citizens about bottled water’s environmental impact.
  4. Well in 2010 a ban on bottled water at all events held on city property was considered but never turned into law. However San Francisco has already done away with bottled water at city meetings.
  5. 19 US cities, 14 states, and 12 countries make an impact to steer away from bottled water.

What is the end game?
More than 2.6 billion people, or more than 40% of the worlds population, lack basic sanitation, and more than one billion people lack reliable access to safe drinking water. The World Health Organization estimates that 80% of all illnesses in the world is due to water-borne diseases, and that at any given time around half of the people in developing world are suffering from diseases associated with inadequate water sanitation (killing more than 5 million people annually).

If clean water could be provided to everyone on earth for an outlay of $1.7 Billion a year beyond current spending on water projects, according to the International Water Management Institute. Improving sanitation, which is just as important, would cost a further $9.3 billion per year. So I guess at the end of the day society needs to decide what we want for our future and legislation will assist in securing the well being of our resources.