Michael Pollan's Short Stop-Motion Animation Film

I have been a fan of Michael Pollan's for awhile now.  When I first read Omnivores Dilemma I said he articulated much of what I believe much better than I have ever been able to.  Since then I have continued to follow his writing, have had the opportunity to see him speak... I came across this film through a link from GRACE, an amazing organization that in addition to making the Meatrix is doing all sorts of thoughtful work in the space where food, ecology, technology and health intersect...

Had to share–

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/35444471]

Super Immunity Class, #2

Early this year I taught a class with Davina of Nutrition Groove that was inspired by Joel Fuhrmans book Super Immunity: The Essential Nutrition Guide for Boosting Your Body's Defenses to Live Longer, Stronger, and Disease Free.  Essentially he purports that diet is integrally linked to your body's ability to fight off illness of all sorts from the common cold to cancer.  I am a believer. We had such a good response to the first class that we taught another one yesterday.  Both the talking and cooking were based on Dr Fuhrman's acronym GOMBBS, greens, onions, mushrooms, berries, beans, seeds. The recipes from the classes can be found on the Super Immunity Post on my blog.

In addition to cooking and lots of solid nutrition information from Davina we talked a lot about how each of us needs to incorporate healthy eating into our daily practice in a way that works for us as individuals.  There is no one way to eat– each of us has different requirements based on our individual biological needs, living situation, daily routine, seasonal changes and work demands...  Regardless what your diet is at the moment there is great information to be gleaned from Dr. Fuhrman's studies and insights– and potentially shifts in your everyday eating.

California White Sturgeon Caviar with Salsify

We recently started getting caviar from California... initially we were skeptical since traditionally the only caviar we served was from wild sturgeon of the Caspian or Black Seas.  However wild sturgeon, once plentiful in many places in the world are now threatened by overfishing, loss of habitat and pollution.  In fact, the sturgeon of the Caspian Sea are nearly extinct.  In response sturgeon are now farmed raised in many parts of the world, some farms are sustainable and others are not.  The California caviar from the Sacramento area we are getting is said to come from a perfected sustainable aquaculture environment.  The taste and texture are of this Osetra-like caviar is phenomenal.  We served the caviar with a long time favorite pairing of ours, roasted salsify.  In the past we have topped it with creme fraiche but this time with fermented grains and wild chives from our neighbors front yard.

Home Restaurant Hors d'oeuvre

Hors d'oeuvre translates into English as “a part from the main work” or “outside the oeuvre.”  Passing small bites or ‘hor d’oeuvres’ during cocktail hour is something that can’t really happen in a traditional restaurant.  We used to serve an amuse-bouche to people as they sat down in our former restaurant Rupperts. However this seemed very much a part of the main meal for us-- A gift from the chef to try to make people feel at home.  Of course the trend these days in restaurants is small plates— multiple small plates that aggregate into the main meal.  But how does one serve something at a dinner and keep it separate from that dinner.  During our Home Restaurants we create small bites that are served during a cocktail hour. Guests gather and visit in the library or out in the garden, weather permitting.  We use the time to develop relations with the diner.  A stranger has entered in to our home to eat, not the usual entitlement that goes along with the hard and cold contract of dinner reservations at a restaurant.  We want to introduce the guest to who we are with out intruding on the meal they are about to encounter.  There are three thoughts that we take into consideration as we try to do this. 1. Size… Knowing that people can only eat so much–  keep it small,  and light— avoid heavy ingredients.  2. Function…Make it easy to eat so it is welcoming and there are no awkward moments in an already unfamiliar setting.  3. A part from the main meal… Look for lacunas in the sit down portion, maybe there is no poultry or seafood, or maybe there is something that you do really well and that something did not make it on to your menu.

We have gone back in forth over the last few years with our bites and feel just recently to have gotten the hang of this ‘outside’ of the meal.  We look at it simply as if we were in our mother’s or grandmother’s kitchen and she would offer us a taste of something that she had stashed away but wasn’t on offering that night. Simple and raw, which is to say: beginnings always start from the outside.

Super Immunity Class





















A friend of mine Davina Sandground recently launched a fabulous new business, Nutrition Groove.  A couple months ago she asked if I would be interested in teaching a class with her based on Joel Fuhrmans book Super Immunity: The Essential Nutrition Guide for Boosting Your Body's Defenses to Live Longer, Stronger, and Disease Free.  I was thrilled!  Dr. Furhman's book talks about eating much the way I already do but also incorporates all sorts of information that was new to me...such as– the need to finely chop or thoroughly chew kale to get full nutritional benefits, why a high dose of vitamin C is not helpful when you have a cold and that the delivery system used in the flu vaccine might be more damaging for most of us than getting the flu...

Davina and I concentrated on 6 of Dr Fuhrman's top foods for Super Immunity– kale, mushrooms, onions, beans, pomegranate and seeds.  Davina talked nutrition and I cooked.  This is what we ate.


-Roasted Kale– kale stem removed and chopped, grapeseed oil spray, roasted garlic peeled and chopped, salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, place kale on a baking sheet, spray with oil, toss with garlic, salt and pepper and bake until slightly browned around the edges, about 10 minutes.  Serve hot or at room temperature.

-Raw Kale and Sesame Salad– 1/4 cup sesame seeds, 1 tablespoon cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon olive oil, 2 teaspoons coconut nectar or other sweetener, salt and pepper to taste, kale stem removed and finely chopped (about 4 cups kale total)

In a high speed blender combine until smooth sesame seeds, cider vinegar, olive oil, coconut nectar, and enough water to make a thick dressing, season with salt and pepper to taste.  In a large bowl toss kale and dressing until thoroughly combined, adjust salt and pepper to taste.

-Kale Smoothie– 1 cup chopped kale, 1/2 pear core removed, 1/2 frozen banana, 1 cup almond milk

In a high speed blender combine the kale, pear, banana and milk.  Process until smooth, about 1 minute.


-Roasted Hedgehog Mushrooms–hedgehog mushrooms brushed clean,  shallots roasted and peeled, grapeseed oil, salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place mushrooms and shallots on a sheet tray and lightly coat with grapeseed oil, season with salt and pepper and cook until mushrooms are just cooked, about 7 minutes.

-Shiitake Leek Broth– shiitake mushrooms stems removed, leeks finely chopped

In a pot combine the mushrooms, leeks and cover with water.  Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, season with salt and pepper to taste.

-Marinated Button Mushrooms– button mushrooms finely sliced, fresh lemon juice, chives, salt and pepper to taste

In a bowl combine mushrooms, lemon juice, chives, salt and pepper.


We used garlic, shallots, leeks and chives in the kale and mushroom recipes


We discussed adding Kombu to beans during soaking and cooking to help tenderize them and aid in digestion.

-Bean Dip– 1 cup beans cooked, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon fresh herbs chopped, salt and pepper to taste

In a high speed blender combine beans, oil, herbs, salt and pepper.  If too thick add water until desired consistency.


I demonstrated a method I use for removing seeds from a pomegranate–

Cut a pomegranate in quarters.  Get a bowl of cold water.  Remove seeds from skin and pith over the cold water and let the seeds fall into the water.  If there is any pith still attached to the seeds it will float to the top.  When you are finished skim the pith off the top of the water, drain the seeds and they are ready to eat or use.


We used sesame seeds in the raw kale salad.

-Chia– 1/4 cup chia seeds, 1/2 cup almond milk, pinch salt, raw cashews, coconut flakes, raw walnuts, raw sunflower seeds, raw pumpkin seeds, pomegranate seeds, fresh dates chopped.

In a medium bowl combine the chia, milk and salt.  Top with the nuts, additional seeds, coconut and dates as desired.

Object Oriented Cookery, Collapse Journal

John had his first article published in a philosophical journal, Collapse...exciting!  His piece deals with practices he has been contemplating for years, molecular gastronomy and slow food– and his studies at European Graduate School and  Object Oriented Ontology of Levi Bryants, Larval Subjects.

- In Object Oriented Cookery, Chef John Cochran proposes a culinary practice that opens itself to non-human participants. Chefs, like philosophers, have "ontological commitments" determined by their praxis, and which distort the objects they work with. Cochran critiques the radical claims of contemporary food movements that claim to break out of normative models of cookery - Molecular Gastronomy and Slow Food - and asks what a "flat cookery" could be.

An excerpt from the article–

Therefore, cookery becomes an elegant configuration of entities in a feed-forward-feed-back clumsily-woven web of objects interacting on equal footing. If we do not know what a specific food can do, and this food is interacting with all sorts of other objects at a specific instant, then even in a radically closed environment, cookery becomes a lot like surfing. It consists of a series of tiny adjustments, prompted by anticipations and responses from an openness to utterances from all human and non-human actants entangled. Of course, in order to prevent short circuits, a chef must allow herself to be translated by other objects. In feeling her way through, aesthetics forms a new epistemology where the abundance of local manifestations forms a meal. Keeping in mind that the entanglement that constitutes this meal does not begin or end with this specific event of eating – objects stretch out through other objects. Anticipating objects’ behaviours and responding to both expected and unexpected acts, even the most experienced chef benefits by adopting the disposition of an amateur home cook. A disposition which is simply a commitment to objects being out of phase.

For the rest of the article you can purchase the journal through Urbanomics, or let us know and we will pass it along.