oil spill

Good Eats Canceled?

Good bye, Good Eats

In the annals of food television there have been five shows that have stood out from the rest by virtue of their importance to the genre.  The first four, I Love to Eat (James Beard), The French Chef (Julia Child), The Galloping Gourmet (Graham Kerr) and Emeril Live (Emeril Legasse) each made their indelible marks on food television by enticing people into their kitchens.

Cheflebrities Stuart Reb Donald and Alton Brown at Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-offThe fifth show, Good Eats, made its mark by teaching burgeoning home gourmets what to do in their new-found playground.  Alton Brown created, wrote, produced and starred in, “a smart and entertaining food show that blends wit with wisdom, history with pop culture, and science with common cooking sense.”  His words not mine.

Recently I heard a rumor that Food Network had canceled Good Eats so I started tugging on various grapevines to see what would shake loose.  My original sources were pretty reliable but I wanted to double-check before reporting something like “Good Eats Canceled.”

I contacted Alton’s publicist, Beau Benton and asked straight out if the rumor was true.  The answer?  No. . . and yes.

No.  Food Network did not cancel Good Eats.

Yes.  The show will soon be ceasing production for good.

The decision was Alton’s.  When I inquired about a press release or official statement Benton said, “He announced it on Twitter.”

Sure enough, “G.E. fans, I’ve decided to cut the half hour series at 249 eps. There will be 3 new 1 hour eps this year and that’s it. But mourn not. New things brew on the horizon…”good” things.”

I was lucky enough to spend an afternoon with Alton a few weeks ago.  We were both taking part in a fund-raiser in tiny Dauphin Island, Alabama.  Of all of the communities effected by the Oil Spill, Dauphin Island’s economy suffered the most losing 66% of its projected revenue for the summer of 2010 which included cancelling the world’s largest deep-sea fishing rodeo for the first time ever.  Camille, Frederick, Katrina, and Ivan couldn’t do that.  Alton gave of his time to help attract a record crowd to the island’s annual gumbo cook-off.

This is sure to leave Food Network fans feeling shell shocked.  Especially considering the May law suit that has halted production of another long standing hit series Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.  If things do not work out in court that means that two of the network’s most popular shows would no longer be a part of their line-up.

Brown will still be on Iron Chef and there are hints of other projects in the works.  Recently, Alton and I got to speak a good bit about, well, everything and he was kind enough to answer 7 Questions. READ HERE.

I saw this Tweet from Tyler Florence to Alton.  It’s hysterical:

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/TylerFlorence/status/72821165185441792″]

Celebrating the Gulf Through It’s Food

I was lucky enough to be selected by Foodbuzz to participate in the July 24X24 which is a fund raiser for Gulf recovery.  For those not familiar with 24X24 it is a monthly global dinner party featuring 24 meals by 24 bloggers in 24 hours.  This month’s party hasn’t gone unnoticed as the major news wires have picked up on it.  MSNBC said, “Foodbuzz, the largest online food community, is calling on food bloggers across the country to cook up a Gulf Coast-inspired meal on July 24th — and blog about it — all in support of the Greater New Orleans Foundation (GNOF).”  So I gathered a few friends together, most Gulf Coast natives, and we celebrated by eating the foods we’ve all come to love.

This has special importance to me because I live in South Alabama right on the Gulf of Mexico and I have seen first hand the economic devastation in the area.  Just a few months back I took in the annual Blessing of the Fleet in Bayou La Batre and it was evident to the people in that small fishing village that life would never be the same again.  Recently I released a new cookbook, Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico and it is from that work that I draw the recipes for tonight’s menu: filé gumbo, Cuban pressed sandwiches and Key lime tartelettes.

Gumbo is as continuous an argument around these parts as politics, money or religion but I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that the one thing that cannot be omitted from gumbo is okra.  The word gumbo is an African for okra.  It is a dish that has been adopted by the people of the Gulf Coast as our official soup.  There are some people who just can’t handle okra so I am stealing an idea from Chef Bobby Flay and using fried okra as a garnish so it remains an official gumbo.

File’ Gumbo

  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 lb shrimp
  • 1 lb crab meat
  • 1 pint oysters
  • 1 med onion, diced
  • 1 bunch celery stalks, rough chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 lb okra (optional), sliced
  • 1/2 bottle Louisiana Hot Sauce- a whole bottle if you like it HOT!
  • 4 tablespoons flour4 tablespoons butter
  • Salt, cayenne pepper, File’, white pepper, & black pepper to taste
  • Bay leaves
  • 1 quart fish stock or shrimp stock

Boil rice in plain water and set aside. In a large stockpot melt butter and add flour to make a roux cook until chocolate brown, roughly 20 minutes. Add onions, celery, bell peppers, and a little water if needed and simmer a few minutes then add hot sauce, tomatoes, bay leaves, salt, both peppers and fish stock. Simmer for about half an hour. Add okra (if using) and seafood and simmer about another twenty minutes. Remove bay leaves. Serve hot over rice, and garnish with a sprinkle of file’ and fried okra.

The influence of our Latin American neighbors can be seen all over the Gulf of Mexico, especially in Texas and Florida and it is in the latter that our next course has become an institution.  And no wonder with two kinds of pork.

Cuban Pressed Sandwich

  • 4 loaves French bread
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 pound smoked ham, sliced thin
  • 1 – 1½ pounds slow roasted pork
  • 1/2 pound Swiss cheese, sliced
  • Hamburger dills
  • Mustard

Finally my dessert also hails from the Sunshine State.  I am including my recipe for Key lime pie although for the dinner I poured my custard into graham cracker tartelettes rather than a single large crust.  Despite the name, Key limes are no longer grown commercially in the Florida Keys, you can thank the hurricane of 1935 for that.  Today most Key limes come from an area of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico that has identical soil and climate to the Keys where this small lime is indigenous thus making it a true Gulf of Mexico delicacy.  You can make this same pie using regular limes but don’t call it a Key lime pie because there is a noticeable difference in flavor.

Key Lime Pie

  • 1¼ cups graham crackers, crushed
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed Key lime juice (roughly 12 limes)
  • Whipped cream
  • Dash of fresh grated nutmeg
  • 3 – 4 Key limes

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In medium bowl, mix together sugar and graham cracker crumbs. Melt the butter and blend well with sugar and graham crackers. Press into a 9-inch pie pan. Bake 6 to 8 minutes. In another medium bowl, combine the milk and egg yolks with an electric mixer on low speed. Add key the lime juice. Mix until thick. Pour into prepared crust and put in refrigerator overnight. Top with whipped cream, nutmeg and garnish with key lime slices (optional).

NOTE: Real Key Lime Pie is never green.

For more information on the “Gulf Ambassador” program visit HERE.  Follow Foodbuzz on Twitter or the Facebook Fan Page.

My Menu for the Foodbuzz Gulf Fund Raiser

As many of you may have read on MSNBC or at the Foodbuzz home page I am participating in this month’s Foodbuzz 24X24 dinner party.  This is a special 24X24 as it is geared to raise money for my beleaguered Gulf Coast.

Destin BeachWith remnants of Katrina still strewn everywhere and oil soiling what are easily the most beautiful beaches in the 48 contiguous, we need a little good news.  The folks at Foodbuzz have come up with just the ticket.  But I’ll let MSNBC tell you all about it:

    SAN FRANCISCO, CA — As the Gulf Coast struggles to recover from the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history, Foodbuzz, the largest online food community, is calling on food bloggers across the country to cook up a Gulf Coast-inspired meal on July 24th — and blog about it — all in support of the Greater New Orleans Foundation (GNOF), which has been playing a key role in relief efforts in the wake of the tragic oil spill.

    Each month, Foodbuzz’ 24×24 section of the website showcases blog posts from 24 Foodbuzz Featured Publisher bloggers from around the world about meals they’ve prepared within one 24-hour period. This month, Foodbuzz has chosen 24 bloggers from around the country to serve as “Gulf Ambassadors” and host a Gulf Coast-inspired meal on Saturday, July 24th. A donation of $250 in the name of each of the bloggers will be donated to the GNOF, for an initial contribution of $6000. Some of the participating bloggers from around the country include:

  • Passionate Eater – San Francisco
  • Cooking with Christen – Louisiana
  • Fresh Local and Best – New York City
  • SheSimmers – Chicago
  • Le Grand Fromage – Florida
  • Don’t (White) Sugar Coat It – Boston
  • Four Points Foodie – Austin
  • Wannabe TV Chef – Alabama
  • First, Make a Roux! – San Diego
  • For additional food bloggers — up to 100 — who would like to participate in the program by hosting their own Gulf Coast-inspired meal, Foodbuzz will also donate $25 in their name to the GNOF. Posts can be submitted to Foodbuzz on July 25th at editorial@foodbuzz.com.

    READ THE REST

Here is my menu which features recipes from my cookbook Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes from the Gulf of Mexico:  I’m starting with a rich seafood gumbo chock full of Gulf shrimp, blue crabs and Conecuh smoked sausage.  For my main course I’m knocking out some Cuban pressed sandwiches with lots of roast pork and ham and I’m finishing with Key lime tartelettes.  HERE is the post of the dinner party complete with recipes and plenty of food porn.

Stop Monsanto’s Newest Frankenfood

The Obama Administration is set to approve yet another environment-destroying Monsanto product.  For what was supposed to be an environment-friendly administration this news proves them anything but.  This regime’s record on the environment (see Gulf Oil Spill) makes the Bush Administration look like the Sierra Club.  But there is still time to help avoid this disaster ans save the future of organic food.  I received this very important letter from Food Democracy Now:

Once again, the organic industry is under assault. As we alerted you earlier this year, Monsanto is eager to resume the marketing and sale of their Roundup Ready™ alfalfa.

Tom Vilsack, USDAFortunately, the possibility that Monsanto’s Roundup Ready™ alfalfa may be deregulated by the USDA has caught the attention of two leading members of Congress: Senator Patrick Leahy (D. Vermont) and Congressman Peter DeFazio (D. Oregon). We are joining with our partners at Center for Food Safety in encouraging members of Congress who support regulation of GMO alfalfa to sign their “Dear Colleague” letter, addressed to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, asking him to maintain the ban on GMO alfalfa, protecting farmers, the environment and the organic industry.1

If your legislator has not done so already, they have until the end of this week – 48 hours – to sign this letter and join their colleagues in asking Secretary Tom Vilsack to maintain the ban on Monsanto’s genetically-modified (GMO) Roundup Ready™ alfalfa.

This past March we invited you to send in your comments to the USDA asking them to not permit GMO alfalfa to be grown, jeopardizing the organic industry. Your response was overwhelming: in a 48-hour period more than 56,000 Food Democracy Now! members responded telling Secretary Vilsack that you value organics and the livelihood of farmers over corporate profits. We need to do it again.

We have 48 hours: Can you sign a letter to your congressman telling them that you want them to tell Secretary Vilsack to stop the approval of GMO alfalfa?

CLICK HERE TO HELP

GMO Alfalfa and Organics

As you may already know, in April of this year, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments regarding the deregulation of Monsanto’s GMO alfalfa.2 If the Supreme Court rules in favor of Monsanto, it could spell ruin for the organic industry. While we’re still waiting for a ruling from the Supreme Court, this is no time to be passive. If remarks from Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia are any indication, we need to keep fighting. Justice Scalia’s words, regarding contamination of organic alfalfa were: “This isn’t contamination of the New York City water supply…This is not the end of the world.”

It may not be the end of the world, but it could spell the end of the organic dairy industry as well as end the export market of U.S. organic and natural alfalfa.3 Studies have shown, that if approved, contamination of organic alfalfa is certain.4 Once contaminated, the organic dairy sector, the cornerstone of organic agriculture, stands to lose billions of dollars, while thousands of other American farmers will lose a vital market in Europe and Japan where GMO-free alfalfa is widely sought.

Will you please take a moment to sign a letter to your representative asking them to sign this letter to Secretary Vilsack. And if you really want to take part in food democracy today, take another moment to call their office, showing your strong opposition to GMO alfalfa.

FOOD DEMOCRACY COLLEAGUE LETTER

This is essentially the first time that a member of Congress has shown interest in championing an issue related to anti-GMO.  This is a crucial moment and it’s vital that we make our voices heard to our representatives and senators. We are counting on you today to sign your name and make the call.

Several senators and representatives have already signed, along with numerous non-profit organizations, businesses and companies to send a clear message to Congress saying “NO” to GMO alfalfa. We need your voice today – please join us. There may never be a better opportunity.

Thank you for participating in food democracy –

Dave, Lisa and The Food Democracy Now! Team

If you’d like to see Food Democracy Now!’s grassroots work continue, please consider donating. Every bit helps, whether it’s $5 or $50. We rely on the generosity of folks like you to keep us going. Thanks for all that YOU do!. We appreciate your support!

FDN ACTION KIT

Sources:

1. “Dear Colleague Letter, Join Bicameral Letter Asking USDA to Maintain Ban on Genetically Engineered Alfalfa”, Senator Pat Leahy, Representative Peter DeFazio, The National Organic Coalition.

www.nationalorganiccoalition.org/GMO/May2010CongressLetter.pdf

2. “Alfalfa, from Monsanto’s Lab to the Supreme Court” The American Prospect, April 26, 2010.

http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/148?akid=137.130476._fuRXq&t=15

3. “Roundup Ready alfalfa already impacting organic growers” Organic Seed Alliance website, May 25, 2010.

http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/149?akid=137.130476._fuRXq&t=18

4. “GE Alfalfa Before the Supreme Court” Organic Seed Alliance website, April 27, 2010.

http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/150?akid=137.130476._fuRXq&t=20

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Stuart in 80 Words or Less

Stuart is a celebrity chef, food activist and award-winning food writer. He penned the cookbooks Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico, No Sides Needed: 34 Recipes To Simplify Life and Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor." His recipes have been featured in Current, Lagniappe, Southern Tailgater, The Kitchen Hotline and on the Cooking Channel.

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Stuart’s Honors & Awards

2015 1st Place Luck of the Irish Cook-off
2015 4th Place Downtown Cajun Cook-off
2015 2nd Place Fins' Wings & Chili Cook-off
2014 2015 4th Place LA Gumbo Cook-off
2012 Taste Award nominee for best chef (web)
2012 Finalist in the Safeway Next Chef Contest
2011 Taste Award Nominee for Little Grill Big Flavor
2011, 12 Member: Council of Media Tastemakers
2011 Judge: 29th Chef's of the Coast Cook-off
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Wing Cook-off
2011 Cooking Channel Perfect 3 Recipe Finalist
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-off
2011 Culinary Hall of Fame Member
2010 Tasty Awards Judge
2010 Judge: Bayou La Batre Gumbo Cook-off
2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Award Nominee
2010 Chef2Chef Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2010 Denay's Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2009 2nd Place Bay Area Food Bank Chef Challenge
2008 Tava: Discovery Contest Runner-up

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