Margaret M. Wittenberg's Blog

August 18, 2013

trying sea vegetables

Sea vegetables are more prevalent in everyday diets than most people tend to image. Like sushi? You're eating nori. And you'll often find irish moss, also known as carrageenan, and sometimes agar, used as a thickener in commercial food production. One of the more mild tasting sea vegetables is arame and a featured ingredient in one of my husband's and my favorite recipes--arame roll, in which I cook it with onions and carrots, add in sesame tahini, and bake it within a whole grain pastry crust. You'll find the recipe on my website at
While the recipe calls for making the crust from a combination of whole wheat flour and unbleached white flour--a combination that is easier to use when getting used to making crusts with whole grain flour, I like to experiment with other flour combinations, as well. Most recently I made the crust with einkorn flour, spelt flour, and sprouted spelt flour--a choice I made simply because I had small amounts of them in my fridge and wanted to use up. Although a little trickier to make, the crust was outstanding. After trying the recipe first using the whole wheat and unbleached white flour combination, give other flour combinations a whirl, using my "Flours at a Glance" chart in my book as a guide.
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Published on August 18, 2013 13:42

August 10, 2013

There's more to life than white or brown rice

At any given time I have at least 20 different types of rice in my pantry, each unique in many ways. Which one I choose depends on the texture I am looking for--whether separate grains as through long grain rice, sticky as in short grain, or a happy medium between the two as in medium grain. And, just as important, are its flavor and color and even how much time I have to cook. Last night we had Kalinga Unoy a slightly nutty tasting heirloom rice that hails from the ancient rice terraces found in the rugged mountainous Cordillera region found in the northern part of the Philippines' Luzon Island. This beautiful rose-colored rice helped made a darn good looking plate along with the Black Valentine beans we cooked along with plenty of bok choy, carrots, and green beans, topped with a couple slices of avocado. I became aware of Kalinga Unoy and the six other equally amazing, very beautiful rice varieties just within the last couple years and they remain a permanent part of my pantry. Lightly milled, although still retaining much of their fiber and overall nutrition, they only take 25 minutes to cook--perfect for summer cooking! I buy it direct through the Eighth Wonder website at
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Published on August 10, 2013 12:05 Tags: cordillera-rice, medium-grain-rice, rice, the-essential-good-food-guide

May 28, 2013

Michael Pollan's new book, Cooked

I finished listening to Michael Pollan's new book, Cooked today. Ever since I experienced the differences between a cake made with baking powder and one without as part of a food demonstration I was assigned when I was a member of my local 4-H club at around age 11, I have been fascinated with basic everyday food science--that is, the getting deeper into how and why ingredients work singly and in combination with one another. Michael Pollan's new book, Cooked, was for me, then, a delight to read given it chronicles his experiences with learning about food, technique, and the science and artistry of it all. His enthusiasm and willingness to jump into subject areas in which he had little background helped humanize his subject from what could have otherwise delved into the academic. And, as always, his enjoyment in meeting the food artisans, learning from them, and experiencing mini apprenticeships in the various areas made it equally enjoyable for me as a reader.

His appreciation for and advocacy of having access to simple, naturally-derived foods remains, as in many of his previous books, an underlying theme in Cooked, as well. No wonder, then, that I enjoyed this book, given this is an underlying theme in my own books, too.

I highly recommend the audio version of Cooked. Michael Pollan narrates the book himself, doing an excellent job in the process.

Note to vegans and vegetarians--be aware that the book includes an extensive Pollan's exploration of whole pig barbecue techniques.
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Published on May 28, 2013 19:09