Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Organic Spanish rice, Australian beef, blue-fin tuna boycott

Moist, filling and delicious, and a great bread substitute: Organic brown rice with organic chicken stock, organic diced tomatoes, peeled garlic cloves and saffron.

Editor's note: Today, I discuss an easy recipe for organic Spanish rice, share an e-mail from a woman whose family raises beef in Australia, and urge you to boycott the annual blue-fin-tuna cutting demonstration at a Japanese supermarket.


Here is another easy electric rice-cooker recipe that requires you to do little more than measure, pour the ingredients into the appliance and plug it in.

I used three cups of organic brown rice, twice that in liquid (organic chicken stock or water), a can of organic diced tomatoes with their juices, a lot of peeled garlic cloves, a few ounces of extra-virgin olive oil, sea salt and a few threads of Spanish saffron.

Most of the ingredients came from Costco Wholesale.

Doubling the amount of liquid in relation to the rice results in a moist dish with creamy garlic cloves.

A few days later, after enjoying the rice for breakfast and dinner instead of bread, I prepared pretty much the same dish using organic quinoa and organic lentils, in addition to the liquid, diced tomatoes and garlic cloves.

Organic quinoa with organic diced tomatoes, organic lentils and garlic cloves, all from Costco. I served it for breakfast with a wedge of egg-white frittata made with chopped garlic, black olives and sun-dried tomatoes, and topped with Kirkland Signature Basil Pesto.

Grass-fed Nature's Reserve Australian beef pan fried with cabbage, sweet peppers, onions and garlic.

Australian beef in the U.S.

In recent years, I've noticed a subtle shift in the promotion of Australian beef that no longer mentions whether the cattle were raised without animal antibiotics, which some experts say are harmful to humans.

ShopRite Supermarkets, where I buy Nature's Reserve whole beef tenderloins for filet mignon, also has added another line of Australian beef, Clayton's Organic Beef.

Organic beef can't be raised with antibiotics, growth hormones or feed with GMOs.

Here is a note from Diane Carter, who is in the cattle business in Australia:
"Here are a few thoughts and facts about Australian beef.  
"My family have been in the cattle business in Australia for 100+ years. A lot has changed.  I won’t go into all the history but, over the last 5-10 years there has been a resurgence of grass-fed and finished beef.
"While the domestic market accounts for the largest share of Australia’s beef production, overseas markets are extremely important, often taking beef cuts that are not as popular with Australian consumers.  
"The USA is currently the biggest overseas market, having just overtaken Japan.  
"The USA takes large quantities of 'manufacturing' beef (read hamburgers), whereas Japan and South Korea, the next biggest, import a lot of prime cuts as well as steak for stir fry and hot pots.
"China is now emerging as a rapidly growing market for our beef.
"The question of antibiotics is a bit complicated.  
"Nature’s Reserve is not a single source supplier. They buy their meat from a large number of producers.  It is all grass fed and finished but they cannot always get enough supply to meet their demands by insisting on antibiotic-free meat.  
"Their suppliers generally will not be using antibiotics as growth promotants, but will treat individual animals when necessary.  
"You would have to go organic to be sure of being completely antibiotic free. Clayton’s, being organic, can make this claim.  
"As for kosher and halal, their meats would be like all others, i.e., if they are lot fed they will almost certainly have had antibiotics, grass fed may or may not, organic will not.
"I hope this sheds some light on the subject for you and your readers."

Time to boycott Mitsua tuna cutting

The giant blue-fin tuna is one of the most magnificent creatures in the sea, but it has been over-exploited for sushi and shashimi.

A few years ago, Mitsuwa Marketplace, the big Japanese supermarket in Edgewater was selling the prized belly meat for $60 a pound.

This fast-swimming fish is even being farmed to meet the demand from Japan and other countries.

Every year, Mitsuwa stages a two-day tuna cutting demonstration, where a small army of workers reduce previously frozen blue-fin tunas weighing hundreds of pounds into thousands of packages of raw fish.

The heads of the fish are usually put on display.

I have been boycotting the demonstration since 2010, and urge you to do the same this weekend.

Blue-fin tuna may be delicious, but the red flesh also contains an unusually large amount of harmful mercury.

Consumption by children and women of child-bearing age isn't recommended. 

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