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Dija Know… Joe’s Restaurant Newsletter -88 May 2013

Lester Cisneros is a tornado of creativity in Joe’s kitchen.  Recently joining the team as executive chef he, along with other duties, is creating new dishes and specials.  Some of you may have already sampled his beautifully plated dishes.   If the last several weeks are any preview, a formidable team has emerged – Roland’s lifetime of experience as guiding force and Lester with unbridled enthusiasm and utter love of cooking.  As fast as the farmers can deliver, these two are turning local products into healthy spectacular new dishes.  Cooking has taken Lester all over the globe as well as into several Santa Fe kitchens, Geronimo and Santacafe being just two.  Along with small improvements (like cotton napkins all day long now not just at dinner), you will see and feel energetic forward movement at Joe’s, always honoring and emphasizing locally-grown products.

 

Please reserve early for our Mothers’ Day Special 3 course Prix Fixe Menu.  At 19.99 per person, it will be a busy day.  Ask to see the menu.

 

Do you like Pouilly-Fuissé?  I love it!  And with the advent of warmer weather it reminds me of my introduction to this elegant wine. Hot August 1977 Washington DC on a Kennedy Center dark day (a day when there is no performance, our day off), friends and I wandered into one of those mahogany paneled restaurants near the White House.  It was probably some famous restaurant but I was too young and stupid to know that then.  I ordered baked Brie with almonds and a chilly glass of Pouilly-Fuissé. Oh my!  Pure heaven.  That is one of my etched memories.  Joe’s now has Louis Jadot’s Pouilly-Fuissé available for a short time by the bottle.  It pairs rather exquisitely with salmon, seafood, creamy mushroom pasta and of course baked Brie!  Create your own memory.
Tomayto, tomawto – however you choose to say it, they are not very good right now.  And until our own luscious local tomatoes are available, you won’t see many fresh tomatoes on our dishes.

 

Nothing in our shared experience on this planet has prepared us for the global and cataclysmic effects of genetic engineering.  I address only food.  Trumping all other food supply issues is the subject of genetically modified food. It’s a genie that cannot be put back into the bottle.  When first I was alerted to and started writing about GMO, I felt a little lonely.  Now, 4 years later, it is a household word!  Information abounds.  Disturbing results are emerging from tracking generations of animals fed GM feeds.  The sad story of Indian farmers, whose livelihood has been destroyed by planting Biotech seed, is being reported.  Whole Foods (previously not one of my favorites for their lack of buying local) has the clout to, and will require GM content in food be labeled within 5 years.  Voices like Michael Pollan (Omnivore’s Dilemma, Cooked), Joel Salatin (Folks This Ain’t Normal and owner of Polyface Farms), Jeffrey Smith (Seeds of Deception, Genetic Roulette) and so many other articulate advocates are speaking out against Monsanto and biotech food. Despite neither CA nor NM passing a labeling bill, work goes on at grass roots levels that will ultimately enable or force the USA to join 64 other countries in either banning GM content or at least requiring GMO to be labeled.  In the US as much as 90% of corn, soy, sugar beets, cotton and canola is GMO. Can you see how that impacts processed foods in your average grocery store or corporate food outlet? Almost nothing is exempt.

Well, except locally grown foods when you know your grower (KYG)!  That is our relatively safe haven.  Why do I say relatively?  Because, even if your favorite farmers avoid GMO seed, perhaps their neighbors do not.  That is the insidious nature of this beast.  Seeds fly in the wind.  Birds carry seed.  There is no assurance that even an “organic” field of corn has not been contaminated with GMO seed!  The ultimate insult to a vegetarian – how do you know you are not eating a beef gene in your carrot?

Besides KYG (Know your grower) what else can the average non-activist do?   Monsanto has become the symbol for genetic engineering.  Avoid their products – seeds sold by biotech friendly companies (see newsletter #84), Round-up and other Monsanto products.  When food shopping, ask your grocer when they are going to demand GMO labeling.   And because eating out is a way of life for most of us these days, choose restaurants that cook from scratch and who buy local foods.  I know it can be difficult in our current economy.  Real whole clean local food is more expensive than corporate industrialized “food-like products”.  But as I have said before, you either pay at one end of your life (buying good unmessed-with food) or at the other (with prescriptions, surgeries and debility).   I paraphrase from Michael Pollan here – They (food corporations) buy the cheapest possible raw ingredients.  They dress it up with lots of additives, salt, fat and sugar – they have to because it was cooked so long ago and so far away.  Darden and Yum brands are two of the biggest food corporations.  Darden is Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Long Horn and Yum is Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut.  McDonald’s is it’s own corporation and there are others.  They are so powerful and ubiquitous they have changed the way America grows food, views food and the way America eats food.

All that said, being against something does not change it.  Being for something does.  Monsanto after all, is comprised of people too.  Aunts, brothers, babies, moms, nephews – all subject to the same environmental assaults as we all are.  Will Monsanto as a corporation ever see that profit is not everything?  I doubt it.  But the individuals that make up Monsanto will.

As individuals we can each do a little with our daily choices.  Collectively it all adds up.  Awareness is the first step.

Note:  An unfortunate recent set-back – I quote here from EarthTalk®: The Monsanto Protection Act   May 4, 2013  “ Dear EarthTalk: What is the Monsanto Protection Act and why are environmentalists so upset about it? — Rita Redstone, Milwaukee, WI
The so-called Monsanto Protection Act is actually a provision (..Section 735) within .. Congressional spending bill, H.R. 933, which exempts biotech companies from litigation in regard to the making, selling and distribution of genetically engineered (GE) seeds and plants.  President Obama signed the bill .. into law in March 2013 much to the dismay of environmentalists. It means that Monsanto and other companies that supply the majority of the nation’s crop seeds can continue to produce GE products regardless of any potential court orders stating otherwise. Opponents of GE foods believe that giving such companies a free reign over the production of such potentially dangerous organisms regardless of judicial challenge is a bad idea—especially given how little we still know about the biological and ecological implications of widespread use of GE crops.”


Full circle.  Roland is running his good old GMC Sierra diesel truck on recycled cooking oil. Tejinder from Reunity Resources comes to Joe’s kitchen door twice a month to take all our used fry oil.  He does something magic to it and voila, it’s perfectly good bio diesel fuel! You can reach Tejinder at (505) 629-0836.

How to make fresh mozzarella.  Roland has been dubbed the “mozzarella king” here in Santa Fe.  He’s been making fresh mozz since the mid 90’s and truly there is nothing like this fresh, never refrigerated fiore di latte!  How does he do it?  Coming soon to a U-Tube near you – Roland and co-star Miss Blabbermouth (yours truly) will soon put the whole hour-long video on U-Tube.  We’ll keep you updated because you sure don’t want to miss it.  LOL!!

Why is locally grown food so very important to Joe’s?  Why do we keep hammering on this “buy local” theme?

There are many factors that are out of our hands when it comes to our food supply.  Most of what ends up on the American dinner table derives from a shockingly few giant agribusinesses.  Their influence reaches from designing the (GMO) seeds to planting, harvesting,

processing and shipping. We as consumers cannot with confidence hand over the entire stewardship of our food to these few multinationals. Our passion here at Joe’s is for a local sustainable food supply – food produced by growers who are accountable for what they grow.  KYG – Know Your Grower.  We are able to look our local farmer in the eye and ask him about his growing practices or even visit his operation. This gives us the confidence that we are eating food that is healthy,

wholesome, non-genetically engineered, often better than organic, humanely treated and minimally processed.  It is grown with a smaller energy-use footprint and transported short distances. We cannot divorce human

health, the economy, ecology, personal (perhaps spiritual) satisfaction or honorable work from food.

Food is fundamental. What we eat, where it comes from, the stewardship of food animals, the nurturing and building of soils – all these factors affect us at a cellular and visceral level … whether we slow down enough to be aware of it or not. We are fortunate in Santa Fe to have a dedicated farm base producing a wonderful array of goods.  Here at Joe’s we do our best to offer this bounty to you, keeping dollars in the community.  In the interest of transparency, in 2008 Joe’s spent $30,000 on local foods.  In 2009 that increased to $60,000.  And for 2012 we exceeded $100,000.  During the growing season as much as 95% of our menu is locally sourced.
Land, economy, health – inseparable.

Here are some of the farmers/ranchers we have developed long-standing partnerships with – Monte Vista Organics (Dave and Loretta), Camino de Paz Farm & School (Greg & Patty), Shepherd’s Lamb (Antonio and Molly), La Mont’s Buffalo (Monte and Lana), Green Tractor Farms (Tom and Mary), Synergia Ranch (Mark), South Mountain Dairy, La Montanita Co-Op, Matt Romero Farms, Sweetgrass Co-Op.

 
♥ Joe’s hand-made French chocolate truffles.  They are close to divine@$1.99.  Or get 6 for for the price of 5 — $9.95.
Joe’s “frequent diner” or gift card – when you purchase $100 gift card with cash or check, get a $10 card free!
                                  Quoteworthy:
Imagination is everything.  It is the key to
coming  attractions.              – Albert Einstein

Joe’s
2801 Rodeo Rd (at Zia Rd) Santa Fe, NM   87507
505-471-3800       www.JoesDining.com
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