Organic food – the art of living

Why do we eat organic foods?  How about hormone free, natural, non-genetically modified foods?  Is it really healthier?  Will we otherwise be poisoning ourselves?  Is it marketing genius?  Holistic culinary and eating trends?  If we only eat organic, does not mean that we need to become vegetarian too, and give up all refined carbs and glutens?  Is this Beverly Hills?

Personally, I love organic foods, in some capacity.  I do not buy only organic, I do not eat only organic, and I do not care if I get a little ‘dirt’ in my diet.  Everyone should have a little ‘dirt’ in their diets.  If they have nothing to fight, immune systems will weaken.  
Again, for me, it comes back to taste and quality of products, and what the products mean to our economy and environment   In my opinion, food categories like dairy and grains are in fact healthier and taste better when organic.  Organic diary, meats, poultry etc also imply other better practices that I advocate:  sustainability, free range farming, hormone free production, and a focus on local farming and green initiatives.  For these reasons, I again completely support the organic movement.  Food is more expensive, but it supports agricultural practices that stay true to nature.  Your body may not always know the difference, but your brain will, and peace of mind is equally healthy.  
For some people it doesn’t matter, and that’s perfectly okay.  Sometimes it’s good enough to be able to include fruits and vegetables into your diet without worrying or caring about organic and sustainable practices and benefits.  And that’s okay.  And many times it simply doesn’t matter.  Will an organic tomato taste different than a non-organic tomato?  It depends on a lot of things, but a summer vine ripened tomato, maybe treated with a little bit of pesticide or artificial fertilizer, will still be outrageously delicious, and healthy.  
Overall, no matter that literature you read, or who you talk with, it’s beyond argument that organic foods are healthier.  And eating organic sets your mind on a healthier path.  So if you’re not on the bandwagon yet, give it a try sometime.  Dairy, meats, grains, some vegetables, like leafy greens, really do actually taste better.  And as a chef, and someone who loves good food, that alone warrants a try.
Organic Farm Salad
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Yield: 4 portions
4 organic eggs
2 bunch organic yellow frissee, cut into bite sized pieces
1 bunch organic rocket arugula or baby spinach
1/2 organic red onion, julienne
1 organic carrot, thin slice
1 organic cucumber, thin slice
1/4 lb pancetta, cut into small dice
3 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
kosher salt
1 tsp organic honey
1 tsp excellent quality dijon mustard
black pepper
extra virgin olive oil
In a saute pan, slowly render the pancetta until very crisp, but not burned.  Remove the pancetta from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.  With the drippings still in the pan, whisk in mustard and honey.  Cook quickly over high heat, whisking continuously.  Let cool slightly.  Add the vinegar and season with salt and pepper.  Reserve in a warm place.
Wash and dry the lettuces, or wash and process through a salad spinner.  In a large mixing bowl, toss the greens with the cucumber, onion and carrot.  
In a couple of non-stick pans, slowly cook the eggs in olive oil sunny side up.  Season with salt and pepper.
Add a touch of vinegar and olive oil to the greens and lightly season with salt and pepper.  Add the warm vinaigrette to the greens and toss well.  Evenly distribute the greens in four bowls, and sprinkle the pancetta on top.  Slide one egg on top of each salad.  Season with a little more cracked black pepper.
Serve right away.

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