Episode 28 :: Tomato Harvest

Now that Fall’s in full gear, the tomato season is winding down to a close.  No better time than now to make the classic Italian Caprese Salad, but with a twist.  We roast the tomatoes with a little olive oil and sea salt, and serve them over fresh mozzarella.  Roasting them brings out the inherent sweetness of the tomatoes, making them a perfect compliment to the cheese.  View step-by-step photos at http://zerofaceproject.blogspot.com

Also in this episode:
• Congratulations to Jessica, winner of our Halloween Horror Movie Quote Game
• Proposition 2 passes in California, changing the treatment of farm animals
• An open letter about the state of our food from David Chang
Double Wide IPA from Boulevard Brewing (courtesy of Groucho @ The Beer Report)
• Two reports concerning food exports from China, and the hazards that continue (courtesy of CNN)
• Jamie Oliver’s Fowl Dinners – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCBtkVSk3OU
Hop Juice from Left Coast Brewing
• Top Chef Season 5 debuts this week
• Alton Brown on how food relates to race & class (courtesy of Serious Eats)

Listen to Episode 28 here.

View photos from this episode here.

Music from George Clinton and m-seven.  Buy both songs from the iTunes Store.

Thank you for your continued support of My Life as a Foodie.


  1. Check this out Phil. When you first mentioned Hop Juice I thought I have had it but the Left Coast thing threw me. Here is why.



  2. Phil, great to have you back in true foodie form after your brief Halloween stint. First, I love caprese salad. Nothing takes me back to Italy like caprese salad and steamed muscles. It was the first thing I’d order when we’d get off the train in Sorento – my favorite get away from Naples (Napolis).

    Sorry I was such a wimp when it came to the baby chicks… had to skip that segment. When I heard them chirping, I just couldn’t go on. I understand why you put that segment in and it was powerful. I’m not turned off to eating meat, humans are meat eating machines, but I am definitely against animal cruelty of any form. I’m glad proposition 2 passed.

    The beers sounded fantastic. I sort of ruined my Double Wide experience by drinking an Avery beer right before it. It muted the experience. You were right to dive into that beer first. I know my compadres Dick and Mike went wild over it.

    Nice job with the food pr0n. The Iron Chef quote “it was so mild, or feminine you might say, but after I kept it in my mouth longer, it became masculine” had me in stitches. “Ummm, I like that.”

    Sorry to hear you’re backing off on production (for us!) but you need to keep it fresh for you!

  3. Thanks for the comments, guys. JeffreyT, I think that Hop Juice was the one I’d heard so much about from Groucho and you as well. I take it that beer is pretty decent as well. That’s when Groucho said “The Hop Juice is loose!”

    Sorry again about the sensitive subject matter, Rick. I knew that was a hit or miss item to bring to the table, but I felt it was important to talk about it, especially since Proposition 2 is so fresh in everyone’s minds. As I said before, there’s a heavy price to pay for those Value Menu items we see every day. I just don’t think people are aware how steep that price really is.

    Thanks for your comments on my food pr0n. I’m trying my best to get better at food photography. It’s one thing I want to concentrate on in 2009. Less podcasting, more photography, and more writing. I really enjoy reading Michael Ruhlman’s stuff, and I’d like to write more like him.

    That Iron Chef episode was my favorite. I don’t know what the original Japanese judges are saying, but almost every time they say stuff like “It feels so good in my mouth.” HOW am I expected to pass that up? If there’s a sexual innuendo there, I’m taking it.

  4. How do you not have more comments on this show??? It was great. It was better put together than most network exposes! Brilliant job of informing the public about China and our imports.

    Now… You have literally scared the Hell out of me! I am afraid to look in my pantry at a can of mushrooms! The Wife just plugged her ears when I started to give her some of the facts I learned on your show!

    This will certainly make grocery shopping more interesting in the future!

  5. Serious vegan food porn, Phil. Great show again.

  6. Some thoughts on a few of the topics you covered:

    Food Crisis: I work in Food Manufacturing, in a large bakery that produces a number of breads for Canada’s largest food retailer —- mainly baguettes (authentic French ones made with flour brought in from France, even scored with knives that are imported from France as well) that are distributed nation-wide… and I’ve got to say, the wheat shortage has us scared. The rise in production costs inevitably will bring about a price increase for the consumer, and with that, uncertainty in sales, impending layoffs, possible shutdown time, etc.. It’s not the greatest time to be involved in the bread industry, or the food industry in general for that matter! People figure, in the midst of a recession, the bread factory is the last to go; everybody needs bread! True, but when we’re all living out of cardboard boxes, eating mayonnaise sandwiches, I’ll bet you that last shiny penny they won’t be on French baguettes!

    Lack of Sufficient Regulatory System in Chinese Manufacturing: This makes me think of a conversation I had a couple years ago with a hygiene-tester I’d called in to give a second opinion on some noise and air quality testing done at our plant. He’d recently returned from a trip to China where he’d visited several factories and was alarmed at the disturbing conditions he saw there. I’m not sure what sorts of goods they produced, but these plants were filthy and the poor working conditions were unlike anything one could imagine. He said he went into the back room of one plant, and there was a human body that’d been tossed there until somebody could get around to disposing of it… ack! I think of the effort we put out ensure that we at all times comply with food regulations and standards such as those of the American Institute of Baking’s, and it makes me rest easier to assume others in the industry hold themselves to similar principals. But if we’re bringing in food from places like China, that assumption can’t be made. We really have no idea what we’re eating. A few weeks ago, the company I work sold off a very large dairy company that we’ve owned since the late 40s. I’m wondering if it had anything to do with public reaction to this melamine scandal, or perhaps it’s fears surrounding the high risk of bacterial contamination that goes along with dairy production following a recent high-profile listeriosis outbreak linked to a Canadian meat plant, or maybe it was for different reasons entirely. I’m just speculating.

    And to go along with this episode’s theme, another fun fact: I was actually born in the Tomato Capital of Canada: the city of Leamington, Ontario, full of tomato fields and a big Heinz plant. Unless you’re Canadian or a hardcore hockey fan, you’ve probably never heard of Stompin’ Tom Connors (“The Hockey Song”), but he wrote a song called “The Ketchup Song” that goes “And so this guy from PEI they used to call Potato, he’s got 2 boys and a little girl: 2 spuds and one tomato… They romp and run around Leamington and boy when they get hungry, the bottle drips all over the chips way down in the ketchup country”. I smile everytime I hear the song. Little bit of birthplace pride, I guess?

    P.S.: I hadn’t heard of either of those podcasts either.

    P.P.S.: I didn’t comment on the Hallowe’en episode, but I did mean to tell you great work on that jack-o-lantern!

  7. The Chinese food situation is out of control. I had no idea how bad it really was. This is an example of why I’m curious about the execution of an FDA official last year. Do you remember this story?


    Was he actually the problem, was he an example of what they’ll do to stop the problem? They have a history of that you know. Or was he just some top-level chump who bought the bullet so that they could claim they had solved the problem?

    He was convicted of taking bribes to approve substandard and outright adultrated products. The problem, of course, goes deeper than mere bribe taking but bribery is a part of the overall problem.

    My question to you is, what are we supposed to do?

  8. Thanks for your comments again, everyone.

    Lambda, thanks for a link to that story. I had not read that before and it’s frightening. Not surprising, however. Regarding your last question, I think it’s clear what we’re supposed to do. What I’ve been saying all along here is that we need to give serious thought to where we buy our food. It’s why I’m such a heavy proponent of the idea of buying as much of what you eat at your local Farmer’s Market, or at reputable markets like Whole Foods, etc. If your food says “Made in (place country here)” you shouldn’t take a chance of putting it into your body. And do your best to shop the outside aisles of the grocery store, save for pasta, flour, sugar, coffee, etc.

    Jen, that was a horrible story to hear, but I want to thank you for telling it. Again, no surprise that something like that happens in a country like China, who isn’t regulated. I could give a rat’s ass about Communism or anything else they do in their own country, but when their filthy habits end up on American dinner tables – forget about it. Again I say (and I’ll say it until I’m blue in the face) LOCAL FARMERS MARKET. Thanks for sharing your story, and I hope things get better soon for you and the rest of us. You must be in heaven, working around all of that awesome bread, though. 🙂

    And finally, Groucho – thanks again for your support and kind words. I don’t know why there aren’t more comments here, but I’m finding that a lot of people don’t have time to comment, but they are listening. My numbers are better than ever, and as long as people are listening, that’s all that matters to me. I do appreciate the comments from everyone, anytime. And I’m sorry to scare you about the China stuff, but if we don’t talk about it, there’s no discussion about the issues. The chicken thing – I don’t know, it’s just sad to find that animals are being treated this way. I say a lack of respect for your food (living or dead) is a lack of respect for yourself, because you’re putting that into your body.

    Cheers everyone. Thanks again.

  9. Hey Phil, I finally got a chance to watch all of the Jamie Oliver videos. Very interesting to see the process.

    In South Africa they use different types of chickens raised for meat or eggs. In the meat breeds it is both male and female that get eaten. In the egg breeds the males are sold cheaply to the informal market to raise as meat birds, these type have a much slower growth rate than the meat birds. I guess in a developed nation like USA it may not be economically viable to raise a egg breed male.

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