Phila. makes Food Day a 2-week affair

Posted: October 13, 2011

As a newly minted Ph.D., Michael Jacobson wrote leaflets for the first Earth Day in 1970. Now he's working on another nationwide celebration - Food Day.

The actual date is Oct. 24, but events here and across the country start Thursday.

While Earth Day focused attention on ways to reclaim our fresh air, clean water, and the Earth itself, Food Day is expected to shine a spotlight on hunger, obesity, food access, sustainable farming, nutrition, and home cooking.

There is not a singular, central national event planned for Oct. 24, but free programs that day are planned at the Chester County Food Bank in Downingtown; the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society at its pop-up garden at 20th and Market Streets; and at Widener University in Chester.

Jacobson, who founded and now runs the Center for Science in the Public Interest in Washington, says having a potluck supper at home that night would be perfect.

"I hope the events that come out of this will cross boundaries and get people together - the animal welfare people, and the antihunger people - to build on each other's strengths."

He's hoping, too, for a national discussion about food justice that will lead to a legislative agenda to:

Reduce diet-related disease by promoting safe, healthy foods.

Support sustainable farms and limit subsidies to big agribusiness.

Expand access to food and alleviate hunger.

Protect the environment and animals by reforming factory farms.

Promote health by curbing junk-food marketing to kids

Support fair conditions for food and farm workers

Philadelphia's two-week, citywide celebration begins Oct. 15 with the Hunting Park Fall Festival and Block Party. There's a new 11,000-square-foot community garden at the park, as well as a Saturday Farmers Market.

Other Philadelphia events, including volunteer opportunities, restaurant specials, honey tastings, and pie-making, are listed at and

Autumn Vegetable Curry

Makes 6 servings

1 large onion, coarsely


4 cloves garlic, peeled

Fresh ginger, 11/2-inch piece, peeled and thinly sliced

11/2 tablespoons yellow curry powder

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper,

   plus more to taste

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 cups low-sodium vegetable


1 cup light coconut milk

1 cinnamon stick

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground

   pepper, more to taste

1/2 head of cauliflower, bro-         ken into 11/2-inch wide

   florets (about 3 cups)

1 pound sweet potatoes,

   peeled, cut in 1-inch             cubes

2 large carrots, peeled, cut in 1-inch rounds

2 tomatoes, cored, chopped

Grated zest of 1 lime

2 tablespoons fresh lime          juice

A 15 ounce can of no-salt-

   added chickpeas, drained       and rinsed

5 cups baby spinach leaves

1/4 cup fresh cilantro

3 cups cooked brown rice          (optional)

1. Place the onion, garlic, ginger, curry powder, and cayenne pepper in a food processor and process to combine. Add the oil and process until a smooth puree is formed.

2. Transfer the curry puree to a large pot and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture begins to darken, about 5 minutes more. Add the vegetable broth, coconut milk, cinnamon stick, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the cauliflower, sweet potatoes, carrots, and tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low, cover, and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes.

3. Remove the cinnamon stick. Stir in the lime zest and juice, chickpeas, and spinach and cook until the spinach is wilted, about 5 minutes. Season with up to 3/4 teaspoon salt.

4. Garnish with cilantro and serve with rice.

- Adapted from Comfort Food Fix by Ellie KriegerPer serving: 380 calories, 11 grams protein, 67 grams carbohydrates, 8 grams fat, no cholesterol, 480 milligrams sodium, 11 grams dietary fiber.

Honey-Crisp Oven-Fried Chicken

Makes 6 servings

6 skinless, bone-in chicken

   thights (about 2 pounds)

2/3 cup low-fat buttermilk

4 cups whole-grain cereal


1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground

   black pepper

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Olive oil cooking spray

2 tablespoons honey

1. Place the chicken in a bowl with the buttermilk and turn to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours.

2. Place the cereal flakes in a food processor and process into crumbs (you should have about 1 cup of crumbs).

3. Transfer to a shallow dish and mix in the paprika, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper.

4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.

5. Remove chicken from buttermilk, shaking off excess buttermilk. Discard the remaining buttermilk.

6. Brush each piece of chicken with honey, then dip in the cereal crumbs; press hard so the crumbs adhere to the chicken. Place the coated chicken on the prepared baking sheet. Lightly spray the top of each chicken thigh with cooking spray.

7. Bake until the chicken is crisp and cooked through, 45 to 50 minutes.

- Adapted from Comfort Food Fix by Ellie KriegerPer serving: 330 calories, 34 grams protein, 34 grams carbohydrates, 7 grams fat, 126 milligrams cholesterol, 410 milligrams sodium, 4 grams dietary fiber.

Hot and Sour Salmon With Greens

Makes 6 servings

21/2 pounds baby bok choy

8 whole scallions, ends

   trimmed, cut into thin

   slices on the diagonal

1/4 cup fresh ginger cut into

   very thin julienne shreds

6 salmon steaks, about 6

   ounces each

3 cups cooked brown rice

For the dressing:

3 tablespoons reduced-

   sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons Chinese black

   vinegar or balsamic


2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1. Trim the tough outer leaves from the bok choy and discard. Rinse the stalks and leaves and drain. Cut the stalks in half lengthwise. Cut the halves diagonally into 2-inch sections.

2. In a bowl, toss the scallions and ginger with the bok choy sections. Arrange on a heatproof platter.

3. Mix the ingredients of the dressing and pour into a serving bowl.

4. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place the salmon steaks on top of the greens. Pour several inches of water into a roasting pan and heat until boiling. Carefully place the platter of salmon and vegetables on top of a rack or steamer tray in the roasting pan. Cover the top of the pan tightly with aluminum foil. Bake 7 to 9 minutes, or until the fish is cooked.

5. Serve the salmon from the heatproof platter or arrange the steamed vegetables and salmon on individualplates. Spoon the dressing on top and serve with brown rice.

- Adapted from A Spoonful of Ginger By Nina SimondsPer serving: 430 calories, 44 grams protein, 32 grams carbohydrates, 14 grams fat, 105 milligrams cholesterol, 480 milligrams sodium, 4 grams dietary fiber.

Spicy Garlic Broccoli With Pine Nuts

Makes 6 servings

11/2 pounds broccoli

1/4 cup pine nuts

11/2 teaspoons canola or corn oil

11/2 teaspoons toasted

   sesame oil

1 teaspoon hot chili paste or

   3/4 teaspoon crushed dried chilies

2 tablespoons minced garlic

21/2 tablespoons rice wine or

   sake, mixed with 2

   tablespoons water

For the sauce:

1 tablespoon reduced-

   sodium soy sauce

1 teaspoon sugar

1. Trim the ends of the broccoli, separate the florets, peel the outer skin of the stem and cut it on the diagonal into 1-inch lengths.

2. Toast the pine nuts until golden in a 300-degree oven, turning them occasionally so that they cook evenly for about 20 minutes.

3. Heat a wok or large skillet, add the oils, and heat until hot, about 20 seconds. Add the chili paste or crushed chilies and garlic, and stir-fry, tossing with a slotted spoon over medium heat until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Turn the heat to high. Add the stem sections of the broccoli and stir-fry. Pour in the rice wine and water and cook, tossing, about 30 seconds, then cover and cook about 11/2 to 2 minutes, until the stems are just tender. Add the florets and toss over high heat, cooking for about 1 to 11/2 minutes or until just tender.

4. Add the premixed sauce and toss lightly for 15 seconds. Add the toasted pine nuts and stir-fry a few seconds to combine the ingredients. Scoop the ingredients into a serving bowl and serve immediately.

- Adapted from A Spoonful of Ginger by Nina SimondsPer serving: 119 calories, 4 grams protein, 13 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams sugar, 7 grams fat, no cholesterol, 239 milligrams sodium, 3 grams dietary fiber.

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