These easy-to-make, well-loved skewers are the perfect appetizers for a summer party or barbeque. They can be assembled ahead of time in mere minutes and present beautifully with the rich colors of the cherry tomatoes and basil.
It’s worth listening to Krista Tippett’s interview with Dan Barber for the most recent episode of On Being. Barber is a gourmet chef whose upstate New York restaurant, Blue Hill at Stone Barns, highlights the unique flavors of the fresh produce grown on site.
Barber’s perspective on food issues is one that is frequently overlooked. While Michael Pollan most often laments the environmental consequences of factory farming and Mark Bittman emphasizes the health benefits of vegetable consumption, Barber brings a taste-first perspective to the food movement. While he nods to the social and environmental benefits of high-quality produce, Barber cares most about flavor.
Golden beets tend to have a more delicate and less earthy flavor than the traditional red beets, making them the perfect star of a beetza. The combination of roasted beets, goat cheese, shallots, and honey on whole wheat crust makes a wonderfully light and flavorful main dish. And don't waste those beet greens - a quick blanch makes them beetza-topping ready.
Eric Schlosser's Washington Post article about food movement elitism is getting a lot of attention from my food conscious friends. Schlosser's article restates many of the food movement's strongest arguments in favor of changing the food system, but he most directly confronts the charges of elitism in the article's conclusion:
Calling these efforts elitist renders the word meaningless. The wealthy will always eat well. It is the poor and working people who need a new, sustainable food system more than anyone else. They live in the most polluted neighborhoods. They are exposed to the worst toxic chemicals on the job. They are sold the unhealthiest foods and can least afford the medical problems that result.
A food system based on poverty and exploitation will never be sustainable.
Schlosser is right to argue that many of the consequences of the food movement are borne by the those without money, but I think he fails to confront the essence of the charge of elitism.
If you'll allow me a plug, you will more direct rebuttle to the charges of elitism in Jesse's "Food for Everyone" post. Snobs exist everywhere, but the foodies I know are more interested in a rennessance of simple cooking with fresh ingredients, particularly vegetables. Alice Waters' cookbook is called The Art of Simple Cooking, and it's my sense that the food movement's core ethos is simplicity, not snobbery.