Food Blogging: Prep for Rome edition

So grocery shopping is a new political hot button in my neighborhood.  I'm at a loss as to what I should do in this case.  You see, I'm a loyal Whole Foods shopper.  A few days ago the check out guy asked everyone in like, "what is the most incredible thing you have seen with your own eyes."  Stuff like that, and the sushi bar endears me to this market, which is next door to my yoga studio and about 3 blocks away from my apartment. The problem that I am wrestling is the recent statement made by Whole Foods CEO John Mackey in the Wall Street Journal. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but what upsets me is the entitlement written in his statement.  That he disagrees with me on what should happen in health care is one thing.  While I have a Whole Foods in my neighborhood and can afford to shop there, this isn't the average, and it sure as hell is not the norm in probably 90% of the households and neighborhoods in this nation.  I find it offensive that the answer to his health care is:

Recent scientific and medical evidence shows that a diet consisting of foods that are plant-based, nutrient dense and low-fat will help prevent and often reverse most degenerative diseases that kill us and are expensive to treat.

Has he walked through a low-income neighborhood in this country lately?  Access to fresh, high quality affordable food is just not there.

My next problem is how do I react to this.  Is a boycott of this store the answer, or am I just perpetuating elitism in my community?  If enough of us liberals in my neighborhood stop going to the Whole Foods, will it actually impact John Mackey?  Likely the impact will come in the individual store's bottom line, which will result in smaller orders, and a leaner staff.  Assisting in putting people out of work isn't really the answer either.

So while I ponder the right action, I will leave you with this lovely recipe, made with ingredients from the union Safeway down the block.  This recipe comes from the Williams-Sonoma Rome cookbook I received as a shower gift.  Three and a half weeks til Destination: Rome Wedding!  Enjoy!

IMG_0022Conchiglie alla Caprese

  • 1 lb cherry, grape, or mixed small heirloom tomatoes (I went for the heirloom)
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces
  • 1/2 fresh mozzarella
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1 lb short pasta (I used rigatoni, but I might have liked conchiglie better)
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1 cup kalamata olives, pitted
  • red pepper flakes

Cut the tomatoes in half.  Place them into a bowl with the olive oil and basil, and let it sit out at room temperature.

Cut the mozzarella into small cubes, set aside.

Prepare the pasta according to the package directions.  Add 1 Tbs salt at the beginning, and cook until al dente.

Just before the pasta is done, add 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper to the tomatos.  When the pasta is finished, drain it, but not too dry.  Pour the tomato mixture over the pasta, add the capers, olives (and optional anchovies), and a sprinkle of the red pepper flakes.  Let the pasta cool for about 5 minutes.

Stir in the mozzarella and enjoy with a glass of white wine.

You can make this up to 2 hours in advance, but keep at room temperature.