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Rebecca Gerendasy
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Rebecca Gerendasy is an award-winning filmmaker and veteran video journalist. After 20 years at KTVU in San Francisco, Rebecca formed her own film company, Potter Productions, Inc., producing critically acclaimed work that emphasizes story at the heart of each project. In May of 2006 she co-founded Cooking Up a Story, one of the first online television shows dedicated to the subject of people, food, and sustainable living. Rebecca continues to bring the people behind our food to life, through stories and information that focus on agriculture, ecology, and the environment. Her work has been seen on Fox, CBS, NBC, Food Network, CNN, and others.

Entries by Rebecca Gerendasy

Annual Fermentation Festival Opens Up the World of Ferments (VIDEO)

(0) Comments | Posted April 11, 2014 | 11:02 AM

If you haven't yet heard, fermentation -- the process by which foods are partially broken down by living microorganisms -- is big!

Consider some of the more common ferments that many of us know and love: beer, wine, sauerkraut, bread, yogurt, and pickles -- all are ferments, and that just scratches the surface.

Many foods can be safely preserved for long periods of time only because they can be fermented. Not only that, science is beginning to catch up with nature in terms of our understanding of the important role that microbes play in human health. There are billions of microorganisms that live in our gut; their varied composition and number are now suspected to play a significant role in maintaining individual health.

Of course, food preservation and personal health are not the entire benefit package of eating fermented foods. The variety of ferments and their different individual tastes, are also a big reason for their growing popularity.

And that's where three local friends, Liz Crain, author of The Food Lover's Guide to Portland; David Barber, owner of Picklopolis; and George Winborn enter the picture. Since 2009, they have produced Portland's annual fermentation festival that celebrates the culinary wonders of fermented foods. The perennial festival is a National Geographic-like expedition of recognized and exotic ferments representing different food cultures. This event brings home fermenters, professional fermented food producers, and the general public together for a night of indulgent ferment tasting pleasure.

The fermentation festival is an opportunity for beginners to experience first-hand a variety of foods under one roof. Even more, it tastefully illustrates how the tiny world of microorganisms looms so incredibly large upon the culinary world -- and beyond.

Originally posted on Cooking Up a...

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Sourdough Starter: An Old Family Treasure (VIDEO)

(4) Comments | Posted April 3, 2014 | 2:11 PM

You might say Robert Jordan is the keeper of the flame by preserving the family's sourdough starter for so many years.

As Jordan explains in the video, his mother, Jean Rentz Jordan, who passed away in 2013 at the age of 88, had eaten pancakes as a child from this same sourdough starter. Though he is not able to verify the claim, it was family lore that the starter came from his grandmother during the Alaska Gold Rush of 1898.

This sourdough starter consists of flour and whole milk. The sour flavor is a result of the yeast and a certain type of bacteria (Lactobacillus) present in the air (or in the flour itself) that remain in balance with each other. Too great a population of yeast, and the bacteria are not able to reproduce, without which, there can be no sourdough style dough.

For those who want to begin their own starter from scratch, here are several recipes:

Sunset's Reliable Sourdough Starter (Sunset Magazine)

Basic Sourdough Starter (The San Francisco Exploratorium)

How to Make Your Own Sourdough Starter (the Kitchn)

Basic instructions for maintaining the sourdough starter, and creating the batter to make fresh pancake mix (as seen in the video) can be found on Cooking Up a...

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How to Make Authentic East Coast Bagels (VIDEO)

(0) Comments | Posted March 27, 2014 | 3:22 PM

Nicole Rees, a food scientist, and Lisa Bell, a former pastry chef, demonstrate how to make authentic, East Coast bagels from basic ingredients. One big advantage of making your own bagels at home is the freshness. Bagels are meant to be eaten almost right out of the oven.

For the accompanying recipe, please visit Cooking Up a...

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Trash Fish: Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (VIDEO)

(0) Comments | Posted March 13, 2014 | 12:41 PM

Portland, OR Four top chefs team up as part of a national Chefs Collaborative fundraising effort to raise public awareness of overfishing, and create demand for alternative fish species that are not presently at risk.

Fueled by heightened consumer demand, the larger, more popular fish are being overfished. The hope is, by creating desirable alternatives for less threatened "trash fish" (and other fish) lower on the food chain, this will help restore a more sustainable balance to fish population levels.

To read the entire post, visit Cooking Up a...

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Why Eating Trash Fish Is Good for Eaters, Fishermen and Ocean Fish (VIDEO)

(1) Comments | Posted March 6, 2014 | 11:58 AM

How do you change human behavior, a difficult proposition in itself, let alone when a big problem is largely invisible to the public eye?

When it comes to the problem of overfishing, Lyf Gildersleeve of Flying Fish Company, a sustainable seafood buyer and retailer, sees education as the key. As we see in this video, there are varieties of non-targeted, commercially caught (bycatch) fish, that are not generally known to the eater. By establishing a commercial demand for these "trash fish," it would help reduce the demand pressures on the most popular ocean fish that are being over-harvested.

2014-03-06-Lyf_Gildersleeve.jpg Gildersleeve shows three of the four "trash fish" (Ivory King Salmon, Pacific Skate, Wolf Eel) that will be used for a Portland Chefs Collaborative fundraiser event to raise public awareness of overfishing. At the dinner (video coming next Tuesday), guests taste a variety of "trash fish" dishes prepared by four renowned restaurant chefs, to demonstrate how each fish can look appealing on a plate, and also be delicious to eat.

As once a commercial fisherman himself, Mr. Gildersleeve understands the economic pressures small commercial fisherman face. If more eaters become aware of these lesser known fish, adding additional species of fish to the commercial mix can also help strengthen the viability of these fisherman who rely upon the local marine environment to provide for their economic sustenance.

We have long been advised to eat more fish; perhaps it's time, to eat more kinds of fish, too.

These are the 10 most consumed fish species, in order of quantities consumed*

Canned Tuna

*National Marine Fisheries Service; 2012 figures.

Additional Resources:

The Monterey Aquarium Seafood Watch Program Buyer's Guide offers a comprehensive list of commercially available fish species to avoid eating entirely, along with a list of more sustainable alternatives.
A Sea Change (The Pew Charitable Trusts, 11-2013)

Originally posted on Cooking Up a...

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Experiencing Pastured Pig to Plate First Hand (VIDEO)

(0) Comments | Posted February 19, 2014 | 1:08 PM

2014-02-19-KBhosespigs2.jpg As a food writer, and blogger, Kathleen Bauer prefers to write from first-hand experience. The idea came to her after responding to an offer from a farmer to purchase half a pastured pig. After agreeing to the purchase from Clare...

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Record Number of Fall Chinook Pass Through Bonneville Dam (VIDEO)

(3) Comments | Posted October 23, 2013 | 3:09 PM

Cascade Locks, OR - 2013 marks a record year for the Chinook (King) salmon runs on the Columbia River. Over 1 million salmon have passed through the Bonneville Dam located near the mouth of the Columbia River. Historically, the Fall Chinook run is the biggest single run of the year...

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An Urban Farmer in the City (video)

(0) Comments | Posted September 11, 2013 | 2:28 PM

Portland, OR Throughout her young adult life, Amanda Morse has worked entirely in the nonprofit food sector. In college, she designed an interdisciplinary major in sustainable food systems. She worked 2 years in a youth garden project for Americorps, and 4 years in education with Food Bank, also running one...

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An Expert Explains the Maps of the Ogallala Aquifer of the Texas High Plains

(0) Comments | Posted September 5, 2013 | 1:42 PM

Lubbock, TX - In this video, Lucia Barbato, of the Texas Tech University Center for Geospatial Technology, explains the various maps of the Texas High Plains region. The Ogallala Aquifer was formed millions of years ago, and no longer has an effective recharge capacity in this region. This...

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Jo Robinson: Eating on the Wild Side (VIDEO)

(0) Comments | Posted August 7, 2013 | 1:12 PM

Jo Robinson's new book Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health takes careful measure of the last 15 years of scientific research in the fields involving food and nutrition-- tens of thousands of individual studies, and boils them down into a sizable number of...

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Smoked Squash Rockefeller and Horseradish Bacon-wrapped Grilled Shrimp (VIDEO)

(0) Comments | Posted June 27, 2013 | 11:56 AM

2013-06-27-Jeffatweber.jpg Something a little different for this summer's outdoor cooking fun! Jeff Stehney, owner of Kansas City's Oklahoma Joe's BBQ restaurant, and the legendary barbecue competition cook of Slaughterhouse Five, demonstrates how to barbecue Smoked Squash Rockefeller and Horseradish Bacon-wrapped...

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A Young Oregon Winemaker (VIDEO)

(0) Comments | Posted June 17, 2013 | 1:34 PM

McMinnville, Oregon Remy Drabkin grew up in a community where exciting new winemakers were helping to shape the nascent wine industry in Oregon. Her first job at age 13 was working the harvest for one of the Oregon pioneers, Ponzi Vineyards. Remy always knew that she wanted...

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An Interview With Deborah Madison: Vegetable Literacy

(0) Comments | Posted June 11, 2013 | 1:17 PM

Veteran food author Deborah Madison's new cookbook Vegetable Literacy draws inspiration for its recipes directly from the garden. Growing a variety of one's own plants in a food garden, and witnessing what they look like through their various stages of growth provides distinct advantages in the kitchen. "Because...

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The Art of Blending Wines: From Barrel to Bottle (VIDEO)

(0) Comments | Posted June 3, 2013 | 11:51 AM

2013-06-03-BlendingHuffPo.jpg Newberg, Oregon For James Frey, owner and co-winemaker at Trisaetum Winery, Vineyards, and Gallery, the art of winemaking is quite literally another art form that he endeavors to perfect.

Both in his paintings that line the walls of...

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Learn about the Oldest Pinot Noir Vines in Willamette Valley (VIDEO)

(0) Comments | Posted May 28, 2013 | 6:06 PM

Dundee, Oregon. David Lett may not have single-handedly put Oregon wine on the world map when he began planting the first Pinot Noir grapes at Eyrie Vineyards, but he was certainly one of its earliest, most prescient, winemaking crusaders that helped establish the wine industry in...

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Symphony of the Soil: An Interview with Deborah Koons Garcia

(0) Comments | Posted May 13, 2013 | 12:29 PM

Deborah Koons Garcia's exceptional new film, Symphony of the Soil, pays loving homage to the beauty and the wondrous mystery of soil, celebrating not just the incredible soil diversity filmed on four of the world's continents, it also rejoices in the knowledge of leading scientists, and farmers whose...

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Widespread Obesity: Are Certain Chemicals Also a Big Contributor? (videos)

(1) Comments | Posted April 29, 2013 | 12:28 PM

In part 1 of this interview, Dr. Susan Katz, a retired pediatrician, biochemist, and present Chair of the Environmental Health Work Group of the Oregon's Physicians For Social Responsibility(PSR) talks about some of the new research on "obesogens", the specific class of chemicals that appear to promote weight...

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Made in America: SakéOne Premium Saké (video)

(0) Comments | Posted April 5, 2013 | 12:48 PM

Forest Grove, Oregon - Believed to have originated in Japan around 300 B.C., saké is an aromatic, flavorful, and smooth tasting drink that is made from fermented rice. If you have never before tasted saké, Greg Lorenz suggests you imagine a gin and tonic drink mixed with riesling wine-- at...

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For the Love of Cheese: An Urban Goat Farm (VIDEO)

(0) Comments | Posted March 27, 2013 | 2:59 PM

Portland, Oregon Ed Arcement and his wife Nancy love cheese. Indeed, their mutual enthusiasm for this processed food is why, in 2005, they chose to attend a national goat show in Spokane, Washington. They found themselves suddenly bidding on a particular goat, and as Ed explains during the interview, the...

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Designing a Sustainable Aquaponics System: An Inventor's Touch (video)

(0) Comments | Posted March 15, 2013 | 1:00 PM

Newberg, Oregon - One of the key strengths behind a sustainable aquaponics system--the growing of fish and plants together within a mutually supporting system--is the notion of increasing natural efficiencies. The fish waste is recycled through the roots of growing plants to provide the nutrients for the plants to properly...

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