Archive for ‘Review’

June 30, 2011

Amazing Grass Truly is Amazing!

I was lucky enough to attend a Whole Foods event recently here in New York, and in the process of discovering a great number of awesome people whose companies are dedicated to making our lives healthier from the inside out, I quite literally stumbled across Todd and Brandon from Amazing Grass.The company is based out of San Francisco but the grasses are all grown on an organic farm that has been part of Brandon’s family since the 1920′s.

Todd and Brandon in the Field

In general, it is not my style to eat a lot of supplements, or meal substitutes because my goal is to help all of us get back into the kitchen and reconnect with our food and ingredients. But it is undeniable that grasses, especially wheat grasses, are good for helping boost our immune systems and detoxify our bodies from some of the not so great things we put in it, thus giving us more energy and ability to fight off diseases, and yes, that’s a nutshell version. In their words:

Another beauty benefit of Amazing Grass GREEN SuperFood is its role in balancing pH and detoxifying. Many foods, the air we breathe, and the stress of our everyday lives creates acids in our body. The consumption of meat, dairy, fruit, and processed foods leave our body‟s pH in an acidic state, slowing metabolism and draining energy. Wheat Grass and many of the other greens in Amazing Grass GREEN SuperFood are alkaline, and they help neutralize acids and bring the pH top a healthier state.

“It is important to get out of an acidic state because the body retains water in the fat cells to help dilute these acids,” says Amazing Grass co-founder Todd Habermehl “By restoring alkalinity and neutralizing acid production your body can improve metabolism and its ability to defend against disease, irritation and illnesses that can effect beauty.”

Awesome, it’s going to help keep me clean on the inside and on the outside.

I tasted four of their grass drinks which come in both 8 oz tubs and individual packets and even the one that wasn’t flavored had a really nice clean green taste to it. I must admit that not only did it add pep to my step, I became more interested in drinking it, rather than the glass of wine I had in my hand.

The biggest surprise was this product:

Brandon said he developed as a way to get his 3-year-old daughter to drink GREEN SuperFood which also provides, fiber, probiotics and antioxidants. Even though the color of this was still a green brown (as it should be) when mixed with rice milk, and I swear this is true, tasted exactly like an orange creamsicle. Amazing Grass also has a whole line of whole food energy bars which have no added sugar, are raw, cold-processed, soy and dairy free as well as vegan.

We all get caught out without nutritious food in our day-to-day lives and carrying these bars and/or an individual packet of one of the many flavors of  GREEN SuperFood is a great way to make sure that you, even in moments of desperation, are able to put something good into your body, something that it will thank you for.

November 6, 2010

Cheddar Mac and Cheese with Cauliflower

As I was standing in the a grocery store today after Kung Fu caving to my love of Martin’s potato rolls which though produced almost locally, are also full of preservatives. There is a long list on the package that looks like this: Dough Conditioners (Sodium Stearoyl, Lactylate, Azodicarbonamide, etc.) I found myself staring at an elderly gentleman who was purchasing nothing but food products in bulk. By bulk I mean 12 cans of spam, 12 cans of sardines, 3 large containers of powdered lemonade, at least a dozen cans of Vienna sausages and an assortment of Campbell’s soups. By food product I mean there was not a single thing on the conveyor belt that wasn’t several steps away from a real whole food and nothing that remotely came from the dirt. I began to imagine all kinds of scenarios as to why he was choosing to eat nothing but canned goods. Maybe he wife died and he doesn’t know how to cook. Maybe he believes that canned good are safer to eat since they virtually never spoil. Maybe he is on a tight budget, except that his bill came to over three hundred dollars. Maybe he just doesn’t care anymore and eats only the things that he thinks of as treats.

All of this got me thinking about two things. People gripe all the time that it is more expensive to eat organic/local/sustainable, or even healthy, but this is not the case. The most difficult thing about making the choice to eat healthy is the paradigm shift. Choosing to eat less meat and more plants and grains necessitates not only learning new recipes but also learning about new foods, how they interact and shopping more often but also buying less. For those who argue about the sheer cost of eating healthy, Poor Girl Eats Well has a website dedicated to the busting of this myth, her website contains not only delicious healthy and cheap recipes but she also does a per serving cost breakdown.

I do think of Martin’s potato rolls as a treat and I would not likely make them for myself largely because I am a crap baker but also because the effort versus yield ratio isn’t high enough. I like potato bread, but not enough to spend hours making it for myself. Which leads to the reality that because we have handed over the creation of not only our treats to other people/factories/companies but our actual food itself, we are constantly at battle with our impulse control when choosing our meals, a battle that we as a nation are clearly losing.

Before I committed to fully changing my diet away from all processed foods, Mac and Cheese was one of those guilty treats that I made all the while convincing myself that it wasn’t that bad because I was adding canned tuna and peas to it, calling it White Trash Tuna Casserole. It occurred to me while standing in line, hoping that the gentleman’s story about his food choices was cheerier than anything I had imagined for him, that I had not only not made a homemade Mac and Cheese since my childhood but I honestly couldn’t remember the last time that I had eaten a homemade one at all, whether it be a restaurants or someone else’s. Imagine my delight when eat.live.travel.write’s recipe for Mac and Cheese with Cauliflower dropped into my Foodbuzz account and when Kitchen Heals Soul’s Duck Bacon Mac and Cheese showed up. Excuse me, but duck bacon may be the best thing that I have ever heard of. Eat.live.travel.write’s recipe is in fact taken from a Jaime Oliver recipe.  This recipe went over very well with lots of people. I particularly liked the sharpness of the cheddar with the sweetness of the cauliflower and the texture of the whole wheat pasta held up very well, no mush. Though the recipe calls for crème fraiche I made it with yogurt as well with good results and got all fancy and bought an orange cauliflower because I thought it was pretty. The recipe below is a double recipe, I found that the Mac and Cheese freezes and reheats very well with just a little chicken stock.

Cheddar Mac and Cheese with Cauliflower

1 medium head of cauliflower roughly chopped into small pieces

16 oz good sharp cheddar cheese aged at least a year, shredded

8 oz Parmesan shredded (save 2 ounces to put on top for the crust)

2 lbs whole wheat macaroni elbows

2 cups crème fraiche or yogurt

1 tablespoon medium ground black pepper.

Salt to taste

Turn the oven broiler on. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the pasta. While the pasta is cooking, cover the pasta pot with a metal mixing bowl and melt the cheese and crème fraiche together in your now improvised double boiler. The crème fraiche and cheddar will melt into a silky smooth sauce, if for some reason the sauce is thicker than desired just add a little pasta water or chicken stock. Add the chopped cauliflower to the pasta pot 2 minutes before the pasta is done. Once the pasta has finished cooking, drain the pot and put the pasta cauliflower mixture into the bowl with the cheese sauce and mix well. Pour the Mac and Cheese into a baking dish and top with the remaining parmesan. Broil until the cheese turns golden brown, about 5 minutes.

November 4, 2010

From The Mouth of Babes

I haven’t be able to write any snarky food show reviews because the only show that I’ve been able to watch with any regularity these days is The Next Iron Chef which is a show that I happen to love. I’ve even come over to the dark side of enjoying the ridiculous theatrics of dry ice and the bizarre personas of Alton Brown playing a slightly different version of himself and Mark Dacascos playing a bizarre stylized character based on the previous host. And unlike on Iron Chef America, I can’t complain about the judges on the show as that they are in general very qualified. Further more, the food produced on the show is nothing short of amazing, even the ‘losers’ food is probably delicious as well.

What I love about Slashfood’s interview above with Marco Canora is that he clears up a few questions that I had. Whispered in my ear from other people in the business was the information that the chefs on Iron Chef America are given a short list of three possible ingredients ahead of time so they can plan their angle of attack with their sous chefs. Marco Canora clears up the question about how real the hour they are given to cook is as well as to whether or not the chefs know ahead of time what the ‘secret’ ingredient is going to be. He also does some very classy dishing about Donatella Arpaia, who let’s be honest is begging in so many ways to be served up as a gossip aperitif. I must confess that I see Marco Canora at the Union Square Farmer’s Market often and his restaurant Hearth is right down the street from where I live and everytime I see him I find myself a little star struck as in I want to open my mouth and say something cool like, “I just want you to know that I really enjoy what you do with food.” or “Thank you for opening up Hearth and it’s sister wine bar Terrior, they were both much needed and are equally appreciated.” What happens instead is that my mouth opens, my heart races and I squeak. Classy, real classy.

September 20, 2010

Team Nom Nom Wins A Truck Stop, But Loses The Race

In the final episode of the 6 show season of The Great Food Truck Race, Team Grill ‘Em All and Team Nom Nom roll into New York City. For as many people are there always are on the streets of this overly stuffed city you would think that this would just be a speed race selling as much as possible as quickly as possible. But food trucks and street food are not exactly new ideas here in New York and the residents are just not as curious or impressed as they have been in other places, it being a city full of corner hotdog stands, fruit stands, pretzel and Halal carts. Both teams found themselves struggling more than they thought they would to get customers to actually stop and buy their food.

As a twist each team had to sell 500 dollars in each borough before they could move on to sell in Manhattan where they had to sell 1000 dollars. The team first the 1000 dollar mark then was to race to the top of the Flatiron building where Tyler Florence was waiting with either an envelope containing 50,000 dollars or an envelope containing nothing.

Team Nom Nom struggles from the beginning, parking themselves in front of Yankee stadium as a game is letting out. The problem with that idea as Team Nom Nom quickly realizes is that everyone leaving the stadium is already stuffed from eating during the game. Team Nom Nom falls quickly a borough behind Team Grill ‘Em All, and even takes TeamvGrill ‘Em All’s spot near Stan’s in the Bronx when the Grill ‘Em All truck drives off to Queens.

Team Grill ‘Em All is feeling pretty good and then the truck stop (challenge) comes. Each team has to make the other teams product to be tasted and judged by Nate Appleman of Pulino’s. While assembling their Banh Mi, Team Grill ‘Em All experiences a moment of clarity stating the reason that Team Nom Nom has been dominating is that their sandwich is so easy, because apparently a burger on the other hand is a far more complicated feat of culinary skill. Team Nom Nom creates an asian flavored burger and Nate Appleman declares that he likes the fact that Team Nom Nom went a little outside of the box with their burger and that Grill ‘Em All’s Banh Mi though good, was greasy.

Team Nom Nom wins the truck stop for the first time and the 500 dollars that they won for their till allows them to skip their last borough of Staten Island and start selling in Manhattan at the same time as Grill ‘Em All. Both trucks park near Union Square and the Flatiron building (to be closer to their last sprint) at which point it does become a speed race of selling as much as possible as quickly as possible. After lots of shots of Team Grill ‘Em All racing to the top of the Flatiron building they arrive at the top to see only Tyler Florence and even though they think they have won, it does occur to them that Team Nom Nom may have already been there and the envelope that Tyler is handing to them might be empty. But no, it isn’t and Grill ‘Em All wins 50,000 dollars and the Great Food Truck Race.

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