Archive for category You Are What You Eat
We are in a nostalgic time of year. Acorns have fallen. Hickory nuts are begging to drop. Leaves swirling. Savory soups. Heavenly cinnamon-baked goodies baking in the oven with their beckoning scent wafting in the air.
Are you ever sentimental about certain foods? We are tied to our pasts. Foods have strong connections for us.
As a child, I remember my mother having a stack of vintage cooking pamphlets. Only, they weren’t vintage then. They were just “old.” They came in all types of topics: cooking with aluminum foil, cooking with Diamond almonds, oh, and yes, many of ours had covers that boasted gelatin molds of various concoctions: fruits, meats, and vegetables. Others were filled with page after page of margarine, shortening and ingredients unknown to me with recipes with otherworldly names such as bone marrow on toast.
Vintage cooking pamphlets provide a culinary stroll down memory lane.
As the air turns to crisp and ovens are heating up around the country, now is the time to pull out and dust off your own vintage cooking pamphlets. Raid your mothers or grandmothers cabinets. Not finding any? Do what I do and search out a local used bookstore. Head to the cookbook section and look around. I guarantee you will find them. They’re inexpensive, too. Mine are a quarter each.
Not all have strange and unheard of ingredients. Not all have shortening-laded ingredients. Many of these gems have wonderful comfort foods and forgotten dishes that have fallen out of style.
Here’s an example. This recipe book comes from Chiquita Banana and it is filled to the brim with recipes featuring the humble banana. It was a revelation!
4 firm bananas (use all-yellow or slightly green-tipped bananas)
1 ½ tablespoons melted butter (or margarine)
Peel bananas. Place into well-greased baking dish. Brush well with butter or margarine and sprinkle lightly with salt. Bake in a moderate oven (375 degrees) 15 to 18 minutes, or until bananas are tender… easily pierced with a fork. Serve hot as a vegetable, or as a dessert with cream, syrup or a hot fruit sauce. Important: When browning is desired, place the baked bananas under broiler heat for 1 to 2 minutes.
See what I mean?
Serve hot as a vegetable? Would you have thought of that? Me? No way. And that is exactly why I am obsessed with vintage cooking pamphlets and their unexpected offerings.
These days as you browse blogs, subscribe to newsletters and purchase the latest cookbooks, are you finding the same recipes repeated again and again? That’s one of the joys of these little inexpensive gems. They are a breath of fresh air.
Try something new by going with the old.
Please check out Lyndi’s popular food blog NWA Foodie!
This isn’t your first rodeo. You already know that homemade chicken broth outshines canned or boxed every time.
There is nothing like reaching in and tenderly pulling a chicken out of the oven or opening a crock pot lid and viewing the glistening sparkle of deep, rich, bountiful broth.
Want to take your broth-making to the next level?
Instead of filing a large pot or slow-cooker to the brim and adding a whole fryer chicken, may I suggest leaving out the water?
The other day I was baking chicken for use in recreating Whole Food’s chicken tortilla soup. I purchased cut-up fryer pieces and baked in the oven on low-heat for 2.5 hours.
In went a plethora of seasonings including onions, cilantro, cumin, salsa, and jalapenos. I wanted a subtle imbibing of flavors nestled deep within the muscle of the chicken.
I left out adding water.
The end result yielded an intensely concentrated juice that packed a wow of flavor!
Preparing chicken broth in this manner allows you to customize the flavor. In this case, since I was making Chicken Tortilla Soup, the broth was bursting with subtle salsa undertones. If you are planning to make an Italian soup, change your herbs accordingly by adding oregano, basil, arugula, garlic, okay you’re “feeling it” now, aren’t you?
Another added benefit of this no-water cooking method is that you end up with gorgeous crispy chicken. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Editor’s Note: Please check out Lyndi’s popular food blog NWA Foodie!
Fact: When you discover you can eat a favorite food that you haven’t been able to eat for decades; it does taste even better than the memory.
Fact: When you discover you can imbibe to your gluttonous delight, it seems perfectly acceptable to consume massive quantities of said favorite food. You reason it’s because you “deserve it.”
Fact: Massive amounts of decadent food = weight gain.
The scale doesn’t lie.
A food scale, that is.
THE 5 VIRTUES OF A FOOD SCALE
1. A food scale will help you understand the (sometimes) confusing nutritional labels on many foods. After all, do you REALLY know what 1-ounce slice of Brie cheese looks like? What about 5-ounces of wine? It might surprise you, too.
2. A food scale will help you extend your groceries. Since you now know how to understand and read the confusing nutritional labels, your snack and meal preparation will be centered on portion control. And let’s face it; we American’s over do it. Often.
3. A food scale can inspire you to plan out your snacks. There is something extremely satisfying about heading to work or play and knowing you are prepared with healthy (and appropriately portioned) snacks. I have found that it has given me insight into adding variety into my snack bag.
4. A food scale can open up your cooking portfolio to include European recipes. I myself am a fan of French and Italian blogs and the British version of Ideal Home magazine. These all include scrumptiously inviting recipes yet I have previously been stumped to prepare those recipe since ingredients are provided in ounces, not cups. Not a problem anymore with a food scale.
5. A food scale can be educational for your entire family. Whether you personally need a refresher on portion control or not, involving your children in the weighing process will be a great education for them, too. Train up a child in the way they should go, right?
Your next question may be, “how do I know which scale is best for me?”
There are a lot out there and many stories of performance dissatisfaction. Might I suggest you do what I did? I reached out to cooksillustrated.com and found out which scale ranked highest by test kitchen. As a result, I purchased my OXO digital scale from Williams-Sonoma and it works perfectly for me and is oh-so-easy to use!
My new reality?
Fact: Enjoying Brie in appropriate-portioned servings now actually inspires me to savor every bite and focus on the supreme deliciousness and joy of this heavenly food.
My personal weight scale also thanks me.
I love little foodie surprises.
Do you sometimes marvel when watching a food-themed show or reading an exceptionally creative food blog when someone takes something so simple to the next level of wow?
That happened to me with a recent encounter with a savory cheesecake.
I was having a blogger meet-up at a local artisan restaurant here in beautiful Northwest Arkansas. You know the type of restaurant I am talking about: local, fresh, creative, small menu, artsy atmosphere, semi-restaurant, and semi-bookstore? It was heavenly. I ordered the savory onion cheesecake with an adornment of roasted radishes.
Yes, you heard right… radishes that had been roasted. Does that surprise you, too? I have to tell you, they were beautiful to look at and oh-so-savory with a depth that surpassed the usual offering of this, one of the humblest of root vegetables.
That is why “meet-ups” are so special: 1) you get a chance to meet people with similar interests that you would otherwise or perhaps never have crossed paths with before, 2) you get a chance to try out a new restaurant or coffee shop, and 3) you often get delightfully surprised.
I love new-friendship surprises, too.
Kelly, one of the bloggers that morning (check out her adorable blog), surprised me at the following meet-up. She found a recipe for roasted radishes from the July/August 2011 Whole Living magazine and gave it to me.
Wasn’t that so nice of her.
Here, let me share it with you:
ROASTED RADISHES AND GREENS
July/August 2011 Whole Living magazine
1. Heat oven to 375 degrees (since it’s summertime, I used my roaster oven)
2. Separate 1 bunch radishes (halved if large) and their greens (mine weren’t available) and arrange on two rimmed baking sheets (I use parchment paper to aid in clean up).
3. Drizzle each with 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil and season with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper. Toss to combine.
4. Bake, until radishes are tender and caramelized and greens are crisp, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool (I didn’t!).
This recipe is healthy, easy, inexpensive, savory, surprising, and oh yeah baby, it is easy-on-the-eyes.
Add roasted radishes to your menu the next time you have expected (or unexpected) guests, toss them with a salad, add them to potato salad, garnish a filet, or even mash them into twice baked potatoes.
Besides, who doesn’t have a bag of radishes at just about any given time of the year sitting in the crisper of the refrigerator?