Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Slicing Tomatoes

January 27, 2015

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We love tomatoes! In the summer, we can’t get enough of them, fresh from the farm stands. In the winter, the tomatoes we get tend to be a bit mealy at best, and like styrofoam at their worst.

At this time of the year, we resort to cherry or grape tomatoes, or fancier types, such as the kumato, or campari varieties. These little guys can easily be squashed under the blade of even a sharp chef’s knife.

Using a serrated knife, (aka a bread knife, or a steak knife) can make getting a clean slice from a soft tomato much easier. If you don’t have a serrated knife, use the tip of your regular knife to pierce the skin and get the slicing party started.

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Lemon Basil Pasta

January 26, 2015

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This lemony pasta is perfect on its own, or as a side dish for fish or chicken. We served it last night with sauteed shrimp, and a tomato, arugula and burratta salad. It’s easy enough to whip up at a moment’s notice, and the sauce can be made in advance and kept in the refrigerator until needed.

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Lemon Basil Pasta:

Whisk together the juice of 3 lemons and about 2/3 cup of olive oil.

Cook pasta reserving a little of the cooking liquid. We prefer a short pasta like rigatoni or calamaretti but any shape will do.

Toss pasta with the lemon dressing, about 2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese and a couple of handfuls of chopped basil leaves. If the mixture seems dry, add a little of the pasta water to moisten.  Season with salt and pepper to taste, and enjoy!

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Turning a New Leaf

January 21, 2015

This year, kale has been touted as a superfood that is nutritionally superior to all others. It’s popularity has reached a fever pitch, to the point that it’s trendiness is starting to wear on us.

kale

kale

For those of your kale obsessed foodies, we have some big news.

The Center for Disease Control just released a ranking of 47 fruits and vegetables based on their nutritional value. The CDC took into consideration the amount of fiber, protein, potassium and vitamins.

I’m sorry to tell you that kale ranked 15th on the list. I know you’re devastated. But, alas, there are even healthier greens to explore. It’s ok. You might find one you like better, and you can start a new trend of your own.

watercress

watercress

Watercress took the #1 spot, with Chinese cabbage, chard, and beet greens coming in next. Spinach ranked #5 followed by chicory, leaf lettuce and parsley. Romaine lettuce is 9th and the #10 spot goes to collard greens. With leafy greens taking the top 16 spots, it seems you can’t go wrong if you go green.
Of the foods tested, 41 of the 47 were classified as “powerhouses”, which are strongly associated with reducing chronic disease.

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chard

Those that did not make the list are garlic, onion, blueberries, raspberries, cranberries and tangerines. While still healthy choices, they failed to meet the team’s criteria for classification as a powerhouse fruit or vegetable.

See the complete report here.

photos: Glasshouse Images

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Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Spatulas

January 20, 2015

 

imagesRubber and silicone spatulas are indispensible in the kitchen. Their flexibility allows you to get into nooks and crannies, and scrape every last drop out of the bowl.
You know what else has nooks and crannies? That spatula.

They are designed to come apart for a reason. It is important to detach the handle from the upper portion, and wash the inside thoroughly. Food tends to get into the head of the spatula and bacteria can form. Make sure it is completely dry before reassembling it to avoid growing mold.

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Obesity and Cancer

January 14, 2015

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Look out tobacco, there is a new risk in town. Yes, something else is running so rampant in our society, that it is about to replace tobacco use as the leading cause of cancer.

According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology, obesity is poised to overtake tobacco as the number one modifiable factor in cancer risk.

While most everyone is aware of the link between smoking and lung cancer, very few know about the connection between cancer and being over wieght.

Tobacco use has dropped over the years, largely due to the restrictions on it’s use throughout the United States, and many other countries. The obesity rate, however continues to grow. According to Dr. Clifford Hudis, a physician at Memorial Sloane Kettering and a former president of the ASCO, current projections state that 60% of all  residents of southern states will be obese by 2030.

While more research needs to be done, cancer risk is just another reason to maintain a healthy weight. Adjusting one’s diet is a key factor in overall good health and may contribute to warding off cancer, in addition to hypertension, diabetes and arthritis.

To help support life saving research and clinical trials, please consider contributing to our Cycle for Survival team. Every dollar raised goes to help fund this valuable work. This week, every donation will be matched, doubling your impact.

http://mskcc.convio.net/site/TR/CycleforSurvival/AG_Cycle_Event?px=1218161&pg=personal&fr_id=2340

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Sifting

January 6, 2015

I have a confession to make. I don’t own a sifter.

While it’s entirely possible you don’t either, for someone who bakes as much as I do, it’s pretty surprising. It’s a relatively inexpensive item and sifting is often required for recipes. So what’s the deal?

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Sifting is defined as “put (a fine, loose, or powdery substance) through a sieve so as to remove lumps or large particles.” A sifter, for those of you who don’t have one either, is looks a bit like a large tin can with a handle on the outside, and has a mesh filter on the inside. There is some sort of mechanism to move the flour around, such as a crank, or a spring loaded device, serving to aerate the ingredients and propel them through the mesh filter.

Although I agree that the aerating and “de-lumping” is an important step in baking, I usually do it with a small wire whisk and a metal strainer. ( Truth be told, depending on what I am making, I don’t even bother with the strainer.)

If you are caught without a sifter when baking, simply place a mesh strainer over a mixing bowl and place the required ingredients into it, ( usually flour, and sometimes salt or a leavening agent, such as baking powder or soda) and whisk until it all passes through the sieve and into the bowl.

Nothing extra to store, or clean. That works for me!

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Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Whatever Sticks

December 30, 2014

Lately, we have been dealing with some pretty sticky situations; hello marshmallow making! When working with sticky ingredients, such as honey, syrups or molasses, try lightly oiling your hands and utensils to make things a little less gluey. Make sure you use a neutral tasting oil such as canola, sunflower or even a squirt of cooking spray so that you don’t add unwanted flavors to your food.

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Coconut oil also makes a great lubricant for dishpan hands, and is pure enough that it won’t taint the food you are preparing, as a regular lotion might. Go ahead and slather up to keep your hands and your food stick free.

photo: Glasshouse Images

Unrecipe of the Week: Avocado Toast

December 26, 2014

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Over the holidays, we have somehow become addicted to avocado toast. Maybe it’s because it’s so easy to make, maybe it is because we think it’s healthy, maybe it is because it is so satisfying and comforting, but most likely it is because it tastes so good! We have been making it on mini slices of toasted baguette as an appetizer, but you can use whatever type of grainy, delicious bread you have and make a meal of it.

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Avocado Toast:

Brush slices of bread with olive oil, and sprinkle it with sea salt. Toast it in the oven until it just starts to brown. Watch is carefully, as bread goes from barely brown to burnt pretty quickly!

In the meantime, mash up a ripe avocado and mix it with the juice of  1/2 of a lemon, sprinkle it with some red pepper flakes and a little sea salt to taste.

Spread the mixture on the toasted bread and devour  enjoy!

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Get creative with it: Rub a garlic clove on the bread before toasting to give it a little more flavor. Sprinkle some diced tomatoes on top for a little extra color. Mix in a few chia seeds for some added health benefits. Serve with a poached egg or some smoked salmon and make a meal out of it!

Photos: Glasshouse Images

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Crystal Ball: Food Edition

December 22, 2014

Crystal ball

This week, we are gazing into our crystal ball to predict what food trends we will see in 2015.

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Don’t bug me:

Insects are creating a buzz as a new source of sustainable protein. While many countries have been eating insects for centuries, Americans are yet to embrace the concept.  Not only are insects protein rich, they pack 15% more iron than spinach, double that of beef and have as much vitamin B12 as salmon. They are also low in fat and cholesterol. Even more importantly, insects thrive on very little water and consume agricultural byproducts, such as corn husks and broccoli stalks, thereby creating a much smaller negative impact on the environment. Chupal is already selling protein bars made from crickets, that are available in dark chocolate, coffee and cayenne, peanut butter and chocolate and a coconut, lime ginger flavor. Watch for insects to become more accepted in the food world in the coming year.

Savory yogurt:

Last year, Blue Hill released it’s savory yogurts in flavors such as beet, carrot and tomato, made locally from grass fed cows. Greenwich Village staple Murrays Cheese has set up an in store yogurt bar, featuring tomato and kimchee flavored varieties. A new shop in New York’s famed Chelsea Market called Sohha Savory Yogurt, is also getting in on the action, with flavors such as Zaatar’ and Everything Bagel. India, Greece and many Arab countries frequently use yogurt in their cuisines, so mixing it with herbs, spices and vegetables seems almost intuitive. Haagen Daz has already introduced it’s line of savory frozen yogurts in Japan, so they should be making their way stateside soon.

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Ugly root vegetables:

Farmer’s markets and CSA boxes are always filled with random, ugly root vegetables that perplex consumers over how to prepare them. Chefs are not deterred, and kohlrabi, parsnips and celery roots are among the vegetables showing up on high end restaurant menus. Whether fried, gratineed, or pureed, these humble vegetables are replacing the potato for a flavorful and trendy new twist on classic fare that everyone will be talking about next year.

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Cauliflower is the new kale:

Move over kale, there is a new kid in town. Cauliflower, the latest wonder-veg, is a master of disguise. While we love it just roasted with a little olive oil and parmesan cheese, it’s also the perfect stand in for its less health conscious counterparts. Puree it into mock mashed potatoes, or use it to create a stand in for a pizza crust. Coat it,bake it and slather it in hot sauce for a vegetarian take on buffalo wings. Puree it into a rich, creamy soup without the cream.  High end restaurants are beginning to offer cauliflower steak as a main dish alternative to meat. Roasting the entire head whole has also taken off, with chefs putting their own twists on seasonings and sauces.

New takes on hummus:

Hummus has already gained popularity with the masses, out trending salsa on Google search. The Middle Eastern chickpea spread is so popular, that every grocery store features a variety, and Subway is experimenting with using it on their fast food sandwiches. Foodies are taking their favorite spread to the next level, infusing it with other international flavors, such as Thai chili, and cilantro and chimichurri. Others have used the same concept with alternative ingredients, substituting Japanese edamame or lentils in place of the traditional chickpeas. Watch for a flavor explosion of new riffs on hummus to develop this year.

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Punch:

Dust off your grandmother’s punchbowl, because the old mainstay of social gatherings is coming back and this time it’s spiked! Mixologists in upscale venues are pulling out the punches, creating communal cocktails with unique ingredients.

Rickhouse in San Fransisco serves a bowl of aged rum, lemon juice, Peychaud’s bitters, ginger beer and an herbal liqueur called Amaro CioCaro for $50. New York’s NoMad Hotel Bar offers a $110 concoction of cognac, Royal Combier liqueur, lemon juice, demerara syrup, lemons, mint and lots of ice. It’s only a matter of time before everyone else gets in on the act. We are already seeing lots of upscale food and beverage websites touting alcohol laced punch recipes for holiday entertaining at home.

Tickets to high end restaurants: Frustrated by “no-shows,” restaurants are exploring selling tickets for dinner, enabling chefs and restauranteurs to ensure a full house and preplan their food orders with more exactness. A prefixed menu with a set price including tip can be booked online, just as one might book theatre tickets or air travel.Discounts are often offered to those who book early. Highly acclaimed restaurant Alinea is among the pioneers of this new system. For hot spots, plan to set the alarm to jump on line as soon as reservations open, just as we do to book bikes at fitness studios.

Restaurants creating “Instagramable” moments:

We are doing it anyways. It has been the bane of many restauranteur’s existence. People are photographing their meals and often asking the waiter to get into the act, which delays service to others. In the spirit of “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, chefs are whipping up Instagram and Pinterest worthy tidbits that are delivered ready for their photo op. Watch for unique plating and latte art to go mainstream, and novel adaptations of classics appearing. We have to admit we are already in on this one, with our handmade,whimsical treats on indigo jones eats, which we think are pretty pin-able , if we say so ourselves.

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Broth is the new juice:

Detoxing, juice cleansing, and green juices are the holy grail of the health conscious trendsetter. This year, juice bars and juice brands started popping up everywhere, and even Starbucks got into the action. Next year, souping could replace juicing, with soup cleanses emerging on the diet scene, and bone broth becoming the latest healthy fad.

Bone broth has already been having a moment in the wellness community, with nutritionists and fitness professionals touting its benefits. The broth, made from organic, grass fed animal bones boiled over a long period of time, is rich in magnesium, potassium, calcium and collagen. New York City chef Marco Canora has recently opened his outpost Brodo in a takeout window at his restaurant Hearth, selling, (you guessed it) broth. In California, newcomers Soupure is banking on their soup cleanses replacing cold, filtered juices. Developed in conjunction with a team of nutritionists and chefs, Soupure founders believe that soup is a more nourishing and satisfying way to cleanse than cold pressed juices, saying “Throwing away the vital fiber matrix reduces most fruits to simple sugars that could leave your liver overworked and kidneys imbalanced, and without the benefits of macro-nutrients like protein and good fats, many of the vitamins and minerals featured in some juice combinations are simply rendered unusable.”

Look for bone broth and soup cleanses to expand their visibility,with healthy soups and broths popping up on restaurant menus, and freestanding shops.

Photos: Glasshouse Images

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This Pretty Much Sums it Up!

December 17, 2014

Since the launch of indigo jones eats, I’ve learned a lot about taking my passion: cooking, and doing it in a large quantity, on demand. I am so excited that people have embraced my little endeavor, and orders are coming in!
I have chosen to make things that are multi-faceted and time consuming. Each item is made by hand, and has multiple components. Assembling the items and packages takes a lot of time. Because I am just starting out, I am making my own labels and packaging, and sometimes doing deliveries myself, in addition to baking.
While I LOVE every second of it, I have to admit that I am figuring it out as I go. Each new order is met with exhilaration and a little fear, as I calculate what it takes to fill it. So far, it’s all good. Orders are going out on time, and met with rave reviews. I even manage to get the kitchen cleaned up before starting the next batch! Even so, I can’t help but feel a little like Lucy in one of my favorite television moments of all time:

If anyone wants to be my Ethel, drop me a line!

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