by Kitty Greenwald in Chefs and Restaurants, June 4, 2014
by Amy Chaplin in Amy's Whole Food Cooking, June 3, 2014
“Being a chef is strange,” says Suzanne Goin. “Throughout service, I taste a lot of food to make sure it tastes and looks right. So, I’m not really eating for pleasure most of the time. I’m eating what I need to for my job.”
Though Goin, who co-owns six Los Angeles eateries (Lucques and A.O.C. among them) and a wholesale bakery, rarely gets to eat strictly as her heart desires, sampling this sweet corn, summer squash, sliced avocado and watercress salad never feels like an occupational hazard. “I create salads that I want to eat all the time,” Goin says.
by Toby Amidor in Food News, Food Safety, June 2, 2014
Refreshing, ice-cold and perfectly sweet, this drink is actually more like a shake than a smoothie. Made with nut milk and coconut ice cream, it has all of the components of a classic shake but without the dairy — although the coconut ice cream is so rich and creamy, you would never know.
by Alia Akkam in Healthy Recipes, June 1, 2014
With a number of sizable food recalls in recent news, it’s important to be aware of products that have been identified as posing a food safety risk and to know what to do when they are.
Walnuts and hummus dips were on the recent food recall hit list. Last month, Sherman Produce Company, based in St. Louis, voluntarily began recalling 241 cases of walnuts, after routine sampling of the product purchased by stores in Illinois and Missouri found traces of listeria. Also in May, Massachusetts food manufacturer Lansal Inc. (aka Hot Mama’s Foods) voluntarily pulled 14,860 pounds of their hummus in various retailers, including Target and Trader Joe’s. This was done after a single 10-ounce container tested positive for listeria.
by Sally Wadyka in Trends, May 31, 2014
You may have plunked a few salmon burgers on the grill last weekend, but typically meat gets all the glory at Memorial Day barbecues. These light, healthy fish dishes are exactly what you’ll crave as the warm-weather months heat up.
Fish Tacos with Watermelon Salsa (above, from Food Network Magazine)
The chipotle-chile powder-dusted sea bass stuffed inside these corn tortillas is jacked up even more by the presence of jalapeno-red onion-cilantro salsa. But, a burst of refreshing watermelon cools it all down.
by Sara Reistad-Long in Food News, May 30, 2014
If fat was the star dietary villain for the past few decades, sugar is quickly stepping up to take its place. The sweet stuff figures prominently in the recent documentary Fed Up. There are websites, such as I Quit Sugar, devoted to eliminating sugar from the diet. And several books published this year chronicle or advocate similar nutritional journeys, including Year of No Sugar — which recounts a family’s quest to rid their lives of added sugars — and The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet, written by Dr. Mark Hyman, who just so happens to advise the Clinton family on matters of healthy eating.
by Toby Amidor in Healthy Recipes, May 29, 2014
In this week’s news: Michelle Obama hits a spork in the road to school lunch reform; researchers give a quick lesson on food costs and weight gain; and a former restaurant critic says it’s time to give up on the miracle diet pills already.
First (Lunch) Lady
Segments of the food industry and Republican legislators have criticized the 2010 federal dietary school lunch standards (called the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act), citing lack of flexibility and questioning their cost and effectiveness. The School Nutrition Association, a group representing cafeteria administrators, say enrollment has gone down after the standards — which limit sodium, fat and calories, and require that fruits, vegetables and whole grains replace unhealthy menu choices. Adding bite to that bark is a new measure that would allow poorer school districts to opt out of the program. This week, Michelle Obama has been speaking out strongly against this move, penning a New York Times Op Ed that cites some tough numbers: One in three children is overweight of obese, one in three children is expected to develop diabetes, and currently $190 billion a year is spent treating obesity-related conditions. These lunch regulations can help, says Sam Kass, White House chef and the director of Mrs. Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign, who cites academic studies showing that all children were eating healthier after the standards were established.
by Kitty Greenwald in Chefs and Restaurants, May 28, 2014
The ingredients that make frequent appearances in the many variations of Latin cuisine are not only delicious, they can also provide numerous health benefits.
One delicious guava provides 37 calories, 3 grams of fiber and has twice the daily recommended dose of vitamin C. It’s also rich in potassium and phosphorus. Guava is also packed with the phytochemical quercetin, which may help reduce inflammation.
Grilled Pork Tenderloin a la Rodriguez with Guava Glaze and Orange-Habanero Mojo (above)
by Amy Chaplin in Amy's Whole Food Cooking, May 27, 2014
“There is a niche for really delicious, finely made takeaway food — one that puts an emphasis on quality not just convenience,” Kelsie Kerr says. A Chez Panisse alumna who worked with Alice Waters on her last two cookbooks and contributed to many of the celebrated restaurateur’s other works, Kerr opened the Standard Fare, in Berkeley, Calif., to fill that hole in the marketplace this April.
Far from the average takeaway joint, the Standard Fare’s meals change daily and, to befit Kerr’s cooking, each dish comes in handmade, ready-to-serve ceramic bowls. “I wanted the food to be homey but also have a mindfulness to it,” she says. “The bowls I designed so you could have a beautiful thing to take the food home in. Ceramic both protects and heats the food nicely.”
by Alia Akkam in Trends, May 26, 2014
Handsome fresh spears of asparagus are now in markets everywhere, promising effortless meals that sum up spring perfectly. This simple braise of leeks and asparagus is exactly that: an easy-to-assemble bowl of spring flavors. The addition of a poached egg completes the meal, enveloping the vegetables in a creamy yolk.
You’ll want to get out your best grassy olive oil here, as it doesn’t get cooked but instead cloaks the vegetables and brings all of the flavors together. If ramps grow in your area, you might try swapping them in place of the leeks. (You will want to cut their stems thin, as ramps need longer to cook than leeks.) This braise is also the perfect vehicle for other spring vegetables, like peas, pea shoots, watercress and spinach.
Baby corn has long been a stir-fry staple, and those so-named baby carrots have become the obligatory sidekick to hummus. But small vegetables only seem to betting bigger — at least in supermarkets and restaurants. Earlier this year, California’s Shanley Farms introduced “single-serving” avocados (trademark name: Gator Eggs) sold in clever packages reminiscent of egg cartons. Produce titan Green Giant sells Little Gem Lettuce Hearts, a lettuce hybrid that resembles romaine in miniature. Not to mention the countless iterations of baby broccoli — in fact, a cross between broccoli and Chinese kale — that appear in grocery stores everywhere. Are bitty vegetables merely an eye-catching novelty or are there culinary benefits to downsized produce?
At least for chefs, the most desirable baby vegetables are generally the ones that are indeed babies — that is, harvested young. “When grown well and picked fresh, baby vegetables eat beautifully,” says Aimee Olexy, chef and owner of Talula’s Garden and Talula’s Daily, in Philadelphia. “Often tender and sweet, they require less overall cooking and retain a more perky mouthfeel and appeal on the plate. Young baby peas and beets are almost always wonderful, and a dainty little treat worth the work,” she says.