Category Archives: Health/Nutrition

Going With The Grain Part II: Smoked Barley with Blistered Tomatoes & Burrata

Milky sweet burrata is the crowning touch on this smoked barley-charred tomato salad.

Milky sweet burrata is the crowning touch on this smoked barley-charred tomato salad.

 

If you’re a pyromaniac when it comes to cooking, this new cookbook is surely going to stoke your desire to light things up.

“Thank You for Smoking: Fun and Fearless Recipes Cooked with a Whiff of Wood Fire on Your Grill or Smoker” (Ten Speed Press) is not only a cleverly titled cookbook, but a very creative one, too.

The book, of which I received a review copy, is by Austin-based Paula Disbrowe, a grilling expert and veteran cookbook writer.

There are 100 recipes included. What’s really fun is that most go way beyond the norm of just throwing a steak or piece of chicken on a grill or in a smoker. Instead, Disbrowe really opens your eyes to possibilities you may never have even considered.

Just get a load of recipes such as “Smoked Arbol Honey,” “Dirty Martini with Smoked Castelvetrano Olives,” “Smoked Onion and Cheddar Tart,” Beef Tenderloin with Smoked Garlic Aioli,” and “Burnt Marshmallow Krispies.”

Thank You For Smoking

With its luxurious cream center that spills out of a ball of mozzarella, burrata is one of my favorite cheeses. So I just had to take a go at “Smoked Barley with Blistered Tomatoes & Burrata.”

Is it really worth it to set up a smoker and spend about 35 minutes to smoke barley grains?

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Going With the Grain Part I: Fig, Walnut & Freekeh Salad

The two F's: figs and freekeh.

The two F’s: figs and freekeh.

 

WTF.

As in what the freekeh?

If you don’t know this ancient grain, summer is the perfect time to give it a try.

It’s a lot like bulgur, except that freekeh is roasted young green whole wheat kernels, while the former is cracked, hulled parboiled whole wheat kernels. As such, bulgur cooks in a flash, while freekeh takes about 20 minutes or so. The tiny grains of both are packed with fiber and protein, and cook up with with a slight chewy texture. I think freekeh tastes just a little toastier.

Grains like these, which are staples of Middle Eastern cuisines, make incredible summer salads or side dishes. You’re probably already familiar with bulgar in tabbouleh salads. Freekeh can be used in the same way.

Enjoy it in this tasty, texture-tantalizing “Fig, Walnut & Freekeh Salad.”

SaffronintheSouks

The recipe is from the new cookbook, “Saffron in the Souks: Vibrant recipes from the heart of Lebanon” (Kyle), of which I received a review copy. It’s by John Gregory-Smith, a food and travel writer who specializes in Middle Eastern and North African cuisine.

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At Lundberg Family Farms, Rice Is Always Nice

Lundberg Family Farms combine corn and rice to make tortilla chips that taste like cheese pizza.

Lundberg Family Farms combine corn and rice to make tortilla chips that taste like cheese pizza.

 

For three generations since 1937, the Lundberg Family has been synonymous with premium rice.

On 6,000 acres in the Sacramento Valley, it grows 18 varieties of rice — all non-GMO, and all certified gluten-free. It was also only the second farm in California to be certified organic.

Over the years, “The family has had many offers for both the land or the company, but they have a legacy they want to continue,” says Janet Souza, public relations and design manager for the farm. “They have never entertained any of those offers.”

Fortunately, for consumers, they just keep looking for new rice varieties to grow and new products to make. I had a chance recently to try samples of some of Lundberg’s newer products.

Bold Bites are small organic tortilla chips — that have the addition of rice in them. That makes them denser in texture. They are not as shatteringly crisp, but still plenty crunchy. They’re also gluten-free.

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Red Duck Gourmet Condiments — And A Food Gal Giveaway

Everyday sausages turn special with a topping of Red Duck Curry Ketchup.

Everyday sausages turn special with a topping of Red Duck Curry Ketchup.

 

With summer weather comes prime condiment season.

Red Duck has got you covered, no matter what you’re grilling.

The Portland, OR-company makes a range of ketchups, barbecue sauces and taco sauces, all gluten-free and certified organic. The tomatoes used are all grown in California’s Central Valley, too, picked ripe in season from late-June through July.

The business is the brainchild of four MBA students who were studying at the University of Oregon when they came up with the idea for the condiments for a class project. The name “Red Duck” takes its name from the color of ketchup, their first product, plus the mascot of their college.

There are 11 products now, sold either separately or in trio samplers: “Quite Traditional” (Original Ketchup, Approachably Mild Taco Sauce, and Smoked Applewood Molasses BBQ Sauce); “So Unique” (Curry Ketchup, Uniquely Korean Taco Sauce, and Sweet Mustard Peppercorn BBQ Sauce); and “Fairly Spicy” (Spicy Ketchup, Actually Spicy Taco Sauce, and Hot Honey Chipotle BBQ Sauce).

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To Your Health

Revive Sparkling Kombucha's Cherry Hibiscus flavor.

Revive Sparkling Kombucha’s Cherry Hibiscus flavor.

 

A run-down on new healthful-ish food and drink worth checking out (of which I received samples).

Revive Kombucha

It’s not easy to find a shelf-stable kombucha, one that doesn’t need to be refrigerated at all times.

But Revive Sparkling Kombucha has done just that. The Petaluma company’s traditionally fermented and organic craft brew now comes in 12-ounce cans. While it still tastes best chilled, it doesn’t have to be stored unopened in the fridge.

It’s made with a similar process as Revive’s raw and refrigerated bottled kombucha. The difference is the sparkling version undergoes a proprietary pasteurization process while incorporating a naturally fermented and live probiotic, DE111.

There are only 5 grams of sugar and 20 calories per can. Revive touts that each can also contains 5 billion live probiotics at the time it’s manufactured.

The sparkling version comes in four flavors: Mango Orange, traditionally fermented with a black tea brew; Cherry Hibiscus, fermented with hibiscus flower brew and caffeine-free; Strawberry Lemon, fermented with a blend of hibiscus and yerba mate; and Citrus Ginger, fermented with a ginger brew and caffeine-free.

If you’re used to the assertive vinegary pucker and funky fermented character of most kombucha, this will strike you more as kombucha-light in taste. And that may be a good thing for people who don’t necessarily like the taste of kombucha, but force it down for its ability to aid digestion.

The sparklers are nicely fizzy and would be a very good substitute for sugary sodas. To me, they taste like a juice spritzer — refreshing, not overly sweet, and with a hint of tang on the finish. I think the Mango Orange might be my fave because of its tropical notes and definite mango taste.

Find the $2.99 cans at Good Eggs and Oliver’s Market.

OHi Superfood Bars

OHi Superfood Bar takes its name from its birthplace of Hawaii. Indeed, in Hawaiian, OHi means “to gather,” while in Maori it means “to rise or to elevate.”

Ohi Superfood Bar in Peanut Butter Mesquite flavor.

Ohi Superfood Bar in Peanut Butter Mesquite flavor.

Made in California now, these energy bars are non-GMO project verified, predominantly Paleo, low glycemic, and free of grains, soy, refined sugars, and dairy. They are also certified vegan and gluten-free.

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