Most of us eat on the go. It's American culture, run into a store pick something up and walk and eat. These days at least one of our meals is prepared outside of the
Today was one of those days for me. I woke up at 5:45 am and made a cup of oatmeal to start the day before I caught this bus to NYC. By noon when I got off the bus I was starving. (sidebar - the driver on the Megabus was rude, he was speeding down the street and was making hard stops, I told him nicely to low down and he yelled at me "Don't tell him how to drive!" the nerve)
I used to work around the 34th street area and it always amazes me when I'm in the area all the new restaurants that pop up.
I needed something to eat and I was not in the mood for 'junk'. I saw in a distance "Organic to go",
The outside of the store had balloons all over celebrating there grand opening. "WHAT I need to check that out".
I went inside and saw a great selection of food: Organic Moroccan Spiced Orzo, Organic Spicy Sesame - Ginger Thai noodles,and interesting selection of paninis. I had the grilled chicken, artichoke and mozzarella panini made with a seven grain bread. They also had a selection of organic desserts, Fresh & Co. uses only the freshest, highest quality, natural or organic ingredients when ever possible.
My panini and German Chocolate cake came up to about $13, a little pricey, but that NY for you.
Other notables about Fresh & Co.
They support the tri- state area farming community by buying locally grown fruits and vegetables
All of there products are washed with " clean greens" an organic and vegetable wash.
So if we have to eat on the go at least I know there are healthy options out there. Any other places like this in your neighborhood? There is a lot of buzz about eating organic, I get conflicting
articles about it. Maybe we should discuss it in the Gourmet Diva Lounge?
Fresh & Co
363 7th Avenue
Corner of 30th Street
"All I need is a table, that's it." - Keesha AKA Gourmet Diva
I needed to decorate a table for the Urban Verbal Stew event last week. I didn't want a generic black plastic table cloth that's not Gourmet Diva, what to do what to do. This is a typical problem that most of us are facing. With the holiday season approaching us, we may have to decorate our homes for family and friends.
Decorating a table is like putting together a wardrobe, the trick is that you need is a few quality pieces to make your table "pop". A little creativity will go a long way. In the case for the Verbal Stew event the eye catching pieces was the table cloth and the candle
You can create impressive centerpieces with everyday items in your closet. A friend and I created the following decorations with a champagne glass, tea light, and food coloring. Try and go outside and take some leaves from a tree and place them on your table, the red and orange will look great.
What other ways have you decorated on a dime?
This past Friday I decided to make a quick meal of fried perch and mashed sweet potatoes and snow peas.
I seasoned my fish with Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning (a great reccomendation from my budding Gourmet Don - DJ Roc) and flour. While I was frying my fish I thought, how can I make fried fish a "gourmet' food. Two things came to mind 1) Fry it with Japanese panko crumbs* instead of traditional flour 2) Presentation
I took some panko bread crumbs and added seasoning and fried the fish. The results were an airy crunchy crust.
The taste could have been better, the crust tasted like the oil I fried it in. My recommendation would be to oven fry the fish (1, its healthier 2. no oily taste). I then placed some sweet potatoes in the middle of the plate and neatly put the fish on top like they do in the restaurant. Viola, gourmet fried fish - now thats Gourmet Diva!
* What is Panko? Panko is a crumbs made of tiny flakes of bread ground from traditional yeast - risen dough. The crumbs are not seasoned. Two common brands of panko are the Sushi Chef and Kikkioman brands. Its retails for about three dollars a box. Other ways to use panko is to put it on
top your favorite mac and cheese recipe or try the following recipe below.
Crispy Chicken Drumsticks (courtesty of Susan Ware)
Vegetable oil (for brushing)
1/4 cup Djion mustard
1/4 cup honey
1 cup panko bread crumbs
8 medium chicken drumsticks
1. Set the oven at 425 degrees Brush a rimmed baking sheet with oil
2. In a bowl, combine the mustard and honey.
3. Spread the panko in a shallow bowl. Dip each drumstick into the mustard mixture to coat it completely. Then dredge them in the panko, turning all around.
4. Arrange the coated drumsticks on the baking sheet and bake for 35 minutes turning several times, or until the chicken is cooked through and lightly golden.
I think we all had a moment in college where we survived off of Ramen noodles. A pack only cost a quarter and water is free! Those who wanted
to get fancy with their noodles added in chopped up veggies and meat. There are other asian noodles out there
Noodles are a popular item in Japanese cuisine. Varieties include:
Shirataki - noodles with very low carbohydrates and calories
Soba - medium, buckwheat-based noodles
Somen - very thin, wheat-based noodles
Udon - thick, wheat-based noodles
I read an article in a Boston Globe about Soba noodles. It is served either chilled with a dipping sauce, or in hot broth as a noodle soup.
Chilled soba is often served on a sieve-like bamboo tray called a zaru. For kicks I went over to Kam Man Marketplace in Quincy, MA to pick up a zaru. It was only four dollar.
They had so many other kitchen items, that I had to stop myself from not buying everything.
Kam Man Marketplace
219 Quincy Ave
Quincy, MA 02169
When I get back from vacation I'm going to experiment with this recipe:
Ginger Peanut Soba Noodles
One package soba noodles
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 Tbsp peanut butter
1 Tbsp water
1 tsp ginger, grated
1 small clove garlic, minced or pressed
1 head broccoli, steamed
1 red or green bell pepper, thinly sliced
sesame seeds, chopped peanuts, cilantro & chopped green onion for garnish
Prepare noodles as directed on package.
Drain noodles. In a small bowl combine soy sauce, sesame oil, peanut butter, water, grated ginger and garlic. Add to noodles and toss thoroughly to coat. If the sauce seems a little too thick, add some pasta water a tablespoon at
a time until it looks like it will blend nicely with the noodles and not glop.
Top generously with chopped peanuts, cilantro, scallions, sesame seeds, and steamed broccoli.
Eat hot or even chilled or room temperature. For a heartier meal, serve with a small bowl of miso soup.
Congrats to Zulma Brooks. She won a gift certificate to Restaurant.com for the following article. She gives some insignt on what goes on in the mind a chef.
Make sure you soul is in it, it will show through your food.
THE SOUL OF A CHEF - Cooking consciously pleasing all of the people, all of the time. By Zulma Brooks
I make a conscious effort to remember the taste points on my tongue that will distinguish me from a haphazard cook and a culinary maestro. --Zulma Brooks
Chefs have a passion first and foremost that can lead them to be adored or reviled. To master the culinary arts can take many life times but when you hone your craft and a particular cuisine from appetizer to dessert; you become not only well versed but emotionally connected to every dish you do.
With this emotion comes common sense. It's important to know not only technique and preparation but consciously know what is going in the mouths of your guests. The spices, herbs, textures, scents all play a role in your food play.
Your soul must also be tasted in the foods you prepare, the presentation and care as well as your personality. Why all the generosity? Some chefs do it for the prestige and ego of the art.
Just because you can prepare a seafood Gumbo, Osso Buco, a marbled souffle, cou au vin or a fantastic rustic true Mid-Atlantic Thanksgiving spread doesn't make you the best cook in the world. Chefs who are arrogantly intense about their craft are often detached from the goal of the meal. They expect people to love it instantly or go to hell if they don't. The proper attitude to have is humbleness, grace and dignity in what you do. Your not just cooking, you are creating a memorable dining experience.
The soul of a chef should also include wisdom, appreciation, love and a congeniality that carries over and has guest asking for more. This is the recipe for your personality and you should always remember that to be a Chef not only takes discipline but patience.
As a self taught home chef I get to take my time with recipes or create something completely off the cuff. I still have to remember who I'm cooking for which is mostly family but they are no different than the professional food critics that go to the big name restaurants expecting greatness from the kitchen.
Working on the menu development for a friends for a Pece - Vegetarian (with some fish) restaurant was definitely a challenge. Going from a meat included type of cook to a menu whittled down to vegetarian was going to take patience and research. As I got deeper into the foodie life style of healthier and organic foods I found my ideas change about what people ate randomly to how people ate using a healthier dietary education gave me a clearer perspective into discriminating pallets; this my soul was renewed with a different passion.
And with this passion comes patience in ones abilities to get it right.
I do my best cooking relaxed and not stressed. I hear kitchen nightmares about "burning water", chicken "hair" and half baked desserts and the frustrated cooks who threw it together without a plan.
You can please people without bending backwards because you don't have to when your an excellent cook. Think about your friends who may be supportive if your half way decent but don't be surprised if they don't come around too often because your cooking is lackluster. Pleasing the pallete is a lot like an artist perfecting the right tones for their painting, its never complete until they have it down to a science. The same goes for cooking. Practice makes perfect but perfection can be overdone if you think about it too much. Learn to be diverse because once you have mastered that dish, you can move on to more ambitions presentations.
Whether or not you want to be Rachel Ray or Martha Stewart is entirely up you your devotion to the culinary arts. Remember if its not in your soul, its not in the bowl.
My best advice is that if your serious about cooking, feel it first. Feel the passion to do something great or don't bother shopping for the latest trendy cookware. Find what it is your drawn to mastering someday and your soul will be reflected in all that you do.
I love this one pot dish. I think it may be the raisins and the almonds! I make it at least twice during the fall season. The combination of the curry and coriander helps creates Indian like cuisine. You can omit the chicken and use vegetable broth to make it vegetarian and substitute chicken for a bean to get some protein and fiber in the meal.
This meal goes will with a side salad with a creamy type dressing and a Gourmet Diva dessert.
Chicken and Rice Pilaf
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast cut into strips
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 cup uncooked long grain white rice
2 shredded carrots
¼ cup raisins
1 ½ teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon coriander
pinch of salt
1 (14 ½ ounce) can chicken broth
½ cup slivered almonds
In a large non stick skillet heat the oil until hot over medium – high heat. Add the chicken and the chopped onion and sauté until the chicken is browned about 5 minutes. Add the rice, shredded carrots, raisins, curry powder, coriander, salt, chicken broth and water. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 15 to 18 minutes, until the chicken is done and the rice is tender. Top with almonds and serve.
What to put in Amare's lunch box today, P & J sandwhich. It ended up being a week of P & J sandwhiches. He didn't mind he is an easy to please kid. Put a pear and a cheese snack in his bag and he's off to school. I thought to myself, how can I "Gourmet Diva" his lunch, good enough for a kid and maybe even parents will enjoy.
Chanie mention that her daughter loves Nutella. I heard about it, but never tired it, it remind me of marshmellow fluff family. LOL Ill pick up a bottle of it and give it a try.
I came across this "Strawberry and PB Crepes" Recipie. I'm thinking of mixing in some Nutalla with the peantbutter
Ill post more enteries on the Lunchbox Makeover.
Strawberry PB Crepes
Spread a 9" store brought crepe with 2 Tbs. peanut butter and top with 1/4 cup of chopped strawberries.
Roll up crepe, trim off ends and cut log into 1" slices.
Nutrition Per Serving 125 calories; 9g Fat