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Archive for the ‘Food commentary’ Category

An annoyance: McDonalds Real Fruit Smoothies

Posted by Jeanne on July 6, 2011

I hate most food ads.  My sister and husband can tell you many hilarious tales of me shouting at the television because of some stupid thing someone says in a food commercial.

McDonald’s newest creation, the McCafe Real Fruit Smoothie, is just one among many. But I’m going to pick on them today.

Let’s try the Wildberry Real Fruit Smoothie:

Photo from McDonald's ad campaign.

Looks pretty!  Here are the ingredients:

Wild Berry Fruit Blend
Strawberry puree, water, sugar, blackberry puree, blueberry puree, concentrated pineapple juice, concentrated apple juice, contains less than 1% of the following: cellulose powder, xanthan gum, colored with fruit and vegetable juice, natural (botanical source) and artificial flavors, pectin, citric acid.
CONTAINS: MILK
*Dispensed from equipment that also dispenses milk ingredients (yogurt)

Low Fat Yogurt

Cultured Grade A reduced fat milk, sugar, whey protein concentrate, fructose, corn starch, gelatin. Contains active yogurt cultures.CONTAINS: MILK

What part of the fruit does the sugar come from?  Or the gelatin?

A 12-ounce smoothie has 210 calories, 44 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.  For the sake of comparison, a standard-sized Hershey’s bar has the same number of calories, only 24 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.

At least the Hershey’s bar isn’t pretending to be healthy.  Stupid McDonald’s and their stupid ads.

Posted in Food commentary, Soapbox | 2 Comments »

Review: Graeter’s Ice Cream

Posted by Jeanne on April 28, 2011

Bah, I am the WORST BLOGGER EVER.  I blame the running – the half-marathon is this Sunday though.  So either I will be a better blogger soon, or I’ll be dead from stupidly attempting to run 13.1 miles (IN A ROW).

Anyway.  Less excuses, more ice cream!  In mid-April I was contacted by a representative of Graeter’s Ice Cream.

They started making small-batch ice cream in 1870 in Cincinnati, Ohio and thanks to the power of the intertubes they were able to send ice cream to me in Nebraska.  Apparently it is Oprah’s favorite ice cream.

From left to right:  vanilla, mint chocolate chip, black raspberry chip, Buckeye blitz, mocha chocolate chip, and strawberry.

Vanilla and mint chocolate chip – lovely, clean flavors.  Also, I like that the mint isn’t dyed a crazy neon green.

The chocolate is poured into the ice cream by hand, so you get some chips that are tiny and some “chips” that are more well-described as “huge chunks.”  If you get one of those you win the chocolate lottery, although they are kind of hard to get out of the container.

Buckeye blitz and mocha chocolate chip – the Buckeye blitz is Jenny’s fault.  When I told her about the email I got, she insisted that I ask them for Buckeye blitz.  The lovely Graeter’s people were nice enough to indulge her.

Buckeye blitz is chocolate ice cream with the same chocolate chips plus peanut butter cookie dough.  If you like ice cream with lots of stuff in it… this is for you.  This is not for me, but Jenny really liked it.

The mocha was more my style.  Coffee and chocolate, always a brilliant combination.

The berries – black raspberry chip and strawberry.  Both of these had really excellent true berry flavors, and definitely didn’t taste like “strawberry flavoring.”  They just tasted… like berries.  It was really cool.

So we suffered through eating 6 pints of premium ice cream just for you, my dear readers.  I’m telling you, this blog thing is sometimes pretty awesome.

Disclosure:  I received a sample of a product for consideration in preparing to write this content. I am not expected to return this item after my review period.  Because it is IN MY BELLEH.

Graeter’s Ice Cream can be shipped to the lower 48 states; prices vary depending on distance from Cincinnati:  $60 – $80 for 6 pints, and $90 – $120 for 12 pints.  If you order tonight, it appears you can have it delivered as early as Tuesday of next week.  It arrives in a foam cooler, frozen solid and packed in dry ice, and let me tell you it is a pretty cool thing to have ice cream waiting for you on your porch when you get home from work.  Also, Mother’s Day is May 8th.  Just sayin’.

Has anyone else ever had Graeter’s Ice Cream?  If we ever make it to Ohio I am going to have to check it out in person.

Anyway, happy almost weekend!  I promise to post more if I don’t die during the race on Sunday.

Posted in Food commentary, Sponsored Post | 1 Comment »

Top Chef All-Stars

Posted by Jeanne on November 30, 2010

Those of you that know me in real life probably already know this – but here is confession time.  I love reality TV.  Mostly the competition shows (although I have vowed to quit watching the Show That Shall Remain Nameless after they switched networks and totally picked the wrong winner last season.  Mondo forevah!  Ahem.) although I have been known to watch others just for the drama.

I have watched every season of Top Chef, to varying degrees of appreciation.  I think this last season was not all that great, but there was no way Season 7  was going to be better than Season 6.  I mean really – Voltaggios v. Beardface finale!  So great.  Also, I think Top Chef:  Just Desserts was sort of a weird concept and I will be slightly surprised if they get a second season.  Although Yigit seems like a sweet guy and Gail Simmons is FABULOUS.

I am way off track!  Where was I?  Oh yes, Top Chef All-Stars.  I CANNOT WAIT.  The cast is spectacular:

Season 1:  Tiffani Faison, Stephen Asprinio

(I am curious as to whether Stephen is a better cook now.  This is a tough crowd and the skills he showed in Season 1 were a bit unpolished.  I think Tiffani is going to Bring It.)

Season 2:  Marcel Vigneron, Elia Aboumrad

(Marcel still looks like a garlic bulb.  I hope he’s got his head a bit less up his ass this season.)

Season 3:  Dale Levitski, Casey Thompson, Tre Wilcox

(I am interested to see what Tre can bring to the competition after his “controversial” Restaurant Wars elimination.  Also if poor Casey can chop an onion now.)

Season 4:  Antonia Lofaso, Richard Blais, Spike Mendelsohn, Dale Talde

(Blais for the win!  I’m not sure why Spike is on this show except that he and Dale butt heads a lot and that means good TV?)

Season 5:  Jamie Lauren, Fabio Viviani, Carla Hall

(Fabio is always super-entertaining.  I hope Carla makes more pastry dough and they actually show her doing it so I can learn something.)

Season 6: Jennifer Carrol, Michael Isabella

(I’m not a huge Mike fan but I really liked Jen.  I think she kind of crumbled at the end, but she held her own for quite a few challenges against the toughest competitors ever seen on Top Chef – the Voltaggios and Kevin.)

Season 7:  Angelo Sosa, Tiffany Derry

(Angelo is weird.  I really, really liked Tiffany and I think she’s genuinely talented.)

My money’s on Blais with a tie for second between Jennifer and Tiffany.  I think they’re all great competitors and amazingly talented, and I really can’t wait to see what comes out of those kitchens.

Also, I pray they do the mise en place challenge early in the season, and that Casey can chop an onion better now than during Season 3.

Top Chef Masters premiers Wednesday, December 1 at 10PM EST/9 PM CST.  Will you be watching?  Who are you rooting for?

Posted in Food commentary, Not about food | 4 Comments »

My perfect egg

Posted by Jeanne on October 10, 2010

I probably need to turn in my foodie card for this one.  But here goes – I don’t really like runny eggs.

I like a good oozy egg yolk, but when I’m actually eating an egg as an egg and not as pasta sauce or salad dressing, I want it to be cooked through but not browned at all – it’s this tenuous relationship between custard and solid.

The first, half-eaten one is perfect.  By the time I got to the second, the pan was a bit too hot and the edges got a bit browned.  So a nearly-perfect egg.

Must be served on Rotella’s toast.

Happy Sunday, everyone.  I hope you had a perfect egg (or whatever your perfect breakfast is) today.

Posted in Cooking, Food commentary | Leave a Comment »

Confession time

Posted by Jeanne on August 22, 2010

I have been keeping a secret.  Not from everyone – but from this blog.

You see, I am kind of chubby.  So I joined Weight Watchers.

I promise to keep cooking – I’m not going to start subsisting on diet shakes and frozen meals, and that’s not really what Weight Watchers is about anyway.  It’s more about learning to make good choices and learning to live your life in a healthy way.

Anyway.  I felt weird not telling you (both of my loyal readers…).

This post does an excellent job of talking about a first week on Weight Watchers.  And Debbie has lots and lots of posts with her story and tons of recipes – her success is a huge inspiration to me.

Anyway.  Come along on this journey with me, won’t you?

Posted in Food commentary, Not about food, Weight Watchers | 5 Comments »

Minneapolis visit: Subo

Posted by Jeanne on June 7, 2010

Thursday night of the weekend we were in Minneapolis, we went to Subo.  I picked this place after seeing it compared to Ssam Bar on a Chowhound message board post.

The food was delicious and really exciting.  Everything is served on small plates and meant to share so we all got to try everything.  This is my favorite way to eat – I love and hate most traditional restaurants because I hate having to choose just one thing to eat.

Sorry the pictures are so dark – I was trying to be unobtrusive and not disturb the staff or drive the other patrons crazy.

First set:  green papaya salad rolls, green curry potato croquettes, deep fried pork belly lechon kawali.

Salad roll & croquette.  The roll was great – the papaya salad was nice and crispy and spicy.  Well-concieved and well-executed.  The croquette needed… something.  More curry?  More acid in the sauce?  It was tasty because it was made of fried potatoes, but it could have been better.

Pork belly.  Yum.  Weird though – I haven’t ever been served pork belly with bones in it.  It was kind of like a super-crispy short rib, if you can imagine such a thing.

Second set:  roasted “pork candy,” grilled sardines, seared scallops.

Pork candy.  I think this is great in other dishes (for example, it was in the pancit bihon we had later) but on its own I found it to be really overwhelmingly sweet.  Good texture though.

I didn’t get a decent picture of the grilled sardine.  Tiny fatty grilled little fishes are delicious but not particularly photogenic.

Seared scallops.  Very yummy and perfectly cooked – nice sear on the outside and tender inside.

Third set:  red snapper escabeche, pancit bihon.

Snapper.  Beautiful and the outside was nice and crispy – the middle pieces were not as good though.

Pancit.  Have I ever mentioned how much I love noodles?  I love noodles.  I have never had pancit in a restaurant before – this was fabulous.

Dessert:  beignets with kalamansi curd and spiced sugar.

Holy crap was this good.  I would like to bathe in the kalamansi curd – it was totally phenomenal.  Also, how can you go wrong with spiced fried dough?

Don’t get me wrong, there were some bumps.  The service needs work – we weren’t ever really clear who our server was and we ordered a dish we never got (and didn’t need by any stretch).  At least we weren’t charged for it.  The decor was kind of weird.  One of the walls was super-clean and tiled and modern looking, and the opposite wall seemed like it was trying to look spa-like and… relaxing?  Lots of bamboo and curtains.

But man, the food was good.

So was the company.

Posted in Food commentary, Going out | 1 Comment »

A weekend away

Posted by Jeanne on June 6, 2010

Some photos from our trip – more soon!

Naomi and I on their deck on Thursday.

Pancit from Subo in downtown Minneapolis.

Food from Mitch’s party on Saturday.

More details soon – laundry now!

Posted in Food commentary, Going out | Leave a Comment »

The not-so glamorous side

Posted by Jeanne on May 31, 2010

There is a glamorous side to gardening, for sure.  The beautiful rows of fresh produce.  The radishes that are crunchy and peppery, not dry and mealy – the spinach that really tastes like spinach.

The flavors that come from the garden are like the turned up to 11 version of the factory-farmed vegetables I’ve tasted.

And yet.  There is another side.

The garden doesn’t care that I don’t need 10 cups of spinach today.  The garden doesn’t know that what I really want is one perfect tomato every other day, and then a nice even dozen on Saturday so I can turn them into sauce.

Instead, the garden churns out spinach at a frightening rate so that I am scrambling to get it processed before the leaves are so large they can be used as blankets.  The arugula goes insane and gets long and leggy and bitter overnight.  There are no tomatoes, and then there are two and they are treated like royalty, and then there are 10 million and the sauce making and caprese salads don’t stop for weeks.

There is also zucchini, which grows insanely and will produce specimens that rival baseball bats in an hour.  If you do not grow zucchini and want some, please let me know.  There will be a thousand sometime in mid-July.  I will happily trade you for some eggplant, because Curt doesn’t really like it and so doesn’t want to grow it.  I love eggplant.

The other not-so-hott side of the garden is the bugs and the dirt.  Garden produce isn’t washed on little conveyor belts in factories.  It comes out of the ground and into my kitchen, and it carries passengers.  Saturday when I was playing with the spinach it was a creepy looking clear spider.

The radishes yesterday came with 3 ants and a ton of dirt (radishes, grown in the ground, do not come out of the ground all scrubbed and pretty.  Woe is me.).  Broccoli comes with bizarre little green worm/centipede things that are nearly impossible to find – until they float to the top of the wash water and end up on the faucet and the dish soap bottle.

I wouldn’t give it up for the world – worms on the dish soap notwithstanding.

Posted in Food commentary, Garden/Seasonal, Planning | Leave a Comment »

The existential questions

Posted by Jeanne on May 27, 2010

Very important things have been on my mind.  Specifically – what is a burger?

This article inspired the question – it talks about pork burgers, lamb burgers, burgers made of fish.  The photos seem to show burgers on flatbreads, burgers on hard rolls, soft rolls, and some with no bread at all.

Googling “what is a burger?” got me over 24 million results, the first of which stated that a burger is “United States jurist appointed chief justice of the United States Supreme Court by Richard Nixon (1907-1995).”  Not quite what I was looking for.

Wikipedia states the following:  “A hamburger (or burger for short) is a sandwich consisting of a cooked patty of ground meat, (usually beef, but occasionally pork, turkey, or a combination of meats) placed between two buns.”  (Emphasis in original.  Also, if any of my law professors are reading – yes, I know Wikipedia is a terrible, awful source.)

Top Chef University says on Twitter that a Top Chef burger should be grilled, and should comprise 50% chuck, 25% skirt, and 25% short rib served on brioche.

I look forward to many burger-related experiments this summer – I thought this would be an apt post right before Memorial Day when apparently summer “officially” starts.

The only hard line I’m prepared to draw regarding the “what is a burger?” question at this time is that a burger is a sandwich.  A sandwich must have two pieces of bread – a wrap is not a sandwich, nor is there any such thing as an “open-faced” sandwich.  (ETA:  A roll, which has an identifiable top and bottom, qualifies as “two pieces of bread” to me and can be made into a sandwich.)

Conduct yourselves accordingly.

How do you define a burger?  What is your ideal burger?

Posted in Food commentary, Planning | 9 Comments »

A promise

Posted by Jeanne on May 17, 2010

I promise to post something of substance soon.  I am worn out and haven’t gotten the pictures off the camera yet… so sad.

I made appetizers for 80 for a retirement party yesterday – the menu:

Mini BLTs

Mini spanikopita

Meatballs + tomato/basil sauce

Caprese skewers – grape tomato, basil, marinated mozzarella + balsamic vinaigrette

Antipasto rolls – marinated artichokes & roasted red pepper wrapped in salami

I forgot to take pictures (again).  But by all accounts it was delicious and I had a lot of fun cooking – win for everyone!

I also made gnocchi for dinner last night (post coming on that one) and a strawberry-raspberry-rhubarb crumble that was utterly delicious.  I love spring and summer!  So much good stuff.

In other news, how does one go from being the Calorie Commando  to being held for attempting to hire a homeless guy to kill your wife

And this guy is incredible – he did break the U.S. record during his run last week.

We live in weird world.

Up for this week –

Aloo gobi + rice (the rest of what I made and froze last week)

Chipotle pork tamales + beans & rice

Hainan chicken & rice

Tortilla chicken soup

Asian tenderloin salad (the salad greens in the garden are going nuts!)

Happy Monday!  Soon, I promise!

Posted in Food commentary, Not about food, Planning | Leave a Comment »