Food-Sleuthing Blog

  • New Proposed Nutrition Labels

    The Obama administration is proposing a remodel of the current Nutrition Label that appears on our food packages. Here is a sample of the new label.  The changes include:

    • Calories per serving are large and bold
    • Added sugars are distinguished from natural occurring sugars
    • The serving size will now reflect how much a person typically eats, as opposed to the amount the manufacture suggests as a serving size.

    http://www.gourmetsleuth.com/images/new-nutrition-label.jpg

    My 2 Cents Worth

    For the most part I like the proposed changes.  Personally, I read all that already so other than the fact I may not need my glasses to see the calorie count, making it bigger is not a big deal.  I do think the bolder calorie count will be helpful for those who just quickly scan a label, or barely notice it.

    My Favorite Feature - Added Sugars

    I really like having the "added sugars" displayed separately.  You can ...

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  • Crazy Wild Greens

    I was reading a short post from Martha Stewart the other day about how rewarding it is to grow lettuces in your garden.  I have to say I can't dispute that.  I haven't been starting my greens from seed (except the arugula) but I buy a nice little six-pack of organic plants from a nursery located in Santa Cruz (California).  I always get a nice variety of speckled leaves, one similar to romaine, a short rufflely green head and some dark red beauties.  I also like to buy mizuna not only for the taste but for those lightly pepper flavored, long serrated leaves.  Arugula is a must-have too, I just can't get enough it.  And this year we added two little watercress plants we recycled from some hydroponic we bought at the grocery store.

    basket of mixed cut lettuce leafs

    photo by: Gourmetsleuth: Freshly picked mixed lettuces

    The hardest part for me is using the ...

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  • Caffeine Trend Or Insanity?

    big cup of coffeeA Food Trend

    You've probably noticed the current culinary trend of kicking up common foods with caffeine.  The trend started with the success of energy drinks.  Not to be upstaged, the food industry has joined the revolution by bringing us products like caffeinated jerky (Perky Jerky) buzzed-up waffles (Wired Waffles) and how about a dose of caffeine in your hot sauce (Doublekick).  Now, I'm a moderately caffeine-addicted person but I have to say I'm not loving this trend.  I'd be crestfallen if you suggested taking away my morning (and afternoon) brew but scarfing up more caffeine in my snack foods, and dousing my bowl of chili with "coffee-nated-hot-sauce"?   I don't think so.

    Too Much Of A Good Thing?
    This reminds me of the article late last year from Forbes Magazine "Can Energy Drinks Cause Heart Attacks" about the FDA looking ...

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  • Mimosa Sunrise

    mimosa sunrise

    Mimosa Sunrise

    A fun twist on a Sunday Brunch Mimosa.  This is not so much as a recipe but an assembly.  Pink Champagne floats atop fresh orange juice and makes a colorful and tasty brunch beverage.  We served ours with little bites of chicken-apple sausage, a big quiche and crunch French bread.


    Ingredients

    1 bottle pink sparkling wine or Champagne

    1 quart freshly squeezed orange juice

    Directions
    Pour orange juice into a tall Champagne flute just to the point where the neck starts to get wide.  Carefully pour in the pink sparking wine.  Don't stir!  Serve immediately.  You can doll them up with sprigs of fresh mint if you have it.  

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  • Long Live The Quiche!

    The Quiche is one of those in-and-out-of-fashion dishes.  It could be predictably found in any street cafe along the Champs-Élysées but all disappeared during the low-fat cooking era.  In the 80's we all learned that "Real Men Don't Eat Quiche" but in the late 1990's Dr. Stillman brought a crustless version back as part of his high-protein diet.  The fact is, the quiche is one of those really easy to make one-dish meals that tastes great and can look pretty spectacular. This is one of my favorite recipes, gleaned from a 1996 issue of Bon Appetit magazine.  Hat's off to Gayle Gardner for this easy and yummy recipe.  Get the quiche recipe here >>

    My only change to the recipe is the crust.  The recipe calls for a pre-made crust but I'm just not a fan.  I have not had good relationships with pre-made crusts.  I can't seem to find one ...

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  • Should Sugar Be Legislated Like Tobacco and Alcohol?

    Although I have to agree that there is far too much sugar in processed foods I don't agree with the proposed solution.  Researchers from USSF made the following recommendations:

    Sugar should be legislated the same as tobacco and alcohol


    Dr. Robert Lustig of the 

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  • Massachusetts Backs Down On Cupcake Ban

    It is good to know there is some sanity left in the world.  It appears the legislators in Massachusetts have banned their ban on bake sales in schools.  They report they were only trying to follow the intent of the Federal nutrition guidelines.  The fact of the matter is I believe they just got too much heat from the public on this one.  Our poll shows almost 90% (89.52%) of the public would not support this ban in their state.  Read more on the cupcake ban reversal.

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  • Lock Up Your Lunch Box, Here Comes The Lunch Patrol

    No doubt you  read about the preschooler at West Hoke Elementary School in Raeford, N.C who had her lunch diverted because it did not comply with the USDA guidelines for pre-kindergarten programs and in-home day-care centers. The little girl's brown bag lunch included a turkey and cheese sandwich, banana, potato chips and apple juice.  That's not exactly a nutritional train wreck from my point of view. So, the little girl was instead presented with a lunch of chicken nuggets from the cafeteria and mom got a bill for $1.25. 

    From the original story

    Sara Burrows from the Carolina Journal reported:
    The girl’s turkey and cheese sandwich, banana, potato chips, and apple juice did not meet U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines, according to the interpretation of the agent who was inspecting all lunch boxes in her More at Four classroom that day.

    The Division of Child Development and Early Education at ...

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  • Chicken Curry - An Experiment With Ingredient Substitutions

    It was Sunday afternoon and I had not planned ahead for something to cook for dinner.  I really wanted Chicken Curry but I really didn't' have all the ingredients I needed for my favorite recipe.  I hauled out a copy of my Six Spices, A Simple Concept Of Indian Cooking and foraged for a replacement recipe (page 99).  I found one that worked for me but I knew I'd probably still have to do some substitutions. 

    Are You Substituting Or Making A New Recipe?

     

     

    We receive many questions regarding recipe ingredient substitutions.  Many times I ask myself "why don't they just find another recipe if they don't have the proper ingredients?". Or, better yet, go to the store!  I mean, if you are looking at a recipe for Cilantro Pesto but you hate cilantro and you hate pine nuts and wouldn't even consider eating Parmesan, WHY would you ...

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  • Softdrinks - The New Tobacco?

    As we continue the slide down the slippery slope of our goverment controlling our lives.. it looks like your favorite soda is the next on the chopping block.  First let me say I'm not a big fan of soft drinks and in fact there would'nt be an industry if they were counting on me for their revenue but this really is not about soft drinks, it's about power-mongering polititians. 

    Gavin Newsom, Mayor of San Francisco said yesterday ""It makes sense for the government to help people to make the right choices, and it makes sense to use dollars from charges on sweetened beverages on health programs," (Read More From SFGate: ) That sounds more like "clearly citizens are too stupid to make their own life choices".

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  • The Eternal Weight Watcher...

    Like so many things in life my weight is directly related to "balance".   If I work too much that means I'm sitting too much.  If I sit too much I'm not exercising.  When I'm not exercising I seem to eat more and the mobius strip that is my life continues.   When I finally get to the point where I open my closet and there not a stitch of clothing that fits without binding I do "something" to kick myself into gear.

    Mostly this is in the summertime when its really nice for walking.  Walking is my activity of choice.  I used to run but I'm just not a "runner" person.   I do have treadmill for those winter months when going outside is just not as fun.  Once I start exercising again (which means I'm working a bit less) then my desire to eat well improves.   In reality i typically eat ...

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  • Convenience Vegies

    Some Sleuth-Ramblings On The Topic Of Prepared Fresh Vegetables...
    It would be tough to dispute that most of us would benefit from eating more fresh fruits and vegetables.  To this end there are many produce companies marketing pre-trimmed-cleaned and ready to plop on the table products.  But; are they good for you?

    On the Upside
    Perhaps a scantily washed fresh vegetable is better than none?  I think in many cases, yes.  While some might poo-poo how much time it takes to trim up a bunch of fresh carrots, there are many of us that say, 10 minutes here, 10 minutes there and now you're talking about spare time for a real life. 

    Another perhaps flimsy" plus is the pre-measured package makes for easier portion evaluation and control.  Many of us appreciate pre-packaged measurements that help us to easily provide proper serving sizes.

    And Now For The Bad
    We've seen a significant increase ...

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  • Condo-And-Camping-Cations

    I love to cook when I camp or take a condo-cation.  I think the most fun is finding local and if possible indigenous ingredients and finding or creating recipes that use them.   I find breakfast the most uninspiring meal of my usual 3 (yeah, I know, most important meal of the day... ) so I usual prep that myself and the money I save goes towards a meal I care about.  I'm more prone to having a simple lunch out if I'm "out and about" and I make the main meal myself.  When I have dinner out I want it to be FANTASTIC, so I save up so I can try the best I can find.

    Farmer's Markets - Where To Get Grub
    Small local markets and farmer's markets are available throughout most of the U.S.  Localharvest.org has a great tool for finding markets in your area.  I can find fresh, ...

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  • Pretty Christmas Things

    We had a heck of time getting some of our favorite hand-made Mexican tools and crafts this year for the Christmas season.  From our handmade molinillos to our colorful hand-woven tortilla baskets.   Alas, just in the "Nick" of time (yes, pun intended) a few precious items have arrived.  Drop in our GourmetSleuth store check out some of our unique offerings.

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  • 49'ers And Chili

    If you came to read about the Niner's game then.. you need to click away NOW!  I'm simply the family provider of nourishment on game day.  We are SO the "keep it simple" folk.  So today was my favorite, Turkey Eggplant chili and before you say YUCK please take a minute and read this.

    chili in a bowl
    chili with cheese and onions

     

    Late Fall Japanese Eggplant
    I had several small late Japanese eggplant that I didn't want to waste.  Even though it's a beautiful (if not downright bizarre) 74+ degree November day there is something about serving chili on football Sunday.  I guess I could have slathered the eggplant with olive oil and grilled them but... it's the game chili thing I had to go for.

    So, I simply combined all those wonderful oblong fruits with a few refrigerator ingredients and some fresh ground turkey from Lunardi's (local grocery store) and made ...

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  • All The Fluff Over Super Foods

    Just about every blog,  magazine or culinary-related ad you pick up these days has some reference to Super Foods.  I contend it's as important to lean to eat "simple" and  Super Foods are just a part of that.  But don't you wonder why we're just now hearing about all these basic foods?

     

    Eat Super or Eat Simple?
    I think all the nutrionsits, bloggers and food writers out there are just trying to remind us that the foods derived natuarly are the best for us. The less we meddle with food the better.  So if you want to really simply the process of eathing healthy you could just eat simple. By simple I mean make most of your food choices foods that come direct from the source.  That means fresh vegetables, fresh dairy, fresh meats and seafood.  Minimize your consumption of processed-packaged, canned, and frozen foods.  By minimize I mean, have them ...

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  • Brown Butter Raspberry Tart - June Bon Appetit!

    See, this is why I keep subscribing to this magazine.   I'm not a "plan-ahead" gal so I grab a magazine and see what I can whip up RIGHT NOW, or at least by tomorrow for dinner guests.

     

    This weekend some family members are coming over for late lunch and I needed a "different dessert".  Now it's important to note while I do like to cook .. I DON'T BAKE.  Well I love baked things but most tend to be outside my skill set.   So, thanks to page 111 of the June issue of Bon Appetit,  I got me a dessert that fits my criteria,  a few ingredients, can't take long to prep or cook and looks magnificent (gotta taste good too).

     

    I selected the recipe by Lori Longbotham for Brown Butter Raspberry Tart (Recipe At Epicurious.com) and as you can see the crust only has 5 ingredients and ...

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  • FitBit Update

    Still Waiting For FitBit

    Well, Quarter 1 has come and gone and no FitBit YET!  According to the web update FitBit blog  the company is estimating shipment in the month of July.   Pre-announcing products is always risky business but the fact of the matter is they tend rarely to happen as soon as anyone would like. 

     

    Tracks My Moves And Munching Too

    From everything I have read and seen so far this is product worth waiting for.   The FitBit will track all your waking movements and your sleep too (that's going to be interesting).  The online software (image only available right now) will allow you to enter your daily food intake so you can track your daily nutrition (and water intake) as well as all those steps.

    Wireless Wonder

    The fact that the FitBit will transmit the data wirelessly to your PC is another plus too.  I speak from experience as ...

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  • What's New From Fancy Food 2009

    Today was the first day of the 2009 San Francisco Fancy Food show.  The crowds were 4 deep at almost every booth and my first impression was "What recession?" because you would not know from the numbers and the enthusiasm that 2008 was a rough year for most of us retailers.  The several hours I spent at the show was a nice respite from economic gloom and doom I read in every paper and hear on every news channel. 

    Sofi Award Winners

    Here is a short list of Sofi Award winners for 2009:

    Crystal Pansies by Sweet Field, Inc. 
    Charleston Biscuits by Callies
    Acai Gummy Pandas from Bissenger
    Black Truffle Butter by Transatlantic Foods
    Mega Bite Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits by Big Bark Bakery

    Lemon Curd by Barefoot Contessa

    Lobster Mac and Cheese by Hancock Gourmet

    Smoked Scallop Lobster Bisque by Hancock Gourmet

     

     

     

     

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  • My Mexican Molcajete Was Made Where?

    You know a product is popular when the copies come pouring in from China.  At a recent product show in Chicago I spotted a large booth sporting every traditional Mexican cooking tool that you might find in any Mexican kitchen.  The first item I picked up was a molcajete.  I turned the box over and saw the "Made In China" sticker.  After a closeup look at the molcajete it was clear it was not handmade or Mexican.  And so it was,  product after product from the Mexican clay olla, to the lemon juicer and ice shaver, all made in China.   About two weeks later at a Mexican market I found the exact same molcajetes, boxes disposed of so no indication of where it came from.  Any uninitiated buyer would not know it was Chinese.  


    molinillo and tostonera made in china

    Hecho In China
    And now, a new player in the Mexican ...

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