Category Archives: Food

A Little Carbon Monoxide to Enhance your Sushi?

 Annice

Annice 

A few weeks ago, after the long awaited grand opening of our new Harris Teeter supermarket, I decided to drop by after Terra’s obedience class.  It was past dinner time, I was hungry, and parking was at a premium.

Harris Teeter

Very nice, I thought, as I strolled the aisles.  Yep, everything is here:  gorgeous looking produce, 20,000 cereal boxes, and a very attractive deli counter.  Perfect, I thought, I’ll just grab some sushi, buy a few apples, and go home to eat.

sushi counter

The sushi looked divine.  I picked up the first package and noticed an oversized label.  WTF – “carbon monoxide added to retain flavor?” (Question mark, mine).  I re-read the label 3 times – “carbon monoxide added to retain flavor,” not to mention all the other chemicals on the label.  I picked up a few other varieties, and there in bold print – “carbon monoxide added to retain flavor.”

I politely (as least I thought I was) spoke to the help behind the counter:  “Excuse me, am I reading this right?  You put carbon monoxide in the sushi?” One would have thought I had the plague, the way everyone stepped back about three feet.  They looked at me, looked at each other, and kind of shrugged their shoulders.  No one said a word.  “Really?” I asked.  “Carbon Monoxide?”  At that point, others around the deli counter seemed to be gathering and waiting for an answer.  I started to feel a little embarrassed for the counter help.  Surely they were excited to have a new job at the new Harris Teeter.  I was not trying to create a scene, but the sushi a la carbon monoxide really got the better of me.  At last, someone spoke up:  “Yes, it’s to retain color, and it’s approved by the FDA.”

sushi

Oh yeah, that made me feel better.  Japan, Canada and the countries of the European Union have banned the practice because of fears that it could be used to mask spoiled fish.

I moved on to buy some organic apples, and despite the fact that our region is the 3rd or 4th largest apple producer in the country- no local organic apples.  I will admit, I don’t always eat organic, but I do like my apples to be just that.

Once home, I just had to Google the use of carbon monoxide in fish, and I learned that not only are fish brokers, supermarkets and restaurants using carbon monoxide for fish, but it’s being used on beef, too, to keep that raw red color. 

For all you sushi eaters out there, Whole Foods and our local Earth Fare stores do not use carbon monoxide to retain color.  

Here are some useful links:

http://www.harristeeter.com/

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/carbon-monoxide/DS00648

10 Reasons to Cook at Home

Sadhvi

I wrote a post about Clara Cannucciari a few years ago.  She had these wonderful little videos on how to cook simple, good food that she learned from her mother during the Great Depression (not to be confused with the Great Disaster that we are in now).

As you all know I love to cook and hate to go out to eat, since it’s usually expensive for what you get and I can just about always cook something better.  Like Clara.  I wanted to see what was new so I searched and found that her last clip is the one below.

She turned 98 this past August, so she has the right to stop doing anything she wants to, but just the idea that she won’t be around forever and there is an end to everything is a general concept that’s always been hard for me to “get”  Sakshi just told me that we DO go on forever, and that what I just wrote is false.  Hmmmm….

It’s Indian Summer where I live, with the most amazing sunny and blue sky days, with cool nights and foggy mornings.  We’re eating soup for dinner just about every night though, and that is a sure sign of Fall.  Working out in my garden today, I heard the sound of leaves falling from the old Dogwood trees.  It was like music from a wind instrument…  Winter is coming, but not quite yet!

The fear factor for this coming winter is high.  With people saying things like, “It’s gonna be a bad one!”, or, “It’ll be the toughest and coldest one we’ve seen!”.

After finding three Wooly Worms in the garden, with each one having a different number and thickness of stripes (one had no stripes, one had a few, and another had it’s whole body striped) I am going to go the Zen way and just take it like it comes.

So here’s my top 10 Reasons to Cook at Home:

1. You don’t have to worry about parking.

2. You can get seconds without feeling foolish.

3. You can drink better wine with your meal.

4. You don’t have to dress up, or even wear a bra.

5. You don’t have to worry about slimy lettuce.

6. You don’t have to be tempted to have dessert, since if you are like us, we don’t have dessert made for each evening meal, just special occasions.

7. You don’t have to worry about being heard over the din of the restaurant.

8. If you are hungry, you don’t have to wait to eat.

9. When you are finished, you don’t have to wait for the check, and then drive home because you are already home.

And lastly,

10. You don’t have to worry about having overpaid for a meal that you didn’t like.

Peanut Gifts

Barbara Brady
Barbara Brady

San Francisco, April 1999. I was standing in the galley kitchen of my apartment in Japantown, unscrewing the lid on a jar of all natural crunchy peanut butter.  Instructions on the edge of the lid read: “Turn lid to open.”  Amused at the obvious, I had an “Aha moment” and in a flash, saw those instructions and peanuts as a metaphor for life.

I got it that life is supposed to be as simple as “Turn Lid to Open.”  We complicate it unnecessarily.  And what’s important in life all boils down to simple pleasures:  peanuts. I knew that, no matter how rich or poor I’d ever be, I’d always love and eat them.

sandwich

Growing up in the 60’s, carrying peanut butter and grape jelly sandwiches or “Fluffernutters” (creamy peanut butter with marshmallow cream) on soft, white Wonderbread to grammar school in my Batman lunchbox, gave me comfort.  I noticed that PB&J sandwiches tasted especially good with Lays potato chips.  You get the salty and the sweet; the crunchy and the soft.

In the 70’s, Planters cocktail peanuts were a big hit when my parents threw parties. Salty, oily and crunchy in the blue can, they sure satisfied with an ice cold Coke.  For my uncle, with a dry gin martini.  My cousin Tom used to harass me by chewing a handful of peanuts, then breathing on me. Ugh, peanut breath!  Then there were the salted Spanish peanuts with the little red skins my granduncle and I would eat together while he watched the Red Sox, Pabst Blue Ribbon in hand. 

Planters cocktail

 

Thinking back to college evenings of drinking pitchers of light beer with friends at “The Ground Round” while eating shelled peanuts still makes me feel cozy. While in grad school, a classmate made us a homemade dish from Togo, Africa, where she had lived in the Peace Corps. It was chicken with a delicious peanut sauce. I thought “I could like the Peace Corps…” Later I got into making Peanut satay sauces and adding crushed peanuts to Asian dishes as well as ice cream. My two favorite candy bars to this day are Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Snickers.  Nutter Butter cookies are also delish. Today you can even get a Peanut Butter Cup martini.

peanut butter martini

 

Thank you, Mr. Peanut. Through you I’ve realized that the more I can enjoy and appreciate even the simplest pleasures, the more I love life in general.

After we published this article, Barbara sent us a recipe for the chicken dish:

Ingredients:

800g chicken (preferably thighs), cut into strips

4 tbsp smooth peanut butter

1 onion, grated

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 onion, halved

2 carrots, halved lengthways and each half cut into three pieces

1 green bell pepper, coarsely chopped

1/4 cabbage, coarsely chopped

1 fresh tomato, chopped and crushed

1 small tin of tomato purée

500ml groundnut oil

1 vegetable bouillon cube

1 hot chill

salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste

In a bowl, combine the grated onion and garlic. Season liberally with salt and black pepper then mix in the chicken, cover and set aside to marinate for 20 minutes.

Add 60ml of the oil to a large saucepan and use to fry the chicken until nicely browned all over. Remove the meat with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add 2 tbsp more oil to the pan then stir in the tomato purée and fry for about 5 minutes, or until dark red in colour. Add the crushed fresh tomato and stir in the peanut butter and the carrots.

Cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes more then add the reserve meat broth along with 500ml water and the bouillon cube. Stir until smooth, bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes.

At this point add the fried chicken, onion, cabbage and hot chilli. Return to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes more.

Serve hot, accompanied by boiled white rice or gari.

Wedding, Vacation, Gourmet Food Truck Lot, Old Friends, and New Puppy – Life is Good!

Annice

Only a few weeks ago, I wrote about how overwhelmed I was feeling.  Well, actually, I’ve posted on that subject quite a bit.  In fact, it’s a pretty common theme these days with us baby boomer women.  But, after spending ten glorious sunny days in California, I feel somewhat renewed.  No whining for me for a while.  I guess more vacations are in order.

My nephew’s wedding at the Inn of the Seventh Ray in Topanga Canyon was beautiful as was his bride, Noelle.  Her family came in from Hawaii and it was great meeting them as well as their Bernese Mountain Dog, Walter, who was actually in the ceremony.  What an event.  My sisters and I rented a cool house in Santa Monica for the week, and although we didn’t always agree on little things like what bread to buy for the house, or which coffee is better, it was wonderful spending time with them.

Brad&Noelle&Walter&soon to be Owen

In Santa Monica we went to a cool flea market with wild stuff, stuff I don’t see too much in Asheville, like tons of vintage clothing and art deco furniture. Then my nephew took us to the Santa Monica Food Truck Lot where we feasted on Lobster Rolls, Peking duck tacos, and even curried fries.  Yummy.  Then, there was the Getty Museum which I had never seen, and how lucky was I to stumble up on a Vermeer exhibit?

Once the festivities of the wedding were over, I visited two friends I hadn’t seen in years, and what a treat that was.  One friend took me to the Shoah Foundation (founded by Spielberg) after Schindler’s List where I discovered my dad’s s cousin had given a four hour interview/testimony about her experience in Auschwitz.  I will write about that separately, when I can process that experience of just listening to her and what happened to many members of my family.

Terra

To end on a happy note, we finally got a puppy.  After losing both our dogs several years ago (you remember, Gus and Carli), we found our dear little Chesapeake Bay Retriever from an incredible breeder only 40 minutes from our house.

Terra and Favorite Toy

So, let me introduce you to Whiskey Creek’s Terra Cotta – 11 weeks old.  You’ll be hearing a lot more about Terra in posts to come.  She’s pure joy – well almost.  Still potty training her…

Vivian’s Finds

VIVIAN

I purchase most of my food at our local Food Coop. There is something about being in a real Health Food Store that just feels good. You just feel the integrity and not just the profit margins. They have the best selection of bulk items like coffee, herbs, and grains, and, almost everything in the store is organic.

So while I try to avoid Whole Foods as much as possible because it’s so corporate and I don’t trust it (it’s definitely not a “Health Food Store”), I do buy their “365 Almond Milk” right now because it’s the only organic almond milk I can find.

.

Oh, I found this great makeup line at Sally’s Beauty Supply called Palladio. It’s not organic but it is very clean with no animal testing. It was so cheap (like $6 cheap) that I thought I’d give the lip-liner and lipstick a try, and I love it. I like the way it looks, smells and feels, and the packaging doesn’t look or feel cheap; it looks like expensive makeup.

PALLADIO LIPSTICK

What else? I’ve always juiced, and use a Champion that I got from a neighbor that is in excellent condition. I juice carrots, beets, celery, ginger, apples, and greens about every other day. I have always wanted a Vitamix, but they are about $500 and used ones are just a little cheaper.

Many of my friends are using a Ninja, which is just as powerful as a Vitamix.  So I went to Bed, Bath and Beyond and was looking at “The Magic Bullet” and the other powerful little blenders. I asked the saleswoman for suggestions and lucky for me, she happened to be a juicer and she recommended the Ninja Pulse (it’s the white one for $79.99). It has many functions but the feature that I love is that I can make a single serving, which is the size of a large glass. It is so easy to use and clean: you just throw everything in it, including flax seeds (it completely grinds them), screw the cap on (which has the blades attached to it), put it on the little blender for a few seconds and take it off. That’s it – you just have the glass and cap to rinse off – it’s so easy! You can even put carrots in if you add a little liquid.

THE NINJA PLUS

It doesn’t extract juice like the Champion, but instead it blends it so you still have all the fiber, which I like. I always have some frozen bananas or strawberries in the freezer so when I want ice cream or sorbet I just throw some frozen fruit and a little Almond Milk and I have ice cream. The other thing I like about the Ninja Pulse is it takes up very little counter space because it’s so small. I paid $64.00 plus tax because at Bed Bath and Beyond you get 20% off with their coupons – it’s a great investment!

Until next time…

Vivian Gold LMT
Global Vision Healing Arts
Massage and Wellness Therapy
Asheville, NC
(828) 691-6916