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Are you a Gadget Junkie?

Paderno

It was the middle of winter when summer squash was only a dream, but when the ad from William Sonoma popped up in my Inbox I knew I was about to make a purchase.  Although I am not a huge kitchen gadget junkie, there are certain items that I cannot live without (my Kitchen Aid Mixer & Vitamix to name a few).  Although I knew I certainly couldn’t classify the Paderno spiralizer as a necessity, this blog sealed the deal for me and the spiralizer has become my newest kitchen gadget.  I think this is the best way to avoid burn out with one of my favorite summer vegetables, after all variety is key.

Radish, Cucumber & Peach Salad

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Serves 6

2  ripe peaches, diced to ½”

1  english cucumber,thinly sliced or julienne

8  radishes, quartered or thinly sliced

coarse sea salt

1T  grated lime zest

2T  fresh lime juice

2T  olive oil

1T  honey

 

1. Arrange peach, cucumber & radishes on platter

2. Season with sea salt

3. Whisk together lime zest & juice, oil & honey

4. Drizzle dressing over salad

 

Foodie Revolution

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Coming at us from every direction are varying philosophies, policies, and opinions about what’s “wrong” with what we eat and how much.  From recent articles suggesting food should be regulated like cigarettes to current disease in our animal food sources (beef and pork) to controversial documentaries about our industry as a whole, there is no debating the fact that we (people who love and serve food) are in the hot seat.
On May 16 a handful of MG school locations participated in the Food Revolution event created by Jamie Oliver to introduce kids to cooking and real foods – something we see as our mission every day.
From the front door to the back door we promise our customers real foods (embrace fresh, local, scratch – always!). The best way for us to add positive energy to this growing global concern is to do our thing…and make sure everyone knows what that is.

Farmers Fishers Bakers

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I had the opportunity to dine at FFB’s in DC this past week.  The setting is gorgeous-right on the Washington Harbour and Georgetown Waterfront.  The food was delicious as well.  Sort of the perfect combo for a great night out!

Some facts about the restaurant from their website.

  • It’s owned by American family farmers that belong to the North Dakota Farmers Union.

  • Their menu is “crafted on a foundation of seasonal ingredients from abundant and healthy sources, and the sushi bar is constantly adjusting its offerings to meet and exceed the standards of sustainable seafood”.

  • Their “interior is designed and enhanced by North American artisans – from individually handcrafted chairs to our interlocking wood ceiling hand-installed by Canadian woodworkers, to our one-of-a-kind American flag mural and welcome desk mural, installed onsite by regional artists.”

  • “ Above all, Farmers Fishers Bakers seeks to honor and respect the strong values of the farmers who grow our food and the folks that harvest it, while celebrating the independent spirit of craftspeople and artisans from across the country.”

I was very impressed by how many local items were featured, and how much of their menu is prepared in house.  Here’s what we enjoyed:

Brick Oven Pretzels with Pimento Cheese, BBQ Mustard, Sour Cream & Onion Dips

Pretzels & dips were excellent!  Pretzels came out still hot, crispy on the outside, tender & light on the inside.  The pimento cheese has a little kick from jalapeno, and the bbq mustard has a great horseradish bite to it.  And they made the onion dip right-starting with caramelizing the onions!

Authentic Field Tacos: Fried White Fish on a Sweet Corn Cake

Other options for the taco fillings include Chicken, Pork Belly, Marinated Steak, Pulled Pork, Beer Braised Beef & Plancha Tuna.  Tortilla choices included Fresh Masa Puffy Corn Taco or Griddled Flour Tortilla.  The taco was topped by dates, mango, radishes & peanut cider slaw.  Amazing flavor combo!

Shrimp Scampi, Gnocchi, Leafy Greens

‘Caroline White Shrimp’ with Potato Gnocchi in a rich, velvety Garlic Lemon Sauce…with enough Sautéed Spinach to make it seem like maybe what you were consuming is actually healthy.  Then there was the Grilled Bread to sop up the extra sauce.  It’s all about balance, right??

I highly recommend FFB!  Again, setting & food can’t be beat.  You feel good about having helped the environment & American family farmers after eating all the local/sustainable deliciousness.  And prices were the best I’ve seen anywhere in DC!  I was amazed at the quality & quantity of food for a very reasonable price!!!  Check it out!

The School Lunch Debate

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When my son Oliver started public school this year, I told myself I was going to keep an open mind about the lunchroom offerings.  Sadly, my preconceived notions about the food were right on target.  Admittedly there is some healthy food to be had; it is just not prepared in an appealing manner.  Furthermore, my son is only eager to buy on the most unhealthful days of the week, hot dogs, prepackaged peanut butter and jelly (really) & of course chicken fingers.

Granted, I don’t want to appear to be the food police, but I consider these foods to be “fun” and not ones I am happy to see on the regular lunch rotation.  Though I believe in food choice, my almost 7 year old would happily eat M & M’s for dinner, washed down with a cup of Gatorade.  So how can my son make proper food choices at school if there are so many more appealing, yet very unhealthy options?  Is it possible for schools to offer more healthy appealing choices and stay within their budget? I recently read a very insightful column by Mark Bittman discussing these issues.  Click the link to read.

Save Our Children

High Five!

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You probably don’t need an article to tell you that people who work…are more invested in what they do…when they have positive relationships with their coworkers and supervisors.

 

After all, loving people and serving others is at the core of our core.

 

But, Five Things Great Managers Do Every Day, is excellent. 

 

The very first of the five:  be straightforward.

 

Trust is the gatekeeper to connection. A great manager doesn’t sugarcoat bad news, evade the facts, or attempt to spin. She respects her employees enough to give them the truth, even if it’s not the most palatable thing to hear on a Monday morning. Great managers inspire their team by being authentic, direct, and honest.

 

Read on!

The Doctor’s Always Right, Right?!

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Recently I had the privilege of hearing a very well respected physician speak on the topic of health and nutrition.  However, when this physician started quoting Dr. Oz, my inner skeptic went on overdrive.  All credibility was lost on me when this speaker began quoting NYT reporter (and major propagandist) Gary Taubes.

Sensationalism. That is the word I think of when I hear Gary Taubes (not a physician by the way), Dr Oz and other “experts” speak about nutrition and weight loss.  The quick fixes, the pills, the supplements, no sugar, no gluten, no grains, no wheat, hey how about no food!

Not to say that these physicians and reporters don’t give us something to think about; science is ever changing and these “experts” certainly give us food for thought.  However, no matter the credentials a practitioner has we need to be skeptics of the quick fixes and promises that simply do not work.

For a very enlightened view on this topic, check out Drop it and Eat by credible health & nutrition expert Walter Willett.

Ramen at Foo Dogs

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I had a fabulous dinner at Foo Dogs ramen bar in Richmond a couple weeks ago. The company was the best part (Chris Blain, the hot new chef at the governor’s mansion!). But the food was a close second!

We started with

BAO WOW (love the name!)

Two pork belly bao sliders with cilantro, red onion,

plum sauce drizzle and sprinkled with cashews 

Basically pork buns served taco style. The shell was the typical chinese pork bun dough. It was folded around perfectly tender, fatty & sweet pork belly. The accompaniments finished it off nicely!

FOO WINGS

Eight Wings tossed in a fiery Foo Dog signature

sauce, Korean BBQ Sauce or Malay Curry Sauce

We had the fiery Foo Dog signature sauce. It was delicious, but pretty much your typical hot wing sauce. Loved that the wings were small, really crispy & not breaded!

For out entrees, we shared two ramen dishes:

MALAYSIAN STYLE

Red miso & curry broth with Chicken breast, soft cooked egg, bean sprout and scallion

CHINESE STYLE

Stir fried with Chasu pork (Chinese flavored bbq pork), shitake mushroom

and green onion (no broth)

The broth on the Malasian ramen was incredible! Light, just enough sweetness & heat to know you were eating curry. The noodles were floating in the sauce, so they were soft & silky. The richness of the egg yolk just takes it over the top!

The Chinese ramen was by far my favorite dish of the evening! The Chasu (aka Char siu or Chashu) pork was salty, sticky & delicious! There was no broth, just the pork, vegetables & noodles stir fried. It was delicious on its own, but even better with a ladle of the curry broth from the Malasian ramen.

I highly recommend trying Foo Dog! It’s a great little place, right on Main Street in Richmond. Fairly new, but doing a booming business! You won’t be disappointed!!!

 

Sidwell Friends School in Huffpost Taste

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VOTED #1 BEST SCHOOL LUNCHES IN AMERICA

by Eric Mathes, The Daily Meal

 

“If you’ve got the two First Daughters enrolled at your academy, you’d better be sure the lunch is luxurious. And that’s exactly how it is at Sidwell. Cuisines you’d never dream of show up on the menu here, such as an entire lunch of Brazilian delicacies like feijoada, caldo verde soup, all-natural chicken with coconut milk, and mango and pineapple with lime and mint. There’s a soup every day, like borscht, creamy spinach soup or Tuscan white bean, and creative dishes like the Creole caprese salad or hot and sour Cajun gumbo served on “Fat Tuesday.”” 

 

 

Admit it: When you were a whippersnapper paying your dues in your local school system, you probably tried to avoid the mystery meat of the day the way a vegan avoids eating animals. With few exceptions — namely extra-crispy pepperoni pizza (round or rectangle; they both met the minimum edibility requirements, if “edibility” is, in fact, a word), cookies, copious quantities of chocolate milk, and the ultimate juggernaut of taste when it came to Caféteria food: glorious, golden-baked Jamaican beef patties — it was simply too high a social risk to consume the majority of mysterious conglomerations that “lunch ladies” ladled onto those flimsy, Styrofoam trays.

To a teenager who used about a quarter-cup of hair gel every morning to form perfect scalp stalagmites, the choice between starving oneself at lunch and then having to run two miles during eighth-period gym class on an empty stomach versus the unknown possibilities that could ensue from scarfing some of Ethel and Gertrude’s “secret-recipe” chili was as clear as vodka.

Thank goodness somebody realized how backwards it was to serve such unappealing, nutritionally lacking lunches. In the past decade, enormous changes have been made nationwide in the ways learning institutions feed our offspring. Initiatives have been undertaken where schools have students manage organic gardens on premises and take field trips to local farms to learn where their lunch originates and how it grows. Budgets have been utilized more thoughtfully and efficiently, investing in these same farms to supply students with the freshest ingredients and an abundance of healthy choices, and in other creative, culinary-geared ways.

Some of the public schools (and, in some cases, entire districts) that made this list earned their place by overhauling pre-existing systems that were clearly in need of a makeover; others were added because their private school status afforded them the luxury of an on-staff celebrity chef (I’m not kidding, people). Most of these schools integrate nutrition, food history, and business and economic principles — like supply and demand and supply-chains — into curriculum by way of their culinary programs, some going as far as to bring esoteric teachings like bee-keeping into the mix. And our top school on the list had better have gourmet fare in its Caféteria — it’s where the POTUS’s daughters attend.

Schools like The Calhoun School in Manhattan, New York, have a French culinary chef weighing-in on the menu design, and ten-day menus are even submitted a week in advance. Others like the high schools in Burlington, Vermont, source a third of all their ingredients for the lunches locally and add bonus fruits and vegetables, and unlimited milk to meals for hungry students.

Source: Huffpost Taste

Roasted Beet, Caviar Lentil, Orange & Chevre Salad

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Serves 8

1c     black caviar lentils

1lb    local beets (heirloom if available)

 

Dressing

1/3c  fresh orange juice

2T     orange zest

1/4c  shallots, minced

2T     cider vinegar

1T     honey

1/2t   s&p

1c      olive oil

1       orange

6oz    goat cheese

2c      baby salad greens

 

1. Wrap beets in foil, roast at 325°F, 1 hr

2. Peel beets while warm, dice to ½”, chill

3. Cook lentils in 4 c salted water until tender. Drain & chill

 

Dressing

1. Combine 1st six ingredients, slowly whisk in oil

2. Peel, section & dice orange

3. Toss chilled lentils, beets & orange sections with ⅔ of dressing

4. Assemble greens; top with lentils, orange sections, beets & crumbled goat cheese

5. Drizzle with remaining dressing