April 14, 2013 § Leave a Comment
If you’re like me, and running around the house at the start of busy day while trying to scrounge up something nutritious but easy for breakfast, it can be difficult. With the weather temperatures reaching the lower 70s last week, Spring has made its name known in Boston. Along with that nice weather, came the people who emerged from winter hibernation – myself included. Creating more time to spend outside whether it’s for a stroll in my neighborhood, a long run, or to get my hands dirty over at the Fenway Victory Gardens, has decreased the time I have in the kitchen. But it is a welcome change, and one that will surely carry me along until the last days of summer.
Granola is a no-brainer, simple companion to my morning routine. I like to eat it over greek yogurt with fresh fruit, over milk, or on its own as a snack. You can make a large batch of this and store it for a couple of weeks in an air-tight container. This would make a great gift for Mother’s Day or for the holidays later in the year. It would also make a great addition to a bake sale or food swap (if those are set up in your city). Like most of my recipes, many of the ingredients can be swapped for ingredients of your liking. Alternative ingredient bases include: tropical-based, citrus-based, berry-based, and so on.
March 16, 2013 § 3 Comments
A large theme of the 2013 International Boston Seafood Show was centered on sustainability. Sustainability is a popular buzz word in the food world, especially as the overproduction of seafood products has compromised its respective quality and availability. The show had a number of panels covering this hot topic, and many vendors openly expressed their support for sustainably produced seafood. I had the pleasure of meeting with John Carlill, from Scottish Development International representing the Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation, a luxury salmon farm industry supporter, to discuss how Scotland is taking on sustainable fishing practices.
When the issue of farmed salmon comes up in the alternative food community, some cringe and root strongly for wild-caught salmon. I too was in that category, until I recently researched other methods of farmed fishing. Though I am still an active supporter of wild-caught salmon and seafood practices, I believe a compromise needs to be made as the demand for salmon in the United States is currently unsustainable to meet the current supply. My suggested compromise is to maintain the availability of wild-caught salmon, and additionally supplement it with sustainably-caught salmon.
March 15, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Hailing from the Pacific Northwest, I have a strong affinity toward seafood of any kind – both cooked and raw. Lucky for me, the International Boston Seafood Show (it will be renamed the Seafood Expo North America next year) was held at the Boston Convention and Exposition Center this past weekend. The three-day show took place from Sunday, March 10th to Tuesday, March 12th, with the majority of events taking place in the first two days. Over 1,000 vendors from all over the globe covered a vast landscape of seafood fields including commercial products, sustainable products, and wild products. Multiply the number of vendors by twenty and you have the approximate number of attendees for the show, as noted on the expo’s website.
March 7, 2013 § 3 Comments
After a trek across Boston, through Cambridge, and finally landing in Somerville, I made my way to Ball Square Cafe, located in and named after the quaint neighborhood of Ball Square. As I approached the diner-sized cafe, which opened in 2007, it was clear that this was the go-to weekend hot spot for brunch in the neighborhood. Often compared to their next-door competitor, Sound Bites, the visual outside of the cafe formed a lasting impression in my mind. A line of people trailed the windows outside of Ball Square Cafe on that brisk Saturday morning, eagerly waiting to grab a seat indoors. One of the perks of attending Boston Brunchers events is that reservations and a section of the restaurant are always set aside.
I felt a bit guilty walking past the line outside, but as I sat down to join my fellow Brunchers, that feeling quickly dissipated. In need of a healthy dose of caffeine, I walked over to the self-serve coffee station Ball Square Cafe had set up for their diners. There was a nice selection of coffee ranging from french vanilla, to hazelnut, to dark roast, but I went with the straight for the dark roast to start my brunch off right.
February 27, 2013 § 4 Comments
When it comes to setting aside some time to kick back and relax, some people might watch their favorite TV show or read a good book. I enjoy these activities too, but one of my favorites is to peruse through cookbooks just for the fun of it. Strange to some, but it makes absolute sense to me – being a food lover. I remember doing this with one of my college roommates, and when a couple of friends stopped by, we received some weird looks! Revisiting my slew of cookbooks this week led to one of my favorites by Heidi Swanson (of the food blog, 101 Cookbooks), Super Natural Every Day.
While studying for my first exam in years, I made her Oatcakes (a recipe I’ll probably feature in the future), as a little study break. Taking a nutrition class has made me look at foods differently, and Super Natural Every Day has some excellent healthy and delicious recipes to choose from. The recipe I’m covering today, from Heidi’s cookbook, is her Wild Rice Casserole. I always love to put my own spin on a dish, so I used forbidden rice instead of wild rice (hence the name Forbidden Rice Casserole).
I picked up a bag of forbidden rice while visiting my family in Seattle, and made sure to use it right away. Forbidden rice, also known as black rice, is apparently even healthier than brown rice, so I guess my instincts were right! Like brown rice, forbidden rice has more fiber than white rice, but it also contains more antioxidants than both brown and white rice due it its dark color. A fun history tidbit is that forbidden rice attained its name because it was only available to nobles and the emperor in ancient China.
February 15, 2013 § 2 Comments
This time of year feels like we’re seesawing back and forth between Winter and Spring. With the recent blizzard, Nemo, we had here in Boston last weekend leaving piles of snow everywhere, and conversely, with the warm sunshine hitting my back as I type this post in a café, it can be genuinely confusing. Some mornings I hear birds chirping outside my window, and at other times, the lingering silence of cold winter mornings remains. The transition into new seasons, with Spring in particular, often brings about the sensation of seeking change.
I wholeheartedly welcome change, and whether that means choosing to make your own pita bread as opposed to buying it at a supermarket, is a decision made out of convenience or curiosity. This week in my nutrition class, we covered carbohydrates and whole grains. Incorporating whole wheat into your diet and your family’s is a great step in the direction of creating a healthy diet, and therefore a healthy lifestyle. This recipe offers an excellent source of fiber, B vitamins, vitamin E, antioxidants, and minerals. With that many benefits, the choice between the less nutritionally-dense, all-purpose flour-based pita bread and the whole-wheat version seems easy. If you want to learn more about whole grains, I suggest looking up The Whole Grains Council.
February 5, 2013 § 9 Comments
Brunch for dinner? Eating brunch in the middle of the week around dinnertime may not sound like a common occurrence, but when you win a spot with the Boston Brunchers to dine at Common Ground Bar & Grill, you don’t turn it down. Having heard of the Allston neighborhood gastropub before, I was intrigued at the opportunity to try out some of their brunch menu items. Though I wasn’t able to decipher the weekend brunch atmosphere as we went on a weekday, the level of service and enthusiasm was unparalleled from owner Bob O’Guin, the beverage director, and Chef Jaime Suarez, who came out for a quick appearance half-way through the meal before ducking back into the kitchen to cook up more of his menu samplers. Common Ground makes an effort to use locally sourced ingredients when possible, and they feature locally made beers on tap as well.
Common Ground has built up many different reputations catering to the large student population in Allston, to the families who stop by on the weekend for their brunch buffet, and for the after work crowd excited for trivia night on Monday and Thursday evenings. There is nearly a different event every single day of the week, making the restaurant open to many different crowds of people.