2013: Quinoa and Kale (Food Pop)

Quinoa

Quinoa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2013 The Year Of Quinoa and Kale

I know, I’m not in the majority, (I generally never am) but if I hear the words “quinoa” and “kale” way into 2014 I’m going to be sick. I heard way too much of it in 2013. Believe me, I’m not saying I ate a lot of it. I tried kale a few times and I dutifully ate it, albeit begrudgingly, but that was quite enough, thank you very much. Every person I know was talking about the different ways they used kale and the more they talked about it, the less interested I got. What was this, the flavor of the month club? Apparently.

Actually, if it had only lasted a month I would have been quite happy but the kale craze continued (sigh and it’s still going.)  Tied with Kale was Quinoa, something that took months for me to pronounce much less spell and eat. I made it once (it turned out like a cross between cement and glue) but bought it prepared other times. It’s a  grain, YAY. Since then I’ve heard quinoa salads with kale countless times. More than enough for me.

We eat fresh fruit and vegetables and red meat once in a while. Not often but sometimes we get a craving for a delicious juicy hamburger and instead of denying that hamburger we will go out and eat one. We will thoroughly enjoy it and some of those fries (extra crispy, please) and we will be completely satisfied and happy. We eat red meat about once a month or so, not usually more than that.

Now, coming from two different sets of European parents, (don’t ask) both my husband and I will not, cannot give up our sweet tooth (teeth?) I wouldn’t give up my sweet tooth voluntarily unless I had a severe case of Diabetes which I always pray I don’t get. With a Viennese father and a German mother (who has pre-Diabetes) I’m walking a very thin line. It’s worth it. The need for dessert is not just a desire, it is a full-fledged NECESSITY.

Why can’t 2014 be the year of the jelly doughnut?  I miss the good old days. How about a really delicious European pastry (such a lack of patisseries everywhere) just serving café and kuchen? (cake) in the afternoon like they do all over Europe. Maybe everyone is just too much in a rush here. My parents being European always had friends over for coffee and cake. Shouldn’t everyone? Can you honestly replace cake and coffee with a tall glass of green juice? I once added a shot of wheat grass to my apple-carrot juice and it took every ounce of self-control not to vomit all over Mrs. Greens. A true story.

The day is long, the nights are spent with family, a time to eat together and talk. What’s wrong with a warm baguette, some flavored olive oil, a block of cheese and some sweet purple grapes, my favorite dinner? Add a salad or some homemade vegetable soup, that’s plenty. But, please don’t add kale chips or quinoa that’s just so last year, at least for me.

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Mellow Yellow Monday – Corn on the Cob

It’s bitter cold outside, I’m dreaming about warm weather and backyard bbq’s.

The Weber grill has some sweet and savory chicken,  hamburgers and hot dogs too. Family and friends sit around having a soda or a beer, fresh lemonade. There’s potato salad, coleslaw and delicious sweet and crunchy, corn on the cob and home-made buttery bread. It’s like a bit of sunshine sweetness in every bite. Chips and dip, nothing fancy, just great food and perfect weather, hanging outside for as long as we want, with a guitar strumming and people singing out back in the garden.

I miss summer so badly, I could just about cry.

The following is the author's description of t...

The following is the author’s description of the photograph quoted directly from the photograph’s Flickr page. “One a day food item 20 ” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Lingering Smell Of Basil

A cooked hot dog garnished with mustard.

Image via Wikipedia

As soon as I feel the first warm hint of spring on my shoulders and see the first crocus I immediately rejoice! It’s Spring, not officially, but in my snow-sickened world it is the start. As soon as Spring is even in the air I start thinking of having barbeques, especially the one BIG BBQ we try to have every few years.  I’m imagining all our friends and family out in the back yard eating cheeseburgers from the Weber grill, dripping with either cheddar or American cheese. I think about   grilled chicken with barbecue sauce and juicy hot dogs, and bright yellow mustard. I also think of potato chips, the real kind, the ones we had as kids and not the baked, healthy, kind either. There would be Heinz ketchup, (of course I’m brand loyal) potato salad made with a touch of mayonnaise, coleslaw and perhaps a large tomato and mozzarella salad with fresh basil and a touch of light green extra virgin olive oil drizzled over the vibrant red tomatoes and the creamy white mozzarella cheese. I love how the earthy smell of basil lingers between your fingertips all afternoon.

In addition, we may have small roasted potatoes on the grill along side smokey-sweet yellow and white kernels of corn on the cob.  Red and white plastic table cloths, bright red or blue plastic plates (preferably the ones that have three sections, love those!) and disposable cups. Napkins would be stacked high in your hands as if they were towels. Messy and barbeques to me are happy synonyms.

Once we went to a barbecue at Charlotte’s house, (“Charlotte of the charmed life” as I call her) the table was like a set directly from a page right out of Martha Stewart Living. Everything matched, the beige, ironed linen table-cloth ( l-i-n-e-n),  the highest quality count, and the china decorated with large blue and yellow flowers bursting on the plates.  Of course, all the bowls, the silver utensils, they all matched perfectly as I watched in unmitigated horror and delight. This is not what I thought I was coming to, I felt under-dressed and ill at ease. It was absolute perfection just not MY type of perfection. It was for high-class people with lots of money and so very different from our dinners and us.

We dined on steak and salmon, ( I hid my salmon) a glossy arrangement of bright green, yellow and red fresh vegetables and imported cheeses. There were no sticky fingers and plastic glasses of lemonade, just a beautiful crystal pitcher filled with ice water, ice cubes that were in the shape of tropical fruit. I was afraid to eat, afraid to get the napkins dirty so I ate slowly and carefully and with my luck, ended up leaving a stain on the tablecloth which I fervently tried to hide underneath the matching napkin. There were no s’mores at this dinner, it was too elegant. We had assorted cookies from the expensive bakery in town shaped and iced beautifully like flowers and cars and ice cream cones but utterly tasteless.

At our barbeques we have cherry, blueberry and apple crumb pies glistening on the table inside with vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream readily waiting in our freezer. I make my home-baked banana raisin-chocolate chip loaf and there would always, I mean always, be a chocolate cake and brownies.

I put my nephew, Jon, in charge of music so the sounds of Neil Young,  Bruce Springsteen, The Beatles, Fleetwood Mac and various other oldies will be playing out the window like the days when music screamed from dorm rooms. It isn’t fancy or elegant and it may just be ordinary but I guarantee you, there will be, a lot of food, including s’mores and an equal amount of laughter. Hope you can come.

Man vs Food #3 (Because You Asked For It)

Subliminal Nachos (Add-A-Note-Festival!)

Image by Lucky Bielka via Flickr

Welcome to Ann Arbor, Michigan home to deli sandwiches, stacked burgers and the University of Michigan. ENORMOUS EATS! That shouldn’t come as a shock since my friend, Adam Richman of Man vs. Food is apparently in town. A stack of greasy burgers is just waiting for him as he tries to bite, gulp, and swallow his way through the massive blimp-style burger. The  burger comes with various toppings, fried eggs, (I kid you not) salami, bacon, cheese, anything that you can think of. But wait, it’s only  1/10 of a lb. of meat so for Adam this must qualify as health food. What? I should have known: in this show you HAVE to stack the burgers. If you didn’t, it would mean you were practically on Weight Watchers! I forgot, It’s Adam’s world, (sounds like Wayne’s World only more gross, grosser?) and there must be a law somewhere about that.  Try bacon, egg and cheese on three burgers (heart attack alert?) Two to five (yes, five) burgers is the general request. However, I believe the record is for 43 patties… I’m sorry I must have misheard. I don’t think I can believe that. There are an enormous amount of burger combinations to keep your imagination alive: grilled items such as bacon and onions, and EVERY kind of cheese. Condiments include: olives, lettuce, tomato, mustard, ketchup. Keep eating these mountains of hamburgers, it’s guaranteed to increase your cholesterol by a good, say 200-300 points.

Then, there’s the Ann Arbor game day tradition, the Maize and Blue deli, huge, special, triple play Rueben sandwich made with two slices of thick sourdough rye, homemade Russian dressing, sauerkraut ( ugh, the smell) Swiss and Jarlsberg cheeses (as if you really needed that extra bit of Jarlsberg’s nutty flavor). Combine that with four ounces each of pastrami and corned beef and  grill, (because it’s not greasy enough.)   Adam talks with his mouth full, we expect nothing less. Yes, you did see the coleslaw fly out of his chubby mouth as he was eating, no trick photography there! And, to think,  he thought the only great rueben sandwich could be found in NY. Silly boy, as they said in SNL, you “kid the public.” Adam, keep your mind and big mouth open and you will discover all the riches of the gastronomical world, all super-sized.

Right in front of me you can see his swollen, greasy upper lip. The next  competion and challenge? Nachos: I had a small dinner so I was able to watch Man vs Food without actually gagging. I want to know this dude’s cholesterol numbers. Even mine are high and I don’t eat one percent of what this guy eats. This show is the only time I feel that I could possibly turn into a vegetarian, easily.

Next up: a 5 lb nacho challenge. Yes, read my lips, 5 POUNDS of NACHOS at Tio’s Mexican Cafe. Apparently they run on wolverine spirit ( as in school spirit) and eat like wolverines to boot. It’s game time: “Eat Adam, eat!!” At Tio’s mexican cafe, the epic 5 lb. nachos include:  blue cheese, (can he substitute?) coleslaw, pork, beef,  chicken, and cheese, (volcano style )and more cheese. First there is a giant layer of chips, and an elephant portion of refried beans. Refried, as if frying them once was not enough. This is followed by Jack and Cheddar cheese. We’re only on the first floor of the nachos tower so we need to go to the second floor which includes: more chips, beef, chicken, pulled pork, garlic and lavender (lavender? that seems so delicate for this monstrosity, I’m sure they said hamburger. After that another layer of…well everything.  It melts perfectly in the oven and is then served with gushers of sour cream, guacamole, onions, olives, tomatoes, and to top it off (TADA!) a kiddie pool of melted cheese. It looks like the kind you can get in a jar (just saying it looks like it, didn’t say it was), the ultimate in “queso.”  In 45 minutes,  Adam has to try to eat the “whole thing” in order to get into the hall of fame where he could win a T-shirt (I’m guessing extra-large) and his picture on the wall. If he loses (gasp!) he will join others in the  hall of shame. At this point I seriously hope he busts a gut, on camera, up close and personal. Before him sits 5 pounds of nachos, the ultimate challenge (aren’t all his challenges called ultimate?) There are crowds of people cheering this dodo on. Can he do it? Will he make it? Of course he does. I can rest easy tonight knowing that he made it through five lbs. of greasy nachos and came out of it a winner, a champion. Oh Adam….you have done it again. My hero. Not.

“Man vs Food” (An Extreme Foodie Blog) Repost

Man v. Food (season 1)

Image via Wikipedia

If you have never watched the show “Man vs. Food” don’t be surprised, and don’t be upset. I just stumbled upon it on the Travel Channel. I have to admit the first few minutes I was absolutely appalled. The premise is that this dude  (and he is a dude) named Adam Richman goes all over the country doing food challenges. No, not challenges to cook, challenges to EAT. A lot. After the first fifteen minutes of being totally grossed out, I was unable to take my eyes away from the show I thought I hated. As I wrote my fellow foodie friend Paula,  it’s enough to make you want to be a minimalist calorie counter.

The first thing that I saw was a spicy sushi challenge, escalating in heat and spice from one to ten, that seemed doable and innocent enough. It was just the amount of spice he could handle (I would still be on one). He was awarded a Master. Okay, I thought, not bad.  Then came the: next challenge: and I kid you not, he had to eat (ok, he didn’t HAVE to),  the 4 – 5 lb grilled cheese sandwich consisting of: 3 thick slices of bread, fried, 14 kinds of cheese., hand cut french fries, coleslaw and pickles. In one sitting.  In case you were worried, there was no time limit, however he was trying to eat all of this under twenty minutes because then it would have been free! ( I could be mixing this up with the 12 burger patty challenge, sorry!) He looked like he was about to gag and I kind of wish he had thrown up but he didn’t. It wouldn’t be good for ratings or for the show. Darn.

There is always a crowd  that cheers him on to overeat, (I mean reach his goal) “Go Adam, Go Adam, Come on Adam, do it,” they chant.  It’s like one big frat party with food instead of kegs. The man is both a walking heart attack about to happen and stroke victim to be. Serious appetite he says? I say he should be the poster child for potential obesity and clogged arteries in America.  It’s a sickening show yet I  admit, I kept watching. It’s like the car crash mentality where you don’t want to see what happened but between your fingers, you are definitely looking.

Hysterically enough the show is sponsored by Cheerios, ” a smart way to lower cholesterol”  and Zantac, an ad for antacid. Could this get funnier? (or sicker?) Now, Adam is attempting to eat something called a” Polish boy” and just watching it gave me an acid stomach and I reached for Tums. I couldn’t keep up with all the minute details but basically it was a boiled and then fried jumbo hot dog (on location in Cleveland), with french fries, spicy sauce, pork shoulder, more sauce, all on top of one another. Wait,  I think i am forgetting something….right, there’s coleslaw too.  “Do it for Cleveland baby, do it for Cleveland” people roared. “One more bite, one more bite” the audience chants and than applauds wildly when he has achieved his, um, goal, success (?)  Once again, Adam is declared a champion. Go Adam!

Now Adam has 12 burgers one on top of another. He’s got himself a show where he travels around the country to challenge other people’s eating records. Really? He calls it ” the worlds greatest pig out spots”. My first question: Why? It’s gluttony, it is over the top, it’s somewhat entertaining in a sick way and it’s appalling.What kind of  (mixed) message are we sending to the country? They say “victory is sweet”, but after watching this show, moderation is better.

I hope First Lady Michele Obama doesn’t see this show, actually, I kind of hope she does. Hello, Madam President? Please watch this show once (and once is enough) and tell us what you think. I’m dying to know. Finally, the show ended and it wasn’t a moment too soon. I found myself feeling greasy after watching all those fat food frames. I was annoyed with myself for watching the entire episode and again, I was a little happy to have seen it. What is wrong with me?

When the show was over, I needed a snack, a refreshing snack, “clean food”.  I decided on a small, clear glass bowl of cold mandarin oranges in light syrup; it’s all I could eat and it tasted like heaven.