Tag Archives: food trials

Purple is Better, Anyway

image

Well, I much prefer purple kitchen towels to plain ol’ white ones, anyway. Which is good, because I kinda stained my white towel cleaning up the mess from canning blueberries. Quick tip: when canning, pay attention to the headspace or the liquid will leak all over and you won’t get a proper seal. So these vanilla and lavendar infused blueberries will be stored in the fridge just in case, and used up much sooner than anticipated. I think a jar or 2 may make their way into Mom’s hands so she can add them to a blueberry pie for Dad.

image

1 Comment

Filed under Cooking With Love

Live Flavors

As you know, I love food. I love to talk about food. I love to make food. I love to help people find foods that they enjoy. Right now, I am in love with researching different ways in which foods are processed and how that processing affects the flavor and/or nutrition of the food. I do this for no other reason than it interests me. I don’t get paid to do this. It is something that I enjoy learning about and I love passing on new information when I learn about it. Most recently, I have learned about a processing method that does not apply heat, helping to maintain the integrity and the flavor of the original food. Keeping the flavors alive is important in food. Am I wrong? I dare you to tell me I’m wrong. (I know I’m right. 😉 )

Case in point:

Evolution Fresh

There’s a new juice on the block these days. It’s from Evolution Fresh and when I did a side-by-side taste comparison of their orange juice with another brand of high-quality orange juice, I was impressed. (And it takes a lot to impress me where orange juice is concerned because, well, orange juice does not impress me. Juice in general does not impress me.) The first juice was…juice. It tasted just like most any orange juice I have ever had. It’s just juice. And then I tried the Evolution Fresh juice. It was a classic double-take reaction. I did not expect what I tasted. What I tasted was real. It was fresh. It was like the juice my son labored over for 30 minutes one morning, squeezing every orange in the house, just to serve me freshly squeezed orange juice. At the first sip, I had to know more. How did they do it? How did they make this juice that was like actually biting into an orange?

The answer is simple. They don’t heat it. Never. The fresh juice is cold pressed from the fruit, and to process the juice for commercial packaging and sale, it goes through High Pressure Processing. The juice is never heated. And the heat is what kills the vitamins, the enzymes, the FLAVOR of your foods and juices.

I have tasted several more of these juices now, and each one, even the Essential Vegetable, had such an explosion of flavor that I knew I had to make sure people knew about this new company and the amazingness they have to offer.

I really could go on and on about this. But I’ll save it for another post, another day. If you have a chance to check out Evolution Fresh in your neighborhood, you really should. I want to know what you think!

*This is not a paid advertisement. This is just me, really excited about a new thing I tried, and new information I’m learning! 🙂

Leave a Comment

Filed under Food and drink

Fruity Tastes

Cherimoya, Kumquats, Star Fruit

Last week I asked if you could name these fruits. I posed the question here at ThatCookGirl.com and again on facebook. Everyone seemed to know what the kumquats and star fruit were, but most seemed stumped by the 3rd fruit I had pictured. An odd looking greenish-brown fruit that my kiddos and I chose because we had never seen or heard of the cherimoya before.

 
It’s fun to try new foods, and I found it even more enjoyable to share it with my kiddos and talk about what we liked and didn’t like. We all agreed that the smooth texture and sweet flavor of the cherimoya was our favorite of the three. It would make a great addition to a smoothie, or alongside a cup of fresh yogurt. Both of the kiddos said they did not enjoy the kumquats. They were a little bitter, maybe they weren’t quite ripe? I was the only one who said “eh, I could take it or leave it” to the star fruit. It was good, but not something that made me think “where have you been all my life?” But again, I think it was not fully ripe, so I will have to try it again at some point. Maybe alongside the dragon fruit that was suggested by my sister. It is, afterall, the Year of the Dragon, which is MY year!
 
Speaking of MY year! It is still my Birthday Month, too! And I’m still trying new foods. Tonight: Veal!

1 Comment

Filed under Cooking With Love, Food Trials

Can You Name These Fruits?

Can you name these fruits?

On my quest to find new foods to try this week, I decided to get my kiddos in on the fun. They have some great suggestions and I’m excited to keep trying new foods with them, well past my challenge this month, because there are just too many things to try, and why stop the fun just because the challenge ends.

 

This week kinda got away from us, and we found ourselves coming home from a fun weekend with friends, realizing we had not tried our new food yet for last week. We popped into a market for some milk and perused the produce aisles for inspiration. The picture you see here is what we came up with. Can you name these fruits? [We will reveal names of fruits and our opinions on them later this week.]

 

2 Comments

Filed under Food Trials

Simply Perfect

Saturday night. What’s a single girl to do, with her kids away for the weekend? Quite obviously, that girl should cook herself an amazing dinner, right? Afterall, if you don’t treat yourself well, who else will?

On Friday afternoon I ventured into town to check out Shawn’s Quality Meats & Smokehouse. I had heard good things about them from fellow good food lovers. I happily ordered a lamb chop from the friendly guys there, letting them know it was my first time having/cooking lamb. They were all-too-happy to give me some tips, including to not overcook it because that’s where you get the gamey flavor.

Simple Perfection

Saturday night rolled around and I had purchased all the ingredients to make a fancy dinner. I was going to make this fabulous-sounding pomegranate marinade and relish for the lamb, and risotto, and then I was going to fancy up the asparagus (generously given to me from Baby Sis’s produce co-op baskets). I stood there, staring at all the ingredients, and promptly decided that in this case, simple would be best. So I pared down my menu to include only the ingredients you see in the picture. That’s right. A lamb chop [seasoned lighly with cracked black pepper and a tiny bit of coarsely ground salt and cooked in my grill pan until medium-rare], asparagus [steamed], and a red potato [wedged, tossed with garlic-infused olive oil, and baked until brown]. Simply Perfect. And I think I enjoyed this simple preparation much more than I would have the more labor-intensive meal I originally planned. I got to really taste the flavor of the lamb, unmasked by fancy sauces. And I must say, I give it a 10!

Some foods are best enjoyed with the simplest preparation. I believe that a good quality cut of meat does not need to be fancied up, and I was pleased to find that to be true with this lamb chop from Shawn’s. I will surely return to their shop. Thanks, guys!

 

3 Comments

Filed under Cooking With Love, Food Trials

Birth-Month Challenge

I posted a few weeks ago about my Food Trials. At that time, in my own mind, I issued myself a challenge to post more frequently. I had plans for daily post themes. After a few days and no posts, I decided I would just make it weekly posts…and then a few more weeks passed by. So I am issuing my Birth-Month Challenge to the public because it’s harder to back out of a public challenge, right? (I hope! Because I really want to do this!)

It was a few years ago, during a particularly tough time in my life, that I decided I would celebrate my Birthday for the entire month. It’s February. It’s a short month. Humor me, people. I deserve to be spoiled, even if I am spoiling myself. So, what better month to issue myself a new challenge than this very special month. I won’t bore you with all my daily spoilings (or maybe I will. I guess I haven’t decided yet.), but I will share my challenge with you.

My challenge (which goes well with my Food Trials!): I will try one food I have never tried every week this month. I will cook one thing I have never tried to cook or never had success cooking at least twice this month.

Oooohhhh….double challenge! Can I do it? Of course I can! The question is: What do I cook?

First up: Lamb! I have never (that I can remember) had lamb. I find myself with the opportunity to have a weekend alone at home. So I will shop some local markets and get some lamb and make myself a great dinner. I will report back on my results.

2 Comments

Filed under Cooking With Love

Food Trials: Beef Jerky

Have you seen Runaway Bride? What about the famous egg scene from that movie? In that scene, our Runaway Bride is standing in the kitchen with eggs prepared several different ways, having a taste test. Why? Well, as she explains, she doesn’t know what kind of eggs she likes. She has always eaten her eggs in the same manner as her current “beau”. This, I believe, is all-too-common.

I find myself in similar situations as I realize I am in my mid-30s and fully, 100% single for the first time in my adult life. And, surprisingly, it’s not too bad (most of the time, anyway…but you don’t want to hear the boring details of my non-dating life).

Early in the fall, my kiddos and I spent a weekend at my baby sis’s house to attend a local festival where we got to make fresh apple cider. Before heading her way for the weekend, I decided we should bring some beef jerky from our hometown. I ran into a problem with this. I don’t know which shop’s beef jerky I like best. So, what’s a girl to do? Well, buy from all of them and have a taste test, of course.

And so, in true Runaway Bride fashion, I gathered up some beef jerky from the shops in our hometown and set up a taste test for everyone. Here’s what I discovered: Of the 3 we tried, I found 1 to be too dry and too salty. The other 2 both had good flavor, with 1 that I had never even tried previously coming out the clear winner in my book. It was the least salty of the 3, and had the most interest with different layers of flavor and smokiness. But the real discovery? I guess I’m just not a beef jerky kinda girl. Yes, that’s right, the results of this taste test for me was: I don’t really care about beef jerky.

Stay tuned for more food trials. There are many foods I have not tried. Some because I’ve just never had the opportunity, and others because someone else said they didn’t like it, so I just never made it. My kiddos are pretty adventurous with food, so they’ll get to try some of these foods with me, as well. But some, well, some I will make for myself on my own date night when I find myself at home by myself watching sappy chick flicks (like Runaway Bride and Eat, Pray, Love). Because I deserve to eat well, even when I’m eating alone.

What are some foods you have always wanted to try but for whatever reason, just haven’t? Will you join me in this food trial and share your new food experiences with everyone?

1 Comment

Filed under Food Trials