Thursday, May 10, 2018

Hummus Pods

I'm a snacker. I wish I weren't, but I just am. I love to snack. And my favorite snack is hummus. So when I saw the Hummus Pods at a food trade show, I immediately fell in love! Hummus Pods are hand-held hummus treats wrapped in a crispy shell.
The whole concept is ingenious.Take creamy hummus, encase it in a doughy shell and package it frozen, so once heated, it is super crispy. Could they be healthier? Yes. They are made with enriched unbleached white flour, but they also have whole wheat flour, navy bean flour, vital wheat gluten, teff flour, and quinoa flour. That's a lot of flour!


They come in three flavors: Zesty Lemon, Smoky Chipotle, and Sriracha Lime and all three flavors are vegan. While I liked all of them, the Smoky Chipotle is my hands down favorite. I could easily get hooked on these!

They are available around the country in select areas listed here. In DC, they are available at Yes! Organic Market. Enjoy!

Full Disclosure: Although the products were provided to me for free to review, that in no way influenced my veracious opinion.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Real Food, Really Fast - Cookbook Review

The busier we get, the less time we want to spend on cooking. I'm with you on that. I was excited to hear that one of my favorite authors, Hannah Kaminsky, wrote a new cookbook with recipes filled with real food that can be cooked really fast. Hence the name, "Real Food, Really Fast!"


The book opens with sections on cooking fundamentals, essential equipment, and an introduction to specialty ingredients. The pictures will have you hooked in no time. From appetizing recipes for tempeh fries, falafel fattoush, French onion soup, and walnut bolognese, you'll wonder how in the world she created so many meals that can be made in 10 minutes. But, amazingly enough she did.

The first recipe I tried was fantastic and amazingly simple. The Jamaican Jerk Chili has browned tempeh to give it a meaty texture, black-eyed peas filled with protein, and fire-roasted tomatoes and cooks in just 10-15 minutes. Amazing! She basically just throws all the ingredients in a pot and cooks it for 6 minutes and it turns out great.


I also tried the Instant Kimchi Noodle Soup, which If found pretty unique. It's fairly easy to make, but has so much flavor, it'll taste like something you'd get in a fancy restaurant. Layers of kimchi, soba noodles, cremini mushrooms, zucchini, scallions, and wakame all hit your mouth at the same time and the result is happiness. And all of this happiness in just a few minutes...give me more, please!


Lastly, I also tried the Hasselback Zucchini. Although this recipe took considerably longer than indicated in the recipe, the prep was quite simple and the end product quite good. I sliced zucchini, layered them with a spice mix and baked them for several minutes. Voila! Tasty zucchini!


I'm pretty hooked on this book because it is real food, really fast! Next, I'm trying the Spinach and Artichoke Bisque, Seitan Bulgogi, and Mofongo Bowl! If you are interested, you can order this book on Amazon here

Full Disclosure: Although the cookbook was provided to me at no cost to review, that in no way influenced my veracious opinion.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Hasselback Zucchini

A different take on hasselback potatoes, Hannah Kaminsky does it again with Hasselback Zuchini out of her new book, Real Food, Really Fast. After cooking these, I inhaled them like there was no tomorrow. The mixture of garlic, thyme, rosemary, red pepper flakes, and salt smeared over zucchini with olive oil makes a fantastic side or main dish after just a few minutes of cooking. I will, however, add that even though the recipe below states to cook for 2 minutes without foil, I felt I needed to cook them for 12 minutes more to really cook them through. Just keep checking them. Also, the recipe calls for dried thyme and rosemary, but fresh is even better. Enjoy!


Hasselback Zucchini
Serves 6

Ingredients
  • 1.5 pounds of zucchini
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions
Preheat your oven to 500-degrees Fahrenheit.

Properly prepping the zucchini is essential for success here, so be careful when cutting. You don't want to go all the way through the vegetables, but just about 3/4 of the way, at regularly spaced intervals of just a few millimeters. Exact measurements aren't critical as long as you're consistent. For those less confident with their knife skills, try placing thin skewers or dowels on either side of the zucchini to prevent the blade from going all the way down to the cutting board.

Place the zucchini on a lightly greased baking sheet and drizzle liberally with oil. Combine garlic, thyme, rosemary, red pepper flakes, and salt together and smear this mixture all over, pushing it in between the cut layers and all over the sides. cover loosely with foil and slide the pan into the hot oven.

Lift the foil after about 6 minutes to check on their progress. The zucchini should be just about fork-tender. Bake for an additional 2 minutes or so, uncovered, until lightly browned. Serve warm.


Tuesday, May 1, 2018

1 Fresh Stir Fry Grill, Tallahassee

I definitely didn't come to Tallahassee for the food, but I knew somewhere there was some good food to be had. As we were driving down the street, I saw this little hut that had "1 Fresh Stir Fry Grill" on it. I asked my local friend about it and he said it was a good place to go, so we did.

I was thinking it was a fast casual place, but it also had a drive through! And it was next to a real fast food restaurant. Perhaps they are just keeping up with their competition, we thought.


The plastic one-page menus are kept in a bin before you get to the register. You can figure out what you want, then go order. It's an interesting concept. Immediately the ladies behind the counter left their post and asked if we needed help. They explained the menu, told us what was vegan, and left us to decide.

You first choose if you want a stir fry, quesadilla, wrap, soup, or salad. Stir fry for us! Then, you choose your type: we chose tofu. Then, you choose your veggies and beans--we went with mushrooms, broccoli, zucchini, black beans, spinach, cabbage, and onions. You have a choice of rices, but we wanted the more expensive ones: black rice and quinoa, which were an extra $1.99 each! Then, your sauce--we went with habanero spicy one sauce. And, lastly, your toppings like scallions, cilantro, and garlic.

We went to seat ourselves in the large dining room. It is simple with black tables and brown chairs. Strings of lights hang from the ceiling and fun signs that state things like "Drooling not permitted, but understandable."


We really weren't expecting much, but, we ended up impressed. They brought it out and it was huge (glad we decided to share it!). It looked and tasted amazing. The black rice and quinoa with the veggies and tofu topped with that habanero sauce was awesome.


They came over once to ask if everything was good. So good! I love this place! The service is great (even though there is no table service), the prices reasonable, the food fresh and delicious, and the atmosphere is nice. Recommended!

1820 Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32301
(850) 422-2111

1 Fresh Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Instant Kimchi Noodle Soup

There are few recipes that I walk away from saying, "man, was that good?!" But, this was one of them. Straight out of Hannah Kaminsky's Real Food, Really Fast, this kimchi soup is pretty unique. It's fairly easy to make, but has so much flavor, it'll taste like something you'd get in a fancy restaurant. Layers of kimchi, soba noodles, cremini mushrooms, zucchini, scallions, and wakame all hit your mouth at the same time and the result is happiness. Share this with a friend or keep it all to yourself. This isn't your mother's noodle soup.



Instant Kimchi Noodle Soup
Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces dry soba noodles
  • 2 cups drained vegan kimchi plus 1/2 cup brine
  • 4 scallions, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp wakame flakes
  • 1/2 cup sliced cremini or button mushrooms
  • 1 small zucchini, halved and thinly sliced
  • 3/4 pound firm tofu, diced
  • 6 cups mushroom or vegetable broth

Instructions
Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Add the soba noodles and cook until just tender, about 3-4 minutes. Drain and immediately rinse with cold water to prevent them from getting mushy. Set aside.

Meanwhile, pile the kimchi, all the vegetables, soy sauce, wakame flakes, and tofu into a large pot along with the broth. Cover and set over high heat on the stove. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to keep the liquid at a lively simmer, and cook just until the vegetables are tender, and the tofu has been absorbed by the flavorful stock.

Divide the noodles evenly between 4 to 6 bowls. Ladle the soup on top and serve right away. The soup itself can be made in advance and kept in the fridge for up to three days as long as the noodles are kept separate. Buckwheat isn't as resilient as plain wheat and will become gummy as it sits in the broth.


Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Nature's Table, Orlando

As I was on my way home from a skydiving event in Florida, I had few hours to kill in the Orlando airport. After walking around for a while, I found Nature's Table. I think it was the word "nature" that drew me to it as I was expecting to see healthy food.


There were a variety of salads, but as it was late in the day, it all looked a little old and sad--like it made you wonder how long all of it had been sitting out. But, I was hungry and I needed something hearty. I asked if the Chili-cado protein bowl was vegan and they assured me it was.

Then, they informed me they were out of chili, which was the heart of the meal. They said they could give me black beans instead. Fine. It ended up being a pretty boring bowl of brown rice, black beans, corn, spinach, and quinoa and no flavor. I doused it with some cheap hot sauce they had and ate it. It felt like five pounds of food!


After I looked into it, I found that Nature's Table has been in business since 1977 and there are now more than 75 franchises across the U.S.

Based on this experience, I don't know if I'd ever go back. I have to assume the chili was tastier than the bowl I got, so maybe it is worth a try.

Orlando International Airport
(407) 851-1334

Nature's Table Café Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Hilary's Millet Meals

Hilary's, best known for their burgers, is branching out to make other healthy, vegan foods. The key here is really "healthy" because their latest meals aren't mindblowingly good, but they are healthy and good and that's what I love.


The Millet Medleys are four flavors of meals made with millet--a grain not typically used in frozen foods. The Traditional Herb Millet Medley, for example, is made with all good stuff: millet, white beans, carrots, peas, quinoa, roasted onions, olive oil, roasted garlic, parsley, salt, thyme, black pepper, and rosemary. I found this one to be lightest on flavor so a little hot sauce with it goes a long way!


My favorite is the Fresh Greek Millet Medley made with whole grain millet, garbanzo beans, Kalamata olives, and a burst of lemon, parsley, and mint.


The Golden Curry Millet Medley has chunky peas and lentils with lots of wholesome, curry taste.


And the Savory Mushroom Millet Medley is a simple, hearty mushroom mix with white beans, collard greens, and sun-dried tomatoes.


I'll be honest, when I first tried them, I was thinking that they were pretty plain, but after eating all of them, I really began to appreciate their simplicity--whole meals made with real, unprocessed food in just minutes. All you do is throw it all in a saucepan and heat it for a few minutes and voila! you have a meal for two!

They also have some great recipes for what to do with these meals online. You can find Hilary's products in natural grocery stores nationwide. To find one near you, click here.