Friday, January 9, 2009

"The 11 Best Foods You Aren't Eating"

Tara Parker-Pope of the New York Times writes that these 11 foods are packed full of nutrients and antioxidants, not to mention full of flavor!
  1. Beets
  2. Cabbage
  3. Swiss Chard
  4. Cinnamon (though not a good reason to eat cinnamon buns...)
  5. Pomegranate Juice
  6. Dried Plums (aka prunes)
  7. Pumpkin Seeds
  8. Sardines
  9. Turmeric
  10. Frozen blueberries
  11. Canned pumpkin
The article gives some good insight into the main health benefits, as well as some tips on how to incorporate these ingredients into your diet.

It was amazing to see how many of these things have I started eating because of joining a CSA (community supported agriculture). Even now that I am far away from California I still will buy cabbage and swiss chard at the store -- beets, not as much. Everything on this list is delicious and not bank-breaking.

Perhaps a series on great recipes with the above ingredients highlighted is in order?

Monday, January 5, 2009

Roasted Sweet Potato Sandwich

One of the most delightful cafe sandwiches that I have ever had was at Ula Cafe in Jamaica Plain, MA. It was an unusual combination -- a sweet potato, avocado, and sprouts...etc, etc, sandwich. I can't afford eating their $7.95 version with any regularity so I decided to try to recreate it at home. You can buy turkey as a back up and use the sweet potatoes for an array of other dishes if the final version doesn't suit you. Me -- I'm planning on having it for lunch every day this week. So much for perishable ingredients!

Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges
Cut 5 sweet potatoes (I made these all at once to freeze and use in other dishes) into wedges or thick slices.
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Mix sweet potatoes with about 2-3 Tbl olive oil, salt and pepper.
Place on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, turning once until tender, but not mushy.

Assemble Sandwich:
1 avocado, sliced
1 red onion, sliced
1 Tomato, sliced
4 slices Provolone cheese (or Monterey Jack)
2 Tbl Tahini 
8 slices Semolina bread (sourdough or a hearty italian bread works well, too)

Spread each bread slice with about 1 tsp of Tahini. Then layer the sprouts, tomato, onion, cheese, avocado and sweet potato on 4 of the bread slices. Place the other slice of Tahini bread on top.  Enjoy!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Bourgogne Pinot Noir

While shopping at our local TJ's I was looking for a red wine that would pair well with pork or another light protein, like fish. A member of the TJ crew confirmed my suspicion that a Pinot Noir would be a good choice. Now, I was hesitant to pick a Pinot Noir, because a) they can get expensive, and b) there seems to be more of a linear relationship between price and tastyness (aka. a cheap pinot noir will not necessarily be very fun to drink). A few of the $14-$18 wines were suggested, but I was looking more in the "$10" (really under $10...) price range. Perhaps the only Pinot Noir under $10 that TJ carried was one from France. The employee recommended it with some reservations, "it is really light...I mean, really light," he said. 

So why did I buy it? My thoughts guided by the employee's description...
1. Not too spicy
2. Easy to drink, smooth
3. My friends may enjoy it, too. 
4. $7.99

Great! "I'll take it!" I told him. 

Being invited to a friend's for dinner, I was hesitant to bring the wine with me. But, it was the only one we had and I figured it couldn't be that bad. I just hoped they weren't serving some really heavy meal that would completely overwhelm the flavor.

My thoughts:
After finishing off two other bottles of red, this wine was opened and served. It certainly was the most light and clean of the wines we drank that night. It was reminiscent of a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc in some way. It was not a terrible wine, but it was also not very memorable. Hints of cherry and a clean finish. I would like to try a few other Pinot Noirs before coming back to this one.

Cuvee 2007
Blason de Bourgogne
Pinot Noir
13% Alc.