Monday, May 26, 2014

Perky Jerky, jarred onions & hemp

Perky Jerky and new flavors
My daughter dug in to the “Hot & Bothered” Perky Jerky a full week before I got to try it and deemed it the best jerky she’d ever had. Then I came along to confirm that call. It’s soft, spicy and didn’t hurt my teeth. The flavor perfect. Perky Jerky, is a high-protein invigorating lean protein snack that is free of nitrites, preservatives and MSG. It’s on the paleo, gluten-free, Atkins, low-carb and and other lists. What’s the secret to “ultra premium beef and turkey jerky?” Perky Jerky’s marinade includes guarana, which is bears a fruit similar to the coffee bean. It tenderizes and sweetens the meat, and provides a burst of energy. The makers say the body metabolizes the protein and energy together, resulting in sustained energy. Brian Levin and buddies were skiing when they spilled an energy drink on jerky and this is what came of that. Go figure. A portion of all Perky Jerky proceeds go to support the fight against Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and Down Syndrome. Perky Jerky strongly supports The Foundation For Their Sake, Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy, The Jeff Foundation, Gals for Cal and The Global Down Syndrome Foundation. What a well-rounded product.
No longer punishment food
If I’d have run across jars of onions and cabbage as a kid, I’d have been running the other way. Thank goodness my tastes have changed. Aunt Nellie’s jars of whole Holland-style onions features perfect globes of white onions in water, sugar and citric acid that go in salads. Ironically raw onions are about my favorite salad garnish, so I’m eating soft onions with fresh ones. Aunt Nellie also outdid herself with a jar of sweet and sour red cabbage that will go a long way to garnish your salads with color and flavor.  Recipes right on the jars are for classic creamed onions and the cabbage served with apples and ham. These are not items my southern experience has brought in my path before, but I’m running to these jars now.
Hemp bites
Nutiva’s new O’Coconut is a bite of lightly sweetened organic fair trade coconut with 60 calories and O-Coconut Hemp & Chia has “additional” nutty flavor and the nutritional benefits of Omega-3s. Very sweet and very wholesome is how I’d describe these goodies with a macaroon feel. I kind of felt my skin get nourished as I was enjoying a bite of the bite of the hemp one.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Mushroom Pate

Sometimes life gives you lemons, but this time a friend shared mushrooms. I looked up variations of a mushroom pate but I needn’t have. My intuition was spot on when I blended steamed shrooms and onions with oregano from the garden, garlic cloves, parsley and olive oil. They were splendid on crackers for a supper on the patio. The scant leftovers went well with egg on toast the next morning. If I do it again, I’ll ask to borrow a bit of my mother’s cooking sherry, or something like it.

Cookina Barbecue Reusable Cooking Sheet has a tampon included. Oh, that’s the French side. That’s a scour pad included. I want to cook like a French person. This sheet allows you to grill everything from meat and vegetables to eggs, bake cookies in the oven and make pancakes on a grill without adding extra fat. So you’re saving money by not using foil. Chef George Duran is a fan. The instructions say you clean up this revolutionary mat with a soak and wipe down. Don’t use scouring pads, it says twice, though in one of those graphs it says to use the scouring pad included.

Enough funny stuff. I would love to try everything it can do, taste it all and tell you about it, but grilling season is upon us. I’m letting you know it’s out there with its non-stick self, is PFOA free, ,reusable, reversib, easy to clean and cuts to size.

No-hassle gifting for dad, grad or anyone.
While food is the perfect gift for me, I’d add it’s a pretty good gift for anyone. is looking ahead to Father’s day with packaging for golf, charcol and sweet lovers with edible incredibles like something they call Tuxedo Popcorn for the Elegant Dad, with white and milk chocolate, or 71 other flavors from Even naked popcorn is my favorite. This is nearly too much.
My mother shared cheese biscuits, peanut butter pretzel nuggets and my favorite, min chocolate malt balls, that were packaged around a very springy garden theme. English Watering Can – Gardening Gift Basket, has a keepsake to remember the day, after all the treats are eaten. Make sure you present these gifts in a crowd, so then you won’t have to say you ate the whole thing alone. Share, people.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

T.J.'s garden produces great talk

Thomas Jefferson gardened in his retirement days, experimenting with unusual plants of the day, including okra, eggplant and tomatoes. He loved to read from the pavilion at his gardens at Monticello and study his plantings and collect the seeds.
Peter Hatch, who directed the gardens and grounds shared this info in a delightful talk at McFaddin-Ward House. I also give high marks to the foods of the reception that followed. Ever hear of a Rosemary angel?
Hatch said Jefferson considered meat a condiment and preferred the vegetables he cultivated, with some good wine, too. Jefferson grew so many lettuce varieties that it was always in season for him. Hatch said Jefferson is credited with, through folklore or fakelore, “inventing” many trends. With all those images he showed of luscious green lettuce foliage, I wonder if Jefferson invented P.F. Chang’s lettuce wraps.

My new yogurt recipe
“The Idot’s Guides” has relesed “The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook,” an easy way to fall in love with healthy food. Watermelon salad, lamb and chicken dishes and light and filling fare makes you feel better. These dishes are easy, colorful and flavorful.
I’m just halfway through the giant tub of Greek Yogurt I made from simply boiling a gallon of whole milk and mixing it with purchased yogurt as a starter. I’ll save some of this batch to make more. It’s so good with berries I just picked and honey. Denise “DedeMed” Hazime’s book includes several recipes to make with this yogurt, including a cake. I made this sauce and spread it on a tortilla with chicken. Amazing.

Tzatziki Sauce
2 cups plain Greek yogurt
3 medium Persian cucumbers, finely diced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 half teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried mint
1 half cup water
In a large bowl, combine Greek yogurt, Persian cucumbers, lemion juice, garlic, salt, mint and water and stir for about 15 seconds.
Serve immediately or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Superfood Snacks
Not only would I know how to naturally make chia seeds coat raw pepitas flavored with garlic and rosemary, I wouldn’t have even thought of it. New organic Superfood+ Seeds and Nuts from Navitas Naturals comes on four new mixes:
Maca Maple Cashews, Chia Rosemary Pepitas, Goji Basil Cashews and Goldenberry Ginger Almonds, combine best-selling Navitas Naturals superfoods with healthy, raw, organic seeds and nuts. I tried the Pepitas and Maca Maple Cashews and found them subtly flavored – remember that “raw” makes them softer than we’re used to – and that just a few made me feel full and energized. That’s not what a lot of us have come to expect in a snack. Most of the handy options are full of salt and sugar and things we can’t pronounce. If Navitas Naturals brings it to you and you can’t pronounce it, it’s because it’s a berry or something from across the globe that you haven’t discovered yet, not because it’s a chemical. Consider this description:

These sweet maple superfood cashews are a delicious blend of raw cashews, the butterscotch-like flavor of maca and sweet maple syrup. Maca is a root from the Andes Mountains of Peru that is a complex, nutrient-dense whole food source of vitamins, amino acids, plant sterols, essential minerals and essential fatty acids. Maca has been traditionally used as a stress-fighting adaptogen, and to increase stamina, boost libido and combat fatigue. 

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Now try Colman's in a cookie

I’m still finding ways to enjoy Colman’s mustard and the yellow tins it comes in. Here’s something you might not have considered – put some yellow stuff in with your chocolate.

Chocolate Spice Cookies

3 ounces unsweetened chocolate   
one and one fourth cups all-purpose flour        
1 teaspoon baking powder           
one half teaspoon cinnamon                  
one half cup butter, softened
two thirds cup plus one half cup granulated sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
one and one half teaspoons Colman's Original Prepared Mustard
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Melt the chocolate in a small heavy saucepan over low heat and set aside. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and cinnamon, and set aside. In electric mixer, cream together butter and two thirds cup sugar. Add the melted chocolate and the egg and beat well.  Dissolve the Colman's Mustard in the heavy cream and add to the chocolate mixture. On the lowest speed, fold in the sifted flour mixture. Divide the dough in half. Place each half on a sheet of waxed paper and form into a 10-inch strip. Using the waxed paper to help, lift and roll each strip into a 10-inch cylinder. Wrap each cylinder in the waxed paper, twisting the ends to secure. Chill for two hours. Slice in ¾ inch rounds. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Makes 1 Dozen

While visiting my husband’s Mexican-American relatives in the valley, someone offered us Clamato, a tomato/clam juice drink, to mix with a beer. I can’t quite recall what I thought then, but the concept has grown on me. The May Texas Monthly pays tribute to Michelada, a summer “beertail” that loosely translates to “my cold beer.” The recipe in the magazine calls for rimming a glass with lime juice and salt and adding bottled hot sauce, lime, Worcestershire, Maggi Seasoning, a pinch of salt and freshly-ground pepper. Then add ice and slowly pour in a Mexican beer. Garnish with lime and serve.

Straw Envy
There’s more to the vanity aspect of Straw Envy than the sparkly crystals adorning the BPA-free thick straws. When you whip out the designer case and insert one into your hot coffee or cold soda, you’re getting wanted attention. Then you can explain that you’re keeping landfills free of those disposable versions and avoiding stained teeth by using your bling straw. Just like Fight Club, there are a few rules about using Straw Envy responsibly. Yes, you’re allowed to look good while slurping through a straw. No, don’t make fun of someone using a disposable straw.