Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Poke .pngIf you've got to be editor of “Surfer” magazine, you’re going to get hungry after hitting the waves. As long as you’re enjoying the amazing waterside views in Morocco, Peru, Indonesia, Tahiti, etc., you may as well pick up some cooking tips.
                             Thank you, Jim Kempton, for taking us places some of us will never get to go. If we do go, we probably won’t be out in the surf, like you. But I’d sure join you fireside and tableside for one of your dinners. His new Prospect Park Books release is “First we Surf, Then we Eat.”
                             Everybody’s got priorities. Don’t worry, photos of rocky beaches, sandy shores, rainbows, cactus and glorious spreads of food don’t leave out coverage of the two surf sites we may be most familiar with: California and Hawaii.
                             I saw an announcement for this book regarding Ono Poke Bowl around the time Hawaiian Poke Bowl opened in Port Arthur. This Hawaiian treat has become a mainland trend, Kempton writes, and reports it’s pronounced “poh-kay.” The recipe here includes a pound of sashimi-grade tuna, avocado, ginger and pepper.
                             After that, I’d love to try a Porterhouse Steak with Herbed Butter and Portuguese Chimichurri. Dona Victoria’s Kahlua Kahlua Coconut Flan is from Margarita’s Village in Mexico as is Avocados Stuffed with Jumbo Shrimp. This fall, try Santo Domingo Sweet Potatoes with Pineapple Rum Balsamic Glaze. This book will take you away and it also may take some surfers back in time.
                             Kempton is keeping the flavors and action coming. The section titled Makka Beach, Jamaica, offers Jerk Chicken Salad with a dressing designed to impress. Here’s that recipe:
                             Agave Lime Dressing

                             One half cup sesame oil
                             One fourth cup agave nectar
                             One fourth cup apple cider vinegar
                             2 tablespoons finely diced onion        
                             2 tablespoons lime juice
                             1 tablespoon Myer’s dark Jamaican rum
                             Pinch of sea salt, plus more to taste
                             Place all of the ingredients into a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Taste and add more salt if needed. Store in a lidded jar in the refrigerator until needed.

                             Darragh Doiron is a Port Arthur foodie who has never been surfing, but she is willing to watch you do it. Reach her at darraghcastillo@icloud.com

A squeeze of oatmeal, Field Roast, Struck

A squeeze of oatmeal
So many foods are more “fun” than they used to be. I just consumed oatmeal without ever having seen it. That sounds weird, but what if you were on the best hike of your season and there’s a beautiful view ahead and you want to get a photo of it just when that cloud should float past…. And  you’re hungry?
            Just reach in your pack for a peach-chia-vanilla Munk Pack of Oatmeal Fruit Squeeze and remove lid and squeeze it right into your mouth. You don’t even have to finish it all at once. Save some of that just-right, filling0-in-the-good-way flavor for after you snap that perfect photo. Or maybe that’s when you crave the Maple Pear Quinoa.
            Your “hike” could be a long wait at the department of motor vehicles or the car pool line. Have some for the kids, too. I’ll bet they’d like Raspberry Coconut. This brand is all about whole grain, vegan and gluten-free goodness. So load up.

Field Roast
Here’s some ad copy/poetry from Field Roast: “Our mornings are defined by the nourishing foods we provide for our bodies when we break the fast of a good night’s sleep!”
Doesn’t that want to make you whip up something good and good for you? How about artisan vegan breakfast sausage? What’s that look on your face? What if Field Roast threw in Washington apples and real maple syrup? I tried these little bits of sizzlers and I’d deem them for the more serious non-meat eaters among us. The numbers are growing every day, really. I offered some on the side of eggs as an evening meal, and I was told I that the time to mention that they were vegan was after everyone had sampled. This Seattle-based company is proud of what they’ve ground. You can have a field day with Field Roast mixing it into biscuits and gravy, breakfast burritos, scrambles and quiches.

Most of us have begun ordinary days with life-changing twists. The term “life changing” has a range of interpretations, but you know when nothing will be “the same” again. Then there’s the cliché of being prepared because you could get “hit by a bus.” These things happen.
“Struck: A Husband’s Memoir of Trauma and Triumph” shares what it was like when Douglas Segal’s wife got hit by that real-life bus. Her daughter walked away from the accident and people watching newscasts could not even believe that Susan could have survived.
Segal is a film and television writer, so the emotions are real, and he knows how to convey them. He shares his family’s struggles a long hospital stay, rehab and life beyond. His family and friends and a larger community became involved via social media postings on her progress and the “takes a village” thought evolved. Reading this Prospect Park Books offering will have you emotionally invested along this journey, too.
Susan could be a difficult patient and couldn’t eat “real food” for a long time. I want to mention a culinary note. Nearly immobile, she pined passionately and loudly for a particular diet soda for weeks. When she finally was allowed a sip….. meh.
The writer doesn’t mention exactly how this bus accident happened until way in. It’s kind of crazy, and within days after finishing a book, I passed by a situation where a vehicle ended up in a canal in the same fashion as this book’s story. Little twists have happened to this couple and readers are sure to be left enjoying the gift of each day with a little more intensity.
Darragh Doiron is a Port Arthur area foodie who especially loves fall and is totally into that pumpkin thing. Reach her at darraghcastillo@icloud.com

Monday, October 29, 2018

Vegan Strong and the Sea Ranch KETO thing

 "Vegan Strong: The Ultimate Field Manual for a Kick-Ass Plant-Fueled Life" illustrates the many paths people take toward this lifestyle. Bill Muir is a registered nurse in the military, taught English in Japan, listened to punk rock and is an all-around character. We will follow his lead and now refer to him as Sgt. Vegan from now.
                              I enjoyed this book that shares how hard it was to get vegan food anywhere, much less in the military, a few short years ago. Then you had to deal with attitudes, too. He's still sensitive about his locker search that yielded artificial bacon bits that made salads fun.
                             His own family and friends group was sure he'd wither away after just giving up meat for Lent. He's story is interesting and his recourses are valuable. I'd also like to meet Sgt. Vegan's mom, who shares kickin' recipes for pea soup, carrot and curry soup and vegan chili. Report for duty.
                  Sea Ranch KETO Boudain
                             Boudain lovers, you may have heard. Sea Ranch Café in Port Neches is making KETO boudain - with cauliflower instead of rice - and it's selling like crazy. Thibodeaux and Boudreaux might not even notice the substitution.
                            I couldn't wait to get my hands on some and I found the texture to be very good. It passed my Mom's test and she's got ties to Breaux Bridge, La., I did add some cayenne to my serving, because that's just how I roll. Spicy. You've got to plan ahead to get your share, so monitor them on Facebook.
                             I had another round of guests from Alabama and I'm happy to report that they scored a few pounds for a relative who is on the KETO diet. They also packed dry ice to take a chest of their standard favorite, DJ's Boudain, back home.
                             Darragh Doiron is a Port Arthur area foodie who is happy to spread the Vegan message, yet is pretty strict about her boudain desires. Contact her at darraghcastillo@icloud.com

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Spices (other than pumpkin flavor fall

If you woke up in a hotel in India, I’m not sure what a breakfast could look like. But I went to my sister’s house in Alabama the night before her son’s wedding and I’ll call that my bed and breakfast.
                             Debbie’s husband is from India and we were on our way to an Indian ceremony so what could be more appropriate than some spice to get us started? We were happy to indulge in her platter of raw vegetables and flavors she set out for our arrival, close to midnight the pervious evening. So I wasn’t that hungry the next morning, but the aroma of upma got me going.
                             I liken this “porridge” to the consistency of  the Malt –O-Meal I had as a kid with butter and sugar. This upma was a bit thicker, with onions, peppers and spices mixed in. It was savory and warm and filling. She made hers from a packet and served it with a southern biscuit on the side,  jelly and fresh apples.
                             Again, not sure how they’d serve the same dish in India, but I’m all about the fusion flavors.

                  Spice of  life

                             You can go around the globe from your spice cabinet, thanks to McCormick Gourmet Global Seasonings. Some pre-mixed concoctions in their famous jars include flavors I already crave, such as shawarma Middle Eastern blend of cinnamon, coriander and cardamom, and some new-to-me traditions such as berbere, a blend of cayenne, paprika, cardamom, ginger and cinnamon to make Ethiopia’s most popular seasoning.
                             With my samples of harissa, a Tunisian chili paste, and za’atar, I’ve seasoned eggplant, eggs and meats in a fashion that makes one want to set a whole table for entertaining. The aromas are intoxicating.
                             Peruvian, a blend of chilli pepper, paprika, cumin and black pepper, is another offering you’ll want to experience. 

                             Darragh Doiron is a Port Arthur area foodie who likes it spicy. Contact her at darraghcastillo@icloud.com

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Snack, then eat your plants

                             Road trip! Don’t you love the words? The adventure? The snacks?
                             I have hit the roads with carrot sticks, boiled eggs and nuts, but someone else packed the bag with munchies for a 12-plus hour excursion to my nephew’s two wedding ceremonies. We headed toward Alabama, then Tennessee with our red, insulated bag full of Buc-ee’s Beaver Nuggets, a round of peanut brittle (I did share!) and pretzels from a recent flight.
                             Did I mention I was in the back seat the entire time and helping someone study for a nutrition test?
                             The best way to sample “everything” on a road trip is to share. When I’m with my husband, we plan for stops featuring regional specialties and divvy up a serving. Well, he was not with me on this leg of the journey.
                             Lots of Greek yogurt is helping me get back on track. And, the healthy attitude discussed in the following mention:

                             Veestro, Plants Please, wants you to “feed your happy.”
                             I love healthy discussions about food and nutrition. But if people are still “making fun” of vegan choices, that’s unfortunate. If you’ve gone that way by choice, then perhaps Veestro’s plant-based frozen meals are the the path to switching provokers into supporters. They could at least be jealous of the ease of delivery, variety and flavor.
                             Red curry is sweet with coconut milk, kaffir lime, broccoli, cauliflower and more over brown rice. The breakfast burrito features potatoes and roma tomatoes in a whole wheat tortilla with a red sauce. I tried several meals and juices sent my way and loved them. I also admire the company’s approach toward health and simply enjoying food, nutrition and meal time. If you’re already into foods with titles such as oatmeal breakfast pie, Portobello steak and black bean alfredo, you’ll want to check this out. info@veestro.com  
 Versio               Darragh Doiron is a Port Arthur area foodie who supports lots of things in moderation. Snack well and keep your plate full of the rainbow. Contact her at darraghcastillo@icloud.com


Tuesday, October 9, 2018

NOLA never disappoints

     A 5-state road trip to a double wedding wrapped up in New Orleans, by design. A trip like that needs a big finish and we had a big, wet, sugary, spicy, emotional one.
                             We had just enough time to locate the memorial brick for my father, Burton Doiron, at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. I experienced just a small portion of this historical attraction and I’m planning a full emersion for another time. The rest of this quick stop was about eating and shopping.
                             Visiting with family in both Tennessee and Alabama, coupled with drive time, had us arriving in the French Quarter at nearly midnight. Even I was surprised by the huge amount of foot traffic on a Sunday night. We took a quick stroll and got the last table at Pat O’Brien’s by the flaming fountain. I’d never been there. It was loud when we looked at the menu and I heard our order request. Suddenly our lone beverage order arrived and I was still enjoying myself and waiting for our seafood to come out. When the gang got up to leave, they all laughed at be, because I never heard the server tell them the kitchen was closed and those oysters were not on they’re way to me.
                             But I got my favorite thing in the morning, to walk through the Quarter early when just about the only people out are street cleaners and workers on their way to or from hotels and restaurants. Then all of a sudden the place is filled with tuba players and tourists in line for Café Du Monde.
                             I got beignets and walked to St. Louis Cathedral, then went back to the restaurant and got another round. We all got super soaked and waded through puddles on the way back to the hotel, but it’s all worth it in New Orleans, and that sugar high helps.
                             You have to compromise on tastes and time on a family road trip, so that’ s how we passed around bites of barbecued shrimp, gumbo and beans and rice from Deanie’s Seafood in a parking lot. But again, all worth it.
                  I don’t care how wet I get, I’m ready to go again.
                  Darragh Doiron gets her love of New Orleans from her parents, Jeannette and Burton, who honeymooned there at the Roosevelt Hotel. Contact Doiron at darraghcastillo@icloud.com