Pepper Board

Pepper Board

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Urban Food Culture

Shopping for authentic foods is largely the past time for members of the urban food culture. It stems from the desire to rediscover the basics as in food source. Suburbanites have been surrounded by shopping malls and Walmart. They long to know the true source of their food.

And, sometimes when they do discover it, they are more than surprised. They did not know that cheese comes from milk and milk comes from cows. Cheese actually has mold growing on it in order to arrive at a certain flavor.

They did not know that good bread has a real crusty crust and does not come out of the oven sliced.

They did not know that meat comes from an animal and you have to cook it not just order it.

They did not know that chicken noodle soup starts from chicken stock which requires boiling chicken.

And, they did not know that they could grow their own veggies, just by getting their hands dirty.
But now, with eyes wide open, they live, laugh and love and eat well.

Friday, April 24, 2015

California 'Sunshine' Chicken

You will need to buy a package of boneless, skinless chicken thighs. If you don't have on hand, onion, raisins and rice noodles, then pick some up. As always, keep a well stocked but simple pantry. To begin, brown chopped onion in 3 tbs of olive oil and coconut oil. Once they have caramelized, lay in your chicken thighs. Season with a good shake of sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder and along with dried rosemary and mint.
Cover and let simmer for 12 min. Then add 2 tbs of chicken stock and a generous handful of tender golden California raisins along with 1 tbs of organic honey.

In a stock pot, boil water with a pinch of salt. This is to cook your rice noodles. Once they are tender, drain and pour onto a large serving platter. Top with your chicken and golden raisin sauce.

As Delicious as Sunshine!


Eating Raw is Not Urban Brainy

Eating raw is not always best. A message I have blogged and now the message appears to be recognized. I have to smile as it amazes me that good old mom's advice (Brainy Gourmet advice) is not taken seriously until a food expert as in nutritionist from some institution says so. Institutions are formalized information groups of people who have come up through certain ranks and declared experts. I myself have such accreditation. I am an expert myself having a PhD in Sociology and Social Psychology. I smile about the hierarchy that exists in my faculty as hierarchies exist in all social groups. I mean if you haven't been educated at the right schools and wrote your dissertation on what the top profs are saying, you might as well give up.

I am smiling though and keep on. Especially since a landmark study published in 2002 in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry first showed that a powerful antioxidant called lycopene is released from tomatoes when they’re cooked agrees with what I already knew just listening to my nonna - Italian for grandmother.

The study found that heating tomatoes at 190.4 degrees for 30 minutes boosted levels of absorbable lycopene by 35 percent. Lycopene has been shown to help reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease and macular degeneration, a degenerative eye disease. In addition, a study published in The British Journal of Nutrition found that folks following a long-term raw-food diet had low levels of lycopene.

Let's consider that 2002 was more than twelve years ago. Interesting is that the rage is eating raw veggies on our plates and in our smoothies. Didn't anybody read that 2002 study? I have blogged a number of times that eating raw is not always the best. People are surprised. How do you know?  Being brainy about food sometimes means listening to your mom and or grandmother who have been cooking and serving food long than some newbie experts.

In my own experiences eating, I cannot digest many raw veggies. In fact, they are like poison to my body. I blogged not long ago about Dr. Kellogg who started the Battle Creek Michigan Sanitarium back in the 1870s who invented "Granola". He also came up with Corn Flakes cereal. Why? Because, he was an advocate that man is not a rabbit and should eat pre-digested foods, cooked/baked foods and not raw.

Now that information was given to us over a century ago. How did doctors and the nutritionists of today miss that? My own battles with food have been from inability to digest certain vegetables and especially in their raw state. It took a long time to realize that I cannot eat them; after all, everyone around me was saying that raw was better. Even I did not pay attention to Dr. Kellogg... enough. I have always been a fan of granola and grape nut cereal; which was developed because of Dr. Kellogg by C.W. Post.

So, let us return to the advice of good old fashioned experts ~ like the Brainy Gourmet!
Cook before you eat!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Food as Status

We make choices in life and those choices represent us, who and where we are and who and where we would like to be. Food choices work in the same way. Of course, we choose to eat food because our body needs it as fuel. However, nowadays, food is more than just fueling your body. It reflects your status as in social status.

People make food choices. Many of us are on a health kick and try to eat what is healthy, some eat what is tastes good and some eat only what they can afford to eat. It is all about choice and such choices reflect a person's status. Mostly, it is the amount of money that we spend on food that directs our choice. But, that applies to all choices.

As it is with food, it is with clothes, a car, a house. What we consume, represent us. It tells other people who we are and where we are socially or who want want to be. It is about informing others of our social status, our position us in society, or at least our wanna be position in society. That is why so many food blogs are not like the 'urban' Brainy Gourmet which is about being frugal. Most blogs are not about frugality. They are about the 'image' what is appealing as in beauty, or what is exotic, or expensive or exclusive.

Why? Because, we as social creatures want to show ourselves to others, we socially set ourselves apart from someone else through choice as a means of conveying social status. In fact, socially setting yourself apart even through food choices and their consumption is a form of discrimination toward people who cannot afford to make a better/healthier/or exotic, exclusive choices.

The 'urban' Brainy Gourmet has always been about showing all people that the best choice is a frugal choice. The 'urban' Brainy Gourmet informs people on how they can have a brainy gourmet meal on very little money that is satisfying and nutritious.

Choose to be Brainy!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Ginger Lime Pork Stir Fry

Let's get cookin. Take out your covered skillet and melt in 3 tbs of coconut oil and the same of olive oil. Have washed and sliced your red pepper and zucchini. Once the oils blend and spit, add your veggies. Cover and let them sizzle on high. Now, thickly slice your pork, they should appear as nice oval medallions.
Quickly stir the veggies tossing them around in the skillet; after they have browned on the edges to a golden caramel, remove and set aside. To that same skillet, add another 3 tbs of coconut oil and lay in the medallions. Sizzle on both sides til browned. Now squeeze in your lime juice and grated ginger. I like to add some organic honey to get the medallions caramelized.Cover and simmer on low for 10 min.

In a small pot, boil water with a pinch of salt. Once it has a rolling boil, add your pasta. I like to break my linguine in half. Stir occasionally. When tender, remove from heat and drain. Pour out onto a large low lipped serving platter and lay over the top your stir fry, first the medallions and then the veggies.

Extraordinary dinner!

You can choose to put on the table, a bottle of soy sauce.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Fresh Ground 'Angus' Beef ~ Ah...Stroganoff

Ground beef is so simple to use and makes any dish easy to prepare. For this recipe, take ground beef and using your favorite meatball recipe you can create a quick and delicious stroganoff.  When it comes to my favorite meatball recipe, I like to use bread crumbs combined with a small amount of heavy cream along with dried herbs.

In a covered skillet, melt in 3 tbs of olive oil and coconut oil. Slice mushrooms and chop onions to add the skillet. Cook until the edges are browned. Now, pour in 1/2 cup of beef or even chicken stock. Drop in your meatballs and simmer until meatballs are completely cooked. Add 1/3 cup of heavy cream and sprinkle in dried herbs: rosemary, mint and oregano. Turn heat to low or warm.

Boil wide egg noodles or you can use fettuccine noodles if you have. Once they are tender, remove and drain. Lay the cooked noodles out in a large serving platter and pour out our meatball sauce. Garnish with fresh green parsley.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Urban Chicken Picata

Start this dish by chopping your onion and garlic. Then take your best covered skillet melt in 3 tbs of olive oil and coconut oil.  Add the chopped onion and garlic. Turn the heat to med- high. Once the edges brown lay in your boneless chicken breasts cut into wide strips. Dash in your seasonings, salt (according to your dietary allowances and or on brand of olives you will be using) and pepper flakes. Sizzle both sides of the strips on high heat; add 1/4 cup of chicken stock and cover. Allow this to cook on med. for 5min. Uncover for a moment, turn up the heat to high to let the juices intensify. Then add 1/3 cup heavy cream and as  many diced green olives as you like. However, if they are a salty brand go easy; do a taste test. Cover and simmer on low for 8-10 min.

In the meantime, start a pot of water boiling (with a pinch of salt). This will be to cook a side of brown rice mixed with buckwheat groats. I like to use the boil in the bag method and nowadays you can even get this type in the organic section of your food mart. Once tender, remove and drain.

Take a large serving platter down for the Chicken Picata and arrange. Set the table and call in the guests.