Global Flavored Potato Chips-The Ultimate Junk Food?

by Anne Maxfield on August 23, 2016

Accidental Locavore Potato Chip BagsI love potato chips, especially flavored ones.

BBQ.

Sea salt and vinegar.

Whatever.

So when the Accidental Locavore saw two new potato chip flavors from Lays, they were so out there I had to try them. They’re part of a “limited time only global flavors” collection.

The potato chips I couldn’t resist were Chinese Szechuan Chicken and Indian Tikka Masala.

Seriously.

The Szechuan Chicken ones claim to have no artificial flavors. Wouldn’t you be interested in knowing where in nature “Natural Szechuan Wok Type Flavor” comes from?

I’m baffled.

If you closed your eyes and tasted them, you probably wouldn’t identify the “wok type flavor” immediately. As a matter of fact, except for a very minor taste of soy sauce you probably wouldn’t associate them with anything Chinese. The potato chips are spicy in a peppery way, but don’t have that weird (but good) numbness of Szechuan peppercorns.

As a spicy potato chip, acceptable, but not great.

Accidental Locavore Global Potato ChipsThe Indian Tikka Masala are kettle cooked, which means they’re a thicker potato chip. Even though they’re not labeled as chicken, there is more of a chicken flavor than the Chinese chicken chips.

It’s possible to justify them as healthier because they contain turmeric (a superfood) and cumin, which is what gives them a slight Indian flavor. There’s a little tomato and a little sour cream but the spice comes from cumin.

While, like the Szechuan ones, they’re acceptable, the smell when you open the bag is pretty revolting.

If someone handed you a bowl of chips at a party, would you be able to identify either one as a flavor profile coming from China or India. They’re both spicy in different ways, but when the “limited time” runs out you won’t miss them.

So, in the interest of research, should I try the other two flavors? One is a Brazilian (of course) Picanha (steak and chimichurri) and the other, Greek Tzatziki. And what’s your favorite flavor of potato chips?

Update: Brought these to a friend’s house the other night. Their favorite was the Szechaun chips, but they agreed that you wouldn’t know it was Chinese except for the bag.

 

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Oatmeal Banana…Dog Biscuits

by Anne Maxfield on August 18, 2016

Accidental Locavore Rif With Dog BiscuitIn the Accidental Locavore’s mind as I was mixing up these dog biscuits was the refrain from those dumb Geico commercials…“if you’re a ______, that’s what you do.”

If I’m a cook, that’s what I do. Doesn’t matter—humans or canines.

What really spurred this on was a recipe for these cookies on BarkPost and a very ripe banana that was on its way into the garbage.

They’re really simple, you probably have everything on hand, and just remember, unlike humans, a dog is never going to complain about a cookie. Makes about 20 3” bone-shaped dog biscuits.

Accidental Locavore Cutting Dog BiscuitsDog biscuits:

  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 ripe banana, peeled and mashed
  • Water as needed
  • Flour for rolling the dough

Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.

In a blender or food processor (blender is preferable), blend the oats until you have a fine powder.

In a medium bowl, add the oatmeal flour, coconut oil, cinnamon, honey, and banana. Mix until well combined into a stiff dough. If the dough is too stiff, add a little water. Or, if it’s too sticky add a little flour.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough until it’s about ½” thick. Using a pizza cutter cut into rectangles, or, if you do have a dog bone cookie cutter…

Bake for about 25 minutes until golden brown. Cool, treat and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Oatmeal Dog BiscuitsRif’s verdict: Woof, woof! Much better than those healthy dehydrated sweet potatoes (don’t tell him these are healthy too!). I’ll sit for one of these anytime!

Frank’s verdict: “Are these for the dog?” Maybe the bone shape gave it away. He thought they needed salt, something he rarely says.

My dog biscuits looked coarser than the BarkPost ones, probably should have run the oats through a blender rather than the Cuisinart, but I was multi-tasking. If your dog is like mine, you might want to make a double batch.

 

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Great Northern Food Hall at Grand Central

by Anne Maxfield on August 15, 2016

Accidental Locavore Great Northern Food HallHo.

Hum.

Sadly, truth in advertising doesn’t apply to venues.

Or the Great Northern Food Hall would be in danger of being busted.

It’s not great.

It’s actually at the southern end of Grand Central.

There is food. It appears to be Scandinavian inspired.

There are drinks (and cocktails). They come in bottles and are (mostly) not Scandinavian.

Accidental Locavore Food Hall PorridgeThere are Danishes and croissants, neither of which originated from where you think they did and Denmark (where Claus Meyer the entrepreneur behind GNH hailed from) never comes into the story.

There is a porridge bar, because you never know when you’ll be on 42nd Street craving porridge. And not to be kvetching too much, but once again is Denmark the first country that comes to mind when you hear the word porridge?

Didn’t think so.

There are smørrebrødens, which, phew, are Danish open-faced sandwiches and each is a little work of art (and priced accordingly). Maybe it was my imagination but as I passed a pre-made smørrebrød it seemed to me that the corners of the bread were curling up as it’s prone to do when you make smaller versions (hors d’œuvres) before a party. Because they’re topless it may not be the best on-the-run or balancing on your lap snack.

Accidental Locavore Food Hall SandwichesTide stick anyone?

There is coffee. Known to be a big cash crop in Scandinavia.

Ha.

This is from Brownsville Coffee in Brownsville Brooklyn (which isn’t even in the northern part of Brooklyn).

There is a bar. You might need a drink.

This is a project seven months in construction. Like Vanderbilt Hall, a food hall highly anticipated by those of us who pass through Grand Central, hungry and on the move.

Like Vanderbilt Hall, a letdown.

The Accidental Locavore isn’t sure why the owners of Grand Central (and no, you can’t blame this on Metro North, tempting as it might be) thought that turning it into a Nordic theme park was a brilliant idea.

Besides Great Northern, there’s a hot dog sausage bar and a very fancy restaurant with $100-$125 tasting menus. If spending that much on sunflower seeds and more of that porridge seems like a better deal than a cheap seat to Hamilton, be my guest.

My bet is that Hamilton will be around much longer than smørrebrød at Grand Central.

 

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Blueberry Breakfast Casserole Recipe

by Anne Maxfield on August 11, 2016

Accidental Locavore NJ BlueberriesIf you happen to be in the Hudson Valley and it’s blueberry season, you owe it to yourself to either stop at the Friday Milan farmers’ market or search out Mead Orchards. The Accidental Locavore doesn’t know what makes their blueberries so much better than any others, but they are!

We had houseguests and I wanted an easy breakfast dish for vegetarians. This was on the Kitchn site recently. It says it serves 8-10 – maybe not (see below).

Accidental Locavore Blueberry CasseroleFor the blueberry casserole:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • Finely grated zest from 1 medium lemon
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Cooking spray or butter for greasing the pan
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

For the streusel:

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed

Accidental Locavore Blueberry Breakfast CasseroleMake the casserole: Whisk 2 cups of the flour, sugar, and salt together in a large bowl. Add the eggs, buttermilk, milk, melted butter, lemon juice, and zest. Stir until just barely combined. Do not overmix — the batter will be lumpy. Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight. You can also skip the overnight rest and bake the casserole immediately.

Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350°. Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with butter or cooking spray.

Whisk together the remaining 1/2 cup flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a small bowl. Fold the mixture into the buttermilk mixture until just combined. Pour into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with the blueberries; set aside.

Make the streusel: Whisk together the flour, sugars, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl. Add the butter and use a fork or your fingers to work the ingredients together until well-combined and crumbly. Sprinkle it evenly over the casserole.

Bake until golden-brown, the casserole starts to pull away from the sides of the dish, and the top springs back gently when touched, 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for about 5 minutes before serving. Serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Finished Blueberry CasseroleMy verdict: A big hit! While the recipe says it serves 8-10, five of us polished off all but two servings (which were eagerly reheated the next morning). You can easily put the dough and the streusel together the night before and refrigerate until you’re ready to bake. Having great blueberries was a help, but since you’re cooking them, even okay blueberries would work. Other summer fruit or berries, even apples in the fall, would probably all work well.

Remembering that the original recipe had “pancake” in the title, I thought a little maple syrup might be called for. It was totally unnecessary but really good!

 

 

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