Sugar

by Anne Maxfield on January 16, 2017

Accidental Locavore Sugar BagSugar is bad for you.

Blah, blah, blah.

Funny how you know stuff is bad for you and do nothing about it.

Until…

Dan Barber wrote a review of Gary Taubes’ book The Case Against Sugar.

This is how the review starts: “Say your child petitioned for permission to smoke a pack of cigarettes a week. Say his or her logic was that a pack a week is better than a pack a day. No dice, right?

O.K., now substitute sugar for cigarettes.”

Somehow that struck a chord in the Accidental Locavore, that nothing else about sugar has.

So, I stopped eating it.

More or less.

The well-named toffee crack has sat untouched (recipe Thursday, since I don’t expect everyone to follow in my footsteps).

Accidental Locavore Sugar Toffee CrackDitto caramels from La Petite Occasion.

However, there was a coconut yogurt with some of my homemade granola on it for breakfast.

Here’s where it gets interesting.

That probably blew (what should be) my sugar intake for the day.

Accidental Locavore Tablespoons of Sugar6 tablespoons.

100 calories or 25 grams.

My yogurt had 13 grams so I was already halfway there.

Not sure about the granola, there’s brown sugar and maple syrup, and some dried fruit. I only had a big teaspoon full of it.

And as we all know, sugar pops up in all sorts of places.

Like this Umami sauce from Trader Joe’s and the steak aging stuff I’m going to try tonight.

Accidental Locavore Umami with Sugar1 gram and 2 grams per serving respectively.

But that’s not going to stop me from using it (and I’ll let you know how what we thought of the steak aging stuff) and I’m not getting on a soap box.

Just letting you know what I’m doing and what I’m feeling good about.

Yesterday, I was driving around, running errands and really wanted a burger from 5 Guys.

If you read my piece about the best burger in America, you know a good burger for me has to have good fries.

5 Guys has that, plus.

The plus? A Coke machine called Freestyle that has over 100 flavors.

Including Vanilla Coke. My nostalgic favorite.

Did I turn left at the light?

Nope.

Although I could taste the fries, I knew the Vanilla Coke needed to be part of the experience.

Let’s face it, a fast-food burger and fries just isn’t the same with a bottle of water.

So I went home and heated up a potato knish that Vinnie gave me to try.

Am I feeling better? Different?

No, not yet, but it’s a step in the right direction.

 

 

 

 

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Spinach with Garlic and Lemon Juice

by Anne Maxfield on January 12, 2017

Accidental Locavore SpinachSpinach is one of those vegetables that is hard to mess up.

A little fat (butter or duck) or olive oil and it’s a success.

However, there are times when you want it to be a little more…interesting.

The Accidental Locavore was making some Spare Ribs Vindaloo (recipe soon) and wanted an Indian spin on spinach that didn’t require running out for ingredients (I’m looking at you saag paneer).

I pulled out my favorite Indian cookbook Made in India and found this recipe for spinach. Serves 4.

Spinach with Garlic and Lemon Juice Recipe:

  • 1 pound spinach
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 fresh red chili, very thinly sliced (more or less depending on your heat tolerance)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • Juice of about ½ lemon (to taste)

Wash the spinach and set aside.

In a very large frying pan, over medium heat, add the butter. When it starts to melt, add the garlic and red chili.

Stir-fry for a couple of minutes until the garlic starts to turn pale gold.

Add the salt and pepper.

Add the spinach in handfuls, toss to coat with butter. As it starts to wilt, add another handful or two until you’ve used it all up.

Squeeze the lemon juice over the spinach and take off the heat. Taste and add more lemon juice if needed. Serve immediately and enjoy!

My verdict: Oh yes! Sadly, we only had a 9-ounce bag of spinach so I did half a recipe and wished there was more. Lots more.

This was super simple and I’ll be making it a lot—so good!

There wasn’t too much heat from the chili, a serrano, so we could have used more, but we like heat. If you don’t have serranos or jalapenos lying in wait in the freezer (when you have a mess of chilis, wash them, toss in a Ziploc bag and freeze them—you’ll always have them on hand), a sprinkle of red pepper flakes would probably be fine.

Try it and let me know what you think.

 

 

 

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Hot Chocolate. With Red Wine?

by Anne Maxfield on January 9, 2017

Accidental Locavore Hot ChocolateThe Accidental Locavore was moved to make myself a mug of hot chocolate and write this piece after an article in the NY Times* about this new “thing.”

Dubbed red wine hot chocolate, it was the mash-up of 2016.

Or mess-up, depending on your point of view.

There are certain foods you just don’t fiddle with.

Call me a purist if you’d like, but when an ingredient is perfectly delicious why can’t it be left alone?

Chocolate (and its drinkable buddy, hot chocolate) are some of those ingredients.

And the better the chocolate…

So why is everyone inclined to flavor it?

Accidental Locavore Mug of Hot Chocolate

Here’s my opinion on hot chocolate (with apologies to Green Eggs and Ham):

I do not like it with chipotle, coffee or cumin.

Tahini or Nutella.

I do not like it with red wine—Burgundy or Beaujolais.

No $95 Chateauneuf-du-Pape.

Or for that matter, white wine, rosé or champagne.

I do not need it with marshmallows—mini, midi or maxi. Handmade or from a bag.

And no ménage à trois with red wine and marshmallows (courtesy of the NY Times). No, no, no!

I do like it in a mug.

I do like it in a jug (to pour in to my waiting mug).

I do like it dark and hot.

And maybe even with a heart.

I do not need it with whipped cream. Unless it’s Angelina’s– my Paris dream.

I do not need it 28 ways, as in the number of February days.

I do not like it from a bag, and made with water makes me gag.

It’s hot and nostalgic but not much more.

And my NYC fave? City Bakery’s makes me rave!Accidental Locavore City Bakery Hot Chocolate

 

What about you? Have you had or will you try red wine hot chocolate? With or without marshmallow?

 

*From the same publication that gave the world pea guacamole

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Quince Chutney Recipe

by Anne Maxfield on January 5, 2017

Accidental Locavore Quince for ChutneyAfter making the lamb and quince tagine, the Accidental Locavore still had a few quince rolling around the kitchen.

This chutney looked like an interesting way to put them to good use and I happened to have all the ingredients on hand – always an incentive!

Makes about 3 cups.

Quince Chutney Recipe

  • 1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 1/2 pounds quinces (about 3), peeled, cored, and diced
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups loosely packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 3 green cardamom pods, crushed
  • 3 black peppercorns, crushed
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Accidental Locavore Quince Chopped for ChutneyHeat the oil in a deep, non-reactive (stainless steel or enamel) pot over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until shallots are translucent.

Add remaining ingredients to the saucepan and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about an hour or until the consistency is thick and jammy.

Serve chutney at room temperature and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Quince ChutneyMy verdict: Delicious! This was a lovely accompaniment to a variety of cheeses (not that good cheese really needs it) we had at a friend’s house. It was also great with some roast pork we had for the holidays.

Prepping the quince is a lot like prepping apples and they tend to turn brown like apples, but it doesn’t matter since they’re going to be cooked down.

If you don’t have dried cherries, try dried cranberries, or a mix. If you like raisins, they would probably work well too.

My chutney took about 90 minutes to become what looked like “jammy” to me. However, when it cooled down it got much thicker. Depending on how thick you want the end product to be, cook it for 60-90 minutes on low heat. I used a non-stick pan which made cleaning up easy.

 

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