The term mystery meat only has a negative connotation, evoking perhaps to American readers the sketchy stuff used in certain fast food chain tacos or perhaps school cafeteria meatloaf. I have here though, one positive spin on that term.
One of the classic things to get for New Yorkers on the go are bacon, egg and cheese (B.E.C) sandwiches from the corner bodegas. Oddly one of the local grocery stores has gotten into this game. The Jo, Brian and Joseph’s Key Food sells these sandwiches pre-made next to the rotisserie chickens. Throughout the week the deli’s offerings varied from BE.C to ham, egg and cheese to hamburgers. I don’t know if there was any type of schedule – the only consistency was that at night, the breakfast sandwiches were half price (from $3 to $1.50).
The long named grocer normally has a picture of the sandwich along with the description affixed via sticker. I finally gave in to temptation a few nights ago to pick one up only to find no description or picture. It was simply labeled “deli by count”. It was a mystery sandwich! Perhaps even more intriguing, a mystery meat sandwich? Most likely they simply ran out of labels but somehow this made the food adventure more appealing. If it was intentional, it was a clever marketing ploy. Or perhaps I’m just strange?
Why not market this to the local bars, of which there are 4 within a couple of blocks? Instead of pizza, check out a mystery meat sandwich? You know it’s coming from a grocery store and you know which meats in could be. I would totally check that out. How would you market mystery meat sandwiches? P.S, I got ham, egg and cheese.
Bright Morning Cereal
I have a ritual every couple of months of picking up tahini, pita and items like rosewater at Fertile Crescent, a Middle Eastern grocery. In a sea of primarily foods from that region there were several boxes of Galil Bright Morning, a product of Poland.
This Non-GMO product is both gluten free and vegan and perhaps most importantly has a chocolate hazelnut filling! It’s sort of like putting a touch of nutella in your breakfast cereal.
Bright Morning Cereal
Unlike certain brands of GF cereals, these square pillow shaped bites aren’t rock hard. They have just the right amount of crunch (similar to Chex level crunch) probably because it’s made from rice flour – reminiscent of wafers. The filling is sweet but not cloyingly so. (It’s 10g sugar per serving). They’re fun to snack on by themselves. With the addition of milk needless to say, everything turns chocolaty. Mental note: these would be fun to try as part of a chex style mix. With any luck, we will buy out the rest of Fertile Crescent’s stock of Bright Morning. This cereal is highly recommended.
Bright Morning Cereal
As a regular viewer of CBS Sunday Morning I’m a big fan of Mo Rocca. He has a way of making interviewees comfortable by bringing them in on the joke. The comedian hosts several shows, but a personal favorite is My Grandma’s Ravioli on the Cooking Channel. Now in its 4th season, the show as the name implies, features Grandmas sharing their favorite recipes. We’ve seen Jamaican G-Ma’s creating jerk chicken, along with “jungle juice” which apparently has a secret ingredient that was intentionally never revealed (to keep people coming back).He also visited a retired Grandma who used to do party planning for foreign dignataries. Now based in Massachusetts, they made an elaborate lobster dinner.
Each episode culminates in a family cookout in the kitchen or backyard. It’s an appreciation of said Grandma, along with a celebration of traditions. Foods really do bring people together. If the heartwarming angle doesn’t work on you, it will definitely inspire you to cook food from around the world. While I never met my own Grandmothers, it makes me wish I had. Do you have any special recipes from your grandma? What’s your favorite?
My Grandma’s Ravioli airs Monday through Friday on the Cooking Channel at 4pm EST.
Elvis was famous for music, movies, Graceland and of course his love of certain foods. One of his all times favorites was the peanut butter and banana sandwich (with and without bacon). While not the inventor of said sandwich, he is credited for making it popular. I had a mental block on making this for the longest time because bananas and bread sounded like an odd pairing. But the fates beckoned me to try it – I had peanut butter but was low on jelly so why not an Elvis? It’s actually really tasty and as easy as it sounds.
Put peanut butter on one side of bread. I used Peanut Butter and Company’s White Chocolate Wonderful. On the other side add slices or mashed bananas. I found about half a banana adequate. Put the two slices together. Warm up a pan to medium low. Add a touch of butter to it. Place sandwich on the pan. Cook until golden brown on either side. Enjoy hot.
For the first time I tried my hand at gluten free vegan carrot cake. We discovered a recipe from Gimme Some Oven that turned out well. It was rich and stayed moist. (The latter is sometimes an issue with GF stuff).
We only made a couple of modifications. It says 2.5 cups but indicates 12.5 ounces which doesn’t jibe so we went with 2 cups of flour. For the icing we used a recipe from Vegan Baking. We used a 9 inch spring form pan and cooked it in 2 layers. Please excuse my messy icing job. This was a tasty recipe overall. The only thing I would change is to cook it 35 instead of 30 minutes. Otherwise, we loved the recipe. We’re on day 4 of feasting on cake.
Bad job icing, but tasty.
Happy New Year, all. It was a year with several food and life highlights. I got to visit San Francisco which was my first time on the west coast. Though there are many, many food options It’s It and Eddie’s Cafe were personal favorites. Last month, I started a new job as well which allowed me to visit Chicago (more on that in a future post).
My favorites recipes for this year were the Georgian red bean dip known as lobio and the Indian spiced potato snack, Pav Bhaji.
Here in 2016 I’d like to try to make more dishes from Latin and South America which so far on the blog is unexplored. Additionally, I’d love to learn more stews from around the world. What foods do you plan to check out this year?
For many people baking pies is intimidating. There is a science to perfectly baked goods. It’s easy to over or under do. And unlike stove top cooking, there is little room for error. This is part of the reason I’d never tried to make pumpkin pie before. But the culinary gods gave a nudge by having pumpkin purée and gluten free pie crust on sale.
The crust was from a brand called Wholly Gluten Free. They come 2 to a pack and were on sale for $4.99. The instructions suggest pre-baking for about 10 minutes. Since the pie goes in for a full 45 minutes, that additional time wasn’t necessary here. The outer rim ended up being hard but the rest of the crust had just the right amount of firmness.
There is an easy vegan pumpkin pie recipe at Oh She Glows. I followed the recipe closely except swapping in almond milk instead of coconut cream (only because the former was on-hand). The final product had that familiar pumpkin pie creaminess and the crust held its shape. Note that when you pull it out of the oven, the filling will look a little liquidy. This is okay as the time it cools will help it to solidify.
This was a really fun dessert to have. I plan to make several more such pies before the end of the year and you can’t stop me. I highly recommend a strong cup of coffee to go with it.
Happy Durga Puja everyone. Bijoy greetings. For Bengali Hindus this is by far the biggest religious celebration. In India it’s ten days long. Abroad, it’s more like two days and people try to squeeze in what they can. In mythology it’s based on Durga’s defeat of the demon Mahishasura. During this festival time in West Bengal, pandals or temporary elaborate religious structures celebrating Ma Durga are created. People go pandal-hopping for hours. Of course all that hopping works up an appetite so people snack on streetside biryanis, kathi rolls and of course delicious foods at home.
This week I’ve been making favorites (recipes image links below)like bandakopeer torkari (cabbage with peas), labra (mixed vegetable), biryani as well as pear chaatni. I’ve most often had chaatni which uses juicy fruits like cranberry, tomato or pineapple but I changed up my usual recipe a bit and was pretty happy with the result. Chaatni is basically a relish meant to add a touch of tang and sweetness to any dish. Because pears don’t have much natural acidity, I used lemon juice.
2 Anjou or Asian pears, peeled and chopped small.
1 T panch paron
1 cinnamon stick
1 T brown sugar
1 t lemon juice
chili powder to taste
1 t cumin powder
(raisins – optional)
Heat a small pan to medium low. A a touch of oil. Toss in panch paran and cinnamon stick. Allow to cook for 3 or 4 minutes till the spices are fragrant and darken. Add in pears and a few ounces of water (should be enough to cover about 50%). Bring to a medium heat. Add in brown sugar, chili powder, cumin powder and lemon juice. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. It’s done when the fruit is cooked all the way through. Serve with biryani or any Indian dish.
Cabbage with Peas
TVP with Potatoes
Gratify Gluten Free Cinnamon Baked Bites
I really enjoy Gratify brand’s GF pretzels
because they taste exactly as a pretzel should taste. The small grocery store just down the block just started carrying a bunch of flavors of their new (to me) crackers as well. There were of course options such as sea salt and other regular flavors, but cinnamon caught my eye.
The box is 4.5oz ($1.99) which is a bit sparse but at least the price is low. It’s explicitly labeled gluten free. According to the ingredients it’s vegan as well. They’re a bit paler than the image on the box. One side is lightly coated with cinnamon. The main flours/starchs used as corn, rice flour and corn grits. Despite being GF, they don’t fall prey to being really hard. They’re light tasting and have a hint of apple and sugar. These are very snackable. I had a few and made mini peanut butter sandwiches. This is definitely RoodonFood approved.