My least favorite color in the entire world is orange. To begin with, it screams headaches, 1970’s décor and spray cheese. It means fake suntans, unbrushed Cheeto teeth and Hobby Lobby for three dismal months of the year. It’s Easy Jet when you wanted United Airlines. It’s Fanta when you need a Coke. It’s Mastercard when they only take Visa. I know no one and nothing that looks good in man-made orange. But I do like sunsets and vegetables. Orange vegetables get a carte blanch in my house. A Get Out of Jail Free Card. A Pass Go and Collect $200 status. In truth, orange vegetables are the bomb. Quite honestly, I can’t get enough of them and the best part is, they’re incredibly good for you.
I have a confession to make. I have never been to Casablanca. In fact, I am writing this blog about Moroccan Tagine without ever having been to Morocco or experienced authentic tajine. When I say I haven’t experienced it, I mean I haven’t had the pleasure of cooking it in that unmistakeable cone-shaped earthenware pot. I haven’t shared a traditional communal tagine in a mountain village and I haven’t been to Marrakech and haggled for one in the local markets. Clearly, after considerable research today, I have missed out on an unforgettable lifetime experience! In fact, I am starting to think that once Covid’s over I need I need to start planning a vacation to Morocco and not just because I have a crush on Humphrey Bogart…
Today was a day much like any other day during Covid. Except that I have become more appreciative of my free time at the weekend now that I work full-time during the week. Today I caught up with some girlfriends over brunch at The Oaks Kitchen & Bar in the Cane Island Community. I don’t know what it is about brunch, but I could quite happily eat Eggs Benedict for brunch every Sunday whereas I would tire very quickly of eating any other meal with the same regularity. I am spoiled for choice of brunch venue here in Katy, Texas and I suspect it is much the same in other parts of the country. But brunch wasn’t always a ‘thing’ and its origins are interesting.
In the 1940s, Percy Spencer at Raytheon was testing a magnetron — a device that generates microwaves — when he realized a candy bar in his pocket had melted. This caused him to wonder if the energy from radio waves could be used to cook food. He placed popcorn kernels near the tube; within minutes, he was snacking on the world’s first microwave popcorn. This accidental discovery would lead him to develop what we now know as the modern-day microwave oven. Over the years, this kitchen appliance has become almost statutory in every domestic and commercial kitchen. Yet questions surrounding the safety of microwave ovens remain. Is the radiation used by these ovens safe for humans? Does radiation destroy nutrients in our microwave meals? And is microwave packaging safe?
Native American cuisine is the basis of many traditional regional dishes in North America. The first Native Americans allegedly traveled from the Old World into the New World across the Bering Land Bridge that joined Siberia to Alaska 15,000 years ago. Although it is hard to know for certain how, when, or why the Asian ancestors of the Native Americans first appeared in North America, it seems they either brought no animal or plant foods with them, or that none survived.
According to Merriam Webster the term whole food means “a natural food; especially an unprocessed one such as a vegetable or fruit.” While there’s no official criteria for a whole food diet, most would agree that it consists of minimally processed food as close to its natural state as possible. Experts agree this is a smart way to eat as it encourages nutritious options from all the food groups.
At Healthy Gourmet we are proud to prepare our meals using all-natural ingredients and without artificial preservatives. Consequently, our meals are packed with the nutrients and taste that nature intended and do not have added sugars, starches, flavorings, or other manufactured ingredients. In this way, we believe that Healthy Gourmet’s approach to preparing meals is as close to whole food as we can make it. What are some examples of whole food, why should we eat them and how can we incorporate them into our diet?
Goulash is the traditional stew of Hungary. The name ‘Goulash’ comes from the word Gulyas meaning herdsmen in Hungarian, otherwise known as Magyar (Hungarian) shepherds. In the 9th century, these Gulyas traveled on long cattle drives across the grassy Hungarian plains with their long-horned, Steppe cattle. The weakest in the herd would not survive the journey and consequently the resourceful herdsmen would butcher them, making the meat into stew. For additional flavoring, they would add onions and caraway, which conveniently grew wild on the plains. The resulting dish eventually evolved into the stew we know today as Goulash. However this was not before undergoing a number of interesting adaptations.
Beef Stroganoff (Stroganov) is simple, comforting Russian cuisine, comprising sauteed pieces of beef served in a sour cream sauce. It dates back to the mid 19th century and is named after a member of the Stroganov family, a group of highly successful Russian merchants and landowners. Unlike the French, who often named dishes after the chefs who devised them, the Russians traditionally attached the names of famous households to their cuisine. This was because the cooks were usually serfs. In other words, they were agricultural laborers of peasant class without social status. Count Pavel Stroganov was a celebrity in turn-of-the-century St. Petersburg, a dignitary at the court of Alexander III, a member of the Imperial Academy of Arts, and a gourmet. Allegedly, Count Pavel’s love of entertaining ‘popularized’ Beef Stroganov, which had actually appeared as a recipe some years earlier. Let’s review some examples and characteristics of Russian Cuisine.
The Middle East is a vast region located at the crossroads of North Africa, Asia, and Europe. It centers on western Asia, Egypt and Turkey and incorporates several major countries. These include Lebanon, Egypt, Oman, Kuwait, Iraq, Iran, Bahrain and Cyprus. People from all over the world flock to the Middle East to witness its architecture, culture, and remnants of the ancient world. Not surprisingly, history, religion, Mediterranean climate and tradition play a huge role in defining its cuisine. In addition, foreign invasions and trade routes throughout Europe, Africa and Asia have been influential. Middle Eastern cuisine uses a characteristic blend of local herbs and spices to season its meat. Accordingly, lamb, beef and chicken skewers produce many different versions of kebab. Let’s look at Middle Eastern kebabs in more detail.
Curry is a paradox. Most people are familiar with the word. Yet, at the same time, they will have absolutely no idea what you’re eating if you tell them you’re having one. You could be having lamb or chicken or maybe beef or pork. Perhaps you’re a vegetarian. Or maybe it’s a seafood dish. It is dry or wet? Will you need a spoon to eat it? What color is it? How spicy is it? The name doesn’t provide the answer to any of these questions. Only if you take a peek at what’s on the plate do you get an idea. So how is it possible for a dish to be so ambiguous by definition and what actually makes curry a curry?