Through word of mouth and anecdotally as I stalk local chefs and food nerds on Twitter, I keep hearing that tomatoes aren’t what they should be this year. Personally, I’ve had hits and misses with the tomatoes at the farmers market. I managed to find some pretty good basic red tomatoes, but the yellow pear tomatoes I picked up last week were downright awful. Imagine eating flavorless cotton. Yuck.
However, I really lucked out with the beauties pictured above: a spectacular orange-gold cherry tomato. Candy sweet yet bright with acidity, these tomatoes simply burst with flavor. I can’t seem to keep myself away from them and have brought home a small container for the past few weeks. Continue reading
If you’re a food nerd in Pittsburgh, you’ve been to the Robinson Giant Eagle Market District store. Yes, that’s probably a fact. Not only can you find a variety of specialty pantry items, organic and locally grown produce, local and grass-fed meats, but there is a whole charcuterie section in the back that I’m simply in awe of. Plus, there is never a dearth of free samples. I could hang out here all day.
Although the charcuterie section is probably my favorite part of the store, a close second is the gelato counter near the self-checkouts at the front. Mmmm. Gelato. Just the word makes me melt like, well, gelato on a warm summer day like today. There’s always a variety of tantalizing flavor combinations to choose from, like jalapeno chocolate, various coffees and mochas, perhaps something with hazelnut, and, just one time, a vanilla almond ginger concoction, but nearly without fail I always order my standby: strawberry balsamic. It’s the perfect combination of sweet strawberries, tangy balsamic, and creamy goodness. Continue reading
I’m taking a stand, people. No more sweating while drinking hot coffee this summer. I don’t know about you, but the last thing I want on a hot morning is a hot cup of coffee. Not when I know that muggy, humid, oppressive summer air is waiting for me the moment I step out my front door.
I don’t know why I’ve never really put the effort in to make iced coffee at home before. Perhaps it required too much foresight, with brewing coffee in advance with enough time to chill, then there was the issue of getting sugar to dissolve, although I could have made a simple syrup. . . . Excuses, excuses.
Then I learned about cold-brewed coffee. Cold brewed, you say? Yes indeed. Unlike coffee that’s brewed hot and then chilled, cold-brewed coffee is brewed at room temperature for a longer period of time. Somehow, through the miracle of science, this allows all of the flavor to be extracted from the coffee but none of the bitterness. The result is the smoothest but most intricately flavored cup of iced coffee you’ve ever made at home. Trust me, you’ll be able to taste the difference. Continue reading
As my palate has developed, I’ve gotten over many foods that I had deemed “yucky” in my youth. Now I enjoy things like fish that hasn’t been shaped into a fish stick, for example. But one of the foods still on my “do not eat” list has been certain leafy greens, namely spinach and Swiss chard. At least until now.
Although I think that spinach and chard can be good eats, especially sautéed with a bit of garlic, I’m a little disturbed by the feeling the greens leave on my teeth. You’re probably familiar with it—it’s that chalky, fuzzy feeling. Not very appetizing, right?
After a bit of research, I learned that the feeling is caused by a substance known as oxalic acid, which is found in higher levels in greens like spinach, chard, rhubarb, and beet leaves. An article on Chow explained that chewing these foods releases the acid, which combines with the calcium in your saliva to create calcium oxalate crystals. That’s what you feel on your teeth. (How’s that for being a food nerd!) Continue reading
Kale chips cannot be a new invention, but they’ve certainly taken the food and diet world by storm lately. Healthier than potato chips! Light, crispy, and full of vitamins! Bet you can’t eat just one!
I’ve never in my life cooked with kale, but as with anything that’s new and hip, I had to try making kale chips. So, I picked up a head of kale at the farmers market. The first thing I noticed was that they were certainly cheaper than potato chips. The entire head cost a buck. Hmm, had I found a tasty and incredibly affordable snack? Continue reading
Few foods say “it’s fall” quite like roasted squash, especially when they’re prepared like this. ‘Nuff said. Continue reading
Earlier this year, I joined Harvest Co-Op, a food co-op out of Beaver Falls, PA. Membership not only got me access to responsibly raised meats; local dairy products; and local, independent retailers for pantry items; it also opened my eyes (and my kitchen) to an amazing bounty of locally grown fruits and vegetables. Continue reading