Sunday, March 28, 2010

My New Favorite Substances I am Obsessing Over

1. Honey - Read all the benefits of honey here. Who knew? I didn't. I am now trying to have a cup of tea before bed w/honey, I like cooking with honey, honey and sweet potatoes in particular, and there are so many honeys to choose from, Heritage Prairie Lavender Honey, Chicago Honey Co-op, and then there is Mead sold by Wild Blossom Meadery here n Chi-town. Like wine, like any natural substance, the honey will taste different depending on what flowers and plants are growing near the hives. I know, honey is not cheap, but you don't need to use as much of it as sugar and because you metabolize it so much quicker and in a healthier way than regular table sugar(go to link benefits of honey, here if you didn't before) how can you not start using honey???????? Honey is a wonder of nature. And if I start to have a craving for something sweet, a spoonful of honey does the trick!

2. Maple Syrup - Read about all the benefits of maple syrup here. Another wonder of nature, maple syrup. My favorite local syrup is Burton's, I always assumed, growing up on the East coast and going to college at Dartmouth in New Hampshire, that maple syrup was a product of New England and Canada. Who knew that maple trees go as far west as Indiana and that the syrup tastes really great!!! Not only are pancakes the easiest things to make that even I can do it but maple syrup goes great with roasted sweet potatoes, and most root vegetables, works in my favorite cleansing drink The Master Cleanse and is an all around great thing to have in your pantry!!!!!!!

3.Wheat Grass - Read about the benefits of wheat grass here. I could go and on about how I am so adamant about including a shot of wheat grass in your diet. When I went to the Green City Market yesterday, Tiny Greens, my favorite WG to buy was sold out by 10am. WG definitely takes a bit of time to get used to. But it is one of the best things you can do for yourself!!!!!!!!!! Read about the benefits that's all I can say......and Tiny Greens if you read about the farm, you will understand the care that goes into growing this particular WG.

4. FRESH Tofu - I have to be honest, I have not quite incorporated fresh tofu into my diet. But the benefits are here. I just heard her speak and tasted the tofu made by Jenny Yang of Phoenix Bean Products, and Tiny Greens makes it as well, that my opinion was changed on tofu. Then when I looked into the benefits of tofu, I decided that I really want to include it in my food repetoire. The amazing thing about tofu is that it is a sponge and picks up flavor really easily, I tasted some of Jenny's tofu and was happily surprised. I am not a huge meat eater, and I can't really say when the last time I had red meat, it was that long ago, and actually the thought of red meat now kind of makes me feel sick, but tofu is a great source of protein among other things, and all you really need are spices, which can be bought at my favorite spice place, The Spice House, and some nice vinegar or oil which can be bought or ordered from The Olive Tap, and voila you have this incredibly tasty concoction in front of you. Even, I, the inept cook, can whip something up that hits my taste buds.

5. Pectin - Before meeting Elizabeth from Rare Bird Preserves, I really didn't know what pectin was. Here are the benefits of it. Mike Sula, The Food Chain, blog for the Chicago Reader, produced a tiny video of Elizabeth making preserves, publicly available on YouTube, here. Elizabeth derives her pectin fresh from the apples she uses for her preserves. I couldn't find anything written about the difference of fresh pectin versus commercialy sold pectin. However, intuitively it seems that a jam must be better for you if the pectin used is fresh from the fruits used to make the jam, without any additives to make the pectin have a longer shelf life. But I am going to start to pay attention more to what substances have pectin in it. WHo knew???

Well, I could go on and on about olive oils, about vinegars about cacao, about coffee, about red wine, about vegetables about funghi,and blue green algae but I won't. Honey, maple syrup, wheat grass, tofu and pectin have been the latest substance I have been obsessing about and trying to incorporate more into my diet and be aware of. For me the hapless cook and consummate slacker, the more I use things that I know are good for me, and taste good, the less I have to worry about other things, and it makes life simpler, easier and less stressful and most of all, I feel better and am happier, isn't that what it is all about??

My other latest obsession has been Europe, Verbier, skiing, and living in Aspen part of the year and how to make it happen.....Thinking Verbier reminded me of my climb with my friend Judy arranged by Adventures to the Edge, that I came across when I was on a trip to Creste Butte. Judy and I with a guide climbed the Pigne de la Le, that is pictured in a video here, not my video but it is funny, I have a picture next to that huge cairn.................I have been trying to make it happen and manifest it despite my lack of funds and any kind of job that would pay for it(at the moment). I don't really think anyone reads this blog except my friend Cat(thank you!) but if you do and you have any ideas for me to make living in Aspen part of the year and living in Chicago part of the here happen, please leave a comment, I would really appreciate it!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ciao JB

1 comment:

Maris said...

I found your blog via Serious Eats and am also a fellow Chicago foodie! I can tell we share the same points of view on a lot of things food.

I love maple syrup and can't wait to try the Burton brand you recommended. The maple syrup at the grocery store is just hideous once you've tried the real thing.