WCBE

Food

Food

Yes, organics is a $29 billion industry and still growing. Something is pulling us toward those organic veggies that are grown without synthetic pesticides or fertilizers.

But if you're thinking that organic produce will help you stay healthier, a new finding may come as a surprise. A new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine finds scant evidence of health benefits from organic foods.

"Ugh," my sister exclaimed one evening as we were making dinner. It was supposed to be an easy poached chicken with a ginger-scallion sauce, eaten with cold cucumber wedges, and we had just discovered that what we had bought at the store was not cucumber, but zucchini. It was an easy mistake to make — they were the precise same shade of green. But where the zucchini's skin was mostly smooth, the cucumber's was lumpy. We were not happy.

If you're from Maine, odds are you've heard of needhams — a traditional sweet with a surprising ingredient.

While Maine is famous for its sweet blueberries and maple syrup, it has another, more earthy, local crop: potatoes.

Jon Courtney, a friend who lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, first stumbled on needhams a few years ago. Now, he's hooked.

"Basically it's coconut and sugar dipped in chocolate," Courtney says. "So if you were to pick one up, you'd be like, 'Oh! This is a homemade Mounds bar.' "

Washington, D.C. blogger Sam Hiersteiner is a hot sauce fan turned maker. He's already harvested two pounds of chiles — serranos, jalapenos, and habaneros — from his 30-plant pepper garden this month, and he's ready to mash them into hot sauce as soon as more ripen. Last year, he mashed fifty pounds total.While he loved the results, he thought it would be even better with a whisper of the flavor imparted by a barrel used for aging bourbon.

Every year, U.S. grocers discard $10 billion to $15 billion in unsold products. The items might be damaged, discontinued, seasonal or food that's just close to its sell-by date.

Sandwich Monday: The Energy Bar Sandwich

Aug 22, 2012

A few of us are doing a 5K tonight (burger-themed, of course), and rather than doing any training whatsoever, we're getting ready with our very own Energy Bar Sandwich. Luna Bar bread, a Clif Bar patty, topped with a Powerbar, carbohydrate goo and something called Clif Shot Bloks. It adds up to 1,200 calories, more than twice that of a Big Mac.

Ian: This sandwich tastes like exercise feels.

We love our hamburgers, and if you need any proof, see how quickly a recent auto-tuned fast food hamburger review featuring a happy guy eating in his car went viral.

Greeks used to take their yogurt for granted. This year, at anti-austerity protests, they even threw it at their politicians. But Greeks are finally realizing yogurt might actually help the country during its worst recession in half a century.

In Athens, dozens of entrepreneurs have opened yogurt bars. The first one, called Fresko, opened last year on a pedestrian street near the Acropolis. It features four types of rich, strained yogurt kept cool in traditional ceramic pots.

The "know your farmer" concept may soon apply to the folks growing your coffee, too.

Increasingly, specialty roasters are working directly with coffee growers around the world to produce coffees as varied in taste as wines. And how are roasters teaching their clientele to appreciate the subtle characteristics of brews? By bringing an age-old tasting ritual once limited to coffee insiders to the coffee-sipping masses.

If lately you've noticed the farmers' market flooded with signs that say "donut," "cling," "whiteflesh" and "freestone," you won't be surprised to learn that August is National Peach Month. Though the juicy fruits pack the produce aisles now, in a few short months a good peach might be hard to find.

Many fruits, though harvested in other parts of the world, are available in the United States all year long. So why are peaches so seasonal, and in the winter, either difficult to find or hard as a rock?

Sandwich Monday: Bacon S'Mores

Aug 15, 2012

A recipe for bacon s'mores has been making its way around the Internet today, prompting many people to wonder how they hadn't thought of it before. It was probably like this when a caveman first figured out the wheel and put something about it on his blog.

Robert: I feel really sorry for the pig who was excited about being invited to a campfire.

Ian: He's like "wait ... you're putting s'me in them?"

Travel The World Through Portuguese Cooking

Aug 15, 2012

It was day 12 of our trip through Spain and Portugal, and my friend and I were ready for some traditional Portuguese cooking when we arrived in the quaint, cobblestoned city of Lisbon.

Walking along the tiered and winding roads, the Atlantic Ocean horizon would greet us and then disappear again behind the hilltops. Above, clothes hung out to dry along white, curved iron balconies, a rainbow of clips holding the waving pants or undergarments in place.

We were in London, searching for Hidden Kitchen stories, when we came upon an Eel Pie & Mash shop. It was full of old white marble tables, tile walls, pots of stewed and jellied eels, and piles of pies. These shops are now a dying breed, along with the eels they serve. Our search for the source of these vanishing eels led us to southwest London — to Eel Pie Island, a tiny slice of land with a flamboyant history that stretches from Henry the VIII to the Rolling Stones.

Gardening For Good In Pompano, Fla.

Aug 13, 2012

When chef Trina Spillman — trained at Le Cordon Bleu — discovered that more than one-third of the children in Broward County didn't know where their next meal was coming from, she was shocked. So she took action.

Through her Need to Feed Gardening Initiative, Trina has planted community gardens, opened a community cafe and donated fresh produce to local food pantries. She holds Summer Hat Luncheons.

It's National S'more Day, so you've got a good reason to indulge in the gooey goodness.

But what if you're nowhere near a campfire? How can you replicate the taste of a chocolate-marshmallow-graham cracker s'more fired up and fashioned en plein air?

Grown-Up Ice Pops For The Young At Heart

Aug 8, 2012

My mother was never one for spending money on food that other '80s kids took for granted. Canned ravioli, boxed macaroni and cheese, animal crackers and white bread were the kinds of things my kid palate craved to the point of obsession, forbidden fruits to be enjoyed only at friends' houses.

And while other mothers were stirring up alluring, fluorescent pitchers of Kool-Aid, my mom wouldn't dream of it. She was the queen of the frozen fruit-juice concentrates.

Most mornings, space engineer Adam Steltzner wakes up at about 3 a.m., and before he can coax his tired body back to sleep, his mind takes over. And he starts to worry.

Eventually Steltzner gives up on sleep and heads into his garden where, just as first light reveals the sky, all that thinking can turn into doing. And finally, a little peace.

Archaeologists have made a surprising discovery: They announced they found traces of 2,500-year-old chocolate on a plate as opposed to a cup.

The conclusion they make is that it means ancient Mayans not only drank chocolate but also used it as a condiment.

The AP reports the discovery was made public by Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History.

The AP adds:

Scientists are starting to discover that the standard way of measuring calories, established more than 100 years ago, may not be terribly accurate when it comes to higher fat, high-fiber foods like nuts. But when it comes to almonds, the count may be off by a whole lot.

Food scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently published a new study that finds almonds have about 20 percent fewer calories than previously documented.

Here's a sport you won't be seeing in London this year: Competitive eating. But if you're curious enough — and you can stomach it — you're likely to find an eating contest at your local fair or festival this summer.

Now eating contests are nothing new — they've been around since at least the 13th century, when a servant supposedly beat the Norse god Loki by eating his plate. But they've only become popular in the U.S. in the last hundred years or so.

Julia Child, the woman credited with singlehandedly teaching America how to cook, would have turned 100 years old on August 15 this year.

How To Make Your Tofu And Eat It, Too

Aug 1, 2012

As I recently dipped a carrot slice into a fluffy, edamame-infused dip I'd made from a batch of homemade tofu, I wondered: Why haven't I done this before? The carrot was crisp, the herbs were fresh, but it was the tofu that was the real deal. It was like no store-bought tofu I'd ever encountered – light, delicate, creamy and not a bit rubbery.

New Mexicans can get a little carried away with their chile peppers. There's chile beer, chile pizza, chile ice cream — you can find the smoldering flavors of chile peppers in just about anything.

And then there's chile brittle. Luis Flores, owner of chili brittle purveyor Las Cruces Candy Company, beats the summer heat by getting up at 3 a.m. to prepare his specialties.

You Won't Throw Tomatoes At These Recipes

Jul 28, 2012

Late July is peak tomato season in much of the country, so for some fresh and inventive twists on the fruit — and yes, it is botanically a fruit, no matter what the Supreme Court says — we're heading to Home Wine Kitchen in Maplewood, Mo.

 Hills Market
Hills Market

Every Wednesday a guest bartender joins us on The Hills Market Veranda to help support a charity or organization of his or her choice. Stop in for wine, beer and $7.99 large one-topping pizzas. Proceeds from the sale of all pizzas between 6 and 8:30 p.m. will be donated to the bartender’s chosen charity; in this case - WCBE. No reservations are required.

This week's bartender is Dan Mushalko representing WCBE!

The Olympics begin this afternoon, and the stores are filling up with school supplies, meaning that you only have a few more weeks to fit in a summer vacation. And if you'd like to add a quirky food-themed museum to your getaway plans, The Salt has compiled a few suggestions that are certainly off the beaten path.

Here in the U.S., McDonald's food is not usually considered all that healthy. But in China, it is.

That's because Chinese consumers trust American brands more than their own, says Shaun Rein, founder of China Market Research, who studies Chinese consumer behavior. Rein says that in China, McDonald's is seen as providing safe and wholesome food.

You Can Never Have Too Many Blackberries

Jul 27, 2012

When I first moved to the Pacific Northwest, I was amazed at how many people had the same landscaping complaint. "I spent all weekend cutting down the blackberries," some co-worker would groan on Monday morning, looking for sympathy for the lost hours and aching back. However, as someone who didn't grow up in such Edenic surroundings, I was totally dumbfounded. Cutting back blackberries? Why would you cut back blackberries? Don't they, you know, give you blackberries?

If you've ever tuned in to TV shows like HGTV's House Hunters, you've heard many an aspirational "hunter" lamenting the woes of a home without kitchen upgrades: They want to know, where are the granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, high-end fixtures, and custom cabinets?

Pages