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Play with food



A blog for those who think food should be fun... for those who cook it and those who consume it. Tips, recipes, ideas and suggestions, links to the best ideas in food, best places to find food,and a place to find new ways to make memories with food whethe



Updated: 2018-04-18T04:19:38.932-07:00

 



Environmentally Responsible (and Convenient) Food Storage

2017-07-22T06:28:29.929-07:00

(image) I am sure many of you are like me and cook on the weekends to have lunches for the week, or if you are traveling on business, you need to leave food for the culinarily-challenged hubby. Or you just want to hold leftovers to take to work for lunch another day.  Well, by happenstance, I found a new, and super convenient way to do this that is not only great for you but great for the environment.

You know how great the little containers are you get from the Chinese restaurant takeout are, but their flaw if the little metal handle that keeps you from heating in the microwave.  Well, on Amazon (of course!) I found the perfect alternative.  These containers are microwave safe, biodegradeable, and have a base on the bottom that makes them more stable for storage than the standard Chinese food containers.  They are great for leftovers, for carrying food to work, and storing food in the fridge or freezer. I just write what is in them on the top with a Sharpie, and there is no guessing what it is and how long its been there.

(image) These come in three sizes to meet all your food storage challenges , so be good to your leftovers, and the environment!






Preparing for Hurricane Matthew

2016-10-04T04:05:36.433-07:00

As Hurricane Matthew moves toward the East Coast I thought in might be a good idea to repost my hurricane prep advice.  There are lots of lists about your essential records, and you should pay heed to them, but this advice is things that help you be ready and make time without power more tolerable.
Get ready and stay safe!!!!
http://play-with-food.blogspot.com/2011/09/hurricane-prep-old-hands-advice.html

Other storm and hurricane related posts:
http://play-with-food.blogspot.com/2008/01/snow-day.html






Anniversary Dinner at Cafe Provencal

2016-09-11T15:19:43.399-07:00

After 42 years of marriage, trying to find a way to celebrate that hasn't been done can be a challenge,however a nice meal in great surroundings is always a good option. This year we decided to use a gift card our daughter had given us to a hidden treasure Cafe Provencal in Williamsburg, VA.  When I say it is hidden, I mean that even people I work with who live in Williamsburg do not even know about this jewel.  Maybe because it is inside a country hotel (Wedmore Place), inside a winery (Williamsburg Winery), but believe me, it is worth the winding drive and elevator ride down from the hotel lobby- kind of like Harry Potter running toward Platform 9 3/4- like entering a different world!  The location, service and food are just amazing, the perfect choice for a leisurely "occasion" meal, and the staff treats you like you are the only guests there.Gorgeous oysters were perfect!While we chose wine and the bartender made my Cosmo, a small basket of warm cornbread and rye bread slices were brought to the table, which only whetted our appetite.  We decided since it was a special occasion, wedecided to have appetizers first.  My husband was quick to choose the oysters on the half shell, a half-dozen that came on a bed of ice and with fresh grated horseradish and champagne mignonette sauce.  I selected a Scallop Ceviche, that truly looked more like a work of art than something to eat. This was my first time having scallop ceviche and the taste and texture were just amazing.  Served with cantaloupe and green papaya salad and a fermented pepper sauce that added just the right amount of heat, and a crisp with sesame seeds that I think was for garnish, but added a crisp texture an sweetness to the dish- it was a perfectly composed dish with a variety of complementary textures and flavors.After the successful appetizer course, I wondered how our entrees could stack up.  My husband decided to go with the duck breast that was served with smoked duck pastrami, a wine-poached peach and a carrot-cardamom jus and he was not disappointed.  The duck skin was crisp, and the breast meat was pink and succulent.  The artistry of jus and other complements are usually lost on my husband, but suffice it to say he cleaned his plate!  I decided to go with the market fish, which that night was black sea bass (after I determined thatDuck breast entree with pea shoots"whole" fish meant without the head)! The plate again was pure artistry, but beyond how it looked, every single component was absolutely delicious.  They brought me a bowl so I could remove the bones which was very convenient. The fish was just delicious, flaky and flavorful with a crispy skin accompanied by a watercress nasturtium sauce that perfectly complemented the fish. The spotlight for me was shared with the cashew butter that was an accompaniment- creamy with a distinct cashew flavor.  I ate it with the lion's mane mushrooms until I ran out -  I honestly wanted to lick the plate, but I didn't think I would make it to my 43rd anniversary if I did.  The potato croquette also on the plate was not up the the standards of the Delicious black sea bass and see those little mounds of cashew butter?rest of the plate in my opinion- it was good, but not really complementary to the rest of the plate.  But no worries, my meat and potato-loving spouse scarfed it up and declared it delicious.I wish I could share pictures of our desserts- mine was a chocolate terrine plate with a flame broiled marshmallow that was amazingly rich, and my husband opted for the dessert cheese board- but alas, my phone battery died.  You will have to take my word that it was incredible, and the server brought a a glass of sparkling Gamay to toast our anniversary. All in all a wonderful meal to celebrate yet another year of marriage, and an experience that I would definitely recommend.Chef's amuse bouche-oyster with pumpkin pesto[...]



Behind the Scenes on Below Deck: An Interview with Chef Ben

2015-11-03T12:05:11.980-08:00

One of our favorite shows to watch  as a family is Below Deck, the adventures of "yachtees" whoThis season's Eros -playground of the wealthy!cater to the rich and famous who charter yachts and island hop.  Let me tell you, it takes a lot to get my husband to watch anything on Bravo (no offense Andy Cohen), but he will not miss an episode of Below Deck.  It is reality TV that is actually fun to watch and you actually get to know the different stews and deck hands who work to make these fantasy jaunts possible.  One of our favorite staff members from the previous two seasons was Chef Ben Robinson, a cheeky, fun, but immensely creative and talented chef who can whip something out of nothing in a galley that is about the size of a walk-in closet.Chef Ben was not part of the new season but when Chef Leon did not work out, Captain Lee called Ben and he is now back tonight for his first full episode on Eros!  Chef Ben's return was a reason for excitement in our house so I was particularly thrilled to have the opportunity to pick his brain and share some of his insights with you.  This post is for the Below Deck fans- but I will be posting separately on Chef Ben's latest post-Eros project that focuses of healthy eating in a balanced and holistic way.I was torn between wanting the inside scoop on this season's drama on the crew, but this is, after all, a food blog, so I tried to ask questions that I wanted to know about. Here are my questions and some of the info Ben shared:Were you surprised to be called by Captain Lee to come to Eros?   Ben: I was happily surprised to hear from Captain Lee, its always great to work with him.. And he provides the colorful charter seasons.. What is the greatest challenge in working in a yacht galley?   Ben: Space is always challenging, and when the boat is moving it makes your job much harderThe Eros galley- where food and drama are served in equal portions! What is one piece of equipment you can’t live without in the kitchen?   Ben: I love having an ice-cream machine, it makes great dessert pairings. What is the most-requested meal ingredient?   It really depends on where you are, and what season it is.. For instance, the Mediterranean in the summer, will be demanding of truffles, the Caribbean in the winter will demand for conch and spiny lobsters.. What was the most unusual request you got from a charter guest?   Ben: Sea-cucumber ovaries.. Your favorite dish to cook? To eat?   Ben: I love Asian fusion.. Its clean, healthy and can be incredibly flavorful... Have you been watching this season and what are your impressions about the Eros crew?   Ben: I’ve actually been abroad in Greece,  on a yacht… I’ve heard rumors of it being very A young Chef Ben with his catch!chaotic.. Who would you want to switch jobs with on the yacht?   Ben: Sometimes when I'm absolutely inundated in work and desperately scrounging for creative insight, I think, wouldn’t it be nice to be polishing a window on deck right now. But then I realize I’d bored in about 10 minutes and run back to the action... What is Captain Lee really like (this question was submitted by a reader when he heard I was interviewing you.)   Ben: Captain Lee is a very kind, loving, family man. People take him the wrong way sometimes, he is in charge of a very serious operation, sometimes you have to be stern and lay down the law..Want to see Ben in action? He will be on Below Deck tonight and every Tuesday night until the Eros docks for the season!  And come back to hear about his latest venture-integrative nutrition! [...]



Preparing for Joaquin

2015-10-01T06:54:35.272-07:00

Since I am, like many on the East Coast, preparing for Joaquin and its possible effects over the next several days,  I wanted to repost so tips I have on preparing for any kind of storm. While preparation is the best way to make sure you minimize damage and inconvenience, if you are told to evacuate,please do so. Make sure that your preparations are n line with the warnings for your area, and stay informed- these kinds of storms are very unpredictable and can change for good or ill in a very small time. 
http://play-with-food.blogspot.com/2011/09/hurricane-prep-old-hands-advice.html



Friday FotoPost: BBQ at Border Station

2015-07-10T08:24:55.781-07:00

I really love complex dishes and exotic ingredients, but sometimes, simple food done well can be the most delicious.  On a trip to North Carolina to grab some fireworks for July 4th my husband and I hit the jackpot-  BBQ special night.  Take a look at all the food we got (+ refillable drinks) and then look at the receipt!





FridayFoto Post - Breaking Borders brings Adversaries to the Table

2015-03-06T09:14:42.754-08:00

I had a great opportunity to interview Michael Voltaggio, Top Chef winner about his new show Breaking Borders on the Travel Channel.  This photo is from the first episode airing March 15 where he beings Palestinians and Jewish settlers together for a dinner on the West Bank. It is really eye-opening.




FridayFoto Post - Hasselbeck Potatoes without the Hassle

2015-02-27T11:11:57.426-08:00

I only learned about these potatoes in the last year , and was so fortunate to see a video of how to make the thin slices without cutting through- place the potatoes on a wooden spoon and cut down.  The rim of the spoon will stop you and you can have hassle-free Hasselbeck potatoes- crisp and yummy!




(image)




FridayFoto Post - Pinterest Hybrid Thai Turkey Meatball Soup

2015-07-11T03:59:47.383-07:00

Seriously it has been cold as balls here for the last week, so I made a meatball soup with turkey meatballs that was a hybrid of a couple of Pinterest ideas- it turned out amazing and the broth would, as my dad used to say "make your tongue slap your brains out"  Here's the recipe - if you can call it that:

Thai Turkey Meatball Soup

Broth
4 cups chicken broth or stock
1 can coconut milk
2  star anise
red pepper flakes to taste
1 tbsp fish sauce

Put broth in crockpot and let cook on low for 4 hours to meld flavors.  Fish out star anise and add the following:

1 bag turkey meatballs, 2 cups leaf spinach (I used frozen since that is what I had but I know that 4 cups of fresh would be better), 2 cups corn kernals Let cook another 3 hours on low and then serve-It was delicious!!!! Perfect for these cold winter days ut not as heavy as some other soups.



FridayFoto Post - Taco Tuesday

2015-02-06T06:43:02.660-08:00

My Daughter surprised me with Taco Tuesday dinner complete with drinks, kicked up a notch.  Here are her tequila chicken tacos!!!




FridayFoto Post - Apple Cider Doughnuts

2015-01-30T07:06:32.356-08:00

On a visit to see my Mom in Winchester, VA we went to an orchard/farm market on the way out of town- Marker-Miller Orchard. We saw a huge line, and found out that they made fresh Apple Cider Doughnuts and so we followed the line halfway around the store and waited as tray after tray of these warm beauties came out until it was our turn- totally worth it, the smell alone was heavenly!!!!




The Battle Continues- Organizing the Fridge

2015-01-27T12:54:37.278-08:00

(image)
A messy fridge posted from my past!
Many of you with an interest in food, particularly ethnic foods may have the same problem I do. 
(image) Indian, Chinese, and other ethnic dishes often require you to buy a number of special ingredients, that you have to refrigerate once opened.  In my fridge harissa, black bean paste, and tapanade fights for space with 5 kinds of mustard, three or 4 kinds of jellies and jams and three nut butters, making for confusion and frustration, particularly when these lesser-used ingredients find their way yo the inner reaches of the fridge and I am looking for them desperately.  It often results in me buying an ingredient I was sure I had but couldn't find, only to find it later, and then I have to find room for 2 of the same things!!!!

Well thanks to so kitchen bins I bought at Costco (so much
cheaper than the same bins at Bed, Bath, and Beyond),  I spent a couple of hours and organized all these ingredients and condiments into bins and I feel like a choir of angels should sing everytime I
(image)
After!!!
open the fridge door! Not only are these ingredients grouped to make it easier to find what I am looking for, I can simply slide the bin out and see all the way to the back without moving things emptying the fridge, etc.

How do you deal with the plethora of ingredients that come with being a foodie?



FridayFoto Post - Sushi Bake

2015-01-23T13:04:42.703-08:00

(image)
Sushi Bake with crispy shrimp and seaweed salad-My daughter Bridget makes dinner- Pinterest Success!!!
Decided to have a photo post every Friday- here is #1.



A Crazy Busy Year and the Big Apple

2015-01-22T07:11:39.481-08:00

It has been a very spotty year for Play with Food - with some family health issues and an increased freelance workload meant I had to focus on the writing I have to do and left me with little time to do the fun posting that I love to do here. Demands on my time have taken meals and food from a creative expression to quick necessity. However, there have been some notable food-related events, and I want to begin regular posting by sharing one of the biggest-a 40th anniversary trip for my husband and I to New York City.In trying to think of something to commemorate something as big as being married for 40 years, I agonized. Neither my husband nor I are big jewelry people, and a party would just be a ton of work for me, but then I had an inspiration- how about a trip? But the question was-to where? We both love the beach, but we go there at least a couple of times a year, and so it didn't seem special enough, but then I thought-why not NYC?  Gavin had been there before with my daughter for the NFL draft but I had never been, and there would be things there that both of to enjoy and a great way to make new memories to carry us into the next several decades. An additional advantage was that I could meet a new client there and explore new freelance options while there.Now here's the rub-my husband is not a flier, so I needed to find a way to get to New York that did not involve my husband driving more than 8 hours (I was hoping to continue our marriage and stay out of jail).  So I began making arrangements. Amtrak tickets to and from New York, choosing a hotel convenient to midtown Manhattan so we could get to things easily, deciding how long to stay and what we should try to do while there. Except for the travel and hotel the next biggest expense would be food, but I was determined that we could not skimp there - after all, what is an anniversary without an anniversary dinner? I knew there were places Gavin had gone to with Bridget when they were there - Evergreen Diner, Juniors, Toasties - that my husband would want to go back to,but I was motivated to find some special fine dining experiences while there. But how to eat well in the most expensive part of the city? Groupon turned out to be a great resource- I looked to see what was available in NYC in the area of our hotel, and used Yelp and TripAdvisor to select some great options (more details in future posts).I really wanted to keep this a surprise until the day before we left,but discretion is the better part of valor so about a week before our departure, I set this at his place on the table. Needless to say,he was first mystified and then delighted! We were ready to take a bite out of the Big Apple!!!![...]



Green Pasta Boosts Good Cholesterol

2015-01-08T06:53:52.899-08:00

(image) I was so excited to see that eating an avocado a day could increase the "good" cholesterol and improve heart health in a post on NPR's blog.

 As a long-time fan of avocados simply because of their taste and texture, and of course because I am concerned about the health of my readers,  I wanted to share a recipe that is an amazing way to get that extra avocado in your diet.  A delicious side dish, Avocado Pasta is a favorite in our home, and is good hot or at room temp for a pasta salad.  I usually use one of the high-protein pastas  like Barilla Plus or  Ronzoni's Smart Taste.

Avocado Pasta (makes 4 servings)

4 servings of your favorite pasta, cooked

1 whole ripe avocado
1/2 cup half an half (you could use low-fat milk if you are counting calories)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 clove garlic, mashed
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (more if you like it cheesy)
1/4 cup chopped parsley or cilantro
1/4 cup olive oil

Cook pasta and toss with oil or butter, set aside.

Blend all sauce ingredients in the blender until smooth, add more milk bit by bit if needed to make pourable.  Toss sauce with cooked pasta, and enjoy.  I usually top with a bit of cracked pepper and fresh grated parmesan.




3-D Printed Food?

2015-01-07T05:57:41.426-08:00

Since I work in a nuclear physics lab I am very familiar with the capabilities of 3-D printing.  They are used at Jefferson Lab to create prototypes and parts for particle detectors and other uses. Seeing these things work is just amazing, but I never thought they would be used to create food, and yet here it is - 3-D printed food.  A little pricey for Nutella Toast, but its a start.

I'd rather have a 3-D printed robot to clean up the mess, how about you?

http://rt.com/news/220391-3d-printer-edible-food/



Why not to eat outside???

2014-06-18T06:20:26.873-07:00

Can't believe I saw this photo essay on why eating outside is over-rated.  Do you agree?http://www.answers.com/article/1190627/10-things-you-should-know-about-hops?param4=fb-us-de-food&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=ssde-all#slide=1



Planning is Key to Successful Beach Vacation

2014-05-23T06:12:53.010-07:00

This is what beach vacation is about!!!Unfortunately this year, finances will not allow my family to enjoy our yearly beach vacation in the Outer Banks, but that shouldn't keep you from benefiting from my experience in planning for the beach as you get ready to enjoy the surf and sand. If you search "beach"  on  this site there are several posts that will help you find a beach house, plan meals and pack for a week-long trip. Here are my tips for finding and selecting a home that will be a haven for your family for summer vacation:1) Know your family -  Are you headed to the beach with a crew of young children? Do you have teens and young adults?  Are you a multi - generational group? Does your family expect all the bells and whistles, or are they happy just to be able to walk to the beach?This will guide you as you select a home to stay in, for example, choosing a home with five bedrooms may sound great on the surface, but if two of those have bunk beds and your kids are grown and coming with their own families, it won't work. Do you have teens who need their own space?  Look for a house with an extra den or game room. Crab night!!!2) Know your area -  I have always used a realtor to rent a vacation home.  They usually know the area and the owners and know who has flexibility. But be forewarned -  realtor sites can be deceiving. Your semi-oceanfront home may mean  you have to cross a busy thoroughfare that is fine if your party is adults and teens but not so great with a crew of toddlers. By the same token, your oceanside house may have the same views and even better access than some semi-oceanfront homes (i.e. if your SOF is in the middle of a block and the access is at the end of the block). Google earth and aerial photos can help you determine what location makes the most sense for your family.3) Shop smart -  Arrival day is crazy and beach grocery stores are their own special kind of crazy, so I usually make sure to carry enough food to get us through the first night so we can do the bulk of our shopping after we are settled and when the crowds have died down. For us- we carry many of our proteins with us because we buy at Costco to feed a crowd, we buy a lot of produce and small stands that are local, and that  leaves not much that has to be bought up front. We usually have a planned meal that can cook while we unpack that first day- frozen lasagna, a pre-baked ham, or barbecue made at home and brought in the cooler.Buffet is easy for everyone!4) Spread the load - When we head to the beach, I plan meals and then families coming can contribute by buying drinks, bread, deli meat, fresh produce, snacks or can provide a meal by buying pizza, or steamed shrimp or steamed crabs.  Breakfast and dinner are common meals but everyone is on their own for lunch- that means that I am not cooking all the time.  Also all guests take turns doing dishes, if you cook, you don't clean.While I love cooking and impressing guests I try to keep beach meals simple, grilled chicken, burgers, or barbecue.  Our most popular meals have been steamed crabs and taco salad!!! Focus on simple foods and lots of local produce. If  you have other cooks in your family, let them take a turn being responsible for a meal- a vacation means that even the cook needs a break5) Buffet- We never serve food at the beach- everything is put out on the ample counters and everyone serves themselves.  That makes mealtime simple and casual.Beach vacation has to include a vacation for the cook as well, and t[...]



"Kitchen Sink" Rice a hit!

2014-05-18T05:04:43.344-07:00

(image) I am not sure about you but since the number of people I feed daily has been reduced,  I often have parts of bags of frozen vegetables in my freezer with not enough to feed my crew but too much to simply pitch.  The other day I had the inspiration to use those bits and pieces as part of a quick side dish using, of all things, frozen brown rice.  Normally I turn  my nose up at ready made foods (frozen mashed potatoes are a mystery to me!), but these bags hold just enough for a side for my family and allow me to assuage those who like white and those who prefer brown rice at the same meal.

(image) This particular day,  I had two ears of fresh corn, part of a bag of edamame and part of a bag of frozen spinach.  I began by melting some coconut oil and cutting the corn kernals off the cob.  I sauteed the corn, some chopped onion, the spinach and edamame while I "cooked"  the rice in the microwave.  Once the rice was ready I dumped it into the veggies and added a teaspoon of  Better than Boullion Chicken (a staple in my house) and cooked until the liquid evaporated.

I served this as a side to steamed shrimp, and it was a HIT!!!  You could make this a main dish by adding some leftover meat or some egg.

Even though this is not a grandiose recipe, I hope it inspires you not to be afraid to use what you have in unexpected ways - when it works out, you will look like a genius!



Steve Schirripa and His "Killer" Sauce

2014-05-16T11:24:25.187-07:00

I was not a big fan of The Sopranos (although my husband never missed an episode), but I became familiar with Steve Schirripa through his role as the understanding but firm dad of Ben on "Secret Life of an American Teenager", so when I heard from a rep that he had a new line of pasta sauces,  I was eager to try them. After all what could be more authentic Italian than an Italian on The Sopranos?  I was really excited when my samples came, with each jar wrapped carefully in bubble wrap,three different recipes- Tomato Basil, Marinara, and Arrabiata.This is likely how you remember Steve!I didn't have to wait long to give this sauce a try.  When your 3-year old grandson is over for dinner and says his favorite is spaghetti, that is all it takes even for this Irish-American grandma!  I have to start by saying that while I do not normally make spaghetti sauce from scratch (fresh tomatoes,simmering all day, etc.), I usually do start with some San Marzano tomatoes, onions, not a jar of prepared sauce, and my experience with prepared sauces is that they usually are too acidic or too sweet, and overly salty. We decided to have a meat sauce with spicy Italian sausage,so we chose to use the Tomato-Basil flavor for this sauce.  Since I did plan to add my own meat and onions, I wanted to taste the sauce in its unadulterated form first. I was pleasantly surprised- the sauce had the flavor of fresh tomatoes with a great balance of sweet-salty, and without the overly acid tang that sometimes underscores prepared sauces. I sauteed onions and browned a sausage and ground beef mixture, and then added the Uncle Steve's sauce, and let the sauce bubble for a little while (Is there any better sound and smell?) allowFullScreen='true' webkitallowfullscreen='true' mozallowfullscreen='true' width='320' height='266' src='https://www.blogger.com/video.g?token=AD6v5dyqN3qIpqseB9AGOG24WQ1ACvdcMOmQ4QUXov5gIAAk_ZxPAhZELjy9cKAe2EZHQIGwoWXhJ_HEqzA' class='b-hbp-video b-uploaded' FRAMEBORDER='0' />So how did it turn out?  While my daughters who were home knew the pedigree of the sauce, my grandson's mom, who is 6 months pregnant, came in from work, smelled the sauce and asked if we had extra.  Two plates later,she said,"Mom I really love your sauce the best!!"  Even her three-year-old cleaned his plate!I apologize for paper plates,but that allowed the spaghetti and Uncle Steve to be the star!!Do I want to discourage people from making their own sauce? Of course not!  That is part of the culinary tradition for many moms out there. But on a weeknight when time is tight, Uncle Steve's sauces are a high-quality option that fool even discriminating palates. I look forward to trying the other flavors- Uncle Steve is sure to be invited to my table more often , and you should invite him to yours as well!!![...]



Homemade Chicken Pho in the Crockpot!!

2014-01-29T12:01:03.507-08:00

(image)
This bowl of pho is a work of art you can eat!
In the deep freeze we have had lately that makes us look at 32 degrees as a heat wave, something warm is always desirable on the menu, but you can get tired of the same soups and stews. When my daughter suggested that we go out for pho before payday,I wondered if we could make our own pho and avoid the cost and going out in the frigid weather.  It turns out you can make a respectable pho at home!!!

(image) I think of pho kind of like ramen -  the broth is key and it takes an expert touch and tons of time, but it turns out that there wee several recipes for pho that you can make at home.  When I saw one on the Eating Well site that used a crockpot, I figured it was worth a try. I didn't follow the recipe exactly- I used half chicken broth and half miso broth from paste, I had star anise, which I increased, a chunk of fresh ginger and a cinnamon stick and cloves as called for. I also added a dried Tsien Tsien pepper I had from a trip to Penzey's Spices, thinking that would add a little heat.  I used boneless skinless thighs from Costco since that was what I had. I set on high for four hours and when I got home, my house smelled amazing!! I pulled the chicken pieces out and shredded them and then got all the add-ins ready.  We got baby bok choy, cilantro, sliced baby bella mushrooms, firm tofu that we browned lightly on all sides, and fresh bean sprouts.  Everyone put what they wanted in their bowls and then added the fragrant broth and ....success!!!  I felt
like Brittany Murphy in The Ramen Girl- the broth was complex with spicyness, and a touch of sweetness and heat.  The perfect thing to break the winter doldrums.

I can't wait to try a beef version, I think it would be amazing as well.  If you are looking for something different, a bit exotic and still healthy, give pho a try at home- it was pho-king amazing!!!!



Preparing for the Polar Vortex 2 - A Rerun

2014-01-21T08:59:16.396-08:00

(image) Since people are in a frenzy preparing for the next winterblast hear on the East Coast, I am bringing back this post on grocery shopping for a storm-  Love to hear your observations as you wait in grocery lines- your cart or those around you!!!  Be safe!!!

http://play-with-food.blogspot.com/2008/01/snow-day.html



Fish on Friday.... and other Food-Related Traditions

2014-01-10T10:12:04.948-08:00

I was out with my husband for a quick romantic lunch (Filet O Fish at McDonald's) and the idea of fish or
(image)
This is us on a real date, not McDonald's!
seafood on Friday came up with the manager while we were waiting on our food.  While I know that fish on Friday used to be very prevalent in the Catholic community, it turns out that according to the manager at this McDonald's they do sell significantly more fish on Friday!

We started this as a family tradition and while we usually stick to it, we have been known to use a substitute meatless day. There are many advantages.  Healthwise it is good to increase consumption of fish, and cooking wise, it is a good idea to learn other ways to incorporate proteins without meat.  It requires a little creativity, but that is good in the kitchen, right?

Do any of you have a specific meatless day or any other special food traditions that you follow in your household?  Share... I am interested, and I know others will be too!




Food , Luck and New Year's Resolutions!!!

2014-01-02T05:58:12.051-08:00

(image) I guess it should be no surprise that food is a big part of the start of our new year as it is central to our day to day lives. Resolutions often involve food as people resolve to "eat healthier", "cut out junk food","eat more fish", "increase fiber" or "eat more fruits and vegetables". Diets and exercise are the most common new year's resolutions as people strive to reduce their waistlines and increase their lifespan.  There are even "lucky" foods to eat for the new year such as collards or other greens that bring wealth, or black eyed peas that bring luck and prosperity.  We credit food for feeling and looking good, and blame food if we gain a pound or feel dragged down.

This year, I want to encourage readers to make a different kind of New Year's resolution- to develop and
maintain a healthy relationship with food.  There is a reason that we have high obesity and record numbers of young people with eating disorders AT THE SAME TIME!!!!  In moderation, there are no "good" or "bad" foods.This attitude can encourage both over eating and restrictive food behaviors, neither of which are healthy. This year, try having a variety of foods, prepare and experiment with new foods and ingredients, make the choosing, preparing and cooking a part of the overall meal experience. Eat your meals in a thoughtful and quiet way without the distractions of computer TV or smartphones so that you can savor the amazing variety of foods that the earth provides. There is a place for ice cream, steak or even french fries in a diverse meal plan that will help you reach a weight that is healthy for you and enhance your relationship with food. Superfoods like berries or greens are great, but a healthy diet includes them, not focuses on them.  There is a reason man is an omnivore - our bodies are meant to take nutrients from a variety of sources. Balance and diversity are as important to our food lives as they are to the rest of our lives, so make them the keystone of your food-related resolutions this year, and for once you may find you have set a resolution you can stick with not just for the new year but for life!!!