Thursday, January 29, 2009

Risotto Champs

What do you do with a group of foodies who not only love to cook, but work in the food biz? Challenge them to an Iron Chef Competition! This corporate group took the job of preparing risotto seriously, and came up with lots of good ideas. Cajun-Asian Shrimp Risotto anyone?

Have it Your Way!

Here's a delicious twist on customization. How would you like to pick up what looks good to you at the fish counter, take it right over to a cook who will grill, blacken or fry it in front of you. Instant satisfaction - Whole Foods has got a great idea! Not only can you take your fishy selection and get it prepared instantly, you can also purchase items in the store and customize your meal further - want whole wheat for your blackened halibut? Just grab the buns from the bread aisle and you have a personalized sandwich. I met a friend there for lunch last week. We had a great time "fishing", sharing a bottle of wine, (which we bought right off the shelf), and catching up. Try it yourself for a fun, fast and inexpensive good fish dinner. 

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Iron Chef Risotto

Happy Birthday Toni! I taught a fun cooking class last night at Cooks Warehouse here in Atlanta. Paul threw a 5oth party for his wife Toni. We had an iron chef competion. Even the "non cooks" did a great job - take a look at the evening's results.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Organic or Natural, What Does it All Mean?

I receive lots of questions about eating "Organic" when I teach cooking classes. I thought I would give you a quick run down of some of the things you may want to think about when choosing groceries. First of all some quick definitions:

Organic: In the United States, this means that at least 95% of the ingredients in the food must be organically produced to wear the USDA Organic label. This means 95% of the foods must be produced without any hormones pesticides or other dangerous chemicals.

Natural: There is no official USDA definition of "Natural" so a food manufacturer can use this term how ever they wish.

Locavore: Someone who tries to eat foods produced in their own area. If you shop at a farmers market or a store that specializes in food grown nearby, you are a Locavore.

You can do a quick web search to find lists of foods that are best to buy organic.  The best advice I share is to eat a variety of different foods, always wash your produce and try to eat organic when possible - especially those foods you and your family eat often. For my family that means buying organic skim milk, yogurt, and other dairy products, celery, carrots, lettuce and organic poultry and meats. Even the large grocery stores are posting the country or state of origin for produce. Since I live in Georgia - I look for produce from Florida during the winter. This gives me the best options for "local" or at least regional produce.