Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Favorites: Food

Surprise: I like food. In fact, I'm all of a sudden very hungry. Here are some of my favorites...

  • Mini Babybell cheese singles: they have the full-fat kind in bulk at Costco. If I'm at the grocery, I buy the light variety. Easy to grab and go, just don't leave the little wax wrapper in your car in the summer...
  • Carr Whole Wheat Crackers with Brie cheese: I know, more cheese. My friend turned me on to this and I CAN'T GET ENOUGH. These Carr whole wheat crackers come in a small box; search the cracker aisle. These wheat crackers, of all things, feel like a luxurious treat. Trust me, they're so yummy yummy.
  • Dried Apricots: I get the big bag at Costco. That particular brand (Mariani, I think) is the softest I've had.
  • Trader Joe's Tempting Trail Mix: for those lucky enough to have a TJ's close (I hate you). It has a dark angel on the label... what does that mean? A supersweet mix of several nut varieties, dark chocolate or carob chips, dried cranberries (or are they cherries), and peanut butter chips. I think I'm going to make this mix as my Christmas neighbor gifts this year.
GET FRESH! The hands-down BEST fresh produce is from the roadside stands that line California's Central Valley route between the Bay Area and my hometown (sniff, sniff). But since that's not so accessible to me very often, I try to hit the SL Farmers Market occasionally.
  • Pineapple: I know the chopped up stuff at the grocery comes with a premium price tag. At the rate I eat pineapple (I often get sores in my mouth), I finally bucked up and bought one of those special pineapple cutter thingies at Williams Sonoma.
  • Berries!
  • Oven Roasted Asparagus: Ok, do this and you'll be hooked. Snap the little icky hard part of the stems off your asparagus, throw the yummy remainder in a baking dish, drizzle a little EVOO, sprinkle some kosher salt, then roast in the oven at about 425 for approximately 10-15 minutes. Holy mama, good stuff.
  • Old-fashioned Oatmeal with Chocolate Chips: When we were kids, my exasperated mom convinced us to eat our hot oatmeal by topping it with chocolate chips. I bet she had no idea that at (ahem) 30, I'd eat my oatmeal every morning with semi-sweet chocolate chips on top.
UTAH FAVORITE: Utah has some pretty unique culinary offerings, that's for sure. I'm planning a future post of my favorite food "venues," including the low-down on Crown Burger (I'm pretty sure that place is inspired) and Nielson's Frozen Custard. As far as actual food...
  • Creamies! I think these frozen treasures, lower fat ice cream bars on a stick, are only available in this region. You'd think chocolate would be my favorite, but our household favors banana. Orange is truly like a creamsicle. There are lots of other flavors, too. Perfect hammock treat.
OUR FAMILY SPAGHETTI SAUCE LEGACY. So the story goes... years ago my grandmother used Lawry's Spaghetti Sauce Mix (the spices in a packet) with her young family. I think she said it was the first meal she made for my grandfather. Then, my mom used the same stuff. Lawry's Spaghetti became a staple in our family, a favorite request. My grandmother, a writer, sent the story of our family's connection with the product to the company, which was featured on the cover of their newsletter with a photo of my grandparents and their baby grandchildren (me and my brother). So basically I'm famous. And now, guess what? I always have Lawry's Spaghetti Sauce mix in my spice cabinet, my go-to.

GETTING FISHY. Hansens could easily pull a Piven if we keep eating fish at this rate. We love seafood. I used to be too intimidated to cook fish, but I'm learning just how easy it is to cook what some believe is the healthiest meat. I get my fish from Costco, separating my salmon and tilapia into serving sizes just right for our little family and placing in ziploc bags for the freezer. May not be the most eco-friendly or wild or whatever, but hey. A few ways I prepare fish:
  • Teryaki Salmon: I soak my fillets in a pretty equal mix of Worchestire Sauce and low sodium Soy Sauce for just a few minutes, then grill or pan fry until flaky.
  • Tilapia Goes Nutty: I put tilapia on a cookie sheet, lightly brush with butter, sprinkle with Tony Cachere's Cajun spice mix, and cover with extremely finely (almost dusty) chopped nuts (my fave for this recipe: pistachios). I bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Viola.
  • Shrimp with Bay Seasoning: My mother-in-law turned me on to Bay Seasoning. Add vinegar and Bay Seasoning when you boil shrimp (note: get the de-veined shrimp if you know what's good for you. I'm not your mom, so I'm not going to explain what that means).
I NEED A DRINK. The stiffest stuff I've ever gulped is a very occasional Diet Coke (minus that lemonade from the adult table at Laura's neighborhood party when I was a kid; I swear I had NO idea it was spiked). But I do like yummy fun drinks, like:
  • Ginseng Peppermint Tea Latte from The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf: The Mormon Newsgirl's Coffee Substitute. This creamy, sweet herbal tea is only available through the franchise based in California and Nevada. On a previous visit, we bought the dry stuff, so now I can make it at home. In the cooler seasons, I drink this at night while I watch fall TV. Cozy.
  • Real Limeade is fun in the summer, particularly blended and mixed with sugar and strawberries.
  • Williams Sonoma Shaved Hot Chocolate. Darn my sister-in-law for gifting this to me one Christmas! I'm hooked, and it is only available during the holidays! Imagine melting the richest, darkest chocolate shavings into warm milk. Intense. Go for the mint, and plan on diluting a little... unless you want a hot chocolate heart attack.
FAVORITE RECIPES. Ugh, I'm overwhelmed at the idea of sharing my favorite recipes (minus the fish above), so let me know if you want to know the formula for: turkey meatloaf, white bean chicken soup, clam linguine, hearty and easy chicken soup loaded with noodles and veggies, and my new favorite Rocco Parmesan Risotto with mushrooms and asparagus.


dana said...

I'm totally trying Lawrys. What a great secret!

Marianne & Clayton said...

Risotto please.

Laura said...

You didn't mean me when you said the thing about the lemonade, did you?