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All posts for the month October, 2009

Bob Green

Bob Green

In the beginning…

 

Let’s start off with a confession.  For the most part, whole wheat pasta in my house is verboten.

When the whole “eating tons of whole grain” movement suddenly got hugely popular, Mrs. WellDone was on the front lines, buying everything whole grain including more than a little whole grain spaghetti, linguine, rigantoni, spirals, and even whole grain lasagna noodles.  (Not to mention bread, crackers, and other whole grain foods.)

Almost immediately the arguments began.  Mrs. WellDone liked the taste.  Me, I couldn’t stand the texture.  The pasta was chewy (and not in a good al dente kind of way), but somehow it could get even mushier then white pasta.  For months this continued on until one day, in a bought of frugality (I think), Mrs. WellDone bought some white pasta and cooked it.

God works in strange ways, but His hand was obviously at work that day as Mrs. WellDone became a convert (or unconvert?) back to the simple ways of glorious white, totally bad for you pasta.

The conference call…

Then one day it happened.  I was invited to attend a conference call with Bob Greene, founder of the Best Life Diet, about whole wheat pasta.  It was one of those yay-boo moments because on one hand, I have a huge amount of respect for Bob Greene.  His book, The Best Life Diet, opened my eyes to why I had failed in so many of my previous diets because I was failing to get at the emotional roots of my eating.

On the other hand, we were going to talk about whole wheat pasta.

Still, I am food writer and when given the chance to learn more about a food product, I’m not going to turn it down.

What I learned…

The cool thing about the conference call was that we got to ask Mr. Greene questions and being not shy about why I don’t like whole wheat pasta, I asked him about the texture.  Much to surprise, he started off his answer to my question with an admission: he and others have had problems with the texture (and flavor) of whole wheat pasta.

I wasn’t expecting that.

He then went on to say that one of the reasons that he decided to partner with Barilla was that their whole wheat pasta cooked up softer and with a better texture than other whole wheat pastas on the market.  However, he recommended that everyone cook it until it was just al dente to get the best texture from it possible.  (Apparently, he’s had mushy whole wheat pasta before, too…)

He also admitted (again to my surprise) that no matter how good Barilla whole wheat pasta is, it could never replace white pasta entirely.  He did say, though, that Barilla gets pretty close and that it’s not something you have to force yourself to get used to very hard.  Ultimately, though, he did argue that the switch was worth it since whole wheat pasta is far healthier in terms of vitamins and nutrients.  Which is a good point, I guess.

In conclusion…

So I can’t say I came away from the conference call having found religion on the whole wheat pasta issue.  All I can say is that through his passion and my general desire to treat my body right, I am going to give whole wheat pasta another chance.  Yes, it will be Barilla and yes, I will cook it al dente.

Who knows, Bob Greene is a pretty sharp guy.  The pasta might turn out pretty good.

If you want to know more about Bob Green and the Best Life Diet, read about it on his website.

If you want to know more about Barilla, read about it here.

Broccoli and Eggplant

Broccoli and Eggplant

Okay, it’s #meatlessmonday again, which means it’s time to do right by yourself and the earth by going twenty-four short hours without meat.  Sound tough?  Not when you have

Eggplant Rollitini

I just love eggplant and I swear after this, so will you!

Also, you may have noticed, this is another fantasic 2009 Nude & Eco-Cheap Cooking Initiative recipe, wherein I take the delicious vegetables that Shawna Coronado has grown and make them into dinner for family of four for less than $11.50.  Sadly, because winter is here (feels like it never left did it??? :)) the growing season is almost over, so there won’t be many more of these in 2009.  But fear not, while the veggies keep coming, so will delicious, healthy dinners for less than $11.50.

With that being said, this particular recipe was inspired by Jasper’s here in Kansas City.  It was one of the dishes Chef fixed during the Best Meal I Ever Ate.   It was wonderful then and I just hope I can do it justice for less than $11.50!

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Milagro Mole

Milagro Mole

$10,000 disclaimer: @melanieyunk gave me a bottle of her Big Acres® Gourmet Products Milagro Mole® sauce.

Foodie disclaimer:  It rocks and with it I made:

Milagro Mole Roasted Pork

Making chiapas-style pork is my favorite go-to Mexican dish.  Normally I make the pork with a paste of orange juice, rehydrated ancho chilies, garlic and onions.  However, with nearly a full bottle of Milagro Mole (I brushed some on some shrimp skewers, but more on that in a future post) I figured that instead of ancho paste, I’d use mole sauce.

And oh was it amazing!

Pork is the best meat for matching with sweet sauces, but the pairing of pork and the milagro mole was absolutely sublime.  Sweet for a mole sauce, the raisins, chocolate, and natural sweetners enhanced the sweet notes in pork and blanaced perfectly with the small amount of citrus I added via a bit of orange juice.  Served with some spanish rice, beans, and tortillas, it was a great Tex Mex meal that’s the perfect change up to my usual forays into roast pork.

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Fantasy Top Chef

Fantasy Top Chef

Okay, I’ve been derelict in my duties to update Fantasy Top Chef scores.  Real quick, here’s the score update:

Me: 17
Michele: 15
Josh: 12
Debbie: 11
Karen: 10
Elise: 8
Colleen: 8

Who rocks Fantasy Top Chef?  Me!!

Actually, in all fairness to my other players, I think I’ve learned something about Fantasy Top Chef.  Having a league where teams are drafted like this is less than ideal since unlike say, fantasy football, in Fantasy Top Chef , chefs are knocked out and can no longer score points.  This is kind of crappy since, for instance, Elise now has no more chefs (we autopicked teams, so she didn’t select her chefs.)  Still, I feel bad for her.

What we’re doing at work now is basically doing a knockout pool.  Each person has to pick one chef each week.  If that chef survives, we survive.  If that chef is knocked out, we are out of the pool.  It’s what I am doing next season for sure.

Oh, and in case you’re interested, my pick was Eli.  One point for me!

Okay, so the topic for tonight’s post about Top Chef post is halibut since it almost got Michael V sent home.  I am pretty sure I’ve had halibut before, but I can’t remember when and I sure don’t think it was from a fine dining restaurant.  (I feel like I got it in a cafeteria.)

What I do know is that while halibut is delicious, it’s notoriously hard to prepare (especially if Hell’s Kitchen is any indication.)  So until I can find a piece of halibut and cook it up myself, I am calling in a ringer.  I really liked this link from Drew Cooks.  It even has a video!

Watch, cook, enjoy!

Oh, and for Top Chef live blogging, don’t forget TNSmackdown.

Nachos!

Nachos!

Just in time for football season!!  How about serving up a big plate of

Vegetarian Chili-Cheese Nachos!

This is actually one of my favorite go-to football meals because it’s really easy to make, it’s ready in about 30 minutes, and it’s something I can fix the carnivores and the vegheads alike. 

And, oh yeah, did I mention it tastes really good?

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