12/22/12

Mushrooms: Nature’s Flavor Enhancer

Monosodium glutamate, also known as sodium glutamate and MSG, is a sodium salt of glutamic acid, a naturally occurring non-essential amino acid. It is used as a food additive and is commonly marketed as a flavor enhancer.

For decades, concerns have been raised on anecdotal grounds, and hypotheses have been put forward, that MSG may be associated with migraine headaches, food allergies in children, obesity, and hyperactivity in children.

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12/19/12

Happy Sangria Day! Here’s our favorite…

Heyya hauties!

Happy National Sangria Day!

Here’s a little something from Chef Terry’s archives! A couple years back, we threw a Greek Easter feast with a dozen or so friends, and Terry made of a batch of his Sangue Rosso Sangria to compliment the grilled lamb, dolmadakia, and all the other Greek goodies.

Ir was, to say the least, very well recieved. By far the best sangria I’ve ever had!

Terry’s Sangue Rosso Sangria

1 bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon
1/4 Cup Kirshe Wasser (cherry brandy)
1/4 Cup Limoncello (lemon liqueur)
2 Oranges, sliced
1 Green apple, sliced
2 Tbs. Sugar
1 1/2 Cup Club soda

Combine (stir to dissolve the sugar) wine, liquors, fruit and sugar in a container and chill for at least 2 hours up to 24.

Add club soda just before serving. Serve over ice.

03/11/12

Volume 1: Issue 6

 

The “Amazing Meals Made Easy” system for the busy food lover!

Week of March 11, 2012

Hello Peeps! Well, one of my favorite foodie holidays is coming up…St. Patrick’s Day! Bring on the corned beef and cabbage, baby! Speaking of which, we have a great slow-cooker Corned Beef & Cabbage recipe for you this week. A little splash of cider vinegar really brings out the flavor of that brisket!

That said, and as much as I love my corned beef, it’s a toss-up as to which recipe was the biggest party in my mouth this week, that Skirt Steak Taco Salad with Fire Roasted Steak Salsa is pretty amazing, too. If you’ve never experimented with skirt-steak before…are you in for a treat! It’s my favorite cut of beef.

A heads up…my fellow menu planner, and foodie extraordinaire, Terry Ramsey, spent some time at his computer this week, and re-designed the format we use for your weekly grocery lists. We think you’re really going to like the new look!

Oh, and that reminds me, please remember, when you make a hautemealz.com recipe that really fires your rockets, please shoot us an email, or post on the blog, or the Facebook page and let us know so we can work it back into the menu rotation. Otherwise, it might be a long time before you see it again!

Couple of other things to keep an eye out for, this week…

So, this week, in your hautemealz.com menus, you’re going to find several recipes that use chicken meat from pre-cooked deli chickens. If you haven’t cut up a lot of chickens at this point in your culinary history, make sure to visit the blog and watch a short video on how easy it is to carve a whole roast chicken.

For the Skirt Steak Taco Salad recipe make sure to check out our instructional blog post, How to slice Skirt Steak…it could be the difference between chewing on a beef-flavored tire, and savoring a buttery, melt-in-your-mouth-tender slice of steak!

Have a delicious week!

The hautemealz.com team

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Be sure to hook up with us (socially, of course) at…

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hautemealz
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HauteMealz
and, of course…
Our Blog: http://hautemealzblog.wordpress.com/

Oh, and if you’re one of those crazy pinners (like us)…pin us, baby, pin us!

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INGREDIENT OF THE WEEK: BRISKET

Brisket is a cut of meat from the breast or lower chest of beef. The brisket muscles include the superficial and deep pectorals. As cattle do not have collar bones, these muscles support about 60% of the body weight of standing/moving cattle. This requires a significant amount of connective tissue, so the resultingly tough meat must be cooked correctly to tenderize the connective tissue.

Popular methods in the Southern United States include rubbing with a spice rub or marinating the meat, then cooking slowly over indirect heat from charcoal or wood. This is a form of smoking the meat. Additional basting of the meat is often done during the cooking process. This normally tough cut of meat, due to the collagen fibers that make up the significant connective tissue in the cut, is tenderized when the collagen gelatinizes, resulting in more tender brisket, despite the fact that the cut is usually cooked well beyond what would normally be considered “well done”.

Slow-smoked brisket is a signature dish for our barbecue team, and Pit Master Chris Renner, in particular, has a special touch for turning the tough muscle into smoky beef perfection. Chris’s brisket recipe (and many more of our bbq and grilling specialties) are available in the team’s cookbook, MEAT FIRE GOOD.)  If you’re a hautemealz.com subscriber, contact us to get you member discount on this, or any of our titles.

In traditional Jewish cooking, brisket is most often braised as a pot roast, especially as a holiday main course, usually served at Rosh Hashannah, Passover, and Shabbat. In Hong Kong, it is cooked with spices over low heat until tender, and is commonly served with noodles in soup or curry. It is a common cut of meat for use in Vietnamese phở soup, as well.

Brisket is also the most popular cut for corned beef, though the term comes not from the grain corn, but from the treatment of the meat with “corns” of salt.

In the U.S. and Canada, consumption of corned beef is often associated with the Saint Patrick’s Day favorite, Corned Beef & Cabbage. Corned beef is not considered an Irish national dish, and the connection with Saint Patrick’s Day specifically originates as part of Irish-American culture, and is often part of their celebrations in North America.[13] In Ireland, the closest traditional dish is bacon and cabbage (more akin to Canadian style bacon or ham). Corned beef and cabbage became popular in the U.S. after Irish immigrants in the northeast used corned beef instead of pork in the dish. This substitution was likely due to the low cost of corned beef in the U.S.

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FEATURED RECIPE

Perry’s Favorite Corned Beef Sandwich

Serves 4

1 whole baguette, soft
16 ounces leftover corned beef, warm
8 ounces Swiss cheese, deli sliced
4 Tbs horseradish mustard

Preheat your oven to 200f.

Bring corned beef broth (reserved from the slow cooker) to steaming on the stovetop, or in the microwave. Remove from heat and add the chopped or sliced corned beef, allow beef to warm in broth for about 10 minutes.

Slice baguette into 4 equal sections (halve, and then halve again), then slice each section horizontally, like a sandwich. Smear the bottom half of each section with horseradish mustard, and arrange corned beef on bottom half of sandwich, dividing meat evenly between the sections.

Arrange cheese to cover the meat, the close up your sandwiches.

The next two steps are the KEY to the awesomeness…

 1 – Wrap each sandwich tightly in foil.

 2 – Place sandwiches in warm over UPSIDE DOWN and allow to rest 10 minutes.

Unwrap and serve as is, or with kosher dill pickle spears.

Note: To “rueben-ize” this baby, replace the horseradish mustard with thousand-island dressing, and add 1/4 cup (warmed & well drained) sauerkraut to each sandwich, just before wrapping in foil.

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hautemealz.com

E-mail: perry@hautemealz.com
PO Box 21, Wilsonville Oregon, 97062

http://www.hautemealz.com
Copyright 2012, Perry P. Perkins

03/7/12

Can I afford to eat healthy?

Michelle contacted me online, with some concerns about staying within her budget while trying to eat healthier.

A recent trip to the grocery store had left her a little breathless…and led to the ensuing conversation…

Hi Perry, I’ve been reading these articles on how to start eating healthy. Pretty much all of them say to shop the perimeter of the store. I decided to take it for a spin and see how it went by just walking around and comparing prices.

My results: Holy Cow! I will be broke in one week!

Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can achieve eating healthier, feed my family, and still have any money left? –M

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Hi Michelle! Forgive me for answering your question with a questions, but what store are you going to? That makes a huge difference. My local Winco is easily 1/2 the price of our Albertsons, and about 1/3 of Haggen. It also has a lot to do with how you cook, and how you organize your weekly menu to use bulk items, seasonal sales, and family-packs.

There’s an article I posted a while back, with many of these tips, in more detail – “Confessions of a Grocery Ninja.”

If you don’t mind sharing your ballpark grocery budget, I can give you some more detailed healthy shopping tips. I have some general tips, here, on some seasonal sales items to watch for this month, as well. – P

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Thank you very much for the links! I will be using those as a starter point.

I’ve been going mostly to Walmart until they get our local Publix Supermarket back up.

I have to admit, I’m horrible at planning and usually wing it when it comes to meals. I am in the process of learning (not very well I might add) how to plan for the week. I try to set aside $100-$150 a week for groceries though if my husband goes with me, he usually stocks the buggy full of snack food and not actually anything I can cook, so I have to go back to the store again.

Any tips would be appreciated and I will definitely check out those links more thoroughly.

Thanks again! – M

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Excellent! Okay, so if your local Walmart’s prices there are anything like they are here in Oregon, you should have no trouble eating healthy, or at least, healthier, on $150/week.

Also, it’s very hard to comparison shop between stores, if you don’t have a grocery plan. You’ll have a much better idea of what’s a good deal, intuitively, and what isn’t, in a couple of months.

So…

1. You gotta have a plan. Going shopping without a plan (and a list) will add anywhere from 25% – 100% to your grocery receipt. To get an idea of what I’m talking about, download one of the sample menu from our site, it’s free, and includes complete week of dinner menus and an itemized grocery list.

To save even more, go up one level (if there are two of you, shop for 4 serving, if 4, shop for 6 serving), as it will give you great leftovers for lunch the next day, WAY cheaper that buying additional lunch groceries. We offer menus in all three, but I think the samples are all 4-serving.

2. Eat a healthy meal, right before you go to the store (never, never shop hungry), and budget one “freebie” that’s not on the list, but looks good to you.

Two reasons: 1-Deprivation sucks, and even a semi-healthy goodie to reward your sticking to the plan, it better than the eventual binge. 2-You might trade that 1 freebie a half dozen times as you go through the store, but whatever you end up with…you’re REALLY going to enjoy.

It’s pretty amazing, actually, what happens when you have to trade a whole bunch of “good” for a little bit of “the best.”

3. Unless it would drive you absolutely barking mad, don’t plan something completely different every night. If you look at the sample menu, you’ll see that we pick a “main protein” say, boneless chicken breasts, or boneless picnic pork ribs, ground turkey, etc, and we use that ingredient in 3-4 (very different) recipes over the course of the week. This allows you to save a LOT of $$$ by buying your most expensive ingredient (the meat) in bulk or “family packs”.

Then, fill in the other three days with meats that are on sale, or in the markdown bin. Recipes are much more versatile than people think. Ground beef can almost always be swapped out for ground pork, or turkey. Most chicken recipes work just as well with a white-fleshed fish (and vice versa).

Don’t be afraid to ask your butcher when the best time to hit the markdown bin is, and what to watch for, either. He WANTS to sell off all that stuff, and often, in our ‘TV dinner world” appreciates someone acknowledging his expertise.

Also, don’t be afraid that meat. Typically, being in the markdown bin has nothing to do with food age, and everything to do with a big new meat order coming in, and no where for him to put it.

Just take a look at it and make sure it still looks good. Remember what Tommy Smothers said, “Red meat isn’t bad for you. Now, “blue-green” meat? THAT’S bad for you!”

4.  Go shopping when hubby can’t, period (but bring him home 1 favorite snack, too). You’re trying to steer this ship in a new direction, and the last thing you need, no matter how much ya love the guy, is a saboteur aboard when you’re stocking the galley!

5. (RE: budgeting) Photocopy your receipts, and use a highlighter to mark the items that pretty typically end up in your cart. Next week, if you try a different store, you can take that receipt with you, and quickly compare prices.

Okay, that’s a quick overview of what we try to teach our subscribers. If you have any more questions, keep ’em coming! – P

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Thanks a million for the rundown, and I will definitely not be taking my hubby from now on!

I jumped over to your site after I read your links. You do great work. Very informative and easy to understand for cooking challenged people as myself.

I will definitely be coming back again and again to your site. (Not meaning to sound stalker-ish, lol)

-Michelle

Newly informed and ready to take a whack at planning meals the right way!

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Michelle, you can do it! Let us know how your next trip goes!

-Perry

02/26/12

Volume 1: Issue 4

The “Amazing Meals Made Easy” system for the busy food lover!

Week of February 26, 2012

For all of our new folks, welcome to the hautemealz.com eNewsletter! For the rest of you…how about that Polpette Di Carne last week, eh? We received some very nice email comments on that one…glad you liked it! (It was my favorite too!)

This week was another tough call as to which dinner was my favorite. The Stromboli was awesome, but so was the Chicken BLT Salad (I loved that avocado dressing!) Guess it’s a good thing I got to have them both!

Couple of things to keep an eye out for, this week

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