Saturday, May 12, 2012

A Supermarket Survival Guide of A Single Guy: Talking About Cheeses

Dairy Aisle, Photo by Tinytopia
So, let's talk clear, going shopping for groceries can be a pain in the buttocks, cooking can be another topic especially since if you know about high caloric dishes such as the ones related to Southern Cooking and Soul Food; we don't need to satisfy our hunger through calories but rather eating smart and thinking what are you going to buy, it's something you are going to eat and eventually it is going to be an item which is going to cause an impact on your organism.

So on this first journey on the intrinsic world of groceries, let's go to Aisle One; the dairy aisle. On aisle one you will mostly find the dairies (I know on your supermarket could be difference but in my regular one, is on aisle one), dairy products are composed of cheese, yogurt, pudding, desserts, dessert toppings, egg products, milk, milk swaps, creamers, sour cream and butter.

These are all products you buy at least once a week, some of them probably more because of your tastes but let's take a small review on what you can find on the dairy aisle.


Shredded  Cheeses (Fat Free)

What about cheeses?, they are amazing, tasty and they can add an extra spark to a sandwich or a sub; but also there is a different slang with the world of cheeses as well several other dairy products. Fat free cheeses, are quite interesting yet in terms of flavor they are not exciting and they barely melt if you are trying to do a fondue or a sandwich; but don't get me wrong, fat free cheeses can be amazing to snack or if you want to top an already high caloric dishes.

When you are thinking about the dishes, any brand of 2% milk Mexican blend it can be amazing because it will give a really unique flavor to what you are making i.e. Lasagnas, souffles, even sandwich.

Fat Free Slices:

Unlike no-fat shreds, the fat free slices they melt well, and they are perfect for burgers and open faced sandwich melts. The reduced slices are better for snacking as well in terms of flavors are quite good if you are in the mood of a Swiss sandwich.

Reduced Fat Block-Style Cheeses:

For some weird reason, cheeses that you shred yourself in the comfort of your own kitchen they tend to melt quicker and easy than pre-shredded cheeses. They also amazing for making stove-top cheese sauces with a milk reduction; also the blocks are much of the time cheaper than pre-wrapped individual snacks and they can be great for snacking as they contain less calories than much of the processed snacks, but they can be tricky to keep the portions on check if you have difficulty to control your appetite, which in that case is not money wise to buy a big block if you will eat it in less than a week.

The Fat and Calorie of the Shreds, Slices and Blocks:

This is a small guide inside this guide, to know more about the labels and calories you can find:

Fat Free Cheese
1 Slice = 25 to 30 calories aprox.
1 ounce = 1/4 cup (shreds) = 45 calories
1 ounce in a 1-inch cube / block = 45 calories

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Pillsbury Easy Recipes: Croissants with Nutella (Non Organic)

So let's continue our exploration with the foods; probably this is not a best idea if you are aiming at natural foods but is actually one easy dessert to make as it doesn't require too much preparation. One fantastic thing about the Pillsbury rolls it is that they are malleable and you can adapt them to create something of your own authority.

So what would we need to do this easy recipe?. Simple a jar of Nutella, a roll of croissant from Pillsbury and a cooking surface such as a pizza table that you can place inside the oven. So to start we need to preheat the oven with the directions that are in the cooking roll container, keep the surface that we are going to place inside the oven outside so you can put the uncooked croissants before doing something else. The next it's the simple one. Open the croissant containers, spread open the little sheets and with a knife spread the Nutella evenly in the middle and close the wrap so it can take the form of the croissant. When you finished with the rolling and preparation place it in the oven, it usually take about 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the power of the oven and when you take the croissants out of the oven just let them breath for about 20 minutes before any consumption.

I hope you enjoy.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

A Colombian In America: The War of Fast Food vs. The Culture of Cooking

The Big Letter M
To any future reader, my name is Gustavo, as known as Gus Calvo, I am a Colombian leaving in America, specifically in the Deep South but just to be honest I am just in Florida. I am probably the antithesis of a Latino but also I am an nonconformism who can't subdue his ideals to fast food after trying them over year  and finding my stomach and weight suffering after putting myself in an unhealthy diet. As a Colombian I wasn't a fan of much of the dishes because of the high caloric content as well too much of them based on meat but also as an American and someone who the south as take as an adopted child I can satisfy myself either with much of the South Cousine, Soul Food or anything in particular even if I can eat them every now and them my attitudes toward the food tend to be picky because I see in my new home a culture that rounds about fast food and easy solutions to eat, instead of cooking and seating in the table to enjoy a meal that was  cooked properly.

The worst thing an adult can pass by, it's too modify behaviors learned when they are children, relearn to eat can be a traumatic experience if you are obligated by life itself. As Colombian I was never used to the majority of the dishes, I envy the French kids as they can eat anything, but I don't blame my parents they didn't knew how to handle their first born child but I can say it Colombian kids eat also anything. but clearly I was the exception. There are many things amazing in the Colombian cuisine but maybe I never gave them a chance, probably right now I wouldn't in their vast majority but that doesn't mean I won't close my options. Then it came the problem, globalization and McDonald opened in Colombia around 10 years ago and it became a factor in modifying the habits of eating of Colombians because the fast food restaurants were more oriented into barbeque and they took more time to make rather than 3 minutes or less.

I always was familiar with fast food in America since I was little and traveled to vacationing in Florida, I never liked at all and much of the time were I ate a hamburger was when my family and I didn't knew what to eat after spending the day outside. Still many years later, I barely enjoy them because they feel synthetic, fake, not real food that was in the oven or the stove and was prepared with a certain amount of time and not in a rush; that's cooking, and seating in a table or just in front of the television and taking your time to enjoy it, not eating in a rush.

That's probably the mistake of the vast majority of the Americans, they don't take their precious time to eat, they prefer to go outside and snack, or buy something that was made in less than 10 minutes. There is no enjoyment of food in many cities because of the invasion of the fast food restaurants or the convince of the deli's in the supermarkets. That's not eating or cooking, that's an unexplained phenomenon to justify the rushes of he day and that's the worst because there are plenty of options to explore in the culinary world that don't go in the two categories of being restaurants of franchises or really expensive ones.

I know those rushes, but I don't put my food as something that won't fulfill me physical and spiritual, I do enjoy cooking, going to the oven, create something complex, yet simple, yet delicious and yet organic which is my motto at the moment of cooking, "Keep it Simple and Keep it Organic" which is the philosophy we are going to explore on this journey of easy and organic cooking.