Category: Repost

Food, Inc… Reconsidering what I consume now

"A must see!" --DineWithDani

When it came out, I was told that it was a gruesome depiction of the food industry intended to insight fear in consumers– so I never went to see it or rent it. Recently a friend announced that she was off meat after seeing a documentary on how meat is processed, so I had to know more.

After seeing Food, Inc. for myself (only seconds ago), I HIGHLY recommend it. Your threshold for blood and guts may be much lower than mine. And with that said, I want to warn you that there are some images of animal slaughter. But, to be honest, I understand that animals have to die for me to eat them, so… It was actually the statistics on corn by-products, protein-feed, dark houses, ammonia cleansing, antibiotics, pesticides and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) that made me nervous.

I’ve been doing my best to buy local and organic produce for a long time, but I never considered how meat made it to my table. Here and now I pledge to seek out, support and promote small, local, cage-free, organic, grass-fed farms and dairies. Thank you Robert Kenner and Eric Schlosser for shedding some light.

The final sequence of the film really hit home: It is so much cheaper to eat unhealthy foods; a fast food hamburger is cheaper than a head of broccoli. But we don’t have to settle for what is given to us. We can decide! You vote for what is provided in stores every time the cashier scans the items in your basket. If we buy better foods, the retailers will stock more of it. And the more they stock the cheaper it becomes. It’s a cycle that we as consumers control without knowing!

Below is the trailer. The full-length documentary is available online at Netflix, iTunes (rent $4.99) and Amazon (instant video $2.99). Check it out.

Be First to Dine at The Lawrence… Jan 19 & 20

My dear friend #TwitterlessHarvey is seeing one dream come true and I’m happy to support this new venture. You may have seen write-ups on other dining websites and local magazines. And now you have a chance to be among the first to dine at what is sure to be one of Atlanta’s most popular restaurants…. Check out the info below and visit www.TheLawrenceAtlanta.com… Enjoy

 

Dinner Party at The Lawrence

Watch This… “The Chew” on ABC next week

I’ll be DVR’ing this show on September 26. I know there are plenty of shows about cooking, entertaining and dining out on cable, but here is one on ABC! I’m actually very excited. Like me, I’m sure you can’t get away from the ads and sneak peaks. I’m a fan over EVERYONE on the panel, so I hope it lives up to the hype.

5 Ways to Screw up a Wine Pairing

In the August issue, executive wine editor Ray Isle names the best summer value wines. Here, he explains how you can do wrong by those fantastic bottles in a new series called What Not to Do.

1. Artichokes.
Artichokes hate wine. They grow on their little stalks thinking, “I hate wine. Ooh, I hate it. I’m gonna grow here for a while, then I’m gonna go mess up some wine.” The reason they do that is that artichokes have a compound called cynarin in them that basically makes wine taste awful. If you’re dead set on eating artichokes and drinking wine with them, the best option is a light-bodied, unoaked white wine like a Grüner Veltliner from Austria. But you’d be best off with beer: a nice brown ale ought to work just fine.

2. Serve your wine too warm (if it’s red) or too cold (if it’s white).
Warm red wine tastes alcoholic and flabby. Serve reds a little below room temperature and they’re not only more pleasant to drink, but they taste better with food (throw them in the fridge for 30 minutes before you pour them). Icy cold whites don’t taste like anything, so pull them out of the fridge a few minutes before serving.

3. Try to make two stars share the table.
This doesn’t work in Hollywood, and it doesn’t work at your house, either. If you have a truly extraordinary wine to pour, serve it with a simple dish. If you’re spending 15 hours trying to re-create one of Thomas Keller‘s intricate recipes fromThe French Laundry Cookbook, pour something good—but not equally spectacular.

4. Serve oily fish with tannic red wine.
Fish oils react harshly with tannins, so don’t, for instance, serve mackerel with Cabernet—unless you like the taste you get from licking a roll of pennies. With oily fish, skip the reds entirely and go white. Any of the crisp, minerally seaside wines: Albarino from Spain, Vermentino from Italy, Sauvignon Blanc from Chile’s Pacific coast. All of those are good options.

5. Overthink the whole thing.
Really. This is the biggest way to screw up a wine pairing, not because the wine and food will taste bad together, but because you’ll turn yourself into a neurotic mess who makes Woody Allen seem like a Zen buddhist. Most wines can happily live alongside most foods, in a kind of neutral you-go-your-way-and-I’ll-go-mine state. Just stay away from those artichokes.

 

10 Tips for Getting the Most out of Your Coffee Beans

To my friends, I may be a Javaholic. I love a good cuppa joe. PS- I never call it that, but it somehow seems appropriate when blogging. Anyway, I drink at least one cup every day. And I like to add warm and savory spices for extra flavor. I wanted to share these tips with you for how to make the best cup of coffee possible, courtesy of KRUPS USA and good people at 5W. Enjoy. –Dani Styles

Tip 1 – Buy Better Beans: No, we don’t just mean the more expensive bag in the coffee aisle. Fresher beans equal better coffee, so look to smaller, independent coffee shops that stock beans that are roasted on the premises or nearby. Quality establishments will stamp your coffee with its roasting date, so you know you exactly how fresh your coffee is. Coffee taste peaks from 1-3 days after the roast, and if stored properly will last up to two weeks.

 

Tip 2 – Store Correctly: Contrary to popular belief, you should never store beans in a freezer or a refrigerator. Coffee actually absorbs aromas from surrounding foods, and freezing the coffee will alter oil properties affecting taste. KRUPS recommends transferring whole bean coffee into an air tight container after opening, and storing in a cool, dry and dark place.

 

Tip 3 – Do it Yourself: Freshly ground coffee makes a world of difference, as beans start losing flavor immediately upon reaching the grinder. Grind beans yourself right before you brew, and pay attention to the coarseness of the beans, as different filter shapes require different textures. For example, mesh filters require a coarser grind, while paper filters require a finer grind, and espresso requires grinds that are almost of a sugar-type consistency for optimum flavor.

 

Tip 4 – One for Good Luck: KRUPS recommends measuring ground coffee out to equal one tablespoon of grinds per 5 oz of water, plus one heaping scoop at the end for good measure.

 

Tip 5 – Water Works: The quality of the water being used is extremely important. KRUPS recommends using cold, filtered water, especially if your tap water is not of good quality or emits a strong odor or taste.  Since coffee is 98% water,  the taste of the water will come through in the brew.

 

Tip 6 – Don’t Hesitate: Brewed coffee should be enjoyed immediately, as it will begin to lose its optimal taste mere moments after brewing. Coffee should never be left on an electric burner plate for longer than 15 minutes, or it will develop a stale, burnt taste. If not served immediately, coffee should be poured into insulated containers and used within the hour. KRUPS insulated internal tank system on the Cup on Request machine avoids this issue, and the brand’s Thermal Carafe Machines also eliminate the need for transfer, as the pot itself can be removed from the plate immediately after brewing. As a rule of thumb when using Thermal Carafes, KRUPS recommends running hot water in the carafe prior to brewing, otherwise, the cold stainless steel will cool down the liquid much too quickly.

 

Tip 7 – Become a Coffee Connoisseur: Much like a fine wine, coffee should be enjoyed with all the senses. Take note of acidity, aroma, bitterness, body and nuttiness. For in depth coffee tasting, or “cupping” tips, check out the guide from CoffeeCuppers.com here: http://coffeecuppers.com/Formal-Home-Cupping.htm

 

Tip 8 – Quick Sips: KRUPS recommends drinking smaller, more frequent servings (about 1/4 cup every hour).  Research shows that caffeine works best in small, frequent doses, and a large cup can actually lead to a crash.

 

Tip 9 – Butt Out: Studies show that caffeine combined with Nicotine intake significantly reduces caffeine’s staying power. Nicotine suppresses the effect of caffeine, cutting some of its stimulating properties in half.

 

Tip 10 – Cat Nap: Since it takes about 20 minutes to feel the effects of coffee, and sleep is the only solution to really offer a feeling of restfulness, the best way to get that second wind is by drinking a cup, then taking a quick nap while the caffeine sets in. You’ll wake up feeling alert and refreshed!


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