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Food News Restaurants

Santa Claus Is Coming To Harvard Square – Beat Brasserie Hosts Fifth Annual Santa Brunch with Live Holiday Music

WHAT:                 It’s the most wonderful time of the year! On Saturday, December 9th, 2017 Rudolph will guide Santa’s sleigh to Beat Brasserie in Harvard Square for its fifth annual Santa Brunch from 10:00AM to 3:00PM.Guests can enjoy a delicious seasonal menu, live holiday music, and photo opportunities with jolly Kris Kringle himself.

The Beat’s acclaimed kitchen will serve a delicious selection of brunch fare from Executive Chef James Lyons, with dishes that include Pumpkin Coffee Cake with honey butter ($7.50), Hummus with Roasted Lamb or Vegetarian($16/$11.5), Eggs Shakshuka with baked eggs, eggplant, spicy tomato sauce ($14) add chorizo (+$3) or fresh baked pita (+$2), Prime Natural Beef Hamburger with balsamic onions, special sauce, and French fries ($17) with the option to add cheddar, gorgonzola, pimento cheddar, or bacon for ($5 ea.), Breakfast Pizza brick oven pizza with hot sausage, bacon, red bell peppers, potato and egg ($16), and for the kids, enjoy dishes like Kiddie Scrambled Eggs & Frites ($8.5), Grilled Cheese, Chicken Dinos, or Cheese & Tomato Pizza.

While the little ones are frolicking with Santa, parents can sneak in one of Beat’s “pick-me-ups” such as the Bloody Mary ($11.50), Mimosa with Domaine Chandon Brut and OJ ($12), and Honey Crisp with Domaine Chandon Brut, apple brandy, apple cider, and burlesque bitters ($13.50).

This is an event for all ages and is sure to get you on the nice list! Santa will be available for pictures from 10:30AM to 2:30PM, however cameras will not be provided. Reservations are highly recommended and can be made by calling 617-499-0001. Regular brunch pricing and specials offered. No cover charge.

WHERE:               Beat Brasserie, 13 Brattle Street, Cambridge, MA

 

WHEN:                 Saturday, December 9th, 2017 from 10:00AM – 3:00PM

 

RSVP:                   Online at www.beatbrasserie.com or by calling Beat at 617-499-0001

About Beat Brasserie:

Beat Brasserie is an American brasserie and bar located in the heart of Harvard Square in Cambridge, MA. Inspired by the hippie and beat movements of the mid-twentieth century, The Beat caters to all walks of life. Their mission is to satisfy the local community as well as vagabonds passing through. With an always fresh, seasonal, and wholesome menu, enjoyable for carnivores and vegetarians alike, Beat’s dishes draw influence and flavors from around the world. The bar celebrates American spirits and American artisanal wines crafted by small batch winemakers with heart and soul. To heighten the senses further, Beat features daily live music by cutting edge musicians in jazz, blues and world music, bringing eclectic artistry to their stage in Cambridge.  For more information visit www.beatbrasserie.com.

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Categories
Food and Health Food News

The Question of Sustainability in Organic Farming

EarthTalkOrganicUnsustainableEarthTalk®
E – The Environmental Magazine

 

Dear EarthTalk: Do you agree with the recent claim in the Wall Street Journal that organic agriculture isn’t actually sustainable?                                      — Chuck Romaniello, Pittsburgh, PA

Dr. Henry I. Miller’s May 15, 2014 opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal has indeed made waves in the organic farming community. Miller, former director of the Office of Biotechnology at the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, argues that conventional farming—which uses synthetic pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers and often genetically modified (GM) seed stock to maximize yields—is actually better for the environment, producing more food and using less water compared to organic farming.

“Organic farming might work well for certain local environments on a small scale, but its farms produce far less food per unit of land and water than conventional ones,” says Miller. “The low yields of organic agriculture—typically 20 percent to 50 percent less than conventional agriculture—impose various stresses on farmland and especially on water consumption.” Miller adds that organic methods can cause significant leaking of nitrates from composted manure—the fertilizer of choice for most organic farms—into groundwater, polluting drinking water. He also cites research showing that large-scale composting generates significant amounts of greenhouse gases and “may also deposit pathogenic bacteria on or in food crops, which has led to more frequent occurrences of food poisoning in the U.S. and elsewhere.”

“If the scale of organic production were significantly increased, says Miller, the lower yields would increase the pressure for the conversion of more land to farming and more water for irrigation, both of which are serious environmental issues.” He adds that conventional farming’s embrace of GM crops—a no-no to organic farmers—is yet another way we can boost yields and feed more people with less land.

But, the Washington, DC-based Organic Center takes issue with Miller’s allegations about nitrates polluting groundwater: “Most studies that examine nutrient runoff show that organic production methods result in reduced nitrogen losses when compared to conventional crop production,” reports the group.

The Organic Center also disputes Miller’s claims about the organic farming’s carbon footprint, arguing that overall energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions are much less from organic farming than for conventional agriculture. The group also says that taking into account the greenhouse gas emissions that come from the production (not just the use) of synthetic fertilizer changes the equation entirely. The group cites a recent study by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, which found that organic agriculture could potentially reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent compared to conventional farming.

Also, Miller’s statements about GM crops overlook the ecological problems associated with their use. “For example,” the Organic Center reports, “transgene movement from GM crops to wild, weedy relatives could increase the invasiveness of weeds.” Also, genetic modification has led to higher pesticide use in agricultural systems and an increase in herbicide-resistant weeds. Some worry this is leading to a vicious cycle whereby farmers use more and more chemical herbicides to battle hardier and hardier weeds.

As the price of organic food continues to drop, more and more people will be able to afford it and the increased demand may well drive the conversion to organic agriculture more than policy or philosophy.

 

CONTACTS: Wall Street Journal, http://online.wsj.com; The Organic Center, www.organic-center.org.

 

EarthTalk® is written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of E – The Environmental Magazine (www.emagazine.com). Send questions to: earthtalk@emagazine.com.

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Food News

Truck Full of Ribs Ignites on California Highway Causing Delays and a Delicious Aroma

beef-ribs-getty.jpg?w=300&h=225On Saturday night, a truck that was carrying 76,000 pounds of beef ribs erupted in flames along Interstate 40 in Ludlow, California.

The fire started in the truck’s rear wheels. According to Al Franco, spokesman for the San Bernadino Sun, the entire trailer was burning by the time firefighters arrived on the scene. By this point, the truck was no longer hooked up to the trailer.

Passersby were welcomed with the distinctive aroma of beef ribs as they sat stuck in traffic for about two hours. There were no injuries, but the cause of the fire is still unknown.

Local rib restaurants may have had an influx of customers after the incident, though.

Categories
Food News Tips, Tricks, and Advice

Everything but Turkey for Thanksgiving

Vegetarian Quiche for Thanksgiving!
Vegetarian Quiche for Thanksgiving!
One thing many vegetarians will have to break to their family at one point or another is that they will no longer be eating turkey on Thanksgiving. People will ask you why you can’t just eat meat on this one day. They may say that they thought you still ate chicken and turkey. They may fear that you will bring Tofurkey.

Another problem vegetarians and vegans may face when it comes to a large dinner gathering is having diverse and nutritious options. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has been tempted to  just go for a 100% pie and potatoes diet, but let’s be honest…even for a holiday, that’s not the healthiest. Many pre-made options are highly processed and salty. Plus, isn’t it much more fun to mix it up a bit? Don’t you want some protein in there? Time to step it up!

Fear not, my veggie friends. I’ve gathered some of the best vegetarian and vegan recipes out there, tried and tested.

Baked Tofu (Vegetarian/Vegan)

Ready for a super simple, protein packed recipe?

It’s a pretty simple process, as detailed in this Whole Foods step by step recipe. I like to coat the tofu cubes in olive oil with a brush, and then sprinkle sugar in the raw or other seasonings. Spicy, savory, sweet, it’s up to you! The tofu comes out crunchy and golden.

Roasted Chickpeas (Vegetarian/Vegan)

The chickpea, or garbanzo, is a diverse little legume. It can be made into flour, hummus, falafel…but it’s pretty great in its bean form, too, and don’t you forget it! A friend of mine gave me the idea to roast chickpeas with some spices a few years ago, and it has been a favorite ever since. I often serve it at dinner parties, and I’m complimented on how delicious it is. The recipe is also pretty basic. As a spice, I prefer to add cumin and turmeric, maybe a kick of cayenne. Or add some sriracha after roasting them. Especially tasty with some sauteed kale on the side. And healthy!

Quiche (Vegetarian)

A quiche can be so very festive and, let’s be honest, it’s like you’re getting to jump straight into the pie portion of the meal.

My sister enjoys making a broccoli and cheddar quiche for the holidays, similar to this recipe. If you want to make it a tad easier, you can pick up a pre-made crust. Whole Foods has some great gluten free and dairy free crusts, if you prefer, and you can always make this recipe vegan with a milk and butter substitute and egg replacer. I’ve prepared this vegetarian and gluten-free and vegan, and didn’t have a problem with any of the variations!

Festive Quinoa (Vegan)

Quinoa is nutritious, and this recipe is flavorful and festive.

We served this last year and I enjoyed it quite a bit. For added flair, we added cranberries with orange essence. Quite filling!

Zucchini Boats (Vegetarian/Vegan)

It’s a combination of boats and zucchini. What more could you ask for?

I follow a recipe similar to this one, but honestly, I use whatever floats my boat. Pun intended.

Brown rice, couscous, some beans, grape tomatoes, it’s all fair game! Scoop out the zucchini filling (aside from the seeds) and mix with your filling of choice. Fill the boats with the cooked mixture, and bake! Sprinkle cheese/vegan cheese of your choosing. Once again, I also like to just spot with sriracha. You’re ready to sail!

Sweet Potato & Black Beans (Vegetarian/Vegan)

I initially made a recipe similar to this one as a vegan burrito a few years back, omitting the cheese in lieu of avocado. However, this recipe also works great without wrapping everything burrito style. Sweet potatoes and black beans are an absolute winning combination!

Polenta with Eggplant (Vegetarian/Vegan)

My friend gave me a recipe book that has a recipe like this one in it, and it has become one of my favorites. I admit that I cheat and buy the Trader Joe’s polenta. I tend to omit the cheese on this as well.

Fellow vegetarians and vegans, what has been your Thanksgiving plight? Do you have any favorite meals for this time of year?

One thing I love about Thanksgiving is sharing all of the food, and the fortune of being able to try so many recipes. I’m thankful that I have these options. I also believe that everyone’s body is different, and just because a diet works for you does not mean that it is for everyone. While I am a vegetarian for ethical reasons, I initially stopped eating meat because I simply don’t enjoy eating it. However, I think it is nice to keep in mind that not everyone who is sharing your Thanksgiving with you will share these views, and they should be able to eat in peace. I have many friends and family who have diets based on personal beliefs and/or health restrictions, and Thanksgiving should be a time of sharing and giving, not judging. I think it is important to remember this because I am often asked if I am angry at others for eating meat, and I don’t think that is a kind way to approach what is said to be a kind diet.

I hope you all have a great holiday, and I would love to hear your recipe ideas!

Categories
Food News Meals

Sriracha Factory Under Fire from City of Irwindale, California

If you love Sriracha, you’d better stock up on it while it is still hot.sriracha-sauce

Huy Fong Foods, the maker of this extra hot sauce, is facing trouble from residents in Irwindale, California, where the company has a factory. Due to complaints of an overpowering smell that causes itchy, burning eyes, dry throats, and headaches, the city has filed an official complaint against the company.

On Monday, Irwindale brought the complaint to the Los Angeles County Superior Court to ask that the company halt production of the product until they address and fix the problem of the smell, which has caused some residents to temporarily leave their homes.

The city allegedly met with the company earlier in the month to ask them to fix the problem and Huy Fong Foods said they would work on it. Months later, the smell is still causing problems and the company is suddenly changing their point of view on the matter. Now, they are not taking responsibility and insist that even their employees have no issues with the smell.

Since Sriracha is made from fresh chilies that need to be used just a few days after picking, any shutdown of production could be catastrophic for the company. Out of about 100 million pounds of chilies that they use each year, Huy Fong Foods harvests almost all of them during the fall. Which basically means that halting production right now could affect their supply for the whole year.

Frank Shyong, reporter for the Los Angeles Times tweeted today that a judge ruled the company can continue making Sriracha until November 22, which should give them enough leverage to maintain plenty of chilies for next year’s supply of hot sauce. There is no telling how long the company can continue to anger neighbors before they will be forced to take action, however.

The judge’s ruling should at least temporarily placate the hot sauce’s many loyal fans, who also took to Twitter to express their outrage at a potential shutdown. Apparently, American people are serious about their right to health, happiness, and hot sauce.

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Food News Restaurants

McDonald’s and Heinz Ketchup to Part Ways

ketchup

Bert and Ernie. Peanut Butter and Jelly. Heinz Ketchup and McDonald’s French fries. One of the world’s most famous pairings is facing the end of its relationship as McDonald’s moves toward other ketchup brands to complement its world-famous fries.

Bernardo Hees, the former Burger King Worldwide CEO is stepping in to run H.J. Heinz Co., which is the main reason for the McDonalds/Heinz breakup. The restaurant powerhouse does not want to associate with a brand that is so closely related to one of its top competitors.

A spokesperson from McDonald’s told The Wall Street Journal “we value the relationship we’ve maintained with Heinz for more than 40 years…we have spoken to Heinz and plan to work together to ensure a smooth and orderly transition of the McDonald’s restaurant business, and are confident that there will be no impact to our business, our customers and our great tasting food at McDonald’s.”

Although McDonald’s is the world’s leading restaurant, only a small portion of their stores across America — those located in Minneapolis and Pittsburgh– even use Heinz ketchup. There are more international stores included this brand with their signature fries, however, which might cause some problems for the ketchup mogul.

The Heinz Company refuses to comment on the situation and insists that they do not talk about relationships with customers on a public level. Back in 2006 they worked hard to entice McDonald’s to bring their business back to Heinz after a tomato shortage encouraged the food chain to search for redder pastures back in the 1970’s.

The international impact of McDonald’s decision to take their business elsewhere could prove to be one of the biggest challenges Heinz’ new CEO Hees. Luckily, he has had experience with big changes in companies. During his three years with Burger King, he helped transform the burger maker from a struggling company into a viable threat to McDonald’s and its signature tastes. Even though he has transitioned to the condiment-industry, he still has his work cut out for him with McDonald’s.

With 34,000 stores around the world, it will be interesting to see how McDonald’s finds a ketchup brand that works as well with its French fries as Heinz has for the last forty years. mcdonalds_fries

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Drink Reviews Food News

Scotch, Scotch, Scotch — Cutty Sark’s Limited Edition Tam o’Shanter Scotch Available to Thwart Winter Cold

Tam o'Santer Cutty Sark Scotch $300

What better way to beat the winter blues than with a glass of quality Scotch? Start the season off right with the limited-edition new release from Scotch powerhouse, Cutty Sark. This quality whisky is called Tom o’Shanter after Robert Burns’ famous poem.

About the liquid

The Tam o’Shanter whisky is a full-bodied, rich, boisterous, blended 25-year-old liquid with flavors of sherry, sweet dark chocolate, coffee and cracked pepper.  It boasts aromas of jasmine, anice and sandalwood followed by vanilla, honey, spice, orange zest and soft smoke. It’s lingering, rich, sweet and spicy finish will leave you feeling toasty as the weather chills

About the set

The unique bottle features a scene from the Robert Burns poem etched around the entire bottle, as well as a wax closure showing Tam’s face. The bottle is accompanied by a book with over 50 illustrated scenes by the late Alexander Goudie — one of Scotland’s finest figurative painters. Together, the bottle and book are presented in a bespoke, oak box decorated in the style of Goudie.

Massachusetts is one of the few states that is lucky enough to have this limited edition Scotch so get it quickly while you can.

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Food News

Angry Orchard Cider: The Madness Spreads

angry_orchard_crispapple__86376.1363807525.1280.1280While the city of Boston has always been a notable contributor to American brewing, the Boston Beer Company has a new and surprising best-seller, which has been outdoing even its well-known Samuel Adams line of alcoholic beverages. The surprise: it isn’t beer at all.

Angry Orchard Cider, one of the Boston Beer Company’s newest additions to its product line, has gained massive popularity across the United States in the year since it was rolled out, replacing the established British imports such as Strongbow and Magner’s as America’s favorite cider.

Brewed with the Boston Beer Company’s traditional craft-brewing style, the Angry Orchard trade name has even begun to expand its blends to include a more refined set of Ciderhouse brands.

So why the success of cider all of the sudden? Cider has been a European staple for hundreds of years. Why did America suddenly fall in love with Angry Orchard?

There are some key things about cider- and Angry Orchard specifically- that could have made it a household name over the course of only one year. It’s calorie count is comparable to that of a traditional craft brew, with its 190 calories per 12 oz. bottle versus 175 an equal amount of Boston Lager, so no real appreciable reason to choose one over the other. However, the recent widespread attention to Celiac disease and the rising diet trend of going gluten-free puts cider at a decided advantage over wheat beers for drinkers with specific dietary needs. Ok. So that could explain why cider has grown in popularity, but what puts Angry Orchard ahead in the cider game is its craft taste, with significantly less than craft cost.

With most European imports, people are paying a significant markup for that type of crisp flavor when they get cider on tap, but with an American based cider, the cost stays entirely comparable to other domestics. Couple that with the already prevalent reach of the Boston Beer Company and the pride in buying a brew with deep American roots, and you have a recipe for profit. Delicious, delicious profit.

Of course, this is all speculation. The best way to see this crisp flavorful trend in action is to find some Angry Orchard on tap near you.

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Food News

5 Recipes that Prove “Healthy” is the New “Delicious”

shellyWith adventurous food tastes and concerns ranging from personal health to ethical agriculture and livestock practices, more people are exploring alternative diets.

But that’s not always easy – or palatable.

You have paleo and primal diets, pescatarian and raw foods, vegetarian and vegan, and they all have wonderful merits, especially when compared with the processed foods many Americans continue to eat.

“My focus is on easy-to-follow healing foods recipes that make delicious, completely nourishing meals. Some will appeal to those who adhere to a strict diet, such as vegan, and all will make people feel noticeably healthier without sacrificing any of the enjoyment we get from sitting down to eat.”

Alexander offers five recipes that can be used for any meal of the day or night, including:

  • Mango chia ginger granola (raw, vegan): 2 ripe mangos, peeled, cored and sliced in one-inch cubes; 2 cups Living Intentions chia ginger cereal; 2 cups nut or seed milk. Put ingredients in a bowl and enjoy! The cereal is gluten-free, nut-free, and raw- and vegan-diet friendly, and extremely nutritious. Preparation takes five minutes or less and is hearty enough to satisfy appetites the entire morning. The ingredients can be substituted for dietary needs or preferences.
  • Portobello mushroom and grilled onion burgers (vegan): Marinade for the mushroom is essential – 2 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar; 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil; 1 tablespoon wheat-free Tamari or organic Nama Shoyu soy sauce; 1/8 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika; 1 peeled garlic clove (grated or minced); 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper; 2 teaspoons organic maple syrup – grade B. The burgers include 4 large Portobello mushrooms – cleaned and patted dry; 1 large white onion (peeled and cut into thick slices); olive or avocado oil to cook mushrooms and onions; 2 sprouted whole grain hamburger buns –toasted; Dijon mustard; ¼ cup baby romaine lettuce – washed and patted dry. Marinate mushrooms and onions for 30 minutes. Drizzle with oil and cook on medium heat for 15 minutes, turning mushrooms halfway through. Serve immediately.
  • Wild blueberry smoothie (raw, vegan): 3 cups vanilla Brazil nut milk (there is an additional recipe for this); 2 cups fresh or frozen wild or organic blueberries; 1 peeled banana – organic or fair trade; 2 to 3 cups organic baby spinach; 1 small avocado – peeled and pitted; ¼ teaspoon cinnamon; (optional) a preferred protein powder or superfood. Blend until creamy. Blueberries are an amazing fruit packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytonutrients.
  • Raw corn chowder (raw, vegan): 4 cups organic corn kernels (best during summer months); 2¼ cups unsweetened almond milk; 1 clove peeled garlic (remove inner stem); 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice; ½ teaspoon smoked sweet paprika; 1/8 teaspoon pure vanilla extract; ½ avocado (peeled and seed removed); unrefined sea salt and fresh black pepper to taste. Blend ingredients and strain; top with corn kernels and diced organic red bell pepper. Among other nutrients, corn provides lutein – an important carotenoid that protects eyes from macular degeneration.
  • Dijon honey chicken wings: 1/3 cup Dijon mustard; ½ medium peeled lemon – remove all the white pith; ¼ cup raw honey; 1 teaspoon unrefined sea salt; 2 large, peeled garlic cloves – grated; 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper; 12 whole chicken wings – rinsed and patted dry; ½ teaspoon paprika. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Blend ingredients in a blender, except for wings and paprika, until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove tips of cleaned wings and store in freezer for future stock. Place wings on lightly greased baking dish, sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper, place in oven. After 30 minutes baste wings with juices from pan, then brush mustard sauce all over wings, sprinkle with paprika and continue baking for an additional 25 to 30 minutes. Wings should have internal temperature of 165 degrees when done. These are a healthy and tasty alternative to deep-fat-fried wings.
Categories
Food News Restaurants

Celebrity Chef Sightings at the BCAE

This fall the Boston Center for Adult Education (BCAE) is once again hosting its Celebrity Chef Cooking Series where locals will have the opportunity to learn from six of Boston’s top chefs.

Chris Frothingham of Vine Brook Tavern will kick off the chef series on Monday, Sep. 23 with “A Taste of the Tavern,” focusing on innovative American cuisine. The following Monday (Sep. 30) Karen Akunowicz of Myers & Chang will lead the BCAE’s “Behind the Line,” one of the organization’s most popular classes where students actually work together  in a “restaurant-like” atmosphere where they’ll serve a small group of diners their dishes. The following week Bronwyn and T.W. Food’s Tim Wiechmann’s will lead an innovative class, “Bavarian Bites,” on Tuesday Oct. 1.

The chefs of Centerville Pie Co. will conduct a Festive Fall Pies session on Monday Oct. 7th , where you can learn how to put your apple picking to good use. Gabe Cheung of The Paramount spices things up with “Havana Night” on Tuesday, Oct. 15, and Greg Jordan of Mare Oyster bar collaborates with Notch Brewing for “Brew and Chew,” a class full of food and beer pairing, on Monday Oct. 28. Hungry yet?

Not only do students get to rub elbows with some of the most celebrated chefs in the area, but they’ll have fun doing it. Each of the classes is held in the BCAE’s state-of-the-a-art kitchens and gives students a rare chance to re-create some of their own favorite dishes.  If you live in New England and consider cooking a hobby and interest, look no further. The options at BCAE are endless. For more information on the BCAE’s Celebrity Chef Cooking Series visit www.bcae.org or call 617-267-4430.