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July 10, 2012

The Nobler Experiment


Canigeta Conclusion…

February 10, 2012

One of my very first dishes...

You’ve probably noticed, my posting as of late has come to a screeching halt. Wildly enough, when I started this blog back in November of 2008, I never could have dreamed of what it would have done for me. Finding a voice and a means to share it through food has opened up more doors and has allowed for more experiences than the 500 posts I’ve made can even come close to realizing. More importantly however, it’s been a wonder to share it all with you. From the catering to the challenges to the recipes and more, Canigetasample was always about you allowing me to share my passion. It’s with that I say “thank you!”.

My decision to officially stop posting came not too long ago. For no other reason than “it feels right”, it’s time for me to put my efforts into the number of exciting (and somewhat time consuming) initiatives I have going on. If you haven’t already, I hope you will follow me over to The Nobler Experiment, as I continue to find my voice, now through my mild obsession with liquor. But that won’t be your only opportunity to hear about what’s going on. In all honestly, the pressure to post had started to wear on my cooking style. Since, however, I made the decision to conclude with one last sample, I’ve had a revival of sorts in the kitchen. I promise I will find a new way to share that with all of you!

I decided also, it was only fitting to go back and share some of my favorite posts from the last few years. It was amazing to travel through time through the 500 posts that got us here. I thought I’d find a few to write about but after some time, as you can see below, there were too many I just had to include!

With that, I can only thank you all once again, for the support, for the advice, and for the constant willingness to read and for those who are closest, eat what I have to offer! To re-quote myself from so many posts throughout…”This is why I cook”:

- 6 course progressive dinner

- Scallop Trio

- How I Ruined Easter

- Juice Bar Blends in it’s infancy

- Silver Caterers does Graduation!

- 15 meals for $15

- My Pee smells like asparagus!

- Philly Soft Pretzel Thanksgiving Stuffing

- More Philly Phlavors!

- Motherly Inspiration

- Worth re-visiting (the falafel dog!)

- And the mexican street cart burger!

- The day my life changed (discovery of crabbing!)

- My second run at the Casserole Cook Off

- One of my favorite “re-dos”

- Jewbilation – my first christmas tree!

- Amazing homemade pie…

- The most amazing homemade pasta

- One of the tastiest and prettiest meals I’ve ever made

- More flavors! Thai Zucchini Noodles

- A now Juice Bar staple!

- One of my most proud Catering Events

- Remember the Hurricane?

- The only meal Em has ever hated!

- The Reset Guide


Health Reset Recipe Guide

February 6, 2012

Hey Everyone! Remember me!

HealthResetRecipeGuide

Well I can’t apologize enough for dropping the ball on this one, but finally I’ve put together a snap shot of recipes to get you going for your Health Reset! I’ve added some of my favorites that are not only perfect for Reset approved meals, but taste damn good as well. For additional menu ideas, I find that Simply Recipes is one of the greatest resources. While you will have to weed out some of the “vegetarian dishes” containing dairy and wheat here, it’s a wonderful way to trigger some of your own culinary creations. Regardless of how you do it, I can say for certain, you’ll be glad you did. The Health Reset opens your eyes to how you can feel and maybe more importantly how you should feel.

Since my most recent 10 day Reset, I’ve gone back to a few of the major ingredients I had given up. And while I’m still not ready to give up those Italian Hoagies, the Reset ways of meat, wheat, and dairy free become more and more appealing. I may not ever go 100% but who knows. Just remember one thing: No matter what you choose about food, never forget to think about how it makes you feel.

“We feel what we eat”


Damn you Reset, you stole my Crunch!

January 20, 2012

Kale Chips

Sorry to leave you mid-guide the last few days! We’ve got one more meal to go and then that recipe post I’ve been promising. So here we go…it’s time for Dinner…

No matter how much I’ve preached in the past about cooking with “balance”, in terms of taste, appearance, and texture, the latter of that bunch is always the hardest to remember to plan for. But without a contrast in texture, even the most delicious meal can fall flat. And during the Reset, it will become increasingly clear how much you are missing a good “crunch”!

In general, finding ways to enjoy your dinner without meat, wheat, and dairy can be pretty easy actually. There are amazing pasta substitutes that you can buy if you get desperate, but even thinly shredded raw zucchini can sub for spaghetti if you have a craving. Otherwise dining on stir frys, soups, and stews are easy and comforting and plates full of side dishes can be just as filling as your standard “meat, starch, and veg” meal we all grew up on. Ironically enough, you may also find you have more time to enjoy your meal as most of these recipes involve quick cooking ingredients. The point I guess I’m making is, dinners on the Reset can be really frickin delicious and exciting. But you’ve got to get a little creative for your crunch.

Without the wonder of breadcrumbs, crispy bread, flour tortillas, etc. these are the best crunchifier suggestions I’ve got so far…what about you guys? Any good crunch substitutes to suggest?

- Kale chips: These have become all the rage, particularly in NYC. My guess is they were the result of a culinary accident but if you haven’t tried these, you have to get on board the train. I like to use dinosaur kale or lacinto kale because the leaves seem to hold up a bit better than your standard supermarket kale. Either way, baking the leaves at 350 with a little olive oil and salt for just a few minutes renders you with some fantastic crispy chips. These aren’t so sturdy to use for dipping but when you need a fix, these are your go to!

- Pan roasted chickpeas: A while back, I saw Em’s Mom making a batch of these; a can of strained chickpeas in a cast iron pan over low heat with a little rosemary and salt. While we chatted (and probably drank some red wine) I waited to see what would become of these otherwise boring chickpeas and after about 45 minutes I was addicted. These guys get nice and crispy and their flavor intensifies like crazy. You can mess around with any seasonings you like on this. I love to add curry powder to mine. But I can’t imagine you can go wrong here. Perfect to top a salad or soup!

- Nuts: This may seem like an obvious one, but I’m not talking about simply throwing some walnuts in a beet salad. What I mean is that just like breadcrumbs topping your favorite dish, crushed nuts (particularly hazelnuts and almonds) make for an amazing compliment to a meal. So you might not be able to nut-crust a piece of chicken on the Reset, but roasted over some asparagus or cauliflower, you’ve got yourself a delicious Reset friendly topping.

- Baked spring rolls: I made these during my last reset and am actually bummed I didn’t think about them again until writing this post. These remedied my need for crunch then, and they will do the same for you. Using rice paper wrappers ensures you are Reset approved and essentially you could stuff these things with anything. I went a more traditional Asian style last time with cabbage, mushrooms, and tamari but these would work perfectly for other flavor profiles as well. They are little tricky to work with the first time but don’t worry. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be cranking these out like crazy. Just soften the rice wrapper in warm water and then add your filling and wrap. Bake these guys off at 375 until nice and crunchy!

So there it is, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a few great snacks making for a great 10 day Reset. But what about dessert? Don’t worry I’ve got you covered. More thoughts on the Reset and the recipe post coming soon!

 

 


My Toughest Meal to Reset and the Dreaded Catered Lunch

January 17, 2012

The Catered Lunch

Quick Note: As opposed to embedding recipes into these longer than usual posts, I will post a Reset recipe list at the end of this week. I promise, all of these delicious references will be available in recipe form!

If you work in an office like I do, you too are constantly surrounded by food. The unfortunate thing of course, is this same food that I very often devour, is rarely worth eating. Mediocre catered sandwiches, crappy Italian fare, or even worse, sub-par pizza are always around as “lunch meetings” are organized seemingly as an excuse to purchase enough food to feed an army. “My catered lunch was bigger than your catered lunch” may be the modern day pissing match. But before I get too far into the scary eating dynamics of my own office, I guess I should get back to the point.

During the Reset, there are plenty of delicious and filling ways to enjoy your lunch. And your choices will be dictated by how you view the mid-day meal. For me, lunch in the office is an excuse to step away. Therefore, lunch has to be worth it. It has to be delicious and give me the energy I need to make it through the second part of the day, preferably without feeling hungry. It’s why I knew then, and I have confirmed it during this 2nd 10 day stint, that if I want to succeed during the Reset, I can’t simply cook up a bunch of brown rice or quinoa and call it a lunch. Luckily for me (and you), it’s winter.

The cold and drab winter makes a perfect time to go for the Reset. Big batches of lentil soup and black bean chili not only provided me with some real deal sustenance during lunch, but gave me something delicious to look forward to. While winter comfort food certainly has a tendency to contain meat and wheat, it doesn’t have to. In fact, you will be shocked how delicious and comforting a big bowl of curried butternut squash soup can be. Looking for something a bit on the lighter side? How about a winter kale salad filled with citrus, chick peas, and hazelnuts. All of these and more make for a fantastic lunch. One, you’d be gladly willing to skip the catered crap for.

But what if you prefer a more “grazing-like” approach to lunching? Maybe it’s not about a break for you, and maybe the thought of eating a big bowl of vegetable stir fry and rice seems a bit heavy. Well then you are in luck; because with a little bit of preparation, you can have yourself a bunch of amazing snacks that keep you full and Reset committed. Dried fruit and nut mixes are great for snacking. But don’t go out and just buy a pre-made mix; you are better off making your own. Almost all good groceries store now have bulk food sections and making your own trail mix guarantees you will like what you are eating. Need something a little more savory? How about a little hummus with carrots and cucumbers? As a quick aside, is there anything that has grown so quickly as the love for hummus? Kind of crazy right? But back to the grazing…what’s that? It’s 2:30 and you need another shot of energy. Well don’t forget about that treat

One more piece to the puzzle: Like I mentioned before, lunch has always been the hardest part for me, particularly if colleagues are looking to head out for a meal. In slightly upstate suburbia where Applebee’s, sandwich shops, and crappy Italian restaurants (the same one’s making the crappy catered fare) are more common than I ever thought possible, finding a Reset friendly restaurant isn’t very easy. And while you may be thrilled to be a few days into your Reset, I understand if you are reluctant to explain the details to your colleagues. One of the only good suggestions here is to try suggesting more ethnic fare. Thai restaurants may be the easiest option. Vegetable dishes with a side of rice are more than likely okay and even Indian buffets will provide a decent array of vegetable based meals. The one watch out for Indian is that a few of the most popular dishes are loaded with dairy. I know, I said it was hard. Also, technically speaking, the soy sauce you will probably enjoy in some way or another when dining at these restaurants is not wheat-free and therefore some suggest replacing it with Tamari. My feeling is, unless you are drinking soy sauce by the cup full, it’s okay to let yourself slide here for the sake of sanity.

So that probably seemed like a whole lot to swallow but the reality is, it’s all about preparation. Do yourself the favor to do your shopping on the weekends and prepare a few batches of meals or snacks that you know you will enjoy. Because after only a few days, you’ll without a doubt be thanking yourself! And probably laughing at the hoarders surrounding the sandwich tray…

 

 

 


Break Out Your Blender

January 16, 2012

Mixed Berry Smoothie

Or your food processor for that matter!

Because while on the reset, there may be nothing more enjoyable than a good smoothie. I wouldn’t call a smoothie so much a breakfast or snack or whatever in this case. The smoothie during the reset is more like your “phone a friend” lifeline. Because there are days when some real sweetness is what you’ll crave and luckily for you, fruits and vegetables are packed with reset friendly sugars.

With the exception of the “green drink” I got from our friend prior to the first “reset”, I would say it’s better to avoid worrying about recipes in this case. But there are a few key ingredients that will make your smoothie making a hell of a lot easier:

Frozen berries: We all know fresh is best, but in the case of smoothie making, frozen berries offer two really nice characteristics. First, they are a ridiculously more affordable. Save fresh berries for “non-blended” enjoyment. And second, by using the frozen berries, you can avoid the need for ice making your smoothie, cold and seriously flavorful.

Almond milk (no sugar added): So there are a bunch of good almond milk’s out there but unfortunately some of them are loaded with sugar. Try to avoid these if you can. For me, I’m not a huge regular milk drinker so smoothie’s are the main place of use for the stuff. By adding a bit to your smoothie you’ll have enough liquid to blend the fruits and vegetables smooth without having to go too heavy on juice. Plus it adds some great healthy richness!

Almond butter and coconut water: Two ingredients that will add some variety to the mix!

Spinach and Celery: It may take a little bit to get used to the “green drink” but don’t be afraid to try it. Making smoothies with raw vegetables is even better than drinking their fresh juice because you get all that fantastic fiber. Even if you don’t love it, make sure you try this one at least once. If it grows on you, you’ll be happy it’s in your smoothie arsenal!

Green drink: Blend 2 cucumbers, 3-4 celery stalks, 2-3 apples, 1 lemon, 2 handfuls of spinach, with enough water to thin. Add some pineapple or a banana if you need some more sweetness.

Check back tomorrow for the Reset guide to lunches…the hardest part of my Reset for sure!


Reset Your Breakfast!

January 13, 2012

The Treat!

So here we go. You’ve decided to go for it. 10 days. No wheat, no meat, no dairy, etc. Now what?

Well just like anything, the more you plan, the easier a time you’ll have accomplishing your goal. Because, like I mentioned the other day, if you aren’t in love with your kitchen, it’s true, limiting your food choices to this extent can be really daunting. But that being said, there is one really great reason to do the reset right now. It’s friggin cold out! And soup is your friend.

But you can’t have soup for breakfast (well I guess you can). So don’t worry, I’ll get back to those soups soon. But even more so during the Reset, breakfast has got to be the most important meal of your day. Remember, this isn’t about starving yourself. If you are eating the right things, you shouldn’t feel hungry. So a good and hearty breakfast is your ticket to a good a day.

For me, this is one of the easiest parts of the Reset. Besides my affinity for sausage and American cheese omelets, I’m a pretty easy going breakfaster. My preference towards oatmeal makes for a great daily starting point. And the beauty of oatmeal is in the variety. No, not in the base of course, but in the “toppings”. Dried fruit and nuts may be what you normally find as oatmeal toppings but I’ve got one better for you. Almond butter and bananas! If you haven’t dabbled much with almond butter, now’s the time to start. Peanut Butter is not Reset friendly but after the ten days you may not miss it. And that leads me to “the treat”.

For Em, an avid cereal lover, “the treat”, aptly dubbed after her first bite, has a bizarrely delicious milk like quality. These take a normally doomed snack food (the dreaded rice cake) and transform them into heaven. I actually have found brown rice cakes or even wild rice cakes have decent flavor on their own and after you top it with the almond butter and banana, you will be blown away: simple and really delicious.

So that’s it? That’s all I’ve got for you? Oatmeal and almond butter?

You know that’s not true. Time to break out your blender…smoothie recipes galore tomorrow!

 

 


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