Monday, April 13, 2009

around the world

First of all, I thought this was beyond fascinating.

It’s a photo series showing families from all over the world, and the groceries they eat in a week. The variations in price, quantity, nutrition, packaged vs. fresh, etc. are SUCH commentaries on culture, economics, globalization. Food really is the center of everything!

I think the most delicious looking groceries are Mexico and Cairo. The US family is pretty much to be expected, as well as most of the other wealthy, industrialized countries. How unfortunate that affluence does not coincide with healthful, fresh eating.

The thing that really shocked me was how MUCH so many of the families spent on groceries! I spend like $30 in an average week for me… my Mom spends $80 or so for the three of us. Well okay, admittedly, there’s sometimes a monthy trip to Costco, but still. There are families that spend $200 in a week!

Eating on my own and eating with my family at home, we eat healthy and inexpensively by eating LOTS OF PLANTS! It’s such a lie that fresh produce is what makes groceries expensive- if you eat seasonally, watch sales, and don’t mind frozen or canned vegetables sometimes, those are NOT what are expensive. It’s things like sodas and chips: they cost the manufacturers nothing to make (well probably the packaging is the most expensive thing, and that creates its own set of environmental repercussions), and all those junk foods contribute NOTHING to your health! Yet they add up, moneywise! And then you have to buy additional food, because those foods provide you with no lasting satiety!

Anyway, back to my food, which also follows an “around the world” theme, as I went from Mayan at lunch to Chinese at dinner (well “Mayan” and “Chinese”, via my freezer, hahahaha).

I promised you a review earlier! This:


Became this:


They say: Plantains with roasted sweet potato, black beans and kale. Spicy ancho sauce with pumpkin seed garnish served over Kashi seven whole grain polenta, plus amaranth.

Wow wow wow YUM! I was seriously impressed with the quality of this TV dinner (er, frozen entree)! The best part, no doubt, were the plantains- oh mannnnnnn. Sweet and delicious and soft and delicious and perfect and delicious. I LOVE PLANTAINS SO MUCH. The pilaf everything was on top of had a really nice, intriguing flavor and a soft, comforting, but still pleasantly chewy texture. The black beans were nummy, especially combined with the crunch of the pumpkin seeds, of which I am a big fan. The only slight duds were that the ancho chili sauce was nothing exciting and the sweet potatoes could’ve been a tad softer, but still. Solid A. One of the best frozen meals I’ve ever had. And seriously… pretty attractive! It can be a little scary, pulling off the wrap on top and seeing what’s underneath, but this guy was very easy on the eyes!


On the side, a lovely cool juicy orange, separated into sections for a prolonged, pleasant eating experience! Well, not that prolonged… I get out of class at 12:50 and have to rush home, eat lunch, get ready for work, and leave at 1:15 :( It does not make for leisurely meals, and is part of the reason I resorted to frozen food today.


All together. It was a seriously tasty lunch, and it left me SO FULL! The Kashi meal wasn’t super big (I left my knife in the picture so you could see the relative size) but it was very very filling! It wasn’t til I was walking home from work at 4:30ish that I started getting a little peckish, so I know earlier I said for a snack I was planning “dairy”, and this more or less counts:


Tall iced skinny caramel latte :D

Tonight, I set out to make some more baked tofu! This evening’s recipe featured 5 ounces or so of tofu, 1 tsp brown sugar, 1 tsp chili paste, and 1/2 tbsp soy sauce. I first pressed the tofu for half an hour or so, then poured on the marinade let them soak for a good long while- at least half an hour. I HIGHLY recommend marinating your tofu, it really infused it with flavor!


Then I baked it at 375 for 20 minutes, flipped it, and baked it another 12 minutes or so.

Voila! So meaty looking, no?!


This recipe turned out seeeeeeeeeeeriously tasty—I think it was my best baked tofu yet.

In the meantime, I made rice vermicelli by dumping boiling water on 2 oz. of the dried pasta and letting it sit for 15 min or so. Then I heated up a frying pan and threw in a mix of sesame oil and vegetable oil (I couldn’t taste the sesame, particularly). When that was hot, I threw in some minced ginger and garlic. Then I threw in my frozen vegetable mix (sugar snap peas, which I <3, carrots, and mushrooms) and let that all cook together. Once the vegetables were heated through, I threw in the noodles and threw on a dressing of another 1/2 T. soy sauce, 1/2 T. rice wine vinegar, some chopped green onion, and some chili paste.


It made for a really beautiful, colorful meal! The flavors were spot on, although in a dream world I would’ve done this Thai style with lime juice, fish sauce, and mint, but I had NONE of those things! This was still good xD


I must confess, though, after this picture was taken I had some of the stir fry and it was a little bland… so I threw on a lot more chili paste! Yum yum yum! My mother ate jalapenos straight out of the jar throughout her pregnancy with me, and I think it’s definitely contributed to my love of spicy food!

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