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  1. #281
    The ice cream that pleased the Pope


    Norma Chikiamco


    Philippine Daily Inquirer

    4:51 AM | Thursday, February 26th, 2015

    When Philippine Airlines asked him last December if he could supply Carmen’s Best Ice Cream, Paco Magsaysay thought, why not? After all, he had previously provided the airline with ice cream for chartered flights when President Benigno Aquino III would be onboard. Carmen’s Best was by then a brand that PAL was familiar with.

    In early January, Magsaysay received another call from PAL, this time asking him to supply 280 packs of single-serve ice cream. He then prepared 140 single serves of malted milk flavor and 140 of brown butter almond brittle. Feeling generous, he rounded up the order to 300, adding 20 packs of pistachio ice cream.

    Little did he know that his ice cream would be brought onboard the plane that would fly Pope Francis back to Rome after his papal visit to the Philippines—and actually be served to His Holiness. When Magsaysay found out that the Pope had tasted, in fact, finished two servings of Carmen’s Best Ice Cream, Magsaysay was floored.

    “Just the idea of the Pope touching the cup of ice cream and eating it!” Magsaysay exclaimed.

    High honor

    But even before Carmen’s Best went onboard the papal plane, some members of the Vatican had already tasted it. A few days earlier, Magsaysay’s cousin, Brother Michael Valenzuela, FSC—who’s on the board of some La Salle schools and is institutional animator at College of St. Benilde—had asked him to supply ice cream to the papal entourage and the Swiss guards who were billeted in Hotel Benilde (owned and operated by De La Salle).

    Paco obliged with 30 free pints of his most popular flavors; reports have it that the papal entourage loved the ice cream.

    Perhaps no other ice cream deserves such a high honor as to be served to His Holiness. Carmen’s Best, after all, is to ice cream what Kobe beef is to steak—the highest grade, the most luxurious, the most coveted.

    Where other brands use UHT processed milk, Carmen’s Best is made only from pure fresh cow’s milk and cream sourced directly from the family’s dairy farm. There’s also no air pumped into it, and no water and chemicals added.

    The word tipid (scrimp) is alien to the makers of Carmen’s Best. For vanilla, only the finest vanilla beans from Madagascar are used. The pistachios come from Sicily, the malted milk from England, the chocolate from Switzerland. If the flavor includes almonds, there is sure to be an abundance of almonds in every tub.

    The result is ice cream that’s dense and creamy, with no rough edges. Every spoonful has a roundness, like a fluid, well-rehearsed symphony that starts and ends seamlessly.

    Humble beginnings

    The brand has certainly come a long way from its humble beginnings in 2011, when Magsaysay first dabbled in ice-cream-making. At first he only wanted to maximize the milk production in the dairy farm of his father, former Senator Jun Magsaysay (son of the late, beloved President Ramon Magsaysay). Using a small ice cream machine, he began with three basic flavors: vanilla, chocolate and strawberry. When the ice cream turned out good, he realized he could do something more and began expanding his production and experimenting with other flavors.

    Magsaysay’s first customers were his neighbors in Alabang. But word soon spread about this artisanal ice cream that was so lush and velvety it was unlike any other ice cream in the market. To fill customers’ needs, he established pickup points in Alabang and Makati, aside from making customized ice cream for special orders.

    To update his skills, in 2013 he took the Ice Cream Short Course in Penn State University—and finished with the top prize, the Keeney Award.

    Today, Paco continues to raise the bar in ice cream production. Strict food safety measures are observed, and fresh milk and cream continue to be the prime components that give the ice cream an incredibly rich texture and mouth feel.

    Magsaysay says he even monitors the food the cows eat because it affects their milk production. And though he knows he has sufficient milk supply because of his father’s farm, he is honorable enough to pay the proper market rate and keep his payments updated.

    40 flavors

    From the three basic flavors, Carmen’s Best now comes in 40 flavors that include both the traditional and unconventional: from pistachio almond fudge to baklava; from salted caramel to Brazilian coffee; from cookie dough to Nuts About You, a maple-based ice cream with pecans, walnuts and almonds.

    Likewise, from two pickup points, the distribution has expanded to include major supermarkets such as Rustan’s and Puregold. He’s also thinking of exporting to Southeast Asian countries soon.

    Not surprisingly, Carmen’s Best has won a number of awards. It has been given Best Choice Artisanal Ice Cream Brand; was overall winner in Our Awesome Planet’s Ultimate Taste Test; and cited in the Manila Survival Guide’s Five Best Artisanal Ice Cream Brands.

    Awards and recognition aside, Paco uses Carmen’s Best not just to make the best ice cream in the market but also to continue the Magsaysay legacy of giving to the community and helping others. Since starting operations in 2011, the company has been donating part of its proceeds to the PGH Medical Foundation. Today, its contribution has reached P100,000.

    Pope Francis will surely be pleased.

  2. #282
    Red Meat Is Not the Enemy

    MARCH 30, 2015

    There are people in this country eating too much red meat. They should cut back. There are people eating too many carbs. They should cut back on those. There are also people eating too much fat, and the same advice applies to them, too.

    What’s getting harder to justify, though, is a focus on any one nutrient as a culprit for everyone.

    I’ve written Upshot articles on how the strong warnings against salt and cholesterol are not well supported by evidence. But it’s possible that no food has been attacked as widely or as loudly in the past few decades as red meat.

    As with other bad guys in the food wars, the warnings against red meat are louder and more forceful than they need to be.

    Americans are more overweight and obese than they pretty much have ever been. There’s also no question that we are eating more meat than in previous eras. But we’ve actually been reducing our red meat consumption for the last decade or so. This hasn’t resulted in a huge decrease in obesity rates or deaths from cardiovascular disease.

    The same reports also show that we eat significantly more fruits and vegetables today than we did decades ago. We also eat more grains and sweeteners.

    This is the real problem: We eat more calories than we need. But in much of our discussion about diet, we seek a singular nutritional guilty party. We also tend to cast everyone in the same light as “eating too much.”

    I have seen many people point to a study from last year that found that increased protein intake was associated with large increases in mortality rates from all diseases, with high increases in the chance of death from cancer or diabetes. A close examination of the manuscript, though, tells a different story.

    This was a cohort study of people followed through the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, or Nhanes. It found that there were no associations between protein consumption and death from all causes or cardiovascular disease or cancer individually when all participants over age 50 were considered. It did detect a statistically significant association between the consumption of protein and diabetes mortality, but the researchers cautioned that the number of people in the analysis was so small that any results should be taken with caution.

    The scary findings from two paragraphs up are from a subanalysis that looked at people only 50 to 65. But if you look at people over 65, the opposite was true. High protein was associated with lower levels of all-cause and cancer-specific mortality. If you truly believe that this study proves what people say, then we should advise people over the age of 65 to eat more meat. No one advises that.

    Further, this study defined people in the “high protein” group as those eating 20 percent or more of their calories from protein. When the Department of Agriculture recommends that Americans get 10 to 35 percent of their calories from protein, 20 percent should not be considered high.

    If I wanted to cherry-pick studies myself, I might point you to this 2013 study that used the same Nhanes data to conclude that meat consumption is not associated with mortality at all.

    Let’s avoid cherry-picking, though. A 2013 meta-analysis of meat-diet studies, including those above, found that people in the highest consumption group of all red meat had a 29 percent relative increase in all-cause mortality compared with those in the lowest consumption group. But most of this was driven by processed red meats, like bacon, sausage or salami.

    Epidemiologic evidence can take us only so far. As I’ve written before, those types of studies can be flawed. Nothing illustrates this better than a classic 2012 systematic review that pretty much showed that everything we eat is associated with both higher and lower rates of cancer.

    We really do need randomized controlled trials to answer these questions. They do exist, but with respect to effects on lipid levels such as cholesterol and triglycerides. A meta-analysis examining eight trials found that beef versus poultry and fish consumption didn’t change cholesterol or triglyceride levels significantly.

    All of this misses the bigger point, though. It’s important to understand what “too much” really is. People in the highest consumption group of red meat had one to two servings a day. The people in the lowest group had about two servings per week. If you’re eating multiple servings of red meat a day, then, yes, you might want to cut back. I would wager that most people reading this aren’t eating that much. If you eat a couple of servings a week, then you’re most likely doing fine.

    All the warnings appear to have made a difference in our eating habits. Americans are eating less red meat today than any time since the 1970s. Doctors’ recommendations haven’t been ignored. We’re also doing a bit better in our consumption of vegetables. Our consumption of carbohydrates, like grains and sugar, however, has been on the rise. This is, in part, a result of our obsession with avoiding fats and red meat.

    Over the last few decades, Americans have changed their eating habits. The consumption of red meat has decreased as the consumption of grains has sharply increased.

    Consumption per capita, in ounces per day. Sweeteners include sugar, corn sweeteners, honey and syrup. Other meat includes poultry, fish and shellfish.
    We’re eating too many calories, but not necessarily in the same way. Reducing what we’re eating too much of in a balanced manner would seem like the most sensible approach.

    Last fall, a meta-analysis of brand-name diet programs was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study compared the results from both the individual diets themselves and three classes, which included low-carbohydrate (like Atkins), moderate macronutrient (Weight Watchers) and low-fat (Ornish). All of the diets led to reduced caloric intake, and all of them led to weight loss at six months and, to a lesser extent, at 12 months. There was no clear winner, nor any clear loser.

    Where does that leave us? It’s hard to find a take-home message better than this: The best diet is the one that you’re likely to keep. What isn’t helpful is picking a nutritional culprit of bad health and proclaiming that everyone else is eating wrong. There’s remarkably little evidence that that’s true anytime anyone does it.

    Aaron E. Carroll is a professor of pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine. He blogs on health research and policy at The Incidental Economist, and you can follow him on Twitter at @aaronecarroll.

  3. #283

    I?ll just go and say it: Our local restaurant scene has grown to ginormous proportions over the last few years. And while there are those who scratch their heads at why this is so, it's also no surprise, really, seeing that we?re a nation of voracious eaters. While we are deeply in love with mom?s cooking, restaurants are where the game is at these days, and for many reasons. It transports us to another continent, and we can pretend our passport accumulates stamps as we munch on chili-flecked Asian street food, or rich, hand-cranked pasta from Roma. It gives us opportunity to try what the new breed of chefs are up to?stuff we can?t or won?t make at home. Or it simply fills our belly with food we crave. Like graphic design was back in the day, the food scene is where all the buzz is. It?s both a skill AND an art, practiced by many.

  4. #284
    Margarine troubles continue

    Associated Press / 07:44 AM April 07, 2017

    NEW YORK, United States ? Margarine's fortunes seem to be taking another sad turn, with the owner of Country Crock and I Can't Believe It?s Not Butter looking for someone to take the brands off its hands.

    Consumer products heavyweight Unilever said Thursday it's seeking to unload its spreads business that has suffered from soft sales in the United States and other developed markets.

    It's just the latest blow for butter alternatives, which most think of as "margarine," even if some don't technically conform to the federal definition of the word.

    Margarine enjoyed popularity for decades before research emerged in the 1990s about the harms of the trans fats. Many manufacturers have since reformulated their spreads sold in tubs to remove trans fats, but the bad health associations have persisted.

    In the meantime, butter has benefited from the trend toward foods people see as "real" and consumers' greater willingness to accept more fat in diets. McDonald?s has even switched from margarine to butter across its breakfast menu as part of a push to improve perception of its food.

    "Butter has a more natural image. I think people have always been a bit suspicious about margarine," said Bonnie Liebman, director of nutrition at the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

    Liebman noted butter still has more saturated fat than many alternative spreads, and that the American Heart Association recommends limiting saturated fats to no more than 5 to 6 percent of daily calories.

    The decision by Unilever, whose products include Dove soaps and Ben & Jerry's ice cream, to get rid of its spreads is just the latest chapter in margarine's history.

    In the 1880s, a federal tax was passed on margarine, which was dinged as being "counterfeit butter" by a lawmaker at the time. Some states even prohibited it being dyed yellow, a move intended to prevent people mistaking it for butter.

    It's not yet known who will snap up Unilever's spreads, but others already in the business include ConAgra, which owns Blue Bonnet and Parkay. Even though margarine?s image has been suffering for years, overall U.S. sales of margarines and spreads still came to $1.81 billion last year, according to industry tracker Euromonitor International.

    Per capita consumption of butter, meanwhile, surpassed margarine in 2005 and has inched up since, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. CBB

  5. #285
    The 3 names to remember as the founders of modern cuisine

    By: Micky Fenix - Columnist / @Inq_Lifestyle

    Philippine Daily Inquirer / 07:00 AM November 23, 2017

    "Of the trinity said to have founded modern cuisine in post-Revolutionary Paris - Brillat-Savarin, De la Reyniere and Careme - only one cooked," wrote Ian Kelly in "Cooking for Kings: The Life of the First Celebrity Chef" (2003, Walker Publishing Co.)

    That was the line I used in my talk on food writing, at the Philippine Readers and Writers Festival of National Book Store held recently at the Fairmont Hotel, to highlight the value of food writers. Because, while Careme cooked, Brillat-Savarin and De la Reyniere were food writers. And all three were important in documenting French cuisine during that 19th-century period.

    First celebrity chef

    In the 21st century, are food writers as relevant as those who work in the kitchens?

    If you are a serious student of culinary arts, then Marie-Antonin Careme should be someone you have heard of, read about or studied. Kelly, who wrote Careme?s biography, enumerated what French cuisine and even world cookery owes to this man who rose from cook helper to become the "first celebrity chef."

    He reduced the hundreds of French sauces into four basic ones?veloute, bechamel, alamande and espagnol. Kelly wrote that Careme "introduced into the mainstream? the souffle, the vol-au-vent and the piped meringue." He established order in the kitchen to give military precision to service, and advocated hygiene. He always used the freshest ingredients and seasonal produce.

    Chefs still wear the toque, a cap he originally designed. He was the master of "grande cuisine" or, as we know it now, haute cuisine, having cooked for royalty such as France?s Louis XVI and XVIII, the British Prince Regent George, Napoleon Bonaparte, the Russian tsar and famous personalities of the time like the diplomat Charles Maurice de Talleyrand and the wealthy banker James Mayer Rothschild.

    Elaborate centerpieces

    When we talk of haute cuisine, that includes the table settings that Careme created, like his elaborate centerpieces of fruits, pastries and pulled sugar sculptures. His pastry creations were what attracted many of the famous men he worked for to seek him out and offer him to be head chef in their kitchens.

    And unlike Francois Vatel, a 17th-century majordomo who was known for orchestrating extravagant banquets using theatrical methods and who killed himself when he thought his order of fish didn?t arrive, Careme was less dramatic about disappointments. He died of an ailment due to years of inhaling charcoal fumes in old kitchens with bad ventilation systems.

    A chef's cooking lasts only while his food is being consumed. But why does Careme's work live on? Because of his writings. Careme documented not only recipes, but also his menus and table settings in books like "Le P?tissier Royal Parisien," "Le Ma?tre d'H?tel Fran?ais" and "L'Art de la Cuisine Fran?aise." The latter was supposed to have been five volumes, but Careme finished just four though the series was eventually completed by one of Careme's chef friends from his notes.

    His books contain his own drawings of his table settings and centerpieces; he studied architectural art and even published books about the subject with his renderings. Chefs today have detailed examples in words and visuals of 19th-century French cuisine from a chef extraordinaire, allowing them to reproduce recipes from the era.

    Gastronomic writing

    Jeanne Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, meanwhile, was a lawyer by profession and a practitioner of what was then known as gastronomic writing. His writings were on the pleasures of the table, and he appreciated simple cooking if executed with artistry. He is said to be an early advocate of low-carb eating.

    Very few people have read his "Physiologie du Go?t (The Physiology of Taste)," myself included, even if it was translated to English by the eminent American food writer M.F.K. Fisher, who said it was an honor to do that work.

    Most of us know only of one or two of his quotes, such as "Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are" and "A dessert without cheese is like a beautiful woman with only one eye."

    A vocational and technical school in Berlin is named after the writer Brillat-Savarin Schule, where the Kulinarya team head, chef Myrna Segismundo, gave a talk on Filipino cooking to would-be chefs.

    Food critic

    Alexandre Grimod de la Reyniere, on the other hand, can be described in today's terms as a food and restaurant critic. His "L'Almanach des Gourmands" in eight volumes was really a restaurant guide book.

    Dining places would send food to his house, nicknamed Hotel Grimod by his friends, so he could critique the dishes. His monthly Journal des Gourmandes et des Belles was considered food literature; here, the reader gets a sense of the state of eating and dining at the time.

    So even if "only one cooked" among the three names mentioned by author Ian Kelly, all three were writers. In today's world, however, more importance is given to cooks.

    "A culture where the chef, not the writer or the critic, becomes a celebrity, is a culture where food, too, is in revolution," Kelly wrote.

  6. #286
    How to Order Wagyu Beef Like a Master Chef

    Raise your meat IQ with SW Steakhouse's Chef David Walzog.

    By NATE ERICKSON | A day ago

    Chef David Walzog knows more about steak than you. Before he became the executive chef at SW Steakhouse at Wynn Las Vegas, Walzog ran kitchens at New York?s Monkey Bar, Michael Jordan?s Steak House in NYC, and three Strip House restaurants, earning him local and national acclaim for his ability to put meat over flame. Twelve years ago, when hotel mogul Steve Wynn needed a chef to helm his namesake steakhouse at his namesake Vegas hotel, it's no surprise that Walzog got the call.

    Besides enjoying endless summer in Nevada and life on a literal resort, being the man in charge at SW Steakhouse comes with a culinary perk: the opportunity to put authentic wagyu beef on the menu. Forget your happy hour spot with the ?Kobe sliders." Real wagyu?of which Kobe is only one form?comes straight from Japan, goes through an authentication process as intense as its marbling, and can only be found at a handful of restaurants in the entire United States.

    "We couldn't be prouder of that," says Walzog. "It only happens a few places in the world, and thankfully this is one of them."

    Esquire reached out to Chef Walzog to dispel the Kobe confusion and teach us the right way to order wagyu.

    Wagyu is cooked low and slow.
    Cooking well-marbled meat is all about melting it internally. We try and cut it into about 4 inches square, 3/4 of an inch high. You want to go low and slow to help it melt, render, and redistribute that fat through the beef, which gives it flavor. It?s about getting that internal part of the muscle sort of melted out. You have a much better product than cooking it hard and fast.

    Omi is a great entry-level wagyu.
    For a western palate, Omi tells the tale of Japanese wagyu without becoming unrecognizable. It's by no means tough or even like domestic beef, but it has a little tooth to it, compared to some of the other opulent, silky stuff that we offer.

    Expect to spend.
    We have guests who come in and just want to try wagyu?which is great?but we had to put something on the menu for people to recognize that it?s a big ticket item. We sell it in 4-ounce increments?that starts at $220, and it goes up incrementally from there, $55 per ounce. As an individual, you really don't need much more than that. The richness and decadence of a 4-ounce piece of wagyu is quite sufficient to experience.

    Order it medium.
    They ask me all the time, "What does the chef prefer?" I say order it however you want, but I happen to think it?s a medium. You want to get good heat in it and have that rose color as opposed to red, and it just eats a lot better. It's more robust, the flavor is just crazy?it almost blooms.

    No ketchup.
    If you really want to taste the quality of the meat, you want it to lay on its own. We do serve a little whiskey-barrel aged shoyu that's kind of a nice dipping sauce, but salt, pepper, and you're done.

    Pair it with a Cabernet or Bordeaux.
    You're looking for the rich tannins and some sort of acid to compliment the richness and fattiness of the steak.

    Kobe burgers are a lie.
    It doesn't work! It wouldn't eat like a burger, it would be more like a piece of foie gras. If you were to grind authentic Japanese beef, you would have to put things in it to absorb some of that fat. There's this loose verbiage of "Kobe"?whether it's hot dogs or beef?that people are kind of throwing around as a recognizable name, like Kleenex. Don't believe the hype.

    For your Wagyu steak fix in Manila, try Wagyu BGC.

  7. #287
    Cheesed off: Italian regions highly strung over mozzarella

    Agence France-Presse / 11:02 PM January 02, 2018

    Defenders of buffalo mozzarella in the Campania region of southern Italy have vowed to fight a decision made this week by the farming ministry which allows a cow mozzarella from neighboring Puglia to be given special status.

    Even before Brussels has given its opinion over the DOP (protected designation of origin) label, the defence consortium of buffalo mozzarella announced an appeal at the administrative court.

    "The cheese products of Puglia are delicious, but for the typical character of the local productions and the full interest of the value of the resources of all regions, the only DOP mozzarella is, and must remain, ours, exclusively made with buffalo milk," warned the Campania region in September.

    Buffalo mozzarella was awarded the DOP label in 1996, and following a difficult start in trading has had a record decade. Some 44,000 tons were produced in 2016, up 31 percent in 10 years, of which 14,000 tons were exported. That's up 168 percent in the same period.

    Buffalo milk costs three times more than cow?s milk, and even though the taste of both products is different and the ministry has set constraints for dairies in Puglia to clearly display that it is cow mozzarella, Campania fears confusion.

    "The game is not over," said Domenico Raimondo, president of the defence consortium of buffalo mozzarella. "We will go to the end and we will use all the means at our disposal to avoid what appears to us clearly an own goal for Italy, that both the markets and consumers will understand."

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