SMORGASBORD: Bitter goodness ... Good gravy! ... Steamy veggiesBitter foods are usually good-for-you foods; a proverbial pill of truth many people may find hard to swallow. But Barb Stuckey would like people to give them a try.
By: Herald Staff Report, Grand Forks Herald
Bitter foods are usually good-for-you foods; a proverbial pill of truth many people may find hard to swallow. But Barb Stuckey would like people to give them a try.
For bitter foods can contain many compounds that in small doses can stimulate you, fight colds and even help the battle against aging, said Stuckey, a San Francisco-based food developer and author of “Taste What You’re Missing: The Passionate Eater’s Guide to Why Good Food Tastes Good.”
“The taste of bitter is the taste of health,” she said, zeroing in on such foods as greens (think kale, radicchio, collards), coffee and tea, wine and fruit (try citrus, pomegranates, cranberries, blueberries).
Of course, you’ve got to be able to ingest these foods or beverages for them to have any good effect. That can be challenging, Stuckey says, because our bodies are wired to reject bitter flavors as poison.
But there are steps you can take to mitigate the bitterness, said Stuckey, who is executive vice president of marketing and sales at Mattson, a food and beverage developer in Foster City, Calif.
“When you scrunch up your face at bitterness, it’s likely that the bitterness is out of balance,” Stuckey writes in her book. Hate Brussels sprouts? Balance the bitter flavor with a little salt, sugar, lemon juice or vinegar. Or mix in other vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, carrots or caramelized onions.
“The next time you make them, use fewer carrots and more sprouts,” Stuckey writes. “Eventually you’ll find yourself craving a bowlful of them — alone — specifically for the energizing, stimulating taste challenge that bitter provides.”
Be prepared for the holidays, stocking the cupboard with backup ingredients such as Turkey Gravy Base from Williams-Sonoma. You need only add milk for a basic gravy (each jar makes four cups of gravy), or enhance that with sauteed mushrooms, fresh herbs. You will find the flavor rich and authentic.
It may seem pricey, but if your gravy’s flavor isn’t measuring up or unexpected guests mean stretching the gravy, this will be a huge help.
An 18-ounce jar is $10.95. To buy or find a store, go to williams-sonoma.com.
Green Giant complements its line of Valley Fresh Steamers vegetables by adding new Seasoned Steamers, in six varieties including Tuscan-seasoned broccoli, honey-roasted sweet corn and peppers, and Brussels sprouts with sea salt and cracked pepper.
The Seasoned Steamers come in slightly smaller packages than the Valley Fresh Steamers and cost a bit more. The broccoli and corn versions of the Seasoned Steamers are $3.19 for the 11.8-ounce packages, while they are $2.15 and $2.38 for the 12-ounce Valley Fresh Steamers broccoli and corn respectively.
Thank Martha Stewart, for Martha Wrap. It marries parchment paper and foil — “aluminum insulates, parchment protects” — which gives you the nonstick properties of the parchment and the crimp qualities of foil, and the easy clean of both, which is a plus during this busy baking-cooking season.
Oven and freezer safe, you will like how it worked roasting fish en papillote and lining cupcake pans for fruit-rich (read: sticky) muffins.
It’s $6 for a 40-foot roll. At shop.marthastewart.com.