October 22, 2020

Newman’s Own Cauliflower Gluten-Free Pizza

I have tried to walk the gluten-free path for a while now so I was thrilled to see that Newman’s Own (started by actor/philanthropist/car-racer Paul Newman) has come up with a Thin & Crispy Cheese pizza featuring a cauliflower crust that tastes delicious. Wheat and gluten have been supplanted with white rice, brown rice flour, tapioca and corn starches, plus cauliflower and cheese.

The crust hits a good balance of crispiness around the edges and gooey goodness in the center.

I bought the Margherita version with tomatoes, herbs and cheese and then added more vegetables. Whole Foods and Mariano’s are listed as Chicago purveyors of this specialty product. For now, one can buy the cauliflower crust pizza with either plain cheese or a Margherita version.

At the Newman’s Own web site, the company proudly notes they have donated over $550 million since 1982. What a wonderful legacy for a man who was not only a superlative actor, but a humanitarian as well.

Please note that milk, egg and parmesan cheese are ingredients in Newman’s Own Thin & Crispy Cheese Pizza, so this is not a product for vegans. Well, ya’ just can’t please everybody, can ya’?


“The American Barbecue Showdown” on Netflix

I thought it might be sacrilege to write about a Netflix barbecue show and “Unorthodox” in the same post. Pork is definitely grilled and eaten on “The American Barbecue Showdown;” meat and dairy are mixed without compunction.

In a format similar to “Top Chef” or many of the other cooking competition shows, “The American Barbecue Showdown” pits contestants against one another in cooking meat, fish and vegetables. They are also tasked with cooking complementary side dishes and designing menus that highlight specific ingredients.

The competitors are sometimes endearing men and woman of different cultural backgrounds and ages who speak with colorful accents and vocabulary. (I myself was rooting for the grandmotherly African-American woman to win the competition.)

If I wanted to torture my vegan brother-in-law, I would tie him down and make him watch this show. For the rest of us, “The American Barbecue Showdown” is a fun casual viewing experience after a day of wrestling with electronica. Let’s get back to pre-historic basics: fire, meat and gathering together for a meal.

“The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.” – Julia Child

Milkadamia and Macadamia Nuts

After finding out I was allergic to almonds, I needed to find another “milk” to whiten my morning tea. Enter “Milkadamia,” a nut milk made from macadamia nuts. I prefer the unsweetened version which gives a creaminess to hot beverages without the added sugar.

The product copy for “Milkadamia” is a hoot with the phrase “Moo is Moot” above the title. The product bills itself as vegan, dairy-free, lactose-free, soy-free, gluten-free, cholesterol-free and carrageenan-free. More clever phrases on the aseptic white and turquoise box include “Savor a superfood smoothie, melt into hot chocolate or bathe like Cleopatra.” That last suggestion is a bit over-the-top.

The indigenous nut to Australia was named by German-Australian botanist Ferdinand von Mueller in honor of John Macadam, a Scottish-Australian scientist in 1857. Macadamias have been grown in Hawaii since the 1880s, but South Africa now has become the world’s biggest producer in the past ten years.

Macadamias are 76% fat and quite caloric so easy does it on consumption. Please note that the nuts are toxic to dogs. Humans can enjoy this exotic nut with chocolate, in tarts, cookies and cakes. “Milkadamia” has become my official replacement for “moo juice.”

MicroGreens Take Center Stage

I have written about sprouts and shoots in the past, but I started seeing microgreens in the refrigerated vegetable section at Whole Foods. A little research indicated that microgreens are harvested when they are smaller than “baby greens” but larger than sprouts. Sprouts are harvested with leaves, stems and roots. Microgreens do not contain the root.

Adventuresome chefs have been using microgreens for taste and plate decoration since the 1980s. Health food devotees have recently taken to microgreens in a big way since they add a huge nutritional punch to sandwiches, soups and salads.

I bought a small fresh tray of microgreens that came from Living Greens Farm in Faribault, MN. Their web site brags they use an aeroponics technique that uses 95% less water and 99.5% less land.

Crunchy Sunflower & Radish Microgreens from New Day Farms in Virginia boasts that their products are harvested when phytonutrients are at their highest concentration.

A plastic container of cress also found its way into my shopping cart from a company called Living Water Farms from Strawn, IL. The cress was a good addition to my other fresh-tasting greens. The Living Water Farms web site has great photos depicting the growing process.

Web info on all three companies is included below so you can see if they deliver to your locality. If not, please ask your local grocery stores to carry microgreens.

Aren’t we all looking for food that fortifies our immune system, but also tastes good?




More Reality Shows of Note on Netflix

How is Netflix getting me to consider programs I would not normally watch? When I open the app, a show trailer starts playing above the list of selections. The clips are engaging, upbeat and often pique my curiosity. How else to explain my current viewing selections: “Love On the Spectrum,” “Restaurants on the Edge” and “Sugar High.”

I have been a fan of “Sugar Rush,” a cooking competition using sweet ingredients. When I exhausted those episodes, Netflix automatically cued up a related show from the same producers, “Sugar High.” Stone-cold professionals compete to make sugar creations that delight the tastebuds and the eyes. Much like sculptors and glassblowers, the chefs skillfully fashion shapes using ingredients like sugar, isomalt and paper wafers. I would not have the heart to destroy these artistic creations by eating them, however.

“Restaurants on the Edge” is a bit sleepy in its pacing, but features scenic restaurants in different countries that need help with their menus, decor and promotion.

Three restaurant gurus arrive in the area and find local beverages, food stuffs and decorating ideas to refresh the dining establishment in question. The show tries to defy the adage that the better the view, the worse the food.

“Love on the Spectrum,” an Australian documentary series, introduced me to young people who are autistic and in search of what we all want: love and romance. Cian O’Clery, the series’ creator and director, films men and women as they openly discuss being “on the spectrum.” We watch them go on first dates and interact with their families. The show accomplishes something rare as we feel genuine empathy for young couples who have found love and for those still searching for romance. “Love On the Spectrum” finds the balance between documentary and reality show which impels you to keep watching. At just five episodes, the series leaves you wanting progress reports on all of these endearing people.

During these stressful times, Netflix has carried many serious scripted shows, but I am keeping my streaming subscription because they are offering fun, reasonably intelligent programs that emphasize food, fashion, art, travel and love.

Romanesco Broccoli

I am now a big fan of the chartreuse-colored vegetable called Romanesco Broccoli, a cross between cauliflower and the green stuff Bush #1 did not like. I first encountered this cruciferous vegetable at Whole Foods where the distinctive fractal shape drew my eye.

The dictionary calls the shape of the head a logarithmic spiral. Romanesco Broccoli is no recent hybrid; it’s been grown by the Italians since the 16th century. Whatever it is, Romanesco is a most beautifully architectural vegetable.

The taste is slightly different than either broccoli or cauliflower with a crunchy, delicate nutty flavor. I have tried it raw with dips or steamed it as a side dish; both are delicious. Buon Appetito!