The retail apocalypse is coming for grocery stores – Business Insider

Every one knows that I’m a huge fan of Aldi. I say… bring it on!

Grocery stores are aggressively expanding, and now there’s a glut of food retail space in the US.

Source: The retail apocalypse is coming for grocery stores – Business Insider

REZEPT: glutenfreie Dominosteine | Ein glutenfreier Blog

These are my favorite holiday cookies, but are hard to come by in North America. Dominosteine are a staple in the advent and Christmas season across Germany. This is a great recipe for the gluten free version. I make mine without marzipan.

Source: REZEPT: glutenfreie Dominosteine | Ein glutenfreier Blog

The Long, Lonely Quest to Breed the Ultimate Avocado

Everyone who knows me knows that I love avocados. I had never eaten an avocado until I was nearly 30, and now I simply can’t get enough of them. Until I read this article, I didn’t know much about Haas avocados, but I knew they seemed superior to the larger, greener variety. 


This fascinating story first appeared in Wired, check it out and weigh in with your avocado stories in the comments below.

I love my rice cooker

I’m not a huge fan of rice. I don’t mind it, but it’s carb-y and always seems like a lot of extra calories to me. But, about two years ago, I bought an Aroma electric rice cooker which became one of my very favourite kitchen appliances of all time. The rice cooker steams veggies beautifully and makes perfect quinoa and rice every time. I even learned to make an omelette in it, and posted about it some time ago.

My favourite recipe (that I make all the time) is quinoa with pesto or sauce. It’s so easy:

100g quinoa 1 cup

60ml water 1/4 cup

190g pesto 7 oz

Whatever sautéed vegetables I have on hand (mushrooms, onions, peppers, shallots, etc.) I just dump them in right at the beginning.

Whatever vegetable scraps I have on hand go in the steamer (broccoli, carrots, etc.)

Set to “white rice” and when it’s done, mix the veggies with the cooked quinoa and a spoonful of ricotta, season with freshly cracked salt and pepper and a tiny bit of chopped herbs (basil or whatever is around) or some shredded Parmesan.

It’s easy, delicious, comfort food that literally cooks itself. It’s also good leftover and cold. You can also substitute tomato paste or sauce (or even salsa) for the pesto. It’s all delicious.

Unfortunately, I was using the rice cooker the other night and noticed that the cord, where it attached to the back of the cooker had frayed, and lots of copper wiring was poking out of the back of the cooker. I emailed Aroma, and within a day had a very pleasant response. The Aroma folks—much to their credit—replaced the rice cooker and shipped it at their cost, along with a return label to replace the defective cooker. They even sent a coupon for a free 5lb bag of rice.

Outstanding customer service, speedy reply, and they stand behind their product. Two thumbs up to Aroma and a strong endorsement from me! So if you’re looking for a good Christmas gift for someone, consider picking up an Aroma rice cooker. They are outstanding.

The Best Restuarant

Everyone raves about Noma as “the best” restaurant in the world. Their pop-up restaurants (like the most recent Noma in Mexico) command just short of US$1000 per meal. 

I have to say, I’ve been to Noma twice and several of their spin-off restaurants. I wasn’t impressed. Eating fermented pine needles with froth (about which several critics raved) reminded me of pine needles with frothy saliva spit on them. They tasted like pickles and simply weren’t appetizing. I found the menu to be rigid and limited and frankly, for $1000, it just wasn’t worth it.

Noma “closed” in early 2017, so it didn’t place on the most recent list of the top 50 restaurants

I get it, eating at this level of restaurant is an art that requires a different type of thinking. The meal and its preparation are an art (or science) and are appreciated not for their satiating effect, but for small bites of sensory excitement.

It’s strange to me that all of the restaurants on the list are in or very near major cities. What about the thousands of restaurants that are off the beaten path? One of the most meaningful meals was made at a “restaurant” in Costa Rica, made from scratch by a woman and her daughter for two backpackers passing by (my friend Mark and myself.) I don’t think the restaurant had a name, I know it didn’t have a printed menu, but the food was outstanding and honest.

Housed in a splendid reclaimed warehouse, Aparaat is in a league of top restaurants around the world but their prices are much more fair.

Aparaat in Tartu, Estonia is another restaurant that is off the beaten path. It gets no significant press outside of Estonia, and consistently is one of the very best restaurants that I visit. The prices, on average are about 3300% (that’s not a typo) less than Noma and the meals are no less divine than any other “top” restaurant I have visited, and in fact are consistently creative and outstanding. The menu at Aparaat is flexible and accommodates all manner of eaters: vegans, meat eaters, gluten free eaters, localphiles, and on and on. That’s more than I am able to say for Noma.

I’m not a food critic, and I don’t have a fancy ranking system or list, but for my vote, I strongly recommend Aparaat. If I were making a list it would be at the top in the #1 spot.

Delicious carrot and beet salad with lentils and goat cheese with a local berry and greens sauce.

Ironic: RIP Chipotle

CMG Chipotle Chipotle Mexican Grill

Ironic that my last post earlier today was about being “too clean.” Chipotle, the Mexican fast food chain seems to have no problem with being too clean. Its stock plunged nearly 8% today on reports of—yet another—norovirus scare at one of its stores in Virginia.

Let me say this (remember, you heard it here first…) if this problem spreads to other Chipotle outlets, this is the end of Chipotle.

A year and a half ago, I posted this original post about how Chipotle blew the first major crisis to hit their business. Unbelievably, they still haven’t rebounded. At its high, Chipotle stock was soaring at $725ish a share, after the food safety scare it plummeted to mid 200s per share. It’s never fully recovered. Neither have their stores. Outlets with lines out the door two years ago are all but empty today. The company made no significant effort to control the narrative in 2015, and they haven’t jumped in to crisis mode this time either. Chipotle made no significant effort to win back customer faith in their brand promise in 2015, and their stock price shows that lack of understanding between cooking, product, marketing, and branding. It’s that disconnect that cost Chipotle more than half their market capitalization in 2015, and this time around, they are left with 50% less than they had then.

For their sake, I hope they handle this crisis better than the last one. And for the time being, my money is with Jeff Gundlach (@truthgundlach) in short selling Chipotle stock (CMG) until this crisis either blows over or finally collapses the house of cards that has been propping Chipotle for the past 18 months.

I Love SLA!

My “Green” Bowl (with shaved Parmesan).

One of the highlights of any trip to The Netherlands is a stop (or two, or ten) at SLA. SLA is a healthy-eating/salad joint that I just love. SLA has a special way of building a salad, which believe it or not, makes a big difference! 

Even a driving rain couldn’t keep me away from SLA!

SLA focuses on clean and healthy eating in a sustainable and environentally responsible way. Their shops are no-nonsense and comfortable and the food is consistently delicious. On my last visit, I bought the SLA cookbook, and many of the dressings and salad ideas have become staples and favourites.

According to the SLA website, SLA opened in 2013 as a family business – Jop, Nina and Ida – in Amsterdam. The SLA business focus on having as many people taste, experience and share how conscious eating affects life positively. 

“We believe that you are what you eat and that food can be a drug. SLA is our way of heart, head and hands to create an environment that inspires and encourages healthy habits.”

SLA has a new cookbook, SLA Easy, that came out recently. I’ll add it to my birthday list. You can get the cookbook here!


Check out SLA here. #ILOVESLA

 

One Pie Can

I am a sucker for supermarket history and I love to stumble across old-school labels and products. There’s something amazing when a product is so reliable that the label doesn’t change for decades.

I was stumbling around my favorite local store tonight picking up a few items that aren’t available at Aldi (wax paper, washing soda) and I stumbled across this gem. I couldn’t resist snagging a can just because of the great label.

Qunioa and homemade sauce!

One of my favorite Airstream kitchen meals is rice cooker quinoa with red sauce and steamed vegetables. It’s easy, faster than a microwave meal, healthy, filling comfort food.

The recipe is simple:

1 cup quinoa

2 cups liquid (or 1 cup liquid, one cup tomato sauce or pesto)

whatever vegetables are around, chopped

salt, pepper, and cheese to taste.

Combine all ingredients (except the cheese) in the rice cooker on “white rice” setting.  Plate and serve with cheese over top.

The entire process takes about 15 minutes and the result is delicious.

The drawback, is that commercially made sauce is OK, but nothing special. This year, I made sauce from scratch and canned it. The very first thing that I’ve canned on my own.

It was easy … my mom trained me well, and provided good directions in our family cookbook… but it was a LOT of work for 9 little jars of sauce!

homemade sauce
9 jars of homemade tomato sauce