I’ve returned from a two week road trip. Denver to Topeka, to Santa Fe, with a side trip to Albuqurque. The entire time, my main job was to keep the partner fed with yummy vegan food.
You would think that a challenge. But these days it’s getting a bit easier. Grand Junction, Colorado yielded Pablos Pizza. Pablos offered two sizes of a gluten-free crust with an alternative cheese. Denver gave us several selections, and I was especially excited for the Vegan Van. Amie Arias works very hard to bring her diners a top quality food experience, served up with compassion and laughter. I was able to catch a short interview on the fly.
In Topeka we were able to find a cafe that has vegan offerings, including pastries. They even make their own compost! I thought that was amazing. If you ever find yourself there, check out the Blue Planet Cafe.
And in Santa Fe, there was a fantastic trip to the Santa Fe Farmers Market, during the height of the harvest season. The sights and smells launched me into culinary heaven. And of course, in Santa Fe, it’s chili roasting time. All the chili roasters were running full tilt. The town smelled like one big salsa factory, and it drove me a bit crazy.
Sadly, all good road trips must end. And now it’s back to the teeny tiny kitchen, and back to the regular work day. The trip was worth every second. I’ll be posting more pictures over the next few weeks, but for now, you can check out my Facebook album On the Road.
There’s a great website out there called Everyday Dish TV, run by Julie Hasson, author of “Vegan Diner”. They post recipe videos on a regular basis. This is the latest one, Pumpkin Spice Bars, by Sarah Matheny, author of “Peas and Thank You”. And it’s also gluten free. Once I procure Xantham gum, I’m going to make it myself. They look delicious.
This is the recipe for the video Apple-Poblano chutney. Use it as a condiment on tofu or quinoa recipes. It goes really well with a variety of Sonoran and Southwestern dish. Take it to potlucks and people will rave over how good it is just by itself. Don’t be surprised about how fast it disappears.
Heat up a large skillet, and add the margarine. Let it melt. Add the cumin seeds, and wait until you hear them crack. Add the onions, and saute for a few seconds, add the poblano chilis, and stir into the onions. Let this cook down for 4 or 5 minutes. Then add the apples. Stir, let cook for 15-20 minutes. Add cayenne, salt and lemon juice just at the end of the cooking stage.
There was more going on in the show, but to keep up with this blog review, I was taking notes, and typing during commercials. One of the curious factors was the lack of presenters. They brought in two sports personalities to present awards, and the rest? The top Food Network TV personalities. Bobby Flay, Rachel Ray, Paula Dean, Sandra Lee, Giada De Laurentis, and Alton Brown. All on rotation. They introduced a few others on the red carpet, but we didn’t’ see them in the edited version.
It would have been interesting to see what Cat Cora, the first Woman Iron Chef was going to present. And Dan and Steve, the first winners of “The next Food Network Star.” Alas, we did not see them, except for the introduction.
All in all, it was an exciting television event, especially for a culinarian who pays attention to how food is advertised.
Will I watch it again? Probably. Will there be another one? Most definitely.
The rest of the show brought on awards that included Best Super Market, Better Burger, Play with Your food, and Delicious Destinations. And a catagory called Tasty Technology
A store called Wegman’s beat out Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, which I thought was cool. A regional store took the award over a chain.
The Better Burger was won by Burgerville, that focuses on sustainability and going green. They use windmills for their power.
Play with Your food went to a Gelatin Artist by the name of Liz Hitcock. I was rooting for the Tortilla artist, but alas, my tastes vary from the producers.
Destination for Food? Portland, Oregon. The feel-good hallmark video had the chefs talking about how every one gets along. I’ve heard good things about Portland. Some day I’ll be there in the RV and checking it out.
Tasty Technology went to a company called PolyScience, and a guy that invented something called the Anti-griddle, and I’m still not sure what it does, but it looks like it would be fun to cook on.
Honor categories included a Humanitarian Award, given to Floyd Cardoz, who found a way to help the Fishermen of New Orleans to move and sell their product after Hurricane Katrina.
And the Hall of Fame Award went to none other then the Original, the first, and America’s favorite TV Chef, Julia Child. Yeah, that one made me cry, just because she was the first. She came to cooking late in life, and didn’t get famous until she was 50. In today’s Culinary World if your not famous by the time your 30, your probably not going to make the big time.
Paula and Bobby again, presenting Delectable Delivery; winner: Z-club, bringing delicious foods to your door.
Then, we get a little preview of “No Reservations” staring Erin Eckhart and Kathrine Zeta-Jones, who helped present the Culinary Institute of the Arts Scholarship. The winner got to sit there believing there were other finalists. After a Hallmarkish video of Matthew Finkel and his life, he received the Scholarship, crying mom included.
During the video, they showed Matthew using a knife, and I just wanted to yell out, “Curl your fingers! Use the claw baby, use the claw!”
More accidents happen by people not tucking in their fingers and thumbs. I’ve encountered this bad habit throughout my career, and I still remember learning how to cut properly. It isn’t easy, but it saves your fingers, and keeps the blood-letting to a minimum.
Presenting the “Hot Chocolate” Award: Rachel Ray and Giada Di Laurentis. Hey Rachel, Polka dots? On television? Really.
But the award went to the best Chocolataire. Winner: Garrisions Confections. Hand crafted seasonal chocolates. I want some!
Presenting Edible Entrepreneurs: Paula and Bobby Dean. Winner: Khaya Cookie Company, based in South Africa, the owner, Alicia Polak gives jobs, and teaches people how to run a business. In a poverty stricken area, these are essential skills.
Presenting Icy Innovations: Alton Brown and Nigella Lawson. The award for the best innovative ice cream. Winners: Moobella; an ice cream dispensing unit that gives out freshly made ice cream. Exciting…yes.
Over 10 years of cable-casting, the little network that could has finally produced an awards show.
Hosting? Emeril Lagasse. Chef Extraordinaire, and TV personality, who also helped with Food relief after the Katrina Disaster. Lagasse helped launch FN with a show called “How to boil water. The rest is food history.
Just a historical mention: Alton Brown started as a public access show in NY, I believe. He sent in an unsolicited (No agents, please) video tape of “Good Eats.” Now he hosts “Iron Chef America.”
For a Chef this is an exciting event to watch. The unveiling of food secrets, and kitchen mayhem, through the Food Network has brought on a food revolution in the general populace…