Template This Is bc: August 2006

This Is bc

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

its a wrap

I wouldn't say I'm a fan of wraps. The way I see it, a wrap is just a sandwich on a thin, chewy, sub-par bread. The burrito, the king of wraps, is obviously an exception. The fresh flour torilla used for a good burrito shouldn't be bland at all. And, of course, torillas serve the very practical purpose of holding together lots of small (rice, beans) and wet (chili verde, salsa) food.

The last burrito I had (from Anna's) was disappointing. It just wasn't up to the Anna's standard. The wrap I had today however, measured up to be a superb, though unlikely, substitute. The place is called Wrapture and it's in Beverly, MA. Beverly is pretty far from everything but this wrap is worth the trip.

Grill Steak Wrap: Grilled Steak, goat cheese, roasted poblano peppers, roasted corn, garlic puree, limed onions, tomatoes, greens.

You'll notice that with the exception of the garlic puree, there's no condiment. I am pretty adamant about the condiment. It supplies the necessary glue to hold the sandwich together. A-hah! But this is a wrap, you say, it doesn't need holding together. This is not true. If you need confirmation get a burrito at La Choza (Great Barrington, MA.) It will fall apart within seconds of the first bite because of a lack of the requisite glue. But lets get back to Wrapture. The garlic puree combined with the melting goat cheese and juice from the grilled steak supplied enough tasty adhesive to hold this baby together. And taste is really what this is all about.

I've been trying to find out how to make the limed onions, so that I can replicate this wrap at home, but I haven't found anything online. I might have to go back to ask them if they would give me an idea of how to make them. Of course, I would also have to get another wrap.

Monday, August 21, 2006

fresh food

I just read this article from New York Times's magazine section this week: The School-Lunch Test

It's a great article but I found it a little more pessimistic than other coverage of school-lunch reform programs. I wish I could also post an article I read about the efforts at The Promise Academy in Harlem, but I haven't been able to find it. Basically, the program there proves how schools can provide much healthier meals, serve locally grown produce and be cost effective. Well, I just found it, so you can read it for yourself: Harlem School Introduces Children To Swish Chard

The article notes that The Promise Academy food cost is "about $5.87 per student. The amount, almost twice what some public schools spend, comes from a mix of government reimbursements and a school budget pumped up by grants and other private donations." The Promise Academy is a charter school, which I guess is why they are able to do this and not get food from the commodities program, which is explained in the first article. I've never been too keen on charter schools but if a (semi-)public school can serve healthy food and teach nutrition, then I'm all for it.

It's sobering to read the article in the magazine section though. What is a public school supposed to do when there are actual laws that require them to serve a number of calories (which will then come from fat and sugar) and a deep rooted infrastructure that makes only unhealthy and processed foods dirt cheap? Maybe that pessimistic view is warranted then. A change from the federal level, reforming the commodities program to provide low-cost, healthy items and ingredients (for real cooking!) is really what is needed. I don't think that most public schools will be able to enact real health changes in students without that.


So my garden is starting to yield some actual fruit. This year has largely been a bust. There was much too much rain early in the season and the weeds have taken over. We got some good peas but we stopped eating them after they made me and emily sick (elsewhere this has been a great pea/bean season.) We had some of the best strawberries ever earlier and I've recently eaten some of the yellow cherry tomatoes. I think these are two fruits most people don't really know what they are supposed to taste like. If you want proof go to a supermarket and get some of each and then go to a farmer's market and get their equivalent. Let me know what you think.

Most of my plants haven't done well. We just picked our first zucchini because all of the zucchini blossoms were falling off the plants. I think all of the pepper plants died. So did many of the tomatoes, beets, eggplant and basil. One of my co-workers says he is getting amazing results from the hot pepper seedlings I gave him. I had a great crop of those last year but I don't see a single plant left standing this year. My tomatillo plants are huge and have lots of green lantern-like tomatillos hanging off of them. I might have a bumper crop yet. Which has gotten me thinking, I wonder if there is a website out there for people to post what garden grown fruits and vegetables they have to trade? I'm going to look into it and see what I find.

Monday, August 07, 2006

I'll be your huckleberry

Blueberry actually.

A while ago I said that I had blueberry lemonade when I was in Maine and that I would try to recreate it in my own kitchen. Well, I tried to do it yesterday. The results were not as good as I expected them to be, but I'm going to try to refine the recipe. These are the ratios I'm working with:

Blueberry Lemonade

3 parts Pure blueberry juice*
3 parts water
2 parts fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 part sugar

*a note on blueberry juice - you can make your own by blending blueberries and straining out the solids or you can just buy the juice in the store, which is what I did. If you go to the store to buy the juice pay attention to the labels. There is "pure blueberry juice," which is just that, and there is "blueberry juice," which is acutally a blend of juices. Read the ingredient list. You only want blueberry juice.

With these ratios I found that the taste is very strong on the blueberry and not as lemon-y as I wanted it. So I'm going to shy on the side of more lemon next time around. I suggest you find your own mix.