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Posts tagged ‘food’

Ingredient Profile: Black Garlic

Black garlic bulbs at Whole Foods Market

It’s no secret that there are trends in foods – and one ingredient we’re starting to see on menus more and more frequently is black garlic.

What is black garlic, exactly?

Black garlic is simply fermented white garlic – no other fancy gimmicks or ingredients (and no panic necessary for soy-averse gluten free diets).

It’s possible to make your own by keeping whole heads of garlic in a warm humid environment for 3 to 5 weeks, though this does come with it the environmental downside of leaving your oven on 140C /280F the whole time.

(Plus, “fermenting” and “look it up on the internet” aren’t necessarily good food safety companions.)

With any trendy food comes the inevitable claims of Super Amazing Health Benefits (now with more Omega-3s!), so take from it what you will that it’s meant to have double the amount of antioxidants of non-fermented garlic, and Oprah.com claims it’s a new superfood.

But let’s get down to the good stuff – how does it taste and what do you do with it?

Black garlic cloves take on the texture of roasted garlic (albeit a touch more firm)

First off, you can eat it raw if you’re so inclined. The flavour is incredibly mild and a touch sweet, almost like a firm textured roasted garlic but leaning towards a balsamic vinegar or tamarind tanginess.

General guidance is to cook with it as you would use normal garlic – but beware, the inky colour does transfer so if you didn’t want grey ricotta or eggs you may wish to hold off.

I tried it in two recipes:

– Sliced and mixed with maple, orange zest and pomegranate molasses served over roasted duck breast. The flavour didn’t really stand out and I couldn’t quite figure out what the hype is about (though it does look like the poor man’s truffle).

– Sautéed with shallots in an asparagus risotto. You can see I wasn’t kidding about the colour transfer thing – besides the garlic, the only ingredients are shallots, leeks, asparagus, arborio rice, white wine and clear vegetable stock.

Asparagus risotto with black garlic and leek.

Now I get the hype – and it’s spot on! The flavour of black garlic was very rich and pronounced and I will say it added so much to the dish I didn’t need nearly the level of salt and parmesan I usually sneak into risotto.

(Plus, it had the added benefit of covering up the slightly charred leeks that I meant to caramelize gently.)

Quality & Storage

It’s not the most common product to find so you may not be able to pick and choose when it comes to quality. If you’re going to make it yourself, it’s crucial to start with the highest quality garlic because the fermentation process intensifies flavours.

I was advised to keep it in a paper bag if I would use it within a month, or in the fridge to keep for longer than that.

So, how to find this magic ingredient?

In Vancouver you can find it at both South China Seas Trading Co and Whole Foods Market (Cambie). Rumor has it that it’s available at San Francisco’s Berkeley Bowl as well.

Where have you found black garlic? 

Any tips or discoveries in cooking with it?

Today, we shine the light on you. Share a story of food and love.

We invite you to share with the Foodtree community a story about food that reminds you of Love.

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4 Incredibly Worthwhile Short Videos About Food That You Should See

The amount of exciting and inspiring work being done around the food system today is nothing short of staggering.

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5 Food-Related Kickstarter Projects That End Soon Which You Should Know About

We thought we'd spend some time looking at the open projects related to food, and pick a few favorites that we thought you might enjoy knowing about or contributing to.
To be clear, we're not affiliated with any of these projects and don't know the people behind them. We wish them and the other food efforts running Kickstarters right now the best of luck.

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If you missed TEDxManhattan “Changing The Way We Eat”, here’s a visual summary. #tedxman

We spent part of this past Saturday watching the TEDxManhattan event from afar, thanks to the real-time feed that attendees provided to us on Twitter. Below is a collection of those tweets, using a story aggregation tool from our friends at Storify:

The Ultimate List of Recommended Food Movement Reads

There is a staggering amount of information available about the food movement and it can be hard to know where to begin. In the interest of helping people to sift through the noise we’ve put together a reading list of excellent books about the food movement.

Our list includes some of the top books released within the last ten years that have revolutionized the way people think about food, many of which come highly recommended by our team at Foodtree. Dive in to any one of them to learn more about what you’re eating and our global food system.

This list is not in a particular order because it’s not intended as a top ten (or top thirteen in this case). These are books that might lead you to that “AHA!” moment that most of us in the office have experienced!

The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals

Author: Michael Pollan
Michael Pollan has written extensively about food over the years and is practically the poster boy for the food movement. This is a groundbreaking book that explores the questions of what we should eat by tracing four different food chains from source to plate.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

Author: Barbara Kingsolver
This is a personal account of the year Barbara Kingsolver and her family spent growing their own food and what they learned from the experience. It’s an inspiring read and brings awareness to eating food in season, and delves into different aspects of the food industry. There are also numerous recipes throughout the book, including one for making cheese.

The Fruit Hunters

Author: Adam Gollner
Not as well known as some of the other books on this list, the Fruit Hunters is a fascinatingly detailed account of the world of fruit. There are hundreds of varietals of fruit around the world that we don’t have access to in North American grocery stores. Adam Gollner’s sensuous descriptions will have you craving exotic fruits of all kinds, and give you a peek into the crazy world of the fruit obsessed.

100-Mile Diet

Author: Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon
Originally written as a series of articles for the Tyee, this is a first person account of eating food grown and processed within one hundred miles. Smith and MacKinnon pioneered the idea of only consuming food sourced from within a limited radius of home, and their experience highlights how much we rely on food imported from elsewhere.

Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food

Author: Paul Greenberg
This is written by a man who has been a life-long fisherman with an intimate perspective of the state of our oceans. He creates a thorough analysis of the state of wild and farmed seafood with a focus on the four fish we consume the most: salmon, sea bass, cod, and tuna. The most important ecological question facing the oceans today is how we can sustainably meet this demand for certain types of seafood while using different methods of capturing and farming fish.

The End of Food

Author: Paul Roberts
In this carefully researched and vividly recounted narrative, Roberts lays out the stark economic realities beneath modern food and demonstrates how our institution of making, marketing, and moving what we eat is less and less compatible with the billions of consumers that system was built to serve.

Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal

Author: Eric Schlosser
There is a movie of the same name loosely based upon this non-fiction account of the affects of fast food upon North American culture and the food industry. The author goes behind the scenes to reveal terrifying bits of information that will be enough to put you off fast food forever.

Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health

Author: Marion Nestle
As with Michael Pollan, Marion Nestle has written an extensive list of food movement books you should also read. With Food Politics she focuses on the industry of food and the fierce competition by big business for our food dollars which has led to an increase in obesity and a decline in health despite a surplus of food. When it comes to the mass production and consumption of food, strategic decisions are driven by economics rather than science, common sense, or health.

Bottomfeeder: How to Eat Ethically in a World of Vanishing Seafood

Author: Taras Grescoe
Bottomfeeder is another perspective on the seafood industry, this time from a food lover’s perspective. Author Taras Grescoe shares the experience of his round the world quest for a truly decent seafood meal. He provides readers with an explanation of how to choose the best fish for our environment and our bodies, and eating from the bottom of the ocean food chain rather than from the top.

The Unhealthy Truth

Author: Robin O’Brien
The unhealthy truth is that much of the food available in North American grocery and fast food chains is full of things that aren’t good for us. Robin O’Brien examines the direct relationship between the manipulation of food and the increase in food allergies in children and cancers in adults. She offers recipes and an action plan for eliminating toxic ingredients from your diet and moving towards a healthier life.

Jamie’s Food Revolution: Rediscover How to Cook Simple, Delicious, Affordable Meals

Author: Jamie Oliver
Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has been on a crusade that last few years to promote healthy eating in schools. This is a companion book to his television series, “The Food Revolution“. It is a recipe book with step-by-step instructions for simple, healthy meals for people who don’t know how to cook.

Why Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating

Author: Mark Bittman
Mark Bittman is the author of the popular cookbook, “How to Cook Everything”, which is filled with recipes and instructions to get people to learn to cook for themselves. With “Why Food Matters” he’s put together a handbook on eating healthy that is not reliant on animal products and nutritionally worthless food.

The Urban Food Revolution: Changing The Way We Feed Cities

Author: Peter Ladner
Recently published and written by a former Vancouver City Coucillor, this book focuses on ways for urban centers to move towards food security. The focus is on the need to bring food production into our communities to ensure that fresh sustainable food is affordable and widely available. It’s full of advice on how to join the local food revolution.

Any books you’d add to the list?

What books do you consider a “must read” when learning about food?

Image by Tess on Foodtree.

Anthony on Hacking the Food System

Danielle Gould’s Food+Tech Connect is one of the leading publications online that’s focused on the intersection of technology and food. Recently she’s been hosting a deeply thoughtful discussion exploring the ways that technology, information and data can change the food system status quo.

Our CEO Anthony Nicalo is today’s guest author, so take a minute to check it out. [link]

We live in a backward world. A world where it is strange to know where our food comes from. Foods that are grown and processed without adulteration have to prove it, while the use of chemicals and manipulation do not have to be disclosed.

Information and technology on the other hand can contribute to a better food system by eliminating information asymmetry. It only takes a couple of times choosing something you know the provenance of to remind you that it is actually bizarre to NOT know the source of your food.

– Anthony Nicalo on Hacking the Food System: Eliminating Information Asymmetry