Why I Love Frozen Custard

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Frozen custard is a totally unique product, very different from ice cream, soft serve, or gelato, and FAR more delicious.

True custard may have originated in Coney Island, but became wildly successful in the Midwest, especially Milwaukee, which is known as the custard capital of the world.

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Just like Chicagoans can be either Cubs or ‘Sox fans, Milwaukeeans can either be Kopp’s, Leon’s or Gilles fans, but not all three.

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The US FDA regulates what can be called frozen custard. It has to have 10% butterfat (as does ice cream), but must also have 1.4% egg yolk. The real difference though is in how custard is made.

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Custard is churned differently (more gently), scraped from the chiller barrel differently (sooner), made fresh daily, put into a freezer container (not served right from the machine) and stored at higher temperatures (18-22 F) than ice cream. It has much less air or overrun. All of these factors, the delicate churn, faster scrape, fresher product, higher temperature, less air, and those egg yolks, make Frozen Custard the creamiest most satisfying frozen confection. It is always hand-scooped, and can be enjoyed in a cup, cone, shake, malt, mix-in, etc. One you try it, ice cream will seem like just fluffy, sugary ice crystals and soft serve will taste like pudding.

On my recent visit to St. Paul, I discovered there was a Culver’s nearby, and raced there after my last meeting, to “beat the heat” (right!). Culver’s isn’t Kopp’s, but still wonderful. I had a single scoop vanilla, and sat for a moment, saying when will I be near real custard again? So I also had a short chocolate malt! Heaven! We’ll have to see if I can still pull out a successful weight loss August!

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So I get home, relay this story to my work buds, and one of them (Brian, from Chicago), tells me there is real Midwestern frozen custard (albeit Ohio, not Wisconsin), called Strickland’s in IRVINE!! I haven’t tried it yet, but I will soon, and if it is any good, I’m doomed!


Dr. Weil’s Food Pyramid

Dr. Andrew Weil has famously promoted the Anti-Inflammatory Diet, and has published an excellent interactive food pyramid to guide us on how to eat healthy by his parameters.  I try to follow this very closely (except I don’t take supplements, and I drink less tea than he recommends), and do believe that many foods cause hidden inflammatory responses (like Migraine).

I encourage you to click the link and get more info, but here are the basic guidelines (listed from the top down – the most important and valuable foods are at the bottom of this listing):

HEALTHY SWEETS
How much: Sparingly
Healthy choices: Unsweetened dried fruit, dark chocolate, fruit sorbet
Why: Dark chocolate provides polyphenols with antioxidant activity. Choose dark chocolate with at least 70 percent pure cocoa and have an ounce a few times a week. Fruit sorbet is a better option than other frozen desserts.

RED WINE
How much: Optional, no more than 1-2 glasses per day
Healthy choices: Organic red wine
Why: Red wine has beneficial antioxidant activity. Limit intake to no more than 1-2 servings per day. If you do not drink alcohol, do not start.

SUPPLEMENTS
How much: Daily
Healthy choices: High quality multivitamin/multimineral that includes key antioxidants (vitamin C, vitamin E, mixed carotenoids, and selenium); co-enzyme Q10; 2-3 grams of a molecularly distilled fish oil; 2,000 IU of vitamin D3
Why: Supplements help fill any gaps in your diet when you are unable to get your daily requirement of micronutrients.
Click here to learn more about supplements and get your free recommendation.

TEA
How much: 2-4 cups per day
Healthy choices: White, green, oolong teas
Why: Tea is rich in catechins, antioxidant compounds that reduce inflammation. Purchase high-quality tea and learn how to correctly brew it for maximum taste and health benefits.

HEALTHY HERBS & SPICES
How much: Unlimited amounts
Healthy choices: Turmeric, curry powder (which contains turmeric), ginger and garlic (dried and fresh), chili peppers, basil, cinnamon, rosemary, thyme
Why: Use these herbs and spices generously to season foods. Turmeric and ginger are powerful, natural anti-inflammatory agents.

OTHER SOURCES OF PROTEIN
How much
: 1-2 servings a week (one portion is equal to 1 ounce of cheese, 1 eight-ounce serving of dairy, 1 egg, 3 ounces cooked poultry or skinless meat)
Healthy choices: High quality natural cheese and yogurt, omega-3 enriched eggs, skinless poultry, grass-fed lean meats
Why: In general, try to reduce consumption of animal foods.  If you eat chicken, choose organic, cage-free chicken and remove the skin and associated fat.  Use organic, reduced-fat dairy products moderately, especially yogurt and natural cheeses such as Emmental (Swiss), Jarlsberg and true Parmesan.  If you eat eggs, choose omega-3 enriched eggs (made by feeding hens a flax-meal-enriched diet), or organic eggs from free-range chickens.

COOKED ASIAN MUSHROOMS
How much: Unlimited amounts
Healthy choices: Shiitake, enokidake, maitake, oyster mushrooms (and wild mushrooms if available)
Why: These mushrooms contain compounds that enhance immune function. Never eat mushrooms raw, and minimize consumption of common commercial button mushrooms (including crimini and portobello).

WHOLE SOY FOODS
How much: 1-2 servings per day (one serving is equal to ½ cup tofu or tempeh, 1 cup soymilk, ½ cup cooked edamame, 1 ounce of soynuts)
Healthy choices: Tofu, tempeh, edamame, soy nuts, soymilk
Why: Soy foods contain isoflavones that have antioxidant activity and are protective against cancer.  Choose whole soy foods over fractionated foods like isolated soy protein powders and imitation meats made with soy isolate.

FISH & SEAFOOD
How much:  2-6 servings per week (one serving is equal to 4 ounces of fish or seafood)
Healthy choices: Wild Alaskan salmon (especially sockeye), herring, sardines, and black cod (sablefish)
Why: These fish are rich in omega-3 fats, which are strongly anti-inflammatory. If you choose not to eat fish, take a molecularly distilled fish oil supplement that provides both EPA and DHA in a dose of 2-3 grams per day.

HEALTHY FATS
How much:  5-7 servings per day (one serving is equal to 1 teaspoon of oil, 2 walnuts, 1 tablespoon of flaxseed, 1 ounce of avocado)
Healthy choices: For cooking, use extra virgin olive oil and expeller-pressed organic canola oil. Other sources of healthy fats include nuts (especially walnuts), avocados, and seeds – including hemp seeds and freshly ground flaxseed. Omega-3 fats are also found in cold water fish, omega-3 enriched eggs, and whole soy foods. Organic, expeller pressed, high-oleic sunflower or safflower oils may also be used, as well as walnut and hazelnut oils in salads and dark roasted sesame oil as a flavoring for soups and stir-fries
Why: Healthy fats are those rich in either monounsaturated or omega-3 fats.  Extra-virgin olive oil is rich in polyphenols with antioxidant activity and canola oil contains a small fraction of omega-3 fatty acids.

WHOLE & CRACKED GRAINS
How much: 
3-5 servings a day (one serving is equal to about ½ cup cooked grains)
Healthy choices
: Brown rice, basmati rice, wild rice, buckwheat, groats, barley, quinoa, steel-cut oats
Why: Whole grains digest slowly, reducing frequency of spikes in blood sugar that promote inflammation. “Whole grains” means grains that are intact or in a few large pieces, not whole wheat bread or other products made from flour.

PASTA (al dente)
How much
: 2-3 servings per week (one serving is equal to about ½ cup cooked pasta)
Healthy choices: Organic pasta, rice noodles, bean thread noodles, and part whole wheat and buckwheat noodles like Japanese udon and soba
Why: Pasta cooked al dente (when it has “tooth” to it) has a lower glycemic index than fully-cooked pasta. Low-glycemic-load carbohydrates should be the bulk of your carbohydrate intake to help minimize spikes in blood glucose levels.

BEANS & LEGUMES
How much: 1-2 servings per day (one serving is equal to ½ cup cooked beans or legumes)
Healthy choices: Beans like Anasazi, adzuki and black, as well as chickpeas, black-eyed peas and lentils
Why: Beans are rich in folic acid, magnesium, potassium and soluble fiber.  They are a low-glycemic-load food.  Eat them well-cooked either whole or pureed into spreads like hummus.

VEGETABLES
How much: 4-5 servings per day minimum (one serving is equal to 2 cups salad greens, ½ cup vegetables cooked, raw or juiced)
Healthy Choices: Lightly cooked dark leafy greens (spinach, collard greens, kale, Swiss chard), cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale, bok choy and cauliflower), carrots, beets, onions, peas, squashes, sea vegetables and washed raw salad greens
Why: Vegetables are rich in flavonoids and carotenoids with both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity.  Go for a wide range of colors, eat them both raw and cooked, and choose organic when possible.

FRUITS
How much:  3-4 servings per day (one serving is equal to 1 medium size piece of fruit, ½ cup chopped fruit, ¼ cup of dried fruit)
Healthy choices: Raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, peaches, nectarines, oranges, pink grapefruit, red grapes, plums, pomegranates, blackberries, cherries, apples, and pears – all lower in glycemic load than most tropical fruits
Why: Fruits are rich in flavonoids and carotenoids with both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity.  Go for a wide range of colors, choose fruit that is fresh in season or frozen, and buy organic when possible.

Additional Item:

WATER
How much: Throughout the day
Healthy choices: Drink pure water, or drinks that are mostly water (tea, very diluted fruit juice, sparkling water with lemon) throughout the day.
Why: Water is vital for overall functioning of the body.


Julia Child 100

Julia Child would have turned 100 this August, and there are many organizations doing many terrific things to celebrate her life and work.

You can follow the JC100 phenomenon on both Facebook and Twitter, where recipes and events are being posted.

You can buy Mastering the Art of French Cooking as an e-book or in print.

Most especially, you can cook your way through Julia’s best recipes.  Not all 3700. Not even all of them from Julie and Julia, but just pick some of your favorites.  Many cooks and chefs are publishing “simplified recipes” that make it much easier to replicate Julia’s art, like this one for Coq au Vin.

Lastly, if you are really a fan, see if there are things going on in your community.  Pasadena, Julia’s birthplace, will be celebrating with birthday parties this August.


Foodie to Fittie

Can a foodie be a “fittie” too?  YES.  I know many people who truly enjoy good eats while keeping really fit too.

My mission:  To continue to have an appreciation and enjoyment of fine dining, while making a substantial move to lose weight and become fit.

The plan:

  • Minimal consumption of sugar.
  • Minimal consumption of refined carbs or “white” carbs (only eat whole grains and complex carbs).
  • Minimal consumption of dairy or animal fats (fortunately I really do love Olive Oil).  OK, maybe a little bacon!
  • Lower sodium intake.
  • EXERCISE!!!  I actually had almost forgotten how much I really enjoy exercise.  I’m lucky enough to get the “runner’s high” at relatively low heart rate levels, and love the way I feel both during and after a good workout.  Tomorrow I rejoin the gym.

I will prioritize.

Generally much more fish and lean proteins.

If I want beef or other higher calorie protein instead of fish or white meat poultry, I will have to watch other items in the meal more carefully.

I will revel in the world of fresh and minimally cooked vegetables and fruits.  A dash of oil, a sprinkle of lemon, some seasoning.  I take the attitude that vegetables are friends – they are there to keep me healthy.

I can live without restaurant bread.  And butter.  And potatoes, white rice, orzo, etc.  All restaurants can easily sub in extra veggies, and they are usually even better than what came with the dish in the first place.

Berries and yogurt are healthy AND delicious!  Baked dessert will be a valued and rare treat.  And counterbalanced by more exercise, or fewer calories in some other meal.

I want back the great body and fitness level I had in my 20’s and 30’s (but NOT the hair!).

I am not going to abandon being a foodie, but I am very committed to being a fittie too!

(Thanks for listening!)


Food Revolution Day is TODAY

Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Day is today, Saturday, May 19th.  Mission is to increase awareness of the importance of healthy eating especially for children and in our schools.

See the map for activities in your area.

Read about what Jamie is doing worldwide with the donated funds and with his foundation.

Consider donating 10% of what you spent on food this week (including dining out and entertaining) to the cause!


Strawberry Season! 20 Recipes

This is prime strawberry season, and how nice of Sunset Magazine to give us 20 recipes for strawberries, including the great looking strawberry zinfandel trifle, strawberry nectarine almond tart, and lemon shortbread cheesecake. How great do these look?!

Last year, I posted their great recipe for Clafoutis, a custardy cake with berries.  This is so easy and fast, and will really impress your guests!

I love strawberries, and especially appreciate being able to buy organic or at least direct from a farm stand.  Smith’s Farms at Jeffrey Road and Bryan Ave in Irvine has organic berries that are very fresh from the field.  Enjoy berry season, at least until the peaches get here!


Taste of the Nation Events – Share Our Strength

Share our Strength is a very strong non-profit, dedicated to ending childhood hunger. As they put it:

It’s not enough to make sure America’s children have enough to eat; we must make sure they are getting the nutrition they need to live healthy, active lives.  That is why Share Our Strength’s highest priority is to make sure that every child in America gets the nutritious food he or she needs to learn, grow and thrive.

Taste of the Nation is a premier culinary event taking place in 41 cities across the US, with 100% of the proceeds going to fight childhood hunger. See the location that is nearest you.

This is a fantastic way to experience excellent cuisine in an elegant environment and do good for those less fortunate.

In Southern California, you have 2 choices.  June 3rd at the Montage Resort in Laguna Beach, or June 10th at The Lot (former Warner Bros Studio) in West Hollywood.

Even if you can’t go to one of these, next time you dine out, consider donating 20% of your dinner cost to Share Our Strength!