Monthly Archives: July 2017

Deconstructed Food: It’s Not Just for Chipotle Anymore

What’s in your meal?

No really—what’s actually in your meal? Have you read the ingredient labels on everything you’re eating? Do you know exactly what you’re putting into your body 3+ times per day?

Undesirable ingredients like sugar, preservatives and unhealthy fats often hide in the most unexpected products, including condiments, canned foods and snacks. Perhaps you didn’t know how frequently you consume small amounts of refined sugar and preservatives. But add it all up, and you may realize even “healthy” products aren’t exactly what they seem.

In response to growing concern about meal quality, many restaurants and food companies are starting to take a deconstructed food approach to their menu. Following Chipotle’s “build-your-own burrito” precedent, many other restaurants now offer their customers the chance to see each ingredient side-by-side before making a decision. Greater ingredient transparency means greater trust in the company’s offerings.

The Deconstruction Advantage

At About the Table, we like the build-your-own idea not just because it offers more choices, but because it allows you to consider each ingredient before adding it to your meal. If you know gluten and dairy present digestive problems for you, you can skip the cheese and tortilla and substitute guacamole and rice instead. You can ask questions about each ingredient—we’re always happy to talk food!

Building your own meal also encourages you to experiment with different flavor combinations and become a more adventurous eater. Knowing any choice you make will be a delicious one, you can feel comfortable diving headfirst into the array of spices, flavors and textures.

Bring It Home

Deconstruction isn’t just for restaurants, either. At home, you can recreate the experience by setting out different ingredients and letting everyone in the family build their own meal. For kids, this lets them try new foods and makes them feel like they’ve participated in making dinner.

Need ideas? Try Egg Roll in a Bowl with different sautéed veggies, ground pork, rice and sauces like tamari. For a fun dessert option, give Ina Garten’s Strawberry Shortcakes Deconstructed a whirl. Mexican, Greek and Italian food themes also work well.

Add Build-Your-Own Options

About the Table specializes in customized menus that appeal to all palates and ages. Ask us to add deconstructed food options to your meal service and start broadening your culinary horizons—while knowing every ingredient is a healthy, whole-food choice. Contact us to get started with personal chef services.

Too Hot to Cook? Try These No-Cook Meal Ideas This Summer!

Has it become too hot to cook in your kitchen this summer? The thought of turning on the oven or stove is less than appealing when you’ve been out in the sun all day. But don’t let the heat spoil your appetite. There are plenty of light, no-cook meal ideas available to beat the heat while keeping your family well-fed!

Key Ingredients for No-Cook Meals

1. Seasonal Veggies: When building a meal that doesn’t require the stovetop or oven, think veggies first. Summer is the ideal time to enjoy a variety of raw veggies, from sugar snap peas to bell peppers. Invest in a spiralizer to make fresh “noodles” out of zucchini, carrots or beets. Avocados are incredibly diverse and can be transformed into anything from salad toppings to creamy sauces. Try this recipe for Caprese-Stuffed Avocados for a light twist on traditional caprese salad.

2. Pre-Made Proteins: This is also the perfect time to use canned meats such as tuna, chicken or salmon. Any of these proteins can be combined with mayonnaise, diced veggies and a few spices for a wonderfully flavorful salad. Scoop it onto crackers or into butter lettuce leaves for a crisp, refreshing meal.

3. Leafy Greens: Salads can easily become the centerpiece of the meal if you’re dreading turning on the oven. A southwestern-flavored salad with corn, black beans and tomatoes lends itself to a variety of other toppings like peppers, guacamole and salsa. Or try a Greek salad with feta cheese, kalamata olives and cucumbers.

4. Gourmet Items: Who says dinner needs to be plated? Fill up the table with platters of gourmet deli meats and cheeses, raw fruits (like figs) and veggies. Add your favorite dips, and let everyone gather around the table and build their own meal. This could easily become a picnic dinner if you want to venture to a park to eat.

Too Hot and Tired to Make a Meal?

Let us help! About the Table can prepare light, refreshing cold meals for you and your family to enjoy all summer long. Contact us here to set up a weekly meal plan.

Already a client? Ask us about including more cold meals on the menu!

New Ways to Enjoy Coffee (That Don’t Involve Sipping!)

Coffee is the latest trend in the food and beverage industry, and there are new and brilliant coffee recipes popping up every day. Millennials are driving demand for more innovative ways to consume their cup of joe, including cold brew and Bulletproof. But you can also enjoy coffee as a delicious ingredient in your summer dishes. From meat rubs to dessert sauces, coffee isn’t just for drinking anymore!

Coffee in Its Natural State

Most high-quality coffee comes from the C. arabica variety of coffee bean. The green coffee beans are contained in small red coffee berries and roasted after harvesting to attain their rich brown color. Because most coffee contains chemical residues from pesticides, organic coffee is worth purchasing if you consume it every day.

Coffee’s Health Benefits

The health benefits of coffee and caffeine are vast, but here are a few of the highlights:

• May reduce the risk of cancer, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes and high blood pressure
• Improves physical performance, memory and mental alertness
• Stimulates digestion and weight loss

Our Favorite Coffee Recipes

If you’ve never tried coffee as a food addition, it’s time to change that! A few of our preferred ways to incorporate coffee include:

Coffee bean flour: Use coffee bean flour to enhance the flavor and nutritional value of your baked goods! Coffee flour can be substituted for up to 15% of flour in most recipes, but keep in mind you’ll need to add 10-25% more liquid as well.
Light roast coffee rub for roast beef or pork tenderloin: Combine ground light roast beans with salt, pepper and your spices of choice (we recommend chili powder and paprika), then rub to cover the outside of a roast and cook as you normally would. This makes a great option for summer grilling!
Mocha sauce: Warm a cup of brewed dark roast coffee on the stove and stir in baking chocolate, butter and sugar until the chocolate has dissolved. You’ll have a lovely mocha sauce to drizzle on top of whipped cream, cakes or fruit.
Espresso vinaigrette: This one is super simple—just add red wine vinegar, olive oil, honey and instant espresso to a dressing cruet and shake thoroughly. Try it on a breakfast salad with bacon, eggs and avocado, or on this grilled green salad from Bon Appetit.

Keep the Caffeine Buzz Going

Request coffee recipes as part of your event menu with our catering services. Coffee-inspired dishes are always a hit with party guests (hint: you MUST try our triple chocolate espresso brownies!). Contact us to book your next gathering.

Source: http://www.foodinsight.org/caffeine-facts-tea-coffee-chocolate-guarana-kola-nut-benefits