more on the Beyond grocery store products

I continue to be impressed by the work that the good folks at Beyond Meat are doing.

Beyond Meat Taco CrumblesI have written about their grocery store Beyond Meat patty, the Carl’s Jr. Beyond Famous Star, and the Del Taco Beyond Taco, good stuff all of it.

I have now tried two more of their grocery store products.

The Beyond Beef Crumbles, feisty flavor, is a frozen product. I used it to make tacos. It’s very tasty. From my perspective it requires no additional seasoning. It’s perhaps just a tad rubbery, but it’s really not bad at all.

Beyond Meat SausageI had been wanting to try the fresh Beyond Sausage for some time. I finally had the occassion to do so recently. There are two flavors; I bought the Brat Original. I used it on spaghetti and it was quite tasty. Terry really liked it as well. We both agreed that it was a hell of a lot more flavorful than the turkey sausage we’ve purchased.

The other sausage flavor is Italian. I’m looking forward to trying that one. These people are doing a marvelous job.


the Beyond brand fast food products

I wrote a while back about trying the Beyond veggie burger from the grocery store. I was really impressed with the texture and taste and was anxious to try the Beyond Famous Star burger from the Carl’s Jr. fast food chain.

I finally got the chance to give it a try, and I was very impressed. Quite tasty, just like the beef Famous Star, hardly indistinguishable. A second try confirmed my feelings.

Beyond TacoMore recently Del Taco came out with their Beyond Taco. Now I am not a big Del Taco fan. (What’s a Mexican fast food chain doing selling french fries, and who wants french fries with a taco?) Nonetheless, in my quest to learn about the new generation of plant-based meat substitutes, I felt that I owed the product a try.

My perception: not bad. The consistency was the consistency of taco meat and the taste matched that of a Del Taco taco. I won’t go back, but I’m glad I tried it.

I also have to give Del Taco credit for being fully committed to the Beyond Taco. They have dedicated printed Beyond Taco wrappers complete with logo. Carl’s identifies their Beyond Famous Star by wrapping the burger a certain way or affixing a sticker that says “Promo.”

Now I’m waiting for the Burger King Impossible Whopper to arrive in Southern California. I’m looking forward to that.


supper or dinner?

dinner platesWhat’s that meal we eat on weeknight evenings? I say “dinner.” It’s what I said when I was growing up. “Mom, what’s for dinner?” But somewhere in the back of my mind I think I knew it was really supper. Maybe my dad used the term; I’m not sure. On Sunday in the mid-afternoon we had dinner. My mother made a roast, we had sides, and my Grandma Christie often joined us.

The folks at Wide Open Eats published an interesting essay on the subject. They point out that from an etymological standpoint dinner is the main meal of the day, whatever time it is served, while supper is by definition the evening meal.

No doubt you have your own perspective on this critical issue.


Coming to My Senses

Coming to My SensesComing to My Senses: The Making of a Counterculture Cook
Alice Waters
Clarkson Potter (September 5, 2017), 310 pages
Kindle edition $12.99, Amazon paperback $11.59

I was intrigued when I first saw the review of this book and I added it to my stack of Kindle samples. I finally got around to reading it.

Waters spends a lot of time talking about her childhood and elementary and high school years, but the book starts to get interesting when she arrives at college. She and her best friend started out at UC Santa Barbara, but they found that school boring and transferred to Berkeley. She fit right in to the counterculture and was there as the free speech movement began.

She took an unauthorized, self-directed junior year abroad in France which had a profound influence on her thinking about food. Back in Berkley she slowly evolved the idea of opening a restaurant, even though she had no training in the culinary profession or in business. She recruited friends who shared her vision and who were skilled in their own fields, though not in the restaurant world. Somehow the passion and drive made it all work and Chez Panisse has been a renowned restaurant since 1971.

The writing is not always engaging, but if you enjoy things culinary you might appreciate this book.


real whipped cream

Terry and I had a good Thanksgiving. We were joined by Terry’s sister Julie who drove up from El Cajon with Laura, long part of the family, who would have been Julie’s mother-in-law had it not been for a fatal car accident decades earlier. With Terry recovering from her knee-replacement surgery we chose not to cook but rather ordered a take-out pack from Hometown Buffet.

whipping creamThe package included two pies, a pumpkin pie that we enjoyed here and a cherry pie that we took out to my brother’s house later in the day. I made the decision, without really telling anyone, that we would have fresh homemade whipped cream. The day before Thanksgiving I made a dinner that called for heavy cream in the recipe, so instead of buying a small single-use carton of cream I bought a large one.

I put the cream in my Kitchen Aid stand mixer bowl, threw in a little sugar, attached the wire whisk and turned the mixer on high. I had a few moments of panic when the cream did not become whipped, but I kept my Kitchen Aid running, kicked it up higher, and soon, voilà!, I had whipped cream.

Terry, Julie, and Laura were surprised and pleased. I was happy with my accomplishment. It made for a nice touch on an already fine Thanksgiving.


hot sauces

hot saucesTerry and I are big fans of hot sauce. We always have a bottle of Cholula and a bottle of Tapatio on hand for when we have Mexican dishes. I generally feel that Cholula has a richer, more full-bodied taste than Tapatio, but it’s nice to have both.

Typically we never kept Louisiana-style hot sauce among our supply of condiments, but I bought a bottle at one point for a recipe I was fixing so we’ve had it on hand. Now it’s not as if I’m unfamiliar with Louisiana hot sauce. Both Popeye’s Chicken and Waba Grill make it available and I know it’s much hotter than Mexican hot sauce.

I had, however, never juxtaposed the two kinds of hot sauce in my mind until recently. One evening we were having leftovers that were sort of bland so I put all three bottles on the table. It really hit home the reality that Louisiana hot sauce is a lot hotter than Mexican.

What I learned: I really enjoy Louisiana hot sauce on my leftovers.


Sprouts isn’t perfect

I love Sprouts market. They have a great service deli, quality produce, a huge bulk foods section, quality vitamins, and a variety of interesting offerings in their grocery and frozen food sections.

Sprouts does, however, have its faults.

Sprouts TunaI enjoyed the brand-name frozen food offerings they had but they were a tad on the expensive side. I was happy when they offered a selection of house-brand frozen meals. I bought three. Big disappointment. I found all three virtually inedible. A message posted to their web site resulted only in a minimal apology with no offer of compensation.

Then there was the house-brand tuna. I had purchased two cans. I knew something was amiss when I saw that Terry had put one empty can directly in the recycle toter outside rather than just tossing it in our kitchen recycle bin. She said the smell was overwhelming and she had to get rid of the can. A number of weeks later I found the tuna in the other can dry, dense, and barely edible.

Sprouts has a lot going for it. But sometimes they don’t seem concerned about quality.