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Homemade Chicken Tikka Masala

By Todd Barron @ FoodieCuisine.com

Almost nothing beats homemade and the other day I made Chicken Tikka Masala.  It tasted great and was even better on days 2-5 of eating leftovers!

Homemade Chicken Tikka Masala

Homemade Chicken Tikka Masala

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Taste of Hawaii – Trip to Oahu

By Todd Barron @ FoodieCuisine.com

I’m still on vacation in Hawaii but here are some of the great treats I’ve had so far!

Kobe Dog from Hanks Haute Dogs in Honolulu.

Kobe Dog from Hanks Haute Dogs in Honolulu.

Strawberry Tiramisu from Azul in Hawaii.

Strawberry Tiramisu from Azul in Hawaii.

Hangar Steak from BLT in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Hangar Steak from BLT in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Macadamia Nut Pancakes from Aulani Resort in Hawaii.

Macadamia Nut Pancakes from Aulani Resort in Hawaii.

More to come!

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Labor Day Weekend Brisket

By Todd Barron @ FoodieCuisine.com

Sliced Brisket

Sliced Brisket

For Labor Day I smoked 25 pounds of brisket using nothing more than salt and pepper. It came out super tender, moist, and full of flavor. Beef needs nothing more.

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Eat Cheaply and Healthy – Intro

By Todd Barron @ FoodieCuisine.com

The most common excuses you hear from people are “Eating healthy costs too much” or that “Eating healthy takes too much time” or “I don’t have the kitchen to cook healthy food”. Well, they are wrong… I know, that is some tough love but it is the truth. Here is a breakdown of why they are wrong in their assumptions:

Fallacy #1: Eating Healthy Costs Too Much

Use the American Classic of McDonald’s with their signature Big Mac. A typical Big Mac Extra Value Meal costs $5.69 USD and includes the sandwich, a soft-drink, and fries. This meal weighs in at: 990 Calories, 40 grams fat, 123 grams carbohydrates, 33 grams of protein.

Compare it to a sandwich made with wheat bread, 5 ounces of white tuna, mayonnaise, and Swiss cheese that comes in at $3.03 per sandwich. It has the following nutrients: 470 Calories, 19 grams fat, 24 grams carbohydrates, and 40 grams of protein. Instead of a soft drink you would drink water (free) and the fries are completely necessary since they are full of carbohydrates. If you want more calories you can always double the amount of tuna and the price is still lower at $5.15 per sandwich. That would be a whopping 10 ounces of tuna! If you don’t think that is a lot, go make a sandwich with it. 🙂

Fallacy #2: Eating Healthy Takes Too Much Time

The sandwich above can be made in the morning, before you leave for work, in less than ten minutes. The time to eat it is only the time it takes you to remove it from the container used. I highly suggest a reusable container here as it keeps expense down.

Fallacy #3: I Don’t Have the Kitchen To Cook Healthy Food

The sandwich above requires nothing more than a can-opener, a spoon, and a bowl. I personally travel for work a lot and pack a lot of the things I commonly use such as a wooden spoon. If you must have a bowl, you can substitute it with a plastic bag and mix the ingredients by massaging the bag (closed of course!) Yes, it may sound “strange” but there is no excuse. You just need some creativity!

In future segments I will show you other tips for cheap (and healthy) eating!

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It’s Raw!

By Todd Barron @ FoodieCuisine.com

Taylor Professional 9306 Dual Temp IR/Thermocouple Thermometer

Taylor Professional 9306 Dual Temp IR/Thermocouple Thermometer

If you watch the television show Hell’s Kitchen, with Chef Gordon Ramsey in it, you have heard him scream “It’s Raw!” many times and usually many times in a row.  With the advent of instant read thermometers, this shouldn’t ever happen in a professional kitchen.  I am guessing that on the television show the contestants are not allowed to carry around instant-read thermometers, but in real professional kitchens they should be standard equipment.  Even home cooks should have them!

I’m eating dinner and they have a beautiful swordfish filet, caught off the coast of Hawaii, on the menu seared with dill and served over fresh green beans.  I order it and out comes this huge filet of fish, nearing 10 ounces, perfectly cut, and well seared on the outside with wonderful notes of dill and pepper.  The problem arises as I dig into the the filet as it is completely raw in the middle!  Ouch, one of my favorite local restaurants has just served a raw piece of fish!  No worries though, a quick flag down of the waiter results in the plate being whisked away for a new entrée.  Twenty minutes later or so and another beautiful plate of swordfish is presented.  Once again it looks great and the outside tastes wonderful.  But… once again, it is completely raw in the middle.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not a believer of “killing” my dinner by overcooking it but the swordfish cannot even be cut with a fork it is so undercooked.   I literally have to saw through it with a knife and that is not acceptable with fish.  I return it again, and luckily by the third time the filet comes out and is flakey, fork tender, and super moist!  They did not overcook or undercook it and it tastes as good on the inside as it does on the outside.

I feel bad for the kitchen staff, having to cook my dinner three times, and I also feel bad for the owner who had to throw away two portions of food.  I have to wonder though if they use a digital instant-read thermometer?  If they do, I believe what happened could have been avoided.  All is well though as I will be going back, they are one of my favorite restaurants in town after all!

The moral of this story?  If you or your staff do not own instant-read thermometers, invest in them, they can at a minimum reduce food being sent back and at best, save lives.  There is a great story on them over at USA Today.  Check it out.

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Trishna – Michelin Starred Indian Food in London, England

By Todd Barron @ FoodieCuisine.com

I’m in London and while talking with a potential customer receive an invite to dinner at 6:30pm.  I love Indian food and the meeting notice has Trishna in the title.  After a quick search on Google I find that Trishna is an Indian restaurant that sits in the heart of London’s Marylebone Village (England) and earned a Michelin Star for it’s food!

Intrigue sets in as I haven’t been to any Michelin Starred Indian restaurants and Indian food happens to be one of my favorite cuisines.  It is supposed to be full of flavor with spices such as cardamom, clove, cinnamon, mustard seed, turmeric, and more.  One thing you cannot call Indian food is one-note.  One-note food by the way means food that is one-dimensional in flavor.  Given the variety of flavors present in Indian food, this just isn’t possible unless the chef doesn’t know what they are doing.  I accept the notice and make a mental note to leave enough calories in my daily budget to eat well tonight!

The company scavenger hunt I’m on runs long and we bump our reservation to 8pm, but no worries, Trishna makes the adjustment.  After a quick Google of the address our group heads to the Tube for 30 minutes of train time.

Trishna is smaller on the front than I anticipated, with a narrow front seating area, but it extends quite far indoors and has a basement area as well.  The menu is quite simple, especially for an Indian restaurant, and its clear their food is not traditional Indian fare.  Nowhere can I find the typical Chicken Tikka Masala, Lamb Vindaloo, or Biryani dishes.  I’m excited by this as it’s a fresh change of pace to see original dishes!  We order several appetizers for the table and soon are greeted by some very savory dishes.

KOLIWADA SHRIMP [carom seed, ginger, garlic, sweet red chilli chutney]

KOLIWADA SHRIMP [carom seed, ginger, garlic, sweet red chili chutney]

The Koliwada Shrimp appetizer has half a dozen pieces of deep-fried bright red shrimp (from the spices) and is actually quite mild. It’s fried well but is a bit bland. The spicy sauce accompanying the shrimp is spicy though and adds some well needed flavor to the dish. The shrimp, along with the crab, are my two least favorite dishes but everything else makes up for them!

POTATO CHAT [masala chickpeas, papri, tamarind, sweet yoghurt, sev]

POTATO CHAT [masala chickpeas, papri, tamarind, sweet yoghurt, sev]

The Potato Chat reminds me of a diced potato au gratin, but with Indian spices, and isn’t too heavy. I like the chickpeas mixed in and the yogurt helps keep the spices at a level acceptable to the dish.

LAMB CHOP [kashmiri chilli, ginger, mustard mooli]

LAMB CHOP [kashmiri chilli, ginger, mustard mooli]

My favorite dish of the evening shows up next and it’s the Lamb Chop. Luckily we ordered three of them, as you literally only get one lamp chop per order. The lamb is perfectly cooked, very juicy, and each chop is covered completely in rich spices of chili, ginger, turmeric, and other delicious spices known in Indian food. Any kind of chop is easy to overcook and Trishna does a great job of not making the mistake. In no time the group consumes the lamb, wishing for more.

SOUTH INDIAN COAST LAMB CURRY [curry leaf, coastal spices, coconut]

SOUTH INDIAN COAST LAMB CURRY [curry leaf, coastal spices, coconut]

I personally ordered the Lamb Curry and the tender chunks of lamb are swimming in a rich sauce of curry spices with hints of coconut. It pairs well with the lightly-spiced rice provided and is gone from my plate in minutes. I wish I had my own bowl of it!

DORSET BROWN CRAB [butter, pepper, garlic]

DORSET BROWN CRAB [butter, pepper, garlic]

The brown crab is a curry dish of pulled small bits of crab-claw meat and has a lot of butter. I’m not fond of the dish as it’s too rich and the crab meat is buried in the butter, garlic and pepper. It just doesn’t work well and at 22 pounds, it’s way too expensive for the result.

DUCK KEEMA NAAN [green chilli, coriander, cucumber & black pepper raita]

DUCK KEEMA NAAN [green chilli, coriander, cucumber & black pepper raita]

I love a good Naan (Indian bread) and the Duck Stuffed Naan is really good. The duck is tender and full of flavor with the green chili holding it’s own against the duck and the bread is nicely sliced in four pieces, ready for distribution among diners.

TANDOORI BABY CHICKEN [chicken leg chat, coriander chutney]

TANDOORI BABY CHICKEN [chicken leg chat, coriander chutney]

The Tandoori Baby Chicken reminds me a lot of the smoked chicken I make at home and is a very tender piece of boneless thigh meat.  It’s covered in coriander and served alongside a chutney which cools heat well.  My only complaint is that the coriander is ground a little coarse and adds an off-putting texture to the chicken.  The flavor is spot on though.  There is a bowl of Okra on the table, and I try it, but it’s over-fried and I really don’t care for the flavor.  It tastes okay, but is not something I would order again.

Overall I really enjoy my meal and appreciate the chance to dine at Trishna as it’s been a highlight of my trip to London.  I would go there again if given the chance.

Trishna on Urbanspoon

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Hearty Beef Stew Perfect for Diets!

By Todd Barron @ FoodieCuisine.com

Crockpot Beef Stew

Crockpot Beef Stew

This beef stew is low in calories, fat, and carbohydrates but is super flavorful!  It’s easy to make with a crockpot and some time.

  • 2x Kroger Beef for Fajitas (prepackaged beef, marinated)
  • 1 large carrot
  • 2 large green bell peppers
  • 2 large yellow onions
  • 1x 24 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 small bottle of gravy master
  • 2 cans Campbell’s beef broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 cups uncooked long-grain rice

Preparation

  • Dice the bell peppers
  • Peel and dice the carrot
  • Peel and dice the onions

Cooking

  • Place everything in the crockpot
  • Set on high and cook for 8-12 hours
  • Cook the rice per instructions
  • Serve beef over rice and enjoy!

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Uni Sushi in Arkansas at Oceans!

By Todd Barron @ FoodieCuisine.com

If you like uni sushi (sea urchin,) or have never tried it, Oceans at Arthurs in Little Rock, AR has it almost weekly now!  It is by far the best sushi I have ever eaten and nothing out there can describe it.  Give them a call, see if they have it in, and go get some!

Uni Sushi at Oceans

Uni Sushi at Oceans