Hey Y’all!! My name is Chef Jay and I’m happy to be writing this blog with Geissler’s! Along with being a food philosopher ( and YES!...I also hold a degree in philosophy!...lol), I’m also a father, small business owner and a proud veteran of the US Armed Services! Here we’ll be talking about all things food, philosophy, culture, sustainability and agriculture. Did you know that a huge part of CT and MA history is rooted in agriculture?! Did you know that a huge part of our future is in agriculture too?! We have so many local food farmers and agricultural based businesses here and Geissler’s and I want to put them front and center....hope you enjoy!
THE FRUIT OF THE DAY IS.......Strawberries!!!!!
The Strawberry is near and dear to the heart of Connecticut and Massachusetts. We grow them up around these here part and we grow them better than ANYONE....please believe that! Whether it be Easy Pickin's Farm up in Enfield, Lyman Orchards in Middlefield, Jones Family Farms in Shelton, Rose's Berry Farm in South Glastonbury or Deeply Rooted Farms in Harwinton which offers an extended strawberry picking season...in Connecticut - you will have a "berry" good time. Hold your applause please..lol
Some fun stuff to know about the Strawberry: Great source of Vitamin C, Folate (B9) and potassium. Antioxidants YES! great source of fiber? - each little one has about 2% of the daily value! But what I REALLY LOVE ABOUT STRAWBERRIES.....they are approximately 90% water!! I'm always a big fan of eating your water! If this past heat wave has taught us anything it's that the human body can stand up to almost anything except dehydration. When it's hot outside...pack berries and melons because when the water runs out, the berries are like little cantenes!!
So eat them fresh, but if you have the luxury and the time....make a strawberry jam!!
For me, this heat is just blowing up my kitchen plans. The oven or the stove top just looks like a no go when it's 100 degrees outside. So, let's fire up the grill! Hydrate, get some good music on and roast those coals slow cuz it's definitely grilling season! Let's see if we can create something great to eat, on a Sunday evening that the whole family - little kids included - can enjoy. My boys LOVE this recipe because it's fun to make, the flavor is perfect an as my youngest son says - "it's doesn't hurt any animals dad"...lol. I present to you my recipe for Grilled Honey Pineapple Yam Burgers!! It's a page right out of my upcoming cookbook "The Philosopher Chef". This cool little recipe is Food Philosophy Scored - "Young Socrates" - which means it relatively easy and innovative! If you have any questions or are having trouble seeing the recipe card in this post...GO TO MY FACEBOOK PAGE: www.facebook.com/theglobalchef and look in the Food Philosophy Recipe Cards Photo Album! Follow me on social media or just catch me at Geisslers!!
THE FRUIT OF THE DAY IS.......PINEAPPLES!!!!!!!
Did you know that Ghana is one of the top producers of Pineapples in the world!!??....Yes it's true! Along with being the second largest producer of Cocoa in the world, behind its' immediate neighbor to the west the Côte D'Ivoire (ivory coast), Ghanaians produce an insane amount of the most delicious pineapples that you have EVER HAD!! Usually, we get our produce in America from our friends to the south. This is because of economics - it's just less expensive to ship a box of bananas from Central America than it is from Africa. But let me tell you...African fruit is sooooooooo sweet and organic and natural. You can tell the difference because the soil is different! Those farmers and agricultural specialist are drawing on thousands of years of experience!
The pineapple, no matter where you get it really is a great fruit for Vitamin C and Calcium!! So, if you can't get an orange, a pineapple packs just as much of a Vitamin C punch and almost as much calcium as a glass of milk!
"Paper or plastic, sir"?
We all know the saying, "paper or plastic". It's a call made at the end of every story book Norman Rockwell-esque shopping trip going back generations. It's a question, based on your preference of the day. However, these days, it isn't really a question of personal preference but rather, survival of our planet. It's a question about the commitment we have not only to buy from local vendors, local farmers and local grocery stores - but also a question of our commitment to preserving all of this all-American choice for future generations. It's true, we are all Americans and we should choose to lead on this issue of preserving what is best about this green planet we live on - the fact that it's GREEN and BLUE with life!
For years, my family like yours perhaps, have used those little white plastic bags we get from the store for everything from kite making to a makeshift trash liner for the garbage pail in the upstairs bathroom. They came in handy when my family would take road trip across country and we needed a place to throw our juice boxes besides under my moms seat. And who could forget whipping those bad boys out on halloween! When you didn't have a pumpkin pail or a ghostbusters bucket to trick-or-treat with, a doubled up plastic bag from Geisslers could hold enough sweet swag to break an eight year old's arm as he carried it up the steps of Grace Episcopal Church in Downtown Windsor. But my friends, I think it's time for a change.
Plastic is choking our rivers and oceans. It's piled up in landfills and blowing around our freeway off-ramps - it's very near Dickensian (I know all my English majors will love that I found a way to use "Dickensian" in a food blog...lol). No one thing, no one policy or initiative will solve the problem. One politician can't do it all and despite our best efforts to recycle, we need to to a bit more - a lot more. To address this problem, WE THE PEOPLE must get involved! WE THE SMALL BUSINESS COMMUNITY, WE THE LOCAL need to be engaged! I would love to see more stores go to paper and ditch the plastic. It's dramatic at times to imagine such change, and probably even a bit more expensive to abandon the convenience of plastic. We have a tendency to subsidize those products that are worst for our bodies and our planet. It's cheaper to grab a fast food burger than it is to get a fresh salad in most cases. But I believe in this choice.
Switching to paper is not without it's problem or short comings, but it's biodegradable and and more eco-friendly in many respects than plastic. As the discussion continues on how best to preserve our planet for future generations, I feel better knowing that the paper bag won't line the stomach of a whale or a dolphin - it won't choke a river or prevent propers soil drainage. There are also other options including the multiple use grocery bags you can pick up at almost every grocery store now. These bags are at times made of cloth, hemp, linen...i've even seen denim! all great options that allow people to conserve energy and save resources. This is AMERICA....WE create the economy if WE supply the demand!
If we don't have all the answers yet - about how best to preserve and conserve this one planet we have - I hope that there are some community leaders, businesses and stores willing to join others in taking this crucial step. "Paper of plastic" should not be a question reserved only for the end of a whimsical romp through the fresh produce isle rather, it should be an ethical and moral question posed at the beginning of a new day in our community. If we can view this question, not as a superficial problem but as an existential one then I believe we've got this in the bag...lol
THE FRUIT OF THE DAY IS..........CHERRIES
HERE ARE SOME GREAT LOOKING STATS: Fiber: 3 grams, Vitamin C: 18% of the Daily Value (DV), Potassium: 10% of the DV, Copper: 5% of the DV, Manganese: 5% of the DV
With thee types of numbers it's no wonder why cherries are so popular!! They are some of the best pairings in the dessert section. I like to eat them fresh but they are great in homemade ice cream and of course, anytime you pair cherries and chocolate there is magic soon to follow...lol
The fruit of the day is.....the Raspberry!!!
Did you know that raspberries are one of my FAVORITE fruits to cook with!!!!??? It's a very versatile fruit/berry and in particular, it refreshes like no other berry out there! The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition said that consuming flavonoid-rich foods such as raspberries can lead to a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease! Also, Anthocyanin, which is a type of Flavonoid, has been shown to fight inflammation!
The photo below is has a great concept as we hit mid-summer in New England. Club Soda, raspberry and lime with half packet of sugar in the raw makes an excellent drink for the backyard party!
Make sure you get your raspberries today and create something special!!
I've always been a BIG supporter of Connecticut Dairy farms and the great farmers and agricultural workers that make it all happen. One of the things I love about shopping at Geisslers is how much they reach out to and buy from local farmers - our dairy farms are no exception! We've local eggs, milk, cheese and a whole bunch of other locally grown/locally sourced products waiting for you!! Just a friendly reminder to Give local dairy farmers the green light!!
The Fruit of the day is...... the BLUEBERRY!!!!
The Blueberry is rich in antioxidants and bursting with flavor! Every cup of blueberries has about 4 grams of fiber, and when it comes to the RDI (recommended Daily Intake) for every cup of blueberries you get 24% Vitamin C, 36% Vitamin K and 25% Manganese!
Personally, I recommend a fresh Blueberry smoothie! 1 cup of blueberries, 1 large red apple, 1/3 cup orange juice(no pulp), one banana and 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric. NO ADDED SUGAR!
Or just eat them berries fresh yo...lol
The Weekend is here and Geisslers has a THREE DAY SALE going on now!! There's all sorts of stuff but what I'm giving my boys this weekend are the Divvies Vegan and Nut-Free Cookies!! I try and give my boys, as well as my parents and other family members, products that they might now otherwise eat. If you're like me, then you grew up on cookies made with real butter, eggs, peanuts....all that good old fashion, "grandma approved" stuff.
But as we learn more about how our bodies work, it's kind of cool that companies are producing some delicious options to break up the diet. Check out the options at GEISSLERS!!
Rain is on the way tonight and that should make you SMILE!!!....Rainfall brings life and life brings with it the flavors of the earth itself! If you have a garden outside, or if there is one nearby, take a walk right after a good rain. I LOVE the way the planet smells after a good rain. By the way....Bananas, Tomatoes and many types of Squash are getting ready to come into season!
I LOVE LOVE LOVE the way smoked chicken tastes!! Here is a pro tip: brine the meat ahead of time! FIRST WASH THEM HANDS FAM!!
Next, take your raw chicken and place it into into a sanitary food service bucket or large stock pot - something that can fit into the fridge because you're going to want to keep it cold. For a nice round flavor try adding fresh Thyme, Ground Cloves, Worcester Sauce, Sea Salt and Orange Peels to the water. Don't be afraid to play it by ear and sight. Brining really isn't an exact science all the time. What is key is that the water is salty enough to infiltrate the meat fibers through a process known as osmosis (yep, you're right back in 9th grade chemistry...lol). So don't be afraid to add a good amount of salt. Don't worry, it won't be salty when you cook it. KEEP WASHING YOUR HANDS AND SANITIZING SURFACES AS YOU GO!!
Now, gently submerge the meat into the water and stir it around a bit to dissolve the salt. Careful not to splash raw chicken juice everywhere! Put the whole thing in the refrigerator on the bottom shelf and let it brine in this salty flavor bath for 24 hours. After that, discard the water, rub them birds down with your favorite dry rub (might I suggest the Baby J's ERRR-Thang Spice Blend sold at all Geisslers locations...lol) and slow smoke it on the grill. You can sear it on the flames for a minute or two on both sides, but for the slow smoking make sure the meat is off the flames and at a temp of about 275 for 5-6 hours. Make sure you use a meat thermometer to ensure that the meat is achieving at least a temp of 185 degrees for at least 30 seconds. I know that goes beyond the standard a bit, but I want to make sure y'all are being safe out there. If there are any questions, please consult your local health department or ask one of the meat department specialists in any Geisslers Location!
Oh yea....BBQ Sauce them bad boys..lol
Did you know that in 1893, the Supreme Court ruled that the tomato could be regarded legally as a vegetable even though it’s actually a fruit? You see botanically, the tomato is in fact a fruit, not a vegetable. It ripens from a flower on the vine and contains seeds so technically it’s a fruit. However, nutritionists, chefs and even Supreme Court Justices recognize that the primary culinary use of the tomato is as a vegetable! Look up the case: Nix v. Hedden, 149 U.S. 304 (1893)! The case was actually in response to the Tariff Act of 1883 which was deemed to use the ordinary and more common use of the terms “fruit” and “vegetable” rather than the botanical definition.
So....here’s the question food philosophy students: “Is ketchup just a nasty rom temperature fruit smoothie??!!...lol”
The fruit of the day is......
Great to be on the trail with my good friends at Geisslers!! Jay Walking has been a long time in the making and now we will show you the world....Eating local, globally!
Geisslers and I have made a HUGE commitment to eating local, buying local and supporting local farmers and businesses. It’s so important to understand....check out our produce sections and ask your local produce professionals there in the stores. I was blown away when ai found out just how much stuff is grown and made right here in CT and MA!
Grill up some fresh garlic this weekend! Personally, I really enjoy the smokey flavor that comes from crushing up grilled garlic into my homemade BBQ sauce or rubbing it onto some fresh asparagus. It’s a really good thing to have in your refrigerator and it usually lasts in there for about a week! You know how it goes...garlic is good on so many things. You won’t have a problem finding a good use for smoked/grilled garlic...lol
Takes about 30 minutes on a low and slow heat to bring out the flavor. Don’t put it directly onto the flames...lets the smoke and ambient heat evolve those flavors for you....