Archive for the ‘NERDSTEAK – Food Rant’ Category

AxeMenBBQ

The Axe-Men BBQ team out of West Dundee, Illinois is looking for supporters and sponsors for this years BBQ season. We are a new team that competed in our first KCBS event in October of 2014, and still ended up with a 9th place call for ribs, and 10th place call for chicken, even with minimal equipment.  Our team is planning to compete in at least 6 events next season, and our goal is to participate in high profile events like the American Royal Barbeque Competition in Kansas City, as well as the Jack Daniel’s Championship in Lynchburg. Many of the regional events we participate in will be in the Midwest. We are fully invested in competing on the KCBS circuit and making Axe-Men BBQ a grand-champion team.  We also would eventually like to sell our sauces, rubs, and marinades to the general public.

As you might be aware, these BBQ competitions take a lot of time, effort, and money to complete. We are interested in everything from grills, smokers, trailers, campers, and meat…down to cleaning supplies, tables, chairs, coolers, wood, charcoal, beverages, knives, utensils, promotion materials, entry fees, and cash donations. In return, we want to go above and beyond to help promote any sponsors who help us along the way. We would add your company/personal name and/or logo to banners, clothing, or any other allowable items.  We can hand out sell sheets, contact info, or samples of anything you wish to visitors of the events. We would add you to our email list so you can keep track of our competitions, as well as visit us at any time to sample some of our award winning BBQ. Also, we would be more than happy to have a representative from your company on site to discuss your products with the public or other teams. If you have any other requests on what you would like from us in return for sponsorship, we are more than happy to discuss. The team also has a large network on social media including personal pages, blogs, and professional contacts.
Please let us know if you have any questions or need any additional information. Below are a few links to see how exciting some of the events and opportunities we will be participating in.
Thank you very much for your time, and we look forward to hearing from you soon!
Steve Quirk
Mike Haracz
Ribs

ID-100128822You can hit that gym for 3 hours burning over 2,000 calories, or walk your dog around the block…depending on your fitness level, you still need to think about what to eat to recover after intense activity so you can keep yourself in top shape without turning into a zombie the following day.  It is recommended to have protein for muscle recovery and carbs/fat to replenish energy storage 30 minutes after activity.  Don’t assume that because you have SOME protein you will ‘bulk up’ as it is just as important for recovery as it is for muscle building. Here are a few good options for post workout recovering, or to recoup after shoveling all that snow:

  • Eggs – 1 large egg contain only 70 calories with almost 7 grams of protein. Pair some eggs up with kale, tomatoes, onions and avocado, and you have a super nutritious meal that will fill you up, and is surprisingly healthy.
  • Hummus and Pita – Chickpeas (or garbanzo beans) have both protein and carbs, plus when blended with olive oil and tahini, you have a very dense mix of protein, carbs, and healthy fats.  Remember that this is a bit calorically dense, but since you just used up a bunch of energy, this is the perfect time to add energy back.
  • Trail Mix – Nuts for protein and fats, fruit for carbs, trail mix is natures candy! It also has the benefit of being portable…so mix your own and take it with you.  Pairing nuts with dried blueberries and banana will also keep your immune systems in tip-top form.
  • Quinoa – It is super trendy AND super healthy with even more nutrients than brown rice, plus the added fiber will keep you fuller longer.  It can be eaten hot or cold and can be snuck in meals anytime of the day.
  • Protein Shake – You may or may not consider this an option, but protein shakes have been specifically formulated for muscle growth, recovery, and storage.  However, make sure you do not overdue it, as you may be gaining weight in either muscle, or fat form.  You need no more than 20 to 40 grams depending on the type of activity you just finished.  Also make sure you have carbs in the mix to replenish your energy as well.
  • Stir Fry – Many people are very hungry after workouts, but as stated before, don’t assume you can eat truckloads of food. For those of us who like the ‘full’ feeling, its a good idea to bulk on on the low calorie veggies, with the addition of protein (shrimp, chicken, tofu…) and some whole grains.  Sodium is an electrolyte that needs to be replenished if you worked up a good sweat, so a little soy sauce doesn’t hurt either.
  • The Salad – Maybe not smothered is super high fat dressing or made with 50% cheese, but a well planned salad full of colors, crunchy nuts and seeds, and even some dried fruit would be an excellent choice after raking up all those leaves.
  • Sandwiches – Protein and carbs in sandwich form.  Easy to make, easy to carry, but tasty to eat!

There are 1,000’s of other options, so comment with your favorite post-activity meal or snack!

TrendSince everyone and their mother has been posting what they can expect from the food world in 2014, I thought I would add my own little list of things I expect to see rise and/or fall in the following year:

The fall of quinoa – Other than pumpkin spiced everything (yes I know it is seasonal), pretzel bread, and sriracha, quinoa has been taking over restaurant and retail outlets in the US…which also means as the demand increase, so does the price.  Consumers are going to find there there is a whole list of ancient grains they can incorporate into their diet which rival the nutritional value of quinoa, such as kaniwa, amaranth, buckwheat, bulghur, farro, freekeh, grano, millit, oat groats, spelt, sorghum, and teff, not to mention all of the non-processed rice varieties.  Hurry up and buy in bulk before these other options become ‘the next big thing’ and the price increases on those as well.

Hipster Sweets – Think of all the old school desserts which the hipster crowd is ready to reinvent.  One that I am hoping for is salted butterscotch, (salted caramel knockoff)!  With the boom of specialty beverages as well, we are going to see updated versions of bananas foster, cherries jubilee, baked Alaska, mangos diablo, and peches louis…half of which the hipsters never even heard of.

Turmeric-Shakur – Indian, middle-eastern, and mid-asian cuisine is becoming more and more accepted in the US.  One ingredient in particular climbing the ladder is turmeric. It has a bright color and has been used in curries for years, as well as a coloring agent for multiple purposes.  It also contains curcumin which potentially can treat a whole list of illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, arthritis, and allergies.  Not of these claims have been definitively concluded yet, except for turmeric being a tasty addition to your spice cabinet.

Hot Chile Time Machine – Jalapeños, chipotle, cayenne, and habanero are only four of the hundreds of varieties of chiles out there.  It is time to bring in the specialty varieties like aleppo, aji amarillo, calabrian, puya, wiri wiri, mulato, and scorpion to increase heat, build eccentric flavor, and add variety to your menu.  Consumers are accepting heat in their foods more than ever before…thanks fast food!  Sriracha will have some more time at the top, then harissa will take over…

PB&Hey, That’s Not Normal – First, we had peanut butter, and it was good.  Then the alternate nut butters came along, and they were also good.  Now it’s time to raise the bar and flavorize all these tasty spreads.  Due to the fact that the US now wants to add fat back into their diets, we will see an increase of nut and nut butter consumption, but lets take it a step further. Pumpkin spiced walnut butter?!?!?! Maple and black pepper pecan butter?!?!?! Salted agave peanut butter?!?!?! Why not throw in some sriracha bacon rhubarb jam in the mix? (Maybe TOO trendy?)

American Comfort Story – We are going to continue seeing a rise in the American comfort food arena in the upcoming year.  Chicken & waffles made 1000 ways, mac & cheese with artisan locally sourced cheese, meatloaf with specialty game meats, pies with strange crusts, weird fruits, unfamiliar seasonings, salted red velvet cronut cake-pop cupcakes…!!!!!!!!! How many desserts can we mash together???

What are some of your predictions for 2014? Your guess is as good as mine!

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Here are some of the things you need to do in order to have a hip and trendy new ‘food show’…

  • Make sure to talk extremely loud even though modern technology allows you to speak at a normal decibel level. Demand peoples attention.  (Thanks Billy Mays)
  • You need to walk around, drive, or take public transportation when traveling to your destination.  Make sure your camera man films you all jerky-like and off center.
  • Make fun of your guest or patrons allowing your ego to shine through to your audience.  You know how to cook their food better than them anyway.
  • Always make weird, loud noises when eating food.  Take gargantuan bites and allow food to drip down your arm.  Everything you eat is always the best ever!
  • Use descriptive words that don’t actually describe what you are eating.  ‘This is an extremely flavorful, super-awesome dish! It is bomb-diggity, monster-delicious, yum-yum food which will make you happy.’ (So what does it taste like?)
  • Let your audience know what the secret ingredients are to spoil the suspense.
  • Dip your unwashed hands into all of the items being prepared…sneezing would be better.
  • Interview all of the patrons who are most likely to give you a standard boring response. (This place is the best in town!)
  • Never discuss the long hours, hard work, low income, and failure rate of restaurants.  Your makeup person will hide the bags under the chefs eyes, and paint a smile on their face.
  • If someone isn’t as outgoing as you, make them feel uncomfortable.
  • If your guest doesn’t have a happy, sad, or funny backstory…don’t have them on the show.
  • Wear inappropriate clothing in the kitchen, such as excess jewelry, flip-flops, baggy cloths, and unbuttoned shirts.  Bring sexy back as well.
  • Don’t ever show anyone cleaning anything.
  • If it is not farm to table, it can’t possibly be good.

Does anyone else have any shenanigans to add???

  • We usually don’t have a ‘favorite’ dish, so stop asking.  We can cook whatever we want, whenever we want, depending on our mood.  What we have a taste for today, might change tomorrow.
  • Please continue to cook for us!  We are not judgmental and will not critique your food if you are doing it for enjoyment.  We didn’t pay to eat at your house so we won’t complain if our steak is overcooked.
  • We are more than happy to help, but don’t expect us to ‘man-the-grill’ every time you invite us over.  If we wanted to cook today, you would be at our house.
  • Cooking with the best and finest ingredients is expensive! Don’t assume we are eating foie gras, truffles, and saffron for every meal.
  • Most chef’s realize that everyone is entitled to their own opinion and personal taste. Don’t be afraid to tell us what foods you like, or DON’T like.
  • Some chefs cook ALL day and ALL night at work…we don’t ALWAYS cook at home.
  • Our specialty is knowing how to cook.  Don’t assume that a BBQ chef from the south doesn’t know how to cook classical French cuisine.
  • This amazing thing called the internet has a wealth of knowledge about food, cooking, and technique.  Feel free to use it instead of asking us.
  • We can clean stains out of white cloths, and wash dishes & floors much better than you.
  • I would give you the recipe, but we don’t use them. (Excluding bakers!)

Do you have any to add???

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ID-100170122I feel that the most important thing people should learn in the modern world is fact finding.  Due to technological advances, most humans (especially in the US) are trampled with information.  This could be advertisements, interviews, reviews, news articles, magazines, social networking, blogs plus everything else you can think of.  The problem is that with this increased stimulation of information, there is also an even greater amount of bad information.  Word of mouth accounts, false reports, endorsements, negative feedback, consumer reviews, viral trends, and outright opinionated information that is spun to sound ‘factual.’

As this relates to food and consumer packaged goods, most people do not have a real grasp of what they are eating. Words like low-fat, low-sodium, cholesterol free, trans fats, GMO’s, preservatives, gums, strange long words on the ingredient statement…your opinion of these things may be negative, but how much of your opinionated conclusion is based on fact? How much is based on what some non-expert told you, or what you read in the news, or from an advertisement paid for by the company trying to sell it to you, or a pro/anti group with their own opinion bias?

I am not here to show support, or to give my negative opinion on these topics, but I will say my opinions of things in the food industry are based on facts.  In some cases, I do not have factual information, but I will NOT supply a stream of negative information because I assume something is bad.  I will stir up the pot with one example, and would love to hear your thoughts on fact finding in the food industry:

There is not enough 3rd party, extended testing done on GMO foods to conclude if it is harmful to the masses.  Everyone has their opinion, and yes, some companies that handle to production of GMO products may not be using appropriate methods to make money, but both sides of the good/bad for you argument do not contain enough information for a valid conclusion.

Thoughts???