Posts Tagged ‘Food and Related Products’

IMG_0897

The people at NERDSTEAK want to review YOUR product!

If you have a food related item that you would like an unbiased review of, please contact us!

  • Contact us and give a little detail about your product. We will provide a shipping address and timing of the review.
  • We will only provide an unbiased review of your item along with unedited photos.
  • We will contact you AFTER our results have been posted to provide you with any links, photos, or information you may need.
  • We will not return any unused or unopened items.
  • We will not review an item if it has been opened, broken, or tampered with in any way prior to our review.
  • We will complete a review with in-depth detail ranging from packaging appearance & functionality, product appearance, eating or use experience, value based on pricing, and overall review with a 1 thru 5 score.
  • You are allowed to use the review for any promotional opportunities.  If you need any specific focus on the evaluation, please let us know ahead of time.
  • We like everything from food, gadgets, equipment, clothing, ingredients…basically anything that can relate to food.
  • Examples of our reviews can be found in our previous posts.

AxemenBBQ Color Logo

As you may know, I am part of the Axe-Men BBQ competition BBQ team that participates in KCBS events in the Midwest. Here is a little checklist of things you may need if you don’t have a monster trailer with multiple sponsors who will throw free stuff at you. I have removed some of our top secret items, but this should give you a good start if you are looking to get into some KCBS events…

Meat       Camp Equipment    
? ? 10×10 Canopy 1
? ? 10×10 Canopy with 3x Walls 1
? ? Folding Chairs 4
? ? Tent to sleep in 1
Rubs/Sauce/Presentation Pop up Tables 4
? ? Cinder Blocks 4
? ? Tarps 2
? ? Fire Pit 1
? ? Wood for fire pit 5 bundles
? ? Wood starters 2
? ? Buckets for water/hold down tents 8
? ? Small water hose w/ nossel 1
? ? ? ?
? ? Bungie Cords 24
? ? Fire Extiguisher 1
? ? Ash bucket and shovel 1
Ketchup 1 jar Duct Tape 1
Mustard 1 jar Electrical Tape 1
Apple Juice 1/2 Gallon Tool Box, Full 1
Salt 1 jar Portable work light 1
Fresh Curly Parsley 6 Bunches Flashlights 2
Additional Food/Drink Extension Cords 3
Ice Lots of it Generator (If we have one) 1
Salt and Pepper 1 jar each Cart or dolly 1
Water/gatoraid/beer/monster A bunch Rachet Straps for trailer 6
Snacks/Dinner/Breakfast A bunch Small broom and dust pan 1
Smokers/Grills/Fuel Toilet Paper 1
? ? Batteries for flashlights 3 sets
? ? Battieries for Thermometers 3 sets
? ? Large clock or timer set at competition 1
Propane Burner 1 Larger binder clips or table clips 4
Propane Tank, Full 1 Paper Towel Dispenser 1
? ? Bulk rope 30ft
? ? ? ?
? ? Bug Spray 1
? ? Sun Tan Lotion 1
? ? Ponchos 6
Stick Lighters 4 Sanitation/Disposables
Tools/Utensils/Pans/Storage Paper Towels, Roll 2
Cambro Camcarriers 2 Shop Towels 1
Coolers 4 Parchment Paper 1 box
Kinfe Roll 1 Full Bus Tubs 3
Cutting Boards 2 Sponge/Scrub Brush 2
Cutting Board skid 2 Dish Soap 1
Electric Knives 2 Sanatiser Spray 1
Injectors 2 Lysol Wipes, Tub 2
Grill Scraper 1 Sanatiser Bucket 1
Tongs 2 Aprins (Maybe) 2
Seasoning Shakers 3 Hand Sanitiser 1
Sauce Brush 2 Bleach, Small 1
Large Spatchula 2 Garbage Bags 1 roll
Grill Glove 2 pair To-Go containers 2 dozen
Plastic Tray Inserts 6 Ziplock Bags XL 12
? ? Ziplock Bags L 24
? ? Solo Cups 12
Large Water Pot w/ lid 1 Aluminum Foil, Roll 1
Thermometer Probe 3 Plastic Wrap, Roll 1
Thermopen 1 Disposable Gloves, box 2
Thermocouple 1 First Aid Kit 1
Large cups/bowls for sauce/brine 4 Disposable Plates 24
Toothpicks 1 box Disposable Silverwear 24 sets
Half sheet pans 3 Personal    
Full aluminum pans 12 Pillows
Half aluminum pans 12 Blankets
Full sheet pan 1 Toiletries
Other ? ?
Directions
Sign In Documents
KCBS Info
Sponsor Info
Pens/Note Pads
Creole Rice Stuffed Pork Loin with Andouille and Collards

Cajun Dirty Rice Stuffed Pork Loin with Andouille and Collards

Here is a very easy recipe using D’allesandro Cajun Dirty Rice Blend.  You can also add more filling before you roll the loin, just make sure it is tightly tied with twine.

Cajun Dirty Rice-Stuffed Pork Loin

2-1/2 to 3-pound pork loin
1 cup cooked Cajun Dirty Rice
1 cup cooked andouille sausage, crumbled
1 cup thinly sliced collard greens, picked
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Butcher’s twine

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Prep pork loin by slicing across it lengthwise, stopping 3/4 inch from the other side. Open halves, laying pork flat. Starting from the center, slice each half lengthwise, again stopping 3/4 inch from the other side. Again, open so pork is flat. You will have made one large, flat piece of pork 3/4 inch thick. Make sure to keep it in one piece.
Evenly cover flattened pork loin with prepared Cajun Dirty Rice, andouille sausage and collard greens, then tightly roll it jellyroll-style so that the loin returns to its original shape.
Tie with butcher’s twine to keep the filling inside and to cook evenly.
Rub outside of meat with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper.
Place on a baking sheet and bake until internal temperature reaches 155°F, about 1 hour.
Increase heat to 500°F and cook for an additional 5 minutes, until exterior is crispy and browned.
Slice and serve.

Makes 8 to 12 servings

IMG_1227The people at SexyPop (http://sexypop.us) were kind enough to send NERDSTEAK some of their product to review! I received a case of samples yesterday, and here is what I though:

  • Packaging appearance – I will say that the packaging looks pretty nice. They have a large swirl logo right in the middle with their brand name on top, and variety on bottom but I have two concerns with what I received.  First, my samples were VERY pillowy.  Obviously this helps insure minimal broken pieces of popcorn in the bag, but they were so pumped with air, it was a little difficult to do the ‘pinch and open’ on the top, which could have happened due to the product being air shipped which can change the pressure inside the packaging. This is a minor detail, but worth noting. The second concern is that their brand name is aligned so high on the the top of the packaging, and the variety is so low, that on a standard grocery shelf, it might be difficult to read what it is. There are a lot of different tag lines on the packaging, along with a goofy ‘poppin’ rap like lyrical treat on the back.
  • Product appearance – The popcorn itself looked very nice, with most of the contents being whole popped pieces, with little to no unpopped kernels. None of the varieties looked overcaked with seasonings, and the white cheddar variety had more cheddar flavor vs. what I assumed it would have based on appearance (that’s a good thing).  The popcorn had a nice white color and didn’t appear shiny or oily.
  • Eating Experience – I would say all the varieties had a favorable flavor and texture, with my favorite being the Bangin’ Cheddar.  I would have like just a touch more black pepper flavor from that specific variety but still tasted great.  I noticed a lot less of the ‘seasoning on my fingers’ problem you might find with other popcorn brands.  I personally like salt, however the Lightly Salted was right on point with having just enough.
  • Value – After doing a quick search with comparable products online, the current price for SexyPop is a little on the high side, but you are getting slightly less calories per serving.  I would assume that once SexyPop can stock shelves and move more volume, they will be able to lower the price to be more competitive in the better-for-you popcorn market.
  • Overall – I give SexyPop an overall score of 3.5 out of 5.  The product itself is very tasty, but the price point is a little too high to be competitive with the other brands.  I do like the fact that as opposed to promoting their product as ‘healthy’ since it is a lower calorie snack as well as GMO-free, Kosher, cholesterol-free, and trans-free, they are going with the ‘trendy’ marketing campaign similar to what the pistachio people are doing.  If you have a chance to try SexyPop, I recommend it!

IMG_1229

NERDSTEAK is more than happy to review any and all products you have to offer! Please contact us directly to arrange shipping of samples.

ID-10061999Some times you gotta be fresh…and other times, frozen may be fresher than fresh.  Some studies have shown that frozen fruits and vegetables can contain higher levels of vitamins and antioxidants compared to the fresh varieties from stores or farmers markets.

This is due to the fact that many frozen fruits and vegetables are processed and frozen right at the source, from minutes to hours after being picked or harvested during their peak ripeness.  On the other hand, fresh produce maybe be held for days, weeks, or even months before being sold to consumers, then held at the home for even more time before being used. When these products are held at ambient temperatures or even refrigerated, they slowly and naturally lose some of their healthy properties over time.  When product is frozen, it inhibits the loss of these volatile compounds, and provides more health benefits.  Some fresh produce is also picked before being fully ripened to handle the delay in consumption, which reduces the overall health advantages even more.

Supermarkets and even farmers markets have a list of ways to make their foods look fresh, such as water misting and trimming.  While these practices are normal, the overall health profile of these foods can often time be less than the frozen counterparts. There are even instances that refrigeration will INCREASE degradation of healthy compounds in certain food items, specifically soft fruits.  It is still recommended that foods picked right from the ground are the best, but frozen can be just as good of an option.

And as a side note, if you do want to cook your fruits and vegetables while keeping the most nutritional value in the products, steaming is the optimal way to insure the least about of benefit loss.  This is of course second to eating them raw.

ID-100202053Many people possess a passion for food but don’t necessarily want to spend their nights, weekends, and holidays tucked away in the kitchen for their career choice.  There are a variety of options available for a foodie, not including positions at a traditional restaurant:

  • Catering/Food Truck – In some cases the hours can be better, you are more in control of the volume of work, and can plan ahead as opposed to a flurry of tickets and orders coming at you in a hot, sweaty kitchen.
  • Personal Chef – Famous people, rich people, and some large corporations like to have their own person on staff to cook what they want, when they want.
  • Corporate Chef – Large restaurant chains, food manufacturers, and retail outlets like to have someone at the helm to develop recipes, products, and presentations for the general public or to potential customers.
  • Research and Development Chef – Part chef, part product development specialist, an R&D chef is testing and creating foods and products for retail, foodservice, schools, hospitals, and further manufacturers.
  • Food Scientist/QC/QA – Understanding functionality of food and beverage, quality control, quality assurance, use of flavors, colors, preservatives, gum and starch systems, and analytical analysis of foodstuff.  Basically a ‘mathlete’ for food.
  • Market and Consumer Research/Analysis – Understanding consumer science, food trends, buying practices, and psychology of the food and beverage industry.
  • Consultant – Do you know everything but tired of ‘settling down?’ Many companies look to specialists for temporary or short term projects.
  • Nutritionist – Focussing on health and wellness, speciality diets, nutrient needs in hospitals for patients, or helping athletes achieve fitness goals.
  • Farmer/Forager – Truffles don’t grow on trees…well they do, but you have to find and gather them!  Also, all those fruits, vegetables, and grains don’t just magically appear.
  • Butcher/Fishmonger/Cheesemonger/Sommelier – Be a meat, fish, cheese, or wine expert and have lots of fun interesting factoids to talk about at parties!
  • Chef Instructor – If you have a passion for teaching and a love for food, this is the job for you.
  • Sales – Every industry around the world needs a sales guy to move their products.
  • Buyer – Every industry around the world needs a buyer to find products. Kind of repetitive.
  • Customer Service – Someone is on the other end of the phone when you call the customer service number printed on the package or on the website.
  • Restaurant Designer/Equipment Supply – Build the restaurant, furnish the restaurant, develop and supply the equipment, and know how to use it.
  • Manufacturing – The consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry is $2 trillion strong in the US, plus manufactured products for foodservice and B2B.  LOTS of opportunities.
  • Packaging/CPG Professional – Someone needs to design and engineer the box, bag, package, film and seal.
  • Food Critic – Fancy trying foods or restaurants, then providing honest (hopefully) opinions? This is a fun position but hard to become ‘THE’ food critic without a following or backing of a publication.
  • Food Writer/Marketing – Descriptive writing, tag lines, romance copy, and content development is fun and something I obviously do not possess.
  • PR/Publicist  – This is someone who manages the public image of a brand or product. Finding ad sponsors, creating hype, pitching news releases, and working with writers to create content.
  • Food Stylist – Making food tasty is one thing, but making food ascetically pleasing for pictures, packaging, and promotions is another.
  • Food Photographer – KInd of like Instagram but for real…and better
  • Cook Book Author/Blogger – For those who have the knack for writing interesting and creative recipes in book form! Unfortunately the internet has cut down on book sales, so many have turned to blogging instead.
  • Entertainment/TV/Celebrity Chef – If you are a character and know how to perform in front of a camera, this could be for you.  In fact, many of the current TV chef personalities can’t even cook that well! (BBUURRRNNNN)

There are dozens of job choices I have missed, so feel free to comment with more ideas!

 

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???