Tag Archives: cuisine

Seasoning Your Food: Heat vs Spice

Don’t worry, this will not be a rant! Although it could be, I am going to take it the other way and use it as an opportunity to educate people about preparing food properly. Nowadays, with the rising popularity of genetically modified peppers and the presence of Sriracha on every table in the United States, it’s obvious that the average adult and young adult’s palette favors spiciness.

People want heat. Furious Pete and other food enthusiasts eat Moruga Scorpions and Ghost Peppers whole while millions watch. Those are multiple times spicier than the habanero you’ve probably heard of at some point in time. Some might think it’s insane, but it’s reality and the gourmet world has been affected as well. So here are some important tips to remember when you are making your own food or ordering it from someone else.

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1. There is spice and there is spice. Some use spice to refer to heat, Scoville units, etc. Spices are used to preserve, color, and FLAVOR food. They can be roots, seeds, leaves, and many other items that are used for their ability to enhance food. There are over 300 spices that are used in the culinary arts and they all have unique properties. Don’t just rely on a few and go outside the box.

2. Don’t settle for heat. Sometimes when people fail to develop proper flavor in a dish, they just cover it in hot sauce. (I put hot sauce on my egg whites when I eat them in bulk.) If you’re trying to create a dish with a rich and deep flavor profile, keep experimenting until you get that level of near perfection. Don’t just throw hot sauce on it… don’t give up!

3. Heat and spice can create amazing flavors. Ever had Thai or Indian food? Ethiopian? (We could go on for hours.) When chefs can merge extreme heat and still retain the flavor development of less dominant spices, it shows incredible skill and the results are amazing. When that same chef can alter the level of heat without changing the presence of the other flavors, it’s mastery.

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So there you have it, a few things to remember when seasoning your food. Eventually, we might have some more posts about specific spices. Remember, don’t settle for that hot sauce. Keep trying different ratios of spices and preparations (toasting) so that you can cook your own meals at home that you love. Restaurants are a nice treat but no one knows what you want more than you do! As always, stay hungry and fit!

BONUS KITTY PIC

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Best Thai in Boulder: Aloy Thai

Instead of getting Chinese take-outs growing up, we always got Thai. And I am oh-so-happy for that! It’s rare that I’m not in a mood for Thai food. I just love all the deep flavors right along with that spark of zest at the end. And because we grew up having it as take-outs, it reminds me of home in a weird way. We’ve tried a lot of the Thai places in Boulder and finally we took a friend’s advice to go to Aloy Thaiand I’m so glad we did! The combination of a great price and awesome taste knocks it out of the park.

Aloy Thai Cuisine

Let’s start with the dishes. The first time we came here was after a gym session (surprise, surprise), and I wasn’t feeling so hot. Everyone at work was sick around me, and I wanted to burn anything out! When we would get sniffly or sick as a kid, instead of chicken noodle soup, my dad would go get us Tom Yum Soup, a spicy Thai soup. It is so delicious and has that kick that will make your nose run. So you know I went there and ordered a huge bowl of Tom Yum Noodle Soup with Tofu. Serving was so big I had a full lunch of it tomorrow. Chris got the pineapple fried rice with chicken and he devoured it with a big smile on his face. And he got it a second time when we came back! I got the Pad Thai the second time. It wasn’t spectacular, but it was still good. We also have gotten the vegetable fresh spring rolls numerous times and love them–so fresh and we nearly drink the peanut sauce that goes with it.

Veggie fresh spring rolls!

Veggie fresh spring rolls!

Tom Yum Soup

Tom Yum Soup

The atmosphere is also excellent, with Thai designs and a yellow-orange lighting. They have plenty of staff and the service is always great. The music is nice and it is never too loud. The price definitely seals the deal. The huge tom yum noodle soup was only $9–NINE DOLLARS. Chris’ pineapple fried rice came to only $11. It was such an amazing dinner for such a good price, we are constantly going back.

If you’re in Boulder and craving some Thai, stop at Aloy Thai. It has delicious dishes that won’t break the bank. Avoid the Pad Thai, but dig into anything you can get your hands on! Hungry and Fit gives Aloy Thai a big thumbs up. And as always…stay hungry and fit!

BONUS KITTY PIC

Two cuties under the pingpong table

Two cuties under the pingpong table

How to Make Beignets in Under 10 Minutes

Back in college, I did two service trips to New Orleans. That is where I discovered this magical things called beignets (French for “donuts”). There’s nothing like them really, and I always get overexcited when I get to eat them. Although there’s nothing like getting them fresh and hot from Cafe du Monde (original place in New Orleans), it’s still a treat to be able to have them from home. This isn’t going to be a complicated recipe. No, instead, I used the actual box mix that Cafe du Monde sells. Chris got me 3 boxes of them for Valentine’s Day last year. This product gets a full thumbs up. 

Feast yer eyes

Feast yer eyes

  • Prep Time: 7 minutes
  • Cooking Time: >1 minute

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Cafe du Monde beignet box mix
  • 7/8 cup water
  • flour for unsticking purposes
  • oil
  • powdered sugar

Directions

  • Stir together the 2 cups of the mix and the water until it is all bound together
  • Heat up a deep pot or skillet with an inch of oil in it. Turn up the heat!
  • Flour a cutting board and your rolling pin and roll out the mixture until it’s around 1/4 inch
  • Then go ahead and cut it into a little bigger than 2 square inch pieces. It was all a rough estimate for me.
  • As soon as your oil is hot (I don’t have a thermometer so I dropped water in to see if it would sizzle), drop those bad boys in. They shouldn’t need longer than 2 minutes
  • Take them out and dry them
  • Pour copious amounts of powdered sugar on them and then STUFF YOUR FACE!!

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At least, that’s what I did. I couldn’t even finish them and Chris wouldn’t help me because he wasn’t hungry that early. I had tried making these before and failed horribly. It’s taken me awhile to try again and I’m glad I did because they came out pretty darn good. Not as good as Cafe du Monde, but that was never a goal. Go ahead and treat yourself with a box of this magic. We found it at World Market near us, but look it up! And as always…stay hungry and fit!

BONUS KITTY PIC

Nymeria taking a selfie

Nymeria taking a selfie

My New Love: Pho

Yes, Pho. Pronounced “fuh.” My boss took me to Saigon Xpress a few weeks ago and I consequently fell in love. You know we love noodle dishes like ramen, and this takes it to a whole ‘nother level. I had heard of Pho before, of course, and knew it had something to do with noodles, but wasn’t sure what all the fuhs was about (sorry, I had to). And then I tasted some and now I’m obsessed.

from Saigon Xpress

from Saigon Xpress

So what is Pho? Pho is a big bowl of broth, rice or egg noodles, vegetables, and whatever protein you have ordered (I get tofu). But wait, the magic isn’t done yet. Along with an absurdly large bowl of this madness, you get a huge plate of fresh bean sprouts, jalapenos,  and thai basil. Restaurants usually serve  hoisin sauce and sriracha as well for you to pour on as you please. So once you get your steaming bowl of deliciousness, you put the bean sprouts and basil in (as well as any sauces) and then stir it around. Then you may feast.

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Why is it so good? The mix of fresh and hot ingredients is absolutely wonderful. And slurping up the noodles is a big favorite of mine too. For me, the real star is the thai basil. It has this minty flavor that totally zests up the entire dish. So far, I have not been able to finish my serving, even though I get a small. It’s a lot of food. I liked it so much when I had lunch with my boss that I ordered one to go for Chris later that night. I cannot wait to go again, Saigon Xpress is definitely a favorite. We tried it at Chez Thuy as well, but it didn’t compare to Saigon.

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Another huge plus for me is the healthy factor. I do not feel any heaviness, regret, or guilt after I’ve finished my portion. I always feel happy, full, and content. I get my fill of liquids, carbs, vegetables, and protein all wrapped up in one healthy dish. I cannot even express the tastiness that this dish holds. Look up your local Pho eatery and go there ASAP. And if you’re near Longmont, CO, go to Saigon Xpress–you won’t regret it! Eating Pho is one great way to stay hungry and fit!

Some up and close goodness

Some up and close goodness