How much protein do you really need?

By Sarah B. Weir and Lori Bongiorno
Posted Mon Aug 8, 2011 2:04pm PDT

Guess how much protein is in a juicy, 8-ounce cheeseburger washed down with a milkshake? This single meal contains two to three times as much as most people need per day.

It’s no great surprise that Americans chow down on a lot of protein. We love beef and consume about 67 pounds per capita annually (that’s four times the international average). The popularity of low-carb regimes such as Atkins has also made meat the go-to food for dieters.

In fact, the average person eats about double the amount of protein that their body requires, according to the results of 2007-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

How to fulfill your daily protein requirement

The human body uses protein to repair damaged cells and to build new ones. Marion Nestle, professor of nutrition at NYU and author of What to Eat, estimates that the average adult man needs about 65 grams of protein a day and the average adult female needs about 55 grams. Some sources, such as the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization say you can maintain a healthy diet with even less.

What does this actually mean in terms of food choices? The National Institutes of Health explains that most people can meet their daily protein requirement by eating two to three small servings of a protein-rich food a day.

Examples of a single serving of protein include:

  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons of peanut butter
  • 2-3 ounces of red meat, poultry, or fish (about the size of a deck of cards)
  • ½ cup of cooked dried beans such as black beans or chickpeas

Whole grains, seeds, and some vegetables also contain protein, so consuming enough is not difficult even if you don’t eat meat. Vegetarians and vegans can easily get what they need by balancing complimentary proteins such as corn and beans or rice and tofu. Nutritionists used to recommend combining foods at the same meal, but research now shows that is unnecessary.

Are there drawbacks to eating more protein?

Eating large amounts of red and processed meats is associated with higher rates of heart disease and cancer, and most nutritionists such as Marion Nestle recommend cutting back on meat, especially on fatty cuts.

However, it’s less well known that your protein choices can have a substantial impact on the environment. Meat and dairy production requires tremendous amounts of fuel, pesticides, and chemical fertilizers, and generates greenhouse gases. The Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) recently published Meat Eater’s Guide points out that if you ate once less burger a week it would be the environmentally-positive equivalent of taking your car off the road for 320 miles.

Meat is also expensive. Not all proteins are created equal — neither at the doctor’s office, nor the cash register. Here’s a comparison of three typical proteins:

Porterhouse steak
Serving size: 4 ounces
Protein: 22 grams
EWG carbon footprint rating: 2 nd worst out of 20 analyzed
Cost: 4 dollars
Fat: 22 grams
Saturated fat: 9 grams

Farm-raised salmon
Serving size: 4 ounces
Protein: 22 grams
EWG carbon footprint rating: 5th worst
Cost: 3 dollars
Fat: 10 grams
Saturated fat: 2 grams

Lentils
Serving size: 1 cup
Protein: 17.9 grams
EWG carbon footprint rating: best
Cost: 20 cents
Fat: zero
Saturated fat: zero

Many people find meat to be a delicious and satisfying component of their diet that they don’t want to sacrifice. But if you want to save money, eat a nutritionally sound diet, and are concerned about the impact meat and dairy production has on the planet, consider reducing your consumption.

Here are some tips from the EWG’s Meat Eater’s Guide:

  • Reduce portion sizes by eating one less burger or steak each week, or participate in Meatless Mondays by skipping meat (and cheese if you can swing it) just one day a week.
  • Choose the healthiest protein sources when you can. Beans, low-fat yogurt, and nuts are all high in protein and low-impact.
  • When you do eat meat and cheese, eat the highest quality that you can afford. (One way to save money is to eat less, but better quality meat and dairy products.) Here’s a guide decoding the labels, from cage-free to grass-fed.
  • Don’t waste meat. Uneaten meat accounts for about 20 percent of meat’s greenhouse gas emissions.

You don’t have to become a vegetarian or go to other extremes. These small changes will help reduce your impact, while providing plenty of protein in your diet.

Chicago Italian Beef and Dogs

Chicago Food Extravaganza!

Last year, my family and I flew to Chicago for our son’s graduation from Navy boot camp. It was a very nice ceremony and he got some time off so we headed into Chicago to check it out. There were a lot of great sites to see and we got my Uncle JD, who lives there, to show us around. We went to Millennium Park, The John Hancock Tower, Lake Shore Drive, The Aquarium and more.
My favorite part was going to one of my uncle’s favorite old lunch joints in the Italian district near downtown Chicago where he took us to a place called Al’s #1 Italian Beef.
The restaurant was very small  small, there were no tables, no seats. You just walk in the door go up  to the counter, order your food and either take it home or eat at a shelf by the windows where there was room to set your food and eat while standing.

The kitchen was right behind the counter and included a charcoal pit for roasting sausages. The menu was small and simple and to the point, everything on it looked good (see photo above). It was very interesting to see and read the walls covered with memorabilia all the way from Jimmy Durante, to Anthony Bourdain and there were lots of signed dollar bills pinned to the walls. There was a lot of interesting old history in this place.

We had the Vienna Hot Dogs done up Chicago style with the works, an Italian beef sandwich and I had to try the packaged tamales… gastronomical nightmares but oh so good going down.

Best Burgers in the U.S.

According to Fine & Wine magazine these are the best burger places in the USA.  I am not at all surprised to see the first place on the list…. California’s own In-N-Out! Congrats!

The burger, America’s quintessential comfort food, can now be enjoyed in an impossibly endless number of ways. There are round-the-clock burgers at 24-hour-roadside joints and ephemeral late-night burgers sold out in mere minutes; burgers grilled in hundred-year-old cast-iron broilers and burgers steamed in state-of-the-art ovens; burgers crafted from Kobe beef imported from Japan and burgers made with Black Angus beef from just down the road; burgers innocuously topped with melted American cheese and burgers piled high with crumbly, statement-making Roquefort cheese. It’s clearly a great time to love the burger. Here, we’ve singled out the 25 best burgers around the country.

By Ratha Tep, Lawrence Marcus

California: In-N-Out Burger

Best Burgers in the U.S.: In-N-Out Burger: Cheeseburger

In-N-Out’s Cheeseburger. Photo © Jess Lander

Signature Burger: Cheeseburger.

Even superstar chef Thomas Keller is a fan of the West Coast chain—and with good reason. The cooked-to-order burgers are made from Harris Ranch beef and served with hand-cut fries. For a messier, more indulgent experience, order your burger “Animal Style” for extra sauce and chopped grilled onions. in-n-out.com 

New York City: Minetta Tavern

Best Burgers in the U.S.: Minetta Tavern

Photo © Sylvia Paret.

Signature Burger: Black Label Burger (topped with with caramelized onions).

Minetta Tavern’s excellent burgers use a beef blend—dry-aged rib eye, skirt steak, brisket and short rib—from famed purveyor Pat La Frieda, and buns from Balthazar Bakery. minettatavernny.com 

Atlanta, GA: Holeman & Finch

Best Burgers in the U.S.: Holeman & Finch

Photo © Jeff Moore.

Star chef Linton Hopkins announces “burger time”—10 p.m.—with the ringing of two bull horns; that’s when two dozen grass-fed beef burgers are up for grabs and consistently sold out within minutes. The burgers are also available on the Sunday brunch menu. holeman-finch.com 

Arlington, VA: Ray’s Hell Burger

Best Burgers in the U.S.: Ray's Hell Burger

Photo © Robyn Lee.

Signature Burger: Basic Beef Burger (served in a brioche bun).

There’s no sign, yet dedicated fans—a certain president included—come here for the freshly ground burgers with and complimentary toppings like grilled onions and mushrooms sautéed in sherry and Cognac.

Boston, MA: Craigie on Main

Best Burgers in the U.S.: Craigie on Main

Photo courtesy of Craigie on Main.

Signature Burger: Beefburger.

Star chef Tony Maws adds bone marrow and dehydrated miso to his Bar Burger, and cooks it in a low heat CVap oven, followed by a quick char on the plancha. craigieonmain.com 

San Francisco, CA: Zuni Café

Best Burgers in the U.S.: Zuni Café

Photo © Bill Holmes.

Signature Burger: House-ground hamburger (served in a grilled rosemary focaccia).

Instead of traditional cucumber pickles, legendary chef-owner Judy Rodgers accents her burgers with thin-cut zucchini strips pickled in apple cider vinegar, mustard seeds and turmeric. zunicafe.com 

New Haven, CT: Louis’ Lunch

Best Burgers in the U.S.: Louis' Lunch

Photo © Michael Franzman.

Signature Burger: The Original Burger (prepared with a combination of chuck and sirloin beef).

Many restaurants claim to be the birthplace of the hamburger. Louis’ Lunch, in New Haven, Connecticut, since 1900, is a leading contender. The meaty hand-shaped patties are grilled on antique cast-iron broilers over an open flame. louislunch.com 

Memphis, TN: Dyer’s Burgers

Best Burgers in the U.S.: Dyer's Burgers

Signature Burger: Dyer’s Cheeseburger.

The legendary patties here are pounded thin before they’re cooked in a cast-iron skillet filled with grease for a deliciously crisp exterior.dyersonbeale.com 

Chicago, IL: Custom House Tavern

Best Burgers in the U.S.: Custom House Burger

Photo © Tuan Bui.

Signature Burger: Custom House Burger (short rib, sirloin and ground pork patty topped with aged cheddar cheese and shaved onion, served in a sourdough brioche bun).

The “Custom House Burger”—available only on the lunch and bar menu—comes with house-made steak saucecustomhouse.cc 

Miami, FL: Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink

Best Burgers in the U.S.: Michael's Genuine Food & Drink

Photo courtesy of Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink.

Signature Burger: Black Angus Burger (served in a brioche bun).

An optional topping for star chef Michael Schwartz‘s Harris Ranch Black Angus beef burger: house-smoked bacon. michaelsgenuine.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Purple Place Burger

The Purple Place

Went to the Purple Place last week to try their burger that has won a few “best of” contests.

I’d been here years ago, but since then its changed ownership and the entire place upgraded. There’s a really nice menu now that consists not only of bar food basics such as hot wings and nacho’s but they also serve seared sea scallops, pot stickers and more. For their entree’s they range from scallop risotto (which I can’t wait to try!), prawns, new york steak, ribs, tacos and a line up of burgers, sandwiches & panini’s.


I tried the cheeseburger with cheddar with the works along with garlic fries. It all was very tasty and I look forward to going back to The Purple Place to try some of the other items on the menu.

Located at 363 Green Valley Road, El Dorado Hills
http://www.purpleplacebarandgrill.com

Filleting Salmon

While at Costco yesterday we were looking to buy some salmon.  They have farm fillets, wild fillets and to our surprise they had whole salmon for $4.99 a pound.  We decided to get the whole salmon and I would fillet it myself.

This is about the biggest fish I’ve purchased and I figured I would fillet it and smoke half and save the other half for grilling etc.

This was my first time filleting a salmon and I think I did ok.  Made two very nice fillets and managed to get all the ribs and pin bones out a-ok.  Even manged to scrape the bones and get a cup of meat for the cats to enjoy, they went nuts over the fresh salmon bits.

The whole salmon at Costco


Ready to begin filleting


The carnage aftermath


Two nice fillets

Food as Art – Photography

I like to take random photos of food that looks good, I like the vibrant colors, the appeal factor, etc. Sometimes food just makes for a very good photography subject,  just as I wrote about in yesterday’s article – food is art.

This section of the blog titled “Food Photography” is where I’ll be posting photos of food that I’ve taken from events, restaurants and from my own cooking.

Here are today’s photos:

From the Folsom Farmers Market on Sutter Street

Spice Mix (photo from home)

Photo taken in the late afternoon while enjoying a nice cold beer at Samuel Horne’s Pub
 

Favorite photo from The Kitchen, with Chef Noah
 

Photo of the vegetable section at The Nugget Market

The Art of Culinary Presentation – Food as Art

The Art of Culinary Presentation – Food as Art

Over the years food presentation at restaurants has become a form of art that just keeps getting better and better as new chef’s emerge on the scene with their creativity.  No longer are the protein, and sides just thrown on a plate to be eaten, now they are placed artfully and carefully with great skill for an appealing presentation factor, and it works.

The first thing about a dish is it’s presentation, how does it look to you? Is it appealing?  Is it appetizing? Most importantly – is it something you want?  I’ve had some really great food that looked like garbage because of lack of presentation, and on the flip side I’ve had some mediocre food that was presented so well that it nearly made up for the lack of taste.

Foods, with all their different textures, tastes and colors are like different shades in the color spectrum that the chef/artist uses to meld together just right to create beautiful “paintings” of their culinary presentations.

This section is going to be used to show some off some local talent for dishes I think are worthy of telling others about. (in other words it looks and tastes good to me heh).

These tasty dishes are from Manderes in Folsom

Grilled Salmon with Pesto Risotto 


Seared Ahi with Parmesan Risotto


Breakfast in Old Town Folsom


Sutter Street Grill Review

The other morning the misses and I woke up to a very nice sunrise and good weather and so we decided to hop on the Harley and go get some breakfast on Sutter Street in old town Folsom. We went to an old favorite of ours – The Sutter Street Grill which is located at 811 Sutter St. Folsom, CA (916) 985-4323

As described on the web, Sutter Street Grill is a shabby chic country–style diner where the waitress calls you “honey,” silverware is mismatched and breakfast is the main course. The Folsom favorite has an overwhelming breakfast menu with thick slabs of banana walnut French toast, blueberry flapjacks buried in whip cream or the jailhouse (six pieces of bacon, two sausage links, biscuits and gravy). On weekend mornings and summer days, expect a busy crowd with locals, bicyclist and tourists.

The misses and I split the special which was a sausage, tomato and mushroom omelet that we had them add cheddar cheese too. It was fantastic and even a split plate was a lot to eat – the servings here are outstanding and everything tastes really fresh and really good.

To go with the omelet we had one of their fresh baked cranberry orange muffins, home potatoes, hash browns and an english muffin. They also serve some really good coffee by Pete’s Cofffees.

All that food for two (including leftovers and endless coffee refills) cost less then $20 dollars, you can’t find a better deal – this is one breakfast place I will always highly recommend – two thumbs up

Go try them out someday soon, you won’t leave hungry.

Manderes Re-Visited


Manderes Re-visited
Manderes has relocated! New Address is 1004 E. Bidwell
(near Bidwell Street Bistro, Target Center)

One of my favorite beer joints / restaurants in Folsom is a small (now larger) pub and grill at 1004 E. Bidwell, Suite 600 called Manderes. They have a motto that says “No Crap on Tap” and they mean it. This place is just like Cheers. Brent (pictured above), the owner, along with staff members Avalon, Lindsay, Tim and the rest of the crew are super friendly and always make you feel welcomed in their “home”

Manderes only serves the best of the best beers and wines, and their food is very good.Some of their great beers include my favorites: Alagash, Leinenkugel, Anderson Valley, Deschutes, Lagunitas and at least 100 more choices between on tap and bottled.


I’ve had a lot of fun going to this place over the past 3 years since they opened and once a month they (used to but soon will again) host a really fun beer tasting event that always packs the house. They usually showcase a brand or style of beer each time that includes a tasting of the best selections along with an entree’ for $18. It’s held on the 2nd Wedensday of every month

If you’re ever in the Folsom area, I highly recommend you all check out this restaurant and bar.

They have daily food specials consisting of grilled salmon, pork chops, and more, and their regular menu consists of such tasty dishes as Chimay Glazed Chicken, Korean Bulgogi (which you know I like) and they do up a really great steak, ribs, shrimp and more.

Be sure to try their cheesecake blintz dessert sometime too!

Another thing to note about this great little place, they’ve won many awards since opening: They’re in the list of Draft magazines Top 200 bars in the NATION, they were ranked in Sacramento Magazine as one of the best things to do in the Sacramento area. They won KCRA 13’s Best Beer Selection in Sacramento, and they have won several times for Best Bar in MyFolsom.com’s Best of Folsom selection.

Check out Manderes at:
http://manderes.com/
1004 E. Bidwell Street
Suite 600
Folsom, CA. 95630
(916) 986-9655

Smoking Salmon

The BBQ Domain

I’ve been into BBQ’ing since I learned to play with matches and roasted my first hot dog over an open flame on my moms bbq in our backyard. I still remember that day, I burned the hot dog to a crisp, but I liked the crunchiness, it tasted good. What did I know? I was only a kid.. I’ve learned a lot since then…

I love to BBQ/Grill/Charcoal/whatever you want to call it, I think it’s some kind of neanderthal trait in our DNA that makes us desire to cook meats over an open flame…. it’s a lust for fire that seems to always mesmorize us so much when we’re sitting around a campfire at night staring at the dancing flames.

As we all know there’a a lot more to BBQ’ing then just slapping some raw meat on top of some burning coals. There’s direct and indirect cooking, there’s charcoal types, gas and propane and then there’s smoking...

Smoking meats is a different and very unique way to cook meats and create incredible flavors.

There’s a saying that must always be followed when smoking meats – do it LOW and SLOW. That means smoke the meats on a very low heat (150-250 degrees at the most).

I have an electric smoker box (pictured to the left) that works ok but I’d prefer the big green egg.

Last weekend I made some smoked salmon using the following recipe for brining.

Ingredients
1 cup kosher salt
½ cup sugar
½ cup dark brown sugar
1 Tbsp crushed black peppercorns
2 large salmon fillets (pin bones removed)

Directions
In a bowl, mix together salt, sugar, brown sugar and peppercorns. Spread extra-wide aluminum foil a little longer than the length of the fish and top with an equally long layer of plastic wrap. Sprinkle 1/3 of the rub onto the plastic. Lay 1 side of the fish skin down onto the rub. Sprinkle 1/3 of the rub onto the flesh of the salmon. Place second side of salmon, flesh down onto the first side. Use the remaining rub to cover the skin on the top piece. Fold plastic over to cover then close edges of foil together and crimp tightly around the fish.

Place wrapped fish onto a plank or sheet pan and top with another plank or pan. Weigh with a heavy phone book or a brick or two and refrigerate for 12 hours. Flip the fish over and refrigerate another 12 hours. Some juice will leak out during the process so make sure there’s a place for the runoff to gather.

Unwrap fish and rinse off the cure with cold water. Pat salmon with paper towels then place in a cool, dry place (not the refrigerator) until the surface of the fish is dry and matte-like, 1 to 3 hours depending on humidity. A fan may be used to speed the process.

Smoke fish over smoldering hardwood chips or sawdust, keeping the temperature inside the smoker between 150 degrees F and 160 degrees F until the thickest part of the fish registers 150 degrees. Serve immediately or cool to room temperature, wrap tightly and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Enjoy!

August Food Holidays to Celebrate!

August Food Holidays

It’s amazing how many wild, crazy and cool food holidays there are.  Did you know  there is a National Ice Cream Day? (BTW, it’s today!) Did you know there was a National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day? And with dozens of other national food holidays in the month of August, you can literally celebrate a different dish every day of the month. Go ahead . . . why not allow the gastronome-in-you to partake of as many August food holidays as you dare to.

National Mustard Day: The First Saturday
August 1: National Raspberry Cream Pie Day
August 2: National Ice Cream Sandwich Day
August 3: National Watermelon Day
August 3: Grab Some Nuts Day (pecans, walnuts, not the other kind)
August 4: National Lasagnas Day (Americanized to Lasagna)
August 5: National Waffle Day
August 5: National Oyster Day
August 6: National Root Beer Float Day
August 7: National Raspberries in Cream Day (Fresh or Raspberry Ice  Cream)
August 8: National Zucchini Day
August 8: National Frozen Custard Day
August 9: National Rice Pudding Day
August 10: National Banana Split Day
August 10: National “S’Mores Day”
August 11: National Raspberry Tart Day
August 12: Julienne Fries Day
August 13: National Filet Mignon Day
August 14: National “Creamsickle Day”
August 15: Lemon Meringue Pie Day
August 16: Bratwurst Day
August 16: National Rum Day
August 17: National Vanilla Custard Day
August 18: National Soft Ice Cream Day
August 19: Potato Day
August 19: Hot & Spicy Food Day
August 20: Lemonade Day
August 20: National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day
August 21: National Pecan Torte Day
August 22: National Spumoni Day
August 22: Eat a Peach Day
August 23: National Sponge Cake Day
August 24: National Peach Pie Day
August 25: Whiskey Sour Day
August 26: National Cherry Popsicle Day
August 27: National Pots de Crème Day
August 27: Banana Lover’s Day
August 28: National Cherry Turnover Day
August 29: More Herbs, Less Salt Day
August 29: Chop Suey Day
August 29: Lemon Juice Day
August 30: National Toasted Marshmallow Day
August 31: Eat Outside Day
August 31: National Trail Mix Day

How can you celebrate a food holiday? Food celebrations are as simple or as elaborate as you want them to be. Learn about a food you didn’t know a lot about . . . Try a new recipe and make something special for a loved-one or co-worker . . . . Attend a related festival, farmers market, or restaurant.  The most important thing to do is – eat good and have fun!

The Golden Cadillac Drink, created at Poor Red’s


Poor Red’s, Home of The Golden Cadillac

After a fun day of riding my motorcycle in the local hills with my wife, we like to stop by a small historic western tavern in the town of El Dorado called Poor Red’s where we enjoy a nice cold drink after a day out riding in the summer heat.  www.poorredsbbq.com

Poor Red’s is a small restaurant and bar off the beaten path where stepping inside the door is like stepping back in time.  It’s truly one of a kind, a must see place.  I wonder if Guy Fieri knows about it?

Poor Red’s is famous for their award winning BBQ, and also for a world famous drink they concocted called The Golden Cadillac.  This drink tastes so good it’s like having a vanilla shake, but you can never drink it fast because you’ll get a brain freeze.

The sweet after-dinner type drink is made with the Italian liquer Galliano and a few other items (recipe below).  The Golden Cadillac drink made Poor Red’s the largest consumer of Galliano in the world.  That’s huge for such a small place, world’s largest consumer! right there in the tiny town of El Dorado, so far away from Italy.

If you can’t make it over to Poor Red’s, here’s the recipe for

The Golden Cadillac

– Ice
– Heavy Cream
– White Creme de Cacao
– Galliano

In a blender with the motor on high blend 5 ice cubes, crushed, 3 tablespoons heavy cream, and 1 ounce each of white crème de cacao and Galliano for 15 seconds, or until the mixture is smooth, and pour the mixture into a chilled saucer-shaped Champagne glass. Makes 1 drink.