Sunday, September 25, 2011

Current Events

So Melissa and Kerry sent this to me on Thursday night, I'm just posting it now. Hopefully it is still considered a "Current Events" post and not a "Past Events" post, but whatev. Sorry for my absence for the last 2 months! I cannot even believe it has been that long, I have lots of stuff to post, I just have not gotten around to it yet.

Dear loyal ‘Justalilbite’ readers,

Please accept this apology for our slacking off the past few weeks (or is it months?...frankly I’ve lost track) with our Current Event recaps. We’d like to say it was due to writers block and being creatively stifled, but really it just boils down to laziness. We’ve missed many important stories since our last post, such as: riots in Britain, typical unrest in the Middle East, numerous gaffes by Michele Bachmann and the 10th anniversary of 9/11. We take our positions very seriously and will try harder to be more consistent in the future.
Best,
The CE Girls

1.)     Troy Davis is executed in Georgia

M.Stine: Without spending too much time on personal feelings about the death penalty (I am for it), this case saddens me. Davis was executed yesterday for the 1989 murder of an off-duty police officer in Georgia, after years of delays. He had always maintained his innocence and no DNA, blood or murder weapon could tie him to the scene. His conviction was secured with the testimony of nine eyewitnesses…seven of whom have changed or recanted their statements entirely since the trial. To me, eyewitness testimony seems to be generally shaky at best and “The Innocence Project” says it is a leading factor in wrongful convictions. Maybe he isn’t innocent and will face whatever judgment there is in the afterlife, but given the lack of evidence it seems you cannot say for an absolute fact that he is guilty.

K.Mo: I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about the death penalty, but I do know how I feel about Troy Davis: there just wasn’t enough evidence to proceed with the death penalty. Sketchy eye witness testimony? Come on, that hardly seems fair. This has all the makings of a 20/20 episode about being wrongly convicted. But, who knows, maybe he was guilty. The point is we don’t really know.


2.)     Iranian hikers freed

M.Stine: Not to be the jerk, but maybe next time let’s avoid hiking anywhere in Iraq/Iran. While I’m very happy they are free & wish them all the best with their transition back to a normal life, you have to assume such risks (yep, even false imprisonment) when you travel to places such as the wartorn Middle East! And honestly Iran, the US would clearly not send California hippies in to spy on you.

K.Mo: If these idiot hikers were indeed American spies I am absolutely horrified about the people we have working for the CIA. Why on earth would you go hiking in that area? And let’s say you did want to hike in Iraq, wouldn’t you pay extra careful attention to the borders since it isn’t exactly the safest place in the world? Common sense, people! I can’t wait until they sell their story for book/movie deals and make more than me for being total fools.


3.)     Young boys in cage fighting

M.Stine: Nope, this doesn’t have “bad news bears” written all over it. Evidently the land of Cadbury chocolate and fish & chips is also home to young boys in cage fighting competitions. How precious! Even if they do enjoy these fighting/mixed martial arts competitions, I think it is a bad idea for young children who are still growing, physically and psychologically. Who can say they won’t be more inclined to get into physical fights as they grow up? How about something a little less violent, like croquet or t-ball?

K.Mo: I’m going to London next month and a kiddie cage fight is sadly not on my agenda. However, a ghost tour of the tower of London is! Can’t these kids just do karate or something? Do you think Will and Kate know about this?


4.)     US delegation walks out of Ahmadinejad’s UN speech

M.Stine: Well this is a shocking development. Every year when the lunatic Ahmadinejad gives his annual speech to the UN General Assembly, the US and essentially every other country walks out. Everyone knows he will eventually turn up the crazy and start spewing non-sensical nonsense, so why even stay in the room when he begins his speech? Out of respect or hope that this might be the year he acquires some sanity? I have always admired the mission of the United Nations, but this is a big charade.

K.Mo: This man is the definition of crazy! If he weren’t affecting the safety of millions of people I’d revel in his general kookiness, but “running” (come on, we all know he doesn’t actually have any real power) a country and being legit insane never seems to have a good outcome.

5.)     Man pulls shotgun after Taco Bell forgot his hot sauce

M.Stine: As an avid consumer of Taco Bell, I can understand that one might be upset upon discovering missing hot sauce (it’s just SO good!), but the threat of violence is not the answer! So let’s put those guns away and enjoy our Crunchwrap Supremes as is.

K.Mo: The Taco Bell near the house I grew up in consistently messed up every single order. You would order five hard tacos and you would end up with two Mexican pizzas, a nachos Bell Grande and a chalupa. It was actually obnoxious. And while I can admit to yelling some swear words in anger, I never felt the urge to whip out a weapon. What is wrong with people these days?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Grandwich.


Every time I say I want to move to Chicago, Grand Rapids surprises me with a fun event that reminds me it is a fun, growing, vibrant city! First there was Artprize, then Restaurant Week, then 5x5 Night, and now, there is Grandwich.


Grandwich


Grandwich is a new food contest in GR centering around finding a signature sandwich for Grand Rapids. The contest only runs for 2 weeks and there are 48 restaurants that have entered sandwiches. I want to try them all but I can't eat sandwiches for every meal plus some snacks for two weeks. Well I could, but I'd need to have all my clothes let out. If I'm getting my clothes tailored, I want them going the other way! 

I decided to have a few friends over on Tuesday. We each had to bring one of the sandwich entries, then we split them up and shared. It was great! We each got to try 5 of the sandwiches, and we tried to pick the ones with the top votes. Of course, I forgot to take any pics, so I'm borrowing them from downtowngr.org/grandwich. I love when Grand Rapids does this kind of "big city" event.

Anyway, let's get to the point...the food! The GR chefs did not disappoint! I loved all the sandwiches, although one was a little spicy for my taste. ***Side note: Clearly, we gave up our vegan diet for a day...we do not eat a strictly vegan diet. We do not have milk or cheese or eggs in the house and we try to get the majority of our protein from plants, but occasionally we eat animals. 


Bulls Head Tavern

Bulls Head Tavern

Oven roasted turkey breast, havarti cheese, homemade apple and cherry slaw, fat free cherry vinaigrette served on honey wheat swirl bread.
This one was very sweet! Some of our group thought it was too sweet, it was almost to sweet to be a sandwich, but still delicious!



Founders Brewing Company

Founders Brewing Company

Sliced roasted chicken, muenster and pepperjack cheese, jalapeno, chipotle and banana peppers, red onions and homemade chipotle mayo piled on a Nantucket Bakery french roll.
This was soooo spicy. I couldn't even really eat it, although I'm kinda wimpy about heat, but have you ever cooked with chipotles in adobo sauce? I add 1 little chipotle pepper and maybe a tsp of the sauce to an entire pot of chili or black beans, and this sandwich had 3 chipotle peppers plus the sauce actually on the sandwich. The picture looks nothing like what our sandwich looked like, it was covered in spicy red adobo sauce.


Green Well Gastro Pub

Green Well Gastro Pub

Slow braised crispy Creswick Farms pork belly, Grassfields gouda,Michigan Apple & Ingraberg Farms cabbage-radish slaw,Nantucket Bakery’s Hopcat spent grain & Michigan Maple hoagie bun, Doodles Sugar Bush maple-Detroit ale mustard and Rawkowski Farms fried egg.
This was AWESOME! The bread was perfect, the pork belly was perfect, I loved the fried egg...like I said, AWESOME!




Hopcat

Hopcat

Homemade Sloppy Joe, jalapenos, a full order of crack fries, soft beer cheese on a brioche bun.
My friend Katie told me this sub looked disgusting. I love Hopcat's crack fries, they are definitely crave-worthy! I also love sloppy joes. Embarassing as it is, I love manwich, but this is a real homemade sloppy joe. So a sandwich of made-from-scratch sloppy joe meat covered in crack fries and soaked in cheese sauce? What's not to love?


The B.O.B. - Bobarinos

The B.O.B. - Bobarinos

Crispy seared Big B Farms pulled pork, spiced barbeque sauce, local andouille sausage, spicy pickle "slaw" on BBQ spiced Naan bread
This was really good, too. I didn't like it as well as Hopcat's and the Green Well's, but it was very good. The barbecue was perfectly sweet, just the way I like it. My only complaint was not enough andouille and a little too much vinegar-y slaw. 

I really hope GR continues to become a "foodie" sort of town! The top 10 Grandwich entries will be announced next week and then a judging/tasting party next weekend! I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Peanut Sauce!

I don't know about you guys but I LOVE Mama Pea! If you don't read her blog, you should. Her recipes are awesome, her girls are so cute, and her sense of humor is the best! I've already pre-ordered her cookbook, it comes out at the end of the week. YAY! Last week I made her Noodle Salad with Peanut Mmm Sauce. I liked it, but she uses fire roasted tomatoes as the base of her peanut sauce. I couldn't decide whether or not I liked that smoky taste in my peanut sauce. 

I made it again today, then decided to experiment with my own. This is loosely based on hers, but not so much. I've already told you guys about my family's love of peanut butter and that definitely extends over to anything with peanut sauce. My sisters are coming over for dinner tonight, so I wanted my peanut sauce to be perfect! My middle sister is bringing her boyfriend, so I need to make something filling enough for a big Army guy. He's out of the Army now (yay!), but I'm still sure he can put away a lot of food. I'm going to serve this over rice noodles and shredded cabbage with edamame and cilantro!

I'm assuming Mama Pea uses canned tomatoes as a base to make her peanut Mmm sauce more healthy and low-cal. I tried to do the same thing. My recipe uses cashew cream instead of coconut milk. I first heard about this on vegangr.com, and this is the first time I've used it. Supposedly it is a good vegan substitute for heavy cream in things like creamy soups and sauces.

This sauce would be great over just about any protein, you could easily use it over rice noodles and shrimp, then chill it for a cold noodle salad. The heat index in GR today was over 100 degrees, so I cannot dream of eating anything hot right now, but it would be great tofu or chicken. You could also thin it out with a little veggie broth and make it into a peanut salad dressing. If you like it spicy, feel free to add some sriracha or chili paste or cayenne. Peanut sauce is such an easy sauce to make and a great sauce to eat! I hope you'll try it soon. 

Basic Peanut Sauce
1/4 C Natural Peanut Butter
1/4 C Cashew Cream (you can substitute light coconut milk)
1/2 C Veggie Broth
2 T Braggs Liquid Aminos (or Soy Sauce)
1 T Rice Vinegar
1 T Honey (or Agave Syrup)
1 Garlic Clove, minced
2 t Cornstarch


1. Throw everything in the blender and blend until smooth.


2. Pour into a small sauce pan and bring to a boil to thicken.


3. Enjoy! You're done. Yep, it is that easy!