Friday, March 27, 2015

Catelli Healthy Harvest Ancient Grains [GIVEAWAY]

Who loves pasta? I do, and I would probably cry forever if I could never eat it again. Yeah, I love it. Maybe not as much as soup noodles, but pasta definitely ranks high on my list of favourite foods. Last week I had the amazing opportunity to spend a night with Chef Lynn Crawford to learn a bit about Catelli's new line of pasta, and to cook some dishes alongside Chef Lynn. How fun!

Chef Lynn Crawford is an award-nominated cookbook author, chef-owner of Toronto-based Ruby Watchco restaurant, host of the Food Network Canada’s Pitchin’ In, judge of the Food Network Canada’s Chopped Canada, and the first female Canadian invited to participate in the Food Network's Iron Chef America and Top Chef Masters Season Five. Since the launch of the Catelli Healthy Harvest Ancient Grains product in January of 2015, Chef Lynn has been promoting the product and even uses it at Ruby Watchco.


Sorghum Popcorn

Catelli's Healthy Harvest Ancient Grains pasta is the first of it's kind. Being released only in Western Canada, the pasta combines 100% Canadian whole wheat with five different ancient grains: quinoa, teff, amaranth, millet and sorghum. The result of blending all these grains together is a great tasting product packed with wholesome nutrients and health benefits in each bite. I personally cook with quinoa on a regular basis, but some of these ancient grains are completely new to me. For example, I've never had sorghum, but now that I know it can be popped like popcorn, I'm totally going to make it and snack on it!

So what exactly is so great about these specific ancient grains? Here's a couple quick facts:

  • Quinoa: Dating back to the 13th century South American Inca Empire, quinoa is high in fibre, protein and minerals – including magnesium, potassium, zinc and iron – and low on the glycemic index.
  • Amaranth: Native to the Americas and prized by Aztec civilization, amaranth is rich in protein, containing all the essential amino acids, key vitamins, and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and iron.
  • Teff: Originating in Ethiopia and Eritrea between 4,000 BCE and 1,000 BCE, this poppy seed-sized grain is high in protein, fibre, calcium, thiamin and iron.
  • Sorghum: Domesticated in Northeastern Africa more than 5,000 years ago, sorghum – a good source of vitamin B6, riboflavin, thiamin and magnesium – is known to support digestive health, help fight cardiovascular disease and help control blood sugar levels.
  • Millet: Cultivated 4,000 years ago from wild West African grass, this nutty-flavoured grain is known to be heart healthy, containing a high level of protein, magnesium and niacin. Alkalizing to the body, millet is considered one of the most digestible and non-allergenic grains available.

I try to be health conscious and it's important for me to know that the food I am eating is nutritious. I was pretty impressed by the high protein and fibre content in just one serving of pasta. Whether you try the spaghettini, rotini or spaghetti, the health benefits are the same. Way to go, Catelli!

The evening with Chef Lynn was so much fun. From coaching a participant to make pesto in record time, to mixing vinaigrette by shaking it to Taylor Swift's 'Shake It Off', Chef Lynn is hilarious and such a great host. Using the Ancient Grains pasta, she cooked up rotini in her signature marinara sauce and spaghettini in pesto. Both pastas were delicious, and I almost couldn't tell that the pasta was whole wheat. There's a slight difference in texture, but otherwise it's great and I would recommend the pasta for the added health benefit.

To end off the evening, Chef Lynn gave a demo on one of the recipes she developed for the Catelli Healthy Harvest Ancient Grains pasta - Chilled Noodle Salad with Ginger Wasabi Dressing. After the demo we split into groups to make the salad ourselves. FYI it's delicious, so make sure to make some for yourself. You can find the noodle salad recipe via Google, and you can find some of her other recipes for Catelli on the website here.

Now since you didn't get to spend a fun night with Chef Lynn Crawford, I'm hoping I can make up for that by giving you a chance to win a year's supply of Catelli Healthy Harvest Ancient Grains Pasta! That's 60 boxes and endless possibilities for pasta dishes. See the details below!

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THE GIVEAWAY

One Year's Supply of Catelli Healthy Harvest Ancient Grains Pasta
(60 boxes, $200 value)

DETAILS

To enter, you must comment below and tell me what dish you would make with your ancient grains pasta. Please make sure you leave a valid email address in the giveaway widget as this is how I will be contacting you.


ADDITIONAL ENTRIES

1. Follow me via Twitter (@littlmissandrea) (+1)
2. Tweet about the giveaway: "Enter to win a year's supply of #Catelli Ancient Grains pasta from @littlmissandrea! #yeg #yegfood" and link back to this post (+2)
3. Follow me via Instagram (@littlmissandrea) (+1)
4. Visit my Facebook page and share the contest post with your friends! (+5)


a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway is open to anyone 18+ years of age in Canada. You have until April 6 to enter and the winner will be selected by random and be contacted via email. Good luck!

Monday, March 23, 2015

#YEGNoodleSoups: PNooSh Pop Up #3

Yeah, you read the title right. Another Prairie Noodle Shop pop up was hosted on Thursday night, this time at the Pourhouse Bier Bistro on Whyte Ave. After three long months of waiting, the team behind Prairie Noodle Shop announced that a vegetarian ramen was up for tasting this time around.

One week prior to the big night 100 tickets were released to the public and they were sold out in under five minutes. If that doesn't say that Edmonton is dying for some good ramen, I don't know what does.

I will admit I was a little skeptical about a vegetarian ramen, wondering where the richness and depth of flavour would come from, but I was game for trying out a bowl of garlicky, cheesy, miso ramen. A miso based broth is actually my go-to choice when I go out for ramen, so that part I was definitely looking forward to. But cheese? That was a completely foreign territory and I didn't know what to expect.

As guests were settling in that evening Arden gave the quick low-down about the third ramen bowl they created. After eating bowl after bowl of ramen in Vancouver, the Prairie Noodle Shop team realized just how rich the ramen broth is. The heavier bowls are well suited to cold, rainy weather on the West Coast, and that was what the team aspired to make for their next bowl. Instead of using pork bones to get a rich, fatty broth, they headed in a completely different direction with the guidance of their consultant Chef Wendy Mah. She knew that a combination of miso and cheese (lots and lots of it!) could attain a rich broth with lots of flavour, and thus was born the vegetarian ramen.

Starting off with a Chinese style vegetable broth made with suey choy, a red miso paste was added to give umami and depth of flavour. The ramen noodles were made two days earlier from their secret Chinese lady, and had that great bite and texture. Toppings this time around were Chinese pickled radishes, fermented bean sprouts, fresh chives, and a mountain of Sylvan Star smoked gouda. There was so much cheese you literally could not see anything else, but that's not a bad thing in my books. A generous portion of raw garlic paste sat on the edge of the bowl to allow everyone to adjust the garlic flavour to their liking. Each table was provided with a small plate of kimchi and pickled leeks to cut through the rich broth every few bites.

Being vegetarian ramen, this bowl definitely exceeded my expectations. Upon mixing all the ingredients together the heat from the broth slowly melted the cheese, making the ramen creamier with each bite. Given all the different components in the dish, I loved that each bite had a different texture. Whether it was the crunchy radish, fresh snap of the bean sprouts, or the soft, gooey cheese, every bite was a little different. The acidity from the kimchi and leeks was definitely appreciated, and it really did cut through the fattiness of the broth. As I made my way through the bowl the raw garlic slowly mixed itself in and made the ramen increasingly spicy. By the end of it, the bowl was quite salty and garlicky. I was a vampire's greatest nightmare.

I love the direction that the team took with this third bowl. It's going to be a great option for vegetarians compared to other offerings in the city given the substantial portion size and deliciously creamy broth. Looking forward, Prairie Noodle Shop is looking to host their next pop up at NAIT if all goes well. The bigger venue means more space and possibly more bowls, 300 of them to be precise! The next pop up will feature a fourth bowl, and the previous three ramen bowls (Pork, Chicken, Vegetarian) if all goes according to plan. I'm incredibly excited to see where Prairie Noodle Shop is headed, but for now we wait until the next pop up. Keep your eyes peeled on Twitter/Instagram @YEGNoodles for the next announcement!