Agave cubed: Partida Agave Nectar used three ways

May 20, 2007 in chocolate, diabetes, Food Porn, low glycemic index, product, review, Spirit World Blog, Well Fed Network

(This post will appear on [tag]The Spirit World[/tag] blog, a member of the [tag]Well Fed Network[/tag])

Hot Chocolate

I received a sample of the [tag]100% Organic Partida Agave Nectar[/tag] some time ago and it has been quite a journey as I developed [tag]recipe[/tag]s for this interesting [tag]product[/tag].

The [tag]Partida Tequila company[/tag] makes their [tag]tequila[/tag], as you might expect, from [tag]blue agave plants[/tag], a succulent that dwells in the arid lands around [tag]Jalisco, Mexico[/tag]. One can also make [tag]nectar[/tag] from these interesting plants and let me assure you, this nectar is quite a wonder. For one, it is sweeter than table sugar. It looks like a thin honey as it is less viscous. It tastes a bit like honey although it’s flavor is not a dominant thing. The most important thing, ok – to me, is that it is fantastically low on the g[tag]lycemic[/tag] scale.

Get this, pure [tag]agave[/tag] nectar has a GI of 11 while white sugar is 100. A 10th of the [tag]glycemic impact[/tag] of sugar!

Today I have two drink recipes and one food recipe to show you just a very few possibilities for working with [tag]agave nectar[/tag].

The first is one I tested just today. Its a nod to the south of the border origin of the nectar as it uses [tag]chocolate[/tag] and it’s consistency is something [tag]Montezuma[/tag] would love – thick and potent.

[tag]Blue Agave Nectar[/tag] [tag]Ghirardelli[/tag] Hot Chocolate

Ingredients:

Directions:

Combine agave nectar, cinnamon, chocolate powder and hot water in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Mix until incorporated. Add [tag]Ghirardelli chocolate[/tag] squares and then the fat free 1/2 and 1/2, heat until its smooth. Froth with an immersion blender. Do not not add [tag]marshmallow[/tag]s if you want to keep the GI low.
I had my rather fussy toddler give it a try and she loved it, even though it was made with grown-up unsweetened chocolate. She liked it with and without the marshmallows.

The second recipe is one that you will see all over the web and I will repeat it here but, since I do not drink tequila, I have not taste tested it. Its not hard to imagine that it is delicious!

[tag]Partida Agave Margarita[/tag]

Mix it all up in a bucket (or your favorite container), and serve over ice or chilled in a margarita glass.

The third and final recipe is one I developed a couple of weeks ago and, as you likely remember, covered in more detail at this post here.

oatmeal

[tag]Irish[/tag] [tag]Steel Cut[/tag] Oatmeal sweetened with agave nectar and passion fruit gastrique

Ingredients:

Directions:

In a small pan over medium heat, combine the scooped out pulpy seeds of the 2 passion fruits, the sliced apricots, 1 tablespoon of the Agave Nectar, 1 teaspoon of the fig vinegar, and 3 tablespoons of water. Simmer this down until it thickens to your desire consistency. You may need to add some water to thin or simmer longer to get it thicker, up to you! I put the syrup through a strainer to get rid of most of the midnight black seeds (which have these very interesting little divots across their surface) as they didn’t seem very edible to me.

When I served this all up, I put some agave nectar in the [tag]oatmeal[/tag] and stirred it up. I put the oatmeal into the bacon round (secured with a bit of wooden skewer) and then drizzled it with the [tag]gastrique[/tag] and added a bit of apricot. The remainder of apricots were put into a passion fruit rind. Do NOT eat raw passion fruit rind (has cyanide compounds in it).

I hope that these three recipes opened your eyes to the possibilities of agave nectar.

I plan on doing more work with chocolate because when I was making the hot chocolate, I saw how perfectly agave nectar married/melded with the chocolate (I feared it might seize but it didn’t).

Low GI chocolate sauce, oh how thou callest my name.

Products of Interest:


Sites of Interest:

Hi-Ball Energy drink – Ruby Red Grapefruit flavor (Well Fed Network Article)

May 15, 2007 in drink, product, review, Spirit World Blog, Well Fed Network

(This post will be published on The Spirit World blog, a member of the Well Fed Network.)
Recently, I had the pleasure of [tag]taste test[/tag]ing the Ruby Red Grapefruit flavored Hi-Ball Energy drink. I chilled this clear [tag]bubbly[/tag] [tag]drink[/tag] in the bottle and then poured it over ice. In the name of Science (right!), I drank it and then jumped on the [tag]treadmill[/tag] about 10 minutes later.

This soda had several good things going for it:

  • The [tag]grapefruit[/tag] flavor is very delicate, not overpowering or [tag]astringent[/tag]. I am a great lover of ruby red grapefruit so a stronger flavor would have been fine by me but I appreciate the delicate nature of this drink’s [tag]flavor profile[/tag].
  • Even though this drink is [tag]spiked[/tag] with a variety of [tag]energy[/tag]-promoting substances, it didn’t taste like a [tag]chemistry[/tag] [tag]experiment[/tag].
  • I definitely felt energetic as I did my modest walking [tag]workout[/tag].

I have tried other energy drinks, especially the [tag]sugar-free[/tag] types, and I never cared for their face-puckering brain-walloping extreme nature. I recently picked up one on my drive to what promised to be an energy-zapping photo shoot and I had a hard time finishing it. By the time I got to the bottom of it’s slim little can, there was a sort of acidic, ascorbic, horrifying [tag]sludge[/tag] that was worse than just about anything I have ever drank.

This [tag]Hi Ball[/tag] grapefruit energy drink is like the [tag]polar opposite[/tag] of that experience.

If you cruise the website for this product, HiBaller.com, you will find information on the ingredients found in the various drinks they produce.

They make:

  • [tag]Orange[/tag]
  • [tag]Wild Berry[/tag]
  • [tag]Lemon Lime[/tag]
  • [tag]Grapefruit[/tag]
  • [tag]Club soda[/tag]
  • [tag]Tonic Water[/tag]

The ingredients you will find in the Ruby Red Grapefruit flavored drink includes:

  • [tag]Taurine[/tag]
  • [tag]Caffeine[/tag]
  • [tag]Guarana[/tag]
  • [tag]Ginseng[/tag]
  • [tag]Vitamin-B[/tag]
  • No [tag]sweetener[/tag]s – no sugar

You will also see a page on various [tag]athlete[/tag]s who are spokespeople for this company. I mention this because its a trip reading about these people and then thinking how I am so NOT like them. I have no illusions that this drink will turn me into a global-class [tag]olympic[/tag] [tag]skier[/tag] or [tag]skateboard[/tag]er, but I do think its a good choice for the adult who needs some energy in the short term without the sugar [tag]crash[/tag] that you get after the loathesome energy bars and drinks that are thrust at the public as if they were actually GOOD for the body.

I would not recommend any of these caffeine and herbal amended drinks for kids and young adults. There is time enough later for them to become addicted to caffeine. They should have enough energy to do the kid things they need to do.

Give the Ruby Red Grapefruit Energy drink and the other flavors a try!

Grasshoppers Reloaded

March 15, 2007 in bread, cooking, drink, holiday, latino, recipe, Spirit World Blog, Well Fed Network

[This post appeared on the [tag]Spirit World[/tag] blog, a member of the [tag]Well Fed Network[/tag]]

For this month’s [tag]designated driver drink[/tag], I had to stretch beyond the trite [tag]Saint Patrick’s day[/tag] “stock drinks”. I also didnt want to explore virgin [tag]irish coffee[/tag]s, whats the point?!

Today’s [tag]nonalcoholic[/tag] drink is a fusion between [tag]Colombia[/tag] (my childhood influence) and a drink popular in the 1970s here in the US, the [tag]Grasshopper[/tag]. I put this together because its green but also filled with [tag]tropical[/tag] goodness.

Guanabana (Guanabanus muricatus) is the fruit base. It is called “[tag]soursop[/tag]” by the [tag]British[/tag] (not at all sure why, sour doesnt really describe the unique flavor of this fruit). It is related to the [tag]Paw-Paw[/tag] and [tag]Cherimoya[/tag]. If you live anywhere near an urban center, you may find [tag]latino[/tag] food stores and in those stores, in the freezer section, you will likely find the [tag]guanabana[/tag] [tag]pulp[/tag] frozen into packages. Of course, the [tag]fresh[/tag] fruit will never be replicated by frozen or concentrate, but these frozen pulps are a great stand in.

Regarding the taste. In the case of this fruit, texture is coupled to the flavor. I can not articulate it completely, but there is a textural heaviness or “grit” that coats the mouth while the flavor has a slight tingle/prickly ever-so-slightly sour bite that travels across the roof of the mouth and a bit on the back of the tongue.

If you have had guanabana and like to describe it differently, please comment because I would love to see how others experience this fruit.

I remember my parents making grasshoppers and [tag]pink panthers[/tag] at home. My mom says it was a 70s thing. It marked my childhood, just like [tag]Elvis[/tag], [tag]skateboard[/tag]s, and [tag]Sha Na Na[/tag] did.

The typical grasshopper contains Green [tag]Crème De Menthe[/tag], light cream, and [tag]Crème De Cacao[/tag]. Yikes, talk about heavy. My parents would make non-alcoholic versions of it with [tag]ice cream[/tag].

This grasshopper that I have put together for you today is a more [tag]globalized[/tag] version. It contains a lot more [tag]vitamin C[/tag] and a lot less proccessed “[tag]Creme[/tag]”, whatever THAT is.

[tag]Gobstopping[/tag] Grasshoppers

Ingredients:

 

  • 1 frozen package of Guanabana pulp
  • 1 C cold skim milk (I used skim because thats what we had on hand, you use what you like)
  • 1/2 C white granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon freshly minced [tag]ginger[/tag]
  • 1 tablespoon [tag]Key Lime Juice[/tag]
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 large tablespoon dollops non-dairy [tag]whipped cream[/tag] (Cool Whip)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh [tag]mint[/tag] (In this case, my fresh mint was “displaced” by a family member, I had to use a scant drop of mint extract)

Directions:

Blend all these ingredients into a frothy cold shake and serve in frozen mugs or goblets.

Enjoy!

Get your Red on, baby

February 13, 2007 in baking, cookies, dessert, drink, Food Porn, holiday, recipe, Spirit World Blog, Well Fed Network

(This is my latest article for The Spirit World, a blog in the Well Fed Network family)

To me, [tag]Valentine’s Day[/tag] is vibrant red and cinnamon flavored. Without that bright and bracing flavor, I have not really DONE Valentine’s Day. As such, I feel that anything presented as Valentine’s specific should be dark red and filled with hot cinnamon-y goodness.

Today’s Designated Driver Drink (a Well Fed Network Spirit World blog category) delivers a fantastic dose of spicy red that is sure to delight kids and kid-at-heart adults.

Big Red Cinnamon Cocktail for the kids

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Put two boxes of jello gelatin into 1 1/2 C boiling hot water and mix until dissolved.
  2. Add drop of cinnamon oil.
  3. Pour into your favorite mold or a flat pan to set up for 3 hours in the refrigerator.
  4. Cut jello into desired shape and add to a serving glass.
  5. Pour soda over the top of jello and serve with other Valentine’s decadence.

If you would like a cinnamon flavored drink for the over 21 age group try a “Big Red” Cocktail. This recipe uses Cinnamon Goldschlager, a liquor that has gold flakes floating lazily about in it’s depths, a schnapps I love because its so darn pretty.

Liquid Big Red

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Pour Goldschlager and Jagermeister over ice in your most festive glass.
  2. Add Dr. Pepper until it reaches the top, taking care to not let it foam the cinnamon goodness over the top.

One bit of trivia for you: The company that makes Goldschlager had to reduce the amount of gold flecks it puts into the formulation because people were having reactions to the gold, an element that is supposed to have no effect on our bodies. (see this PubMed link for studies)

Drink in moderation as this mixture is sure to go to your head in a schnapp.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Valentine Cookies