Wednesday, March 21, 2012

My Newest Obsession - Justin's Chocolate Hazelnut Butter

For all you Nutella lovers out there (myself included), this is for you.  James and I have discovered a new, less sugar laden and quite frankly, better option.  Justin's nut butters has created a chocolate hazelnut butter and there really aren't words to describe it... it's that good.  Think of a less sweet, nuttier version of Nutella where the chocolate flavor balances with the hazelnut rather than overpowering it.  The texture is a bit thicker than what I had initially expected but a little goes a very long way.

This morning, I used the nut butter to put together a better alternative to a classic, calorie laden favorite - the breakfast pastry.  I'm an avid lover of the baked good.  Danishes, muffin, tarts - you name it.  This morning, i managed to come up with a fantastic 225 calorie swap that actually as 3 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber per serving.  Compared to your average 500+ calories and 30+ grams of sugar that come with your standard breakfast treat, I think my alternative is a pretty satisfying trade off.

Take 1/2 of a Joseph's Flaxseed Lavosh and cover 1/3 with 1 tablespoon of low fat cream cheese, 1/3 with 1 tablespoon of sugar free cherry jam and 1/3 with 1 tablespoon of Justin's hazelnut butter.  Roll up the lavosh and toast on a medium setting in your toaster over for 2 minutes to warm.  It's a delicious, satisfying way to curb that morning sweets craving for less than 15 grams of sugar.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Best Think I've Ever Ate - Round 1

Have you ever eaten a dish that you can't stop thinking about?  Something that you can honestly say, "that was the best thing I've ever eaten?"  Over the years, I've developed a laundry list of delicacies that stick in the back of my mind as just that... the best things I've ever eaten.  A bowl of handmade, fresh basil pesto gnocchi from this little cafe in Florence, the sweet potato maki roll at Suki Hanna in Hunter's Creek, Florida, the oxtail potjie from Moyo in Cape Town - and tonight's entry... Chef Poe's Hudson Valley Duck Tacos with Truffled Cranberry Risotto from the Rattlesnake Bar & Grill in Boston's Back Bay.

The first time I tried these tacos, my friend Melissa brought me her leftovers from the night before thinking it could be something I would enjoy.  She was correct... even cold and a day old, the combination of flavors and textures were amazing.  From that point on, I was hooked on the Rattlesnake.  It's become by go-to bar when I'm in the city, but this presents me with a conundrum - I have a hard time even looking at a menu.  I fully recognize the talents of Chef Brian Poe and his creativity (particularly in the taco department) often overwhelms me but it's so hard to move past something I've come to adore so fondly.

Let's start with the shell... it's more of a wonton texture than your traditional tortilla.  In addition to being light, airy and crispy, the tacos are actually connected in a "W" shape.  They're set on a bed of slightly sweet, slightly tart truffled cranberry sauce folded into a creamy, rich risotto, which also fills the bottom layer of the taco.  Next, add slices of perfectly grilled Hudson Valley duck, crisp lettuce and cotija cheese to finish off what may very well be the best, and least traditional taco I've ever eaten.

Hudson Valley Duck Tacos

On my most recent visit, Chef Poe did manage to convince me to try one of his newest creations (in addition to the duck of course).  In honor of Leap Day, he created a fantastic Frog Tostada with Saffron Jalapeno Crema and a Mango Chutney.  For all of my readers who haven't ever tried frog, no, I would not describe it as "tastes like chicken."  Yes, it's a lightly flavored white meat but it's significantly moister, juicer and more tender.  If you haven't ever eaten it, then give it a chance - I promise you won't be disappointed.  At the very least, it taught me that I need to branch out when I visit the Rattlesnake, no matter how loyal I may be to my duck tacos.  

Frog Tostada