Thursday, April 10, 2008

Nueva Cucina, Chipotlé Taco Seasoning

After learning about Nueva Cucina’s gluten free seasonings from the CeliacChicks I requested, and received, a sample. Last week in the mail came a packet of Chipotlé Taco seasoning. After a few days racking my brain about what to so with it I decided to make a meat loaf.

I tasted the spice mix before using it and it seemed pretty good, I always sample all my ingredients as I’m cooking. I mixed two thirds of it with the meat and mixed the remainder with tomato sauce to make a glaze. As I was cleaning up I tasted what was left of the sauce, which was tangy and sweet, with a definite kick.

The mix itself has dried onion, garlic and raisins along with the ground spices. The meat loaf turned out very well. I’m no connoisseur of chipotlé seasonings, but this one was very flavorful. The package says medium, and I would say that’s accurate. The meat loaf itself wasn’t too spicy, but man, the glaze had a punch!

This would be great with tofu if you lean that way, or in any type of tomato based chili or stew. For those of us who need a different, flavorful quick fix, I say go for it. It beats Hamburger Helper any day. Nueva Cucina makes rice mixes, soups and beef seasonings. Several of their items are not gluten free: Black Beans & Rice, Red Beans & Rice, Pumpkin Soup, and Sweet Corn Soup with Chilies. The gluten free items are made in the same facility in which the others are made but the machines are carefully cleaned between batches.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Cherrybrook Kitchen, Fudge Brownie Mix

In my goody bag from the Worry Free Dinner I found a box of Cherrybrook Kitchen brownie mix, along with a cute little spatula with their logo on it. The day after the Worry Free Dinner I was gushing about it to my coworkers and I listed all the treats I found in my bag, As soon as I said “brownie mix” all eyes turned on me greedily. “So, you’re going to make us brownies?” my boss asked. “Don’t forget, I won’t be back till Monday.”

Foot in mouth. I was committed. Not that I would pass up an opportunity to make brownies, no sir. Making brownies means I get to eat brownies.

Sunday night I commandeered the oven, emptying it of pots, setting up my thermometer and started to prepare the mix. Now, the instructions call for margarine and vegetable oil, but being the health conscious type I decided to use what I had on hand: Smart Balance Light and olive oil. Perhaps not conventional, but I don’t think it made to much difference. Although, oddly enough, when I got to work in the morning the brownie had shrunk, pulling away from two sides of the pan. Unusual.

They were a great hit. By 10am the bookkeeper was already eating one, the boss tried one shortly after she arrived. I got everyone to try them, even the UPS pick-up guys and the woman who collects our office trash.

Everyone thought they had great flavor, perfect for chocolate cravings. The Designer pointed out that the texture was a bit off, while moist, it was more crumbly than expected. We decided that this was more like devil’s food cake than brownie, but delicious all the same.