You would think that the UWS neighborhood, home to a large Jewish community, would have lots of great, local falafel joints. But I have yet to find better chickpea fritters than at Maoz Vegetarian— the international veggie falafel chain, located on 70th and Amsterdam. For just $4.95 you can get a falafel sandwich with your choice of tasty toppings and sauces from their– the best part— do-it-yourself salad bar. Their falafel has the perfect balance of cilantro and parseley and is fried to perfection in heart-friendly canola oil. For more flavor– dress your sandwich with the classics, tabouli salad, hummus and tahini sauce, and add some spicy hot green chili dressing for heat. Stay tuned for a Creative Delites do-it-all-yourself falafel sandwich recipe!
Jarlsberg is nothing new, but right now, I can’t get enough of this Norwegian skim-milk cheese. It tastes like a mild form of Swiss. Apparently, I’m not the only one. Jarlsberg has it’s own facebook fan page! Most low-fat, no-fat and reduced-fat cheeses lack flavor and have a plastic texture, but Jarlsberg, even the lite variety, melts beautifully in grilled cheese. Is the reduced-fat version flavorful enough for your palate? The rating goes 1 to 10 (10 being the best).
Appearance: Sold in a plastic wrapped block at Whole Foods Market. This cheese has large holes similar to Swiss, but thankfully, it doesn’t have the same stinky cheese smell
Texture: Semi-firm and smooth. Melts smoothly without being greasy.
Flavor: The overall taste is mild. Since Jarlsberg is a skim-milk cheese, it lacks the same intensity as Swiss but has the same nutty, slightly sweet flavor. Great paired with other ingredients.
Cost: $ 3.59/lb
Health: Jarlsberg Lite is the low-fat version of Jarlsberg. High in calcium, and only has 70 calories and 3.5 grams of fat, while regular Swiss has about 100 calories and 8 grams of fat per serving.
Recommendation: You can use Jarlsberg (regular or lite) in any recipe that calls for Swiss. Store in the fridge. If eating in a cheese course, best served at room temperature. Delicious in a grilled cheese sandwich with a pumpernickel raisin roll and a drizzle of honey, melted over a veggie burger with sliced tomato and spicy mustard (pictured below), or shaved over scrambled eggs.
Resolution Stats: 22 new food stuffs tried, 83 more to go
Final Verdict: Doesn’t taste as flavorful as full-fat cheese, but if you are seeking a healthy alternative, Jarlsberg is great option for your everyday cheese fix.
In the winter time, there is nothing like piping hot, flaky naan fresh from a tandoor oven. David and I are fortunate enough that we will be able to learn how to make naan and lots of other classic Indian vegetarian dishes– from an expert. My siblings bought us a two-hour private cooking class that we are taking January 30 (so stay tuned for our homemade naan). Until then, I’m trying out various store-bought brands to see which flavors and textures I like best. See the verdict. The rating goes 1 to 10 (10 being the best).
365 Everyday Value Whole Wheat Naan
Appearance: The bread is flat and shaped like an oval. The fluffy, well-browned bubbles give the bread a handmade appearance.
Texture: Light but not as flaky as freshly baked restaurant naan. The flatbread is thicker and more dense than it appears.
Flavor: A bit bland. There is just a faint sweetness. Also comes in original (plain) and garlic.
Health: 260 calories and 7 grams of fat per flatbread. The whole wheat flavor is definitely your best bet in terms of nutrition. It’s tempting to eat more than one since the bread is so light. The challenge is eating just one serving.
Cost: $ 3.49 for the package of 4 flatbreads.
Recommendation: You can eat naan with any food, Indian or not. In fact, most of the time I like to use the naan to make pizzas on the grill.
Resolution Stats: 21 new food stuffs tried, 84 more to go.
Final Verdict: If you are looking for authentic, flaky naan, try making your own or buying it from your favorite Indian restaurant. Sometimes you can buy pizza dough from a pizzeria, so see if you can also get naan dough. If you buy the store-bought stuff, I suggest getting the plain or whole wheat flavors, grilling it first, and then adding your own garlic or onion topping.
There are a number of terrific Indian restaurants in NYC, but when I’m in the mood for a light, healthy, inexpensive Indian snack– I always head to Hampton Chutney West Side (464 Amsterdam Ave.) for their addictive dosas and fresh chutneys. I also love that the restaurant posts their nutritional info– only 189 calories and 3 grams of fat per dosa.
I recommend the spiced potato masala dosa ($7.95) with the mango chutney. If you’re not a fan of spicy Indian food, there are plenty of other nontraditional fillings, including roasted tomato, arugula, with jack cheese and grilled portobello mushroom, spinach and roasted onions, with goat cheese.
The dosas taste like delicate, flaky sourdough crepes. The dough is made with rice-and-lentil flour and baked until crisp.
Paper-thin and quite long– about the length of a large sub
Tasty vegetarian, spiced potato and onion filling
Freshly made mango chutney
Cheez-It crackers have been a favorite of mine since childhood. Unfortunately, these cheese crackers are not made with real cheddar. Turns out the big wheel of cheese on the front of the box is a sham. Their delicious toasted cheese flavor comes from a cheese imposter. I was looking forward to trying the Whole Foods Brand alternative called Quack’ n Bites, but they are not nearly as good when it comes to taste. See the final verdict. The rating goes 1 to 10 (10 being the best).
Quack n’ Bites organic Cheese Crackers
Appearance: These crackers are shaped like teeny tiny ducks. The shape is cute, but the size is disappointing.
Texture: Crisp, baked crackers. Nice crunch.
Flavor: I felt like I had them before. They taste like Pepperidge Farm Goldfish crackers, but not as salty or cheesy. Again, disappointing.
Cost: $2.99 for a 5.5 ounce box.
Health: Just because these crackers are organic, doesn’t mean they’re actually healthful. You are much better off snacking on fresh fruit and veggies or making your own crackers. 68 of these ducklings have 140 calories and 4.5 grams of fat. Of course, I made sure to check the nutrition label, and they do have cheddar cheese!
Recommendation: Enjoy these crackers straight out of the box, in tomato soup, or crumbled over a salad.
Resolution Stats: 20 new food stuffs tried, 85 more to go
Final Verdict: Reasonably healthy as far as crackers go. If you are looking for a packaged snack with lots of flavor, not your best choice.
Would love to find a cereal bar that has its nutrition, taste and cookie-like texture down. I browsed the shelves at WFM to see if they could raise up the cereal bar to breakfast status? The rating goes 1 to 10 (10 being the best).
365 Brand Mixed Berry Cereal Bars
Appearance: From the wrapper, looks just like a generic Nutri-Grain bar. The top of the bar has a dusting of whole grains and you can see the oats running throughout the bar.
Texture: When you bite into the bar you can feel the texture of the oats and the moist fruit filling. Loved the soft crust, similar texture to a soft-baked cookie.
Flavor: True to the mixed berry flavor, the filling tastes like a puree of different berries. The bars also come in apple and blueberry.
Cost: $ 2.49 for a box of 8 bars
Health: Good in the organic department, made with organic fruit and oats. Comes with some of the vitamins that dry cereals have, such as b12, b2, and folic acid. Minus a few points for the sugar (18g per bar) and for being short on fiber and protein, which are essential to a healthy breakfast. The calories are reasonable (140 calories), as is the amount of fat (2 grams).
Resolution Stats: 20 new food stuffs tried, 85 more to go
Final Recommendation: If you are looking for a quick afternoon snack at your desk, these bars are perfect. But if you are looking for a filling breakfast or are in need of an energy boost, you are better off going for a bowl of Wheaties with milk and fruit.