Thursday, July 26, 2007

Tasty Tomatoes: The New Grocery Store Staple!

This week we've been hard at work, trying to brainstorm ways of making the UGLYRIPE more accessible to you.

The cartoon above represents the idea that a summer-tasting tomato can now (and should be) considered a grocery store staple--along with milk, bread and eggs. The idea that you should come to expect UGLYRIPES to be a produce aisle regular at your local grocer is now a feasible opportunity. We're working with chains across the U.S. to make sure that's the case. If you want UGLYRIPES at your local store, mention it to the produce manager. Your kind words and support mean more than you know!

Friday, July 13, 2007

The World's Newest Celebrity Chef

The biggest little chef in America right now is Remy, the rat hero/gourmand/celebrity chef in Disney's new movie Ratatouille:If you haven't seen this endearing and funny flick about the world of haute cuisine and the notion that "anyone can cook," not only do I recommend it, but just about every movie critic and food critic in America does as well.

If you have made it out to the theater for Ratatouille, you know that Remy achieves his celebrity chef status by getting back to basics and cooking a traditional French vegetable stew--ratatouille--for France's toughest food critic (the "bad guy"). One bite of the dish, featuring summer squash, zucchini, tomatoes and onions (although there are many varying recipes) transports the evil critic back to his childhood, when his mother prepared ratatouille for him as a comfort food.

Tomatoes, one of the ingredients Remy uses in his preparation of the ratatouille that makes him famous, is my comfort food. Is there any food ingrained in your memories- a comfort food- that can transport you back to a time and place?

Remy the rat's knack for cooking stems from his heightened sense of taste and appreciation for premium foods (I also happen to think Remy would love UGLYRIPES! Or bite sized grape tomatoes- the perfect size for him). I also happen to see a similarity between Remy and our UGLYRIPE: You have to taste it to believe it.

No one wanted to eat gourmet food prepared by a rat. In fact, the notion was unthinkable. But one bite of Remy's creations and the only thing that mattered to his patrons (and critics) was taste. Similarly, you can't always judge a tomato by its appearance. One bite of an UGLYRIPE and you'll know that taste is all that matters in choosing a tomato. The common thread is flavor--everything else goes out the window.

I'll leave you with a recent ratatouille recipe--inspired by the movie--published by the Associated Press.

And finally, here are some other blogs and articles that have been inspired to talk ratatouille recipes after seeing the movie (many which are much simpler than the movie's version of the recipe):

Glittering Muse
: "I LOVE the dish ratatouille. It’s one of the first things I learned to make. What’s great about it is its flexibility. Once you have any combination of the basic ingredients you can do just about any proportions and it turns out nicely. Lots of room for creativity, which I love."

Kalyn's Kitchen: "Maybe the movie Ratatouille will get kids to like vegetables again. I know that when we walked out of the theater, my nephew Ethan asked me "What did the rat cook for the bad man?""

USA Today: "Chef Emeril Lagasse treated comedian Patton Oswalt — who voices the star of the upcoming film Ratatouille— to a heaping helping of actual ratatouille on his Food Network show, Emeril Live! Here's the recipe..."

Will Work For Food: "Ratatouille is being called one of the best movies of the year. I totally agree. As posted before, the crew and animators were trained to cook by Thomas Keller, meaning they ate well and were taught by one of the best. But did it pay off? Were the animated cooking scenes authentic and realistic enough?"

Ruhlman's Blog: "Last weekend Chef Pardus called me to say if I didn’t take my kids that very weekend to Ratatouille, I was a loser. This from the same guy who called me a wuss because I didn’t want to drive 30 miles through a blizzard to make a bechamel sauce. I tend to listen to him. He said, “Ratatouille gets it, it totally gets chef culture.” The reason for his delight is first that chef culture is important to him and second that it’s almost never gotten right."

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Of Fireworks and Summer Picnics

A post from one of our blog managers, Leslie:

I hope everyone enjoyed their 4th of July holiday! I was in Washington DC, for the national fireworks (or as my friend's three-year-old like to call them: "Sky Pops"). Narrowly avoiding a rain-out, the skies cleared just in time for a beautiful show over the Washington Monument.

In the grand tradition of Fourth of July picnics, I grilled out with some friends at their house a few blocks away from the Capitol. They provided the grilled food and drinks, and asked everyone else to bring a dish to share.

My contribution to the pot luck was UGLYRIPE tomatoes- sliced and drizzled with a bit of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, a pinch of sea salt and a dash of black pepper. It turned out to be the hit of the party (not to degrade the deliciousness of the grilled burgers and dogs, by any means, though!)

For such a simple dish, the compliments piled in. When a tomato tastes that good on its own, it's hard to accept praise--but I did anyway :)

For my next foray into "UGLY" food prep, I'm thinking of chopping up that very concoction and adding it to a slice of toast topped with a basil leaf for some fresh bruschetta. Or chopping it up and tossing it with some fresh mozzarella to make my own version of an UGLYRIPE salad. I think they'll be doubly impressed when I show up with a similar, but equally as "summer-tomato-goodness-y" dish around Christmas time...

My new secret to creating praise-worthy pot luck dishes is relying on excellent ingredients. If you've got a great tasting base (such as an UGLYRIPE) to begin with, there's little room for error!

By the way, if anyone has any suggestions on improving or adding to my "recipes," We'd all love to hear about it!