Sunday, December 30, 2007

Best. Lemons. Ever.

I just bought the best lemon I ever had today at H Mart. Unblemished skin, perfectly tart and juicy. I swooned. And then cursed Californians who must get that all the time.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Cupcakes for Valentine's Day

Now that Christmas and Hanukkah are over, I can start concentrating on what is my favorite holiday of the year, Valentine's Day. We went to Target today and it seems like their theme this year is cupcakes. I had to buy some cupcake dish towels and it looks like they will also have some cupcake-shaped dish scrubbers. The displays were not totally up yet, but what they have so far is super cute and inexpensive. Someone else already blogged about the towels here, if you're interested.

Friday, December 28, 2007

'70s Night

Plans for '70s night are in full swing. So far on the menu are Whatchamacallit (1976), Twix (introduced in the US in 1979), homemade California rolls (Ichiro Mashita, sushi chef at the LA Tokyo Kaikan invented the roll in the early 1970s), and fondue (nondessert fondue cookbooks first started appearing in the US in the early 1970s).

We are watching Private Parts (directed by Paul Bartel! I wonder if Mary Woronov might make an apperance), Marathon Man, Straight Time (slight Dustin Hoffman overload), O Lucky Man, Smile (I am most looking forward to this one) and Lovers and Other Strangers. We tried to stick to movies we either haven't seen or haven't seen in many years. I think we have a good assortment: satire, Nazi chasing, an allegory on life in a capitalist society, criminals, Paul Bartel.

I'm still a little stuck on dessert. Maybe the candy bars are enough? And a salty snack would be nice but most seem to predate the 1970s.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Pomegranate 7-Up


I have been obsessed with pomegranates since I was a child, long before pomegranate came into vogue. I've enjoyed their recent popularity as it means they are easier to find (and in more forms) than ever before. So I was pretty excited when I read that 7-UP was coming out with a limited edition (just until Jan 31) pomegranate 7-UP. Well, I was excited until I realized I couldn't find it for sale anywhere. I've been to many, many stores (grocery, pharmacy and mass merchandisers) to no avail. Even the managers at said locations don't know anything about it. I've found mentions of it on other sites/blogs so I know it exists, but where? I finally emailed Cadbury Schweppes asking them where I might be able to purchase it in my area. I carefully explained that I checked several local stores and talked to the managers of the stores and still can't find it. Their response? Check my local grocery store and talk to the manager. How frustrating. I hate bad customer service. I mean, how many hours should a customer have to devote to hunting down one of their products?

So, has anyone spotted it in the wild?

Saturday, December 22, 2007

One of my favorite sites

Food Timeline: it is so interesting to know the history of foods we eat every day. A big year: 1740---pound cake & cupcakes. The mystery of snickerdoodles.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Nuts!

When I decide to do something I do it. A few hours later and I've made 6 varieties of flavored nuts. Recipes to come on Coconut & Lime.

Giving Food Gifts

Are you giving food gifts this year? If so, what are you making and who is receiving? I normally don't give gifts and things to the neighbors, but this year, after we blocked their driveways and yards filming a TV show until 3 AM in the morning for a few days, I thought it might be a nice gesture.

I've had a hard time thing of what to make them. I always think that people make and get so many cookies this time of year that I didn't want give them cookies. I thought about making candy but last week was so damp, a lot of my sugar experiments came out sort of wonky. So I am thinking of making flavored nuts. Sound good to anyone?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Grate Shirt!



Threadless extended their holiday sale until the 19th. $10 t-shirts! My new favorite? This one.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

This Just In

Superfresh supermarkets have Barilla pasta on sale for 59 cents a box and 128 oz bottles of Wesson canola oil for $4 (normally $9). The expiration dates are about a year away, so this is the time to stock up.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Holiday Sales: Williams-Sonoma


Williams-Sonoma has already marked down some of their more pricy holiday and winter themed baking pans and sets. A few other things have been marked down as well, including the rather bizarre (and still pricy) raisins on the vine and "salad people" cookbook.

Monday, December 10, 2007

'70s Food Anyone?


Last year on New Year's Eve Matt and I had a '80s movie marathon. This year we are going back to the '70s and need your help!

Any '70s era foods or movies you can suggest would be wonderful! We're also looking for snack foods that were first introduced in the '70s.

A couple of caveats:
The food must be edible. Kitschy is fine, but it can't be so vile we won't want to eat it.

Nothing that I can't recreate at home for the main courses.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Parchment Paper

I am still getting emails from people asking why it is so important to use parchment paper. Here is your chance to become convinced, Reynold's (the brand of parchment paper I use) is giving away free samples of parchment paper sheets which are even easier to use than the roll. They also have some handy cookie exchange tips if you are interested in that sort of thing.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Food Blog Awards

Anyone else think it is weird that there are no recipe categories for the food blog awards this year? Last year there was best recipes and best original recipes. I can understand wanting to shorten the list of categories (some others are missing as well) but to cut out the recipe aspect entirely? Isn't that sort of one of the main points of food blogging? The recipes?

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Jell-O Mold Art


Lately I've become obsessed with Jell-O mold art. I did this paint-by-numbers kit (just need to get it framed) and plan on framing this card from Magic Jelly. I'd really like to have a Jell-O wall in our lime green dining room, so if you see any Jell-O themed art out there, let me know! I wish I had the cash for this apron, it would be perfect.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Tupperware, Tupperware, I love you

I finally did it: I became a Tupperware lady. Click below
order tupperware online

to place an order online-you don't even have to be local!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Threadless Holiday Sale


Threadless is having another $10 a shirt sale, this time through Dec. 16th. As always they have quite a selection of food themed shirts. I sort of this like this cow puzzle one.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

alone in the kitchen with a starfruit

I ended up staying home from Thanksgiving. We were supposed to spend Wed-Mon in NYC with my in-laws but I had a fever so I stayed behind and Matt went up for a shortened trip. My mom brought some food over for me today and I watched a lot of episodes of Gidget so it really hasn't been bad and I have the dogs for company.

I was a little worried about what to eat when I was home, we mainly buy fresh ingredients and had very deliberately been eating them up over the last week or so to avoid spoilage and we were left with an odd assortment of canned beans, pasta, grains, beverages and condiments. Matt picked up up some cheese, a couple of apples, tuna and bread for me but that didn't seem quite enough. My brother offered to pick up some food for me to send over with my mother so I asked for fresh ingredients-mainly some fruit or vegetables. And he bought me a mango, two kiwi and a starfruit. Which struck me as funny; apparently when my brother thinks of me, he also thinks of tropical fruit. Which is fine by me, maybe I will make some sort of fruit salad with it all. It's been ages since I've had a starfruit. He also sent over a candy bar, which was appreciated.

What did you do for Thanksgiving?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Faux?


How cute is this?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Blob's Park

Max Blob's Bavarian Biergarten AKA Blob's Park is a local institution. It serves German food and frequently hosts polka bands. It is closing soon, and my mom thought it would be a good idea to get some take out for the whole family to enjoy before the place went out of business. My grandfather loves sour beef (sauerbraten) & dumplings and we rarely have it so we all ordered that. Worse decision ever. Let's just say it is a blessing that this place is closing down. The meal consisted of barely cooked through (in sharp contrast to the fall apart tenderness of good sauerbraten), fat coated, tough, cold, greasy and barely flavored cubes of cheap beef. Ick. The dumplings were leaden blobs of dough and they couldn't even pull off a decent green bean. No one could eat more than a few bites. My dad went back to complain and they said the food was great and he didn't deserve a refund. He didn't back down and the manager end up throwing a $20 bill at him, which only covered about 1/3 of the total bill. Horrible, horrible food and dreadful customer service.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Carbon Conscious Consumer

Carbon Conscious Consumer

My friend Aimee shared a link with me (click on the above logo to check out the site) to a site about being a carbon conscious consumer. I saw the site for the first time today and it seems like I've already a fairly carbon conscious consumer! Who knew?


Each month they have a suggestion on how to cut down carbon use. They are all very simple but can have a big impact:

July was to buy one pound of locally grown food a week-check! (farmers markets/my own garden)
August was to carve out one car free day a week- check! (I work from home most days, and don't drive any where for at least 2 or 3 days a week)
September was cut out junk mail-check! (I hate junk mail and even call companies to stop unsolicited catalogues)
October was to to break the bottled water habit-check! (Never really drank bottled water, it just seemed so wasteful)

The goal for this month is to wash your laundry in cold water (which we already do) and to try to hang it out or dry it on racks (which I already do).

Next month: bringing your own bag to the grocery store-the only one I don't do yet. And should.

Any suggestions on good bags?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill Cookbook

Bobby Flay's new cookbook is actually pretty good. I don't know why I am surprised, Bobby Flay seems pretty popular and draws a lot less venom than that semi-homemade lady or that other Rachael. Which might not mean too much, but it seems like when the media leaves someone alone, they are doing something right.

When I showed the book to my husband he predicted that it probably had a lot of blue corn recipes in it and while it does, it isn't really too nouveau/fusion-y. Basically it is a collection of fancied up versions of TexMex/Southwest classics like quesadillas but with a lot of fresh ingredients, including a surprising amount of fruit (Spicy Coconut Tapioca with Mango and Blackberries, anyone?). Nothing is too hard to tackle and the directions and pictures are clear and well done. Well worth a peek.



Sunday, November 11, 2007

Hey Plastic Loving Locals!

Anyone want to order some Tupperware? I am having a book party (mean: you can buy Tupperware including sale items) through me without having to actually attend a Tupperware party. If you are interested, email me coconutlimeblogATgmailDOTcom and I'll give you the scoop.

Friday, November 09, 2007

love/hate

A quick round up of what I'm eating:

snacks:
love: vosges
hate: Curves granola bars. I like the idea of a moderately caloric snack bar but they left a bad taste in my mouth. Literally. Their cereal isn't bad though.
drinks:
love: Italian bitters: Campari (classic), Averna (dark and yummy) and my newest discovery: Aperol which is rhubarby and orangey.
hate: that Paula's Texas Orange isn't available here and they can't send it to me.
seasonal:
love: fresh cranberries & pomegranate
hate: not much grows year 'round here in the mid-Atlantic region.
shopping:
love: how butter, flour and sugar is on sale for so cheap (59 cents for a 5 lb bag of unbleached flour) right now.
hate: long lines, people shopping who only cook one meal a year and don't know where or what anything is.
dinner:
love: cooking new things and old favorites.
hate: that it gets dark at 4 PM and all of my pictures are wonky.

Poll

What would no holiday dinner be without?

In Baltimore we always have sauerkraut with turkey. I didn't realize this was unusual until I was older. So now I accept that it isn't the traditional thing to have on Thanksgiving but it still makes me sad when we go to Matt's parents and there isn't sauerkraut. Or mashed potatoes for that matter. Sniff. But we are having our own faux Thanksgiving this weekend and you can bet there will be kraut!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Do the Mango Mash

DSCN9063
We were in NYC this past weekend and while in Park Slope we stopped by some gourmet store and they had a whole bunch of (new to me) Mash for sale. It was mango and (I think faux but that's okay) blood orange flavored fruit juice water. Only 80 calories for the whole huge bottle and it was good, I have a hard time drinking straight fruit juice (esp. with food-it is just too much) and hate water so these new fruit infused water things are perfect for me. I wish it was available here. It is made by Boylan (home of the seltzers I love and which also tricky to find here) and was only $1.50. Oh and did I mention it was fizzy? This is my dream beverage. The scant number of fruit water things available here are are still and to me, bubbles make everything better.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Cool Gift Idea: Hotel Chocolat Giant Slabs



Why give a box of chocolates when you could give a whole slab? Each giant slab measures 10x6 inches, enough to both nibble on and bake with. Hotel Chocolat is based out of the UK but has recently launched a US branch so you can get all of their yummy chocolates without paying for overseas shipping.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Hostess Gift Idea: Christiania Vodka


Wine is the classic hostess gift, especially during the holiday season. Why not give them something slightly different? Christiania vodka comes in a beautifully sleek bottle and is made in Norway using organic potatoes. It is very smooth tasting with an almost sweet edge, which makes it perfect for mixing or sipping and might be just the thing your hostess needs after the guests leave.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Fridgewatcher

Because I love seeing glimpses of other people's lives, I love FridgeWatcher. So much so that I submited pictures of my own fridge. It's up today if you want to check it out.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Top 10 American Cities for Candy

According to the National Confectioners Association




Hershey, Pa. – Living up to its nickname “The Sweetest Place on Earth,” Hershey, Pa. ranked number one with a 61 percent consumer rating. Trick-or-treaters of all ages can delight in free samples on a free tour ride at Hershey’s Chocolate World; dare to ride the more than 60 exhilarating rides at Hersheypark; and indulge in a chocolate treatment at The Spa At The Hotel Hershey. Both Hersheypark and Hershey’s Chocolate World will host trick-or-treaters the last two weekends in October.


New York, N.Y. – Fifty-four (54) percent of Americans want a sweet bite of the Big Apple. Home to landmarks like the imaginative and interactive M&M’s World, 16-story tall Hershey’s Time Square store, Jacques Torres Chocolate cafĂ© and Dylan’s Candy Bar, it doesn’t need to be Halloween in New York City to find treats on every corner!


Orlando, Fla. – Ranking third, 53 percent of Americans agree that sunshine and sweets can’t be beat. This Halloween indulge in the sweet treats at Downtown Disney’s whimsical candy, ice-cream and soda shops, including a replica of San Francisco’s Ghirardelli Square!


San Francisco, Calif. – Fifty-two (52) percent of Americans say they want to go to Frisco for main attractions including Ghirardelli Square and renowned Scharffen Berger chocolate factory. Also nearby, explore fruity and fun Jelly Belly factory or see the world’s largest Pez dispenser (yes, it really works!).


Chicago, Ill. – Home to more than 100 premier candy manufacturers and attractions, Chi-town offers a taste for every trick-or-treater. Crack open a box of Cracker Jacks at landmark Wrigley Field, or take an evening stroll down Michigan Ave. for a glimpse of the illuminated Wrigley Building. For indulgent delights, visit one of five Ethel’s Chocolate Lounges and don’t miss the free treats on The Chicago Chocolate Tour.


Los Angeles, Calif. – Nearly half (48 percent) of adults say they’d like to get the star treatment at Disneyland’s Candy Palace with an extensive assortment of retro candies. And trick-or-treaters won’t want to miss nearby Godiva Chocolatier, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and famous See’s Candies factory.


Boston, Mass. – Forty-seven (47) percent ofAmericans want a taste of Bean town and its rich candy history. Crowned the 2006 U.S. Trick-or-Treat Capital, Boston is known for “Americanizing” Halloween by launching popular traditions like carving pumpkins, wearing costumes and trick-or-treating. Discover the treats of Halloween’s birthplace at they city’s popular Sugar Heaven candy shop or dip into The Chocolate Dipper for handmade chocolates packaged in unique Boston themed assortments like ‘lobster’ and ‘clam chowder.’


New Orleans, La. – At Halloween everything goes down easy in the Big Easy, like the classic pralines of the French Quarter and confections from local favorites including Evans Creole Candy Factory, Laura’s Candy Shop and Aunt Sally’s Praline Shop.


Las Vegas, Nev. – Cash in your chips and enjoy the sweet side of Vegas. Candy lovers can check out a replica of the M&M’s sponsored #38 NASCAR racecar and catch a 3-D movie at M&M’s World, or enjoy fondue for two at landmark Ethel’s Chocolate Lounge. This Halloween, treat yourself to Vegas Images’ chocolate poker chips as you learn the tricks of the poker trade.


Kansas City , Mo. – Kansas City entices more than a third (34 percent) of Americans with Russell Stover headquarters and Andre’s (Andre’s Confiserie Suisse) elegant Rivaz Tearoom. Don’t miss the creative artisan chocolates costumed in hand crafted designs by world-famous confectionery chef Christopher Elbow this Halloween.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Glacier Mints


A few years ago a British goods store in Annapolis sold Glacier Mints and got me hooked. I picked up a few bags every few months or so and was happy. Then they marked them up to about $5 a bag which annoyed me but only meant I bought one bag instead two or three (when they were selling for around $3) and had to make them last longer. Then they stopped selling them altogether which was completely annoying because I honestly think I made the hour or so journey down to Annapolis expressly for those mints the day I noticed they had stopped carrying them.


Fast forward to this year. I put Glacier Mints on my food wishlist (right side column for those of you reading this in a reader) and then about a month or so ago a reader named Mark contacted me. He had a British connection and offered to procure some for me. Then yesterday I got two bags from him in the mail! All is right with the world again.


Why do I love them so? From the website: "Fox's Glacier Mints are the leading, branded, boiled mint on the market. The sweets are produced using natural mint oils and no artificial colours and we ensure that only the best ingredients are used." They are super pepperminty but smooth and hard and perfect. My favorite peppermint to date.


Of course now that I look at the Fox's site, I see a variety I've never noticed before-FOX'S Garden Fruits- Rhubarb, Apple, Pear and Gooseberry hard candies. Be still my heart.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Kraft LiveActive

I am normally a extra sharp Cabot cheddar girl but I couldn't resist trying these new probiotic cheeses (also available in cubes) from Kraft. They taste just like regular cheddar but have live cultures like in yogurt. I frequently like to have a little bit of cheddar with an apple as a snack and these cheese sticks are a good way to add a little something extra.

They also make cottage cheese with "prebiotics" which are supposed to support good bacteria.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Success! Osem brand Israeli couscous

Finally I found Israeli couscous. And right at Graul's for only $1.40.

From the label:
"Israeli Couscous is a unique toasted pasta, produced exclusively by Osem
in Israel. Like regular pasta, Israeli Couscous is made from hard wheat and
water. But instead of being dried, Israeli Couscous is toasted in an open flame
oven. It has a rich, nutty flavor, it absorbs flavor easily, and the surface of
each pearl-shaped piece picks up sauces, reductions, and herbs."

It has actually been a big week or so for grain type foods. I found quinoa, wild rice, quinoa flour and farro all with in a number of days, all of which have been tricky to find in the past.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Spread!

Any thoughts on spreadable butter? I can't say I've given it much thought but after seeing this cute Save the Toast campaign for spreadable butter with canola oil I am a little bit more interested. I wonder if it tastes like butter or some weird butter-oil hybrid?

The site really is clever, there is even a petition to stop the horrors of cold stick butter tearing innocent slices of bread. Of course, you could just let the butter warm up a bit before you use it but who thinks of that?







Thursday, October 25, 2007

Cocktail Contest

This a little far away, but since it concerns my new favorite bitter, Averna, (think Unicum but slightly sweeter) I couldn't resist posting.

This January, Averna and Imbibe Magazine are hosting a contest to find the best mixologist using Averna. This "American Idol of Cocktails" will travel through five popular US cities (New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and Miami) in the hunt for a great new drink recipe. Under the watchful eyes of our prestigious judges, five semifinalists will travel to Sicily and wow with their creative Averna ideas. Your spin on this classic amaro could win you the $2,500 grand prize shopping spree in Sicily! This is your chance to redefine an Italian legend.


Get practicing now!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Chocolate of the Dead


My top pick for Halloween candy this year? Vosges Day of the Dead skulls. Stylish and available in three equally yummy varieties.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Reality of Reality TV

Not being able to cook or even be in one's kitchen for days on end is a surreal experience for someone who, like me, spends the majority of her time there. Waiting for the final doors to be made and put on and the lazy susan repaired by the crew so I can unpack my food and equipment and having to do the waterproofing of the cabinets ourselves (not to mention spending $70 for those supplies) is totally unexpected. You'd think everything would be done before they left, but it wasn't.

I am hoping to get into the kitchen to cook at least a little bit today, if for no other reason than I'd like to eat something other than Chinese takeout, deli food and Italian Nutella slathered on bread. Cross your fingers this all gets resolved soon.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Recipe Writers Handbook

I got the Recipe Writer's Handbook out of the library recently. It is basically full of common sense type things- don't assume your readers are expert cooks, uses standard terms and measurements, use generic names, specify the variety of vegetable etc. It really isn't of much use to me now, after writing original recipes for over three years, but it is a good resource and gives tips on how to give a recipe out over the radio and on television.

Friday, October 12, 2007

PizzAmore

Recently I was offered a free coupon for new Frescetta PizzAmore presliced frozen pizza. Now, I haven't had a frozen pizza in years but I knew that events were coming up that would keep me busy so I thought why not give it a shot. We picked it up at my local Safeway, Matt popped in the oven when I was on the way home from teaching my cooking class Wednesday so it was ready when I got home. I didn't have the highest of hopes, but you know what, it was pretty good. It avoided the usual frozen pizza pitfalls-soggyness, over sweet sauce and dry crust. There's this baking tray that really kept the crust crisp and much closer to "take out pizza" than other frozen pizzas I've had.

We did have to recut the "presliced" slices, but that wasn't a big deal to us. It was not as good as homemade pizza, but very good for frozen pizza. I think it would be good to keep on hand for those nights when you just can't think of anything to make.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Regional Foods

What are some of your favorite regional foods? Baltimore has steamed crabs, coddies (I'm working on a recipe to share) and smearcase. How about your hometown? I am especially interested in regional foods that you generally still only find in that particular region. For example: Philadelphia might be the birthplace of the cheesesteak, but you can get it just about anywhere, while coddies are pretty much only found in Baltimore area delis and are virtually unheard of elsewhere.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Pompeian Pomegranate Red Wine Vinegar


I was at Grauls yesterday and while it is a tiny store, they have a huge selection of oils, mustard, vinegars and the like. On my way out I spotted a bottle of pomegranate infused red wine vinegar which is bottled right here in sunny Baltimore by Pompeian. It was like $1.30 so how could I resist? And how often is vinegar positioned to be a impluse buy near the check out? I have to support that.



Anyway, it is really tasty. I see on the website that they also make a pomegranate infused balsamic vinegar which sounds even better. Now I have to come up with some new recipes that really show off vinegar.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Chili Sauce Lures Fire Brigade

I heard this on NPR and it reminded me of the time when Matt was making a Thai curry and added the chili paste directly to the hot oil creating a gas that nearly killed me. Ah, memories.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Mo's Bacon Bar

The lovely Heather was nice enough to pick me up the much coveted bacon bar this weekend*. It was as delightful as I had hoped-smoky-salty and very chocolately. I wish it was a slightly darker bar (what is up with Vosges "dark milk chocolate"? I can handle the hard stuff) but the bacon was really good, slightly chewy so you knew it was bacon, but not fatty or anything. Makes me want to pair bacon with chocolate more often.



*At Ma Petite Shoe for you locals. Where I heard they were giving them away for free this past weekend but she didn't know that until afterwards and they made her pay.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Cocktails, anyone?

Just a reminder that all of you should be checking out my lovely husband's new blog, Five O'Clock Shakes. It's all about cocktails.

Now if only he could find some of that lovely G'Vine gin I was sent a sample of a while back locally we'd be all set.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Nature Valley Nut Crunch Bars


Occasionally I get emails about new products to review. Some are totally irrelevant but occasionally I get one that might be interesting. I only review things that I can actually get samples of and try and that I reasonably might buy anyway. I was sent a couple of boxes Nature Valley Nut Crunch Bars (almond and peanut) and while I am not a huge granola bar/energy bar fan, I really liked them. The almond bar was a little dry, but the peanut bar was really good. They're not sticky, despite having only six ingredients and being basically being made up of just peanuts (or almonds and peanuts), sunflower seeds and a light sugary glaze to hold it together. It really is like eating a handful of peanuts in a convenient bar form. They have about 200 calories but also include 7 grams of protein, which would make it a good snack or breakfast replacement if you were on the go- it was really filling. The only major draw back was that several of the almond bars were broken into little chunks when they arrived. Both types of bars are pretty brittle, so I wouldn't be surprised it they turned to dust if they spent some time at the bottom of your bag. Of course, the pieces are still perfectly edible, but it is something to keep in mind if you are the toss-it-in-your-bag-and-forget-it type.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

What $28 buys you at the Baltimore Farmers Market



This isn't the best picture (photography is difficult when your walls are lime green and there is little natural light) but it shows the haul. We bought honeycrisp, fameuse snow apple, dave's mystery & smokehouse apples, wax & green beans, beets, tomatoes, a tiny pumpkin, a whole tree of rosemary, basil, leeks, and both pear and apple cider. $28 is a little more than we typically spend, but apples are heavy and even at $1.45 a pound it adds up. Plus the pear and the apple ciders were $6.50 (together). Mostly everything else was only $1 or $2.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

bawl-SAM-ik vinegar

I was reading this article on the PBS website about regional English and it took me to this list of often words that are often mispronounced. It seems like I correctly pronounce the vast majority of words on the list but I did come across this:

Balsamic bawl-SAM-ik. Don’t say bawl-SAHM-ik.
Despite what you may hear from some slippery-tongued chefs on those gourmet cooking TV shows, the stressed second syllable of balsamic rhymes with ham, not calm.

Who knew? I'll have to make the switch.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Take Out Ennui


While I love our house and neighborhood, we have serious take out ennui. There are a couple of places nearby (mostly Chinese food) but they aren't very good. To get good take out, we often have to employ the use of coolers and travel 20-30 minutes away. That just doesn't seem right.

Do you have good take out where you live? What is it? Chinese food places are on nearly every corner here, but I know that's not true of a lot of the US. What's your ubiquitous take out?

Do you share my sense of ennui?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Black Currant Pastilles


I've been hooked on all things black currant lately and have really been wanting some black currant pastilles, which I had heard of but never actually had. I heard that H Mart sold them, and when I went, they had mixed fruit and lychee (very good) but no black currant! Luckily, Fairfax heard my pleas and picked up some for me when she made her pilgrimage to H Mart. Then she very nicely brought them to me. Home delivery of black currant candies! So decadent! We had a good time visiting-I love meeting local food lovers! The pastilles are really good too-not too sweet but sweet enough with a good black currant flavor.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Life in Miniature


I bought the miniature turquoise colander a couple of weeks ago at Anthropologie. At the time I wasn't sure what I'd use it for-the checkout girl said she drained individual servings of pasta in hers-but it matched my kitchen and I just couldn't resist it. Then when I came across fairy tale eggplant at the farmers' market it seemed to be destiny: miniature food for a miniature colander.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Chocodiles


I've been looking for Chocodiles for about 3 years now. They are made by Hostess and are basically chocolate covered Twinkies and they are no longer sold on the East Coast. They are so tricky to procure that whole businesses have been made around selling Chocodiles (at a ridiculous mark up) to out of luck East Coasters, fan sites have popped up and petitions to bring back Chocodiles constantly circulate.

Matt really liked them as a kid (and I sort of think you have to be a kid to really love them) and they have become part of our relationship mythology-once, shortly after we started dating we stood in the bread isle of a local Giant and he said "You know what I want?" and I said "Chocodiles" just as he said it. Which isn't that odd, except I don't think I had ever said the word Chocodiles before that moment, had never eaten them and certainly never talked the Matt about them. So it was one of those weird same wavelength things you get from time to time.

Anyway, that only fueled his need for Chocodiles. A need that went unfulfilled until a friend of mine in Utah, Aimee, saw that I was looking for them and said she knew of a Chocodile stronghold. A few short days (and for her a trip to the Hostess outlet) later, we have Chocodiles.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Check Out Coupon

Safeway is always giving us these coupons when we check out. They print out with our receipt so you would think they would be for items we normally use, but generally it is for $1 off giant vats of pudding or something and we never use them. I thought it was nice to just get a plain old 50 cents off coupon with no strings attached but then I read the fine print. It "excludes items prohibited by law". So no discounted sawed off shotguns or bathtub gin for me.

But seriously, what would be prohibited by law? You can't even buy alcohol (even beer and wine) in grocery stores in Maryland. Maybe lottery tickets?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Everything Old is New Again or A New Use for Yeast

I came across this ad on the Modern Mechanix blog and couldn't believe it: Fleishman's yeast once touted its product as a cure for pimples. A secondary use, but still. Who knew?

Monday, September 10, 2007

Oddly Compelling: One Click Butter Cutter

I came into possession of a one click butter cutter and it is one of the oddest, single use products I've tried. I like how it can be stored vertically in the refrigerator. The fact that it cuts butter too means one less knife to clean but I'm not sure if that is enough to to merit a purchase. If I was someone who used butter frequently (rolls at dinner?) it would probably make sense.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Successful shopping

We got up and going this morning and actually made it to the Waverly Farmer's Market. I'm glad we did, I think this is pretty much the last week that tomatoes of any quality will be there. Our plants were pretty ravaged after a big storm about 3 weeks ago and we didn't get the crop we were expecting. So we picked up a few pounds of Brandywine and some zebra tomatoes. We also got a ton of other things: green onions, fresh black & butter beans, thumb-sized eggplants, scallions, sage, dill, basil, chard, and a loaf of bread. Then we went to Punjab International Groceries & Halal (on 33rd) and picked up some things I've been wanting: pomegranate molasses, mango squash and Maaza mango.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Inglehoffer Creamy Dill Mustard


I picked up a tiny jar of this yesterday and it already has risen through the ranks to become one of my favorite mustards. We made deviled eggs with it and I was really impressed with how well they came out with so little effort. A lot the flavors I normally put in my basic deviled egg recipe are already in the mustard including dill, capers, lemon and (of course) mustard. And it is pretty creamy, so you don't have to add much mayo to the mixture. I wonder what else I can use it on?

Monday, September 03, 2007

Wacky Mac


My new favorite pasta for salads is Wacky Mac. I came across it the other day and picked up a bag. I think it is aimed at kids, but the colorful pasta (and fun shapes-I like the mixed shape bag) looks pretty in pasta salads. It also comes in a 12 oz bag, which I like better for pasta salads-16 oz (the standard box size for pasta) is just too much and I hate leaving just a few ounces left in a box.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

New to me: Parcel


No, not a package, a sort of mix between parsley and celery, it's referred to as "leaf celery". Our next-door neighbor gave us a big bunch she grew in her garden. It smells just like celery seed (or my first thought-Old Bay). We haven't used it yet, but I am thinking it might be good in a chicken or shrimp salad.

Friday, August 31, 2007

In a Popsicle Garden


Threadless is having another $10 a shirt sale. I love this popsicle one. Does the food themed shirt cuteness ever end? I think not.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Dinosaur Eggs


I've bought pluots before, but none as cute as these speckled ones labeled as "dinosaur eggs". The idea of branding fruit is simultaneously fascinating and perplexing.


And some random trivia for the day: the pluot is actually an improvement on an earlier plum/apricot hybrid the plumcot which was a closer 50/50 split between the two. The pluot purports to have combined just the best features of the two-more like 70% plum and 30% apricot.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Par to the AY


I'm a bad blogger. We had such fun at the party and I took virtually no pictures. Everyone brought different bottles of booze and mixings to make cocktails. I was excited to try Pimm's cup and sangrita for the first time. There is no looking back! Most people brought yummy food too. I am still thinking about the mango cupcakes and yummy homemade pickles.


I think everyone had a good time, despite it being the hottest day of the year. I hope we can do it again some time soon. Maybe in the Fall then it is cooler?


Anyway, sorry for the short post, but there are a lot cool things coming up soon, I promise.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Foodies on Facebook?

Anyone else out there on Facebook?

Friday, August 24, 2007

B-More Foodies

Tomorrow some of my fellow Baltimore food bloggers are descending on my house. I think it will be fun, but I am annoyed that the cool, relatively low humidity days appear to be behind us and we are now facing a day with temperatures in the mid-nineties and high humidity. Luckily we had planned to make foods that won't heat up the house: Matt is making some Mexican style pulled pork, and I am making (vegan) steamed red bean buns. Besides that we are pretty well set, I bought some disposable cups/martini glasses along with paper plates and silverware so that should cut down on the clean up.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Edible Silver Dust

I found some edible metallic dusting powders by Wilton at Michael's. I bought a set of three different metallic colors. The directions say to mix it with water and brush it on fondant, but sprinkling it on regular icing worked fine.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Have I mentioned?

I am offering private cooking lessons if anyone is in the market for them. Anything from the basics to more advanced cooking. Send me an email if you are interested and in the Baltimore area.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Good Things for Kids?


Is it weird that Martha's Good Things for Kids quarterly publication is one of my favorite things she puts out? I love the recipes and craft ideas.


At almost 28 (my birthday is Sunday!) I can enjoy a minature milkshake as much as any 10 year old. And I really wouldn't mind having a tye dye party. I had one for my 8th birthday and it was a lot of fun.

Monday, August 13, 2007

RRC #8: Retro Wobbles But It Won't Fall Down Round Up




Fruittart didn't use a recipe but made these retro Jell-O parfaits.



The originator of the retro recipe round up, Laura Rebecca made Coconut Custard




Haalo of Cook (almost) Anything at Least Once made this elegant Port Wine Jelly.





Simone (aka Xiao Zhu)of Curiously Ravenous made this kitschy Lime Fluff


Sarina Nicole at TriniGourmet.com made this Spiced Orange Mold .

I loved hosting this event and couldn't resist the opportunity to make a homemade version of the '60s era discontinued, cult favorite Jell-O 1-2-3.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

RRC #8: Homemade Jell-O 1-2-3


Remember Jell-O 123? It seemed like magic, one uniform mixture seperated into 3 distinct layers during refrigeration. It was introduced in 1969, then pulled off the shelves and then it was back until the mid '90s when it was disconinued again. In Jell-O, A Biography, Carolyn Wyman included this recipe to make your own at home.




Ingredients:


3/4 cup boiling water


1/2 cup cold water with enough ice cubes added to equal 1 1/4 cups


1/2 cup whipped cream


3 oz package any flavor Jell-O




Directions:
In a blender, mix together the gelatin and the boiling water. Add the ice cube/water mixture and mix until the ice cubes are melted. Mix in the whipped cream for 30 seconds. Pour into dessert glasses. Refrigerate 30 minutes. Serve.




fun food

We went to H-Mart today. We didn't do a huge shop but we picked up some odds and ends. Most notably:
  • lychee fruit pastilles
  • frozen jackfruit
  • frozen ube
  • agar agar powder
  • coconut gelatin mix
  • fresh lychee
  • sweetened & unsweetened red beans
  • a case of mangos
  • Meiji Meltyblend Royal Cacao
  • green tea tapicoa pearls
  • green tea popsicles with red bean filling
  • sesame popsicles
  • fresh sugar cane

I'm excited to come up with some new recipes using it all, but right now, I want to take a nap. A trip to H Mart is always fun, but exhausting.

Friday, August 10, 2007

zucchini

What is your favorite thing to do with zucchini?

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Heat vs. Cooking

I think the heat is winning. It has been at least 90 degrees every day for weeks now, and at times hovering near 100. And really, really (think tropical jungle) humid. We do not have air conditioning in every room in the house. In fact, we only have a room unit in the bedroom. This means the kitchen gets really, really hot when we cook for long periods of time. Making a quick muffin early in the morning wasn't too bad, but a whole dinner? Too hot. The rest of the downstairs rooms aren't too bad because we have fans but the kitchen can get deadly. So my will to cook is slowly evaporating. I want to bake. I want to make fun things for dinner but I just can't. So we've been surviving on chicken salad and simple stir fries and pizza from Matthew's.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Grocery Delivery


How cute is that truck? "Driver does not carry cash, only cashews".
Anyone out there getting their groceries delivered? I think it is popular to do that in places like NYC than it is here. I love the idea, I actually hate grocery shopping unless it is some place interesting like an ethnic market or a store in a different city or country. The idea of picking out what I want online and having it delivered to me is delightful; I love any sort of delivery. The delivery charges are what keep me from doing it now. And the fact that the Safeway is only about 1/2 mile from the house. That makes it seems all too decadent.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Best Place for Sushi?


What's your favorite sushi place? Why? Bonus points if it is in Baltimore or NYC.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Bottled Water, eh

I am happy to see this NYT editorial about the foolishness of bottle water making the rounds. I've always thought that bottled water is the biggest marketing coup in many years. To convince millions of people that they need to pay $1 a bottle (or more! the couple of times I have bought bottled water, it has always been at some outdoor event in August and cost $5) for something we get virtually free, in good quality, delivered to our homes was genius. Especially when you figure that most of the bottled water packaged and sold in the US is just refiltered, repacked municipal tap water. I see people walking around the streets of Baltimore drinking bottles of Dasani and Aquafini, both of which are bottled here by Coca-Cola using our local tap water. It is good to drink water, but think of the millions of plastic bottles that are use and not recycled each year. So wasteful.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Reminder: Retro Recipe Roundup




I'm excited to be hosting RRC #8: Retro Wobbles But It Won't Fall Down. This time around we will be making food that wiggles and wobbles. Think aspic, Jell-O salad, gelatin parfaits, jelly candies or even jam. The only catch? You have to use a recipe that was first published before 1985. For help in finding a recipe, check out the "helpful links" sidebar on the Retro Round Up blog. Once you've created your dish, post a picture of the finished product, along with the recipe and your review to your blog or flickr account. Don't forget to include the year the recipe was first published and its source.






When you're done, send an email to coconutlimeblogATgmailDOTcom by August 10th at 11:59pm EST. In the email, please include:







Your name or blogging nickname
Your blog's name and URL
The recipe's title
The post's URL
Please attach a photo (no larger than 100x100 pixels) and include "RRC#8" in the subject line.







The round-up will posted by August 12th here and on the Retro Recipe Challenge blog.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Bacon Stickers Mystery


I've seen these bacon stickers a few times around town. I can't figure out where they come from. Is it a vast vegan conspiracy trying to encourage people to throw out their bacon? A bacon gang marking their turf? Anyone else seen these?

Friday, July 27, 2007

Attn: Baltimore Food Bloggers

I was thinking about hosting a Baltimore food blogger meet up at my house. Email me @ coconutlimeblogATgmailDOTcom if you want in. I was thinking a cocktail tasting party? I've been to them before, everyone brings a bottle of something fun, and we make cocktails with it.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Lunch

I was wondering: what do you all do for lunch? Eat leftovers? Eat out? Order in? Where do you eat it?

When I go into work, I normally take my lunch but there are quite a few yummy sandwich shops around I occasionally go to. And since my workplace doesn't have a breakroom, I always leave to go to lunch rather than sit at my desk. There is a little park nearby that I sometimes go to or else I sit in the car. How about you?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Backyard Bugs Cakelet Pan


My birthday is less than a month away and I am wishing for this cakelet pan. I love the detailed shapes and how the whole pan is shaped like a leaf. The only problem is that I wonder if the finished cakes will look cute without icing (maybe just dusted with confectioners' sugar?) and decorating. I do not have the steadiest hands for that sort of thing. Also: do I have enough cakes I like to make without icing that would make it a worth while purchase? Maybe I should add some extra things to my cooking and baking wishlist just in case.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Virtual Tupperware Party!

I have had a life-long love affair with Tupperware. As preschooler I had my own miniature Tupperware pitcher, cup and bowl set in lovely avocado green, harvest gold and burnt orange. Now that I am an adult, my love of Tupperware had only grown stronger. However, the idea of having a Tupperware party (or even attending one) holds little allure.

Luckily, you can now buy Tupperware online and host virtual Tupperware parties I'm hosting one right now, so if you are in the market for some high quality food storage solutions, click here and join the party.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

First Tomato of the Year!


I picked my first (large) tomato of the year was picked today! I love eating homegrown tomatoes. Our garden is heavy with tomatoes this year (5-6 plants maybe? for 2 people) so I am sure this is the first of many. The cherry tomatoes are ripening as well. It seems a little early in the year for tomatoes, doesn't it?

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Food Wishlist Update: Red Currants!

While I was at Trader Joe's during my lunch break (and after going to the Towson Farmers Market) buying Greek yogurt, I noticed something new in the refrigerated section: fresh red currants! I was pretty excited, I've been wanting to try them for years but have never been able to find them fresh. Now I just have to figure out what do with them all. Pancakes? Muffins? Sauce?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Vanilla in the Wild


While at in town for the Mango Festival, my group was lucky enough to have a private tour of the Fairchild Botanical Gardens. One of my favorite things that we saw was this vanilla plant growing on the side of a tree. I've always known that vanilla cames from a variety of orchids, but I have never seen it in "in the wild" before. It one of the highlights of my trip.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Mango Festival!


As some of you know, I was in Miami for the past few days at the International Mango Festival. It was amazing! I have plenty of fun things to post, so check back soon.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

FAQ: Comments and E-Mails

These FAQ have been posted at Coconut & Lime and have been in effect for both sites since 2006. I am posting the ones pertaining to comments and e-mails here for ease of use.

I left a comment and now it is gone/it never appeared on the site. What happened?
I generally don't delete comments. However, if it is spam, very unclear/incoherent, not relevant to the post, abusive, asks a question covered in the FAQ or if it appears to be made in duplicate, to be solely self promotional or made in error, it may be deleted. Comments and/or questions that require a response are best e-mailed to me directly.

I may on an extremely rare occasion respond to a comment in the comments section if I have no other way of contacting the person and then delete it and my response after I feel comfortable the original poster saw my response. However, I have disabled anonymous comments so if you do not have an OpenID or a Google/Blogger log in and have a question you will need to e-mail me directly or contact the company concerned.

I have comment moderation enabled, your comment will only be posted after approval so there might be some delay between when you post the comment and when I get a chance to approve it. Keep in mind that I have the ablity to schedule posts to appear in the future. I am not always in town or available when a post goes up and as a result it might take longer for me to moderate your comment. There is no reason to post the same comment more than once in a 24 hour period.


I'd also like to point out that the comments section of a recipe are not the place to lecture me or my readers on fitness, nutrition, or health issues. Please keep comments as positive and relevant as possible. Everyone has a right to their own opinion, but sometimes someone else's blog isn't the best place to express it.

Why do you have comment moderation?
I am not “screening” my comments per se, I am trying to eliminate spam and unrelated comments from the blog. It also helps to keep duplicate comments made in error or unrelated questions from appearing on the site.

I e-mailed you and didn't get a response. What happened?
I try to reply to every email within 24 hours. However, I get upwards of one hundred blog related e-mails a day and it can be difficult to keep up. If a number of days have gone by and you still haven't received a response, feel free to e-mail me again; I might not have received it or it might have been accidentally filtered out as spam. Please do not e-mail me the same question or post the same comment twice in a 24 hour period. I am the only one running this blog and it can take a while for me to moderate your comment or respond. Food Maven is the place where I post simply for fun, my full time job is developing recipes for Coconut & Lime and my clients, my recipe columns, food writing and my public speaking. Occasionally I have to put Food Maven on the back burner to deal with my paying work and clients. Again, I have the ablity to schedule posts to appear in the future and as a result I am not always in town or available when a post goes up and it might take longer for me to respond to your e-mail.


I asked a question in the comments section and it wasn't answered. What happened?
I get so many comments and e-mails between the two blogs, occasionally I miss that a comment has a question in it. That is why I always suggest e-mailing me directly if you have a question that needs to be answered.

I have a question about a product...
I do not work for the companies that make the products I post about and thus have no "insider information" as to where to buy them or what ingredients make up the product. I am also not a spokesperson for any company. Food Maven is a blog I created for fun where I can post short profiles of products I personally have tried and enjoyed enough to share with the general public. I am not necessarily an expert on the products posted or interested in spending time debating their relative merits. What I post is generally either the only information I have about the product or what I felt was the most interesting or relevant.

If you have questions or concerns about a product, it is best to contact the company that makes the product directly. Again, I have no special connection to these companies and only know what any consumer would.

A quick note about questions:
Google is your friend! A lot of the more general questions I get (what's the address of that store you mentioned, where can I buy XXX, what are goji berries etc) can be answered via a quick Google search. While I try to answer these questions and will try to get back to you, I do get a tremendous amount of comments and e-mails each day, so it will quicker to look for the answer yourself.

You can look and see what store sells a certain product in your area just the same (better, even, because you know where you live and what stores you like to shop in) as I can. I frequently travel and purchase new products to share with you all over the East Coast and frankly I don't always remember where I tried or bought something. I also might try something many months before I post about it which makes it even more difficult to remember exactly what restaurant or store I found it in.

Most companies have a website and when possible I link to it so you can click through for further information, use their retail locator, shop at their online store or contact the company directly about their products or where to buy them.

You can also call around to your local stores (as I do!) for help in locating specific items. If they don't currently carry it, many stores will special order a product for you. While I do like to help, it can be a bit much to respond to each and every "where did you buy this" question when you can find the answer in less time then it takes me to respond.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Movies on the Move: Diner

Heads up to my Baltimore living, food movie loving readers. Netflix is hosting a free screening of Baltimorean Barry Levinson's debut film, Diner, which was filmed right here in Baltimore. The event is July 15th at 7PM.

Diner stars Kevin Bacon, Steve Guttenberg, Mickey Rourke, Paul Reiser, Ellen Barkin, Tim Daly and Daniel Stern.

In addition the free movie screening, before the movie is a special, free concert by the Bacon Brothers, fronted by Kevin Bacon.

The screening is at the West Shore Park in the Inner Harbor. Click here for more details.

As an added bonus, three Food Maven readers will be randomly selected to win a 6 month subscription to Netflix. Just leave a comment here.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Ale Mary's





On Saturday night we met up with Simone and her boyfriend at Ale Mary's for dinner. We've been wanting to go there, mostly because of the name, and because we heard the food was good. The kistch factor was in full effect with lots of Catholic school pictures and confessionals.


They offered a variety of beer (both local and national brands) and some different wines but think twice about asking if they have any cocktail specials featuring hard liquor, it really seemed to confuse the waitress. They do have a full bar, but don't expect any "house special" cocktails.
They have several appetizers, including the odd sounding Reuben dip. We all had it and it was surprisingly good: swiss cheese with bits of corned beef and sauerkraut, served with crackers and wedges of bread.
For our main courses the men had burgers (I had a bite-yummy and juicy) and Simone and I each had a crabcake sandwich. There was a bit of a bun to crabcake ratio problem but if you smushed it together a bit the crabcake spread out. The crabcake was tasty, but not quite Baltimore style and they didn't use lump crab meat like it was stated on the menu. The finer meat is fine taste-wise but it did have a fair amount of membrane in it (they should have picked it through better, and jumbo lump has less than backfin) and of course you don't have the little pockets of succulent crab that jumbo lump offers. Still, there wasn't too much filler and they kept it simple, which is a good thing. I just wouldn't take an out of towner there to experience a Maryland crabcake for the first time and I probably wouldn't order it again. If this is a permanent change, they should change their menu to reflect that or at least mention it when you go to order it. Baltimoreans take their crabcakes very seriously!


One fun thing was that instead of french fries, they serve tater tots, which I don't think I've had since grade school.


So, would I go back? I would, but I think I'd try a different sandwich. It is a good place to relax and talk with friends and the waitress wasn't too obvious in her attempts to get us to move on when we were done eating. It also wasn't too crowded, there was at least one large table free the whole time we were there, which meant it wasn't too noisy.