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


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.