Sunday, March 30, 2008

Fox's Garden Fruits




I've been dreaming of these ever since I first saw them on the Fox's website (they also make my beloved glacier mints). Only in England would a variety of "garden fruits" include rhubarb and gooseberry. I thought I'd never get the chance to try them as they appear to be a UK only product. Well, one of Matt's friends lives in London came here for a visit and she brought me two packs of the garden fruits. Very exciting. Apparently they were difficult for her to find too, she had bought me a couple of packs of the regular fruit ones (also good and included black currant) just in case she couldn't find them but then at the airport she found the garden variety.

I love them, they are different sort of hard candy than we usually have here in the US. I really understand why they call them "boiled sweets", the texture is very smooth. Anyway, I really like the rhubarb and gooseberries ones (despite their being unlabeled and nearly identical) but they only made up about a 1/4 of each bag, the rest was apple or pear. Disappointing, but I am glad I got to try them at all. I have plans to dole them out slowly to make them last.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Not Quite Food...

But you all know how we love Threadless! Matt & I submited a design and we'd appreciate your vote! Click below to check it out!
Crochet Guevara - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever

Friday, March 28, 2008

AeroGarden Day 41

Aerogarden day 41

Aerogarden progress report. I had to trim back the basil again and add more water and nutrients. Unfortunately, I don't think the chives are going to make it. I'm disappointed because I was looking forward to having some chives on hand for baked potatoes and things. Everything else seems to be doing well, though.

Aerogarden day 41

Fresh 'n Cool


I get a lot of questions about how I keep my leftovers and vast supply of raw ingredients fresh. I love these containers. I have them in purple (of course they are out now in the same color as my kitchen) and use them all the time. Things stay fresh for so long! Much longer than they do in faux Tupperware. They are why I started selling Tupperware online, to use my discount to round out my collection.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Updated: A Little Help Please!

not quite sure what this is

Bought this at a little shop and am not sure what it is. I don't think it is just baby bok choy. It's a little hard to tell in the picture but the stalks are only about the size of a quarter in diameter and no leaves have been removed. The leaves are a lot like the various boy choy variants we've had before but very straight, not curving outward like the bok choy I normally buy. I was wondering anyone knew what exactly it is.

Okay: a couple more pictures for scale:



mystery choy

mystery choy

Big Box Stores

We got a free 2 month pass to BJ's (couldn't they think of a better name?) in the mail recently. I've never been to a Costco or BJ's or any of those buy in bulk stores. I've never wanted to spend money just to shop, especially when I didn't know what I could get. So, what am I going to find when I go? Are there fresh, unprepared foods available (cheaply) or it is all giant boxes of Rice-A-Roni?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Strawberries

strawberries

Normally I try to avoid buying food out of season, but these strawberries were too pretty (and too cheap-only $1.50 a pound) to pass up. When will Spring come to Baltimore?

Monday, March 24, 2008

Dannon Light & Fit 0% Plus Yogurt


I know it seems like all I ever talk about is probiotics, yogurt and flavored water but I swear I do eat (and drink!) other things. Not today though. Recently I tried Dannon's new Light & Fit 0% Plus yogurt. The yogurt fruit flavors have 50% more fruit than regular Light & Fit, but each cup is only 60 calories. The vanilla one (my favorite) has only 50 calories. Granted the cup is only 4 oz, but that is enough yogurt for me. I used to buy the little kid sized yogurt cups until they started making "adult" yogurt in smaller sizes and the size is a big part of why I wanted to try this product in the first place. Those 10 oz cup yogurts are just so much. This yogurt makes a great snack or part of a larger meal.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

All about Espresso

I came across some fun espresso facts from Starbucks where apparently 54% of Americans aren’t aware that CaffĂ© Lattes contain espresso.



The Germans and Swiss drink their espresso with equal parts of hot chocolate, the Moroccans with peppercorns and the Ethiopians with a pinch of salt.


An Arabica coffee tree can produce up to 12 pounds of coffee a year, depending on soil and climate. Starbucks Espresso Roast is made from pure Arabica coffee beans.


If you like your espresso sweet tasting, you should use granulated sugar for the best taste, as it dissolves more quickly than regular cubes.


The French were the first to invent a basic espresso machine. The Italians then perfected this machine and became the first to manufacture it.


The term “Americano” stems from the American forces in Italy during WWII when local Italian baristas added water to their espresso in hopes of emulating an American cup of coffee.

Friday, March 21, 2008

AeroGarden Day 34

aerogarden day 34

So, today was the first day I to trim my Aerogarden back-the basil was getting out of control!

w (1)

Screen Doors and Sweet Tea



I love Southern cookbooks and Screen Doors & Sweet Tea is one of the best. She gives Southern favorites like sweet potatoes, catfish and yes, sweet tea, clever updates using nontraditional ingredients like cardamom and coconut milk. The catfish is pecan-smoked. Comfort food with a modern twist. The recipes are all very easy to follow and most of them contain anecdotes that explain their origin or possible food or drink pairings. There are also helpful sections that explain techniques, storage, shortcuts, variations, and substitutions for many of the recipes.

Most intriguing recipe? Sweet tea pie.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Snapple Antioxidant Water


Snapple has jumped on the flavored water bandwagon with new antioxidant fruit-flavored water featuring tea polyphenols, electrolytes and vitamins. There are 60 calories per serving (120 for the whole bottle) which isn't bad-there is no way I can finish a bottle of anything in one sitting anyway. It is sweetened with sugar (no HFCS!) which I love.

It comes in several interesting flavors. I found the tropical mango (good mango flavor), Grape Pomegranate (eh, I don't like grape juice-wish it was just pomegranate), Raspberry Acerola (acerola is wild crapemyrtle and really yummy) , Strawberry Acai (tasty), Orange Starfruit (I love starfuit anything), and I heard there are Dragonfruit (yum!!) and Agave Melon (love agave) varieties but I haven't seen those two yet. I think they were better tasting and more flavorful than the similar in concept Vitamin water. Each drink promises to either Protect, Restore, Awaken or perhaps most puzzling, Defy.

Anyway, I like them a lot: fruity but not too heavy, sweet but not too sweet and interesting flavors. The first thing from Snapple I might actually seek out.

Candy Wishlist: Vosges


What I'd like most of all (but know I won't get) is this caramel assortment. I've had the exotic caramels before (perfection! the flavors are exquisite). I miss them. We each had one (of the same, you get two of each flavor) a day for a week or so and it was fabulous. Of course, I would settle for some chocolate covered matzo.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Food Kitsch


Possibly the most kitschy thing to hit chain restaurants, the Bloomin' Onion (along with the rest of the chain) is turning 20 this year. While I rarely go to chain restaurants Outback actually isn't too bad if you are stuck in the suburbs. They have a gluten-free menu and it is hard to mess up mashed potatoes, steamed veggies and steak.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Saturday, March 15, 2008

24c


Jones Soda has recently launched a really neat new product. Called 24c, it is a powder that you add to plain water than contains a full day's worth of essential vitamins. It also makes the water bubbly (you know how much I like that) and is made with cane sugar-no HFCS. It comes in Lemon Lime, Mandarin Orange, Tropical Citrus, Peach Mango, Berry Pomegranate, and Cranberry Apple. The flavors aren't super strong- think slightly fizzy, lightly fruit flavored water- but that's fine with me, I am not a big juice drinker and I find that really fruity tasting drinks are too "much" to drink with a meal. Plus I love the idea of getting my vitamins in a more fun way then taking a pill without resorting to the Flintstone vitamins. It is sold in boxes of 12 tubes for one glass.

Buy them at Whole Foods or apparently, World Market.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Areogarden Update Day 28


The Aerogarden is still doing well. I had to add water and nutrients for the second time. I think the basil has doubled in size from last week and it is much, much bigger than it was two weeks ago.

Emerald Buffet for St. Patrick's Day


An entirely green meal by fruitsandveggieguru.com. Check it out here-recipes included!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Hotel Chocolat (US) Chocolate Eggs



Am I the only one who is surprised that Easter is so soon? The only one still finishing up her Valentine's Day candy? Of course that didn't stop me from trying the Easter offerings from Hotel Chocolat, namely the 1/2 lb engraved dark chocolate egg and the truly over the top milk chocolate Eggsibitionist™ Easter Egg. The dark chocolate egg, though simpler, was my favorite, simply by the virtue that it was dark chocolate. The Eggsibitionist is however, quite possibly the most impressive egg you could give someone. From the description:


"Cradled between two thick shells of 40% milk chocolate are a dozen beautiful chocolate eggs with decadent praline and velvety ganache fillings. Elegantly presented in an embossed box."


And it is exactly that: two really thick shells with 12 fancy filled eggs inside. This one would have been my favorite had it been the dark chocolate version they sell. Milk chocolate is a little sweet for my tastes, but if you like it, this would make an awesome Easter gift.

Win $50 Williams Sonoma gift card

Click here for the details over at The Clean Plate Club.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Schweppes Lip Balm


I haven't tried this yet but what a fun idea! Retro tins, organic ingredients. They also have Hershey's balms. Sets of 3 for $16.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

absinthe makes the heart grow fonder

kubler absinthe
We were lucky enough to attend a invite only absinthe tasting party thrown by Kubler at Ixia last night. It was so much fun and now I am inspired to create some new recipes using the stuff. There's a whole article about the party here if you are interested.

Hot Chocolate Mochi Krunch

Hot Chocolate Mochi Krunch is pretty tasty stuff but it isn't exactly mochi. It's basically a chocolate and brown rice crisp covered tamari flavored rice cracker. Which isn't to say it is bad, it just isn't what I generally think of as mochi. It is very tasty and I love anything with dark chocolate and chile. And it is only 180 calories for 20 pieces. They also have nonspicy version.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Shiitake Madness



After getting back from NYC yesterday we drove out to H Mart to pick up a few things. We actually finished that gallon of soy sauce we bought in the summer. Oy. While we were there we came across a 1 lb package of dried shiitake mushrooms for $8. Normally we buy the 8 oz packages (about $5 at H Mart) or if in a pinch, the 3 oz ones (about $4) they have at Safeway. So it seemed to make sense to buy the big bag, we use them a lot. But the sheer volume is a bit daunting. I put the container next to the Kitchenaid for reference. It's a huge amount of mushrooms, hundreds even.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Aerogarden Day 21


Aerogarden update. Everything, especially the basil, has gotten huge this past week! Compare where it is now to where it was last Friday.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Siggi's Icelandic Style Skyr Strained Non-Fat Yogurt


Reasons why I love Siggi's:




  • It is really thick and creamy despite being non-fat yogurt.


  • The fruit flavors taste like actual fruit.


  • It is rather tart; not overly sweetened like most commercial yogurts


  • There are no slimy chunks of fruit through out.


  • It comes in flavors like pomegranate & passion fruit and orange & ginger


  • The container is recyclable.


  • It comes in a 6 oz container which is perfect for me, I can't finish 8 or 10 oz tubs of yogurt in a sitting.


  • No fake sugar, gelatin, high fructose corn syrup, dyes, preservatives and it comes from grass fed cows that are recombinant bovine growth hormone-free.


  • Only 120 calories per container.

  • It has 2-3 times the protein of most yogurt plus more calicum than average.


  • Did I mention it is really thick?

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Soda Club


Okay, you all know my loathing of water. I can tolerate it if it is bubbly but that is about it; still water bores me. This means that we end up going through at least a dozen cans of club soda each week. We recycle the cans but I thought there must be a better way. Enter Soda Club. Soda Club makes a line of carbonating machines (I have this edition one seltzer/soda maker) that come with reusable carbonating bottles which will drastically cut down on the packaging I need to fill my habit. Not to mention that is cheaper to make your own seltzer from tap water (of which Baltimore has in ample, tasty supply) than to pay for a couple of six packs each week. One Carbonator (the tank that makes the bubbles) makes about 110 liters of seltzer.


I love that you can make the soda as fizzy as you want. Soda-Club will make a liter of sparkling water in about 30 seconds, and if plain seltzer isn't your thing, they have a range of over 25 flavors (regular and diet) of soda mixes. You can also make yummy drinks using fresh juice or even make an egg cream or ice cream sodas.





Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Icon Love

Great food related icons here.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Bottled Tomato Sauce

So, how do we feel about bottled sauces? Anyone?

I grew eating them but haven't had one in years and don't miss them at all. What I find puzzling about bottled sauce usage is that so many people seem to only use them after much "doctoring"-sauteing onions, garlic, adding herbs etc which sort of leaves me wondering why they are starting with a prepared sauce to begin with. Swap out the prepared sauce for canned tomatoes and you just made a homemade sauce. I mean I can see the convenience of using a bottle sauce but adding things to it brings the prep time to about what it would take to start from scratch it seems sort of counterproductive. And surely if the bottled sauces were so tasty that using canned tomato would be vastly inferior, you wouldn't have to add a thing to them.

So do you doctor bottled sauces? Why or why not.