I was at the checkout at TJ Maxx of all places and saw this bag of chips. Dehydrated potatoes….cocoa…actual pomegranate juice. I like all of these foods, but together? In a chip? I HAD to buy them. So….they are…okay. I like them. Don’t love them. Eating them plain is fine. Trying to figure out what else I would do with them, the only thing that occurred to me was to make a sweet dip, maybe based on mascarpone. They are made by Simply 7 and were just so odd, I have to keep putting them in my mouth LOL. I’ve never encountered a food where I can’t really tell if I like them! I mean, they aren’t offensive, but would I search them out?……still pending….. What odd snacks have you come across?
The answer is No. If you get the proportions of crust to filling right. The one’s pictured are the Raspberry Apple Pie Pops that I developed for Driscoll’s and I made sure to make enough sweet/tart filling into each one so that you get juicy fruit in each bite. The dusting of sugar on the crust adds crunch and the cut-outs add color and eye-appeal. Just makes you want a bite NOW.
Years ago I developed a tart crust recipe that used packaged crisp oatmeal cookies instead of graham crackers with fabulous results. I broke them into large pieces, processed in the food processor, added melted butter and voila! An easy and really flavorful pat-in crust. I’ve noticed over the last year or so that I can’t find crisp oatmeal cookies anymore in my local supermarket. I used to be able to find a Nabisco cookie that was crisp, had no icing or raisins and was perfect for my purposes….now there are none to be found of any brand! There is one thats iced and another one or two that are soft. Where the heck did the plain crispy ones go? If you know, drop me a line.
I love coconut and use it often in recipes – from actual coconut to coconut milk to cream of coconut. Thing is, I thought I had been clear about what specific ingredient I was calling for but a recent editorial comment on an upcoming book’s manuscript got me thinking. Did my readers know what kind of coconut I was recommending? When it comes to the liquid varieties, it is simple. 100% unsweetened coconut milk is just that, while cream of coconut is highly sweetened and often found in liquor stores as it is a main ingredient in pina coladas. But when it comes to actual coconut, confusion reigns. In several of my books I had written the ingredient as “sweetened flaked coconut”. I had come to this terminology from the name of the most common sweetened coconut product found in most American supermarkets: Baker’s Angel Flake Sweetened Coconut, seen here Since I didn’t want to recommend the brand itself (as frankly, I just as often use my supermarket’s generic version), I used the term “sweetened flake coconut” assuming it would be clear. Fast forward to now. A copy editor thought I meant a different kind of coconut. Look at this pic below: On the left is large coconut flakes. This is almost always unsweetened. In the middle is long-shred coconut, the kind that is called “Angel Flake” and it is almost always sweetened. On the right is a fine shred (almost ground) product usually referred to as “desiccated” coconut, meaning that it’s just dried with nothing added. All three have their place in baking, but they cannot be substituted for one another, so terminology needs to be clear. (The editor thought I was calling for the large flake). For clarity sake, from here on in, I am calling these, in order, “unsweetened large flake coconut”, “sweetened long-shred coconut” and “unsweetened desiccated coconut”. I like the large flake as decoration on the exterior of desserts. The sweetened long-shred coconut adds sweetness and a nice chewy texture to coconut desserts and the desiccated is great when you want coconut flavor but no extra sugar. Check out my recipe for Coconut Snowballs, which combines the best attributes of the latter two. I’d love to hear about your favorite coconut dessert – and which coconut you use most often.
Part of my living room is now a permanent video production set where we are taping videos. A bunch are being edited as I type, so new ones are coming soon. Thought you’d like a peak at the set. That’s David behind the camera. Camera operator #2 (James) snapped the pic. Neither David nor I were aware that he was taking pictures so these were a surprise when I uploaded them! Thank you James! Im talking about the differences between rubber/silicone spatulas, metal, pancake turner style spatulas and icing spatulas.
This coming Saturday through Tuesday is the International Home & Housewares Show in Chicago. My fabulous publishers, Harvard Common Press, are bringing me out there to talk books and schmooze. This is a huge event where you get to see the latest and greatest of everything from mixers and blenders to vacuums and pressure cookers, tableware, bakeware, coffee makers, slow cookers and even hair dryers and irons. Its like Martha Stewart’s closet:) Or at least what I imagine it to be. One can go crazy lusting after so many things. Its for the trade – you cannot buy – but I will be taking notes and report back. They have this cool display that explains color trends and I am always fascinated by that one. Red was huge last year. We shall see what the color forecasters have in mind for us (yes, there is such a job!)
Turns out, a lot. I just got back from our second 24-hour airing of The Bon Appetit Collection on HSN. We debuted two new products: a blender and a multi-cooker. The blender took me by surprise….I mean, what could really be new in the world of blenders? Blades. EIGHT of them. Six facing up, two facing down, a few with serrated edges and – wait for it – the two groupings of blades turn in opposite directions! We have this animated diagram that we show during the segments and it is actually kind of awesome. We made everything from green smoothies to Moroccan Carrot Soup (comes in the accompanying booklet) to pina coladas that rival those from your favorite Caribbean haunt. The ice in the beverage is chopped so smoothly its practically creamy. The blender is 1000 watts (1.3 HP) and meant to rival a Vita Mix. I have a Vita Mix at home and do rely on the tamper from time to time, which is something our BA blender doesn’t need. We did a live demo where we make a homestyle V-8 juice and filled the 7 1/2 quart container to the brim with whole tomatoes and huge raw carrot chunks and then turn it on and just stand back….you can see through the clear plastic carafe how the two sets of blades create a vortex. The bottom veggies start disappearing and pureeing and gradually the vortex works its way up until all the veggies are liquified – with no help from you needed. Then just to be OTT we open the small top lid and add whole celery stalks, leaves and all and the vortex just sucks them in and Voila! Incredibly tasty, healthy veg juice. By the way, this gorgeous orange is just one of the colors. We’ve got Black, Red, Blue and Green, too.
I’m going to an annual Oscar party tonight that will have themed food….I’m bringing these: Since keys are featured in both Hugo and Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, I’ve covered 2 movies! They are a simple sugar cookie…..recipe coming soon.
I came across an article at foodrepublic.com on baking powder as “the invisible ingredient”. So says Linda Civitello whose dissertation at UCLA is on the history of this common white powder that is in every one of our pantries. It got me thinking…how many times have I reached for my trusty can of baking powder – it is usually David or Rumford in my kitchen – and I couldn’t even fathom the number. Hundreds and hundreds for sure. Thousands? Probably. I remember when I had my bakery we bought this huge industrial size can. It looked just like the cans you buy in any supermarket but it stood about 2 feet tall and about 10 to 12-inches across. I have tried to find a picture on-line to no avail. Of course, I was going through it fast enough that it warranted the sizable purchase. I wish I still had that can as it would have made a lovely repurposed vase. If you want storage, purchase and usage information, check out my Bakepedia entry on BAKING POWDER. I love the current Davis can. It was an airtight snap-on lid (as opposed to the old metal ones that you needed to pry open) and they also have this nice ridge inside the top where you can level off your measuring spoon (seen below). But I digress. There really are so many ingredients that we take for granted. Salt, baking soda, sugar, flour….the basics are just “there”. So easy to find, relatively inexpensive and yet, we cannot bake without them. I would love to hear about what “extras” you keep around. For instance, I always try to have a supply of honey and molasses. Not “first string” ingredients but maybe 1.5. How about you? I have to say that since I do not drink milk at all (I use soymilk in my cereal) I often have to buy it specially for baking. Heavy cream, on the other hand, is almost always in my frig. There is a lot of ganache making going on over here. Tell me about your basics and your basics plus.