Saturday, March 30, 2019

A Very Vegan Spring

Spring is here and it's time to look to lighter fresher foods. One of the best way is to go vegan.It's a good time  with holiday fasting and dietary restrictions required. You'll not only feel better about yourself but also feel good about helping the planet.

The upcoming weeks are all about giving up. The Catholics, Greek and Russian Orthodox are observing fasting days right now on Wednesdays and Fridays.There is not only no meat but with the last two, no cheese,dairy eggs or even olive oil.It's a good time to try tofu which can not only offer nourishment but variety. It can be found in soft or hard, or with an in between texture. Steam it with soy , ginger and scallions. Flavor it with lemon for a healthy supper that fits all the religious dietary requirements.It can be served with one of the allowed basics such as rice or pasta.Another recipe that can work after the holidays is stuffed pepper or stuffed tomato. Use the chewier and more flavorful arborio rice, used in risotto, with garlic .Give some it color and oomph with various herbs such as basil or mint.Beans and nuts are also allowed. Think of adding them to the stuffing mixture for more protein.If you're going the salad route , then think of adding any kind of bean, such as chickpea or kidney along with pine nuts.The Greek Orthodox allow the creamy sesame seed based tahini sauce so think of making a hummus out of the two. This can be an excellent lunch or dinner.

Passover requires some fasting as well, but not as strict as the other religions. The only restriction applies to flours and yeast. Wheat, barley, corn,spelt and rye are forbidden, being replaced by matzoh. Meats are allowed but not with any kind of dairy. That means no butter milk or cheese. Tofu is also forbidden because it is made from legumes which are forbidden during this holy time. Rice is another banned food because it can be ground into a flour. How can someone go vegan without these two key ingredients in a meat free diet? Use matzoh as a stand in.Tomatoes, peppers and even onions can be stuffed with matzoh crumbs. Mix with olive oil and various herbs and bake in an oven. Any of the recipes can be used outside the holidays. It's relatively easy to switch over to a completely vegan lifestyle after the holidays. Soy meats and cheeses can fill in for the real thing.Any kind of veggie can be used as the main course  and can even translate into barbecue fare. Those stuffed peppers and tomatoes can be grilled and provide for a more filling meal. Sandwiches stuffed with grilled veggies such as eggplant, peppers and onions  make for  tasty picnic fare.

It's easy to go vegan come Spring. The holy days and holidays can jump start a compassionate diet. This leads to a compassionate lifestyle where all life is sacred.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Steeped Coffee A New Brew To Love

We love coffee. It's just that simple. Yet we hate making it, going for easy ways, from Keurig pods to instant. These are OK, but not so flavorful. Now there's a new coffee - appropriately called Steeped that's sweeping java lovers off their feet.

Steeped is an unusual coffee in the sense that it comes in teabag like sachets. These are bigger than teabags, more like a mammoth sized bag. The instructions are simple. Submerge. Saturate. Steep.It's a great coffee to bring to work, on vacation and even on picnics. What I like about it there are no grounds or dregs to deal with after it's all gone.It's precision ground and nitro sealed for the best taste possible.I love this coffee, - its' taste is the best I've tasted in a long time.

 There are

                Driftwood,a French Roast, Odyssey  Blend Dark Roast  and California Medium Roast

There is also the Sunrise Blend Light Roast and Eventide Decaf. My favorite is the Driftwood which has a creamy dark chocolate flavor  which makes for an excellent hot and cold drink. I also like the fruity Decaf too. Steeped Coffee's roasts all have a lovely sweet caramelized flavor that makes it down right delicious. It's worth getting their monthly subscription.

Steeped Coffee is the next wave of instantly brewed coffees. They are one of the best tasting brews today. Try them and enjoy their amazing flavor.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

CBD Teas The Latest Trend

CBD or cannabidiol is everywhere these days. It can be found in lotions, shampoos, edibles and now potables. CBD Living has added three flavorful loose leaf teas to its' long list of CBD products. Are they any special than regular loose leaf brands? Not really? Are they flavorful? Absolutely.

CBD Living manufactures a wide variety of CBD products. There the edibles which include milk and dark chocolate bars, tinctures, soaps, lotions and even suppositories. Their teas are loose leaf and , popular right now. They come in an array of flavors, from matcha to blackberry. I love tea so I had to try three flavors that appealed to me.

Their chai tumeric tea is the best chai I've had in a long while. The mix contains 150 mg of CBD (a cup has only seven All CBD Living's teas have this amount added) but also has turmeric along with organic ginger and cinnamon chips plus orange peel for a nice citrus aftertaste.

Another favorite is the coconut which is loaded with coconut shred and extract.It is blended with green Rooibis Tea and full spectrum hemp extract - which is the pure oil extracted from the hemp plant. It has a lovely tropical taste and the tea would be good iced on a hot summer's day

Another fruity flavor that not only soothing but delicious is the mango herbal tea. This drink has mango extract as its' top note flavor and organic dried peach as the bottom note which give the tea a bright, fruity flavor. As with the coconut there is also full spectrum hemp extract. Again this would be a great iced tea during the warmer months.Next on my list are their other teas - matcha , Berry Black and Passion Green.

CBD Living Loose Leaf Teas are the perfect antidote to today's super busy world. Brew them, and enjoy the rich flavor and the calming effect they have. It's like a vacation in a cup.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Food Treks

Foodies love to try all sorts of different food. They travel the globe enjoying the flavors of a country. It may be pasta in Tuscany or sushi in Osaka. Travel companies and guides have  up picked up on this and now offering food based trips. It goes far and wide, from walrus meat in Siberia to blackeyed pea stew in Ghana.

New York Times restaurant critic ,Ligaya Mishan, took a break from writing reviews to explore the new trend in foodie traveling. We have Anthony Bourdain to thank for this adventurous spirit. He gave Americans the courage and curiosity to go off the beaten path while on vacation and sample street fare and trying tasting menus in private homes. Attempts to follow Chef Bourdain's itinerary are typically orchestrated by by small, indy tour operators. They also have roots in the place so they know to bring visitors to home chefs selling pho from their kitchens or small business owners that also make sandwiches or kabobs on  a small stove at the back of their shops.Now international tour  companies are taking notice and planning their own culinary treks. One of the highest profile  contenders, the Monacan based Silversea, who has just partnered with cruise giant Royal Caribbean has planned a new 596 (!) passenger ship built expressly for culinary voyages.It will have a test kitchen that doubles as a clubhouse. However that launches a year from now in 2020.

Gastro-pilgrims, as they're sometimes called, won't wait. There are so many different tours right now, catering to the whopping ninety-three percent (!)food travelers.These are people who are not satisfied with local buffets. They want cooking  classes in Oaxaca, and even trips to floating markets like the one in Kashmir. More and more tour operators are  also trying to give these travelers a sense of substance of the lives of their chefs and servers.Mexico City food tour coordinator, Rocio Vazquez Landeta of Eat Like A Local is conscious of the class discrepancy between her tourists and the food vendors they visit. She makes a point of paying vendors full price for their goods and time spent making the foods instead of demanding discounts like other tour guides do. She has also hired an English tutor for the vendors' kids who at eight and eleven, are already working with their parents.She tips them for weekend tours they conduct.Then there is Mona Boyd, the Arkansas born founder of Landtours in Accra, Ghana. She arranged for small tour groups to not only dine with local home chefs but also to cook with them. An informal setting like this can foster a more candid cultural exchange. However , all homes and situations have to be vetted. Tourists can't get sick drinking unpurified water or freak out when they see the home chef accidentally drop the main course on a dirty floor.

It's now possible for foodies to travel the world looking for their wildest culinary adventures.The world is their oyster. Literally.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

French Appetizers A Book Of Treats

Appetizers are usually the best part of a party or a meal. They're fun bites full of flavor. Even better are French ones, ripe with sophisticated flavors and ingredients. Now there's a new cookbook chock full of amuse bouches that will make any gathering a special event.

French Appetizers (Gibbs Smith Publishing 2019) was written by Marie Asselin, a famous food writer from Quebec who created the multi award winning  blogger Food Nouveau and author of Simply Citrus. In this latest book, she devotes all the recipes to apero,  a kind of gathering where bites and aperitifs are served.It's a French and French  Canadian gathering that translates into cocktails here in the States.It is an amazing book, with beautiful photographs by award winning food photographer Catherine Cote.It is divided into seven sections  such as Basics and Condiments , Breads, Sandwiches and Toasts and ends with Drinks. The book starts out with menu ideas.Ms. Asselin  has them listed from quick and easy which is a mix of homemade and store bought to the luxurious which can be made for birthdays, anniversaries and New Year's Eve. There's also a vegetarian version and dairy free one.There's even one for a park or beach apero as well as one for a large crowd. There is also good advice for planning a stress free apero with ideas as making recipes before hand and then freezing them, along with asking guests to help and always keeping staples on hand. The most important is planning and prepping ahead to allow for the most minimum work in the kitchen. After all, an apero is all about not just enjoying the food but also time spent with guests.

The recipes are amazing. Readers , especially Francophiles, will feel like kids in a candy store with this book. I love it. There's about two dozen recipes I am longing to try. There is a recipe for three kinds of tapenade, one with za'atar and green olives, along with black olive and lemon and sun dried tomato and basil. This is an easy recipe that anyone can make and serve on rounds of toasted French bread.The chicken and olive meatballs are another must try, as they would make excellent bites.She also takes traditionally sweet recipes and turns them into savory ones. Sweet buttery madeleines turn into a cheesy treat when Parmesan cheese and Tapenade replaces sugar. Another cookie  turned into a cracker is palmieres, those puffy puff pastry treats. Herbs, cheese and classic pistou, a tomato-y pesto.
Ms. Asselin's recipes aren't all French. There are also hummus and falafel recipes too,perfect with her savory shortbread sable cookies. A well rounded apero also has vegetables too and there are some mouth watering ones.Radish lovers will adore the veggie sauteed in bourbon and butter while vegans will go wild for eggplant caviar. There are also soup recipe such as the velvety cauliflower and apple veloute - a nice break from the nibbles. All aperos have a sweet ending and there are recipes for clafoutis bars and salted butter caramels. The drink recipes are for simple syrup and a kir cocktail.

French Appetizers is the must have book for hosts wanting to have this kind of get together. The recipes are delicious and varied. Perfect for the perfect apero.

Monday, March 25, 2019

The Charm of New Mexican Cooking

Every state has foods that define it. New York  has apple pie and turnovers, a nod to the many orchards  upstate . The cuisine of Georgia has grits and peaches. Then there's New Mexico with its' variety of corn - masa- jalapenos and chiles. An eight-eight year old cookbook is making a comeback with time tested recipes that highlight the area.

Historic Cookery: Authentic New Mexican Food (Gibbs Smith Publishing, reprinted 2019) was written in 1932 by Fabiola Cabeza de Baca Gilbert. Ms. Gilbert would still be known if she had never created  the cookbook. She was daring and headstrong from a culture that raised women to be meek housewives and a country that dismissed her because of her heritage and her sex.Ms. Gilbert was born in 1894 to a prominent and centuries old New Mexican  family with strong ties to Spain.As with other strong minded women of her generation, she persisted. She started off in education and then delved into spreading the New Mexican culture to the mostly Anglo American population of the time.. The cookbook is a compilation of basic New Mexican dishes which for the first time were written down with measurements.A second printing in 1959 updated the recipes and a copy was sent to every governor in the union. It was the brainchild of  Thomas J .Mabry, a New Mexican senator  alsowho sent a bag of pinto beans with every cookbook. This reintroduced America to chile, making it one of the country's top dishes.

I like this book. It's a tiny one, without the pretense of modern cookbooks riddled with the author's history and chatty stories about the recipes.The writing is vintage, reminiscent of our mothers' and grandmothers' cookbooks.There are only eight small sections with the back offering luncheon and dinner menus - again a harking back to a more elegant time.Many of the recipes can easily be made today however be warned about the baking. Years ago ovens didn't have temperature regulators. Baking recipes have the the instructions as "bake in a moderate oven". (figure 350 -375 degrees Farenheit - I'd go with 350 just to be on the safe side). Another aspect is that New Mexican cooking uses a snout to tail philosophy with recipes for tripe ,menudo , homemade blood pudding - morcilla and kidneys -rinones. There are other meat recipes such as stuffed fowl (which could be chicken, turkey or even pheasant) stuffed with a mix of beef, raisins , pinon nuts and dark chocolate). Of course there are quesadillas recipes along with homemade tacos and tortillas,Beans are big in the diet and there are many, with variations involving chickpeas. I love the hot chocolate recipe along with the one for emmeladas, fried cakes in syrup. The book ends with a curious chapter on gruel, made with water and cornmeal. It's a thick soup made for young children the elderly and the sick, good for those who can't handle solids.

Historic Cookery - Authentic New Mexican Food is a timeless classic that fits in perfectly with today's recipes and tastes. It brings the first fusion cooking of  Spanish and indigenous into the public eye. Classic dishes, like classic styles and cars never goes out of fashion.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

The Lamb Experiment Part Two Icing Is Coming

This is part two of the Lamb Experiment. Yesterday I baked the Wilton lamb using my Mom's mold. It came out pretty OK. Now was the time  to ice and decorate it.

This is the original instruction booklet that came with the mold. I used the original icing recipe with one difference.I made it vegan.

I used Country Crock's baking stick along with Crisco's vegetable shortening. I wasn't a big fan of shortening until I saw what it can do to icing. It gave it a creamy texture and a lovely white color.

Confectioner's sugar was Domino's - what else. I used only four and a half cups instead of the recommended five.
It really is the perfect white icing. 

The Wilton recipe recommended a 1/4 cup of milk, except that  milk can make the icing spoil if it's left out.I went vegan and used Blue Diamond Almond milk instead.

It was perfect. I'm still amazed at how creamy the icing is.

The decorating requires a bit of the icing to be colored for the eyes,nose mouth and ears. I used Wilton's, putting two blobs of frosting in coffee cups. They were decorated with Wilton's gel dyes.

I stole a trick from The Great British Baking Show and put the dye on a toothpick for the right amount of color. It was then twirled into the icing..It produced cotton candy pink for the mouth nose and ears.
And a sweet cotton candy blue for the eyes
This is Lambie. The white spots are the flour left from baking. It can be gently scraped off with a butter knife.
Remember, to give any cake a crumb coating or a first layer of icing before the actual frosting and decorating.

Then it was onto the fluffy fleece.
Again I used Wilton's plastic and disposable decorating bags and tips. These are neat because they're printed with a line telling you where to end filling it.

Don't make the mistake I did. Please chill the icing before using. It gets messy and gooey as all get out when it's warm.
Here she is. pretty as ever.

I added tart blackberries for some fun and to offset all that sweet icing.

Miss Lambie is just the first in a series of lambs.I plan on making a vegan one , along with a chocolate one with coffee icing. It should be fun. 
Ewe'll find making an Easter lamb enjoyable. (sorry, I could not resist.)It's a great family and friends project.

Friday, March 22, 2019

The Lamb Experiment Part One

I decided to do a tester lamb,just to see if I can do it. First there was the form.

Then it was greasing the two sides. I used I Can't Believe It's Not Butter to grease it. If you're planning on making this lamb, then use big gobs of margarine or Baker's Joy,. Every dent and indentation has to be greased.

Onto flouring. I used my tried and true Stop and Shop flour. Again, I think I was a little too generous with it.Both sides do need to be coated but don't go overboard -like I did. Once that's done then it's time to prepare a tray or pan to catch any drippy batter.I lined a cookie sheet with tin foil.

                             Now it's time to mix. The Dream Whip recipe calls for four eggs

             Plus one package of cake mix. I used Duncan Hynes French vanilla along with one packet of Dream Whip. The liquid was just one cup of cold tap water - that's it. The Dream Whip is the sugary looking mix on the right

This is the batter , mixed with an electric mixer for four minutes.

It takes five cups of batter to fill the pan. Make sure it's filled in evenly,especially around the head and ears.

You have to put four to five toothpicks in the neck area to make sure the head stays on. You can use skewers too, but it may look like Frankenlamb.Just be careful when it's sliced.
Now it's tying the neck and body to make sure that the batter doesn't outgrow the pan. You can use both foil and twine. I used both.

                                      Keep in mind that when baking the front of the lamb is the back. The       backside has a steam hole in it as indicated by the circles around it. Use it when you have to insert a cake thermometer (recommended) or a toothpick to check the cake's doneness.

There was enough extra batter to make four cupcakes.

The cupcakes took only twenty minutes. The lamb a good fifty , both in a 350 degree oven.

These were the best cupcakes I've ever made.I am definitely going to add Dream Whip to box mixes from now on (and maybe nix all that icing too)

This is the back side baked. The white is the flour which I now know I added too much. It can be scraped off with a butter knife or even a spoon.

This is the front. You can see the indentations for the eyes, mouth and nose.

It does have to be wrapped up for the night before frosting.Use Saran wrap to retain the moisture.

Tomorrow - the icing.
I don't know how my Mom did it, baking these for family, neighbors and friends. Hopefully mine will be just as loved. We'll see.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Celebrating With Kevin Belton

New Orleans has always been known for their amazing dishes, cooked by amazing chefs. One is Kevin Belton, star of the PBS show. "Kevin Belton's New Orleans Kitchen". He is a bright star on the American culinary scene, creating recipes whose names make the mouth water. Good news for his fans and affectionados of NOLA cooking. He has a new  cookbook out and it is a home library must have.

 Kevin Belton's New Orleans Celebrations With Rhonda K .Findley (Gibbs Smith Publishing 2019) is a valentine to the city that raised him and celebrates his talent. He is a true child of New Orleans. Its' multicultural and centuries diverse population have influenced three generations of family and it comes through in all the book's recipes. For those who think this is just a cookbook revolving around Cajun and Creole recipes, think again. New Orleans has always been home to various immigrants and Chef Belton has their recipes incorporated between beignets and etouffee. I was surprised to see one of my Greek favorites, dolmades featured in it along with sauerkraut. Yet the Greeks and Germans have contributed to the wealth and culture of southern Louisiana for decades. Chef Belton also has many Sicilian recipes too, from calzone to calamari. The ethnic recipes are kind of sectioned together in  loose chapters but there are also sections celebrating tomatoes, , and cat fish, important ingredients in New Orleans' cooking. There are even fusion recipes like the classic boudin, a kind of sausage topping pizza.

I really like  this book because I really like watching Chef Belton on PBS. His is a fun show, full of humor and learning. The book is an absolute treat much like the show.. The cookbook starts off with his reminisces of his food experiences , from Mardi Gras to the famed NOLA Jazzfest. Another neat thing is Kevin's Take at the bottom of each introduction. They're nuggets of information that will help the home chef as well as enhance the cooking experience. The recipes are manageable and it's fun to see the international influence on the cuisine. The main influence , of course is the Cajun and Creole, and their recipes don't disappoint,The beignets with chocolate sauce is definitely on my must make list What I like is that Chef Belton has both sweet and savory recipes.There are lobster stuffed beignets as well as herbed ham and cheese ones, perfect hors d'ouevres.The gumbo z'herbes is a wonderful melange of different kinds of greens , from spinach to kale simmered with file powder, a New Orleans kitchen must have and cayenne.. Of course there are Po'Boys, from shrimp remoulade to cheesesteak, with a meatball one too, that's also on my to try list. Jambalaya is also here and there's even a breakfast one that has a sunnyside egg topping it. New Orleans is a port  so seafood abounds. Chef Belton has an assortment  of seafood recipes from garlic oysters and oyster chowder to shrimp and grits.

Kevin Belton's New Orleans Celebrations with Rhonda K. Findley is a phenomenal book , celebrating every aspect of NOLA. The recipes are diverse, like the city itself. They're also full of the love and exuberance that Kevin Belton has for his city.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Puerto Rico Rebounds

Puerto Rico has always been known for its' locally farmed ingredients. Two violent hurricanes changed all that two years ago, leaving the island to rely on canned and frozen goods from the US mainland. Thankfully , that's all changing and fresh produce and spices are coming back to centuries old recipes.

Julia Moskin wrote about this brave island endurance in today's New York Times Food section. Hurricanes Irma and Maria destroyed the farmland and the local food movement on Puerto Rico. Everything was wiped out from restaurants to greenhouses. fish farms to food trucks.The mega storms surprisingly stirred up patriotism  of young chefs who had left the island for success
. Mario Juan is  one of them.He was trained at the CIA and worked at the famed Momofuku Noodle Bar and Blanca. Yet he felt the storms were a portent of a career on his native island. Now he is proudly making pernil sandwiches in a permanently parked Airstream trailer. Thirty year old university trained botanist Gabriel Meja Lugo had his farm destroyed thanks to Hurricane Maria. He had to retreat to his extended family in Brooklyn where he sometimes worked , helping farmers at the Union Square Greenmarket. He is back in Puerto Rico. dedicated to his farm. Older farmers aren't that loyal, just taking their insurance checks and retiring. Before the destruction, farms had a lot of restrictions thanks to the Jones Act which gave islanders all the rights of US citizens along with privileges and limitations.Only American shipping companies can legally transport goods from one  US port to another.That meant chefs sometimes had to go to Costco for their ingredients.

Some of that changed with Hurricane Maria. Food supply chains were snapped in the urgency of feeding people. Mobile kitchens were pressed into service to make sandwiches and sancocho, the island's comfort food, a stew like soup made with chicken and ham.A huge help came from Chef Jose Andres who mobilized an army of cooks, farmers and volunteers days after the storm. His top "lieutenant " Erin Shrode from World Central Kitchen has not left the island. She coordinated the relief effort long after the news crews had left, moving food, cooks and trucks as sections were cleared and power resumed. Two months after the hurricanes, she began alloting grand money from World Central Kitchen to help replant farmland, rebuild bakeries and reopen restaurants. The grant program, Plow To Plate has now garnered almost $600,000 to farmers and other food producers. The farms now are all geared to the side effects of climate change .Greenhouses can be quickly dismantled before a storm and crops saved.This means also bringing back indigenous plants that are the backbone of Puerto Rican cooking.It's sparked an interest from a new generation interested in using heirloom recipes and practicing veganism. The last is thriving on the island, thanks to the news farms and produce.

The hurricanes may have destroyed Puerto Rico but they didn't decimate its' spirit. It is thriving, especially in the  culinary arts. The food culture has come back with a vengeance that even nature can't obliterate.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

The Egg Controversy

Yet again eggs and their effects are in the news. Now they're considered bad for us, despite their pluses. New studies find that they can shorten a person's life if eaten every day. What do we do? How do concerned home chefs handle this?

There was an interesting article in today's New York Times Science section. Writer, Nicholas Bakalar , the author of eleven books about health wrote this in depth piece along with conducting interviews with doctors and professors.Keep in mind that the findings are observational and cannot establish cause and effect. Yet it is noticeable that the more eggs a person consumes, the higher their cholesterol will be, despite the fact that their overall eating habits are quite healthy. The problem is without eggs , there might be some disadvantages. They are rich in Vitamin D and calcium, which are necessary for the body to absorb calcium. The ovals are chock full of other vitamins , especially the Bs -  B12,B5, and B2, It's also good for expectant mothers, with its' dose of folic acid. The yolks themselves slow down macular degeneration, an eye disease where the retina and macula are damaged due to UV exposure or age.. Eggs also contain large amounts of choline which the body uses to build cell membranes and also creates signaling molecules in the brain. Surprisingly eggs can also be good for cholesterol.It can raise the good kind, HDL which helps in reducing the risk of stroke and heart attacks,

So, what should you do, especially with Spring and Easter coming with their eggy dishes? You could cut down and maybe have them three or four days a week. If you're going to have them as a topping for Spring asparagus, then think about having something else like oatmeal for breakfast. Quiches are rich in eggs, giving the savory tarts their characteristic silkiness and flavor. I wouldn't give them up but I wouldn't go wild with second and third helpings either. What about rich holiday breads and cakes that call for them.Do you give these up or just modify the recipe? Don't give them up if they're a family tradition.Instead try vegan versions.Eggs can easily be replaced with applesauce and tofu.It's not like they lend a distinctive flavor to any baked good. They won't be missed.What about omelets? Consider letting the other  ingredients shine. The eggs should be secondary.A  veggie omelet should be filled with different colored peppers, tomatoes and broccoli.Also think of adding asparagus and kale for more flavor. What about cheese and bacon ones? Try soy cheese and bacon for something a bit more healthier. Also consider making a frittata which is just a flattened omelet that's served to the entire family. Eat one slice , supplementing the rest of the meal with salad.

Eat eggs - just not so many.  Have those poached or scrambled ones  but not on a daily basis. As with everything  moderation is the key. Keep the egg intake at a healthy minimum. You'll feel better.

Monday, March 18, 2019

The Lamb Experiment

One of the highlights of my Mom's baking career was her Easter lamb .It was a super moist, super dense cake covered in icing and coconut. She made several - for my cousins, neighbors, friends. Everyone enjoyed theirs, going wild for the jellybeans that wreathed it or the buttery icing layer/
Now it's my turn.

This is the lamb - Lambie
It's a metal tin from Wilton and it's close to forty years old. The company still makes them and they $16.97 on Amazon, a good price for something that will last decades.With the lamb came the instructions for baking and icing it>There was also an extra - my Mom's version of the cake recipe written in her enviable neat and concise handwriting. She always used Dream Whip which was responsible for the cake's moistness. I recently bought a package.
It can be used on its' own as a whipped topping along with dense, rich cakes. Dream Whip  can also be  used as an icing, mixed with cold milk and any pudding mix. I may go this route because the Wilton icing has both butter and vegetable shortening. I did order a complete set of Wilton  icing nozzles and icing bags from Amazon. I may try half buttercream and half Dream Whip icings when I bake this for my friends' Greek Orthodox Easter.
Then there's the cake mix.My Mom always swore by Pillsbury but as we all know I'm more a Duncan Hines kind of baker. I bought their French vanilla flavor.
I'd recommend a plain flavor without any additions like their butter flavor which needs a stick or two of butter. I may make the next cakes (remember the first one is the tester cake) in chocolate.I saw one on the internet with an uniced face and it looked pretty much like a real lamb.

This is going to be a daunting experiment to say the least. I look forward to baking the challenge. It is a complicated bake and finishing but I am up to it. Let's hope the creative acorn doesn't fall far from the creative tree.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Your Elegant Hosting Guide

Spring ushers in a season of entertaining with lovely meals served on elegant china at exquisite tables. Yet it can be hard to not only plan a meal but set the right mood. Thankfully there is new book that gives not only serving suggestions but also what kind of tableware to use as well.

Kristal Damron, a caterer, wrote this picture filled guide Entertaining And Celebrating: An Elegant Feast For Every Season (published by Reward Your Appetite Catering 2019).It gives  hosts and more expressly, caterers  ideas about how to serve a simple ,classy feast for any celebration. It is a glossy coffee table book, with elegantly taken pictures. Every celebration is covered, from showers to Christmas dinner and the book is divided into the four seasons. One page shows how the table should be set  while the other has the ala carte menu. The meals are divided into four courses starting with an amuse bouches - appetizers and ending with desserts The dishes given are all season appropriate. A Mother's Day brunch offers zucchini gazpacho and red grouper Poele while the Christmas Day dinner has such suggestions as roasted Cornish hens with mushrooms duxelles stuffing, and baked eggplant with marinara sauce.

This book may not be for the home chef looking for recipes.  This is  one strictly  for caterers, especially those just starting  out in the industry. There are so many ideas for what to serve and jumping off points for the more creative. One of the best pluses is the wine and tableware guides located in the appendix. The tableware is all Lenox and her choices are stunning.Some are delicate, some look utilitarian yet fresh. The same goes for the glass and tableware. To be honest this section is a good guide for those just starting their household. Chef Damron's choices work well together, and can definitely serve as inspiration for householders wanting to pair the appropriate glassware and plates together. Another source of inspiration are the centerpieces. These are lovely seasonal arrangements that complement the tables and can be used for any family dinner or celebration.

Entertaining And Celebrating:An Elegant Feast For Every Season is a must have for every caterer.It offers a plethora of recipe ideas as well as suggestions for wine and tableware. Buy it today, not just for these but also for the beautiful photographs of elegantly set tables.

Friday, March 15, 2019

New Irish Cuisine

Tomorrow is Saint Patrick's Day and Irish-Americans will be overdoing the whole corned beef and cabbage thing.However these really aren't indicative of Celtic cooking. Real Emerald  Isle cooking can  be a mix of hearty and delicate, of land and sea, of old traditions and new methods.

The early Irish relied on a variety of grains and it's still evident in some of their foods today.Oat wheat and barley have been grown since Gaelic Ireland ,around the early 1000's. Oat cakes and oat breads were baked then and ancient households had such new fangled equipment as a kneading trough(?) a kneading slab along with a griddle and griddle turner.Twenty-first century bakers , throughout the island make oatmeal bread, a hearty, nubby loaf that makes for excellent toast and sandwiches.Of course there is Irish soda bread, which would have been for the very wealthy centuries ago. This is made with white flour and baking soda, the last used for leavening. It's one of Irish American bakers go to recipes and it's been amped up with raisins and sometimes currants or orange zest. Porridge is one of the most ancient of all Gaelic recipes and it is still being cooked today. Then, as it is now, drizzles of honey or melted butter is added for some oomph. Some even add a drop of whiskey or chocolate for fun.

Pork is another staple of the Irish diet. The use of it goes back to Neolithic times when it , beef and venison were eaten regularly. Modern descendants still enjoy it in the form of trotters, pigs feet or a dish called coddle.This is a soup laden with bacon, sausage , potatoes and onions, perfect for a cold St. Paddy's Day. Ireland has always been associated with the potato, yet it was the English who introduced the South American tuber to the country around the late 1600's. It was a good source of vitamins, especially Vitamin C and was widely cultivated up until the Great Famine of 1848, It was the potato that caused the migration too, along with introducing Gaelic food to America. A true dish that is made on both sides of the Atlantic is boxtie. This Irish potato pancake is flavored with onion and nutmeg.Unlike German  potato pancakes and latkes , they're fried in butter until they're crisp and golden.It can be served as a side or main dish but always plain without the usual accompanying sour cream or applesauce.

Modern Irish cuisine takes ancient ingredients and turns them into delicious , hearty dishes.It is not just corned beef and cabbage. It's grains and pork, potatoes and oatmeal, refashioned into easy to make recipes.It is Ireland, then and now.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

A Trio Of Goodness

Homemade treats are always welcomed, especially snack cakes. They're a great fix at work or after school, along with being a picker upper on weekends. The problem is that manufactured ones are loaded with all sort's of preservatives and have a plastic-y taste. The solution is three recipes for delicious cakes that can be easily made in a home kitchen.

Melissa Clark gives us these in her A Good Appetite column in yesterday's New York Times Food section. They're easy bakes, with all the ingredients that are probably on the pantry shelf already.
The flavors are on everyone's cake wish list.There's chocolate with a tangerine glaze (!), lemon with a coconut one , a banana one dripping with a salted caramel topping.The first two are made with a neutral oil such as canola or grapeseed while the banana cake has melted butter. The flour used for all three is all purpose  - nothing fancy. The chocolate one has both Dutch processed cocoa and chopped dark chocolate.For a really intense flavor buy the 70 to 80 percent bars as opposed to the chips. The recipe has a hit of hot coffee for a mocha vibe. Sour cream is added for a dense, moist crumb.The icing is a zippy tangerine- lemon fusion that compliments the chocolate.Ms. Clark recommends that if it's too sweet add a extra drop or two of lemon juice.

Lemons are the backbone of the second cake. Three of them give it a burst of tartness thanks to their juice and zests being used. Ms. Clark also adds coconut milk and shredded coconut. Two large eggs and again, sour cream give the cake body and a moist crumb.The glaze is a mirror of it as it , too, as it uses coconut and finely grated zest.The only difference is that it has melted coconut oil which makes for a smoother glaze. The last is a yummy mix of bananas and caramel. The snacking cake has two to three ripe bananas mixed with sour cream and brown sugar. Half a cup of melted butter is added to kind of give it a Bananas Foster flavor.The crumb will be incredibly moist , the perfect texture for a snack cake.It's then topped with a buttery homemade caramel glaze. Half a stick of more (!) butter is mixed with brown sugar and heavy cream.These are cooked in a large saucepan for a minute, cooled and then blended with confectioner's sugar. To cut the uber sweetness flaky sea salt is sprinkled over the icing. It's a nice pop of savory to counterbalance all that sweet.

Happiness is a snack cake that's delicious and filling. The three recipes fit that bill.They are full of homemade goodness and flavor from the kitchen.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Plus Size Restaurants The Plus Side

Our society is supposed to be all inclusive. No matter who you are,or  what you look like should not matter. Yet it does  in of all places restaurants. Eateries are  surprisingly not up on accommodating  overweight and obese people. Yet they should. We all enjoy a meal out with family and friends. Where we eat shouldn't put a damper on that.

Regular contributor,Kim Severson, wrote this eye opening and thoughtful piece for today's New York Times Food section. She interviewed both customers and managers in exploring this. Eating out for any overweight person can be nerve wracking,There  so many problems that they could encounter. Smaller places like fast food joints and storefront restaurants have very little elbow room to begin with, cramping even those with small frames. The seats are tiny, almost belonging in a nursery school.Bar stools are another problem. They , too, are tiny - not to mention too high for an overweight  person to sit on. Many leave with bruises and marks on their arms and legs due to poor seating. Then there's the fear of breaking flimsy seats. It doesn't help that most restaurant managers don't want to deal with a weight challenged customer , fearing that singling them out may cause unease and embarrassment. if there is a seat for them, the table is usually out in the eatery's hinterlands, far away from the main crowd, and sometimes hidden away.

Luckily all this is changing. One there are apps dedicated to plus size dining such as AllGo by Rebecca Alexander that is sort of like Yelp for the overweight.It also works with corporations and conglomerates to create accommodating offices,  restrooms. theaters and most importantly restaurants that are all inclusive. The last is important because quite a few places have no clue as how to handle  plus sizes. They are loath to do it for two reasons, one, there is no strategy for dealing with them and two, they don't want their dishes linked to obesity. some places like Waffle House, the 2100 unit restaurant chain in Georgia offers booths and fixed counter seating.It also provides larger customers with freestanding chairs at tables and counters.Many other chains have followed suit, adding movable furniture , wider booths and chairs. The last meets industry standards for people who weight as much as 400 pounds. Some of the changes happened thanks to The Americans With Disabilities Act to satisfy their requirements. A few restaurants probably just wanted to expand on the inclusiveness. Golden Corral Buffets has expanded their space which means more space between tables and chairs. Taco Bell has stopped bolting down their chairs allowing for more room and movement. White Castle did the same after almost being sued by a lawyer who had trouble with their chairs.

Restaurants should be all inclusive. It will take time but eventually all people will feel welcomed in a favorite eatery. There should be no prejudice against what a person look like.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Taco Bell Revisited

It seems that one of America's top fast food chains is undergoing a change -literally. Taco Bell is redefining itself, with both its' overall look and food. It's appealing to the Twitter generation but what about everyone else? Will it lose it long time fans? Time will tell.

Taco Bell started out in - where else - southern California in 1948 by Glenn Bell. It was originally
a hamburger stand, much in the same vein as McDonald's and White Castle. The inspiration came from across the street , at Mitla Cafe, a Mexican restaurant known for its' hard shelled tacos. Mr. Bell saw how popular this was. he cleverly  ate there often enough that he became a regular. The proprietors let him watch them assemble tacos and cook other quick Mexican dishes. By late 1951 the prototype opened. He named it Taco-Tia. Four years later it was renamed El-Taco and was a fixture in SoCal towns. By 1962 the first Taco Bell had made its' debut in Downey California. The company grew rapidly and the first eastern eatery was opened in Springfield ,Ohio in 1970. Pepsico bought it from Mr. Bell in the late Seventies and then it went to Yumi Foods, the international conglomerate that owns Pizza Hut and Long John Silver's. For many, it was their first taste of Mexican food. a huge change of pace from the usual, burgers, fries and malteds. It was also cozy, Most Taco Bells were housed in cute So Cal mini haciendas, where there were booths with padded seating  and bright pastels like pink and purple abounded. The vibe was welcoming, like being in someone's house.

That all changed. The hacienda in my area was razed to the ground. Gone was that soft almost Play-Doh molded building and in its' place something colorless and industrial.It kind of looks like a Brooklyn hipster designed the new architecture. The outside has a boxy wood and steel front which works in urban areas - not in suburbia. The inside is just as bleak looking with uncomfortable wooden seats and metal tables. The only highlight is the charging tables where people can plug in their laptops and tablets, working as they eat. Even the outdoor dining area has industrial and far from cushy chairs and tables.Maybe Taco Bell is trying to be Chipotle's little sibling . Chipotle has relatively the same decor - factory inspired and somewhat bleak. Have the staff and recipes changed? Not really. My Taco Bell 's servers have  the same flabbergasted attitude as before.I ordered a chicken hard taco and wound up with a chicken burrito. It was still tasty  - and filling. They have spicy fries with a cheese sauce which was pretty good, with meaty fries and a satiny nacho sauce . There were not too  many fries,  perfect with a huge burrito. I would like to try their "rattlesnake" fries, , fries with cheese and steak bits and of course, their Dorito Cool Ranch taco, with the taco dusted with Doritos' seasoning. I know I'll be slurping on one of their freezes, a kind of Icee with either orange or Mountain Dew flavorings. Even the breakfast items seem inviting. with their mix of grilled breakfast burritos and Cinnabon balls of dough with an icing filling.

Taco Bell is still the same food but with a new look. Ignore the industrial vibe and concentrate on the food. It's still as flavorful as before.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Making That Bread

With St Patrick's Day coming this Saturday , many home bakers , novice and experienced are planning on making Irish soda bread .It's one of the easiest breads to create. Then, surprisingly most breads are. They're an easy and fun bake.

Maybe Irish soda bread should be considered the gateway recipe for new bread makers.It is one of the easiest outside the packaged loaf mixes from Pillsbury and Krusteaz.Like cake, it  requires sugar, margarine,  and flour along with one egg. Irish soda bread does require just a teaspoon of the baking soda that gives it its' name along with buttermilk . Raisins are optional, but they do give it an added sweetness. There is some kneading but the best part is that it doesn't have to be proofed like yeasty bread dough. The baking soda acts as the yeast, allowing the loaf to rise.Irish soda bread is also considered a quick bread which is much easier to make., Banana bread and date-nut bread, two kitchen classics are other examples of quick no yeast breads.They both have dense heavy crumbs with very little air holes.Neophyte bakers may feel a bit anxious about making even this kind of loaf. Don't despair, There are some good mixes out there with Pillsbury leading the pack. Their mix can be made into loaves or muffins and come in a variety of flavors. Try the lemon poppy seed or cinnamon swirl.Krusteaz is another company that has some tasty and simple bread and cornbread  mixes, that include cinnamon swirl and fire roasted corn bread.

Once you've mastered quick breads you can now try your hand at yeast breads. What is the best yeast to use?You can't go wrong with Flesichmann's. One of  the bonuses of using it is that the website has a how too, along with info on what it is and what it does.Another good yeast for bread and rolls is King Arthur's. The company even sells sourdough starter. King Arthur 's also sells a variety of flours too, from wheat to gluten free to nut and coconut flours. Now comes the bread recipes.Start with one that has very few ingredients. The basic load recipe is one that requires active dry yeast, flour , and salt.The only liquid used is water which, along with the other dry ingredients .it makes for a nice light loaf.For the more adventurous there is Italian and French loaves that require their own pans. These sort of resemble corrugated roofing allowing the baker to make three loaves at a time.Some recipes call for the addition of olive oil or honey. When  you've mastered the craft think sausage or cheese breads.These are fun to make and the highlight of any dinner or picnic.

Bread is not that hard a recipe. Start with an easy one like Irish soda bread and work your way to the more challenging recipes. Once you start it'll be hard to quit.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Doodads And Gadgets

Every kitchen should have an array of gadgets and appliances that will help to facilitate cooking and baking. However should a home chef have every thingamabob available. What should your kitchen have? What's considered a frill or a necessity.

Of course every home should have mid size appliances. Microwaves and toasters are a must. Where would we be without them. The first helps in reheating leftovers and cooking quick sides. As for the toaster, many go for a toaster oven because it does more than the average toaster. It can bake frozen pizza and cinnamon buns along with giving leftovers a nice , crispy surface. A toaster is  a  good choice if you strapped for kitchen's smaller and compact and fits perfectly on a counter or table.  You should have one even if you don't eat toast on a regular basis.Toasted bread adds  something to egg or tuna salad sandwiches and BLTs. Should you add an air fryer to your arsenal?I'd say yes, simply because it's a best alternative to an oven. It cooks everything from fries to meat cuts evenly and some larger models allow you to bake in them. There's a timer which is always a plus. Another must have gadget or appliance (depending on how you look at it) is the crockpot or Instapot. These are great stand ins for your cooktop and oven. A crockpot allows you to make sauce or chili, without having to slave over a hot stove. Also the slow cooking adds more complexity and layers to simple recipes.

What about those other gadgets and doodads? You know the ones. There in those ads between games.  One company, Esfranki, has a whole range of fun gadgets and doodads for every aspect of your life.I've bought a couple of their products such as their reusable toaster bags which I can use to make no mess grilled cheese. and their silicon leak proof bags for leftovers.. I have yet to use them but will - eventually.Their strawberry huller looks interesting and it makes it easier to get rid of the stems. Yet a, paring knife can also do the job.Their stainless steel watermelon cutter also could be  useful, although a good all purpose knife can do the trick. I often think I should buy a cookie dough scooper.It would make it easier to drop dough on the cookie sheet .Using a regular spoon can get sticky and messy, making for unevenly sized cookies. However I found that my family's ice cream scoop, sixty years old and thick like a hammer works perfectly if it's sprayed with a cooking spray.As for my cookie press, it needs a bit of finesse to get perfect cookies. Will I use it again after all the angst it caused?Or will I just make scoop cookies?I'll try it again, maybe for a get together or possibly Easter.

A kitchen doesn't need so many gadgets and doodads.You can make do with what you already have. If it does the trick keep it. Yet it's no sin to expand. If you see an interesting doodad, buy it.

Friday, March 8, 2019

LA's Oaxacan Vibe

Los Angeles  has always had a Mexican vibe and connections to the mother country, Mexico.It is also the hub of Oaxacan American life, with restaurants featuring the delicious foods of this Mexican state.Here , everyone can have a taste of true Mexican cuisine.

Tejal Rao wrote about the Oaxacan dining scene in Wednesday's New York Times Food section.Ms Rao, an accomplished chef and cookbook author in her own right  is now the Los Angeles restaurant critic for the NYT. She was able to get into the kitchens, learning about Oaxacan's migration and establishment in LA. The Oaxacan's have always been drawn to southern California for decades, shaping the city and influencing its' history and businesses. They are the ones running the food industry, owning specialty  markets, restaurants and food trucks. There was a big influx in the 1990's , just before the country's devaluation of the peso threw the country  in turmoil.It was easy to set up restaurants because Oaxacan cuisine is what everyone wants - freshly made with all natural ingredients. .Also immigrants want the exact same dishes  that they grew up on. Unlike dishes from other Mexican states which have subbed in ingredients, Oaxacan  ones have items such as tortillas known as tlayudas, grasshoppers (!)  known as chaplunes and dark chocolate. Sausages called moronga that are made fresh, daily ,using herbs and every part of the pig are also part of the restaurants' daily fare.

Oaxacan restaurants throughout LA would not open without these. Diners can enjoy true  southern Mexican fare such as the airy and diaphanous tortilla drizzled with the golden dregs of homemade lard and then spread with layers of black beans, quesillo,cheese and shredded cabbage.Moronga is also served, a kind of homemade blood sausage where there's not only pork but also tomatoes, jalapenos along with fatback and pork skins. Flour and herbs such as oregano and mint are added for substance and flavor. It is scored and pressed against the grill until it turns crisp. .The restaurant , Gish Bac is known for another Mexican dish , barbacoa. One of the owners, Maria Ramos learned  to make it as a child from her parents. It is different from the Caribbean version, which came from the indigenous Taino tribes that grilled  meat on spits.. The Mexican version is usually beef, goat or sheep  steam cooked in an underground oven until its' juicy  and succulent. She and her husband, David Padilla,as immigrants in 1993 made it just for quincianeras and weddings. They became so successful  that they opened up a restaurant that featured the slow roasted ,goat meat , basted in its' own restorative juices.

Oaxacan food is one of the strongest influences in Angelino cuisine. It's is classic Mexican ingredients cooked into flavorful dishes with recipes.They make for some of the best meals in this ever changing city.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

The King Of Seafood

If you want good seafood you should go to a Greek restaurant. These are people who know fish, thanks to millennia of bringing in multitudes of seafood and shellfish. They also know how to cook them too, infusing them with lemon or sumac, delicately roasting or frying. That is the life and love of famed restaurateur Costas Spiliadis. He is one of the pillars of Greek American cooking in the New World.

Alan Richman, famous in his own right, as Dean of Food Journalism at The French Culinary Institute and winner of fourteen (!) James Beard Foundation Journalism Awards conducted this in depth interview with one of the world's best chefs.Chef Spiliadis is a multifaceted , interesting person with an even more interesting background. Food and cooking was not on his radar. He came to New York to study at NYU. His earliest cooking forays were cooking dirt cheap chicken necks in the room he had rented. He left for John Hopkins University to be near his older brother, Stellios. That didn't suit him,, Being a foreign student, he couldn't participate in the protests against the new Greek government along with the racism he saw in Baltimore.. He left for freer thinking Montreal., being afraid that if he returned to Greece he would either be drafted or jailed for his political views Again food was not in his sites - not yet. He helped found a Greek radio station, Radio Centre Ville and also acted in amateur productions. It was in 1979 he opened up his first Milos restaurant,in Montreal, instantly drawing a crowd and a fans.

Chef Spiliadis instantly changed the way people thought about Greek cuisine which was men in paper hats, standing in front of a shawarma machine. It went from being thought of from rustic to classic. His many restaurants, all named Milos, feature recipes that would be on the tables of millionaires and working class. There are lamb chops in lemon and a meze plate , featuring tzatziki, taramosalata and htipiti, the last a feta and red pepper spread. There's also grilled octopus and dishes made with Greek yogurt along with  dessert menu with karydopita, a homemade walnut cake and of course , the classic baklava. There is also loukoumades, traditional Greek doughnuts with thyme honey and galactoboureko, phyllo dough filled with vanilla and lemon zest custard. There is also Chef Spiliadis signature dishes as well, one being his well  known delicately fried zucchini and eggplant slices. The slices  are cut paper thin and dipped in a batter that's as thin as the glue that binds the famed Greek bamboo kites.His Greek yogurt is not fat free. He believes that taste doesn't originate in the head but in the mouth. Food should be flavorful not subject to trends. He is also a perfectionist when it comes to both the foods and restaurants. Flower displays are under just as much strict scrutiny as the catch of the day. There will be scathing emails if there isn't.

Chef Costas Spiliadis is a maverick on both the Greek and the international restaurant  scene. His life is seafood and his recipes. He has made them the must haves on any gourmand's list.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Lessons From Lent

With today being Ash Wednesday  it's time to think of what most Christians can give up.Most Catholics have a long list of foods that they'll give up. This is the start of a good healthy diet. Another idea is to give up ones' time to cook or  serve others.It's a great way of teaching kids how to behave towards those less fortunate.

Yes, you can give up meats and sweets for Lent. Doing such will help you lose weight and possibly go off your favorite foods. The Greek Orthodox have a much stricter rule. Not only do they have to give up meat, dairy, eggs and cheese are also off the table. Wine and olive oil are also nixed. What is left is fruits and veggies.A diet like this may seem severe but it is the healthiest..The Orthodox are allowed rice and pasta which is a plus. No matter what faith you follow, this is a great fast. Unhealthy fats and sugars are eliminated replaced with a boost of  nutrients and fiber. The Orthodox are allowed to have olive oil and wine on weekends.Veggies could easily be made into a ratatouille but veggies such as tomatoes and peppers can be roasted and served over any kind of pasta or rice. They can also be turned into a salsa crudo or raw sauce for spaghetti or angel hair. Finishing with fruit slices is always a better idea. Get yourself and the kids hooked on fruit slices as a great dessert.

Another idea for Lent is giving up your time. Many churches have food drives during the Lenten season. You can easily go around to friends and neighbors and collect cans and boxes from them for an Easter food drive. Have your local supermarket donate small hams along with canned or fresh asparagus along with other Spring veggies to make a filling  holiday meal. If the stores don't want to donate, then have fund raisers or make a plea when the donation plate is passed around. Late winter and early Spring is a time for planning gardens. If you belong to any church group or teach Sunday school, bring up the idea of a  church garden to supplement the food pantry. Think rows of tomatoes, peppers  and carrots to start off with and then get adventurous with potatoes and even watermelon. The last can be started indoors and planted outside when the temperatures rise past seventy degrees. Just remember too that a church garden can supply some of the food for carnivals and picnics. It can also be used in the parish's soup kitchen as well

It's Lent. If you don't want to give up food , then think about giving up your time to help your local church. Both will be  a learning experience that you'll benefit from.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

B Nutty Peanut Butter B Good

Can peanut butter be improved? Surprisingly yes. A new company out of Indiana has come up with gourmet peanut butter.that not only honey roasted peanuts but such yummy addins such as blueberry, chocolate, caramel and even pretzels.
I decided to try B Nutty since I like crunchy all natural peanut butter. 
The first was the blueberry flavored one, made wit real berries and has a PB &J flavor.
This is the blueberry which also has milk chocolate added. It's good on a sweet bread or bun like a brioche roll. The blueberry flavor is strong and it makes for a good lunch.
I also ordered pretzels and white chocolate
This has large bits of gluten free pretzels mixed in along with white chocolate.It's good on a sweet bread but even better as a dip for pretzels and Social Tea cookies.
These are the bits of  pretzels. Imagine dipping pretzel rods in this.
Then there is toffee, milk chocolate and almonds.
Again, it's good slathered on brioche bread, but also good on pretzels too. It would be a great layer in brownies too. B Nutty also has plain and one loaded with cranberries. There are seasonal ones too such as Cinnamon sugar cookie and Peppermint Brownie ???.

BNutty amps up peanut butter a few notches. It's a neat spin on an American classic. It will also make you never want just plain old peanut butter again.