• A Few of my Favorite Things — July 2013

    by Dorothy Reinhold on July 23, 2013


    Print This Post Print This Post Summer Collection Macarons from Sucre in New Orleans on Shockingly Delicious

    1. Best macarons EVER! Called the “Summer Collection,” these intensely colorful macarons (French cookies) are to-die-for good. Here we have Lemon & Blackberry (lemon buttercream with a blackberry jam center infused with balsamic and cassis), and Peaches & Cream (sweet vanilla Summer Collection Macarons from Sucre in New Orleans on Shockingly Deliciousbuttercream with a Southern peach marmalade center).  We particularly enjoyed the Peaches & Cream version, which are perfectly suited to the rich fruit flavors of the season. You might think that isn’t enough cookies in a box, but with premium flavors like this, you only need one to satisfy you.   They’re created by Sucre, a sweets shop in New Orleans. Be warned, you will spend an hour on their website, dreaming about tasting all their delicate treats;  it might be the best hour of your life. Are these too pretty to eat? Maybe, but that didn’t stop us. $30 for a box of 15; these flavors available until the beginning of August. After that, choose another of their seasonal favorites. Come back and tell me how you like them!

    Krispy Kreme Sloppy Joe at OC Fair2. Orange County Fair: The OC Fair runs through August 11, and this year’s theme is “Come and get it!”  Fair food is one of summer’s guilty pleasures. One summer at the OC Fair I tried a fried Oreo AND fried Kool-Aid. Now that was truly weird. I might need to get out my stretchy pants and try this year’s Chicken Charlie’s Krispy Kreme Sloppy Joes, pictured above. How great would that be — sweet, salty, meaty? There are also:

    • Bacon A-Fair’s Wild Boar on a stick (an OC Fair exclusive)
    • Pink’s Hot Dogs’ Ghiradelli hot dog (a beef dog topped with cream cheese, honey mustard, crumbled bacon and dark chocolate)
    • Ten Pound Buns’ Bacon Nutella Bun (The mad scientists at Ten Pound Buns have added ground bacon, whipped butter and Nutella on top of their famous sourdough “pizza” for the Bacon Nutella Bun)

    Fridays are a great day to go because they have $2 Taste of the Fair food from noon–4 p.m., plus competitions and contests, food sculpting, celebrity chefs and more. Will I see you there?

    How to make Cronuts. Photo credit  Emily Jacobs3. Making Cronuts at home: Speaking of fried delicacies, have you heard of Cronuts? It’s a cross between a donut and croissant — fried in oil, dusted with sugar, filled with cream and topped with glaze — taking the world by storm since it was introduced earlier this year at a New York City bakery. Want to make a cronut at home? The Daily Meal has the formula. Keep those stretchy pants at the ready. {Photo above by Emily Jacobs}

    Walking on the beach4. Exercise: The Washington Post reported that exercise seems to be the most promising thing you can do to keep your brain at its best. Consistent evidence shows that “people who engage in aerobic activity – for instance, walking several times per week – show improvements in their cognitive function, particularly in their ability to switch quickly from task to task.” That and a healthy diet (such as following the Mediterranean Diet) also reduce dementia risk, but researchers warn that supplements, vitamins and similar products probably don’t help. Hmmm…are macarons, Krispy Kreme Sloppy Joes and Cronuts on that diet list? Prolly not.

    GH Cretors popcorn varieties5. Sweet and salty popcorn: I regret opening the bag of G.H. Cretors Chicago Mix popcorn, which is the highest praise I can offer any snack food. It was gone in a flash, forever imprinted on my taste buds. A perfectly balanced combo of caramel corn and cheese corn in the same bag (two cheese to one caramel), this munchy should be pictured in the dictionary under the term “addiction.” I also highly regret opening their Caramel Nut G. H. Cretors Chicago Mix popcornCrunch (which puts Cracker Jack to shame), and their Just the Caramel Corn. I eagerly anticipate my regret upon opening their Kettle Corn and their Just the Cheese Corn. To counter the addiction, this wildly good stuff is non-GMO, gluten-free, kosher, and free from all artificial colors, flavors and preservatives. They use brown rice syrup instead of corn syrup, and the kernels are large, fluffy and perfectly popped. It’s a shame the’re available in grocery stores, online and on Amazon.com, because that means I can have them whenever I want. And that would be all the time. About $3.99 per bag.

    Linwoods Super Foods blends6. Super foods: Linwoods Super Foods blends make it easy to amp up your smoothies with pre-mixed blends of ground seeds, nuts and berries (powerhouses like flaxseed, goji berries, brazil nuts, walnuts, blueberries, and more). These blends are full Smoothie with Linwoods Super Foods blendof essential fatty acids, protein, iron, calcium, magnesium and essential vitamins and minerals. I’ve whirled them in smoothies, stirred into my morning oatmeal or yogurt, and sprinkled atop my brown rice bowl concoctions and into my soup. They’re gluten-free, organic, with no added sugar, and available in supermarkets and specialty food stores such as Whole Foods, Bed, Bath & Beyond and Bristol Farms.

    How-to-Create-Recipe-Cards-in-PicMonkey on HomeCookingMemories.com7. How to make recipe cards on the computer: Clever, crafty Brandie from the blog Home Cooking Memories shows you how to make recipe cards using a free site called Picmonkey. Oh yeah, you’re going to do this! I’ve used Picmonkey before, and it’s easy!

    Tasty Bite Channa Masala and Thai Lime Rice8. Instant meal inspiration: Tasty Bite offers totally delicious, flavor-packed Indian entrees, Asian noodles, seasoned rice dishes and meal inspirations that are cooked, packed in pouches, ready to quickly reheat in the microwave, and shelf stable for up to 18 months. They’re little miracle meals that solve all kinds of problems in the most delicious way. I ate the Tasty Bite Pad ThaiPad Thai noodles for lunch (easy to use the microwave in a break room), served the Channa Masala paired with Thai Lime Rice in a bowl for dinner, and another time served the Madras Lentils atop brown rice. The Ginger Lentil Rice made a nice side dish for simple roast chicken. These are high quality, carefully spiced, vegetarian, gluten-free meals with no MSG, no preservatives and they’re kosher. What else do you need to take your taste buds on a trip around the world?

    Health Warrior Chia Seeds9. Chia seeds: Since discovering chia seeds earlier this year, we’ve been throwing them into everything! They pack a nutritional punch in a small package: 1⁄4 the size of a grain of rice, pound for pound, with  more Omega 3 fatty acids than salmon, more fiber than oatmeal, more protein than tofu, more calcium than milk and more magnesium than broccoli. The only challenge, for some, is to get over the texture issue. When soaked with liquid, chia’s natural coating absorbs 13x its weight, and becomes gel-like, which means the seeds will thicken whatever they soak in. To me, when hydrated they are reminiscent of a tiny version of boba, the chewy tapioca balls that are put in tea drinks.

    The latest concoction is the brainchild of Maya, my daughter’s longtime friend. When teenagers are whipping up chia pudding as a snack, you know things are going in the right direction. Try it!

    Maya's Chia Delight Pudding on Shockingly DeliciousRecipe: Maya’s Chia Delight Pudding

    Summary: Creamy, not too sweet and satisfying with just a small portion, this chia pudding makes a great breakfast or snack to tide you over until a meal. Maya eats it as a dessert. Warning: this is not such a lovely dish to look at. Don’t worry…it tastes good! 

    Ingredients

    • ½ cup chia seeds (I used Health Warrior Black Chia Seeds)
    • 1 cup almond milk
    • 1 cup coconut milk (or use hemp milk)
    • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Instructions

    1. Stir all ingredients in a lidded container. Place in refrigerator for 1 hour. Stir, and then return to refrigerator for 4 more hours.
    2. Enjoy!

    MayaSource

    Maya Eliahou

    Variations

    Sometimes Maya uses mashed banana instead of the coconut milk.

    Preparation time: 5 minutes
    Diet type: Vegan
    Diet tags: Gluten free, Raw
    Number of servings (yield): 8
    Culinary tradition: USA (Nouveau)

     

    Salt Block10. Salt blocks: I’m a sucker for ideas that are new to me, and one of the most intriguing new cooking methods I’ve ever heard is that of cooking on salt blocks. A salt block is a big, honkin’ slab of solid pinkish salt from the Salt Range mountains in Pakistan. Salt Block CookingThey’re often called Himalayan salt blocks, and you can cook, cure, cool, freeze, caramelize, brown, soften, firm, crisp and show off food using them. Don’t believe me? Peruse the fascinating “Salt Block Cooking: 70 Recipes for Grilling, Chilling, Searing, and Serving on Himalayan Salt Blocks,” by Mark Bitterman (2013; Andrews McMeel Publishing; $24.99). I am particularly intrigued by the simple ideas of serving cut watermelon on them, or Salt and Pepper Semi-Cured Hamachi Sashimi, or Salt Block Cucumber Salad, and believe it or not, Salt-Cured Strawberry Ice Cream. About his Salt-Baked Chocolate Chip-Oatmeal Whoppers (cookies), he says, “Salt is the one substance that can magically transport a flavor from one place to another, from the present in the beyond.” Now, don’t you want to read more?

    ___________

    Sucre, G.H. Cretors, Linwoods, Tasty BiteHealth Warrior and Andrews McMeel Publishing sent items for review. 



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