Thursday, February 26, 2009
We've discussed a perceived problem with Trader Joe's Chocolates, so I'd like to let everyone know that TJ's Belgian Chocolate Hazelnut Seashells aren't bad. I wouldn't say eating one was a transformative experience, but I would say it was pleasant - and that I'd eat more.
This was part of last night's shared meal after the midweek service at church. Leila made bean soup. I've never had blended bean soup before. It's surprising to eat a non-chunky soup with the flavor of beans.
After the meal, I found it hard to leave to go to choir practice when I knew I'd be missing a viewing of Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, which was being watched after the meal. But we all make sacrifices, don't we?
I did get to watch the Top Chef finale later. There is plenty of commentary online, so I'll just say a person in a weeks-long competition should not win or lose based on a single meal. That's like taking a class and finding out your final grade is wholly based on the final, with no consideration of all the papers and tests one has completed throughout the course.
p.s. I signed up for a CSA last night, too, and am looking forward to how more fresh vegetables might change the face of this blog.
█████ gave ❚❚❚❚❚❚❚❚❚❚ a bottle of "▉▉▉▉▉███," a brand new flavor of ▉▉▉▉▉. I got to try it, too!
But I'm not sure when this will be available in stores, nor do I want to get █████ or ❚❚❚❚❚❚❚❚❚❚ into trouble by leaking anything that's supposed to be a secret.
I will say that "▉▉▉▉▉███" smells tropical, almost of suntan lotion (in a good way) and coconuts. According to the packaging, the flavor is actually ▩▩▩▩▩▩ and ◼◼◼. It's smooth and sweet, sort of like a fruity green tea. Some people will probably find it to be too sweet.
Were this available in stores (and I hope it soon will be), I'd drink it again -- and I definitely rate it among my favorite flavors of ▉▉▉▉▉.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Mr. Green, the c-sticks cried your name --
by being green, I say. Too true.
Those (nick)named candlesticks weren't few.
I, Colonel Mustard, sir, cannot taste you.
Professor Plum, such sweetness as accrued
caused me to frown and miss
Miss Scarlet, as the tartness of her character was due.
Mrs. White, they're near too hard to chew. And,
M. Peacock, the wrenches all are blue.
Why, Mrs. P, then maybe it was you!
Still, colors only two? Oh, Clue,
I have to say your candy blew.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
(photo by Dan)
I was honored to attend the inaugural dinner event for FEAST (Funding Emerging Art with Sustainable Tactics) in Greenpoint, Brooklyn yesterday.
From the website:
FEAST is a recurring public dinner designed to use community-driven financial support to democratically fund new and emerging artmakers.
At each FEAST, participants will pay a sliding-scale entrance fee for which they will receive supper and a ballot. Diners will vote on a variety of proposed artist projects. At the end of dinner, the artist whose proposal receives the most votes will be awarded funds collected through the entrance fee to produce the project. The work will then be presented during the next FEAST.
I had little idea what to expect from the night, despite having attended a planning meeting for the thing, but it wowed me in every way. Soup to nuts, as it were.
Not only that, but Dan was the recipient of the grant awarded after the votes were counted. I was almost sorry that he won, in a weird way, because so many of the proposals were endearing and interesting, and all of the artists were "worthy" of funding. I wanted someone rich to stand up, doff his (or her) top hat, and promise on his or her personal fortune to become the new FEAST patron, proclaiming that everyone there would get several hundred dollars to make his or her artistic dreams come true. My "I have a rich patron" fantasy continues...
Seriously, though, it felt empowering to fund art in this way. The money I gave at the door, along with my participation in the event, made me patron in a personal and communal way, which made it mean so much more than simply witnessing a gift or grant.
I was told that over 80 people attended the FEAST feast, perusing proposals, enjoying the company and the food, and literally and figuratively breaking bread together by candlelight while the band played on.
(photo by Dan)
So how were the eats? Oh, boy. My friends at One & Supp coordinated the terrific menu. The Tuscan bean soup was transcendent (the PERFECT amount of salt!), filling, and plentiful. Roasted vegetables, pasta salad, and bread were also on hand (almost everything was vegan), and a number of us brought dessert. Molly's apple and raspberry pie was great, with a lovely buttery crust. I made apple crisp with crystallized ginger and walnuts, the topping modified from an Alice Waters recipe, and was happy with how it turned out. Next time, though, more ginger!
I could go on. It really was a sweet event, in so many ways. For now, though, I'll end this post by saying I hope if you're in the area I'll see you at the next FEAST!
Saturday, February 21, 2009
We came; we got some popcorn; we saw a new movie; we ate some fancy film screening snacks.
Note to the man sitting in front of us (and anyone else who can learn from his example): it is impolite -- and, in my opinion, boorish -- to turn around and give people dirty looks for having honest emotional responses (within reason) to cinema. Perhaps you need to pay more attention to the movie and less to your neighbors. My friend and I both found the juxtaposition of an old man stapling a mattress while a Kylie Minogue song played on the radio to be funny. I think our point is defensible.
[There is some evidence you may also be the kind of man who immediately begins fretting when seated next to a baby on an airplane, despite not having any way of knowing how that particular baby will behave on that particular flight. Now, is that fair?]
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Nick gave me a sheep made of frosting atop a huge chocolate cupcake from Whole Foods. I carried the cupcake home after work and the sheep slid a little to the side of the cupcake, creating this awesomeness:
Here's an Odwalla bar from Dave. He claims they taste healthy, like eating a tree. I plan to try it for breakfast tomorrow anyway.
Paradis has a new cookie. Oats, chocolate chips, cinnamon, and melted/toasted marshmallows. ZOMG, to borrow an abbreviation. "Light," as Dan said. "Delicate crumb" was how I put it. However you describe it, it beats the pants off their chocolate chip cookie AND the brownie, both of which I have raved about on certain days.
Then I had some neighbors over to eat brownie sundaes. The one I constructed for myself was banana, peanut butter marshmallow brownie, vanilla ice cream, melted caramels, and sea salt. Other toppings available included 3 or 4 types of nuts, whipped cream, chocolate sauce, chocolate bars to grate, candy pieces, sprinkles, Nutella, and more. There were three brownie varieties on hand.
It was a good day. I hardly even feel sick to my stomach.
p.s. Dan got me some awesome British snacks to blog about. They'll be coming to the site soon!
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
(photo by Dan.)
Having a rolling potluck brunch for Ryan's birthday was a great idea. I wished I'd thought of it for my birthday. Though there were no cheese grits, nor hash brown casserole, I very much enjoyed Melanie's mini quiches -- especially once D.J. suggested a dash of tabasco and a sprinkle of parmesan to go on top.
(photo by Dan.)
Doughnut Plant doughnuts are always winners, but the stars of the day for me (besides Ryan, of course) were Tim's homemade doughnuts. Sadly, I came away without a photograph, but he even used a cookie cutter to fry one in the shape of a rocket ship for the birthday boy.
Some thoughts About Ritter Sport Yogurt:
1. I love the word Yaourt (it's French).
2. Although, "I'll be the judge of that," was my response to the packaging's claim that this flavor contains a "refreshing yogurt filling," it turned out to be true. But it's not refreshing in the sense of "thirst quenching" or "renewing your energy." It's refreshing like, "pleasingly different from what you've been eating."
Some thoughts about Ritter Sport Peppermint:
1. Hard to find.
2. This was a good Valentine's Day gift.
3. The peppermint flavor and scent are both a little sharp and the chocolate flavor is reminiscent of Oreos.
4. Filling: perfectly creamy!
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Grandma's blue stove's in The Blue Stove now
Bopbop be diddle. Ba-daaaaaaaaaaa dow!
And coal or wood'll burn your pants
If you give it half a chance
Now fridge cold, its ghosts still dance.
Skiddly, askiddly, skadiddly pow!
Crinkle cookies melt with grace,
Go brownie soft inside your face,
And oatmeal raisin - it ain't dry
Hearts soar; mouths smile; tongues do fly.
They do fly.
da da da da da da pyoooooo!
Two dollars buys you a coffee
Two dollar cider, that too - sha SHA!
Mustabeenhot, littlegramma -
She was. For pies. For cakes. For mygoodgoshsakes
that hot little stove colored blue.
Even COLD it can do.
be-da ba-da-ba ba-doo....
[The Blue Stove opened last Friday. Corner of Withers and Graham. Dee dop a wow.]
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Warning! this isn't about eating. Books are delicious, but inedible. If you dislike over-sharey memes, you can skip this whole post.
Here's the deal: Bets passed this meme on a while back (it was on Ravelry, but I missed it there), and since I aspire to read all the good books I can get my hands on I held onto the list so that I could post my results one day. Apparently, the list below contains the top 106 books most often marked “unread” on LibraryThing (I'm a Goodreads user, myself).
The instructions I received from Bets were to "bold the ones you’ve read, note the ones you read for school, and italicize the ones you started but didn’t finish." I also noted the books I haven't read but bought, planning to read. I still could read them one of these days. I still own them, after all. They're on the shelf!
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Anna Karenina -- I own this.
Crime and Punishment
Catch-22 (in high school)
One Hundred Years of Solitude
The Silmarillion -- I own this.
Life of Pi : a novel
The Name of the Rose -- I own this.
Don Quixote -- I own this.
Moby Dick -- I own this.
The Odyssey (college)
Pride and Prejudice
The Tale of Two Cities (high school)
The Brothers Karamazov -- I own this.
Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies -- I own this.
War and Peace
The Time Traveler’s Wife
The Iliad (college)
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner
Mrs. Dalloway (college)
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Reading Lolita in Tehran : a memoir in books
Memoirs of a Geisha
Middlesex -- I own this.
Quicksilver -- I own this and got about 50 pages from the end.
Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West
The Canterbury Tales
The Historian : a novel
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Love in the Time of Cholera
Brave New World
Frankenstein (high school)
The Count of Monte Cristo
Dracula (high school)
A Clockwork Orange (high school)
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath (high school)
The Poisonwood Bible : a novel
Angels & Demons
The Inferno (and Purgatory and Paradise)
The Satanic Verses
Sense and Sensibility
The Picture of Dorian Gray
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
To the Lighthouse
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
Les Misérables (high school)
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay ***I LOVE THIS BOOK!**** [That's Bets' note, but I totally agree.]
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Dune -- I own this.
The Sound and the Fury
Angela’s Ashes : a memoir
The God of Small Things
A People’s History of the United States : 1492-present -- I own this.
Neverwhere - Why haven't I read this?!
A Confederacy of Dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Beloved (high school?)
Slaughterhouse-five (high school?)
The Scarlet Letter (high school)
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
The Mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake : a novel
Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed
The Catcher in the Rye (high school)
On the Road
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Freakonomics : a rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance : an inquiry into values
Gravity’s Rainbow - I thought we had a copy of this, but couldn't find it when I went to look on the shelf.
In Cold Blood : a true account of a multiple murder and its consequences
The Three Musketeers
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
It wasn't exactly lunchtime, but pawing through used goods can make a person hungry. While in DUMBO on Sunday to peruse the market that is Brooklyn Flea, I ended up on BBQ Island (aka waiting in line at the King's County BBQ truck).
Convenient amphitheater seating under the bridge turned out to be windy and chilly, despite the sun.
Jalapeno-Cheese grits-- Not bad, but not great. A bit lumpy; tasted of corn.
"The Original King's County 'Chicken Ribs'" -- I'm not sure what's rib-like about these, but the BBQ sauce was sweet and the meat flash-fried to perfection (if slowly). Both sides of slaw (fresh-tasting) and baked beans (smoky, deep flavor) met with my approval. I also traded Steph for an Apple-Brined Chicken Wing. Though I preferred my drumsticks, the wing had an appealing cider-y tang.
It took very little time or effort to dip Ritz Bits Cracker Sandwiches (Peanut Butter) in chocolate.
It took even less time or effort to eat them all.
I meant to make these for the Cookie Party in December but ran out of time. My guests' loss was certainly my gain. Thanks, Mom, for sharing the idea with me!
A tip or two: Milk chocolate (melted mini Hershey's Kisses) did not set up as well as the melted white chocolate chips, but a few hours in the refrigerator evened things up. White was my favorite; milk chocolate was Dan's. Also, chopsticks are excellent enrobement utensils.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
They're Only Words, Part Two: Things The World Needs To Know
(A second Pretend-it's-a-Poem using search terms that have led internet users to snackreligious.)
up all night
do you like doritos?
ingesting too much peppermint ritter sport candy
bronxville sandwich shop; sweet revenge peotry [sic]
chalk and cheese poem. pie crust snacks
graham star cookies; gozer minions
smycken hoity toity - jaques torgit
hero villanelle - poultry poetry
utz red hot. nigel slater chicken pie
tim tam by pepperidge farm
tim tam by pepperidge farm
TIM TAM BY PEPPERIDGE FARM
turkey jerky british / ginger chews chime
zuul is the minion of gozer. what's gozer?
revenge in poetry. chicken pan pie
mooshy gooshy gummy cakes
eat mini carton whoppers in one sitting?
short poems on eating sweet sucker
Shopsin's January 2009.
why do you like doritos?
Warm air kissed near ground,
Winter's wrap of cold shrugged back,
I'd worn the light coat.
Hands met old pockets
Where, inside, a stored chocolate
Jumped to meet my grasp.
Sunday, February 8, 2009
Going to Ryan and Melanie's House - I vote yes!
Friendly Cats - I vote yes!
Internet Connection - Yes!
Barley Tea - Yes! Yes! Yes!
Breyers Fried Ice Cream Overload - NO!
On this item, I also vote "Tostada pieces not crunchy enough" and "Too sweet."
p.s. Watching Klute - Yes! Jane Fonda's hair in Klute - No! Watching Noah's Arc: Jumping the Broom - Yes but only for 20 minutes, then No! on account of accumulation of goofy acting, sexy-after-school-special-style writing, and pencil-thin mustaches.
I would just like to say that I do not collect mugs. I do have mugs and like mugs, but it's not a collection, I promise myself. I try very hard not to collect anything, in the hopes that it will make it harder for people giving me gifts to fill my apartment with, say, angels or zebras.
I do, however, have a lot of affection for my Flight of the Conchords mug and, now, the one pictured above from the New Museum of Contemporary Art, which was a gift from Martha. In it, the perfect tart tisane (Ruby Slipper - pear and blood orange) from SerendipiTea.
And I am considering collecting rice crispy treats. This one was brought home for me by Dan in its circular cardboard container (when empty, these containers hold hair accessories or jewelry quite nicely) from Rice in Manhattan. Small pink specks throughout the treat may have been dried cranberries (they also come with apricots). Whatever they were, it was delicious, if at first a bit stiff from overnight refrigeration in my lunch box (my fault).
I was at Rice (the location in DUMBO) for lunch a few weeks ago and I'm looking forward to going back. Everything I've had there is worth savoring (more crispy rice and shrimp balls, please), but there's a lot on the menu I have yet to try. Collect 'em all!
Saturday, February 7, 2009
I really feel that the creation of successful "Nutella Milk" is within my grasp, and I am certain I will master it in the near future. In the meantime, I gave the folks at Fortunato Brothers a shot at it. Why not let the pros try?
Dan ordered me a steamed milk with hazelnut syrup, which confused the employees behind the beverage counter. They asked if it was like horchata. The answer to that is no. It's not like a Mexican rice drink with cinnamon (though I like horchata). It's like a steamed milk with a little hazelnut syrup - just like it sounds. This seemed a hard concept for these professional beverage-makers to grasp.
What I ultimately got was neither horchata, nor a steamed hazelnut milk. It was steamed milk with hazelnut flavor and a whole lot of sugar. Way too much sugar, one might say (I would certainly say that). I drank it all, but it was a sacrifice.
I can see that I'm going to have to do this myself.
p.s. Sorry for the lack of posts this past week. We had some house guests and I was talked into joining Facebook -- a lethal combination for those of us who are already good at procrastination. I'm back on track now. Thanks for hanging in there/here.
Vietn is over halfway to Vietnam
Mirrored walls reflect our hands, these crumbs,
a camera, our waiting poses at Baoguette,
this paper towel left on flashing silver counter space. I find
- my face perhaps presciently drawn - a paper towel drawn upon
by a girl I've never seen. Or have seen now.
Her hands reflected, too. Did her hands just now
prepare my iced coffee, inexpertly melting the plastic cup
with the heat of fresh-dripped brew poured too hot
over sweetened condensed milk?
Did she step, abandoning youth
and napkin drawings, taking only the knit hat she wears
(wearing being the most effortless sort of taking),
to the other side of the other counter?
When we entered as customers, blind - and before we existed as such-
did she remain for a moment as artist and fortune teller?
Bright herbs crunch in clumps, fresh bread cradles catfish,
a heat fills me. Mirrored walls shimmer and bend.
I am reflected towards, reflecting on
that country she began to spell under her hat
with the work of her hands. Around me,
unadorned napkins crumple with spicy sauce.
Plastic cups crumple where heat met ice.
Noses drip. Sandwich fillings slide. Have we made a mess of things,
Vietnam? Next to me, Eva's sandwich wrapper passes judgment,
mirroring my reflection.
I have been receiving tips to try various Trader Joe's snackfoods, including their chocolate-covered, peanut-butter-filled pretzels. They've received some rave reviews and I expected to fall in love with chocolate and peanut butter all over again (not that I could care for the combo much more than I already do).
Then, a few weeks ago, I braved a horrendous line at the one NYC Trader Joe's store and, while there, spotted and picked up a bag of this notorious snack for myself. Though they seemed expensive, I was sure they'd be worth it.
Well, maybe. I still say they're overpriced, the bag felt underfilled, and the flavor was less exciting than peanut butter+chocolate+pretzel should be. I tried dipping them into even more peanut butter and ate them while drinking a big cup of milk, which helped a bit, but they remained kind of blah.
Someone want to convince me to try these again? Is it possible I got a bum bag? The one I bought was supposed to expire in July of this year. I wanted so much for these to be worth the $4 or $5 they cost.
Sunday, February 1, 2009
Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything contains my favorite oatmeal formula:
Per every two servings, put this in a saucepan:
2 1/4 cups water
pinch of salt
1 cup rolled oats
Bring to a boil on high heat. Turn the heat down to low and continue cooking and stirring until oatmeal absorbs all the water (but isn't boiled dry, of course). Turn the heat off, put a lid on it, and wait 5 minutes. Add extras and eat.
Today's extras: Goji berries, walnuts, a splash of half-and-half, brown sugar, and a sliver of butter.
Note: I always put in too much brown sugar, then have to add more oatmeal to even it out. My sugar eyes are bigger than my sweet tooth.
When I am preparing them for or with a guest my breakfasts get much more interesting. Actually, for a while I've had a waking dream in which I become independently wealthy, buy a big brownstone in NYC, and turn it into a bed and breakfast that accepts reservations for about half the weeks of the year (staggered however I feel like it; the idea is that I'm so wealthy I don't need the business and can take time off whenever I want). As much as I love baking, making breakfast is my favorite thing to do for guests.
For Eva, I dragged out and seasoned (inefficiently, but eventually) my new crepe pan. I know it's often best to make the crepe batter the night before (so that it can rest in the refrigerator), but I hadn't thought ahead this time. I found a recipe for a batter that only needed to rest 20 minutes in the Moosewood desserts cookbook.
And that's how we ended up with Tropical Fruit Crepes (kiwi, mango, and banana) and a Peanut Lime Coconut Sauce. Not too shabby. People should stay for breakfast more often.
I'm not sure what to do with the leftover sauce. It's delicious. I think perhaps I should just buy some more fruit and drizzle it over the top. Or get busy with some waffles. Mmmm....waffles.