Thursday, December 31, 2009
Ending 2009 with a delicious, caramel-flavored, phallic object. Have you had your Caramel Cob today? I'll give you a hint. I HAVE NOT. Why so grumpy, Foodette?
No reason. No reason at all.
So here's the deal with this Caramel Cob. It's popped popcorn, caramel corn lovingly crafted into a corn cob shape, so one can eat their caramel corn on the go while simultaneously maintaining the novel shape of a corn cob. Ingenious? Yes. Delicious?
Surprisingly, yes. The Caramel Cobs that I had might have been fresh. I say "might" because nowhere on the package did I find an expiration date. And they might have been so stale so as to alter their chemical composition altogether, but in their event, they were delicious. I assumed it would be like the standard Act II popcorn ball, crunchy and dry and good enough for that one bite that you then hand back to your parents so you can say, "There, I tried it!" But it was chewy. And soft. And warm. And...oh, wait, this is the Caramel Cob. It was chewy and soft and lukewarm, actually, and the caramel was authentic and buttery and not too sugary sweet so that it burnt my throat.
I really liked the soft texture on this, and the popcorn maintained a decent...wait for it...fluff, without being too chewy or stale-tasting, and this snack, low on my radar and dubiously erotic as it was, was genuinely delicious. I might even go back to the convenience store and buy the peanut flavor, too. So, readers, try new things this year, put them in your mouth, and eat them warm.
"Caramel Cob is delicious warm, too!"
I'm not even going to start.
Happy 2010, everyone!
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Ingredients (serves 4)
1 1/4 cup milk
5 tablespoons butter
1 cup of corn
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 cup of flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons of canola oil
1 cup of Monterey Jack cheese
1. Melt butter in a pan on the stove and slowly mix in milk and corn until all are mixed and are starting to smell delicious. Turn off the heat and cool the milk mixture. Beat eggs and add to milk.
2. Mix all dry ingredients together with cheese.
3. Add flour mixture to milk mixture, and stir until gently combined.
4. Pour pancakes into pan when pan is ready and hot, and cook until bubbles ride, yadda yadda, and cheese is crispy and bubbling.
5. Eat. With butter and syrup. Trust me.
My dogs were howling for corn pancakes by the time I was done, they were howling down the house, and how could you begrudge your dogs corn pancakes? How, I say? So I made one for myself, with butter and syrup- one's enough for me, they're filling and thick, and one for the dogs to share, the Sisters Foodette, without the extraneous toppings.
Enjoy your breakfasts, children, and share them with your howling dogs.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
For a good measure of luck and fortune in the New Year, I always eat Hoppin’ John and collard greens on the first day of January. The green of the collards represents greenbacks and the round, copper-colored black-eyed peas represent coins. With the way my new year is looking, I’m going back to the kitchen for seconds!
Hoppin’ John is traditionally made with ham hocks and served over rice. This recipe skips the ham hocks.
8 ounces dried black-eyed peas
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
¼ teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 cups reserved cooking liquid
- Cover beans with water and soak overnight. Strain beans and rinse.
- Cover beans with water and bring to a boil.Simmer for about 1 hour or until beans are tender.
- Drain beans and set aside, but be sure to reserve about 2 cups of the cooking liquid.
- Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil for 10 minutes over medium heat.
- Add allspice, cayenne pepper, soy sauce, beans, and reserved liquid to onions and simmer for 20 minutes so the flavors marry.
- Salt and pepper as desired.
Most recipes for collards call for boiling the greens for an hour or more. I think this is absurd. I’m not sure what you would have left after an hour of boiling other than disgusting, gray mush. The following method yields collards that are green and flavorful with a kick of vinegar and hot sauce.
- Wash and remove the tough, central ribs of the collard leaves.
- Chop leaves. I find the best way is to roll the whole bunch of leaves and make 1 inch cuts along the length of the roll. Then run the knife through the collards 10 or so times to chop into smaller pieces.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and drop chopped collards in. Boil for about 5-10 minutes, drain, and set aside.
- Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil for 10 minutes over medium heat.
- Add collards and vinegar to onions. Add salt, pepper, and hot sauce to taste. Sauté for no longer than a few minutes (just enough time to add the seasoning to your taste) and serve.
There it is. First, the chicken. It's tender. It's extremely juicy, and always moist. I have never gotten a part of this that is chewy, dry, or containing gristle. I mean, if there are any complaints, it might be that it's a little too greasy, but you're eating fried chicken. It's not weight watchers, here. It's flipping delicious, though. Covered in this chicken is a tender, tender breading that stays and adheres to the chicken with parsley, garlic, and onion salt. This chicken also needs no ketchup or mustard, only salt and pepper. It's perfect. It's just perfect.
As for the fries, they range in size from bullet shaped to six inches long and all are crispy on the outside, and the potato on the inside is fluffy and hot. Again, with these, all that's needed is salt and pepper. They look undercooked in the photo, but they fall apart at the perfect moment when you eat these- in your mouth. They're able to be picked up, so don't break upon contact, but don't pull a Cap'n Crunch in your mouth and slice you up like a Jet and you're a Shark. They are perfect. Marry them.
Oh, and by the way? That plate that you see in the photo...that's the kid's plate. For 12 and under. That's what I always get. $5.59, massive portion, with a lemonade. Lenny and Joe's, you are my saviors almighty.
Lenny and Joe's Fish Tale
1301 Boston Post Road
Madison, CT 06443
Sunday, December 27, 2009
One of my favorite cookbooks is my Mrs. Fields cookie recipe book. There are some fantastic cookies to be made, and I've certainly never been disappointed by a cookie purchased at a Mrs. Fields store. For these reasons, I did not fear these chocolates when they showed up in my stocking this Christmas.
These were purchased from Target by my mother, and the box says they cost $1. The three flavors included were Dark Coconut Macaroon, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, and Brownie Truffle. The cookie dough flavor sounded especially up my alley, since I am a huge fan of cookie dough ice cream.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough was first on my list to try. I feel I should mention that none of these chocolates had much of a smell. Anyhow, inside was a lump of cookie dough. I could taste the mediocre chocolate shell, but the cookie dough center had none of the vanilla or salty flavor that actual cookie dough has. It shouldn't have surprised me, but this was just painfully sweet.
Dark Coconut Macaroon was next, and again, the first thing I noted was the overwhelming, throat-burning sweetness. Aside from that, there was creamy, sticky coconut paste inside. It tasted like a Mounds bar, which wasn't bad, since I like coconut.
Finally, I sampled Brownie Truffle, which was like a chocolate coated chunk of brownie. Unsurprisingly, this one was also ridiculously sweet. The filling was grainy (I felt sugar granules) and almost chalky. It was slightly better and much more authentic than the cookie dough flavor, but really, at this point, I was not in the mood.
I don't pull this rating out very often, but both my husband and I found these to be just too sweet to enjoy. We split each piece, so I can't even imagine finishing all of them myself. They were edible, but far too cloyingly sweet for me to ever want to consume again. It's nice that they tried to diversify, but Mrs. Fields should definitely stick to cookies.
Here is a link to another review of these chocolates.
Mrs. Fields website (but these chocolates can't be found on the website)
The first cheesecake was a raspberry swirl, and it was tasty. It was actually a little too jellified for me. I didn't like how the raspberry jam separated from the cheesecake like oil from water, and didn't mix well, but it was still tasty. The jam was sweet and not tart, and there were no seeds to get stuck in my teeth. It was rich enough so that even a small sliver satisfied me enough, and the creaminess was rich and not artificial. Overall, really tasty, despite the strange texture.The next cheesecake was really expert-made. I loved that it was festive and had a little ribbon around its stout base, too. What I think I enjoyed most about this cheesecake was that the layers of this were different flavors and textures/consistencies of cheesecake, but still maintained the essence of eating a cheesecake.
There was a coffee liqueur soaked bottom cake layer, a fluffy, mascarpone cappuccino cheesecake layer, a layer of tiramisu cream, a thin section of chiffon cake, another layer of tiramisu cream, and then a dusting of cocoa powder, coffee powder, and whipped cream. It was delicious, and the mixture of all the flavors and textures was amazing. I really enjoyed this. The coffee flavor was subtle, and since coffee is one of the flavors I'm sort of on the fence about loving or hating, it was really good to not get hit with it too heavily.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
It fascinated and repulsed me a little that Hood would take an already rich beverage, eggnog, and add three rich flavors to it- ginger bread, sugar cookie, and cinnamon. It seemed redundant, a bit like adding butter flavor to Land O' Lakes, or something like that. But nonetheless, I had to line up a few shots of the old 'nog for myself while cooking, so there I went, down the aisles.
Getting home, the nog looked quite good. I shook it up and prepared myself for the worst. I tried the cinnamon first, and was duly unimpressed. It was like regular eggnog had been added to a little cinnamon schnapps- weak and unfulfilling. It was buttery and tasted like regular eggnog, sure, but in a blind taste test, I couldn't have discerned a difference in between regular eggnog and this. There was more of a nutmeg flavor, the quintessential taste, than anything distinctively different. It was a shame.
The gingerbread eggnog was another surprise altogether, though. For starters, it was a much darker color than I'd expected, almost like the color of actual gingerbread. The flavor was also really rich and tasty, with a heavy spice to it. I'd like to cook with this and see what I could get out of it, or mix it into another drink like a milkshake. This drink's unique flavor, as there are not many ginger-flavored beverages out in the world, and seeming versatility looks like it would be a winner as far as ideas go. I'd try this in a cheesecake or perhaps, if I were more adventurous, even as a glaze or sauce of some sort in a savory dish. This was really rich and tasty.
The last one was the sugar cookie eggnog, and though it was tasty, I really don't feel as though the flavor of sugar cookies or eggnog was exemplified. In fact, the flavor, overall, was rather strange. There was a gritty taste from the sugar cookie flavor, of too much sugar, and since they tried to make it taste like sugar cookies, there were less spices, making it rather bland. If anything, it tasted like a less boozy, liquid version of the cream used on the eggnog pancakes at IHOP. I wasn't much of a fan. The flavor was too artificial and too strange for my persona liking.
If I find the pumpking eggnog out there, I'll be sure to review that, too!
I've never been big on hard candy, with the exception of two kinds: sour candy and fizzy candy. Both is even better. But actually, the first thing that drew me to these candies was the "cute bottle shape" advertised on the front of the bag. The fizz just sealed the deal.
There were four flavors in the pack (Ramune, cola, pineapple, and green apple), based on soda and Ramune flavors. The pineapple seemed especially exciting, because I was reminded of the pineapple Fanta I used to drink before it disappeared from the shelves of Target.
I was disappointed that the colors of the candy were so muted. The photo below is pretty accurate, and I had been expecting something a little more vivid. Still, as promised, the bottle shapes were very cute. Here is the rundown of the flavors.
Cola (brown) was first on my list, because I hadn't had any cola flavored candy in a long time.I'm surprised there isn't more cola candy in the USA, because Coke and Pepsi are so popular. Anyhow, the flavor was very typical for cola candy, like a super-sweet sip of cola. It was fruity and tart, and the fizzy texture mixed in with the hard candy was really fun, especially because the fizz foamed in my mouth. My only complaint is that the hole in the center (presumably for the fizzy stuff) made the candy get a little sharp (as in cut the roof of my mouth) as I ate it.
Pineapple (yellow) was such a disappointment. It tasted like a white gummy bear or a cheap sucker, in that the pineapple flavor was dull and hardly tart at all. It was not a true pineapple flavor at all, with maybe too much pina colada influence. The fizz was still fun, but this one lacked the little bit of sour bite that the cola had.
When I bought these, I didn't really look at the flavors hard, and just assumed the pale green was melon (common in Japanese candy). Unfortunately, it was actually green apple. The favor was a decent fake apple, though my experience with apple soda is limited.
Ramune (blue) was last, and for those not familiar, Ramune is a popular Japanese soda with a lemony flavor. The candy was like the soda - fizzy and sour. I tasted lemon and lime, and was really pleased with the tartness.
The cola and Ramune flavors really stood out for me, even though the other two weren't bad. I would probably buy these again, but I have had better soda fizzy candy overall (such as the Kasugai Jiwa Jiwa soda candies).
B, but cola and ramune alone would get an A-.
Friday, December 25, 2009
Dinner is over, almost everyone is long since in bed, and I'm up, scheming and dreaming away, and eating delicious peppermint bark from Williams-Sonoma, a gift from Dr. D's mother-in-law.
I do love Williams-Sonoma, and all of their products are quite high end. The packaging is always really adorable, too. This one was a play on the word "bark," and had a little dalmatian running across the box. They always do vintage-inspired advertisements, really classic stuff. I hear their croissants are killer, and though I've never tried them, I'd love to sometime.
So this peppermint bark came in a lovely abundance, with peppermint stick pieces studded throughout the candy, which was about 1/6th of an inch thick, half dark chocolate, half white chocolate. It was quite tasty. However, I wish there was a more milky, high-quality to it like most of the WS products that I'm used to. It was chalky, and the chocolate flavors weren't as pronounced as I'd have liked. The bite was nice and it snapped audibly. The dark chocolate was extremely bland and had no external notes or undertones and such, and wasn't even very chocolatey. In fact, the only real flavors I got were the milky vagueness from the white chocolate and slight waxiness and the crunch and mintiness of the peppermint candy.
An epic fail, but a lovely Christmas. Cheers to all!
Hoping everyone is having a wonderful evening and a fantastic holiday, whatever and wherever you are. From the Foodette to you, be safe, eat well, and enjoy life.
Today, I'm offering up some photos from my holiday exploits at my own house, my neighbor, Nurse C's house, and my family friend's, Dr. D's house. It's a trifecta of wonder this evening.
The lovely L with the raspberry tart.
The aftermath of our Christmas crackers at my family's house...
Peppermint fudge-making with a close friend, Ponce.
L and Dr. D's dog, Viggo, the wolf at the door.
Dr. D, reading the instructions on the dog Snuggies.
Dinner rolls being washed in egg at the neighbor's house.Raspberry tart and chocolate raspberry gelato.
Dr. D's Japanese Chin, Zen, in his Slanket.
Some very well received individual brie and puff pastry things, made by yours truly.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
I will admit without hesitation that I purchased these Kabaya lemon gummies purely because Hello Kitty was on the package. I am a fan. But, according to my past experience, Kabaya does gummies quite well. Pure R is a line I've never tried before, and according to the Kaybaya site, the current flavors are grape, strawberry, and ruby grapefruit. This lemon flavor doesn't seem to be available anymore.
These were a little old when I purchased them, but not expired. However, the website shown on the package, advertising a Pure R/Pureal and Hello Kitty cell phone campaign, is no longer working. I'm not sure how to romanize the name of this candy, and it seems Kabaya isn't sure, either because this package says Pureal but their website says Pure R.
At first, I was worried, because the open package smelled like lemon cleaner. Thankfully, the gummies themselves (which were pretty big) didn't taste like lemon. They were nice and sour, and with a fairly authentic lemon flavor.
Where these got interesting was the texture. There was a somewhat hard shell (which can be seen in the photo above) around a soft, sticky gel center. The shell reminded me of a skin that might form over pudding if it sits too long. It didn't detract from the flavor, but it put me off a little bit. These were addictive, but not as good as other Japanese gummies. My husband couldn't get enough of them, and loved the flavor and texture.
'Tis the season for candy dishes to be filled, and even moreso for the fancy candy to be broken out of the bags. I have more fancy candy to be reviewed, I got a nice box, just in time for Christmas, from Chocomize, more on that later, but for tonight, I have a new treat from Ghirardelli, their new peanut butter filled squares.
These weren't horrible at all. However, the good Ghirardelli chocolate didn't go as well with the peanut butter as well as I'd thought. The peanut butter had the distinguishing, and I don't mean that in a good way, characteristic of being smooth, tasting burnt, and having floral notes while remaining sticky sweet at the same time. Everything blended together in a sugary lump instead of mingling, while still remaining separate as distinct and delicious flavors. It was a singular experience that I don't wish to repeat. All, mind you, on top of the very sweet, vaguely bland, and not remotely complex Ghirardelli milk chocolate, which, while good, isn't as top of the line as I'd like it to be.
Overall, one square of these is enough if you're looking for a small treat. The nuttiness is existent, but certainly doesn't compare to other nutty treats, but I wouldn't hoard these over Christmas cookies, cheese and crackers, cakes, or other goodies.
More tomorrow! And let me prematurely wish you all a very merry Christmas.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
The breakfast shots are relatively adorable. They come in a two or a four pack, and are deceptively small. Eating them makes you want to power them down, as though you're in a one-man competitive eating contest and if you can't eat four of the midget burgers, you are not a man and should be castrated. Thus, you must eat them all. So that was pretty much what we did, sandwiching the 'tots in between the sandwiches when we felt like it.
The sausage shots were preferred over the bacon shots, by far. The bread was very cushy and pillowy on both, and rather mushy when we were trying to separate the sandwiches so we could each have some, instead of attacking it like a giant meta-shot. The cheese on these was half-melted and was sharp and tasty. Both of us enjoyed this, but weren't able to detect any of the cheese sauce that was also supposedly used.
The egg, though visually unappealing, is all right. It's neither disgusting nor the best egg I've ever had. That award goes to my own method of cooking eggs. The sausage breakfast shot was very flavorful and reminded me of the McGriddle, with the sausage taste really dominating, whereas with the bacon shot, the meat played a very mid-level role compared to the egg and cheese taste.
Overall, these are decent little breakfast sandwiches, and with the cheesy tots in the middle, are quite filling. I was pleased with the caliber of them after powering through four, though I can't say that the quality overwhelmed me. The difference in texture wasn't varied enough for me, everything was just soft- nothing was crispy or toasted, except when we shoved in the tots. But not bad. Certainly not awful. Mid-level. It will take a lot to reach the level of the McGriddle. It will take a lot.
As for the cheesy tots, Dillinger and I also enjoyed them a lot. They were scalding at first, but really, what's not to love about small, circular potato rounds filled with cheese sauce? And the cheese isn't overpowering. It's nice, a smooth cheese flavor that goes well with the potato's crisp, and the cheese's gooiness makes for a nice contrast.
Sometimes the greasiness gets in the way of the overall flavor, which can be a tad on the subtle side, but then I step back and remind myself that this is fast food, and will always be rather greasy. Oh well. Still delicious.