Monday, May 31, 2010

Green & Black's Organic Mint

Green & Black's Organic Mint Chocolate

My mother is a big fan of York Peppermint Patties, so mint chocolate was always around when I was younger. This might explain why mint chocolate is such a nostalgic taste for me. In particular, there was a candy store called Fanny Farmer (quite appropriate) that carried a bright green mint "chocolate" bar that perfectly suited my childhood tastes.

I doubt I would like it now, but I seem to always compare mint chocolate bars to how I think that one tasted. This Green & Black's bar came from a local Target, and as of February of this year, it's 100% fair trade certified.

Green & Black's Organic Mint Chocolate

Both the foil wrapper and the bar inside were simply stunning. The gorgeous bar had a nice peppermint oil aroma with just a hint of earthiness. It had a good snap and the perforations actually seemed to work. Both the texture and melt of the chocolate were nice.

The chocolate was just a bit sour and tangy, and those fruity notes made the 60% cocoa bar seem darker than it was. I found the mint to be quite mild. According to the website, neither the mint nor the chocolate is supposed to dominate, though I felt the chocolate was more prominent. It's definitely more grown up than my "dream" bar, but I could have done with more mint and fewer sour notes in the dark chocolate.


Green & Black's Website

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Love Bites Café, Saugerties, NY

A few weeks back, Keepitcoming Love and I found ourselves in the Hudson Valley for an auction with some fantastic friends, P and D, and had spent a fantastic evening with them. When morning came, we had to get back, but figured we'd poke around Saugerties and get a bite to eat before returning home.

The Love Bites Café was unanimously recommended, a tiny restaurant evocative of a funky New York studio kitchen, and we sat down to find a rather unique and interesting menu. Though the two of us were decidedly in breakfast mode (and the wild boar provided temptation unleashed), I was definitely aching for something sweet, while Love ordered a savory dish, deciding on a modified Eggs Benedict with herbed hollandaise sauce on top of zucchini and corn cakes. I chose a carrot coconut french toast with lemon zest butter and syrup.As we listened to an eclectic mix of music, most notably Richard Cheese's "Summertime," we drank a good, strong coffee that was hot and fresh and went well with breakfast. Our plates came and were both very large and interestingly shaped, Love's accompanied by a green salad. The eggs with corn cakes were really indulgent, with a bright yellow yolk that spilled out onto the plate and was mopped up by the corn cakes. The entire bite, which was admittedly difficult to consume with a fork, was delicious and salty, yielding a wide range of textures from the soft eggs to the creamy, fresh tang of the sauce, to the crispiness of the corn and zucchini cakes. With the salad, which I did not try, it was a savory and delightful composition.My french toast was a smashing surprise. I expected a compote of carrots and coconut, or perhaps a coating, but instead, I received french toast made out of carrot and coconut bread. This created a dense and tender quickbread that I soaked in syrup and lemon butter. Three thick pieces of bread made for an incredibly tasty and interesting flavor, and filled me up very quickly.The only criticism I had for the french toast was that there wasn't really a detectable coconutty flavor, but it might have been present in the texture of the bread more than the taste. Still very crunchy and delicious. I liked that it wasn't an overly sweet dish, and instead relied on the more natural flavors of the vegetables and fruits to sweeten it. This restaurant was a real gem, and was wild and willin' in all its aspects.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Cocoa Dolce Wine Truffles

I harbor an ardent appreciation for alcohol, I'd say. Sure, I love a good G and T, but for someone my age, I can't say I've ever passed out and woken up topless covered in vomit and underpants next to someone named Dirk, or done a keg stand, or found myself featured in Facebook photos involving wet t-shirts, bears, and sweet tongue action. Doing any of those things scares me more than perusing the makeup section of a store for mascara.

From an early age, I've grown up to appreciate and cultivate a knowledge and love for wine, courtesy of my father. This has made me even more popular in my early adulthood, especially at parties. I waltz around telling people to discuss the nose on their Natty Lite and ogle the legs on the sides of the glass instead of the sides of the room. Yeah, I'm a real hit. But it's definitely made my palate rather discerning, and when I'm offered a chance to combine my love for food and wine, I often leap at the opportunity.This came across in the form of Cocoa Dolce's wine truffles. I saw them on their website and knew I had to try them out. They were really beautiful little truffles, with painted designs on each one to designate the flavor and wine. There were six in total, little cubes of dark chocolate in a 57% dark chocolate ganache, some with custard and some with ginger, featuring Port, Shiraz, Zinfandel, Cab Sauvignon, Malbec, and a Gewurztraminer.I'd have liked to review each individual truffle, but the truth was, there wasn't much difference in each flavor. There were very few subtleties in the flavors and textures, and while each truffle was a delicious ganache with a rich, smoky, creamy flavor, the real selling point of these, the wine flavors, was just not detectable. With the notable exception of the Gewurztraminer, carrying a potent and spicy gingery crunch, there was no wine to be found at all. Definitely a shame, as I was looking forward to seeing the rich combinations that the chocolatiers had thought of. This never deters me from seeking out more wine and chocolate, though.

Tirol Premium Apple Pie

Apple Pie Tirol

Pie as I know it is one of those things that is hard to come by in Japan. I'm sure it's available, but commercial "pie" snacks in Japan are often extremely dry, flaky, and don't suit my tastes at all. For example, Lotte's Pie no Mi is a Japanese snack I just don't enjoy, no matter how many chances I give it.

Still, this Apple Pie Tirol came so highly recommended that I had to try it. Both Japanese Snack Reviews and NapaJapan (where I purchased them) gave glowing reviews. I should mention that I'm not huge on apple-flavored things (though I love apples), so add a letter grade if you love apple sweets. Bonus points if you manage to find the ones with Toy Story 3 wrappers (scroll to the bottom)!

Apple Pie Tirol

There was a very strong apple smell with just a hint of spices. The first bit was at first a bit fake, but the apple flavor got better as I chewed. The crispy/crunchy bits (which seemed like puffed rice) brought out the cinnamon taste, and the white chocolate did a fine job of holding it all together (almost like pie a la mode).

It seemed like there was some chewy sort of apple pulp within the square, which was a nice touch. I was worried that the pie element would be like other Japanese pies, but it was a nice, crunchy and non-flaky texture. I was reminded of Apple Cinnamon Cheerios or some other apple cereal more than pie, but found these to be a pleasant surprise from Tirol!


Tirol website

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Nestle Maple KitKat

Maple KitKat

Maple makes me think of family trips to Canada and those touristy packages of maple sugar pressed into the shape of maple leaves. Of course, good maple syrup is available domestically and over the border in Canada, but it's still quite expensive.

Maple syrup is also a bit of a luxury in Japan, as detailed in Jen's KitKat Blog's review of the bar. Back in 2008, I tried the Soy Sauce KitKat and found it to taste like maple, so I was pretty curious about the actual Maple KitKat.

Maple KitKat

The KitKat had a strong, sugary maple scent with a super creamy and sweet white chocolate base. Naturally, it was quite sweet, but I'd expect no less from maple. Instead of being intensely sweet like pressed maple sugar, though, it was more like a maple cream. This was a good thing.

It was a nice, mild KitKat, but I would have liked a stronger maple flavor. Without that bitter punch, it was pleasant but nothing special. I wonder if Nestle Canada will ever put out a maple KitKat?


KitKat Website


Oh, man. Hardena has been on my to-do list since I started this blog. I have never heard one word other than high praise for this ramshackle Indonesian point-and-receive food line in South Philly, yet I have somehow never made it a priority to it hit up. If you've similarly slacked, hit. it. up. now.
For one thing, I thought Harden was a little farther south than it really is (I walk most every place I eat), but it's only a few blocks west of all the happenings on E. Passyunk Ave.

The other thing, I knew there was always a vegetarian option on the steam table, but I didn't know there were so many. I was overwhelmed when the sweet woman behind the counter rattled off six different vegetarian options. I was only expecting two, or three at most.
So, what you get at Hardena is your choice of three items on top of rice for the low, low price of $6. There's a menu on the wall across from the counter, but it's best to just ask the person behind the counter what's on the steam table. Say "vegetarian" if you are, and they'll kindly tell you what's available. Pour yourself some water from the large cooler, and have a seat with your plate. I got collards, tempeh goreng, and angel hair rice noodles with tofu and beans. Sounds simple, but it's not. It's layers of complex, spicy, delicious yum over rice...which is my favorite meal in the whole world. I could eat this every day.
The boy got battered tempeh (kinda like lemony tempeh tempura), yellow fish, and tofu something-or-another. Again, complex, spicy, delicious yum over rice.

All plates come dressed with Hardena's homemade chili and lime leaf hot sauce, if you wish...and you do. You can buy some of the hot sauce to take home, as well.

Hardena very much reminded me of Genelle's in Wilmington, my favorite point-and-receive Wilmo restaurant (sadly, now closed) that served complex, spicy, delicious, Caribbean yum over rice. Hardena just puts the Indonesian (influence from Chinese, Indian, Middle Eastern, and European cuisines) into the yum. And Hardena is a little more, um, let's use the word ramshackle again, but charming and outstandingly delicious, for sure.

Prediction: Hardena wins "best of" in the next Mac & Cheese end of the year roundup.

1754 Hicks St., Philadelphia, PA 19145


Mon, 11am-8pm

Wed, noon-8pm

Thurs-Sun, 11am-8pm

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Three Sister's Chocolate Covered Popcorn

Here's another selection from Three Sister's Chocolate, in this case, a bag of their chocolate covered popcorn. When I go to the movies, I can't say that I'm a big fan of popcorn. At the exorbitant rates, it's much easier for me to go to the Walgreens across the street, stuff my pants with Arizona Iced Tea and gummy bears, and try to convince the movie gestapo that I'm pregnant.This is a popcorn that I'd be perfectly happy eating shirtless in lounge pants, something that the cinema no longer allows me to do, and enjoy it with a movie of my own, like Dr. Strangelove or a good episode of Daria. For a small bag, there's a lot of popcorn in here. The pieces were stuck together in bits of six, eight, or ten, with a thick layer of chocolate, almost leaning towards a truffle or bar than simply earning the designation of "covered."The chocolate is very smooth and rich, imparting an intensely chocolatey flavor on the popcorn without getting brittle or waxy, and it bites off cleanly. The popcorn is salty and buttery and seems to be comprised entirely of mushroom pieces, or the giant spheres of popcorn that are usually best for coated flavors. For a very simple concept, this was executed perfectly, and I found myself really craving it as I ate. Even in the individual pieces, I never encountered a bite that wasn't entirely coated in chocolate. It was wonderful and yielded a perfect balance of salty and sweet. I'd love to see more flavor combinations executed with this level of artistry, because I enjoyed eating this a lot.

Lotte Custard Waffle Koala's March


Koala's March is a snack that takes me back to my childhood - pretty strange, since it's a Japanese snack. In the mid 1980s, they were sold as Koala Yummies, and I have some vague memories of watching Noozles on Nick Jr. and eating these little cookies. Japanese koalas must have been big then. Here's a blog post about Koala Yummies, if you're feeling nostalgic.

They are long gone in American stores, but they never went away in Asia. In Japan, they are known as コアラのマーチ (Koala's March), but they haven't really changed. Of course, there are plenty of limited edition flavors to try, and this one is Custard Waffle (purchased at NapaJapan).

Koala's March - Custard Waffle

The cookies had a bit of a vanilla scent, and each cookie had a little koala stamped on it. The number of unique koala designs in the bag was pretty amazing! Right away, the cookies had a buttery, slightly salty taste. The crunch reminded me of the crispy, toasty rim of the waffle where the batter leaks out of the iron but still cooks.

The cream in the center reminded me of whipped cream with slight maple notes, giving a very convincing waffle flavor. Despite a slightly oily feeling after swallowing (which I usually attribute to preservatives), the cookies were very addictive. I'd happily consume this flavor again, and wouldn't hesitate to try other limited edition flavors.


Lotte website

Monday, May 24, 2010

Lean Cuisine BBQ Chicken Quesadilla

Lean Cuisine is one of those companies that tries really, really hard to think outside of the box. It talks a big game, like guests on the Maury show with scripted roles of out-of-control teens and pregnant babymamas with fears of pickles. The packaging promises flavors that are relatively exciting and outrageous, but behind the box, they're kind of scripted and a little boring.Take this barbecue chicken quesadilla, for example. It proclaims, like most absent fathers, to be bold and exciting and free, and full of flavors that will FUCKING BLOW YOUR MIND, like barbecued chicken and roasted corn and peppers and cheese, but like the penises of said dads, proves itself to be limp and uninteresting. The ingredients were haphazardly combined, and the meal was unsubstantial. However, one of the best elements of the entire meal was the roasted corn, which had a slight char in the small pieces I dissected and gave a smoked flavor to the sandwich.The bread was lame. There wasn't enough meat in the quesadilla. This lack of substance recalled Maury episodes where the highlight fifteen seconds of the paternity tests are played over and over as a teaser before commercial breaks. They also use this technique on To Catch A Predator. The chicken was hyped up, and there was barely any at all. It was really more of a barbecued vegetable quesadilla, and if it was just that, I would have been satisfied, but this promised about as much as a daytime soap- bland and with a cast of characters that I would have rather put out of my mind. I won't be turning to this again as a source of entertainment.

Written with Keepitcoming Love.

Cantina Report

Hi, ya. Cantina report here. I know the Cantina Los Caballitos (and Cantina Dos Segundos) can be hit or miss, but they sure are great places to get a pitcher of margaritas and while away the afternoon.

It's been a while since I ducked into the Cantina on Passyunk, but this last time there was a new-to-me menu item — seitan anticuchos with quinoa salad.

Verdict: hit!

Yum, yum, and yum. The Cantina serves mostly Mexican influenced food, but this dish of sesame seed crusted, sweet rum glazed seitan skewers, and sweet quinoa salad studded with carrots and yucca is a vegan take on anticuchos, Peruvian grilled meat on a stick.

I actually did a double take on the crispy seitan, because I swore there was a fatty layer like pork has, and the edges were just so damn crispy and tasty. Nope. It was seitan. How did they do that? And can I have some more?

Cantina Los Caballitos
1651 E Passyunk Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19148


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Cadbury Dairy Milk Fruit and Nut

Cadbury Dairy Milk Fruit & Nut

This bar certainly changed my opinion of fruity chocolate bars. Before it, my only experience with them had been some sort of off brand chocolate bar with dried fruit, and that left a rather vile taste in my mouth long after the one bite I had was swallowed. Thank goodness for Cadbury.

Cadbury starts with good chocolate, at least to my tastes. It has a very distinct flavor that is similar to other non-gourmet European chocolate bars but quite different from Hershey's. The texture tends to be smoother, and the flavor is very milky with just a hint of caramelization.
Cadbury Dairy Milk Fruit and Nut

The bar had the signature aroma of Cadbury chocolate - milky with caramel notes - but I could smell the dried fruits, too. The chocolate was very smooth and melted quickly on the tongue, leaving the tart taste of the raisins and the crunchy almonds.

The whole almonds, easily visible in this picture didn't add much flavor. Almonds have a pretty delicate flavor, so it was probably masked by the intense milk chocolate. The raisins had a good taste and texture, and the texture of the nuts made for a more interesting bar. I prefer this bar to the plain old milk chocolate, and my husband said it reminded him of trail mix.


Cadbury Website

Oscar Mayer Deli Creations Flatbread Sandwich: Buffalo-Style Ranch Chicken

I don't know about you, but "buffalo-style ranch chicken" is some of the most awkward phrasing I've ever encountered. To be honest, I was a little worried about trying this, too, once I discovered that the sauce wasn't really hot sauce, but buffalo flavored ranch sauce. Can America not take the heat? Is chicken, bacon and ranch not good enough? Why do the scientists in the ranch industry never cease their endless lust for ranch permutations?And why are the kids in Hidden Valley, home of ranch itself, such little assholes?

These are the questions that force me out of bed at night when I just want to dream of international hedge funds and a possible mutual investment in Tastykake. Seriously. But back to this sandwich. It's a good sized flatbread that comes with chicken pieces, cheese, and this sauce. Relatively simple.Oscar Mayer does not skimp on the meat with any of their products, and where I was filled with trepidation over the chicken, my fears were soon assuaged. It microwaves up nicely and cooks evenly, without getting rubbery or strange in the process. Covering it with cheese seals the deal, and honestly, this is the only sandwich I've had by them so far where the cheese plays a legitimate role in the overall composition. The Monterey Jack is smooth and tangy and makes nice strands when I took a bite.The sauce wasn't terrible at all, to my surprise. On the flatbread, which was crispy at the edges and pillowy soft, like na'an, in the middle, it folded without breaking and the sauce soaked in well and didn't really leak out. The ranch didn't weaken it or make it less tasty, either, and I found myself appreciating the pairing, like having something to dip my wings in without the messiness of eating actual wings. The sauce had an adequate spiciness and blended well with the rest of the flavors, creating something interesting and delicious that I'd definitely get again.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Blue Diamond Almonds Bold Jalapeno Smokehouse

Gigi covered the nut jokes with yesterday's review on Sehale barbecue almonds, but damn it, I am going to try as hard as I can to keep this review clean. Not gonna happen. Besides, I already used up all my good nut jokes on CH by telling him I was going to go photograph my nuts and post them on the internet.

So the nuts that I've tried today are supposedly "bold." I'm a bold person. My neighbor once described me as "not the ass-wiping type" for a job interview. So, being a fan of a spicy and barbecue combination, I was intrigued. Swagger has also tried to get me onto eating more almonds, because he's a fan of snacking on them while he works. The serving size for these is thirty, and to be quite honest, that's enough for me. There are quite a lot in the canister, too. I thought thirty would deplete the supply for sure and allow three or four servings at the most, but I find that there's roughly six servings, enough to eat alone, little by little, or share with friends.People, these are damned good nuts. What I like about the entire product like is the ingenuity in flavors. There's a Maui onion and garlic one I'd love to try, and the spicy ones are very flavorful and are indeed, somewhat bold, but they're more bold in flavor than intensity.Opening the canister, I immediately smelled the ever-present scent of roller derbies, casino food courts, and monster truck rallies. Not sweat, shame, or Yankee Candle, but cheap barbecue chips. Really, really cheap chips. And a slightly spicy aroma, too. The almonds are crispy and nice to eat, but the first nut is really the only spicy one. It's the strongest in heat of all the varieties, but as far as a lasting burn goes, there isn't much of one at all. To their credit, there's a very seamless transition between the two flavors, neither one being too vinegary or too smoky, and the smokiness did taste like it would have gone well with potato chips. I'm not sure if I'd buy this exact flavor again, because I was looking for something a little spicier, but it's a very flavorful and savory snack that I'm intrigued to see more of.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Tivon Maison de Kukkia Matcha


It seems like the time of year when matcha snacks are more common. Recently, there were a couple different matcha KitKats, and one of the rotating flavors in Tirol assortment packs is a green tea latte. However, I think these Masion de Kukkia cookies are available any time.

These were purchased from Mitsuwa Marketplace in Arlington Heights, IL, and they were found in the section with other fancy cookies and tea snacks. These types of products tend to be rather hit or miss - Tivon isn't a brand of which I'm aware, and despite my love of Japanese snacks, sometimes these fancy ones just don't taste good to me.


The cookie wafers were a bit sweeter and less flaky than a cake cone, but they were similar. Of course, since I'm not a fan of cake cones I can say that these wafers tasted much better. However, all they needed to be was a texture accompaniment to the matcha chocolate. They served this function beautifully.

The green tea chocolate inside was firmer than a cream, so it held up well in the package. The flavor was right about in the middle in terms of intensity. The matcha taste was definitely there, but it was not overpowering. Since the wafers were fairly bland, there was no intense sweetness, and the whole cookie was quite balanced and satisfying. According to the Tivon site, milk chocolate, "sweet" chocolate, and strawberry chocolate versions are also available.


Maison de Kukkia website

Buffalo Wild Wings Hot Garlic

With the disadvantages of packing up and moving, there are also a number of exciting new ventures to experience. For instance, the sudden appearance of a Foodette crafted world, once scattered, now in the palm of my hand on the stretch of route 9. Our Target was 25 minutes away. Now it's five, in Hadley. Our Trader Joe's was a half hour away. Now it's a mere bus ride to get to all the chocolate chipotle hazelnuts that I want. And where our closest Buffalo Wild Wings was a ten to fifteen minute drive, depending on traffic, and in an obnoxious part of town, I can now saunter over to the sexy strip mall and get wings at my luxury. Or have them delivered to my dorm.

With this new lassitude and complete lack of personal health and awareness, I would go with friends and order a new flavor of wings to see which place in Amherst was the best to get for the best value. Let me precede this by saying that BWW is, by no means, a good value. It's overpriced for its food. But with a sauce like spicy garlic, there was no passing it up.

An order of twelve wings yielded a pleasant surprise- they can follow orders. I asked for all flats, well done, my standard, and that's what they gave me. Compare this to Wings Over, a college favorite that refuses to customize orders, and you have my signature, signing my soul away to the BWW conglomerate and corporate offices. Bastards.The spicy garlic sauce is delicious. It's very garlicky and salty and delivers a good buzz of heat, too. It comes out looking like a vodka sauce with a fantastic kick, and it's in that rare instance when you can actually taste both flavors that the sauce advertises. However, my one main gripe is that this is offputtingly thick. Like, corn starch is the main ingredient thick. Where the wings were, at one point, crispy, like when I first started eating them, they became soggy in a matter of minutes with this sauce. It's gloppy and gooey and adheres to the wings as good as any super glue, but texturally, really throws me off the sauce. The flavor can be the ashes of Tupac, but if it looks and feels like an anal lubricant, then baby, I ain't there.

This is really a shame, too, because as more of a glaze or a regular dip, I could see myself buying this by the bottle. I just don't see the texture as working out as a staple in my culinary exploits, though, as it really doesn't seem to go with anything at all.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Meiji Apollo Vanilla Pudding

Apollo Vanilla Pudding

Custard purin (or pudding, similar to flan) is one of my husband's favorite desserts. We made a point of trying the famed Kobe purin, and it is as tasty as they say. This was the reasoning behind purchasing this particular flavor of Apollo, which a typically lackluster Meiji product.

According to the box, this is a special release for the 40th anniversary of the snack, and vanilla pudding was the number one requested flavor, I'm assuming by popular vote. This explains why the quality of the product seemed better than usual, as described below.

Meiji Apollo Vanilla Pudding

The candies smelled like milk chocolate, and the top portion had a nice, mild vanilla flavor with some caramel notes. The two sections of chocolate blended well, and the cocoa was neither underwhelming nor overpowering. It did taste like purin, and was better than the typical Apollo.

Normally, Apollo chocolate can seem kind of cheap, and it did feel a bit oily at the end, but the flavors were good enough to make up for it. It's certainly not gourmet chocolate, but it had a nice, milky, distinctly Meiji flavor.


Meiji website

Doritos 3rd Drgree Burn: Scorchin' Habanero

It's the last of the Doritos Burn line, and it couldn't be a more appropriate time now that summer is setting in. By now, you may have all guessed that I sort of hate weather. Well, not all weather. Just the weather that happens to offend me beyond a degree of lazing outside in my boxers or leather jacket. I love taking strolls around town and driving with the windows down. But a few days ago I was eating breakfast outside with Keep It Coming, Love, and in no more than fifteen minutes, I was already getting a little color.

My point is, I'm a delicate flower. I'm in a consistent battle to defend myself and my pure, Swedish skin against the elements, be they cold, lip-chapping wind or blistering, sweaty heat. That doesn't stop me from rocking and rolling all night and partying every day, though. Today I got a beach permit and ate these Doritos, leftover from the stuff I'd brought home. And with a package like those, I suddenly felt more like a flower made of barbed wire and steel.To be quite honest, they're probably really good to carry around if one is in the habit of picking up chicks. They have flames all over them. They say "3rd Degree." Everything about these fucking epitomizes the very definition of machismo. Just put on your bloodied Hell's Angels vest and go wrestle a leather dragon or something and then fuck a diamond hooker. But as macho as they seem, they're roughly as tough as Jesus stroking a retarded puppy, or Jon Gosselin's cock ring. They're bright red and have a crisp and really accurate habanero pepper flavor, but really, not a lot of heat as 3rd degree implies.The underlying flavor is really just spicy nacho, with more cheesy flavor acting as the base than actual peppers, and with the corn chip flavor, it really didn't remind me of anything particularly peppery outside of the general nacho jurisdiction. Definitely weak and less complex and innovative as the 1st Degree. As with all Doritos, the crunch is great and it's always a blast to get one of those mutantly overseasoned chips, but par for the course, there's a lot less color and flavor on these than I'd have liked.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Ice Cream

Always a little rusty and out of practice at the beginning of ice cream season, the first batch out of the ice cream machine always seems to be a dud in my kitchen. Nothing changed with the kickoff of this year's ice cream adventures, either. I'll spare you the details.

But the second batch? That's when things start to flow... or chill.

I was quite smitten with peanut butter and jelly ice cream made from a coconut milk and peanut butter base layered with jelly, because it tasted just as I had planned — like peanut butter and jelly. Success, I thought! But the boy said no thank you, because it tasted like peanut butter and jelly. Hmm...may I suggest only lovers of peanut butter and jelly partake.The coconut milk ice cream base I stumbled upon with coconut chocolate ice cream, and have used since in Chick-O-Stick ice cream, has quickly become my favorite ice cream base for a few reasons: (1) there are no eggs and milk involved, two ingredients I don't like to keep in the house, and (2) there is no cooking of custard involved, making the base pretty foolproof, and (3) whether you use whole fat or low fat coconut milk, the results are always rich and creamy.

Yes, there is a slight coconut flavor in coconut milk based ice creams, but the main ice cream flavor — in this case peanut butter — will always be the main player. Peanut Butter and Jelly Ice Cream
makes about 1 quart

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 cup peanut butter (crunchy or smooth)
2 cups coconut milk (regular or low fat)
10 ounces jam (I used raspberry)
  • Heat water and sugar in a medium saucepan until sugar is dissolved.
  • Add peanut butter to the syrup and stir until peanut butter is completely melted.
  • Remove from heat, and stir in coconut milk. Chill for a couple hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Freeze in ice cream machine.
  • Working fast since the ice cream is soft, layer half of the ice cream in a container. Then add the jam on top of the ice cream, spreading as best you can (fingers worked best for me). Add the remaining ice cream as the final layer.
  • Freeze 12-24 hours, or until ice cream is firm.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Harvest Hot Crunch

Dollar store selections are pretty hit or miss. Of course, I'm talking about pregnancy tests. Two for a dollar? What a deal! I've stocked up into the next week. You never know when those will come in handy. I can use them like MacGuyver.

But even more worrisome is the food selection. You have your standard potted meat, please, I've tried that shit, but then you get to the creepy snacks, like the Barbie gummies where the faces are all melted off from the heat or the potato snacks with Bible verses on every bag. It's hard to find something edible and with less of a 70% chance of food poisoning.Swagger and I took an adventure, though, and managed to weed through the irregulars to find the almighty Hot Crunch. What is Hot Crunch, you ask? It's the poor man's Flamin' Cheetos, or so I thought. No, they were better. Where the Cheetos were sprayed with a good red to make them at least visible from outer space, the Hot Crunch was practically nuclear. There was flavor dust all over these babies, and it was delicious. The crunch was soft, but not mushy, and there were pieces ranging from a few inches long to tiny pieces on the bottom of the bag that you'd tip into your mouth.The heat in these was pretty lingering, too. These weren't wimpy or skimpy, in my opinion. There was a good cheese flavoring underneath the heat, and a slight vinegar tang, but these were mainly just hot and delicious. The entire bag was almost completely filled and lasted about two days at the Foodette compound. A good purchase for its flavor and value.