Thursday, May 27, 2010

Mystery Food from the Road

Well, we've been pretty slow to post lately and it's mostly because of two reasons:

1) I've been traveling every week for four weeks in a row.
2) we're pregnant and my 2am baking adventures have been replaced with sleep.

But we do have several posts in the queue from recent amazing experiences including a farm to fork dinner with friends, SF Food Wars and homemade panna cotta. So, as soon as I get home, I promise to upload the photos and have some new posts. Thanks for hanging on...

In the meantime, I've had the pleasure of eating dinner this week at Publican and Blackbird in Chicago. Kudos to both of them for having terrific non-alcoholic cocktails including a vivacious ginger ale soda and a custom-made rhubarb-pineapple-mint mocktail.

But, the question of the day is:

Can you guess what this mystery food in the cone is from Publican?

I actually never tried it until now.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Candy Splurge: Scrumdiddlyumptious Bar from Willy Wonka

Ok, I love a bit of candy nostalgia and I was bummed out when I heard that the Wonka Bar was being discontinued. Not only did I like the milk chocolate with graham cracker bites, but I loved that the song “I’ve Got a Golden Ticket!” came to mind when I saw or ate them.

Imagine my delight while in the Omaha airport, I saw this new line of Wonka Exceptionals. This one, the Scrumdiddlyumptious bar promised milk chocolate with bits of toffee, crunchy cookie and peanuts as well as a chance at…a golden ticket. So, I bought it. And it was yummy as my co-worker and I eagerly tore the rainbow iridescent package to discover that alas, we would not be going on a trip around the world with a golden ticket. And like any good Charlie and the Chocolate Factory fan, I immediately burst into the “Cheer Up, Charlie” song. Oh, well, at least we had the chocolate bar.

Farewell Wonka Bar…

goodbye to your milk chocolatey-graham cracker yumminess.

Hello Scrumdiddlyumptious…

(Apparently it was so tasty, I didn’t have the sense to take a photo before we had eaten half of it!)

Monday, May 17, 2010

A Seasonal Farewell to Beet and Fennel Salad

Winter is finally over and summer is on its way. With that, I am looking forward to strawberries, sweet corn, peaches and other seasonal deliciousness that comes with the warm weather. But before I embrace, the juicy fruits and crisp vegetables of summer, I must bid farewell to my very favorite winter salad at the Sideboard Cafe in Danville.

Farewell, my favorite winter salad. I will miss your beautiful golden and purple beets, graced with pungent sliced fennel, slices of juicy, bright grapefruit and topped with a generous, velvety chunk of Humboldt Fog cheese. With a side of pommes frites, you are the perfect lunch or dinner- full of flavor and texture in every bite. I anxiously await your return.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Why This Soda Tastes Better in A Martini Glass: Pregnancy Mocktails

Every Friday night or so, Justin and I are lucky enough to have some fabulous neighbors who enjoy wine as much as we do. And since I'm pregnant, the wine is pretty much out as are cocktails. But, just because I can't enjoy a glass doesn't mean that everyone else can't. And so, what's a pregnant lady to do when everyone is sipping bubbly or enjoying the aroma of a terrific California cabernet?

Well, I've discovered that it's not the actual cocktail that I miss, it's the experience of drinking something special! And so, that's pretty easily fixed with a slice of lemon and fancy glass! I'd love to make all of my mocktails from scratch using freshly squeezed juices etc but when I'm too tired, there are some pretty good substitutes. My favorites right now: Pellegrino Limonata with a squeeze of fresh lemon and a slice of lemon as well. And for pizza night, a good root beer in a bottle!

I have to say, that drinking a soda this way actually feels really special and I treat it much like a regular cocktail- in careful moderation. I wasn't really a soda drinker in the past and this ritual of putting with fruit in a nice glass elevates the experience. What if all soda was cherished in this way?

Do you have a favorite non-alcoholic beverage or mocktail?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Would you like a side of rice with your iPhone?

Lauren had an unfortunate mid-flight incident last week involving her phone and a can of Ginger Ale . . . the result was slightly damp, slightly sticky, and a head phone jack that was (more than slightly) not working. Since I've had the misfortune of spilling a quarter cup of coffee into my laptop keyboard, I could both feel her pain and offer a few solutions. Ironically, when one food threatens to your electronic gear another food can come to the rescue . . .

Every food product contains a certain amount of moisture. Relatively dry foods (like rice) contain lower levels of moisture (12-14%) that when place in a sealed container in sufficient quantity can control the humidity in the container headspace. This equilibrium relative humidity (%ERH) in the package is established when the dry food absorbs moisture through the headspace from the damp component. The rice in this way is acting like a desiccant that is lowering the moisture in the surrounding enviornment (think of it as a natural version of those DO NOT EAT silica gel packets you'll sometimes find in your box of new shoes).

Lauren gave her phone 36 hours in the rice bag and she was back in business and ready to fly again on Monday. In the case of my abused laptop, the N, K, and L keys were never the same. If you are ever in a similar situation, power down your electronic device as soon as possible and then get your equipment to a place where you can gently and slowly dry it out.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

One Word Wednesday...Nostalgia

Do you recognize this ice cream novelty? When the ice cream truck would come down the block, this was the treat I always wanted: the Pink Panther. I remember watching these cartoons as a kid and I loved the fluffy, sugary novelty that was shaped liked the Pink Panther's head- with gumballs as eyes. Imagine the delight when my work brought in an ice cream truck and you could CHOOSE ANYTHING YOU WANTED. My inner child did about 5 cartwheels and promptly ordered the Pink Panther.

Did you have a favorite ice cream novelty as a kid? What did you choose from the ice cream truck?