Archive for the ‘Food Finds’ Category

A Blast from the Past

When I was a kid, 12 or 13ish, we lived in a house in Albany, Georgia, in a neighbourhood that was formerly Naval Base Housing and abutted a golf course. Being the oldest kid, I was the boss of the other two, and frequently strongarmed them into going to the small convenience store at the golf course and getting me a Coke and some sour cream and onion Doritos.

I know! What a bossy bitcah!

And you’re probably saying, “What the heck? There’s no such thing as sour cream and onion Doritos!” And you’re right. Well, not anymore. Because when I stopped at lunch to get something to drink this afternoon, I saw the holy grail of Dorito-dom sitting by all the different flavours of Doritos. Limited Edition! screamed the label. Sour Cream and Onion!

I bought two bags so I’d have a spare in case something happens to the first bag and I never find them anymore. I hope they taste as good now as they did when I was a bossy big sister. And if my siblings are reading this, I owe you. Want a Coke and a bag of sour cream and onion Doritos?

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I Have Schweddy Balls!

Ever since the announcement that Ben & Jerry’s created a limited edition Schweddy Balls ice cream, I’ve been on the prowl.  I happen to think that particular SNL sketch is one of the funniest ever, albeit one of the grossest ever.

Target didn’t have it.

Neither of the two Tom Thumb stores I went to had it.

Walmart didn’t have it.

Market Street didn’t have it.

Then last night I got lucky–I was at Walmart looking for some protein bars and hot rollers, and thought I’d check again, just on the off hand it would be there. It wasn’t, and I ended up getting a pint of peach cobbler. But as I was exiting the ice cream aisle, I happened to glance to my right, and there were a few more containers of Ben & Jerry’s. And lo, there was one lone, forlorn container of Scheddy Balls that instantly migrated to my cart. 

As I was driving home, I was singing a song about my schweddy balls. And after dinner, I scooped up some schweddy balls ice cream and took a bite. Good, but not great. Ben & Jerry’s has definitely come up with better flavours. Don’t get me wrong–I liked it–and I liked it even more once I poured on some hot fudge topping and a blop of cool whip. The ice cream has a mild rum flavour, and the balls are rum flavoured chocolate covered malted balls kind of like whoppers.

So yay, I’m glad I got to eat some schweddy balls, but I don’t see myself buying it again.  YMMV, of course, but if you do get it, I strongly urge the addition of hot fudge topping. Hot fudge makes everything better.

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I’ve been eating fruit and veggies and salads and lean meats. It’s been good to get back into the kitchen, and start cooking again. Plus Market Street has these amazing salads, so I go once or twice a week and get a container of macaroni salad, tabbouleh, cole slaw, this awesome chickpea salad with kalamata olives and onions and tomatoes, and fruit salad, and anything else that piques my fancy. Then with whatever entree we’re having, we each have a spoonful, more or less, of whatever salads we want.

And fruit. They have amazing fruit. Over the last week we’ve gone through pink lady apples (jazz apples this week–yum!), these oranges that are not quite blood oranges, but sort of bloodyish, and seriously good, and seedless red and black grapes. And pineapple. Fresh pineapple.

And this morning while I’ve been munching on my red black grapes, I’ve noticed that my tongue hurts rather a lot.  This has happened to me when I was vegetarian, and when I was vegan, and right now, even though I’ve been eating meat, apparently I’m eating enough fruit and acidic things to irritate my tongue. And it makes me quite cranky. I mean, how can you have a better breakfast than some good grapes and a slice of cheese (or a protein bar, because I took too long in the tub this morning to have time to slice cheese)? But if your tongue hurts when you eat grapes, it makes the delicious breakfast a little less enjoyable.

I figure I’ll ask my dentist about it when I go for the root canal next week. Maybe he’ll have some helpful suggestions.

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Miscellaneous Thoughts:

Toddlers & Tiaras exists only to give people a feeling of moral superiority. At least, that’s my opinion. Because when I watched that the other day, I felt rather smug to know that I would NEVER do such things to a child.

Dogs in a hotel room: the farther away from the training pad, the messier the poop. I’m just sayin’.

Summer in Texas: why do people hope this summer breaks the records set in 1980? Because seriously, I’d be thrilled if it suddenly turned 84 degrees for a high.

Shopping: When you have no clothes, you must go shopping for clothes. You may think you’d enjoy that, but if you’re me, you’d be wrong. You enjoy spending time with your sister. But the actual trying on of clothes isn’t so fun. It makes you sweat. And when there are bajillions of people in the mall, you get a little testy.

Mall Food: If there are too many people in line to feel like going anywhere, at least at Grapevine Mills, just walk along the perimeter (I think I spelled that wrong but don’t feel like checking) and take a free sample from every place that’s offering one. That should be enough to hold you for a while.  And the blended coconut almond joy frappe is disgustingly sweet, so don’t even bother.

Rose quartzes: They are lovely, as are the sisters who give them to their sisters.

Forever 21: They have plus size clothes! Woohoo! They’re junior plus sizes, which means if you’re a women’s plus size, you have to go up a size to have it fit you, but they’re very cute. And yes, they have a lot of things that are too young for me, but they also have plenty of things that are not. And they’re cheap.

Weight Loss: Somehow I managed to drop 4 pounds since the housefire. I’m not going to complain about that, trust me.

Oatmeal: Some chocolate chips and walnuts make it almost edible. As in I had a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast, with chocolate chips and walnuts. And some brown sugar. And milk. Because I’m thinking of going veg again.

That is all. You may now return to your regularly scheduled life.

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I’ve been thinking about the Omnivore’s 100 I just posted. And I had so few on there that I had tried, and plenty more than I’ll never try (for various reasons), and plenty also that I have no idea what they are. 

I’m an adventurous eater, willing to try many things at least once. And while that list was high on things I have no intention of sampling (snails, for instance–ugh! I don’t want to touch the nasty things while they’re alive! Why would I want to ingest them? For the yummy garlic butter sauce they’re served with? I’ll have the sauce with some shrimp or lobster! Forget the snails!)

But here are some things I’ve tried that weren’t on the list, things I also think an omnivore should taste at least once:

  • kimchi
  • bulgogi
  • mandu
  • pierogi
  • shark steak
  • swordfish
  • freshly made naan with homemade hummus
  • scones with clotted cream and thick strawberry jam
  • lemon curd
  • matzoh-ball soup
  • kung pao chicken
  • fresh cherries that were only picked a few hours ago
  • a ripe tomato right off the vine
  • boiled peanuts
  • homemade plum jam from wild plums

I guess my point is that the list was an arbitrary one, one person’s opinion of what everyone should taste at least once. My list is just as arbitrary, perhaps a little less snooty (I’m not a wealthy gourmet, just a middle-class gourmand), and I like it because I’ve eaten everything on it at least once, some things every chance I get. And there are memories with all of them.

My first experiences with Korean food (mandu, bulgogi, kimchi, sweet potato noodles) came at the home of some very, very dear friends of mine. I never eat it anymore without thinking of them, and perhaps part of the reason I love it so is because of them. That being said, however, you can’t beat it for flavour.

I never ate Polish food until after meeting my husband. Now I love it. Well, some things, anyway–there are plenty of items in the “I’ll never touch it” category. But kielbasa, kapusta (I’m probably mangling the spelling–sorry), pierogi, and other things that I have even less idea how to spell, baby, I’m there.

Swordfish will always remind me of the hours Joe and I spent at Long Beach, always dining at our favourite seafood restaurant where I ate freshly caught swordfish and calamari.

Things like naan and hummus, clotted cream and scones, remind me irresistibly of Jehara. I’ve loved hummus for years, but never had naan before I met her. And I never had clotted cream before, and that’s one of those things that you can’t believe how good it tastes until you taste it, and the richness just explodes in your mouth.

Newly picked cherries is another Joe memory. While we were on one of our trips up to Buffalo, we went out into the middle of nowhere along the shores of Lake Ontario. On our way back, we stopped at a cherry orchard and got some ice cream and a big bag of cherries. We planted cherry trees from there all the way back to Buffalo. I’ve had plenty of cherries in my day, but those were undeniably the best ever.

Plum jam made from wild plums that we picked ourselves? When I was a kid, living in Georgia, every so often the family would pile into the car and drive out into the country (at least it seemed like the country to me), and pick wild plums. Then Mom would make it into the best jam I’ve ever tasted. Boiled peanuts are a Georgia thing, too. I can’t describe it. You just have to try them. Incredible.

Matzoh-ball soup is a comfort food for me. I want it when I’m sick, and I always think of Dad Farber when I eat it. And I think of him when I’m eating latkes or challah, or when I have a ham and cheese sandwich and remember him slyly offering me a scotch, knowing full well that I wouldn’t drink it. And bridge mix–always the bridge mix.

So food is so much more than just fuel for our bodies. It’s a wealth of flavour and memory pinging our senses with every aroma, every bite, every sip.

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I don’t recall how old I was when I first read The Chronicles of Narnia, but I do recall that I thought Turkish Delight must be the most delicious substance in the world. I visualized a thick layer of chocolate enrobing an air-light wafer sort of sweet. If you’ve ever encountered Turkish Delight, you’re probably laughing at me right now, because my imaginary Turkish Delight bore no resemblance whatsoever to the real substance.

One day, again, I don’t recall when, I tasted some Turkish Delight. It was a little square of a jelly-like consistency covered with powdered sugar, and it tasted like roses, and it was disgusting. If I was alone when I ate it, I feel quite certain that I spat it out. And I know another bite never passed my lips.  Several months after I got married, Joe introduced me to seafoam candy, and that perfectly satisfied my childhood vision of Turkish Delight.

Fast forward to today, when I was browsing the food aisle at Marshall’s.  I was buying some crostini, and they had numerous boxes of Turkish Delight there as well.  I’m not sure why, but the fact that it said it was with pistachio, and bore no mention of rose water on the label, probably had something to do with the fact that I decided it was, once again, time to try Turkish Delight. The other factor was the $2 price tag.

Dang. This stuff is good! Mmmm!  I don’t know if it’s this brand (Koska) or if it’s just pistachio Turkish Delight in general that’s so much better than the ooky rose flavoured sort, but I like it.

So now I can once again sympathise with Edmund’s voracious appetite for the delightful sweets. Yay!

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Chicken Soup

Not for the soul, though. Just for the tummy. 😀

  • olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • a couple of cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • chopped celery if you have it, leaves included
  • some frozen boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • sliced carrots
  • chopped unpeeled potatoes
  • chicken broth or water + chicken bouillon cubes
  • a teaspoon or two of Vegeta seasoning
  • fresh ground salt & pepper to taste
  1. Heat up some olive oil in a pot the appropriate size for how much soup you want to make. When it’s hot, toss in the onions and garlic, and cook until the onions are translucent, stirring frequently.
  2. Add the celery, chicken, carrots, potatoes, broth, Vegeta, and pepper (don’t salt it until it’s at the table). Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover, and simmer at medium heat until the chicken is done.
  3. Remove the chicken from the pot and shred it with 2 forks, then return to the pot.
  4. Reduce heat to med-low, cover, and simmer until the vegetables are done. If you want rice or noodles with it, cook them separately, place the desired amount of cooked rice/noodles in the individual serving bowls, and pour the soup on top.
  5. Salt & pepper to taste.

This is really good with the cornbread recipe I posted the other day. And it’s comparatively fast and easy.

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