Monday, May 11, 2015

THE 4TH ANNUAL FOOD FIND EDITION

Welcome to the 2015 Food Find edition! It’s loaded with food products I, along with readers, friends, and family think are worth sharing; exceptional food products that are available at least regionally, or by mail. So let’s get started.


BREAKFAST BITES, BACON AND BARS

  
An email from Andi in Memphis begins, “I have three (really 4) new obsessions.” You’ll find the others in the yogurt section of the list.” But first things first, with a nod to breakfast fav ”AUSSIE BITES



and SUNRISE ENERGY BARS. which Andi buys at Costco.  She says she calls these organic treats her ‘birdseed bars’. “They are very nutrient dense and make a fantastic breakfast. There are slight differences between the 2 – one has apricots and the other has cashews. The trick is that they are incredibly popular and Costco usually only has one or the other. I buy 2 containers at a time and freeze one. I keep the other one in the fridge so that it lasts longer.” For more from Andi, head for the Yogurt section of our list.   

A Florida reader sent a general shout out to BEEF BACON (as opposed to the pork). She didn’t mention a brand, but a quick check shows that OSCAR MEYER lists it among their products. According to the Beef Bacon Corporation (which takes credit for inventing the product), the cured beef is delicious, diet friendly, and a great choice for people who don’t eat pork. Our reader agrees.  

CHEESE

When I was growing up, there were processed cheese, along with a handful of cut-from-the-block standards like Cheddar, Swiss and Muenster. Today, specialty stores, websites, clubs and supermarket counters abound, all of them filled with all manner of cheeses from around the world.  Hanging around the Murray’s Cheese counter at my local Kroger store, a fellow who knows his cheeses recommended MIMOLETTE, which, he said, is as round as a cantaloupe, and as hard as a cannon ball. The color is a deep pumpkin, the taste, he says, __
.

The Murray’s rep – who happened to be there that morning, recommended the TOMME CRAYEUSE,  which, he said, people refer to as the “Tom Cruise” cheese. He said it goes amazingly well with wine. Given the fact that he stocks hundreds of cheeses and this was his pick, I added it to our list of ‘must trys’.

A New England reader suggests we try PAVINO cheese, which she found at Whole Foods.  I found it to be delicious.

A mid south reader sent in several tasty “FINDS” – among them, CLOUMAGE CREAMY FRESH CHEESE. According to the label you can use this spreadable, dippable cheese in sweet and savory recipes.
A last minute entry arrived by email from Andi – who had send in several finds earlier (thanks, Andi!). 

She told of her husband bringing home a wedge of MURRAY’S COTSWOLD CHEESE.  According to igourmet.com, this cow’s milk cheese hails from the Cotswold region of Great Britain, where it is known as “the Pub Cheese”.  “.. .commonly served with hard-crusted bread and a strong, dark ale,”, they say that it is“ wonderful melted on grilled chicken or chops, and delicious atop burgers.”  Writes Andi, “It was so delicious … we ate the entire block. It had onions and chives – so good!.” Murray’s has free-standing shops around the country (its flagship store being located in New York City, as well as shops within a growing number of  Kroger, King Scoopers, QFC, Fred Meyer and Ralphs Supermarkets in Ohio,   Tennessee, Alabama, South Carolina, Texas, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, California, Indiana, Michigan, Alaska, Virginia, New Mexico, Illinois, Nevada, and West Virginia. Shop by mail at Murrays.com.                     
                                                                                                            Pass the cheese, please.


BUTTER, CREAM CHEESE AND HUMMUS

Over the years, several readers have weighed in on their favorite butters, and I’ve added a few of my own. This year’s offerings include New Zealand’s ANCHOR UNSALTED BUTTER,


and a nostalgic loaf of MINERVA DAIRY’S NATURALLY CULTURED AMISH ROLL BUTTER, much like our Murfreesboro reader recalls on his grandmother’s table. I’m a fan of their regular butter, which can also be found at FRESH MARKET, and which I featured in the third annual edition of this series.

Is this the year of the dueling butters? FARMHOUSE KITCHENS HANDROLLED BUTTER is another fan favorite. I found it at Kroger. It’s a hunk a hunk a hunk of butter– a large beautifully round roll that slices into light lemon-colored coins. Every time I sliced off a bit of this butter, I thought what a beautiful presentation a 1/2 coin of this butter or on a bread plate on beautifully set table. 

GINA MARIE OLD FASHIONED CREAM CHEESE. The consistency is more like cottage cheese than cream cheese; it spreads unevenly on your bagel or bread of choice.  Don’t waste it in a recipe, this one’s for spreading.

Both FOUNTAIN OF HEALTH ALL NATURAL HUMMUS and/or ROASTED RED PEPPER HUMMUS are just 70 calories for two tablespoon’s-worth of hummus, enough to spread over two or three of your favorite crackers, or pair with a few sticks of carrot, celery or similar crudité. The texture is smooth, the flavors are mild, and when you’re looking for something tasty and relatively healthy to tide you over between lunch and dinner, just the right, light bite.

JAMS, JELLIES, PRESERVES AND SPREADS

George in Hot Springs, Arkansas sends word that HOUSE OF WEBSTER preserves and spreads are among his newest obsessions. He wrote to say that he’s liked everything he’s tried, “especially the ORANGE MARMALADE, RASPBERRY/BLUE BERRY/RHUBARB BLENDS.” But he says, he’s also a fan of ALDI’S’ line of JAMS, AND MARMALADES, noting that “Aldi’s spreads are superior to most – the blackberry and raspberry do not break down into a lot of liquid” like some of the other brands.  You can order House of Webster products on line at houseofwebster.com (where they sell a staggering number of different products), at their store in Rogers, Arkansas, and, according to their website, “at specialty grocery stores, farm stores, gift shops, amusement parks, hardware stores, museums and restaurants.”

A Melrose Park, PA reader told us about SARABETH’s ORANGE-APRICOT MARMALADE a few editions back, I tried it and loved it (It’s loaded with wonderful pieces of orange), along with SARABETH’S RASPBERRY KEY LIME PRESERVES. The lime off-sets the sweetness of the raspberries, to make one richly divine topping over buttered toast. I’m also fond of their MIXED BERRY and PLUM CHERRY (which is a bit sweater than the others) – all of them tasting better (for some reason) chilled. You’ll find their full line of products on their website, but they’re also available on Amazon.com and other sites, as well as at Fresh Market and Tuesday Morning stores. Tuesday Morning’s prices are excellent, but their availability and selection is limited, according to the season.  

HONEY
  
I am still in deep mourning over the unavailability of my favorite Australian honey, and last year I told you about some excellent honey from Mt. Hermon. But the latter has gotten increasingly expensive, while the size of its jar is nearly half as tall as its former self.  DOBROVA ACACIA HONEY is a very decent substitute. Whole not amazing, this German import is leaps and bounds ahead of the stuff found in those plastic teddy-bear containers, and other supermarket brands.  Now I must admit that I do not generally like a rich, full-bodied honey, preferring the orange-flower, lemony-colored and mildly flavored honey that doesn’t overtake whatever you’re pairing it with.  If you want something heartier, you might check your local Farmer’s Market.  Your local bee-keeper will be happy to tell you why his or her honey, is a honey of a honey.

Recently I was at a cheese tasting, where a local cheese maker paired his goat cheese with three ingredients, two of them highly unlikely. The first was cream cheese. Cream cheese goes with everything. The second – less obvious choice, MAMA LIL’s GOATHORN  PEPPERS IN OIL, which are described as “sweet, tangy and garlicy”, and available in olive bars and in jars.
  

The third ingredient, DALMATIA FIG SPREAD from Dalmatia, one of over 1,000 Croatian islands.

Don’t gag. Blended together into a creamy spread, and topped on a mild, postage-stamp-size cracker, it was delicious. When I asked about it, the person who was handing out samples of the spread on tiny, thin, square crackers, handed me a recipe card, saying that the original recipe called for using peach preserves. But I tell you true, I wouldn’t change a thing. If you can’t find the spread or the peppers in your local market, both of these products are available by mail on line. I’m including the killer recipe from the card they handed out at the tasting, at the end of this post.  

SPICES


A loyal Eads, TN. reader wrote to say that she and her husband had picked up a shaker of Avery Island Tabasco Salt last year on a trip to Louisiana, but having finished their stash, they were distressed to find that they couldn’t find it in their local markets. Logging on to the company’s website, she found, much to her distress, that their country store wanted as much or more than the product cost, to ship it. After a little on-line digging, I found a couple of suppliers that offered free shipping, and passed the info on.
Produced by the McIlhenny Company, known for its Tabasco sauce, KURTONATOR SPICY SALT can be found on eBay through southernjewlelstreasures, where a five-ounce container will cost you a cool $7.29, shipping included. Spicy salt is, says our reader, a heady combination of two of her husband’s favorite things: sea salt and ground red pepper.  Our reader sent word that while she was at it, she had ordered the company’s tobacco-seasoned wood chips as well, to which I say, chip chip hooray!    


BREAD

Several of our readers wrote to suggest that we check out Fresh Market’s various breads. I was already a fan of their SEEDED RYE, with the all-important crispy crust, and deep-seeded flavor. Eaten fresh out of the bag some good butter, or toasted and slathered with some good butter, it is as close to the Philadelphia rye bread of my youth as I have found in these parts.



Two different readers in neighboring cities were in love Fresh Market’s AUTHENTIC FRENCH SLICED BRIOCHE, which they import from – France. A sweet, perfect-for-making French toast - brioche, that according to the store’s manager, has been flying off the shelves – or in this case, baskets. It also comes unsliced and loaded with ribbons of chocolate, and is labeled FRENCH CHOCOLATE SWIRL. Be still my heart.

While it’s tough to beat bakery-fresh bread, you can’t go wrong with this gigantic loaf of PANE TURANO ITALIAN BREAD.


 I first saw it some years at Fresh Market, a bit pricey, but a well worth-it occasional treat. And then, and then… ALDI’S started carrying this beautiful 2-lpound loaf for just $3.95! I don’t know if you can tell from the photograph, but it is huge―-


double the size of the usual loaves you see on your market’s shelves. Don’t be put off by its size – it freezes easily, and produces the most wonderful toast.  I generally freeze half, in bags of 4 or 6, and then take them out as needed.  Served warm- moments after it has popped out of the toaster, and slathered in good room-temperature butter with, perhaps a bit of your favorite jam, it is hard to beat.  

CRACKERS, CUPS AND CHIPS

Paula, from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma,  reccomends GLUTINO ROSEMARY & OLIVE OIL CRACKERS.  “They’re gluten-free and they don’t taste like cardboard!” she writes, adding that you can eat them alone, or use as you would with any cracker.

Last year, or maybe it was the year before, a Memphis reader introduced us to a different flavor of BLUE DIAMOND NUT THINS . This year,  the company’s ARTISAN FLAX SEED CRACKERS, fortified with brown rice, almonds and Flax seeds, caught another reader’s attention. Wheat and Gluten-free, they are tasty all by their lonesome, or paired with your favorite cheese, spread, veggie, or protein.


ATHENS MINI FILLY SHELLS weren’t designed to eat as is. Rather, they were designed to be filled with something, sweet or savory, animal, vegetable, and everything in between. I have enjoyed many Greek dishes and pastries over the years that feature fillo, and loved all just about all of them. But the thing that makes these little cups particularly attractive is that they require very little work, to make a spectacular beginning or finish to meal or cocktail party. 

They come frozen, in little trays, which are perfect for transporting the finished product to – say, a holiday pot luck. You can thaw and use them as is, or, as I prefer, bake them for just a few minutes, until they crisp up, and let them cool (which takes no time), before filling. I have filled them with lemon pie filling  made from scratch, but have also saved a lot of time and effort by using teaspoons of KOZYSHACK TAPIOCA PUDDING in the refrigerated section of the grocery store, and then topped them with tiny pieces of kiwi, strawberry, blueberry and raspberry. I’ve paid a slice of banana at the bottom and then filled them. I’ve sprinkled them with powdered confectioner’s sugar, or served them with just the fruit. Fill them with Nutella, apples and caramel, you just can’t go wrong.  
I’m planning to bring them to a friend’s birthday party this coming weekend, filled with tiny bits of smoked salmon (lox) and cream cheese and sprinkled with chives. savory garlic-herb spread, bits of sundried tomatoes, and other savory delights that need no baking or reheating. If you have access to an oven at your host's home, the choices get even greater. They make for the perfect hor dourve, in that they are easy to eat/neat, require no utensils, and are small enough to consume in one or two bites.   Crunchy, munchy, flaky, and light, they are my go-to, to-go bite.

I don’t know how I missed telling you about these wonderful vegetable chips before, but while I’m talking Fresh Market, I’ve got to clue you in on these beautiful bits of veggie goodness. For starters, these FRESH MARKET VEGGIE CHIPS look beautiful in a serving bowl – dehydrated versions of long green beans, slices of sweet potato and squash, all crispy and delicious, and munchable all by themselves, or next to your favorite picnic fare. You’ll find them in the bin section, or packaged in individual tubs and/or bags nearby. This low-sugar, sodium and cholesterol chip mix is dairy and egg free, and certified Kosher,  It’s hard to believe that anything this good is good for you as well. And they’re available in store or no line. Four stars.

OLIVE , SALAD BAR AND ANTIPASTO “FINDS”


I fell in love with these beautiful red PEPPADEW PEPPERS some years ago. Grown domestically in New Jersey, these sweet piquant gems are native to the Limpopo province of South Africa (Had to look that one up!) They come in both golden and red varieties, and can be found in most middle and high-end olive bars. They add sparkle to a salad, and give it that extra something that makes it incredible. You can also stuff them with cream cheese, or add them to your pimento cheese, goat cheese and other recipes that call for peppers. Bon Appetit Magazine featured them in recipes for Pimiento mac and cheese, Roast Pork sandwiches with sweet peppers and arugula, and savory spinach feta and Peppadew muffins  

I tried with no luck to find them bottled on any number of grocery shelves, but alas, could not. You can buy them from the farmers who grow them in New Jersey, but you have to buy a peck of peppers (well, 12 14-ounce jars) to order by mail (Starting price, $29.00 with free shipping), or make a visit there –farmstand style. They are marinated, and do best in oil and vinegar dressed salads. Once tasted, there’s no turning back. Go to peppadew10@gmail.com for more information.


Now don’t confuse the Peppadew with the cherry pepper. They are two different animals, well, peppers.  As a child, I can remember our family always having a bottle of the sweet cherry peppers in the frig, and as a teen, made my way to the supermarket to fetch a jar, after someone spilled one in the trolley car on my way home from school. The scent took me back to my childhood, and I couldn’t wait to taste one again. While at the market to photograph this next bit of deliciousness, I snapped a photo of MEZZETTA’s SWEET CHERRY PEPPERS, in hopes that you’ll try them as well.


I don’t know how I did it, but I managed to get through several decades of my life without knowing about giardiniera. Then, one day I was watching the Food Network, and a very chipper Rachael Ray was making what turned out to be the most delicious savory pie, I had tasted in years.  The key to its intoxicating flavor was giardiniera…or what I knew as pickled vegetables.

Since then I have come to understand that several cities in the U.S. (New Orleans and Chicago among them) think their giardiniera is the best. But for this Philadelphia native, I find that the bottled DELALLO MILD GIARDINIERA works well in Ms. Ray’s recipe, and as an occasional side bar to fried catfish and other delights. Try the hot version if you dare.

Rachael Ray’s recipe is available on the Food Network’s site, where it’s listed as “Antipasto Pie”.  It makes a great party dish, and travels well. It has a long list of ingredients, but it’s the kind of a recipe that can be adapted to your taste…especially when it comes to the Italian cold cuts.

POTATOES, NOODLES, RICE AND OTHER STARCHES


An Oklahoma reader sends along this photo, and word that HUNGRY JACK ORIGINAL DINNER STYLE HASHBROWNS  are as good and as easy to prepare it gets. No peeling, slicing or dicing needed.  

She is also partial to HINODE JASMINE THAI HOM MALI RICE. Soft, fluffy and fragrant, “It’s like adding a dash of Thailand in every bite.” (so says Hinode’s website.) Just go to that website and type in your zip code, to find out where it’s available in your area. Kroger carries it in this area.


The first place I go when I enter my supermarket is the Bent & Dent section, where bent, dented, crushed, nearly outdated, discontinued, over-ordered and undersold products are heavily discounted, but perfect. Thanks to that section I have been able to sample pricey or unknown products without putting a bent or dent in my budget. Some of my favorite food favs were found on those shelves, leading me to buy them at their regular price, later on.


HEMISFARES’ TAGLIATELLE di CAMPOFILONE ITALIAN FLAT EGG NOODLES were one such ‘find’.  According to the box they came in, these noodles come from the village of Campofilone in the Marcha region of Italy, overlooking the Adriatic Sea, and date back to the 1400’s. I took their advice and paired my first bath with olive oil, tomatoes, fresh basil and Parmigiano Reggiano. Soooo good! Luckily, I bought two boxes- as seen through their cellophane window, the pre-cooked noodles looked like they were going to be something special. Thankfully, they were.



MAIN ENTREES


Dena, a loyal Trader Joe’s east coast reader sent along three of her favorite  Trader Joe’s brand products. The first, TRADER JOE’S CHICKEN SERENADA, which by its name and ingredients, appears to be of Spanish original. Among those ingredients listed on the sleeve: fire-grilled boneless skinless chicken breast meat, sweet peppers, Pablano chilies and green onions, in a Euro-Asian style sauce seasoned with soy, ginger, pineapple and a touch of coconut.  The two-serving portion easily feeds two, and costs about $6.99.  It’s also an appealing 290 calories per serving. As we don’t have a Trader Joe’s in our area, I went to the Internet, where there were multiple rave reviews, many of which touted the more than ample-sized pieces of chicken, and enough sauce to save for another time over pasta. Dena says that it is both delicious and trouble-free (oven or microwave oven, which takes 8 minutes plus 2 minutes cooling time. Can’t beat that combination.  
  

Dena’s second “Find”: TRADER JOE’S WILD MARINATED SOY GINGER COD FILLETS. Turns out, it too is one of the chain’s most loved products, which, according to one article I found, was created marinated-first. Before it found a home in cod-land, it is an intoxicating blend of Asian ingredients, including soy sauce, rice vinegar, ginger and miso paste. Bake, microwave or pan-fry or gill them, and, offers the company, serve over rice. Dena says she’s prepared them every which way, with equally satisfying results.

She’s also fond of TRADER JOE’S  SLICED ROAST TURKEY BREAST, which, at just 100 calories a serving, is a healthy, versatile, tasty time-saver. “You can serve it on salads, make sandwiches with it, or bake it,” she says. “it’s really easy, and really delicious.”



Jackie K, a Bartlett, Tennessee reader, is high on  GIOVANNI RAMA RANA SPINACH & RICOTTA RAVIOLI. She says they’re good tossed in olive oil or Alfredo sauce, and are available in several different varieties. Not only are they good, they’re quick, being table-ready in three minutes. ABC’s Clinton Kelly of The Chew recently put together a clever lasagna that avoided most of the fuss by substituting ready-made ravioli for the noodles and filling. He layered spinach-ravioli, tomato sauce, shredded Mozzarella and lots of Parmigiano Reggiano in a 9-by-9 baking pan, and covered and baked it in a pre-heated 400 degree oven for forty-five minutes. He then removed the cover and baked the lasagna for another fifteen minutes or “until bubbly and brown.” While I don’t believe this short-cut version will produce the same results as the longer, homemade version, I think it’s a great way to produce a satisfying family-sized meal in little more than an hour. You'll find them at Walmart in the front - in a refrigerated case near the fresh fruit and vegetables, and deli. " I tend to keep mine in the freezer" she writes, and then straight into boiling water [as needed.]."


BEVERAGES

The latest ‘obsession on Andi (of the breakfast bars and Aussie-style yogurt fame) is MAMA CHIA BLACKBERRY HIBISCUS DRINK. “Chia seeds are kind of strange. If you haven't had them, it’s kind of like the squishy seeds in a tomato. I happen to like that, so I was on board with these drinks.”  Andi also notes that she buys chia seeds at Kroger, and adds them to cranberry and grape juice for an extra bit of goodness. 

The concept of frozen 1-serving alcoholic drinks has really caught on, and with good reason. Last year’s list featured a couple of Seagram’s’ versions. This year the choices have multiplied. All of these drinks are made with malt, but you wouldn’t know it. I’m not a drinker, and so I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed SMIRNOFF’S RASPBERRY BLUE LEMONADE.  The color is out-of-this-world gorgeous, and on a hot spring afternoon not long ago, it was thirst-quenching delicious. You’ll find all of these one-serving pouches either on a rack or stacked near the beer portion of your market.


They come unrefrigerated and cost just $2.00 each. Take one or two or more home, pop it in the freezer let it do its thing for at least 5 hours, take it out, give the now slushy drink a 2-second massage, and pour that icy goodness into a glass. Think of it as Kool-Aid for grown-ups, but not nearly as sweet

  

PERRIER PINK GRAPEFUIT SPARKLING NAUTRAL MINERAL WATER, in a slim, stylish can, is, I think, the perfect beverage to serve over ice at a dinner party in a good crystal glass. Or you can forget the dinner party and the glass and the ice for that matter, and drink it right out of the can. The natural grapefruit flavor is far from overpowering; but it’s a true grapefruit flavor, rather than some chemical tastes-like concoction.  It quenches the thirst, looks a beautiful light pinky-peach in the glass, has zero calories, and would make for a wonderfully cool addition to a summer picnic basket.

TY-PHOO TEA, is a straight-forward, satisfying tea from Great Britain.


Along with PG TIPS, which I recommended in a previous edition, it is the most versatile tea I know.  Though there was a time when I shunned tea bags, collected tea pots and strainers and ordered lose tea from far-off places, today, I am happy to forego the ceremony in favor of a quick, easy and equally-satisfying outcome, free of those annoyingly stray bits of tea leaves floating in my cup.

Kroger, Walmart – and I’m quite sure other markets and dairies, has added something new to their refrigerated milk products: HOMOGINIZED, EXTRA PASTURIZED MILK. I was looking to buy a small container of whole milk for a recipe I was making, and took one of these white-colored plastic bottles home with me. I usually look at the ‘best used buy’ date when I’m at the store, but it wasn’t until I got home that day that I noticed what I thought was surely a mistake. The BUB date being a good two months away.  I called the company’s customer service line, and found that it wasn’t a mistake at all. The milk is pasteurized in such a way that it has a super long shelf life –which is great if you don’t drink a lot of milk. Those, white plastic bottles protest the milk from “prolonged visible light”. This ‘extra pasteurized” milk tastes exactly like “regular” milk, but is a real plus, if you, like me, has had to throw out milk that has soured all too soon. 


FRUITS


COTTON CANDY GRAPES? When a Philadelphia reader said that they were not to be missed, I must admit I was a bit skeptical. She’d found them at her local co-op, taken them home, and been happily surprised at how good they were.


I found them at Fresh Market a week or so later. While I can’t tell you that the carnival midway favorite will be immediately called to mind, I will tell you that they are sweet and juicy, their pale green skin infused with a bit of pink. They apparently have a short season, so be on the lookout for these dandy little grapes.
Florida friends Jan and Jeff have been generously sending me holiday boxes of fresh Florida citrus for some years now.  Last season, there was something new amongst the regular assortment. So good, and so sweet were they, that I actually called the grower to ask what they were called. Their flesh looked like blood oranges, which is to say, it was as pink as a Texas red grapefruit, but there was nothing bitter about it. I was told that they called the orange BIG REDS, but that in stores, they were generally known as CARA CARA ORANGES.
.
I savored each and every bite, and when the box was empty, went in search of the noble CARA CARA. Heretofore, my favorite orange had been the sweet sweet TEMPLE, which has a very short season – and in fact, never made it to mid south produce bins this year. But luckily, I found CARA CARA NAVEL ORANGES in bags at the FRESH MARKET, and the larger fruit in bulk. The season ran from autumn through winter, with a few CARA CARA’s still in FM’s bins towards the end of April. Sweet and Juicy, they are the best eating orange you’ll find outside of the elusive Temple. And at least in my experience, the bigger the sweeter…the boxed version carrying the biggest, best and prime examples of this marvelous Navel.


DRIED FRUIT


I love figs , and until the winter’s chill killed it this past season, I had my own fig tree in my side yard. I was (and still am) in mourning over its loss, but was given a lit when I discovered these adorable, bite-sized EXTREMADUA, SPANISH FIGS are tiny little bites of concentrated figgy goodness. The skins are thinner than their larger Turkish cousins, so they’re easier to chew, sweet, moist, and loaded with flavor.  Eat them, as I do, all by their lonesome, or pair them with cheese, or your favorite combo. They come by the pound. I found them in the cheese section of Kroger.

ICE CREAM AND OTHER FROZEN TREATS


GRAETER’S HANDCRAFTED VANILLA AND MILK CHOCOLATE TRUFFLE GELATO 


                                        
I fell in love with their ice cream years ago, so it came as no surprise that their gelato would be delicious as well.



This tasty concoction is dotted with smaller chocolate chunks than the others, each containing a bit of liquid chocolate in the middle.   Very rich, and very very good.





Remember Andi, who kicked things off with her “birdseed bars” ? She wrote that she had three new obsessions, and NOOSA YOGURT is one of them, NOOSA LEMON, RASPBERRY, PINEAPPLE and COCONUT YOGURT being among her favorites. “This is hands down the best yogurt I have ever had,” she writes. “No bite. No tang, and really smooth and creamy. It’s like a dessert.” NOOSA’s recipe is of Australian origin, and produced in Colorado, and available at Target, Costco, Kroger, Fresh Market and other retailers throughout the country.   Among NOOSA’s other flavor offerings: mango, blueberry, tart cherry, honey, and strawberry rhubarb.


With the hot days of summer making an early appearance this year, I was happy come across YASSO COCONUT GREEK YOGURT BARS in my supermarket’s equivalent of its non-perishable bent and dent section. The box was a bit crushed, but the pops inside were pristine. They’re a little larger than half of one of the old Popsicle ice pops, and loaded with coconut. At just 80 calories, they pack a flavor punch. Ingredients include nonfat milk, Greek Yogurt, sugar, and coconut, among other things, and are gluten-free. But most of all, they are really good.

Two last minute "FiNDS" came in shortly after posting. The first, from Paula in Oklahoma, who had sent in an earlier "FIND" found in the cracker sections. She has fallen in love with SO DELICIOUS DAIRY FREE COCONUT MILK MINIS, which are mni versions of ice cream sandwiches. She says that while she isn't generally crazy about coconut, these little bars only hint of it, and are absolutely delicious. I logged on to the company's website, where they have a slot where you can type in your zipcode and find out what stores in your area carry SO DELICIOUS products. In my area, they're available at Kroger.

The second last-minute "FIND" cmoes from Ruth in Warrington, PA. She writes, " I recently found a yummy yhogurt at Whole Foods. BROWN COW GREEK YOGURT. I buy the fat-free kind, and they have a salted caramel to die for." Ruth sent a second email to say that she also likes thair almond milk, and chocolate and chocolate mint ice cream, while her husband enjoys their chocolate-covered pops.  

CAKES AND COOKIES AND ASSORTED BITES


When I was growing up,  the Sunshine Company made a cookie that was flat, and came attached one to the other in three. It had raisins in it, and it was very tasty. They stopped making it years ago, and over time I have seen catalogues offering a British version of same, the readers have reviewed as being far drier than the original.


The Vermont Country Store, where, it seems, ‘everything old is new again”, prides itself of having the foods, clothing and household goods you remember so fondly. Among them, GARIBALDI BISCUITS, where a set of packages will cost you $17.50 plus shipping. Customers gave them a 4.5 out of 5 stars, although some felt they were a bit drier than the Sunshine ‘biscuits’ of their youth. They’re calling to you at vermontcountrystore.com.


I found a slightly ‘cookier’ version―KHONG GUAN SULTANA BISCUITS― in Kroger’s International section. While they don’t have quite the same consistency as the ones I remember, they are tasty, and at $2.29 a package, reasonably priced.    


And that’s it for this year. I hope you’ll try some of these great, often unexpected FINDS, and let us know if you find some more of your own.


Here’s that recipe mentioned in the antipasto section of this post.   


MAMA LIL’S PEPPER, GOAT CHEESE AND APRICOT PRESERVES SPREAD 

INGREDIENTS:    
8 ounces goat cheese 6 ounces, cream cheese, 1 cup Mama Lil’s Peppers, drained, 1 cup apricot preserves (They substituted Dalmatia Fig Spread for the preserves at the tasting) , and salt and pepper to taste.

DIRECTIONS:   
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Mix goat cheese and cream cheese together. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a 5’ by 8-inch baking pan.

In a small bowl mix pepper with preserves. Spread the resulting pepper jam over the cheese and bake for about 5 minutes or until warm. Turn on the broiler and broil until the cheese starts to brown (about 2 minutes.)                  


Serve on a cracker.   

My apologies to those whose 'finds' got lost in the shuffle, or whose photographs didn't make the cut. all being even blurrier than some of the above. I appreciate each and every "FIND", as well the loyal DVD and Foodies who take the time to support this blog.

Till the next time…





1 comment:

  1. This is great dear and by sharing it here you really helped me a lot. Whole food is looking delicious and it is exactly something I was looking for my party at Chicago event venues. As kids will also be attending this party and that is why I want to keep it simple.

    ReplyDelete