Sunday March 12, 2006

Sweeter Than Wine

Rich brought home a bottle of Firestone Vineyard 2004 Late Harvest Riesling. Mmmmmmm.

It's a desert wine (residual sugars, 15.5 g/100ml; alcohol 11% by volume). It's very nice. We're neither of us big wine drinkers, me even less so than Rich. I find most reds to be musty and most whites to be sour. But I do like many desert wines - Muscats, Rieslings, and Japanese plum wine top my list.

This one is absolutely delightful, like a light liqueur. It wasn't cheap (but we won't go through it very fast). If you happen to be in the Santa Ynez Valley, CA, Firestone Vineyard is outside of Los Olivos, north of Santa Barbara.

04 Lh Riesling
Sweeter Than Wine - posted at Sun, 12 Mar, 08:00 Pacific | Comments (0)

Thursday March 02, 2006

Tastes Like... Maple Syrup

I've been using Walden Farms carb-free sugar-free pancake syrup. It tastes like... maple syrup. Slightly thin, to be honest, but not watery. No chemical aftertaste that I could detect. Quite nice actually.

If you're used to pure Vermont 100% maple syrup, this isn't it. But it's better than the "other" carb-free brand I tried, and as good or better than most store brands. ...
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Tastes Like... Maple Syrup - posted at Thu, 02 Mar, 08:00 Pacific | Comments (0)

Saturday February 25, 2006

Big Mouth Jar


We've been buying another brand of mayonnaise, but we may switch to Kraft for the convenience of the Big Mouth jar.**

We love this new packaging. It's easy to hold, lightweight, and easy to use. Kraft even put a flat spot inside the opening for scraping extra mayo off the knife when you're ready to close up. Ingenious!

** We could keep buying the other brand, then wash and fill the nifty jar. The taste difference is negligible. I expect we'll balance price vs. convenience.
Big Mouth Jar - posted at Sat, 25 Feb, 20:01 Pacific | Comments (0)

Wednesday January 25, 2006

Curiously Ginger

I'm not a fan of Altoids Peppermint candies (they're too strong, if you ask me!). But I really like their ginger flavor. You may have to look around some to find these; they aren't available in every store that carries Altoids. If you like ginger, however, they're worth hunting for! If you can't find them, you can buy them online (mmmm, licorice too!)

If you're a ginger fan, you might also want to try St Claire's Organic Ginger Snaps. They're made with all natural ingredients, including organic molasses granules for that true ginger snap taste. Sweet and spicy, like a tiny bite of cookie.

Curiously Ginger - posted at Wed, 25 Jan, 17:53 Pacific | Comments (0)

Thursday December 29, 2005

Wild Pepper

We had dinner last night at Wild Pepper in San Francisco. Wild Pepper is the new and improved incarnation of the "Long Island Chinese Restaurant" (formerly near 29th on Church) — same owners, different name and location.

The food is still tasty, the service is still pleasant and efficient, and the prices are still economical. However, the menu is larger, the venue is larger and prettier, and parking is quite a bit easier. What's not to like? ...
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Wild Pepper - posted at Thu, 29 Dec, 11:31 Pacific | Comments (0)

Sunday October 30, 2005

Scharffen Berger

There were no Oompa Loompas, but...

Our friend Quinn decided that it would be fun to celebrate his birthday (today) by inviting a group of friends to join him for a tour of the Scharffen Berger chocolate factory in Berkeley. The "tour" is actually nearly an hour of talk (history of chocolate and history of Scharffen Berger), touching, smelling, and looking at cocoa beans in various states, and chocolate tasting. This is followed by a quick visit to the factory floor to see the machines.

The factory is house in a 27,000 sq. foot, not-quite-100-year-old brick building (retrofitted for earthquake safety) with arched ceilings and handsome architecture. The company moved to the present site in May, 2001. The entire building — gift shop, restrooms, tour presentation room — smells like chocolate. Wow. (I can still smell chocolate :-) ...
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Scharffen Berger - posted at Sun, 30 Oct, 19:41 Pacific | Comments (1)

Tuesday September 06, 2005


We have become converts to the Power of Saran™ Wrap.

Back in January, we went to a talk by Harold McGee, entitled "Three Centuries of Science in the Kitchen". McGee tests "well-known" kitchen lore, separating fact from wiverglava (old wives' tales). One of the myths he debunked was the one that states that putting the pit into the guacamole will keep it green. (It's true, actually, but only under the pit. The reason is that avocado turns brown on contact with oxygen in the air.)

McGee's tests not only showed the real reason that the pit keeps the avocado green (so did a light bulb. ;-) His experiments also showed that Saran™ Wrap has the lowest oxygen permeation of all the various plastic wraps.

We've been using Saran™ Wrap when we store cut fruit in the fridge. It really does work to keep the fruit from browning quickly. Be sure to stretch it tight and taut; Saran™ Wrap isn't very "sticky".

For ordinary wrapping and covering, however, we still use the giant economy sized box of generic Plastic Food Wrap from Smart & Final. 1000 feet of plastic wrap is at least a 5-year supply!

Airtight - posted at Tue, 06 Sep, 20:00 Pacific | Comments (0)

Thursday July 07, 2005

Laura's Wholesome Junk Food


My favorite monster would approve. These are Good Cookies!

I discovered Laura's Wholesome Junk Food cookies at a Whole Foods grocery store (a delight in itself!). I bought a package of Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bite-lettes.

A bite-lette is a funny shape for a cookie — not quite round, sort of a squat cylinder, like three checkers piled on top of each other — a flattened ball.

Ingredients: Rolled oats, chocolate chips, date paste, Canola oil, evaporated cane juice, fruit juice, unbleached enriched flour, unsweetened soy milk, unsweetened coconut, ...
Cookie Monster-4


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Laura's Wholesome Junk Food - posted at Thu, 07 Jul, 19:35 Pacific | Comments (0)

Tuesday January 11, 2005

Three Centuries of Science in the Kitchen

We went to a talk yesterday by Harold McGee, Author of The Curious Cook and the recently revised and updated, On Food and Cooking

The kitchen is a laboratory of applied science. Food preparation has played a role in the development of science, and scientists have influenced everyday cooking for better and for worse, from the invention of the pressure cooker to modern-day "molecular gastronomy." Harold McGee will recount some of this little-known history, and report on his own research into such questions as: Why do French cooks insist on whipping egg whites in copper bowls? How many liters of mayonnaise can you make with one egg yolk? Can thermocouples and computers help you cook a better hamburger? And why does the spatter from a frying pan end up on the inside of a cook's eyeglasses?
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Three Centuries of Science in the Kitchen - posted at Tue, 11 Jan, 18:25 Pacific

Tuesday November 30, 2004

Surprisingly Tasty

They're frozen meals without the usual portion of starch — no potato, pasta, or rice. They're also surprisingly tasty and filling.

I recently discovered Life Choice Frozen Meals, a relatively new line from ConAgra Foods, one of North America's largest packaged food companies. ConAgra brands include Armour, Banquet, Brown 'N Serve, Butterball, Healthy Choice, Hebrew National, Hunt's, Libby's, Peter Pan, Reddi-wip, Swiss Miss, Wesson, and a whole lot more. They're obviously not new to the food business.

"Based on consumer needs, we've created a distinctive brand -- not merely an extension of an existing brand with some ingredient changes or reduced portion sizes -- to bring consumers the food they love to eat. The new Life Choice meals are devoted to meeting the needs of the carb-conscious consumer, without any compromises." (Robert Hopton, VP of marketing, ConAgra Foods Frozen Foods Group)
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Surprisingly Tasty - posted at Tue, 30 Nov, 18:23 Pacific