Tuesday, January 26, 2010

2010 Food Trends

The Fancy Food Show recently showed some items of interest! A hot food trend from last year, still, is not only many grocery shelves: Sriracha hot sauce, regardless, I shall launch into what's turning heads.

Earlier I wrote about Black Garlic- well, it's still a new food trend and here are some others: yuzukosho, a paste made from the yuzu citrus and kosho, a Japanese green chili pepper. It has loads of tangy citrus flavor not just pure heat. This new product is yuzusco, like Tabasco, and it is yuzu and kosho but in a thin vinegar sauce. It has all the complexity and mild heat of yuzukosho but is much easier to use. I would use it in place of Tabasco, which I find to be fairly simple and one note.

Savory filled macaroons from Fabrique Delices. Supposedly these are popular in France. I liked the goat cheese one, but the other flavors such as porcini and sun-dried tomato were problematic for me, as the cookies were too sweet. Since they are made from egg whites and sugar, I'm not sure how the baker will get the balance of sweet and savory right, but I think it's an interesting idea and look forward to trying them, perhaps with a glass of wine?

The Fancy Food Show has very few gadgets and gizmos, but there was an interesting invention, Bread Armor a special plastic zip top bag designed specifically to keep artisanal bread fresh. It wasn't an ordinary plastic bag, but one made of 7 layers and supposedly it keeps baguettes fresh for up to 20 days. Obviously I need to put this to the test! But as someone who routinely makes bread crumbs or tosses out petrified baguette remnants, I am very excited at the prospect of this product. It can also be reused many times.

I'm already a big fan of Rogue Creamery blue cheeses but there were two new ones I fell for at the show, Cave Man, which is aged in a limestone cave and has some earthy notes, and Brutal a limited edition cheese which is intensely flavored and super creamy aged for 3-4 years. Good stuff! Keep your eyes open for it.

I found Zix ravioli cookies in a section of products searching for a home "on the shelf." They are flaky and rich, filled with a raspberry almond filling. I liked both the regular and gluten-free versions. These are pretty cookies that taste as good as they look. Locavores take note! They are from Sonoma county.

J. Burger Seasoning from August Kitchen. It is kind of like a mirepoix, that mixture of onions, celery and carrot but in this case it has onions, Worcestershire sauce, tomatoes, bread crumbs and spices, cooked down to a flavorful melange that can season and add texture to meatballs, burgers, sauces, soups, stews, you-name-it. Available at Foodzie. Makes me wonder if I should make something like this to keep on hand in my own kitchen?

The goat milk caramels from Happy Goat made in old fashioned copper pots are pure genius, mild, soft but not too soft, smooth and tremendously satisfying. Very impressive!

I often think about why I like to cook- there are so many reasons. One of them is because it makes me feel creative. Mashing spices, blending flavors, giving a traditional recipe my unique touch.
I'm anxious to find these new items!!! JeannieB

Saturday, January 23, 2010

some freebies!

“Pop It Forward” and send a Popchips FREE sample to three of your friends (or perhaps yourself and 2 friends?)!

There’s a new link available for the Mariana Dried Plums FREE sample. Enter code ADSUPER.

Please expect your sample to arrive in 7-10 business days.

Get a FREE sample of CankerMelts all-natural canker sore solution when you fill out this simple form.

Sign up to get your free sample of Kotex Ultra Thin Overnight Pads with Wings. Hopefully it comes with a nice coupon as well!

And from one of my favorite chefs:
chefirvine Ok - showered and off to the restaurant. Don't forget - reruns of D:I air Saturdays at 4PM EST until the new season in March!


I just moved all the breakables to the floor as one of my sons' band is practicing in the basement. I'm having trouble getting good audio when I film his shows. And last night, I was at the Cubby Bear filming a nephew's show, and I had the same trouble. Gotta find out how to fix that.
Anyhow, my son's band is called Universe. And my nephew's band is called Markit 8. Funny thing: both are drummers in their bands. I love listening to both.
Last summer I had the band for dinner after one of their shows ( because they played locally). And I can't remember what 'mental theme' I created. Darn.

National Pie Day

Today is National Pie Day- well who'd a thought there is such a thing. www.piecouncil.org
If you visit that site there's all sorts of info. I'm not much of a baker and pies are certainly part of our American heritage. Lurking around the net for pie images, for some reason, several say: Enter your phone number to see recipes. What's up with that? FORGET IT!
But on one site called Nibbledish I found this listed under pies-it's my kind of pie- really easy.
Today I started working on my Winter Blues theme and I made some blue cheese ice cream ( my husband didn't remember me making it before) he sampled and 'Hey Mikey, he likes it!!" I also made some really decadent blueberry ice cream- it's just delicious. My theme this year has a slightly different twist- it's called Winter Blues Blown Away. And now, I'm turning my mind over with the Bluebird of Happiness.....
When I was little, my Dad had a birthday party for my Mom. And her best friend gave he the funniest birthday card I had ever seen: it was a 4x6 white plastic case and on the front of it said: 'May be bluebird of Happiness....' and you open it up and inside it's a mess of cake crumbs and blue stuff and white slime and it said: 'Crap all over your Birthday cake'. I thought that was hilarious and I laughed so hard, I had tears and couldn't stop laughing. That went on for at least a month. Remember that kind of laugh? It rarely happens anymore. I guess that's what getting older does. I do remember my last laugh like that- a girlfriend and I took our sons to Italy for a graduation trip. We were having dinner in an outdoor restaurant ( that seems silly: in a restaurant, but we were outdoors). Our boys were really hungry and the table next to us was ready for the next diners to come. Well, the boys took some of the bread out of that table's bread basket, ate several bites and put the rolls back into the basket! THEN a man and woman came to sit down, they ordered their wine and proceeded to eat the rolls that had been eaten into!!!! I couldn't talk, I had tears- I couldn't breathe! Don't think I'd let my children get away with such behavior but it happened so quickly amidst our protests to do something with that basket before the waiter came back. It all happened so fast. When I finally got my breath, I had to take pictures of the diners who were eating their rolls, with attitude. That was the best part!
I'd post them but it actually was film footage and it's on a VHS.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


I've tried Comet, Bon-Ami, Ammonia and baking soda paste, a credit card, my husband's elbow grease, Tarminator, Smash, Renuzit,and NOTHING has gotten my cooktop to look clean and shiny. And I read my Thermidor manual. So discouraging and such a waste of time! But on the stainless steel hoods, I used Caldrea's Basil Blue Sage Stainless Steel Spray and the house smells great. I think I'm in the mood for See's Molasses Chips. I want to do some baking, needlepointing- I think I'll go to the grocery store...

Monday, January 18, 2010

Chicago Restaurant Week

check out this link- 3-4 course dinners at participating 'restos' for $29.10. You can view their menus-


Searching for a soup that caught my eye in my soup folder, I found that I have 31 DIFFERENT soup recipes! One of the first ones I collected, which started back in the days when I was a new Speech Pathologist for a new agency. I didn't have quite a full case load and loved being in the big City of Chicago with all sorts of fascinating restaurants everywhere and mags full of weekly menu plans, a trendy new recipes- well, the first soup I collected is called Cream of Lettuce Soup. I thought, soups that sound terrible must be worth trying/collecting. That soup was created by Chef Louis DeGouy. I wrote out the recipe and next to his name in parens are the words Gold CKBK. I don't own a gold cookbook. I searched his name on the net and found that his Gold Cookbook is considered a kitchen bible!
If you are interested in trying the soup- let me know!
Other soups I have made through the years follows:
Crockpot Minestrone
Thai Red Curry
Spicy and Sour Shrimp
Thai-style Chicken
Chicken Enchilada
Mediterranean Chicken and Lemon
Country Captain
Baked Potato
Machine Shed Potato
Sweet Potato with Lobster
Creole Tomato Soup with Goat Cheese
Fresh Tomato with Crab Guacamole
Tomato and Spinach
Chicken Tortilla
Turkey Taco with Avocado Cream
Peppy Pork
Southwestern Pork
Carrot Ginger
Mesa Grill Pumpkin
Carrot Cumin with toasted Pecans
Butternut Squash with Gorgonzola
Curried Turkey and Apple
Tomato Basil
Roasted Red Pepper
Cream of Lettuce
Hearty Goulash
From foody blogger David Lebovitz's blog comes the following:

"One of the latest 'it'

ingredients is aged black garlic. It’s matte-black and gooey-soft with a chewyishy texture It's recent appearance on Top Chef and Iron Chef television shows created new found fame for this otherwise frightful thing. Trust me, if you found this on your kitchen counter and didn’t know that it was supposed to be black, you’d probably think it was rotten.Well, good thing it’s not rotten, but rather “aged,” a more pleasant way to describe the process of letting time and temperature do its thing. Garlic heads either grown in Korea or California are put into a machine that fluctuates temperature and humidity for thirty days. What results is supposedly a garlic that has twice the antioxidants as regular garlic". Interesting. My husband and I missed '24' last night- we've been watching last night's show via Hulu. I think tonite we shall catch the next episodes with one of these soups. It depends on what I find in the fridge as to what kind of soup I'm going to make!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Comfort Foods, food trends

Ten years ago, the 'hot' comfort foods were variations on Chicken Pot Pies, Ice Cream Sundaes,Tomato Soup, Pasta, Cheesecakes, Biscuits. The following foods were trendy:

Gourmet burgers
Deep-fried turkey
Artisan cheese and teas
Dark chocolate
Whole grains
Fast food and take out
Fast food super sizes

2010,1) is about identifying the essentials and stocking your pantry in a shift from convenience foods to scratch cooking, now that we have more time than money and more knowledge and concerns.

2) More in store. There will be more growth in grocery stores, particularly as private labels assume prominence.
Those old generics have morphed into their own brands, so there is no glory in using a name brand anymore (unless you are ketchup). Coupon use will increase.
Supermarkets will also upgrade their delis and fresh takeout sections and return in-store butchers to a place of prominence, where they belonged all along!

3) American, the new ethnic. This is all about flavor delivery. Immigration has come to the plate and we are defining a new flavor curve.

Part comfort, part creativity, the latest flavors are coming from the great American melting pot.

4) Food vetting. You are what you eat and we are big into understanding that we are eating the right things, that our food is safe, and that we are not ingesting pesticides or anything that will someday prove harmful.
Taste of Home has a new cookbook and it's about eating your comfort foods in a healthy way- Epicurious website is boasting comfort food recipes in a healthier way.

Other Trends~

Now, as boomers nearing 65 continue their unending search for the fountain of youth, companies have taken note. Brooks Brothers came out with a limited-edition Mad Men line of men's suits. iTunes offers a special Mad Men music mix. Eight O’Clock Coffee has become hip again, partly through an online promotional giveaway of free Mad Men eCards. Look for other iconic sixties food brands to follow suit.

As food companies respond to the popular and ubiquitous energy drinks and bars, get ready for “relaxation” foods. You can already find relaxation drinks infused with herbs and other ingredients designed to soothe or calm. Brands like Drank, iChill, and RelaxZen are counterpoints to Red Bull, Vitaminwater, and Gatorade. Look for this trend to quickly move to other categories, including "anti-energy" bars and snack foods. It may even spawn a resurgence of calming after-dinner alcoholic drinks.

Look for more products claiming to be “real,” that is, containing a limited number of natural ingredients. Brands that are proving the trend include Häagen-Dazs five, Healthy Choice All Natural, and Campbell's Select Harvest. In addition, ConAgra Foods—whose brands include Banquet, Chef Boyardee, Egg Beaters, Healthy Choice, Hebrew National, Hunt’s, Marie Callender’s, Orville Redenbacher’s, PAM, Peter Pan, and Reddi-wip among many others—has vowed to cut down on sodium in its products and has announced an across-the-board sodium reduction of at least 20 percent in all its brands by 2015. Expect other major brands to quickly follow their lead.

Andrew Knowlton was on GMA a few weeks ago. He said the dish for the year is

The Cuisine of the year is New Austrian

The ingredient of the year: Sriracha

The Dessert of the year: All American Comforts- Brown Betty, Coconut Cake, Lemon Sponge cake....

but all made healthier!

Here is a good looking Tomato soup recipe you might want to try. I found it on a blog site; I think it's called Tiffany's. I need to do some back tracking and I'll share the link.
8 T butter
1/4 c flour
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
3 c chicken broth
1 ( 29 oz. ) can tomato sauce
1 ( 29 oz) can diced tomatoes, with juice
2 dashes hot sauce
3 T honey
1 T dill weed
1tsp chili powder
1tsp dried basil leaves
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 T Worcestershire Sauce
In a 4 quart sauce pan, melt butter and saute onions. Add remaning butter along with the flour. Stir until smooth. Cook 2-3 minutes. Slowly add chicken broth, 1 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. Next, add tomato sauce and diced tomatoes and allow the mixture to thicken before adding more. When all is added, season soup with next ten ingredients. Allow to simmer over low heat for about 45 minutes. Stir frequently as the soup will stick to the bottom of the pot.

And now, it's that time of the night for me to get my favorite Friday comfort food: pizza!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Cutting costs

I think about all the ways I have cut back. Especially since we don't have that many living at home. And the one who does live at home, doesn't want to act like he's living at home. He takes care of himself in every way. But I still do the dishes in the sink.
I have a great little book called
Small Batch Baking. Well, being on Atkins, I don't do much baking. But I have a wonderful recipe I want to share. This is a warm chocolate bread pudding for two~
Unsalted butter for greasing 2 ramekins.
3/4 c half and half
2 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 large egg
3 T sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 c stale bread cubes
Place rack in center of 325 degree oven. Lightly grease the ramekins. Place them on a baking sheet for easier handling. Set aside.
Pour 1/2 and 1/2 into small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Remove the pan from the heat and add the chopped chocolate, swirling the pan to immerse the chocolate in the hot half and half. Let it stand until the chocolate softens, 1 minute. Then stir until the mixture is smooth.
Place the egg, sugar, salt, and vanilla in a medium sized bowl and whisk until the mixture is frothy, about 2o seconds. Continue to whisk as you gradually pour in the chocolate cream. Add the bread cubes, pressing them down with a spatula to submerge them, let the mixture stand, pressing on the bread occasionally to keep it submerged, until the bread is saturated, about 10 minutes.
Spoon the mixture in the prepared ramekins. Bake until they are set- 30 minutes. Remove from oven, transfer them to wire rack and cool for 10 minutes.
To serve: unmold the puddings. Run a sharp knife around the edges and invert onto serving plates. You can serve them with an Anglaise.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Promising to Eat Healthy

ust because you’ve resolved to eat more healthfully in 2010, you don’t need to resign yourself to meals that are bland. Maintaining any weight loss diet if tough, but in the long-run your chances for success are much better if you actually enjoy what you eat.

One of my favorite tips for cutting calories is to prepare my own sauces, vinaigrettes and spreads that I can keep in the fridge and use to make any meal instantly more delicious. The key to healthy homemade sauces is to avoid preservatives, artificial ingredients and extra salt and fat.

Here’s a formula for making herb sauces that can be used as a marinade or on cooked meat, chicken, fish or vegetables. You can also spread them on sandwiches, add them to rice and beans or mix into soups. These sauces add heaps of flavor but very little fat.

1 cup fresh herbs + 1 clove of garlic + 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil + 1 teaspoon acid (red or white wine vinegar or citrus juice) + salt, pepper and optional spice to taste

You can chop herbs and garlic, then stir with other ingredients for a vinaigrette-type sauce. Or process everything together for a creamy, emulsified sauce. Both will store several days in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

Use parsley, oregano, red wine vinegar and dried chili flakes to make South American chimichurri Use basil and lemon juice for a pesto variation Use cilantro, lime and cumin for a southwestern flavor

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Ice skating- what a joke!

Today Jim and I went ice skating at a local outdoor rink: Indian Hill Park. It was cold. It was fun. It was menacing. The hut was open and a great fire was burning. I asked Jim to take a picture but the best one was before I went onto the ice- you see, with so many 'out of control skaters ( myself included) I couldn't risk the camera to fall and break. After we skated for 35 minutes ( with my taking a break) we ventured to the northern part of our suburb to check out the outdoor rink there- it was a beautiful piece of ice! But we said, 'nah' and went across the street to Panera to get some chicken noodle soup( it's on my diet). I had the broth and Jim had the pasta and chicken, that sank to the bottom. We were chilled for the rest of the afternoon.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Too much snow and no wheels is keeping me indoors way too long. But I have never gotten so much done. If I had worked today, I could have walked to work.
Saw the Oprah show today. She was doing her worldwide thing and one of the cities she visited was Copenhagen. I have a Danish friend. What my Danish friend had to say, compared to what Oprah's guests had to say, wellllllll, definitely different.
Last night I watched Worst Cook in America ( or something like that). Boy, these people were terrible! Ann Burrell is one of the judges/chefs who takes a bunch of incompetent cookers under her wing after deciding who she wants on her team from about 24 cooks who are vying to stay on the show. I could actually handle her criticisms but not those of her male counterpart, Beau MacMillan. I think there's something about lipstick. And Beau has thin lips.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Beginning

Wow, we're all guardedly enthusiastic about the New Year to begin. Definite need for change is in the air. Come to think of it, that was the feeling sense most Americans had this time last year.....
I'm definitely going to start back on Atkins diet today and am looking forward to it. I just want someone else to do the menu and cook it for me! I actually had a cook one time- just before baby # 3 was born. I had placenta previa. Confined to bed. Had an 11 month old and a 5 yo. Mother came down to help out with the children but needed someone to help with meal preparations.
One recent evening all the boys were around the dinner table. We talked about all the different people we had to help us with our boys. It was a riot! Two years we had different weekend help from the weekday help! And we also had someone take care of odd jobs inside/outside the house. I always remembered what one of my tennis partners said: " we'll be poor but at least we'll be sane". So true!
We were happy when we were able to finally say 'good bye' to the last Nanny. We missed our privacy but all those people helped us through. Every now and then we remember something one of them did that stood out. What comes to mind right now is the year we had a family reunion in Kohler, Wisc. Miserably hot, humid June weekend. It was a Friday afternoon, everyone leaves town. We had to go in 2 cars due to space the car seats take. The trip is usually a 2 1/2 hour trip. It took us nearly hours to get there. We were going to have a family picture the next morning at 10. When we got to the American Club, just before 9, the boys needed to run around a bit before they had to go to bed. We unpacked to cars. And their clothes were nowhere! Their bags were left in their rooms. It was the au pair's job to get them packed and help load up our cars. But I did have the diapers.
My husband drove back to Winnetka ( had a new fuzz buster) and drove back to Kohler, all within 4 hours! We never saw that au pair again.
2010 does feel like a new chapter. I hope it's a good one.
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Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year's Eve

I couldn't decide what soup to make~ Cheeseburger soup or Spinach Minestrone so I made both. Not bad. They were great for the cold night we had. I wish I had some leftover. Would taste pretty good while watching the fabulous football games. Poor Northwestern- so many golden opportunities and unbelievable rulings that went in their favor. So close....
On to a relative's Open House/birthday party. And I'm getting very hungry!