Thursday, March 24, 2005

Maldon salt, long my favorite sea salt...since a trip to England several years ago, was written up in the San Francisco Chronicle yesterday. There are several other interesting items in the column WHAT'S NEW as well. Interestingly, there was also an article concerning sea salt in The Binghamton Press .

I use a lot of sea salt to sprinkle on completed food, because I like the clean non-chemical taste. But somehow I have never gotten into the habit of finishing my food with salt that costs more per pound that lobster tails or filet mignon!

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Once in a while there is good news about the things we eat. Usually the media tell us about everything that can hurt us, kill us, or damage our brains forever. What a treat, then to find that dark chocolate is truly good for us! This study from the University of L'Aquila in Italy (leave it to the Italians to find something good for us in something good...) says it can lower blood pressure and raise antioxidant levels. You DO have to eat a bar a day...too bad!

Thursday, March 10, 2005

You know how I love my garlic...witness the garlic dessert demo on Live@9 last week. Here's a site that tell's you every thing you need to know about garlic! A huge selection of garlic products and garlic seeds and sets are available, plus recipes, books, gift boxes and hints ("how to deal with garlic breath" is my favorite. Check it out!

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

At the suggestion of one of my readers, Lynne Blake, I made the trek to the Winchester Farmer's Market. It's on the northeast corner of Winchester and Kirby Road, in a former Seessels building. On the front of the building are also signs in Spanish and several oriental languages. Lynne had told me about it but in no way was I prepared for what I found. The first thing I saw was a section of apparently ready to eat items, all marked in an oriental language, most difficult to identify (were those eels?!?). Then you wander into the produce section. Several kinds of bananas, including ones not much bigger than my thumb, another marked "butter bananas," and red ones. And plantains, too. I can't even begin to list the produce selections, but all the ones you read about in Mexican, Central American, Indian, Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese recipes, and more, seemed to be represented at pretty astonishing prices.

By then you've reached the back of the store, where there are tanks with several varieties of live seafood, including lobsters and dungeness crabs. Stretching along beside it for 30 or so feet was the fresh seafood counter, mostly whole fish. But there is someone on duty to clean them for you if you want them whole, or to filet them for you if that's what you want.

Each of the aisles is marked with a country name: Mexico, China, Japan, Laos, Vietnam, packed with goodies. On pallets at the ends of the aisles are big bags of various rices and grains.

The frozen food section in the middle of the store yielded some interesting items: lamb shanks and leg, of course, but also brains, kidney and liver. More seafood including lots of whole fish. More poultry products, including whole ducks (head and all), chicken feet, and quail. More pork products. Beef products including tripe, kidneys and--get this, I swear it's the truth--whole skinned heads (at the bargain price of $24.99 each).

In the dairy section were preserved duck eggs, and fresh quail eggs and lots of Hispanic cheeses.

Along one side wall is another frozen food section with a selection of dim sum, dumplings, and lots of packaged dishes. Right beside the Blue Bell ice cream were several more exotic flavors (red bean, litchi).

There is also a selection of cookware from various countries at very reasonable prices. I had my eye on a Korean pot, but fortunately for my pocketbook I hadn't taken a cart, so I was limited to the several packages of Mexican chocolate I could carry.

All I have to say is WOW! I can't wait to go back when I'm going to be cooking and try some of the produce. I think I'll pass on the beef heads, though!

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Well, who would think it? I know my friends think I am addicted to Dijon mustard: the good stuff from France, not the milder one available in the supermaket. Yep, the stuff that clears your sinuses and perks up the flavor of almost everything I can think of. In fact, one of my neighbors once, after several meals at my house said, "You know, Alyce, Dijon mustard is your catsup. You use it on everything."

Well that may be, but take a look at this: A Mustard Museum! If I could figure out where Mount Horeb, WI, is, I might be willing to make a pilgrimage there just to see it! Road trip anyone?