Friday, August 31, 2007

Lemon Souffle

Lemon Souffle, originally uploaded by foodchronicles.

I decided to be part of Sugar High Friday this month after a long absence. You can see my post about peaches below. However, Johanna's recipe was irresistible!

Johanna made what she calls Salzburger Nockerl. You see, this month's entry was to be about a local favorite. Johanna is from Austria. I could not resist her entry. So I decided to make it last night for dessert.

I over cooked mine! Arrgh! You can tell by the finished product it is over cooked. You see, I do not have souffle cups! Of all things I can find in my kitchen, there are no individual souffle cups. I will go get some and try this dessert again. It, even overcooked, was light, airy and delicious. It is a perfect choice for a hot summer's eve.

I used seedless boysenberry jam. Spoon it out of the jar, and then microwave it for about 30-45 seconds. Give it a stir and it is nice and smooth.

Also, Johanna's recipe in metrics. If you need to convert it, go to Chocolate and Zucchini, Clothilde has a lovely conversion tool on her left sidebar. Just click on conversion and you'll be able to figure how to change the recipe to meet your needs. Or just use your scale!

Read More......

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

And finally it's over!

Whole Foods and Wild Oats are finally one company. Wild Oats shareholders walked away with a good deal. The rest of us get quality grocers (united) under one roof serving large and small communities. Yay! We will all get to experience "whole paycheck" soon. That is if they don't close all the small stores!

So begins my next conquest. I will begin a writing campaign to John Mackey, so he knows it would be a mistake to close our small store here.

: Now I'm really depressed. Whole Foods has announced that they will sell all Henry's and Sun Harvest stores to Smart and Final. Great. No improvement in the neighborhood at all!

Read More......

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Peche Melba

Peche Melba, originally uploaded by foodchronicles.

When I was a senior in high school I was voted president of the french club. I loved it. For our first soiree, I served a Peche Melba because it was the only french dessert I knew how to make! I then learned how to make others but for a summer dessert nothing beats this dish. I am also going to use this post as my entry for Sugar High Friday. Johanna, of The Passionate Cook is hosting the 34th edition of Sugar High Friday. She has asked us to use a local favorite. Well, the local favorite is actually apricots, but the second favorite for the valley was once peaches. That was before all the farmers sold out to housing developments. Sigh. However, as I said, this has been a fave since high school and considering that was quite a bit ago, I'd consider it worthy. I have to also thank Johanna for hosting this month!

While we enjoyed this after our dinner this evening, I swooned. The flavor balance was perfect.

So how can you swoon? Simple. Poach the peaches as I've shown you below. Then, if you can get them, purchase a pint of fresh raspberries. I couldn't find them today in this berg, so I purchased some of Wild Oats organic frozen berries and allowed them to thaw. Then in they went to the blender:

raspberry coulis

I added just a tablespoon of sugar (with fresh berries forego the sugar) and puree them. Then put them in a sieve (the smallest mesh you have)

Pureed raspberries

This will keep the seeds from driving you crazy in the middle of the night. It will also help you convince dear aunt myrtle that she too can enjoy this wonderful concoction!

Raspberry coulis sieved (is that beautiful or what?)

Once you have it ready, you take one peach half, one scoop of BGH free Vanilla ice cream, and the raspberry sauce. Put it on one of your fancy plates. It'll make it even better.

Sit back and swoon! My husband said "feed it to your husband, you'll get anything you want afterward!"

Read More......

Poached Peaches

Poached Peaches, originally uploaded by foodchronicles.

I needed a "poached" picture for the photo blog. So this morning I decided to poach some peaches. You see, yesterday I found some of California's finest:

Summer's Best Peaches

I couldn't believe just last week I was asking what had happened to freestone peaches! And now I have found them. Let's see what can be done to make a great summer dessert.

First, in a saucepan, add 2 cups of water, 1 cup of sugar and a vanilla bean.
Beginning Poach

Bring it to a simmer.
Simmering well

Once the sugar has dissolved, remove the vanilla bean and split it open. Remove seeds and add it all back to the syrup.

Vanilla seeds

See all the little vanilla seeds? Every one of those little black dots is filled with the most wonderful flavor. Vanilla heaven for sure!

Now, split your peaches in half.
Fresh Peach

Remove the seed, pit or what ever you call it and place the peaches in the simmering syrup cut side down. Cover and allow it to simmer about 8 minutes.

Poaching - skins on

Remove your halves from the syrup, reserving the syrup. The skins of the peaches will now slip off. Be careful! The peaches are hot and tender. If you place the blade of your knife on the opposite side of your peach, then pull the skin opposite your blade it should be able to be removed in one good tug. Dispose of skin and continue until all peach halves are skinned. Ladle a bit of the syrup over the peaches, cover with saran and refrigerate about four hours.

Next post, in about five or so hours, I'll show you how I serve these summer beauties!

Read More......

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Good News maybe.

You all know I have been following the acquisition of Wild Oats by Whole Foods. The FTc got shot down on the 16th and a judge agreed with Whole Foods and has allowed them to proceed with the merger. Yay! On the 17th the FTC asked that an injuction be issued to stop the merger. I don't know who is paying the FTC to proceed with this battle, (I am assuming some high powered lobbyist for the grocery industry) but it doesn't look like it will amount to an order to stop these two companies from becoming one.

It is a good thing for all parties. It is good that Whole Foods' arm reach will grow. They will be able to afford those of us in the suburbs to enjoy the Whole Foods life without adding an hour to our grocery shopping needs. I only hope there isn't a rash of stores to close. Please John Mackey, think of what keeping those smalls stores open, remodeling a bit, and getting us the food we want to buy, in our neighborhoods. The gas saving alone should be incentive enough to keep those stores open.

Speaking of small stores in diverse neighborhoods: Has anyone else noticed a slew of Fresh and Easy stores slated for their area in SoCal? I live in a town devoid of good grocery stores. We have one large grocer that has dominated this town forever, and the competition just cannot thrive. Now Fresh and Easy have placed two signs at opposite ends of the valley notifying us of new store openings. Problem is, the first location I noticed is for a part of the city that has had nothing but problems keep a store open. The location has been a haven for failures. I only hope Fresh and Easy is better equipped to keep their store thriving in that location. However, I don't see a success there. Second location should do well. It is in the center of a new development that should help the neighborhood market stay busy.

Read More......

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Remember the story about the FDA cl,osing offices?

Well, they've backed off. According to Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach, the plan has been shelved. He is not sure it is a good plan and wants to evaluate the alternatives (well now that the president has formed a committee to evaluate the alternatives). A subcommittee has evaluated over 70,000 pages of dicuments related to the closure recommendation, and cannot find a reasonable explanation for the closures. Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Bart Stupak, D-Mich., said Wednesday. "Whether they are closed today or 90 days from now, closing the FDA's field labs, and consolidating the district offices, which places more power in Washington, makes no sense for America's food safety."

The labs perform tests to ensure that imported foods, coming from China and other countries, is safe prior to entering this country. It is not certain that hiring outside labs to do that work can be reliable and the sub-committee want the closure plan to be scrapped.

I'll keep you posted.

Read More......

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

In the world of sweets

Years ago I talked to a company representative (can we say multi level marketing) about joining them and becoming a local representative. Well, come on, who hasn't been invited to a friends home only to be accosted by the "pitch". Yes, it was that kind of a meeting.

We learned all about keeping ourselves healthy and nutritionally sound. It was an interesting pitch, but there was only one product that seemed worthy of all the hype. Stevia. I have been using Stevia as a sweetener for years. I used it as a liquid sweetener for drinks that usually used sugar for sweetening. It is dark brown in color and does influence the look of the item you are sweetening. It is grown in Paraguay, and is about 100 times more sweet than cane or beet sugars. The claims are that it is calorie free, but really it is not calorie free, you just use so little of it that the calories are insignificant. It also is a naturally occurring plant source, has not been genetically altered and does not have "secret" methods in it production. You can ingest it without fear of repercussions in future years. Yes, it is the miracle sweetener.

Who knew that in the 2000sit would become such a "buzz" product. Yes, Paraguayan farmers are not sure they can keep up with demand. Coca-Cola has now begun using Stevia, as well as other large corporations, looking to replace other sugar free alternative with known side effects. The pressure to produce for the small farmers will be strained due to the demand. There are farms in the pacific northwest that are cultivating it on a small scale, not enough to relieve the pressure on Paraguay. I will continue to watch this Stevia buzz and keep you updated.

Read More......