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Monday, April 30, 2012

Learning about Tabasco

Tabasco sauce isn't just for dousing on eggs or doctoring your bloody mary. In fact it takes on a completely different character when used in cooking rather than as a finishing sauce. It's a surprisingly versatile condiment that can be used in a wide variety of dishes and drinks. There are seven different varieties of Tabasco sauce (actually there are a couple more as well that are not widely available). I learned all of this and more on a recent visit to Avery Island, home and birthplace of Tabasco sauce. The trip to Louisiana was with the inaugural group of Tabasco tastemakers. As one of the "tastemakers," I will be creating several recipes using Tabasco (for which I am being compensated) . During my visit I saw the pepper fields, the barrel room (where I tasted chili pepper mash), the factory (where I breathed in vinegar fumes), the lab, the bottling rooms and learned just how Tabasco is made. While almost 99% of the Tabasco chile peppers come from places like...
Monday, April 23, 2012

Some of my Favorite People (and things)

Diane and Brian Campbell of The Candy Store I feel like I was one of the first to discover The Candy Store because it's just a few blocks from my home. In fact I wrote a review of it almost five years ago, just months after it opened. And oh my, how far it's come since then! The store is compact, but carefully curated by the delightfully enthusiastic Diane and her husband Brian, a passionate burgeoning candy maker. Every time I visit the store there is something new and special to try from unusual Swedish candies to deluxe and nearly impossible to find chocolate bars made by a pastry chef. And that's in addition to the classics like wine gums, old fashioned marshmallow ropes, candy buttons, and more varieties of sours, licorice and gummies than you've ever imagined. Most recent accolades come from Target who chose their store as one of only five in the US for their store-within-a-store concept launching in May. Candy is one of the last great affordable luxuries, s...
Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Cooking from another Culture

When it comes to cooking the food from another culture, the ingredients and techniques can be unfamiliar. Going to a foreign country and taking a cooking class is great, but not a readily accessible opportunity for most. Fortunately there are local cooking classes and cooking kits. Recently launched Global Grub offers cooking kits with extremely well written instructions that will help you succeed in making things like sushi, or jerk chicken with coconut rice and beans. I used the tamales kit and was very impressed with the quality of the ingredients, the clear instructions and the wonderful results. My dad said the tamales were the best he'd ever eaten! Kits include the dry and hard to find ingredients, and range in price from $13.99 up to $19.99 and for every kit purchased, Global Grub donates a meal to someone in need through their local food bank. Global Grub offers tutorial videos on their site, and the instructions with each kit are easily folded into a stand for easy r...
Tuesday, April 03, 2012

After Dark:Gastronomy

Photo credit: ©Intellectual Ventures/Modernist Cuisine Are you curious about the modern techniques and ingredients often lumped under the controversial term " molecular gastronomy ?" While I never ate at El Bulli or Alinea , and I don't have copies of Nathan Myhrvold's Modernist Cuisine I can't help but wonder if cutting edge techniques have the ability to make food taste significantly better. And although I've yet to invest in the equipment to cook sous vide, I have enjoyed reading Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking which has taught me a bit about food science. This Thursday April 5th, the Exploratorium is hosting After Dark:Gastronomy from 6-10 pm. It will be a true hand's on experience for those with curiosity when it comes to the modern techniques and ingredients that utilize our understanding of science. Modernist Cuisine ’s head chef and co-author Maxime Bilet and SeattleFoodGeek blogger Scott Heimendinger will demonstrate how tools s...