Showing posts with label midweek marvels. Show all posts
Showing posts with label midweek marvels. Show all posts

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Midweek Marvels - Kern's Pear Nectar

Unlike some people I happen to love pears, and the very sudden arrival of the freezing cold fall temps in Nashville has put me in a very pear-y mood. So I thought this week I would pick out something very pear-y that I've seen around for years but never tried; Kern's Pear Nectar.

It comes in these teeny tiny cans all sealed together in a little wholesome six pack that made me feel like I was buying brewskies for a barbie doll. It was a weird situation. I was in to it.

Turns out though, that in all these years of passing Kern's Nectar by, I wasn't really missing much. It has the texture of orange juice concentrate plopped into water before a good mixing. And there isn't much impressive taste to speak of (pear or otherwise), and I think part of me was disappointed that it wasn't carbonated ( conditioned expectations with cans and all that). I guess if you just wanted a can of juice-y substance to hand a kid to keep him quiet this would work. But for this pear lover, it was really nothing special.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Midweek Marvels - Daelman's Caramel Wafers

This week has been a BEAST. It's brought visits from almost in-laws, emergency rooms, and a brief encounter with a film crew. I am exhausted and it's not even Friday yet! Sometimes on a week like this, all that can help me is some quiet time to myself to enjoy a good cookie (or six). Luckily this week I found the perfect one.

Daelman's Caramel Wafers taste remarkably unlike I expected them to. I imagined something crispy and sickly sweet. It turned out though that these tasted like neither of those things. The caramel brought a soothing savory richness and the wafer cookie  had a satisfying chew that I really needed. Yes, I said  needed. And I meant it. Did things just get weird?

The overall flavor combination reminded me of one of my favorite guilty pleasure foods; super processed  still warm snicker doodle cookies from the food court in the mall. You know what cookies I'm talking about. The ones the size of your head (and yes they must be this size). Sooo relaxing after a long day of wandering around in chaos. I guess that's what made these caramel wafers the perfect stress reliever after the week that I've had. They hit those sweet/chewy/salty therapeutic cookie spots just right. 

If you find yourself having a week like mine, give these cookies a try. They just might help bring your center back. And if not, you can always add booze. 

Or wait... I mean milk. Milk goes with cookies...right? *cough*Kahlua does too*cough*

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Midweek Marvels - PB2 Dry Peanut Butter

I had never before heard of powdered dehydrated peanut butter until I saw it on the shelf this week. And even now it has intrigued me to the point of confusion.

I've been having a really hard time understanding the idea behind the creation of this product. The label boasts that through this dehydration process that they have removed the bulk of the oil and fat from the peanut butter so that you may enjoy it in peace and light calories. But that just leaves me thinking, well... without the healthy fats, protein and creaminess that comes with a nut butter, what the hell is the point? I tried my best, though to reserve judgment. I mean, it could still be delicious, right? Peanut butter in new and unfamiliar form? At the store I saw two kinds, one traditional, no frills, dehydrated peanut dust, and another, chocolate flavored. I went for the chocolate to maximize the potential for success.

Once I purchased, bagged, and brought this strange item home, I read the directions on the back; "1 tbsp water for 2 tbsp peanut butter dust.". I tried it out, just as they said, 2:1 ratio, and found it still runny. So I abandoned the directions and attacked it by eye, Ovaltine style. Don't stop adding dust until it's thick enough to cut with a knife! About three to four more tablespoons later, I was satisfied with the thickness, and was ready for a taste. With quivering spoon I brought the strange paste to my lips, and tasted.

It was...uneventful. I thought, being dehydrated and ground, that it would have a highly intensified peanut flavor! But all I found was just the faintest hint of vague "roast". I didn't really get a peanut taste that satisfied any part of my creamy desires, and I didn't detect a chocolate flavor at all! It just sat there, in all it's disappointing blandness, slowly turning blacker, strangely oxidizing in the open air.

So...what's one to do with a 6 ounce container of dehydrated peanut dust?! I guess a trip to pinterest in in order....

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Midweek Marvels - Jammie Dodgers

I know that it's ridiculous but I had a full on fan-girl freak out moment when I spotted these Jammie Dodgers for sale. As I mentioned I have a life long obsession with British things ( television shows in particular), and Jammie Dodgers are mentioned in an enormous percentage of them ( not to mention over and over in Doctor Who) so I have always wanted to try them.

I didn't really know what to expect flavor-wise other than the obvious 'jam' part, which the back label perplexingly classifies as "raspberry flavored plum jam filling". There's a familiar quality to the jam filling that I really enjoyed, something a little like the filling in a pop tart ( though a little less sweet?). As far as packaged shortbread cookies go, I thought they were a little on the bland side, but it's possible that the combination  of a highly flavored cookie with that jam filling would just be an overwhelming amount of sugar in one cookie. The overall taste combination kind of grew on me, they didn't strike me as particularly delicious on the first bite but the more I sampled the more I wanted to eat them. They reminded me in a way of how I think I would experience Oreos if I had never had them at all growing up. If I tried an Oreo for the very first time as an adult, I would find it to be a satisfying cookie to munch, with a sort of unassuming chocolate outside, and a sickly sweet cream filling, but not an earth shattering kind of good. Your history with the cookie I think adds a bit to your perception of it, I imagine I would love these Jammie Dodgers to pieces if I grew up sneaking them into school lunches, swirling them into ice cream, and demolishing sleeves of them at slumber parties.

That said, I didn't have any problem polishing off an entire package of these babies on shooting day, and even found myself making a special trip on the way home from school with a second package in mind.

It's not Oreo love yet, but I think we're halfway there...

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Midweek Marvels- Mamma Chia Vitality Beverage

I am beyond traumatized. I consider myself to be a bit of a dabbler into the hippy food world, so I had I thought, read enough about chia seeds in the past so that I wouldn't be surprised at all. I've used flaxseed in recipes before, so that fact that chia seeds are high in fiber and have a tendency to 'gel' liquids didn't seem that weird to me. When I saw this drink on the shelf, I assumed that while it included the gelling power of chia seeds that it must still count as a drink, just a very thick one. You know, like a smoothie or a milkshake with just a touch of that seedy crunch like you get from raspberry jam. This was a fatal mistake, expecting this item to go down in any way resembling a drink is partially what lead to a total system crash when the strange brew crossed my lips. Chia seeds don't just gel in one large mass, the seeds gel liquid individually around them so when I went to take a sip my mind JUST COULDN'T DEAL. I got a mouth full of little crunchy beads surrounded in an orb of liquid, like caviar, or super soggy pomegranate arils, only the juice they were encircled in wasn't a highly flavored bite of pomegranate juice, I was a sort of dull faint taste, like a sugar free jello.

After my second sip, I had to take a moment. I needed to wrap my mind around what this experience was supposed to be like and stop being creeped out by new and strange sensory experience. So I sat down, closed my eyes and took a slow sip, trying to take in this chia seed mess without preconceptions.
And yet... NOPE!

My final conclusion is that while it might take me a few more tries to wrap my mind around this oddball chia thing, the drink itself didn't have enough taste on its own,( it was supposed to have a cherry limeade base) to act as sturdy enough training wheels for a chia seed noob like me. Maybe a home brew would work out better? If you've had a good experience with a chia seed drink or recipe, please let me know in the comments. Chia seeds have a long list of health benefits so I would love to make friends if I could just find a little direction.

P.S. If you have any suggestions of new or strange foods I should try, shoot me an email at desireelitchford[at]gmail[DOT]com.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Midweek Marvels - McVitie's HobNobs

I'm going to go ahead and confess that I have a problem with fetishizing European things. Maybe it's because I'm from Tennessee, that the UK seems so charming to me but it's a sickness I've learned to accept about myself. I love the slang, I love the television ( Mighty Boosh? Doctor Who?! Graham Norton!!!), I'm even getting pretty good at matching the lovely accents to the locations. So when I saw the teeny Union Jack on the top of this cookie box in the international aisle I couldn't resist. Plus, I mean, let's not even talk about the name. HobNobs?! What?!

Chocolate and oats seem like a combination that couldn't possibly conflict. Well really, if you put chocolate on most things you're pretty much sure to please, so even though this was a bit of a gamble it didn't seem too out there. Sadly though, I didn't love them. They tasted like a cross between a graham cracker and a Nature Valley Oats and Honey bar, except in place of the sweetness of either of those things was a strong sort of overly wholesome flavor, reminiscent of bran flakes, or even...hay. Call it my oversexed American sugar gauge but even the bit that was half dipped in chocolate wasn't sweet enough to compensate for a taste you would expect to find inside of box of something touting its colon health benefits.

In closing, I'd like to say a few things in defense of this little cookie;

1) My hopes were outrageously high with this one (see Fetishizing of the UK)
2) There's a possibility that this box was just a little bit stale (I mean, you never really know with large chain international aisles)
3) It does say 'Digestive Biscuit' on the top, which I could take as a little bit of bragging about colon health (even though the google says the term originated from the old-timey belief that the baking soda including provided antacid qualities.)
4) Although they weren't to my taste (or possibly just my expectations), McVitie's HobNobs did seem like they would go down marvelously well with a drink of something sweet and warm (should I go there and say tea?), if anyone has tested this out please let me know.

 Also the boyfriend liked them well enough to steal them away one by one in the dark of night so there's at least one glowing review out of two here. Let me know your opinion. Have you tried McVitie's HobNobs? (why did that sound dirty?) Did I simply get a not so good box? Enrich my mind grapes!

Also, on the P.S., if you know of any weird foods I should try, send your suggestions to desireelitchford[at]gmail[dot]com. Let's let this madness continue.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Midweek Marvels - Peanut Butter Jam Session

So I realize that this is probably cheating but... I found a new Ben and Jerry's flavor that I just have to share with you. It's called Peanut Butter Jam Session, and it's a deceivingly simple combination of flavors in a simply gorgeous way. Peanut Butter Jam Session combines Ben and Jerry's already wonderful peanut butter ice cream with swirls of crunchy peanut butter and an intensely flavored raspberry jam. This combination ordinarily wouldn't spark my interest, (What's so exciting about peanut butter and jam, right?) but it's executed in such an elegant way that the flavors hum together with the harmony of an old standard.
It's hard to pin down exactly what it is about this flavor that makes it such a hit,( is it the just right level of tart-sweet from the raspberry jam? Is it the perfect bite of salty crunch from the chunky peanut butter? Is it the possibility of secretly added narcotics?) but something in the combination is sooo satisfying.

I was really surprised by how much I loved this flavor, I typically rate fruity desserts lower just based on personal preference, but here... I'll even be so bold as to add it to my top 10 favorites. (What? Wut?!) I may be 77 flavors in, but I'm happy to find that every once and a while Ben and Jerry's can still produce a flavor that will dazzle and delight even the oldest of fans. Give it a try!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Midweek Marvels - Dobrova Rose Hip Marmalade

I'll admit it, I was seduced by the word "rose hip". Something about it, two words so familiar in a certain way put together to form a name, it's always been appealing to me. Most of the time I see this word rose hip come up it's in a sort of herbal hippy setting, 'rose hip oil, to sooth your tension', so seeing the word wrapped around a Bosnian label for marmalade (here another appealing word, much more exotic than say 'jam') was a combination I just couldn't resist, even though I found it sharing a shelf with some of the more seedier looking sideshow attractions in the ethnic food aisle.

The sad part though is that for all the flourish of the title, not to mention the build up in my head, there really wasn't much to it. You know that flavor you ignore that every prepackaged, store bought jam has? The underlying base flavor of sugar and pectin and cooked fruit that you sort of block out and coast through on your way to strawberry or, apricot? That's all there was to taste. Nothing even fragrant, or herbal, or flowery. Just sort of... sugar held together. I even licked it directly off the knife to double check if maybe my biscuit choice was overwhelming a delicate whisper of a flavor, but the experience was the same. Tumbleweeds. As detrimental as this is to my fantasy of some delicious, exotic rose hip flavor, I've decided not to be satisfied with one bad experience, I mean wikipedia says that in some places it's a big deal, which you know... could mean something... If anyone has any suggestions of higher quality/ more flavorful rose hip confections please let me know. Rose hip WE SHALL MEET AGAIN!!!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Midweek Marvels - Fever Tree Ginger Ale

I have a very weird guilty pleasure; I love wandering around grocery stores. Whenever I find myself in a new state, or town or just happened to travel down a new road, I have to check out the nearest grocery store. And even when I'm just bored at home, I'll head down to my regular haunts and scan sections I have seemingly no use for like the sugarless aisle with foods for managing diabetes, the pet food aisle when I've never owned a pet. I'll even do this when I'm a passing through a Walgreen's or a gas station I don't know too well. I love to wander through stores, and I mean every aisle, to check out their setup, scan their frozen food section for any untested Ben and Jerry's flavors (of course), and see if they have anything I don't recognize. What kind of music do they play? What does the produce section look like? Is their deli or bakery any good (a rarity)? What kind of things are in their "ethnic" section (never what you'd expect)? For some reason I find the experience so extremely therapeutic for my food nerd sensibilities. I imagine it's the same feeling some people get from window shopping for shoes, or cars, or garden gnomes (yes! let's be friends!). So! As a total beard/excuse for me to indulge myself further I've decided to add another recurring feature called Midweek Marvels where I talk about new foods that I've discovered  through my grocery geeking out/ insane compulsive behavior. Wait... uh.. hobby! My charming hobby!

This week I bring you Fever Tree Ginger Ale. 

It probably makes me a weirdo to say it but ginger ale is my favorite soft drink. Something about how rough  and mean it tastes compared to something like Pepsi or Fanta has always appealed to me. A harshness almost like it wanted to be liquor but didn't quite make it. I am always in search for a new, meaner, put some hair on your chest tasting ginger ale, especially since my all time favorite, Reed's Ginger Brew, has become increasingly hard to find in my area, so when I stumbled upon Fever Tree I thought I would give it a chance. The flavor though wasn't exactly what I was expecting, it has a gentle herbal freshness that mirrored its delicate gold packaging and dainty 6 ounce bottles. It was pretty much exactly the opposite of what I look for in a ginger ale, I was looking for a monster truck rally and stumbled into a tea party by mistake. Even so, it wasn't that bad. I added a sprig of thyme I had growing on my balcony to highlight its light, floral notes (yeah I know, how monster trucks is that?!), and I found it to be surprisingly refreshing. Would I buy it again? Probably not. Fever Tree is far too civilized for my taste, so I guess my search for a ginger ale strong enough to give me a whisky cough and a pair of low hangers, continues.