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I don't eat much ice cream, so I'm late to the party only to discover that the most awesome cherry vanilla ice cream on earth, has morphed into some Godforsaken imitation dairy desert. I told Mrs TWC there was something wrong with that ice cream, she thought me daft until she scooped herself up a coffee cup full of it. Yes, we eat ice cream out of coffee mugs, a tradition the missus brought with her to this family.
The old Breyers was as close to home made as one could get. The ingredients were simple. Cream, Milk, Sugar, Cherries. They even mocked fake ice cream. Now they've gone over to the dark side.
I figure if you're going to eat anything that will make you fat or isn't good for you, it ought to taste spectacular. Sorry, guys, I don't do Frozen Dairy Dessert with a laundry list of add-ons thrown into a frozen chemical soup. It's just a feeble attempt to replicate what can't be replicated. And what's the point of paying Breyer's prices for store brand quality?
Unilever, who also bought Ben & Jerrys, is the brain trust whose apparent business model is to buy a successful company and then dump most of the products that made them successful. Now that's a business model worth emulating.
In the end, though, if consumers didn't keep buying, Unilever, and their ilk, would stop doing crap like this.
OTOH, that's the beauty of the market. I can bequeath to you, Gentle Readers, all my share of Breyers, because I'm done.
Early this morning I fixed up some red sauce with Italian Sausage and a
half bottle of Chianti. Figured on letting it simmer in the stock
pot for the better part of the day. One of those instances when I
actually put some wine in the food. Along about supper time it got snaffled up, post haste.
Picked me a mess of these this morning. Note to self: prune tree so I can reach the fruit next year.
No need to be intimidated by the thought of getting juice from a messy pomegranate. The task isn't much more difficult than making orange juice if you use one of these. The juice is thick and a bit tart, which I prefer, but it can easily be sweetened or lightened with an ounce or two of water.
Pomegranate juice contains three times the anti-oxidants of red wine and green tea. As painful as that is to say out loud, please remember that red wine has resvaritrol. Best of all pomegranate juice has a remarkable ability to reduce unhealthy cholesterol levels in the blood while boosting the good cholesterol.
Unfortunately, like orange juice, the down side is that pomegranate juice is loaded with carbohydrates and sugars. It also contains Vitamin K, folate, Vitamin E and pantothenic acid. Dietary minerals within the juice include potassium, manganese, magnesium, and calcium.
Grenadine syrup, which is made from pomegranate juice, drizzled into the finished drink is what puts the sunrise in a Tequila Sunrise and also defines a good Singapore Sling.
Most commercial grenadine syrup is no longer made from pomegranate juice (I'm looking at you, Rose). It is icky old high fructose corn syrup and red dye number 40. The good nukes? We can still find real grenadine syrup and it often isn't any more expensive than the fake stuff.
King Solomon made spiced pomegranate wine.
The Jewish culture holds that the 613 seeds found in a pomegranate represent the 613 commandments of the Torah.
Eve didn't eat the apple in the Garden of Eden, it was a pomegranate from the Tree of Life. Scoff if you will, but apples need at least 700 hours of winter chill to thrive, something you won't find in Mediterranean climates.
I sampled a pomegranate today. Ours remain somewhat tart and need a couple more weeks of hang time. I suspected this might be the case as the fruit hasn't yet developed its lacquer-like, candy-apple-red sheen.
The Juice of One Pomagranate-About Two Ounces
Saw some pomagranates at Sam's early this morning. I wanna say they were a buck each. Happy to have my own.
Whaddya do when your kids have vacated the premises on a Saturday night? Well, we've more or less forgotten how to do this, but we tried dating (each other, dammit). Mrs TWC scoured the YELP reviews and came up with Luna, an upscale place down the hill in town that is best described as Fusion California-Mexican. Sort of a Mexican version of what Roy has done with Hawaiian Fusion cuisine.
Forgot to query the waiter as to whose label the Petite Sirah he was hawking at seven bucks a glass was, but it was pretty tasty. First time TWC had ever enjoyed a wine out of those wine glasses without the stem. You know me, I'm all about tradition, except when I'm not. I'm against fake corks and wine glasses without stems on principle. Verdict: I'm not rushing out to buy a dozen, but it wasn't an unpleasant experience.
I know what you are thinking Gentle Reader. Tequila. Cerveza. Margarita. Chi Chi. But wine? With Mexican food? And Mrs TWC ordered up an awesome rocks margarita, which, of course, is the proper way to enjoy a margarita. But who can turn away wine and empanadas? Not moi.
The empanadas were filled with braised short ribs, chorizo (Chore E Zoh), dried fruit, oaxaca (Wah Hawk Ah) cheese, creme fraiche, with a chipotle-walnut aioli dipping sauce. The chipotle sauce was incredible. Well, actually, so were the empanadas.
The Ceviche de la Casa was absolutely the best ceviche I've encountered. Bar none. This was prepared with fresh red snapper in a honey-citrus marinade with spicy mango salsa. Fabulous.
Our waiter was attentive, the service was spectacular, the staff was friendly, the prices were decent, the food was exceptionally good.
Cheers to Saturday date night.
Empanada & Ceviche Photo courtesy of Land of the Gummies (TWC forgot his camera. Can you imagine such a thing?)
Sometimes there's an extra baked potato left after dinner. Especially when somebody is being good and doesn't fall off the carburetor wagon, and sticks to the steak, salad, and fresh fruit. Don't throw it out, stick it in the fridge until morning. Leftover baked spuds are perfect for breakfast hash browns, but we're making potato pancakes today.
Last Night's Baked Potato
Yellow Pepper (not a Bell-the unidentified yellow peppers in the produce section)
Red Serrano Pepper, Seeded
New Mexico Big Jim Pepper
Half of an Onion
Irish White Cheddar or Parmesan Cheese
Jimmy Dean Sausage Link
Coarsely grate the potato with a cheese grater
Finely dice the onion
Finely dice the seeded Serrano Pepper
Slice the other peppers into small strips
Grate a small amount of cheese (1/4 cup)
Two teaspoons of fresh thyme
Grapeseed or other suitable oil
A couple of pinches of salt (teaspoon)
Add the above to a mixing bowl and dry mix with a fork
Split the sausage length-wise and cut into small chunks. Quickly brown over high heat and add to the dry mixture.
Add the egg and mix thoroughly with a fork
In a cast iron skillet pour about 1/8 inch of oil and heat.
Once hot, use a large spoon to drop mixture into the hot oil.
Spread evenly with the back of the spoon.
Brown on both sides.
Remove and drain on paper towels.
Serve with a fried egg, and/or sour cream, and/or a sliced avocado.
The recipe should make six decent size potato pancakes.
This combination of peppers produces a mildly spicy potato pancake with enough bite to be interesting but not overwhelming. You may substitute any combination of peppers to suit your palate or to accomodate what's in your fridge.
The Serranos, Big Jims, and the Thyme are from the gardens here at the Casa.
The Serrano peppers are moderately spicy, which is why you want to dice them as finely as possible.
This dish had its origins as poor people food, a way to use up leftovers and eliminate waste. It is a seat-of-the-pants dish so don't over think it. Use what you got, run what you brung. Chances are it will be good.
This isn't on your Paleo diet and you may not want to waste your daily points on it. [Shrugs]
Zipping up the hill this morning in Mrs TWC's dinky Hamster Car*, I caught the image of a dead coyote pup on the side of the road. No carnage. No blood. Nothing twisted out of place. It was likely a quick and painless death resulting from a youthful miscalculation as to the speed of the truck that tossed him onto the roadside.
We have more coyotes in this valley than the entire state of Texas and they are a nuisance and a threat to small animals. On account of that, I ordinarily don't pay a dead coyote much mind, but this was a young critter and my first reaction was: Life is exceptionally fragile and when it goes the eyes tell the tale first.
Mrs TWC's Kia is Bigger Inside than Outside.
The coffee maker here at the Casa does not have a carafe, it stores coffee internally in an aluminum tank and keeps it hot for as long as you want, though I set it to shut down after an hour. Mainly that's because we charge through our morning brew and I hate burnt coffee. Even an hour is too long to bake coffee, but that's the lightest setting.
After depositing the House Blond at school, I had a jones for another cup of joe and was delighted to see the red light still glowing on the coffee maker when I got back. I drew me a cup but even though I sissified it properly, the coffee was, shall we say, disappointing. I made a McKayla Maroney face, but I was about to trudge off to my desk with it anyway. Just then the image of that baby coyote surfaced just behind my retinas.
Lesson de Jour: Life is way too short to drink bad coffee. Just dump it out and make a fresh pot.
*We're counting on savings from the fuel economy to cover at least 2/3 of the car payment. The gas mileage is super and the Kia Soul comes with a 100k warranty. It's inexpensive, roomy, fun to drive, and has outstanding safety ratings.
My House Blonde sampled Starbucks Blonde at the store and was disappointed when she realized that, in the end, it was black coffee.
They were hawking it by the bag at the local Barista Shop recently. The Guy at the window offered to comp whatever concotion I had just ordered for The House Blonde, if we'd try a pound of Blonde. Seemed fair enough, given that Mrs TWC thought she might want to give it a shot.
I am a bold coffee kind of guy who prefers coffee to crawl down my throat on its own, so I bring my own set of prejudices with me to the breakfast table.
That said, Blonde is a solid coffee, but it isn't a great coffee. I get that Starbucks is looking to lure people like my grandmother, whose coffee was weak enough that the bottom of the cup was clearly visible when filled with Folgers from the percolator. Great stuff for twelve year old mini-me, but will it have broad appeal? I don't know, though I do know a couple of coffee hounds who prefer a mild cup.
Blonde Roast may attract a crossover audience from the Kona crowd I suppose. Good Kona is pricey. Blonde Roast is less costly than good Kona. Hmmm, come to think of it, even bad Kona is expensive. And it seems as though bad Kona coffee is the norm, but that may be my prejudices working again.
Blonde Roast reminds me of a good commercial coffee from the 1960's. Maybe Yuban. Maybe Farmer Brothers. It's pretty good, but I don't buy Yuban, I don't care for restaurant coffee, and I'm not likely to buy another bag of Blonde. Hmm, Bag of Blonde. There's a good joke there somewhere.
Eric Lanlard's sublime version of Red Velvet Cupcakes is just right to surprise your Valentine. Unlike most red velvet recipes, this one relies on all natural ingredients, including Nielsen-Massey Vanillas. There isn't a drop of food coloring in this mixture. Instead, the rich color results from the interaction of baking soda with vinegar.
Nielsen-Massey has been creating some of the world's finest extracts for more than a century. All Nielsen-Massey products are Allergen-Free, certified Kosher, and Gluten-Free making them a perfect fit for Lanlard’s all natural Red Velvet Cupcake recipe below.
RED VELVET CUPCAKES
75g (2-3/4oz) pure cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
125g (4-1/2oz) unsalted butter, softened
250g (9oz) caster sugar
4 egg yolks
240ml (8-1/2fl oz) buttermilk
1 tsp fine salt
325g (11-1/2oz) plain flour, sifted
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp white wine vinegar
240ml (8-1/2fl oz) milk
3 tbsp plain flour
A pinch of fine salt
225g (8oz) of either dark chocolate
(62% cocoa solids) or white chocolate, broken into pieces
200g (7oz) unsalted butter, softened
300g (11oz) icing sugar
2 tbsp pure cocoa powder (omit if making white chocolate frosting)
1 tsp vanilla extract (omit if making white chocolate frosting)
Preheat the oven to 180.C (fan 160.C)/350.F/gas mark 4. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake papers.
Sift the cocoa and mix with the vanilla in a small bowl. Set aside.
Beat the butter and sugar together in a large bowl, using an electric hand mixer set on medium-high speed, or a free-standing mixer. Once the butter and sugar mixture is pale, light and fluffy, add the egg yolks, one at a time, and beat until everything is combined. Add the cocoa mixture and beat well for another minute to combine.
Stir the buttermilk and salt together and add it to the butter and sugar mixture, a third at a time, alternating with the flour. Mix the bicarbonate of soda with the vinegar and blend into the batter. Then, with your mixer on high, beat everything together on a high speed for about 5 minutes, until you have a smooth, glossy batter.
Fill each cupcake case to three-quarters full. Bake for 18–20 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the cupcake centre comes out clean.
Cool in the tins on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove the cakes and cool completely before frosting.
For the frosting, whisk the milk, flour and salt in a small saucepan over a medium heat until the mixture thickens and begins to bubble, about 1–2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and allow to cool.
Melt dark or white chocolate. Set aside to cool.
Beat the butter, sugar and cocoa (if using) together until fluffy. Add to the cooled chocolate followed by the milk mixture and vanilla extract (if using). Beat together until smooth, then spoon into a piping bag with a small plain or star tube. Pipe immediately on to the cupcakes.
It is really important that an electric hand-held or freestanding mixer is used to blend the cupcake batter thoroughly, so that a loose, glossy mixture is achieved.