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Good Product: Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar from Trader Joe’s
This colorful Trader Joe’s vinegar first caught our eye a few months ago, but we kept passing it by in favor of practical pantry staples. Every so often, we’d pick it up and almost put it in our basket, only to place it back on the shelf with a sigh.Then we were hungry for a citrusy, vinegary salad to go with the breezy warm weather this past weekend, and we decided enough was enough!This vinegar hits the balance of sweet and tart exactly right.
Jun 4, 2008
Good Question: Where Can I Buy Frozen Fava Beans?
Kathryn took the above photo at an outdoor market in Europe, where fava beans are fresh and in season. They are in the US as well, but they do require some laborious shelling. Reader Virginia is looking for something easier to prepare a quick, beloved Spanish dish. She writes:Recently we were in Spain, where I had the most delicious dish of “habas finas con jamon serrano y huevo frito,” in other words, “baby fava (or broad) beans with cured ham and a fried egg.
May 30, 2008
Rosé Wines: Versatility and Affordability in a Glass
I just love rosé wines. I get so excited at this time of the year, as the new vintage arrives on the shelves, and I know that I have a whole four to five months to enjoy them. Over the past four to five years sales of rosé wines worldwide have exploded. Call it the Rosé Renaissance! Whatever, it’s great. Despite this I am still surprised when people tell me again and again “I don’t like rosé wine”, “I never buy rosé wines”.
May 15, 2008
The Spice Shop in London
Bleinhem Crescent is a fabulous little London oasis for the home cook, with the Books for Cooks bookshop/café and The Spice Shop right across the street.The Spice Shop is a London institution, the city’s best address for sourcing literally any spice from anywhere in the world.The Spice Shop also ships its spices and spice blends internationally and has online ordering. But you have to walk into the shop to get the heady hit of spices that greets you when you walk in the door.
May 9, 2008
Olive Bars vs. Pre-Packaged Olives: Which Do You Prefer?
So many grocery stores now have olive bars, with big barrels full of olives sold in bulk. They are great when you want a mix to serve as appetizers, and although some people get squeamish about germs (yes, we’ve seen people use their fingers), we don’t tend to.Recently, though, we picked up a container of pre-packaged, Kalamata olives at a store that didn’t have an olive bar.
Apr 25, 2008
Look! Local Ostrich and Emu Eggs at Whole Foods
We don’t visit the local Whole Foods very often, and we hadn’t inspected their loose selection of local eggs very closely. So we were in for a shock when we wandered over last night and realized that those giant greeny-blue ovals weren’t out-of-season melons, but honest-to-goodness emu eggs. What’s more, they’re local. More photos of outlandish eggs, fresh from the farm, below… Does your Whole Foods have a local egg bar?
Apr 23, 2008
Trader Joe’s Pantry: Anelletti Pasta
Cheerios? Tiny rubber bands? Spaghetti-Os? Nope – none of the above. This is Trader Joe’s new anelletti pasta, and we’re smitten.These little round rings cook up in just 15 minutes, and we found that they had a nice firm al dente texture, and they slip easily over the tines of a fork. They held our sausage and greens very well and we really liked the taste and feel.Try these in dishes calling for orecchiette or fusilli.
Apr 9, 2008
What is Kewpie Mayonnaise?
Kewpie mayonnaise was prominently mentioned in Wednesday’s Times Dining section article on MSG and its ubiquitous presence in processed foods. We only knew Kewpies as those eerily big-eyed dolls – what was this mayonnaise? According to Kewpie’s official website, mayonnaise was first introduced to Japan in 1925. Since then, Kewpie mayo has been one of the predominant household condiments there. People often use it on vegetables and as a salad dressing.
Mar 7, 2008
Sun Fat Seafood: San Francisco Market Review
I’m reluctant to talk about my favorite seafood market in San Francisco, but my mother taught me to play nice and share. And what a gem this place is!Hours: Mon-Sat 9:30 a.m.-6:00 p.m.; Sun 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.Deep in the heart of San Francisco’s Mission District, Sun Fat Seafood Company is the kind of family-owned business where they remember the names and faces of their regular customers.
Feb 19, 2008
King Arthur Flour – The Baker’s Catalogue: Online
As bakers we appreciate great quality, attention to detail, and well-informed resources. Baking can be intimidating and confusing – especially when something goes wrong – and we love stores and resources that can educate as well as inspire. This is exactly why we love The Baker’s Catalogue Online Shop from King Arthur Flour.The Baker’s Catalogue is a full resource for bakers.
Jan 18, 2008
Good Question: Where Can I Find Squash Blossoms?
Dear Kitchen,Last September, I was in Italy and tried Fiore di Zucca. I think that was pumpkin blossoms stuffed with ricotta and baked. I became obsessed and now I’m craving them.When are squash blossoms in season and does anyone know a place in NYC where I can buy some?Thanks,Rachel (To All Good Questions)Rachel,Thanks for your question. We’ve experimenting with squash blossoms this summer. Look for them at the Yuno’s Farms stand at the Greenmarket near the UN on Wednesdays.
Aug 30, 2007
Try Full Flavored Flat Beans
Italian flat beans, also known as Romano green beans, are in season now. These beans are flat in form, but not in flavor. Compared to standard green beans, these beans have a bright, slightly sweet flavor and more meaty texture. “… More green-tasting, more alive-tasting than other beans,” reports Veggie Venture. We blanched our flat beans in salted boiling water and then finished them in a frying pan with some olive oil, garlic, and chopped fresh tomato.
Jul 17, 2007
Good Question: Where to Find Whole Citron?
When I lived in California our local “health food” store carried whole citron. I would buy it by the pound and chop it myself for my fruitcake recipe. They stopped selling it saying there wasn’t enough call for it and it would eventualy go bad. It seemed to be preserved in some way, but it was not in that horrible syrup that is in the chopped variety sold in grocery stores. I would really like to find some. It makes the very best fruit cakes. Do you know a source?
Feb 7, 2007
Meadow Stone Farm: Brooklyn, CT
We love goats. We love their quirky personalities almost as much as we love their milk. Meadow Stone Farm is a small family farms nestled in the woods of northeast Connecticut. The Noiseux mother/father/son/wife team craft cheese, soap and other skin care products from fresh, raw goat’s milk.We have the sensuous Classic Goats’ Milk Facial Bar ($8) in our bathroom at the moment. The way the little goat face is fading with use is bitter sweet.
Jan 16, 2007
LA Farmers Market Report: Eliki Olive Oil Company
One of the stands at my local farmers’ market sells some of my favorite olives and I always try to keep a container of them in my refrigerator.The Eliki Olive Oil Company specializes gourmet olive oils, vinegars and other delicious foods imported from Greece. Their olive oil is organic and comes in interesting flavors such as Sun dried Tomato and Garlic, Rosemary, Chili Pepper, Orange Tarragon, and Lavender with Thyme.
Jan 12, 2007
Lucca Ravioli Company: San Francisco
Plunked down in the middle of The Mission with its high-end hipster boutiques, thrift stores, coffee shops and cheap burritos, Lucca Ravioli Company (unrelated to Lucca Delicatessen in the Marina) exists in a time warp of old San Francisco.Every time I walk into Lucca, I feel giddily, ridiculously, in-love-for-the-first-time happy. The men that work there are unfailingly polite and helpful and have worked there as long as I can remember.They know the food and are happy to talk about it.
Dec 18, 2006
In Season West Coast: Black Kale
Like heirloom tomatoes and other farmer’s market specialty produce, once you’ve tried black kale, you might not ever want to go back to the more conventional supermarket variety. Black Kale, also known as Tuscan Kale, Dinosaur Kale, Lacinato Kale, and my favorite, the exotic sounding Cavalo Nero, is a member of the cabbage family. Like mustard greens, collards and mizuma, it is considered a winter green with a season running from late fall through February or so.
Dec 8, 2006
Dittmer’s Gourmet Meats and Wurst-Haus: Mountain View, CA
Dittmer’s is Mecca for sausage and smoked meat lovers. This one-of-a-kind butcher shop is unique for its selection of over 40 types of sausages from all over the world—all made on-site.You’ll find links of poultry, pork, venison, lamb, blood, you name it. Some sausages are smoked, some double smoked, some fresh and some parboiled. They have everything from Bangers to Cajun sausages.Honestly, it’s a little overwhelming deciding what to take home.
Nov 19, 2006
Grand Central Market: Penzeys Spices
Your spice collection needs a little attention this week. As the seasons change, inventory your spices to make sure you have everything you need on hand: bay leaves for stocks, cinnamon and all spice for pies, and how about some cloves, cardamom and mace for mulling wine or cider?I made my check list and went to Penzeys Spices in Grand Central Market.Cinnamon was first on my list.
Nov 7, 2006
In Season West Coast: Cipollini Onions
Cipollini Onions started showing up in Italian restaurants in the 90s—usually roasted with balsamic vinegar and served with roasted meats. They’ve reached the mainstream now. You’ll see them featured prominently in recipes on food sites and they’re abundant in farmers’ markets on this coast. This year I started getting them in my CSA box. They’re naturals for roasting whole or halved because of their small size.
Nov 6, 2006
Ronnybrook Farms: New York, NY
Going to the dairy seems so retro, but just take a taste of the milk from Ronnybrook Farms and I bet it will become a part of your future. Ronnybrook’s milk tastes seriously better than the grocery store stuff sold in plastic bottles and paper cartons. Glugging truly farm fresh milk from a thick glass bottle into your morning coffee and cereal is so satisfying. Ronnybrook milk is a small way to indulge yourself every day.
Oct 24, 2006
Rancho Gordo New World Specialty Food
Rancho Gordo grows and sells New World foods – beans, dried spices, chiles and corn. The beans are grown in Northern California from heirloom seeds that company founder Steve Sando scavenges in trips to Latin America. If you don’t eat beans like these then you don’t know what you’re missing. They’re utterly delicious, an easy source of protein.You can buy through their online store, or check out their Northern California market schedule.
Sep 27, 2006
New York Store Review: Kalustyan’s
Kalustyan’s is filled with spices, dried beans and fruit, teas, sweets, cookware, and many other surprises from soup mix to nuts. There’s also a counter upstairs serving falafel sandwiches, hummus and a selection of cheeses.The store is an excellent source for cooks faced with recipes that ask for hard to find spices like black cumin seeds or nigella, but the store’s strong spicy smell and tight aisles can quickly start to feel overwhelming.
Aug 22, 2006
Good Question: Mild Olive Oil
Dear The Kitchen,Does anyone have any advice about olive oils? I feel like I just can’t win. Last night I bought a small $12 bottle to use in a dressing for a salad and was extremely disappointed – it was very harsh and had a sharp spicy aftertaste. I never seem to find olive oils that are mild and good for dipping, like at a good Italian restaurant, and make tasty dressings. Any favorite olive oils that people can suggest?
Apr 19, 2006