Food notes

As I posted in a comment yesterday, no, I’m not an ex-blogger. What I am, and why there’s been something of an involuntary (or at least unintended) radio silence for the last month or so, I’ll hopefully be able to post about tomorrow. It’s actually a good thing I haven’t had as much time for blogging as I used to, but it’s still something I want to do, so I’m trying to figure out the balance at the moment.

For the moment, here are a handful of culinary discoveries made over the last few days —

  1. Homemade maple creme cookies are absolutely freaking awesome. Get the recipe here, get maple extract here, get the maple leaf cookie molds here, and buy one of the 750ml bottles of real maple syrup from Trader Joe’s. The result is a million times better than anything storebought could possibly be, and they are not all that difficult to make. I highly recommend using real maple extract and syrup. It’s somewhat more expensive, yes, but it will still be less expensive in the long run than the storebought cookies, which I guarantee you are made with artificial maple flavoring even if they are made with real syrup. I also would prefer to find an aluminum maple leaf mold, as I’m not sure how long these plastic ones are going to hold up (they’re already warped after one round, despite being marketed as oven-safe up to 375 degrees).
  2. If you’re an iPhone user and do any cooking whatsoever, the Whole Foods Market Recipes app is for you. It’s free, the recipes are great (so far), and there’s a terrific feature called “On Hand” where you can punch in what ingredients you have handy, and it will match recipes. The Savory Sausage and Cheddar Breakfast Casserole and the Red Lentils with Garlic and Onions (an “On Hand” match) have both been winners; also, it’s handy having a cookbook that doesn’t require room on the too-full shelf.
  3. Yesterday I had occasion to go to Trader Joe’s for the first time in about three years. There isn’t one in Bloomington and the nearest one is in Indianapolis, and I don’t typically go to Indianapolis without a reason (like, say going to see The Dark Knight in IMAX, but never mind that now). To be honest, I was less impressed than I remembered being three years ago; while I got certain things I can’t leave Trader Joe’s without (namely, real maple syrup that isn’t priced like gold, as well as port, to say nothing of some other necessities), on the whole, I found their inventory to be a lot more prepackaged than what I try to buy these days. Ah well.

OK, enough for now. Must… read… Greek… forensic… oratory…


6 Responses to “Food notes”

  1. 1 rwp 26 September 2009 at 12:05 pm

    1. They make something called maple cream here — it’s solid and white, and is nothing but maple syrup cooked until it solidifies. It’s used as a spread. I had never heard of it or seen it until moving here.

    2. I buy maple syrup from an Amish maple farm ten miles down the road (and it’s a lot cheaper here than there).

    • 2 Richard Barrett 27 September 2009 at 6:52 am

      1) I’ve seen something called “maple butter” that is similar.
      2) Now, that I’d be very curious to try. I’ve fancied trying to make my own maple syrup from time to time, but first one needs a tree…

      • 3 rwp 27 September 2009 at 12:29 pm

        I understand that sugar maples require certain conditions for the sap to flow (to an extent that there’s any point in harvesting it), which probably don’t hold in Indiana. You need the temp to fall below a certain point, and you need it to stay there for an uninterrupted period of time (don’t remember the specifics). This, I have been told, is why maple syrup is primarily produced in cold states, even though there are sugar maples all over the continent.

  2. 4 Michael 27 September 2009 at 4:14 am

    I found the same thing with Trader Joe’s. When I went in it was a lot more prepackaged stuff than I would have imagined, nonetheless it is the go to place (at least for me) for a number of things that are more expensive elsewhere. Some of their wine values are outstanding. They have stuff that is not available in other stores and if it was would be 2 to 3x the price (like $15 versus $45 – really). Haven’t checked out their port however.

    Nutrition and Physical Regeneration

  3. 5 SubDn. Lucas 29 September 2009 at 9:40 am

    I met a parishioner from Joy of All Who Sorrow in Indy who has sugar maples and taps them for syrup annually. Very nice guy, and invited us up for the festivities. It might be fun to go up with a group and help out.

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