Thursday, December 25, 2008

World's largest Gummi bears

I'm not sure that I need to write anything more than the headline for this story. I don't know why this guy decided that the world needed a large gummi bear, but for only $39.95 from Giant Gummi Bear, you can satisfy your need to find out.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Energy from food waste

There seems to be a minitrend that I hope is as good as it sounds. Some food companies are exploring ways to take the waste that's produced in the course of their manufacturing and convert it to energy.

A recent such announcement comes from the Philadelphia Cream Cheese division of Kraft. Two of their plants in upstate New York plan to convert the whey (a byproduct of cheesemaking) into biogas, thus reducing their gas energy purchases by about one-third.

Another food company looking for similar solutions is Heinz. At their production facility in Oregon, there are plans to produce biofuels from potato peels.

If they joined forces, they might also have a fine potato chowder.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Flavor trends

Every year for nearly 10 years, the McCormick spice company has polled chefs, food technologists and trend watchers to come up with predictions for the top 10 flavor pairings for the upcoming year.

Here's their list for 2009:

· Toasted sesame + root beer
· Cayenne + tart cherry
· Tarragon + beet
· Peppercorn mélange + sake
· Chinese five-spice and artisan-cured pork
· Dill + avocado oil:
· Rosemary + fruit preserves
· Garam masala + pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
· Mint + quinoa:
· Smoked paprika + agave nectar

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Brie log

When I was living in France, I discovered that there is an etiquette to serving/eating cheese that is rarely observed in this country. Each cheese, depending on its shape, is served differently. And the one shape that always presents problems is cheese served in wedges, like Brie.

The first thing to know is that it is considered extremely bad form to cut the "nose" (the pointy end) off a wedge of Brie. Instead, you should take a kind of sideways swipe at the wedge to remove a slice, not a chunk. This of course gets harder and harder to do as the wedge gets whittled down.

So Président, the French cheese company, has decided to make a Brie in a log shape (something that no doubt horrifies cheese aficionados). The virtue of this shape, however, is that it gets you around the ticklish issue of how to serve. The cheese slices also fit very nicely on a cracker. This does mean foregoing the runniness of a perfectly ripe Brie (because you wouldn't be able to slice it), but I'm pretty sure your guests won't complain.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Wild and crazy apples

A couple of weeks ago I got a small box of apples in the mail from Melissa's Produce (great place). I thought that the person who had sent me the apples might possibly have lost his mind. Why would you send 5 apples in the mail??

Well, then I took a bite. Of course you already have the punchline to this story because you can see a picture of the apple at left. But imagine my surprise when I bit into a perfectly normal apple and found red flesh on the inside.

The apple is called Hidden Rose and it's an apple that is grown organically in Oregon. It's a hybrid of an heirloom and a common variety of apple and currently the orchard only produces about 800 apples a year. But keep an eye out for these apples, because they could potentially be hitting the market in a couple of years.

There are also a number of European efforts to make red-fleshed apples. Check out the Swiss apples at Next Fruit Generation.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Have a cuppa

When I was a kid, my Great Aunt Nan had a little tea infuser in the shape of a small teapot, which I coveted. This began my modest collection of tea infusers. I've got at least 10: little houses, small mesh balls, a silver ball with star-shaped holes, a teapot with a porcelain spout. I thought I had a pretty diverse collection until I started looking around at what was out there. It's a huge category.

Here's what I found.

1 Who can resist a dinosaur-shaped anything? This T-rex infuser is $4 from Fantes Kitchen Wares Shop.
2 An infuser in the shape of a lemon wedge, for those who belong to the no-milk-in-your-tea camp. The Jo!e infuser is $4 from
3 A variation on the mesh tea ball, the pyramid infuser is $6.25 from Anna Marie's.
4 Tea for two. A set of 2 Cuisipro tea infusers from Target for $24.
5 Let's not forget silicone, the ubiquitous material of choice these days. This strawberry infuser, $7.50, comes with a lid (to keep your tea hot) that doubles as a saucer to catch tea drips.
6 My favorite. A pewter tea twig with a dragonfly perched at one end. The loose tea sits in a parchment bag and the bag is suspended on the twig. The dragonfly tea twig, which comes with 10 tea bags, is $15 from Stash.