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Archive for February, 2008

TODAY IN FOOD: It’s National Banana Bread Day

To celebrate National Banana Bread Day, we offer you two recipes:- Peanut Butter Banana Bread from our friends at P.B. Loco
Chocolate Chip Banana Bread from acclaimed pastry chef Pichet Ong, formerly of the Jean Georges Vongerichten empire and now proprietor of P*ONG in New York CityThe one tip we can give when making banana bread is: use very ripe bananas. If your bananas are overripe, don’t thrown them out—make banana bread (or banana daiquiris). And if you’re making the chocolate chip recipe, buy the best-quality chocolate chips you can find.
  Chocolate Chip Banana BreadUse top-quality chocolate chips and very ripe bananas, and bake up a loaf of heaven.
 

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FOOD TIP OF THE DAY: Raising The [Chocolate] Bar

Chocolove Cherry Almond Chocolate BarChocolate, cherries, nuts.   Yesterday may have been George Washington’s actual birthday, but why not extend the celebration one more day and treat yourself to Chocolove’s Cherries and Almonds bar? It’s 55% cacao Belgian chocolate—a semisweet chocolate not far over the borderline between milk and dark, so milk chocolate lovers can enjoy it too. It’s available at many fine retailers; or you can buy them online. Get enough to share—you’ll be very popular. Read our review of Chocolove. The Orange Peel, Raspberry and Crystallized Ginger chocolate bars also rock.
 

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NEW PRODUCT: Aerosol Pancake “Batter Blaster”

When we first saw Batter Blaster, we reacted viscerally: We don’t like things in aerosol cans. And the thought of pancake batter spraying out of one evoked images of aerosol cheese. But, don’t judge a product by its cover: This pancake mix is USDA-certified organic, which means that everything in that can is better than all natural. The main ingredients are filtered water, organic wheat flour, organic cane sugar, organic whole egg solids, organic soybean powder and sea salt. The environmentally-conscious will be pleased to know that Batter Blaster is powered by the more ozone layer-friendly carbon dioxide, not the nitrous oxide propellant that can be found in most aerosol canisters. You can point the nozzle to create any shape pancake you wish: your initials, flowers, squiggles.

  Batter Blaster Aerosol Pancake BatterPancakes shoot from the nozzle of Batter Blaster.
Beyond breakfast, you can make mini pancake canapés with goat cheese, smoked salmon and fresh dill, or crème fraîche and caviar. An 18-ounce can, good for about 28 four-inch pancakes, retails for $4.99 to $5.99 (one poster to the website claims 12 pancakes). Thirty-two ounces of powdered pancake mix is less than half that. But Batter Blaster is no muss, no fuss and lots of fun. Because it is a refrigerated product, there are currently no mail orders, and it is only available on the West Coast and in Meijer Stores in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and Ohio. The company anticipates national distribution by July 2008, so get your nozzle finger ready. In the interim, read about our favorite pancakes and waffles in THE NIBBLE online magazine.

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NEW PRODUCTS: Roxanne’s Raw Foods Returns

Raw Food - Chocolate Torte
It’s all raw: Nothing cooked above 118°F.
  One of the most visible names in raw food, Roxanne Klein, broke hearts in 2004 when she closed her famous Marin County temple to gourmet raw food cuisine. Since then, Klein has spent time designing a retail line of grab-and-go raw foods called Roxanne’s Fine Cuisine, that just rolled out at Whole Foods Markets in Northern California. Raw food is a more stringent form of vegan cuisine. Not only is there no dairy or eggs, but no gluten is consumed and nothing cooked above 118°F to preserve nutrients. Many dishes are nut-based, and many of the nuts are sprouted by overnight soaking, which breaks down the enzyme inhibitors so that the protein in the nuts can be assimilated. The soaked nuts can also be puréed into spreads.
Roxanne’s initial line of 34 items includes a sweet, non-oat granola made of sprouted buckwheat, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and goji berries; a dried corn-cashew-pistachio trail mix; garlic and onion-flavored spreadable nut cheese; a smooth, mild-flavored nut hummus; and pinwheel sandwiches, desserts and sandwich spreads made from nuts and soy. Klein’s goal is to create foods that are so delicious that people will be willing to try them, whether they understand or believe in the philosophy of eating raw or not. As one of the lucky people who dined at her restaurant in Larkspur, we can attest that everything was delicious—and gorgeous, to boot. Now, we hope that her cuisine makes it from Whole Foods Markets in Northern California across country to us.
Read more about raw food.

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GASTROTOURISM: Seattle Cheese Festival

If you love cheeses and have been wanting to check out the culinary scene in Seattle, make sure your reservations include the weekend of May 17th. You’ll be able to take in the annual Seattle Cheese Festival at Pike Place Market—not to mention the other charms of the famous food market. The festival enables turophiles (that’s the official word for cheese lovers) to taste, celebrate and better understand artisanal cheese made locally and around the world. Highlights include:
– More than 200 cheeses to taste
– Seminars to increase your knowledge of artisanal cheese
– A Wine Garden with wines to taste and pair with the cheeses.
For more information, head to www.seattlecheesefestival.com.
  Seattle Cheese FestivalMore than 60 artisanal cheese makers will present their wares.
 

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