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Archive for May 23, 2009

FOOD HOLIDAY: National Asparagus Month

We lunched with one of our locavore friends yesterday. She lives in the country and benefits from the bounty of  neighboring farmers. We envied her. Don’t, she said—we’re eating asparagus daily and are about to scream!

We can’t imagine that—to us, asparagus is a luxury that we can afford it. We wait impatiently all year long for the April-June window of fresh asparagus, spending the rest of the year with jars and jars of Tillen Farms Pickled Asparagus. Steaming up fresh stalks to al dente, so tasty they don’t even require butter (but maybe a dip of seasoned salt, like this week’s Top Pick Fusion flavored sea salts or our favorite imported saffron salt from Casina Rossa) is a dieter’s delight—or at least, it enables us to offset all that fat with hefty portions of cheese).

Now, while the delicious stalk is back and in its prime, grown locally and affordable, take advantage. Steam ‘em and eat ‘em plain, toss in pasta with butter, or try:

Celebrate National Asparagus Month with delicious asparagus crostini.

Asparagus Crostini Recipe

Grilled Salmon With Asparagus Recipe

Linguine With Asparagus Recipe

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TOP PICK: Diane’s Sweet Heat Habanero Jams

Diane’s Sweet Heat in Blackberry, Mango and Strawberry.

We woke up on Cinco de Mayo looking forward to a breakfast with Diane’s Sweet Heat habanero jam—and we haven’t stopped eating it since. Any day of the year is the right day to celebrate with these sweet, hot and fruity treasures. (Thanks to Diane for pointing out that unlike jalapeño, there is no “ñ” in habanero. It’s a very common mistake made by English speakers. The correct pronunciation is a-va-NEH-ro. The word means “from Havana.”)

We’ve tried lots of clear pepper jelly (Aloha From Oregon’s pepper jellies were a Top Pick Of The Week), but these are our first chunky pepper jams, ready to be slathered on toast, biscuits, bagels (great with cream cheese), muffins, pancakes, cookies, pound cake, ice cream, poultry, beef, lamb, pork, seafood, even on breakfast eggs—eliminating the need to sprinkle on hot sauce and redefining the jelly omelet.

The ingredients are pure and simple: sugar, fruit, red bell peppers, habanero chiles, vinegar and pectin. The four-ounce jars are available in six flavors: Blackberry, Blueberry, Mango, Peach, Raspberry and Strawberry. The experience is fruity, hot and exciting.

Read the full review and add some sweet heat to your favorite foods.

– Learn the difference between jam, jelly, preserves, marmalade and more in our Jam & Jelly Glossary.

– Have fun with our Jam Trivia Quiz.

– See more of our favorite sweet spreads in our Jam & Jelly Section.

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PRODUCT: Flamous Falafel Chips

Falafel lovers are in luck: We can now enjoy falafel in chip form. The new Falafel Chip line is all natural, kosher, and gluten-free; the plain chips are also available in an organic version. And yes, the chips taste just like falafel—only crunchy! They’re relatively low in sodium, too—100mg per one-ounce serving. Read the full review and snack away!

While their natural mate is hummos or baba ganoush, these chips pair perfectly with yogurt or sour cream based dips. Try them with Greek tzatziki, Indian raita or an Indian layered dip.

– See more of our favorite chips in our Snacks Section.

– Then, find some great dips to pair them with—product reviews plus recipes for everything from hummos to salsa to guacamole.

– Finally, a nice microbrew or an all-natural soft drink.

The taste of falafel, in crispy chip form.

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