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This Is bc

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Pesto Party

Ok, I lied.

Remember back in July of last year when I said to use "a jar of pesto" in the orzo salad recipe? Well, I never use jarred pesto. I should have mentioned this then, but I was lazy and didn't feel like also including a pesto recipe. I doubt it matters because no one has actually used that orzo salad recipe anyway. But I would like to address this pesto thing.

Pesto is great, but pesto from a jar is not great. Fresh pesto is the only way to go and making your own means that it will be cheap as well. You really can't find large quantities of fresh basil at any other time of the year than the summer and the summer is coming to an end. So make pesto now. And make a lot of it, put it in ice cube trays, freeze it and then you have pesto to last the entire winter. That's what I did yesterday. It's also what I did at this time last year, and we just finished the last of our pesto a couple of weeks ago.

The New York Times had an article about this last week which included a recipe. You'll want to multiply the actual recipe many fold to get enough pesto to freeze for the winter. I bought 2 pounds of basil, so without the stems it probably yielded 1 lb/16 ounces of basil. I didn't use nearly as much oil as it calls for in the recipe. I probably only dumped about a cup or so in the food processor.

The most important part of this process is finding lots of basil on the cheap. I would look for ethnic grocery stores which also sell produce. The basil is out there you just have to find it, but stay away from the supermarkets which charge $2.50 for a little bunch in a tidy plastic container.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Banana Nut Muffins

Grand Reopenning? I wouldn't go that far, Dan. But I do have some recipes and comments and original photography I'd like to share. And that should be good enough.

Whenever I buy bananas I always two or three really ripe ones leftover at the end of the week. Best thing to do with these are make banana bread or banana nut muffins. This muffin recipe is my grandmother's and I really like the lightness the yogurt and baking soda give the muffins (in lieu of more fat).

Banana Nut Muffins

Makes 12 small muffins


1 small muffin pan

1/2 C yogurt
1 t baking soda
2 T butter
2 C flour - any combination - all-purpose, wheat, corn, oatmeal, etc.
1 t baking powder
1 t vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 C sugar
2 bananas, mushed up
1/2 C nuts - walnuts, pecan, or any nuts to your liking
some other stuff - cinnamon, nutmeg, honey, etc.

Preheat over to 400 degrees.

Put yogurt in bowl and add baking soda. Let this sit and rise, about 10 minutes. Melt butter and let cool. Mix the dry ingredients (flour and baking powder). Mix the wet ingredients: whisk the eggs while adding the butter slowly, and the sugar, bananas, yogurt, and vanilla. Add the wets to drys. Mix and add the nuts and a teaspoon or so of your spice selection.

Bake for ~25 min. Keep an eye on them after 20.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Go eat a peach! Peaches are back and they are great. If you know anything you'll eat one every day for the rest of the summer or until they stop being good.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Summer Wine

I promised to blog about wine this week, so I've committed myself. I'd like to be brief though.

Summer is a time for kicking back and having a beer after work on the weekend standing next to a grill loaded with meat. But wine can sometimes be a suitable alternative to beer, even during the summer. Most of the wine I would want to drink during the summer would be white or (maybe) rose. But there are good summer reds too. I wouldn't recommend a big red like cabernet for the summer. Instead go for something lighter, more acidic and less hit-you-over-the-head-with-a-cornucopia that you find in some reds that showcase deep, ripe fruit.

The two that I drank this weekend are 2005 Sepp Moser Zweigelt (pictured above) and 2004 Michele Chiarlo Le Orme Barbera d'Asti. Both of these are made from grapes which aren't quite household names in the US.

The Barbera grape is very popular in Italy and most of the wines you'll find are from Asti, Alba and Monferrato, in the north. Barbera were just reviewed two weeks ago by the NY Times and the Michele Chiarlo just made their top 10 (out of 25 or so.) The bottle may run you $13.

The Zweigelt is a grape most grown in Austria. Austria isn't particularly known for its wines, but most times when you see an Austrian, it's white. The red Zweigelt is sort of hard to come by, but if you see one, buy it. You might be pleasantly surprised. Last week the Times reviewed Zweigelts and Bluafrankisch (another Aryan red). Unfortunately, I don't think the Times tried Sepp Moser's bottle, because I think it would have done well. It's also a cheap buy at under $10.

I liked the Zweigelt must more than the Barbera. But both were good and I would buy them again. Thankfully my local wine store always stocks Sepp Moser wines (they produce some of my favorite Gruner Vetliners) so my supply will never run out. I drank each chilled a bit, which is definitely the way to go when drinking wine when 80 degrees out.

Friday, June 15, 2007


I like dried apricots so much more than fresh ones. I don't think I can same the same thing for any other fruit. Isn't that interesting?

Also, I haven't blogged about a wine for such a long time. I'm planning on buying and drinking two summer reds from fairly unpopular varietals. Check in after the warm weekend for notes on those.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Hummus Saga: Part 2

In our last post, I bought hummus at Shaw's and then e-mailed to thank them. Let's see what they had to say:

Dear Brian,

Thank you for contacting Shaw's Customer Care. We have received your email regarding the availability of Sabra Hummus and Sabra Babaganoush and the comparison of our prices and our competitors'. We appreciate you taking the time to contact us.

We are pleased to hear of your satisfaction with your Shaw's. We are also pleased that you took the time to write us regarding your satisfaction. As a valued customer, your feedback and satisfaction are vital to our success.

We have forwarded your request for Sabra Babaganoush to the Store Director. You will receive a response within 4 days. For your records, your case number regarding this request is 407419.

We are sorry to learn of your disappointment with regard to the price of Sabra Hummus. Shaw's recognizes that we may not have the lowest retail price for every item and it is difficult for us to comment on the price of specific products offered by other retailers.

We believe it is important to offer the best possible value right across the wide range of products we offer. It will always be possible to isolate individual products similar or identical to those in our stores, for which another retailer is charging less.

We can understand your disappointment on finding Sabra Hummus for sale at a lower price elsewhere. However, to judge fairly it is necessary to take into account the prices, quality and variety of all the products a store offers.

Please be assured that the information you have provided will be forwarded to our buying and marketing department. An adjustment will be made on this product if it is determined that the price is too high.

Again, thank you for contacting Shaw's Customer Care. If we can provide any information or be of service to you in the future, please feel free to contact us by email or by calling 1-877-932-7948.


Shaw's Customer Care Representative

While that was nice and all, but I wanted a little more meat to the response. Something along the lines of "OMG, you are soooo right! We'll get more HumMuS rite away!" Oh and "We'll send you a free case right now." Luckily, the manager of the Medford Shaw's e-mailed me too.

Mr Cooperman:
Thank you for your e-mail to our corporate offices about Sabra products. At this time our store is authorized to carry the following Sabra items: Roasted Red Pepper Hummus, Supreme Spicy Hummus, Greek Olive Hummus, Roasted Garlic Hummus, Classic Original Hummus, and Hummus with Pine Nuts. The only Baba Ganoush we can get is a Cedars item. We will submit a request to our Deli Buyer and see if s/he will authorize more Sabra products for our store. Thank You again, and we will do whatever we can to try to get a larger selection into the store.

Now that's a little more satisfying. Let's hope we see some fruit from our hard work in the orchard of corporate public relations.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Hummus Saga: Part 1

When a blog doesn't have any readership, it will sooner or later (most times sooner) will fall by the wayside. Obviously this one has been laying in a ditch for some time. Occasionally, some event will occur and a lax blogger will be moved to post despite their most recent blogging negligence. Maybe a homeless person was mean to them or they just moved to seattle and want to post a bunch of pictures. For me this happens when a supermarket starts to carry my favorite brand of a particular food.

Yes, Shaw's supermarkets have now started to carry Sabra hummus. This is my favorite packaged hummus. Obviously any homemade (i.e. my mother's, heavy on the garlic and lemon) or in-store produced hummus if far better than any packaged kind, but who's going to make hummus every week?

It looks like the Shaw's distribution of Sabra is pretty widespread too. A couple of weeks ago I saw and purchased a container from the new one in Waltham on Lexington Street. I thought this was a fluke because there was only one kind of hummus available and this is also the second most cosmopolitan Shaw's I have been to. But a couple of days ago I saw an entire spread of Sabra hummus at my home Shaw's in Medford, which is in far less hip (food) area.

I was so happy with this development that I sent an e-mail to Shaw's. I hope they get back to me. If they do I'll be sure to post it.

I wanted to write to thank you for starting to carry Sabra Hummus. While the Sabra brand might not be as popular as Tribe of Two Sheiks, Cedar's or Joseph's, it is by far the best packaged hummus on the market. Before Sabra hummus was available in your supermarkets, I would have to drive to Brookline to procure decent hummus (after a call to the Sabra distributor I learned that the Butchurie was the only store in the Boston area that carried Sabra). Thank you for bringing the best product to an uneducated hummus eating public. I encourage you to carry other Sabra products like their baba ganoush in your stores as well. I hope the person or persons responsible for making this decision gets the praise they deserve.

P.S. I also encourage you to lower your price on the 10oz package of Sabra hummus to make it more likely to compete directly with the other brands you carry. The $3.99 price tag it carries is a remarkable markup considering at other stores I have purchased the 10oz. container for $2.99 and the 23oz container for $4.99.