October 29, 2009

Are you a produce sampler?

grapes

I was shopping around in the produce section of my local grocery store. Looking at the grapes, I couldn't decide whether I wanted green or red ones this time around. I usually choose whichever looks fresher or is on sale. Sometimes I just alternate. Last time, the green ones were chosen so this time, the red ones were catching my eye.

A woman walked up beside me, in a hurry and pulled off a grape and plopped one into her mouth. She then turned to her significant other and stated with almost a self-righteous tone "Yes, THESE will do." She then looked at me and responded with a "these ones are good" and grabbed the bag to put into her cart.

I stood there stunned by her demeanor. It was then I wanted to open my mouth and ask her how the tomatoes or better yet, the watermelons, were. But I refrained.

I'm not really sure why I was irked. I think it was her attitude by it all, not necessarily that she took a taste. It was a sort of sense of entitlement she had that I just didn't like.

I'm sure everyone has seen someone test out a grape or cherry at the supermarket. It's a monkey-see, monkey-do type of thing. I can't tell you how many times I've observed people knock on melons, smell their produce, pinch their kiwi's or squeeze their tomatoes which have led me to try out these techniques too.

grapes diptych

I'm not going to lie, I have tasted a grape or two in my past. However, I would do it secretly. You know, look around nonchalantly, to see if anyone is watching, grab the bag to "examine" it, while plucking off a grape and then "cleverly" pretending to cough or scratch my face while I throw the grape into my mouth. Don't groan, I know, it's still sad.

But I mentioned earlier, you wouldn't go crack open a watermelon and test it out before you buy it! So, what makes grapes ok to eat or other small fruit ok? Because they are small and we can get away with it? I'm not really sure.

You won't catch me testing out any produce now. I remember thinking one evening that if only 25 people everyday had a sample of grapes, that would really add up! We're talking almost 10,000 grapes in a year! That's a lot of waste that the grocery stores have to add to their accounting and add to your final bill. And if you think about it, it's stealing, sure it cost a penny but you didn't pay for it.

I'm not going to judge you if I see you at the supermarket picking up a small sample size of fruit however, I will snicker. But please, for my amusement, at least try to conceal it. I enjoy the bad acting. And remember, chew! Think of the your embarrassment if you made headline news ... "EXTRA EXTRA: Heimlich performed on choking grape tester in the produce section of local grocery store."

October 24, 2009

Edmonton Litfest - Savouries

Edmonton City Hall

I mentioned yesterday that I was going to attend Litfest's Savouries Event.

It was held at the Kid's in the Hall Bistro at Edmonton's City Hall.

The event was packed and readings from four different writers were on schedule, along with appetizers inspired by their writings.

Edmonton Litfest - Speakers from the Savouries Event

Clockwise: Liane Faulder, Marusya Bociurkiw, Jennifer McLagen, Janice Wong.

I chuckled of the thought of dining in the dark, as Liane spoke of her dining experience in Paris and thought of my own mother as Lianne spoke of her's and their apple pie making event. Marusya made the crowd laugh with stories of her Ukrainian heritage, so much so that I was was craving pyroghies afterwords. She's a funny lady. Jennifer's fervor on the subject of fat made me nod my head in agreement so many times. I wanted to stand up and scream "YES" when she talked about bringing butter, lard and other delicious flavour back into our foods. I truly agree with her that fat has gotten a very bad rep. And Janice brought near tears to my eyes as she spoke of her food memories and tales of her parents from China to living in the Prairies.

I was looking forward to the event and I enjoyed it even more than I expected. I think it's so wonderful that Litfest came to pair the literary world and food together. Each speaker brought forth such wonderful readings. I was moved by many of their words. And to listen to them speak while enjoying appetizers and a nice glass of wine added so much more to the whole evening.

The appetizers were tasty and the recipes were found in their books. Olive tapenade, chipotle popcorn, pork belly, grilled tofu and pineapple & carrot cake.

I hope that Litfest brings more food and writing together next year, as I for sure will make it out and would highly recommend it.

---

Kid's In The Hall Bistro
1 Sir Winston Churchill Square
Edmonton, Alberta
T5J 2R7


October 23, 2009

vanilla pudding with berries

vanilla pudding with berries and cream

Last night, my hubby asked me when was the last time I posted on me 'ole blog.

"Oh, it's been a couple of weeks for sure. Just too busy and I'm feeling a bit uninspired." I responded.

To which I got a reply of "tsk, tsk".

Don't any of you get periods of not wanting to cook or bake in the kitchen, or not pick up a camera or just not post a blogpost? It happens sometimes. No biggie.

...

Here's a picture of vanilla pudding with some summer berries that I took a couple of months ago. I miss my fresh berries. Boo hoo. I used Jell-O sugar free vanilla pudding (nope, I didn't scrape out a vanilla bean & make my own pudding - sometimes, there is just no time for gourmet), fresh berries and a dollop of whipping cream (real full fat whipping cream - traded the carb calories with sugar free pudding so I can have the full fat calories). Yum.

...

Are any foodies coming out to Litfest's Savouries Event tonight at the Kid's in the Hall Bistro? Save me a seat will you? I'm coming alone and would love to meet other foodies!

See you there!



October 6, 2009

Pomegranate Gelato

pomegranate gelato

Several months ago I received an email from POM Wonderful asking if I would like free samples of their pomegranate juice. I quite love pomegranates but I have never bought the juice before.

Their website has many delicious looking recipes and as soon as I saw the gelato recipe, I knew I had to try it. (Though, it seems to have disappeared on their webpage since I last looked. Good thing I got the recipe written down already!)

Pomegranates are such interesting looking fruit. I can vividly remember the first time my parents brought one home for us to enjoy. We all sat around the table wondering what it looked like inside. Bigger than an orange, with hundreds of little arils surrounded by the white pith inside. Each little aril has a seed inside too. Peeling and getting out all the little arils can be a lot of work, I'm not sure if there is an easier way to do it, but I think it's definitely worth all the work. Be careful, the juice does stain!

pomegranate

Since I had the juice already, I didn't have to do the hard work of getting it from a pomegranate. Even better! I had not used my ice cream maker in quite a while so I was very happy to get it out. It was a simple recipe that yielded delicious results. Tangy sweet. Not a bad way to enjoy a serving of fruit and dairy, if you ask me.

...

Pomegranate Gelato

2 cups POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice
1 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix sugar, cornstarch and 2 cups pomegranate juice into a saucepan.

Add milk to combine.

Heat over low heat, about 10-12 minutes, to allow cornstarch to thicken.

Remove from heat. Add vanilla extract.

Allow to cool. Cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 8 hours, preferably overnight.

Make the gelato in a ice cream maker, according to manufacturer's directions.

Recipe adapted from: POM Wonderful

October 1, 2009

garden fresh tomatoes

vine ripe tomatoes from the garden

There was frost outside this morning. f-r-o-s-t. I'm glad we picked a bunch of tomatoes this last week. I haven't checked on the few remaining ones today but I'm a bit nervous for them. It's the first thing I thought of this morning when I saw frost on the rooftops.

I'm feeling the need for comfort foods as of late. This always happens once the weather gets cooler. Thicker jackets and long sleeve shirts are in order. The flip flops are officially gone.

My youngest and I went out to the public library this morning and I picked up a bunch of fall/winter back issues of various food magazines. Lots of root vegetables, stews and soups will be in the making the next while. We plucked a pretty squash out of the garden this week that I look forward to sinking my teeth into it's warm, sweet flesh.

I bundled up my son before we were to leave the library. He said he didn't want his jacket but I reminded him it was cooler and there was frost this morning. A sweet little ole grandma stops and says "Yes, frost! My poor tomatoes."

Glad I'm not the only one with tomatoes on the mind.
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