Wednesday, January 30, 2008

I've Got a Pocket full of Pretty Green

Actually, it’s more like two pockets and a couple of gallon-sized bags.

5 pound bag of green white chocolate apeels

Some of my long-term readers might remember my ongoing quest for the illusive Guittard Green Mint Chips. To me, Guittard is the paragon for perfect white chocolate baking chips, and its green mint variety is exquisite. These chips are also incredibly difficult to track down. However, the baking God’s recently smiled upon me and guided me with divine afflatus to Bakers C&C, an amazing online resource for cake and candy making supplies.

Oh, the joy I experienced as I discovered that my beloved green mint chips were available… in bulk! After all, why buy one or two standard sized bags and risk another drought of mint goodies when I could have pounds and pounds? Seriously, there is no good reason, right? Of course not.

I placed my order and waited in anticipation for two-to-three business days until finally, my shipment had arrived. I tore through the packaging with reckless enthusiasm in search of my emerald delights.

5 pound bag of green apeels

“Delicious”, I exclaimed after reaching my prize and feasting on its splendor. “But wait…” I thought. “There is something missing, something important, something… MINT!”

What was going on here? Had the mint flavor been left out of this batch? I searched for the packing slip—“Dark Green Apeels”, it read. No mention of mint.

“Well that’s not right”, I thought as I raced to track down my receipt, only to find that sure enough, I had made a mistake and ordered the wrong item.

So now I am at a loss. I have 5 pounds of green white-chocolate apeels and no idea what to do with them. I rarely use white chocolate, and without the mint flavoring, I’m not sure that dark green makes for a particularly appetizing color. If you have any suggestions, they would be greatly appreciated!
Green white-chocolate apeels

Concerning the Bakers C&C experience, I would highly recommend them. They have a great selection of high quality baking supplies that you are unlikely to find at a brick-and-mortar shop, their prices are extremely reasonable and customer service seemed on top of things.

Overall: 4 Berries
berry ranking scale -- 4 berries
(I'd even go with 4.5 if I had designed that version)

This site would totally get 5 berries if it calculated your shipping cost BEFORE you check out. I’m pretty familiar with ground shipping rates, as I’m sure that most bulk customers are, and was able to accurately estimate my cost, but it would still be a useful feature to include.

With that said, I fully intend to place another order for the MINT Guittard apeels through C&C this afternoon and to utilize them for my future bulk baking needs.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Guacamole, an Old Family Recipe…

Using a Trader Joe’s Guacamole Kit

guacamole kit

Guacamole is by far, my favorite dip. Creamy, salty, tangy… what is not to like? It’s so good that I require a weekly fix, and its preparation has become a tradition that my roommate and I refer to fondly as “Guacamole Friday” (even it if falls on the occasional Thursday).

This tradition began when I came across a “Guacamole Kit” at my nearby Trader Joe’s. It contained everything I needed to make excellent guacamole in a neat package. Also, at a price of $2.50, it was a smokin’ deal; I couldn’t afford not to make it! Unfortunately, as the case is with so many items that are suddenly made much more convenient and accessible as a result of the global marketplace (cherries in January?), I have a tendency to over indulge.

What started out as a treat enjoyed once weekly with only single guacamole kit has quickly grown to two kits at a time that are made more frequently. It is only a matter of time before I am stricken with guacamoletoxicosis. Mm, sweet, sweet guacamoletoxicosis. But before that happens, allow me to share the recipe so that you might join me on an avocado bender.

Guacamole Recipe (based on the contents of a Trader Joe’s guacamole kit):
2 Avocados
1 Garlic clove – Minced
1 Roma tomato – Small dice
1 Jalapeño – Brunoise (very fine dice)
1 Shallot – Small dice
1 Lime

chopped veggies macro

Peel the avocados, remove the pits and place the flesh into a bowl. Slice the lime in half, squeeze half of it over the avocados and mash together with a potato masher. Next, add the minced garlic and stir until it is evenly distributed throughout the mashed avocado. Then add the diced tomato, jalapeño and shallot and fold into the avocado/garlic “batter”. Squeeze the remaining lime half over the mix, add salt and pepper to taste and you have some of the best guacamole you will ever try.

Oh boy!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Holiday Feasting

Happy New Year! I’ve returned from my blogging respite and have some exciting posts planned for the coming weeks and months, including the much anticipated “Blackberry Pockets” recipe!

For now, I will provide you with a recap of some of the highlights from my holiday culinary adventures:

homemade cherry pie
(Cherry Pie)

blueberry bagels sliced
(Blueberry Bagels)

These fantastic items were made during an all-to-brief vacation I spent down in San Antone with my wonderfully talented and cheffy folks (and sis) and we prepared all of this food together.

green corn and porkless (vegetarian) tamales
(Porkless--vegetarian-- and green corn tamales)

One of the best things about my growing enjoyment of cooking is that it has given me something to bond over with my family. Almost everyone in my family takes great satisfaction from preparing an excellent meal and our shared passion for food and cooking means we always have something to talk about and an activity to carry out when I visit.

cinnamon, cocoa roll cake... thing
(Cinnamon, cocoa roll...thing)

So the next time you visit your family, join them in the kitchen and bust out some tasty treats together! Whether you take on a new culinary challenge or prepare an old family staple, you will find that cooking with the people you love is one of life’s true delights.

homemade fettuccini
(Homemade/rolled fettuccine)