Fix Me A Snack

A blog created by a mom who got sick of feeding her kids crackers and ice cream

Down at the Pickin’ Patch in Avon, CT I found the darnedest thing – popcorn still on the cob! Will wonders never cease? It’s like they knew a snack-obsessed blogger was headed their way. I used to think I was special for making homemade microwave popcorn. But now look at me! Boo-ya!

Seriously, the kids were all excited. It was fun. And the popcorn truly tasted superior to the store-bought variety we usually stuff our faces with.

So, get this, all you do is put an ear of dried corn in a bag. Microwave it for 2 1/2 or 3 minutes on high with the bag folded shut.

Then, ta da, you have popcorn. And a semi-naked cob. Magic!

One ear made more than enough to feed my two growing and hungry children. Now I’m wondering how one dries an ear of corn. Anyone know?

I’m keeping my kids guessing as usual. I’m starting to believe that a kid who is too comfortable and knows what to expect at snack time is trouble waiting to happen.

Pictured here is a what I believe to be a Vietnamese treat from my local Asian grocery. It’s a perfect example of shaking things up in the name of fun and experimentation. One of the main ingredients is basil seeds. But they look beautifully similar to frog eggs floating in swamp muck. I just had to bring it home.

After I tasted this gelled treat myself and explained that I thought it tasted sweet and floral, with a hint of lime, my girls went for it. They both took a few bites and then decided they had enough. But my eldest actually claims to like it. God bless her.

If anyone knows any Vietnamese (?) and can translate the name on the label, I’d be much obliged. Google was no help to me on this one.

Not too long ago, we found ourselves in Portland, Maine stuffing our faces and dabbling in magnetic poetry at Duckfat. The food was good enough to keep me in my seat even though Rabelais is less than 100 yards away (which is saying a lot).

The pickles served alongside the sandwiches at Duckfat were a big hit with my husband and eldest daughter. Our waitress was kind enough to tell us that they were Morse’s Mustard Pickles and that we could buy them at the Public Market in Monument Square. Here’s what’s left of the quart that we picked up. Apparently, another trip up north will be necessary in the near future.

I couldn’t handle this pickle at first. Calling it sour is an understatement. But the last time I tasted it I think my tastebuds finally tapped into their beauty. It all starts with an eluring sweetness, quickly followed by a bolt of vinegar. And finally the slow burn of mustard finishes things off. It’s a bit of a roller coaster for your tastebuds. But I was definitely smiling when it was done.

Not long ago, I caught an episode of Andrew Zimmerman’s Bizarre Foods. This particular episode was all about the culinary delights of Australia. Marmite was given a large chunk of air time including an interview with a couple of boys who ate it on buttered toast at least twice a day as a snack.

I decided it was time to see what all the fuss was about. So I picked some up at the store. I buttered some toast. And I was so scared that I suckered my 4-year-old into tasting it before I did. Bad mommy.

It smells pleasant enough, reminding me of molasses. But the taste was not to our liking in the least. It reminded me of fermentation experiments I’ve encountered that have gone horribly wrong. It’s too bad because Marmite is packed with B vitamins. It stands as a shining example of the fact that kids can enjoy all kinds of foods if they are exposed to them regularly when they are young.

Yan Yan is a Japanese snack that my kids love. I grew up eating Handi Snacks. They will have fond memories of Yan Yan.

We don’t make it to the Asian grocery very often, so Yan Yans are a special treat. I like that they aren’t at our regular grocery store so that I don’t have to deflect requests/begging every time I take the kids to buy a carton of milk.

There are no nutritionally redeeming qualities here. In fact, the ingredient list is quite frightening. But, the packaging is genius. And I’m trying to chill out a bit and am allowing some pre-planned trash into our diet occasionally.

One of the benefits of being a food blogger, aside from the money, is that you know exactly what this is when you run into it at the Asian grocery. Food bloggers from my neck of the woods love to reveal what’s inside the frightenly beautiful and mysterious Dragon Fruit.

 

 

And now you can see why.

I kept my kids guessing for what seemed like months but was only a few days while the fruit ripened. When it gave a little when squeezed and felt like a ripe kiwi, I got out the knife.

Then we scooped out the flesh, quickly chopped it up, and placed it back into the “bowl” provided by the skin. It tastes a lot like a kiwi, but the texture is more like a pear. The kids liked it and it was some seriously good snacktainment.

My in-laws are growing these edible flowers in their vegetable garden. As soon as I saw them, images of snacks sprinkled with flowers started racing through my mind. I was feeling like quite the culinary genius until I finally decided to taste one. Whoa! Maybe I just got a bad one, but it was beyond bitter. If you ever have the opportunity, I recommend you keep a glass of milk nearby. Pretty flower though.

What: Whole Cow Milk Greek Yogurt

Where: Sweet Pea Farm, North Granby, Connecticut

How much: $5.00 for 16 ounces

 

This category of yogurt from this particular farm needs to have it’s own special name. A worthy name would be something like “Sweet-Elixir-of-Life Yogurt”. When I first tasted it my eyes popped in surprise and then a big smile spread across my face. It reminds me of creme fraiche more than yogurt. It is tart, sweet, creamy, rich, smooth, and utterly sublime.

My husband is of the opinion that it needs no additional sweetener. Eaten plain, the level of tartness reminds me of Siggi’s. With a small swirl of honey on top, the yogurt really sang for me. This is food that grabs you and takes you to your happy place. If you live far away, consider funding a trip to northern Connecticut just so you can taste it.

Any one else know of a diary that makes Greek-style yogurt with whole milk? You could try recreating it at home. The farm uses their own pasteurized (i.e., extremely fresh and not ultra-pasteurized) whole milk to make yogurt. Then they hang it in a few layers of cheesecloth over a bowl for 1 1/2 hours. They feed the leftover whey to the pigs. But you can also use it in breadmaking. I know all of this because I took a cheesemaking class with the Hayes daughters a few weeks back and grilled them for the details.

I recently authored a page all about yogurt for this blog which reminded me that I still haven’t tasted Icelandic-style yogurt. When I ventured into Stop & Shop last week, what did I see? You guessed it. Siggi’s now has prime shelf space in the refrigerator case. The price is steep at $2.39 for 6 ounces of yogurt. But I sprulged in the name of culinary research.

Icelandic-style yogurt is impressively thick. It stays on the spoon and has the heft of ricotta. It puts the creaminess of Greek-style yogurt to shame.

The ingredient list and nutritional information are quiet impressive. The first thing I thought is that this would make an excellent snack for pregnant ladies jonesing for a protien fix. Although I was always a big fan of whole yogurt when I was pregnant, and this yogurt (good or bad) has no fat. I also gained 50 pounds when I was preggers, so you probably shouldn’t be taking dieting advice from me.

Now, on to the important part: the taste. Compared to the flavored yogurt I’m used to (that is loaded with sugar and additives), the sweetness is quite dim. This stuff actually tastes like tart and tangy yogurt and not an ice cream sundae. It took me a few bites to get used to it. But then I kind of liked it.