Sunday, April 27, 2008

An Open Letter to a Cookie Opener

Oh, Richard.

You are definitely one of my favorite people on Earth (not that I know others on alternate planets, but you would be the first I'd call should that happen.) I especially enjoy your brand of mirth when you separate "fun filled" snacks to stack their creamy, if not nearly solid, centers atop each other to attain ultimate sugar satisfaction.

I envy your ability to play with sugary bits while I challenge my oven and mixer with agave-laden mixes. As always, I live vicariously through you, wishing I could walk a mile in your chocolaty shoes.

Your friend and fan,

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Mithaas with Sandhya

Isn't she lovely? That's my friend Sandhya, who not only is a great cook in her own right, but knows where to find the yummy stuff. Joining us on our little excursion in Edison, NJ, was her wee man, Varun. He's just the cutest, most well-behaved fella around.

One of the great options with Indian food is the Thali, a nice selection of several dishes served with rice and breads. Mine (shown below) had raita (yogurt sauce), carrot pickle, aloo gobi, kali dal, paneer and tomato sauce, rice, papadums and roti. The whole thing was so tasty that I ate nearly the whole thing except the carrot pickle, which I gladly gave to Sandhya since she loves it so.

Sandhya's thali, which had extra pooris and papadums for Varun, had winter vegetable curries, sweet pumpkin and tomato curry, rice, kadhi and shri.

We really enjoyed our lunch and would recommend it highly. If you're ever in Edison, visit Mithaas and Moghul on Oak Tree Road.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Without Fanfare, Another Year Here and There

Yes indeed, I missed the third anniversary of this blog. Sorry about that. It's somewhat ironic because I really whooped it up on Altered Plates. But, you only get one first anniversary, so there it is. But, I still truly enjoy blogging here, at my original blog, although my topics have changed quite a bit in the past three years.

First, since Deb's Delectables is in limbo, I don't have much to say on the subject these days. People do ask for orders, and family members often ask about the project, but there are still too many other higher-priority items to deal with first. So, until I get back to it, the blog will continue as it has, featuring fun product reviews, recipes, travelogues, and garden updates.

Speaking of garden updates, here's a quickie:

The primulae are super-happy and vibrant in yellow, reds, purples, and pinks.

The forget-me-nots are bright blue with white centers, contrasting well with the plum tulips (a new addition to the garden, planted last November).

And, we have some other new additions to the expanded front tree garden (fortunately, the squirrels didn't eat these bulbs):

This lovely light blue blub is called Puschkinia. It's pretty small, topping out at around 4 inches. I should have planted more together in bunches. In fact, I planted just the way you're NOT supposed to in all ways in that front garden, but I'll make up for it by planting a bunch of seeds for summer-blooming flowers soon.

There you can see what I mean. A long line of tulips about to burst, followed by the already blooming grape hyacinths. In the far left area, you can see one of the few anemones left by the gluttonous, evil squirrels. Bad squirrel karma on them!

What's blooming by you?

As always, I thank you for visiting, especially long-time readers and those who take the time to leave their thoughts and suggestions in the comments. You're the coolest!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Egg Matzo Taste Test Just in Time for Passover

Yesterday, I went shopping for egg matzo because Passover is approaching, and it's the only time of year you can get straight egg matzo. If you've not tried it, you should because it's vastly different than plain matzo. In fact, it's far superior, especially for making matzo brei. However, be very selective about the matzo you buy, or else you might have the experience I had this morning. To save you the disappointment and disgust, here's the results of my egg matzo taste test between Streit's and Manischewitz, two commonly stocked matzo brands.

First, I need to be honest with you -- I hardly ever buy Manischewitz-branded anything because if I buy matzo, it will more than likely be Streit's since it is very fresh, has a lot of flavor and typically costs less (not to mention the fact that the factory is right down the street from Babycakes bakery in NYC). And, because Mom and Dave frequently have matzo in the house, if I want some, they are usually very generous and hand me a box before I return home.

If I had not had such a gut-level reaction to the Manischewitz egg matzo this morning, I probably wouldn't have been inspired to write this review. However, the company's egg matzo was so tasteless that I was compelled to share this with you. First, I opened a fresh box and snapped off a small piece. Too bland for words. Mind you, Streit's and Manischewitz use the same ingredients in their egg mazto, but they are worlds apart in flavor and texture.

While Streit's is almost flaky when broken, Manischewitz's egg matzo is as stiff, if not stiffer than traditional matzo. In Streit's sample, I could taste the sweetness of the apple cider and the yolk of the egg. Not so in Manischewitz's.

When I topped the egg matzos with whipped cream cheese (think Temptee) and belly lox, Streit's brought out the smoky flavor of the fish and the cream of the cheese. Manischewitz's merely made the fish taste salty. Even worse, the cream cheese brought out the burnt flavor of the matzo.

Overall, I've definitely decided to swear off all egg matzo not Streit's. There's just no substitute, and Manischewitz should be ashamed of itself for even offering such a tasteless product (at such a high price!).