Sunday, October 26, 2008

Product Recommendation: Trader Joe's Island Soyaki

I love Trader Joe's. The products are high quality and natural, and the prices are excellent. Mostly though, I love the food samples that they have at the back of the store. I've found so many great items that I might never have tried if I hadn't had a sample first. The latest (and maybe greatest) is Island Soyaki.

As the name suggests, it's part soy sauce and part teriyaki. This is a case were the whole is better than the sum of the parts. It's brighter than soy or teriaki. There's a hint of the spiciness of ginger and the tang of pineapple, and the sesame seeds add an earthiness.

Island soyaki replaced the sweet and sour sauce as my favorite sauce for the potstickers. Try it.

C is for cookie

These cookies came about as a result of two of my favorite food blogs. They originate at the Smitten Kitchen blog (and if you aren't familiar with this site, go now--it's gorgeous). Adam at The Amateur Gourmet "assigned" readers to make them. What can I say, I've always been a good student.

The cookies are deliciously unique. The sea salt adds a salty rush to the sweetness. I have to admit that I'm not a huge fan of white chocolate. It's just too sweet for me. The salt on top of the cookies cuts the sweet in a great way.

I followed the recipe exactly. My only minor criticism is that her estimation to create balls of two tablespoons created really large cookies. I would cut back a little to make smaller cookies. Even making large ones, this recipe made 40 cookies for me. I think the recipe is really for 4 dozen cookies.

The recipe is here: Crispy Salted Oatmeal Cookies.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Cheese Puffs

I made these cheese puffs (or if you are fancy and french, Cheese Gougères) on the fly as a Sunday afternoon snack. Mostly, I just wanted to see if I could.

Despite how fancy smancy they sound and look, they were actually very simple and easy. I followed the recipe I found here: Cheese Puffs

I'm not a baker, at all. That role falls to my husband, but he tends to bake breads and bagels (mmm...bagels) rather than cakes and cupcakes. All of this is a long way of saying that we do not have a pastry bag. So, I used a gallon freezer bag and cut the tip off. It took some practice to get the puffs ball-shaped and I made a decent-sized mess, but it worked. Also, I did use my Kitchenaid, but I think this would work fine with a hand mixer.

These are light, cheesy and perfectly salty. They would make a great appetizer for a cocktail party.