Voodoo That You Do So Well
I've rounded up the rest of the latest crop of fresh food ideas from the recent Fancy Food Show in Washington, D. C.
6. Double. Dutch. Voodoo.
I'm a big believer in having a plan, but letting the unexpected happen, too.
I met the Koeze Peanut Butter folks http://koezecompany.com/, a family-owned business since 1910, based in the Grand Rapids, Michigan, area. I'm a nut for their peanut butter, so they got a shout-out in Heartland: The Cookbook. Their creative director, Martin Jandree, also blogs, posting a seed-to-table chronicle of Double Dutch Farm in Grand Rapids. His latest blog post was about black raspberries. Imagine that! (See the blog archive for my posting.)
Martin's wife Bunny created the Perfect Summer Salad from what they grow or raise on the farm: baby spinach, hickory-smoked bacon, fresh eggs from their Buff Orpingtons or Aracauna hens, hickory-smoked bacon from their pigs, and clover honey from their bees. Perfect.
7. Botanical Baking
I also tasted shortbread cookies--simply made with flour, 85% butterfat butter, and aromatic herbs--from Botanical Baking in Napa, California.
They started out with Lavender shortbread, but then added other flavors such as Fennel Pollen, Lemon Thyme, Lavender, and Cinnamon Basil.
Fennel pollen, a favorite of Italian chefs, comes from the herb (not bulb) fennel, the tall plant with button yellow flowers and leafy fronds below:
8. Bacon Jam and Pumpkin Ketchup
Bacon marmalade, so good slathered on toast or biscuits, is time-consuming to make, so readymade Bacon Jam lets busy bacon-lovers indulge. Skillet Bacon Jam in Seattle, Washington, makes a dynamite smoky/salty/sweet bacon condiment, then follows it up with Pumpkin Ketchup--a little spicy and tangy. My tastebuds got a very pleasurable workout.
9. Not Plain Vanilla Anymore
At an International Association of Culinary Professionals http://www.iacp.com/ conference in San Antonio, I sampled three versions of creme anglaise made with three different vanillas, and I've never forgotten it. At the Nielsen-Massey booth, I was reminded that basic vanilla is far from basic. We're spoiled for choice with smooth and voluptuous Madagascar Bourbon, aromatic and floral Tahitian, and creamy/spicy Mexican vanillas. Nielsen-Massey's vanilla bean paste--oh so good in baking--won a Gold Award. They also offer rosewater and orange flower water.
10. Fruit Juice-Based, No-Sugar-Added Sodas
I remember a childhood creme soda that was so red and so sweet that I wonder how (or why) I ever drank that. One visible trend at Fancy Food was no-sugar-added sodas that get their flavor from fruit juice and are much more refreshing.
My favorite of all that I tasted with Fizzy Lizzy, a New Jersey-based company. Their Raspberry-Lemon soda gets its sweetness from white grape juice, and its beautiful sunset color from elderberries. I also liked their Fuji Apple and Tangerine Passion Fruit.