... we all scream for... frozen yogurt, in this case. But first, a bit about the vessels that held my frozen yogurt this afternoon.
I've never been a huge fan of sugar cones, or of waffle cones. I'm a cake cone kind of girl -- especially what I call "pointy cones." You know, the cake cones that are actually cones, and not flat-bottomed "cups." I've always favored pointy cones, and have always called them that. I'm weird. I know.
Kevin and I were looking at the veggie products (Boca, Morningstar Farms, Gardenburger, etc.) at the grocery store last night, which are right across the aisle from the ice cream. In the middle of the aisle was one of those "impulse displays" ... a temporary rack full of products you didn't know you needed 'til you saw them. This one had boxes of "wholesome waffle cones."
I laughed when I read that. How can ice cream cones be wholesome? Sure, they're not particularly bad for you. They're just kind of nutritionally void. "Wholesome" implies that they're actually good for you! I picked up the box and read on. They turned out to be 100% organic. Ingredients: organic stoneground wheat flour, organic golden sugar, organic stoneground corn flour, and organic sunflower oil. I was pretty interested. The clincher is that they're produced in Quebec, so the box is bi-lingual -- English and French. "Organic" is a pretty cool word. It's natural and earthy. It sounds like what it means. I love words like that. But the French word for "organic" is "biologique (bee-oll-oh-zheek)," or "bio (bee-oh)" for short. I love that word. I always go to the "bio" market when I'm in Paris. I always buy Danone (Dannon in the States) "Bio" brand yogurt when I'm in Paris. I love to visit "bio" bakeries and buy breads full of nuts, seeds, and grains when I'm in Paris. I love "bio!" The word appears several times on the box. I was hooked.
On Tuesday I had bought some Stonyfield Farm Creme Caramel Frozen Yogurt. "Bio," of course, to go along with my organic dairy products crusade. What better filling for these cones? And what an opportunity to try out my new ice cream scoop! It was all just meant to be. As Kevin put it, this blog entry practically wrote itself!
The scoop doesn't work quite as well as I think the manufacturer thinks it should, but it's still pretty cool. The yogurt and the cones, however, worked wonderfully together! I'm a big fan of the Stonyfield Farm people. All their products are organic, there's a great variety of styles and flavors of yogurt and frozen yogurt, and it's all GOOD. Kev and I had a nice afternoon snack on a not-so-nice afternoon. Here's a little still life I took of the preparations...
I still don't quite have the hang of food photography.
I'm hot, tired, and uninspired (hey -- that rhymes!) today, but I thought I'd leave a quick note about yesterday's trip to the toy store. Smoothie glasses weren't the only thing I bought -- you didn't think I'd get out of there that easily, did you? =) I rarely do, and yesterday was no exception. I got a new, fancy-schmancy Lexan ice cream scoop!
It looks blue in the picture, and it's called "indigo," but it really looks purple in person. My kitchen, dishes, and gadgets are purple and blue, so as far as I'm concerned, it's purple. Trust me on this one. They also come in several other colors. But I like purple.
Its claim to fame is that the purple part of the "bowl" is rubber. Once you've scooped up the frozen treat of your choice, you're supposed to be able to press on the rubber part with your thumb, causing the ice cream (or whatever!) to pop right out.
Yesterday I bought Stonyfield Organic Creme Caramel frozen yogurt. Today, I bought some extra-cool, extra-special, extra-unique waffle cones. Tomorrow I will introduce the scoop to the yogurt, the yogurt to the cones, and the yogurt and cones to my mouth. I'll let you know what happens.
I think I mentioned yesterday that I love tea. I especially love flavored black teas. Chai is one of my favorites -- Republic of Tea has an amazing chai, and Stash Tea makes a great one, too. Stash even makes an "extra spice chai," which is amazing, but hard to find. I'm not a fan of that powdered, over-sweetened, syrupy chai mix. Or the stuff you sometimes find in a machine next to the over-sweetened, syrupy "cappuccino" at convenience stores. I like to brew my own, and add milk and sweetener to my taste.
On a recent trip to Boston, I had "frozen chai" at Tealuxe in Harvard Square. I had no idea what I was getting when I ordered it, and it cost a fortune, but I had to see what it was all about. It turned out to be a mixture of iced chai, milk, sweetener, and ice pureed up in a blender. It was pretty damn good.
As much as I love chai, my favorite tea in the whole wide world is Republic of Tea's Blackberry Sage tea. Daydreaming about smoothies last weekend, and thinking back to that frozen chai, I had... yes... a culinary epiphany! I wanted to combine the best of both worlds and make some sort of tea smoothie. My original idea involved raspberries, but then it dawned on me that it absolutely had to contain blackberries, just like my favorite tea. So here is what I did this afternoon: I brewed some strong-ish plain black (decaf because it's late in the day for me!) tea -- six bags to four cups of water. I let it get to room temp while Kev and I went out walking and shopping. When we got home, I put two cups of the cooled tea, one cup of soy milk, and one cup of frozen blackberries in the blender and whizzed it all up. I love to use soy milk in smoothies -- it adds a richness that cow's milk just doesn't have. I poured the blend into my new cheap-but-cute plastic smoothie glasses (purchased this afternoon at BB&B, of course!) and immediately realized that I hadn't put in any kind of sweetener. I usually make fruit smoothies with a frozen banana as a base, so they rarely need any sweetener. It just didn't occur to me that these would need some! Upon tasting, though, it occurred to me immediately. I quickly stirred some Splenda (my best friend!) into each drink.
Success! The flavors of the tea, the berries, and the milk are all present, with none overpowering the others. The only thing I wasn't totally thrilled with was that they weren't quite as slushy as I wanted them to be. The berries were frozen when they went in, but the tea and milk were both at room temp. Next time I will freeze either the tea or the milk in an ice cube tray first... that should solve that problem! Oh, and hopefully I'll remember to put sweetener in the blender, too. It will mix in a bit more easily! =)
Tea is such a Zen thing. I think it's only appropriate that it is the star ingredient in my latest epiphany, and I love that the smoothies turned out to be as good as I'd hoped they would!
We're back from our weekend in Boston. The weather was good and the food was fun. Early Saturday afternoon we decided to do one of the most tourist-y things we could do -- go to Quincy Market. I couldn't help it. I've loved it since I was a kid. It was a warm day, but not so warm as to force us inside, so the Market seemed like the place to be. Plus, it's almost on the waterfront, and I love the ocean. We got off the T, tried to get our bearings, and found ourselves staring at a group of white tents. "That looks like some kind of market," said Kevin, which was exactly what I had been thinking. Not Quincy Market, but an open-air, farmer's market type market. We went to check it out... it was a produce market and it was HUGE! It had a very European feel to it, except it was not quite as neat and clean as European markets tend to be. It was chaotic -- mobbed with shoppers, the vendors shouting about the virtues of their product. Upon closer examination, it was amazing. Everything imaginable was there: papayas as big as a child's head... pineapples... mangoes... greens... onions... stone fruits... potatoes... carrots... tomatoes... and the list goes on and on and on. Best of all, it was so cheap! Inexpensive, I mean, not lacking in quality. The giant papayas were 99 cents. Peaches 8 for $1. Pineapples 2 for $1.50. Limes 10 for $1. I couldn't believe it. In my part of the world, we have to buy fruit at the grocery store. It's expensive there. Pineapples are $4 - $5 each. Limes, 2 for 89 cents. Peaches, about $2 a pound. We need a fruit market in Bangor.
Being temporary visitors, unfortunately, did not allow us to reap too many benefits of this market. We had just arrived at the Quincy Market/waterfront area, and could not carry too much produce around for the entire day. We bought a few peaches for a snack, and ten limes to bring home for... well, limeburners, of course! Plus, I use lime juice in a really great tofu recipe, which I will share with you the next time I make it.
Kevin Admires Our Limes (isn't he adorable?!?)
Upon my purchase of the limes, Kevin asked me how I was going to store ten of them, knowing we wouldn't go through them before they passed their prime. Here's what I did: I got out our trusty Metrokane Mighty OJ, which is, frankly, a kick-ass juicer. I juiced those limes to the tune of ten ounces of juice and poured it into an ice cube tray. Each cube compartment conveniently holds about an ounce -- just enough for a limeburner! Coincidence? I think not. Once the cubes are frozen, I will transfer them to a storage bag and pull out cubes as we need them.
When we finally tore ourselves away from the produce market, the next thing on my mind was falafel. I had some at Quincy a couple years ago, and was really looking forward to trying it there again. We found the only stand selling falafel, and I was pretty sure it was the same one. What they offered were "falafel wraps." I didn't think that was what I had the last time, but I got one anyway. It was disappointing. It consisted of lettuce, tomato, and a couple of falafel patties in a big, white-flour wrap. No hummus, no yogurt-tahini-sauce, no lubrication of any kind. The patties themselves were actually very good -- they had a kick of crushed red pepper that I have never had in falafel. I'm not sure how traditional it is, but it was the only redeeming quality to the wrap. Maybe I'm just a complete falafel snob after all my trips to L'as du Fallafel in Paris...
For dessert, we couldn't resist "Gelato by Joey." We've had gelato in France, and of course, in Italy, but had only had store-bought Haagen-Daz gelato in the states (which isn't very good at all). I got hazelnut and talked Kev into getting panna cotta flavor. Panna cotta itself is hard to describe -- Gale Gand calls it "grown-up Jello." It's a creamy, custard-style dessert with gelatin added so it holds its shape. I think it's Italy's version of flan. Panna cotta flavored gelato is good. Very good. It has a rich, tangy, almost cream-cheesy flavor, with a caramel swirl. Yum. But do you know what's better than panna cotta gelato? Hazelnut gelato. It tastes like pureed hazelnuts. I can't even begin to describe it any better that that. I was in heaven. Joey's gelato has got it going on!
We wrapped up our evening at Tealuxe in Harvard Square. I fell in love with the place when my cousin took me there a couple of months ago. Have I mentioned that I am a tea addict? I'm sure I'll get around to writing more on that someday. And I'll write more about Tealuxe tomorrow, along with the results of a culinary epiphany I will put to the test, inspired by a couple of beverages I had there.