Category Archives: Products

Measuring Up

A few months ago, the good people at Pyrex were kind enough to send me some of their new measuring products. Being the sort that likes to measure things, I figured I’d give them a try.

First up: the measuring spoons. Well, they’re measuring spoons. They come in all the right sizes, they measure correctly and I’ve used them successfully.

But here’s the difference: magnets! I never lose these things because of the small magnets in each spoon that allow them to find each other. Genius, I tell you!

It kind of makes me wish all of my cooking tools had magnets. Since I live in a tiny NYC apartment, it would save all sorts of room. I’d just have one big amoeba of cooking implements, like a rubber band ball. Although, come to think of it, it would be hard to get anything that wasn’t on the outside. So maybe not.

Anyway, on to the measuring cup/bowl. As anything Pyrex, this thing is made of sturdy glass. And it’s got a nice rubber lining at the bottom which helps it stay in place as I throw ingredients in. I like that I can tell from the top how much I’ve put in, and it’s so wide I can mix stuff in it. Sweet!

So if you plan on measuring stuff, do yourself a favor and pick up one or both of these. If you don’t plan on measuring stuff, get the spoons anyway. Because, well…magnets are just fun.


POM Wonderful: The Truest Blood

POMtru blood bottle

OK, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that POM Wonderful (or any pomegranate juice) tastes like the synthetic blood featured on the increasingly popular HBO vampire series, True Blood.

Granted, I’ve never tasted synthetic blood, nor any blood for that matter. But even if it doesn’t taste like it, pomegranate juice sure looks like True Blood. It’s dark red and thick…with a slightly syrupy quality.

However, a more apt comparison for the product is V, the vampire blood turned human drug that comes from the same show. Like V, a drug so potent that only a drop evokes waves of hypnotic euphoria, pomegranate juice yields its own bounty: tons of life-prolonging antioxidants.

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An Electrolux Evening


And so it came to pass that yours truly took part in a truly unique cooking event set in the basement of art studio in Soho.

Kinda random, huh?

The event was sponsored by Electrolux, maker of fine kitchen appliances, and featured Executive Chef of Brooklyn’s River Cafe, Brad Steelman, preparing three dishes and (and several passed hors d’oeuvres) using Electrolux products.

Let’s get to it…

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It’s Jerky Time!


I’m not a big beef jerky fan. I say this not because I’ve tasted a lot of jerky in my life and can’t stand the stuff. Rather, it’s just one of those fringe foodstuffs that rarely, if ever, crosses my mind.

Until, that is, I received a sampling of Garlic Parmesan Beef Jerky from the good folks at the Green Light Jerky Company.

jerkyThe first thing I noticed upon opening the package was that it looked different. Instead of a red, slightly rubberized dog treat, the pouch contained  asymmetrical strips of brown meat-bark. It certainly looked as all-natural as the website promised.

The Smell

Opening the pouch yielded a smell like none other. Smokey, salty, rich and spicy – this was possibly the most evocative scent I’ve experienced in quite a while. Each time I opened it in subsequent days, the smell hit me like a locomotive. They could probably package this smell and sell it as a manly air freshener: Carnivore Potpourri.

Taste and Texture

What really surprised me about the taste was not the flavors, which I had anticipated liking based on the smell, but the texture. Dryer than dry, this really was the tree bark of the meat world. I know this reference will be lost on most, but I could only think of Hugh Jackman’s performance in the sci-fi head-scratcher, The Fountain, in which a man keeps himself alive indefinitely by partaking of the bark of the Tree of Life. Although, I’m fairly sure even the Tree of Life didn’t taste this good.

Green Light has five other flavors to choose from, and while I can’t vouch for all of them, I’d very much doubt that there’s a rotten one in the bunch.

So, what’re you waiting for? Go get some already!


Oh man, I forgot about these!

Until, that is, I saw them at my local supermarket and had to call on all my strength not to buy every available box.

While tearing through these like Violet Beauregarde in a Wrigley’s gum outlet, I discovered two things I never knew about these tasty treats:

  1. They’re New York City icons. The cookies were first sold in Hoboken, New Jersey (across the river from Manhattan), and a full 70% of all boxes sold are consumed within the immediate metropolitan area.
  2. They’re seasonal. Because the thin layer of dark chocolate melts easily in summer months, Nabisco only puts them out between September and April.

The first point accounts for why I haven’t seen these in a while (I’ve been in Boston and Philly in the last six years), while the second just makes me sad. I guess I’ll just have to stock up and save some boxes in my freezer.

Question: Aside from Cadbury Creme Eggs, what other regional or seasonal products do you stock up on?

A Wine Ferments in Yonkers Part II: The Unwhite Wine

I know you’ve all been eagerly awaiting the conclusion of the wine saga that started with this post.

Who am I kidding? No you’re not.

But in case you’re wondering how homemade Chardonnay turns out in the hands of two suburban retirees and their food-blogging son, that picture tells it all.

Although the darn thing wouldn’t clarify (even after many attempts at filtering) it went down fairly smoothly. I swear. It tasted like a decent white wine, despite its odd coloring.

And when you get down to it, wouldn’t you rather have a better tasting wine than a better looking wine? I thought so.

* By the way, that’s my wife’s hand, not mine.

A Wine Ferments in Yonkers

Despite an inspired notion now and then, I’m not what one would call “a good gift giver.”

I tend to buy mostly gifts in boxes and I tend to buy them late. Sometimes I forget to buy them altogether.

This situation can add up to some pretty wacky gifts. Case in point: the make-your-own Chardonnay kit I got for my mom one Christmas (or birthday or Mother’s Day). It’s not that it’s a bad gift in general; it’s just that my mom really doesn’t drink too much wine any more and I don’t think she was ever a big fan of drinking Chardonnay, let alone making a few bottles worth.

Not surprisingly, the wine kit has spent the better part of a year in my parents’ garage, during which time we probably could have started a private label wine company. While combing through the aforementioned garage for stuff to sell, I came across the box, dragged it out, and decided to kick start the process myself.

The first step was sterilization of equipment. Using the included solvent, I scrubbed down every plastic piece as if each was a life-saving surgical tool. One thing to be prepared for is that there are a lot of little powders included in wine-making, so be sure you separate the sterilization stuff from the rest. This will ensure that your wine doesn’t kill you… quickly.

Next, you combine the viscous concentrate, which is stored in this funky looking space-age bag, with some filtered water to make the… let’s call it “pre-wine.” For some reason, the concentrate is really dark, which I found strange for a supposedly white wine mix. But maybe losing pigment is part of the fermentation process.

Regardless, the next step is to get the pre-wine into the plastic wine cube, as they say in the business. This involves the complex process of siphoning: putting liquid on one level and a container on a lower level, and adding a tube.

My parents’ kitchen was slowly transforming into Mr. Wizard.

To finish off the first day’s worth of activities, you screw on this other plastic doohickey, fill it halfway with water, and let the whole contraption stand for many, many moons (I think about 12 days).

The folks just today checked in on the stuff and siphoned it back out of the wine cube and back into it again. My mom reports that the liquid is now a mysterious amber color.

Check back in late August for another update.