Category Archives: Taste

Green Beans and Cantaloupe

It was time to sauté the green beans…but the cantaloupe sitting on the shelf whispered excitedly “me too, me too!”

Peculiar mixture, but I obliged.

It was delicious! Throw in a few big basil leaves at the end, also.

Sauteed green beans and cantaloupe

Sauteed green beans and cantaloupe


Wine Bars and Wooden Tables

Last week, we went out with friends to a French wine bar, Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels. The ambiance was warm, classy, and inviting. The company was fantastic, the wines were flowing, and the bread! Oh, the bread was good enough to be classified as dessert– on its own, with no butter or anything on it. That did not stop us, however, from anointing the pieces of bread with other delicious foodstuffs like cheese, raisins, and honey. What a wonderful night.

Also of note was the design within the wood grain of the tables. While I’m going to guess they were manufactured like this, I had a fun few minutes pretending that the heart-shaped designs in the wood were all-natural. Even still, I felt it worthy of being added to my “hearts” collection.


Hot Chocolate

I was having such a hankering for hot chocolate for the last few weeks. Not that powdered, packaged, Swiss Miss stuff- nosirree, I wanted the “real thing”. And finally, I got it. This past Saturday evening, I settled in for a relaxing evening at home with a small cup of decadent, rich hot chocolate. It was soothing and delightful, the thickness of it so palpable against my tongue.

This particular hot chocolate was made with Chocolove’s dark chocolate bar with crystalized ginger. Heavenly. Something to savor. What made it even more interesting to the senses was the bits of crystalized ginger that remained in the liquid. I’m a big fan of ginger and its warming effects on the body (and one’s psyche, if you are willing to open yourself up to noticing it and succumbing to it).

Nights with hot chocolate are always a treat….

chocolove, dark chocolate with crystalized ginger

little cups of hot chocolate

Made with Chocolove’s Crystalized Ginger Dark Chocolate. Was delicious!

ravioli, Polaner All-Fruit

Breakfast Ravioli!

For Xmas Eve, we had fresh ravioli with dinner and in a stroke of inspiration, I had an idea for the extra raviolis that were not going to be served- save them for the morning after. How nice would they be once fried gently in butter, maybe with a dusting of powdered sugar on top? I envisioned squishing a little jelly into their centers before frying them (I used strawberry Polaner all-fruit) and laying them into a pan of melted butter. Once golden brown, I gave them a dusting of powdered sugar and served with a tad more jelly on the side.

They were perfect. Just the right amount of sweetness to complement the ricotta and savory herbs with which they had already been stuffed. I expect I’ll be doing this more often!

ravioli, Polaner All-Fruit

Breakfast ravioli with strawberry Polaner All-Fruit and a dusting of powdered sugar.

Fruity Fair Trade Chocolate

If you haven’t already noticed, I am a chocolate lover of the highest degree. One of my latest favorites is a bar by Madecasse, heirloom Madagascar cocoa. I love the fruity notes present in the chocolate. It is truly as described, “bright with a fruity finish”.

I love the careful attention that was paid to the packaging.The chocolate lover has a little work to do in order to get to those luscious morsels, starting with untying the small tie at the top of the bar. Lift open the flap. Bring your nose a little closer and breathe in deeply. At next glance, you’ll see that the bar is wrapped in foil. Tear it open gently and break off a rectangle. Pop it in your mouth and savor it.

Madecasse, chocolate bar, fair trade

Madecasse bar

broccoli rabe, arugula, chicken, lemon pizza

Getting Our Greens (and Carbs!)- Pizza with Broccoli Rabe & Arugula

I had some arugula in the refrigerator and a vision of pizza in my mind. On my trip to the store, the pizza crusts were on sale, further proof of the “meant to be” serendipitous nature of my culinary idea.

First, I set to work zesting a little lemon, juicing it and mixing it with some olive oil, basil, and parsley. I let the mixture settle into the chicken breast I was about to saute (in butter).

Next, I chopped up the garlic that is so necessary for broccoli rabe. It emitted its familiar aroma. Washing the broccoli rabe, I took note of its crisp leaves, which always feels like the sound of the word “cruciferous” to me. I cooked it up, watching its green color deepen and its leaves start to wilt. I also added some red pepper flakes for a little extra oomph.

After the chicken and brocooli rabe were cooked up, I went to work dressing up the pizza crusts- one with marinara sauce, one without. Then I spooned the broccoli rabe on top. Amply sprinkled shredded cheese over it. Arugula. Raw onion slivers. Chicken. More cheese. On the sauce-free one, I added the leftover lemon juice and butter.

Baked them for 22-25 minutes and admired them once out of the oven. The onion with its crisp burnt edges, the chicken with its burst of lemony flavor. Aaaahhhhh……

Wait, Why Are There Mushrooms in My Chocolate?!

I love the World Market section at one of my local Bed, Bath, and Beyond stores. I became acquainted with World Market several years ago but didn’t have one close by. While it doesn’t have all the departments that a “real” World Market store would have, at least there is a food section, which I become engrossed in during every visit.

I’ve tried some of the World Market chocolates, but I’m also happy to see other brands- Chocolove, Vosges, and Madecasse. On my latest visit, I got deeply discounted Vosges and Madecasse bars. I was so excited. Granted, the flavors were not necessarily tops on my list, but at the unbeatable prices, I had to try them. Yes, even the Super Dark Reishi Mushroom & Walnut bar. Who on earth would have thought to put mushroom bits into chocolate?

Vosges, Super Dark, chocolate

Vosges Super Dark Reishi Mushroom and Walnut

On more careful reflection, I realized that my question is unwarranted, as I myself have done some unusual things with chocolate (one day I will tell you about them). So I gave this bar a try. I was really impressed! I liked the “earthy” taste that the mushroom gave to the chocolate. It wasn’t even an acquired taste for me– I instantly liked it. I hadn’t even heard of the reishi mushroom up until this point. How interesting that it is considered the “mushroom of immortality”, touted as an antioxidant with the power to suppress the growth of tumors, heal the lungs, and suppress coughs (among other things).

Is there enough of this mushroom in the chocolate to make a difference? I wouldn’t know, but at the very least, it offers an interesting taste journey…enough to give it its own space on my sensory blog.

Moroccan Beef Stew Revisited

I had a lot of leftovers from the Moroccan beef stew, so I doctored it up a bit when i reheated it. I took some pine nuts and toasted them in a little grapeseed oil, then added some leftover kale from a recent side dish and also plopped in the leftover couscous. I simmered it with some beer and beef stock, then added some of the beef stew. Yum!

Moroccan beef stew re-doMorccan beef stew re-do2

Oddly-Flavored Tea Favorably Tickles Palate

I have never been a big tea drinker. I had inherited my mother’s “tea is for when you are sick” stance on the beverage and my father’s penchant for coffee, but in recent years I’ve become a bit more fond of the stuff. I’m intrigued by the different flavor palettes and countries of origin, and as I educate myself, I’ve come to learn that tea is far more than the Lipton of my youth.

I attended the 2013 Coffee and Tea Festival in NYC and became even further acquainted with tea. In our gift bags, we received several different samples, a few of which came from Numi Tea’s Savory Tea collection- Tomato Mint and Carrot Curry. They were both pretty odd in that the flavors are unexpected for beverages, but…I fell in love with them. There is just something about that crazy savory taste and aroma that gets me every time.

Now, I’m not as enthused about the Carrot Curry as the Tomato Mint, but the latter definitely pleases me every time. I’ve come to enjoy the “ritual” of boiling water, eagerly opening the pack holding the tea bag, and plopping it in, pouring the water into my favorite gigundo mug, and waiting (patiently. Wait, am I waiting patiently? It seems to be the proper way to wait, but I’m not sure how effective I have been at this patience thing) until the tea is ready.

Numi tea, tomato mint tea, aroma, tea, tea culture, taste

Tomato Mint Numi Tea

I love the different tastes that emerge as I drink. The tomato, the little hint of cool mint, cinnamon, and lemon. I get it now- there is just something majestic about sipping a cup of tea! I’m glad that I have started to include it in my sensory reveries!

Tomato Mint Numi Tea