Monday, December 14, 2009

Warm Delights

Warm Delights is a cake product from Betty Crocker. It is the type of product my students rave about. Being that I am the consummate student, I decided to try this product and see what all the fuss was about.

So I headed off to my local grocery store and purchased one package of molten caramel flavor Warm Delights mini. I was amazed that the bagger was so enthused about my purchasing this product. With a great deal of enthusiasm, she told me this was a totally great product. When asked what was so good about this product, her response was “It is quick and easy”. I thought, gee, she said nothing about the quality of the product, nothing about the flavor, texture, just quick and easy.

I brought my package of Warm Delights back for a taste test. Luckily, I work with a group of people that are always willing to subject themselves to taste tests. My sous chef, 10-year old Carson actually made the cake. It was simple. Remove the mountain of packaging material. Dump the cake mix into the bowl and add 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon of water and stir. Next squeeze the caramel packaging 10 times, now that’s precision for you. Squeeze it over the cake and microwave for 30 seconds. Wait 2 minutes and ‘enjoy’.

We passed the cake around for our customary taste test. Carson, the 10 year old, stated “It’s okay”. My chocoholic coworker stated that “It is without structure”. Now how scientific is that. It was generally agreed that it was okay, but not great. Even though I wasn’t overly excited about the product, it did exceed my expectations and I am amazed at the amount of science required to develop this product. The development team was a group of brilliant scientists. It’s too bad they weren’t brilliant cooks.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Grilled Sandwich a la Paula Deen

I was watching Paula Deen make a grilled cheese sandwich. Paula was out of butter. I know it’s hard to believe Paula Deen would ever run out of butter. But according to her, she was out of butter. However, this little fact did not stop her from making a grilled cheese sandwich. She simply switched the butter to mayonnaise. I was shocked AND eager to see if it really worked. One day I was out of ideas for lunch and decided to make grilled cheese the way Paula did. I spread my mayonnaise on the outside, added the cheese, and heated up the pan. I must tell you it worked! I ended up with a nicely crisp sandwich and melted cheese. Now, I don’t think it was quite as flavorful as butter would have been. Mayonnaise may never replace butter, but in a pinch, I say try it. Be warned, mayonnaise contains a lot of fat. If you try this with a reduced or nonfat product, it may not work.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Foraging for Food

Since moving to the Midwest I have developed a fondness for cherry pie. Not the cherries, just the pie. A good cherry pie seems to be a little difficult to come by and the cherries are kind of expensive. Low and behold, my neighbor has a cherry tree. I asked if I could have enough for a pie. She graciously agreed, saying we don’t use them anyway. Take as many as you want.
I convinced a buddy of mine to go along on this little adventure. So off we went to pick cherries. My neighbor had even put the ladder out for us. Guess that was her way of saying, ‘you’re welcome’. Mind you, I had never picked cherries. Never even seen a cherry tree before moving to the Midwest. I asked my buddy about picking cherries. She promptly replied, “I don’t know. I have never done this before”. Darn, the only reason I brought her was because I thought she knew more than I did. Well, we are both college graduates. This couldn't be too difficult. In about an hour or so we managed to pick enough cherries for pies. We headed back to my house for the pitting session.
Saying that pitting cherries is a difficult job is an understatement. To get that little pit out without losing all the fruit is a challenge not easily accomplished. It took about 4 hours for two people to pit enough cherries for two pies. We added a little sugar and frozen them for later use.
I guess you are wondering what lesson I learned. I gained a new appreciation for pitted cherries. I no longer think cherries or cherry pie is expensive. I don’t know who I am going to feed my cherry pie to, but they had better appreciate it. ‘Cause picking and pitting is not a job to be taken lightly.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My Very Own Blog

There is an old saying, ‘be careful what you ask for, you just might get it’. For quite some time I have been trying to figure out how to build a community of people interested in food. My bosses handed it to me on a ‘silver platter’. Why don’t you blog, they said. Well why not. And here is the first installment. I do hope that you will find some interesting and entertaining and thought provocative readings around food. We may not always agree, but let’s keep the discussion open, that way; we can all grow and learn.