Posts Tagged ‘Blend’

Hello Everyone!  Since my last blog post did get some attention toward my Kickstarter campaign, I thought I’d come back and try again, since we’re trying again with a new Kickstarter Campaign!

52teas3The goal of the last campaign was a bit too big and I wasn’t able to attain that goal.  However, we have now reached the goal for the new campaign and if all continues to go well with it – we’ll successfully take over 52Teas!

As those of you who have read my past reviews are probably aware, I’m a bit of tea freak and this acquisition is a DREAM coming true for me.  I hope that you’ll all support me and help me make this dream a reality!

While we have reached the goal – we still could really use your help in reaching the stretch goals of the campaign.  We want a new website and we need some other equipment and the extra boost of those stretch goals will help make those things happen for me.

So PLEASE – visit my Kickstarter campaign and contribute what you can to help us!

I’ll reward you with some awesome tea!  And really, is there a better reward than tea?

bananasplit

Photo from Mama’s Magic Mix website.
Click on the pic to go there.

Ingredients:

freeze dried bananas and strawberries, salted peanuts, caramel puffs & chocolate covered graham crackers

I received a pouch of this snack mix in my January Love with Food Box.

Tea Suggestion:

With this salty and sweet snack, I went with something light and crisp:  White Tea!  And one of my favorite White Teas as of late is this Makaibari Bai Mu Dan from Tea People.

What I Think:

This mix is not at all what I expected when I opened the package.  What I expected was granola, I suppose, although now that I read the package again I don’t know why it is that expected this to be granola because it doesn’t actually say granola anywhere on the package.

It’s a “mix” of dried fruit, nuts, crunchy graham cracker-y “cookie” like things that are coated with chocolate (although there were only 2 of these in the bag), and at the top of the pouch there were these “puffs” of sweetness that tasted a bit like a sweetened cereal.

I had about six of those tasty cereal puff things that sat right at the top of the package, and when I looked into the package when I first opened it, it appeared that these were the only thing in the package so I was surprised when I fished out a strawberry piece … and all the puffs were gone!  Had I known that there was more to the package than just those puffs I would have poured the mix into a bowl and saved some of those puffs for last because like I said, they were the tastiest part of this weird mix.

I enjoyed the individual ingredients of the mix.  The cereal puff things were tasty.  They were actually the tastiest part of this mix.  Then there was a layer of freeze dried strawberries and I liked those, as well as the three pieces of freeze dried banana.  The peanuts … were peanuts and they weren’t bad.  They weren’t really salty though, and I guess that’s what I missed there.  The chocolate coated cookie things were alright although they were a bit … lacking in something.

But overall, this … just seemed like a very disjointed sort of snack mix.  Nothing really seemed to work together.  Even the dried strawberries and bananas didn’t really seemed to work together and that always seems to be a classic fruit combination.  The peanuts just didn’t work in this.  I liked that the fruit was freeze dried because I do enjoy the light crispness of freeze dried fruit, but when combined with the peanuts and the other components … it just all seemed a bit like a jumbled mess.

My Final Thoughts:

This was alright.  It was edible.  Is this something I’d buy again?  No.  I found it to be a rather confusing combination of foods that didn’t really seem to go together at all.

Where to Buy:  La Vigne Organics on Foodzie

Price:  $30. for a case of 24 Fruit Leathers

Product Description:

100% Organic Kumquat blend Fruit Leather. Made by hand from Organic Persimmons and Kumquats grown on our farm.

What I Think:

Tasty!

I’ve found many different fruit leathers in local grocery stores, but I don’t think I’ve ever found one made of Persimmons and Kumquats.

But that’s not all that makes this one stand above the rest.  Unlike some other fruit leathers that I’ve tried, this is soft.  Chewy, yes, but it isn’t “beef jerky” tough to bite into.  It has a pleasing texture that is chewy without being tough.

I haven’t had a kumquat in a long time – when I was young we lived near a condominium complex that had a kumquat tree and we would often walk down there and snatch one or two off of the tree.  Since that time, I’ve found them occasionally in the grocery store but they never looked appealing enough to me to inspire me to buy them.

The flavor is tart, but, there is enough sweetness to this to keep it from tasting too pucker-y sour (I’m not a big fan of sour).  This tastes very much the way I remember from the ripe, beautiful kumquats that I used to pick off that tree when I was a kid.   The persimmon flavor is less evident, but, I can taste the mild sweetness of the persimmon.  Mostly what I’m tasting is kumquat, and it is delicious and memorable – just like those kumquats from my childhood.

I also appreciate that these contain no added sugar, only the naturally occurring sugars from the fruit puree.   They’re 100% organic, vegan, and absolutely dee-lish!

My Final Thoughts:

I really enjoyed these.  I don’t know that I enjoyed them enough to spend more than a dollar a piece for them (at $30 a case, the price per unit is $1.25) but, who knows?  Maybe by next week I’ll find myself craving them to the point where I break down and shell out the money for a case.  It really isn’t to terribly expensive, as the leathers are larger than the typical grocery store fruit leather, and it certainly tastes better than anything I’ve found in the local market.   Just wait, I’ll talk myself into these eventually!

Where to Buy:  Justin’s Online or in select stores

Price:  $5.99 for a 16 ounce jar

Product Description:

I don’t know kung fu and I’ve never learned to play the piano, but what I do know is how to make peanut butter really, really well.  Some people might consider my single-minded obsession with nut butters to be a waste of time, but I disagree.  Can you kung fu a piece of celery into tasting better?  I think not.

What I Think:

As with the two other nut butters that I’ve tried thus far from Justin’s, I am tasting this with a slice of toasted 8-grain bread and apple slices.

As with the classic peanut butter, the consistency is smooth and creamy.  Occasionally, I’ll pick up a tiny (teeny-tiny!) chunk of peanut.  Since my review of Justin’s Classic Peanut Butter, I’ve been contemplating how to explain the difference in flavor between Justin’s nut butters and everyone else’s (or at least those that I’ve tried).  It’s not just the flavor (although the flavor difference is significant), it’s the texture.  Yes, this is creamy and smooth, just like a creamy peanut butter off the grocery store shelf … but this has a less processed kind of texture to it.  You can not only taste the individual ingredients, but you can feel them too.  This tastes (and feels) real … like someone who really cared about the product made this.  Or… if I can borrow a phrase from Chef Carla Hall, I can taste the “love” in this.

This Honey Peanut Butter blend tastes very much like the Classic Peanut Butter, but it is sweeter.  I can taste the honey, but it isn’t a strong or overpowering note.  It is subtle.  Unlike the Classic Peanut Butter, which is made with no sugar, it has a sweetness to it, but it isn’t cloy.  This nut butter does not rely upon the honey as it’s main flavor component, it is an accent to the main event:  the peanuts!

My Final Thoughts:

A delicious combination of sweet, nutty, and salty.  Justin’s is what peanut butter SHOULD be.

Where to Buy:  Woody’s Gourmet on Foodzie

Product Description:

Most truffle sea salts use dehydrated truffles. Woody’s Gourmet takes that a big step further by using FRESH TRUFFLES. After sea salt, real French black truffle is the second ingredient. The aromatic scent is out of this world and has been know to drive people to do impulsive things.

And oh yeah, it has a complex flavor profile that you will love too! Our proprietary method of Wet Infusion™ blends essential oils from fresh ingredients with sea salt. This blend is bursting with complexity that will surprise you.

What I Think:

Oh, my!  This stuff is absolutely INCREDIBLE!  This has to be the first time ever that I’ve eaten a burger without anything except meat, seasoning and bun.  No cheese.  No ketchup or mustard, no lettuce, tomato or onion.  Not even my beloved bread-and-butter pickles which I previously believed MUST be on every burger I would eat.  (Of course, I did have a couple of pickles on the side!)

And without any embellishment other than this sea salt blend, the burger ended up being the BEST burger I’ve ever eaten.  This Black Truffle & Fresh Thyme Herb Sea Salt made the most delicious, mouth-watering, savory burger experience I’ve ever had.  And I even pan-fried the burger, I didn’t grill it!

The salt blend is a little on the moist side – which I guess is because the herbs are fresh.  But even though it was moist and therefore “clumped” in places on the burger rather than sprinkled evenly, my burger didn’t taste over-salted.

As I would have expected, the salt gave the burger a nice flavor – bringing out the meaty flavor that I wanted.  But then… there’s the truffle!  It gave the meat an earthy depth and a savory quality that lingers on the palate – my burger is now devoured and even though I am no longer hungry, I find myself wanting more truffle … more of that mouth-watering sensation.

The thyme enhances that earthy quality, and gives it a slightly woody taste as well as a fresh, herb-y character.  And, similar to the Rosemary & Sage Sea Salt blend, it is very skillfully minced in this blend – no tiny branches or stems.

After trying this blend, I realize another thing that makes these sea salt blends from Woody’s Gourmet so special… the salt is not only blended with the herbs, because fresh herbs are used, the sea salt is actually INFUSED with the flavors.  The fresh herbs really do make a big difference!

My Final Thoughts:

I love this stuff.  I had hoped I wouldn’t … because I would feel a little guilty keeping truffle salt in the pantry (it won’t be the most reasonably priced item in my pantry, to be sure!) but, I’ve determined that it is well worth the price.  I can’t wait to try it on a steak!

In May’s Tasting Box, I received a sample of this as well as the Black Truffle & Fresh Thyme Sea Salt.  I had originally planned to have this review encompass both salt blends, but, since I didn’t use them together, I will write about them separately.  Here, I will talk about the Fresh Rosemary & Sage Herb Sea Salt…

Where to Buy:  Woody’s Gourmet on Foodzie

Product Description:

Intense fresh rosemary and sage aromas collaborate with the flavors of garlic and hints of black pepper to create a truly versatile accompaniment to many of your favorite dishes. Our proprietary method of Wet Infusion™ blends essential oils from fresh herbs with sea salt. This blend is bursting with complexity that will surprise you.

And yes, we are talking about sea salt in a whole new light. Use it as a meat rub or on poultry, pastas, potatoes, soups, even on salads, this versatile blend goes well on most dishes. Anytime you would use salt, use Woody’s Gourmet. Try it and see if you agree.

What I Think:

I decided to use this on some roast potatoes.  To prepare, I cut the potatoes in small, bite-sized chunks, drizzled with olive oil, and tossed with pepper, freshly minced garlic, and about a teaspoon of this salt blend.  I baked the potatoes at 400° F until golden brown and cooked through.

YUM!  I used to use Kosher salt all the time, but, I have since discovered that I prefer the flavor imparted by sea salt.  The sea salt really brought out the savory flavor of the rosemary and sage, and helped conquer the bitter note that would normally be tasted with these herbs.  The rosemary has a lovely pine-like taste to it which I really liked, and the sage gave a delicious, earthy flavor to the potatoes.

I also had great success with this sprinkled on some Pollack fillets before baking.  A rather simple preparation, but with results that exceeded my expectations.  My entire family devoured their dinner!

The best thing about this blend is that it does all the work for me.  I love using fresh herbs, but I am not crazy about preparing the fresh herbs when I cook; because of this, I don’t use a lot of fresh herbs.  It may seem a bit trivial, but, I have never been one who enjoys preparation, I am usually a “fly by the seat of my pants” kind of cook.  This blend lets me do my thing the way I want without having to prepare for it!   And, I didn’t get any of the tough leaves or withy branches with the rosemary – something that I usually have a difficult time avoiding when I chop my own fresh rosemary.  Awesome!

My Final Thoughts:

While I was excited to try this blend, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to use it on.  I thought I needed to use it on something super fancy to do it justice.  But as it turns out, it takes something as humble as potatoes and turns it into something fancy … and delicious!