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Omnivore Food Blog By Suzanne Podhaizer

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February 2008

February 29, 2008

Snacking on Boing Boing

Scary how time's a fresh installment of weird and exotic food stuff from Boing Boing.


One trend this time around is unusual art. For example, sculptures by Jodie Carey made partially of royal icing. What's so weird about that? Carey uses delicate flowers made of the stuff to decorate images of human bones. And she's made five arrangement out of newspaper flowers dyed with blood, tea and coffee. Tasty.

Prefer flesh to bones? Then you'll enjoy Victoria Reynolds' lush paintings of raw meat. Stylistically, these babies look as though they should be hanging in the Louvre. Thematically, they look as though they should be on the walls at your local butcher shop. If you're lucky enough to have a local butcher shop.

A more wasteful example is a huge statue of a woman made from peaches. It's to promote a skin-care company. I bet the message will be less inspiring when she turns into a sodden, rotting mess. Same goes for a more abstract piece in which artist Stefan Sagmeister covered a really large wall with bananas.

This one is also edible (although it doesn't look it), but it's art nonetheless. It's an R2D2 cake! And an inedible version of the little guy made out of a beer barrel.

And then there's the video of the mostly naked guy wearing a horse's head and cooking wild mushrooms. Must be seen to be believed.


Some mad genetic scientists went messing around with onions in an effort to make them "tear-free."  All I have to say to them is: "You guys are wimps." Oh, and it's my understanding that the volatile compounds responsible for our tears have antioxidant properties. Luckily, this brilliant innovation won't make it to the market for 10 or 15 years. By which point a global water crisis will have far outweighed the suffering caused by alliums (or is it allia?).

Mastered the art of smashing beer cans on your head? Then you should learn how to melt a beer bottle in the microwave. Apparently a blow torch is also required, but just to "get things started."


I think it may actually be more difficult to follow than a traditional recipe, but perhaps visual learners will enjoy this diagram for preparing chicken with beer.

Kid Stuff

Tic-Tac-Toast. You press the little gadget into a piece of bread and it creates a tic-tac-toe board for condiments.

This is one of my faves. It's a TV commercial for a game called "Pie Face" which involves -- you guessed it -- getting smacked in the face by a mechanized "pie." The commercial encourages youngsters to ask their parents for whipped cream to use in the game. Yeah right!

So much for not playing with your food!

This Week's Farm Share: 2/28/08

Usually my Pete's Greens farm share arrives every Wednesday, but this week, due to a snowstorm, it came on Thursday. I swung by the pick-up point on my way to meet friends for a birthday party at American Flatbread.

Here's what we got:

A very pretty, unusually shaped loaf of Elmore Mountain Bread with blue cheese sprinkles
A big jar of crystallized local honey
Maplebrook Farm mozzerella
A bag of local flour
Lots of root veggies...haven't looked through them yet

And by the time you go to Flatbread, I recommend their home-brewed North Star Saison...very nice.

February 28, 2008

Chocolate and Scallops? Yeah Baby!

Didn't have the romantic, Valentine's Day dinner of your dreams? You can make up for it on March 5.

On that evening, Chef Aaron Millon of Montpelier's Restaurant Phoebe is teaming up with Nutty Steph -- the famous granola maker who recently added a chocolate factory to her business -- to present a 7-course chocolate pairing menu.

What the heck is a chocolate pairing? Think cocoa-dusted sea scallops with a coconut and potato "pave" and a rich elk steak with a chocolate-hazelnut glaze and sweet potato and cranberry risotto. Talk about swoon-worthy...and that's just two of the courses!

Alongside the savory stuff, of course, is dessert: hot "triple chocolate" with espresso crème, and white chocolate ice cream with passion fruit foam.

The evening promises to be playful, delicious and sensual, and completely out of the ordinary. I made a reservation as soon as I heard about it, so if you attend, make sure to stop by and say hello. I'll be the girl with the huge, goofy grin on her face...But I might not be the only one.

The meal is $55 a person, or $80 if you want the optional wine pairing, which includes five matching quaffs. Open seating begins at 5 p.m. Call 262-3500 for reservations.



Contest Winning Poems from Mary's Restaurant's at the Inn at Baldwin Creek

Each year, Mary's Restaurant at the Inn at Baldwin Creek runs a romantic poetry contest leading up to Valentine's Day. Poems may be of any style or meter, but must be composed at the restaurant -- no crib sheets allowed. Owner Linda Harmon says that they typically receive nearly 200 entries. Whew! Usually Author Chris Bohjalian wades through the entires and plucks out the finest offerings, but this year he was unavailable. The honor went to a regular customer, instead.

According to Chef-Owner Doug Mack, some years the poems lean towards the hot & heavy, other years they're super sweet and romantic. How about this year? Mack noticed that many of the love poems were addressed to food, rather than to other people. Check out the 2nd and 3rd prize winners, for examples.


Here are the top three. I transcribed them from handwritten versions as written (with ampersands, punctuation, spelling exactly as is).

You Weren't Supposed to Be
by Chad Whittemore of Burlington

I never thought I'd meet you and then
I saw you there
You had an amazing smile and a special
kind of flare
Your eyes were true & honest
Your heart an open book
With each word you whispered you
had me by a hook
We took it slow and as you know
our love it surely grew
Without a doubt you know without
my love for you is true
I looked 35 years to find the love
I have with you today
To think I thought the love
we share would never come
my way.
I said back then a love
like ours wasn't meant
to be
But there you stood &
Stole my heart & you &
I became we!

Ode to Garlic Soup
by Hillary Sherman & Erik Van Hauer of Burlington

I'm here with someone else you see
It simply isn't meant to be
but every time you touch my lip
I find I crave for one more sip

You're tickling deep inside my chest
a feeling that I find the best
You're absolutely tops to spoon
and when you're around I always swoon.

I may be heading home with him
but he knows where these lips have been
When we grow close he doth recoil
At poignant scent of garlic oil

When you put my love to the test
It's garlic soup that I love the best

by Catherine LaBarre of Bristol

The roses were orange
the olives were Greek
there's nothing we enjoy more
than the Inn at Baldwin Creek

February 24, 2008

Cake from Sunflower Bakery

Img_4001 After I mentioned her home business in one of my articles, "Party On...Consciously," Sunflower Bakery owner Janet Makaris dropped off a gorgeous cake at the Seven Days office. It's made with spelt flour with a layer of lemon curd (one of my favorite things) and maple fondant on top. And as you can see, was decorated with a beautiful flower.

We'd never had a cake made with a non-wheat flour before -- Janet specializes in baking with alternative flours and sweeteners -- and my husband mentioned his surprised by how light it is. He associates spelt with dense, nutritious breads.

The fondant was very sweet, but the tang of the lemon curd provided balance. It was decadent so we had small pieces, and I can't wait to have another one tonight!

February 23, 2008

Food Articles From

Thought these articles from Slate might be of interest...

~ Is Frozen Orange Juice Concentrate Better for the Environment (I hope not)

~ How Hungry is Hillary Clinton, by the sassy Mimi Sheraton. I wonder if anyone has done the same kind of analysis with Obama?

This Week's Farm Share: 2/20/08

Since I get an amazing, year-round farm share through Pete's Greens "Good Eats" CSA, I thought it might interest some folks to hear about the products that I get each week (and maybe even a little about what I do with 'em). The contents of the share changes every time, and it is varied enough to dispel the notion that it's impossible to eat seasonally while living in Vermont's cold climate.

This week, I got:

A whole round of Jasper Hill's Constant Bliss
A big bag of frozen strawberries
dried local cranberries (really good)
Oat & Barley bread
A dozen eggs
banana fingerling potatoes

Béquet Caramels

Awards Today, while shopping for lunch at the Fresh Market on Pine Street in Burlington, I discovered a brand of caramels I hadn't seen before. Called Béquet, the sweets are made in Montana and come in flavors such as maple, salt-chocolate, "soft" and "chewy."

I opted for a trio: chipotle, espresso and salt. All three were delightful: soft, buttery and sweet, with just the right amount of chile, coffee and salt. I highly recommend these to caramel fans.

If you wanna learn more about the company, check out this article.

* The photo is from the Béquet website

February 20, 2008

Twizzlers vs. Red Vines

I owe our awesome, locally owned video store a bunch of money -- more than I'm currently willing to pony up. So, after years of swearing that I never would, I got a membership card to the evil, corporate video store. You know which one I mean. Most of my films arrive via Netflix anyway, but sometimes D. and I want to plow through a whole season of some TV show without interruption, and making a few trips to the video store is part of the deal.

The other day, while after a few discs of LOST, I noticed a package of Red Vines, a red, twisty, rope-like candy I've never seen before. My immediate thought was: "How do these compare to Twizzlers?" I bought a package of each...

Red Vines

Ingredients: Corn syrup, wheat flour, citric acid, artificial flavor, red 40
Packaging: A wax-coated paper tray with a plastic covering. The retro script is reminiscent of comic books or old horror film. Red, white and blue.
Appearance: Rough texture, with a matte finish. Slightly twistier.
Aroma: Very mild and sweet. When you stick your nose inside the package there's a rather nauseating smell, but maybe that's from the paper they use in the packaging?
Mouthfeel: Slightly rough against the tongue and densely chewy. A bit sticky between the teeth. Takes some work to bite off a piece.
Flavor: Sweet, fake fruit with a tiny sour note at the end. I find the final flavor a little off.


Ingredients: Corn syrup, wheat flour, sugar, cornstarch, palm oil, salt, artificial flavor, glycerin, citric acid, potassium sorbate (preservative), red 40, soy lecithin.
Packaging: All plastic, pretty generic script. Also red, white and blue.
Appearance: Completely smooth and shiny. Bottom is flatter than top.
Aroma: Sweeter and fake fruitier.
Mouthfeel: Smooth and easy to bite into. Dense, but not as sticky.
Flavor: Fake fruit and sweetness that grows stronger as you chew. Stronger pseudo-fruit flavor on the finish.

Overall, I like the Twizzlers a little better than the Red Vines, not because I find them delicious but because they lack a flavor note that I found unpleasant. It's the lesser of two artificially-flavored evils, I guess.

Perhaps my familiarity with Twizzlers is skewing the results, although I didn't really grow up eating 'em, and they've never been one of my favorite candies (I'm a Nerds fan from way back, though).

A Must(ard) Read...

Funny NYT bit on mustard a couple days ago. I adore condiments and have a soft spot for mustard in particular, so I was quite amused.

Need more mustard? Check out the website for the Mount Horeb Mustard Museum!

Want some pickles with your mustard? Here's another Bruni condiment post...

(Are pickles a condiment? My sister, brother and I eat 'em like they're the main course!)

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