I guess it has something to do with winter coming but I always want to start cooking at this time of the year. All summer long I live on salads, fresh fruit, toast and iced tea but when the days get short and the air gets cold I get to the kitchen. One of my problems these days is I have NO time -- I can't justify excursions into Boston or various places in search of a special treat but as things are now I can find amazing things online and here are my four latest finds:
I was reading about the real Mexican chocolate and the fabulous hot chocolate like that made in the movie "Chocolat". Problem is the store that carries it is a 3 hour round trip drive for me and I don't have a spare three hours. So I went online and the ever-reliable Amazon of all places yielded this store: Taza Chocolate. They carry the very chocolate shown in the article I read in the original chocolate, vanilla, cinnamon and chili!!! I placed an order and it should be here any day. Now all I need is Johnny Depp!
My Spice Sage
I was dying to make a rice pudding recipe that I love which required whole green cardamom pods. I went to the local grocery store and discovered they were $14.99 per ounce! Let me tell you there was a time when I paid that much for an ounce of pot!!! So I went online and discovered My Spice Sage! What a great place! The cardamom pods were $3.99 per ouce. Plus on the day I placed my order they were giving away 8 Madagascar Vanilla Beans with every order. So for the price of an ounce of cardamom here in town I got an ounce of cardamom, 4 ounces each of smoked Spanish Paprika, and ground Chipotle pepper powder, and 8 vanilla beans. The order arrived in three days and everything so far is delicious (I did indulge in a few more spices). Lusciousness.
In my never ending quest to find a way to cook great food while keeping carbs down, I read about using nut flours instead of wheat flour in cooking. This seemed like such a good idea I had to look into it and that's how I found Nuts.com. They have everything -- coffee, spices, dried fruits, 44 different salad toppers, and, of course, nuts. I ordered hazelnut flour and chestnut flour to get started along with a bunch of other goodies like pistachio paste and several different passion fruit products since I just can't get enough of passionfruit. I placed my order at 2:30pm Friday and it was delivered at 11am Saturday! How can you beat that? Just now I put 1/2 cup of hazelnut flour in a bowl with a teaspoon of onion powder and a heaping teaspoon of the Smoked Spanish Paprika from Sage Spice. Stir it up, get a pan with a little cooking oil in it piping hot. Roll some boneless skinless chicken thighs in the mixture and sate them until they are crispy and golden on both sides. Reduce heat and let them cook for 20 minutes. Heaven! Just heaven.
Valley Nut and Fruit
Continuing with the desire to improve nutrition while lowering carbs I wanted to find some fresh nut butters which lead me to Valley Nut and Fruit. They don't have a vast selection of products but they had what I wanted: fresh nut butters in 1 and 4 pound jars. I decided to start out with hazelnut, pistachio and macadamia but they also offer pecan, almond, brazil, walnut, cashew, and pumpkin seed. The order hasn't arrived yet (I placed it last night so I guess that's why) but I'm looking forward to it. I'm a big fan of When Pigs Fly's Lo-Carb and Multi-Grain Anadama Bread so the idea of starting my work day with their toast and a delicious nut butter (with a cup of French Market Chicory Coffee) sounds like heaven to me.
The risotto is cooking now. I'll let you know when it is done....
Thanks for reading.