Olivia Dish

Archive for the ‘Taste Tests’ Category

Cronut in a Can?

In Homemade, Sweets, Taste Tests on July 7, 2013 at 9:38 pm
Image

Could these become cronuts?

The trademarked treats are supposed to taste like fried heaven. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to get your hands on one of these $5 sugar bombs unless you wake at dawn and wait in line at the bakery for two hours. Or pay a scalper.”

–Anne Kadet in The Wall Street Journal

I’ve read about the cronut craze and wondered what could possibly be so great about a hunk of fried dough…..so great that people wait in block-long lines and fight with each other.

So great that the creator has trademarked the name.

A name that, by the way, left me cold.  Cronut.  Too much like Cro Magnon man.  Crone. Crows gone wild. Croak.

For years, I’ve made trashy donuts from canned biscuits.  As I saw yet another story about these things, I wondered:

If a cronut was a croissant that’s been friend like a donut, could I make trashy cronuts (or to be safe, perhaps I should say croughnuts) from crescent rolls in a can?

If so, then this whole thing might genuinely amuse me.

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Too Sweet, By Half

In Homemade, Sweets, Taste Tests on December 14, 2012 at 12:37 am
sugar

Would Jeni’s ice cream be as splendid with half the sugar?

I wrote a while back about making Backyard Mint ice cream as instructed by the Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home recipe book.

The results were mixed: I loved the scoopability but didn’t like how sweet it was.

In fact, it was so sweet that I didn’t bother making it again. Or experimenting with it.

I just went back to my old standby recipe, one I liked pretty darned much as it was.

Then a few days ago, I found a comment under the Jeni’s post.

Nadya wrote:

I was just wondering if you’ve tried a version with less sugar since?? I received this book as a gift and have tried two recipes so far. They both have been overwhelmingly sweet for my taste, but i did enjoy the creamy texture. Any luck cutting some of the sugar out?

I wasn’t alone! Someone else found the recipes too sweet. I was finally inspired to try cutting the sugar, to see what happened.

So I pulled out the book, got my hands on some fresh mint, and gave it another go.

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Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream

In Cookbooks, Homemade, Sweets, Taste Tests on August 1, 2012 at 6:28 pm
book

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams At (my) Home

I knew from the moment I saw it that I would eventually buy the Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home recipe book.

I’m a bit of an ice cream making nut, myself.

I’ve also been to Jeni’s original shop in Columbus‘s North Market.

I’ve been reading about this woman and the magic she works for years.

Maybe you, like me, expect homemade ice cream to be different from store-bought stuff–not as scoopable, say, but the flavor makes up for it.

Jeni has experimented–and studied chemistry–to fine-tune her recipes, so that you can have your flavor-packed homemade ice cream and scoop it too.

The recipes work.  Everyone says so.

But….do I like the ice cream?

I bought Jeni’s book this week. I thought the best place to start was comparing her version of fresh mint ice cream to the recipe I’ve worked out on my own over the years.

I had plenty of mint growing in my backyard, ready for Jeni’s Backyard Mint.

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Barbecue Spice Girl

In Homemade, Taste Tests on July 9, 2010 at 9:32 pm
homemade barbecue chips

The orange residue of shame

I’m sure I should prefer the fruit. Or even the circa 1980s pasta salad. But the shameful, orange-tinged truth is this: I’d rather have a side of barbecue potato chips.

I really can’t tell you why, on occasion, I lust for BPCs. After the first bite or two, they always leave me feeling dirty. And I’m not just talking about the residue (which, by the way, is as hard to clean up as fingerprint powder but that’s another story).  Even all-natural BPCs take on an aura of chemical fakeness about ten chips into your basic bag.

cape cod chips bag

More evidence: an empty bag

So I wondered, as I always do—what’s the attraction?  Standing in the checkout line at Fresh Market, I flipped over the perfectly respectable bag of kettle fried barbecue chips and looked at the ingredients.

Well what do you know? Paprika is a major ingredient. And as it happened, I had just put a can of smoked sweet paprika in my basket. Maybe a batch of homemade barbecue potato chips would help me get to the root of the thing.

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Dessert Donuts

In California, Dallas, Restaurant, Sweets, Taste Tests on September 23, 2009 at 9:09 pm
Rustic Canyon donuts

Donuts at Rustic Canyon Wine Bar

Hold onto your canned biscuits Paula Deen:  fried dough has gone upscale.

I’ve been to at least three restaurants recently that offered donuts on the dessert menu: Local in Dallas, the chic Stephan Pyles Restaurant also in Dallas, and Rustic Canyon Wine Bar in Santa Monica.  At Stephan Pyles and Rustic Canyon, on the hearty endorsement of wait staff, I ordered them.

Both were served with fancy-shmancy cups of hot something for dipping—espresso at Stephan Pyles, hot chocolate at Rustic Canyon.  It didn’t matter.  Gorgeous though the presentations were, the fried nuggets of dough came up short.  “They’re our favorite,” my waiters promised.

But I kept thinking: my white trash donuts are better.  Was I wrong?  Read the rest of this entry »

Paying for Airplane Food

In Taste Tests on September 16, 2009 at 12:49 am
The (TE) Special

The (TE) Special

About half-way into a four hour flight to LAX, I realized I was hungry.  Starving.  I didn’t even eat airplane food when it was free.  Was I really going to purchase something?

Apparently.

I asked for the menu.  Peanut M&Ms for $2?  Or the chicken pita?  I was leaning toward the sure thing when I noticed a (TE) beside the Grilled Chicken Gyro in Pita.  (TE) means this is a Todd English designed entrée.

Todd English.  I vaguely know who he is.  Top Chef, restaurants, dark hair.  My favorite part of Jacques Pepin’s wonderful memoir is when he writes about trying to make the food at Howard Johnson’s taste good.  Maybe “award-winning chef” TE, proudly featured on Delta’s menu, is trying to do the same thing here.

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Taste Test: Sports Drinks

In Beverages, Homemade, Taste Tests on August 25, 2009 at 3:23 pm
CIMG4365

Gatorade Alternatives

After my lousy 17-mile training run, I conceded that maybe I need a little more than water to keep me going.  But I can’t bring myself to drink Gatorade.  Don’t know why.  Maybe it’s the color.

So I started looking around for an alternative, something that offered replenishment, something that’s flavor wouldn’t make me gag.

Online, I found a recipe for a homemade sports drink–basically water with a splash of orange juice, a spoon of sugar and a pinch of salt.  It was drinkable if not wildly delicious.

Then I found two more options at a grocery store–coconut water and a natural sports drink.  I gave them a try this morning, after a run.

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