December 14th: Crossings, an importer of fine French specialties will be offering selections for tasting.
December 14th: Daniel DeKalb Miller will be selling and signing his book: Chateau Country. Read more about.
Giselle Cheese is a raw milk cheese hand-made made by Renate Nollen of Leonardsville, NY, from raw sheep milk, salt, rennet, cultures.
Who among us doesn’t love sweets? The sweet flavor releases serotonin in our brains, the chemical responsible for our sense of well being and contentment. But when it comes to sweeteners, not all are created equal. There are side effects and health risks from refined sweeteners (like white table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup) and from artificial sweeteners (like NutraSweet, saccharin and Splenda). Refined sweeteners have been stripped of vitamins, minerals and fiber and spike blood sugar, which can often lead to cravings as well as mood and energy fluctuations. Artificial sweeteners are synthetic (chemically developed to imitate natural sweetness) and have been linked to disease in laboratory animals.
This fall, focus on naturally and minimally processed sweeteners. If you start replacing refined sugars and artificial sweeteners with real, whole foods, you will likely reduce your cravings for sugary things.
Here are a few natural sweeteners to substitute in drinks, food and baking. Since they are all approximately 1.5 times sweeter than refined sugar, you can use less. You can easily find these at Janssen’s.
Raw Honey: Honey is one of the oldest natural sweeteners on the market. Honey will have a different flavor depending on the plant source. Some are very dark and intensely flavored. Wherever possible, choose raw honey, as it is unrefined and contains small amounts of enzymes, minerals and vitamins.
Craig and Adrienne Gage manage this small business along with their four children. Each family member plays a vital role in the business from attending hives to jarring honey. Some great recipes & uses on their website.
Maple Syrup: Maple syrup is the concentrated extract of the sap of maple trees. It adds a rich, deep flavor to foods and drinks. Make sure to look for 100% pure maple syrup, not maple-flavored corn syrup. As with all sweeteners, organic varieties.
One of the great treats of summer eating are fresh figs. There is really nothing like the flavor of a fig, featuring a very sweet, yet also very complex flavor. Every part of the fig is in play once you bite into it; the flesh has a bit of a chewy texture, the skin a rather smooth texture, and the seeds provide a bit of a crunchiness – all contributing to a truly delectable eating experience.
photo: The Rogue Epicurean
Recipe: Fig Pizza
Most figs that are sold at the retail level in the U.S. come from California. As a matter of fact, California produces 98% of the nation’s fresh figs and 100% of the dried ones. The season for fresh figs from California runs from mid-May through mid-January thanks to new plantings in the Imperial and Coachella Valleys of California. There are 5 main varieties of figs available throughout the season:
Black Mission Figs
This fig was named for the mission fathers who planted the fruit along the California coast. The fruit is a deep rich purple color, which darkens to a rich black when dried. Mission figs have a very distinct teardrop appearance with a pinkish-reddish flesh, and are often described as “sweeter than honey.”
Brown Turkey Figs
This variety has a brownish, copper colored skin, often with hints of purple. The flesh is typically a pink/red color, but sometimes white. Supposedly, they received their name because turkeys liked to eat them. Not that the taste buds of a turkey are necessarily a great endorsement, but that aside, the Brown Turkey fig tends to have a milder flavor than other fig varieties, and is certainly less sweet than the Black Mission.
The Kadota Fig is the American version of the original Italian Dattato fig, which is thick-skinned with a creamy amber color when ripe. Practically seedless, this fig is often canned and dried. An interesting side note, birds will often leave these figs alone, because, since they are green when ripe, the birds don’t know they’re ripe.
The Calimyrna fig is a fairly large fruit and is best know for having a nut-like flavor and a golden/greenish skin. The interior of the fruit is amber colored.
This variety is best known as the most often used fig in making fig bars. It has a light green skin and a pinkish tan flesh.
Figs are indeed fragile, which presents challenges to both the retailer and the shopper. It’s often rare as a shopper to find a fig in perfect condition. Fortunately, perfection is not always necessary. Even if you find a slightly wrinkled, but still plump fig, go for it. And, even a fig with a slight split (as long as it is not leaking or oozing) will also be fine. A bit of bend at the stem and a slight weariness to the skin both indicate better ripeness and flavor. Avoid figs that look shrunken, are oozing from their splits, have milky liquid around the stem, are very squishy, or have any sign of mold. The smell of fresh figs can provide an excellent indicator of ripeness. If they smell sweet, they are ripe; if they smell sour, it is an indication that they may be spoiled or overripe.
Enjoy this delicious, but often rare treat this summer. You will not be disappointed.
HALOUMI is salty cheese originating in Cyprus and made from sheep’s or goat’s milk: often grilled or fried because it melts very slowly. A rich source of calcium, haloumi also contains potassium and zinc, and is a great low-fat option.
Cypriots swear by eating fresh haloumi with wedges of watermelon for a delicious snack. Because it maintains its shape when cooked, haloumi can be baked, fried or grilled until the outside becomes crisp and golden and the inside melts slightly.
Available in the freezer section
lots of great recipes: