September Love With Food Box

This month’s Love With Food box is all about spice–spicy tortilla chips, cinnamon-spiced popcorn, 5-spice caramels, spice mix, soy sauce, hempseeds, as well as chocolate cookies and superfood.

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No More Unlimited Breadsticks at Olive Garden?

OK, that headline gives the appearance that I care that investors want to limit unlimited breadsticks at Olive Garden.  (I didn’t even know there were unlimited breadsticks.)  I don’t but … honestly, the investors should be happy that some people consider their food Italian … and actually eat there.  I, for one, don’t.  But come on, how cheap can you be?  I have to wonder where the investors dine for Italian food–Italy, perhaps?  Or Babbo?  Ai Fiori?  Del Posto?  Marea?  I wonder if they ask for seconds on bread (and do they get cheap, soft breadsticks like the kind at Olive Garden or real Italian bread from one of the area bakeries).  One of my arguments for mom and pops–your money goes into the hands of the person who cooks your food, not passive income for investors.

California Law Protects Yelpers Writing Negative Reviews

A new California law protects consumers who write negative reviews about a business on sites like Yelp.  It especially protects them from disparagement clauses, clauses that some businesses put in their terms of service that seek to prohibit consumers from complaining about the business or even fining them for doing so.  Of course, this law protects protected speech not defamatory speech.

White Chocolate-Covered Pretzels

More white chocolate!  I’m a big white chocolate fan.  Didn’t used to be but got turned onto it after eating Royce’ white chocolate nama.  I also love sweet and salty snacks.  So I thought I’d combine the two and make white chocolate-covered pretzels.  I made some plain, some with rainbow sprinkles and some with blue sugar sprinkles.  The latter were my favorite, but all were a big hit.  Yes, they are kind of messy and not pretty like the ones you buy at sweet shops, but trust me, they taste better!
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White chocolate-covered pretzels

1 bag white chocolate chips

1 tablespoon shortening

small pretzels

sprinkles of choice

Melt white chocolate chips and shortening in a double boiler.  Remove from heat.  Dip each pretzel in the chocolate and then coat with sprinkles.  Set on waxed paper to cool.  Refrigerate to set, but these do not have to be refrigerated.  They will not melt.

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The Whiteout Cake

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Who says you can’t eat white after Labor Day?  Not me!  So I baked the Whiteout Cake from Baked:  New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito.

This cake was one of the nicest I’ve ever made.  It is a more labor-intensive cake because you have to beat egg whites and boil the frosting, but it’s worth the extra effort.  The cake layers came out almost perfectly without having to be sliced to make them even.  The frosting was so easy to work with and so flavorful.

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Mid-Autumn Festival

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!  I’m celebrating with some moon cakes.  I got these at an Asian market.

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They came in a nice tin with a pretty gift bag.

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Aren’t they lovely?

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One has salted yolk and one doesn’t.  I like the salted yolk one best.  It was a bit salty with a peanutty taste (from the peanut oil).

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Last year, I tasted one a friend had gotten from a bakery.  Of course it was better–much more pronounced peanut flavor, flakier crust and very delicious.

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Weekend Whets 9/5

Hoboken Italian Festival, September 4, 2014 through September 7, 2014, Hoboken, NJ:  Italian cultural festival with food, games, music and more including a cannoli eating contest and a grape stomp.

Gluten & Allergen-Free Expo, Saturday, September 6, 2014 and Sunday, September 7, 2014, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Meadowlands Exposition Center, Secaucus, NJ:  Over 150 vendors specializing in products for those with celiac and food allergies and sensitivities.

Japan Block Fair, Saturday, September 6, 2014, Noon to 6 p.m., Sixth Avenue between Washington and Waverly Places, Village, Manhattan:  Japanese block festival with food like noodles, curry and sweets as well as arts, crafts and performances.

Mid-Autumn Moon Family Festival, Saturday, September 6, 2014, Noon to 4 p.m., Museum of Chinese in America, Chinatown, Manhattan:  Mooncake tasting and design challenge and other activities to celebrate the holiday.

Pig Island, Saturday, September 6, 2014, 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Erie Basin Park Waterfront Red Hook, Brooklyn:  Twenty-five NYC chefs serving dishes from locally sourced hogs.

Taste Williamsburg Greenpoint, Sunday, September 7, 2014, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., East River State Park, Brooklyn:  Outdoor celebration of the area’s restaurants along with live music.

San Gennaro Festival, September 11, 2014 through September 21, 2014, Little Italy, Manhattan:  Italian religious and cultural festival with food, games, music, religious procession and more.

New York Oyster Week, September 11, 2014 through September 28, 2014:  Various events around NYC celebrating oysters.

North Nordic Food Festival, September 13 through 20, 2014, NYC:  Cooking classes, tastings, dinners and more celebrating Nordic cuisine.

The Cheeses of Europe, Friday, September 12, 2014 and Saturday, September 13, 2014, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., The French Cheese Board, 26 West 39th Street, Manhattan:  Tasting of French cheeses.

Rockin’ Ramen, Tuesday, September 16, 2014, 6 to 8 p.m., International Culinary Center Theater Kitchen, Broadway between Broome and Grand Streets, Manhattan: Explore the art and craft of ramen.

Urban Appetites:  Food and Culture in Nineteenth-Century New York, Wednesday, September 17, 2014,  6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., Elebash Recital Hall, The Graduate Center, City University of New York, 365 Fifth Ave., btw. 34th & 35th St., Midtown:  Historian Cindy Lobel discusses 19th-century’s New York’s food scene and how it affected the city’s development.

Central Park Smorg, Friday, September 19, 2014, 5 to 9 p.m., Central Park:  Smorgasburg brings 30 food vendors to Central Park Summer Stage for one night only.

Oktoberfest 2014 at Frying Pan, Saturday, September 20, 2014, Noon, Frying Pan, Chelsea, Manhattan:  Traditional German food like schnitzel, wurst, Bavarian pretzels, potato pancakes, strudel and kraut with music, costumes and more.

Meat Hook presents a Brunch Without Boundaries at Brooklyn Grange, Sunday, September 21, 2014, Noon, Brooklyn:  Rooftop brunch with lady butchers and a lot of meat.