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Blogger confession – time for a few Hail Marys and a new post

I have been a bad blogger. It’s been 7 months since my last post. I did keep writing my weekly Castanet column and I have put up more recipes, but I haven’t been present and for that I apologize. With a new year starting, I am resolved to post regularly again. So, here is the new beginning.

My new approach is this: How about a “Foodie Thought of the Day” ? Maybe it will be short and sweet – an image of something I found or a recipe I’m trying. Sometimes I’ll aim for more of a pondering post, with commentary on a topic. But every day I do think of food, so all I have to do is share that here, with you.

foodie-thought-of-the-day-banner

I’m hoping you’ll help me out… tell me if I’m crazy, or lucked out and found something you like. Complain if you think I ramble too much! Complain if you don’t think I’m sharing enough.

So, here it goes: 2017, the year of foodie tidbits!

And just so you don’t think I’m jamming out on the first 2 days of the year here are the ideas already in my calendar:

  • I read a great little article in Saveur Magazine by a father who taught his daughters to cook at an early age. They both embraced the kitchen as a fun place; one of things they came up with was “Fakesgiving”, a celebration dinner like Thanksgiving that is held once a month, so everyone can enjoy those fancy or exotic dishes or try something new more often than just once a year. I’m going to have Fakesgiving dinners this year!
  • I had a persimmon for the first time this morning, inspired by an insistent vendor at one of my fave foodie haunts, the Granville Island Market. I highly recommend them – they are tangy, sweet, with a smooth texture and a beautiful exotic flavour. In case you’re skeptical, check out these benefits!

persimmons-why-they-are-good

See you tomorrow! Eat, drink and be merry 🙂

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Goldilocks was on to something…

As I drove back along Highway 97 from Okanagan Falls to West Kelowna yesterday, I was enjoying not only the serene snow-covered hills over the beautiful blue lake, but also the mocha I had in my travel mug. It was an intrinsic part of this sublime experience, with rich chocolate-y goodness under the cinnamon-dusted whipped cream, heightened by the heady aroma of dark roast java. To top it all off, it was just the right temperature. And that is the theme of my post today.

When I was a little girl, I always thought that the Goldilocks story was a bit hokey. Don’t get me wrong – I love porridge, always did; and I think bears are cool too – it just didn’t seem like much of a lesson to learn that porridge, or anything else, should be not too hot or not too cold, but “just right”. Little did I know how much it really does matter.

illustration by Margaret Evans Price, 1927

Becoming a foodie was the start of my appreciation of temperature, I suppose. Cookies still warm out of the oven don’t taste the same as cooled ones. And if they are too hot, they don’t taste like anything – mostly because your tastebuds end up burnt! And ice cream tastes different when rock hard than it does when it’s just soft enough to squish on the roof of your mouth. But that is just the tip of the iceberg… I didn’t discover wine until I was older.

Wine temperature is of paramount importance. As I learned when studying wine, at different temperatures one wine can taste like something else all together – acids and tannins are sharper when wine is colder, and fruit flavours and other aromatics are more intense when it’s warmer (acids and tannins are less pronounced). That’s why the experts recommend you drink red wine at a warmer temperature. Please note, though, that “room temperature” is a reference from when rooms were cooler than today – even full bodied reds shouldn’t be served warmer than 15-18C/59-64F. Call me a geek if you like, but it’s true.

a basic rule for serving white and red wines...

Hot beverages have ideal temperatures too. If you brew or drink your coffee at too hot a temperature, the essential oils from the beans will have evaporated, leaving little of the complex flavours behind. Optimum range is 70-80C or 155-175F. Green teas should be steeped at this same temperature; if you use almost boiling water like you would for black tea (100C/212F) you will scald the leaves.

Chocolate temperature is crucial as well. One of my favourite chocolatiers, Vosges Chocolates from Chicago (the folks who came up with bacon and chocolate!), has this great reference on tasting chocolate for the best experience. As if you needed an excuse to increase your enjoyment…

So, there is your bit of silly trivia for the day. Hopefully it helps you enjoy your favourite tastes even more. If you have other preferences, I would love to hear about them – please leave your comments.

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