Monday, September 11, 2017

New Foods!

As much as I love testing new gadgets and small appliances, the food samples I get are a whole lot of fun, too. The things I get to sample are often new, improved, or updated items, and maybe not yet available in my local grocery store.

And, seriously, even if they are available at my local stores, most of the time they're foods that I might not pick up. There are plenty of shopping days when I'm pretty narrowly focused on getting exactly what I need for recipes, so I might not notice the new items even when they're right in front of me.

A lot of the samples I'm offered are sweets and snacks, which is great. Snacks are handy to have on hand for when I'm feeling particularly peckish. But the savory foods can be even more fun, since those are most likely to end up in recipes.

Here's a roundup of what showed up here recently!

Pereg Gourmet Freekeh

Pereg Gourmet sent me both Freekeh and Farro. I'm familiar with farro - it's a tasty grain that's a little bit hard to find. The farro they sent me was the basic grain with no added seasonings, so it was ready for any recipe or side dish. I actually like it fairly plain, with a little salt and a touch of butter or olive oil. If you think of it as a grain like rice or barley, you'll probably have a lot of ideas for how to use it.

The Freekeh they sent me was in a mix that included dried vegetables and spices including carrots, peppers, currants. onions, and mustard seeds, so it was a pretty complete side dish.

When I emptied it into a pot to cook it, the scent of the dried vegetables reminded me of a dried soup mix that I've used on occasion, probably because of the dried vegetables. The flavor was good once it was cooked and the bits of vegetables added some color. I thought it needed a touch of salt. But that was easy to adjust.


So ... it's fairly easy to render fat from chicken. Just about as easy as making butter. Heh. It's not hard to do, but there are other things I'd rather do. It's nice to know these fats are available for times when I want some clean chicken fat for a recipe and I don't want to start by rendering the fat myself.

Fatworks sent me a nice selection of their products. I'm still not sure what I'm going to do with the tallow, but that chicken schmaltz was perfect for cooking potatoes (and freaking delicious). Goose fat is good for that, too. The leaf lard has a lot of uses, but I haven't yet opened it.

Before these arrived, I'd never seen them in a store, but recently I spotted them. I'm definitely going to be putting these on the list for when I need some really pure fat.

When you buy these, make sure you look at storage instructions. Some need to be refrigerated while others should be stored at room temperature.

Kettle & Fire Bone Broth

I'm generally opposed to the term "bone broth" because it's really just a good stock. But, hey, I can't blame a company for jumping on a trend. Ignoring that word on the label, this actually is a good stock. The containers hold slightly more than 16 ounces, which is a nice amount for me. Most of the stocks in the store are either a quart or a liter, and sometimes that's just too much for what I need.

I used one of the flavors to cook rice and the other to make soup. I'll be looking for these again because of the deep flavor and the convenient size. That's not to say that I won't make my own stock any more. But I like to have a container on hand for the times when I don't have any in the fridge or freezer.

Nutz. Er ..... nuts. I've tried a lot of different flavored nuts, and usually they have spices, salt and flavorings adhering to the nuts. A coating, if you will. The difference with these was that the flavor was infused into the nuts, so there wasn't really a coating.

I haven't tried all of them (there were a freaking lot of packages of different flavors!), so I guess it's possible some do have a coating, but it says on the package that they're infused, so ...

Anyway, the flavor on the ones I tried was in the nuts rather than on them, so I'm thinking they'd be interesting for baking. Also good for snacking without making a mess. The texture of these was slightly different than typical roasted nuts ... I'm not sure exactly how to describe it. Softer, maybe. Not actually soft, but not quite as crunchy as other nuts I've eaten. You'll see when you try them. They're interesting. And with the huge variety of flavors, there's something for everyone.

I've done a couple of posts using products from Honey Ridge Farms, and recently they sent me an email and said, "we're going to send you some stuff." They sure did. That honey balsamic vinegar is really stellar. I like it drizzled on fresh ripe tomatoes. It's also good on green salads or on asparagus.

The Blure is one of my favorite things ever. I've used it in a couple different cocktail recipes. I'm glad to have a refill. The tea is lovely and the honey is really nice. And who says no to fancy salts?

Overall, there's a lot of great stuff here. Something for everyone. Check 'em out!

I wrote about the Land O Lakes soft butter quite some time ago and I've been buying it ever since I ran out of the free stuff. Mostly I buy the version with olive oil, but I've also bought other versions. Now there's a new version that has 25% less sodium.

The nice buttery folks sent me a sample, and although I can taste a slight difference in saltiness when I try both versions next to each other, it's not so pronounced that I'd miss the salt in regular use. It's definitely not unsalted - although now that I think of it, and unsalted version would actually be kind of nice, too. I hope they decide to make that.

I mostly use this for spreading on toast, bread, or English muffins, but I've also used it for cooking when I don't need an exact measurement - because in that case, cutting a tablespoon or more off a stick is easier than measuring the soft butter.

So there ya go. Lots of fun food.

What new food products have you tried lately?

These were provided at no cost to me by the respective manufacturers.

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