Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Carry a smile with your bag, try black garlic and sweet stuff
Sunny side up
In a closet clean up, my daughter inherited a bag that has not failed to bring a smile. It looks like a red and white checked tablecloth, putting one in the mind of a barbecue. Turn it over and there’s a “face” of two eggs with a bacon mouth made of vinyl. Smiles break out whenever the bag goes out on the town. I want to decorate a whole ‘40s style kitchen around this bag, but it’s currently making appearances with Jasmine at Lamar University.
Sunshine to the donor, Michelle Sheppard. Her mother reports she is enjoying her first semester at Lamar just fine.

Black garlic
I admire everyone who tried black garlic at my desk. The name alone arouses the senses. Is it a Halloween dish? A savory status symbol?
Besides a conversation starter, I think aged black garlic is a sweet, spicy nugget of bliss. Cloves of gooey garlic are distributed by Frieda’s Specialty Produce in bags. The company’s serving suggestions include black garlic with noodles, pizza, potatoes and even ice cream. I’m seeing it as a stand-alone star, with bread and wine. I don’t want much to distract me from the flavor, which a co-worker likened to a garlic smoothie, or kissing an Italian woman. We get excited about our food here. Once you peel the papery clove, the inside is the consistency of a date. Tasters have also compared the flavor to molasses, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and licorice.
Whole garlic heads are aged a month in a special high-heat fermentation process, naturally turning the cloves a deep, obsidian black. Go for it.

Sports (or chocolate) fan
I’ve never liked Nolan Ryan as much as I do now. I can be mercilessly teased on my lack of sports knowledge, but Chew-ets Peanut Chew’ collectible edition could change that. Amazing what you can pick up when enjoying a nice chocolate bar. But these mini bars bundled with images of famous ball players Ryan, Lou Brock and Cole Hamels really weren’t designed for me. Fans will appreciate the cool pictures and people like me will love the flavor. Texas stores will get the Ryan edition. All three will also be available online at  

Superfood kit
Make your own superfood chocolate in an ice tray with Navitas Naturals’ new Organic Superfood Chocolate Kits in Goji Berry, Cacao Nib and Goldenberry. My daughter made these and I thumbed through the super-informative catalogue of the company’s tempting health foods. It would take all my space to report how healthy these chocolate kits could be, so I’ll just sum it up with a “yum.” This is hearty chocolate for gourmets, not the super-sweet stuff in Easter baskets.

Fudge folks
Wisconsin DairlyLand Fudge wants Texans to know they can mail you some caramel apples, cookie ‘n’ cream or pumpkin fudge for the holidays. Don’t think you’ll want to stop after the Christmas tree is put away. Go for the sample box with peanut butter and cashew varieties. I haven’t tried cranberry nut, but it’s available September through November and remember, local reader Seabourne Stokes says cranberries are going to be popular this season. Visit to get your order in.

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