a reason to eat caramel, caramel anything, edible obsession, fat toad farm, goat milk caramel, Maple's Organic Gelato, Mexican chocolate, Taza Chocolate

Edible Obsession: Maple’s Organics Mexican Chocolate with Fat Toad Farm Goat’s Milk Caramel

You want to lick your screen, don’t you? That trifecta of sugary goodness comes at the union of three outstanding locally produced products: Maple’s Organics Gelato, Taza Mexican Chocolate and Fat Toad Farm Caramel

Maple’s is at the heart of the bowl of sin, blending their already wonderful Gelato with bits of crushed up Mexican styled chocolate from Taza, of Sommerville, MA. What Taza does, traditionally stone grinding the chocolate, isn’t being done really any where else in the US. The process makes for a very unique (coarse) texture to the chocolate and concentrates the flavor, making it more intense.  Maple’s chose one of Taza’s spicy flavors (Guajillo? Chipotle? Cayenne? I’ve already tossed the empty container) and blended that in, adding a nice warming touch with the nibs of chocolate.

Warming? Who am I kidding?  It’s hot. Pretty darn hot, at that. It’s not as ridiculous as the Habanero Gelato I’ve had, but it’s up there. The Missus described her encounter with it as:
         “It’s so damn spicy.” (takes another mouthful) “But, the chocolate is so good.”  (takes another mouthful) “But, it’s so damn spicy.” (repeat until the bowl is empty)

That’s where the Fat Toad Vanilla Bean Caramel comes in. I had the ingenious idea of adding the Vermont made goat’s milk caramel to take off some of that heat and it worked, to a point.  It was thick enough to act as a barrier and the milk, itself, knocked down the heat a few notches. It was tolerable but, in the end, my mouth still felt like it was on fire. But, it’s one of those lovely pleasure/pain moments with food, that we endure because the pleasure (Maple’s chocolate gelatos and sorbettos are some of the best around town) outweighs the pain.

If you like to have your ice cream or gelato make you sweat, then look for Maple’s Mexican Chocolate flavor at a multitude of locations (from here to Connecticut). For Fat Toad Caramel, they list William-Sonoma as a seller, but I’d suggest ordering directly from their online store.

chocolate brownies, condiments, cravings, eating too much, eating until your belly hurts, edible obsession, Local foods, mid afternoon snacks, pairings, WTF

Shelf Analysis

‘Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you who you are..”–Jean Anthelme Brilliat-Savarian

Some people get a kick out of going through other people’s medicine cabinents to see what secrets their friends and neighbors are hiding–and lets face it a good number of our friends and family are on some pretty fucking interesting medications. But, that just may be me projecting(Busy Brain is as interesting as I get these days). My little fetish is that I’ll snoop your fridge for an insight in who you are. With all of us either labeled, or self proclaimed as, ‘Foodies,” your refrigerator holds your modern shame. If I had taken this photo one hour later, you would have seen three cans of Pepsi Throwback on the top shelf. If I had photographed the vegetable crisper you would have seen a noticible lack of vegetables and and abundance of cheese: Petit Agour, Dubliner with Stout, Dubliner Cheddar, 8 year Gouda and VBC’s Herbed Chevre.

Some of our predilections are obvious and well established, like the ones in my family. I have a feeling if I were to walk right now into my mothers house and open her freezer, there would be 5 gallons of ice cream, frozen dinners and frozen meat. My sister, Rachael, would have left over pasta and meat balls and lots of milk for my three nephews and brother in law. There would be something in there made out of one of her cuilinary school books. I’m guessing there would be remnants of a cake.

This is a look inside of my refrigerator, something very few have actually seen the inside of–the most notable person being a vegetarian coworker I traumatized by showing off my pickled tongue to. I think my food experiments freak a few of my friends out. Hmm… that explains so much..

  1. Butter: Lots of it. This was actually bought to make brownies and polenta with. I ended up not even needing either pound.
  2. Cream Cheese: Plain. We rarely have bagels in the house and this was brought in to make a peanut butter cream for the middle of #7 in the next picture.
  3. Cat stuff. You know ‘Ashy Larry’ from The Chappelle Show? Our cat, Sophie, is a bit like that, minus the crack problem(she opts for catnip, bud and lemon grass). This is cost $10 and was suppose to help and she refuses to consume it willingly.
  4. Pickled Jalapeno’s. I’m actually not sure when I jarred these and, now that I look at the picture, am a wee bit afraid to open it. I think it will remain one of those fermenting things in the fridge that just gets moved around and never opened.
  5. White Truffle Oil. Fancy, I know. It’s only use has been for risotto. It expired last month.
  6. Hakushika Snow Beauty Sake. I’d like to say what I purchased this for but I can’t remember. It may have been after a trip to Pai Men. It may have been because I thought the bottle was pretty. It may have been because I thought I would actually drink it. I obviously haven’t.
  7. Cholula Hot Sauce. One of 5 hot sauces in the refrigerator at the moment. This is their chili garlic flavor and my favorite topping for scrambled eggs on a day off.
  8. Three Wishes Cabernet. Whole Foods answer to ‘2 buck Chuck.’ It cost $2.50 and was purely purchased as a cooking wine. It’s probably vinegar by now.
  9. Sriracha. Purchased to help recreate the Pai Men Pork buns we had for Thanksgiving dinner.
  10. Trader Joe’s Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar. Like many things purchased at TJ’s, this was bought out of pure curiosity over functionality or use in my kitchen. And, like so many other TJ’s branded things it wasn’t that fantastic. I believe this was used for a marinade. The only thing I buy from TJ’s these days is coffee.

  1. Polenta setting overnight to make ‘Crispy Polenta Fries‘ from Find.Eat.Drink. For us, the recipe should have been cut in half, or even 2/3’s, as it made a good 2-3 dozen thick cut fries.
  2. “If you’re afraid of butter, just use cream”–Julia Child. I’m afraid of neither and often have both in the house. This was used to make the ganache for #7.
  3. Morimoto Soba Ale. I brought this into the house sometime over the past year because of a reading a while back that Joe @ PFC recommended it highly. Because I don’t drink beer I rely on others to turn me on to brews to bring home to the Missus. This was one of them and it’s been there for over 6 months. If it’s salvageable, it will be used to make tempura.
  4. Cranky Rooster Eggs from my Cape SoPo Winter Share. Since posting about it two months ago there has hardly been a day where these eggs have not been in my kitchen. Truth be told, my last pick up from the Winter Share had three dozen eggs in it. Three dozen for two people. The yolks, as orange, tall and firm as ever, have made me catch my breath more than once at the sight of how just exactly perfect they are. I probably shouldn’t have said all of this because now you’re going to scoop them up before I’ve placed my order. Jerks.
  5. The required slab of bacon. Uncured, smoked thick cut from Whole Foods 365 line. It was the least expensive bacon in the cooler and far from the best. Too thin(even though it clearly said ‘thick cut’) of a strip made for an easily overcooked, dry piece of bacon. Thankfully it was easily saved on a breakfast sandwich made with the above mentioned eggs.
  6. Beef Shank. I was going to braise it and went for short ribs instead. It’s now living in the freezer.
  7. Peanut Butter Truffle Brownies I dropped the ball on photographing these before they were devoured to the point of pain and then given to my co-workers to get them out of our sights. They were heaven. I added a bit of Mascarpone to the peanut butter mix and substituted some all-natural Nutella knockoff for the peanut butter in the ganache. This was at their final chilling stage.
  8. Castelvetrano Olives. The ‘Kermit’ Olive. So bright green that it turns people off. It seems unnatural but they are one of my absolute favorite olives and worthy of their own ‘Edible Obsession’ themed post. Think less briny and more sweet; A black olive in green clothing with more tanginess than meatiness to it’s flesh. Primary use: sliced and added to a four cheese quesadilla.
  9. Bay Leaves. All of my days off are spent cooking long projects, like braises, and it also includes stock making, whether beef, chicken or vegetable. So, naturally, I use a lot of bay leaves.
  10. Hellman’s Mayonnaise. There are three major things I just can’t make the ‘all natural’ switch to: Ketchup, Peanut Butter and Mayonnaise. I don’t care how bad it is, I refuse to part with it. From creaming up some deviled eggs(do you sense an addiction being confessed before your eyes??), slathering on a sandwich or going Dutch and having some with french fries, I refuse to compromise on mayonnaise. Not only is it a dressing in so many childhood linked food memories(like Grandma’s Potato Salad, Mom’s Deviled Eggs) but it just has a better flavor to me.
edible obsession, edible stats, random numbers, statistics

20,000 Peepers

In the past 9 months, and 4 since I last laid some numbers on you, 20,000 nosy, curious people found their way to this page.

  • Total visitor numbers have nearly tripled–from 7,345 total in October to 20,000 today.
  • The average monthly view is 2,222.22 people
  • The daily view(with a 30 day average) is around 74.074.
  • Twice as many people were looking for Crack(pie) via search, for a total of 761 views and a NON review of Figa has been stumbled upon by just over 500 people. And then some nice words about Caiola’s were read by 255.
  • However, when it came to referral sites no one came near PFM at 1,944 visitors. Urbanspoon was a far second with 836.
  • And, even after making fun of them in the last post, 44 people misspelled the name of this blog and went looking for some type of “Ediable Obsessions.” 56 got it right and get a gold star. 5 people are looking for one singular ‘Obsession’ and no one has searched for pumpkin lube since November.
edible obsession, food memory, soda, throwback soda, too much of a good thing

Edible Obsession: Pepsi Throwback

Ok, I’ll admit it right now… this post was intended to be done just about a year ago. It was football playoff time and I was watching whatever game I could get with our non-cable set of rabbit ears (this was before we were living the high life and had cable).

Then the ad came on, a mash up of old and new players, set to Bob Dylan’s ‘Forever Young‘. It was sentimental and well done and it made me want the soda. I was hooked.. I needed to have a can. Right then. This would hold no significance for me had I not gone without having a Pepsi(or Coke or Tab or RC Cola–the latter two were very popular in my house growing up) in over seven years. I swore off caramel colored soda, opting only for ginger ale or ginger beer or the more recent addition of the locally brewed Green Bee Soda.

So, my next jaunt out to Hannaford’s found a 20oz bottle in my basket. Actually, I think there were three and one Throwback Mountain Dew and the ‘Heritage’ Dr. Pepper for the Missus to try. Those two, according to her, were absolute shite. The Pepsi, however, was enjoyed. Highly. Not only were those bottles consumed but more were purchased. Until, that was, it ran out. Then we didn’t see it again until later in the summer while shopping @ BJ’s Wholesale. We bought a few cases, which lasted us well into the fall. And then it was gone again.

But, a year later, it’s back in time for the Superbowl. This time I found it at a Hannaford’s in Falmouth, which I went into while waiting for Harmon’s to open. I bought three cases and we’ve already gone through one–and since that initial purchase, the Missus has picked up yet another.

I do feel a bit of shame over this obsession. I know far too many soda addicts and knew that when I bought it chances were that it was going to turn into an obsession. But, there truly is a nostalgia factor for me. It does bring me back to being a kid, when soda was almost always in the house. The flavor of it is exactly the same and you can truly taste the difference between their use of High Fructose Corn Syrup in the regular Pepsi vs. the natural sugar in this one.

So, I’ll enjoy this obsession while it, and the NFL Football season, lasts. I’ll be waiting anxiously for both to return again in late summer.

edible obsession, luna bread crust, micuccis, pizzapizza

Edible Obsession: ‘The Slab’

First, you notice the sweetness of the sauce. It catches you off guard.. a far cry from the standard marinara sauces on pizza you’re use to. Then comes the saltiness of the cheese, noticeably taking the sweetness just a step further. There are some herbs topping it all off but they seem more for show than anything else. All of it laid out, very generously, on the airiest crust in the world of Portland pizza. This is not a crust you leave to go stale on the corner of your plate or give to your friend. You covet this crust and all that goes with it. And, after you’ve consumed the pound (it has to weigh at least 3/4’s of one) piece, known simply as “The Slab,” you’re satiated, a bit punch drunk from it’s awesomeness and already plotting your next trip to Micucci’s to grab another.

Micucci's Italian Grocery on Urbanspoon

caramel anything, chocolate brownies, edible obsession

Edible Obsession: Simply Divine Brownies Caramel and Sea Salt

There are fewer things in life that I love more than Caramel. Christmas, Easter and Halloween favorites always contained the gooey substance and more than a fair number of baby teeth were lost to Sugar Daddy, Sugar Babies and Milk Duds (not to mention a stray Charleston Chew, but nougat is another story all together). So, it is no surprise that my crutch to lean on in recent stressful times (yea, I’m a stress eater) is a locally made Caramel and Sea Salt brownie.

My growing obsession for the line of Simply Divine Brownies came as a bit of a shock to me as, honestly, I’m not that much of a brownie fan. However, I have a hard time calling these brownies as everyone that I’ve had has more resembled a firmer fudge or truffle than a brownie. The texture is rich and buttery with only the slightest bit of crumble to them. Because they require refrigeration, I eat them cold in little slices basically unable to wait the time for it to come to room temperature. They are a treat, to say the least, and trying to consume a full one in a single sitting may require medical attention. However, with the month I’ve had, I’ve tempted fate on more than a few occasions.

Their newest, Caramel and Sea Salt, is like having a giant Sweet Marguerites truffle (if you haven’t had a Sweet Marguerites Sea Salt Caramel, stop what you’re doing and hunt them down–that’s yet another caramel based obsession). And, while I could always use a little more caramel, for the non-glutton the amount is perfect and the salt is just enough to remind you that it’s there. And, needless to say, these are best paired with an ice cold glass of local raw milk.