Tuesday, May 18, 2010

products I love: food

I can't sleep, so naturally here are some of my favorite food products.

Blue Bell Ice Cream
This is one of my favorite brands of ice cream, but it's only available in the South (and Arizona, oddly enough). I love the Rocky Road and Cookies n' Cream, and it looks like they've got some great newer flavors. I loved their Bullets and Mooo pops when I was younger.

Blue Diamond Wasabi & Soy Sauce Almonds
I love the spiciness of these almonds. They're one of my favorite snacks.

Amy's Indian Palak Paneer
Amy's Kitchen makes a lot of decent frozen TV dinners (decent as far as frozen meals go). I really like the Indian ones they make, but the Palak Paneer is my favorite because it's one of my favorite Indian dishes. You can generally find these in the organic section of your supermarket.

Diet Dr. Pepper
The best diet coke ever, and possibly the best non-diet coke. It's a Southern staple. There is nothing like a cold DDP on a hot, humid day.

Laughing Cow Cheese
Laughing Cow is like the Cheez Whiz of France...only a hundred times better and luckily available in the U.S., though not under the cool name "La Veche Qui Rit". It is so creamy and delicious. I can eat it plain, but it's even better on a crepe or hunk of baguette.

Southwestern Egg Beaters
I generally really dislike eggs. I think it's the yolks. I have been known to enjoy an omelet or scrambled eggs doused in hot sauce, but if I'm going to do the egg thing, I try to do Egg Beaters. I can tolerate them and sometimes even crave them. But the Southwestern style? Yum. I love to scramble them up and toss them with hot sauce. One of my favorite breakfasts.

Nestle Abuelita Mexican Hot Chocolate
Mexican hot chocolate is a favorite from my childhood, though I always wondered why there was a very WASP-y grandma on the packaging. It is seriously SO delicious. You melt the hunks of cinnamon-laced chocolate in milk and whip it until it's frothy. This can be found at any supermarket in the international foods section.

Tazo Green Ginger Tea
Tazo makes some excellent tea, but their Green Ginger is my favorite. It's great by itself or sublime with a little honey added.

I first tried this amazing coke when I went to Scotland. It is everywhere and is said to be more popular than Coca-Cola in Scotland. I hear it makes a great hangover cure, but have yet to try it. It is bright orange and has a delicious bubble gum/orange flavor. It's hard to describe, but really yummy. It was banned in the U.S. for a long time, but is now available. I found it in the international foods section.

Fage Greek Yogurt with Cherry
Greek yogurt is thick, creamy, rich, and positively delicious. Fage makes Greek yogurt with different fruits to stir in. The cherry is my favorite, but they also have peach, strawberry, and honey.

Walker's Shortbread Fingers
Sometimes there is nothing better than a rich, warm, buttery shortbread finger. Walker's makes the best you can buy in a box, containing simply flour, butter, sugar and salt. No preservatives, no dyes, just pure delicious cookie. They aren't as good as the warm chocolate chip shortbread I had in Scotland at Marks & Spencers, but a perfectly suitable substitute (especially if you warm them in the oven).

Peanut Patch Green Boiled Peanuts
Some of my fondest memories as a child are driving through the deep South on the way to Florida. There are stands all across the South selling delicious peanut products. I can remember stopping and getting bags of hot, salty boiled peanuts and crispy peanut brittle. Good luck finding a peanut stand in Pennsylvania. They have these in the international foods section at my local Wegman's--I guess Southern food is a truly foreign food to Northerners. I can't describe how yummy these are. They are salty, nutty, and melt in your mouth. I love slurping the brine out of the shells.

Lawry's Seasoned Salt
I often use this as a replacement for regular table salt. I don't know quite what they put in here, but it makes everything delicious.

Rotel is what makes chili so damn delicious, but it enhances so many other foods: nachos, beans, enchiladas, queso, salsa, chicken, macaroni & cheese, burritos, quesadillas, etc. We always have stacks of Rotel in our pantry.

Carroll Shelby's Texas Chili Kit
A good chili kit, like this one, is another of my secrets for making really good chili. It makes the whole process foolproof.

Pirate's Booty
Like cheese popcorn, but fluffier and yummier...and healthier!

Tabasco Sauce
My life would not be complete without Tabasco. I put it on EVERYTHING.

Penzeys Spices
Penzeys makes very high quality spices and spice blends. They have hundreds to choose from and every one I have tried has been excellent and fresh. I like the Sandwich Sprinkle, Herbes de Provence, Lemon-Pepper, Tuscan Sunset, and Barbecue. I haven't tried the above pictured Sunny Paris, but it sounds delicious. You can order them online or from their catalog (which usually has some good recipes).

Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce
Sriracha is so deliciously spicy and a great accompaniment to Thai and Vietnamese food. It's a sweeter, hotter version of American hot sauces. I love it in noodles and especially Pho soup. If I have a cold, I love to stir in a teaspoon or so into my chicken noodle soup.

Thai Kitchen Spring Onion Rice Noodle Bowl
This is one of my favorite soups. The broth is so delicious and light. It's very low in fat, but unfortunately high in sodium. It's so worth it, though. Don't get the Roasted Garlic or Hot & Sour version--stick with the Spring Onion. And of course, stir in a little Sriracha.

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