Monday, April 13, 2009

Puff'd up Perfection

This entry originally took place on April 7.

Craving cream puffs, we stopped by Marzullo Bakery for a dozen. There were actually three different types here, but unfortunately I don't know the names of them.

Cream puff 1: (Front, first from left.) These were the biggest. Whipped white inside with chocolate chips laced through the cream. Not too heavy. Not my usual idea of a cream puff, but a treat nonetheless.

Cream puff 2: (Back, second from left.) Also whipped white but with a slightly heavier, more cheese-like taste. It's not ricotta, but tastes pretty close to it.

Cream puff 3: (2nd row, first from right.) Whereas the first two were more Italian-style, Cream Puff 3 took after the French vanilla cream puff with its yellow, gooey, custard center.

Favorite: A tie between No. 2 and No. 3. I prefer the texture of No. 3 and the airy, cheese-like flavor of No. 2. All of them were delicious, though!

Marzullo's Pastry Shoppe & Cafe

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. Could be more refined (ain't nothin' like Maria's), but worth a few bucks.

Marzullo Bakery
1586 Hillside Ave
New Hyde Park, NY 11040

Hungry Hungry Seagulls

Photo by Goflorp.

SQUAWK SQUAWK! (Squawk is a weird word, by the way.) These days, I've been listening to a lot of Band of Horses, Grizzly Bear, Deerhunter, Bat for Lashes and Arctic Monkeys. So, in honor of animals, Seagull gets its spotlight today. Seagulls often get a bad rep for crashing your beach snooze fest or dropping trash on your head, but let's forget about that for the moment...

Did you know that seagulls' eggs are nutty and have a fishy, strong flavor? Whatever the taste, they sure are visually appealing ("mottled light-green shells and dark-amber yolks," so sayeth Gourmet magazine). In northern Norway, gulls' eggs are considered a spring indulgence and are usually dished up hard-boiled, with plenty of beer to slosh it down. Native American chefs prefer to fry or scramble the eggs. St. John, a London restaurant, makes hard-boiled seagull eggs with celery salt.

But don't go overboard. Seagull eggs are high in toxic polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), harmful environmental pollutants.

Sarah I.: Supermarket Sleuth, P.I.

Bunny (not to be confused with Banh Mi, pronounced bun-me)

This entry originally took place on April 4.

Look -- bunnies! Just in time for Easter (unlike this entry..). Ice cream cake still remains my favorite type of cake, followed closely by cheesecake, strawberry shortcake and tiramisu.


Notice the juxtaposition of the New York Yankees coolers next to the Martinelli's. Martinelli's sparkling cider is supremely fizzy and is made from 100% pure fruit juice grown in the U.S. Sparkling grape juice might even trump it...


...and balls

My brother gets his game face on. When I was a kid, my sister and I used to get scolded at for playing with bouncy balls inside the house. One time something shattered. That was the end of our bouncy ball escapades.

Pink Ladies-in-waiting

I've actually never tried Pink Lady apples, but they look dainty and refined. I hear they are refreshing and sweet, with a pink blush.

So the whole point of this post's title is due to my run-in with supermarket authorities, AKA violation of "Thou shalt not take pictures in the supermarket." I don't know what article of what clause (blah-blah) this belongs to, but a Supermarket Employee (SE) caught me taking pics and pulled me aside, saying:

"You're not allowed to take pictures in here."

"She's not trying to steal your product ideas," said my dad, who was standing next to me at the time. "We're not planning on opening up a supermarket."

SE: Hey, you never know. I get in trouble if they find out you were taking pictures.

When SE left, Dad huffed: "Man, he's not very bright. If anything, you're giving them good publicity by featuring their supermarket in your article [or blog]. Do you look like a spy?" (He laughs.)

Heh.heh. I?

NOTE: I took at least a dozen pictures inside the supermarket before I got caught. Maybe there's a career for me as a secret shopper?

Quaker True Delights granola bar

This entry originally took place on April 7.

I love freebies, so when I saw a free promo on TV for the new Quaker True Delights granola bar, I signed up right away. Two weeks later, my package arrived in the mail. The product tag line goes:

"Quaker urges you to indulge wholesomely. And what better way to dive into responsible decadence than with our Dark Chocolate Raspberry Almond True Delights? With the surprisingly rich flavor combination of dark chocolate chunks, luscious raspberries (luscious..heh) and whole almonds, you might not be able to stop yourself."

For sure, the Dark Chocolate Raspberry Almond flavor tasted good, but it was a little too good to be true. I mean, how could it be so chocolate-y AND nutritious at the same time?

I was right. Scanning the nutrient list, I woefully discovered that while whole grain rolled oats came up as the first ingredient, it was promptly followed by corn syrup, soy lecithin, oligofructose (the heck?), invert sugar, glycerin (um...isn't that found in soap?) and a bunch of other not-so-healthy ingredients.

FYI, outside of the food world, glycerin is used in cosmetics, soaps, inks and certain glues. I'm not entirely sure what that means, but I would be wary of ingesting anything that is used on my external parts.

Sorry, True Delights, but you only managed to titillate me for all of 60 seconds (or however long it took to consume that wicked bar). Responsible decadence? Ha - fat chance! Not even a $1 off coupon can entice me to try seconds.

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars. Okay, so this may contain 0 trans fat, but it is assuredly not a truly healthy product. Skip it.

Sugar Fix: Pillsbury Pumpkin Muffins

This entry originally took place on April 2.

As you can see by the date above, I am hopelessly behind on my blog. (Food, I still love you...) Things have come up in the professional arena that have required my undivided attention the past few weeks. In any case, I'll do my best to update the rest.

My cousin Vicky made some pretty kickarse pumpkin walnut muffins. Note how fluffy and almost uniformly round that muffin-top looks. When I asked her for the recipe, she laughed and admitted that she had used a Pillsbury box and just added the walnuts. No way! I would never have guessed. Not bad for a box.

By the end of the day, all four muffins were gone (consumed, respectively, by members of my family). Pillsbury offers other flavors, too, like banana, apple cinnamon and chocolate chip swirl. I may give the box a try next time I visit the supermarket...