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Welcome to Fancy Food & Culinary Products' blog, your place to read reviews of the great fancy and gourmet products we find in the marketplace.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Editor’s Choice: Mustard Seed Sauce and Dressing

There’s a wide, wide array of flavors and cultures represented in Asian cooking, but from Vietnam to Korea and Indonesia to Malaysia, many basics and ingredients meld so well together. Ginger, garlic, shallots, sesame and lemongrass are all spotlighted in this cuisine, and cooking with an Asian touch has never been easier. Sauces and dressings from Mustard Seed bring a taste of the earth's largest continent into the kitchen.

For more than 35 years, the Mustard Seed and Noodle Express Restaurants have brought their fresh Asian-infused flavors to their patrons. And in 2013, their sauces and dressings were introduced to the marketplace for fans—new and old—to bring into their own kitchens.

The Ginger Dressing, a personal favorite and one of the company’s signature items, is multi-functional and bursting with Asian flavors—think minced ginger, sesame seeds, onion, vinegar and more. Used as a dressing on salads it’s light and tangy, but where I think the dressing shines is as a finish on seafood dishes. Pour the dressing into a hot pan and let it thicken before serving with grilled proteins or fish.

The Asian Oil and Vinegar, the same dressing that is used for the restaurants’ Asian Slaw, is a flavorful and healthy alternative to traditional oil and vinegar dressings. With a hint of sesame and a burst of tangy influences, mix it with a pasta salad or as a pork or chicken marinade. Another signature sauce, the Osaka Sauce, is one that customers’ have been enjoying for years. The bursts of Asian lemon and mustard lend a flavorful boost to even to most basic meals. The culinary possibilities are plentiful. I’d recommend using the Osaka as a dipping sauce for vegetables or grilled chicken or as a deeply flavored glaze over cooked rice or noodles.  

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Editor's Pick: Suan's Foods Scotch Bonnet Pepper Jelly

I frequently have friends over on Thursday night for dinner or go to happy hour or do another social activity. There are a few reasons for this: it’s almost the weekend, I may want to try a new recipe or I need to take my mind off of work for a night.

Last week, I had one of my college friends over for dinner. She’s a vegetarian, and as a meat lover, sometimes it’s hard for me to create an entire menu without any red meat, chicken or fish, so often we’ll enjoy some wine and cheese. I went with some of my favorite go-to cheeses including goat and brie. This time, I also incorporated a jar of Suan’s Scotch Bonnet Pepper Jelly into the mix and we both loved it.

The jelly itself is the perfect consistency while remaining both smooth and firm. It was the perfect blend of sweetness with a punch of spice for a very slight aftertaste. It mixed well with the cheese, particularly the brie, and really brought the dinner to a new level, bringing some spice to the bland crackers I accidently picked out.

That weekend, I was running low on groceries, but had some eggs, bacon, asparagus and cheddar on hand. I mixed the bacon, asparagus and cheddar together in a French omelet and spread the Scotch Bonnet Pepper Jelly on top of it. It made for a delicious and semi-nutritious breakfast and my day was off to a good start.

Suan’s Foods has a number of recipes on their website. I can’t wait to try another!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Editor's Choice: SuperSeedz

Pumpkin seedswho'd have thought? When SuperSeedz arrived at our door, I had no hesitations when it came to ripping open a bag. As an avid nut and cheese snacker, anything I can mindlessly reach for and pop in my mouth handfuls at a time is just perfect—twice as perfect if it's a healthy option. What makes these dry roasted, all natural seeds so super, is the protein, iron and zinc contained in every serving that keeps me going throughout the day. With eight flavors, there's a bag of gourmet pumpkin seeds to satisfy everyone:

  • Sea Salt
  • Really Naked
  • Sugar & Cinnamon
  • Tomato Italiano
  • Somewhat Spicy
  • Super Spicy
  • Coco Joe
  • Original Curry

The flavor choices seemed curious at first, but they really work. The Somewhat Spicy bag was more on the very spicy side for my sensitive taste buds, but the Sea Salt package became addicting. 15 kickball teammates can't be wrong, and they devoured the bag during last week's game. Next week, I'll be sure to disguise these in a boring snack decoy bag. 

The Sugar & Cinnamon seeds were a brilliant complement to my after-work wine, and since wine is full of antioxidants, mixing Malbec with the 9 grams of protein, 2 milligrams of iron and 2 milligrams of zinc per ounce offered in these seeds, I was basically really, really healthy that one day.

These tasty pop-able snacks come to us courtesy of Kathie Pelliccio, founder of SuperSeedz and the company from which they come—Kathie's Kitchen. What had started out intending to provide salads with an added crunch, then turned into the same desire for yogurt and oatmeal. Soon, Kathie and her husband, Joe, took off running with the idea, selling bags at fairs and farmers markets. Today they continue to make us healthy snacks, finding ingredients in the most unlikely of places.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Editor's Choice: Donsuemor's Madeleines

To indulge is to take pleasure in quality rather than quantity.
Donsuemor believes this, and after sampling a few of their Madeleines,  I’d argue that indulging in quality is even better in larger quantities. Their Madeleines, a soft, moist French cake with a distinctive shell shape, were introduced to Donsuemor’s Berkley, Calif. bakery in1976. Since then, new customers have discovered the exceptional quality of the fresh bakery treats on a daily basis—myself now included.
The Madeleines, which started with an original French recipe, were the love child of a creative entrepreneur (Don Morris) and a passionate baker (Susie Morris, Don's wife) who together made an unstoppable, analytical, creative and Madeleine-making business team.
The Madeleine cookie is a small, scalloped French cake that more often than not resembles a dry sugar cookie. But Donsuemor’s are anything but. They’re tender, fresh and buttery, and nearly impossible to put down. They’re probably bite-size for a reason. They’re soft, but with a slightly crisped edge, and are available in three flavors including Traditional, Dipped and Lemon Zest.

Donsuemor’s state-of-the-art bakery still integrates artisan principles but on a large scale. They make more than 15,000 bakery goods an hour in a 32,000-square foot bakery. Their exceptional commitment to quality shines through in their products, and they certainly have me sold.

At Donsuemor, they’ve created an experience. By baking wholesome products, they’re allowing for the experience of satisfaction. And who would have thought that such a small package would satisfy so many?