Friday, December 19, 2014

Mary's Organic Crackers - black pepper

What's probably best about Mary's Organic Crackers (black pepper) are its attributes: organic, gluten-free, vegan, non-GMO. And if you go onto their website, you'll discover even more strict quality control: Dairy Free, Wheat Free, Whole Grain, Kosher, No Hydrogenated Oils, No Trans-Fats.
It's one of the lowest-common-denominator foods that everyone can eat.

The worst part is that it tastes mostly like sesame seeds--Where's my black pepper?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Snyder's of Hanover Cheddar Cheese Pretzel Pieces

We all know that burger ads look way better than the actual product you get because those advertisement burgers are expertly crafted to show everything that you do get, just not all carefully positioned on one half of the perimeter.

Nevertheless, it still always shocks me when product wildly differs from ad copy. Like Snyder's of Hanover Cheddar Cheese Pretzel Pieces. This is from their line of Flavored Pretzel Pieces.
The image on the bag shows rather nice somewhat-presentable nuggets hovering around the size of the first joint of your smallest finger. And every one thoroughly and thickly coated with cheddar-yellow savoury powder on the non-baked side. Not too shabby.
The reality is actually much closer to the images on their website which dhows a wilder array of sizes, some very small, and shapes that are more akin to what you get after smashing pretzels. Which may very well be what these are.

The worst part of what the actual product looks like is the horrible suspicion it engenders that these are leftovers from pretzels that didn't make it and they just smashed, swept together, and repackaged these overbaked or got-crushed-accidentally failures for you. Waste not want not?

Fortunately, this is unlikely the case because there isn't a product line that looks like whole, unblemished versions of Cheddar Cheese Pretzels. The closest thing to it might be the Nibblers, but those have their own distinct mini-loaf-of-bread shape. Why Pretzel Pieces don't have Nibbler shapes might be a mystery of focus testing and marketing -- or a matter of getting the flavoured powder to stick on the exposed dough side of the smashed pretzels. Snyders of Hanover has several products with the same crushed-from-something-else look, such as their Korn Krunchers product line. And all richly and evenly seasoned, which is unlikely to be the case with trying to dust pretzel leftovers with tasty flavour.

If you're not going to look too closely at the bag or pour it out into serving trays for your posh party, however, the Cheddar Cheese Pretzel Pieces do have decent tastiness (and extreme saltiness!), thanks to an honest-to-god generous amount of cheese powder. Just don't look at it between the bag and your mouth. With so many tiny pieces, a spoon is recommended.
But wait! you say -- I'm supposed to eat a bag of snacks with a spoon? Exactly -- look at the picture above and notice the ruler on the right side.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Fig and Bacon Jam

Every season I get a recipe book (FREE) from All You Need Is Cheese, and this simple Fig and Bacon Jam Recipe is from the Winter 2014 issue. It's so easy even a kitchen noob like myself could do it.

Noob Tips:

  • If you read the recipe carefully, you will notice that just for the jam, you do NOT need blue cheese or crackers. Those are a serving suggestion.
  • After step 3 (bring to a boil), leave the heat as is -- just remove the cover to simmer. Otherwise it takes forever.
I found it lacking in bacon-y goodness afterwards despite three strips of the stuff. If you insist on clear bacon flavour, you might want to use more strips.