Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Food Review: Galatas Greek Yogurt Cheesecake

When I saw this "Authentic Greek Yogurt Cheesecake" in the dairy case yesterday at my local supermarket, I nearly gagged. YOGURT CHEESECAKE?  Um, how about no??

Boy, was I wrong. This stuff is DELICIOUS, and not nearly as decadent as regular cheesecake, or even the "diet" versions you've seen out there.  This 2.5oz serving has just 100 calories, 7 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat (only 3 of which are saturated), and only 4 grams of sugar. 

When I saw the word "yogurt" I immediately assumed there would be some sort of tangy aftertaste, but no, not with this brand.  It's also gluten free, so if you're hoping to find some buttery graham cracker crust goodness at the bottom--sorry, you won't find it.  

That's okay, though.  This version will still satisfy your craving for cheesecake, without the usual guilt. And I was shocked to find that all of the ingredients are actually easy to pronounce. It boasts no preservatives, and no artificial colors or flavors.

Galatas Authentic Greek Yogurt Cheesecake was $3.99 a box at my local Kings supermarket, and I highly recommend giving it a try!

UPDATED TO ADD: I'm not sure how widely available this product is, but I found the website for the parent company, "Say Cheese Gourmet" in East Rockaway, NY.  You can visit their website at this link: http://saycheesegourmet.com/guilt-free-creations

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Tissue Magic

Sure the explosion of The Death Star into millions of tiny fractals was impressive, but it is nothing compared to the infinite trail of fragmented destruction left in the wake of one errant tissue left in the laundry.  #somanypieces #ONEfrickintissue #allergyseason

Sunday, April 10, 2016

REVIEW: Ben & Jerry's newest "core" flavors

I've been anxiously awaiting the debut of the newest round of Ben & Jerry's "core" ice cream flavors, and today, I found three of them at the grocery store: Coconuts for Caramel, Cookies & Cream Cheesecake Core, and Brownie Batter Core

I confess, I'm not a big ice cream fanatic, especially when it's cold outside (Spring, why has thou forsaken the Northeast?), but I've been wanting to try these for a long time, and I had a great coupon from ShopRite (buy 4 pints, get $1.50 off) so I picked up a pint of each for a quick taste test (and a pint of The Tonight Dough, just because).

First up: Cookies & Cream Cheesecake Core

Description: Chocolate & Cheesecake Ice Creams with Chocolate Cookies & a Cheesecake Core

First impressions: The cheesecake core was frozen solid, and looked almost like someone stuck a mozzarella stick into the center of the pint. Yikes. The cookie pieces were large, though.

Taste test: I soooo wanted this one to be good, and it just...wasn't. The chocolate ice cream was perfectly fine, as you'd expect, but the cheesecake ice cream didn't taste like cheesecake, or any other discernible flavor--it was like vanilla ice cream minus the vanilla flavoring. Odd. And the cheesecake core? Meh. Again, not much in the way of cheesecake flavor. The cookie pieces in the ice cream were the saving grace for this one: they're more like mini-brownie bites than cookies, with a rich, dense chocolate cake texture that was wonderfully decadent.

As a combo, the two ice creams do compliment one another, but overall, this one was nothing special.

Verdict: Disappointing.

 Next up: Brownie Batter

Description: Chocolate & Vanilla Ice Creams with Fudge Brownies & a Brownie Batter Core.

First impressions: At first, it looked like there was barely any "core" to be had, but once I dug into it with my ice cream scoop, it revealed a velvety-smooth ribbon of chocolate at the center, more the consistency of hot fudge sauce than brownie batter.

Taste test: I expected this to be a fairly straightforward, standard dessert offering, and that's about the best way to describe it: basically a fudge sundae pre-made in one container.  The brownie bits were suprisingly smaller and less brownie-like than the cookie bits in the Cheesecake Core flavor, and the consistency of the "batter" was much smoother than I thought it would be. The core reminded me of Bosco chocolate syrup far more than batter. There's absolutely nothing wrong with this flavor, but it's not exactly revolutionary: the vanilla ice cream tastes like it's supposed to, the chocolate tastes like chocolate. There's syrup mixed in. Yawn.  If anything, it felt like it was missing the cherry on top. I think this could have been a home run, if they'd made the Brownie core a bit thicker and more textured, but they played it a little too safe.

Verdict:  Tasty, but Boring.

And finally: Coconuts for Caramel.  

Description: Caramel & Sweet Cream Coconut Ice Creams with Fudge Flakes & a Caramel Core.

First impressions: Oh my--as soon as I opened the container, and saw the thick, buttery caramel core sticking to the roof of the container, I was in love. The only thing I love more than a little caramel is a LOT of caramel.

Taste test: This is the one I was most excited to try, and it did not disappoint. The coconut ice cream has a ridiculous amount of coconut flakes in it. I happen to love coconut, so there's no such thing as "too much"of it, but I could see where someone who is less coconut-obsessed might find it a tad overdone.  To which I say: good, don't buy this, so there's more for me!  The caramel ice cream also had a pleasing caramel flavor without being overpowering, and the caramel core was gooey, buttery perfection.

Verdict:  A Coconut Lover's Dream. Seriously, I want to buy a case of this stuff. DELICIOUS!

Tips for Taking Great Food Pictures

Oh, how I wish EVERYONE would read this article by local food critic Elisa Ung, on "How to Make Food Photos Yummier. There's nothing better than some honest-to-goodness "food porn" photography, and there's nothing worse than a well-intentioned friend posting a horrific picture of their half-eaten salad and dirty fork with the caption "OMG this is so good!"  Yuck! So kudos to Ung for writing this much-needed article.

I love capturing shots of great food, especially when I'm out at a restaurant, because I do believe in the expression that "you eat with your eyes first."  Plating food is an art unto itself, not quite as important as the flavor, but pretty darn close.  A photo helps capture the memory of not only the wonderful meal, but the time you spent enjoying it with friends and family. (And yes, I know some might find the practice annoying, but to them I say, "If that's enough to push your buttons, you need to get a hobby.")

I'm definitely guilty of using the "overhead shot" way too much--something I'll be working on.  The tight shots