Mmm...lobstah

Mmm...lobstah

As a New Englander, Cape Cod is my usual ‘away-for-the-weekend’ location. It’s easy to get to and oh so stereotypical. So when the chance arose to take a trip elsewhere, I faltered, for all of thirty seconds, before I realized that I had to grab the opportunity before it slipped between my fingers like the fine, whispy sand that coats the shoreline of this destination.

I’m goin’ to Florida, baby!

And while I absolutely cannot wait for must-sees like Caladesi Island and the Salvador Dali museum, I’m really on the edge of my chair whenever I think about the food. They say the best way to a guy’s heart is through his stomach…well, the best way to a foodie’s heart is through her stomach as well (and I can assure you, I am most definitely not a male).

Thinking about dockside restaurants, fresh fish, and unique local concoctions gets my pulse a-racing. And with Tarpon Springs on the schedule, Floridian Greek food is most definitely on the menu – after spending 2 weeks in Greece, I’m sure nothing will compare…but it can’t hurt to try.

Needless to say, I am absolutely thrilled. I’ve been to Florida once in my life, in the 7th grade, when my parents took my sister and I to Disney World. Restaurant suggestions, anyone?

It’s amazing what can be found on Google images during a time of boredom…but really, food + clothing = Pineapple Girl heaven. A very chubby, Willy Wonka-esque Pineapple Girl heaven.

Cupcake dress

Cupcake dress

 

Wedding cake bride

Wedding cake bride

Salad dress

Salad dress

I looked for a dress made out of cheese to satisfy my love for the stuff, but unfortunately (or fortunately…) could not find any photographs, other than a cheese bra. A cheese bra? At least it would be easy to take off, right? Just gnaw away…

Oreos with milk

Oreos with milk

Here is a peace offering: oreos with milk, that is. I know it’s not the same as a (potentially drama-filled) post, but my brain has been filled with un-foodie nuisances these past few days and I realize that my writing has been rather unimpressive. Even baking, *gasp*, can’t solve certain things.

And a non-food related “question”: girls, or whoever is reading really, how do you deal with “friends with benefits” type relationships? I’m trying to remain cool and collected over the entire situation but I feel like I am becoming far too emotionally invested in the entire endeavor.

Anywho. Back to food tomorrow, I promise!

French Women For All Seasons

French Women For All Seasons

I just recently received French Women For All Seasons: A Year of Secrets, Recipes, & More by Mireille Guiliano. And having never really gotten into the French Women Don’t Get Fat craze, I more than respect the knowledge that she has shared with hordes of American women. I just simply never envisioned myself reading either of her books.

But now, as I’m sitting here sipping coffee and flipping through the book (and, well, typing), I am wondering why the heck I was ever so skeptical and/or cynical. This book isn’t *just* about how to control portions, which is what I was afraid of. It has [delectable] French recipes {ranging from goat cheese and fennel tartines to rabbit loin with hazelnuts}, fashion, food culture…my trifecta of F’s, the three things that I am most interested in. There’s even a section on the many varieties of cheese [insert excitable screaming of "I LOVE CHEESE" here]. And of course her message of feeling good in your skin while enjoying food and life in general doesn’t lose the attention of a modern girl, as body image is something so, so fragile these days.

The main idea, though, is seasonal eating; i.e. eating the fruits and vegetables that are in season for that particular time of the year. And although I feel like seasonal eating is something that should be so obvious, it quite apparently is not considering the constant supply of bananas and apples in my kitchen, no matter the time of year. I’m a college student so I simply cannot afford to give up my simple fruit supply (because then I guarantee I’d be getting no fruit in my diet, other than the canned variety, come school time), but the basic ideas seem so easy to employ into any eater’s life. I guess I’ll find out…

Chocolate liegeois

Chocolate liegeois

{Liegeois: a cold dessert made from lightly sweetened coffee, ice cream, and chantilly cream…

                                                                                                                                                    

Chantilly cream: a vanilla flavored whipped cream that is used to both enhance taste and to provide decoration. It is frequently served with ice cream.}

Peanut butter cookies with chocolate chunks

Peanut butter cookies with chocolate chunks

I’m not a typical cookie baker. I do love cookies, but if I’m baking I’d rather have cupcakes or cake or some other odd confection 90% of the time. This is mostly because I have had very bad experiences with baking cookies. The first time I tried to bake them myself, the result was disastrous (and keep in mind, these were of the the pour the mix-add the eggs/water-bake variety). So, needless to say, I was a bit apprehensive when I decided that, yes, I want to bake these cookies.

Part of the pressure for greatness stems from the fact that these were not cookies for myself, they were for a close friend’s birthday. And he is a peanut butter cookie aficionado. Choosing the recipe is always the easy part…

Things started out smoothly. I gathered all my materials, let the butter reach room temperature, and begin mixing away. I then put the dough in the refrigerator to chill, just as the recipe says. It’s not until after I take the chilled dough out that I realize I somehow misread the recipe and had used granulated sugar instead of brown sugar. Crap. Strike one against successful cooking baking.

Since I determined that a sugar switch wouldn’t make a gigantic deal in the long run, I kept on plugging with the chilled dough. Strike number 2 occured when I decided that I want to make larger cookies instead of the recommended yield of 27. Again, not devastating but for a few minutes there I though the inside of my cookies would never good while the outside continued to get darker and darker. And then I forgot to turn the oven on (who knows why I even turned it off, just a habit…) for bath #2, which led to strike number three: me having a fit after getting caught up in something else and realizing I forgot my cookies in the oven, running to check them, and then seeing that they were still just great big balls of dough.

I don’t think I’m cut out to be a cookie guru. But considering everything that could have gone wrong, these cookies came out pretty splendidly (I know because I *had* to taste test one…or two…before sending them off to their fate). The bittersweet chocolate definitely balanced out the peanut butter’s salty flavor, but I think in the future, if I ever use this recipe again, I’ll be using low salt PB. I felt like it was a little too overwhelming at times. But hey, it’s hard to go wrong with chocolate and peanut butter so a girl can’t complain too much…

Fleur de Sel caramel

Fleur de Sel caramel

First off, let me just say that this review is biased because A) I love fleur de sel caramels *and* any sweet/salty dessert and B) I have been coveting a pint of this ice cream for about 2 weeks now and dug into it like a hungry wolf

[cue Duran Duran's Hungry like the Wolf]

Ok, now that I’ve gotten the disclaimer out of the way, I can dig into the meat and potatoes of this review: I LOVED this ice cream…more than any precocious-sounding adjectives could describe. There are just no words. Simply put, taking a bite of this ice cream was like having a party in my mouth…complete with dancing taste buds.

From the Haagen-Dazs website:

Fleur de Sel caramels covered in a chocolaty coating blended into caramel ice cream with caramel ribbons and French sea salt accents. Crisp, salty nuances harmonize with rich, creamy caramel for the ultimate combination of sweet and salty.

                                                                                                                                                            

I will say that after being completely immoderate and eating the entire container for dinner, the saltiness was a bit overpowering. But I’m sure that, with appropriate serving sizes and restraint, this tiny flaw in the ice cream would not have been apparent. I also found the chocolate to not really add anything to the experience; it certainly didn’t detract but I’m just not a milk chocolate girl. And mainly, the flavor was truly just as the description illustrates: sweet and salty harmonizing together in a creamy caramel ice cream.

I give Haagen-dazs fleur de sel caramel a 4 out of 5, mostly because I am a chocolate snob and a tiny part of me was wishing for dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate. But overall, an A+; I got the exact sweet and savoury flavor I imagined in my head before I took my first bite and that is so important to me when eating a spin-off of such classic flavors. And I whole-heartedly recommend this to anyone who wants a stand-up ice cream performance. Or a way to eat away unhappiness, because I most definitely cheered up. Just don’t eat the whole pint ;)

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