Things I Like & 4 Year Anniversary
Today, my blog is 4 years old!
Hard to believe that I have evolved into such a household name! (the heat must be getting to me).
Here is my first post written on July 3, 2008 for your reading pleasure. The photo was taken with my old flip phone camera. (I've come a long way baby, I've graduated to a Canon point and shoot digital $100. camera).
I would like to share some of my favorite products with you and host a giveaway for my favorite readers (and even the one's that are just ok) to celebrate going into my 5th year of blogging.
Most of these items are easily available in better supermarkets or online. They are some of my favorite little things to eat and use in cooking.
The first item is caponata (Sicilian eggplant appetizer) in the can. Progresso used to make this when I was kid, but discontinued it in 2004 for some reason. I found it again recently, made by Cento, and the world was right again.
It's a bit oily, and you can only eat a little, but in an emergency, when I am craving eggplant, this does the trick. Spread it on toast, instant appetizer.
Price about $2.79 per can.
FUN FACT: (I used to have cans of caponata and jars of marinated artichokes in my locker in high school and eat them in the hallway. This is true. You think I was a little bit odd?).
Anything from the Gracious Gourmet is amazing. I am addicted to their hatch chili pesto, I put it in omelets, spoon it on avocados and in quesadillas, but their Spiced Sour Cherry Spread is to die for. I love it on a roast chicken sandwich with roasted peppers. You can order it online or find it at Whole Foods.
Next item I love, and it's easy to find, are the amazing Raisin Rosemary Crisps from Trader Joe's. I used to buy these at Whole Foods for big bucks $$$, but now they are easily affordable to buy in bulk at Trader's. Love.
Next is my favorite tuna. It is Tonnino brand, and I like the Ventresca style, which is the belly of the tuna, so it is very fatty and moist. No mayo is needed, in fact that would be a crime.
Serve this with good olives on an antipasti platter. A little goes a long way.
Price per jar about $6.99.
Another staple I couldn't live without is MALDON salt.
It's not French, like I always thought it was, but British, and pronounced "Mal-din". I used to say it with a French accent all these years. Duh.
After many taste tests (I swear, I have tasted every salt), this is my favorite finishing salt for everything. You pinch the flakes with your fingers and sprinkle on top of the dish (I use kosher salt to cook with, this salt is a finishing salt).
And lastly, the thing I like the most is YOU. Readers and commenters that have made this humble little blog the most enjoyable part of my day. Thank you for reading my recipes and nonsense and for making this worthwhile writing another year.
To thank you, I am giving 4 random readers a copy of Béatrice Peltre's beautiful new cookbook La Tartine Gourmande An Inspired Life.
Just leave a comment telling us your favorite little kitchen product or ingredient.
Winners will be announced on Saturday, July 7.
Have a safe & happy 4th of July!
Happy Anniversary, and thanks for sharing your favorites - I'm not familiar with any of them, but plan to try them all! What do you put on the Raisin Rosemary Crisps? One of my favorite staples for baking is Penzey's madagascar vanilla; it makes a difference. Happy 4th! Beth
I really like canned fire roasted diced tomatoes and truffle salt. Two of my favorite staples right now. :)
I'm a relatively new reader of your blog and I've made several of your recipes - very yummy. The orzo spinach salad was great. I've made it twice, the second time was for a pot luck at work.
I've been reading your blog for about 4 years now and I have tried so many of your recipes and you ARE a household name in my house! We love your recipes and sense of humor! Thank you for starting my day off with a smile!
Favorite little ingredient would be store bought pesto, I like to swipe it on sandwiches instead of mustard! Can't live without it!
My favorite staple is fresh homemade pasta made with Semolina flour from Wegmans and my trusty 33 year old Osrow Pasta Maker!! well that and homegrown eggplant, but I need to wait a bit longer for that!!
You've done a great job and have the fans to prove it.
God bless and continued blogging for our edification and enjoyment.
I like espresso powder as a baking ingredient. It really adds something to chocolate desserts.
My favorite kitchen product is an old French pepper grinder that is a staple in all of the Hoffer households. Fortunately they are still made, but mine has lasted through almost 43 years of marriage, so I can vouch for their sturdiness. Actually we have probably 4 grinders, including the two in the condo. I also can't do without kosher salt, although I've grown fond of Maldon and French fleur de sel for finishing. Love the crunch they put on salad greens.
I am gluten free, so would love a chance to win Tartine Gourmande's new book!
I love agave nectar, it is wonderful! Secret ingredient!
My favorite kitchen product I couldn't do without is my kitchen aid stand mixer. I can't imagine baking without it.
On a personal note - your creativity inspires me and each day I open my email and find a note from you I am so very happy.
I've loved your ideas and several of your recipes have become the one that Rocked for the Season - Apple Nougat Tart is still rocking around here!
Indispensable in my kitchen these days is NOMU vanilla paste and wide coconut ribbons (or chips). This coconut make Alice Medrich's Coconut Macaroons absolutely addictive.
Honey has to be my favorite, but Pernod is giving it a good race. I find that a little dash in a sauce just adds a sumpin' sumpin' that you can't put your finger on but know it's in there.
Congrats on four years, wishing you many, many more!
Have a happy 4th of July
As for Dave ingredients, I have a Kathy Casey finishing salt that I enjoy. A true workhorse and ingredient is Stonewall Kitchen's Maine Maple Champagne mustard. It sparkles on the tongue.
My favorite implement is a wooden spoon. I have a crock full of spoons, including some that I inherited from my mother. I feel as though she is cooking w/ me when I use them.
My knives are the best. Without them I couldn't turn out your recipes.
Congrats on 4 years! I'd love to see a post featuring some favorites from way back when... :)
I cannot survive in the kitchen without my wustof knives and , I have had them for years and are as good as new.
I am obsessed with peppercorn mixes and my pepper grinder - nothing like freshly ground pepper , and have been using Maldon salt as a finishing salt for years.... of course Mortons kosher salt for everyday cooking .
In your blog I love your tagged Ramblings and the adventures of your Vegetable Plot are hilarious. The recent rambling about what to bring for dinner just cracked me up because it is my pet peeve as well .
I am also a cookbook junkie but have not purchased anything for wuite a while , because like you I am busy with my vegetable plot , in my backyard - Chicago is having a hot summer and it needs my daily love and attention .
Keep up the good writing and ramblings :-))
One of my favorite staples has been Quinoa! I have learned to use that in so many ways...replace it when a recipe calls for rice or pasta. I have even used it as my "oatmeal" for breakfast. It adds the extra protein and takes on the flavor of whatever you are making.
Thanks for all the wonderful recipes and beautiful pictures. You are truly an inspiration to me. Congratulations on 4 years! You are doing a fantastic job (and looks like you are having a blast too!)
Renee @ AcuraPines
My favorite kitchen gadget these days is a set of three nesting silicone measuring cups that my wife bought me last year made by iSi, I could not live without them.
Love my Vitamix for soups and smoothies and use(cheater)Major chicken/beef/veg base a lot.
Looking forward to your ongoing posts!
Congratulations on your Fourth Anniversary! Been following for quite a while and really enjoy your writing and recipes. Here's to another four wonderful years!
P.S. My favorite kitchen companion is my little crumb vacuum, Blue, a Welsh Pembroke Corgi!
My favorite ingredient this time of year is the fresh mint from my garden----it adds an unexpected brightness to everything it combines with (fruit, pasta, pesto and relish, cocktails, etc). My kids are even requesting(and making for a snack!!) mint vegetables/pea puree with mint and lemon! Congratulations again!
After trying many veggie peelers, I found that the Kuhn Rikon peeler is the best. It's ~$4.
Looking forward to year 5....
My favorite little appliance is my immersion blender: makes soups and salad dressings so much easier. And my favorite food product is Lyttos tapenade. I know I can make tapenade but I'm the only one who'll eat it. It's not fair being around so many olive haters.
My favorite ingredient is Nutella. It's great in baked goods, as a crepe filling and I make an easy and delicious ice box cake with it using only 3 other ingredients!!!
Congrats on your anniversary,
Love your blog,
Carol Ann in Hackettstown, NJ
My favorite ingredient that I love using right now is the fresh basil that I'm growing.
I'll have to try those Raisin Rosemary Crisps, they look good.
Have a happy 4th of July.
Thank you again Stacey for your excellent blog -- you are amazing.
Favorite ingredient? Why, Herbes de Provence, of course. Tee hee.
I hope you have many more years of blogging!
Happy Anniversary! Keep up the great work - I check in daily and try many of your recipes.
My favorite ingredient is Old Bay seasoning (being a native Marylander).
Trader Joe's has some great products. Standbys for when I cannot cook (and there are only two of us) are their Rustico Pasta Sauce and Flame-broiled (frozen) Meatballs. Sounds like heresy on a food blog, but sometimes even the best cooks are pushed to the wall!
Their bottled marinated artichoke hearts are excellent, as are their frozen ones.
For regular tuna for sandwiches, where Best Foods (Hellmans) mayonnaise is used in our house, Costco's Kirkland brand albacore wins hands down - real solid pack without a lot of excess air space in the can and/or flakes, a 7 oz can, and an excellent price.
For everyday coffee their Jose's Colombian beans in a 3# bag are excellent - I grind them at home to order.
A from scratch cook for decades, I now have to deal with other issues so time is at a premium. I haven't completely given up, but do appreciate a few time savers along the way if the quality is good.
Sesame oil has been a game changer for me since I started using it. I almost cried when I spilled half a bottle the other day...