I am one of those people: a sharer. I want to tell the whole world about the things I love that I think might benefit their lives! I’ve written a few of these “my favorite things” lists, but now it will be on a tab of its own, so you can always refer back to my favorite products. And I love reading other people’s curated lists like this, so if you’ve got one please leave it in the comments below.
These are my latest favorite things, still all food-related:
- Rancho Gordo popcorn kernels. I love popcorn and movie night with my family. We always use good kernels and the girls have so much fun waiting for the first pop and then drizzling melted butter over it. These kernels are the best: very clean tasting and a pure kernel texture I can’t describe. Here’s Mark Bittman’s popcorn recipe (for ideas and inspiration) if you need it.
- Boggy Creek Farm’s smoke-dried tomatoes. I have actually been using these for over a decade. I discovered them watching Food Network when I was living in Seattle around 2002 and learning to experiment in the kitchen. I ordered them from this Austin farm, and several years later, I transplanted here and got to become a regular at Boggy Creek. These tomatoes can be purchased online and last forever refrigerated. I chop a couple up in tiny “bacon” bits for that ultra-smoky flavor when I don’t want to use meat or bacon. I used them last in my Roasted Butternut Squash recipe recently.
- The Austin Food Bloggers Alliance. I just love this organization and being part of it. I’m now the Education Chair as of 2015 and I am already benefitting from the relationships I’m forming—from the supportive community of food bloggers to the chefs, restaurants, farmers and more with whom we have alliances. I am especially proud (still!) of our cookbook, formed to illustrate what our community cooks in this little sub-era.
- Camille Styles Entertaining. This book is a beautiful little entertaining gem! I leafed through it one day on my back porch on a lazy beautiful Austin winter day. I already throw lots of parties, but this book made me want to decorate and style BETTER. And have you seen the blog? Most Austinites have, but if you aren’t local, you should be checking it out anyway. And a huge shoutout to my blogger buddy Katie of Butterlust Blog who now has a featured column on Camille Styles. Talk about some FINE photography, styling, and be forewarned: you will want to bake everything when you see her work!
- Baking Sheet sized parchment sheets. I am pretty late to this phenomenon! I was buying parchment from Costco and cutting each sheet every time (PITA!). Now I just buy the pre-sized sheets and baking is a GO! My kids have an easier time whipping up a batch of cookies too if they don’t have to mess with scissors and cutting perfect rectangles.
- Progressive Dinners. You gotta put one of these together at some point in your life. Fun fun fun. A lot like a potluck, but you get to travel and be at 4 different set tables in one night! I have been a part of two or three dinners like this and we are going on our next one in a couple of months. This time, there’s a theme! It’s an Aphrodisiac Party (no emoticon for my expression here).
- Blue Hill yogurt. Finally, a company that understands that there is a place for savory yogurt in the food world. These taste spot on, especially with an Indian or Persian or Turkish meal. I’d love some homemade raita instead, but in a pinch these would suffice! By the way, if you’re into yogurt, you should check out Team Yogurt! Get on the list for the launching of a site wholly devoted to all things yogurt.
- Alton Brown’s pretzel recipe. I had never made pretzels before trying this recipe. It is actually one of the easier bread-baking recipes! I will definitely be making them again.
- Chef’n Butter Maker. I saw this mentioned in the recent Saveur issue for cooks where they highlight their favorites too. I got one and made a little butter in a jiffy with some leftover whipping cream I had that would have spoiled soon. I have made butter and buttermilk before in my stand mixer but it sure is messy that way, so I am using this from now on for small amounts of real, fresh, churned butter!
- Just Between Us journals. So—not food related, but I just had to share this journal. I have used it with my older daughter for 2 years now and we trade it back and forth. It holds secrets and conversations that aren’t even allowed to be discussed outside the journal, and has an assortment of pages with questions to answer and plenty of free space too. Now my younger daughter got one too and she is so excited about it that she’s been writing in it daily!
I’d love it if you shared below one thing you have found this week that has been useful, delightful, or simply made you smile!