Burly but Sweet Irish Coffee

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

 -What you need to get through another family holiday.-

We, like any barely functioning individual, like to mix our uppers with our downers. While ice cream sprinkled with a bit of Prozac is keen, an Irish coffee is by and far much more accessible and doesn’t require a prescription.

The key to a really fantastic Irish coffee is brown sugar simple syrup - the musky flavor of the molasses in the brown sugar brings out the burly, peaty flavors of both the coffee and the whiskey. It’s blended in both the barely whipped cream and the coffee itself ensuring a properly stout coffee cocktail. It takes a few extra steps then your everyday Irish coffee, but the results speak for themselves.

A special thanks to Rachel Valley, who took this amazing photograph. If you're in the Sacramento area and need an excellent food photographer, I highly recommend her. 

For the Brown Sugar Simple Syrup Makes
3 cups of syrup 

1 cup brown sugar
1 cup water

Place both ingredients in a saucepan and warm over medium-high heat until the sugar is dissolved. Allow to cool before using.

For the Brown Sugar Whipped Cream 
Makes plenty of whipped cream 

1 cup heavy whipping cream
¼ cup brown sugar simple syrup

Place the whipping cream in a bowl and whisk the utter hell out of it. While you do so, slowly pour in the brown sugar simple syrup in a thin stream. Be careful not to overwhisk. You don’t want a super-thick cream with stiff peaks, but rather a soft cream your can easily spoon out or even pour.

For the Irish Coffee 
Makes 1 Irish Coffee 

6 ounces freshly brewed coffee
1.5 ounces Irish whiskey
.5 ounce of brown sugar simple syrup
 brown sugar whipped cream for topping

Place the coffee, whiskey, and simple syrup in a glass and fill almost to the top, leaving about ½-inch of headspace. Fill the rest of the glass with way too much of the brown sugar whipped cream. Indulge immediately.

Bailey’s Irish Coffee: Use Bailey’s Irish Cream in place of the brown sugar simple syrup for the whipped cream. A bit more liquor with your liquor is never a bad thing.

The Next Day: Chipotle Micheladas

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

-Time to wake up and take your medicine.-

At some point in mid-blackout you made the surprisingly wise decision to stumble into a mini-mart for Mexican beer and Clamato juice. Good job. Gold star. You won’t die this morning because of that.

If you’ve never had a Michelada before, it’s like a Bloody Mary but with beer and Clamato juice in place of tomato juice. It’s an odd concoction, but holy hell does it bring you back from the drunken dead. Savory, spicy, salty, and exactly what you need to stave off the collective hangover that threatens to literally kill you if you stop drinking all at once.

A special thanks to Rachel Valley, who took this amazing photograph. If you're in the Sacramento area and need an excellent food photographer, I highly recommend her.

Chipotle Michelada
Serves 8

½ cup freshly squeezed lime juice (reserve some of the rinds)
4 cups Clamato juice
4 cups Mexican beer, chilled (think Corona or along those lines)
3 teaspoons hot sauce
2 teaspoons Maggi or soy sauce
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon ground chipotle powder
Tajín seasoning or kosher salt for rimming the glasses

1. Combine all of the ingredients except for the Tajín seasoning in a pitcher and stir together. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

2. Place some Tajín seasoning or kosher salt on a small plate. Using one of the leftover lime rinds wet the rim of a highball glass. Dip the rim in the Tajín seasoning to garnish.

3. Fill the glass with ice and top with the Michelada. Enjoy immediately.

Tamarind Michelada: A sour-savory version of the drink that only the bold can handle. Omit the chipotle and add a tablespoon of tamarind paste. Whisk together and taste, adjusting as needed.

Habanero Michelada: If you’re into pain, then replace with ground chipotle with ground habanero or use a habanero hot sauce. This’ll put your guests in their place for sure.

Tajín seasoning is a popular Mexican spice blend made of dried chiles, salt, and dehydrated lime juice that can be found in most grocery stores. Excellent on chicken, pork, and most fruit.

Seedy Bitches: Super Seedy Banana Bread

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

-Sometimes seedy is a good thing.-

Hey there,

Long time no see. I've been working 60 hour work weeks lately. Kill me, please.

Also, I've been blogging like a crazy person writing about produce at About.com. Writing about dead wasps in your figs, why apples turn brown, and about how grapes relate to mythical sex.

You know... the usual.

But I have developed a really nifty banana bread recipe I dig.

So let's talk first about seedy bitches… who needs ‘em? They come in all flavors: the guy who doesn’t put money in for tip after dinner, the douche who brings five annoying and incredibly uninvited plus ones to your party, the girl who trash talks about anyone who’s not there. Cut the seedy bitches out of your life and never look back.

Now these people are not to be confused with the good kind of seedy bitches, like this banana bread. Yes, we know everyone in the world has their own banana bread recipe, but shut up and listen: this seedy banana bread is flavored with brown sugar and tahini, giving it a rich earthy flavor. Plus, it’s packed full of poppy seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds making it a protein-rich banana bread to boot.

Lovely toasted or perhaps smeared with butter and jam it’s the kinda seedy bitch that’ll help you get over the other, more distasteful seedy bitches in your life.

Super Seedy Banana Bread
Makes 1 loaf 

1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, plus extra
3 tablespoons poppy seeds, plus extra
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 2-3 bananas)
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup tahini
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1. Pre-heat your oven to 200F and place the sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds on a sheet pan. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until fragrant. Set aside to cool.

2. Next, we’ll toast the sesame seeds. These are a bit more delicate, but easy. Place a dry skillet over medium heat for about 4 minutes. Add the sesame seeds and keep them moving, cooking for about 2 minutes. Add the poppy seeds and toast for another minute until it all becomes fragrant, keeping an eye on them as the seeds can go from toasted to burnt quickly. Take them off the heat and place them in a bowl to cool.

3. Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter and lightly flour a 9x5 bread loaf pan and line with a bit of parchment so as to ensure the loaf will easily slide out. (Insert easy dirty joke here.)

4. Whisk together the bananas, butter, vanilla extract, sugar salt, and tahini until thoroughly mixed. Add the eggs and whisk together, then the baking soda. Add the pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, poppy seeds and sesame seeds - reserving a few of the latter two for topping - and whisk in.

5. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the flour until just combined.

6. Pour into the prepared baking dish and top with the extra poppy seeds and sesame seeds. Bake for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. (Again, insert easy dirty joke here.) Allow to cool for 10 minutes before turning out of the pan and continuing to cool on a wire rack. Serve warm to bitches who aren’t seedy, sketchy, skeazy, etcetera. Also excellent toasted and served with butter.

Super Nutty: Use 1 ½ cups of mixed chopped and toasted almonds, hazelnuts, and macadamia nuts for a unique and nutty twist. 

Citrus Blam Banana Bread: Add a heaping tablespoon of orange zest and lemon zest to this recipe to give it a powerful fragrance!

Sour: Pickled Sour Cherries

Thursday, July 30, 2015

-Life is like a bowl of pickled cherries: sour and sweet.-

I am a sour person. Not to mean that I'm unpleasant, but that I love sour foods. I'll go Granny Smith over Pink Lady any day, thank you.

It's odd... As a child, I hated sour foods. Sour candy, in particular. If you were a child of the 90's then you are no doubt familiar with one specific popular sour candy of the time: Warheads.

On the playground we would eat them in bulk as a sort of schoolyard dare, all of us fueled by the urban myth - which turned out to be true - of the kid who burned his tongue in the Warhead Challenge. (The challenge being to hold this sour candy under your tongue for 30 seconds.)

Also by "we," I mean, "everyone else." I was a wuss at sour foods as a kid, a sad fact that didn't help alleviate my persona as social pariah and teacher's son.

Today, I can power through theses candies like, well, candy.

It's also therefore no surprise that I often make pickles - sour foods at their best. Even more so when I pickle sour cherries.

Pickled sour cherries are a curious condiment. The vinegar actually tames the natural pucker of the cherries. After a month of curing they mellow, sweeten, and absorb the flavor of the pickling spices. The result is a sweet, sour, floral, and fruity pickle that it best served with bourbon.

Only one farmer in Sacramento grows them and they're only around fort a short time. This year I was quick on the draw and picked up enough to make a batch so that come fall when my bourbon habit picks back up I'll be ready.

For the recipe, go here.

Bad Decisions: Five Spice Coconut Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Friday, July 10, 2015

-A perfectly good way to torture yourself on a sweltering day.-

For the most part we actively decide against making bad decisions. We're taught to do so by both society and our own experiences.

-That pan is hot. Don't touch it.

-Use a condom.   

-Fireworks are explosive. Best not to launch one off of my head.

-Perhaps now is not a good time to take a scenic tour of Somalia.

-This cheese is fuzzy and green. Don't eat it.

-I shouldn't spend my rent money on a Playstation 4.

Then again, sometimes we make decisions regardless of the fact that they might be unwise. Perhaps the ill-nature of the consequences or the very disregard for the situation itself is part of the joy in making the bad decisions.

-I'm going to totally mix tequila and rum tonight. Also vodka. This will be terrible tomorrow and I acknowledge that, but tonight we gettin' crunk.

-I hate her. Time to donk up her shit.

-Texting and driving.

-I'm pretty sure I can still pull off this puka shell necklace I wore in the 90's and not get ridiculed for it.

-Pointing the cat's laser pointer at my husband's crotch will result in a hilarious outcome that will totally not include his genitals being turned to ribbon.

-I should turn the oven to 350F and bake cookies, even though it's 105 out today.

This last one got me recently. I had the AC roaring and I was sucking down glasses of iced tea like I was going to win a prize. However, I really wanted cookies, so it was gonna happen.

In the end? Worth it. So worth it. Chinese five spice is a secret weapon in baking and let me tell you that it belongs in a cookie.

So go. Make your delicious bad decisions. 

 Five Spice Coconut Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Adapted from the Vanishing Oatmeal Cookie Recipe from Quaker

1/2 cup, plus 6 tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon Chinese five spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup shredded coconut

Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, beat butter and sugars on medium speed of electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well. Add oats and raisins; mix well. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack. Cool completely. Store tightly covered.

Sick: Gochujang Egg Flower Soup

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

-Also a con: pictures suck because it's, like, 10PM and I can barely function.-

Being Sick on Memorial Day Weekend

  • Putting that new juicer through its paces. Solid food is but a waning memory fading into the distance.
  • Stumbling on a new soup recipe that might be the greatest thing since Netflix began instant streaming. 
  • Husband and I are becoming terribly obsessed with binging Steven Universe on Netflix. ("I just had the best idea for an album cover.")
  • Mandatory liquid diet has caused me to shed weight. I gained two belt notches back! Fuck ya'll, I'm skinny again! 
  • Have mastered how to fit two giant cats and a corgi-like bean bag on me while I lay on the couch binging said TV show.
  • Dayquil is the best high ever. Don't know why kids think cocaine is where it's at. 
  • *barf*
  • Right ear keeps plugging. Cannot hear out of that side and I keep walking at a tilt. Was fun for a minute, until the hallway wall went all ninja and jumped me.
  • Missed a friend's wedding. Super not cool and had to physically restrain myself while hubby convinced me that no bride wants SARS as a wedding gift, regardless how nicely I wrap it.
  • I really want to eat that bacon in the fridge, but there is no way in hell it is going to stay down.
  • The very thought of bread makes me queasy. A disturbing fracture to my reality. Surely up is down. Dogs and bedding cats. Nothing makes sense.
  • Dayquil is the worst high ever. Apparently, I cannot actually fly, which is lame. 
Anyways, enjoy the soup recipe. Easy. Simple. Flavorful. 

Also, there's now a sign-up for the Vanilla Garlic newsletter. There's big changes a-coming, plus a free e-book as I work on it. More details to come, so if you like off-color humor and sarcasm be sure to sign up.
The Best Egg Drop Soup Ever For When You're Sick
When I'm sick I like a bit of spice in my food to help purge the ick out of my body, and this soup does the trick. Broth, egg for protein, crisp veggies, and plenty of garlic and ginger.

The spice comes from a huge dollop of gochujang, a Korean chili-soy paste that's plenty sweet and packs a mighty kick. (Here's a nifty video about the stuff.) Easily available at any Asian market. Sriracha isn't a great substitute, so try to find it if you can. However, it will work in a pinch, as will any great hot sauce. After tasting this soup, you'll quickly add it into your everyday cooking. 

Serves 4

4 cups of chicken stock
1 tablespoon of corn starch
1 tablespoon coconut oil (sesame or vegetable is also fine, but not peanut)
1 tablespoon grated ginger
2 large garlic cloves, grated
6 green onions, finely chopped
1 heaping tablespoon gochujang
2-3 medium bok choy, washed and chopped into thin strips
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
3 eggs, lightly beaten
salt and pepper

1. Reserve 1/2 cup of the stock and mix with the cornstarch until dissolved.

2. Clean the bok choy of any dirt and cut into thin ribbons. Set aside.

3. Place a wok or cooking pot over high heat and add the oil. Once the oil is shimmering add the ginger, garlic, green onions, and gochujang. Fry for about 30-60 seconds or until very fragrant.

4. Add the chicken stock, soy sauce, bok choy in a pot and bring to a boil. Add the cornstarch and stock mixture and stir. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for three minutes.

5. Slowly add eggs while stirring the soup. The eggs will blossom into ribbons as they cook in the broth. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired. Serve immediately with crunchy bread (if you can keep bread down) and oolong tea. Bask in the awesomeness.

Roommate Hunting + Recipes!

Monday, May 25, 2015

-And no people who don't appreciate good food. Thanks.-

No posting recently as I've been swamped with a new project - more to come on that - and finding a new roommate. A task that, if you've ever done it before, you know is fraught with eighty kinds of crazy and many previously undocumented cases of shitcan insanity.

LGBT Friendly Home

Room for rent in a recently renovated home. Close to the river, Sac State, freeways, shopping, and light rail. Beautiful and well-equipped kitchen. Personal bathroom. Plenty of parking.

We're a gay male couple, (30 and 35). Very laid back, social, and easy going. One is a photographer and security officer, and the other is a and nonprofit developer and cookbook author. We come with two chill cats, and a well-behaved but derpy corgi. We're often out of the house working, but if we're home we are likely still working (sometimes gardening, cleaning, or cooking).

Looking for a roommate who is quiet, clean, and pleasant. 420 (if you have a medical card) and alcohol is fine, but no drugs. No pets. Gay or straight welcome to apply. Preferably male and around our age.

Rent is $475 + 1/3 of electric, gas, and internet Amenities:
-washer and dryer
-fully equipped kitchen (gas, not electric)
-high speed internet
-central heat and air
-fireplace in main room
-gas grill outside
-no water, sewage, or garbage bills
-14 fruit trees on the property
-guest room if you have out of town guests
-wall-mounted flat screen TV available for the room if desired

Give us a ring! We would love to meet you and show you the place!

Interviewing roommates can be dodgy. After all, you're welcoming total strangers into your home. Or, at best, friends of friends. It's awkward for everyone and about as fun as putting my contacts in with a cheese grater.

Let's go through some of our candidates...

Ol' Shifty: The proper answer to my question about if you're employed is not, "I do odd jobs on Craigslist or sometimes run errands for Jimmy." That's not employment, which is a concern to me as the person who needs to collect the rent. And who is Jimmy? I assume that's the guy who you sell crystal meth for? Eek.

Crazyface: Ever meet someone and they just have a look on their face that says, "You have beautiful eyes. I wonder what they would look like in a jar?" Well, I have...

Moonchild: He stared way too intently at Eat Beast during the time I was explaining the lease. When I inquired if he had any questions the only one: "What is Eat Beast's astrological sign? I feel he's a Taurus, like me." He then asked if he could dowse the house's energy. I jovially told him I burned sage and put lines of salt around the house when we moved in. He nodded gravely and agreed that both were wise decisions. I gather that even if I had given that joke a parade it would have passed right by him unnoticed.

Nope nope nope: "I'm looking for a room that me and my four chihuahuas can live in."

The Nudist: Look, I'm generally okay with nudity assuming it's just me and my hubby at home. However, I don't want to come home from work and be assaulted by your bits. At least he only kicked off his shoes during the interview.

Ugh… and so the hunt continues. Until then, I recommend you go to the following for some nifty food posts:

Chaos By Choice: Polenta Fruit and Jam Cake

Monday, April 27, 2015

-Tasty cakes for when things are literally being torn down around you.-

My bare feet are currently covered dust. Ceiling dust, mind you. Let's be very specific. It is dust from the ceiling as opposed to common floor dust. This fact alone is alarming because it's very difficult to get ceiling on your feet.

Then again, so it is with home repair. The odd often becomes quite unsurprising, if not altogether lackluster and common. Wires reaching out from gaping holes in the wall. Water pooling about in the living room. The fridge is also screaming at me in a shrill tone. Something to do with the wiring in the wall that my contractor was working on set another something off. Now it sounds like a warning alarm, as if the condiments and produce are preparing to storm the kitchen and I should bastion myself in the bedroom before their revolution begins. (Can you hear the pea shoots sing?)

We're finally getting around to a bit of home repair - some necessary electrical work in the walls and a few minor upgrades while we're crawling about the attic. There's reggae music and conversations in Oaxacan dialect serenading me from above and it's all rather surreal if not also somewhat entertaining. If you've never heard Bob Marley's, "Jamming," in Spanish while people saw apart your home it's quite the auditory mindfuck.

Gone But Still Here: Coffee Bean Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sunday, April 19, 2015

-"There's milk in the fridge.-

(Originally posted in 2011)

Brian has been rather busy lately and as such I barely see him it seems.

I don't think I've actually ever explained what he does. He's in the army reserves (the threat of deployment always hovering) as a staff sergeant and CPR/First Aid instructor. He also goes to school for his EMT license, which is insane as he's a seasoned combat medic with the army, but somehow the fact that he can patch up a collapsed lung under gunfire the civilian world says he still isn't qualified to be a basic nurse. During all this he just picked up work doing security. It's not a job he is thrilled with, but he likes his coworkers, it works around his school schedule, and pays him rather well.

The serious downside to his job is that as he's the new guy he gets the crap schedule. This means late night and swing shifts on random days. It means when I get home from my 8-5, he's already left for his 5-1.

It means we can go days without seeing each other.

And it sucks.

Passover Potluck: Honeyed Kumquats

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

So this thing right here. This.

You want this.

Kumquats preserved in honey.

It is all that it sounds to be. Sultry, sexy, seductive. Kosher. (Sexy kosher.)

I've teamed up with the ever fabulous history buff and kitchen scholar, Tori Avey, for her annual Passover Potluck. She challenged a few non-Jewish food bloggers to try and cook something nifty following the proper Passover culinary guidelines. For a lapsed Lutheran like myself than meant kumquats and honey.

I highly recommend it, so get yourself over to ToriAvey.com and check it out.

Wine and Cheesy Poofs

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

-Cheesy poofy goodness.-

"I'm bringing champagne," might well be the most uplifting sentence in the history of mankind.

I have a few friends who work in wine, and Chris - who brings me champagne and the occasional rose of interest - is one such person. He's a former opera singer turned semi-professional sommelier who both adores and despises his line of work. When it comes to enological knowledge he's a man that - by the young age of late-twenty-something - has earned his stripes.

Even better is the fact that he's rather blasé about his line of work - which is a good thing, I think. There's been actual conversations of what wine pairs well with what Star Trek series. I firmly believe that is information that should be put on a poster somewhere because when is that not going to come up at some point? Furthermore, while I trust his expert opinions on what wines to buy at my very nonprofit-slash-freelancer budget, I've seen him hold up a bottle and, upon my inquiry, his response was, "I don't know. It was $8."

One must appreciate a wine aficionado who chucks pretense for Two Buck Chuck.

Yet, the last thing he'll want to do is cook something up to pair with wine. Or, talk about it when he's not at work. God forbid you recommend taking a trip to a winery on your vacation as it will induce a cringe so fierce it will reverberate out from his body and shake the very walls of the room you're in.

So as he texted that, indeed, there would be champs I proposed to make cheesy poofs - or as I suppose some like to call them gougeres. (Grammarians and linguists, please use the grave accent in your head as I cannot for the love of god recall how to type it.) Bits of egg and flour mixed with a practically inappropriate amount of cheddar and Parmesan baked into airy, crispy puffs.

Terribly addicting and the perfect pairing for champagne. If you desire you can cut them open and stack  them with aioli, arugula, and pancetta for simple sliders. What I love most is how stupidly easy they are: Boil. Mix. Spoon. Bake. Yet the payoff is huge and upon eating them hot out of the oven you're considered a pastry wizard and that's a pretty darn awesome title to have.

Indeed, if there is a most complimentary sentence in the English language, then it must be, "I'm baking gougeres!"

I've been using this recipe as of late. It's a few more dishes, but there's no pastry bag involved (which I love) and I find the consistency is far more reliable than others I have tried. Give it a whirl and let me know how it pairs with your bubbles.

Garrett out.

P.S. If you haven't yet, I would highly encourage you to please follow my Instagram account. Instagram is what I've been using for images for this blog for sometime now, but I realized I never really promoted it. Ever. So, please be sure to subscribe. You'll find a lot of food porn that never makes it to the blog! User name is protogarrett, because some dumb hooker has been sitting on vanillagarlic for three years and not using it.  

 -For all your drinking needs.-

Apricots and Kumquats: Fighting the Nor Cal Winter

Saturday, February 14, 2015

-Royal Rosa apricot blossoms. This tree is only a few years old and it's going bonkers.-

Somehow we will survive this trial. I know you on the East Coast are going on your, what, tenth snow day is some places? Roads are shut down. You're trapped in your home with children (read: ankle-biting, stir-crazy goblins). You're doing things like salting the drive and snow-plowing, things I've only heard about in stories.

We on the West Coast are suffering as well. Have you heard about the record drought? The utter lack of water from the sky? It might mean nothing to you now, but when California is producing much of the meat and produce the rest of the nation consumes you'll feel it in your pocket book this spring and summer when the cost of fruits and vegetables skyrockets to two bucks per stick of celery.

-Too. Many. Kumquats.-

I'm trying my best to survive it. This Valentine's Day I braved into the 80 degree weather in shorts and a t-shirt. I plucked fifteen pounds of kumquats off the tree. Took an hour. Tree is laughing at me. Telling me to 'eff off. It groans in a mocking tone wighted with easily another hundred pounds of fruit.

Bernadette the Apricot Tree is in full freaking bloom. In February. The hell? At this point I almost have to hope there's no crazy rain storm like last year when spring hit us in February. All the stone fruit bloomed early and crazy March rains knocked off every last blossom and fruit. (It's why your cherries were so bloody pricy in 2014.)

It's a burden, but we Californians will survive.

Do not weep for us, rather, cheer us on.

Garrett out.

Check It Out!: Fruits & Vegetables at About.com

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Oof! Where have I been?!

My apologies, I have been taking over a new blogging job. I'm posting ten times a month over at my new Fruits and Vegetables Channel at About.com, and like all new jobs it takes time to find your footing. Sadly, Vanilla Garlic got a bit neglected, but now that I have my schedule sorted I can split my attention equally between both children.

Remember About.com? That site that you used a lot way back in the 90s when the internet first started and that you still get directed to time and again? They recently rebranded, reshuffled, and retinkered and now have a banging new food section of which I am a proud part of.

They've got me writing all about produce. You'll find posts on topics such as investigating interesting varieties, looking and health and nutrition, examining curious histories, uncovering fascinating lore and legends, conducting interviews and doing product reviews. For example…

There's an awesome recipe for a creamy, sweet-n-sour white bean and Meyer lemon dip!

And a recipe for a bombtastic lemon caramel sauce.

Think you know your beet varieties? Think again with Beets 101.

Curious on if poppy seeds can get you high or cause you to fail a blood test? I have the answers you crave!

There's also info on if sweet potato leaves can kill you, the legend of the great eel Te Tuna and how is death created the first coconut, the origin of the Italian mafia and how it's intertwined with the citrus industry to this day, and so much more!

I hope you'll swing by and become a regular reader. Now that I've found my pace, Vanilla Garlic will be back up and running full speed. Thank you for your patience and understanding!

Garrett out.

Habits & Cinnamon Rolls

Saturday, January 24, 2015

 -A delicious lack of self-control.-

I had intended to keep things nice and light with the start of 2015. A life filled with contemplation and reflection. Perhaps yoga, too.

I've always been bemused by the phrase, "drop it like a bad habit." We don't. Or rarely ever. Bad habits are like wet over coats. Clumsy, thick, and drenched. We get tangled up in them and once they finally fall to the floor they have to be heaved about, the mess cleaned, and tossed away. We pray that perhaps they'll end the way we hope a marriage doesn't; with one quietly gathering their belongings, and slipping out in the middle of the night without saying saying goodbye.

So it is the same with good habits, like trying to convince your body that of course it can fit into a shoe four sizes to small. JUST WORK AT IT! It used to fit back in college!

So yes, 2015 was going to be filled with cardio, core fitness, and salad with friends I didn't see enough of.

And then came the champagne brunch and the eight trays of homemade cinnamon rolls I made.

The habit may have left in the middle of the night. Then it came back and egged the house.

Oh well…

At least 2015 looks like it'll taste good with friends, instead.

-Commitment to oneself never involves frosting, which is why so often it fails.-

Culinary Ennui: Garlic and Parmesan Bread

Sunday, January 18, 2015

-It's strange how little I actually write about garlic on here.-

I'd like to take some time and talk about forgotten foods.

Right now, we need to be able to step aside and re-evaluate the foods we once loved, foods each of us once personally thrived upon once out of necessity, and re-embrace them.

For those of you who went to college or moved out on your own for the first time I want you to remember ramen. Remember? Those fifty cent packets of Styrofoam noodles and flavor pouches that you once subsisted on when you were penny poor and your couch was a hand-me-down? Lunch, dinner, and even a few breakfasts consisted of five-minute noodles and powders filled with MSG, sodium, and many other delicious and unpronounceable chemical compounds. If you learned how to really make it work and turn it into a healthy meal you started tossing the packets and began to use chicken broth. You sauteed garlic and onions, and added them to the soup. You plonked in slivers of radishes and the radish greens because a bunch of radishes were only a dollar.

You didn't bemoan these meals (well, not often). This was because they were your first foray into self-reliability. The ramen was a means of living and eating. It was a codex that brought your social circle together and gave you a common, affordable food to bond over. It was what got you through the slag of finals, the heartache of another electric bill you somehow had to pay, and what you made to celebrate the passing of both.

Now that you're years out of college, have found success, and sit at a desk for a grownup job how often are you eating ramen? When was the last time you even thought about it?

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