Kate reviews new products, including Aussie salt and oil, Indian snacks, cheesy crackers, eco chocolates and albacore tuna. Special for May: honor your Mom with this classic Mother's Day menu.
by Kate Heyhoe
We've been testing, sampling, nibbling and savoring with glee. Once again it's time for a new batch of food reviews: Australian snacks, crackers, and seasonings; worldly chocolates from Alter-Eco; and wild albacore tuna from microcanneries in the Pacific Northwest. Eat well, and know that some of these products will also help shrink your cookprint.
What to eat when summer turns up the heat? Our friends down under have some tasty solutions for carefree, delicious dining indoors or alfresco. I like to stock these stylish items in the pantry for instant meals, snacks or additions to a casual cookout. These are the latest Australian-made foods earning "forks up" approvals by our tasters:
Brookfarm Lemon Myrtle Macademia Oil Personally speaking, this oil is both my self-indulgence and my secret weapon in one. With just a few drops, I can make a simple salad, steamed vegetable, or grilled anything taste like a million bucks. The lemony effect is more complex and sweeter than lemon juice, and derived from the lemon myrtle herb. My favorite way to enjoy it: garden-fresh arugula and tomatoes, splashed with a few drops of the oil and a sweetish bit of white balsamic vinegar for balance. Summer heaven.
Majans Bhuja Indian Snacks Long before Chex Party Mix was invented, families in India tossed together their own addictive little snack mixes, seasoned with spicy flare. Majans Bhuja Snack Mixes are premium versions of the traditional. Toasted chickpeas, nuts, dried fruit, crunchy chana sticks and peas are laced with the warm flavors of cumin, coriander and turmeric. Other traditional versions can be a bit greasy, but these are light, luscious and both gluten- and cholesterol-free. Made by an Indian family in Australia, these munchies come in four flavors and are sold in specialty and natural food stores, including Whole Foods, Central Market, fancy grocery stores, and at various online retailers.
Murray River Salt Flakes are pretty in pink, start off crunchy but melt quickly, and as a finishing salt, don't overpower. A pinch of sea salt can boost a simple dish into a special event. This particular specialty enhances a dish with mild mineral flavors, and an eye-appealing texture. You'll find this all-natural salt in the kitchens of England's Jamie Oliver and Chicago's Art Smith. The salt hails not from the sea, but from inland Australia's Murray River, where harvesting of the salt helps improve the water for agricultural purposes.
Waterwheel's Waterthins Crackers and Twists bring an elegant touch to a salad, cheese tray, or as a cocktail nibble with spreads, salami, or by themselves. The three cracker flavors are Pepper & Chives, Sesame, and Natural, and the delicate puff-pastry style twists are buttery-good in Cheddar, Parmesan & Garlic, and Poppyseed & Cracked Pepper varieties (the twists are so delicate they crumble easily, but they're so good you'll still eat every last crumb). Flatbread crackers carry a wonderfully rustic touch, with Multigrain & Honey and the very original Sunflower & Pumpkin Seed with Fig. Yum!
This Mother's Day (and every day) keep Mother Earth in mind, with Alter Eco Organic Chocolate Bars. We've been impressed with all nine flavors, from Moka Milk to Dark Mint. Rich and immensely satisfying, these chocolate bars easily stand out among their competitors. Which is not surprising, since they're made in Switzerland by a master chocolatier using some of the world's best quality cacao beans from Bolivia and Ghana.
More at Alter Eco Chocolates
Two microcannery brands of wild albacore tuna floated across our desks recently: Wild Planet and Wild Pacific Albacore brands have similar names, and both are small but unrelated canneries in the Pacific Northwest.
These days, knowing which fish species to eat can be confusing, even for the most informed good green citizen. Before your inner tuna alarms go off, rest assured these two brands get green stars from NewGreenBasics.com, and here's why.
More at Albacore Tuna
We first recommended this Mother's Day menu in 1998—and it's still a classic.
Copyright © 2009, Kate Heyhoe. All rights reserved.
This page modified May 2009
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