Thursday, May 28, 2009

Do You Feel Like Shakin' Your Bon Bon?

We have a great guest on today that I'm sure you will love. Aimee from Shake Your Bon Bon's is on with us to talk all about her wonderful bites. Please tune into Blockhead Radio at 6PM EST to listen in with our newest guest! You'll get a great look at some wonderful delights. You can also sign up and join us in chat, where we discuss the items we find that will make you want to Shake Your Bon Bon's!

--James, ClosetCreature, your host

Strawberry Cake Balls, Coated With A Bitterschweet Dark Chocolate on Foodista

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Urban Cheese Craft on Chocolate Covered Bacon

Do you love cheese? Have you ever thought of making your own mozzarella or how about Paneer, or Cheve? You probably though it would be too difficult to do, and too expensive, right? Well no, not really, we found a great small company that makes DIY cheese kits. That’s right you can make some of your favorite cheese in less than and hour! Claudia from Urban Cheese Craft is the brains behind the operation and she joined us today on Chocolate Covered Bacon-The best in independent food finds.

Claudia was kind enough to share her inspiration behind creating these wonderful kits. While attending meetings and get togethers, she would bring some of her homemade cheese. She told us, “I kept getting the questions of how I made cheese, where I got the ingredients etc. I was literally being asked for entire processes at parties!!” With most cheese making ingredients only being sold in amounts large enough to make incredibly large batches, Claudia set out to break them down and make them into smaller kits. Each kit includes all the items you need to make cheese with 2 exceptions, the milk and the pot. You get the instructions that describe how to make the cheese that you have purchased the kit for, cheese cloth, rennet (vegetable based), citric acid, cheese salt and a cheese thermometer. There is enough in each kit to make 10 batches of cheese. She recommends that you find a great milk vendor that does not ultra-pasteurize the milk. Most commercial milk companies use this process, because it is faster. The difficulty comes with the high heat that they use to pasteurize the milk. When milk gets to hot it kills off some of the good things in the milk that makes it possible to make good cheese. So you want milk that has been slow pasteurized if possible, also known as batch pasteurized. You can go to for more information on the pasteurization of milk, if you would like to learn more.

Once you have created your first cheese, and tried it out, you can check out her blog and get some great recipes for some different takes on the cheese. There is nothing like fresh mozzarella in a caprese salad or on top of some chicken parmesan, but if you want to try some great snacking recipes she has some great ideas for you to try out. Claudia likes to update her blog with new ideas that she or her customers have come up with, which helps all of us enjoy the fruits of each others labor.

There are so many kinds of cheese that you can make from home, but Claudia has decided to start you off with just the basic cheese, the ones that you can complete in just a few hours. However she has begun to experiment with making Feta and some other aged cheese which you can also learn about on her blog. So be sure to check up on her often, as you never know what she may be coming up with next.

Please take some time and stop by Urban Cheese Craft to discover what you can make in your own home. If you’re running short on supplies, but want to make more cheese, you can always order extra supplies from Urban Cheese Craft too. This makes it a convenient stop for both the new and slightly more experience cheese crafter. Be sure to tune in again next week when we have some wonderful sweets to curb your cravings from Shake Your Bon Bon’s.

--James, ClosetCreature, your host

Paneer on Foodista
Mozzarella Cheese on Foodista Chavrie Fresh Goat Cheese on Foodista Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese on Foodista

Monday, May 18, 2009

Amaretti Cookies

For those that have not had the chance to get to know me too well yet, I was raised in a military family. As such we moved around a lot. I remember when I was very young moving every year and a half or so. As I got older it slowed to moving every three years, but once I got to high school, and until 2 years after I moved every year. Many times this was just moving houses or across town, but the summer before my senior year we had the chance to finally go over seas! We were so excited, because we had not had this chance in the past. Where to you may ask? Well EGYPT! Can you imagine your senior year going to Egypt to go to school! We were just over joyed with this opportunity. It was by far one of my best years in my life.

This trip to Egypt really helped me get to know food better. There are many of my favorite restaurants in the world, still there. I cannot afford to visit them, but they were amazing. We were able to try real food from around the world, the way it is intended to be made. The down fall is that now I have been spoiled and there are so many foods that I cannot get here that I would love to have again.

Amaretti on Foodista

Enter these cookies. One of my favorite treats while I was there were Amaretti Cookies. Wonderful little drops of almond heaven, that just seem to make you want to savor every little bite. I have found some in places around the US, but they are not as easy to find as they were there, at least not the ones I love. So while on this great food site I stumbled across a recipe that i just might have to give a try one day. I love to cook, but I love to eat WAY more!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Emmy's Organics on Chocolate Covered Bacon

Wow another great interview! We had Samantha and Ian from Emmy’s Organics on Chocolate Covered Bacon-The best in independent food finds, and what a great informative interview it was. Ian has been on a raw foods diet for quite some time now and Samantha has been migrating over to the same. In doing so they both became a little bored with the normal foods available to them. They wanted something a little more exciting. So why not make it, right! Well they did not only was it fun for them to make, it tasted great too. When Ian lost his regular 9-5, they decided to make it their full time obsession! Boy, are we glad they did. Sitting down to talk with them was a joy, and if you missed it, well I hope I’m able to recapture everything for you.

Dark Cacao MacaroonsEmmy’s Organics specializes in raw, organic, gluten free foods. These help fill a need in many people’s lives for differing dietary needs and lifestyle choices. With amazing products available online through their Etsy and Foodzie shops, like Raw Dark Cocoa Macaroons and Raw Granola you’re sure to find something you like. They have a great variety of macaroons available. They seem to flavor them almost as if they are ice cream, taking unique macaroon flavors to a whole new level. All of their items are made in small batches with 100% raw ingredients and are low on the glycemic index, allowing you to indulge your sweet tooth with out feeling too guilty. As for what they make their items with well let’s hear it from them, “We use the highest quality of ingredients, unprocessed, organic and fair trade when possible.” So they are not only looking out for you health wise but they are looking out for the health for the earth as well.

Raw Almond GranolaWhen I asked them why they got started and what inspired them to start making these amazing items here is what they told me. “We wanted to offer healthy food (especially sweets) that didn’t compromise on flavor, texture or consistency. Ian has been gluten-free & vegan for 8 years & Samantha eats a 90% raw food diet. We wanted to offer food from the source, of the ones who eat what they make.” Ian has a health condition similar to Celiac disease that requires him to be on a gluten free diet, which was a big factor in his focus.

Ian and Samantha also enlightened us as to what a raw foods diet is. Discussing how the items are still cooked, but at a very low temperature for a much longer time. Dehydration is a great example of this. They dehydrate and smoke many of their foods, which provides a safe way to ensure your foods are free of possible pathogens but at the same time retaining most of the nutritive value. Nutrition, after all, is why we need to eat, but why not indulge in some great tasting food.
Mint Chip Macaroons
The limited items that you see in their shops are just the beginning of their arsenal of foods to satisfy your cravings. They sell locally at a farmers market, where they serve up fresh almond milk, made the day before. One of the byproducts of this process is almond meal, which many producers just toss out. They have taken to using even this byproduct to make wonderful food, they usually reserve these items just for themselves and close friends. You can visit their blog where they talk about making hummus from the left over almond meal once they are done straining it. I can imagine how delicious this must be. Available at the farmer’s market they also have Dairy Free ice cream, great for children that are lactose intolerant.

Could you imagine what it would be like to miss out on ice cream growing up? Well this is one of the things that make Emmy’s Organics so great, they work to provide to everyone the very things they miss when they have to go onto a special diet. They even serve their almond milk over some of their raw granola for breakfast at the farmers market! So if you in the area, stop by, say hi and pickup a bowl of granola to enjoy! Don’t forget to wash it down with some ice cream or some of those great macaroons!

Thank you once again Ian and Samantha your story and shop are amazing. Coming up this week on Chocolate Covered Bacon-The best in independent food finds, we have Urban Cheese Craft! Don’t forget to go to Blockhead Radio, pop a player and listen in! We’ll help satisfy your cravings.

James ~ The ClosetCreature

Coconut Macaroons on Foodista

Friday, May 8, 2009

LiberTEAS on Chocolate Covered Bacon LIVE!

What another great show! We had Anne from LiberTEAS with us tonight. She hand blends teas to meet the highest quality and taste standards. I must say they are a piece of art in and of themselves. I hope that you didn’t miss our show, but if you did, I will give you some insight as to what you missed. I will also give you a little extra peak to let you know a little more about the artist behind LiberTEAS. So sit back and relax as I take you though the tour.

EARL GREY TEA - EARL GREY CREME - BLACK TEA BLENDAnne was gracious enough to join us live on Chocolate Covered Bacon, which airs live Thursdays at 6PM EST on Blockhead Radio. She started by describing how she blends each new batch of tea, to meet the highest of standards. Anne test brews each batch to ensure that it will come out just right and will not disappoint. Her teas are unique blends using herbal, black, green and white teas; she comes up with some amazing flavors.

Anne got her start in hand blending tea when a local shop stopped making her favorite chocolate tea blend. She had switched from coffee to tea, due to the spike in caffeine from the coffee, unlike the gradual release from the tea. So she searched and searched for a replacement she was never happy. Anne made her first attempts back in 1999, though she was never was happy with those attempts. After taking several years off, in 2002 she decided to give it another try. This time she used all the resources she could, to get as much knowledge as she could. After a couple years of blending and producing teas that she was “quite pleased with” she decided to take her business to the Internet. When asked what her favorite blend is she responds, “The product that started it all for me is my Chocolate Rose Romance, so it will always have a special place in my heart, however, I’m quite fond of all my teas!” With such an amazing assortment, anyone would be fond of her teas!

HERBAL ALLERGY TEA - ALLERGI-TEA - HERBAL ALLERGY REMEDY BLENDSome very unique teas that, available in the Artfire shop, are called the Allergi-Teas. They are specially blended with the help of a herb specialist friend. Anne decided to blend these while dealing with her own allergies and not willing to take it anymore. While searching for a tea to help, but that would also taste great, she was disappointed time and time again. So Anne teamed up with a friend and came up with not only a functional herbal tea, but also one that made a great tea. Anne drinks daily in the morning to help combat her Allergy symptoms. Anne and her herb specialist also team up to make her Meadow Nocturne teas, which are also functional herbal teas for relaxation.

One of the most difficult things in dealing with any food products is finding the right balance in ingredients. Things are no different for Anne, “There are so many different teas out there that it can be a bit overwhelming. Determining which would be the best tea to use for a new tea blend becomes a taste testing frenzy in itself. After that, it’s finding the right balance of ingredients to capture the best flavor.”

As with most hand crafted businesses marketing is also difficult in the Foodie world too, “I really need to work on enhancing my marketing and advertising approach. I’m creative when it comes to tea… but not so much when it comes to advertising my product.” I personally think she did a great job talking about her product live on the air. So we may have found her a way around that! Anne is very passionate about tea, and you can tell in everything that she says, and how she describes her teas. Off the air we compared tea tasting to cheese tasting. If you get a national brand commercial tea, and brew that, it’s the same as going and getting some Kraft cheese off the shelf. You might like it, heck you might love it, but it’s not the same as going a cheese shop and getting a great block of imported Gruyere. Drinking hand blended tea is far superior to getting a boxed tea. With the added preservation power of the tin, or the specially designed bags that she sells for the refill, you are getting top notch tea with every purchase.


If you interested in finding out more about Anne or LiberTeas you can follow her on Plurk or Twitter as LiberTEAS. You can visit her shops on Artfire, 1000Markets, MadeItMyself or her Tea blog. Interested in seeing Anne’s other art? Stop by her Etsy shop and her Art Blog. If you visit The Tea Review Blog, you can occasionally find one of her reviews as she is one of the contributing reviewers there.

Thank you for joining us for Chocolate Covered Bacon-The best in independent food finds! You can catch us live Thursdays at 6PM EST on Blockhead Radio. Listen live and join us in chat, where you can ask questions of the Foodies we have on for each show. Next week we have Emmy’s Organics joining us, with some great organic and gluten free sweets to satisfy your cravings!

--James ~ ClosetCreature, you host for Chocolate Covered Bacon
Brewed Tea on FoodistaTea Strainer on FoodistaKettle on FoodistaSteeping on Foodista

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

This Week's Guest: LiberTeas

I just wanted to remind everyone that tomorrow May 7th at 6PM EST with Anne from LiberTeas. If you are looking for something to quench your thirst you should come pop a player and listen in! Her special blends are sure to peak your interest.