Archive for October, 2012

Promise to Hike Next Year?

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

Giant Eagle has “locked in” lots of prices until January 3.

Is it just me, or does that seem like a promise to raise prices on January 4?

Amazing French Toast

Sunday, October 21st, 2012

My friend Brett has been making lots of bread.  His chocolate sourdough was the inspiration for one of the most delightful french toasts I’ve ever made.

Cream Cheese and Almond Butter Stuffed
Chocolate Sourdough French Toast
with Bananas Foster Sauce

  • 1 loaf chocolate sourdough bread, sliced thinly (pieces kept in order)
  • 4 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 3 eggs
  • About 1/2 cup of milk
  • spices as you like for the batter
  • 3 Tbl butter (plus more for the griddle)
  • 4 1/2 Tbl brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 6 bananas, sliced into thick chunks
  • 1/2 cup dark rum
  1. Mix the almond butter and cream cheese together. You’ll wind up with a spread the consistency of processed peanut butter.
  2. Make a bunch of cream cheese and almond butter sandwiches with the bread.
  3. Mix together the eggs, milk, and spices for the batter (I typically use cinnamon, allspice, ginger, nutmeg, and cardamom) in a shallow baking dish.
  4. Put the sandwiches in the eggwash, let them soak briefly; flip to soak the second side, then cook in butter on a hot griddle as you would for any other french toast.
  5. For the fosters, heat the butter and brown sugar in a saute pan. Stir together with a wooden spoon. Let the mixture get hot and bubbly.
  6. Add the bananas. Toss to coat with the sugar. They’ll release some juice, thinning out the sugar sauce. Add the rum. Let it get hot, then use a bamboo skewer like a long match to flame the rum without singeing your arm hair. Let the flame burn out. This will burn off all the alcohol in the rum whilst caramelizing the sugars.
  7. Serve the french toast topped with a generous measure of bananas foster sauce.

Photographic Proof of Breyer’s Falsehoods

Monday, October 15th, 2012

Here’s the photographic proof to verify my allegation that the folks at Breyer’s are telling a falsehood when they describe frozen dairy dessert as being made with ‘many of the same high-quality ingredients’ as their ice cream, ‘including fresh milk, cream, and sugar.’

I’m sure their lawyers will tell you that the phrase “many of the same” and the presence of milk, cream, and sugar in the frozen dairy dessert means that they are not lying.  But as anyone even remotely schooled in logic and rhetoric can tell you, there are two types of lies: lies of omission and lies of comission.

The phrasing of Breyer’s claim is intentionally designed to gloss over the addition of corn syrup into the formula.  Also to gloss over the addition of mono- and di-glycerides, guar gum, carob bean gum, and carrageenan.  Basically, more emulsifiers and thickeners to disguise the lower-quality ingredients, resulting in a different texture and an overall cheaper (read: not worth buying) product.

Click on the small picture for a full-sized photo.

Those Bastards at Breyers

Friday, October 12th, 2012

Breyer’s is no longer ice cream.

Breyer’s now manufactures “Frozen Dairy Dessert.”  According to their website,

Frozen Dairy Dessert products are made with many of the same high-quality ingredients that are commonly found in Ice Cream – like fresh milk, cream and sugar – and offer a great taste and even smoother texture. These products do not fall within the current FDA definition of standardized Ice Cream, so we call them Frozen Dairy Dessert.

The thing is, what Breyer’s does not acknowledge in this description is that a side-by-side comparison of the ingredients in like flavors from before and after the switch, their frozen dairy dessert is partially sweetened by corn syrup, whereas their ice cream was sweetened only with real sugar.

Again, from the Breyer’s website:

In a national side-by-side taste test, our fans tell us they like the new recipe just as much as the original. We’re confident these new products deliver the great taste Ice Cream fans expect but with any product change it’s always possible that you may notice a difference. Frozen Dairy Dessert tends to have less fat than ice cream.

Okay, so
1) the frozen dairy dessert has a somewhat slimy texture (even before I discovered the labeling switch, my immediate reaction to the box of Rocky Road I purchased was that there was something off with the contents) and
2) I don’t want less fat with my ice cream. If I wanted less fat, I wouldn’t be eating ice cream, now would I? Don’t go effing with my dessert formulae in the name of better health and then swap out real sugar for a processed alternative sweetener and then lie about it!

Again, official propaganda from Breyers:

Since 1866, Breyers products have consistently delivered high-quality ingredients, great flavors and smooth creaminess that our fans love, and we remain committed to that Pledge. Our Ice Cream and new Frozen Dairy Dessert varieties continue to use fresh milk, cream and sugar. What distinguishes our Frozen Dairy Dessert from our Ice Cream is that it’s blended in a whole new way to create a smoother texture.

My revision:

From 1866-August 2012, Breyers products had consistently delivered high-quality ingredients, great flavors, and smooth creaminess that our fans loved. In a short-sighted change prompted by allowing individuals lacking a love of high quality foods to make decisions crucial to the integrity of our product, Breyers has ceased to deliver upon our Pledge to quality. Our Frozen Dairy Dessert uses corn syrup as one of its primary sweeteners whereas our ice cream used only real sugar. We blatantly lie by omission about the ingredients in our frozen dairy dessert by not acknowledging the presence of the corn syrup in our marketing materials. What distinguishes our Frozen Dairy Dessert from our Ice Cream is a clear and noticeable drop in quality. We’re stupid pricks who should immediately renounce this change in formulation, fire everyone responsible for it, and issue a huge public apology in the same manner as Coca-Cola did following their New Coke debacle.

What’s For Dessert? Nothing!

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

Except that by Nothing, I definitely mean something good.

The name for this dish is a side effect of asking a 2-year-old what he thinks a new dish should be called. 

I guess it shows that Angstrom has a sense of humor, though, because the second time I made it, he laughed every time I told him that I was putting Nothing in the oven and giving him Nothing on a plate.  Rory suggested I ought to give this dish a different name, but I sort of agree with Angstrom: Nothing is a funny name for something to be called.


  • 1 butternut squash or 2 acorn squashes, halved and seeds scooped out
  • 1/2 cup + 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup + 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 tsp + 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp + 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 2 dashes nutmeg
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/2 cup pecan halves
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.  Place squash cut side down in a casserole dish.  Add about 1/2 inch water.  Bake for an hour.
  2. Combine 1/4 cup brown sugar with flour, oats, 1/4 cup butter, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ginger, and one dash nutmeg to make streusel topping.
  3. Let squash cool, then scoop out of its skin with a spoon.  It should come out pretty much mashed.  Combine in a mixing bowl with 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup butter, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ginger, and 1 dash nutmeg.
  4. Stir cranberries into squash mixture, then spread into casserole dish.  Top with pecan halves and streusel topping.  Bake in 375 F oven for 30-45 minutes and serve.  Invite toddlers to your table so that you get a big laugh when you make a big deal out of serving Nothing for dessert.