I ate my first bug in Vietnam. It was a cricket.Legs and all. I followed that with tree grubs, grasshoppers, ants and beetles. None of those insects tasted particularly terrible but the texture was the palette killer, especially the cricket legs. As we run out of viable protein sources with the rapidly increasing world population, using insects to supplement traditional forms of protein is going to be a necessary move. The first step in that is hurdling the psychological obstacle course. Exo Cricket Flour Protein Bars takes the first big leap in the direction of the finish line. The key, get rid of the cricket legs. They do it by turning crickets into a fine “flour” and then making their bars from the fine grain. That leaves you with a virtually indistinguishable protein bar that’s not only tasty and effective but sustainable in the best way possible.
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The first thing they placed on our cloud white, spotless, linen clade table at Per Se in NYC was a lidded porcelain bowl shaped like a flower. With dramatic flare, the cover was lifted to reveal six different salts. A second waiter began explaining the different flavors, regions and usages for the white gold as I fell into reverie about the efficiency of the container. My spice closet is incredibly organized and uniform but I often am hunting for all my finishing salts in order to decide which to use. The World Salt Tower both remedies this problem and reloads my stash of salts for all culinary occasions. Now I can decide between my volcanic black, Himalayan pink, Malden or French coast grey sea without freaking out that my halibut is getting cold and my guests are getting restless.
This is what happens when an Indian woman finds a conduit in frozen cream. Thankfully this happened so we can now indulge in Pooja’s Malai Ice Cream flavors. I always explain Indian cuisine as complex because of how much prep goes into building the depth of flavor many Indian dishes so successfully share with our palettes. Taking that same development process and using ice cream base as the delivery vehicle is a brilliant idea. Not to mention the beauty in her packaging design and flavor combinations. Apparently Pooja’s been like this about flavor since she was a kid. When we met, mom was by her side to prove this true. All that said, the flavor descriptions do all the selling themselves. Rose with cinnamon roasted almonds, golden turmeric, orange fennel, of course, masala chai. My personal fav was her lemon cardamom. Two incredibly distinct flavors mixed perfectly. The list is 14 flavors deep. Each one an incredible mashup of distinct flavors. So much for our attempt to ween ourselves off of our ice cream habit.
Today’s the day of atonement. I only know this as an honorary member of “the tribe” having sat through my fair share of Yom Kippur dinners. This is the meal that breaks the fast of the past 24 hours. This was the day that sent all my Jewish friends home from soccer practice early to beat sundown in high school. The thing is, my jew crew didn’t really do the fasting part very well BUT they definitely did the breaking part excellently. The typical Jewish cuisine gets a poor rep. This, under the trained taste buds, is a falsely perpetuated opinion perhaps the same way Portlanders say it’s always grey in Stumptown. For context and as a case in point, I’ve sampled some incredible homemade gefilte fish that can go toe to toe with any cultural cuisine. To this end, Jewish food needs better press and a little more marketing oomph to jump the hurdle into main stream. Ashley Albert is spearheading the effort with her artisanal matzo company from Brooklyn, The Matzo Project. Salted, cinnamon or everything (as in bagel) are your delicious choices. You can’t pick wrong. We’ve tasted them all. You might be asking why I didn’t post this last week. That’s the point you should be stocking this year round. Eating it instead of chips or Triscuits. Plus, those of you who partake in the festivities, you’ve got Sukkot in five days. Stock up.
The equivalent to a mic drop, Sir Kensington’s has just perfected an eggless mayonnaise using aquafaba. “Say whaaaat?” you ask. Yep. They not only perfected an eggless, mayo without using soy but they are using by products from a hummus company to do it. We love bi-product reclaimed goods and process. In short, when you cook chic peas in water the liquid that remains in aquafaba. It has very similar properties to eggs so they thought, “Who’s dumping tons of this aquafaba down the drain daily?” Hummus companies were the obvious, and low cost, answer. Now part of their avocado oil mayo, organic mayo made with sunflower oil and their classic, Sir Kensington’s Fabanaise rounds out the Mayo department not only with a smart recipe but with an innovation waste management solution. It tastes great too.