New Food – Zobrist Crunch

DSC_0048In honor of Ben Zobrist’s birthday, I decided to try some Zobrist Crunch.

No, I don’t have all the Cub birthdays memorized – I just know Ben’s because, well, this is a special birthday in our family so it stuck with me.

And I am a cereal eater, so I tried it.

Hmmm … first I thought it was grainy.

Then I just decided it didn’t have a taste.

So maybe a 3 – for the box, not the contents inside the box.

And of course, a 10 for the player.




New Food – Finlandia Butter

DSC_0048Looking for my next new food – I found a package of Finlandia Butter at the local Jewel. And yes, I looked on the package and it is actually from Finland with a picture of some cute Finnish cows on the front.

The package said the butter was made from pure, fresh milk from family-owned farms and has no artificial anything added. So I bought a package, but I wasn’t really expecting much.

Once home, I looked it up on the internet and read posts from a lot of food bloggers who said just what I was thinking, This is butter,  I am sure I won’t be able to tell the difference! But then they would continue, saying that the butter was different!  I also read that it’s used by French chefs to make their incredibly delicious bake goods. Being that my only moments in France were spent in an enclosed room at the airport, I cannot vouch for their bake goods other than by reputation, but that sounded like a good recommendation.

 And then they went on to share recipes using the butter.

DSC_0058All good. First I made myself a bagel and spread the butter onto the bagel … and NO, this did NOT taste like the butter I usually buy.  Finlandia Butter is creamy smooth and it has a pleasant, mild taste that is different from regular butter. The best way I can think to describe it is a combination between cream cheese and butter.

Next I found a recipe for blueberry muffins which called for four tablespoons of Finlandia Butter. In spite of the fact that the muffin directions forgot the step where you actually add any berries, I was smart enough to figure out the importance of including blueberries in blueberry muffins. DSC_0055DSC_0057DSC_0060

Once I figure out the lack-of-berries-discrepancy … the muffins, too, were scrumptiously good and I could taste the difference made by the butter.

I wasn’t expecting much difference eating butter that came from a Finnish cow who grew up on a family-friendly farm, but I could!  This is one new food that just might become a regular on my grocery list.

I’d give it a 10 out of 10.


New Food – Ossobuco

Ossobuco is a Milanese speciality meaning bone with a hole. Most of the time it is a used to describe a veal dish, but other meats also can be cooked in the ossobuco style. The name refers to the cut of meat which comes from the shanks of the animal. The meat is braised in a variety of  vegetables and spices making it fall-off-the-bone tender. some recipes say cinnamon, bay leaf and gremolata, and others go to tomatoes, carrots, and onions.

I had lamb ossobuco. I have eaten lamb many times, most often probably in gyros and narrowing that down even further – most often at the Gyro restaurant in the Racine mall. Between their gyros and their spinach quiche – a favorite, favorite place.

Anyhow back to the lamb ossobuco – it was exceptionally good. So favorable and so very, very tender. Not sure what the glaze/sauce was – the high school server did not know.



Of course, the dessert table didn’t hut.



New Food – Kumquats

I saw this package of kumquats and they just screamed “inspiring new food experiences.”



So maybe I’ve had kumquats before. Somewhere. But I don’t remember them and I know I haven’t actually purchased them.

Besides – these were adorable kumquats. And that’s a first, too, I don’t remember ever remember buying a food that was labeled adorable. Hard to resist adorable food.


My research said you can eat them whole – peel and all.


I also read that the outside is a little sweeter than the inside. So (as recommended by all kumquat-eating sites) – I cut the kumquat in half and squeezed out the pits and juice.

And ate the rest.


The first one I ate was a little sour. The second one was a little sweeter.


I’ll give the adorable kumquats a 6.

But I didn’t stop there. I had some of the adorable little fruit left, so I took them to work and offered them to my co-workers. Out of the 8 or so I gave out, no one could remember having them before, especially not adorable ones.

I wish I had videoed them taking their first bite. Most of them scrunched up their faces like babies eating lemons for the first time. Out of the 8 – I would say three liked them, one man even came back for seconds. Three others said that they were tart, but ok and they ate the whole thing. Two didn’t finish them and didn’t like them at all.

Adorable or not.

New Food – Quail Eggs

I will admit that I’m not an overly adventurous eater. I do ok trying fruit and vegetables, but in my quest for new foods, I have passed by some strange meat. Though I’ve eaten some weird meat at restaurants, fixing it myself???? Hmm …

The other day I was meandering through a grocery store when I saw a small package of quail eggs. I picked it up. I put it down. I looked quail eggs up on my phone. I picked them up. I put them down. I just didn’t know if I could do it. (Truly, though, how many times in my life can I say I’ve been wishy washy about quail eggs?)

Once home, I looked quail eggs up at the internet which assured me that they taste just like chicken eggs (and you can always trust the internet).

So I went back and got some. In my internet search, I also saw some pictures of quail eggs dyed for Easter – and they looked singularly unique.  But alas … not having Easter egg dye at my house … I moved along with the recipe I was going for.


The recipe is simple – spread crescent roll dough in the cups of a mini-muffin/tart pan.


Then break a quail egg into each one and sprinkle with basil.


Bake and TaDa! Little quail egg tarts. (The lilacs have nothing to do with quail eggs, I just like lilacs.) Most of the recipes and descriptions of the eggs suggested using them for company or when you’re cooking a fancy meal – even miniature devil eggs.

Because they really do taste just like chicken eggs, but you can still impress your guests with where you found the tiny eggs.


New Food – Chinese Long Beans

Wandering through the grocery store, I spotted some very, very, very long beans which is probably why they are called Chinese long beans. So I bought a bunch.DSC_0032

I cut the beans into smaller pieces (green bean size) and made the glaze (a recipe I found on the web)DSC_0034

The recipe included butter, garlic, chicken stock, sesame oil, honey and several other ingredients and looked rather gross in the pan.


But when I had cooked it all according to instructions and tasted them, they reminded me of something I would get in a Chinese restaurant … and were very good. They tasted a lot like green beans, but were a little tougher.

I give them a 8 out of 10.


New Food – Fried Macaroni


Us checking out the menu while waiting for our table. Cindy took this from across the street – see her reflection in the window? The boys are dressed all in black because their presentation was on Johnny Cash.

So yesterday I drove up to Madison to meet my son and daughter-in-law, their daughter and their son and his friend. We were there for the National History Day State competition for all those kids who had won in their regionals. This included the son and his friend. (Side note: They didn’t win, but they did super well. We were proud of them.)

Anyhow, my daughter-in-law had researched a restaurant called Dottie’s Dumplings Dowry which is supposed to be on a list of the 100 restaurants you should visit before IMG_7277you die. They are known for their burgers and their fried macaroni.

So after the competition, we hurried down the street to eat, because we had to be back at the U of W within an hour and a half. (Seemed like everyone was in Madison this weekend – some for a parade, others for a gigantic horse show … and a few thousand for the National History Day event. Six hundred kids participated – many with an entourage of relatives, plus there were more than 400 staff.)

We did have to wait for about 25 minutes because the restaurant isn’t that big – but the wait was worth it.

Another side note: The night before Elizabeth and I shared a motel room and we were watching a cooking show from Italy. Some men were showing the host how they hunt for truffles – they have a truffle-searching dog. (People think they use pigs, but the pigs eat the truffles where as the dogs are more concerned with the digging.) And we said to each other, “Someday, we’ll have to eat a truffle.”

Dottie’s Dumplings Dowry also had truffle fries. Picture was taken from an awkward angle with my phone – I apologize for the blurriness. IMG_7281

So for an appetizer, we had fried macaroni and truffle fries.

First – the truffle fries. We all liked them – a lot, but they were also covered with bacon and cheese, so not sure how much truffle we were actually eating. Still delicious.

Second – the fried macaroni. Oh, wow – this was so good! Seriously. They looked like chicken nuggets, but when you bit into one, it was all creamy cheese and noodles. We decided it was a good thing we didn’t live closer. That fried macaroni is definitely a 10.

IMG_7280We ordered different kinds of burgers and all enjoyed our choices. (I got the basil and mozzarella burger). They have signs all over saying their burgers are the best in the world. Maybe close … I’ll let you decide. Their walls are lined with award-winning “best-of” certificates.

So if you ever get to Madison and are just looking for a fun place to eat. I would suggest Dottie’s Dumplings Dowry.

And don’t forget the fried macaroni.