Flavorful Finds of the Week (11/22/10 to 11/27/10)

Five things that tickled my taste buds this week:

5) Pickled Radishes

In my travels this week, I stumbled upon house-made pickled radishes at La Grotta Mediterranean Market (Taylor/Waverly). Intrigued by their pinkness and $2.99 price tag, I loaded the plastic container into my cart and took them home with me. Oh my! As a fan of pickled anything, I was not disappointed. They were crisp and tangy, and had a pungent bite, and were divine as a side-condiment with my pasta. Neither of my children appreciated them, which is also a tremendous sign of quality.

4) Tapanade

Proving once again that I was secretly adopted, I am the only person in my entire family that loves olives. Black olives, green olives, purple olives, giant olives, olives stuffed with garlic…I’ll put them on anything . Now, tapanade is something that I’ve been a tad leery about over the years, because is often contains the dreaded anchovy. However, I threw caution to the wind – fishies be damned – and bought a tub of the blackest, thickest, garlic laden tapanade the world had ever seen, and brought it home to spread on the crusty loaf of French Bread that I’d just procured. Either anchovy is the meekest piscine additive I continue to encounter in my food preparation (i.e.) salad dressing, or the garlic that so often accompanies it is so overpowering, that I fail to register the fish-y taste, but this tapanade was SO fine, that I ate the whole tub, by myself, over the course of four days. Spread on bread, spread on crackers, coating veggie sticks and on top of my pasta – I could not get enough of the stuff. I also reeked of garlic in a powerful way, and had a job interview in the middle of my tapanade binge. Hopefully my interviewer was of Eastern Euro or Meddi descent and didn’t notice the flower wilting power of my breath. This particular tapanade was made by (again) La Grotta, and is available in their deli case.

3) Imperial Cookies

Every city has foodstuffs that are near and dear to it’s identity. Since moving to Winnipeg, I’ve come across several baked goods that I’ve never seen anywhere else: Schmoo Cake, Apple Jacks and Imperial Cookies. Imperial Cookies may exist in other places, but it is unlikely that they are so prevalent. Just about every bake shop, grocery store and coffee shop in Winnipeg has a take on Imperial Cookies, and they are everywhere. What is an Imperial Cookie you ask? A sugar cookie sandwich, with a raspberry jam filling and an icing or powdered sugar dusting on top. My first encounter with Imperial Cookies were ones that I had bought from Stephen & Andrews, who receive their baked goods from Gunn’s Bakery. I had bought them for my kids as a treat the first week we had moved to The Peg, and they were so large that neither of my kids managed to make it past the first cookie layer. The second encounter was last week, while shopping at La Grotta (yes, this is the common thread this week.) I couldn’t decide what to make for desert, and settled on a four-pack of Imperial Cookies.  Huge hit with the kids. Hubby scarfed down several (he’s not partial to sweet things) and declared them delicious. Cookie win!

2) Black Garlic

It’s ugly. It’s fermented. It’s old. It has the consistency of jell-o. It’s..garlic? Despite it being more than slightly creepy, I felt compelled to hunt down and acquire black garlic this week. A bag of two bulbs ran me $5, and I had no real plans for it, other than to try it and report back to people who care about such things. With some hesitancy, I peeled a clove, and sniffed it. It didn’t have an odour. I bit it. It was like biting jell-o, was very sweet, and only had a faint tang of garlic. Imagine a more refined version of roasted garlic. With the price point being what it is, and the product being scarce, it’s best served minced and used creatively in place of roasted garlic in recipes for people who would appreciate fermented, imported garlic. I ended up using it as the major component in a Crown Royal – cola- black garlic glaze for a ham. (I found my garlic at Sobeys at Grant Park Festival, in the onion/garlic baskets on an end bunk in the produce section.)

1) Rare Beef Pho

Some manner of heinous sinus leprosy infested my body this week, and all I wanted to do was suck back on the medicinal wonder that is a bowl of rare beef pho. The closest pho joint to my house is Vietnam Khoa on Corydon, and their version of pho is heavy on the star anise and cinnamon, which bodes well with me. I prefer my pho jazzed up with hot sauce, lime, pepper and hoisin, so the ultra-spicy concoction helped purge my phlegm-y lungs and drained my nose better than a Neti Pot. Just what the doctor ordered, and at less than $8/person!



7 thoughts on “Flavorful Finds of the Week (11/22/10 to 11/27/10)

    • It’s as though you are a mind reader! I’ve been contemplating heading over there all week, and have been deterred by the snow. I even saw the High Tea mobile in the parking lot of Value Village last night (which says something about my shopping habits) and had to resist the impulse to drive by and lick the windows. Thanks for reminding me! I’ll definitely go!

    • The black garlic was good, but a bit of a let down. I was expecting angels to sing and trumpets to sound, but it wasn’t THAT good. However, it was definitely worth the culinary experiment. Good news about the radishes: you can DIY them at home…

    • Ah! I recognize your blog, Emma! I saw that you covered Imperial Cookies quite some time ago. You’re one of the few people that actually has any decent internet information on the darn things.
      You haven’t run into Apple Jacks yet? *gasp* You must go out and find one now. They’re very similar to an apple turn over, only they are about twice as long, and are stuffed full of cinnamon-y apple segments. I’ve seen them at Stephen and Andrews on Academy (they get theirs from Gunn’s Bakery) and at La Grotta on Taylor/Waverly. There is very little on the web about them, and they are definitely a regional thing. Here is a snippet from Gunn’s website: http://www.gunnsbakery.com/products-pastries.php

      I haven’t been to High Tea, despite having driven by countless times, and not living that far away. Will have to go!

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