Truly Scrumptious - Sun-dried tomatoes

This week I've found a wonderful new product that I seem to now add to most of my meals!  It is a brand of sun dried tomatoes - but unlike many sun-dried tomato products, these are moist.  AND they are julienne cut - so in little strips ( or you can get them in halves, if you prefer). The julienne sliced ones are a perfect size to use and eat.


There are 2 varieties - regular and smoked.  The brand is called California Sun-Dry.


They make other tomato products too, like a salsa, a pesto, a spread and a paste, but the packets of sun-dried tomatoes are the only things I've tried....so far!

I sprinkle them on my salads, in my beans, in my soups, on sandwiches, with pasta.....I can hardly think of when I wouldn't use them.  The smoked version I love with beans - in fact, that is just what I've had for my lunch!!!No need to soak, they are moist enough to eat.  But obviously you can soak them if you want to.  

The tomatoes are dried over 7 - 10 days in the California sun shine. They are a great source of lycopene and the packet says that ounce for ounce, sun dried tomatoes have 12 times the amount of lycopene that is found in a raw tomato.  Lycopene is a powerful anti-oxidant and helps protect against heart disease and certain cancer.

Have you tried them?  I rarely used sun-dried tomatoes in anything, until I found these!
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Truly Scrumptious - Sun-dried Rainier Cherries


Yum, yum, yum! My favorite food this week has to be sun-dried Rainier Cherries from Cipponeri Family Farms.


I was meeting a friend for lunch yesterday at Greens in Fort Mason, San Francisco and when I got there, there was a farmers' market.  As I wandered around, what first caught my eye were unpasturized almonds - meaning that, unlike the majority of almonds - these are truly raw.  Even those you buy that are labelled "raw" tend to have been steam pasteurized and thus have lost some of their micronutrient content.  I did buy some almonds, but haven't even tried them yet.  Maybe they will be next week's "truly scrumptious"?



But as I went down the line of nuts and dried fruits at this stand, I spotted the rainier cherries.  I've never seen dried Rainiers before...and they had some samples. Gosh, their texture is still a little moist and "spongy" - not too dry,  and so vibrant in flavour.  They have some tartness - but it balances nicely with a little sweetness.

I can see that I am going to have to call in to that particular Farmer's market regularly to keep up a good stock of these!


I guess the only thing that would have improved them was if they were organic and didn't use sulphur dioxide.....but I did ask them about their pesticide use etc.

What was your favorite taste this week?
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Truly scrumptious - Clove and raisin raw fudge

Gosh - I've had so many truly scrumptious delights this week...but one taste that will stay with me was a clove and raisin raw fudge that I made.


When I started out, I was not making fudge at all, so it was one of the recipes where a failure led to an even bigger success.

I was going to make some raw clove chocolate and added some of my new clove liqueur.  However the chocolate didn't quite set properly - I added 2 tablespoons of the liqueur and probably should have stopped at 1!!!

So I decided to gently re-melt the chocolate - again not going above 110F so it remains "raw" and full of nutrients and anti-oxidants....and I added a little bit of coconut cream and also a few of our own homegrown and dried raisins, and then let it set as fudge!


Yum!  The clove is a great strong flavor but not too overpowering and the raisins gave a nice change in texture.  It is rich.  One square is extremely satisfying.

I made it as part of a goodie bag for my friends, but luckily saved some for a bag for my hubby, so I got some of that!!


What was truly scrumptious in your holiday week?
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Truly Scrumptious - Hazelnuts

My "truly scrumptious" delight this week was a humble hazelnut.  I was cooking with some and one got away and I ate it - just raw.  Gosh - the taste was fabulous.  I rarely eat hazelnuts just as they are - but that will change now.


My first revelation about hazelnuts came when I was lucky enough to go to the French Laundry for dinner one night.  One of the courses they served had three raw hazelnuts on the plate.  When I ate one, I couldn't believe how wonderful it tasted.  I figured they must have an incredible secret place where they source them, as I'd never tasted such a fresh, flavorsome hazelnut...but then, there in my kitchen this week was another one!


Pure delight!  Go out and buy some raw hazelnuts and give them a try.  They are so delicious.  I think too often we get old rancid or salted/roasted hazelnuts and it masks their delicate flavor.  It's got to be the tastiest nut out there!


Hazelnuts are rich in unsaturated fats - which are shown to lower LDL and raise HDL.  They are also high in magnesium, manganese, Vitamin E, and B Vitamins.

You will be seeing more hazelnuts in my future!

What was the most truly scrumptious food you ate this past week?
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Truly Scrumptious - Quince and clove sour

I've decided that my regular blog post of my favorite taste each week should now be entitled "truly scrumptious".  As I was browsing in a children's toy shop in the UK last week, they played the song "Truly Scrumptious" as background music and I realized that I knew all the words!

Truly Scrumptious, if you didn't know, is a fictional character in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.  Here's the song:


Isn't it so sweet!  It seems appropriate that tickety-boo should have a truly scrumptious regular blog post, don't you think!

I ate quite differently in England from how I normally do at home, but one flavor combination really sticks out for me from that visit. My most truly scrumptious taste in England was actually a cocktail - a quince and clove sour!  It was made with quince puree (you know how I've been looking at ways to use up all our quince!) plus a clove liquor and gin.  I think it is the nicest cocktail I have ever tasted.

I actually had two - one with gin and one without the gin!  Both were wonderful and it was definitely the cloves that made it.  They were so warming and the combination of flavors seemed so wintery and spicy.


I had to buy a bottle of Pink Cloves to bring home with me.....In fact, I think I'll have to start experimenting with it tonight.... I can imagine using it in desserts too...

What was your most truly scrumptious taste this past couple of weeks?

Update: Just poured out my pink cloves and it is really pink!  A little like mouth wash or something, and a tad off putting.....but it does taste delicious.   It wasn't that pink in the version I had.....!!!!!


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