Take Taste Toss

Take, Taste, Toss: July 1, 2013

By on July 1, 2013 12:30pm EST

Our contributors give you brief reviews of recent cookbooks/ kitchen gadgets/ recipes they’ve tried, and tell you whether you should take it home, just give it a taste, or toss it out.

nutterfluffer cocktailCocktail Recipe:  Nutterfluffer

I’m a fan of The Cooking Channel, which I think of as the cooler younger brother of the Food Network, and particularly of those shows that round up restaurants around the country for TV personalities to comment on. Two such personalities are Alie Ward and Georgia Hardstark, who have their own (delightful) web series (and as of last week, TV show) with The Cooking Channel. The web series, Drinks with Alie and Georgia, has long intrigued me. I was pulled in by vintage dresses, quirky cocktail recipes, and puns, so I decided to try the Nutterfluffer.

The Nutterfluffer has a lot of good things going for it:  marshmallow vodka, Frangelico, and a revelation – peanut butter simple syrup – made from equal parts sugar and water and half a cup of peanut butter, simmered until thick.

All these components, however, failed to come together into a pleasant cocktail for me. It was super strong, almost medicinal, and even chomping on marshmallows didn’t make it more palatable. I think the same ingredients could come together to make a really delicious shot, but the cocktail didn’t cut it for me.

On the plus side, I now have a bowl of peanut butter simple syrup in my fridge. What to do with that?

Verdict:  TASTE, but if a strong drink that tastes strong isn’t up your alley, then you might end up tossing it, like I did.

ben and jerry's greek frozen yogurt liz lemonBen & Jerry’s Greek Frozen Yogurt

You may have noticed – Greek yogurt is like, a thing nowadays. It’s for breakfast, it’s in baked goods, it’s topping spicy dishes, and it’s looking way too pretty on food blogs. Naturally, the frozen dessert market has tried to capitalize on this trend, and while some come up short (cough, Healthy Choice), others are downright tasty. Like the one by two friends of mine:  Ben and Jerry.

I have, in the past few months, tried almost every flavor of the Ben & Jerry’s Greek Frozen Yogurt. All of them are delicious, from the Liz Lemon (think of it as the Zooey Deschanel of the bunch – lemon frozen yogurt with a blueberry-lavender swirl) to the more mainstream Strawberry Shortcake. But my favorite? Banana Peanut Butter. Banana yogurt with peanut butter swirls.

Verdict:  TAKE, take, take. You may end up like me with a freezer door full of them. Worry not. It’s Greek yogurt. It’s healthy!

commonplace book of pieA Commonplace Book of Pie

I first encountered Kate Lebo, poet and pie-maker, in an interview she did with Ploughshares about pie and writing and food and her creative process. It’s a delightful read.

But even more delightful is her hand-printed, hand-crafted book, A Commonplace Book of Pie, available through Chin Music Press. This little book, no bigger than a postcard, is like the cupcake of coffee table books, small and unassuming but full of so much goodness and whimsy. A Commonplace Book of Pie includes quizzes, riddles, pie facts and pie fictions, and best of all, recipes from Kate Lebo herself, which is no small thing:  this lady runs a Pie School. 

Verdict:  TAKE, enjoy, read and re-read, and then give another one as a gift to fellow lovers of pie.

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Dana Staves

Dana Staves writes about food, books, and the writing life. To keep up with her antics and see gratuitous Instagrams of her cat and her food, follow her on Twitter @DanaStaves.

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  • http://www.bookpairing.com/ Nikki Steele

    I have looked at that Greek frozen yogurt far too many times and never bought it. Sounds like the perfect thing for summer days though. And I bet it has no calories right, because, well, healthy?

    • Dana Staves

      I believe calories in frozen yogurt are like calories consumed on major holidays: they don’t actually count. It is really tasty, and I have, at times, had a freezer door full of these little pints. So good!

  • Short and Feisty

    I think I would by the Liz Lemon Greek Frozen Yogurt simply because it has Liz Lemon on it…

  • Shannon McIntyre Hooper

    I’m deeply suspicious of the concept of marshmallow vodka. Was the problem that the marshmallow flavor was too strong, or was the issue in the peanut butter? Or was it the combination that caused too much pain?