Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Food as art

What happened to the Food! | The Best Article Every day

I think these little cauliflower sheep are the cutest thing ever. But the rest of the pictures are great too.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

News from Tammy's Tastings

A Box of Flowers for Mother's Day

Every year it's the same question - should I get my mother a bouquet of flowers or a box of chocolates? Well, now you can do both, with a box of flowers from Tammy's Tastings.

Each box of 12 pieces ($22) or 5 pieces ($10) contains an assortment of four flavors:

Jasmine - Dark chocolate ganache is infused with jasmine tea and encased in a crisp dark chocolate shell.
Honey-Vanilla - Milk chocolate surrounds a drizzle of delicate wildflower honey on top of a creamy milk chocolate ganache infused with real vanilla beans.
Pomegranate-Rose - Dark chocolate carries this blend of fruity and floral notes.
Lavender Caramel - This slightly chewy and not-too-sweet caramel has a hint of lavender and is wrapped in dark chocolate.

Visit my website to place your order.


I've been working on a line of candy bars, and have a limited quantity available for sale at this time. Orders will be filled in the order they are received, but when they're gone, they're gone!

Sweet Salty Crunchy - Crunchy pretzels, salty caramel, Koeze natural peanut butter and roasted peanuts dipped in 60% dark chocolate. Valentine's Day early-bird orderers may remember this as the "Needs a Name Candy Bar."
Pick Me Up - Soft coffee nougat is topped by a chewy espresso caramel that's studded with crunchy espresso beans from Mighty Good Coffee. Dipped in 72% dark chocolate, this is the ultimate candy bar for coffee lovers.
Rockier Road - Fluffy homemade vanilla marshmallows, crunchy toasted almonds and chewy candied ginger stud a soft dark chocolate center for an exciting combination of flavors and textures.

Wedding Season

Are you or someone you know getting married this summer? Chocolates from Tammy's Tastings make beautiful and delicious favors for your guests. And a chocolate or wine tasting event is the perfect thing for a bridal shower. Contact me for more information!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Interview over at Kitchen Chick

Kitchen Chick a local Ann Arbor foodblogger, and she interviewed me for her blog. We talked about how I got my start in the food business (like carrying 20lb bags of flour on a bicycle), what some of my current favorite chocolate brands are, and more. Please check out the interview and the rest of the blog - Lisa's writing and photography are totally delicious! And, speaking as a foodblogger myself, if you like what you see - please leave her a comment - we bloggers LOVE comments!

Oh, and since her post mentions my Easter chocolates, here's a picture of the finished product. I always have a lot of fun trying out different decorating effects, and this time was no exception!

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Tammy's Tastings Newsletter

The Smell of Easter

When I host a chocolate tasting, I take guests through 3 steps - taking a "whiff" (what's the chocolate smell like?), taking a bite (what's the texture like?), and taking a taste (what flavors do they notice?). In nearly every chocolate tasting there will be at least one chocolate that everyone agrees "Smells like Easter!"

And why not? While we certainly associate chocolate with other holidays, if you celebrate Easter, memories of chocolate eggs and easter bunnies were formed long before you ever got a box of chocolate from a sweetheart on Valentine's Day.

Unfortunately, a lot of Easter chocolate isn't particularly good. And some of it is downright bad! But thanks to Tammy's Tastings, you don't need to settle for bad chocolate in order to relive your childhood Easter chocolate memories. Visit my Easter page to place your order today! The Easter collection includes a "turtle" bunny or egg (filled with salty caramel and toasted pecans) and an assortment of four other flavors:

Raspberry - This classic combination of dark chocolate and raspberry is a perennial favorite.
Chai Spice - Milk chocolate harmonizes beautifully with a blend of spices that includes cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and more, while the dark chocolate shell balances the sweetness of the center.
Lemon-Rosemary - White chocolate provides the perfect creamy backdrop to the high notes of citrusy lemon and a hint of earthy, foresty rosemary.
Hazlenut Praline - A dark chocolate shell surrounds this combination of toasted hazelnuts, caramelized sugar, and milk chocolate. Another classic combination, and one that is decadent and delicious!

Orders must be received by Friday, March 14; earlier for shipping to the western US.

Upcoming Event

American Rebels Chocolate Tasting
Coming in April, date TBD. In the 1980's, microbreweries pushed the boundaries of what we knew beer could be. In the 1990's, small coffee roasters began challenging the supremacy of Starbucks. And in the 2000's, chocolate is the new frontier. In this chocolate tasting, we'll have a chance to compare side by side the offerings from a crew of American Rebels - small, one or two person operations who are making bean to bar chocolate and breaking as many rules as they can along the way. Space will be limited - contact me today to pre-pre-register, and you'll be able to provide input on the date and time!

Wishing you good tastes,

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Interview with Heston Blumenthal

Heston is chef at the Fat Duck restaurant in the UK, and one of the best known chefs exploring "food science," aka molecular gastronomy. This article is a fascinating look at this mad scientist of cuisine.

This has to be one of the wackiest bits...

4: And he recently injected his head chef with a dangerously high dose of chilli oil, intravenously, and then slid him into a £5 million MRI scanner to see how the spices reacted with his brain.

No, really.

I made him tell me twice to make sure he wasn't making it all up.

"I used the brain scanner at Nottingham University," he says.

"While he was in there I attached a drip to him that intravenously fed him chilli oil.

"I sneakily switched the dosage when nobody was looking so he was getting double the chilli the doctors deemed safe."

He laughs here.

"I did give myself a syringe as well because I felt guilty.

"But I wanted to see what parts of his brain my spices would affect so I could create the perfect chilli.

"I needed to find out the point where the pain of the chilli died down and the pleasurable endorphins that make us like spicy foods were released.

Mad scientist, indeed! One just hopes he had the head chef's permission!

I've not eaten at the Fat Duck (yet), but I know people who have. And the reports are almost always good. This is not just about a gimmick or an excuse to play with toys - these chefs are serious about food, and using every technique at their disposal to improve not just the flavor, but the entire experience of eating.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Unusual breakfast

If I worked from home everyday, I think I'd have the weirdest eating schedule of anybody. I've already got a pretty weird schedule - breakfast around 7, lunch at 11, snack at 3, dinner at 6:15. Which written down doesn't look weird, I guess, but when I'm strolling into the office kitchen to get lunch at 11 am, people often think I'm a little early. But hey - works for me!

I've been sick with colds and the flu and sinus infections and pneumonia for (literally) weeks and haven't had much of an appetite. Plus, making food I want to eat has been more work than I wanted to do. But yesterday I ended up with a major low blood sugar headache at the end of the day, so I'm trying to be more attentive to that today.

On the way home from dropping my son off at daycare, I got a craving for pasta. I could have held off for lunch, and had a bowl of cereal or something when I got home, but why? At first I was thinking spaghetti with garlic sauteed in olive oil and fresh parmesan. But then I remembered the goat cheese ravioli that have been languishing in the freezer since last summer's trip to Columbus, Ohio and our obligatory stop at Pastaria in North Market. So I put some water on to boil, and pulled out a few of those. One of the reasons they've been languishing is that it's hard to figure out what to put on goat cheese ravioli. I figured I'd just drizzle with olive oil, and then I remembered the bit of fresh rosemary left from recent chocolate experiments. So I heated up the oil with the rosemary and a strip of lemon zest, then drizzled that over my ravioli when it was done.


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Celebrate Valentine's Day with Tammy's Tastings

February seems like the perfect month to celebrate chocolate. There's Valentine's Day, of course. But beyond that, chocolate just seems like the perfect pick-me-up for what can be an awfully dreary month. So this February, Tammy's Tastings is offering a bunch of different opportunities to get your chocolate fix!

First off, there's my Valentine's Day collection, featuring four flavors: White Chocolate & Lime, Passion Fruit, Curry and Earl Grey Tea, in three box sizes: six, twelve and twenty-four. Place your order by February 1st, and you'll receive a surprise bonus treat with your order - a fabulous little candy bar I've been working on that I'm very excited about. Visit my website for full flavor descriptions and ordering details.

Then, I've got a couple of of events you won't want to miss:

Thursday, February 7th, 7:00 pm: Truffle-Making Workshop
You'll make ganache, temper chocolate, and dip and decorate centers I've prepared for you in advance, taking home at least 18 finished truffles. Space is limited and pre-registration is required, so sign up early!

Saturday, February 9th, 2:00 pm: Dark Chocolate Tasting
If you've been wondering what a Tammy's Tastings event was like, here's your chance to find out. You'll taste fabulous dark chocolates from some of the world's best chocolate makers, like Amedei, Domori and Steve DeVries, and learn about how chocolate is grown and made. Get a $5 discount for pre-registering!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008