Wednesday, March 18, 2015


Man CAN live by bread alone when you buy Dave’s Killer Bread.   First let me say that I never buy bread as I thought it waste of calories and its use is so that you don’t slap the cream cheese and jelly on the palm of your hand and lick it off.  The problem is now that I have sampled Dave’s Killer Bread I keep seeking out whatever I can make a sandwich of.  Why?

It’s bread with boom! Dave, a former rock star introduced what is now the best-selling organic bread in the US.  No kidding.  Most breads are pretty boring when it comes to both taste and texture.  Then there are the artificial preservatives, fructose corn syrup and dough fillers. 

What have they got? Let’s start with the 21 whole grains and seeds.  Here are the ingredients. Organic whole wheat (organic whole wheat flour, organic cracked whole wheat), water, 21 Whole Grains and Seeds Mix (organic whole flax seeds, organic sunflower seeds, organic ground whole flax seeds, organic un-hulled brown sesame seeds, organic rolled oats, organic triticale, organic pumpkin seeds, organic un-hulled black sesame seeds, organic rolled spelt, organic millet, organic rolled barley, organic rolled rye, organic blue cornmeal, organic brown rice flour, organic yellow cornmeal, organic quinoa, organic rolled KAMUT® Khorasan wheat, organic amaranth flour, organic rolled whole wheat, organic buckwheat flour, organic sorghum flour, organic poppy seeds), organic dried cane syrup (sugar), organic wheat gluten, organic oat fiber, organic molasses, sea salt, organic cultured whole wheat, yeast.  

Now you have an idea of what to expect and NOT expect.  I have found that the breads with seeds are not annoying to my mouth or my tummy.  Here are those: Good Seed; Blues Bread (that uses blue cornmeal); Power Seed (using fruit juices instead of sugar); Seeded Honey Wheat; Rockin Rye (with caraway seeds, of course); Sprouted Wheat; and Spelt.  This is a loaf that you would not want to toss the ends, especially with all of the seeds and grains that they contain. I, who never eats “ends” did so and go glad I did! 

You can always opt for Whole Wheat or even a plain old White Bread called White Done Right with 10 g of whole grains.  Now that would be perfect for a Grilled Cheese, French Toast or a Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich (I prefer cream cheese and jelly and a fried egg).  I’m also thinking a corned beef sandwich on the rye with cole slaw. 

There are so many sandwich ideas that you can come up with just to be healthy.  Think sushi rolls using the white bread totally flattened and filled…smoked salmon, cream cheese and scallions.  How about shrimp, avocado, cucumber and mayo?  Add the crunch using breads with the seeds. 
It just so happens that Fairway Market has their line of bread. Maybe not all of them.  I hear that the store in Douglaston has some. 

If you have been following articles and blog, you know how passionate I am about Fairytale Brownies.  I have even “carved” and decorated them for the upcoming Easter Holiday.  I then realized how soft they were and molded pieces into an egg shape as if you were having a chocolate Easter egg.  The absolute joy of having these brownies came to be even more joyous when I came across the perfect milk. 

The company is called Ronnybrook Farms, where the milk is not homogenized.  If you recall getting a bottle of milk delivered with the cream at the top, this is even better.  You really have to shake it up as there is more than just a thin layer of cream.  That’s the whole milk.  They have with less fat and a whole line of other products, like ice cream with 18% butter fat (just don’t eat a lot at one time if you’re concerned), butter (one is called  Cinnamon Toast), crème fraiche, and yogurt….both the kind you spoon out and ones that you drink down (I loved the strawberry one….real strawberries).  

I was checking out Fresh Direct and saw that they had their products.  I will write about Fresh Direct at another time to compare them with Peapod.  One plus for Fresh Direct is that you can go to their plant in Long Island City and pick up your order although in neither case can you pick out what you want relying on whoever does the picking and packaging.  

Friday, March 13, 2015


Here are creations made with Fairytale Brownies.

A little cream cheese on the ears,  half a frozen cherry for the nose, the use of these tiny rice crispies for the eyes and whiskers and two tic tacs for the teeth.

One great thing about these brownies is the ability to mold in you hands.  I took one regular size original brownie and was able to make three larger "eggs" and two small ones.  They are sitting atop a tea called Jasmine Rooibos Rose Petals.  The top "crust" of the brownie gave it it's second color.

Now, take the same size brownie with chocolate chips.  Remove the chips.  Create the "eggs", melt the chips and dip the top and bottom in the melted chocolate.  If you want to decorate the eggs at all, I suggest you use a whipped up cream cheese as a "paint".  If you are willing to share these, they can simply pop an egg and you can wait to hear the "yummy" noises.  Got milk?

Saturday, March 7, 2015


St. Patrick’s Day is invokes images of everything “green” along with that flavors of corned beef and cabbage, something you won’t find in Ireland.  Beef was not privy to the middle of lower class of the Irish as pork and potatoes was more of the celebration day.  It is here in New York City that the combo was “invented”.

Working classes of the Irish Immigrants were unable to afford pork and cabbage was the cheapest vegetable.  Where did they get the idea for corned beef?   They lived alongside Jewish immigrants, frequenting the Jewish delis and food carts.   The one-pot corned beef was cooked with the cabbage to pull away much of the salty and briny meat.   Perhaps it was really having corned beef and cole slaw. 

Irish Pubs conjure up visions of people interacting at the bar drinking beer and whiskey while perhaps having some Shepherd’s Pie for food nourishment.   Then there are pubs sporting a menu of traditional Irish fare.  Banter, located at 108-22 Queens Blvd. features traditional with a “twist”.

Michael Mansfield is the owner of the fabulous fare of food and friendliness that features 71 Irish Whiskeys as well as beer both bottled and on tap.  I chose a Smithwicks lager, surprisingly light in flavor.  He tells us (Once you read you will realize that I could not have done this alone) that the day before the upcoming St. Patricks Day will be their second year.   Michael comes up with the food ideas, Jose Zarate is the chef.  

“French Fries” has a version in almost every country.  Curry Cheese Fries is a popular appetizer for the Irish.  These crispy fries are topped with melted cheese, scallions and Irish Curry Sauce.   Curry in Ireland?  It is not the same curry used in India, but seasonings have made their way from former England-owned India to Ireland.  Keep in mind that curry is a mixture of spices and not all curry is alike. In fact, I hear that apple is used in this Irish curry sauce.  

Although from the name, Homemade Scotch Egg, it is another popular Irish item.  With most places, they use a hardboiled egg wrapped in Irish sausage.  Banter starts with a soft boiled egg, as the sausage is then breaded and deep fried, producing a yolk that still has a bit of “liquidy” texture.  I’m really guessing at this as the process or recipe is not be revealed.  Served cut in four pieces with lines of curry mayo sauce to pass through as you make its way to your mouth.   

The food term “bubble and squeak” seems to apply as the noises it makes while the food cooks.  It is traditionally made with the fried leftover vegetables from a roast dinner.  Banter’s appetizer is Bubble and Squeak Dumplings.  These fried dumplings are stuffed with corned beef, cabbage and carrots with a mustard drizzle.  Not oily at all! 

Take advantage of another small plate item of Mini Pies and pick two.  Shepherds Pie is made with angus beef, peas and carrots topped with a creamy colcannon…a mashed potato, cabbage and onions mixture.   Chicken Pot Pie has chicken (otherwise it would not be called a Chicken Pot Pie), corn, pearl onions, baby potatoes, carrots and celery with a pastry top.   The one we didn’t choose is the Beef and Guinness Pie with prime beef cuts, carrots, potatoes and peas in a Guinness infused gravy with a pastry top.

Now here is one that you will most likely want to share…Irish Breakfast Pizza.   Although it’s considered to be on their “small plate” list, it would make a great lunch item for two.   Don’t think about a pizza that you would normally get.  It starts with a thin non-doughy crust.  What goes on top?  Irish brown sauce, Irish sausage, bacon, black and white pudding…a sausage sort of thing…beans and two fried eggs…more like sunny side up.  When served, poke holes in the eggs to allow the yolk to ooze out.  

Did I tell you that we also had a main course?  Banter Shank.  A red wine braised lamb shank with mashed potatoes and vegetables.  Fall off the bone meat and did not have a gamey taste at all.  Only disappointment was that I couldn’t get all the way into the bone to retrieve the marrow. 
Green, white and orange are the colors of the Irish flag.  With that you can expect the use of vegetables such as broccoli or peas, carrots and cauliflower or the inner part of the green leafy cabbage. 

With all of that do you think we would go for a dessert?  Of course.  Chocolate layered and a raspberry lemon cake.  

What about some entertainment? “We have a live band on rotating Friday and Saturday nights,” said Michael. “Generally one piece bands although sometimes we have more. Every Sunday we have a traditional Irish Seisun at 5pm. All musicians are welcome to join in. One of our waitresses, Olivia Smith, is an opera singer and occasionally sings with them. We also have Irish dancers in sometimes too.”

Website is  where you can view the various menus.   For reservations, call 718-268-8436.