Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Food Prices

There was much talk today in the news about the worldwide wheat shortage that has caused an increase in the price of commodity wheat, resulting in a higher price on flour and therefore a higher price on all things made with flour: bread, pasta, pizza, crackers, cakes, bagels, and donuts, just to name a few. Weather was to blame for much of the worldwide shortage and further reducing supplies, US farmers replaced wheat fields with ethanol producing corn.

It is interesting to me that the hype surrounding ethanol, also largely fueled (pun intended) by the high price of gasoline, has resulted in increasing prices of food. Corn was originally commoditized and government subsidized to prevent this very thing. Corn, which before the ethanol boon had become cheap, found its way into possibly every processed food in the form of sweeteners, thickeners, fats, and fillers, creating a surplus of high calorie, convenient cheap food and an overweight population. Perhaps food that is too cheap is not a good thing either...

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Sprinkles' Strawberry Cupcakes

No, I don't watch the Martha Stewart show everyday, but once in a while, I'll have it on in the background. I just happened to catch it Tuesday, when Candace Nelson of Sprinkles' Cupcakes shared her recipe for Strawberry Cupcakes. I made these on Valentine's Day and these were the BEST strawberry cupcakes I have ever eaten. Both the cake batter and the frosting are made with a fresh strawberry puree-just enough for a delicate strawberry taste. The cupcakes were moist and slightly dense and the frosting was sweet, light, and creamy. A perfect balance. They were beautiful too. These pink treats would make a great treat for a little girl's birthday party.

Although the frosting is amazing, I cut the recipe in half for the 12 cupcakes. I thought it would make too much for our taste and I was right- half ended up being plenty. These were so good that I think next time, instead of cutting the frosting in half, I will double the cupcake recipe. I hope you find time to try them!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Happy Mardi Gras!

Today is Mardi Gras! It kind of snuck up on us this year since we are having an early Easter. Mardi Gras is the day before Ash Wednesday, thus it is 41 days prior to Easter. Mardi Gras literally means Fat Tuesday in French. The idea is you eat and drink to your heart's content on the last day before lent begins when it is the tradition to give up something you can't normally live without. The 40 days of lent are an acknowledgement of Jesus' 40 day fast in the desert. Whether they recognize lent or not, it seems everyone likes to celebrate Mardi Gras.

I have no new recipe for you, but will point you toward an old posting from February, 2006 for King Cake. I'm about to make one myself. Indulge a little and have a happy Fat Tuesday!