Sunday, November 11, 2012

Askinosie Chocolates

Ever heard of Askinosie Chocolates? I was looking for a source of Tableya in the U.S. when I stumbled upon the company website.  Tableya refers to a "chocolate tablets" used for a chocolate drink native to the Philippines.  It is made from raw cocoa beans that are roasted, manually ground and shaped into round discs.  Normally sugar is NOT added so the chocolate drink has a bitter, rich chocolate taste that is a bit grainy.  Sometimes peanuts are finely ground and mixed before the chocolate discs are formed. I first tasted Tableya as a child.  I was so fascinated when I saw how the actual chocolate drink was prepared    First, water is boiled then 2-3 chocolate discs/ Tableya are mixed in and gently stirred.  Sugar and milk may be added.  But I liked best the next step which was to use a wooden whisk/ batirol by rubbing the tool between the palms in a circular motion to make the drink frothy until a thick, foamy consistency is reached.  The drink is topped with a bit of butter that gently melts into rich chocolate drink.   

Askinosie Chocolates is a small batch chocolate company in Springfield, MO.  They source 100% of their cacao beans directly from farmers. The founder and chocolate maker, Shawn Askinosie personally travels to Equador, Honduras, Philippines and Tanzania to work directly with farmers and source his chocolate.  So, the chocolates can be traced from source and labeled Authentic Single Origin Chocolate.  It also allows them to profit share with the farmers and build genuine relationships with their suppliers. 

The Tableya they sell are made by local PTA at Malagos Elementry School in Davao, Philippines to fund a feeding program for extremely malnourished kids in the school. They sell the Tableya to Askinosie Chocolates for $1 and Askinosie Chocolates sells it for $10 and ALL $9 profit go to Malagos for their feeding program!!! In 2012, 185,000 nutritious hot meals have been provided.  Each student is assured of a meal for a school year and a half!

A similar feeding program is being planned for malnourished children in Tenende, Tanzania where they have also built deep-water well to provide potable water to 2000 citizens of Tenende, Tanzania.  

Askinosie Chocolates is a company with a clear mission -- to serve their farmers, neighbors, their customers and each other, sharing the Askinosie Experience and leaving the world a better place than they found it.  This is from a company that has won many awards for the superb quality of their chocolates!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

TeaFu -- tea infuser

We love our tea.  My family enjoys cups of herbal teas daily -- green tea, bitter melon tea, lemon grass tea, Jason Winters tea are just a few.  Green tea is rich in antioxidants and compounds that promote health, preventing heart disease and fighting cancer. It is a very popular beverage in the East. 

Bitter gourd/ bitter melon tea is made from the fruit and stems of Momordica charantia.  It is traditionally used to lower blood sugar and control diabetes in Asia, Africa and Latin America.  It is used for cancer prevention and valued for it's strong antioxidant activities.  

Lemon grass tea is made from the leaves and stalks of a tropical plant that has a distinct lemony flavor and aroma.  I make my lemon grass tea fresh from our plant that grows outdoors in summer.  In Thailand and other parts of Asia, we use lemon grass regularly in cooking but lately it has become even more popular for it's anticancer potential.  This was after scientists in Israel showed lemon grass extracts could kill cancer cells.  

Jason Winters Tea is a blend of Red Clover, Indian Sage Leaf, Chaparral and Herbalene® Blend (special spice).  This blend is supposed to be so effective in treating squamous cell carcinoma and other cancers.  

I've use tea balls and tea scoops in making cups of tea but it takes time and it's hard to strain all the tea out.  I recently discovered Tea Fu - it's a tea infuser that's so pretty and convenient.  It's shape makes it easy to scoop tea, let's you brew tea fast by squeezing the silicon tea pod so water circulates through the tea leaves. 

It's made by DreamFarm, a unique company that also makes Garject, a garlic press that's so cool, it won the Australian International Design Awards this year.  It  presses unpeeled garlic then automatically scrapes itself clean, and then ejects the garlic peel into the bin in one fluid motion.  Lovely!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Amazing Basil Salt

So excited to share this post.  Yesterday, my friend Kim N. brought me something she whipped up in her kitchen.  We both love basil but I specially like Thai Basil for it's licorice notes.  She used regular basil for this seasoned salt but it was simply amazing, specially with vine-ripened tomatoes!!  

Kim took basil and mixed it with Kosher salt and blended it in the food processor. Then, she spread  out the mix in the oven and baked it at low temperature till the salt dried. After baking, she ran it through the food processor a second time.  That's it. What a brilliant idea to make your own basil salt!  

Thanks, Kim.  I always learn so much from you.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

My Foodie Pen Pal

My foodie pen pal is Cheryl from Texas and she is wonderful! Fun-loving and very energetic, she's a real foodie who loves to tinker in the kitchen and enjoys gardening, working, exploring the farmers market and even has time to take care of six dogs! Did I tell you she's also so kind and thoughtful? Earlier she emailed me to ask if I had any dietary restrictions so she could send me things I could enjoy.  Because I'm recovering from metastatic adenocarcinoma or the dreaded "C", she went out of her way to get me healthy goodies from a local farmers market.  She packed organic unsweetened cinnamon apple, vanilla almond granola, gluten-free grain mix, crunchy chili-honey roasted nuts and amazing pickle chips from the Great State of Texas!  It was a real treat to finally have delicious gluten-free muffins made from organic grains and snack on all these yummy treats.  Both my son and hubby love spicy/hot foods so the pickle chips and chili nuts were gone in no time! Thank you Cheryl and specially to Lindsay for hosting this fun event!

Today is Reveal day for my Foodie Pen Pal