The Ardent Epicure

An Ode to the Pleasures of Food

Whole Foods Shopping and Tagged I'm It

There is a new Whole Foods here in Huntington Beach CA...:)
Now for those of you unfamiliar with Southern California or Orange County.
For me this means a much closer location than the one in Irvine~ Me Happy :)
And as you can see in the above photo, I made you a snack from some of my
shopping treats. I am going to highlight just a few of these here as they may be 
of interest and are somewhat unique finds. But I will list my full shopping 
excursion briefly as well. If you happen to be local and would like some more
detailed information on this Whole Foods location~ My friend Priscilla of
She's Cookin"  had a private preview prior to the opening. Even if you are not
local, this is a must see article on "local sourcing, local products, supporting and
 giving back to the community, and wholesome, sustainable food!"

So what did I get on my shopping spree you might ask? All right since
you are pressuring me :) I will give you a quickie shopping list and then the 
highlights for just a couple. In the shot above are just a few of the goodies.
I will tell you the truth here...I actually just popped in to get my ever so 
favorite Avocado Oil (Extra virgin cold extraction), but they did not have
any at this location. But you probably guessed, I am one of those shoppers.
You know the kind that goes for one thing and comes back with fifty...Yes
my friends that is me.

The shopping finds:
A vegetable ciabatta
Roasted pistachio oil
Various olives from the extensive olive bar
Freshly roasted coffee, roasted on site
Roasted garlic
A mega heirloom tomato (I mean huge) 
A Sicilian Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Fresh cranberries
Fresh pomegranate seeds
A truffle cheese
A sage derby cheese
2 wonderful new finds:
Lesley Stowe Raincoast Crisps:
A fig and olive cracker
A salty date and almond cracker
Plus a small amount ($30.00 a pound type small)
of maitake mushrooms
All of this from a trip to pick up avocado oil...OK, so I have a problem.

So let's just spend a few minutes talking about these lovely cheeses and
the (way expensive) lovely mushrooms...

The Truffle cheese is a Sini Fului Sottocenere with Truffle:
This is a beautiful unpasteurized cows milk with truffles, and a rind that 
has a light brownish grey hue and is loaded with the most delightful of
spices...Included here are coriander, nutmeg, cinnamon, fennel,anise,
 licorice, cloves and truffle oil. A beautiful and fragrant cheese with the subtle 
yet lingering of hints Autumn . 
The next cheese pick is a Somerdale Sage Derby:
This is a pasteurized cows milk cheese with a stunning sage green
marbling. I found it to be quite earthy and rather subtle, in a good way.
I have not prepared either of these cheeses in a dish, as of yet....
But I you know I will :)

And for the mushrooms...they are Maitake or Grifola Frondosa.
I do not know a great deal about these mushrooms other than they are
said to be prized both medicinally as well as culinary. I chose a smaller
bunch that was not quite as pretty as some others, but due to the price I
am starting small and will work my way up as I experiment :)

Added to this throw together after shopping snack...are a black cherry
balsamic vinegar and truffle salt that I had on hand...

So now onto the "Tagged I'm It your Next" portion...
So I have been tagged again, twice actually so I will get on with the 
questions and "Taggers" :)

My first "Tagger" is Victoria of  Mission Food.
Victoria is one of the sweetest and most passioned bloggers I know.
Her energy is quite contagious and her love of all things food as well as cause,
is both honorable as well as simply a great time. She is on a stream lined
fast track to all things in our big bright culinary world.
So if you have not met I  encourage you to take the time to stop by.
 So here are Victoria's questions;

1) What cookbook could you not live without?
OK, I will admit it...I don't really read cookbooks (I can hear your gasps you know).
But I have purchased a few...And the answer would be "Mastering the Art of French Cooking~
 Julia Child"
2) Are you allergic to any foods?  If so what?
Yes...most specifically strawberries as well as all melons :( 
3) If you could eat at any restaurant in the world, regardless of its location or price, where would you go?
Taillevent, Paris
4) What was your worst cooking disaster?
Well that really covers anytime I try to bake something pre-made or cookies...
I'ts actually a family joke :(
5) What is your least favorite ingredient or dish?
Well I don't eat meat, so that would be my least favorite ingredient.
6) Did you have a childhood celebrity crush, and if so, who was it? (Yeah, I went there...)
Completely and hopelessly Mel Gibson - Most specifically Mad Max...had posters everywhere.
7) What is your favorite movie?
8) Potatoes or rice?
Usually rice but I love potatoes as well

My second "Tagger" is Nancy of Spicie Foodie 
I know you are all familiar with Nancy, but on the off shot that you are not
do yourself a favor and stop by. She is a most accomplished blogger, and a
wonderful friend. In fact she is one of our earliest friends here at The Ardent Epicure,
and most defiantly a source of constant inspiration and support. Plus her dishes
and photography are, how can I put this simply, WOW!
Now on to Nancy's questions;

1. Who taught you or how did you learn to cook?
My Dad, he is a retired Master Chef
2. Do you listen to music when you cook? If so what type or who is the artist?
Usually, it varies but 70's is a big favorite of mine as well as soul, jazz and blues.
3. What foodie gift are you asking Santa for this year? ( like a new mixer or perhaps a new camera?)
Yikes...New pots and pans I guess, but a new camera would do just fine ;)
4. What is the most difficult dish you have cooked or baked?
That is tough...Soufflés can be challenging, especially at first or when you do not prepare them often.
5. Do you have a kitchen disaster that left you in tears then, but now makes you laugh? or perhaps still makes you cry?
Wow, I would have to revert back to the restaurant days for that one. I had a very temperamental 
 Sous Chef...we were packed and I mean packed with lines and 40 min wait (probably we were softening that). I was short staffed and was in the front helping with serving etc. Things were flying in the kitchen, staff were in tears...needless to say things were burning, people crying...And I quickly became even more severely short staffed. But overall it is a memory that makes me smile, the remaining (and grateful staff) did an outstanding job covering and not one complaint
 from the clients. In fact most tried to help :)
6. What is your favorite book? Whether cookbook, biography, novel, ...
An obscure book of short stories by Valerie Martin "The Consolation of Nature"
7. What is the biggest reward to you from your blog?
With out a doubt the people I have met...most specifically a few of them being now cherished friends.  
8. Do you have a goal or is there something you hope to accomplish with your blog?
Yes but it is still a bit undefined...Working on a new project or maybe expansion
 is a better term, right now. Since it is just a working concept right now, I will leave it at that.

Now on to my eight questions and those I will tag...
I am going to use the same questions I did last time.

1) What single thing or entity most inspires your dishes?
2) What do you love most about having a blog?
3) What is you favorite type of music?
4) What would you most like to do with your spare time (if you had any)?
5) What are your 2 favorite flavor combinations?
6) What is your favored reading material?
7) Who is your favorite Chef or Cook at this moment?
8) What is your zodiac sign?

I am tagging;

Biren of  Roti n Rice
Sara of  Saucy Dipper
Angie of Angie's Recipes 
Rita of Sage Cuisine 
Karen of Tasty Trials 
LeQuan of Luvtoeat

Enjoy~ Alisha aka Magic of Spice

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