Friday, October 06, 2006

The Light, Rich, Buttery Croissant

This is one of my favorite treats, slightly warmed, washed down with a cup of full- bodied French Roast coffee, made even more indulgent with a serving of St.Dalfour's Wild Blueberry preserves. But short of whipping these up myself, a labor intensive project, where can I find a croissant that contains just the six ingredients it takes to make this flaky roll?
The croissant is nothing more than flour, yeast, milk, butter, salt and sugar.
Incorporating the butter, cooling the dough, rolling out, proper turning and folding are the tricks that transform these six simple ingredients into a regal bun with layer upon layer of buttery pastry. A technique that requires patience as well as much practice.
Unfortunately, Orlando lacks a true French bakery, a p√Ętisserie, where one can indulge in brioche, croissants, or madeleines to name just a few heavenly sweets made from fresh, wholesome, whole ingredients.
I found lovely looking croissants in the bakery department of my neighborhood supermarket. My mouth watered thinking of tearing one apart, slathering wild blueberry preserves on the jaggered buttery morsel and the satisfying pleasure as it melted on my tongue.
And then I looked at the ingredient list.

Enriched flour (wheat flour) ascorbic acid, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, fungal enzymes, folic acid. Water, butter (cream with natural flavor) Sugar, yeast, eggs, dairy additive, whey protein concentrate, nonfat dry milk, salt, dough conditioner, guar gum, datem, dextrose, canola oil, malt flour, natural butter flavor.

Do you read labels? Food companies incorporate so many additives into the processed food on grocery store shelves. Most of them are toxic. The faster and easier it is to prepare, the more likely it is, that it contains an ingredient list that is as long as your arm, filled with words you can't pronounce and your digestive system cannot begin to process. Take a look and pass the Tums, Mylanta, Prilosec, etc. Would it were just heartburn or acid reflux that is the result of eating all those chemicals. Unfortunately, what we put on our plates or what we neglect to put on our plates, is far more dangerous to us than Bin Laden and associates.

We each have a responsibility for taking care of our own health and those of us with families have additional responsibilities. It's a sad fact that most people take better care of their cars than they do of their bodies. Using the right oil and the right fuel in the car is imperative to keep it running. Do you think our bodies are any different? Our bodies need the right oil and the right fuel to remain in peak operating order and to prevent the modern day diseases that are mostly all food related. You owe it to yourself to do a little research.

A little food for thought.

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Book Nook

Ellen Crosbey - The Merlot Murders

A phone call at two thirty in the morning is never good news. Lucie Montgomery's semiestranged brother, Eli, calls her in France to tell her their father, Leland, has been killed in a hunting accident on the family's five-hundred-acre Virginia vineyard just as the fall harvest is about to begin. By the time he calls, Eli has already made funeral arrangements with what Lucie argues is indecent haste." "It is an emotional trip home - the first since an automobile accident two years ago, which left Lucie disabled and dependent on a cane. Her family's once elegant home and winery are now shabby and run-down, thanks to her father's penchant for fringy business deals. Eli, also cash-strapped and desperate to support his new wife's extravagant lifestyle, has already convinced their rebellious younger sister, Mia, to sell the debt-ridden estate and reap the profits from the valuable land it sits on, overruling Lucie's protests." "On the eve of the funeral Lucie's godfather, Fitz, a partner in the family business, tells her Leland's death was no accident. Whoever killed him was motivated by the potential sale of the vineyard. It is the last conversation she will have with Fitz. Now the lone holdout preventing the vineyard sale, Lucie realizes she's next in line for another "accident." With her greedy brother, hell-raising sister, and a seemingly cut-rate vintner hired by Leland just before he died, all the suspects axe disturbingly close to home. Unsure whom she can trust, Lucie must uncover the truth about the deaths of her father and godfather - and oversee a successful harvest to save the vineyard she loves."--BOOK JACKET.

Lynn Hightower - High Water

A suspenseful and chilling tale of a family undone by a mother's mysterious death and a father's startling secrets. Beaufort, South Carolina, is home to the Smallwoods, a family that appears close-knit but is in fact deeply at odds. The youngest sibling, Georgie, is consumed with anger at her father, Fielding, an unforgiving ex-marine, whose involvement in a notorious scandal many years earlier cast a shadow over his career and the Smallwood name. A fierce patriarch, Fielding neglects Georgie's mother; belittles her brother, Ashby; and denies her sister, Claire, the financial support she needs after a trying divorce. When her mother dies suddenly and of mysterious causes, Georgie immediately suspects that her father was somehow involved. As she works to convince Ashby and Claire of her suspicions, however, their father is murdered, and Claire is implicated in his death. Georgie desperately attempts to piece together both her family and her personal life, but the evidence of their father's betrayal and the secrets of his past threaten to leave the Smallwood family in ruin. As affecting as it is suspenseful, High Water infuses a harrowing mystery with an intensely personal study of the delicate, complex bonds that define a family. Lynn Hightower's most successful book yet, High Water, packs a powerful combination of intrigue and insight.

'Tis the reader that makes the book good. . . Ralph Waldo Emerson

'til next time . . . keep on cooking!

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