WHEN IT’S A TREAT TO BE IN A JAM
David and I love shopping at the Union Square farmer’s market on Saturdays, because the absolutely fresh produce is better than we find at any grocery in Manhattan, including the fanciest food shops. Besides the mind-boggling assortment of fruits and vegetables, purveyors offer fresh breads and pastries; cheeses and yogurts; meats, poultry and fish; even delectable pretzels like you’ve never tasted before.
We discovered Josephine’s Feast a few weeks ago and we haven’t missed a chance to buy one or two jars of its luscious handcrafted preserves every time we’re at the market. Created by Laura O’Brien, accomplished chef and fashionista, who has worked with designers including Vera Wang and Betsey Johnson, the company produces limited quantities (12 to 16 jars per batch) from local fruits, using traditional slow cooking methods. The collection includes marmalades, jams, fruit butters and chutneys; spice rubs and blends, and “grandma’s granola,” with 24 ingredients.
The fruit is prepared by hand, and reaches peak flavor and texture by being cooked slowly and carefully, in French copper preserving pans, over several days. The preserves have no commercial pectin or stabilizers, only fresh fruit, pure sugar and a bit of lemon. The company, named after Laura’s daughter, makes its own apple pectin stock from a 100-year-old heirloom apple tree.
My favorite preserves so far are Caramelized Banana Jam and Peach Preserves perfumed with Cinnamon & Vanilla Bean. If you don’t have the discipline, you may find yourself eating them right from the jar.
THE YUMMIEST YOGURT I’VE EVER TASTED!
If you live in the New York metro area, or plan to visit, and like yogurt and coconut, I think you’ll love Anita’s Creamline Coconut Yogurt. Introduced two years ago, by vegan chef Anita Shepherd. the yogurt is made in Brooklyn, NY, with pure, unprocessed coconut milk from Thailand, organic coconut water and live cultures. It is gluten, soy, dairy and BPA free. Anita’s contains billions of L. acidophilus and other live strains that aid in digestion by helping to break down the food we eat.
The yogurt is “full fat,” which makes it “easier for our bodies to absorb the naturally occurring vitamins and minerals in the milk,” the company website claims. “Full-fat milk is more satisfying, so the serving size can be smaller than reduced-fat yogurts. Studies also have also shown that consumers of full-fat foods are leaner than consumers of reduced-fat options.” Of course, it isn’t advisable to consume a tremendous amount of fat, but a modest quantity each day is absolutely fine!
Although the protein content is minimal, this plant-based yogurt has no additives or animal products, like high-protein yogurts. There’s only 1g of sugar per serving, so it can be used in savory recipes like curry. While other non-dairy yogurts are watered down and contain added starches, stabilizers, thickeners, sugar, preservatives and flavors, Anita’s is made only with the coconut milk, coconut water and live cultures.
The texture is the smoothest of any yogurt I’ve ever tasted and the consistency is just right, not too thin and not too thick. Since the cultures in it don’t like being shipped, Anita’s is not yet available out of the New York area.
I love Anita’s because I’m staying as far away from sugar and carbs as possible, yet this yogurt is so tasty and filling that I don’t miss them.