26 September, 2006

Fishy Delights 6: Bajamar Octopus in Garlic Sauce

I had never even heard of the Bajamar brand name until I ran across a big basket full of these cans at one of the local Hispanic supermarkets. They were 99 cents each - a bargain when compared to the Goya brand, which retails for $1.69 or more.

Bajamar Octopus in Garlic Sauce, while not quite as flavorful as Goya, is still an excellent product. I found big chunks of octopus tentacle in a pleasant, garlicy vegetable oil base, lightly seasoned with salt. There was no spicy overtones, but there does seem to be just a hint of smokiness (which I think may be a "phantom flavor" produced by a combination of the seafood brininess and the garlic.) These chunks are much chewier than the Goya offering as well, which is more in line with the nature of the product - octopus is notorious for it's resilient meat.

Overall, Bajamar makes a good product and I'd buy it again.

Quick recipe idea:

1 can Octopus in Garlic Sauce (4 oz.), partially drained
1 tbsp sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp sliced ripe black olives
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Salt to taste
"Italian seasoning" - or use a little dried thyme, basil, and marjoram instead
1 small fresh ripe tomato, cubed (about 1/3 cup)
White wine vinegar

Drain most (but not all!) of the oil from the can of Octopus and dump the contents of the can into a bowl. Add onion, olives, salt and pepper, "Italian seasoning", and tomato. Sprinkle lightly with a bit of good white wine vinegar, and toss to combine.

I served this as an appetizer at my sister's place over the weekend.

French Toast Pop Tarts

My favorite PopTarts variety has always been Brown Sugar Cinnamon. Cheap pastry crust with hard fondant frosting on the outside and some kind of moist brown sugar goo inside. A perfect food, if you define perfect as "completely lacking in nutritional value."

So imagine my thoughts upon seeing French Toast PopTarts for the first time. Cheap pastry crust with "rich syrupy filling"?? Could Kellogg's actually be producing a food with a greater number of empty calories than my old favorite Brown Sugar Cinnamon?

Well, the short answer is "no." The Empty Calorie count is no higher for French Toast than Brown Sugar Cinnamon. But the good news is that there aren't any less, either.

The top crust of these toaster pastries has an interestingly textured surface, perhaps designed to resemble French toast. There is no frosting, but the top is dotted with powdery spots of cinnamon. And the aroma! A rich, buttery aroma redolent with mapley syrupy goodness, beckoning to the taste buds.

As trite as it may be, I find it impossible to describe these without using the word "delicious." The cheap crust is flaky and delicate, with just the right backflavor of egg nog - just as you'd expect from something labeled "French toast." The filling is a slightly wetter variety of the brown sugar type, but with a wonderful maple flavor that - even though I know it to be artificial - tastes authentic.

They were so good, the family and I each had one for dessert last night.