A handful of us Bud-swilling, queso-consuming, Janet Jackson's boob-ogling partygoers powered through about a pound of the new black and white M&M's on Super Bowl Sunday. As you must already know, the different colored candy-coated chocolates don't taste noticeably different from each other. This is not surprising. But you might get a kick out of testing yourself the next time you sit down to a basket of tricolor tortilla chips. Because blue corn chips are made from a different kind of corn it seems logical that they might not taste exactly like white or yellow chips. And the bright red chips, which might be made with red corn but must also use some food coloring, have a completely novel flavor. While you're waiting for your food to come, eat a few regular white or yellow chips just to familiarize yourself with the flavor. Then break off three similar-sized chunks of the different colored chips into your hand. Close your eyes and shuffle them around a bit then pop one in your mouth. Chew it up and try to guess which one you're eating. You'll probably recognize the regular chip right away. Blue corn chips are often denser, grainier with a more earthy flavor. The red chips are mellower, almost sweet. There, that's your new party trick. I hope it wins you a few bets and a free margarita or two.
Roadrunner Food Bank's annual Souper Bowl, held on Jan. 24, raised more than $30,000 for hunger relief. The food bank provides more than a million pounds of food every month to homeless shelters, food pantries and soup kitchens throughout New Mexico. More than 20 restaurants competed in the Souper Bowl, serving up samples to hundreds of hungry guests who then voted for their favorites. Copeland's of New Orleans won first place for their crawfish and corn bisque; Ranchers Club's seafood bisque earned second place and Trattoria Trombino took third with an unlikely sounding favorite: spinach and mascarpone soup. A panel of six judges also chose favorites in a blind tasting. Critics' Choice Awards went to McGrath's at the Hyatt (green chile chicken with wild rice), Copeland's of New Orleans (the crawfish and corn bisque again) and Peppers of Albuquerque (green chile crab chowder with red chile dumplings). Flying Star Cafés and Gold Street Caffe tied for the Best Presentation award. Desserts were more prominent at this year's Souper Bowl and several stood out. The Marriott Pyramid wowed the crowd with a sparkling apple cider dessert soup, chocolate passion fruit mousse, lemon cream puffs and chocolate espresso pyramids.
If you spend any time doing Valentine's shopping at adult gift shops or chocolate shops you'll probably run across jars of chocolate body paint. This stuff can be a recipe for a sexy (if sticky) night of fun but not if the chocolate paint tastes cheap and fake as most of them do. So we set out to make a chocolate sauce that would leave you licking your lips whether it's used to write a love letter across your lover's back or top a bowl of ice cream. We tried easy methods like simply melting chocolate chips and coating chocolate but couldn't come up with a sauce that had the two essential qualities we were looking for: rich, deep chocolatey flavor and a thick, dark, glossy look that would be perfect for painting. Eventually we came up with a recipe that gets instense flavor from cocoa powder, just enough sweetness from a simple syrup and a touch of richness and shine from butter. We can't guarantee it won't ruin your sheets but we can bet you probably won't care.
Sometimes you just don't have the mental hunger to sink your teeth into a big, meaty novel, especially if—like many of us—you only get the time to read right before bed. It's late, you're tired and by tomorrow night you'll have forgotten everything you read during tonight's last waking moments. That's when books like Fried Butter are particularly appetizing. Abe Opincar's memoir is a collection of very short stories, brief invitations to moments in his life that might seem entirely unrelated were they not all linked by the presence, taste and aroma of food. Though this menu of literary tapas is food-themed, it is much richer for its moments of bare emotion and frank self-reflection.