Category Archives: Kitchen and Home

Celebrating Fall Flavors: Buckwheat Bucatini w/ Truffled Wild Mushroom Sauce

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Buckwheat Bucatini with Truffled Wild Mushroom Sauce

Now that Fall is finally here, I’m so excited to start cooking comfort food again with flavorful seasonal ingredients like wild mushrooms, truffles, sage, prosciutto, toasted nuts, hearty greens, whole grains…yum. Fall is definitely my favorite season of the year when it comes to food 🙂

Buckwheat Bucatini

In particular, I love making homemade pasta and one-pot dishes, which is so easy to do with my KitchenAid® Gourmet Pasta Press that attaches to my KitchenAid® Stand Mixer.

KitchenAid Gourmet Pasta Press

It makes six different types of pasta in a snap: Bucatini, Spaghetti, Rotini, small and large Macaroni, and Rigatoni simply by swapping out a different disc for each pasta cut…how cool is that?!?

Sauce Ingredients

I decided to make a homemade Buckwheat Bucatini with Truffled Wild Mushroom Sauce, Prosciutto, Spinach, Pecans and Sage. I love Buckwheat pasta because of its rustic flavor, and it’s perfect for fall pasta dishes. Similar to the traditional Italian Pizzoccheri (flat buckwheat fettuccine), buckwheat noodles have hearty depth of flavor, and pair perfectly with warm fall flavors and ingredients like wilted greens, potatoes, cabbage, cheese and garlic.

Truffled Wild Mushroom Sauce

My pasta dish is topped with a luscious savory sauce made with crispy prosciutto and sage, nutty toasted pecans, garlic, shallots and wild mushrooms (portabella, porcini, oyster, beech, cremini, and shiitake) that I sautéed in olive oil and butter, then made into a luscious sauce with chicken broth and truffle oil.

Buckwheat Bucatini with Truffled Wild Mushroom Sauce

CLICK HERE TO SEE STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS AND THE FULL RECIPE ON THE KITCHENTHUSIAST BLOG!

I’d love to hear how you would use the KitchenAid Pasta Press and what recipes you would make! Share your take on my Buckwheat Bucatini & Truffled Wild Mushroom Sauce recipe on KitchenAid’s Instagram page using #MadeWithKitchenAid for a chance to be featured.

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Peach Raspberry Melba No-Bake Cheesecake

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Peach Raspberry Melba No-Bake Cheesecake

Summertime is finally here, and it’s my favorite time of year. I love cooking for parties and potlucks, but in the summertime it’s definitely no fun to be stuck in a hot kitchen! Therefore, I’ve decided to make a Peach Raspberry Melba No-Bake Cheesecake. It’s super delicious, easy to make, and requires no hot oven whatsoever, especially with the help of all my amazing KitchenAid® appliances.

KitchenAid 14-cup food processor

I prepared my graham cracker crust in my KitchenAid 14-Cup Food Processor which crushes and mixes them into crumbs in seconds!

KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer

Next I made my cheesecake filling in my amazing Artisan Stand Mixer which is the best way to beat cream cheese and sugar together into a light and fluffy and delicious no-bake filling!

KitchenAid Springform pan

I love my new Springform pan that I used to make the cheesecake in,

KitchenAid electric kettle

and I got a super cool electric kettle that I used to poach the peaches with.

Poached Peaches

You’re going to love this chilled creamy cheesecake with vanilla poached peaches and a homemade raspberry sauce. It’s so refreshing and is simply the perfect dessert for the summertime months! This is such an easy dessert recipe that requires no hot oven, and I’m so excited for you to try this recipe for yourself. Get as creative as you want with the no-bake cheesecake base and toppings, and just have fun with it!

Raspberry Sauce

You could substitute blackberries or blueberries for the sauce, switch up your cream cheese flavors (I used half regular and half peach flavored cream cheese for the filling), add some spices or chocolate powder to your graham cracker crust (or try Oreos, vanilla wafers or chocolate grahams!) or try poaching some other stone fruit such as nectarines or plums..the possibilities are endless!

Peach Raspberry Melba No-Bake Cheesecake

And when you have all these amazing KitchenAid tools to help you make it, it makes the cooking easier and more fun! Be sure to share your take on this Peach Raspberry Melba No-Bake Cheesecake recipe with us on Instagram using #MadeWithKitchenAid for a chance to be featured.

Peach Raspberry Melba No-Bake Cheesecake

CLICK HERE FOR STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS AND MY RECIPE ON THE KITCHENTHUSIAST BLOG!

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Almond Shortbread Cookies w/ Blood Orange Glaze

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Almond Shortbread Cookies

So February is here and so is National Almond Day! I absolutely love almonds – not only are they packed with tons of vitamins, minerals and fiber, but they also taste amazing! I love toasting almonds for salad toppings, making almond crust for chicken or fish, and best of all baking them into lovely, nutty, scrumptious desserts…especially cookies..mmmmm.

KitchenAid Countertop Oven

I recently got a new KitchenAid® 12″ Convection Digital Countertop Oven, and I am absolutely in love with it! Not only is it a toaster oven, but it’s also a fully functioning convection oven with nine different pre-programmed functions, including Pizza, Bagel, Cookie, Asado Roast and Keep Warm. It has a large capacity with enough room to roast a chicken or make a 12″ pizza, and of course enough space to bake a large batch of cookies. I LOVE THIS THING!

Blood Orange Glazed Almond Shortbread Cookies

Since we are in the dead of winter and in the spirit of National Almond Day, I thought a big batch of cookies was in order. I made some delicious Almond Shortbread Cookies with Blood Orange Glaze. They’re super buttery and crisp with a sweet, tart and refreshing hint of blood orange – perfect for a chilly day with a cup of tea. And they’re really easy to make too..check out the link below for my recipe on the Kitchenthusiast food blog and enjoy!!!

CLICK HERE TO GET THE RECIPE AND STEP-BY-STEP PHOTOS ON THE KITCHENAID BLOG

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Le District brings a taste of French cuisine to Downtown NYC

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Le District NYC

There’s a new foodie destination in town, and it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen. Welcome to NYC Le District, a massive gourmet French food playground that you’ll get absolutely lost in. It is similar in size and style to the well-known Italian marketplace, Eataly, boasting specialty food stations with fresh and prepared foods, two restaurants, a bar, as well as casual dining seating but with a modern, classy French vibe.

Located at Brookfield Place in Downtown Manhattan, this bustling gourmet food hall offers a bounty of French-inspired cuisine ranging from imported coffee and pastries, to fresh produce and handmade pasta and sauces. They also offer a vast array of other imported items including French-made condiments, gourmet salts, cheeses, specialty meats, fish, and charcuterie.

Owner Peter Poulakakos and his partners opened Le District in the Financial District, which has seen a revival with the opening of many new businesses, shops, and restaurants at a steady pace. The newly built September 11th Memorial and Museum has also attracted more tourists to the area, making this a prime spot to open a gourmet food market. They have created a French cultural dining experience with a community feel, similar to the small local markets you would find in France, except with specialty areas for customers to experience and explore all under one roof.

READ MY FULL STORY & SEE MORE PHOTOS OF THE FOOD AND THE SPACE ON FOODABLE WEB TV

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Cooking with Color 4 Kids TV Summer Edition + Recipes from Spring Show

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#CookingwithColor4Kids

 

My #CookingwithColor4Kids TV Show Summer Edition is LIVE and what a fun show we have for you…Thanks to all the amazing kids and parents who were on the show and for cooking and sharing all your awesome Summer recipes with us!

CWC_SummerFoods

Lily McGee & Jennifer Hess McGee made us some fresh and healthy Summer Jar Salads

Maxwell Leduc from Canada talks about his favorite Summer dishes to make and how he cooks gluten-free

Ava Llorca makes us fresh Strawberry Shortcake from scratch – her favorite Summer dish

Deborah Berg from Israel makes us a delicious Beet Salad fresh from her garden

Jacob and Cooper Nixon from Charlotte NC make Strawberry Shortcakes and Caprese Salads with fresh fruits and veggies from their Dad Jeff Nixon‘s garden

Jonathan and Nichelle Pace talk about how they make homemade Pancakes and BBQ Chicken

LIVE on our YouTube Channel at – https://youtu.be/MDVf1k-3Eng

BRIC

Also airs on Brooklyn Public Network television tomorrow Sat July 18 at 11:30 am EST in Brooklyn on:
Cablevision channel 67
Time Warner channel 34
RCN channel 82
AND in all 5 boroughs of #NYC on Verizon channel 42

VIEW ONLINE LIVE at BCAT TV Network Channel 1 Sat July 18 at 11:30 am – http://bricartsmedia.org/community-media/watch-brooklyn-public-network

COOKING WITH COLOR 4 KIDS SPRING 2015 SHOW

AND…if you missed our Spring Show from May – you can also watch it online at https://youtu.be/YYVsNgMpZig

I made some fresh and healthy Caprese Salad Skewers, Straw and Hay Pasta with Peas & Pancetta in a light creamy Parmesan Sauce and a delicious Strawberry Rhubarb Eton Mess for dessert! I also had a Guest Chef from our video crew make a big batch of Mediterranean Tabbouleh for us on the show..so good!

HealthCorps Kids

Also check out the video also on our Spring show of the HealthCorps kids from a high school in the Lower East Side, NYC cooking Fish Tacos for Cinco de Mayo – so many healthy and fresh things going on over there!

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Cooking with Color 4 Kids was also just featured in Lodging Magazine this month – read the article online here!

Below are my #recipes from the Spring show..hope you enjoy and Happy Summer!

Caprese Salad

Caprese Salad Skewers

Ingredients
1 container of cherry tomatoes
1 bunch of fresh basil
1 container fresh mozzarella balls
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar or 1 cup for glace
Sea salt
Freshly cracked black pepper

Preparation
Assemble tomatoes, rolled basil leaves and mozzarella balls on medium-sized toothpicks or small wooden skewers.

Drizzle with olive oil, 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper.

To make balsamic glace (a thicker cooked down version of balsamic vinegar), add one cup of balsamic vinegar to a sauce pan over medium heat. Once it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to simmer and cook for about 10-15 minutes until it reduces to a syrupy consistency. Dip a spoon into the vinegar to check for thickness. As it cools the syrup will also thicken.

Drizzle balsamic glace evenly over the caprese skewers and serve immediately.

Makes 12 skewers.

Straw and Hay Pasta

Straw and Hay Pasta 

Ingredients

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
4 scallions
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup frozen baby peas, defrosted
4 ounces (1/2 cup) diced pancetta
2/3 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream or half and half
1/2 pound dry egg fettucine or linguine
1/2 pound dry spinach fettucine or linguine
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish

Preparation

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.

Trim the scallions and slice into thin strips and then crosswise about 3 inches long. Add the scallions to the pan and cook for about 1 to 2 minutes until wilted.

Add the diced pancetta, and cook for about 5 minutes or so until it gets crispy and browned.

Pour in the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the sauce to a simmer and cook until the liquid is reduced by half. Add the heavy cream and continue to simmer another 2-3 minutes.

Stir the pasta into the salted boiling water and let return to a boil, then cook for 9 minutes until al dente (slightly firm and chewy).

Remove the cooked pasta from the water with a slotted spoon and add to the sauce in the skillet, stirring to coat. Cook over high heat until liquid reduces to a creamy sauce.

Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese. Garnish with black pepper and freshly chopped parsley, if desired.

Serves 6.

Strawberry Rhubarb Eton Mess

Strawberry Rhubarb Eton Mess

Ingredients

Meringues
2 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon vinegar
1/4 teaspoon corn starch
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Strawberry Rhubarb Compote
1 cup chopped rhubarb
1 cup sliced strawberries
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup sugar or honey
1 teaspoon orange or lemon zest

Whipped Cream
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation

Make the Meringues:
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat.

Whisk the eggs with a mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form. Increase speed to medium high and slowly add the sugar, one spoonful at a time. Continue beating until sugar is completely incorporated and the stiff peaks form. Gently fold in the vinegar, cornstarch and vanilla with a spatula.

Spoon the meringue into twelve large dollops on the baking sheet.

Bake for 90 minutes or until the surface of the meringues are dull and they feel dry to the touch. Let the meringues cool for at least an hour or overnight.

Strawberry Rhubarb Compote:
Preheat a sauce pan over medium high heat, and add the rhubarb, strawberries, OJ, sugar and orange or lemon zest.

Bring to a boil and stir occasionally, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes until the fruit is soft and starts to fall apart.

Set aside and let cool to room temperature (or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator if making ahead for up to 1 week).

Whipped Cream: (can also use store-bought if you prefer to not make your own)
In a large mixing bowl, whip together the heavy cream, sugar and vanilla with a whisk until soft peaks form.

Assemble the Eton Mess:
Crumble meringues into a large mixing bowl.

Top with spoonfuls of whipped cream and strawberry rhubarb compote in layers and fold until just barely combined.

Divide evenly between six dessert bowls or glasses and serve immediately.

Serves 6.

tabbouleh

Mediterranean Tabbouleh

Ingredients

1/2 cup fine bulgur
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup boiling hot water
2 cups finely chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
2 medium tomatoes, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1/2 seedless cucumber, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preparation

Stir together bulgur and 1 tablespoon oil in a heatproof bowl. Pour boiling water over the bulgur, then cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let stand 15 minutes. Drain in a fine mesh colander, pressing on bulgur to remove any excess liquid.
Transfer bulgur to a bowl and toss with all the ingredients, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil, until combined well.
This dish can be served as a side salad or main dish, along with an assortment of grilled meats, pita bread and falafel with hummus.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Download the recipes below as a PDF:

CWCMay2015_CapreseRecipe

CWCMay2015_EtonMessRecipe

CWCMay2015_StrawHayPastaRecipe

CWCMay2015_TabboulehRecipe

#cookingwithcolor #cookingwithkids #kristenhess #theartfulgourmet #artfulgourmet #ediningnews #bric #foodtv #springrecipes #summerrecipes

 

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Top 10 {Things I Love} Summer 2015

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My Top 10 {Things I Love} list is back for Summer with some fun and interesting things/places/foods/drinks that I’m currently crushing on – they aren’t necessarily ordered in terms of my favorite – but are all worthy of a shoutout in my opinion… Happy Summer everyone 🙂

Herriot Grace Cake Pedestal

1. Herriot Grace 

Herriot Grace is a father and daughter-run company from Canada who makes a gorgeous variety of hand carved and handmade wooden objects: spoons, bowls, pedestals, candy dishes, serving boards, rolling pins, plates and mortar and pestle sets. Each one is uniquely made from salvaged chemical-free wood and they’ve also introduced a select line of exclusive porcelain dishware. The ceramic pieces are cast in small runs, and boast the rustic, tactile beauty for which their brand is known.

http://shop.herriottgrace.com

Cooking Class Cookbook

2. Cooking Class Cookbook

Of course being an advocate of fun, healthy cooking for kids myself as the host of Cooking with Color 4 Kids TV Show in NYC, I was impressed by this new cookbook by Deanna F. Cook. I love the visuals and step by step instructions and fun inventive ideas to make cooking for fun for kids!

It also teaches basic cooking techniques in kid-friendly language and offers recipes for making dozens of favorite foods from scratch, including French toast, granola, pancakes, sandwiches, smoothies, muffins, biscuits, applesauce, fruit leather, goldfish crackers, tortilla chips, Buffalo chicken fingers, pizza, sushi California rolls, pudding, and more. The recipes use fresh, healthy ingredients and feature imaginative presentations that kids will love to prepare (and devour), such as egg mice, fruit flowers, mini-meatballs, mashed potato clouds, and carrot coins. Includes fun stickers and other activities, and is super cute and fun for anyone with kids who love to cook or want to learn how to cook.

Get a copy on Amazon

Fig & Olive Oysters

3. Fig and Olive Restaurant NYC

My friend recently came for a visit from LA and wanted to try out some great food in the city while she was here. So of course, being the foodie tour guide extraordinaire that I am, had to find some cool new place to take her to. I found a place called Fig and Olive which I am absolutely in love with…the food and service were both amazing and I am definitely going back for more! They have an olive oil tasting served at the table you when you first arrive in all different flavors from different regions.

They specialize in Mediterranean-inspired cuisine and have tons of great choices on the menu including a Crostini Bar where you can choose from all different varieties to accompany your figs, cheese, olives and other small bites. We ordered the Lobster Bisque and fresh raw oysters for  starters, then had the Lobster Risotto and Seafood Paella for our main. Everything was beautifully displayed and tasted amazing. A must visit if you love Mediterranean food and are visiting in NYC..and they also have locations in LA, Newport Beach and Chicago.

http://www.figandolive.com

Coney Island Cheesecake

4. Coney Island Confetti Cheesecake

All I can say is – how fun is this? It’s a super cute confetti cheesecake I found on How Sweet It Is blog that was originally created by Rosie of Sweetapolita.

This gorgeous creation is colorful and sweet and made out of cheesecake, sprinkles, ice cream cones and nuts…just like a fun Summer day at the beach hanging at the amusement park.

Get the recipe: http://www.howsweeteats.com/2015/05/coney-island-cheesecake/

viniq

5. Viniq Shimmering Liqueur

When Summer arrives, I love to experiment with fun, fresh and new cocktail recipes. I received a sample of Viniq, which is a gorgeous  shimmering liqueur (yes, it shimmers when you shake the bottle)! A fusion of Premium Vodka, Moscato, and Natural Fruit Flavors, it’s refreshing and perfect for a cocktail out on the patio. I mixed the Ruby flavor with some Pomegranate Sangria Seltzer, a dash of fresh lemon juice and topped off the concotion with some fresh raspberries. Totally delicious and a great addition of sparkle for my 4th of July celebration. Comes in 2 flavors and lots of great recipe ideas on their website. Delicious!

http://www.viniq.com/

Lemoncello Restaurant

6. Lemoncello, Rochester NY

Everyone loves Italian food right? Well at least I do – it’s definitely one of my favorite foods to cook and eat on the planet. There’s an awesome spot in Upstate NY (East Rochester) called Lemoncello which is easy on the eyes as well as on the palate. Try the Veal French, a lightly egg battered fillet of veal (4 to be exact), with a gorgeous silky lemon butter wine sauce over linguine. Another specialty is their Lemoncello Veal (or Chicken) which is another light pasta dish served with sauteed veal, olives, artichokes, spinach and pasta in a lemon cream sauce. TO DIE FOR.

Chef Silvana Formoso is from Sicily which is reflected in their awesome menu. You can find a variety of salads, gourmet pizza, and delicious appetizers like Artichoke French, Calamari Fritti, Beef Carpaccio and Sauteed Greens and Beans. There’s plenty of amazing main dishes on the menu to choose from too – Cioppino, New Zealand Rack of Lamb, Pork Osso Buco, Stuffed Eggplant, Chicken Marsala and Milanese, Grilled Rib-Eye, Homemade Lasagna, Ravioli and Manicotti, Risotto and more. They even have BYOB on Tuesdays with no corkage fee, and you can enjoy the Summer weather on their outdoor patio and live music in the Summer. The decor is quaint and cozy, and the service is impeccable. They have a great wine list and all their bread is shipped in from Toronto and fresh baked in house every day so it’s still warm and crispy when it gets to your table! Owner Massimo Albano even gave us a shot of Limoncello for dessert on the house. Love this place and will definitely be back for more next time I’m in town! #delicioso

www.lemoncello.com

nature charm bracelet

7. Keith Lewis Studio

I recently went down to State College PA for a huge Summer Arts Festival at Penn State with some friends. It’s an annual show with amazing art, food, music and all the gorgeous jewelry, pottery, handcrafted gadgets and accessories a girl could want. One artist that stood out to me was Keith Lewis – he makes gorgeous handcrafted jewelry out of pearls and metal and precious stones that will make your eyes water out of pure lust.

www.keithlewisstudio.com

Flying Tiger camera bag

8. Flying Tiger Copenhagen

I recently discovered this groovy store a few weeks ago when I was strolling around the Flatiron District in NYC. I’m not sure exactly how to describe it but it reminds me of a cross between Target, IKEA, a boutique home / gadget store and flea market all in one space. They have all kinds of stuff for your office, home, kitchen, games, kids toys, party supplies, travel supplies and a million and one cool as can be highly designed, inexpensive gadgets. There’s only one store in NYC but you can always catch a flight to Copenhagen or Iceland or Japan if you feel the urge. If not, check out their cool stuff online. Unique, savvy and super fun.

http://flyingtiger.com/

 

crisco coconut oil

9. Crisco Organic Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil is all the rage these days, because it’s great for cooking in high temperatures, it’s a good fat and has a gorgeous flavor. There’s a new kid in town from Crisco and I had the opportunity to sample some of their new organic coconut oil. It’s perfect for frying and roasting veggies, meats, and can even be used in baked goods.

Check out some of their recipes and videos online to get some creative ideas on how to use it and cook with it!

www.crisco.com

authentic-italian-gravy

10. Redpack Tomatoes

Redpack is one of the top tomato producers on the market and I had the opportunity to sample some of their Petite Diced Tomatoes with Garlic & Olive Oil and their regular Diced Tomatoes. Because they are fresh picked and canned immediately, the flavor is always fresh and juicy and the tomatoes are pre-cut right in the can, making them convenient to use in all of my recipes.

Redpack Tomatoes

They also offer canned Whole Peeled Tomatoes, Crushed Tomatoes and Redpack Tomato Sauce which are great for making all kinds of dishes like salads, sauces, pasta dishes, tacos, casseroles and more.

Redpack is one of many premium quality brands under the Red Gold Umbrella, which opened its doors in 1942. Today they produce over 100 different styles and flavors of tomato products in 20 different sizes and containers.

Check out all their product varieties online and get some great recipe ideas there too while you’re at it!

http://www.redgold.com/redpack

 

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Top Ten {Things I Love} :: Holiday 2014

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Things I Love-holiday 2014

These are a few of my favorite things…food, wine, cooking tools, home and barware, recipes, cookbooks, etc…just simply places and things I love that I think are notable and worth a big shout out for their awesomeness! And they make great gifts for the holidays as well..Happy Holidays everyone! 

Kitchen in France Cookbook

1. A Kitchen in France: A year of cooking in my farmhouse – cookbook by Mimi Thorisson

This is a gorgeous full color cookbook by Mimi Thorisson of Manger, one of my favorite food bloggers. It’s full of beautiful photos by her husband and lovely recipes from her farmhouse in France. Enough to make you want to quit your job and move there and bake tarts all day long.

Grab a copy on Amazon.com here.

west elm pillows

2. West Elm Velvet, Metallic and Mongolian Lamb Pillows

These beautiful pillows by West Elm are a great gift idea for that person who has everything – a little indulgent, but so pretty and festive for the cold Winter months.

Pick up a few of these beauties online here.

english toffee

3. English Toffee

English Toffee is one of those things I absolutely crave during the holidays! It’s rich, buttery, crunchy and chocolatey and makes the perfect gift, whether you make your own or get some pre-made it’s absolutely delicious and addicting. In fact, I’m planning to make some myself this year for stocking stuffers!

Here’s a great recipe for it on Food.com, or pick up a batch at Williams-Sonoma which comes in a festive holiday tin.

photo: Delicious as it Looks

holiday cocktail party set - Mouth.com

4. Holiday Cocktail Party Collection – Mouth.com

Everyone loves a cocktail party but sometimes it’s more work than  you expect it to be. Mouth.com, a specialty indie food store has a Holiday Cocktail Party set that has all the essentials packaged up by local food producers to get your holiday party in gear. It comes with a variety of cheeses, Ginger Caramels, Old Bay peanuts, Vanilla Pickled Cherries, Sesame Lavish Crackers, Dark Chocolates and more. YUM.

Pick one up online here, and check out their other fun collections while you’re at it!

beaded table linens Neiman Marcus

5. Capiz Shell Beaded Table Linens – Neiman Marcus

Absolutely love these gorgeous Capiz shell beaded table linens by Kim Seybert at Neiman Marcus. It comes in a table runner and placemats with matching napkin rings. Festive enough to feast at Christmas like Queen Victoria. LOVE.

Get them online here.

Il Buco Vita

6. Il Buco Vita 

Il Buco Vita is a hidden gem, above the Il Buco Italian restaurant in NoHo NYC. It’s a showroom full of gorgeous handmade Italian and Mediterranean ceramics, linens, glassware, home furnishings and antiques that will make you swoon.

Visit their store online here and their showroom at 51 Bond Street, NYC

Swedish Meatballs

7. Swedish Meatballs

Swedish Meatballs are one of those appetizer dishes perfect for a holiday cocktail party. My Mom makes them every year for New Years Eve and I just can’t get enough of them. Try this recipe by BBCGoodFood, Bon Appetit or Food & Wine. For a cool twist, try this recipe for Nut-and-Seed Crusted Sausage Meatballs with Mustard Sauce. Totally indulgent and pure YUM.

Caramel Chocolate Tart

8. Dorie Greenspan’s Golden Caramel and Chocolate Tart

I love making tarts during the holidays, especially luscious ones made with caramel and chocolate. Dorie’s has a simple recipe for making a perfect tart dough, and the filling is perfect too, with melted bittersweet chocolate lining the crust with a silky, creamy homemade golden caramel on top. Divine.

Get the recipe here

foodie dice

9. Foodie Dice and Mixology Dice

As foodies, I know we all love to cook. But sometimes we get stuck in a rut and need a boost for some new creative ideas for our cooking. Same goes for cocktails – we drink the same old thing and how fun would it be to toss a few dice and get some fresh ideas for your mixology? Check out the Foodie Dice and Mixology Dice – with just a simple toss, you’ll get suggestions for making your own fab creations with fresh ingredients and combinations of your own.

Get ’em online here.

vintage champagne flutes

10. Vintage Etched Champagne Flutes – Williams Sonoma

What kind of holiday celebration would it be without some bubbly? Get these gorgeous vintage etched champagne flutes from Williams-Sonoma for the party, and while you’re at it, don’t forget to pick up some bubbly to fill them with! If you’re in the mood to splurge, try a vintage 2004 Dom Perignon ($160), or try a Cremant de Bourgogne, a little less expensive than Champagne made in a Brut Rose, but just as tasty and bubbly ($24). Or try some sparkling wine (Blanc de Blancs) as an option- Gloria Ferrer has a great one from Sonoma CA.

 

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Top Ten {Things I Love} :: Winter 2013

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Here are a few of my current objects of obsession…food, wine, cooking tools and gadgets, restaurants, ingredients, props, styling and photography tools, etc…just simply places and things I love that I think are notable and worth a big shout out for their wonderful-ness! Enjoy.

Rice Cube

1. Rice Cube Sushi Maker

Sushi can sometimes be a laborious and time consuming thing to make and messy at that. The Rice Cube Sushi maker is just a cool little plastic cube that makes it super easy to make cute and colorful sushi with rice, risotto, polenta, lentils and even falafel. Just add your proteins and veggies and seasonings to the rice, pop it into the cube and voila – you’ve got gorgeous bite size sushi cubes that will brighten up an party tray. Pretty Awesome. Click here for some fun recipe ideas too.

http://www.ricecube.net/

Woodstead

2.Woodstead Hot Anything & Everything Sauce

I’m a hot sauce addict, and have tried almost everyone one in the world..and this one is definitely one of my favs – it’s a little bit hot, a little bit sweet, and a little bit tangy and it does go on everything and anything! Originally developed for Autumn Pig Roasts held in the hills south of Naples, NY – it’s great as a marinade, grilling sauce for pork, chicken and beef, tortilla dips, pretzels, on eggs, homefries and for added zing to soups and stews. LOVE IT.

http://woodstead.com/

Verseur Wine Opener

3. VERSEUR 4-in-1 Wine Opener by Quirky

Perfect for the wine aficionado, Verseur 4-in-1 Wine Opener is not only gorgeous, but a convenient multi-tool that combines everything you need to open, serve and save your best wines. It has an easy to use corkscrew, foil cutter, pour spout and rubber stopper all in one nifty sleek-looking tool. Comes in black or metallic red and runs $24.99. Oh, and it was also designed by Angelo Cacchione of London – just a regular guy with a brilliant idea come to life with the help of Quirky.com and their community. Definitely a cool site to check out for fun, inventive items.

http://www.quirky.com/shop/74

 

maguey sweet sap

4. Maguey Sweet Sap

I first tried Maguey Sweet Sap at the Summer Fancy Food Show in NYC last year. It’s an organic, sustainable raw sweetener made with a varied sugar profile that comes from the maguey plant (similar to agave) from the deserts of Mexico. It’s also a natural source of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and prebiotic soluble fiber and has a flavor similar to molasses but is less thick. Great sugar substitute for baking, sweetening drinks, yogurts, fruits, pancakes. Just might be a new favorite.

http://villadepatos.com/en/products/maguey-sap/

 

LEIF-Glitter-Collection

5. LEIF Glitter Collection

I don’t have much to say other than – who doesn’t love a little bling? These sparkling cuties will brighten up any party in a heartbeat, and come in silver, gold, pink and yellow. Just too fun. Plus, LEIF has a ton of other creative and unique tabletop items, jewelry, accessories, apothecary and other cool objets de désir on their site. Glam it up a little.

http://www.leifshop.com/collections/glitter

penelope logo

6. Penelope Cafe, NYC

Now I’m a sucker for homemade comfort food and especially Sunday Brunch – if you’re in this with me, you gotta check out Penelope in Murray Hill, NYC. It’s a charming cafe, bakery and bar on the corner of Lexington and 30th St – decked out in a tiny space with a blue and white striped awning, a buzzing, homey, interior with wood tables, coffee brewing, and a line out the door on Sunday mornings. Jennifer Potenza and her partner Michael Tsoumpas opened Penelope in 2003 with the goal of creating homey comfort food based on her Mom’s recipes and the cafes and bakeries Jenny has worked in throughout the years. Some of my favs on the menu are the Nutella French Toast, Penny Egg Sandwich, Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup, Arugula with Warm Chicken Meatballs Salad, Joey & Jack’s Chicken Pot Pie, and the Sweet Peas Macaroni and Cheese is um, TO. DIE. FOR. Tons of great burgers, sandwiches and sides too with plenty of vegetarian options. Oh, and they named the cafe after their pet turtle, Penelope, who is seen by appointment only. I have yet to meet her.

http://penelopenyc.com/index.html

little ink nz

7. Little Ink, New Zealand

Little Ink is a New Zealand-based company with an online store full of great products for packaging, wrapping, baking, crafting and parties. A site full of crafty and colorful items for mixing and matching fabrics, papers, twine and all kinds of other DIY goodies. Mason jars, glass milk bottles, paper baking supplies, ribbons, bags, boxes, stickers, stamps, straws, decorations – you name it..they got it. And it’s all just fun. A creative girl’s dream come true.

http://www.littleink.co.nz/

Gold Leaf Wine Bottle Glasses

8. Gold Leaf Wine Bottle Tumblers – Nanda Soderberg

Nanda Soderberg is a glass fine artist who studied in Hawaii and Virginia, specializing in unique handcrafted recycled glass art – gold leaf glass tumblers made from old beer and wine bottles, recycled glass mirrors with gorgeous intricate designs, and other beautiful blown glass goblets and vases and bowls. Magical.

http://nandasoderberg.com/

Asselina Ristorante NYC

9. Asselina Ristorante, Gansevoort Park Ave South NYC

Asselina is a swanky Italian restaurant and bar located in the Gansevoort Hotel on Park Avenue South in NYC. Fireplaces, chic design and lighting, private lounges and patios, and oh, did I mention the FOOD yet? My last feast was a sampling off the lunch menu which was plenty of food for 3 or 4 people. We had the Wood-Fired Pizza with Black Truffle and Farmer’s Egg; the Baked Eggplant with Fresh Ricotta, Tomato and Basil; the House Meatballs with Tomato and Sugo; and the Baby Beet Salad with Cantaloupe, Mache and Ricotta Salata. I can only imagine how divine their dinner menu must be with their impressive wine list to boot. Three words: Rustic. Modern. Sexy.

http://togrp.com/togrp-asellina/

Mercantile & Trading Co

10. Blackcreek Mercantile & Trading Co.

There’s something beautiful about handcrafted wooden tools and servingware that I just can’t get enough of. Blackcreek Mercantile & Trading Co. is a wood crafting studio located in Kingston, NY who make gorgeous, unique, handcrafted items. None of their items are alike, and they use only domestic hardwoods that are sustainably harvested. And I’m all for supporting local craftsmen and resources from NY State too. Simply lovely.

http://www.blackcreekmt.com/

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Quirky: Making really Cool things by really Cool people

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“Imagination, also called the faculty of imagining, is the ability to form new images and sensations that are not perceived through sight, hearing, or other senses. Imagination helps make knowledge applicable in solving problems and is fundamental to integrating experience and the learning process.”

sketches

Ever since I was a little kid, I have kept a sketchbook full of ideas and dreams, stories and drawings, songs and poems – things that inspired me or of places, people and things I wanted to go, be or do. Being a creative person, this has been an outlet for the million ideas I have running around in my head – some private, some shared, and some that I conjured up in a crazy dream and had to journal because I thought it was brilliant, but maybe never shared with anyone.

11178287-the-creation-of-adam

I’ve always admired and have been inspired by creative people and their work – whether it’s a soulful painting, a heartfelt song, a beautiful photograph, an inspiring story, or a culinary masterpiece for dinner.

food sketches

I’ve always been a creator, an adventurer and dreamer,  and have admired the people who make their ideas come to life.

steve jobs

People like Steve Jobs. Einstein. Henry Ford. Benjamin Franklin. Michelangelo. Julia Child. George Eastman. Giorgio Armani. Any many more creative geniuses that have made a mark on this world.

george eastman kodak camera

Just simply creative and talented people who had a passion to create, design, invent or change the world somehow and dared to dream and take the steps necessary to bring it to life.

QuirkySpeaking of creative geniuses, there’s a really cool new company called Quirky, here in NYC, that I was recently enlightened and inspired by. Quirky is a simply brilliant idea in itself – it’s an incubator for cool, new product innovations and ideas that are designed by real people – just like you and me. Anyone can come up with and submit an amazing idea online and have it brought to life and out into the market within 30-90 days. For real.

lens cap holder sketch

It’s really a simple, genius, yet speedy process – you sign up on the website and create a profile. You submit an idea. Other Quirky community members get to view your sketches and ideas and vote on them – which helps your idea bubble up to the top. Then Quirky will vote internally with their team each week along with the help of the community online to select the products that will be chosen to come to life and then the design process begins.

egg cracker

The community and the inventors design the products along with the help of Quirky’s team of designers, engineers, business and marketing strategists and producers.

Clean_Room_Purple01

You get to brainstorm together to create a name, a tagline, select the materials, refine the design and create a prototype for testing, which then is finalized, becomes manufactured, packaged and distributed to the shelves of retail stores such as The Home Depot and Bed Bath and Beyond.

Brainstorm

Shop

The coolest part of it all – is yes, the inventors make money and royalties on the product and even get their name and photo branded on the packaging, which is all designed and printed and produced in the NYC Quirky office. You’d definitely want something like a budgeting calculator and other money tools for this of course.

Voting

But everyone who also voted, contributed, and helped roll out the product to completion online also get a slice of the pie, and make royalties off the product too. Crowdsourced invention, if you will. How cool is that?

The_Pit

I had the opportunity to visit the Quirky offices to see what all the buzz was about and check out some of their cool new ideas and products they’re whipping up in their genius labs. The office has areas full of designers and engineers buzzing about brainstorming and creating cool things with passion. They are smart and tech savvy and work around the clock to get these ideas to the market as quickly as possible so the inventors can start reaping rewards as soon as possible.

Showroom_Store

The products we saw and sampled were simple, smart, technologically inclined, and cool as hell. And designed by people like you and me, all over the world.

EggMinder

Smart kitchen gadgets that tell you how old your eggs are (the EGG MINDER) and synched to your iPhone to tell you how many you have left.

Nibble

Or the Nibble, a cake pan and cupcake pan all in one cool design.

Piggy Bank

A smart piggy bank called Porkfolio that is hooked up to a mobile app and keeps track of all the pennies you’ve saved and notifies you on your phone if someone stole it.

Mocubo Cutting Board

Or the Mocubo bamboo modular cutting board that has storage containers built right in. (Love this!)

Nimbus Alarm Clock

The Nimbus alarm clock that pulls real time information from your smart phone. It’s a customizable, personalized dashboard for your digital life – how many new Facebook likes you have, the weather, the traffic ahead and new emails, all on interchangeable and programmable screens.

Spotter

These are creations on shelves, in stores, that were birthed by a small seed of inspiration by your next door neighbor or the little kid running down the street. The inventors are the new Steve Jobs, Michaelangelos, Henry Fords and Julia Childs – backed by a company that believes in creativity and genius and that everyone can be an inventor and change the world just a little bit, with one really cool idea.

Quirky process

All you have to do is Submit Your Big Idea on online. Or, get your creative juices flowing and sign up to be an influencer to help design the next cool whirligig from your laptop at home. And who knows? Maybe your face and name will be on the next package on the shelf at The Home Depot too. I know I’m scribbling away in that journal of mine right now.

dare to dream

All you really need is to dare to dream, have a little confidence and get a little help from your friends to be the next big inventor and meet some really cool creative people – just like you and me. 

Check out and vote on some of the cool kitchen ideas that are incubating online and Quirky’s online shop for more cool stuff – you’re gonna love it.

Quirky Facebook page

Quirky Twitter page

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Top Ten {Things I Love} :: Spring 2013

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Sun Noodle Ramen Lab

1. Sun Noodle Ramen Lab, Teterboro, NJ

I recently went on a cool roadtrip with some friends over to Teterboro, NJ to go on a private Factory Tour and Tasting event at Sun Noodle’s Ramen Lab, led by Kenshiro Uki and George Kao, owners and managers of the 6,000 square foot ramen noodle factory. I met Kenshiro and team at the NY International Foodservice and Restaurant Show a few weeks ago in the Japan Pavillion and was impressed by their authentic ramen noodles and how they pair them with specific broths and toppings to create Ramen dishes from varying areas of Japan. I found out about their tasting tours from a friend who urged me to go and sample some of these amazing noodles, which have been the leading Ramen maker in Hawaii since 1981 and more recently in LA. Owner Mr. Uki and Chef Nakamura decided to open the Ramen Lab not only to produce their unique and amazing noodles, but also to educate the public and Ramen-obsessed Chefs and foodies on the process of how it’s really done in Japan.

Sun Noodle factory

Upon arrival, we were given crazy hair caps and Mr. Kao took us behind the scenes for a private tour of the factory to see the machinery and ingredients that they use to make all the different varieties of their ramen noodles.

chef nakamura

We then headed up front to a 6-person tasting bar where Executive Chef Nakamura dazzled us with his authentic Japanese cooking techniques as he prepared the five different Ramen dishes for us.

Ramen1

Our first bowl was a ramen soup that is popular in Tokyo, with thin, yellow noodles in a chicken broth base made with soy sauce topped with seaweed, green onions, bamboo shoots and colorful fish cakes.

Ramen2

The second bowl was Kyushu-style in a creamy white broth, made from slow-cooked pork served over thin, straight white noodles. The Chef added the noodles dramatically to our bowls and then garnished them with roasted garlic oil, sliced pork, mushrooms and scallions.

Ramen3

Our third bowl of Ramen was a Sapporo-style dish made with wavy yellow noodles topped with wok-cooked ingredients, including miso, vegetables and ground pork. The fresh hot corn was topped with a pat of creamy sweet butter and the ingredients were all nestled in a gorgeous spicy miso-based broth – this was definitely my favorite of all of them!

Ramen4

Our fourth bowl was Mazemen, which consisted of fat, round noodles served in chicken fat topped with a dark savory sauce, topped with a soft-boiled egg, sautéed mushrooms and fried crispy bits to give it a nice crunch.

Ramen5

Last but not least was a bowl of Tsukemen, which had chewy, wavy noodles that we dipped in a savory, brown broth with fish flavors, spices and green onion slivers.

The coolest part of all was just sampling all the different textures and flavor combinations which are meticulously planned and prepared and served with style. They encouraged us all to eat the Ramen quickly and not be afraid to slurp or be a bit messy, as that is the way the locals eat them on the streets of Japan.

Check out Ramen Lab online and book your own tasting tour for only $40-60. Sun Noodle doesn’t sell their Ramen to the public (primarily  only to Chefs and top Japanese restaurants such as Momofuko and Chuko in NYC), but if you want to buy some of their packaged fresh or dried Ramen you can find them at a Japanese mega market in NJ called Mitsuwa Marketplace (among other fun and authentic Japanese items and produce!)

Sun Noodle Ramen Lab
375 N St
Teeterboro, NJ 07608 | (201) 530-1100

Crosby Hotel Bar

2. The Crosby Hotel Bar, SoHo NY

The Crosby Hotel Bar is a fun, trendy place in SoHo I have passed by several times but finally took some friends to on a Sunday afternoon recently. With it’s sun-drenched lounge, modern decor and lighting and a buzzy atmosphere this is a perfect spot for a weekend cocktail and brunch. The menu has a great variety of small plates such as Pulled Pork and Beef Sliders, a Smoked Mozzarella, Bacon and Ricotta Flatbread with Caramelized Onions (see photo above!), Leek Potstickers, and Lamb Kofta Kabobs plus a whole slew of other tasty treats to pair with a nice glass of wine. They also offer entrees of fish, short ribs, burgers, steaks, sandwiches, risotto and plenty of gorgeous veggies sides to accompany. The atmosphere is relaxed and fun – you can sit at the bar or at one of the cozy lounge couches in the atrium and also enjoy breakfast, brunch and one of their signature cocktails with friends. The hotel also serves an English Afternoon Tea in The Crosby Bar all day. It includes a variety of teas served in the traditional style with delicious cakes, scones, tarts and sandwiches. Champagne is a glamorous addition and residents can also take their tea in the drawing room. Don’t miss it.

Crosby Hotel Bar
79 Crosby Street
New York, NY 10012
212 226 6400
http://www.firmdalehotels.com/new-york/crosby-street-hotel/crosby-street-bar

Viante Pasta Maker

3. Viante Electric Pasta Maker Machine

I don’t know about you but I absolutely LOVE homemade fresh pasta over store-bought fresh or dried pasta any day of the week. But, if you have ever made it before you know that it’s a total labor of love mixing and kneading the dough, and flattening it through a hand crank machine or cutting into those gorgeous shapes by hand. There’s a great new machine called the Viante Pasta Maker that makes all of this so easy to do it’s almost crazy to not get it. With a powerful mixing motor and 10 interchangeable cutting discs you can make restaurant-quality vermicelli, ziti, tagliatelle, fettuccini, spaghetti, rigatoni, pappardelle, linguini, and biscotti in minutes. Just pull the slider to extrude dough into your desired shape. No more hand cranks or crazy kneading and cutting by hand – for only a buck and a half (about $150) – this makes anyone’s pasta obsession so much more fun, and gives you more time to be creative with all the toppings and sauces. Love it.

Get it online at Sur La Table, Amazon.com or Chefs Catalog. Photo credit: www.viante.com

Forcella Park Ave

4. Forcella, NYC

I stumbled upon this place one night while I was walking home and was immediately drawn in by its stunning artwork, interior design and sparkling chandeliers when you walk in the door. Originating in Brooklyn, Forcella is know for its Neapolitan-style pizza made in their wood burning ovens that reaches over 1000 degrees, cooking the pizza in 90 seconds flat. They claim to have a secret recipe for the dough, that makes it perfectly chewy and crispy with all those gorgeous browned puffy bits on top.

Forcella NYC

I sampled the four-cheese Arancini rice balls and the Truffle Parmesan Fries with Aioli for a starters while sipping a lovely Aperol Spritz at the bar. They have a great happy hour too – 2 for 1 drinks and reasonable small plates such as Prosciutto and Cheese, Fried Calamari and Grilled Octopus. For lighter fare, you can try one of their salads or a sampling of fresh handmade mozzarella and burrata.

Forcella Neapolitan Pizza

Their Neapolitan-style wood-fired pizzas, created by their certified pizza master, Guilio Adriani, come in about 20 different varieties (or you can create your own).  They also have a nice selection of entrees such as Risotto, Ravioli and Pasta, Grilled Lamb Chops or Pan-Seared Jumbo Shrimp wrapped in Bacon in a Brandy Cream Sauce (which I have yet to try but it sounds divine!)

Visit their two additional locations in Williamsburg, Brooklyn or the Bowery – all are open 7 days a week – until 11 pm Sunday through Thursday, and until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. Definitely worth a visit (if just to watch them make their fabulous pizzas in one minute!)

Forcella Gramercy
377 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10016
(212) 448-1116

http://www.forcellaeatery.com/

Bon Appetit Totes

5. A-Thread Bon Appetit Totes

I found these awesome, colorful illustrated Bon Appetit foodie totes online at A-Thread and fell in love with them at first sight. I might just have to get one of each! Designed by the team from TheyDrawandCook.com, the Bon Appetit Tote comes in four designs – each a gorgeous, one of a kind TDAC illustrated recipe. Choose from Butter Beans, Chocolate Apricots, Hot Toddy, and Pretty Parsnip.

The tote is made from 12 oz natural cotton canvas and features a slip pocket in the side gusset – the perfect place for sunglasses, wallet, or a bottle of wine. The bag measures 10″w x 14″h x 5″d, and the handles are 24″ long and 1″ wide. The best part is that with each purchase of this tote, a donation will be made to the World Food Program USA and will feed 5 children!

Check ’em out and get yours on A-Thread’s website. Photo credit: A-Thread.

BALL Jam & Jelly Maker

6. Ball FreshTECH Automatic Jam and Jelly Maker

There’s something about homemade Strawberry Jam that takes me back to my childhood when my Mom would pick fresh berries from her summer garden and make big batches of this sweet lovely jam for us. I haven’t experimented with canning yet but have been dying to make my own homemade concoctions – but in a tiny NY apartment i just haven’t found the space to store all the canning equipment and jars to do so. Ball now has a cool automatic jam and jelly  maker that makes the process of making jellies and jams easy with a machine that does all the work for you.

The FreshTECH™ Automatic Jam & Jelly Maker with SmartStir™ Technology brings ease and convenience to homemade jams and jellies. The jam maker stirs the ingredients while it cooks so you don’t have to! Use your favorite fruits, fruit juices and even peppers to create delicious, natural jams and jellies in under 30 minutes. It is the perfect tool for both new and experienced canners, and a great way to incorporate fresh ingredients for healthier eating. The pot has a nonstick interior, making for easy clean up between batches. The pot, glass lid and stirring paddle are dishwasher safe. Can’t wait to get my hands on this fun tool so I can recreate Mom’s Strawberry Homemade jam in a flash!

Check out the video showing how cool and fun this machine is!

Get it online at Amazon.com. Photo credit: Ball USA.

Michele Michael Elephant Ceramics

7. Elephant Ceramics by Michele Michael

I can’t remember exactly where i first discovered Elephant Ceramics, but I fell in love with this gorgeous work the second I saw it – thinking these pieces of art would be perfect for my food styling and photography props. I have always loved ceramics and actually took a class once to make some of my own – I love their rustic and artistic nature, and imperfect organic shapes and textures. Michele Michael is the creator of this beautiful line of ceramics, from her studio on the coast of Maine. – The calm and cool white, blue and green palettes and rustic textures of her pieces emulate rugged, coastal scenery which seems to be an obvious source of inspiration for her gorgeous handmade creations. Can’t wait to get my hands on some of these beauties and I’m sure you will too once you see them.

Check out her website at www.elephantceramics.com and shop online here. Photo credit: Elephant Ceramics.

Salvation Taco

8. Salvation Taco, Murray Hill, NYC

This is a new fun Mexican joint that just opened in Murray Hill – created by The Spotted Pig and The Breslin team. Located inside the cool POD39 Hotel, it has a snazzy bar in front that opens into a huge recreational room in back, complete with lounge couches and tables, a second bar, fireplace, and two ping pong tables. The atmosphere is buzzing with after work crowds and is perfect for happy hour if you just want to grab a few margaritas and some authentic Mexican bar snacks. They offer amazing small tacos (2 per plate) ranging from $3 to $6 (steak, pork, chicken, cauliflower curry and Korean BBQ) and have great homemade guacamole and tortilla chips, crispy pig ears, quesadillas, beef chili, beer-braised short ribs, Morrocan Lamb on Naan and more. Open for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner – you can get your Mexican fix any time you like in this delicious fun and trendy casual spot.

Salvation Taco
145 E 39th St, btwn Lexington and 3rd Ave
New York, NY 10016
212.865.5800
http://www.salvationtaco.com

EAT-Boutique

9. EAT Boutique Foodie Gift Boxes

EAT Boutique is the brain-child of Maggie Battista, a dynamic food blogger and business woman I have met a few times through IACP and the Cookbook Conference in NYC. Her site is full of gorgeous photos, fun stories, and best of all – create-your-own gift boxes full of awesome foodie items and small batch foods by boutique food makers. EAT Boutique’s team curates seasonal and regional homespun gift and tasting boxes as gifts for food fans, and also sell their cool discoveries individually for the home cook. They have also recently started hosting intimate tasting events and convivial local pop up markets for their favorite food makers, cookbook authors and small batch food fans in different cities. You’ll find goodies such as a delightful box of macarons, exotic sea salts, handmade ceramics and kitchenwares, gourmet syrups and ice creams, vinegars, sauces, coffee and teas or local made wine, and I guarantee you’ll find something you love on this site!

Check out their online store at www.eatboutique.com. Photo credit: Eat Boutique.

S'mac

10. S’Mac, Sarita’s Macaroni & Cheese, NYC

So who DOESN’T like an awesome rockin’ outta this world Mac and Cheese? I usually make my own but when I’ve got the craving for that ooey gooey cheesey bowl of sin and don’t feel like cooking I always order online or make a visit to S’Mac in Murray Hill or the East Village in NYC. First off, they have about 11 different flavors and varieties. Secondly, you can order four different sizes depending on how hungry you are (Nosh, Major Munch, Mongo or Partay!). Last but not least, they are all made to order with awesome ingredients and baked to a crunchy, gooey existence served in a cast iron pan giving it that brown crispy crust with a melted world of yum on the inside. Choose from Classic Four Cheese, Cheeseburger, Alpine (Gruyere and Bacon!), Napoleanata (Mozzarella with roasted tomatoes, garlic and basil – yum!), Parissiene (Brie, roasted figs and Shitake mushrooms and fresh rosemary), Indian Masala, Buffalo Chicken, or you can create your own fantastic flavor combination with whatever meats, cheeses and veggies you want. Choose from traditional elbows or whole-wheat pasta and add a topping of buttery, crunchy breadcrumbs to make it even more sinful. Once you taste this You can also get your lip smacking goodness, you’ll never open a box of that yellow-powdered cheese stuff again.

S’Mac NYC

East Village – 345 E 12th Street NYC 10003

Lower East Side – 3 First Ave, NYC 10002

Murray Hill – 157 E 33rd St, NYC 10016

http://www.smacnyc.com/what.html

Photo credits: Kristen Hess and S’Mac.

——

All photographs, copy, and content on this website are copyrighted ©  2010-2013 by Kristen Hess/The Artful Gourmet. Please do not share, use, or distribute any of this content without expressed permission to do so, thanks! All opinions on this story are my own and were not paid or sponsored by vendors mentioned.

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