Soiree TILT Gourmet Chilling Spheres

TILT

Pretty cool, and yes cooler than ice, I say “awesome” to this new stainless-steel beverage chilling “tilt balls”.   My Glenn simply adores this product too.  He enjoys his glass of brandy or scotch whiskey post dinner and while watching his favorite TV programs.  He likes his spirited drinks chilled but he just can’t compromise the flavors by watering down with cubes of ice, nope.   And he is giving all his drinking  buddies at the motor shop these Soiree tilt spheres this holiday season.

Thanks Dawn Ryden of Avalon Communications for this Soiree press release:

Wine and Dine Family and Friends this Holiday Season with soiréehome
Innovative gadgets are a must-have for the foodie and wine enthusiast on your list this season

Soiréehome provides a collection of fun and innovative barware that is sure to please this holiday season.  Whether shoppers are looking for the perfect gift or throwing the party of the year, soiréehome offers contemporary products designed with the foodie and wine enthusiast in mind.

The newest product to market, tilt, brings a new aspect to the word “chilling”.  The chilling sphere is both flavorless and iceless, so it won’t dilute drinks or interfere with the flavor. Simply store tilt in your freezer until needed, then insert into your favorite holiday beverage, wine glass or even a party dip to keep chilled.  tilt is center-weighted so it will always sit up-right and is easily removed by an included retrieval hook.  MSRP $34.99

For wine lovers who have everything, and those just beginning, soiréehome offers stopair,   a vacuum wine pump that also doubles as a bottle stopper.  stopair fits into most bottles and can also be used for liquor and olive oil, making it a great gift for everyone on your list this season!  MSRP $19.99

Aerate every glass of wine at the holiday party this year with the must-have wine accessory and the namesake of soirée home.  Soirée  is the in-bottle wine decanter that allows you to aerate one glass at a time, will not over-aerate, and can be used on red and white wine.  Also available in gift sets.  MSRP Starts at $25.00

Party planners can learn more about soiréehome at http://www.soireehome.com.

About soirée home
A leader in the wine accessories market and from the creator of the internationally known wine decanter Soirée, soiréehome is an expanded collection of innovative housewares designed to heighten culinary experiences.  Dedicated to consistently producing unique products with an appreciation for gastro-technology, soiréehome is re-imagining standard housewares and innovating tradition.   http://www.soireehome.com

tilt (2)

tilt2

 

 

Folding Bread Proofer and Yogurt Maker by Brod & Taylor and Soft and Moist Pumpkin Dinner Rolls recipe

3 PROOFER

Meet my new favorite kitchen product…the Brod & Taylor Folding Proofer, we truly get along so well, specially now that the cold months are here.  I love breads, and I mean yeasted breads that require proofing (rising) in controlled temperature and humidity.   So many variables in bread making, and the last thing that you don’t want to happen is not having the dough to not double in size after a minimum rising period.  Then one panics, and resorts to old tricks like having the bowl of kneaded dough rest with another bowl containing hot or boiling water to create steam inside the oven.  With buttery rich doughs like brioche and sweet doughs, it will be a challenge.  But not anymore with the Brod & Taylor Folding Proofer.  So many features I really marvel about this product.  Easy set-up, only need preheating and it even includes a water tray to create that humid environment that bread dough loves.  Easy storage, folds away easily, yes I repeat, folds to fit your kitchen drawers or cabinets.   No plastic wrap or damp cloth covers anymore and you can even keep an eye on the rising dough through the clear window on top of the proofer.  Not just for breads, this fantastic product is also great for tempering or melting chocolate, and making thick and creamy yogurt.  This Brod & Taylor proofer is definitely the perfect Christmas gift for bread lovers and bakers.  Highly recommended.  And enjoy the 4 You tube video series showing you the use of this product (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LLCt3MTY6U).

Thanks Katie Hlavinka of Avalon Communications for sharing this press release:

Brød & Taylor Proofer Affording Home Chefs Professional Bread, Yogurt and Chocolate Results
Flat-folding device a must-have for every health-conscious kitchen

Brød & Taylor’s Folding Proofer is making it easy for consumers to bake delicious, artisan breads with healthy ingredients in the comfort of their own home. Rather than purchasing off-the-shelf bread with superfluous and sometimes unrecognizable ingredients, at-home bakers can control exactly what goes into the finished product and onto the table. More than just for bread though, the multi-tasking proofer also enables the creation of creamy, homemade yogurt and perfectly melted chocolate!

The countertop proofer makes the task of from-scratch breads and pastries easier than ever before by affording individuals the same tools and techniques that professional bakers enjoy, most importantly, accurately controlled fermentation and rise temperatures with optimal humidity. As a result, consumers can produce the best flavors from their own sourdough, gluten free, whole grain or even artisan bread recipes and enjoy them warm, fresh from the oven without relying on high-end bakeries. What’s more, the proofer folds flat for storage so even the tiniest kitchens can take advantage of its bread-making benefits.

Healthy homemade bread isn’t the only chore the Brød & Taylor folding proofer accomplishes, though. It can also multi-task by providing a safe, controlled environment for making yogurt at home, excelling as a large capacity, versatile yogurt maker. With adjustable temperature control, the Brød & Taylor proofer is capable of making up to two gallons of fresh yogurt in only four hours, opposed to the 10-12 it can take when using conventional yogurt makers with smaller capacities. Consumers can also use their own glass containers, avoiding contact with plastic. Those that prefer longer culture times can lower the temperature for 24 hours or more. That’s good news for the 75 percent of consumers who, according to a 2011 Mintel report, eat spoonable yogurt. Armed with a Brød & Taylor proofer in their kitchen, consumers can make healthier yogurt at a fraction of the cost of store-bought.

The Brød & Taylor proofer also takes the guesswork out of melting and tempering chocolate. Unlike a microwave, which tends to overheat, or a double boiler, which is notorious for water seizing, the proofer melts chocolate gently at the ideal low temperature for both tempering and holding.

The accurate, low temperature control of the folding proofer enables an entire realm of additional kitchen tasks that involve fermenting or culturing including making tempeh, probiotic vegetables – even homemade soy sauce.

All of these capabilities will cause even professional bakers to wonder how they ever lived without the Brød & Taylor proofer in their home kitchens. “Genius design, I love that the proof box instantly folds flat and fits neatly in my tightly-packed kitchen cupboards. I have used it to proof bread and make batches of the most exquisite yogurt. It gives professional results at home.” Zoe Francois of zoebakes.com hails the product for its “genius design.” She raves, “I love that the proof box instantly folds flat and fits neatly in my tightly-packed kitchen cupboards. I have used it to proof bread and make batches of the most exquisite yogurt. It gives professional results at home.”

Health-conscious bread, yogurt, fermented food and chocolate lovers who would like to control the ingredients that go into their favorite foods while enjoying professional results can learn more about the Brød & Taylor proofer (MSRP $159) online at http://www.brodandtaylor.com.

About Brød & Taylor
Brød & Taylor’s primary mission is to assist people in efficiently and affordably creating wholesome recipes in their own kitchens by providing them with the tools they need to incorporate pure or organic ingredients. For additional information on the company, please visit http://www.brodandtaylor.com.

I chose a rich dough (with egg, milk, butter) recipe to try out Brod & Taylor Bread Proofer.   It was also a cold day (more cold days ahead!).   And these are always the very challenging conditions in making yeast breads.    Regardless, the Brod & Taylor delivered…the dough placed in large glass bowl doubled in size in 1 1/2 hours, awesome!

“Soft and Moist” Pumpkin Dinner Rolls

1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 cup whole milk, heated in microwave to lukewarm
1 teaspoon sugar + 2/3 cup sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, melted
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 large egg
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup bread flour
5 cups all-purpose flour (variable)
Additional 1/4 cup melted butter to brush tops of shaped rolls before and after baking

Set the proofer to 75 F and put the water tray in the middle of the warming plate with 1/4 cup water in it.  Place the rack on top of the tray.

Suspend yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in warm milk; let stand until foamy.  Combine remaining 2/3 cup sugar, 1/2 cup melted butter, pumpkin puree, egg and salt in a small bowl.   Place 1 cup bread flour and 3 cups all-purpose flour in a large bowl.  Add the butter mixture and yeast mixture.  Mix by hand or use a heavy-duty electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.   Add enough flour until a soft dough is formed.  Transfer to lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, springy and not too sticky, adding enough flour.   Form the dough into a ball and transfer to a lightly oiled bowl.  Allow the dough to ferment or rise in the proofer fot 1 1/2 hours, or until doubled.   Cut dough in 16 pieces and roll each piece into a ball.  Arrange 12 balls in a pam-sprayed 13 x 9 aluminum foil pan and remaining 4 rolls in a pam-sprayed small square pan.  Place the 9 x 13 pan in the proofer to let dough rise again for 30 minutes.  Cover remaining 4 rolls loosely with saran wrap and let proof.   Heat oven to 350 F.  Brush tops of the risen rolls with half of the melted butter.  Bake for 25 minutes or until golden.  After removing the rolls from the oven, brush again with the remaining butter.   Enjoy!

Product Review: World’s Best Chef Choice M852 Classic Waffle PRO and Key Lime Waffle Pie Recipe

 

Waffles are always a welcome treat for me….for lazy day breakfasts, for quickie snacks, for late nite crammings to meet a deadline or finish homeworks, or simply “go-to” indulgences whenever hunger strikes.   But one thing is for sure…I want only homemade waffles, from scratch or from a box.  I happen to give away my old waffle iron, and I have been keeping an eye on new waffle irons models in the stores.

And the wait is over, I got one recently!  Val Gleason of Edgecraft Corporation got me excited to try World’s Best Chef Choice M852 Classic Waffle PRO and enjoy warm, cold, or frozen homemade waffles.  There’s always a place for new small electric gadgets in my kitchen…and this Chef Choice handsome waffle maker is lightweight and easily fits upright in my kitchen cabinet.  It didn’t take a long time to familiarize myself with this kitchen equipment.   The instruction manual was an easy read and one only needed to focus on the temperature control dial — since I like my waffles crispy a bit on the edges, settings 4 to 6 would do the job for me.  It required inserting into a three (3) prong power plug, so I had to make adjustments to make room for this waffle maker closer to the electric outlet.

I made a test batch of my buttermilk waffles, I’d certainly try some of the recipes included in the instruction manual one day.   In minutes I was producing waffles (2 at a time) after waffles.  I did use a cooking spray, I just didn’t want to deal with the hassles of cleanup, and I got my oven timer on to keep track of the 3 minute time frame.  I could only wish there is a sign or cue when 3 minute is up (that probably is in the works for the next generation of waffle makers).  Thin waffles in a jiffy, I love them.   Browning (Color) was consistent from start to finish, and crispy on the edges, yes!  Chef Choice Classic Waffle PRO is a keeper and I highly recommend this.

Now I need to start pinning waffle recipes on my pinterest board — I already got some carrot cake waffles, brownie waffles, cornbread waffles.  And you know you can make large batches of waffles and freeze them.  Reheating, oh yes, not a big thing, zap in the microwave for some 45- 60 seconds (may result in soft waffles) or place them in a single layer in a baking tray and bake for 10 minutes in a 300 F oven.   Oh chicken and waffles, waffle ice cream sandwiches…waffles certainly aren’t just for breakfasts.

Here’s the press release of the Chef Choice M852 Classic Waffle Pro shared by Val Gleason:
The Chef’sChoice® WafflePro®  M852  bakes two delicious waffles in just three minutes or less! Ideal for homemade or quick mix batters, it features a superior non-stick easy release coating and consistent even heating that guarantees beautiful waffles uniformly cooked inside and out for the perfect tasty treat. It quickly recovers its temperature so it’s always ready to bake and feed even the biggest of appetites. The top waffle plate is attached with a floating hinge to ensure uniform thickness and even baking. A convenient, easy open latching handle combined with a built-in cord storage compartment allows this waffle maker to be efficiently stored in a space-saving upright position. Available for $49.99 US. For more information, visit http://www.chefschoice.com or call 800.342.3255.

KEY LIME WAFFLE PIE
Source:  Chef’sChoice’s delightful rendition of key lime pie, delicious served warm, cool and even as a frozen treat!

Key Lime Mousse
2 cups heavy whipping cream    10 oz. white chocolate     ¾ cup key lime juice
1 packet gelatin    7 ounces sweetened condensed milk   ¼ tsp. vanilla
Turbinado or dark brown sugar for garnish    Extra graham crackers for garnish
Key lime for garnish

Graham Cracker Waffles
3 cups pre-mixed baking product such  as Bisquick    1 cup whole milk 1 cup brown sugar
½ cup honey    5 tbsp. buttermilk     2 eggs    2 tsp. cinnamon ½ stick butter (4 tbsp.)
1 pack of graham crackers (10-11 sheets)  Makes 18-20 waffles

Key Lime Mousse: Put lime juice in bowl and sprinkle in gelatin, stirring lightly. Let sit for 2 minutes. Heat lime juice mixture over low heat, until hot but not boiling.
Take lime juice mixture off heat and set aside. Heat sweetened condensed milk over medium heat and add white chocolate. Stir until chocolate is melted.
Whip heavy cream on high speed only until stiff, about two minutes. Add the lime juice mixture to whip cream and beat (with electric mixer) until ingredients are blended together.
Add white chocolate mixture to the whip cream and beat until blended. Refrigerate mixture for four hours or overnight to stiffen.

Graham Cracker Waffles: Mix together baking product, milk, brown sugar, honey, buttermilk, eggs and cinnamon in bowl. Melt butter and add to mixture.  Crush graham crackers until crumb size and add to mix. Mix all ingredients with electric mixture. Place 1/4 cup of batter on Chef’sChoice Model 852 waffle maker (For other waffle makers, see manufacturer’s directions).  Bake for 2:30 minutes on setting 4.

Serve immediately with a dollop of key lime mousse. Garnish with sugar, lime and graham cracker pieces. For a luscious frozen dessert, spread mousse overtop waffle, cover in wax paper and freeze overnight before serving.

Book Review: Fresh & Easy Kosher Cooking: Ordinary Ingredients, Extraordinary Meals (plus recipes)

The book is simply titled Fresh & Easy, but it is packed with delicious recipes from Soups, Salads, Dips & Sauces, Sides, Brunch & Lunch, Main Dishes, Traditional, and, of course, Desserts in very nicely formatted layout, with uncomplicated directions and tempting…and yes, mouth-watering too…photography.    it is no secret that I only love cooking fast, easy and cheap recipes and this book has lots of them.  I hate to recommend you buying a cookbook that only a handful, less than 10 recipes, is worth trying out.  But my copy of author Leah Schapira’s book has full of bookmarks….

Roasted Garlic & Butternut Squash soup/    Chicken Fajitas Salad/     Chunky Hummus
Sweet Potato Fries/   Avocado Wontons/   Perfect Pizza, Pita and Grilled Flatbread
Teriyaki Sesame Chicken/       Asian Burger/     Beer Beef Stew
Challah Rolls/     Square (yes, indeed) Doughnuts/   Rainbow Cupcakes,
Everything but the Kitchen Sink cookies /     Cheese Buns/    and lots more.

I definitely recommend you check out a  copy of Leah Schapira’s Fresh & Easy cookbook if you love making simple and delicious meals to loved ones and strangers alike.   Available in your favorite bookstores or Amazon.  You may also visit Leah’s culinary website, http://www.CookKosher.com.

Recipes from FRESH & EASY KOSHER COOKING: Ordinary Ingredients, Extraordinary Meals
By Leah Schapira/November 2011    http://www.artscroll.com/freshandeasy

PENNE WITH LEMON CREAM SAUCE   Yield:  2 servings
3 tbsp butter  1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed    juice of one lemon
1 1/4 cups heavy cream   3 tbsp parmesan cheese, grated    1 1/4 tsp dried basil
1/2 lb penne pasta, cooked according to package directions   salt and pepper, to taste

Melt the butter in a medium sauce pan over  medium heat.  Add the crushed garlic.  Saute for a few minutes, taking care not to burn it.  Add the lemon juice (add only 2 tablespoons of lemon juice if you don’t like it so lemony) and stir.  Add heavy cream.   Simmer for 5 minutes.  Add the parmesan cheese.  Stir until cheese is melted.  Season with basil.  Add the pasta and toss well.  Season with salt and pepper.  If pasta is prepared in advance, reserve 3 tablespoons of sauce to add while reheating.  Serve with additional parmesan cheese, if desired.

HONEY-MUSTARD CHICKEN   Yield:  3-4 servings
1 1/2 lb chicken cutlets   1/8 tsp salt    1/8 tsp pepper    3-4 tbsp oil   2 large onions, diced
Vegetables (use any produce that’s in season or sitting in your vegetable drawer – or none at all!)
3 tbsp honey    3 tbsp soy sauce    3 tbsp mustard

Cut chicken cutlets into 2-inch strips.  Season with salt and pepper.  Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.  Add onion and cook for 10-15 minutes (for that delicious caramelized goodness) or until golden brown.  Add chicken strips and cook for 5 minutes.  Add vegetables, if using.  Add honey, mustard, and soy sauce.  Cook for 10-15 minutes (stirring occasionally), or until sauce reduces.  Serve over orzo or rice.

From Trina Kaye’s Press Release:

A recipe doesn’t have to be complicated to be delicious, nor exclusive to certain kitchens. Such is the mantra of Leah Schapira, co-founder of the popular culinary website, http://www.CookKosher.com, and author of the new book, Fresh & Easy Kosher Cooking: Ordinary Ingredients, Extraordinary Meals. Inspiring everyone from traditional kosher cooks to everyday working women and moms, Leah shows how to use simple, fresh ingredients to create time-sensitive, tasty meals for all to enjoy.

Leah extends her recipes to a wide audience of people who don’t have much time to cook. She includes useful tips, minimal ingredients, and easy-to-follow steps. Her seasonal menus encourage home cooks to take advantage of market-fresh, simple ingredients for even easier recipe planning.

Book Review: Inside the Jewish Bakery AND a tried-and-tested Sweet and Rich Challah recipe


I love baking bread…and my hubby appreciates that the I don’t consider the kneading, proofing (and the waiting can be as short as 1 hour or as long as overnight in the fridge) and shaping homemade breads as one stressful and intimidating kitchen activity.   He enjoys freshly-baked or warmed homemade breads to start the day…and there’s always sweet and soft homemade breads in the house for him to slather with honey butter.  And I’m very much enthusiastic about finding more bread recipes to try, and get my big bag of flour replenished every 2 or 3 months.

I was delighted when this “good-looking” book, Inside the Jewish Bakery, finally came in the mail (thanks to Trina Kaye, Lisa Ekus Group and Camino Books).   Bread formulations and applications are pretty much universal that I don’t have to embrace Jewish religion or culture to appreciate reading this book.   It’s got all the elements of a good cookbook — there’s interesting narratives of Jewish/Yiddish culinary traditions (specific type of dress to denote the different status of the bakery’s staff, all breads made from scratch and of real ingredients — butter, eggs, and sugar), and of course, the many pages of recipes, complete with detailed instructions and clear directions.  In just the Challah bread, which may not be available in all bakeries, but is well embraced by the foodies and homebakers all over the world, there are more than 2 ways to braid a Challah bread.    I enjoyed the inclusions of old photos from the early 1900s, specially the scribbled bread formula in a baker’s notebook — only proves again the point that baking is such an exact science.   Use a wrong formulation and expect an unacceptable baked bread.    The colored photos in the middle section of the book were so mouthwatering — so deliciously photographed that I could see myself making elephant ears and a chocolate loaf babka soon.

I’m giving my 2 thumbs-up on this and encourage you to get one for a nice addition to your cookbook collection.”  It is a gem of a baking book for all bakers, including homebakers.   The recipes in the book were downsized for the homebaker, but the book is lavished with detailed instructions (including the hows and whys) and images of baking steps and finished products.  Again, one doesn’t have to be Jewish to appreciate this book….one particular recipe that is well-embraced is the Challah (Egg) bread.   Several versions were provided in the book, including an eggless water version.  The difficult part of this bread is in the braiding; the authors (Stanley Ginsberg and Norman Berg) made sure to offer simple shapes and braids.  It will be a while to master the 6-strand Bakery braided Challah, so for my practice, I followed the easier braiding technique from Baking Illustrated book.  I can’t wait to do the Chiffon Cake recipe in the book that only calls for less than 2 cups flour for a regular chiffon cake, mmm, I am that intrigued.   This book brings back my memories of watching in fascination professional bakers kneading, rounding, folding, stretching and shaping bread doughs inside their bakery work area.

Other recipes in this handsome book —

Pumpernickel Bread
Rye Bread
Bagels
Kaiser Rolls
Danish and Puff Pastry
Apple Strudel
Fruit-Filled Buns
Yeast-Raised Doughnuts, including Honey Glaze
Wine Cake
Seven-Layer Cake
Checkerboard Cake
Rugelach
Linzer Cookies
Chinese Almond Cookies (this is on top of my to-do list)
Passover Coconut Macaroons and Cream Puffs

SWEET AND RICH CHALLAH
(Excerpt from Inside the Jewish Bakery by Stanley Ginsberg and Norman Berg © 2011 Camino Books
Reprinted with permission.  To learn more about the book go to http://www.InsidetheJewishBakery.com)

1 3/4 cups bread flour  (225g)
3/1/2 teaspoons Instant yeast (14g)
1 cup Water (225g)
4 cups bread flour (565g)
3/4 cup granulated sugar (155g)
2 1/4 teaspoons table salt (14g)
3 Large eggs, beaten (150g)
1 egg yolk, large (18g)
1/2 cup Vegetable oil (100g)
1 large Egg, lightly beaten for glazing (50g)
2 Tablespoons poppy, sesame or chernushka seeds (15g)

1. Combine the first quantity of four, instant yeast and water into a mixing bowl, or the bowl of the mixer and beat by hand into a smooth, thick paste. Set in a warm place, covered, for 30 to 45 minutes until sponge mixture becomes frothy.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, egg yolk, and oil until blended and set aside.

3. Add the liquid ingredients to the sponge. Use the flat (paddle) beater to blend at a low speed until blended, then gradually ass remaining flour, sugar and salt and continue mixing until the dough is evenly is evenly hydrated and comes together in a shaggy mass, about 2 to 3 minutes.

4. Switch to the dough hook, if using a stand mixer, and knead at low speed for 6 to 8 minutes, until the dough forms into a smooth, glossy ball that leaves the side of the bowl. If kneading by hand. turn the dough onto a well-floured work surface and knead for 10 to 12 minutes.

5. Form the dough into a large ball, put into a greased bowl, cover with a damp towel or cling wrap and let ferment until doubled in bulk, 60 to 90 minutes.

6. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface, punch it down, and knead it for 1 minute or so, then divide into 2 pieces of approximately 24 ounces/680 grams each.

7. Divide into as many pieces as appropriate for the braid you’re using. Roll each piece into a tight ball, cover them with a damp towel and allow them to rest for 20 to 30 minutes to relax the gluten.

8. Using your hands, roll each piece into a long sausage that is thick in the middle and tapers to a point at the ends.  (Sarah:  I followed Baking Illustrated easy braiding — Divide each  24 oz dough into 2 pieces, 2/3 and 1/3 portions.  Shape the large piece of dough into 3 ropes.  Line up the three ropes of dough side by side.  Pinch the top ends together.  Take the dough rope on the right and lay it over the center rope.  Take the dough rope on the left and lay it over the center rope.  Repeat this process until the ropes of dough are entirely braided.  Pinch the ends together, tuck both ends under the braid and transfer to prepared baking tray.  Do the same braiding process with the smaller piece of dough.  Brush the larger braid with egg wash and place smaller braid on top.)

9. Put the braided loaves on a piece of baking parchment, cover them with a damp towel and allow them to proof until the dough doesn’t spring back when a finger is pressed into it.

10. About 30 minutes before bake time, preheat your oven to 350F/175C with the baking rack in the middle. (Sarah: I preheated oven to 375 F and reduced to 350 after placing the baking tray inside the oven).

11. Brush each loaf lightly with the beaten egg (Sarah: I thinned with 1 tablespoon of water), wait one minute then give them a second coat.  Sprinkle with poppy, sesame or chernushka seeds to taste.

12. Slide the loaves and parchment onto your baking stone or bake on a sheet pan for 30 to 40 minutes, turning the loaves halfway through baking so they will brown evenly.   Transfer the finished loaves to a rack and let cool for at least an hour before cutting.

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Here’s the press release provided to me….

INSIDE THE JEWISH BAKERY:
Recipes and Memories from the Golden Age Of Jewish Baking
By Stanley Ginsberg and Norman Berg
Camino Books; October 2011
$24.95/Hardcover
ISBN: 978-1-933822-23-5

Inside the Jewish Bakery: Recipes and Memories from the

Golden Age of Jewish Baking

“This is a book of enormous importance, both as social history and for its traditional recipes. The authors have managed to artfully entwine bread and Jewish cultural identity like the very challah that has become its popular symbol. I learned many things I hadn’t previously known and wanted to capture in my own loaves the tears I felt welling in my eyes as I was reminded, through their words, that bread is always more than just bread.”
-Peter Reinhart, author of The Bread Baker’s Apprentice

There is nothing like being in a bakery, staring at counters full of baking delights, trays full of breads and bagels, and deciding what to buy.  I should know; I grew up in a Jewish bakery.  My fondest memories are of watching my father make bread and bagels, whistling while he worked, greeting friends and neighbors as they came to shop.  In fact my first after-school job was working the counter in my father’s bakery.

Small, family-run Jewish bakeries that once lay at the heart of  close-knit urban neighborhoods all over America have fallen victim to the demise of the old-school bakers, shifting demographics and economic realities.  But two authors, Stanley Ginsberg and Norman Berg seek to keep the memories of these Jewish bakeries alive with their new book, Inside the Jewish Bakery: Recipes and Memories from the Golden Ages of Jewish Baking (Camino Books; October 2011; $24.95/hardcover; ISBN 978-1-933822-23-5). More than a collection of recipes, Inside the Jewish Bakery chronicles the history and traditions – as well as the distinctive baked goods – of Ashkenazi Jewry in Eastern Europe and its immigration to America.   Utilizing a vast array of sources, the authors have crafted an engaging “edible history.”

“We wrote this book to preserve and celebrate the tastes and traditions of real Jewish baking and feelings of community they evoked. As such, this book is more than just another compendium of recipes and instructions; rather, it’s about a time when life was slower, simpler and perhaps a little better,” explains Stan Ginsberg. “Both Norm and I grew up in New York City’s outer boroughs in the decades following World War II. We both lived in close-knit, largely Jewish neighborhoods where neighbors knew neighbors, shopkeepers knew their customers, and mothers felt safe enough to park their baby carriages—infants included—unattended outside stores while they shopped. Business was based on trust, and rarely was that trust betrayed.”

Inside the Jewish Bakery provides home bakers of all skill levels recipes to recreate the authentically Jewish breads, pastries, cookies and cakes that once filled the shelves of neighborhood bakeries. The recipes themselves are based on the professional formulas used by America’s Jewish bakers during their Golden Age, adapted and tested for home kitchens.

Several chapters showcase traditional Jewish breads such as Challah and Rye and the authors provide a range of recipes that span the histories of these breads and the many ways to present them.  Chapters also cover the roots and Americanization of bagels, bialys and a vast assortment of rolls. Ginsberg and Berg have also included chapters on pastries, cakes and cookies, showcasing recipes that have all but disappeared from American bakery shelves.  There is even a chapter devoted to Passover baking.  Other recipes include:

Passover Coconut Macaroons

Passover Honey Cake

Russian Coffee Cake

Pound Cake

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Cheesecake

Hamantashen

Rugelach

Mini-Schnecken

Tayglech

Egg Kichel (Bowties)

Linzer Cookies

Black and White Cookies

Sandwich Cookies
In order to make high-volume bakery recipes easy for the home cook, the authors broke down their recipes into two elements: formulas for the doughs and batters that are the basis for most of the recipes, and the techniques used in mixing, shaping and finishing.

“Baking is a form of chemistry, and professional bakers use formulas exact as those in a chemist’s lab. The formulas in this book have never appeared in print, but were passed down from one generation of bakers to the next, whose task it was to carry on the old traditions and skills. Over the years, Norm accumulated thousands of these formulas. Many of them survive in battered notebooks, jotted down in baker’s notation; others were never written down but survive only in memory. Many more have been lost forever as aging master bakers leave this world and fewer younger people step up to carry on their craft.”

Inside the Jewish Bakery takes you inside a fast-disappearing tradition. It is a book that is timeless in its appeal and is a must-read for anyone interested in history, culture and baking.  For home bakers who love and appreciate the lost art of the full service bakery the recipes preserved inside this unique cookbook recall those special Sunday mornings, holiday dinners and family occasions.

Inside the Jewish Bakery is your ticket to the sumptuous tastes, techniques and memories of baking that were and [now] are a luscious amalgamation of many centuries and many countries, united under the banner of Jewish cuisine, a diverse heritage that is as much about what is on the plate as all that preceded it.”

Marcy Goldman, author of A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking, and The Baker’s Four Seasons

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Stanley Ginsberg, a native of Brooklyn, grew up in a close-knit neighborhood where generations lived side by side. He learned to cook and bake from his grandmother, who lived just upstairs in the same apartment building, and has continued cooking and baking ever since. His baking repertoire is eclectic, with a bias towards traditional Yiddish breads and pastries, as well as Central and Eastern European-style artisan breads. Stanley spent the greater part of his professional career as a business and financial writer, with time out for a stint on Wall Street. He and his wife, Sylvia, have four adult children and two standard poodles, and currently live in Southern California.

Norman Berg, a Bronx native, graduated from the baking program at New York City’s Food and Maritime Trades High School and spent the next 25 years as a professional baker and general manager at several bakeries that became Bronx institutions, including Weber’s, Enrico’s, Yonkers Pastry and Greystone Bakery. Over the years, Norm amassed more than 1,000 recipes for breads, cakes and pastries of every imaginable variety. Norm and his wife, Janet, still live in the Bronx. Their son, Nathan, followed in his father’s footsteps and has a successful career as a pastry chef at several well-regarded Bronx and Westchester, New York restaurants.

Too learn more about the book go to www.InsidetheJewishBakery.com.

Product Review: Dietz & Watson Chicken Parmigiana (with tasty Italian recipes)

Making a simple chicken parmigiana (parmesan) isn’t that really simple.  Ok.  Start the clock.  I need  3 breading plates (flour, eggs and bread crumbs), a cutting board and a mallet, Pyrex dish, a skillet or frying pan, a stockpot to cook spaghetti or linguine, thawed chicken breasts, home-cooked or jarred tomato sauce, shredded mozzarella cheese.  Mmm, this is not looking easy anymore.   Dip pounded (I hate this part!) chicken breasts in flour first, then in seasoned egg mixture and last  coat with bread crumbs.  Brown breaded chicken in hot oil.  Cover bottom of Pyrex dish with tomato sauce, then arrange fried chicken over sauce and sprinkle mozzarella on top and bake until chicken is done, cheese is melted and sauce is bubbling.   And cook the pasta al dente is next.  If I do this for dinner on weekdays, I’d surely miss my favorite reality TV shows — sorry, I love Chicken Parmigiana (it’s the only dish I order when dining out in Italian restaurants) from scratch, but TV dinners usually win.

So I was really excited when Steve Riley of Dietz & Watson sent me an email, ” I wanted to see if I could interest you in a sample of our New Chicken Parmigiana, a service deli item by Philadelphia’s Dietz & Watson, for review”.   There’s no way I’d ignore Steve, he didn’t even need to give me a pitch, I make Chicken Parmigiana every month.

I received the perishable shipment of Dietz & Watson Chicken Parmigiana in good condition, and in really huge box…and I planned an Italian dinner that night for me and my hubby.

Got to have garlic bread.  Got to have Greek/Italian salad.  And I opted not to have pasta this time (glad I made that decision…it’s making sure the taste of Chicken Parmigiana wasn’t masked with  too much yummy tomato sauce, for my product review.  You’ll find the recipes of the garlic bread and the salad below.

Back to Dietz & Watson latest offering….Chicken Parmigiana.   If you’re in the deli counter, you’d ask for slices…thick slices if making Chicken Parmigiana.   And why I love love this deli-style Chicken Parmigiana…it’s easy to fix and I don’t have to “thaw, mess and wrestle” with chicken breasts and I don’t need to make tomato sauce to go along with it.    I completed the breading and frying in a breeze…the chicken required no seasoning (Momma knows best, it’s cooked to perfection, really!) — plain flour, just beaten whole eggs and bread crumbs (plain, Italian or even panko).   Inasmuch as chicken was already cooked, a little bit of oil was all that was needed to produce a delicate light browning in the breaded Chicken.

Dinner was served….and the verdict:  5 thick slices of breaded, boneless and skinless Dietz & Watson Chicken Parmigiana all consumed.  That hot chunky chicken parmigiana was really yummilicious.  That was so good that I’m not sure I’ll be able to try it as a hoagie or a wrap (but it crossed my mind to cut chicken in chunks and arrange on top of my Hawaiian chicken pizza, I can’t wait!).     My hubby and I were all smiles…bellies smiling with delight too.   You really can’t mess up with this easy to make Chicken Parmigiana, I even enjoy it without tomato sauce, mozzarella and pasta.

I made one final experiment before I’m confident and going ahead with posting this review of Dietz & Watson Chicken Parmigiana.    I brought a large portion of the chicken parmigiana to the studio and showed my producer how fast and simple it was to cook it.   I offered the cooked breaded chicken to very young Maya and Christian (producer’s grandkids, ages 9 and 6, and really picky eaters).  They loved this delicious fried chicken…and they ate them all with plain toasts.

So I say…thanks to Momma Dietz for perfecting this product and making it ready for the deli slicer (to check stores availability, visit

www.DietzAndWatson.com).

I love this quick Chicken Parmigiana (from the deli), it’s tasty, delicious and so full of flavor…and it’s loved  by both “picky” kids and grown-ups, it’s one good reason for me to visit my favorite deli counter.  And it works everytime…with or without the cooked pasta and tomato sauce.

Here’s the press release (thanks again Steve Riley and I agree with you when you mentioned, ” Sarah, I think you’ll like it a lot!), followed by “few minutes prepping, few minutes cooking” recipes.

Every so often a food company comes up with an item so unique and so delicious that it simply garners attention. Such is the case with the new Chicken Parmigiana, a service deli item by Philadelphia’s Dietz & Watson.

Aside from its taste and uniqueness as a service deli item for slicing, the way the product was developed is an interesting story in and of itself. While Dietz & Watson is a national company with sales in excess of $400 million and distributed in every state, it is still run by the 3rd and 4th generations of the family that started the company in 1939, and R&D and new product development still takes place in a sometimes informal fashion.

In the case of Chicken Parmigiana, too much tomato sauce was ordered for an event in 2010, so instead of letting a few gallons go to waste, the family and people in the lab racked their brains for ideas for a deli product using the leftover sauce. The result was Chicken Parmigiana, and after more than a year perfecting it, it is now available in service delis.

FIRST-OF-A-KIND DELI MEAT FROM DIETZ & WATSON MAKES PREPARING A CLASSIC FALL AND WINTER COMFORT FOOD A SNAP

Chicken Parmigiana from the Deli Sliced Thick or Thin Spawns Unique Recipe Ideas for this Italian Classic

In a January 2011 CBS “Early Show” cooking segment, contributor Katie Lee called Chicken Parmigiana “one of those perfect comfort foods most people love.”

With that in mind, Philadelphia-based Dietz & Watson, one of the nation’s oldest and most well- known purveyors of premium deli meats and artisan cheeses, has developed a unique Chicken Parmigiana item for service delis that is the first of its kind.

It is made from fresh, extra lean chicken breast coated and cooked in corn flour crumbs with aged parmesan cheese, Italian seasonings and topped with a tangy marinara sauce.

“My mom always loved making Chicken Parmigiana when we were growing up, and so many people love it that we decided to create a Chicken Parmigiana deli item,” said Louis Eni, Dietz & Watson President & CEO. “We’re still a family company after nearly 75 years, and we still develop new items with that family feel in mind.”

Louis Eni’s mom is Ruth Dietz Eni, company chairman and affectionately known as Momma Dietz. A University of Pennsylvania graduate and a working mom before there really was such a thing, Ruth loved to come home after a busy day and cook special meals for her kids, whose palates are every bit as finicky as hers. Today, her kids are grown, and Louis, Chris and Cindy work side-by-side to help her run the company as CEO, COO and CFO, respectively, along with two of her grandchildren, Lauren Eni and Christopher Yingling.

“When we developed this new item, we wanted it to taste just like the Chicken Parmigiana you make from scratch, and using fresh, whole chicken breasts, natural Italian spices, real aged Parmesan cheese and a wonderful corn flour crumb coating, we couldn’t go wrong,” said Momma Dietz. “After we perfected the product, the next step was coming up with some great, easy to prepare recipes, and we came up with some real winners.”

ABOUT DIETZ & WATSON

Founded in 1939 by Gottlieb Dietz, Dietz & Watson remains true to the original old-world recipes and Gottlieb’s commitment to “quality above all”. Creating the freshest and leanest beef, ham, pork, turkey breast, and chicken breast, Dietz & Watson’s products are enhanced with all-natural spices and seasonings for increased flavor.  In addition to the natural seasonings and spices, all of their products are free of artificial flavors, colors, fillers, extenders and MSG. Headquartered in Philadelphia, Dietz & Watson continues their tradition of family and their commitment to expecting the best. Under the lead of Gottlieb Dietz’s daughter, Ruth Dietz Eni (Chairman), Dietz and Watson continues to lead the industry in Premium Deli Meats and Artisan Cheeses. In addition to the guidance from Ruth Dietz Eni, the company is lead by founder Gottlieb Dietz grandchildren, Louis Eni (President and CEO), Chris Eni (COO), Cindy Eni Yingling (CFO) and now the fourth generation, Lauren Eni and Christopher Yingling have joined to company to carry the tradition further.

www.DietzAndWatson.com.

Product Profile: Momma Dietz Chicken Parmigiana

    Gluten Free    No MSG    Nitrite Free

Momma Dietz’ Chicken Parmigiana, made from succulent, extra lean chicken breast coated & cooked in corn flour crumbs, aged parmesan cheese, Italian seasonings and topped with a tangy marinara sauce. Now that’s Italian!

Ingredients:

Chicken Breast, Water, Contains Less Than 2% Of Sugar, Salt, Parmesan Cheese ([Milk, Salt, Cheese Culture, Enzyme], Whey, Disodium Phosphate, Lactic Acid), Isolated Soy Protein, Natural Flavors, Sodium Phosphate, Yeast Extract, Whey Butter, Modified Corn Starch, Buttermilk Solids, Cream And Butter Extract, Maltodextrin. Coated With: Corn Flour, Modified Corn Starch, Salt, Egg Whites, Leavening (Sodium Aluminum Phosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate), Natural Flavors, Paprika, Browned In Canola Oil. Topped With: Tomatoes, Corn Oil, Salt, Natural Flavors, Parmesan Cheese([ Milk, Salt, Cheese Culture, Enzyme)], Whey Disodium Phosphate, Lactic Acid) Whey Powder, Sugar, Salt, Lactic Acid, Water, Gelatin.

Classic Chicken Parmigiana Dinner

Serves 4

1 ½ pound Dietz & Watson Chicken Parmigiana, sliced into four pieces (6 ounces per serving)

2 eggs, beaten

¼ cup flour

2 cups Italian style breadcrumbs

Olive oil for frying

1 pound Dietz & Watson mozzarella cheese, sliced

2 tomatoes, sliced

8 ounces pasta, cooked according to package directions

8 ounces tomato or marina sauce

1 bunch fresh basil

1.    Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2.    Pour flour into a shallow pan, and pour breadcrumbs into a separate shallow pan.

3.    To bread the chicken cutlets, dredge chicken Parmesan pieces into flour mixture, coating thoroughly on boat sides. Shake off excess flour.

4.    Dip chicken pieces in egg wash, making sure each piece is coated.

5.    Place chicken pieces in shallow pan with breadcrumbs and pat into breadcrumbs on both sides to cover.

6.    Heat oil in a large pan to 350 degrees. Fry chicken pieces until breading turns golden brown, about 2 minutes per side.

7.    Remove and let drain on paper towels to remove excess oil.

8.    Put chicken pieces on a baking sheet, layer slices of tomato and fresh basil leaves on top, drizzle with a little marina sauce and top with cheese. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes, or until cheese melts.

9.    Serve with pasta and more sauce, if desired. Garnish with basil.

My Easy Greek/Italian Salad

1 cucumber, peeled and chopped

1 heart of romaine lettuce, chopped

1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes, drained well

juice of 1 lemon (about 4 tablespoons)

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Make the dressing.  In a food processor, combine lemon juice and dried oregano.   Slowly blend in olive oil.   Add salt and pepper to taste.

Make the salad.   Mix lettuce, tomatoes and cucumber in a large bowl.   Pour dressing over and toss to coat.

Garlic Bread

1 loaf french bread (Sam’s Club, my pref), sliced in half lengthwise

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (I use Dorot’s cubed frozen parsley)

1/4 teaspoon salt

butter or margarine (tastes like butter) to spread on sliced bread

Preheat oven to 400 F.  Prepare garlic spread:  Use food processor to combine olive oil, garlic, butter, parsley and salt.  Spread butter or margarine evenly over cut surface, then spread the garlic spread on top.  Bake the bread for 10 minutes until bread is nicely browned on the edges.  Cut the bread into serving pieces.

To complete the memorable celebration…a matching glass of Chardonnay, oh yeah!

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Book Review: Freshalicious (Eat Fresh. Eat Local. Eat Healthy) by Stacey Fokas and her American Adobo recipe


These days, it’s not difficult anymore to find a recipe of just about any food combinations you can think of…they’re all over the internet.   So new recipe books just don’t get me excited anymore.   But cookbooks I’d keep an eye on are the ones filled with interesting narratives of food journeys, in addition to exciting “must try” recipes.

One such book that I find “worth owning” is Stacey Fokas’ Freshalicious.  Just reading her introduction to the book, she already inspired me to enjoy frequent visits to nearby roadside fruit and vegetable stands, grocery stores’ produce section and farmers’ markets for my food sourcing.  And I smiled (yes, am guilty!) when she even mentioned that “when you’re at the drive-thru, thinking you’re saving time, you’re actually just cutting your health and well being”.  Stacey’s book is really an eye opener, a shot in the arm, an awakening, a new approach to healthy eating.  Her writing style is endearing…it’s like having a mom beside you in the kitchen who keeps reminding you of making better food choices (and really think twice about processed foods).

The recipes in the book are listed by seasons, so you’d right away could guess that Stacey’s Pulled chicken and apple butternut squash soup (recipe in my next post) would be in Autumn and interestingly enough, Stacey included Adobo (our Adobo, but yes, American Adobo) is listed in the Winter season.  I had a nice brief phone chat with Stacey and she is one genuinely nice and “easy to talk to” person.  She credited a co-worker for sharing the Adobo recipe.  She even sent me a picture of an Empire apple called for in her Butternut squash recipe.  Just so many new recipes she shared in her book using “first time I’m hearing this” ingredients…recipes like:

*Elk liver with onions and fresh veggies
*Hockley blue oyster and shiitake mushroom soup
*Fiddleheads with garlic
*Rosemary roasted quail on brown Canadian wild rice

And don’t even think that “Freshalicious” recipes are plain, simple and not exciting.   In fact, she covered everything, from Dad’s simple fresh garlic bread to fresh whole wheat pizza dough to Cumin pork rib roast with homemade applesauce to Decadent Chocolate lavender cake.  I bookmarked these exciting recipes to include in my food offerings for this year’s special family gatherings:

*Sooo sexy sangria with fresh strawberries and wild strawberry liqueur
*Margeritza! Greek Easter soup
*Strawberry salty stars with cardamom shortbread dough

With exceptional and stunning photos adorning Stacey’s book, it is so easy to love her book.   I told Stacey the photography and food stylings are spot on…Stacey couldn’t thank enough her friends Mike McColl (www.photoswithsauce.ca), Simon Burn and Lisa Clements.

Visit  http://www.Freshalicious.ca to get your copy of Stacey Fokas’ Freshalicious and let’s enjoy recreating her mouth-watering recipes in our own kitchen.

Now let’s talk ’bout Stacey’s Adobo, her American-style Adobo.   She included the exciting flavor combinations of Philippines’ Adobo (soy sauce, vinegar and brown sugar for that “Tamis, Alat, Asim” tastes…sweet, salty, and tangy) but in a much mild proportions, thus the American-style.  Filipinos loved strong and bold flavors of these 3 ingredients.  When I make my adobo, expect 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup of soy sauce seeping through chicken or pork cuts during the cooking process.   Potatoes, fresh ginger and red onion…these you wouldn’t find in most of adobo recipes, but they would be great additions.  I’d include some whole hard boiled eggs in Stacey’s Adobo.

ADOBO (Chicken legs and potatoes in a pan)

8 skin on organic chicken legs
6 large potatoes
1 large red onion
sunflower oil for frying
3 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon ginger
2 – 3 tablespoons white vinegar
few shakes of soy sauce
4 tablespoons brown sugar
2 dry bay leaves   sea salt to taste
1 – 2 cups chicken stock
2 cups water, approx.

Wash the chicken legs and score deeply on all sides to ensure cooking through.  Peel and quarter the potatoes.  Chop the red onion and fry it in sunflower oil until it starts to caramelize.  Add the chopped garlic and ginger and then turn the heat down to medium.

Add the chicken legs and fry for a few minutes to cook the outer skins.  Add the vinegar and continue cooking for about 10 minutes, stirring.  Add the potatoes, soy sauce and brown sugar.

Add the chicken stock and/or enough water to cover the potatoes and chicken.  Toss in the bay leaves and simmer for 35-45 minutes.  Do not taste the sauce until the potatoes and chicken are cooked.  You can re-season at this time.  The sauce should be nice and brown, like the chicken has created its own gravy.  Serves 4 – 6

Another Stacey’s recipe,  Pulled chicken and apple butternut squash soup is in my next post….I get it Stacey….FRESH IS ALWAYS BETTER!

Have A Good Healthy Heart and Say Hello to Winetime Chocolate Bars

We’ve been told that the heart is the most important organ of the body because it is a blood-pumping machine that delivers blood around our whole body.  Heart squeezes out blood to the lungs to be oxygenated and then around the body to help us function.

So it’s “heart” month and we need to take good care of our heart.   And this brings us to the subject of red wine, resveratrol and a special chocolate bar, Winetime bar.

Red wine, mmm, I do prefer white wine, but there are occasions when I do like red wine.  From one online site, ” Red wine, in moderation, has long been thought of as heart healthy. The alcohol and certain substances in red wine called antioxidants may help prevent heart disease by increasing levels of “good” cholesterol and protecting against artery damage.  So, too much red wine can be that damaging and alarming too as drinking too much increases one’s risk of high blood pressure (oh yes, we very well know this).

Resveratrol (oh what a name, I’m sure even doctors would find difficulty spelling this), is what’s making medical researchers excited these days.  In its primary stage of research, resveratrol has anti-aging properties, cancer-fighting properties, and definitely good for the heart.  This substance is found in the skin of red grapes and in other fruits, and thus its connection to the red wine.  But drinking red wine on a regular basis for its resveratrol value, probably not a good thing…remember, “too much drinking spells high blood pressure”.

And then comes along Winetime bar, samples of which was sent to me and really put a smile on my face after learning these chocolate bars got dates, almonds and RASPBERRY (all my favorites, yey!).

Yes, Winetime bar is a chocolate bar…it’s got resveratrol and it gets the job done (one bar contains more resveratrol than 50 glasses of red wine.).   Now I really don’t have to drink red wine, after all.   I’d get my resveratrol benefits from just eating this special rich dark chocolate bar.   You can google “resveratrol” and you’d discover why it is all over the news these days — its anti-aging, weight-loss and ward-off cancer properties are sure enough to get people excited.

But what about the taste of this Winetime bar — I’d say this, I am not a big fan of fruits and nuts (Cadbury), but these 2 flavors are simply divine and rich.   They are chocolatey through and through, and not bitter at all.

Since this is a special month, I’m including in this post, some tips a cardiologist friend of mine from Italy shared with me.  Thanks Doc!

“as all unsaturated fatty acids, also resveratrol is good…but chocolate has also saturated fatty acids, so not too much.   do you like chocolate?”

“yes I heard about resveratrol for the wine in the south of France but not a lot of medical articles about that.”

“My advice to my patients —
1) half an hour of aerobic activity per day
2) 2000 calorie diet with 55 % carbohydrates, 25 % fat and 20 % protein
3) periodic control of glicemic value, cholesterol and LDL, blood pressure
4) if someone has no problems about diabetes or cholesterol, has no family history of heart disease, he can eat what he wants…but not too much”

“do you know omega 3 fats?  they really can reduce stroke incidency
the name is ESKIM or ESAPENT… but you can eat them with white fish
do you know Merluzzo or Branzino or Orata?
I like salmon too, but it’s a fat fish..
Merluzzo is Cod  Orata is Sea Bream, and Branzino is Sea Bass I think.”

Here’s the press release for Winetime bars that was sent to me….

New Chocolate Bar Fights Aging, Improves Heart Health
(WineTime Bar provides more Resveratrol than 50 glasses of red wine in a nutritious snack)

Chocolate lovers around the world are rejoicing over the debut of the WINETIME Bar, because they can now get their chocolate fix without having the slightest feeling of guilt. A new type of nutritional chocolate bar, the WineTime Bar combines the indulgence of chocolate with the health benefits of red wine to create a delicious snack that is anti-aging and can improve heart health.

The WineTime Bar is the first nutritional bar to contain Resveratrol, and it packs more of this beneficial antioxidant than can be found in 50 glasses of red wine. The bar also has seven other extra ingredients that can boost health including “super fruits” cranberry, noni, pomegranate, goji berry, acai, mangosteen and blueberry.

According to studies, Resveratrol is believed to protect cells from free radical damage, inhibit the spread of cancer, especially prostate cancer, lower blood pressure, keep the heart healthy and improve elasticity in blood vessels, normalize the body’s anti-inflammatory response, and slow down the signs of aging while helping to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

And, most importantly, the WineTime Bar contains the right type of Resveratrol. The WineTime Bar combines 99% pure trans-resveratrol with premium French red grapes from the Rhone valley. Trans-resveratrol has been proven to be the key-health promoting ingredient in studies as opposed to the other type of Resveratrol, cis-resveratrol. Trans-resveratrol is more biologically active and beneficial.

The WineTime Bar is dairy and gluten free, high in fiber, vegan, contains no trans fat, hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, cholesterol, artificial colors, sweeteners, flavors or preservatives. Available in two flavors, Chocolate Dates & Almonds and Chocolate Raspberry, the WineTime Bar is a low-calorie snack with only 190 calories per bar. The WineTime Bar retails for $2.99 and can be purchased at Vitamin Shoppe stores nationwide, select Whole Foods stores or online at http://www.winetimebar.com.

About ResVez, Inc.
ResVez, Inc. focuses on the creation and distribution of functional food bars with health benefits—“bars for a reason.” For more information visit: http://www.winetimebar.com.

Take good care of your heart…and when chocolate cravings come knocking at your door, grab a Winetime bar, and SMILE!

Enjoy the Big Game, Enjoy Snacks and Dips (Santa Barbara Bay’s and Salad of the Sea’s)

If ever we get to indulge in snacks “that we really shouldn’t be eating…oh this Biggest Loser TV series is just making us all feel guilty”, it’s this Sunday…the Superbowl Sunday!

I must admit I have “nyet” or zero knowledge about this game of football…padded hunks throwin’ and fightin’ over a strangely-shaped ball.   But this whole week, they get to be mentioned in night TV shows  — including my favorite station, Fox Network.   Like last nite, Jay Leno announced about 1.2 billion chicken wings will be consumed this Sunday…E News featured nervous Madonna spreading her wings and giving a tease of her dance routine for the half time entertainment (she’s just not the same Madonna I used to go gaga for)…O’Reilly mentioned 3.5 million dollars for a TV commercial spot during the football game (and you know that would be passed on to consumers!).  So it’s a big deal, it’s a huge thing!

I’m more of a “Survivor” fan, I don’t watch football and get annoyed by all the hecklings and boos of opposing die-hard fans, but I’d say best of luck to the Patriots and the Giants…they made it to the finals and both deserve to win.

But for me the real winner is…..SNACKS AND DIPS!   Specially on a “supposedly, just being lazy” day and doing nothing other than watch the game “still in pjs” from time to time while eating a variety of gameday treats…yes, what I’m super excited about this Sunday is taking the lids off of these “AWESOME” sample treats that was Fed-ex’d to me early this week.   No special food, no special dessert…it’s just  “ridiculously snackin’ and dippin'” the whole Sunday, period.

But I couldn’t resist trying some samples out last nite…I’m sure you wouldn’t either.  But I haven’t gone to the stores yet for some chips…so I checked my fridge and pantry.  Mmm, I got some sweet potatoes…and made them into oven-baked sweet potato wedges.   Lucky to find a bag of unopened baked pita chips (garlic, parmesan and herb-flavored).  And some leftover items too — eggrolls (that I then fried) and ground beef taco filling, yum!

So which ones to try first…dilemma indeed, they were all screaming for my attention!  I grabbed Salads of the Sea’s Cajun Crab Dip and Santa Barbara Bay’s Greek Yogurt Dip!

With an “Easy Open” lid (no difficult peel-off of stubborn foil covers, just simply detach perforated part of the lid), no special tool was required, and container is microwaveable too if you like warming up dips.

Cajun Crab Dip:  A Blend of Imitation Crab Meat, Cream Cheese, Pimentos & Cajun Spices

Greek Yogurt Dip:  A Delicious Blend of Greek Yogurt, Cucumbers and Savory Dill

The cucumber and dill flavors in creamy Greek yogurt (1/2 the fat of traditional sour cream) was perfect with my oven-baked sweet potato wedges.  And I even enjoyed a dollop of this over taco filling  — it was light, refreshing and creamy enough, I love it!  No more sour cream for my tacos from now on.

The Cajun Crab Dip…this is really “to die for”, I’m typing this blog with intermittent munchy pauses (Type, Dip, Type again), I don’t even need crispy pitas or tortillas, I could just enjoy this dip by itself like enjoying peanut butter.  This is more of a spread, much thicker than the Greek yogurt dip, but is packed with exciting flavors exploding in my mouth with each bite.  That cajun spice seasoning, mmm, is BAM indeed!  It even made my eggrolls extraordinary.  And it just made the crispy pitas “snack happy”.

Now I can’t wait to snack all day this Sunday with this variety of Future Food Dips.  Thanks Future Food and Danielle Bickelmann for introducing me to these “truly yummy and addicting” dips and spreads.

Now in my fridge….smiling at me, each time I open the fridge:

From Santa Barbara Bay —

Spinach Dip
Chunky Artichoke Dip
Roasted Garlic Ranch
Garden Dill
Cucumber Dill Greek Yogurt Dip (half already devoured!)
Roasted Red Pepper and Asiago Cheese Greek Yogurt Dip

From Salads of the Sea —

Cajun Crab Dip (just a spoon left!)
Cajun Smoked Salmon
Jalapeno Crab Dip
Crab Spinach Dip
Smokey Bacon Crab Dip

You have got to try them all…for Illinois, you can find them at Walmart and Super Target.    Or visit the following websites for store locations in your area:

http://www.santabarbarabay.com  and

http://www.saladsofthesea.com

I just phoned my friend Stephanie who’s been bringing Trader Joe’s Caramelized Onion Dip to  our meetups and been bragging about it and spread the news to her ’bout these Future Food Brands Dips…and I used these descriptive words…”to die for, super exciting flavors and insanely addicting”,  oh believe me, she’s grabbing some tubs for Sunday’s Big Game….hope you would too!

Here’s the press release shared to me (and also recipes for oven-baked pita chips and sweet potato wedges):

The Big Game may be in Indianapolis, but the big party will be in your living room with Salads of the Sea Cajun Crab Dip (the number one selling cajun crab dip in the country) and Santa Barbara Bay Spinach Dip (with more spinach than its competitors). It’s an easy way to score a touchdown with your guests.

Team these dips with crackers, pita chips or veggies for the perfect play. Searching for these snacks on store shelves doesn’t take much time off the clock either, as they’re available nationwide in grocery store chains.

Make the Big Game a Big Hit with Future Food Brands Dips
So easy to serve, there’s no need to call a time out

The Big Game may be in Indianapolis, but the big party will be in your living room with Salads of the Sea Cajun Crab Dip and Santa Barbara Bay Spinach Dip. Both by Future Food Brands, these dips aren’t just easy to dish out, but also delicious, versatile and a football-fan favorite.

The Cajun Crab Dip is a blend of imitation crab meat, cream cheese, pimentos and Cajun spices sure to score a touchdown with your taste buds. And with more spinach than its competitors, Santa Barbara Bay Spinach Dip is a winning combination of tender spinach, crunchy water chestnuts and real dairy sour cream.

Team these dips with crackers, pita chips or veggies for the perfect play. Searching for these snacks on store shelves doesn’t take much time off the clock either, as they’re available nationwide in grocery store chains.

Future Food Brands also has its own halftime show of sorts – party trays with a different dip in each half. Available in either 22 oz. or the new 16 oz. size, these delectable duos are the ideal way to celebrate a gridiron get-together among friends and family. The ready-to-serve trays offer consumers a scrumptious snack with a combination of two dips, spreads or the all-new Greek Yogurt flavors paired side-by-side in individual 11 oz. or 8 oz. compartments.

“With two flavors of our dips, spreads and yogurts available in each party tray, we provide the variety our consumers are looking for at a low price without sacrificing quality,” said Emily Alfano, Director of Marketing and New Product Development at Future Food Brands.

Unlike football, Future Food Brands doesn’t stop when the season is over. Innovative products, such as Smokey Bacon Crab Dip and Roasted Red Pepper and Asiago Cheese Greek Yogurt Dip, are year-round hits. With ingredients sourced from the North Pacific, an area recognized for its freshness and quality, the result is a line of dips, spreads and salads that have a taste and flavor that all food fans can agree on.

Follow Salads of the Sea at facebook.com/SaladsOfTheSea and twitter.com/SaladsofTheSea and Santa Barbara Bay at facebook.com/SantaBarbaraBay and twitter.com/SantaBarbaraBay to enter contests and stay afloat of the latest announcements, tips, news and recipes.

About Future Food Brands, Ltd.
Founded in 1984, Future Food Brands, Ltd. is a leading manufacturer of innovative, quality seafood based and dairy based dips, salads and spreads distributed under two National brands, Salads of the Sea and Santa Barbara Bay as well as numerous private label brands. Products are sold in Deli, Dairy, Produce and Seafood departments nationwide. Future Food Brands, Ltd. is headquartered near Dallas in Carrollton, Texas.

Oven-baked Pita Chips

8  pita rounds, cut into  wedges and separated
About 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 F.  Line a large baking tray with aluminum foil.   Brush the inside of each pita chip with olive oil and arrange them in a single layer on prepared baking tray.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 8 to 10 minutes or until the chips are crisp.   Let cool completely on the pan and then transfer to an airtight container.  Store at room temperature.

Oven-baked Sweet Potatoes

3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled, cut in half and cut into wedges
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Seasoning Mix:
1/3 cup panko or plain bread crumbs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 400 F.  Line a large baking tray with aluminum foil.  Spray aluminum foil with nonstick cooking oil spray.   Coat sweet potato wedges with olive oil and arrange them in a single layer on prepared baking tray.  Sprinkle seasoning mix over oiled sweet potato wedges.  Bake for 30 minutes or until nicely browned.

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Mouth-watering “MINI PIES” (Book Review)…and Perfect Pie Crust Recipe

Baking mini pies is a marvel of an idea, of course.   Even Bakers’ Square pies only look great when displayed at the counter…a slice of the pie just doesn’t have the same appeal as the uncut pie.   So bite-size mini pies would be the way to go.

A new book of Mini Pies was sent to me (thanks again to Beth Cook and Ulysses Press) and it’s cute and packed with sweet and savory pie recipes…I can’t wait to try them all.  Baked fruit pies are my hubby’s favorites; I love the unbaked cream pies.

Authors Morgan Greenseth and Christy Beaver are on a mission with their book, Mini Pies…”Christy and I wanted to remove that stigma (pies can be intimidating and difficult to perfect) and make pie accessible for bakers at every level.”  There’s a whole chapter on pie crust (perfect pie crust, graham cracker crust, and even Vegan pie crust).   The next chapters (Fruit Pies, Cream Pies, Nut & Savory Pies) include the popular pies and new pie creations like Dirty Chai pie (mmm, interesting indeed!)…and I book marked Mango Cream Pie right away (that’s definitely in my to-do list!).   Whipped Cream, yes Vegan too and meringue recipes are also included in the book.   Lots of sweet tips from the authors in each recipe (I smiled at this tip on the Bourbon Pecan Pie recipe page:  “You may as well sip the remaining bourbon while your pies are in the oven.”).

Time for my pie “work-out”!   Here’s the perfect Pie Crust I followed from Morgan and Christy’s book…

PERFECT PIE CRUST

8 tablespoons butter (1 stick)
6 tablespoons shortening
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
4 teaspoons sugar
6 to 8 tablespoons ice water

1.  Chop the butter and shortening into 1/4-inch pieces.  Place in the freezer to chill while you prepare the other ingredients.  (I skipped the chilling; the butter was rock-hard when taken out from the fridge.)

2.  Blend the flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor.  Add the chilled shortening and process until the mixture climbs the walls of the processor bowl.  Add the butter, one piece at a time, and process thoroughly.  (I added all the butter and shortening all at one time, and let the food processor do its thing — turning the mixture into fine crumbs.)

3.  Add the ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture comes together in a ball and makes 2 laps around the processor bowl.  (I made sure no ice was included!)

4.  Remove the dough, divide it in half, and flatten each half into a disc.  Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

BLUEBERRY PIE
I opened a can of store-bought blueberry pie filling.

5.  Preheat oven to 350 F.  Generously grease a 12-cup (mini) muffin tin with cooking spray.

6.  On a thoroughly floured surface, roll out the pie crust to a thickness of 3/16 inch.  Using a 4-inch-diameter round cutter, cut 12 crusts.  (I rolled my pie disc in between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and I simply used my hubby’s whisky glass for my cutter.)

7.  Using a mini cookie cutter (your choice) and leftover dough, cut out 12 shapes to use as pie toppers.  (I used a heart-shaped mini cookie cutter.)

8.  Carefully shape the crusts into the wells of the muffin tin, crimping the edges with your fingers.

9.  Fill each mini pie to the brim with the blueberry filling.  Top each mini pie with a pie topper.  (I used a small ice cream scooper.)

10.  With a pastry brush, lightly brush the pie crusts with soy milk, then sprinkle with sugar.  (I used ordinary whole milk.)

11.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the crusts are golden brown.  (I was afraid filling would bubble up and run over the muffin tins, so I placed the muffin tin over a large baking tray —- Big mistake!.  The crusts didn’t brown at all.  I place the large baking tray not directly below the muffin tins…and it baked nicely after some minutes.)

Oh little gems…thanks to this wonderful Mini Pies book…I love these pies!  I highly recommend you to have this book…and wow your guests at next party!