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Archive for September 2, 2009

PRODUCT: Same Sex Wedding Cake Toppers/Chocolate Gifts

In these days of burgeoning same sex marriages and commitment ceremonies, no one makes more delicious cake toppers than NYC chocolatier Martine Leventer, a pioneer in edible cake toppers. After all, floral cake toppers die, and who needs to stumble across a dusty ceramic cake topper in the attic in 10 years? If it’s fine handmade Belgian chocolate, you can enjoy it when you get back from the honeymoon!

The wedding cake toppers stand about 4½” tall, in dark, milk or white chocolate. There are suave grooms in tuxedos and sleek brides in slim runway gowns (chocolate), at $25 per pair. If your brides are old-fashioned, there are “Classic Romantic Brides” in billowing wedding gowns at $35 per pair (more chocolate!). In either style, the gown and bouquet (or tux and boutonniere) can be custom-colored to match the theme of the ceremony. You can buy just one, of course.

Even if no one is marching down the aisle, these cake toppers are charming gifts for committed same-sex couples. You can order them online or by phone; or if you’re in New York City, visit Martine at 400 East 82nd Street (right off 1st Avenue) or her boutique at Bloomingdale’s, 59th Street and Lexington Avenue. Or head directly to MartinesChocolates.com.

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Here come the grooms—and they’re delicious!

 

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TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Alo Original Aloe Drink

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Say “allo” to Alo Original Aloe Drink.

Most people know about aloe vera. It’s an attractive succulent plant that’s often kept on the kitchen windowsill because its sap is soothing to burns and cuts.

The same gel-like sap that has medicinal and cosmetic uses is also made into beverages and other foods, popular in Asia. They can be absolutely delicious—juicy, fruity and fun—they’re filled with chewy pieces of aloe pulp. The challenge over the years we’ve been tasting them in the U.S. has been that they’ve been limited to Asian grocery distribution.

Now, through an arrangement with Ito-en, maker of the Top Pick Teas’ Tea line of bottled teas that have wide distribution in premium food markets, you’ll be seeing more of Alo Original Alo Drink (it’s also available online). It’s a better sweet drink for kids, who will love the floating pieces of aloe pulp and the groovy colors, and it’s hip and sophisticated for adults. Alo is a juice drink, a cocktail mixer and can be frozen into popsicles.

 

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TIP OF THE DAY: Sautéed Mushrooms

September is Mushroom Month! In addition to their normal place in recipes, mushrooms can be served almost anywhere—atop pasta, as a side dish (great with meat and poultry), as an hors d’oeuvre on toasted baguette slices (topped with some fresh chives or parsley), on sandwiches, as a side with eggs at breakfast, as a plate garnish with most dishes—even as a snack on a slice of toast with a cup of tea. We sauté a large batch mixed mushrooms and keep them in the refrigerator, microwaving them as needed. Depending on what we find at the store, we’ll slice porcinis, portabellas, shiitakes, criminis or cultivated white mushrooms. Other times we’ll cook up whole chanterelles or trumpets. Whatever captures your fancy, slice and sauté 1 pound of mushrooms in 1/4 cup of butter or olive oil with 2 sliced garlic cloves and 1 tablespoon fresh herbs—sage, rosemary or thyme. Add good red wine if you have some. Cook over medium-high heat until browned, stirring frequently. Remove from the flame and stir in a 1/8 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice. The mushrooms will keep for a week or more.

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