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Archive for March, 2010

EASTER: Chocolate Bunnies New School

We’ve gotten to the point where that adorable chocolate Easter bunny just isn’t the temptation he used to be. Old School music rocks, but Old School chocolate is a “been there, ate that.”

We’re going New School with this Bunny Collection edition of the always-welcome Edible Chocolate Box from Charles Chocolates. The chocolate box is filled with Fleur de Sel caramels. How tasty is that?

The lid is of the box (white chocolate) is adorned with a cool Easter bunny and Bunny Jr. Inside the box (made of dark chocolate) are chocolate-covered caramels featuring the bunnies and their neighbors, the Easter chicks.

After you eat the caramels, you eat the box; so you’re guaranteed to get your solid chocolate fix.

The 17 ounces of chocolate make a spectacular gift. But spectacles don’t come cheap: This one is $60.00; 20 pieces of bunny and chick caramels in a blue gift box are $34.00.

Buy it online at

  • Read our review of Charles Chocolates.
  • Find more of our favorite Easter candy.


    Please hop down our bunny trail!
    Photo courtesy

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Rock The Rice


    Rice with saffron, scallion and sausage bits.
    Photo courtesy National Pork Board.


    You can serve rice a different way each day of the month and never run out of ideas.

    Think of it this way: on Mondays mix a different fresh herb into the rice. On Tuesdays cook it in a different tea, or add bits of leftover meat, fish, veggies and/or green onion (think Chinese fried rice). On Wednesdays mix in a different salsa or chutney. On Thursdays try a different spice. On Fridays stir in a different dried fruit.

    On Saturdays, choose a different type of gourmet rice—arborio, California mochi, Indian basmati, black rice, Bhutanese red rice, brown long grain, Thai jasmine, japonica, kalijira, wild rice (which isn’t a botanical rice, but a seed).

    On Sundays, dress up the rice with nuts or a fruit-and-nut mix (fresh or dried fruit: raisins or dried cherries, for example).

    We love rockin’ the rice!

    You can also reward yourself every now and then with a delicious rice pudding—made from whatever rice you like!

  • See our Rice Glossary for a wealth of rice information.
  • Find rice recipes in our Rice, Beans & Grains section.
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    PRODUCT & FREE SAMPLE: CoverMate Stretch-To-Fit Food Covers

    Are you a big user of plastic wrap? It’s not the greenest product in the kitchen: Use it once, throw it away and let it sit in the landfill for an eternity.

    CoverMate has a solution. Its Stretch-to-Fit Food Covers are a heavier grade of plastic with a stretch band that easily covers any shape of bowls, pans or plate. They are BPA- and latex-free. The best way to describe them is to think of a shower cap that keeps the flavor in.

    In fact, we wouldn’t be surprised if the inventor was inspired by hotel shower caps. We’re only perturbed that, given the number of unused shower caps we’ve brought home from hotels, we didn’t think of using them in the kitchen!

    More importantly, this heavy-duty clear wrap can be washed and reused over and over again. Use them to cover plates of food, bowls, casseroles, cakes and pies, platters, melons, drink pitchers and ice buckets. They also keep bugs off the picnic and barbecue food.

    There’s even a small size that covers open cans of food! And, the covers are microwavable—no more food splatters!

    We’ve been trying the Variety Pack, an assortment of three sizes. They work for just about anything, even a cut raw onion, which we typically store in an airtight container to contain the aroma.



    Reusable “plastic wrap” covers make us feel
    greener. Photo courtesy

    You can get a FREE SAMPLE PACK—well, free with $3.95 shipping, but it’s a good deal as you get all four sizes plus a $1.00 coupon for your next purchase.

    Get your sample pack at


    TIP OF THE DAY: Egg-cellent Scrambled Eggs


    Ready for brunch: Scrambled eggs with our
    favorite mix-ins. Photo © California
    Asparagus Commission.


    To make fluffier scrambled eggs, add up to 5 teaspoons of milk per egg.

    As the eggs cook, the milk turns into steam, puffing up the eggs! The milk also adds a richer flavor to the eggs.

    We’re about to make some for brunch with “mix-ins.” You can mix in anything you like. To celebrate spring, we’re going for asparagus, with grape tomatoes and feta cheese.

    Find more egg tips and recipes in our Eggs Section.


    PASSOVER: Make Matzo Brei

    Passover begins tomorrow night at Sundown.

    We have an excuse to make some of our favorite Passover specialty dishes:

    • Matzo Brei, or fried matzo. Our favorite variation is onion and smoked salmon matzo brei, but we have 8 variations for you, both sweet and savory.
    • This Veggie Matzo Brie is a matzo frittata, with carrots, broccoli, cheese and optional pesto sauce.
    • For dessert and snacks, we love Caramel Matzo Buttercrunch, a buttery delight with chocolate and optional chopped nuts and fleur de sel. Even if you’re not Jewish or celebrating Passover, you should whip up a batch.


    Don’t forget the chicken soup and matzo balls.


    Veggie Matzo Brei, the 8th variation of our
    matzo brei recipes. Photo courtesy Cabot Creamery.

    The Manishewitz Matzo Ball Mix is an easy shortcut with the dry ingredients pre-measured as a time saver. It makes matzo balls as good as Mom’s if you (a) add three eggs instead of two, (b) use schmaltz (rendered chicken fat) instead of vegetable oil and (c) refrigerate them for a day before serving (keep them apart from the soup).

    But to make matzo balls as good as ours, you’ll also need to add a tablespoon of chopped parsley, dill or a combination of both, to the batter.



    EASTER: Brunch & Dinner


    Bake or buy cupcakes to make these Easter
    flower cupcakes. Photo courtesy McCormick.


    Easter Sunday is a week away. If you haven’t finalized your Easter menu yet, we have two new recipes:

  • Baked Ham With Mojo Sauce & Papaya Salsa
  • Glazed Ham With Dried Cherries & Caramelized Onions
  • Or take a look at our ever-popular gourmet ham glaze recipes
  • If you’re not cooking Easter dinner, how about Easter brunch?

  • Start by decorating hard-cooked Easter eggs, to serve with the brunch or for an Easter egg hunt afterwards.
  • Next, pick your main course: a Bacon, Egg & Cheese Casserole or Stuffed French Toast.
  • For dessert, bake Flower Cupcakes and Spring Meringue Cookies.
  • Find more Easter ideas by selecting “Easter” from the navigation menu in the right column.


    TIP OF THE DAY: Gourmet Marshmallows Instead Of Peeps For Easter

    Marshmallow Peeps are an Easter tradition in many homes. In our childhood we were delighted by them; some people find them iconic.

    But over the years they’ve tasted worse and worse to us—artificial flavor, and more texture than flavor at that! Perhaps it’s the carnauba wax.

    Sorry, Peeps, we’ve replaced you with all-natural, pillowy soft and incredibly flavorful gourmet marshmallows. If your palate demands the best, buy a marshmallow that tastes out of this world.

    Check out our review of gourmet marshmallows and you’ll never look at a marshmallow the same way again.



    Blackberry marshmallows from Gateau et Ganache.


    FOOD HOLIDAY: National Paella Day


    Paella mixta, one of the three most
    popular types of paella. Photo by Monkey
    Business | Dreamstime.


    Paella is one of the world’s great rice dishes. It was first created in Valencia, a region on the East coast of Spain, and was originally cooked over a fire in the fields as a communal lunch for agricultural workers.

    The dish has evolved over the centuries—the original paella had no conventional meat or seafood, but was made with the more affordable snails!

    Paella has become a great party dish. Not only do the current ingredients—chorizo, chicken, seafood and other proteins—make it a delicious and fun main course, but it makes a great buffet centerpiece for parties.

    Celebrate National Paella Day on March 27th. Enjoy the history of paella and a paella recipe and then plan a party or a large family gathering.

  • Find more world recipes in our International Foods section.
  • To get the daily food holiday, sign up for our tweets at
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    TIP OF THE DAY: Wines For Easter

    What wines are you serving with Easter dinner?

    Forget the same old, same old. Pour something special to talk about over Easter dinner.

    Think of Lachryma Christi (“Tears of Christ”). Or Saint Joseph “Offerus” from Jean Louis Chave: It comes from France’s great Rhone appellation named after Joseph of Arimathea, who donated his own prepared tomb for the burial of Jesus after the crucifixion.

    Both wines are delicious and can precipitate a dinner table discussion about the meaning of Easter. Read more about them.

    Find more information about wine in our Wine Section.



    Serve a real Easter wine this year. Photo
    courtesy Australian Lamb Council.


    EASTER: Chocolate Bunnies


    Please hop our way this Easter. Photo
    courtesy Vosges Haut Chocolate.


    At Vosges Haut Chocolat, the Easter bunnies are of a more flavorful species.

    Four exotic, solid chocolate bunnies are ready to hop your way:

  • Amalfi Bunny (white chocolate, lemon zest and pink peppercorns)
  • Barcelona Bunny (hickory-smoked almonds and grey sea salt)
  • Orchid Vanilla Bunny (62% dark chocolate with Tahitian vanilla)
  • Toffee Bunny (43% dark milk chocolate with toffee chunks and pink Himalayan salt).

    They’re tasty but petite—2.5 ounces each—so you don’t have to feel guilty about finishing the last bite.

    Find more information on these and our other favorite Easter chocolates.

    Read our full review of Vosges Haut-Chocolat.

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