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Archive for May, 2011

FATHER’S DAY GIFT IDEA: Handmade Italian Salame

Some foods, once tasted, can never be forgotten. Nothing will ever be as good.

That’s how we feel about the handmade Italian salami (or salame, as it is properly called in Italy) from Creminelli Fine Meat of Seattle.

The Creminelli family has been producing artisan meat products in Italy since the 1600. More recently, in 2007, master artisan Cristiano Creminelli brought the family’s recipes and techniques to America.

The pork-based salami will be a revelation to Americans for whom Old World artisan traditions have long since disappeared. From the first bite, you know you are eating recipes made with skills passed down from generation to generation.

If Dad/Hubby/Grandpa enjoys a good piece of salami, treat him to some from Creminelli salami for Father’s Day. There are two scrumptious selections in handsome wooden gift crates:

 

Truffle Salami, our favorite, shown here with white Oregon truffles. Photo courtesy Creminelli.

 

  • Classic Artisan Salami Selection: Casalingo, Piccante and Sopressata
  • Gourmet Artisan Salami Selection: Barolo Salami With Barolo Red Wine, Tartufo Salami With Black Truffles and Wild Boar Salami
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    Read our full review of Creminelli salami, a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week.

    Favoloso!

    You can also brush up on the different types of salami.

      

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    PRODUCT: Soft Serve Fruit

    Fresh fruit, filtered water and a pinch of sugar. Photo courtesy The Soft Serve Fruit Co.

     

    We never met a frozen dessert we didn’t like, so we were excited to hear of a new one from The Soft Serve Fruit Co.

    Made with fresh fruit, filtered water and a small amount of organic cane sugar, Soft Serve Fruit is a healthier alternative to soft-serve (or conventional) ice cream or frozen yogurt.

    Summer flavors include banana, mango, pear and strawberry. Apple, cranberry and pumpkin will appear in the fall. Soft Serve Fruit is available with or without toppings and in shakes.

    Think of Soft Serve Fruit as a very low-sugar, soft-serve sorbet. If you have a sweet tooth, you’ll probably prefer conventional sorbet. If you want a frozen dessert with less sugar, go for Soft Serve Fruit.

    The store was packed with health-oriented moms and their pre-school and grade-school kids. The kids were very happy.

    There’s only one hitch:

     

    There are only three retail outlets: one in Manhattan and two in The Hamptons. The company plans to expand and to franchise. Learn more at SoftServeFruitCo.com.

    But there is a solution:

    The Yonanas frozen dessert maker, “As Seen On TV.” Frozen fruit goes in, soft-serve fruit comes out.

    We actually saw the Yonanas machine at a recent healthy food press event and met the inventors. However, no samples were available for tasting.

    But a friend who bought a Yonanas machine after seeing the infomercial says the machine actually does produce something similar to Soft Serve Fruit. (She said it took three bananas to make one large serving. She hasn’t tried other fruits because she doesn’t like most fruits—and in fact ordered only the banana flavor at The Soft Serve Fruit Co.) We’re on a waiting list to try her machine.

    The infomercial producers have convinced the inventors to claim that the Yonanas machine is a “$150 value for $49.95.” Don’t believe it.

    You can get an ice cream maker from Cuisinart and Hamilton Beach for $49.95, which includes recipes and the versatility to make ice cream, frozen yogurt and sorbet. So there’s no justification for the Yonanas claim of a $150 value (unless that’s how they value the inexpensive plastic storage container that is thrown in). It’s a little plastic machine—you can see it at GetYonanas.com.

    You don’t even need a separate machine. Just throw frozen fruit into your blender or food processor, the way the Yonanas inventors likely began. Depending on your food religion, you may wish to add a bit of sugar, agave nectar or noncaloric sweetener.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Easy Fruit Sorbet

    With all the luscious fruit coming into season, it’s time to make easy fruit sorbet.

    You don’t even need an ice cream maker. You can make granita in a plastic container or the bottom of a metal ice cube tray.

    Unlike ice cream and frozen yogurt, sorbet is dairy-free, fat-free, cholesterol-free, vegan and free of the eight major food allergens (eggs, fish, milk, peanuts, shellfish, soy, tree nuts and wheat). If you limit your sugar intake, when you make your own sorbet you can substitute low-glycemic agave nectar or the non-caloric sweetener of your choice.

    SORBET RECIPE
    Use this template to make any fruit sorbet recipe: apple, berry (blackberry, blueberry, raspberry, strawberry), citrus (grapefruit, lemon, lime, orange), melon (cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon), pear, tropical fruit (kiwi, mango, pineapple) and stone fruit (apricot, cherry, nectarine, peach, plum).

     

    Homemade peach sorbet. Photo courtesy
    EatCaliforniaFruit.com.

     

    Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar or 1/2 cup agave nectar
  • 1 cup of your favorite fruit, puréed
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    Preparation

    1. BRING the water and sugar to boil, then lower heat and simmer for five minutes.

    2. REMOVE from heat and cool completely. Combine with the fruit purée.

    3. PLACE in an ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s directions.

    4. FOR GRANITA: If you don’t have an ice cream maker, make a granita. Put the mixture in a plastic container and place in the freezer. When it begins to freeze, stir every 10 minutes to break up the ice crystals, until completely frozen, for approximately one hour.

      

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    PRODUCT: DoubleTree Chocolate Chip Cookies

    A global cookie ambassador. Photo courtesy
    DoubleTree by Hilton.

     

    This week marked the 25th anniversary of the signature chocolate chip cookie given to guests of DoubleTree hotels.

    DoubleTree by Hilton launched its Cookie CAREavan in New York City by giving away 50,000 free cookies. It’s the first leg of a national 50-city road tour.

    So if there’s a DoubleTree in your town, there’s a delicious free cookie coming to you soon.

    The cookies are packed with chocolate chips, walnuts and rolled oats, and are nicely flavored with lemon juice and cinnamon.

    Since 1986, the cookies have welcomed guests to the hotel. Today, at each of the more than 200 DoubleTree hotels and resorts on five continents, the cookies are baked fresh every day—to the tune of 30,000 chocolate chip cookies every month and more than 10,950,000 each year. The company is on its way to giving out its 300 millionth cookie.

     

    One might say that the cookies are goodwill ambassadors to countries that aren’t familiar with them—from China and Costa Rica to Tanzania and Zanzibar.

    DoubleTree has also donated more than one million cookies to deserving people (doctors, nurses, police and firefighters) and special groups (orphanages, food banks and shelters).

    Hotel guests like the cookies so much that they are available online. You can treat yourself or send a tin for Father’s Day, at DoubleTreeCookies.com (or telephone 1.888.916.0097).

    The cookies are certified kosher (dairy) by Star-D.

    Follow the cross-country tour to find out when the Cookie CAREavan may be coming to your city.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Honey Sticks

    If you like honey but are tired of cleaning up the sticky drips, try honey sticks: plastic straws filled with honey. The no-mess packaging is easy to open; the honey squeezes out with no drips.

    This fun and tidy way to serve honey dispenses single servings to anyone who wants some in their tea, on biscuits, on pancakes and so forth.

    Honey also dissolves more readily than sugar in cold drinks such as iced tea and lemonade.

    Oregon’s Nature’s Kick Honeystix makes honey sticks in a nice selection of varietal honeys: blueberry blossom, buckwheat, fireweed, meadowfoam, orange blossom, pumpkin blossom, raspberry blossom, white sage and wildflower.

    There are also flavored honey sticks: cinnamon, lemon, lime and mint.

     

    Star thistle honey in honey sticks. Photo
    courtesy Nature’s Kick Honeystix.

     

    Each straw contains about 2/3 teaspoon honey: enough for one six-ounce cup of tea (excluding the milk).

    A natural product loaded with beneficial vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants, honey in stick form can also serve as a nutritious, on-the-go energy snack.

  • The different types of honey.
  • Pairing varietal honeys with foods and beverages.
  • The history of honey.
  • Honey trivia quiz.
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    FATHER’S DAY HONEY GIFT IDEA
    Take a look at these gift crates with three different flavors of spreadable cream honeys:

  • Apricot, Blackberry & Clover Honeys
  • Cranberry, Cinnamon Spiced & Raspberry Honeys
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