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Archive for October, 2012

FOOD HOLIDAY & PRODUCT: Giovanni’s Lobster Pâté & Champagne Day

This smooth lobster spread is a bit of
heaven. Photo courtesy Giovanni’s.


We don’t know who gave us this little tin of Giovanni’s Lobster Pâté with Cognac. We were browsing through a box of unopened food samples and the little blue can with the big red lobster popped out at us. It may have arrived in a holiday basket last year.

But whoever you are: Thank you! Thank you!

We didn’t have high expectations, but boy were we surprised. And for $2.49 per 2.75-ounce tin, it’s a bargain. (Small size, huge taste).

Very smooth and creamy, with forward flavors of fine lobster and Cognac, it was so delicious that we tracked it down on and ordered 12 cans. And that’s just for us.

For the holidays, we’ll return for the 48-pack: $149.00. Stocking stuffers don’t get better than this!We’ll be back to order a supply for holiday gifts.


Now about Champagne Day: There is some confusion over the date. Some sources say it’s October 26th; others give December 31st and even August 4th.

The difference is Champagne Day (October 26th) versus National Champagne Day (December 31st). The former was declared by the Champagne Bureau, the U.S. representative of the Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne (CIVC), the trade association that represents the grape growers and houses of the Champagne region of France.

We love a reason to open a bottle, so we’re happy to celebrate National Champagne Day several times a year. We’ll pop the cork tonight and serve the Champagne with Giovanni’s Lobster Pâté.

We enjoy it spread on warm toast quarters (brioche or white bread); but you can use crackers or eat it straight from the can. It’s that irresistible.

Check out our overview of Champagne and sparkling wine.


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TIP OF THE DAY: Chicken Caesar Salad Alternative

The Chicken Caesar is one of America’s most popular salads: grilled chicken and romaine topped with an olive oil dressing and grated Parmesan cheese.

Chicken and cheese are a delightful combination. So here’s a different spin on the classic Caesar: Switch out the Parmesan for another flavorful cheese.

The idea comes from Landana, which makes a delicious Olives & Tomatoes Gouda cheese. The Gouda is flecked with sun-ripened tomatoes and mild olives, Mediterranean flavors that are delicious with chicken.

You can also use blue cheese, pepper jack and flavored Cheddars like those from Cabot Cheese (Chipotle, Garlic Herb, Hand Rubbed Tuscan, Horseradish, Hot Buffalo Wing, Hot Habanero, Smoky Bacon and Tomato Basil, plus Jalapeño Light and Pepper Jack Light).


Preparation time: 20 min minutes
Servings: 4


For a change, switch out the Parmesan in a Chicken Caesar Salad. Photo courtesy Landana Cheese.


In addition to changing cheees, this recipe adds grapes and nuts/seeds.

  • 5.3 ounces (150 g) Landana Olives & Tomatoes cheese or other flavor-packed semihard cheese, cut into bite-size cubes
  • 12 ounces (200 g) grilled chicken breast
  • 7 ounces (200 g) seedless grapes, halved
  • 5 ounces (150 g) nuts and seeds (for example, chopped walnuts, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts), toasted
  • 2.6 ounces (75 g) romaine, butter lettuce or mixed lettuces, cleaned and torn into bite size pieces
    For The Dressing

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoons mustard
  • 1 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoons honey (optional)
  • Salt and pepper

    1. GRILL. Cut the chicken breasts into strips and grill in a grill pan.

    2. TOAST. Toast the nut mixture briefly (how to toast nuts).

    3. MIX. Mix the dressing ingredients.

    4. COMBINE. Combine the lettuce, chicken, cheese, grapes and nuts into a serving bowl. Toss with the dressing.

    The Caesar Salad was named after the restaurateur who created it. What would you call this salad?

    Serving Suggestions

    BREAD. This salad is delicious with fresh Italian ciabatta bread and (homemade) tapenade.

    WINE. Serve this salad with a refreshing rosé or a crisp white wine.


    Here’s the true story about the origin of the Caesar Salad, and the original Caesar Salad recipe.


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    EVENT: Kids Food Festival: November 3rd & 4th

    Kids will discover that healthful foods are exciting. Image courtesy Kids Food Festival.


    It’s tough to get kids to establish healthful eating habits. Aside from all the media messages, there’s peer pressure and the ubiquity of not-good-for-you food and beverage choices.

    But what if good eating could be presented as a fun activity? That’s what Cricket Azima, kids food expert and founder of The Creative Kitchen, thought when she designed the Kids Food Festival.

    Now in its second year, in partnership with Cooking Light, the festival is a weekend full of flavorful fun held in Manhattan’s Bryant Park (42nd Street and Avenue Of The Americas) on November 3rd and 4th, 2012.


    The Kids Food Festival is a celebration to educate families about making balanced food choices. This helps to create wholesome lifelong eating habits for both kids and parents.


    The mission is to combat childhood obesity by engaging families in fun food activities, tastings and exciting family-friendly programming.

    The weekend-long event offers a host of family-friendly activities including cooking classes, food demonstrations, live entertainment, the Balanced Plate Scavenger Hunt for kids, food sampling, giveaways and more. General admission to the event is free and open to the public.

    Cooking Classes For Kids

    Some of New York’s top chefs will provide hands-on cooking classes for kids at The James Beard Foundation Future Foodies Pavilion, including Ellie Krieger, Jehangir Mehta, Sam Talbot, Patricio Sandoval and Katie Workman. Classes are $25 per child with a portion of the proceeds benefiting FoodCorps, a nationwide team of leaders who connect kids to real food and help them grow up healthy. Tickets can be purchased here.


    If you’re not in the New York Area, the Kids Food Festival can come to you. Contact @CricketAzima on Twitter or use the Contact Us form on the Festival website for information.

    You can follow the festival on Twitter @KidsFoodFestNYC and on Facebook and the Festival’s website.


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    TIP OF THE DAY: “Zig-Zag” Baked Potatoes

    Do you like to get creative with food design? Bring fun to the dining table?

    Next time you bake a potato, zig-zag the cut edges. We baked the potato, then sliced it across the top and used a kitchen scissors to create the zigzag effect.

    There’s no wasted food: We added the cut-out portion, along with onions and bell pepper, to the following morning’s omelet.

    Wild potatoes are indigenous to the Andes Mountains in Peru. They were first domesticated more than 6,000 years ago. Here’s the history of potatoes.

    How many different types of potatoes have you tried? Check out our Potato Glossary.


    Scallop your baked potato. Photo courtesy Architec.

    Don’t like baked potatoes? Here are other potato recipes.


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    PRODUCT: Yoga Cookie Cutters

    For yoga fans, cookie cutters that can
    transform many foods—including this piece
    of cornbread—into yoga poses. Photo


    Our fast-paced society is stressful. Work pressures, managing family and household and inescapable digital demands don’t leave us with much quiet time.

    Some 15.8 million Americans—6.9% of the adult population—practice yoga to de-stress. Yoga quiets the mind and strengthens and rejuvenates the body.

    If you’ve been thinking about studying yoga—or have friends and family who do—here’s some inspiration as well as a possible holiday gift.

    The Yummy Yogi Cookie Cutter Collection Includes five stainless steel cutters in these poses:

  • Crescent Lunge Pose (Anjaneyasana)
  • Downward-Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
  • Tree Pose (Vrksasana)
  • Warrior 2 Pose (Virabhadrasana II)
  • Warrior 3 Pose (Virabhadrasana III)

    Individual cutters are $8.50; the collection is $40.00. The cutters are individually packaged so you can divide the collection among five friends and save $2.50 over the single-piece cost.


    We’ve used the cookie cutters to create tasty yoga poses in:

  • Bread and toast
  • Chicken breasts
  • Fish fillets
  • Melon slices
  • Pancakes
  • Shortbread
  • Squash
    What would you make with them?

    Get your your cutters at


    What better gift for the yogi who bakes? Shown: tree pose. Photo courtesy



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