Sunday, November 30, 2008

Nesco Gardenmaster Food Dehydrator on sale

Nesco Gardenmaster Food Dehydrator on sale at $99.99 from 9pm Sun 11/30 - Mon 12/1. Save $70 at Sears website! Click here

* Nesco 1000 Watts Gardenmaster® Food Dehydrator
* This Nesco Food Dehydrator is our "Top of the Line" unit
* More powerful and larger than any other
* Expands to a giant 30 trays so you can dry large quantities all at once
* 1000 watts of drying power means you can dry more, faster
* Patented Converga-Flow® fan forces heated air up the exterior pressurized chamber, then horizontally across each individual tray, converging in the center.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving recipe from Barefoot Contessa!

I don't know anyone who looks forward to carving a turkey on Thanksgiving. You're at the table, everyone's watching, and you're struggling to carve a hot bird. Instead, I decided to make a roasted turkey breast stuffed with all kinds of delicious things--sausage, cranberries, and figs. No bones and it cooks to juicy perfection in under two hours. How easy is that?

Sweet potatoes are available year-round, but their prime season is really autumn and winter. Choose potatoes that are smooth and unblemished, and use them fairly soon because they don't keep as well as other potatoes. These potatoes are crispy like fries but they're better for you because they're baked. --Ina Garten

Roasted Turkey Roulade (Serves 6 or 7)

3/4 cup large-diced dried figs, stems removed
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup Calvados or brandy
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1-1/2 cups diced onions (2 onions)
1 cup (1/2-inch-diced) celery (3 stalks)
3/4 pound pork sausage, casings removed (sweet and hot mixed)
1-1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
3 cups Pepperidge Farm herb-seasoned stuffing mix
1-1/2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 extra-large egg, beaten
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 whole (2 halves) turkey breast, boned and butterflied (5 pounds)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Place the dried figs and cranberries in a small saucepan and pour in the Calvados and 1/2 cup water. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, then lower the heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large (12-inch) skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and celery and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the sausage, crumbling it into small bits with a fork, and sauté, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes, until cooked and browned. Add the figs and cranberries with the liquid, the chopped rosemary, and pine nuts, and cook for 2 more minutes. Scrape up the brown bits with a wooden spoon.

Place the stuffing mix in a large bowl. Add the sausage mixture, chicken stock, egg, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and stir well. (The stuffing may be prepared ahead and stored in the refrigerator overnight.)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Place a baking rack on a sheet pan.

Lay the butterflied turkey breast skin side down on a cutting board. Sprinkle the meat with 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Spread the stuffing in a 1/2-inch-thick layer over the meat, leaving a half-inch border on all sides. Don’t mound the stuffing or the turkey will be difficult to roll. (Place the leftover stuffing in a buttered gratin dish and bake for the last 45 minutes of roasting alongside the turkey.) Starting at one end, roll the turkey like a jelly roll and tuck in any stuffing that tries to escape on the sides. Tie the roast firmly with kitchen twine every 2 inches to make a compact cylinder.

Place the stuffed turkey breast seam side down on the rack on the sheet pan. Brush with the melted butter, sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, and roast for 1-3/4 to 2 hours, until a thermometer reads 150 degrees in the center. (I test in a few places.) Cover the turkey with aluminum foil and allow it to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes. Carve 1/2-inch-thick slices and serve warm with the extra stuffing.

Baked Sweet Potato "Fries" (Serves 4)

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled
2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for sprinkling
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Halve the sweet potatoes lengthwise and cut each half into 3 long spears. Place them on a sheet pan and toss with the olive oil. Spread the potatoes in one layer. Combine the brown sugar, salt, and pepper and sprinkle on the potatoes. Bake for 15 minutes and then turn with a spatula. Bake for another 5 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Sprinkle lightly with salt and serve hot.
©Ina Garten, All Rights Res.

Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics: Fabulous Flavor from Simple Ingredients link

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Want a high profile (but easy) alternative to mac&cheese?

Then take a look at this recipe form iGourmet: it's delicious and it's perfect for friends coming to your place, because it freezes very well. Just prepare it in advance and surprise your guests with notes of flavor that their mac&cheese will never have!

Farfalle with Creamy Asiago DOP Sauce & Speck Alto Adige IGP

12 ounces uncooked Farfalle (bowtie pasta)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 / 4 cup all purpose flour
4 cups 1% milk
1 ½ cups shredded Asiago D’Allevo DOP (approximately 4 ounces by weight)
1 ½ cups shredded Asiago Pressato DOP (approximately 4 ounces by weight)
6 ounce piece Speck Alto Adige IGP, diced (approximately 1 cup by volume)
Pepper Mill

Pasta pot, 4 quart saucepan, balloon whisk, 9 x 12 inch casserole dish

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cook pasta to al dente stage (see Cook’s Tips below). Drain. Return to pasta pot and set aside.

Mix cheese together in a large bowl. Divide as follows: 2 cups for sauce & 1 cup for topping.

In a 4 quart saucepan, melt butter and whisk in flour. The mixture will be dry. Cook 2 minutes and add 1 cup of the milk. Whisk until smooth. Add remaining milk and whisk again until smooth. Cook until thickened, approximately 3-5 minutes.

Remove pan from heat. Gradually add the first 2 cups cheese ½ cup at a time, whisking until smooth. Season with a few turns of fresh black pepper. Stir in diced Speck Alto Adige IGP.

Add Asiago DOP cheese and Speck Alto Adige IGP sauce to pasta. Mix well. Place in casserole dish. Top with remaining 1 cup Asiago Pressato DOP.

Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 20 minutes until casserole is golden brown and bubbly.

Cook’s Tips:
Remember to cook pasta in at least 4-6 quarts of water. Cooking pasta in too small a pot or too little water will result in sticky, gummy pasta. Using a larger pot than you think you will need is a good idea.

Variation: Do not bake the pasta if you like a moister pasta dish.

Shop iGourmet for the best ingredients:

Benedetto Cavalieri Pasta - Farfalle link
Benedetto Cavalieri has been making this pasta in Lecce in the region of Puglia using the same traditional method since 1918. In Benedetto Cavalieri's “delicate method,” water and durum wheat are kneaded together and processed slowly and gently. To form the pasta into a variety of traditional shapes, the dough is extruded through antique rough bronze dies and dried gradually at room temperature. The result of this dedication to tradition and attention to detail is a pasta with the distinct fragrance and flavor of wheat and a satisfying chew that is typical of high-quality pasta made the authentic, old-fashioned, artisanal way. Sauce this special pasta sparingly so you can taste the difference between it and the pasta you buy at the supermarket.

This farfalle ("butterfly" or "bow-tie" pasta) is perfect for serving with chunky tomato and boar ragus, creamy tuna sauces, or tossed in a zesty vinaigrette for pasta salad.

Asiago d'Allevo - Pound Cut link
Northwest of Venice, tucked beneath the Dolomite Mountains, artisan cheesemakers produce Asiago using traditional methods: no computer-operated machinery or temperature-controlled rooms, just cows and grass, men and women, and an abundance of Asiago. A light beige cheese peppered with small holes, Asiago d'Allevo has a slightly fruity appeal and an engaging aroma. Aged for up to five months, it is firm enough to shave or shred. It's often used for cooking and in salads, but also makes a tasty cracker cheese.

Asiago Pressato link
Produced in the Po Valley near Treviso, Asiago Pressato is a milder, sweeter Asiago with a springy, pale interior. It is classified as an Italian DOC (Denominiazione di Origine Controllata) cheese, meaning that it is protected by governmental standards regarding the cheese's origin and techniques. Made from pasteurized whole milk and aged for 20 to 40 days, this young cheese has a full, creamy flavor. We suggest enjoying Pressato with crusty Italian bread and a glass of Pinot Grigio!

Speck Alto Adige link
Speck is a type of bacon from the South Tyrol region of Italy. Made by Recla, a well respected producer since 1919, this meat is rubbed with a mix of spices that is a well kept family secret. Basically it is a mix of rock salt, sea salt, pickling salt, pepper, juniper berries, various herbs and a hint of allspice. Two weeks of dry curing is the first stage in preserving the meat. The speck is then lightly cold-smoked over beechwood chip, producing its signature flavor. The individual pieces of speck are then stacked carefully for maturing in aging cellars, where the product loses about 40% of its weight in the slow drying process. This maturing is important for the bacon to become truly tender. Unlike American bacon, this type of bacon does not require any additional cooking - simply bring it to room temperature and slice it. Serve it with or without its spicy crust.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Just in time for Thanksgiving, from iGourmet

4 Thanksgiving Cheeses (with Knife and Crackers) link
This festive Thanksgiving assortment offers four irresistible selections from around the world. Accompanied by Mini Toasts and our Signature Cheese Serving Knife, this collection is a complete entertaining solution for the upcoming holiday. From its rich and smooth Gouda to its buttery blue, this assortment has a favorite for everyone. Available for a limited time at just $21.99 (save $18). It includes:

* Pepato: This pecorino from Sicily is studded with whole black peppercorns. We absolutely love it paired with flavorful Italian cured meats. (8 oz.)
* Regina Blu: One of our creamiest blues, this premium example hails from Bavaria. Its extravagant richness helps it stand up to a buttery Chardonnay or juicy slice of turkey. (8 oz.)
* Allgau Emmental: Also known as Bavarian Swiss, it is arguably the most famous cheese from Germany. Made from pure Alpine milk, we can't think of a better accompaniment for Friday's turkey leftovers. (8 oz.)
* Beemster Vlaskaas: Its name means "Flax Cheese," owing not to an ingredient but to the plant that dominates the local countryside. Similar to Gouda but creamier and deeper yellow in color, Vlaskaas' purple rind distinguishes it from all other cheeses. (8 oz.)
* Signature Cheese Serving Knife: This knife's high-strength stainless steel alloy blade has a pronged tip to assist with easy serving, and is cross-drilled to prevent the softer cheeses from sticking to the knife.
* Mini Toasts: The perfect accompaniment for cheeses, pates, and spreads. (2.75 oz)

igourmet's Guide to Fall Cooking & Entertaining

5% off any order at igourmet with code: KGB5
Click here!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Choose the right wine for your Thanksgiving table

In "Ten Wines For The Thanksgiving Table" Forbes interviews Gary Vaynerchuk, host of Wine Library TV and author of the book "Gary Vaynerchuk's 101 Wines: Guaranteed to Inspire, Delight and Bring Thunder to Your World" (available at Amazon) on what wine would be perfect on our Thanksgiving table.

Vaynerchuk's pieces of advice will surely delight our guests.

First of all try something new. If you stricly abid to the wine-pairing rules for the rest of the year, this Thanksgiving try to be creative and avoide pairing a red wine only with roast meat and a white wine only with salads.

Second, go for the lighter wines. Since, he says, Thankgiving dinner is a long event and it may take hours before you leave the table, pick wines with lower level of alcohol. I.e. don't serve a still Merlot with appetizers otherwise auntie will fall asleep before entrées.

Suggested wines that go with the appetizers:

1) Spanish Valdesil Montenovo Godello
One of the most exciting white wines available on the market today for the price. Fresh, bright, racy flavors of white peach and almonds. Unique and delicious - from 140 year old vines.

"Light yellow-gold. Sexy lees, honeyed pear, peach and smoky minerals on the nose, with anise and sweet butter qualities. Lush, waxy citrus and orchard fruit flavors become smoky with air, taking on a creamy quality reminiscent of high-end white Bordeaux. Juicy pear and apple flavors cling on the long, sappy finish, which echoes the lees and anise qualities. This performs far above its price point."
-International Wine Cellar

order it online: linkicon

2) Italian Tiefenbrunner Pinot
This wine is light yellow to sandy-colored in appearance, with a bouquet that hints of pear and candied fruit. The strong harmonious structure emphasizes its dry, full bodied taste and round finish.

Makes a good companion to all sorts of appetizers, as well as asparagus dishes, seafood, poultry, pork or veal.

order it online: linkicon

3) Hortus La Bergerie Blanc. If you don't find it a the winery try Greg Norman Estates Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir
The wine is a pale straw green in color and it has a very fine, yet persistent bead. On the nose there are lifted strawberry, citrus and nutty aromas with just a hint of sherbet character. On the palate it is a medium to full bodied style with generous stonefruit and citrus flavors and a very smooth, yet generous finish.

Viticulture: This wine is a combination of chardonnay (57%) and pinot noir (43%) sourced from premium vineyards within the premier grape growing regions of Adelaide Hills, Langhorne Creek and McLaren Vale. The fruit was hand picked to ensure maximum control of natural freshness and retention of primary flavors.

order it online: linkicon

4) Albrecht Gewürztraminer Reserve
The Gewurztraminer Reserve is made from selected (prime) grapes. Bursting with the aroma of honey, red roses and tropical fruit, yet dry and rich on the palate, this wine is lovely to drink on a warm afternoon by itself or paired in a meal with rich, creamy poultry dishes. It releases both to the mouth and the nose litchi, rose petal and spice aroma.

order it online: linkicon

5) Dr. Karl Christoffel Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese
If you don't find it a the winery, try Henschke Julius Eden Valley Riesling 2006
Riesling is the classic grape variety of Germany and one of the earliest varieties brought to South Australia. Cyril Henschke developed the Henschke reputation for premium Riesling wines as early as the 1950s, from the vineyard areas of Eden Valley, Keyneton and Springton.

These dry, food-oriented wines are clean and crisp and have the ability to age into delicious marmalade on toast flavors, due to the cool climate of the Eden Valley region. This region provides excellent ripening conditions for the Riesling grape and has a unique track record of exceptional aging potential for the variety.

The 2006 Julius Eden Valley Riesling is green gold in color. The nose is very lifted, floral and perfumed with rose petals, citrus blossom, lime/lemon zest, hints of slate and green peppercorns. The crisp, dry palate shows sweet fruit with rich flavors of lemon and lime, fresh acidity and excellent length.

order it online: linkicon

Suggested red wines that go perfectly with the meat ("the more acidic the wine, the more you salivate, which is especially helpful with dry turkey and stuffing" Vaynerchuk says):

6) Californian Clone 5 pinot noir. If you don't find it a the winery, try Belle Glos Taylor Lane Vineyard Pinot Noir 2006
Dark garnet hue. Nuanced flavors of bing cherry, sweet brown spices and earth aromas are showcased by a rich, concentrated texture. The finely balanced finish is long, lush and fruit-driven.

order it online: linkicon

7) Bacio Divino Pazzo from Napa Valley. If you don't find it at the winery try another Californian wine: Wild Horse Viognier 2007
Our 2007 Viognier captures the aromatic charm and richness of this varietal. Grapes for this bottling came from our estate vineyard in Templeton, and the Calleri Vineyard in the Cienega Valley of San Benito County. The Calleri Vineyard offers the spice and depth to provide a fulfilling mouthfeel, while the Wild Horse Estate Vineyard contributes aromas of honeysuckle and citrus complimented by a crisp, delicious finish. Each vineyard lot is divided into a tank and neutral barrel ferment fractions (neutral barrels are casks that have been filled for at least three prior vintages and carry minimal oak flavor and tannin). The tank ferment accentuates the bright citrus and stone fruit characters and preserves the mouthwatering acidity, while the barrel ferment adds richness and viscosity to the mouthfeel for a lingering finish. Finally, a touch of Roussanne is added for hints of pear and honey as well as mid-palate richness.

order it online: linkicon

8) Starry Night Lodi Zinfandel. If you don't find it at the winery, try Ravenswood Lodi Zinfandel
By the sandy shores of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River delta, the agricultural town of Lodi is home to a lot of old Zinfandel vines. It's considered a warm region, but its location, directly in line with the Golden Gate, brings daily afternoon breezes that soften the summer temperatures. Combine this with ancient vines in alluvial soil where roots grow very deep, and you've got a formula for ripe, lush Zin that's also concentrated and intense. Soft, round, spicy and jammy with voluptuous overtones of plums and blueberries, this wine lives large.

order it online: linkicon

9) Italian Pieve Del Vescovo Piovano. If you don't find it at the winery try another Italian wine from Umbria: Falesco Marciliano 2003
Made from 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Cabernet Franc grown in estate vineyards in Umbria. Marciliano has a profound dark purple color and exhibits complex aromas of tobacco and slate. This wine is a great representation of Cabernet when all of nature's forces are working together. Layers of fruit are evident on the nose and on the palate, while the tannins are expressive without being too aggressive.

"Here is a knockout wine from one of Italy's most talented enologists, Riccardo Cotarella, that delivers classic Cabernet green notes followed by bursting tones of blackberry, tobacco, toasted coconut flakes, apple pie crust and ... distant hints of black licorice. The aromatic complexity is stellar and so is the velvety mouthfeel; a genuine crowd pleaser."
-Wine Enthusiast

order it online: linkicon

10) Beaujolais Potel-aviron Moulin A Vent. If you don't find it a the winery, try Joseph Drouhin Moulin-a-Vent 2006
On the top of a little hill and in the middle of the vines, one can still admire the "moulin à vent" (wind mill) that gave its name to the area. The mill is now 300 years old, but the vines have been cultivated here for a much longer time: since the time of the Romans.

Moulin-à-Vent can be favorably compared to the wines of Côte d'Or because of its good concentration and great ability for aging. In fact, thanks to its tannins, Moulin-à-Vent may age 7 to 15 years depending on its vintage.

The color is deep purple and the nose shows intense fruit with spicy, ripe aromas. On the palate, the tannins are perceptible but elegant. The finish is long.

Versatile with all kinds of food, especially simple and flavorful dishes such as hors- d'oeuvres, charcuterie and white meats. Serve slightly cool.

order it online: linkicon

Monday, November 17, 2008

5 Tips for a Wine and Cheese Party


Wine and cheese parties are a great way for guests to mingle and try new things. The nice thing about these parties is that they are so versatile - they can range from sophisticated and upscale to super casual, and are a cinch to plan. To get you started, here are our Top 5 Tips for a Wine & Cheese Party:

1. I.D. The Cheese

Your guests will want to taste something new. Wine bottles already have labels, but cheese does not! Therefore:

  • Make sure you clearly label each cheese, either by sticking a toothpick with a label into the cheese or by placing a place card in front.
  • Earn extra points by writing a short description of the flavor, which you can also do for the wines you're serving.

2. Create a Cute Solution for Used Toothpicks

Delicious appetizers and cubes of cheese are easily eaten with toothpicks. Problem is, even the best hosts often forget to provide guests with a place to put the used picks! Avoid that mistake by creating a cute solution:
  • Set out a plate with an orange on it
  • Stick a toothpick on top with the label "Used Picks" on it
  • Stick one toothpick in it to get guests on the bandwagon, and they'll do the rest!

Expert Tip: If you're serving olives, don't forget to put out small dishes for the pits. Label these "Olive pits" so tipsy guests won't mistake it for a bowl of almonds in the candlelight.

3. Use Proper Carving Knives

Don't let your guests struggle to cut hard cheeses with your everyday knives - invest in a good hard cheese and soft cheese knife. Here's what you need to know:

Hard cheese knife:
  • Has a short, fat blade
  • Has a sharp but smooth edge
  • Perfect for parmesans, robusto, and other hard varieties

Soft cheese knife:
  • Has a long thin blade
  • Edge can also be sharp, but is often dull
  • Perfect for cutting brie, cream cheese and mozarella

You can either buy a set of cheese knives or you can purchase high-quality knives individually on a website like Chef Depot.

4. Use the Kitchen Creatively
Plug the drain and sill your sink with ice. Voila! You have an instant ice cooler ready to keep drinks cold. Match your party's décor:
  • Keep it modern by using with all square cubes
  • Go for the organic look with crumbled ice chunks

5. Use Cool Coasters

Throwing a party is fun - but water rings on your grandmother's antique dining table are not. Here's how to keep your furniture ring-free:
  • Put out plenty of cool coasters for your guests to use under their drinks.
  • Place at least four coasters stacked and fanned in the center of each table you want to protect - guests will get the hint.
  • Provide lots of cute cocktail napkins, so any accidental rings can be quickly wiped away.

Originally posted on

Friday, November 14, 2008

New kitchen gadgets to play around

Chef's Quad-Timer
The Chef's Quad-Timer is designed for the serious home chef, the avid entertainer and the modern multi-taker. Designed to compliment today's upscale home kitchens, this unique product features eye-catching form and progressive functionality. Whether preparing a supper for family or a seven course meal for close friends, the timer features an intuitive cooktop metaphor. The four colored lamps on the face of the time visually connect what's being timed with what's on the stove. Running timers illuminates in green and flash red when expired. To use, simply twist the silver inner dial to select any timer and rotate the dimpled collar to input the timer duration and press "start". With our timer, multi-tasking in the kitchen has never been so painless. Two AAA batteries included. link

Pepper Pro Automatic Peppermill with Light
Have your pepper like you've never had it before with this Pepper Pro Automatic Peppermill with Light. Simply put, you can now grind pepper electronically with a touch of a button, and watch as the quiet motor does its work. It is also fully adjustable from fine to coarse grind to get what you want. Also features a high intensity light. Includes spare light bulb and peppercorns. Uses 4 AA batteries (not included). link

Pourfect® 14-Piece Measuring Tool Set
Let our convenient Pourfect® 14-Piece Measuring Tool Set help you level your ingredients for exact measurements for every recipe! Ever wonder what a smidgen, pinch, and dash were? Now you know! The set includes 1 six-cup bowl, 1 eight-cup bowl, 8 piece spoon/scraper set, 3 piece spoon set, and a 1 two-cup beaker. The innovative bowls let you add dry or liquid ingredients with the mixer running without the fear of overspill. The bowls and the beaker are microwavable. Six-cup bowl measures 11" x 7" x 5.25"; Eight-cup bowl measures 12.25" x 8.25" x 5.25". link