Sticks is a silicone mould that let you greet your guests this holiday season with 30 delicious, crunchy homemade bread sticks. Cooking time is 15 minutes on the oven, or 5 minutes on the microwave. I see it as a perfect bakeware tool for the hostess.
What I like about the Lekue Sticks mold is that the stocks are the right size to be served as appetizers.
They are not just for appetizers. You can serve bread sticks, instead of crackers, with a warm soup at lunch time or you can include them in your dessert table. On Lekue Web site, I found two basic savoury bread stick recipes (parmesan and orange sticks, black olive sticks) and three basic sweet bread stick recipes (spice sticks, cacao sticks, citrus sticks).
I already own the Decomax. Since I really want them, I ask a local shop to investigate if they could order them for me. I have my doubts since Sticks is a new product that seems to be available only the European site. Fingers crossed!
If you are looking for a small and unique hostess gift, have a look at Karoto. When Israeli-based designer Avichai Tadmor imagined Karoto for Monkey Business he started by enlarging the basic pencil sharpener. He then added a vegetable peeler to one end. The end result is a 3-in-1 kitchen gadget that lets you peel, sharp and create curly ribbons from vegetables.
Available in yellow or black, Karoto makes it easy to style carrots, zucchinis, cucumbers for a vegetable platter or a salad. And the best things is that everyone will be able to give you a hand with your food preparation.
You can watch this short video to see Karoto in action. At $15 a piece, you may want to stock a few for your small Christmas gifts.
Last Friday, food blogger Beatrice Peltre of La Tartine Gourmande was at “The Martha Stewart Show”. Bea prepared two savory tartines from her first cookbook. Everything looks tasty!
Tartines, which are open sandwiches, make great lunch. I love these two recipes because there are filled with colorful food. Plan ahead of time if you wish to serve them to your friends. Rest assured that the techniques are easy to follow and the ingredients are easy to find. She made:
If you plan to serve both tartines for a stylish lunch with your girl friends this summer, start by roasting the cherry tomatoes. While the cherries are in your oven, prepare the basil oil, blanch the green vegetables and make the ricotta spread. Toast your favorite bread; select a loaf with a nice crust. You will find on Martha Stewart’s recipe the recipes with videos where Beatrice shared more tips on how to make her tasty tartines.
Beatrice talked about her experiences at the Martha Stewart Show on her blog. If you are looking for more deliciously healthy recipes, do not forget to grab your copy of her cookbook the next time you shop at a bookstore.
Anna and Gian Franco Gasparini designed for Alessi a 5-knife collection with a unique design feature. Grip styles and food icons that identify the knife usages are printed on the blade like tattoos. That explains the name tatau, that is tattoo in Polynesian.
Each knife has a symbolic name: “Peel” (paring knife), “MPK” (small cook’s knife), “Thick” (the traditional chef’s knife). “Thin” (filleting knife), “Tusk” (for bread and crust desserts). You can buy each knife separately or as a set. The Tatau knife collection could make a nice graduation gift or for someone who is new to cooking.
No, these are not donuts! Lucidipedere Studio created for Normann Copenhagen a fun version of the classic mezzaluna. I always use a mezzaluna to chop herbs. Believe me when I tell you that the round shape of the blade makes it more comfortable and efficient to chop herbs.
A pretty coloured rubber band hides the handle, and the blade when it is not in use. I predict that you will not want to hide the Chop Knife in a kitchen drawer. I only wish that they sell it with a mezzaluna cutting board.
+ Chop Knife by Normann Copenhagen $35.19 at Scandinavian Design
Counter space at a premium? Bulky knife blocks can be part of the problem, but this one slices through the kitchen clutter (though we think it would be equally at home on a gallery wall).
Designed by Mia Schmallenbach, the Deglon Meeting Knife Set is ergonomically designed and appears to be created from a single piece of stainless steel. The set includes a paring knife, a utility knife, a chef knife and a slicer cozily nested together.
Removing the knife you need is as easy as pressing near the tip of the blade to raise the handle for safe removal from the set.
Beautiful as it is, one can’t help but think the knife set’s hefty price tag may be better used to invest in a kitchen renovation to get the counter space you need.
With the big Holiday season only a few months away, it is good to know tricks that can save you time in the kitchen. In this video, SAVEUR magazine‘s Executive Food Editor, Todd Coleman, shows you how to peel a whole head of garlic in less than ten seconds. It’s a bit noisy but effective.
For every day use, you can tap a clove of garlic with the back of a chef knife. A less-messy option is a garlic peeler. I like the colorful silicone garlic peeler by Danesco and Zak Designs.
I am on the lookout for more time-saving cooking tricks. If you know any, please share them.
I am a huge fan of Y peelers. It’s probably because that was the favorite potato peeler of my mother. Still to these days, I use the straight peeler once in the blue moon. Brands have made them more cheerful. Here is a round-up of what is available if you are in the market for a colorful y-peeler.
Since I think that every kitchen needs two y-peelers, the set of 3 Swiss Classics by Kuhn Rihon (1) will enable every family member to participate in the preparation of dinner. This 20-year old product is proven and tested. It includes the handy potato eye remover on one side. Beware that you must hand wash them.
Karim Rashid designed a curvy ceramic blade y-peeler for Slice (2). The advantages of a ceramic blade is that it supposed to last longer than a steel blade, plus it won’t brown food, transfer smells, or leave a metallic taste. The built-in potato eye is located at the top center.
If you are looking for a cheaper option, you can for the $2 STÄM Peeler (3) from Ikea. It goes in the dishwasher but it lacks the potato eye.
Swissmar produces peelers with three edge types. The scalpel is what we all know. The serrated edge is made to handle the skins of delicate fruits and vegetables while you can easily create julienne sticks with the julienne edge. They are dishwasher safe.
During these dog days of summer, the prospect of a hearty, rich slow cooker meal likely couldn’t be further from your mind. After all, it’s grilling season!
But this quick – and brilliant – tip from Tara and Stephanie at Healthy Mama, Healthy Baby makes so much sense right now, when farmer’s markets are loaded with fresh, locally grown veggies.
They chop meat and veggies to pre-assemble and freeze basic slow cooker meals. All it takes is a few ingredient adjustments to create completely different meals – from barbecue chicken to Thai curry.
Your slow cooker may stay in storage for another few months (although it sure beats turning on the oven during a heat wave!), but when you’re ready for your first cozy fall meal? You can re-live summer memories with the tastes of the season.
Reading the latest issue of Saveur (Sept. 2011) taught me that the pesto starts with the smallest, palest basil leaves. It is because they do not have the bitterness and the licorice-like taste of the mature leaves. But if you have mature green basil leaves, simply blanch them for 30 seconds and plunge them in an ice bath right away. Another tip is that coarse sea salt will help pulverize the ingredients. You want a delicate flavor olive oil to not overpower your pesto. Go for an olive oil that is pale gold. Plus, you will get several recipes from across the Mediterranean.
The second article that caught my attention is about homemade ice cream. They showcased 6 ways to make your own ice cream without an automatic ice maker, which include using coffee cans or Ziploc bags.
I love Sunset magazine. I discovered it a few years ago while we were in San Francisco or Los Angeles. There was a copy in our hotel room. I was hooked. Every week, Sunset organized a Celebration Weekend outdoor exhibit at their headquarters. They have activities for all members of the family, food and drinks demonstrations, beautiful gardens and a product exhibit. It is definitely on my to-do list for next year.
If you are not too far from the Menlo Park area this weekend, plan a day at Sunset Magazine Headquarters. Watch this video with footage of the 2010 edition.