Recipe Book Binder

Even in the age of the internet where so many recipes are available online, we still like to have a special cookbook binder in our kitchen where we can record those special recipes that a friend is sharing over the phone. Yes, some of us still do it that way (along with email of course). Or what could be a nicer gift for a child going off to college or seminary or a new bride than a recipe binder where they can collect their favorites – maybe stick in one or two of yours to get them started! I found a great collection of recipe binders that can be customized with the gift recipient’s name on them (or yours if you want; no one needs to know you bought it for yourself!) Visit www.zazzle.com to create the binder that suits your style. They have many different options to choose from. This is my particular favorite because I like the retro look: http://www.zazzle.com/retro_mixer_gingham_recipe_teal_binder-127217436447612543

But even the browsing is fun and you’ll probably think of a few people you’d like to buy one for!

Powell and Mahoney Vintage Original Cocktail Mixers

Most GKC readers already know that I love to explore gourmet shops and find new kosher products. This past weekend while enjoying the Eastern End of Long Island I came across a new OU certified company that I must share with GKC readers. I love their products and you will too. Powell and Mahoney, creator of the vintage cocktail mixer, is a perfect fit for the reader that wants an easy, elegant cocktail, but does not have time to make homemade cocktails too. With flavors like Mojito, Red Sangria, Peach Bellini, Hot Toddy, Margarita and more, these cocktails require the addition of alcohol and garnish; that’s it. I tried the Red Sangria, mixed it with fruit and wine, and Wow! – instant refreshment and super gorgeous in the pitcher. One other thing…they make a bottle of simple syrup. To me this is ingenious to have around. Use it in homemade lemonade, popsicles, cocktails, ice tea and so much more.

Just around $10.99 a bottle, try each Vintage Cocktail mixer from Powell and Mahoney and tell us which is your favorite.

Available in Hot Toddy, Peach Bellini, Bloody Mary, Cosmopolitan, Mojito, Red Sangria, Margarita, Ginger, Lemon Sour, and Simple Syrup.

Muddlers

It sounds like a word from Harry Potter but it’s really a simple wooden instrument using to crush fresh herbs, particularly mint, for those great summer drinks. Use it for the limeade featured here or for some great Mojitos. Or let us know what drink you like to use it for. There are modern stainless steel muddlers but I prefer the old-fashioned wooden kind. For a great selection, visit the muddler shop. It’s even fun to start a collection. Bottoms up!

Cool Dessert Cups


I first saw these unique dessert cups at a wedding. A long row of them filled with chocolate mousse, fruits, nuts, candies, parfait, and more. I instantly loved the look and have been searching for them since. Fortunately Amazing Savings came out with an inexpensive version this week and I scooped them up. I served colorful sorbets and fruits and frozen grapes in each of three sets. They are the perfect size and a great modern shape. If you cannot locate them at Amazing Savings, try www.smartyhadaparty.com and get them for only $4.99 a set. Warning…the cones are easy to lose, so at this price, get a few extra sets and don’t worry if a guest drops one in the garbage.

Indoor/Outdoor Beverage Jars

It’s summertime and you are doing a lot of outdoor entertaining. I have found the perfect product and it’s even on sale right now. These beverage jars from Sur la Table look great and make serving drinks oh so easy. I would buy a few so that you can offer varieties of punches and drinks – Sangria, anyone? Or perhaps a Pomegranate and Lemonade Spritzer? And, as beautiful as they look outdoors and as summery as they feel, they also work indoors as well. For your next Sheva Brachos or parlor meeting or … I would stock up now; who knows how long the sale will last? And hurry, before I beat you to it!

Splash Proof Super Fast Thermapen


This is my (OK, all the celebrity chefs love it too) newest grilling essential that is perfect for any grill master (or novice). I love this because it is injected like a needle into the meat and it takes an extremely accurate and quick temperature. The speedy reading means less heat escapes from the grill while the lid is lifted. Many people make the mistake of cutting into a piece of meat to check for doneness, allowing for all the flavorful juices to run out of the meat. Next time, keep the meat juicy and use a thermapen or a meat thermometer for the perfectly prepared barbeque.

Available at our amazon shop for $93 in red, white, pink, purple and green.

GKC’s Guide to Perfect Grilling Temperatures

Meat Temperature Chart(Fahrenheit)
BeefRare

Medium-rare

Medium

Medium-well

Well done

120°  – 125°130° - 135°

140° - 145°

150° - 155°

160° and above

LambRare

Medium-rare

Medium

Well done

135°140° - 150°

160°

165° and above

PoultryChicken

Turkey

165°  – 175°165° - 175°

Cedar Planks for the Grill

It’s grill season! Which means super easy, super quick, and really flavorful meals. Most people are already familiar with grilling burgers, chicken and steak but many struggle with grilling fish. It can be a little trickier with temperature and making sure the fish does not stick to the grill. Cedar Planks are my most favorite fish-grilling tool (Yes, I consider them a grilling essential!). Planking fish (or chicken or burgers) infuses food with delicious smoky flavor. They are easy to use and many are even presoaked (check the package for complete instructions). My other great reasons to use them are:

- Cedar Planks hold delicate meats and fish which might fall apart if they were grilled directly
- The food is kept moist and does not burn
- Plank grilling requires less supervision of the cooking process allowing you to spend more time socializing with your guests
- No BBQ to clean afterwards!

They are available at Williams-Sonoma, Target, Costco, and even in some supermarkets during the summer. We recommend getting packages that have lots of flavor, like apple wood, hickory, and maple.

*** Most cedar planks just need to be submerged in water for 30 minutes so they do not burn on the BBQ and then are ready to use.

You can purchase cedar planks at
www.amazon.com – Set of 6 $17.95
www.williams-sonoma.com for $14.95

Rose Colanders

I am a sucker for color in the kitchen. My cabinets are colorful, my tiles are colorful and I have a great orange blender. My Kitchen-Aid mixer is chrome but my Pesach one is a beautiful cobalt blue! So that’s why I love colorful kitchen tools and these mini rose-shaped colanders caught my eye. I like the raspberry color but it’s probably good to have more than one and the kiwi and sun colors also look pretty good! In fact so do the red and the poppy…It’s not infrequent that one person in the house will want some grapes or berries and I won’t wash to wash the whole bunch. This completely solves the problem – and in such an attractive and inexpensive way. What the heck; I’m ordering all the colors!!

Presentation Boxes

I’m embarrassed to say this (well, actually I’m not) but I have been using the same style of box to house my mishloach manos for the last 3 years. I vary the colors but these boxes look so beautiful and elegant that I figure “why tamper with success?” I fill them with mandelbroit and then attach a stick candy that matches the box to the ribbon. It’s easy, it’s beautiful, it’s delicious. And it fulfills the mitzvah. What more could you want? Did I mention that everyone oohs and aahs and thinks I have real class??!!! These boxes are available at www.nashvillewraps.com in all different colors and sizes although these are my favorite.

Knife Set


What can I say? I am a sucker for color and I’m willing to try this knife set based on color alone. But I don’t have to just indulge my eye. They will actually enhance my cooking as well. The Pure Komachi 2 Series 9-Piece Knife Set with Block has light-weight yet sharp knives. The set includes a 9-piece knife set includes 8-inch chef’s, 8-inch bread, 6-1/2-inch Santoku, 4-inch tomato/cheese, 4-inch citrus, 3-1/2-inch paring, 6-inch utility and 5-3/4-inch sandwich knife, along with an acrylic storage block. And the customer reviews are spectacular. I’m planning to add my name to the list. The price is right and they will brighten up your kitchen, especially during these dark winter days. We have to chop a lot of vegetables to make our winter soups; these knives help make it more fun.

Heather Bowl



It’s so cold outside in NY that I love admiring this shimmery glass bowl that looks like something plucked out of the sea. The bowl is 5 inches wide but comes in two larger sizes too. Although the aqua is my favorite, it comes in an assortment of colors including red, amber, black, clear, bronze, blue and green. It’s perfect on its own or use it for candy, nuts, or Kiddush crackers.

Available at www.heatherheather.com for $60

Chalkboard Placemats


These are not for elegant dining but they are great for keeping the little ones occupied while you make that gourmet dinner. They are also wonderful presents for birthdays, older siblings when a baby is born and grandchildren!! I like them so much that I just keep looking for excuses to buy them. They are available at many different stores although Toys R Us seems to offer the best price. Shop around and let us know what you find.

Wine Aerator


An aerator’s purpose is to expand the surface area of wine, which allows the air to mingle with it. Aerators force air to be circulated throughout it, the end result is a wine with an expanded aromatic profile and/or softer tannins.

A handy aerator will easily do the trick in minutes. A Vinturi Wine Aerator for example, is held above your glass while you pour wine through the top of the aerator. As the wine flows through the aerator, it “breathes” as bubbles are sent through it. An aerator is appropriate for casual meals, where time is of the essence.

Available at Vinturi.com for $39.95

Another more moderately priced option and the one I own is the Soiree.

Soirée has been rated the “Best Bet” of all wine aerators and is proud to be the only wine aerator featured by ZAGAT BUZZ®. Soirée is the only hand-made wine aerator that trumps natural and gentle wine aeration & is also the most affordable.


Available at http://shop.winesoiree.com/main.sc $25.00

Chip and Dip Server

I really like this chip and dip server from NAPASTYLE. The truth is that I like almost everything from NAPASTYLE but I am trying to limit myself. Not only do I find the glass and iron aesthetically appealing, but it is a more efficient set-up than many chip and dip combos. When the bowl for the dip is in the middle, the chips frequently end up in the dip and vice versa (unintentionally!). This arrangement prevents that and allows for dipping ONLY when desired. Besides salsa and guacamole, make some extra dips and round out your collection with the Triple Server. Then invite me over for a margarita…

Elevate Kitchen Utensils


I’m really excited about this product by Richard and Anthony Joseph: Elevate Kitchen Utensils. It’s not just that they eliminate the need for spoon rests; it’s that spoon rests are so inconvenient. Mine are always toppling over and falling on the ground or there is only room for one spoon when I am busy making Shabbos and I’d like to put three other utensils there. And they are always breaking or taking up valuable space. Yada, yada yada…These are the perfect solution. You can put them down and they don’t touch the counter. And I love the colors also; they brighten up the kitchen, especially on some of these gloomy days. It’s the perfect winter pick-me-up – in fact I’m going to order a set right now!

In Search of the Perfect Potato Masher

credit:amazon.com

Nothing says comfort food like mashed potatoes and nothing mashes potatoes like this Dream Farm Smood Potato Masher. Whether you want pareve mashed potatoes or the richer dairy version or perhaps guacamole (this tool is equally good for mashing avocadoes, bananas, sweet potatoes…you name it), this is the masher for you. I would highly recommend getting a milk, pareve and meat version – especially since it comes in three different colors. To purchase, go to amazon.com. And please invite me over; I love mashed potatoes. Especially if you’re making them with gravy…

Monogrammed Recipe Box and Recipe Cards

For those of you who prefer to print GKC recipes and keep them in a recipe box (instead of using our new online Recipe Box), these monogrammed Lucite Recipe boxes are so stylish that you can leave them on the counter or give them as the perfect gift. You can choose from over 40 vibrant designs, colors and monogram patterns. The set includes 50 monogrammed and lined recipe cards with matching Lucite box.


Available at www.dabneyleeathome.com

Recipe cards and box $80

Menorahs

This week’s great product can’t be bought. It is from the collection of The Jewish Museum in New York. There are a lot of wonderful young artists working to create spectacular Judaica that I love but when it comes to menorahs, I am a traditionalist. I love the old menorahs crafted of sterling silver or this unique one made from both silver and gold. This Chanukah lamp was created in 1787 in Brody, Galicia (Ukraine). If I lived in New York, I would take my kids to tour the collection at the museum as part of our Chanukah experience. If I could convince them to come…It wouldn’t take any convincing to get me to go!

Pedestal Cake Stand

We featured these once before but they were quickly sold out. We are so excited to discover a whole new batch of them in the same fantastic colors as before. The hardest decision is whether to choose the turquoise or fuchsia stand. Or do I want black and maybe I can do something creative in the bathroom? What a fun and fresh way to serve cakes, cupcakes, cookies, bars and candies. Cake stands are no longer reserved for cakes only and these ones in particular can be used for almost anything and will brighten any occasion. To purchase please visit the website http://shop.iacolimcallister.com/. Tell them gourmetkoshercooking.com sent you.

Great Glass Bowl


I was poking around online when I found these great glass bowls. Although promoted as serving dishes for desserts or other treats, I think they would be great for guacamole and salsa and other dips as well. I particularly like the water green and the clear but they are also available in cobalt blue, black, sweet pink, purple, yellow and green. You can mix and match. You definitely don’t want to buy just one. They will enhance any Shabbos table and would also be beautiful fulfilling their original intent on a dessert table at a vort or Kiddush. To purchase please go to http://www.finnishgifts.com/glass-maribowls.html. Send us a picture of your table with these beautiful bowls filled with enticing delicacies!

MIU Nonstick Baking Liners

GKC has promoted Silpat mats many times so it’s no secret that we love silicone baking liners. This week I found a great deal on a great product so I must share it with you. MIU baking liners are exactly like Silpat and are perfect for every home baker. I use these non-stick liners in place of parchment paper for all my baking including cookies, challah, caramel, and even under roasted vegetables. The amazing part is that they are so reasonably priced. This week Costco in New York has them for $19.99 for three pieces. Costco.com has two pieces for $22.97, which is still half the price of Silpat. For GKC readers who find them outside of NY, please let us know so we can tell our readers where you got a great deal.

LUCKS cake decorator

Since I am not a talented cake decorator, I am always looking for products that aid the artistically challenged. I was thrilled to discover that LUCKS (Lucks Food Decorating Company) has a whole series of kosher cake decorations. From baby shoes to balloons to clowns to graduation caps, there is something for every occasion and every taste. Visit their website http://lucks.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=page&sectionid=188 to check out their selection. I was looking at the Dec-Ons decorations but they have other options as well. Everyone can be a professional cake decorator with these secret helpers!

Silver Plated Honey Bee Jar


This is a fantastic item. How do I know? I have one myself. Actually I have the sterling silver version that had to be imported from France and requires a lot of polishing…This piece is easier to acquire and looks great on any Yom Tov table – both elegant and whimsical. It charms adults and children alike. And, at this price, it is also a terrific hostess gift. I promise you’ll be invited back next year if you bring it (and if your kids behave!) To purchase, please go to our SHOP. I personally like to have a whole collection of honey pots and jars to intersperse throughout the table. I’m always look for new ones – glass, ceramic or silver; unusual, traditional, classy or just plain fun – let me know if you have any suggestions.