It’s not that easy to think up creative Mishloach Manos. And if you finally come up with that perfect idea, it frequently requires hours of work and attention. That’s why I was so excited to discover 101 Gourmet Cake Bites. There is a wonderful variety of cake balls and pops with clear and (here’s the best part) easy instructions. In fact, some of the reviewers complain that the cake balls are all made from mixes. For me that was the selling point!! With everything else we have to do for Purim (the seudah, the costumes, the delivering of the mishloach manos), wouldn’t it be nice not to have to make those cake balls from scratch??!! Order your copy today. You can make the cake balls in advance and freeze them. Better yet, you can have your kids make them…
Move over cake pops, here come Push Up Pops! They are the latest hot item at parties (I had one at a Bat Mitzvah last night!) and for Purim. They look adorable, are super fun for kids and adults and can be dressed up in any assortment of colors.
The instructions are simple: layer cake, frosting and toppings, and cover.
Breezy’s has them! Set of 12 is $15 but mention GKC and get $2 off!
Order them online or for quicker delivery call 516 374 1544 to get them in time for your next simcha or for your mishloach manot.
Need a PB&J makeover?
These clever little sandwich cutters come in four fun themes, with shapes like frogs (that’s my fav!), gumball machines, airplanes (and more!), and are BPA-free and dishwasher safe. Kids will love making their own sandwiches for school. And as a mom, it’s really satisfying to see their faces light up; not to mention, the extra time and effort is minimal. The Lunch Punch makes for a great gift and also encourages quality time in the kitchen! We give The Lunch Punch an A+ for creativity and fun!
If you are serving a great punch at your Super Bowl party, you need to serve it in a great bowl. GKC scoured the web for punch bowls and arrived at this simple yet classic version from Pottery Barn. We wanted glass not plastic and the crystal ones just seemed…well…too much, more suited to a southern debutante party than a rousing salute to football and friends. This version is elegant without being over the top. And the price – $49.00 – is right too. Monogramming is available if you want to turn it into a family heirloom. Try it out with our warm red punch or the alcohol-laced drink we are recommending in our blog.
Upon awakening in Paris, the hotel delivers delicious French press coffee to your room. I am an official coffee snob and am particular about coffee beans, freshness, flavor, type of cup and what type of machine it was brewed in. So I was hesitant about a more “instant” coffee method. To my surprise, the French press coffee was fantastic. Maybe it was just Paris and the fantastic view of the Louvre, but the coffee was bold, hot, and flavorful. No bitterness or muddiness and really, really fresh tasting. When I arrived home, I immediately ordered a Bodum French Press. It’s perfect to use for a quick cup or two for guests and my new favorite afternoon treat. The French say that the French press method extracts the best flavor from the coffee bean. I agree.
Available at Starbucks, Amazon, and I got mine from Surlatable.com for $29.95
I recently discovered a truly great product! We were invited to a friend’s house for coffee and I offered to bring the cake. And I knew just the recipe I wanted to use – my favorite chocolate cake. The only problem was that it makes a huge bundt cake and they are a young family with one small child. While I could have made a huge dent in the cake myself, I didn’t think that was polite. I was unsure of what to do when I discovered these Half-Size Bundt Pans at www.kingarthurflour.com. They are the perfect solution. You can make a whole bundt cake – perhaps this Amaretto Cake – and pour half into this pan and half into another of the same (Yes, I bought two!) Voilà – two desserts!! Now I’m thinking of all sorts of occasions where a smaller cake is more appropriate and the possibilities seem endless. They look great too. So snap some up – now when you bake, you can make one for now and one for the freezer with NO extra effort (how great is that?!) – and when guests show up unexpectedly, you are totally prepared.
Gotta have GKC in the kitchen to follow all your favorite recipes? I do! I love the new kitchen mounting docs for the ipad. Now I mount my ipad to the cabinet or to the fridge and I can pull up all my favorite recipes without printing them.
This one from Belkin.com, mounts to a fridge, cabinet or wall.
No tools or hardware are needed and no permanent installation is required. Supplied with Maximum-strength 3M™ Command™ Strips snap the iPad 2 firmly in place and securely to a fridge, cabinet or wall without damaging surfaces when removed.
From Belkin.com for just $39.99
Sometimes the simplest products are the most useful. My chicken soup just wouldn’t be the same without this mesh skimmer. This particular one is available from Target but you can try any kitchen goods store. Your chicken soup will be clear and beautiful – even with all the vegetables left in (which is the way we like it!). It is not fancy or expensive but it does the trick. I just picked up an extra one for Pesach. Snap yours up today; your family will never look at soup the same way again. To test your new product out, try it on this flavorful chicken soup recipe.
Really sleek and useful in modern kitchens, this simple spice rack is made from 1 piece of 18 gauge folded stainless steel. A narrow slot on the front provides a glimpse of the spices hidden behind, framing your eight favorite spices (that’s a bit tough!) into a colorful abstract line. Includes glass spice jars with cork tops. Mounts on the wall with two screws.
Dimensions: 18″L x 2.50″W x 4.25″H
Available at www.desudesign.com
Essential to great latke and doughnut-making is a good, reliable classic candy/deep-fry analog thermometer that has sturdy, heat resistant clip. This one is great and very inexpensive.
Available at amazon.com for $10.64
It’s that time of the year – as Chanukah approaches, doughnuts (or sufganiyot) call to us from the corner of every supermarket and bakery. I happen to love doughnuts and this is the one time of year I allow myself to indulge. It’s a mitzvah, right? I’m also excited this year because I’m going to try something I haven’t done in a while – making doughnuts at home. I’m about to purchase Top Pot Hand-Forged Doughnuts: Secrets and Recipes for the Home Baker by Mark Klebeck (Author), Michael Klebeck (Author), Scott Pitts (Photographer), and Jess Thomson (Collaborator). The Klebeck brothers sell 1.3 million doughnuts per week in their Seattle coffee shop so I figure they must know what they’re talking about. And the cookbook is meant to help the home cook who doesn’t have elaborate equipment make fresh, delicious doughnuts – yum! Yes, I know, they’re fried in oil – but hey, it’s Chanukah! If you make some before I do, let me know how they turn out. I can’t wait to get started…
This classic menorah finished in polished nickel is both sleek and functional. Perfect for extra guests or any child, it is sophisticated and reasonably priced.
Available at Crate & Barrel $32.95.
The brief winter season in Los Angeles is the only time of year that The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf sells its Winter Dream tea. This is a particularly delicious tea that evokes that cozy, around the fireplace winter feeling. With the flavor of cinnamon and other like spices, it is reminiscent of the mulled warm drinks of past generations. You can also add milk or whipped milk to make a winter dream latte which is a particular favorite. So, if you’re not in the mood for these hot coffee drinks, curl up with a nice cuppa winter dream tea, a few yummy cookies and a good book. And shut out the cold outdoors.
For years I have denied that a potato ricer is necessary for perfect mashed potatoes, after all I like them chunky anyway. But upon testing various potato recipes and personally experiencing the “gummy-ness” that can easier occur when mixing the cooked potatoes, I am now a convert to the need for a fantastic potato ricer. It “rices” the cooked potatoes without breaking it all down so that the final texture when mixed with the scrumptious flavorings (like salt, garlic, pareve sour cream, pareve milk, margarine etc.) is creamy and delicious.
They come in a variety of sizes and price points. The larger ones have the great feature of being able to work with larger quantities but also separate the peel from the flesh of the potatoes so there is no need to peel the potatoes, just boil, rice, and mix in the extras.
I like these two from Williams-Sonoma.com
Potato Ricer $29.95
Food Mill $149.95
Although significantly more expensive, this one is from All-Clad and can be used for soups, fruits, and holds a large quantity. Many other companies make food mills for a more competitive pricing like Amazon.com
We all need just a little boost to get back into cooking and serving after the marathon of the High Holidays!! These colorful linens from April Cornell are the perfect answer to those hostessing blues. Just looking at them perks me up and makes me want to invite some guests over immediately. They always have some great patterns on sale so you can indulge your fantasies and be thrifty at the same time! Do I want flowers or plaids or maybe both??! Check these out and add a bouquet of vibrant color to your next Shabbos table!
I love the variety of Bundt pan shapes available and enjoy presenting cakes in different shapes. I am so excited to get this new, well actually vintage, shape that has been released by Nordicware and Williams-Sonoma. Its a recreation of the 1950′s original that was modeled from an old German stoneware mold. It’s simple and chic and is updated to today’s needs, meaning it’s totally non-stick.
Available at Williams-Sonoma.com for $34.95
Last year I bought these whimsical spheres of clear handblown glass and used them for tea lights and flowers in the Succah. I hung them them with clear fishing wire so it gave the illusion of floating lights. At $3.95 each, they are an inexpensive way to decorate the Succah. Buy a few extra though, I did break a few while hanging them.
Available at CB2.com for $3.95 each
Just saw these pretty honey dishes at the new Breezy’s in Cedarhurst, 917-885-0366. They are made by Mosser Glass in Cambridge, Ohio. I love the idea of a burst of color on the Yom Tov table. They are available in green, blue, red, white, and amber. the price is irresistible at only $30. I bought a few to use outside in the Succah too.
I love this hammered stainless steel honey pot with a dazzling and teasing brass bee on the top. It has a modern texture and a shiny finish that dresses the piece up for any holiday table. It includes a dipper and a glass insert for easy washing. It’s part of Mary Jurek’s gorgeous handmade collections. Check out her other work at Maryjurekdesignsinc.com or buy this piece from The Kitchen Clique for $115.
GKC has talked about iced tea a lot this summer. Now, I found the perfect iced tea maker and carafe by Eva Solo. Is there anything better on a hot day than a cold glass of iced tea from a chic pitcher. Here is how it works. The ice tea maker is designed to brew ice tea in the conventional and simple way: Spoon your desired mix of tea leaves or tea bags into the filter and add boiling water. Once the tea has brewed, remove the filter and insert the flip-top lid. Put the carafe with the hot tea in the fridge to cool down, and then add any additional flavours, sugar, cinnamon stick, mint, etc. and ice cubes before serving. It’s designed specifically to fit easily in the fridge and the flip top lid ensures drip free pouring. It’s a combination of glass, stainless steel and silicone which makes it extra cool looking. Available in black, green and yellow.
Available for $90 at http://www.emmohome.com/eva-solo-ice-tea-maker.html
No kitchen is complete without a good set of mixing bowls – or in our case, 3 good sets of mixing bowls!! Although they now make great plastic, silicone and stainless steel bowls, I confess a partiality for ceramic ones. I can’t claim they’re the most practical choice – they chip, crack and break (why do you think I’m buying new ones?!) – but they are the most attractive for those of us who like to leave them out on the counter. I like mine readily available for all the myriad of mixing tasks that arise – not to mention that they take up lots of room in the cabinet. I know I have to replace my cracked Mason Cash fleishig ones soon but at the moment my chipped milchig ones are my focus and I found these cute and reasonably priced ones at zappos of all places! If you found some great and colorful ones somewhere else, please let me know. I think my pareve ones may be up for replacement soon!
Eggit is flying of the shelves of all the kosher markets! Eggit is the new, super easy way to shine up your breads and pastries. It’s all natural and works beautifully. When they say, “Spray it, bake it and let it shine”, they are absolutely right! I tried it last week on all of my challahs, some with crumble topping, some with seeds and some with just plain Eggit spray (none with brushed on, drippy egg wash and no more deflated challahs from the brush puncturing the challah dough and deflating it). Each baked up with a shine and a crisp, slightly browned top. No mess and very evenly distributed. The spray is strong and generous, use it a few inches away from the pastries or breads. GKC loves it and you should try it too. Not just for challahs, I’m using it on goat cheese squares, baked ziti, and spinach spanikopita this week. I used it on a lattice topped pie and sprinkled it with some coarse sugar. It worked so well for the shine and helped bake the sugar into the topping. My friend Debby, sprayed it on chicken cutlets, added salt and spices and wow! instant browned, flavorfull chicken. Go find Eggit in your local market and if they don’t have it yet, let them know that you would love to try it. It’s distributed by Eggit and can be ordered by the market at 516 371 0070.
Cupcakes are the latest rage with no sign of fading. Here at GKC we feature recipes for S’mores Cupcakes, Gingerbread Cupcakes, Root Beer Cupcakes and more. And we are in the process of developing some others. Some people are intimidated by cakes (no one wants to make the first cut!) but no one is intimidated by cupcakes. And just as the recipes are terrific, there are some great ways of displaying them. This is one of our favorites from Midwest CBK and available through amazon. They also have a white (slightly different but still elegant) version and a jeweled gray option. Cupcakes have never looked this good!
Healthy ice cream just may exist. How perfect is that for warm summer days? How could this be you ask? A husband and wife team came up with an invention called Yonanas that turns frozen bananas into something the looks and tastes like ice cream without any added cream or sugar. I was skeptical for sure, but it turns out that this machine makes pretty darn tasty banana non-ice cream ice cream. You can add other fruits like strawberries, or blueberries or even chocolate to make it even more delicious. Seems kitschy but this one really works! Try it and you will be buying a lot more bananas!
Available at online at Yonanas for $49.95
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!