Who knew? After breaking numerous pizza cutters, we discovered this fantastic new invention: pizza scissors. They are nothing short of amazing, if your family likes pizza – and whose doesn’t? No more struggling with hot pizza crusts, burning your hands or removing half the cheese from someone else’s piece as you try to separate them. These scissors slice perfectly and easily through every piece. We cut our pizza smaller than necessary just for the fun of using the scissors. Okay, the thrill will probably wear off! But I highly recommend this. Inexpensive and available everywhere (I found the best price at: Bed, Bath and Beyond) this is a small way to make life in the kitchen a lot easier.
Perfect grilled food requires essential barbeque equipment. Sure you can use the bamboo skewers and dispose of them when you are through but I love these skewers because they come with this amazing rack that holds six 17 inch skewers about 1 inch above the grate for even cooking. The rack also prevents the food from sticking to the grill without sacrificing the grilled taste.
Kabob Skewers with Grilling Rack available at www.surlatable.com $25
While you are buying stainless steel skewers pick up some adorable knotted bamboo mini skewers for satays, fruit kebabs, fish appetizers, and much more. These are a staple in my pantry!
Knotted bamboo skewer, available at www.surlatable.com $6
Get a Grip!
These oven gloves are a great invention. No more dropping trays of cookies on the floor because they slid out of your potholder (It only happened to me once but I’m still traumatized by the experience!). Everything is easier to hold on to and maneuver and the best part is that these gloves can handle higher temperatures than the average oven mitt. I bought a pareve set. Then I bought a milchic set. And you can guess what’s next. I’m going to our SHOP to purchase my third set! My husband and kids like them too and even more enthusiastic about helping around the kitchen if they get to wear the oven gloves. It’s a win-win situation.
Summertime is wonderful for so many reasons but high on my list is ice cream and popsicles. My family loves to experiment with different ingredients and make homemade popsicles with different fruit juices and yogurts. Try some of our favorite recipes and use these Norpro Ice Pop Molds. They are great because they make 10 large popsicles at a time, the plastic is dishwasher safe, and the aluminum top secures the stick in place while the ingredients are still liquid. Also, you can layer colored ingredients with the stick in place, now that’s a gourmet popsicle! Plus you get that retro popsicle look which is fun for all. Get them in our shop for just $17.
I’m a big believer in everything in moderation. I’m unwilling to give up fats or sugar or other delicious foods. But I don’t like to eat wasted calories either. I try not to douse my salad with dressing (where all the hidden calories lie) and so I welcome this new Tabletop Mister. To quote the company’s product description, it “is the first BPA-free, sterilizable glass mister with a patented filtering system that allows the user to create their own flavored oils by infusing fresh herbs, spices or even ingredients like chili peppers and garlic without clogging the sprayer. Perfect for greasing pans and preventing food from sticking. Great for browning meat, and seasoning salads, misting cookie trays, or making pancakes. Our oil mister is the healthy way to add more flavor with less fat. Ensure a thin even coating of oil or other sprays. Beautiful styling fits perfectly in any kitchen or on any dining table.” I couldn’t have said it better myself! These misters are now available in our SHOP. Don’t get just one – you can have all different flavors and oils!
With your mortar and pestle set you can grind and pulverize your own spices and ingredients in the tradition of the finest chefs. I love it for mashing garlic and salt together to use on just about anything or for grinding freshly toasted whole spices like cumin or peppercorns, or for mashing avocados to the perfect consistency for guacamole. I recently used it to blend together kalamata olives, garlic, and spices for tapenade. It creates an authentic texture without overmixing them. I don’t mind the little arm workout either…I earn more treats later.
To purchase, visit our shop, $19
This is the ultimate traveling machine for kosher families. It’s great for breakfast – toasted bagels or waffles, omelets and French toast – lunch or dinner -grilled cheese, warming pizza and amazing Panini sandwiches or grilled fish. We take it everywhere, plug it in and are ready to go. It is easy to clean and store. I love this because it heats the top and bottom of the food simultaneously so the cheese or the interior of the food really cooks through. And for dessert my kids love dessert Paninis or warmed chocolate chip cookies. Imagine -real food while you travel this summer! Get one in our SHOP for $121 and join the fun and amazing treat of eating well while you travel.
The floating pro-press hinge grills foods up to 3″ thick! Utilizes the same pro-press handle as commercial restaurant Panini grills. Cook healthy too! Fats drain into external cup. Features large 11″ x 9″ Grilling Surface, Adjustable Temperature Control For Precise Grilling, Nonstick Coating For Easy Cooking And Cleanup, and 1400 Watts Of Fast Cooking Power. Highly polished die cast aluminum housing. On/off & ready lights. Three-way cord wrap for storage. Stands upright for space saving storage. 1400 watts. 1 year warranty on parts & labor.
One of the pleasures of this job is searching for new great products, beautiful items that are both functional and decorative for our homes and tables. Although I can’t own them all, sometimes just looking is the most fun (sometimes!) I recently found these great cake stands (okay, I have a weakness for a beautiful cake stand and own far too many already!) – with brightly painted vintage candlesticks as the pedestals and hand-finished Corian disks as the plates. They come in a variety of sizes and colors and can be purchased online through www.gretelhome.com. If you buy one, you have to promise to lend it to me…
So often when baking, I found myself searching for a toothpick or wooden skewer to check if my cake is complete. Then a friend gave me this adorable cake tester that works so well that I think everyone must own one. It’s metal and thin so it does not deflate a cake (like a knife does) and wipes clean for the next test. No more searching for the perfect tester. This really is it and it is so inexpensive that it makes a great present topper.
Sometimes you find a product that’s just too beautiful not to share. It may be out of your price range, you may not ever expect to own it but there is a pleasure in just looking and appreciating the design, the craftsmanship, the creativity and, in this case, the colors! So, just for fun (no one’s stopping you from purchasing also!), visit http://orbixhotglass.com/catalog/index.html I like the curly pitchers. But then I also like the opaque curly pitchers, the optic pitchers, the mini raisin bottles. The colors say summer but they may be even better when summer is long gone and you want to hold on to its brightness. So just take a 5 minute walk through the website and smile. That’s what I did…
You can’t make cheesecake without a springform pan – well, you can, I guess, and it will still taste great; you just can’t get that elegant look! The beautiful berries on top, or the sauce dripping down the sides. Many recipes call for 10-inch pans for which I recommend the Kaiser 10-inch springform pan available through amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Kaiser-Bakeware-Noblesse-Nonstick-Springform/dp/B00004RC48) – isn’t everything?! For slightly smaller recipes (you can actually squish in the batter from a recipe calling for a 10-inch pan), I recommend the Nordicware 9-inch non-stick springform available in our SHOP. Whichever you choose, make sure you try one of our delicious cheesecake recipes – and let us know how it looked and more importantly, how it tasted!
Today we laud the lowly funnel. And a new, more efficient version! While I appreciate the beauty of culinary accoutrements, I’m most excited when their efficiency or design is improved upon, when someone takes a common kitchen problem and solves it! So I was thrilled to discover the Zevro Smart Funnel. There is no more mess when removing the funnel from a top a bottle or other container because the Zevro has a tab that turns off the flow. It also comes with an extension that allows for transfer into items with smaller necks or openings. That’s my kind of product. And you don’t need to search high and low for it. You don’t even need google! It’s available in our SHOP. It’s one of those small things (like kitchen shears and larger kitchen garbage cans!) that makes a big difference!
It’s sunny outside so it’s the perfect time to start planting. Crate and Barrel calls it a strawberry pot but I am using mine for assorted herbs. Each section is large enough to grow a fresh herb. I planted sage, cilantro, rosemary, parsley, dill, and mint. All summer the pot will sit outside in the sunlight to grow fragrant and fresh herbs for special GKC summer recipes with fresh herbs. The earthenware pot measures 11.5 inch high and 11.5 inch in diameter.
To purchase go to www.crateandbarrel.com
It’s spring – and lightness is in the air. That applies to our diet as well where salads start to become the focus of our meals. Just in time for all that lettuce munching, we are offering these Zen Zen salad servers. Thin and elegant, they make the perfect addition to your salad server collection. (You can never have too many, right?!) They also make a wonderful hostess gift. I like the shell and palm style but you may prefer the white and brown or the olive green variety. You can even mix and match them with your salad du jour. Check them out in our SHOP.
1. Fiore Kiddush cup by Sharon Geller Metal, available at Gotham Judaica $420 – $590
2. Stunning Silver plates by Two Lumps of Sugar, available in our shop, pictured large black, large paisley, medium black, small silver border, $6 – $18 per plate.
Placemats, sterling round metal bead by Kim Seybert available at Lagoon Linens $42.50
Rosette napkins by Kim Seybert, available at www.kimseybert.com $32
Silver/crystal dome napkin ring, available at Lagoon Linens $21
Black Jewel Acrylic Stainless Steel Cutlery (set of 16 pieces), available in our shop, $20
3. Flowers by flowers by Debbie, available at www.debbieflowersonline.com
4. Wave Seder Plate by Sharon Geller Metal, available at Gotham Judaica Worth the splurge! $1700 – $3000
All Passover items in our shop are 15% off, use code PASSOVER15.
I can bake but I am hopeless when it comes to decorating. That’s why I welcomed the Kuhn Rikon Decorating Pen available at http://www.surlatable.com/product/672410.do Now even creative klutzes like me can join the ranks of the artistically creative. It’s easy to use with minimal mess and clean up. Kids can use it on their own also. Just put in the batteries, add the frosting, choose your tip and you’re off! Your cookies, cupcakes and cakes will never look the same.
You’ve contributed to the Purim shuttle of every tzedakah organization in town. You’ve sent out “in lieu of” cards to friends and in-laws. But there still remain those few individuals to whom you just want to give something more personal, not to mention the actual mitzvah of mishloach manos! You want to be creative – but not too creative, spend money – but not too much. Here are two ideas for unique, easy and elegant mishloach manos, one sweet and one savory.
Sweet Mishloach Manos
Please go to www.chefstools.com to see their Bella Couture cupcake wrappers. They are beautiful ways to decorate the (no longer lowly) cupcake. We’re putting our sweet meringue nuts inside this pink and brown version: http://www.cheftools.com/Bella-Cupcake-Couture-Cupcake-Wrappers-Pink-Hannah-12-Pack/productinfo/08-0672/
We putting them atop a brown and pink striped box from nashvillewraps : find them in our SHOP
filled with mini nutella swirl pound cakes. A ribbon is attached to the box. Tie some pink and brown stick candy to the ribbon and voila.
Sweet Meringue Nuts
4 cups toasted pecans
2 cups toasted almonds
½ cup (1 stick) margarine
2 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place margarine on a rimmed baking sheet and put in oven to melt. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gradually beat in sugar. Gently stir the nuts into the beaten egg white mixture. Evenly spread the nut mixture on the baking sheet with the melted margarine. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 to make sure that the margarine is evenly distributed – until all margarine has been absorbed and the meringue is golden. Remove from oven and cool completely. Keeps for 1 week in an airtight container.
Nutella-Swirl Pound Cake (Pareve or Dairy)
Adapted from original recipe by Lauren Chattman author of Cake Keeper Cakes
I use the pareve chocolate spread instead of Nutella to make this pareve. Either way it is delicious.
1 ½ cups flour,
4 eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted margarine, or butter, softened
1 ¼ cups sugar
1 13-ounce jar of Nutella or 13 ounces of Pareve Chocolate spread (the pareve spread may need to be softened in the microwave to spread like nutella does. Heat in 20 second intervals, until spreadable but not cooked)
Preheat the oven to 325. Spray a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan or 6 2 x4 inch mini loaf pans with non-stick spray. In a glass measuring cup lightly beat the eggs with the vanilla. In a medium bowl, whisk the 1 ½ cups of flour with the baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, using a mixer beat the margarine with the sugar at medium speed until fluffy about 3 minutes. With the mixer at medium-low speed, gradually beat in the egg mixture until incorporated. Add the flour mixture in 3 batches, beating at low speed between additions. Continue to beat for 30 seconds longer.
Spread one –third of the batter in the pan, then spread half of the Nutella or chocolate cream on top. Repeat with another third of the batter and the remaining Chocolate cream or Nutella. Top with remaining batter. Lightly swirl the chocolate cream into the batter with a knife. Do not over mix.
Bake the cake for about 1 hour. (Smaller cakes will require about 40 minutes). Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes.
Savory Mishloach Manos
Use any easy and inexpensive basket. Fill it with natural looking raffia or tissue. Add long bread sticks or purchased gourmet crackers. Make any combination of these items to impress and delight your friends.
Infused Olive oils: Rosemary, Basil, or Lemon http://www.surlatable.com/product/id/124872.do?mr:trackingCode=4B62AEDC-D781-DE11-B7F3-0019B9C043EB&mr:referralID=NA#
Kalamata Olive Tapenade
Italian Wine, Chianti, or Other fruity wine
To purchase the bottles go to www.surlatable.com
Set of 4 are $24.95
Or for beautiful smaller bottles with a pour spout, go to www.hubert.com
Rosemary-Infused Olive Oil
1/2 cup olive oil
3 fresh rosemary sprigs (each 5 inches long)
In small saucepan, combine oil & rosemary. Cook over low heat until a thermometer reaches 180 F, about 5 minutes. Remove and let cool to room temp. Transfer the sprigs to a bottle, then add the oil. Seal and refrigerate up to 1 month
1 1/2 cups (packed) fresh basil leaves
3/4 cup olive oil
Blanch basil in medium saucepan of boiling water 10 seconds.
Drain. Rinse under cold water. Pat basil dry with paper towels. Transfer to blender. Add oil; puree until smooth. Transfer to small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and chill. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before using.)
Lemon and Bay Leaf Infused Olive Oil
1 large fresh lemon
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 fresh bay leaf
¼ teaspoon whole peppercorns
Wash the lemon thoroughly and dry well. Pour the olive oil into a small heavy saucepan. Using a zester and working directly over the pan, remove the zest from the lemon, letting it fall into the oil. Add the bay leaf and peppercorns. Heat the oil over medium-low heat until a candy thermometer reaches 200 degrees. Cook at 200 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Transfer the oil mixture to clean sterilized bottles. Cover and store at room temperature for up to 2 months.
1 1/2 cups Kalamata olives or other brine-cured black olives
1 1/2 cups cracked brine-cured green olives
1 cup olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup orange juice
6 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
Combine all ingredients in large heavy-duty resealable plastic bag.
Shake bag to blend ingredients. Refrigerate at least 1 day and up to 3 days, turning bag occasionally. Transfer olives and some marinade to bowl. Let stand 1 hour at room temperature before serving. Serve at room temperature or warm.
Adapted from a recipe by Emeril Lagasse,
3/4 pound pitted Kalamata olives
3 to 4 ounces capers, drained and rinsed
2 anchovy fillets, drained, rinsed and patted dry (optional)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 bay leaf, finely chopped
4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves finely chopped
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon cognac or brandy
1/2 cup good quality extra-virgin olive oil
Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine well, then allow to process until mixture is coarsely pureed. Taste for seasoning, then serve as a dip alongside crusty bread, grilled vegetables or chicken, or tossed with cooked pasta and fresh herbs.
These bird cake stands are whimsical, modern, and irresistible. They are wonderful serving plates for cake, pies, and tarts; and beautiful display pieces when not in use. Available in many colors and even custom bird colors in small, medium, and large. Small $78 Medium $110 and Large $140.
Other favorite items by Whitney Smith include the bird dessert plates, the dogwood dessert plates, and the lotus nesting bowls. See her full line atwhitneysmithpottery.com.
You can purchase her beautiful work in our shop.
These bamboo knife holders are the most inventive and eco-savvy knife holders we’ve seen anywhere. Hundreds of slender bamboo skewers fill the interior of these stable bamboo rectangles, providing a safe, secure cushion for knives without dulling their blades. Roomier than a traditional knife block and sleeker look. Two sizes for taller and shorter knives, $49 and $89. Available in red, white, and gray. To purchase visit vivaterra.com
These salt and peppermills by Jabou Design are part of a sophisticated collection of finely crafted functional art. They are meticulously acquired through a private wood reclamation network and preserved with non-toxic finishes. The tapered Urban peppermill is available in an assortment of colored stains. Available at jaboudesign.com $249
I have discovered a new handy-dandy kitchen item, once again at SurLaTable (I think I should start to get a commission!) They are called utensil pot clips and they obviate the need for spoon rests or the constant search for where you left that spoon! They just hook on to the pot and the spoon fits through the opening. They are available in a variety of colors (I like to think of them as milchig, fleischig and pareve!) and best of all, they are currently on sale! Check them out at: http://www.surlatable.com/product/utensil+pot+clip%2C+blue.do?keyword=pot+clips&sortby=ourPicks
Stylish for flowers or fruit, the MIA bowl is a contemporary fruit bowl, serving bowl, or vase. The stainless steel exterior and shiny red interior are a chic combination that showcases anything displayed in the bowl.
Available for $38 at Chiasso.com
Trying to recreate those expensive lattés or ice-blended drinks at home? Or just looking to add a little zip to your coffee or your children’s hot chocolate? Maybe you want to perk up a dessert or liven up some vanilla ice cream. These, and many more options, are yours with the use of DaVinci Gourmet Syrups (to purchase, just click on SHOP). Available in both regular and sugar-free (how great is that?!), they taste great and brighten up your morning coffee – or afternoon coffee – or evening decaf. You can also purchase a pump to add to your bottle for easy dispensing – and to make it seem even more professional. The flavors are endless – right now peppermint is a big favorite in our home although I do have some caramel fans. I like the gingerbread myself or even just plain vanilla. The creative possibilities are endless. Let us know what you are making with it.
This romantic, and sweet teapot set caught my eye and is perfect for any table or guest room. The glossy off-white teapot, sugar bowl and creamer has a softly hexagonal shape and is blooming with roses galore.
Available at rshcatalog.com, formerly Room Service Home, for $49
If you like to use kosher salt when you cook – a small amount just makes the flavor of the vegetables pop – it’s very inconvenient to pour from the large box or to store the box near the stove. That’s why I like these salt boxes from www.surlatable.com. They keep the salt handy, it’s easy to reach in and just grab some salt when you need it and they’re very attractive. It’s the small things that make the biggest difference!