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.
GKC loves color and these colored bottles, available in fuchsia, red, orange, green and purple are perfect for making infused vodkas, homemade salad dressings or fresh squeezed juices. I also display them by the cook top and fill them with olive oil and canola oil for easy access when I am cooking.
Available at www.mxyplyzyk.com for $12.95
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.
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
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.
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
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…
Cupcakes! From chocolate cupcakes to red velvet cupcakes and everything in between, cupcakes are so trendy. GKC loves the fun colors of these liners. These cupcake liners can make a bran muffin look irresistible. The liners come in a set of 90, in assorted colors as shown. Available at www.etsy.com for just $6.50.
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!
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…
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
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!
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.
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!
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.
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§ionid=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!
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.
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.
Some of our favorite recipes:
Banana Blueberry Swirl Popsicles
Triple Berry Popsicles
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…