Nadia’s Nut Surprise

Biscotti nella forma di Noci

Cookies in the Shape of Nuts

Pine Cone Tartlet MoldNadiaFor years, my favorite molds have been those which are commonly used to make tasty Hungarian Spice Cookies, and German walnut shaped cookies with scrumptious caramel and nut fillings. I love to use our pine cone shape molds, in which I have also made delightful shortbread cookies.

However after using our new stove top Nut Surprise iron from Italy, I discovered how much quicker and easier I was able to get a large quantity of evenly baked shells.

Noci-Filled-with-Raspberry-Whipped-CreamI love the traditional manner of making the pastry shells with the iron, and I love the deep cavities that can hold larger quantities and more types of fillings.

The nut shape is not only beautiful and delicious, but also suitable for all kinds of desserts, appetizers, and whatever else.

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Boston Brown Bread

NadiaBoston Brown Bread seems to have originated in Colonial New England, when their food resources dictated the most readily available ingredients and their creativity did the rest.

Boston Brown Bread Arturo

Our 10 year old taste tester gave my Boston Brown Bread the thumbs up!

Due to the limited availability of wheat, this bread was made with a mixture of rye flour, cornmeal, and wheat flour. Buttermilk and molasses are the additional ingredients in the most common recipes, creating a flavorful, savory taste. Boston Brown Bread is traditionally served warm and is a perfect accompaniment to baked beans on a cold winter day.

Because ovens were not commonplace in most households at that time, making bread by steaming it in a pot over an open flame was customary. Unlike oven baking that tends to dry, steaming this quick bread keeps it wonderfully moist, as it only cooks at water’s boiling point (212°F, or approximately 203°F for higher altitudes). This method helps to keep the bread from overcooking.

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Nadia’s Day for Soup

NadiaCold weather really puts me in a mood for a hot bowl of homemade soup. So as the first snowfall of the year came our way, with schools closed and the kids at home, I went for my favorite soup cookbook, Soup: A Way of Life, by Barbara Kafka.

I was planning for such an occasion, and made sure in advance that my pantry contained all the ingredients for recipes I had bookmarked.

Soup: A Way of Life, by Barbara Kafka

Soup: A Way of Life
By Barbara Kafka

Yellow onions
Unsalted butter
Dry white wine
Beef stock
Chicken stock
Salt and fresh ground pepper
Sliced French bread
Gruyere or Mozzarella cheese

The key to making this soup a success is properly caramelizing the onions. (I wish for a 7 quart Dutch Oven, which would be perfect for the recipe, but make do with my good 10-quart stock pot.)

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Holiday Gifts – Staff Picks

The holidays are in full swing and that means everyone is on their last minute lookout for this year’s best gift items! We asked our staff what they would choose as an awesome holiday gift item, and here’s what they came up with…

Angie's PickAngie, Sales Associate:
Bona Vita BV3825B 1-Liter Electric Gooseneck Stainless Kettle
“Energy efficient and extremely fast results make this little beauty a wonderful gift idea! Its addition to our kitchen has made my tea consumption increase and improved the quality of our hand-drip coffee, thanks to the precision of the gooseneck spout.”
#13042  $59.99

Liana's PickLiana, Sales Associate:
Lodge Pre-Seasoned Heavy Duty Reversible Cast Iron Griddle with Moat
“The best gift I bought myself all year! This is my first piece of cast iron cookware. The day I bought it, I brought it home and cooked bacon and pancakes on the flat side for brunch, and then flipped it over and grilled strip steaks for dinner. I love how it sears my meats and chars my vegetables, and allows me to make an entire meal on one surface.”
#9592  $71.99

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Upside Down Plum Cakes

This recipe features Pure Ginger Extract, from Fante’s Natural Flavors Brand. Made with only pure ginger oil, alcohol and water, it has a clean, fresh, ginger root flavor. Staff Baker Vanessa BurrellCan be used for baking, syrups, beverages and ice cream. One teaspoon is sufficient to flavor your typical cake or cookie recipe. Try adding it to iced tea, beer and cranberry juice.

Our talented staff baker Vanessa used our natural Ginger Extract to create this flavorful recipe.

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Knife Sharpening

Pros know the importance of knife maintenanceProfessional cooks know the importance of having high quality tools in their kitchen, the most important of which are knives. However they’ll tell you that having good knives is just the first step. Often overlooked is the equal importance of sharpening and properly maintaining your knives.

To quote from a memoir of the same title by Kathleen Flinn, “the sharper your knife, the less you cry”. Using a dull knife crushes the onions while cutting them and draws out more of the tear causing oils, making you cry more than if you had used a sharp knife.  Of course, you could just use onion goggles to solve that particular problem, but I digress.

In addition to crying a little less while chopping onions, a sharp knife is much safer to use than a dull knife. For example, a fingertip cut by a sharp knife heals faster than a jagged gouge from a dull knife. Statistics show that far more kitchen knife injuries are caused by a dull knife. Dull knives require the use of more pressure to cut. Because the edge of the blade will not easily penetrate the food, there is a chance the knife will lose traction and slip, potentially landing in the cook’s (or an unsuspecting bystander’s) unfortunate foot.  Using a sharp knife helps the cook to maintain control, requires less pressure and will ultimately be safer and more efficient than a dull knife. Read the rest of this entry »

Meet Tony Luke

Tony Luke at Fante's

Tony Luke Jr

Philadelphia: home of the Liberty Bell, Rocky, the Phanatic, and the famous Philly cheese steak.

Pat’s King of Steaks claims to be the creator of the iconic sandwich, around 80 years ago, and among tourists, the Italian Market’s Pat’s and Geno’s have become the “go-to” places in Philadelphia. However, ask any true-blue Philadelphian who makes the best cheese steak, and more often than not they’ll direct you to the innovative newcomer, Tony Luke’s.

Tony’s original family eatery is at 30 East Oregon Avenue, and their franchise has grown to eight locations, from Atlantic City in New Jersey to Bahrain in the Middle East.

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