Archive for January, 2008
New York-based Rick’s Picks specializes in plump pickles that make surprisingly fun gifts for all of our foodie friends. These okra pickles, cleverly called Smokra, feed a craving for a hot snack. Its makers added smoked paprika to the brine to impart that extra mmmmm. Hey, you know they did something right: Oprah, digs ‘em.
These cookies by One Smart Cookie are soft and chewy, made from the finest ingredients (without preservatives or additives). All recipes have made their way through a discerning taste test in which cookie connoisseurs of all ages nibbled and chomped, oohed and aahed. Each batch is made from scratch. We can’t get enough of the wholesome oatmeal cookies loaded with delicious toffee pieces.
Cupcakes kick ass, which is why it’s only natural that someone eventually named their baking business Kick Ass Cupcakes. Here are a few flavors to try, in no particular order: Chocolate and vanilla with chocolate or vanilla buttercream frosting, Super Chocolate topped with bittersweet chocolate ganache and chocolate shavings, Lucky lemon with white chocolate buttercream and candied ginger (it comes with a fortune), Cinnamon Chai Pecan Sticky covered with gooey caramel pecan topping, rum-soaked Mojito with sugar cane lime frosting and fresh mint,
Berry Crumbly with almond crumble topping and crème fraîche, and vegan Cinna Punk which is a pumpkin spice cupcake with cinnamon frosting. Consider your rear end, and your waistline, kicked into submission.
And now onto the season’s most playful gift idea: A customized cookbook. TasteBook.com allows you to make your own cover, write your own title and add your favorite recipes (upload your own or search the Epicurius.com for more than 25,000 from Gourmet and Bon Appetit). Anyone who is proficient in the kitchen, or just likes to eat, will enjoy a thoughtful tome filled with helpful recipes.
Weyrich Farm Pecans, particularly the praline coated ones, are meant to be devoured by the handful. This mix is tossed with carmelized sugar for a sweet finish. Consider it candy with benefits (nuts are good for you), which makes them a fun post-dinner party snack.
At A Sweet Affair Bakery in Walnut Creek, wedding cakes are in high demand, but big ol’ muffins are also wildly popular. They run the gamut from carrot cake and blueberry bran to poppy seed and chocolate chip. Other pastry pleasures include cinnamon pillows, cream cheese croissants, mini cheese cakes, cupcakes and cookies (if too many cookie options tend to make your head spin, stick with best bets: snicker doodles, macaroons or raspberry filled). There are also wedding cakes to tempt you to tie the knot, just in case your live-in lover isn’t coercing you enough.
Snag a high seat overlooking the exhibition kitchen and order the vanilla-topped huckleberry crisp. Or belly up to the bar through January, when holiday-inspired libations grace the menu. Trigger the warm fuzzies with a whipped cream-topped Hot Buttered Rum, an indulgent elixir made from spiced rum, Goslings black seal rum and Goslings hot buttered rum mixture. Traditional hot apple cider is mulled with cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cloves, star anise and fresh orange slices. Add a bit of Tuaca and you’ve got a cocktail affectionately known as Hot Apple Pie. It’s bound to turn your nose—and cheeks—a light shade of red.
Looking to shake up a ho-hum dessert routine? Listen up. XOX Truffles is a tantalizing collection of candies with some very habit-forming flavors. We like the liqueured varieties such as Amaretto, Cognac, Creme de Framboise, Creme de Menthe, A la Kahlua, Liqueur de Noisette, Rum Coco, Rum Raisin, and Triple Sec. Nothing can kill a chocolate buzz.
Crafted in the San Francisco Bay Area, Medium to Masses is a line of tablewares (and jewelry) that combines designer Sarah Hirneisen’s love of glass and her talent for creating beautiful objets d’art. Vintage fabric patterns have been hand silk-screened onto these emerald hued, square shaped beauties using ground up glass enamel. Use them to dress up your table for a festive occasion.