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10 Highlights from the Winter Fancy Food Show 2018

This year I’m sharing several posts recapping the Winter Fancy Food Show. Kicking things off are a few of my favorite things (cue The Sound of Music). Stay tuned for posts on trends and the newest products. 
In my round up of all things bananas last year I mentioned a unique banana jam. This year I tried the latest jam from the same producer, made from jackfruit. You may know jackfruit as a fiberous vegan replacement for pulled pork. In this jam it has an incredible tropical flavor that tastes like a combination of mango, pineapple and banana–think Juicy Fruit gum but so much better. It’s like a little tropical vacation in a spoon. 
I’m lumping these three things together because they fit in the category of couverture, that’s chocolate speak for a product that has a very high percentage of cocoa butter. Coffee thins are made with a unique coffee product and cocoa butter, no cocoa solids at all. It’s has the texture of chocolate, but it’s coffee. It’s available in three different varieites, latte, espresso and cruz special blend and makes use of a proprietary technology that transforms coffee into something smooth and creamy. Valrhona is introducing two new couvertures, one with passion fruit and one with almond, neither of them contain cocoa solids either. They won’t be available in a retail product but expect your favorite chocolatiers to start using this divine stuff in their confections.  
Flavored maple syrups
I talked to a retailer who told me that this past holiday season his company saw an incredible increase in sales of maple syrup. Having tasted some of the more recent flavored maple syrups I can’t say I’m surprised. My favorites come from a company called Runamok. They infuse maple syrups with flavors such as makrut lime leaf, cardamom, ginger as well as bourbon and rum barrel aged maple syrup and my favorite, pecan wood smoked maple syrup. 
You may have had black sesame ice cream before but the black sesame ice cream from Humphry Slocombe is a game changer. It’s made from their base with ground black sesame seeds but the secret is an addition of toasted sesame oil which is fragrant and lusicous. 
Wadaman organic white sesame oil
While we’re on the topic of sesame oil, I have to say, this one is the best I’ve ever tried. It’s has a lusicous buttery flavor and an almost floral aroma. It’s so good, and much more delicate than the typical toasted sesame oil which can be overly intense and almost bitter.  It’s available in Asian speciality stores and online from Japanese Pantry.
Sauerfrau squeezable sauerkraut
I was already a fan of sauerkraut, but not only is this sauerkraut delicious and comes in 3 varieties, classic, sweet Bavarian and craft beer mustard. It’s ridiculously convenient because it comes in a squeeze bottle. It’s tangy, but not too juicy, still raw and filled with probiotics, but it will keep in the fridge for ages. Good stuff and coming soon to stores.
I wrote about Bakwa a few years ago. Of course pork jerky is delicious but now Little Red Dot Kitchen has applied their magic touch to eggplant to make something they call jerky. I just call it good. I’d love to layer it on a baguette and make sandwich with it. 

Axel Provisions pickled onions
Axel Provisions launched with three versions of their chimichurri sauce. It’s very good. But what I really liked was their pickled onions. The founder ate these onions in Argentina and decided to make them himself. You could make them too, but his are really, really good. They come in two versions, one is red and spicy with habanero and the other sweet with jalapeno. Both are irresistable. 

Heirloom grain pasta
This year I saw more pastas made with different grains, including heirloom varieties of wheat. I sample pasta from two different companies, Monograno Felicetti from Italy and Sfoglini from Brooklyn, Monograno uses several different types of wheat, I tried the pasta made from a variety of durum wheat called matt. Sfoglini uses a variety of different grains but in blends that keep the pasta al dente, something that can be tricky when experimenting beyond wheat. 

Which is the best prosciutto? Generally speaking, he one in front of you. But in tasting San Daniele, Parma and Modena, I have to admit, Modena won me over. The texture and flavor of prosciutto is dependent upon not just origin, but also which part of the prosciutto it comes from. It’s formed in a pear shape, then often trimmed and formed into a block for easier slicing. One end is saltier than the other. The prosciutto I had from Modena was from the center and it was rosy, meltingly tender and delicate. It was the perfectly mild balance of sweet and salty. Prosciutto from Modena may be new to us, but it has been made in Modena since the 16th century. The meat is massaged with salt twice, and allowed to rest for 70 days. Once dried it’s massaged with a mxiture of lard, salt, spices and flour. The entire process takes 14 months. It’s recently gained entry to the US and like San Daniele and Parma prociutto it is a DOP (protected denomination of origin) product, look for it at a deli or gourmet shop. 

Dash Mini Waffle Maker, reviewed

The Instant Pot might have been one of the popular holiday kitchen gifts last season, but the Dash Mini Waffle Maker has consistently been a best seller this year. The pint-size waffle maker is just a bit bigger than the palm of your hand and produce 4-inch waffles that are almost too cute to eat. It comes in a variety of colors and has a price tag right around $10 – making it a perfect impulse purchase, whether you’re shopping online or see it in the store. As a waffle fan with a Belgian-style waffle iron that I really like, I wondered how the Dash stacked up to its full size competitors and ordered one so I could give it a try.

Dash Mini Waffle Maker, review

The waffle iron is so small and lightweight that it almost looks like a toy at first glance, but the waffle iron has a surprisingly heavy duty nonstick iron inside once you open it up. It has an indicator light on the top that lights up when you plug in the machine, then clicks off when the iron is hot. It does not have a on-off switch or any audible indicator, but that is true of some larger machines and not something I mind much. It does, however, mean that you need to plug it in to preheat about 2 minutes before you’re ready to use it and that you must remember to unplug the machine when you’re done.

The Dash heats up quickly and the nonstick surface works very well. I found my waffles released easily from the iron both when I greased the iron and when I did not. It heated evenly and produced waffles that were uniformly brown, though the batter didn’t quite always make it to the outer edges (I chronically underfill my waffle makers, apparently) and the coloration was a touch lighter there.

Dash Mini Waffle Maker review

It took about 4 minutes to cook my waffles until they were crisp on the outside and completely cooked inside. The waffles were completely cooked at about 3 minutes, but the exterior remained soft unless they got a little extra time on the iron. I felt it was worth a little extra patience to get that perfectly crisp outside, however if you are planning to pop your waffles in the toaster to crisp them up before serving (a handy trick for small waffles), letting them be a little less cooked might be better. Since there is no audible alert, I used a kitchen timer while I cooked.


All in all, the waffle iron performed extremely well and really exceeded my expectations. It produced evenly cooked waffles with a nice crispy surface and a moist interior. The 4-inch waffles were a great size for stacking, sandwiching or snacking. It does not save a lot of time over using a full sized waffle iron, however this gadget takes up almost no space in the kitchen, so everyone will be able to find room for it. You can use any traditional waffle recipe (the instruction booklet includes both sweet and savory recipes), but I would recommend cutting them in half because a little batter will go a long way here. For the price, you can’t go wrong – even if you already have a full size waffle iron in your kitchen.

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GEEKHOM Tong, 16-Inch Premium BBQ Grilling Tongs, Non-Slip and Non-Stick Kitchen Cooking Tong with Silicone Tips and Locking Head for barbecue, Salad (Black)

Why choose GEEKHOM silicone BBQ tongs?
Silicone tipped tongs are better antiskid compare to stainless still tongs, thus your food won’t slip down easily which is really awful thing while barbecue. The Soft & Non-slip handle grips let you hands feel better anytime.

What’s GEEKHOM unique design?
-16 Inch keep your hand a comfortable safe distance, best choose for BBQ & Serving. -1 Inch high built-in Stand constructed using Sturdy & Heat-resistant material, you don’t need to worry if it will fall down or melt easily.
-Premium stainless steel with scalloped Silicone heads for easy to easy to lift and turn meat or vegetables on the grill.
-“O” Ring for convenient locking and easy hanging. (Pull out to lock and push in to use)
-100% FDA Grade and BPA Free , Dishwasher safe.

If you for any reason are not happy with any product by GEEKHOM, please do not hesitate to contact us and will do our best to solve all problems you meet asap! We will give you a full refund no questions asked.

Product Features

  • HIGH QUALITY MATERIAL -The GEEKHOM 16 inch tong is made of 100% FDA Grade silicone and stainless steel. Non-stick, non-slip, durable, heat-resistant and freezer safe from -60℃/-140℉to 250℃/482℉, and also dishwasher safe.
  • EASY TO USE AND STORE – The “O” ring and locking mechanism for convenient locking and easy hanging. We can pull the lock and store them in drawer or hang them while using minimum space!
  • EASY TO KEEP CLEAN – The 0.8 inch silicone tip can avoid the top of tongs touching the table and thus makes no dirt on both tongs and table.
  • A BASIC TOOL IN OUR KITCHEN – It is okay to hold food of all shapes like egg, hot feeding bottle, salad, ice cube and etc in both high and low temperature. The tongs set meets most of our needs in daily life. Nice choice as a present to our family and friends.
  • FULL GEEKHOM WARRANTY – Provides 100% no questions asked money back guarantee. If you’re not completely satisfied with the silicone tongs purchase simply let us know, and you’ll be offered a FULL refund or replacement! Enjoy this absolutely RISK FREE purchase today by clicking the yellow ‘Add to Cart button’ above.

AZCookbook is 10 + Cuisine and Culture Tour Update

This is Guba-style baklava, one of several baklava varieties known in Azerbaijan. Photo is courtesy of Pierre Cabanettes who traveled to Azerbaijan a few years ago and took beautiful pictures. He kindly let me use this one in my cookbook, “Pomegranates & Saffron: A Culinary Journey to Azerbaijan.” In my Cuisine and Culture Tour to Azerbaijan and Georgia, we are going to have exclusive access to a pastry shop in Guba region and witness firsthand how this unique baklava is made.
continue reading

The post AZCookbook is 10 + Cuisine and Culture Tour Update appeared first on AZ Cookbook.

Pantry Basics: Best Financiers Ever

Matcha financiers prepared using a recipe from TWG Tea’s executive pastry chef, Philippe Langlois.

TWG Tea‘s matcha financiers are by far my favourite–not because I’ve spent many years working with the brand, but because I adore both matcha and financiers, and have tasted innumerable iterations before returning to TWG Tea’s. I probably first took this recipe for a spin nearly a decade ago, when the luxury tea brand first launched in Singapore. Even back then, their executive pastry chef, Philippe Langlois, had already long established himself as a master of tea gastronomy. I’ve hoarded the Frenchman’s recipe all this while, knowing that whenever I decided to make financiers, this would be my go-to choice.

While Philippe’s matcha financiers recipe is incredibly easy, there must be something in his touch, in the scale of his ingredients, that makes these so darn irresistible. I love how moist they remain even when they’ve sat on the kitchen counter for a couple of days. And the deep, grassy bitterness of matcha is matched with just the right measure of sweetness so that these financiers showcase–rather than mask–the charms of a good powdered green tea. My three-year-old eats two at a go! Frankly, it was her newly-discovered love for green tea that prompted me to revisit this financier recipe.

Matcha financiers fresh out of the oven.

To be honest, TWG Tea’s matcha is so precious that I usually prefer to drink it with my financiers rather than bake with it (I opt for the best matcha I can afford to bake with). However, if your pocket book allows for it, go for it!

Having attempted a wide range of financier recipes over the years, I must point out a few things.

  1. It’s important to seek out finely ground almond flour. At least, I prefer the elegance of its more refined mouthfeel. Some people prefer the rusticity of coarse, home-ground almond meal. I used to rely exclusively on the super-fine almond flour from Bob’s Red Mill, but am happy to report that Sun Lik Trading also carries a fine-ground almond meal in small bags. My reasonably-priced barquette moulds are also from Sun Lik.
  2. Avoid overworking the batter.
  3. Aging the batter for 24 hours really brings the flavours together.
  4. This batter freezes well! Since financiers taste best freshly baked, storing the batter in the freezer makes it so much easier to whip up a batch on the fly.

I’ve also tweaked the recipe below to yield plain financiers, because my son loves their buttery simplicity (it also helps that CH has given them his thumbs-up, too). What I’m dying to do next is attempt a houjicha version! I hope you enjoy this recipe.

N.B. As I usually make two batches of financiers each time (matcha for the daughter, plain for the son), I always end up with 8 egg yolks. I use these in my homemade ice cream bases.

By adding pureed fruit (raspberry or strawberry) to the vanilla ice cream before it’s churned, you’ll get a fruit flavoured ice cream. And I have been refining a chocolate ice cream recipe for my little girl who is a chocoholic.

Again, I prepare a full portion of ice cream base, but will often just churn half, storing the remainder in a vacuum-sealed bag in the freezer for when we next need to churn another batch.

Matcha financiers

Fill 2/3 of each mould with financier batter.


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Rosemary Garlic Fried Potatoes by The Pioneer Woman

Top Trends from the Winter Fancy Food Show 2018

I’ve already shared some of my favorite finds from the Winter Fancy Food Show 2018, but another reason I attend the show is to try and identify what’s trending. Here are my topic picks.

Mushrooms seem to be everywhere and showing up in ways that are a bit unexpected. I first discovered crispy oyster mushroom “chips” in Taiwan, but at the show this year I saw Yuguo shiitake chips from China.They are light and crunchy and supposedly healthy. I like them a lot. There were also two kinds of mushroom jerky, one made from mushroom caps and another made from mushroom stems in “Zesty Thai” flavor, available from Pan’s Mushroom Jerky. Last but not least there were somewhat medicinal elixirs, cocoa and “coffee” made from lion’s mane, chaga and reishi mushrooms by Four Sigmatic. I wasn’t crazy about how they tasted but they are being sold more as a health product than a gourmet one. 

Coconut snacks
Coconut is nothing new, but it’s being used as a component in lots of different and frankly delicious snacks.  If you like coconut, you will like these. Some top picks for me were the wafer-like Sejoyia coconut thins, the clusters from Creative Snacks Co with cranberries cashews and almonds, and Cocomos toasted coconut chips with orange and sunflower seeds, which were somewhat in between a cluster and a wafer. 

Vegetable Chips 
Vegetable chips have been in vogue for quite some time, but I’m seeing more and more unusual options like red rice and quinoa crisps from Grounded from Lundberg Family Farms, pea puffs from Peeled cassava crunch and beet snacks from Plant Snacks, carrot and beet chips from HardBite, kumara and parsnip crisps from Proper Crisps.

Legume Snacks
Pea protein is big, and it’s especially evident in snacks. I also saw crispy broad beans and puffs from peanuts. Other products I noticed included colorful “chickbean crisps” from Saffron Road, chickpea snacks from Kay’s Pass the Peas, quinoa and lentil snacks from The Daily Crave but I’m sure there were even more. New guidelines now recommend introducing infants to peanuts to help ward off allergies, so snacks like puffs may prove popular with kids. 

Non-dairy yogurts
Just as non-dairy milks and “cheeses” have become more popular, more non-dairy yogurts are popping up. I particularly liked the coconut yogurt from Anita’s but also the Greek style almond yogurt from Kite Hill

Aloe has been on trend in Japan since the 1990’s but it seems to be gaining in the US as well. I saw it in Alove yogurt from Japanese manufacturer Morinaga as well as in a myriad of drinks. Aloe is hydrating and can help with digestion. 

Cold Vegetable Soups
This is an interesting one I didn’t see coming. Anyone who has been to a supermarket in Spain has been amused by the refrigerated cartons of gazpacho. I saw several lines of cold, ready to drink soups, with unique flavors like cauliflower cashew, pumpkin cinnamon sage and beet orange basil from Zupa and carrot yellow tomato and spicy avocado from gazpacho maker Tio. Most were vegetarian but at least one, Bonafide uses a bone broth base and calls their products “drinkable veggies.” 

Cold Brew
If cold brew coffee is big in coffee shops, it’s perhaps even bigger in retail stores where you can buy it in cans or bottles. I saw so many brands this year it was hard to keep track but they included Jittery John’s, Coffee Blenders, Fog Dog, Peerless and Grady’s. While I mostly saw cold brew coffee, I also saw “ice steeped” cold brew tea from Japanese maker Ito-En

Drinking Vinegars
Drinking vinegars have been gaining momentum and this year I saw more than ever. Some are traditional apple cider vinegar based while others use balsamic or add other ingredients like ginger or fruit juices. There were two I particularly liked, Fire Cider’s apple cider vinegar-based tonics made with horseradish, onions, black pepper, and garlic, organic habañero peppers, turmeric, lemons and oranges. It tasted like it could banish a cold. The other was the deliciously fruit forward one from Olitalia in blueberry, cherry and pomegranate. 

Drip tea and coffee packs
Last year I was excited about a Vietnamese drip coffee as part of the DIY kit trend, from Copper Cow, this year they are introducing Thai ice tea packs. Meanwhile I saw other companies like Vietnamese grocer Lee’s are also selling Vietnaemese drip coffee packets, albeit without the condensed milk. 

Gourmia GSI170 Automatic Ice Cream Maker Frozen Yogurt & Sorbet Maker with Digital Timer, Easy Pour Spout, 3 Pints, with Free Gourmet Recipe Book Included

Bring all of the flavor from your favorite ice cream brands right on home, with Gourmia’s Automatic Ice Cream Maker. This handy appliance will produce fresh, delicious and wholesome frozen treats for you and your family to enjoy like :
• Ice Cream
• Frozen Yogurt
• Sorbet
• & Sherbet!

This quick and easy to use ice cream maker was designed to practically do all of the work for you. Simply pre-freeze the bowl, throw all the ingredients into the ice cream maker and let this ice cream maker do all the work. In minutes you will have some the most delicious ice cream you have ever tasted!
About This Product:
• Easy Operation
• 3 Pint Capacity
• Digital Timer With LCD Display
• Elegant Round Shape Design
• 120v
• UL Listed

Impress family and friends at parties with customized frozen confections that they won’t find anywhere else. Need a little inspiration? We have included a recipe book to get you started with a variety of delicious flavors like:
• Black Forest Chocolate Cherry
• Blueberry Cheesecake
• Cookies & Cream
• Mint Chocolate Chip
• Mango Sorbet
• & More!
Making ice cream from the comfort of your kitchen counter isn’t only convenient, it’s also a more wholesome way to enjoy a delicious treat! You control all of the ingredients that go into your ice cream maker so you can customize the recipes according to your health and dietary restrictions!
Gourmia’s mission is to make every day cooking easy, healthy and delicious. Our products deliver a higher standard of innovation, performance, and value. Our founders are experts in the world of small appliances and are passionate about providing our customers with dependable, easy to use tools that will make life in the kitchen fun and easy.

Product Features

  • QUICK & EASY: Make a fresh batch of home-style delicious ice cream, sorbet or frozen yogurt in less than a half hour and a fraction of the store price with this sleek, innovative ice-cream maker.
  • DIGITAL TIMER: Set & monitor how long your ice cream is churning with easy to use digital timer and LCD display that ensures you get perfect results with every batch without constant monitoring.
  • EASY POUR SPOUT: Features an easy pour spout so you can add sprinkles, chocolate chips, nuts and sprinkles or any delicacy of your choice. No need to worry about unhealthy additives or preservatives!
  • RECIPE BOOK INCLUDED: Let your imagination run wild and make your own delicious frozen creations, for any ideas feel free to use our cookbook that is packed with recipes in a variety of flavors.
  • UL LISTED: We, at Gourmia, take the quality of our products very seriously. We are UL certified so you can be confident that you’re receiving nothing but safe, efficient and high quality appliances.

Hamilton Beach 25360 Indoor Flavor/Searing Grill

Dark clouds threatening to ruin your backyard barbecue? Don’t worry – just move the party inside and cook up your hamburgers, hot dogs, and more with the Hamilton Beach Searing Grill. This countertop grill is perfect for all types of meat, vegetables, and more. The non-stick cooking grid quickly gets rocket hot for searing and is removable for easy cleaning. Different heat settings let you tailor the piece to more tender meats, such as tuna. For moist, delicious meals, there’s no better tool than this searing grill. Temperature controlled electric grill. Non-stick surface. Power and pre-heated indicator lights. High temperature sear for locking in flavors. Drip tray included. dishwasher-safe. Dimensions: 16.73W x 12.4D x 6.81H in..

Product Features

  • Indoor Grill that delivers Outdoor Grill Results
  • High Heat Searing Capability
  • Adjustable Temperature Control
  • Non-Stick Plate, Indicator Lights
  • Extra-Large Drip Tray, Removable Hood, Plate and Drip Tray are Dishwasher Safe

Chocolate Chip Cherry Cobbler

Chocolate and cherries is a classic combination, but I’m giving it a twist in this Chocolate Chip Cherry Cobbler. Fruit cobblers don’t typically include chocolate, which ensures that the fruit is the star of the show. Here, chocolate is added to the filling and the cobbler topping to create a dessert that delivers just the right amount of chocolate with its cherries.

Every cobbler starts with a good fruit filling. This one is extremely simple and is made with lots of cherries, some sugar and a bit of cornstarch that helps the fruit juices thicken nicely while the cobbler bakes. I added a splash of kirsch, a cherry liqueur, to the filling to amp up the cherry flavor. I recommend picking up a mini-sized bottle for recipes like this one (and other baked goods!) because a little goes a long way and you won’t use it that often unless you bake a lot of black forest cakes. I recommend using jarred (and drained) or frozen cherries because they’re easy to work with, but fresh cherries can be used if they are in season and you don’t mind pitting them before you start.

The topping is a buttery biscuit-like dough that is studded with chocolate chips. Butter is cut into the dry ingredients, then buttermilk and vanilla are added before bringing the dough together. Once you’ve made the dough, it should be broken up into little chunks and dropped onto the filling, giving the dessert a “cobbled together” look that fits its name. You want to cover most of the filling, but should be able to see some of the cherries and juice between the cracks.

Chocolate Chip Cherry Cobbler

The cobbler topping isn’t overly sweet on its own, but it’s perfect when combined with the cherries and chocolate. Serve this dessert warm and pair it with ice cream or whipped cream for a dessert that is even more decadent.

Chocolate Chip Cherry Cobbler
36-40-oz cherries (jarred, frozen or fresh)
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp kirsch, optional
2-3 tbsp chocolate chips

1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, cold and cut into 4-5 pieces
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate chips
coarse sugar, for topping

Preheat oven to 375F. Take out an 8×8-inch square baking dish.
Make the Filling: In a large bowl, stir together all filling ingredients except the chocolate chips. Allow mixture to sit for 5 minutes, then pour into prepared pan and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Set aside while you make the topping.
Make the Topping: In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Add in butter and cut into the flour mixture using a pastry blender or your fingertips, making sure no piece of butter is larger than a big pea.
Combine buttermilk and vanilla in a measuring cup and pour into dry ingredients. Add in chocolate chips. Bring dough together using a spatula, folding gently to ensure that dough is uniform and no clumps of dry ingredients remain.
Break dough into 1 or 2-inch pieces and arrange over the top of the filling, covering most of the cherries. Sprinkle topping with coarse sugar.
Bake for about 40-45 minutes, until cherry filling is bubbling thickly and topping is golden brown. Allow cobbler to cool slightly before serving.

Serves 6-8

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