View all posts filed under 'Great Finds'

A Passion for Peppercorns

Friday, 22. February 2013 5:25

Rose peppercorns. How pretty are these?

Husband-and-wife, Bruce and Angela Morgan of Washington state, have that in spades.

A decade ago they started Pepper-Passion. As the name implies, the company sells peppercorns. Black, green, rose and white. More than a dozen varieties in all — sourced from all over the world. Many not typically available in stores, either.

The company is an outgrowth of two of their hobbies: wood-working and cooking. Bruce designs his own, hand-crafted peppermills, each made from a single piece of exotic hardwood. Of course, with all those peppermills (some of which can fetch up to $900 each), he had to fill them with something.

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Category:General, Great Finds, New Products | Comments (9) | Author:

Ineeka Puts Innovation Into Tea

Tuesday, 22. January 2013 5:25

A new type of tea bag from Ineeka.

It opens up like a miniature grocery bag with handles to sit squarely in your mug of hot water.

Inside of it, organic tea leaves swell and swirl, steeping an exquisitely fresh tasting brew that’s smooth, satisfying and noticeably less tannic.

Take a taste of Ineeka teas, founded by a husband and wife team in Chicago whose families have been in the tea business for generations.

Shashank and Sumita Goel tout their company as the only completely vertically-integrated tea brand in North America. That means they grow their tea on family farms along 15,000 acres in the Himalayas north of India and package the teas, themselves.

Ineeka (“little Earth” in Sanskrit”) grows their tea organically and biodynamically in self-contained systems. For instance, the animals on the farms eat the food grown on the farms. In turn, their manure fertilizes the soil. The company employs 25,000 people who also live on the farms. As Fair Trade certified, the company pays higher than wages than the industry norm, too.

But of course, the proof is in the taste.

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Category:General, Going Green and Sustainable, Great Finds, New Products | Comments (3) | Author:

Something Fishy for 2013

Friday, 4. January 2013 5:25

All my favorite sushi in plush form.

How cute are these?

I couldn’t resist snapping a quick pic of a holiday gift that my husband’s nephew, Chris, gave us.

Think of them as the ultimate sustainable sushi that’s also calorie-free and needs no refrigeration.

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Category:General, Great Finds, New Products | Comments (13) | Author:

A Look Back at the Tastiest Bites of 2012

Monday, 31. December 2012 5:25

Which restaurant dishes would I gladly enjoy again and again because they were deliriously delicious and magically memorable?

Oh, so many.

When putting together this list, though, I left off any foie gras dishes (since restaurants are banned from selling them in California now) and any dishes that I deliberately chose not to photograph in order to just enjoy the moment (Le Bernardin in New York).

Here, in no particular order, are the 10 dishes of 2012 that were my most favorite:

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Category:Chefs, General, Great Finds, Restaurants | Comments (11) | Author:

Bouchon Bakery’s Incomparable Blueberry Muffins

Wednesday, 28. November 2012 5:25

Just try to resist these perfect blueberry muffins.

Imagine a muffin that’s moist through and through, tender and fluffy rather than dense, filled with plump blueberries, and crowned with a majestic halo of crunchy, nutty streusel.

Leave it to one of the world’s best chefs, Thomas Keller, to elevate the humble blueberry muffin to a work of art.

I’ve had these many a time at his Bouchon Bakery in Yountville.

But with the publication of his “Bouchon Bakery” (Artisan) with his Executive Pastry Chef Sebastien Rouxel of the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group, I can now make them happily at home. The cookbook, of which I recently received a review copy, includes 150 recipes for pastries and breads. Some like the Pear Feuilletes, made with homemade puff pastry, are geared to the more skilled baker. But there are plenty of others such as the Chocolate Chunk and Chip Cookies that novice bakers will embrace.

The “Blueberry Muffins” are quite simple, too. Keller writes in the book that the key to a great muffin is resting the batter overnight in the refrigerator. This allows the flour to absorb all the liquid, resulting in a very moist muffin. Plus if you make it the day before, it’s all set to go for baking in the morning. What a way to wake up.

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Category:Bakeries, Chefs, General, Great Finds, Recipes (Sweet), Thomas Keller/French Laundry/Et Al | Comments (18) | Author: