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Gifts for Yourself

Wednesday, 25. December 2013 5:25

Relax with Spiced Wine -- hot, cold or room temperature.

Relax with Spiced Wine — hot, cold or room temperature. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)

 

If all that cooking, entertaining and shopping over the holidays has run you ragged, it’s time you gave yourself a little present, don’t you think?

Here are a few definitely worth considering.

Spicy Vines

There’s little that’s more relaxing than kicking off your shoes with a glass of red wine after a long, hard day.

Imagine one crafted from Zinfandel, Syrah, Petit Syrah, Granache and a bit of Sauvignon Blanc brandy, and imbued with heady spices to snuggle up with.

That’s what you’ll discover in Spiced Wine by Spicy Vines, which Bay Area founders Crystalyn Hoffman and Anders Pederson modeled after mulled wine or glogg.

Surprisingly, the sample I tried was not the over-powering, ultra-alcoholic, hit-you-in-the-face sweet mulled wine I’m accustomed to. Instead, it’s quite balanced and enjoyable.

At room temperature, the orange, clove and cinnamon are quite evident on the nose. It’s a festive-tasting drink with good structure and flavors of warm baking spices and deep, dark fruit.

When warmed — which you can do easily in the microwave — the citrus become more muted and the tannins more present.

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Category:Chefs, General, New Products, Wine | Comments (3) | Author:

NadaMoo! Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free Ice Cream

Monday, 23. December 2013 5:25

"Gotta Do Chocolate'' NadaMoo! dairy-free ice cream.

“Gotta Do Chocolate” NadaMoo! dairy-free ice cream.

How cute is the name, NadaMoo!?

As you can tell, there is no cow’s milk in this ice cream.

Instead, it’s made with organic coconut milk.

That makes this ideal for friends and family members who can’t tolerate dairy. It’s also gluten-free and sweetened with agave nectar. If you need an easy, last-minute dessert for the holidays, just serve scoops in a festive martini glass.

A 1/2 cup serving has 130 calories and 7 g of total fat, both far less than regular premium ice cream.

But does it satisfy as much as the premium stuff?

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Category:General, Health/Nutrition, New Products | Comments (7) | Author:

Your Chance to Win A Copy of My “San Francisco Chef’s Table” Cookbook

Monday, 16. December 2013 5:26

SanFrancisoChefsTableCover

After doing so many giveaways on this blog, I’d be remiss not to do one for my own new cookbook, “San Francisco Chef’s Table” (Lyons Press), wouldn’t I?

So, here’s your chance to win a copy of the book that I will autograph to you or to whomever you please.

The cookbook is a tantalizing compilation of 54 restaurants and 79 recipes from the food-centric San Francisco Bay Area.

You’ll find everything from trendy new places to landmark establishments — along with dishes that exemplify their individual spirit and unique cuisine.

Each restaurant entry is illustrated by gorgeous photos, too, by award-winning photographer Craig Lee.

I’ve been having a ball hosting cooking demos and signing events with some of the featured chefs, and look forward to many more in the new year to come.

Yours truly, flanked by chefs Lissa Doumani and Hiro Sone of Ame and Terra restaurants. Taken just before the start of our Macy's Union Square San Francisco event. (Photo taken by Craig Lee)

Yours truly, flanked by chefs Lissa Doumani and Hiro Sone of Ame and Terra restaurants. Taken just before the start of our Macy’s Union Square San Francisco event. (Photo taken by Craig Lee)

CONTEST: One lucky Food Gal reader will win a signed copy of my new cookbook. Entries, limited to those in the continental United States, will be accepted through midnight PST Dec. 21. Winner will be announced Dec. 23.

How to win?

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Category:Enticing Events, General, More Food Gal -- In Other Publications, New Products | Comments (8) | Author:

‘Tis the Season for Chocolate

Wednesday, 4. December 2013 5:25

TCHO Drinking Chocolate makes for an exquisite cup of chocolate goodness.

TCHO Drinking Chocolate makes for an exquisite cup of chocolate goodness.

 

Really, what would the holiday season be without some fine chocolate?

Not nearly as sweetly satisfying, that’s for sure.

Here are some recent samples that I’ve enjoyed trying that would make ideal stocking-stuffers for the chocoholics in your life.

TCHO Drinking Chocolate Crumbles

They look like little dusty pebbles of chocolate, but what’s in this canister of TCHO Drinking Chocolate Crumbles holds the key to one of the most luxurious tasting cocoas around.

Made by San Francisco’s TCHO chocolate company, this product is made from cocoa beans, cane sugar, cocoa butter, cocoa powder, lecithin and vanilla bean. Just add a couple of tablespoons to an espresso cup of hot water, and stir. The result is an incredibly rich, deeply chocolatey drink that will make you swoon.

You can enjoy the drinking chocolate either hot or cold. You can even use it to make a chocolate sauce to top your favorite ice cream.

A 250g canister is $11.95.

Brazilian Brigadeiros

Brigadeiros are almost like the chocolate truffles of Brazil. No wedding, birthday party, convention or holiday in that country is complete without them.

Brigadeiro.me has brought that traditional sweet to San Francisco. The company makes them with butter, condensed milk and Belgian chocolate. Choose from an assortment of flavors including lemon zest, pistachio, vanilla cookies and coconut.

A beloved Brazilian sweet comes to San Francisco.

A beloved Brazilian sweet comes to San Francisco.

They are quite soft and creamy. Less dense than fudge, the texture is almost like that of a very thick mousse.

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Category:Chocolate, General, New Products | Comments (11) | Author:

“Favorite Asian Dumplings From Scratch” and A Food Gal Giveaway

Monday, 2. December 2013 5:25

Learn how to make a bevy of Asian dumplings with instructor Andrea Nguyen. (Photo courtesy of Craftsy)

Learn how to make a bevy of Asian dumplings with instructor Andrea Nguyen. (Photo courtesy of Craftsy)

 

There is both an art and a skill to meticulously folding, shaping and cooking all manner of precious little Asian dumplings.

I can’t think of any better teacher to learn from than my good friend and Asian food authority bar none, Andrea Nguyen.

After all, she knows Asian food like nobody’s business. She teaches dumpling-making classes regularly at Love Apple Farms in Santa Cruz. And she wrote the book, “Asian Dumplings” (Ten Speed Press).

Now, no matter where you live, you can learn from her, thanks to Craftsy.

The site offers online classes on everything from cooking to knitting to photography. Started by former eBay executives, it allows you to learn in the privacy of your own home and at your own speed, as you can watch the videos over and over, and even with friends and family. You can even ask questions of the instructors in a virtual classroom.

Andrea’s “Favorite Asian Dumplings from Scratch” includes eight lessons, from “Introduction to Dumplings” to “Making Shrimp Wontons” to “Japanese Pot Stickers” to “Korean Dumplings.” The complete package is $19.99.

Yes, you can make this. (Photo courtesy of Craftsy)

Yes, you can make this. (Photo courtesy of Craftsy)

I had a chance to preview the class for free for this review. The videos have nice production values, like a cooking show you’d see on PBS. There are plenty of close-ups of the food, too, which not only get you hungry but help you follow along easily, especially when it comes to learning how to stuff and fold the dumplings. You’ll also learn where each of these dumplings originated and what makes each unique. Along the way, Andrea offers up stories of her love for dumplings and endless words of encouragement. Crafsy even allows you to share your new-found dumpling skills with your virtual classmates through the posting of your own photos and comments.

I’ve actually been lucky enough to stand alongside Andrea as she’s cooked in her own home kitchen. This video class is the next best thing to that.

CONTEST: One lucky Food Gal reader will win “Favorite Asian Dumplings from Scratch.” The best part about this contest is you can live anywhere in the world to enter.

How to win?

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Category:Cool Cooking Techniques, Enticing Events, General, Great Finds, New Products | Comments (3) | Author: