Category Archives: Goddess Gourmet: Quintessential Taste Buds of a Cuisinista
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With Valentines Day rapidly approaching, the buzz of sweetness is taking over! Obviously, no man or woman can turn down delicious goodies. EdibleGiftsPlus.com has some gourmet gift suggestions for your Valentine sweety that will satisfy their sweet tooth and have them asking for more (if your suave enough, it’s more of you )!
Pictured left to right, top to bottom: Ultimate Love Berries ($54.95) – berries hand-dipped in an assortment of delicious milk, decadent dark and heavenly white Belgian chocolates, rolled in mini-heart sprinkles and topped with red drizzle; Romantic Belgian Truffle Cake Bons ($2.49) – made from fresh baked gourmet cake (choose Chocolate, Red Velvet or Vanilla), mixed by hand in small batches with creamy Cream Cheese and/or Buttercream Icing, formed into tantalizing balls that are dipped in choice of Belgian Chocolates and Confections; Romantic Belgian Truffle Cake Bons Gift Box of 9 ($27.50) – hand-decorated, these truffle cakes are presented in an elegant metallic gold bordered window gift box and finished with a ribbon; Romantic Belgian Chocolate Gourmet Cupcakes Gift Box of 6 ($24.99) – moist and indulgent, these cupcakes are made with sweet rich cream butter, fresh eggs, pure vanilla and Belgian Chocolates, and finished with a double layer of rich chocolate topping; “Love” Oreo Chocolate Covered Cookies Set of 6 ($10.50) – hand-dipped and hand-decorated mini Oreo cookies, wrapped as a set of six in a cellophane bag with red ribbon; Candied Truffle Cupcake ($21.95) – absolutely adorable candied truffle cupcakes created with a milk chocolate base adorned with a white, milk or pink chocolate “frosting,” finished with a cherry on top and inside is an oversized, decorated cake truffles and an assortment of chocolate candy pieces; Send My Love Signature Shortbread Gift Box ($49.99) – 12 extra large hand-decorated shortbread cookies, with red and white polka dot hearts and letter-shaped cookies sealed with a kiss to deliver your messages of love; Crazy For You Signature Shortbread Gift Box ($49.99) – 12 extra large colorfully decorated heart cookies, these buttery shortbreads will deliver your Happy Valentine’s Day surprise; Fancy Hearts Signature Shortbread Gift Box ($49.99) – 12 extra large colorfully decorated heart cookies, these buttery shortbreads will deliver your Happy Valentine’s Day surprise; Valentine’s Day Cake Truffles Gift Box of 12 ($29.95) – rich fudgy double chocolate cake recipe mixed with just the right amount of cream cheese frosting, made into the perfect sized pops, drenched in white or milk chocolate and then embellished with beautiful designs; Valentine’s Day Hand Decorated Mini Cake Pop Bouquet of 6 ($29.95) – Give your loved one adorable cake pops made with a rich fudgy double chocolate cake recipe, mixed with just the right amount of cream cheese frosting, made into the perfect sized pops, drenched in white or milk chocolate and then embellished with beautiful designs; Valentine Chocolate Apple Trio ($39.95) – medium sized Granny Smith apples with each apple covered in creamy caramel and then individually topped with coconut, M&M and festive Valentine sprinkle mix; Petite Valentine Caramel Chocolate Gourmet Apple Trio ($34.95) – crisp, premium Fancy Petite Granny Smith Apples hand-dipped in rich golden caramel then hand-dipped in Belgian Chocolate and generously finished with Valentine Icing Decorations and Candy Sprinkles; Heart Cake Bites Gift Box of 12 ($22.95) – delicious cake recipe crafted into 12 heart shaped cake bites and decorated with a slight bit of mint chocolate icing; With Love…Heart Sprinkled Brownie Stix Gift Box of 4 ($14.95) – Fudgy on the inside and covered with a delicious Belgian Chocolate shell on the outside, decadent brownies are shaped into balls and put on lollipop sticks, hand-dipped in choice of Belgian Chocolate and hand-decorated with a generous shower of candy heart sprinkles; GIANT “Be Mine” Heart Shaped Sugar Cookie ($29.99) – delicious Sugar Shortbread cookie made from the finest ingredients and the perfect recipe – not too sweet and not too heavy – a perfect complement to yummy Royal Icing; Giant Heart Shaped Valentine’s Cookie Pop ($24.95) – a 9” giant heart cookie on a stick that’s over a pound of chocolate chip/M&M cookie, wrapped in cellophane with a ribbon and a handwritten message of your choice; and Hand-Decorated Oreo Cookie Gift Box ($39.95) – 12 hand decorated and chocolate covered Oreo heart cookies, three hand decorated heart shaped Sugar cookies and one personalized cookie with your message.
Ordinary champagne is so cliché`. Stir things up this Valentine’s Day and woo your sweetheart with a delicious, sweet twist on champagne, the Exclusiv Valentine and Currency.
Created exclusively for Exclusiv Vodka, the Exclusiv Valentine is a refreshing cocktail that is the perfect way to bask in love with raspberry liquor, simple syrup, rose petals, champagne, Exclusiv Vodka and ice.
The Exclusiv Valentine
1 1/2 oz Exclusiv Vodka
1/2 oz raspberry liquor
1/2 oz simple syrup
5 rose petals
In a collins glass, muddle rose petals and simple syrup add ice. Pour vodka and raspberry liquor then fill with champagne.
Another unique twist on champagne is the Currency, featuring a berry sweet taste and Exclusiv’s award-winning Moscato.
2 ounces Exclusiv Berry 1 ounce Chambord Fill a champagne flute with Exclusiv Moscato
From the gentle rolling wheat fields of Moldova, near the shores of the Black Sea, comes an escape reminiscent of icy mountain tops and crystal clear streams. What was once only for royalty and members of high society can now also be exclusively yours.
With its Russian heritage gifting the highest standards for the production of vodka, Exclusiv Vodka is truly a world-class vodka. This luxurious tasting spirit is made with only the highest quality winter wheat and the finest distilling process, giving it a sweeter, more polished taste without polishing techniques, just like the members of high society preferred over the course of history.
Described as, ”Clear. Subtle, creamy mocha aromas and flavors with hints of dried cherries and spice and a long, delicate cream and powdered sugar fade. Very smooth, tasty, and appealing,” it’s an expensive taste without the expensive price. Exclusiv Vodka is affordably priced at $20 for 1.75 liters – perfect for consumers who value quality and taste, and their wallet.
Hello Lovelies & Fellow Foodies,
Media Maven here, and for some reason, I am having a serious sweet tooth. I would have said it’s because of the Halloween spirit, but it’s hard to maintain a howl-ly jolly Halloween with this winter storm we’re having! I was surfing the internet for some awesome Goddess Gourmet recipes that was appealing enough to entice to this Cuisinistas! I was happy when I came across Tejal Rao’s family recipe based off of daily morning rituals of rava halwa – “Part dumpling, part dessert, mostly butter, the sweet Indian snack food has many variations. When my father made it, he heated butter with cardamom and raisins, stirred in semolina and milk, almonds and a little cane sugar.” “We ate the rava halwa hot, in cereal bowls, drizzled with warm milk and clarified butter, sprinkled with a little crunchy salt.”
Brown Butter-Banana Toffee
4 tablespoons butter
4 ripe bananas (about 2 cups) mashed
½ cup palm sugar (or white sugar) or *agave for the sugar free lifestylistas*
½ teaspoon cardamom powder
½ teaspoon salt
- Heat the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan until you see the milk solids brown into a deep nutty color. Measure and reserve 3 tablespoons of the butter and save the rest for another use. Wipe the saucepan clean.
- Put the banana in the saucepan over medium heat and simmer, stirring often, until the mixture thickens and turns a deep, toffee brown.
- At this point, add the sugar and stir continuously until the whole mixture pulls together, away from the pan, like a big shiny dumpling (another five minutes or so).
- Turn off the heat and, while still hot, whisk in the brown butter, cardamom and salt, until well mixed.
- Spread the halwa in a plastic-wrap-lined loaf tin and allow to cool down for 20 minutes at room temperature. Then unmold onto a clean, dry cutting board and slice into bite-size pieces. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.
“No matter how you do it, the banana halwa will be intense and candy-sweet, but with an almost savory depth from the brown butter and palm sugar. And it requires, of course, a handful of perfectly ripe bananas. Sure, they’ll give off a strange, floral smell as they propel themselves towards ripeness, and those black spots will bloom slowly over their peels, and it will all be very off-putting, I know! But if my dad has taught me anything it’s about being patient—the longer you wait, the sweeter it is” – Tejal Rao.
But my “ventures of an Elite Cuisinista” didn’t end there! I was lucky enough to stumble upon a pastry goddesses recipe for a Golden Syrup Caramel recipe!
“Lyle’s Golden Syrup, a British cane sugar syrup, and I go way back. 20 years, at least, before I stepped foot in a professional kitchen. My mother gave me Laurie Colwin’s incredible book, Home Cooking, and I became obsessed with making, eating and achieving the perfect gingerbread. Gingerbread’s fine, moist crumb is the product of using different kinds of sugars, how they’re proportioned, and how many of them are invert—meaning sugars that are liquid in their natural state. And golden syrup was the key, I found, to the gingerbread of my dreams. You see, invert sugars ensure soft, malleable textures, which explains why they also play a huge role in candy making.Lyle’s Golden Syrup perfected my gingerbread, thick from the tin with a slightly caramelized flavor. And now, as a pastry chef, I like to pay homage to the ineffable, illustrious Lyle’s Golden Syrup with this chewy, salted caramel” - Shuna Fish Lydon
Lyle’s Golden Syrup Caramels
Adapted from Alice Medrich, Pure Dessert
2½ cups Lyle’s Golden Syrup (you can also use Steen’s or cane syrup, but please, no corn)
2 cups sugar
1½ teaspoons fine sea salt
2 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes, softened
1 candy thermometer
One 9-inch square baking pan
- Line the bottom and sides of the baking pan with aluminum foil and grease the foil with butter.
- Combine the syrup, sugar and salt in a heavy 3-quart saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring until the mixture begins to bubble steadily.
- Wash the sugar from the sides of the pan with a clean pastry brush, dipped in water. Cover and cook for a few more minutes then remove the cover and wash down the sides of the pan with your pastry brush again. Keeping the sides of the pan clean prevents the sugars from crystallizing.
- Attach the candy thermometer to the side of the pot, without letting it touch the bottom and cook, uncovered, without stirring, until it reaches 305°F. Meanwhile, heat the cream in a small saucepan until it simmers.
- When the sugar mixture reaches 305°F, turn off the heat and add the cubed butter. Carefully and gradually stir in the hot cream, going slowly as the mixture will bubble up quickly and create a lot of steam.
- Turn the heat back on to bring the whole mixture up to an energetic, but not violent boil. Stir until any thickened syrup at the bottom is dissolved and the whole mixture is smooth. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is 245°F, then begin to stir constantly.
- For soft and chewy caramels, cook to 260°F. For firmer chewy caramels, cook to 265°F. Remove the pot from the heat.
- Pour the caramel into the lined pan and let it sit for 4 to 5 hours, or overnight, until firm.
- Lift the pan liner from the pan and invert the sheet of caramel onto a sheet of parchment paper. Peel off the liner. Cut the caramels into bite-size pieces using an oiled knife. Wrap each one individually, in wax paper or cellophane.
If you are stocked up on pumpkins to carve and decorate, then you’re probably wondering what to do with all of that scooped -out pumpkin rind (flesh)? Well, Media Maven has a creatively healthy Living La Vida DeliciosaTM Latin recipe soul’U'tion that is as not only easy to make, it’s also a delicious treat to the taste buds. Try it using one of Nueva Cocina’s delectable Latin rice mixes. Trust us, your family and friends will love this Halloween treat!
Pumpkin Fiesta Rice! (Mucho Caliente)
- 1 Package of Nueva Cocina® Mexican Rice Mix
- 4 small pumpkins (3 for serving purposes and 1 for recipe ingredient)
- 1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
- Optional: 2 to 3 small pumpkins, depending on serving size, for baking or steaming
- Cut pumpkins in half, leaving the rind on.
- Remove seeds and strings.
- Rub pumpkins with olive oil and some salt.
- Place halves on baking sheets with rind side up.
- Place a small amount of water in the pan.
- Bake for 45 minutes in a 350-degree oven.
- *If you prefer to steam the pumpkins, place halves in steamer with rind side up. Steam until meat and rind are soft.
- Combine 1 Cup of pumpkin meat, peeled and cubed with all the ingredients in a package of the Nueva Cocina® Mexican Rice Mix and follow the cooking directions on the box. When done, serve the rice in half of a small pumpkin for an excellent presentation and great added texture and flavor.
As you’re picking out Halloween pumpkins this week, be sure to get an extra one. What he have in store is going to make your taste buds sing. When it’s time to hollow out your new stylista flaired Jack O’ Lantern, try hollowing out a second pumpkin, to make an amazingly spooktacular Pumpkin Soup from the “flesh” of the pumpkin and serve it up in your very own pumpkin “caldron.” The soup gets its creamy texture from Green Valley Organics lactose free kefir. And, it being lactose free and gluten free, the only spooky gurgling sounds will be coming from goblins and ghosts – not from the tummies of any of your fellow socialistas or guests that may be lactose intolerant or sensitive. ;-)
Psst **Substitute** the fresh pumpkin with canned pumpkin or butternut squash if you like.)
PUMPKIN (OR BUTTERNUT SQUASH) SOUP WITH KEFIR
1 regular pumpkin (rind removed) or butternut squash (rind removed) or 1 large can of
100% unflavored pumpkin puree
1 medium yellow onion
2 celery stalks
2 cloves of garlic
2 quarts low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 Tbsp. fresh, chopped or 1 t. dried sage leaves
1 tsp. fresh chopped ginger
3 Tbsp. of olive oil
1 quart Green Valley Organics Lactose Free Plain Kefir
Salt and/or pepper to taste
1. In a blender or food processor, chop the pumpkin and vegetables into small bits.
2. Put the olive oil into the pot— heat; add vegetables, garlic and spices.
3. Cook and stir for about 10 minutes.
4. Pour in the broth.
5. Bring to a boil and let simmer for about 40 minutes.
6. Turn off the heat and let it set for 20 minutes to cool. Remove bay leaves.
7. In portions, put the soup back into the blender or processor and puree.
8. Put the puree back into the pot and add/blend in the kefir, reheat slightly.
9. Serve. To garnish, add a little nutmeg and sage.
And from pumpkins to peaches – be on the lookout for NEW Green Valley Organics Peach Yogurt with pieces of juicy, sweet organic peaches at the bottom of each cup – its peachy keen!
And for dessert, try some AMAZING!
Sour Cream Pumpkin BUNDT Cake
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. ground allspice
- 2 tsp. butter
Combine brown sugar, cinnamon and allspice in small bowl. Cut in butter with pastry blender or two knives until mixture is crumble.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup 100% pure pumpkin
- 8 oz Green Valley Organics sour cream
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 12-cup Bundt pan.
2. Combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Beat granulated sugar and butter in large mixer bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add pumpkin, sour cream and vanilla extract; mix well. Gradually beat in flour mixture.
3. To assemble: Spoon half of batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle Streusel over batter, not allowing Streusel to touch sides of pan. Top with remaining batter. Make sure batter layer touches edges of pan.
4. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in cake comes out clean. Cool for 30 minutes in pan on wire rack. Invert onto wire rack to cool completely. Drizzle with Glaze.
Combine: 1 ½ cups sifted powdered sugar and 2 to 3 Tbsp. orange juice or milk in small bowl; stir until smooth.
Estimated Times: Preparation – 12 minutes; Cooking – 55 minutes. Yields 12 to 16 serving.
Halloween brings images of ghosts and ghouls, but more importantly it provides the perfect opportunity to satisfy sweet-tooth cravings. Individually wrapped, store-bought candies have always been a staple for kids at Halloween parties, but what about the adults?
Nielsen Massey Vanillas’ Vanilla Cinnamon Apples add an element of sophistication to this year’s festivities and are sure to have guests lining up for seconds. The recipe, found below, combines the savory flavor of Nielsen-Massey’s Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste with the delicious tart taste of fall apples to create a treat that is overflowing with gooey goodness. (Just don’t forget the napkins). Some grocery coupons may apply.
Vanilla Cinnamon Apples
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat the bottom of a shallow baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Cut a thin slice from the bottom of each apple so it will stand upright. Scoop out the core of each apple from the top down with the small end of a melon ball cutter, making sure not to core all the way through the apple.
Combine the butter, brown sugar and vanilla paste in a medium saucepan and cook over low heat until the butter is melted, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and stir in the cinnamon, allspice, brandy, raisins, walnuts and salt. Fill the apples with equal amounts of the filling using a teaspoon. Place the apples in the prepared baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes or until caramelized and fork tender.
About Nielsen-Massey Vanillas
Throughout its more than 100 year history, Nielsen-Massey Vanillas has earned its reputation as a manufacturer of the finest extracts in the world. The full line of Nielsen-Massey’s Pure Vanilla products include: Vanilla Beans and Extracts from Madagascar, Tahiti and Mexico; sugar and alcohol-free Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Powder; Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste; Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Sugar and Certified Organic Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract and Beans.
Nielsen-Massey Vanillas recently introduced a line of Pure Flavors: Pure Chocolate Extract, Pure Almond Extract, Pure Orange Extract, Pure Lemon Extract, Pure Coffee Extract, Pure Peppermint Extract, Orange Blossom Water and Rose Water. All Nielsen-Massey products are Allergen-Free and certified Kosher and Gluten-Free. The company is headquartered in Waukegan, Illinois, with production facilities in Waukegan and Leeuwarden, The Netherlands.
Trick-or-Treat! Delight and dazzle family & friends this Halloween with these deliciously yummy, spooktacular treats from Edible Gifts Plus. They are perfect for serving at parties and gatherings or for sharing at home or at the office. Trick-or-Treaters are sure to go just batty over them, too! Feel free to spice up your Halloween parties and gatherings with ghoulish cocktails from Exclusiv Vodka. They’re sure to be a monster hit!
Having a Halloween costume party that calls for fine-tasting, festive vodka cocktails? Bugetistas, keep that cash and waste not on expensive alcohol! Exclusiv Vodka won silver in this year’s L.A. Wine and Spirits Competition, and it only costs $9.99 a bottle! Whip up one (or all!) of these fun Halloween cocktails courtesy of Exclusiv Vodka and get the party started right!
Exclusiv is a renowned vodka-distiller and wine-cultivator based in Moldova, a country that just gained its independence from Russia in 1991. The manufacturer’s products are steeped in Russian tradition and new to the United States. Exclusiv’s low-priced vodka has won nine international awards that prove its ranking among the most famous names in vodka. Exclusiv’s Rose Moscato (Media Maven’s Favorite) sparkling red wine gained great popularity around Russia, and is now available in the United States as of this month. Visit Exclusiv Vodka online at their official website and on Facebook.
Mike Ruiz, Legendary Fashion Photographer and star of The LOGO channel smash hit, The A List- New York has signed to be the face and spokesperson for New York crafted ME OKO Natural Flavored Vodka.
The collaboration will be formally launched on June 18, Me Oko will sponsor an event in Southampton (event details TBD). In mid-July a New York billboard (located on Watts Street) will be unveiled featuring an image by Ruiz, with a launch party to follow. Additional events will take place over the summer months involving his charity auction of Ruiz photography. Mike will also be making multiple appearances at venues ranging from New York City to the Hamptons. Dates and locations will be announced via the ME OKO website in coordination with Ruiz’s social media channels.
“I am truly excited to be partnering with the ME OKO Vodka. The product is locally crafted in the Lower Hudson Valley Region of New York State using the highest quality ingredients. ME OKO is one of the first naturally flavored vodkas made in America for American tastes. This is a great opportunity for me to use my celebrity to gain national recognition for the brand. Further ME OKO will be working with me to provide sponsorships for some of the charities and causes I believe in most. ” said Mike Ruiz.
“We are so pleased to have Mike on board. His high fashion images reflect the quality and attention to detail we put into making our product. ME OKO is the first serious, hand crafted vodka that can truly be described as a flavor sensation.” said Miyoko Yamakawa, Pisces Beverage Corp, President.
This partnership is the first element in a very strategic marketing campaign to get customers attention both locally and nationally. New Yorkers love their local products from the Hudson Valley which is famous for high quality. Ruiz will be lending his images but also his passion to give back via charities. ME OKO is a fine example of a local business that is doing more than just providing a great product. Now with Ruiz in place, ME OKO VODKA and its parent company Pisces Beverage Corporation will in fact be creating social awareness. Mike has been very successful in his craft. If you’re interested to be like him, Art Colleges can help you
start your career in fashion photography.
ME OKO was rated 87 points by The Beverage Testing Institute and was the winner of “Best in Class” at the 2009 New York Spirit Awards. ME OKO is also a Kosher product.
ME OKO is a hand crafted vodka that is richly accented and sold in six natural flavor infusions: strawberry, red apple, watermelon, ginger, lemon-lime, and jalepeno.
About Mike Ruiz
Mike Ruiz is a world renowned photographer, TV personality, former model, actor and director. His lens has zoomed in on A-list celebrities like Katy Perry, Kim Kardashian, Khloe Kardashian, Vanessa Williams, Betty White, Nicki Minaj and the cast of MTV’s hit The Jersey Shore – just to name a few. Mike can be seen on: Kathy Griffin’s: My Life on the D-List; CW’s America’s Next Top Model and Logo’s RuPaul’s Drag Race, where he appears as a celebrity photographer and guest judge. He also rounded out the panel of expert judges on the third season of Canada’s Next Top Model. Ruiz steps out in his second season of LOGO’s hit show The A-List: New York, set to air in mid July 2011.
Fame also comes with a sense of social responsibility and Ruiz is always is giving back to the community. Among the countless organizations he supports, are The Ali Forney Center, GMHC, The Trevor Project, Housing Works, It Gets Better Campaign, Living Out Loud, Project Angel Food–as well as The Men’s Sexual Health Project for NYU School of Medicine and Bellevue Hospital. Mike is also a recurring motivational speaker at New York University, the Art Center College of Design, Brooklyn International High School and the College of Design in Sacramento. Mike Ruiz resides in NYC.