Monday, July 30, 2007

Cream Cheese and Pecan Stuffed Strawberries

I was in New York recently for the Fancy Food Show, and we happened to see Paula Deen from the Food Network when we were having dinner at the Blue Fin Restaurant in the W Hotel, Times Square. She breezed through and looked and sounded exactly as she does on TV, smiling and laughing, as she rushed by.

When I got back home, I was browsing through her cookery books in the bookstore and came across one by her two sons, Jamie and Bobby Deen, called "The Deen Brothers Cookbook". In it I found this simple, yet wonderful , which makes use of the abundant that are so inexpensive at the moment in the stores. They make an elegant looking dessert as part of a buffet, or can be served at a fancy brunch or as part of a tray.

  • 32 whole large strawberries, hulled
  • 12 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' (powdered) sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
  • 2/3 cup chopped pecans
1. Cut a thin slice from the bottom of each strawberry so the berries stand upright. Place berries, cut sides down, on a serving platter. Carefully, cut the berries into 4 wedges, cutting almost to, but not through, the bottoms. Fan the wedges just slightly, taking care not to break them. Set aside.

2. In a mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until combined but still stiff. Using a teaspoon or pastry bag with decorative tip, fill the strawberries with the cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle chopped pecans on top of the stuffed strawberries. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Pacific Cornetta Sale at Gourmet Fusion

It seems like we are having a retro time at the moment, and Gourmet Fusion is having a one week sale, ending August 2nd on its Pacific Cornetta Ceramic and Stainless Steel mugs. If you don't know Pacific Cornetta, they make travel mugs and infusers, similar to those found in Starbucks, but their designs are a little more unusual and a lot more fun. We have three designs on sale.

The first one shown here is the Pearl Ceramic Stainless MoDLiFe Fireworks Mug. Its ceramic shell with modern "fireworks" graphics in shades of pinks and mauves would be great to use at the upcoming Labor Day celebrations.

This "Squiggles" mug is great for using at home or in the office. It has a sophisticated design on white background with squiggles in brown, sage green and light turquoise running down it.

On the practical side, the outside of these mugs stays cool to the touch, and the double wall construction keeps heat inside. They also come complete with slide lock plastic lid for sipping and to prevent spillage. They work equally well for hot or cold drinks, so can take you right through summer into the cold days of winter.

Our third design is a combination of Squiggles and Squares, and that is what it is called. It is white with shades of greens in squiggles that make up square shapes.

All these mugs are great for hot tea and coffee, keeping iced drinks nice and cool, and make a perfect gift. This week, they retail at just $11.99 at the Gourmet Fusion store.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Typhoon at the Gourmet Fusion Store

We have just added some exciting new products to the Gourmet Fusion store from the English company Typhoon. Stylish and practical, we have super-absorbent dish towels, over-sized aprons and double oven glove/pot holders from the funky Vintage Kitchen range.

The fabric is 100% cotton twill with soft towelling linings in the gloves, and the designs are all reminiscent of the in pastel shades of beige, blue, pink, yellow and green. If you are old enough to remember Spirograph, this is what some of the designs look like!

If you want to keep to the retro theme, but need something more wild and colorful, check out our new oven mitts, like the one shown here. They have a fabric at the front, and co-ordinating fabric on the back. They are quilted with built in steam and grease protective guard offering exceptional protection from heat. They also feature the unique "magnetab" which is a magnet in a tab that sticks to most fridges, ovens, and even your outdoor grill. Now what could be more convenient than that? See more Typhoon products at the Gourmet Fusion store.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Emeril-Inspired Clams with Flavored Butter

This is a recipe for clams cooked on the grill with flavored butter. I was watching Emeril on the Food Network last week and he made oysters in a similar way. Not being especially fond of oysters, I decided the concept would work equally as well with clams, and it did.

This is a really simple way to cook clams and makes a great appetizer while the rest of your meal is on the grill.

To make the butter
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • handful chopped English parsley
  • handful chopped chives
  • 1 clove garlic crushed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  1. Place ingredients in a food processor or blender; pulse until well blended.
  2. Wrap in foil in the shape of a long roll. Place in the refrigerator until hard (about 45 minutes).
  3. To serve, roll back the foil and cut into slices about 1/2-inch thick. After slicing tightly re-wrap the unused flavored butter roll in the foil before returning to the refrigerator.

To make the clams with flavored butter

  • 4 lbs clams
  • 1/2 cup parsley and chive flavored butter (recipe above)
  • grated Parmesan cheese
  • freshly ground pepper
  1. Scrub the clams and leave to soak to remove all the sand, and rinse before use. Discard any that are broken or not tightly closed.
  2. Fold 1 yard of foil in half for double thickness.
  3. Spread clams over middle of foil and fold in the edges to make a parcel.
  4. Grill over medium-low coals until shells are open and the clams turn opaque, 8-10 minutes. Open the foil out but leave the edges raised so that no juices escape.
  5. Break open the shell and discard the empty half.
  6. Place a teaspoon of the flavored butter on each clam half, and leave on the warm grill for a further minute.
  7. Arrange on a serving plate and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese, black pepper and sprigs of parsley.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Chelsea Market

We have just come back from the Fancy Food Show in New York looking for exciting new products for the Gourmet Fusion store, but we did manage to take a side trip to the Chelsea Market which is an amazing wholesale and retail fine food market right in the City.

Originally this building was the Nabisco factory where they made the famous Oreo cookie. It stretches one block at 75 Ninth Avenue, and houses some of the most wonderful specialty food stores, not to mention some great architecture. The pipe pouring water into a well shown in this picture is in the center of the building, and was a refreshing sound after the 95 degrees heat on the street outside.

There are some wonderful places to eat, but as we were looking for something light we stopped for a cup of lobster bisque and a lobster wrap at The Lobster Place. This is a gourmet seafood store with take out menu and seating outside. It sells over 1,000,000 pounds of lobster to the city’s finest hotels and restaurants each year, so even if you're not hungry it's worth going to browse at the wonderful collection of shellfish and shrimp lined up on the counters.

Of course, who couldn't resist dessert at Ruthy's Baked Goods? Here you can find luscious cheesecakes and rugalach, as well as melt-in-your-mouth brownies, cakes, breads and croissants that taste like they've been baked at home. Then there's these fun little cakes shown in our picture with every animal and cartoon character you can think of, all piped with luscious cream icing.

If you are going to New York, Chelsea Market is definitely a must see, not only for the wonderful food, but the building itself where architect Jeff Vandeberg and developer Irwin Cohen have created a fun atmosphere using features from the original factory, such as gears, pipes and machines as architectural details.