Tag Archive | Food

Duncan Hines Spring Velvets Cake Mixes Make Your Perfect Easter Cake!

DH Spring Velvet Front Box

Do you like cake? I sure do. Just recently, I was introduced to two fantastic new cake mixes from Duncan Hines® – a brand you know and trust – Blue Velvet and Pink Velvet, both of which I had the opportunity taste at Winter Food Fete. These mixes really elevate the quality of desserts that you can make conveniently at home.

DH Pink Velvet Cake Mix

Pink Velvet Cake (With Cake Balls) is Introduced at Winter Food Fete in February 2014

Just in time for Easter, Duncan Hines® has introduced Limited Edition Spring Velvets™ Cake Mix as a part of their new velvets line; the first in the baking aisle to extend velvet cake beyond the traditional red velvet. As you can see by these beautiful and tempting photos, Spring Velvets™ provides a uniquely colorful way to brighten up any spring time occasion!

Duncan Hines® Spring Velvets™ Cake Mix will be available at limited retailers nationwide only until May 2014, and has a suggested retail price of $1.99. Check out these two recipes for inspiring, lovely and delicious cakes you can make in time for Easter!

Spring Velvets Checkerboard Cake

Spring Velvets Checkerboard Cake

Hands-On Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 90 minutes
Servings: 10-12 servings

Ingredients:
1 package of Duncan Hines® Spring Velvets Cake Mix
1 container Duncan Hines® Creamy Home-Style Cream Cheese Frosting

Baking Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 2 9×6 loaf pans with shortening or oil spray.
2. Prepare the batters according to the package directions and scoop each batter into each pan.
3. Bake 30-33 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out free of crumbs. Cool completely.
4. Slice the pink velvet in half lengthwise. Then take each half and slice it in half vertically. You will have 4 strips of cake.
5. Repeat the above process with the yellow velvet.
6. Place a pink slice next to a yellow slice onto a plate. Ice the top with frosting.
7. Next place a yellow slice on top of the pink slice and a pink slice on top of a yellow slice, Ice the top.
8. Repeat the above process until there are no more remaining cake slices.
9. Frost the entire cake upon completing the 4-layer checkerboard.

*Tip – You can build as many checkerboards as you want; you just need to cut smaller slices of cake – refer to picture for guidance.

Spring Velvets Blossom Cake

Spring Velvets Bundt Cake

Hands on time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour and 40 minutes
Servings: 10-12 servings

Ingredients:

Cake
1 Box of Duncan Hines® Spring Velvets Cake Mix
1 (3.4 oz.) box of Lemon Instant Pudding and Pie Filling Mix, divided in half
4 eggs
1½ cups water
½ cup oil

Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
2Tbsp. lemon juice

Baking Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour 10-inch Bundt* pan or tube pan
2. Combine 2 eggs ¾ cup of water, ½ cup of dry pudding mix, and ¼ cup oil with first velvet cake mix.
3. In a separate bowl, combine 2 eggs, ¾ cup of water, ½ of dry pudding mix, and ¼ cup oil with second velvet cake mix
4. Beat each mix at medium speed with electric mixer for 2 minutes.
5. Pour Yellow Velvet batter into pan
6. Pour Pink Velvet batter on top of the Yellow Velvet batter.
7. Insert a butter knife halfway into the batter when all of the batter is in the pan. Swirl the batter by gently moving the knife in a circular motion around the pan.
8. Bake at 350° for 50 to 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out free of crumbs.
9. Cool in a pan for 25 minutes. Invert onto serving plate. Cool Completely
10. Make glaze by adding lemon juice to powdered sugar and stir until smooth. Drizzle over cake.

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Celebrate National Cheese Fondue Day on April 11th!

Fondue Party

With our well-publicized love of cheese and home entertainment, we never need an excuse to throw a Fondue Party. But did you know that this classic Swiss meal has its own holiday? Yes, it is true!

April 11th is National Cheese Fondue Day; a time to fire up the fondue pots for food, fun, friends and good conversation. To celebrate the day, Emmi Roth USA, the US division of the premier Swiss dairy company, is sharing the must-know fon-DO’s of fondue – everything from tips for when you dip to the new ways to do fondue.

Be A Delightful Dipper

While fondue is all in good fun, there are a few basic guidelines to follow in consideration of other guests.

  • Skewer like a pro. Be sure your food is secured to your fondue fork or skewer before dipping to avoid losing it in the cheese.
  • If you missed the first step and drop your dipper into the fondue, Swiss tradition says a woman must kiss the person next to her, and a man must buy a round of drinks for everyone. You could also just politely remove it to ensure the pot remains clean for all.
  • Perfect your twirling and swirling. It is polite to make one to two small swirls before removing your food.
  • Resist the urge to double dip. Food that has been bitten should never return to the communal pot.
  • Be a little adventurous by tasting everything you are served (the exception to the rule is a dietary restriction, in which case you may politely decline).
  • Sample before salting. Fondue is already seasoned with spices and wine, so it might be perfect just the way it is. If you do add salt, make sure you do it after you’ve dipped.

Fondue Dipping

Tasting Notes

It’s all in the details, and these simple suggestions will ensure that you keep it classy, but still casually cool, when indulging.

  • Wait your turn. Allow one person to dip at a time and proceed in a clockwise or counterclockwise fashion around the table.
  • Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Dip larger pieces and then cut them into smaller bits on your own plate.
  • A moment on the lips is frowned upon. Your fondue fork or skewer should never directly touch your mouth. Transfer your food to your plate before indulging.
  • Let it cool. Never blow on freshly dipped hot food. Avoid splatters and allow your food to cool slightly on your plate.

The New Way to Fondue

Fondue is always fun in its traditional form, but these new takes offer creative ways to enjoy the cheese and make it more accessible for everyday meals.

  • Fondue is a fun party meal for special occasions, but also a great weeknight meal for the family. Not to mention it will get your kids to eat their vegetables.
  • It’s great to pay homage to this Swiss dining tradition, but be creative with using the cheese sauce as a dip or in a macaroni and cheese.
  • Feel free to add your own twist with a few dashes of hot sauce or some prepared taco meat.

Shop online for Emmi Fondue Products at This Link!

Emmi Fondue Box

Snack Review: NatureBox

Nature Box Snack Selection
All Photos By Gail

Do you like to snack? I sure do. I am too lazy to wash and peel fresh fruit, so, ideally, my go-to snacks tend to be packaged and ready to serve. I generally try to snack on nuts or whole grain chips, which are convenient and delicious. But often I just become unimaginative when it comes to choosing snacks that are safe to keep in the house (i.e. not cake, a thing over which I have no self control). And then I get bored. Sigh.

Imagine my extreme feelings of good fortune then when I met up with folks at NatureBox at a recent Food Show here in NYC. NatureBox is a snacker’s dream come true, in that they offer highly customizable subscriptions to receive boxes of packaged healthy, natural and – most importantly – insanely delicious snacks each month! Snacking need never become boring again!

Nature Box Nutritional Info

You can design your NatureBox subscription to receive as few as five or as many as twenty bags of tasty snacks shipped each month right to your door! Likewise, you can also select whether you’d prefer to choose the snacks you will receive or be surprised. Personally, I like surprises, because it is like Christmas. But if there are certain foods that you don’t care for (example: Figs. I hate them) you probably want to choose your own snacks. It’s all good!

NatureBox offered Worleygig.com a free three-month Subscription and here is a rundown of all the healthy goodies that arrived in our first shipment, which we have been snacking on for the past week:

Masa Crisps

Masa Crisps: Corn Chips with Flax Seeds

If you love Fritos – the Crack of Snacks – you are going to lose your mind when you try these chips, because they are just insane. Serve them with your favorite hummus or guacamole and gain a dress size by eating all of them yourself.

Pistachio Power Clusters

Pistachio Power Clusters: Nut Squares with Almonds, Cashews and Pistachios

OMFG. Crunchy, sweet nut things. Totally Addictive. I am not sharing.

Cherry Berry Bonanza

Cherry Berry Bonanza: A Medley of Dried Cranberries, Cherries and Blueberries

Dried fruit, but especially dried Cherries and/or Cranberries, is awesome. You can be a purist and eat it out right of the bag, or throw it on top of some yogurt, ice cream, hot or cold cereal – whatever! So versatile, this Cherry Berry Bonanza is!

French Toast Granola

French Toast Granola: Maple flavored Granola with Pecans

Like the Cherry Berry Bonanza, this snack is endlessly versatile. Try it as your morning breakfast with milk and a sliced banana (old school) or mix it in with some yogurt. Or add it to a favorite cookie recipe. Or just eat it with your hand while sitting in front of the TV, which is how I roll. Love me some toasted pecan pieces.

Roasted Kettle Korn Kernals

Roasted Kettle Korn Kernals: Honey Coated Toasted Corn

You could make almost anything with corn as the primary ingredient and I would eat it, with one caveat. As a child, I often enjoyed chomping on Corn Nuts and, in adulthood, I have thousands of dollars worth of dental work to show for it! The truth is, Corn Nuts are a Dentist’s best friend. Happily, these Roasted Kettle Korn Kernals have a crunch factor comparable to, say, Wasabi Peas, so you need not fear a cracked molar. If you dig the slightly sweet taste of fresh Kettle Corn – and who doesn’t? – you will go nuts over this toasted corn snack.

NatureBox has a nearly exhaustive pantry stocked with every kind of snack you could imagine, which you can even scroll through Right Here. You could subscribe for years and never get bored because they are adding new snacks all the time!

Subscriptions to NatureBox start at just $19.95 per month, depending on how many snacks you choose to receive in each shipment. Right now, Gift Subscriptions (five snacks per box) are on sale as well: give three months of NatureBox snacks for $59.95, six months for $99.95 (discounted from $120) or twelve months for $199.95, (discounted from $240). That is some crazy savings right there.

You can also refer a friend through the NatureBox Website and not only will your friend get $10 off of their first box, but you’ll get $10 as well. Start your own NatureBox Subscription right now by visiting Nature Box Dot Com!!

Welcome to Nature Box

Snack Review: Lifeway Frozen Kefir Bars

Lifeway Frozen Kefir Bars
Photos By Gail (Click Image to Enlarge for Detail)

Do you like frozen desserts? I sure do. Frozen Fruit, Ice Cream, Yogurt – just put it on a stick and I’m good to go for convenient, tasty snacking! While attending the Health & Nutrition Editor Showcase event in February, I was introduced to a healthy snack called frozen Kefir from the Lifeway family of products. The folks at Lifeway were happy to send over a couple of boxes of their Frozen Kefir Bars in two delicious flavors and I have been enjoying them this past week as a light and low calorie snack while TV-watching!

For those who need a little back-story, Kefir is a cultured milk product that is similar to yogurt in that it contains probiotics – healthy bacteria that aid in digestion – as well as having other healthy benefits. I actually did a little research on the differences between Yogurt and Kefir, and you can check that out for yourself at This Link and learn about Lifeway Kefir’s various benefits by clicking Here.

The most distinctive flavor profile aspect of frozen Kefir is its tart sourness, which keeps the bar from tasting overly sweet. The Coconut Frozen Kefir Bar tastes exactly like Coconut as soon as it hits your tongue, but it is a light sweetness that contrasts well with Kefir’s natural tanginess. The Vanilla flavor also optimizes the natural tanginess to create a taste similar to delicious, rich Vanilla cheesecake — and who doesn’t love that? Kefir’s texture is creamy and there are only 56 calories per bar – which makes it an ideal dessert choice for anyone watching their weight. These all-natural bars are gluten free and 99% lactose free as well.

Lifeway Frozen Coconut Kefir Bar

Lifeway Frozen Kefir Bars come in four flavors, including the very tasty Coconut and Vanilla mentioned in this review as well as Green Tea Raspberry and Peach, which sound delicious! Sign up to receive free discount coupons on Lifeway Products and find stores near you that sell Lifeway Frozen Kefir Bars at This Link!

Highlights From Winter Food Fete 2014

Food Fete Bag with Food
All Photos By Gail (Click on Any Image to Enlarge for Detail)

Four times each year we get very excited in anticipation of our favorite food trade show, Food Fete, because it is so awesome. Winter Food Fete took place last week on February 25th and while it was on the small side, we discovered plenty of cool new products to tell you about.

IvanBitch Flavored Vodka

Our first stop is the bar, where a featured vendor is always mixing up signature cocktails spiked with their potent potable. This season we discovered Ivanabitch: Vodka with an Attitude, which comes in 13 flavors, including Tobacco and Menthol Tobacco — which we imagine is popular with the smokers! We were not brave enough to sample the Tobacco flavors (though we were informed its taste is more “inspired by” the leaf than actually replicating it) but we did very much enjoy the delicious Peach Vodka cocktail you see pictured above. Produced in The Netherlands, Ivanbitch is comparable quality-wise to Ketel One, which is our favorite vodka! Needless to say, but you can see I am about to, we are looking forward to trying their additional delicious flavors, such as Red Berry, Dutch Apple and Coconut. Check them out at Ivanabitch Dot Com.

Seattle’s Best Coffee Maple-tini

Seattle’s Best Coffee co-hosted the bar with its Maple-Tini, made with SB Coffee, Maple Syrup, Vanilla Vodka and Half & Half. This seasonably appropriate cocktail was a big hit with the crowd and we made sure to pick up a recipe card available at the booth.

Seattles Best Coffee Kuerig Cups

When we are in Seattle, Seattle’s Best Coffee is our preferred brand to pick up on-the-go, so we made sure to take home a few of their Keurig cups to enjoy at home. Delicious!

Burpee Seed Display

Look at this amazing display from the folks at Burpee! Legendary for its seeds, plants and gardening supplies, Burpee has been around since 1876! Wow! These days, Burpee has all kinds of cool and innovative ideas for home gardening/farming even in a small space or indoors! Find out more about their vast selection of products, see photos of the World’s Largest Tomato and request a Burpee product catalog at This Link.

Roth Cheese SignageRoth Cheese Sample

Mmm…delicious melty Cheese. Roth Wisconsin Gourmet Cheese hosted a popular booth where they gave out samples of  their insanely fantastic new Raclette Cheese (available in bold flavors like 5 Peppercorn, Roasted Garlic and Mediterranean with Sun Dried Tomatoes) which will be available in stores in the Spring. To serve the cheese, they first melted it in little iron skillets before draping it onto tiny slices of bread. Best. Cheese. Ever. It is no surprise to discover that Roth is part of Emmi, the company that makes the most awesome Cheese and Chocolate Fondues. Go a little crazy with the cheese love at This Link.

Horizon Mac & Cheese Display

Another one of our favorite Booths was hosted by Horizon Mac & Cheese. Their Not Your Mama’s Mac & Cheese and Toppings Bar was an amazing idea executed to perfection as they invited Food Fete attendees to sample their organic White Cheddar Shells & Cheese dinner, which could then be topped with a variety of fresh add-ins including Chopped Tomatoes, Fresh Spinach, Red Bell Pepper and Shaved Parmesan Cheese. What a treat!

Horizon Mac & Cheese

So Yummy. Horizon products are available Nationwide. Visit their website at Horizon Dairy Dot Com.

Late July Chips

Do you enjoy delicious chips? If so, may we recommend Late July brand organic (and gluten free) Restaurant Style Tortilla and Multigrain chips, which come in a variety of appealing flavors like Sea Salt, Lime and Mild Green Mojo — half a large bag of which I have eaten while writing this post. Late July Chips are crispy, light, delicious — and when  served with a bowl of fresh salsa (the one pictured here is from Whole Foods) or guacamole (alongside a chilled Cerveza) will make you feel like you are eating in your favorite Mexican restaurant! We also enjoy the name, Late July, which makes us nostalgic for summer weather that can’t come soon enough!

Rudi's Gluten Free Bakery

See those English Muffins up there? We made an egg sandwich with one the other morning that was just crazy good. Rudi’s Gluten-free Bakery not only offered samples of its delightful freshly baked Sandwich Bread and traditional English Muffins but also gave away whole packages to take home. Get a coupon for $1 Off your purchase of any Rudi’s Bread product, so you can try it for yourself, at This Link.

Cascadian Farm Organic Protein Bars

Ah, Cascadian Farm Organic, the subject of one our very Favorite Worleygig.com Posts of the past! What fun it was to run into them again at Food Fete, where they were promoting their new Protein enriched Chewy Snack Bars! Each of these indulgent bars packs 9 Grams of organic, plant-derived Pea Protein. Impressive! The Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip variety tastes like a Peanut-studded, Peanut-buttery Rice Crispy Treat, for a taste and texture that stands out from the legion of Snack Bars we have written about on The Gig.  Much healthier for you and just as satisfying as a Snickers Bar! Discover the joy of Cascadian Farm healthy Snacks at Cascadian Farm Dot Com.

Honest Tea Juice

Are you thirsty? Honest brand Lemonade (they also make Honest Tea, get it?) previewed a line of flavored Lemonade and Limeade drinks in family-size, retro style glass bottles. They have a new Half & Half (also known as an Arnold Palmer, after the famous Golfer) which is a popular blend of Ice Tea and Lemonade in one bottle, plus Mango and Berry Hibiscus Lemonades. All very refreshing!

Duncan Hines Cake Display

Just because Duncan Hines brand cakes mixes have been around since you were an egg doesn’t mean they aren’t on trend. In fact, we’d say they are even a little bit ahead of the curve with three new baking mixes introduced at Food Fete: Blue Velvet and Pink Velvet Cake Mixes and Salted Caramel Brownie Mix! Holy Sweet Surrender! The Duncan Hines booth served tiny cake balls and brownie bites (recipes come on the back of each box) that we could not resist, and practically forced us (though they did not have to try too hard, because: Pink Cake) to take a box of Pink Velvet cake mix to bake at home. Duncan Hines, For The Win!
Yoplait Frozen Greek Yogurt Bars

When you think Yoplait, you think Yogurt, right? Right! The latest addition to the Yoplait Yogurt and Frozen Yogurt Dessert family is their collection of Greek Frozen Yogurt  Bars with Granola, which will debut in Spring 2014. Fancy!

Yoplait Frozen Raspberry Yogurt Bar

This is a picture of my hand holding a non-granola-embossed Yoplait Greek Frozen Yogurt Bar in the Raspberry Flavor. Doesn’t it look good? It tastes like a frozen creamy cheese cake with swirly fruit in it. After about a dozen licks of my tongue this bar escaped from its stick and flung itself onto the ground at the feet of the nice woman who was tending the Seattle’s Best Coffee Booth. She was kind enough to lift it from the floor into a napkin and dispose of it in the bin. Sadness! Anyway, you should check out these tasty bars of frozen goodness!

Modern Oats Dsiplay

Look! Happy Little Spoons ready to serve up warm tasty samples of crunchy fruit-laden Modern Oats oatmeal. Modern Oats, which cooks with the addition of Boiling Water in just 3 Minutes and is of course Gluten free and Non GMO comes in crazy rad tasty flavors like Mango Blackberry (which we tried; Yum) and Chocolate Cherry! Perfect for Breakfast on the go or to take to the office!

Modern Oats Dsiplay

And that wraps up our report on Winter Food Fete, another great and fun food show! Thanks to Jeff Davis as usual. See you for the next event in April!

Zengo Previews Its New Test Kitchen Menu for “Japan to Mexico”

Zengo Interior
Zengo Serves Gorgeous Food in a Gorgeous Setting (Photos By Gail, Cocktail Photos Courtesy of Burke Communications)

Foodie Fans of The Worley Gig know that one of our very favorite dining destinations is the Asian-Latin fusion restaurant, Zengo, conveniently located adjacent to Grand Central Station. While the menu is consistently delicious, Zengo is dedicated to continually changing things up. And in this case, change is good!

Every few months, Chef Richard Sandoval and his culinary team at Zengo research and develop new recipes featuring the cuisine and spirits of one Latin and one Asian country. The result is a menu of specialty plates and cocktails that showcase the flavors and techniques from each region. The featured new dishes are marked with a special “TK” symbol on the menu, noting that they are exclusive and available for a limited time. The current “Test Kitchen” menu, unveiled at Zengo in January, is dubbed “Japan to Mexico,” for which Chef Sandoval drew inspiration from the rich and flavorful street foods of Japan and Mexico to create the new Test Kitchen menu.

Recently we were invited to enjoy a Tasting of the Japan to Mexico Test Kitchen Menu and were wowed once again by the Chef’s finely honed skill at blending and accenting the flavors of these two distinct cuisines. Here’s a review of what we ate:

Calamansi Old-Fashioned

It’s always fun to start off a meal with a potent and refreshing cocktail and Zengo features two new ones for Japan to Mexico. The Calamansi Old-Fashioned is made with Japanese whiskey, fresh Calamansi juice (similar to Orange Juice) and Agave Bitters. Surprisingly, this tastes like a fresh Blood Orange cocktail with no overpowering Whiskey taste and not one hint of bitterness. Delicious!

Shiro Margarita

Also on the cocktail menus is the Shiro Margarita blending Nigori Saki with 100% Agave Blanco Tequila, fresh lime juice, simple syrup and house-made sour mix. The Shiro Margarita is light and tart and will brighten the taste of whatever you are eating. These go down very smooth!

Octopus Carpaccio

Next up on our selection of TK small plates was the outstanding Octopus Aguachile Tiradito: an unbelievably tender Octopus carpaccio flavored with Ginger Green Chile broth and White Soy, tossed with crisp Asian Pear and luscious, ripe Avocado and garnished with sprinkling of Nori and Sesame Seeds. This was the most delicious and visually appealing presentation of Octopus I have yet tried — and that includes the Octopus and Chickpea Salad at MP Taverna, which is just insane.

Shrimp Tempura Rolls

Zengo is famous for its excellent sushi and vegetarian maki rolls and they’ve come up with another excellent offering in the Achiote Shrimp Tempura Roll – a Tempura Fried Shrimp with Avocado, Jicama Chile Lemon, Charred Scallion and dressed with a light Chile Toreado Aioli. I enjoyed dipping pieces of this roll in the dressing from the Octopus dish!

Pork Belly Sliders

Elevating Mexican Street Food are the Terikayi Pork Belly Gorditas “Sliders” – Fried Pork Belly with a sweet Teriyaki glaze, nested on a crispy Masa cake “Bun” with Oaxaca cheese, Guacamole, Caramelized Pineapple and Pickled Chiles for just a little bit of heat. If you’re a Bacon fan who’s looking to try something new and different, you’ll want to give this a try.

Lamb Shank

In the realm of hearty entrees, Zengo adds the Kabayaki Glazed Lamb Shank Barbacoa – fork-tender lamb marinated in a Ginger, Chiles and Tamarind glaze, served atop a bed of fragrant Arroz Verde and garnished with tender-crisp Pickled Carrots. The bones in this look intimidating, but the meat literally just falls away as soon as you prod it a bit with your fork. I loved the contrast of textures and flavors in this delightful dish.

Avocado Panna Cotta

And last but not least we sampled an unusual take on a traditional dessert, the Avocado Panna Cotta – Fresh Avocado Custard, served with tangy-sweet Tropical Fruit Salad and garnished an added crunch of Chocolate Cookie Crumbs. The mildly sweet true-Avocado taste of the Panna Cotta gets a kick from the chopped fruit and syrup accompaniment and the unexpected crunch of the cookie morsels add a fun texture to this not-overly-sweet ending to a fine meal.

Please note that all food photos in this post are representative of a group tasting presentation and expect the dish may look somewhat different when ordered for just one person.

Zengo is located at 622 Third Avenue (at the corner of 40th Street). Dinner is served Monday through Saturday from 5:00 PM onward. Lunch is served Monday – Friday from 11:30 AM -2:30 PM. For reservations, please call 212-808-8110 or visit their website at This Link. The Mexico-Japan menu is featured through March 31st, 2013 at all Zengo locations including New York City, Denver, Santa Monica and Washington D.C.

Raymi Peruvian Kitchen Offers a 6-Course Tasting To Spice Up Valentine’s Day

Raymi Tables and Bar
All photos Courtesy of EM50 Communications

Nothing says “I Love You” on Valentine’s Day quite like a really amazing meal that you don’t have to cook yourself! Luckily, Raymi Peruvian Kitchen and Chef Erik Ramirez are providing couples the necessary ingredients to spice up their romance with a Peruvian influenced Valentine’s Day. I’ve been to Raymi before and I can tell you, the place is gorgeous and the food is excellent!

Starting at 5:00 PM on the 14th, the Flatiron favorite is offering a six-course tasting menu (in addition to its regular a la carte menu) giving diners an array of options depending on their appetite. The six-course tasting menu ($65 per person) will feature three starters, two main courses and a decadent dessert to share. An additional wine pairing is available for $25 per person to compliment the blended flavors in the vibrant cuisine.

Raymi Ceviche

Each dish at Raymi is created to excite and tempt the palate from the first bite of aphrodisiac oysters all the way through to the rich chocolate dessert. Potential paramours will start with Oysters, followed by Lobster (causa, aji amarillo potato puree, avocado, spicy mayo) and Beets (mizuna, crème fraiche, haucatay, pistachio). For a third course, diners transition to the main courses of Halibut (a lo macho, mussles, shrimp, calamari, aji panca cream sauce) and Braised Short Ribs (seco, cilantro). A decadent chocolate dessert for two will complete the meal on a sweet note.

Raymi Meat Skewer

Every guest who participates in the tasting menu will receive a complimentary glass of champagne to start off the night and a rose will be placed on the table. Further setting the fine mood of the evening, Diners can revel in the romantic melodies of a live band, Christelle Durandy Quartet who will be performing a collection of Latin American genres such as Peruvian Valses, boleros and tangos.

Raymi Cocktail

If six courses is a bit too indulgent, Raymi’s full menu, featuring traditional and modern plates such as hanger steak, prepared in two different ways, seafood with jasmine rice, or the choice of an array of flavorful ceviches and tiraditos, will also be available. At the end of a deliciously romantic evening, every guest will take home a small gift bag containing housemade granola and a card for a free Pisco sour to be used at a later date.

Raymi Peruvian Kitchen is located at 43 West 24th Street (between 5th and 6th Aves). Please call 212-929-1200 for Reservations.

Cooking With Gail Presents: Savory Italian Wontons

Nasoya Wrappers
All Photos By Gail

Hello and welcome to another installment of Cooking with Gail: the series that is all about me making a meal from whatever I can find in my house. The weather has been a bit inclement here in NYC just recently, and getting out to the store can be a pain. On a recent snowy and bitterly cold evening, I was staring down my open refrigerator in search of ingredients to make into some kind of interesting meal.

Nasoya Wonton Wrappers
There are about 40 Wonton Wrappers in Each Package!

The first intriguing item I found was a package of Nasoya brand Wonton Wraps. My neighbors have used these wraps and absolutely rave about how great they are for filling with just about any kind of leftover, so I knew they would be adaptable to my creativity – or lack thereof! In the Freezer/Fridge I also found:

4 Ounce Ground Beef Patty

One 4-ounce Ground Beef Burger courtesy of Omaha Steaks

Pasta Sauce

Jarred Pasta Sauce

Sartori Aisago Cheese

Sartori brand Asiago Cheese

Thus the idea for Italian Style Wontons was born!

Ingredients Prep

Here are all of the ingredients laid out, with the wontons now ready to be assembled. Don’t worry if you have no idea what are doing (raises hand), as a step by step, visual guide on how to fold and seal a wonton is included in the package.

Nasoya Wonton Wrappers Recipes 2

They also include a few recipes, which were helpful to use for reference in deducing how exactly the wontons should be cooked. More about that later.

\Sample Wrapper with Filling

Into the center of each wonton wrapper put one small teaspoon of meat sauce topped with a small pinch of cheese. I am not kidding when I say that you must not put more than one teaspoon of filling in each wonton. If you overfill them they will not be easy to seal, and then you will be sad.

Completed Wontons Before Cooking

This what they look like once they are all pinched and twisted. Pretty! You may be surprised (I sure was) to know that just 4 ounces of cooked, lean ground beef yields 15 plump wontons! Wow, what a feast!

Wontons Ready for the Oven

Here they are all ready for the oven! Before baking, brush each wonton lightly with melted margarine and be sure to spray the pan with non-stick cooking spray or just brush with leftover melted margarine (which is what I did).

There was not an exact cooking time or temperature recommended for my on-the-fly creation, so I came up with a baking estimate of 425 degrees for 8 minutes. This proved to be pretty accurate, as the wontons came out lightly golden brown, and slightly browner and crispier on the bottom, which was very desirable.

Cooked Wontons

Since I was basically experimenting, I baked the wontons in two batches. This is what the second batch looked like coming out of the oven. As you can see, they are a bit dark at the edges (though this yielded no discernible burnt taste). I chock that up to the oven being really hot after having cooked the first batch. I’d recommend that if you are going to use the “batch method,” that you lower the oven temperature by 25 degrees and cut the cooking time down to 7 minutes for the second batch. Your mileage may vary.

Ready to Eat

Now you are ready to eat these delicious morsels of goodness, so just arrange them on a plate with a small dish of warm marinara sauce for dipping (I used the leftover shredded Asiago cheese for a garnish). Mmm…so super tasty! I would like to point out also that it is perfectly OK for you to eat these wontons using only your hands. And as everyone knows, eating with ones hands makes all foods taste better. Enjoy!

For delicious recipes and additional information on Nasoya Wonton Wraps, and other Nasoya Products, please visit Nasoya Dot Com.

Fall Food Fete Entices with a Preview of Seasonal Delciousness!

Food Fete Welcome Sign
All Photos By Gail

Nothing gets us excited for new seasonal packaged foods and gourmet takes on fresh favorites quite like Food Fete! The Fall edition of Food Fete took place on November 7th, with lots of ideas for holiday entertaining and many new products on preview from some of our favorite vendors — plus a great chance to network with other bloggers and sample lots of tasty treats! Here are a few of the exhibitors that caught our eye this time around.

Apple Cider and Pomegranate Martinis

A festive Martini Bar sponsored by Zulka Pure Cane Sugar got the party started right away. We made sure to sample both the Apple Cider and Pomegranate Martinis, whose sugared rims sparkled with a sprinkling of Zulka. We had to note that Zulka glittered like diamond dust as it adorned the frosting atop luscious brownies, alongside tiny cakes and fresh baked cookies, also provided by Zulka.

Zulka Display

Since Zulka‘s “Morena” pure cane sugar does not undergo a conventional refining process, it retains the complexity and depth of flavor that’s as close to fresh sugar cane as possible. Why not pick up a box for use in your next recipe that calls for sugar?

Bare Apple Chips

Shortly after entering the event space we spotted Bare Fruit Apple Chips. This delicious natural fruit snack is made from 100% baked Washington Apples with no added preservatives or sugars (and, of course, it’s Gluten Free). We took home a couple of bags to sample and have really enjoyed the Sea Salt Caramel variety, which is a new flavor along with the Chile Lime offering. Crunchy, Sweet and Healthy Snacking!

Anna's Breads

Mmm, fresh baked bread, – we love it! A lot of people, unfortunately, have a gluten intolerance and many exhibitors at Food Fete took this challenge in hand. The holidays are a time when baking for the family, as well as for gift giving, is a very popular idea. From Anna offers Gluten and Allergen Free bread mixes that taste as sweet and moist as your favorite recipes from Mom. From Anna‘s line of products let you treat yourself and your family while including those with dietary exclusions. Their Banana Bread mix is a must-try and so easy to make!

Luces Gluten Free Artisan Bread

Luces Gluten Free Artisan Bread was also exhibiting and had many flavors of their fresh baked breads to share, including their new Italian loaf, which bakes into a rich white bread with cracker-thin crust and a very open crumb. Is your mouth watering yet? Luces bread mixes contain all the dry ingredients you need to make a loaf of fresh baked bread in every package, including a bag to bake it in! The best part: no kneading or rising time is required. You have to try this bread!

Divine Chocolate

Chocolate is a big item at the holidays and Divine Chocolate offers exotic flavored Chocolate bars such as White Chocolate with Strawberries, Milk Chocolate with Crushed Ginger Snaps (tastes like Christmas!) and Dark Chocolate with Ginger and Orange among many others! Not only are their products unique and tasty but Divine is the only fair-trade chocolate company which is owned by its cocoa farmers. While Fair-trade ensures farmers receive a better deal for their cocoa and additional income to invest in their community, company ownership gives farmers a share of Divine’s profits and a stronger voice in the cocoa industry. That’s awesome!

American Pistachio Growers

Nuts and nut products were also featured prominently at the show, including one of our very favorite snacks, Pistachios. American Pistachio Growers hosted a very inviting booth with facts about Pistachios, samples to give away and the most delicious Avocado Pistachio Guacamole dip (which they called Pistachio Mole). We got the recipe for future concocting at home!

Pistachio and Avocado Dip
Oh Man, This Stuff was Good!

Sante Nuts

We also fell in love with Sante Nuts, a company founded by a single mom who had to think creatively when she she needed an income stream to support her family. Sante Nuts come in nine sweet and savory varieties and are made in small batches to ensure freshness. Sante’s candied Pistachios, which are actually only slightly candied, so you can still taste all the flavor of the nut, are out of this world.

OPA By Litehouse

OPA is a brand of delicious, made fresh Greek style yogurt dressings from Litehouse Foods that not only makes salad eating fun, but it also makes excellent dips. Gluten free and lower in fat and calories than the standard bottled dressing, OPA sacrifices nothing in the taste arena to bring you a healthier product. Available in Blue Cheese, Ranch, Caesar and Feta Dill flavors, OPA by Litehouse can be found in the refrigerated produce department at grocery retailers nationwide.

Chicken of the Sea Display

We love their Tuna, but we had no idea that Chicken of the Sea made all of these different types of packaged seafood products. Due to celebrate the company’s Centennial in 2014, Chicken of the Sea showcased two brand new items at Food Fete, including its Kipper Snacks — naturally smoked, wild-caught herring fillets that are a traditional European snack — and their Genova Quad Pack, featuring four cans of all-natural Genova Select Yellowfin Tuna packed in the Mediterranean tradition of olive oil.

Panera Bread Salads

We were also surprised to learn that Panera Bread, one of the healthier quick food chains around, is now offering healthy and delicious salads (although we were told that these salads have actually been available as an off-menu item for some time – who knew?). We will have to check that out next time we pass by a Panera Bread at Lunchtime, because these salads were tasty!

Aldi Markets

If you have an Aldi Market in your neighborhood then consider yourself very lucky, because their foods are awesome! Similar to a Trader Joe’s, Aldi features all its own house brands and offers everything you need to make your holiday party – or everyday life – simply spectacular! Not to mention, but you can see we are about to, the fact that they have very reasonable prices! Visit Aldi Dot US to find out more about Aldi and to see if they have a location near you!

Seasonal Milanos

Pepperidge Farms introduce three new seasonal flavors of their popular Milano Cookies: Candy Cane (Available since October), Dulce De Leche and Lemon Chocolate (both in stores starting in February 2014). They are also offering a Gingerbread variety of their Swirl Bread now through January 2014. That probably tastes amazing toasted!

Nosa Yogurt

Do you see how the little paper spoons all have smiley faces on them? That is because they are serving Noosa Yoghurt, which is so delicious, it is just insane. We sampled both the Cherry and Lemon flavors at Food Fete and gosh darn if this isn’t the Best Yogurt we have tasted, possibly ever. Everyone at Food Fete couldn’t shut up about it. We are going to attempt to get samples of Noosa Yoghurt delivered directly to Worley Gig headquarters so that we can review it more thoroughly. Because, insane.

Nasoya Tofu Plus

And to wrap up this wrap up, we want to give a shout out to Nasoya, who showcased their Tofu Plus and Asian Style Wraps (wraps, get it?) by serving healthy and super yummy Tofu Tacos and scrumptious home baked Cinnamon Apple Turnovers, respectively, in their booth. Find out more about Nasoya products and get recipe ideas at This Link!

Thanks as always to Jeff Davis for making the magic happen!