Yearly Archives: 2011

Good-bye 2011, Hello 2012!

I don’t know about you, but for me 2011 just flew right by.  I felt like I’d barely gotten through stuffing my gullet with all the wonderful berries, stone fruit, and gorgeous green vegetables of summer when it was time to figure out what to make for Thanksgiving and come up with recipes for using sweet potatoes and pumpkin.  This year was a busy one as I launched a new site for The Experimental Gourmand with its own domain name and posted 148 times, a record.  Thirty-seven original recipes were added and 62 posts covered food events, including cook-offs, benefits, markets, and, yes, The Red Velvet Cake Debate (probably my favorite “debate” of the year).

Most popular giveaway => Memorial Day Cookout Pack

This was also a year in which I introduced Giveaways of artisan food products so that you, the readers, can also get your hands on some of the delicious items that might not have made it into your markets quite yet.  In fact, of the top ten most visited posts to the site for 2011, three of them were for giveaways.  This has also had the side benefit of letting me highlight the hard work that all of the people who make the food that we enjoy eating do to start their own businesses and to keep them going through thick and thin, snowstorms and sunshine.  I appreciate what goes into each and every delicious bite so profiling them is just a small way of saying “thanks.”

Most popular recipe => Thai Beef Noodle Stir-Fry

Recipes continue to be a fundamental part of the website and of my philosophy about exploring the food world around us.  I’m still striving to eat seasonally and mostly locally, using products found in local farmers’ markets, while re-interpreting the dishes I grew up with and adding a new ones based up my travels and culinary studies.  Hopefully, you find them useful as well in trying to do more cooking and home for your family, which I hear is still the number one concern of most people who follow food and recipe sites.

Most popular post in 2011 => Grub Street/Hester Street Fair from 2010

Another growing component of this website has been Food Events and Markets.  My most fond memories of the year involve meeting the people behind the products at the various food markets like Smorgasburg and New Amsterdam.  If you have never visited New Amsterdam Market down by the South Street Seaport, definitely add it to your usual weekend errand rotation or tourist stops when you are in town to sample some local and regional treasures.  Among the most delicious things I tasted, and there were many, the Duck Buns by Cathy Erway and the Duck Confit by Richard Pinto from the Duck Cook-off at Jimmy’s No. 43 still stick in my mind as among the tastiest.  Another mind-blowing creation I sampled in 2011 was the Sweet Mary Ice Cream by The Bent Spoon, who always seems to make one amazing flavor after another.

Most popular blogger event post => Peanut Butter Pie for Mikey

The past year has also brought with it some sadder moments, but ones which made me realize how wonderful a community the blogging one is.  When Jennifer Perillo lost her beloved husband suddenly this summer, fellow food bloggers rallied around, including me, and created one big, electronic hug for her by posting her husband’s favorite recipe: Peanut Butter Pie.  Participating in the Cookies for Kids’ Cancer this month helped me feel as though I was doing something to help my nephew fight the cancer with which he’d been diagnosed this past summer.

Paula Wolfert’s book at the Culinary Historians of New York

On the positive side, I was able to go to some inspiring and engaging lectures and conferences during the past year.  From Eat, Write, Retreat to the Fancy Food Show to The Chocolate Show, which I covered for another site for which I write Woman Around Town, I was able to interact with fellow food lovers discovering tastes and treats and making new friends.  I had a chance to cover the intersection of food and technology on the insightful and informative website Food+Tech Connect run by Danielle Gould and to explore some of the food apps at Eats + Apps that developers are hoping we’ll consult as we plan our meals.

Probably still my ideal New Year’s Day menu

These are all aspects that are moving our understanding of what we eat and influencing how we cook and consume it, which is also part of what I think makes the culinary world such a fascinating arena right now.  For 2012, I’m looking forward to learning more about our food future, celebrate its glorious history, and eat many more amazing items whether made by the dedicated artisans in our community or cobbled together in my own kitchen.

Buon capodanno e buon appetito!

Italian Stuffed Flank Steak and Roast Pork Romana for the Feast of St. Stephen

Antipasti from The Italian Store to kick off the evening

I’ve long been a fan of the day after Christmas, referred to as Boxing Day or St. Stephen’s Day depending upon the country in which it is observed.  Of course, neither of those feast days are celebrated in the United States, where the 26th of December is usually get-back-to-work-day unless one is fortunate to be able to take vacation at that time.  When I sent a message to a friend saying I was coming to Virginia for the holidays, he invited to me to his Festa di Santo Stefano (feast of St. Stephen) gathering that he was having in Washington, DC on Monday night.  After I offered to help out with any last-minute kitchen prep, he gladly accepted my assistance.

His recipe book

For the main courses, my friend had picked out several recipes from his culinary “bible,” The New Basics by Julee Rosso and Shelia Lukins: the Italian Stuffed Flank Steak (sometimes referred to as braciole) and the Roast Pork Romana.  I’ve written in the past about this book, and its place in my own cooking journey so it was no surprise when I discovered that he not only had it, too, but that he’d used it so much he’d had to break the binding apart and put it into a notebook, sticky note pages and all.  Flipping through it again, I realize how advanced some of the entries are, especially for the early 1990s when I first bought my copy.

Prepped Flank Steak

Steak wrapped for cooking

Cooked Steak

These two selections turned out to be perfect for a flexible, casual gathering and would be ideal for an open house or brunch.  They could be cooked a bit in advance of the arrival of the first guests, or in our case, just as they’d walked in the door, and cut into slices so that everyone could help themselves at the buffet stations that he’d set up on his dining room table.  Rolling the steak meant that it was cooked a bit more well-done on the outside and rare on the inside so that guests in favor of one or the other style had plenty of meat to select.  The steak was meltingly tender with a creamy, sweet flavor from the peppers blending with the fragrant spinach-breadcrumb-Parmesan filling.  The fatty proscuitto kept everything well-basted.

Pouring wine over pork

The Roast Pork Romana was dressed with a rosemary-garlic-butter and chopped proscuitto before it was drenched, really drenched, with two cups of vin santo and then put into the oven to cook.  When I got to the step in the recipe where it said to pour the wine over the prepared meat, I called my friend away from his frantic pre-party cleaning and organizing to confirm with him that I should actually saturate the dish with the alcohol.  He assured me to go ahead and do it.

Roast Pork Romana with Endives

It worked beautifully!  The pork cooked to a tender moist finish in a bath of sweet wine and fat.  The endives tossed around the outside of the meat melted into a soft, delicate layer.  The reserved juices made a tasty sauce that I poured over the cut slices of pork when they were placed on a platter for serving.  The only issue that I had was with the cooking time, which is listed at one hour and 15 minutes.  The next time I fix this, I’ll check the temperature and doneness of the meat after an hour.  Residual heat (the instructions say to tent the meat and let it sit after taking it out of the oven) will continue the roasting process, which leaves the pork in danger of being overcooked and dried out.

Everything served

Once on the table, the contrasting colors of the two platters of meat enhanced the festive atmosphere.  The endives were served in a separate bowl along with some braised fennel.  I was relieved of kitchen duty to go join the other guests as my friend whipped up a penne with an arugula-mint pesto and a risotto dish to round out the meal.  Glasses were raised in the good cheer of the holiday season and the food was quickly devoured.  Then, we all went into the night to continue our festivities at a local watering hole.

Buon appetito!

Cheese, Meat, and Chocolate Fondue for Christmas Eve

This was our holiday table yesterday for the annual family gift opening gathering.  It is roughly around Christmastime, I have to add, because we try to have our big meal when the maximum number of people are in town.  This is a bit of a challenge when you come from a family that includes 6 children, 5 in-laws (or S.O.s), 7 grandchildren (and counting), parents, aunt, and adopted family.  Last year’s dinner had us trying to fit 13 people around a table made originally for about 8-10.  This year, we had 8 adults, a toddler, and a newborn, so it was less of a squeeze to bring everyone together.

When the emails started going around after Thanksgiving about how to coordinate this year’s get-together several ideas were suggested.  Due to scheduling, we were going to be having a lunch rather than the usual dinner, so no one wanted to fix or eat something as complex and heavy as the Roast Beef with Yorkshire Pudding and Horseradish Sauce, although I would happily eat that for breakfast, if faced that dilemma.   My brother’s best friend’s wife (they joined the family drawing years ago) suggested having fondue, which wasn’t voted down by anyone when I asked them.

As a child of 70’s era parents, I remember fondue night fondly.  The dark red pot would be put in the middle of the dining room table bubbling away with a sea of molten golden yellow liquid inside of it.  We would each be assigned a different color wooden-handled fondue fork and have to wait our turn to load up cubes of French bread on our plates.  Spearing a piece of the bread and then dunking it carefully into the cheese, making sure not to knock off anyone else’s bread while pulling your fork out of the pot, twirling it just so to make sure to have maximum gooey dairy coverage in each bite, made dinner a fun and interactive evening.

Once in a while, we’d have a meat fondue, too, but I don’t remember eating it that many times.  It might have had to do with the fact that it involves very hot oil being put on the table and, having lots of smaller children around, my mom realized the safety factor wasn’t in her favor with that dish.  We did, however, usually have chocolate fondue, in addition to the cheese.  This meant that we also got to eat Entenmann’s butter pound cake, a special, special treat, as my mother baked all of our sweets and we rarely got to eat anything store-bought or processed, unlike my schoolmates.  My mother served this fondue with cut-up bananas as well, which might have made her feel better as we were ostensibly eating fruit for dessert in addition to all the chocolate and cake.

Everyone enjoyed the lunch and was, I think, a bit surprised at how well it worked out to have a meal as low-stress and quick to throw together as this one was.  After the present-swap and exchanges of good cheer, about half of the group left to continue their holiday celebrations at their next destinations.  Clean up was a snap as well, which as cook-in-chief made this meal a winner for me, too.  The two main dish fondues (meat and cheese) as well as the dessert fondue (chocolate) and a green salad, which not everyone touched, amply fed the assembled mass.  It even got me thinking that maybe next year I should ask Santa for my own fondue pot and start inviting folks to come over to dinner for some spearing and dunking fun.*

Swiss Cheese Fondue

(after a recipe from BBC Good Food from March 2000)

Prep Time: 15-20 minutes

Serving Size: 6-8 people as part of main course

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp. Cornstarch
2 Tbsp. Kirsch
1 large Garlic clove, peeled and cut in half
1 2/3 c. dry White Wine (I used Pinot Grigio)
1 tsp. fresh Lemon Juice
12 oz. Gruyère cheese, freshly grated
12 oz. Emmental cheese, freshly grated
1 pinch freshly ground Black Pepper
1 pinch freshly ground Nutmeg
1 Baguette, cut into 1-inch pieces

Assembly:
Prep all ingredients and set out before putting everything together. Combine cornstarch and Kirsch and set aside.

With the fondue pot turned off, rub cut side of garlic along side the base and sides. Discard garlic clove. Pour the wine and the lemon juice into the fondue pot and turn on heat.

Bring mixture to a simmer over low heat and then start adding in cheese by the handful, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon. Stir until all the cheese is melted completely and the mixture bubbles slightly. Pour the cornstarch/Kirsch mixture into the fondue pot and add pepper and nutmeg.

Continue to stir so that the cheese does not stick to the bottom of the pot while the mixture is thickening. Once the mixture has become thick, which takes about 5 minutes or less, turn the heat to low and call everyone to the table. Dish up the bread cubes and start dunking them into the cheese fondue.

Meat Fondue

Prep Time: 5-10 minutes

Serving Size: 6-8 people as part of main course

Ingredients:
1 c. Vegetable Oil
1 ½-ish lb. Top Sirloin of Beef, sliced into thin pieces across the grain
¼ Yellow or White Onion, sliced (optional)

Assembly:
Heat oil in fondue pot until it is very hot, which takes about 2-3 minutes. Test by putting a piece of meat on a fondue fork and letting it cook. Let oil continue to heat up if it is not cooking the meat fast enough.

When ready, call everyone to the table. Let everyone put one or two slices of meat onto fondue fork. Place in pot and cook 15-20 seconds for rare and around 45 seconds to a minute for well-done. If desired, place a piece of onion on the fork with the meat for additional flavor.

Chocolate Fondue

Prep Time: 5-10 minutes

Serving Size: 6-8 people

Ingredients:
2/3 c. Heavy Whipping Cream
2 4-oz. Chocolate bars, 60% cocoa (bittersweet)
1 Tsp. Chambord, Cognac or Brandy
2 Bananas, sliced into ¼-inch rounds
1 Apple, cut into ¼-inch slices
1 Pound Cake cut into 1-inch cubes

Assembly:
Heat cream and chocolate together in fondue pot over low heat.  When thoroughly combined, add in Chambord, Cognac or Brandy.  Round up everyone and tell them to start digging in by dipping slices of banana, apple and pound cake into the chocolate.

*As compensation for allowing me to take photographs during the family meal, I was told that I needed to give an acknowledgement to my sister for her fabulous hand-modeling in the various dipping pictures.  Thank you, too, to the fondue equipment suppliers for the meal, including said sister as well as my brother’s best friend’s family.  Also, thank you to my father for chauffeuring me around to pick up all the ingredients for the meal, but that was mostly because he didn’t trust me with his car.  As he pointed out, “You drive, what, maybe once a year?”

Buon appetito e buona festa a tutti!

Wiener Schnitzel and Gene’s Sausage Shop Chicago

The first leg of my Christmas 2011 adventures started out with a trip to Chicago to say good-bye to my uncle who had passed away prior to Thanksgiving (sad) and to meet my brand-new nephew (happy).  My youngest sister’s boyfriend is a good, solid home cook and fellow food lover, so a stop at Gene’s Sausage Shop did not seem out of the question on his first trip to the Windy City.  I tried to prep him for it by explaining that he was going to be entering a “meat emporium,” as if that could adequately describe the culinary wonders that awaited him there.

Interior of Gene’s

My first trip to Gene’s was a little over a year ago when I was visiting my brother in Chicago.  We stopped by the cemetery in the formerly-German part of town to visit the graves on my mother’s side of the family.  I’m about a quarter-ish of German descent, mostly on my mother’s side, although on my dad’s side about 300 or so years ago someone Dutch married someone German in Philadelphia so there’s a smidgen from there, too.  We combined this excursion with a saunter around the shops in Lincoln Park including this one, which is not original to the neighborhood.

Pierogies & Blintzes

At the shop, I discovered that my toddler nephew had a taste for their spiced, meaty Krakow sausage which he devoured as soon as he could grab a fistful of it from his dad.  Although I was bit more polite than my nephew, I, too, was taken with the samples and the tastes displayed all around me.  It’s still astonishing to me when I study the history of cuisine in the United States and find out how Teutonic-influenced our diet is as I don’t feel like I grew up eating the particular dishes from that area.  One of my friends who is French was surprised that I hadn’t realized the level of German inflection in our “American” dishes, too, but that probably goes to show you how foods that are at one time considered ethnic and weird can become assimilated and mainstream (think cilantro and pesto).

This is only a small sample of their sausage offerings.

My sister’s boyfriend seemed to be no less taken with the variety of wursts, smoked meats, sausages (fresh and prepared), salads, and other gastronomic delights from which to choose at the shop.  When he found out that they were out of Wiener Schnitzel (made with veal, not pork), he decided on the spot that he would fix some for dinner that night.  As it was the first night of Hanukkah, and I had woken up with a wicked craving for latkes, we threw in some potato pancakes for good measure.

Wiener Schnitzel, Potato Pancake, Red Cabbage, Cucumbers with Dill

Adding some of their prepared salads, and a Central European-inspired meal was in the works.  The recipe for the schnitzel is a bit non-traditional, but, also being of German ancestry and more recently than that of my family, my sister’s boyfriend assures me that this is the way he is used to making it.  I generally have done the flour-egg-breadcrumb variety.  This one, using just three ingredients (six if you count the salt, pepper, and oil), was quick and tasty and would make a great weeknight supper.  I think my ancestors would be interested to see that some of the foods they might have eaten still have a place on our table today.

Wiener Schnitzel by Mr. Brown

Prep Time:  15 minutes

Serving Size: 4 adults

Ingredients:

4 Veal cutlets, pounded thinly to about 1/4 inch

1 Tbsp. Mustard (he used Thomy mild)

1/2 cup Breadcrumbs (fresh if you can get them)

Salt

Black Pepper, freshly ground

Canola Oil for frying

Assembly:

Take each of the cutlets and spread a thin layer of mustard on one side.  Sprinkle a little salt and a few grinds of pepper on top of that.

Then, flip each cutlet over and repeat the steps on the reverse side.  Dredge the cutlets in the breadcrumbs, making sure to coat each side thoroughly.

Heat canola oil in a large (12-inches or larger) skillet over medium-high heat until the oil is hot but not smoking.  Put in 1-2 cutlets, taking care not to over-crowd them. Cook cutlets for 2-3 minutes on first side until breadcrumbs are golden brown.  Flip meat over and cook on second side for 2-3 minutes more.  Because it is so thin, the veal will cook quickly.

The heat and oil need to be hot enough to make the breadcrumbs crisp but not so hot that the meat burns.  If cooking the cutlets in batches, take care to wipe out the pan and add more oil each time before you put in an uncooked cutlet.  That way, you will not make a smoky, hot mess in the kitchen.  Place cooked cutlet briefly on a paper towel after removing it from the pan to pat any leftover oil off of it.  Serve immediately.

Typically, wiener schnitzel is served with a slice of lemon on the side.  Vinegar-based potato salad, cucumber salad, and a dollop of a sweet preserve might also be on the plate to go with the meat.  Just be sure to serve it with your favorite beer to capture the mood of feasting in Europe.

Buon appetito!

It’s My Blog’s Birthday!

Happy Birthday to my Blog!!!  It turns 6 years old today, which is kind of milestone in blog-land, as my friends keep pointing out to me.  What an interesting trip it has been from that very first post in 2005.  I’ve met so many super people along the way and have eaten a vast array of great food items, many of them Local Products found in the markets here in New York.  I really enjoy getting out to meet the folks whose passion has inspired them to create something edible and to develop a business around it.  I’m also completely in awe of the great cooks who show up at every Food Event with delectable treats in hand.  For me, finding out about and trying all of these things is the essence of the Experimental and the Gourmand part of my website name.

My files are much better organized than this, I promise!

Another other key component of the website is a feature that has been there since it began. My Recipe collection continues to grow with no end in site although it is more organized that it was when I started this project, which was one of the reasons for taking up writing this in the first place.  I’ve also migrated from testing recipes to developing a lot of my own original ones, more than 100 of them to date if my numbers are correct.  I’ve definitely broadened my knowledge base as far as technique and cuisine are concerned, but I also really enjoy the basics and making revamped versions of some of the dishes with which I grew up, as tackled in my Recipe Box Project.  The blog has helped me to put on “paper” some of the incredible Italian meals that I ate when I lived in Bologna, as well as new discoveries from my more recent travels.

Last year’s Christmas Dinner from my mom’s recipe card file

I’ve often been amazed and delighted with the fabulous bounty that comes into the local Markets; it inspires me in my cooking projects and gives me so much great material with which to work.  This has helped me to frame my site around trying harder to eat locally and seasonally.  I’ve realized, too, that I learned so much of what I know from hanging around my mother as she cooked, giving me those tiny, random Kitchen Witch Tips that I enjoy sharing and which just make a recipe turn out that extra bit better.

Happy Blog-A-Versary to me! (courtesy a sale at Williams-Sonoma)

The past six years have had their ups and downs, as followers can see from my posting cycle.  There are times when I thought about closing down the blog or putting it on a long hiatus while things in my personal and/or professional life were swirling around chaotically, but what has kept me going is having a place where I can be part of a community that immerses itself in a love of food, something about which I remain incredibly passionate, as have the kind comments I’ve received from readers and friends.  I look forward to many more posts where I get to indulge in the Experimental and Gourmand sides of culinary exploration and hope that you’ll be around to share this journey with me.

Buon appetito!

2011 Holiday Gifts for Food Lovers

Aahhh, the peaceful bliss of a radiator decorated for the holidays.  What could be more in spirit with the keeping of the season?  Actually, I didn’t want to fiddle with the whole tree thing this year and was able to pick up the branch trimmings from one of the street tree vendors, so I decided on more of a free form display than the traditional set-up with tree and ornaments.  This gave me plenty of time to go through my notes of all the amazing things that I tasted this year and to create this 2011 Holiday Gift List to give you some ideas for the food lovers and cooks among your loved ones.  Many of these items would also make wonderful hostess/host gifts throughout the year as well, so you might want to keep it handy for those last-minute treats to pick up at any time.

Cookbooks

After purging my collection a number of years ago, I’m really careful to introduce new volumes to my bookshelves.  This year, however, there were several I wanted to pick up even before they hit the stores.  One of these was Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi.  I’ve also had the pleasure of eating his food when I’ve had the opportunity to visit London and have been able to stop in at one of his restaurants.  There you can choose among all the gorgeous, delicious salads and sweets that are freshly made each day to build your meal, as I did in the photo above.

A cooking and food history book I was delighted to purchase this year was The Food of Spain by Claudia Roden, who is one of my culinary heros.  In conjunction with the book, she gave a talk at the Culinary Historians of New York about her research, the people whom she met the course of her travels, and the recipes that they were willing to share with her to keep their cultural history alive.

The Food of Morocco is an incredible recipe and culinary resource that I also added to my collection this year.  Paula Wolfert created a beautiful work that captures the range and bounty of the cuisine of this fascinating country.  She also spoke at the Culinary Historians of New York this year where we were treated to some the dishes she mentions (click on the link to see those photos).

For a trip to the other side of the world complete with mouth-watering photos and recipes designed for the American kitchen, pick up a copy of Marja Vongerichten‘s The Kimchi Chronicles.  I had the pleasure of meeting Marja and of trying her food at a couple of different promotional events for the book.  The accompanying PBS series is one of the most gorgeously shot shows I have ever watched and makes you just want to jump through the screen to join them in their eating adventure.

Cookware

Hands down, some of the most fun and lively handcrafted linens that I’ve seen in a while come from Claudia Pearson.  I’ve had the pleasure of meeting her at the Brooklyn Flea.  Each of her designs, whether in tea towel, calendar, or tote bag form would brighten up anyone’s home.

I splurged a bit and treated myself to one of these display boards by Brooklyn Slate.  The reclaimed materials make ideal platforms for cheese, hors d’oeuvres or whatever you would like.  They are attractive enough to be artworks in their own right.  For one of my family members, I also picked up their Cheese Survival Kit, which I think will make a perfectly appropriate gift for the person who keeps a separate all-cheese section in her refrigerator.

My dream gift (well, one of them anyway), would be one of these fabulous cutting boards from Brooklyn Butcher Blocks.  Built from reclaimed wood, each one is handmade and unique.  Maybe if I’m very, very, very, very good next year, Santa will bring me one of them.

Food Items

Honestly, I ate so many terrific things this year that it is hard to narrow this list down to just a few items.  After consuming mounds of sweets, piles of chocolates, meats, pickles, sauces, jams, preserves, syrups, and lots of other things in between, I don’t even know where to start.  Check out my Product Spotlight and Local Products tabs for posts about many of these things.  Not by way of biasing anyone, but here are the items that made the cut to get crammed into my luggage to go to traveling for the holidays plus the items that I’d squeeze in there if I could.

I have really enjoyed consuming all of P & H Soda Co.s soda creations during the course of this year, but Anton completely wowed me with the Chocolate Soda he made at the Grub Street/Hester Street event this fall.  He also create special, seasonal flavors like the Spicebrite with the aromas of the holidays.

As a fan of both the delicate meaty cashews of Nuts Plus Nuts and the crunchy sweet toffee of Lush Candy, it was a pleasure to introduce Cyrilla and Laurie, the respective company owners, to each other.  I sort of thought that there might be a collaboration that could develop, but I had no idea how incredible it would be.  The cashews, sugar, butter, and spices all blended perfectly together in Lush Candy‘s Indonesian Brittle which debuted at Smorgasburg this summer and made this one of the most delicious things that I ate all year.

If you had looked in my fridge at any point this year, you would have seen several flavors of Anarchy in A Jar‘s delicious and unique jams.  My favorites have been the summertime Blackberry & Lavender and the current contender for shelf space, the Wild Blueberry, but I’m leaving myself open to her new seasonal combinations.  These spreads with their deep fruit profiles blended with spices, herbs, and other seasonings make it worth it to get out of bed in the morning to tackle a new day, toast and jam in hand.

Many years ago, I was introduced to Stroopwafels by a Dutch friend.  It was love at first sight.  Only years after that did I discover that I have a strong Dutch lineage that I had never known about, so that might explain it.  Whatever the reason, The Good Batch‘s version in plain or cocoa flavor are close to my heart.  I picked up a package of each to take with me on my travels.  Check them out for other sweet treats as well, especially their big chewy, fragrant Ginger-Molasses cookies.

One of the other delicious delicacies that is going on my holiday voyage are the addictive spiced, candied orange peels from La Newyorkina.  Their sweet, tangy taste with a little kick of heat led me to devour the first pack I bought in record time.  Her summertime paletas (Mexican ice pops) are refreshing and make your tastebuds dance up and down for joy with their bright flavors.  She has released pumpkin seed brittle, chocolate truffles, and other goodies in time for the holiday season.

It was love at first bite when I tried Danny Macaroons earlier this year.  One taste of the Salted Caramel with its soft, moist, chewy mound of coconut drizzled with sweet, buttery caramel and a pop of salt, and I was hooked.  He has other creations that are delicious as well, but the original version remains my favorite.

Macaron Parlour makes the other kind of macarons which are also wonderful edible gifts.  These colorful 3-bite treats come in a range of flavors, not all of them traditional.  I introduced a fellow food blogger to their Candied Bacon with Maple Cream Cheese one, and she raved about it.  What is there not to enjoy about biting into a sweet that has a pillowy interior with a smooth filling filled with amazing flavors.

Hopefully, this list will help you find something for the food lovers on your holiday gift list.  There’s no way this short post can do justice to all the wonderful artisans and vendors out there who have created amazing products and delicious treats.  For additional items that would also make great presents, please check out my posts about the Brooklyn Flea, the Union Square Holiday Market, and the Columbus Circle Holiday Market or pop on by the Bryant Park Market (photo above).  You can also see my gift list from last year, as those items also remain on my “to have” list.  I have pictures from the Bust Craftacular last weekend, as well.  Many of the vendors I’ve mentioned sell on-line and in markets in the area, so please consult their websites to find out where to find them and for ordering information.  With gifts like these, it is sure to be a very happy holiday season, no matter how you celebrate it!

Buon appetito!