Gourmet Gift Ideas

Gourmet Gift Ideas

Oil and Vinegar Cruets Make A Unique Vessel for Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar

Monday, March 17th, 2014 3:26pm

Oil and vinegar cruets come in many different shapes, sizes and designs. The range in which it is made can vary from the different types of materials used such as glass, ceramic, stainless steel or cut crystal. Cruets typically serve as a decanter for culinary functions holding liquid condiments or a household piece that creates awe and conversation during a friends and family get-together. The most common known cruet started off traditionally as an olive oil cruet. It was easily created by glass or ceramic since the shape was just the size of an elongated jar with a spout. Although it is typically used for any type of liquid condiment, the most common use is for either olive oil or balsamic vinegar.

Olive oil is used for many things that range from personal products we use, medical ingredients, and food we prepare. The European countries have the highest consumption rate of olive oil as it was traditionally used for all types of food including salads. Balsamic vinegar is a condiment that is used to compliment meals and salads in combination with olive oil. It was originally used in Italy but the world has adopted balsamic vinegar as a tradition with all sorts of meals as well. An oil and vinegar cruet can serve to be ornamental or functional depending on the owners’ personal preference and what it is most often sought out for.

Cruets became popular all throughout Europe when people got a hold on the taste of elegance at the dining table. It has also become a tradition to always include oil and vinegar in meals as well. This tradition quickly spread like wildfire and disbursed throughout the world’s restaurants and home tables.

When storing olive oil in a cruet one must take into consideration that any type of vinegar contains a high level of acidity and oil is gentle when it comes to flavor.The reason for glass use is because of its special function in which it can hold any type of liquid but does not hold on to the previous condiments’ flavor or scent due to its material. It is also much easier to wash and clean when compared to ceramic, steel, and other types of materials.

The grape cruet is one of the most popular and sought out oil and vinegar cruets. This cruet is made by SIMAX glass which is ranked as one of the most durable types of glass due to its nature in withstanding extreme temperatures and its pure high quality when it comes to break resistance. The grape cruet is visually and beautifully pleasing to the eye and will always be a conversation piece around the house or restaurant. The grape cruet is unique in its crafting as it is glass blown within glass creating a design of a bunch of incased grapes. This cruet is designed so the need for two cruets is not required hence one for olive oil and one for vinegar. There are two compartments within this single cruet. The cluster of grapes would be filled in with a darker color condiment, typically the balsamic vinegar and the outer casing around it is filled with olive oil. With the glass cruet, there is a separate spout on either side for easy fill and pour for the oil and vinegar. This is extremely helpful and beneficial to those who have meals that do involve foods that require both oil and vinegar such as consistent salad consumers.Having the grape cruet is like having a mixture of olive oil and balsamic vinegar but in a way that is fashionable and eye-popping. Presenting condiments such as olive oil and balsamic vinegar in this way is just an elegant and well-designed art form on the table. Using a handblown cruet such as this can save time, money, and also help decrease excess condiments to prevent wastage.

The grape cruet is one of the many types of oil and vinegar cruets that can be used as a decorative piece at home or be given as a gift for weddings, house-warming parties, to the newly engaged, and birthday gifts. In terms of the best season, it is best to give this as a gift during the start of spring or when the season changes to fall. People use it for serving as well as for storing since it can both contain oil and vinegar at one time keeping them separated and preventing an unwanted mixture. For those that want to use it as a gift, the best choice is to bundle the cruet with quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar. This would make it one of the best house-warming gifts.

Can Olive Oil Help Prevent Heart Attacks?

Friday, February 28th, 2014 4:58am

The Lyon Heart Study, conducted in Lyon, France, had six hundred participants. All of the participants were less than seventy and had recently suffered from a heart attack. These participants suffered no other health ailments.  The experimental group was placed on a Mediterranean-style diet mainly consisting of fish, fruits, cereals, and beans.  Thirty-percent of their calorie intake came from healthy monounsaturated fats similar to those found in olive oil with minimal consumption of saturated fats, which are also known as “bad” fats. The research diet included about two hundred milligrams of cholesterol and counseling from health professionals regarding diet and lifestyle.

The control group was given generic low-fat diet instructions by their physicians. The study was cut down by three years, from five years to two. The reason was that the study was deemed unethical, due to the fact that the experimental group had significantly less cardiovascular issues than the control group.  Omega-3 fatty acids were shown to reduce the risk of a second heart attack. Incredibly, when researchers revisited the experimental test participants more than a year later, the majority of their former participants were continuing their diet and lifestyle.  This study and its resulting conclusions have been backed up by countless other studies, including the Seven Countries Study, over the recent decades. If anything, new research has shown that the Mediterranean diet is nothing if not beneficial to the body.

The Mediterranean diet and similar diets made up primarily of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy monounsaturated fats have been shown to be the most beneficial.  This type of diet has been shown to decrease the risk of coronary heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer.  Trans-fatty acids found in partially hydrogenated vegetable oils contained in processed foods increase heart attack risk.  Omega-3 and monounsaturated fats found in fish, flax seed, olive oil, and canola oil among other sources, have been shown to do the opposite. Rather, the risk of heart attack and high HDL (bad) cholesterol are lowered. While many diets have been exposed as scams, the Mediterranean diet still lives on.

Of course, healthy fat is not the only component as to why the Mediterranean diet is so successful and synonymous with good health.  No one nutrient or food group holds the key to good health by itself.  Rather, it is a combination of food groups and nutrients. The benefits found in produce such as fiber, antioxidants, and phytochemicals are also part of the Mediterranean diet and any other healthy lifestyle. Phytochemical is the name for the wide array of chemical compounds found most commonly and abundantly in plants.

This discovery has sparked a revolution in nutrition science and the dinner table.  Consumers are now thinking “nutritious” and “wholesome” rather than “quick” and “convenient”.  Since the Mediterranean diet is more of a philosophy than a food guideline, it also impacts other health factors. This includes attitude, activities such as a walk after dinner, or one’s lifestyle. Less animal products and more produce seem to contribute to better heart health, lowered cancer risk, and a longer life. The “magic” of the Mediterranean diet is more than just parts of a diet or a glass of wine.  It is not just healthy fats, more produce, or wholesome foods, it is an array of these components. A low fat intake while maintaining levels of healthy fats, fiber, and plenty of phytochemicals. These are all parts of a nutritional plan worthy of emulating and taking on.  It is a lifestyle made by conscious choice.

Balsamic Vinegar Roasted Pork

Friday, January 31st, 2014 5:13pm

  • One three and one half pound boneless pork loin roast
  • Two cups beef stock
  • Three tablespoons Modena Aceto Balsamico balsamic vinegar
  • Three tablespoons EVOO
  • Three tablespoons honey
  • Three pounds potatoes
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Peel the potatoes and slice into four pieces. Season the pork with salt and pepper. Over medium heat, brown the pork on all sides in the olive oil. Then in a separate pan over medium heat, mix the balsamic vinegar, beef stock, and honey together. Cook until well combined. Pour the hot mixture into the pan with the pork. Cover the pan and bake for two hours in the oven. Remove and add the potatoes, then put back in the oven for another fifteen minutes.

Veal Fillets With Aceto Balsamico

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014 4:01pm

  • Four teaspoons Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale, the easiest to pour from an oil and vinegar cruet
  • Two tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, best to drizzle with an olive oil cruet
  • Two one oz scallops of veal
  • All purpose flour
  • One celery stalk
  • One garlic clove
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Dice the celery and mince the garlic. Using the flat side of a rolling pin, beat the veal until it is one half inch thick. Put the garlic on both sides of the meat. Dredge both sides of the meat veal in the flour and dust off the excess. Heat the olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat, and add the celery. Cook for three minutes and then remove. Cook the veal for one minute on each side and then remove the pan from the burner. Add the balsamic vinegar over each piece of veal. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve quickly after. Serves two.

Creamy Pasta Shells With Walnut Sauce And Olive Oil

Monday, January 20th, 2014 4:24pm

  • Four And One Half Oz Walnuts
  • One Pound Shell Shaped Pasta
  • One Quarter Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • One Third Cup Basil Leaves
  • Sea Salt And Pepper To Taste
  • Twelve oz fresh ricotta cheese

Mix the ricotta cheese with the olive oil, basil, pepper and salt in a mixing bowl. Then boil the pasta in a large pot for ten minutes. Drain and put in a serving bowl. Add the walnuts, sauce, and mix well before serving.

Storing Green Tomatoes In Olive Oil

Friday, January 17th, 2014 5:02pm

You Can Preserve Green Tomatoes In Olive Oil, Here’s How:

  • Two cups extra virgin olive oil
  • One half teaspoon ground sea salt
  • Two cups red wine vinegar
  • Three large green tomatoes

Cut the tomatoes into one quarter inch thick slices. In a mixing bowl, put in the tomatoes and blend together with the sea salt. Let the tomatoes sit at room temperature for 24 hours, then cover with vinegar. Let it sit another 24 hours after that. Drain and dry completely. With one quart size wide neck glass jar, let it soak for ten minutes with boiling water to become sterilized. Empty the water and dry completely then neatly place all the tomato pieces into the jar and fill with olive oil until completely covered. Refrigerate for one month. Once opened, it will continue to be refrigerated for another two months if not more.

Farro Pasta With Olive Oil

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014 2:56pm

Italian Farro Panzanella Pasta Recipe

  • One quarter cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Two tablespoons EVOO
  • One cucumber
  • Two garlic cloves
  • One small red onion
  • Six ripe tomatoes
  • 15 olives
  • One and one third cups Farro Pasta
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Fresh Italian parsley
  • Salt and pepper

 

Chop the tomatoes, cut the cucumber into small chunks, finely dice the onion, and mince all the basil and parsley leaves. Soak the Farro Pasta for two hours in a bowl of cold water. Then, drain and place in a large pot, fill with water, add salt, and boil. Let simmer for 40 minutes, then drain and rinse with cold water. Put aside in a bowl and drizzle one quarter cup of olive oil on it.

In a saucepan at low heat, cook two tablespoons of olive oil and mix it with the whole garlic cloves for 4 minutes. The garlic was only to give the EVOO flavor, so you may discard the garlic unless you want to use it again. Mix the parsley, cucumber, onion, basil, tomatoes, and olives with the Farro pasta in another bowl. Pour the EVOO from the pan onto it and blend together. Can make up to eight servings.

Peperonata With Balsamic Vinegar

Tuesday, January 07th, 2014 3:17pm

Peperonata Recipe

 

  • One tablespoon Aceto Balsamico Modena Balsamic Vinegar
  • Five tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Five tablespoons real butter
  • Five Roma tomatoes
  • One tablespoon water
  • One yellow bell pepper
  • One green bell pepper
  • One red bell pepper
  • Two large sweet onions
  • Sea salt to taste

 

Cut up the sweet onions and the bell peppers. Dice the tomatoes and place a large saucepan over medium heat filled with the onions. Cook for 4 minutes. Put in the olive oil with the butter and cook for 7 minutes. Then add the tomatoes and bell peppers and let sit for 4 minutes before adding salt and the balsamic vinegar. Cook for another 4 minutes. Cover with the lid after adding the water and cook for 5 more minutes then serve.

Chicken Salads With Balsamic Vinegar

Monday, December 30th, 2013 8:01pm

Boneless stewing tender chicken offers a very tasty flavor which makes only the best salads. It offers plenty of protein while promoting good health. Balsamic Vinegar adds the best additional flavor that any salad dressing can offer.

Basic Recipe For Chicken Salad

2 cps chopped white meat chicken
1 small head iceberg lettuce
2 hardboiled eggs
¼ tsp fresh ground pepper
½ tsp sea salt
1 tablespoon India relish
1 tablespoon onion
4 medium sized red chopped tomatoes
¼ cp mayonnaise
1 cp celery
½ Balsamic Vinegar

First, chop the lettuce finely, then dice the hardboiled eggs. Finely mince the onion and cut the celery into ¼ inch pieces. Mix the eggs, chicken, relish, celery, onion, pepper, salt, and mayonnaise. Slice off the tomato tops and remove the center of the tomato pulp. Then cut up the tomato and drizzle balsamic vinegar salad dressing over the salad.

Chicken Peas And Cheese Salad

Bowl of washed Romaine lettuce
½ cps mayonnaise
One cps diced baked chicken pieces
One 10 oz frozen pack of baby sized peas
One cp American shredded cheese
½ cp Modena Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing

Let the frozen peas thaw out at room temperature. Chop the chicken into ½ inch pieces. Then blend the mayonnaise, chicken, peas, and the cheese altogether. Pour into bowl of arranged lettuce. Sprinkle Modena Balsamic Vinegar dressing over the entire salad. Can serve four people.

Miami Style Chicken Salad With Balsamic Vinegar Dressing

½ cp Modena Balsamic Vinegar
Endive
2 roasted chicken thighs
2 tsp lime juice
1 ½ cps of 1/8 inch thick celery
2 cps fresh sections of grapefruit
½ cp mayonnaise
2 oranges
¼ tsp grated lime peel
¼ tsp fresh ground pepper
½ tsp sea salt

Begin cutting the chicken into small bite size portions. Diagonally slice the celery. Peel the oranges and cut them into ¼ inch thick pieces. Blend the celery, grapefruit, and the chicken together. Mix the lime juice and peel with the mayonnaise. Add the pepper and the salt. Blend with an electric mixer all the ingredients until well blended. Cut the endive and put in a bowl. Put the chicken salad mix in the center and place all the slices of orange around the chicken mix. Sprinkle the balsamic vinegar around the entire bowl and set in the refrigerator for an hour before serving.

 

Mother in law unique gift

Sunday, June 22nd, 2008 11:15am

I would like to buy my mother-in-law something that will be special and personal yet I have very little time to spend on shopping excursions. Where can I find a unique gift that won’t involve taking too much time to shop?

Mother’s day is so special and finding the right gift to show your mom how much you appreciate her takes time. It is always a good idea to mark Mother’s Day on your calendar or organizer to remind you in advance. But if you still find yourself short of time you will find the internet an ideal source as you can choose from a huge variety of items that are specifically chosen for just this occasion. Whether it is flowers or a gift basket or something more practical for the home, most companies on the internet can mail the item to you in a short amount of time. Some sites even offer a gift wrapping service. You can be sure with so much variety literally from all over the world there will be something to exactly fit your requirements and will be the perfect gift for your mom or mother-in-law.

For those of us who are seriously time deficient an online Mother’s Day card is the answer and you can arrange this literally on the second Sunday in May! But remember whether you send flowers, gifts or cards and telephone call or visit on this special day will be of the most value to any mother.

mother in law gift, unique gift

 

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