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November 17, 2017 |

Archive for » November 17th, 2017«

This Great Coffee Place in Hartland will close Dec. 15

VILLAGE OF HARTLAND – In less than a month, regulars at This Great Coffee Place will have to find a new cafe to satisfy their caffeine cravings.

Owner Joan Folvag announced in a Nov. 15 Facebook post that the coffee shop would close Dec. 15. She said she and her family have decided to sell the business.

“It was not a decision made lightly, but for our family, it is time for this change,” she wrote.

“I cannot express how much I have loved each and every day, each and every customer, and each and every co-worker. I have stories to make me laugh, ponder, and glow for years to come.”

This Great Coffee Place, 365 Cottonwood Ave., opened 11 years ago in the village. It had a reputation for being an environmentally friendly business because Folvag refused to carry bottled water and used porcelain dinnerware, stainless steel utensils and reusable mugs instead of disposable items.

She also offered used coffee grounds for gardens or composting.

“It’s step-by-step, little by little, as we reflect on how we can do things differently,” Folvag said in 2010.

The business does not yet have a buyer, Folvag noted in the post.

The cafe is one of a handful in or near downtown Hartland. The others include Birch and Banyan Coffee, the Pink Mocha Cafe and Hartbrook Cafe.

This Great Coffee Place is open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. 

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Bacon? Moss? 5 quirky subscriptions that keep on giving

Gifts that keep on giving beyond the holidays can be much more than the usual magazine subscriptions, monthly fruit baskets, season tickets and bunches of fresh flowers. Consider subscription services that deliver artwork, bacon, fishing tackle and, yes, mosses to your loved one’s door.

Here are five out-of-the-ordinary gift ideas to consider for your family and friends. What’s nice is that you choose the frequency and length of the subscription and so control just how much you want to spend.

wdaley@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @billdaley

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Does your family follow these Thanksgiving etiquette rules?

(WVLT) — How do you pass the cranberry sauce? Do you know when Thanksgiving dinner officially begins? What’s Cooking America listed etiquette guidelines for your family’s feast that may include some tips you haven’t heard of before.

The meal begins when the host or hostess unfolds their napkin
When the host or hostess of the meal unfolds their napkin, that’s a sign for guests to do the same. Napkins should be placed on the lap, folded in half lengthwise for large dinner napkins. Guests should not shake the napkins open.

When the host picks up their fork to eat, that’s when guests may begin eating. Guests should not begin eating before the host unless they insist guests begin without them.

Napkins should stay on guests’ laps until the end of the meal. When the host puts their napkin on the table, that’s a sign of the end of the meal. Once the meal is ended, guests should place napkins neatly on the table to the left of dinner plates. Do not refold napkins, but do not wad them up.

Where to place silverware and dinnerware on the table
The general rule for silverware and dinnerware is, ‘Eat to your left, drink to your right.’ Any food dishes to the left are yours, and any glasses to the right are yours.

Guests should start with the knife, fork or spoon that is farthest from their plates, working their way in and using one utensil for each course. By this method, the salad fork is on the outermost left, followed by the dinner fork. The soup spoon should be on the outermost right, followed by the beverage spoon, salad knife and dinner knife. The dessert spoon and fork should be above plates or brought out with dessert.

Americans should use forks and knives with the knife placed in the right hand, fork in the left hand holding food. After a few pieces are cut into bite-sized segments, knives should be placed on the edge of the plate with blades facing in.

Food should be eaten by switching the fork to the right hand (unless guests are left handed). A left hand, arm or elbow on the table should be considered bad manners.

Once utensils are used, they should not touch the table again. Forks, knives and spoons should rest on the side of the plate in the 4:20 position.

Other tips
Guests should follow dress code as indicated by hosts, and guests should arrive at least 10 minutes early to the gathering, unless hosts otherwise specify. Guests can bring a small hostess gift, one that the hostess should not feel obliged to use that evening. Guests should never expect gifts to be served at the dinner party.

Guest should wait for the host or hostess to sit down before taking a seat. Sit when the host asks you to sit, and wait until the host indicates your seating position. Traditionally, seating should be man-woman-man-woman, with the women seated to the right of the men.

Pass food from the left to the right. Do not stretch across the table, crossing other guests to reach food or condiments.

Always pass the salt and pepper together, even if a table mate asks for only one of them. When guests pass items, they should be placed directly on the table instead of passing hand-to-hand. Never grab a piece of bread out of a bread basket in the middle of a pass to someone else, and always use serving utensils instead of personal silverware to serve yourself.


Do not speak with food in your mouth, and do not blow on food to cool it off. Do not season food before tasting it, as that could be construed as rude.

Do not answer the phone during dinner, and set devices to silent or vibrate mode before sitting down to eat.

For more information about dining etiquette in formal settings, Visit the What’s Cooking America website.

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All Of The Best Black Friday Deals, In One Exhaustive List

We know how overwhelming Black Friday and Cyber Monday can be. From crazy door busters to lightning deals and last-minute steals, it can be hard to know where you’re getting the most bang for your buck, especially on those holiday wish-list purchases like Xbox Ones, Fitbits, KitchenAid mixers and laptops.

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Warehouse sale just in time for Thanksgiving – KTRK

A warehouse in northwest Houston is the perfect place to stock up on necessities before hosting that big holiday dinner.

Chantal Warehouse has everything you need, from kitchen accessories to serving dishes. And you’ll find it all at a steal.

The sale runs Friday through Sunday. Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

The warehouse is located at 5425 North Sam Houston Pkwy. West, Houston, TX 77086. It’s on the corner of Hollister Road and Beltway 8 North. Call 281-587-7880 for more information.

Patricia Lopez takes you inside the bargains on ABC13 Eyewitness News this morning.

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The 2017 Gift Guide from the chef behind The American Table

This holiday season’s gift guide contains a book by a real-life hero chef who built an empire by valuing his busboys, a set of nifty ceramic stoneware oyster shells, atasty tequila and “the last knife you ever buy.”

BOOKS FOR THE COOK WHO LIKES TO READ

“L’Appart: The Delights and Disasters of Making My Paris Home”

By David Lebovitz (Crown, $27)

It’s easy to think that David Lebobvitz is living a dream life. Cooking, writing about food, giving chocolate tours and living in Paris. But that old saying, ‘nothing worth having is easy.’ comes to mind when you read his latest book. It’s a memoir about buying and renovating his Paris home. If you ever dreamed of having an apartment in Paris, this book is required reading. As horrible as parts of it must have been to live though, David tells the bittersweet tale with a sense of humor, insight into the French culture, and memories of delicious and unexpected recipes like how to make Croissants aux Amandes (almond croissants) at home (spoiler alert: they are made from day-old croissants — who knew?). But the best thing about this book is that David writes as he talks so it is like having a long conversation with a good friend. Equal parts honest, intriguing, distressing, entertaining, funny and appetizing. Pour yourself a glass of French wine, grab a nibble and cozy up to a great night with a great book.

“NOBU”

By Nobuyuki (Nobu) Matsuhisa (Atria Books, $30)

This year, many new food memoirs by chefs, bloggers and food writers were published. I read a stack of the books and was struck by how tedious and self-indulgent so many of them are. Maybe memoirs by the very nature of the genre are self-serving.? And, then I sat down to read a memoir by the most famous of all the authors, Nobu. Most people know Nobu as the highly acclaimed chef proprietor of 47 Nobu and Matsuhisa restaurants, and six hotels around the world with partners who include Robert De Niro.

I was instantly struck by how humble and inspiring his story was — or rather, how simply and humbly he presented his story and his life philosophy. Nobu is one of the good guys who has become famous by the old-fashioned tenets of being a family man, hard work, passion and perseverance even in the face of adversity. Forget about reading self-help books for motivation and guidance. Read Nobu and experience a real-life hero who built an empire and a good life by valuing his busboys as highly as his executive chefs. This is inspiration by example.

For Cooks Who Like To Drink

French Duralex Picardie Tumblers

Drinking glasses are very personal. They have to feel good in your hand, look good and be durable. I like my glasses to be sturdy, functional and elegant. That’s a lot to ask, but the tempered glass tumblers from Duralex check all the boxes. They are the epitome of good design and the French company has been in business since 1945. You can use the glasses for hot or cold drinks and they store easily because they are stackable. Thanks to shatterproof construction, if broken, the glass becomes small chunks instead of jagged shards — so cleanup is safe and easy. The glasses are microwave and dishwasher safe, impact and chip resistant and lovely to use.

I especially like that they come in eight sizes from 3.1 ounce to 17.62 ounces. The original French tumbler is the Picardie design and it is the only style available in a set of 18. It is a great gift for anyone who needs new glasses, or for the student or graduate moving into his or her first apartment. The set of 18 ($69.95) includes six of each, small (8.75 ounce), medium (12 ounce) and large glasses (17 ounce). They are perfect for milk, juice or a cocktail, iced coffee or tea, water and anything else that you care to drink. I also like the smaller 4.4 ounce size for espresso and sipping bourbon and tequila neat. They can be ordered separately to complete your set at https://www.surlatable.com .

Grand Mayan Tequila

The first time that I saw Grand Mayan Ultra Aged Tequila was about 10 years ago. I was at a liquor store in Los Angeles and I was struck by the beautiful hand-painted ceramic decanter. I gambled and bought the bottle based on looks alone and boy, oh boy, was I rewarded. The color, aroma and smooth taste rival my favorite aged bourbons for choice sipping. Deep with nutty caramel, vanilla and blue agave notes, this is tequila that you sip neat. The deep dark color comes from a blend of 3, 4 and 5 year-old tequilas that have been aged in American and French oak casks. The Ultra Aged takes 10 years to produce from agave plant to bottle.

The Ultra Aged has a younger sibling, the award-winning Grand Mayan Silver. It is triple distilled resulting in a crystal-clear spirit that is the cleanest silver tequila that I have ever tasted. The sparkling fresh 100 percent blue agave tequila is perfect for drinking over ice with a splash of citrus or mixing into almost any cocktail. It also comes in a very handsome black and white hand-painted ceramic Talavera bottle created by Mexican artists honoring the history and tradition of Mexico.

From my first taste of Grand Mayan a decade ago, I have had my eyes open for that bottle but I couldn’t find it outside of Los Angeles — that is until now. Luckily for the rest of the country, Grand Mayan is now distributed nationally by MS Walker and at http://www.binnys.com . The cost is $100 for the Ultra Aged, $70 for the Silver.

Little Book “The Easy” Blended Straight Whiskey

Fans of Booker’s bourbon will love Little Book. It was released in October from Freddie Noe, son of 7th Generation Beam Master Distiller Fred Noe. I am a personal fan of Booker’s and a huge fan of American whiskey, so I couldn’t wait to taste Freddie Noe’s first release in the Little Book series. The new limited-release whiskey is Little Book “The Easy.” It is aptly named as it goes down easy. Smooth and rich and perfectly balanced, it is destined to become a fast favorite. Freddie drew inspiration from the classic components of bourbon to create his first-ever whiskey expression. It features uncut and unfiltered Kentucky Straight Bourbon blended with corn whiskey, rye whiskey, and malt. As Freddie takes on an expanding role in the family business, Little Book is a nod to what he’s learned so far from the generations of distillers before him especially his grandfather, legendary distiller Booker Noe. Little Book “The Easy” is available nationwide for $79.99 for a 750-ml bottle and at http://www.binnys.com. If you miss it, take heart because the distillery plans to release a new expression every fall.

FOR COOKS WHO LIKE HANDY TOOLS

Loftin Oyster Shells

I like to grill oysters on the half shell which makes for both a pretty presentation and failsafe grilling. The tough shell protects the delicate oysters from the hot fire, tampering the heat and transferring it through the shell. But, if you are not very comfortable with shucking oysters, or can’t find whole oysters in the shell, then I have a gift for you!

Loftin Oyster Shells are made from ceramic stoneware. The life-like oyster shells are handmade from high-fire ceramic in Louisiana where oysters reign. Best is that they are uniform with flat bottoms which stop the shells from rocking on the grill. The beautiful re-useable shells will hold one large or two smaller oysters. So, all you have to do is buy the shucked oysters and get grilling! I like their motto which is ‘all shell, no shuck.’ You can buy the oyster shells by the dozen on their website and start making all your favorite restaurant oyster recipes at home. Their oyster grilling tong is especially helpful for taking the oysters off the grill. Suggested retail is $69 for a set of 12 shells and $18.49 for the tong/lifter at http://www.loftinoysters.com

Ninja Intelli-Sense Kitchen System

This machine surprised me and made me a new fan of Ninja products. As anyone who knows me knows, I love a good gadget! And, when a friend told me about the Ninja Intelli-Sense Kitchen System, I knew that I had to try it. And, now I can’t stop talking about it. It is so smart. There is one base (think brain) and four attachments that will blend, chop, make individual smoothies and spiralize. In effect, this one appliance replaces my food processor, my smoothie machine, my blender — and my hand-cranked spiralizer — that didn’t work well anyway.

But that’s not all, the Intelli-Sense base recognizes which of the four vessels you attach to it, and automatically displays the corresponding settings specifically designed for that vessel. For example, when you attach the processor, the touch screen on the base gives you options for four different functions (puree, dough, chop, dips). When you make your selection, the base adjusts the speed and torque of the motor to suit what you are making. It’s genius, or at the very least, very intelligent! But that is not all, the design feature that makes this appliance heads and tails above the rest is that the blender and the processor have four blades stacked at varying levels to process everything at once. It does all the hard work for you. No more pushing the food from the top to the bottom or manually turning the machine on and off while you distribute the un-processed food. It goes for $199.75 at https://www.ninjakitchen.com .

Sous Vide Joule

I just decided to sous vide my steak for dinner tonight. It may sound like a big project but it’s not. I have started to think of my Joule sous vide circulator by Chef Steps, as a fancy slow-cooker that makes cooking dinner and entertaining easier. Add warm water to a Dutch oven, insert the Joule, turn on the Joule with the phone app, add your food and cook. It’s that simple.

The Joule is shorter than other circulators which makes storing it a breeze. And, the bottom is magnetic so you can put it in a pot and it stands upright — and stays upright — without needing to clamp it on the side. You put your food in a heavy-duty re-closeable plastic bag — vacuum sealing is no longer a must — and attach it to the side of your pot with a chip clip. The Joule runs with an app that is so intuitive that you don’t need to be tech savvy to use it. You search for the food that you want to cook, choose a degree of doneness and the size of the food, i.e., a 2-inch thick steak, and turn it on by phone.

One added bonus is that with sous-vide cooking, it is next to impossible to overcook your food. I use my Joule mostly for cooking meat that I will char on the grill just before serving and poached eggs. Yes, if you only bought it for poached eggs, that would be enough! I first became enamored with sous vide when I discovered that you can place a raw egg (in the shell) in the water and 45 minutes later, you crack the shell and out comes a perfect poached egg. I make eggs like these at least once a week for topping avocado toast or eating for breakfast. Once you do it, you will be hooked! The Joule comes in two finishes, stainless for $199 and white for $179 at https://www.chefsteps.com/joule .

FOR THE COOK WHO HAS EVERYTHING

Gift certificate for Institute of Culinary Education

The Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) is the heart of New York City’s academic culinary world. It is unique in that it has both a robust and award-winning professional program, and recreational program. It is the school where so many well-known chefs and food writers and editors attended, and or taught. I taught recreational classes at ICE for many years and most of the photographs in my column are now prepared and shot at ICE. When I taught, many of my students came to my classes with gift certificates that friends and family gave them. I always thought that it was the best gift of all, an experience that they could enjoy with or without the gift giver, and take home new recipes and new skills that they will have for a lifetime.

ICE has been in business since 1975 and houses the largest program of hands-on recreational cooking, baking and wine education classes in the world. More than 26,000 people visit ICE each year to learn and experience everything from wine tasting and mixology to hands-on cooking and eating. With 12 state-of-the-art kitchens in lower Manhattan, ICE is able to provide classes both day and night, 355 days a year. For a list of classes and to register, visit https://recreational.ice.edu . The minimum amount for gift certificates is $100.

Town Cutler knife sets

Galen Garretson wants this to be the last knife you ever buy. The former chef always loved knives, even as a kid. After tiring of the restaurant kitchen life, he worked as a butcher and became an expert knife sharpener. In 2011 he opened up Town Cutler, a shop selling and sharpening knives in San Francisco. Two years later, he sold his first handmade Town Cutler knife and says that there was a lot of trial and error to making that knife. Those trials paid off. Today, his collection of handmade knives are functional art pieces. I fell in love with the heavy feel and sleek look of the knives. These knives are a cut above.

To understand the quality of the steel and the quality of the wood handle, you just need to hold the knife. It is the difference between the feel of a custom-tailored piece of clothing and off-the-rack clothing. Equally beautiful are the soft leather knife rolls and scabbards (blade covers). This fall, he opened his second location in Chicago and sells his beautiful knives, scabbards and knife rolls through his website.

For the holiday, Town Cutler is putting together two kits, one For the Chef with an 8.5-inch chef knife, scabbard, palette knife for plate decoration and leather knife roll ($450). And one For the Butcher which includes a 6-inch Hankotsu knife (favored by butchers), scabbard, palette knife and leather knife roll for $450. Got to https://towncutler.com

STOCKING STUFFERS

Cast Iron care kit by Lodge

I love all things Lodge cast iron, but they can be a little tricky to clean. Now that all of their cast-iron pans come pre-seasoned, it makes cast-iron accessible to every cook, beginner to master chef. The properties of cast-iron make it a cinch for searing, crisping and baking. A good friend has a pan that is so well seasoned that he even cooks eggs in his cast-iron pan. But after every use, you have to wash your pots and pans, and that is when it becomes tricky with cast iron. You are not supposed to use harsh soap, metal scouring pads or the dishwasher because that will destroy the layer of seasoning that makes cast-iron cookware “non-stick.” So, Lodge has packaged a Seasoned Cast Iron CARE KIT for cast-iron cookware ($26). Inside the kit are use and care tips, a pan scraper, scrub brush, seasoning spray, and a silicone hot handle holder as a bonus. You can give this to your favorite cook as a stocking stuffer or add it to a Lodge cast-iron pan for an extra-special gift. I am partial to the 10-inch cast-iron chef skillet for $25.50 and the 10.5-inch square cast-iron skillet for $32. Go to http://shop.lodgemfg.com/prodcat/indoor-accessories.asp

Meat thermometers by ThermoWorks

ThermoWorks has been in business for more than 20 years and is serious about its thermometers. They make a variety and my favorite is the Thermopen. It’s the barbecue and chef community’s choice of instant-read thermometer because it is fast, accurate and the foldable probe makes it easy to carry. All it takes to be a believer is opening the box and seeing the individual “Certificate of Calibration.” Every Thermopen comes with their own individual certificate that is filled out by hand, an extensive instruction booklet with real-time tips and a serial number to track your Thermopen. These added value features underscore that you’ve purchased a professional instrument, not just a gadget.

The foldaway thermocouple probe is strong but thin and goes into meat quickly and efficiently without leaving large holes for juices to escape through. I love that it folds into the plastic body, and is thin, and I would buy it for those two features alone. But the fact that it is fast and accurate seals the deal. It can read the internal temperature in 2-3 seconds. Thermopen ($99) is handmade in England and comes in your choice of 10 colors at http://www.thermoworks.com/Thermapen-Mk4 .

___

EDITOR’S NOTE: Elizabeth Karmel is a barbecue and Southern foods expert. She is the chef and pit master at online retailer CarolinaCueToGo.com and the author of three books, including “Taming the Flame.”

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Portland prison inmates complain about dirty dinnerware

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Complaints about food are common in prison, but some inmates at the Columbia River Correctional Institution are concerned with the dishes.

Inmates tell The Oregonian/OregonLive they’ve been eating off dirty trays and using grimy utensils since the minimum-security prison in Portland switched from a dishwashing machine to washing dishes by hand.

The Oregon Department of Corrections said the lockup changed to hand washing by inmate work crews in 2015 because doing so requires less water and the machine was unreliable and expensive to maintain.

It’s now one of five prisons statewide that relies on what corrections officials call a “three-sink method” for dish washing. The system involves dunking dirty dishes in soapy water, then clear hot water and sanitizing solution.

Since April, seven Columbia River inmates have lodged complaints about the dinnerware issue, according to the Corrections Department.

“The cups come out greasy, the trays come out greasy and the spoons come out greasy,” inmate Michael Page told the newspaper. “It’s disgusting.”

He recalled being served beans and finding cereal from breakfast stuck to the edge of the bowl. He now brings his own spoon and reuses a soda bottle for water to avoid using prison-issued dinnerware.

Jaylen Williamson said he was previously imprisoned at the Oregon State Correctional Institution in Salem, and no had complaints about the dishes. That’s not the case at Columbia River.

“When we fill our cups with water, you can see grease floating in the cup,” he said.

Corrections Department spokeswoman Betty Bernt said the agency follows rules to ensure cleanliness and the most recent visit from a health inspector found no significant issues at the prison.

Glenda Hyde, a food preservation and food safety expert with the Oregon State University Extension Service, said she was surprised to hear a prison housing 570 men washes dishes by hand given the efficiency of modern dishwashing machines.

She said washing dishes by hand can produce clean plates and utensils.

“There is an art to it,” she said. “You have to show discipline. You have to care. If you don’t do it right, somebody can get sick.”