• A Few of My Favorite Things June 2018

    by Dorothy Reinhold on June 10, 2018


    Print This Post Print This Post A few of my favorite cookbooks, gadgets, recipes and kitchen tips for June 2018.

    Whether you’re looking for Father’s Day gifts, or just nosing around for ideas, here are a few of my favorites this month. Treat your dad, treat yourself, or simply enjoy your culinary life with these books, new products, gadgets and appliances, and cooking techniques. 

    collage of 2 new cookbooks for camping

    1. Two new cookbooks for camping / cooking over fire (Father’s Day?)

    I’m stereotypically thinking of Father’s Day gifts for these 2 new cookbooks about delicious camp food and cooking over fire. After all, men = play with fire, amIright? But let’s not be parochial about cooking over a flame…regardless of gender, many of us like to do it, and even more of us like to eat the results!

    –First up is my friend’s new cookbook, “The Camp & Cabin Cookbook: 100 Recipes to Prepare Wherever You Go,” by Laura Bashar. Her gorgeous photos and easy recipes will transform your idea of campfire cooking. I have my eye on her Dutch Oven Heirloom Tomato Galette, her Spinach Feta Quiche Baked in Portobello Shells (low-carb, and calling my name!), her Grilled Gapes with Burrata and Tarragon, and her Lemon Blueberry Clafoutis. Does any of that sounds like your memory of camping food? Mine either, but she has me wanting to plan an outing! And she offers ideas for cooking these ideas at home, if camping away is not in your plans. Get this book!

    –And then there’s “Project Fire: Cutting-Edge Techniques and Sizzling Recipes from The Caveman Porterhouse to Salt Slab Brownie S’Mores,” by PBS TV star and BBQ Hall of Famer Steven Raichlen. I had the pleasure of tasting an entire menu of live-fire cooked food from this book, and was besotted by his Smoke-Roasted Carrots, the Dry-Brined Peppered Filets Mignons, the Cinnamon-Grilled Peaches and those Salt Slab Chocolate Brownie S’Mores.  Big flavors, easy-to-understand techniques (directly grill in embers who knew?), and 100 unique recipes that will rock your smoky world.

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    Silver Gourmia GAF560 Air Fryer kitchen appliance showing 4 views of it2. Air Fryer

    Once I got my air fryer and began using it, I kicked my toaster oven to the recesses of the garage. I use my Gourmia GAF560 Air Fryer every single day, sometimes multiple times a day. This thing is AWESOME! It’s like a convection oven on steroids….it cooks really fast, with heat & hot air swirling to make your food crisp with very low to no oil needed. I’ve made a grilled cheese sandwich in there, roasted hot dogs to crispy perfection, roasted stuffed mushrooms, cooked turkey burgers and sweet potato fries, chicken tenders, …I could go on and on. I cannot rave enough about how this has changed the way I think about roasting. I crank it up to 400F degrees, throw the food in and let it rip! It sits on the counter looking a bit like R2D2, and saves me from heating up the big oven. If you are getting 1 new thing for the kitchen, I say it should be this. I’ll be telling you in upcoming days how to make so many things in it. It’s my new mantra…air fryer…air fryer…air fryer. Say it with me.

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    Banana & Cacao Clean Snax from Melissa's Produce on a white marble counter 3. Clean Snax

    There’s a delish new flavor of Clean Snax from Melissa’s Produce. Banana & Cacao Clean Snax flavor bombs hit the spot to get you through between-meal hangries. They’re crunchy and only very lightly sweet. 5 pieces have 100 calories, and they’re gluten-free, vegan, and they taste good, too!

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    Chipotle Lime Avocado Oil Mayo by Better Body Foods on a marble counter4. Avocado Oil Mayo

    Better Body Foods, the folks who revolutionized peanut butter with PBFit, are at it again with a different spread — mayonnaise. They’ve replaced the usual soy or canola with healthy avocado oil. Their new flavor is a zippy, tangy Chipotle Lime Avocado Oil Mayo that is wildly good! It really fixed my boring burger the other night, and now I want it in potato salad,  or as a dip for fries or veggie sticks. It’s going to rock my husband’s standard turkey sandwich he brings for lunch. It is naturally carb- and trans fat-free, low-sodium, non-GMO, gluten-free and has cage-free eggs. It’s so utterly delicious with a smoky tang and just enough but not too much spice; this is a keeper. It also comes in Lime and regular flavors. I love avo oil, don’t you? About $18 for a 28-ounce jar, from Amazon.

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    Pie weight chain coiled in a turquoise pie dish5. Pie weight chain

    Everyone thinks the fall and winter holidays are pie-baking season, and they are, but summer is also the season for pies, with its abundant fruit, its Father’s Day, graduations, pool parties and potlucks on the calendar. I want to introduce you to my favorite pie gadget that I have relied on for years now. You may know that when you par-bake or blind-bake a crust (without filling), you need to weigh it down with some pie weights or the empty crust will bubble up and get misshapen. You can use dried beans (that you don’t intend to eat), or some loose weights (I used to use marbles, but imagine hot marbles spilling on the floor as you try to remove them…not good). Finally I found this 10-foot pie weight chain, and I never looked back. You line the inside of the raw crust with a circle of parchment, coil the chain on there, blind-bake, and then remove the chain; I use a tongs to lift it. I allow it to cool down on a cutting board while I work on the rest of the pie. It is so, so handy. About $13 from Amazon.

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    Cabot Everything Bagel Cheddar Cheese on a pig-shaped cutting board on white marble background6. Everything Bagel Cheddar Cheese

    I feel like I should change my Facebook status to “in a relationship with Cabot Everything Bagel Cheddar Cheese.” Because I am in love with this stuff! Can’t. Stop. Eating. It! Onion, poppy seeds, garlic on the outside, creamy cheddar on the inside. I put it on my pig cutting board because I feel like a piggy around it. Get it? About $6 for 8 ounces from Amazon.

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    White Rae Dunn pot set on a white marble counter top7. Rae Dunn pots

    Aren’t these cute? I love them. I bought them on a whim, and once I got them home, I knew they had to go in my kitchen window sill planted with chives and mint. About $20, at TJ Maxx.

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    Crosshatch cut on a hot dog in a bun on a decorated plate8. Hedgehog cut or crosshatch cut for hot dogs

    I don’t know why I didn’t know about this idea before, but the hedgehog cut for hot dogs is my new favorite stupid-simple trick. It allows the smoke flavor to penetrate, it gives you a great crispy exterior, and it grabs onto whatever condiments you apply.  I did my cuts with a sharp knife — make shallow cuts on the diagonal, and then shallow cuts on the other diagonal, on all 4 “sides” of the dog. Grill as usual. (I did this one in my air fryer, for the win!). If you want a gadget to do the cuts for you (let’s say you have a huge crowd and you want to do it more efficiently), there’s a tool for it: SlotDog Hot Dog Slicing Tool, on Amazon. 

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    Grapes on a stick on a white plate with white chocolate drizzle9. Grapes on a stick

    Everything is better if it is “on a stick.” Why not skewer fresh grapes on a bamboo skewer and drizzle them with melted white chocolate if you like, or just leave them as-is because they are usually sweet enough! I got this idea from a produce marketing conference a few years ago, and have never forgotten how refreshing they were, as an on-the-go dessert. People, I’m thinking potlucks and pool parties. Just do it.

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    Grilled onions on the George Foreman Grill showing the grill marks10. Grilled onions on a countertop grill

    {Smacking my own forehead!} Did you realize you could grill onions on your George Foreman grill? It is so simple!

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    Collage of Favorite Things for June 2018 on ShockinglyDelicious.com

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