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Welcome to delicious Destinations, a GourmetStation blog. Through the charater of T.Alexander and occasional real-life guests, our aim is to share with you light-hearted fun ideas about food, gift giving, entertaining and culture. At the same time we would love you hear from you. Please share your experiences from home or abroad.
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GourmetStation, Provider of Upscale Gourmet Dinner Gifts, Announces New Christmas Dinners Delivered for 2007
Posted: December 16, 2007
GourmetStation, the leading national merchant for gourmet dinner gifts, upscale gourmet meals and fine food gifts delivered nationally, announced the introduction of three menus for Christmas dinners delivered.
(PRWEB) December 2, 2007 -- With Christmas rapidly approaching, holiday shoppers are seeking more unique, upscale gifts for the recipient that "has everything." Gourmet dinner gift merchant, GourmetStation, believes their gourmet food gifts are the answer for Christmas 2007 gift giving. The company is bringing back an old favorite, Ole English Christmas dinner delivered featuring beef Wellington and is adding two new dinners to their line up, Americana Christmas dinner delivery featuring prime rib and Traditional Christmas dinner delivered featuring turkey and dressing.
All three menus generously serve two and are shipped in free gift packaging to every ZIP in the US including Alaska, Hawaii and PR. The Ole English Christmas dinner menu was designed around an English medieval theme with rosemary boule, cream of tomato basil soup, beef Wellington and chocolate truffle cheesecake. The Americana menu was designed for those seeking a hint of patriotism and features prime rib, garlic mashed potatoes and creamy New York cheesecake. The dinner gifts are priced between $79.99 and $89.99 for two with $19.99 shipping. The company is also offering 50% off 2nd day shipping for all three Christmas dinner menus plus a complimentary holiday candle.
"Offering multiple Christmas dinner menus is new for GourmetStation this year" says Donna Lynes-Miller, founder and President of GourmetStation, "Our goal is to make sure we have a menu designed for all tastes" Lynes-Miller went on to comment, "Plus we're finding that our gourmet cuisine shines most as dinner gifts for aging seniors."
Internationally themed three and four course gourmet meals are delivered anywhere in the United States. Deep-chilled gourmet dinners require only 30 minutes preparation include European blend coffee or organic tea, after-dinner candy, floating candle and matches. Prices for multi-course dinners for two range from $69.99 to $89.99. Gourmet gift certificates, including Dinner of the Month certificates, are ideal for birthdays and anniversaries. For more information, visit www.GourmetStation.com or call 1-888-944-9794.
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Bygone Christmas Memories
Posted: December 12, 2007
With the Christmas season well & truly upon us again, I find my mind taking me back to a treasure trove of very fond memories of my earlier, childhood years. Yes, I am at a certain age now where it’s only too easy to forget, but happily, for now at least, such memories are there to be called upon!
I’m sure it’s a fact that Christmastime in those days was always much colder than it is now….the effects of global warming I guess. Here in the UK, it’s becoming increasingly unusual for snow to fall at any time, let alone Christmastime! Yet the picture scene depicted on cards, gift wrapping, TV commercials and newspaper advertisements still has us virtually up to our waste in crisp white snow. Lovely to dream of, but (in our climate at least), a thing of the past!
Similarly many of the traditions of Christmas past are now so rarely seen. As a child, how we enjoyed our Christmas stockings bulging with mandarin oranges, chocolates and nuts. And oh the excitement of waking up early on Christmas morning to open presents. The traditional festive family dinner was somehow, a rather more special occasion then. But hardly any wonder with standards of living in the western world being so much higher now than they were. Plus the fact that we can now so easily buy almost ANY food at ANY time of the year…….no longer do we have to wait for Christmas for such a special treat!
But despite the commercialism of Christmas, most of us still look forward to it with a passion! A time to “eat, drink and be merry”…….with gusto! So if you haven’t done it already, then I would suggest that now might be a good time to plan your menu!
And with that in mind, I want to share with you a family recipe for one of my all-time favorite festive dishes – Roast Goose Stuffed with Spiced Apples and Prunes. This traditional European dish was a very great favourite of my mom’s who was a remarkable cook and always roasted it to perfection.
Whatever your plans, and wherever you are in the world, I wish you health, wealth and happiness for Christmas and the New Year.
Roast Goose Stuffed with Spiced Apples and Prunes
1 12 to 13lb (5.4kg to 5.9kg) goose
For the Apple & Prune Stuffing:
1 1/2lb (700g) cooking apples, peeled, core and roughly chopped
8oz (225g) ready to eat, stoned prunes
1 large onion, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons Armagnac (or other brandy)
1/8 level teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 level teaspoon ground cinnamon
salt and freshly milled black pepper
For the Pork Stuffing:
1 dessert apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
10oz (275g) good quality pork sausage meat or minced pork
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2oz (50g) fresh white breadcrumbs
2 level teaspoons dried sage
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
salt and freshly milled black pepper
1. Prepare the apple and prune stuffing by mixing all of the ingredients together.
2. Prepare the pork stuffing by mixing all of the ingredients together.
3. Wash the goose inside and out under cold running water. Shake off excess water and then pat dry with paper towel. Prick it all over with a skewer or small, sharp knife (this allows the fat to drain away and will prevent the bird from being greasy).
4. Place the pork stuffing into the neck flap end of the goose. Tuck the flap back down and pat back into shape. Secure the flap with a small skewer or cocktail stick.
5. Place the apple and prune stuffing into the body cavity of the goose.
6. Preheat the oven to 425F, 220C or gas mark 7.
7. Season the goose well all over with salt and freshly milled black pepper. Place on a wire rack in a large roasting tin.
8. Roast the goose for 30 minutes at the high temperature, and then reduce it to 350F, 180C or gas mark 4. Now leave it to roast for 3 1/4 hours for a 12lb bird or 3 1/2 hours for a 13lb bird. Do not baste the goose whatsoever, otherwise it will become greasy. Pour off the excess fat occasionally.
9. When the goose is cooked, the juice will run clear when the thickest part of the thigh is pierced with the point of a knife or skewer. If using a meat thermometer, it should reach 175C when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh.
10. Once cooked, transfer the goose to a warm serving platter and allow it to rest for 20 minutes while you make the gravy.
Snap off the wing tips, and carve the goose.
Serve the goose with both of the stuffings and a good, rich giblet brown gravy. For a truly festive flavor, I like to serve it with a dish of home made apple sauce or cranberry and orange relish.
To save time on the day, the goose can be stuffed the night before, cling wrapped and then refrigerated overnight. Just remember though to remove it from the refrigerator a couple of hours before roasting to allow it to just come up to room temperature.
Although the stuffing recipe calls for Armagnac (a brandy produced in south western France), any good quality brandy will suffice. Alternatively, you could substitute the alcohol for fruit juice.
Goose fat is excellent for making the best, crispiest roast potatoes.....ever! Simply pour the goose fat into a suitable container and refrigerate when cool.
This recipe is just one of the many recipes taken from my Traditional Christmas Dinner Menu - Bon Appetit!
Buon Compleanno In Toscana
Posted: December 8, 2007
Recently my son Filippo celebrated his 11th birthday. It's a tradition for us to make pizzas for children attending birthday parties at Casa Bellavista. We make pizzas not just because of tradition, but also because they like it very much.
Filippo invited several friends to come to his party. With all the guests plus Filippo's sister Carolina, his papa and his grandmorthers and grandfather, it would take a lot of pizza for the party. I knew I would have to use at least two kilograms of flour. So, I started in the morning to prepare the dough and get the toppings ready. I use just a simple dough for the pizza and let it stand for a couple of hours.
The sauce I make for the pizza is made with tomatoes which I prepared from the garden. I whip them up with extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, anchovy paste and capers. I use this sauce for all the pizzas, except the spinaci and ricotta and the cipolle topping.
In the early afternoon, I rolled out the dough and prepared the toppings so I could bake the pizzas. For Filippo's party I prepared pizza alla margherita (with anchovies and capers and mozzarella), pizza con salamino piccante (with chili sauce), pizza con spinaci e ricotta (with fresh spinaci and ricotta cheese) and pizza con le cipolle (with carmalized onions). My kitchen had such a nice smell from all the pizzas baking.
My problem was what to make for “il dolce”, because my son changed very often his ideas about it. Finally he decided on the Tiramisù. I made the tiramisù also for the family. While I was doing all the work, Filippo and his friends were very busy playing soccer, listening to music and dancing. My husband, Guido, prepared Coca Cola, and a special cocktail with no alcohol for the children. I believe that when it is my birthday, Filippo should make pizzas for me so I do not have to work so much. Then, I will just dance with Guido.
If you want to try this for a party for your child, my recipe for tiramisu` is just below.
Peru - Set Your Senses On Fire
Posted: December 5, 2007
This article is inspired in the many trips I have made all over this vast country. Soon I will be leaving. I am moving to Europe for a while and it made me reflect over all that I will leave behind, all the moments, people, colors, smells, flavors and all that makes this wonderful country what it is. I would like to share with you my idea of an ideal trip to reencounter this land and feel all the unique experiences and sensation that are grinded in my mind.
Any trip to Peru starts off in Lima. Many people don’t spend the proper time here because they don’t know it very well. It takes a few days to actually get the sense of the city and its diversity. You need to take your time to discover its ancient history and of course try the world-class cuisine it offers. I would start my day early and visit “Las Delicias” to enjoy one of their many fruit juices which freshness and combinations are unique. I would continue across the street to the market and look for the lady who sells tamales, this corn mixture accompanied by a strong black coffee is a perfect start.
Later in the morning after a walk along the malecon watching and smelling the vast pacific ocean, I would continue my quest and go to the classic bodega “ La Preferida “ here the specialties are fresh seafood snacks. There is something about this place that will make you remember it and want to come back for more, I recommend everything. For a proper lunch, nothing better than one of the many excellent restaurants my personal favorite is “El quierolo”. Right next to is we find a classic bar where you should go and try some “Pisco” this emblematic spirit produced from the distillation of the grape, is unique and characteristic for Peru. The place to try it would be “Taberna quierolo” classic bar, here I would recommend you to try the different blends straight first, then look, smell and finally tast this fantastic liquor, I cannot leave this bar without enjoying some “chilcanos” it’s a very simple yet appetizing drink made from Pisco, ginger Ale, ice and a slice o lemon, I will fall for the delicious “butifarra” they serve here. Later on I will continue my way to down town Lima where I intend to visit its streets, the main plaza all litted and continue to the Chinese neighborhood and dine in the “Walok” Chifa. This type of restaurant is a unique fusion of Peruvian and Chinese, I strongly recommend the “Pato Pekines”, the “Kam lu wantan” or the “Wantan soup”. To continue the night I would visit one of the local bars “Huaringas” is a perfect option. Days like these we can have many in Lima this is only one of many combinations, we can do the same but eating different specilaites, on day crab, next day octopus, shrimp, oysters, sea urchin the possibilities are many in Lima.
A visit to Arequipa is obligatory, I love this part of Peru, maybe because of its unique and traditional cuisine, nature, architecture, history, I think actually it is mainly because of the “ Chupe de Camarones”. This shrimp based soup, originally from Arequipa, the flavours and sensations it produces while eating it are impossible to describe in words, I invite you to try and what a better place than in this old an traditional Picanteria “La Lucila”, here you will find doña Lucila 88 years old, next to her clay pots, cooking with wood fire and the traditional “Batan”, (type of ancient stone grinder ) still cooking the same recipes passed over generations, that stuffed hot pepper, that spicy shrimp accompanied by a big glass of corn beer, will just be recorded forever in your mind.
Next in our reencounter experience I would continue to Cusco. The Incas capital is something special one has to be there to feel it, something in the air, sounds, the people, its history, captivate me and made me establish and start a business there. Cusqueñan gastronomy is determined by the season and their products, in summer we find that fabulous corn from the sacred valley, the wild mushrooms from the heights that grow after an electric storm, in winter the potatoes, the freshness of the huacatay ( traditional aromatic herb), just baked bread in a cold morning, or just follow one of the many festivities and try the official dish that accompanies the celebration. Cusco also offers many fusion type of restaurants, we have many and too good, a culinary adventure to rediscover them is a must.
Machu Picchu is mandatory, after visiting this magic place and really felt and connected with it, I would continue to the hot springs, to finish the day nothing better than a dish from my lodge & restaurant “Rupa Wasi”.
Here Julio, our talented chef, has learned the best from me and my two chefs partners. Julio fuses it together and now amazes visitors with marvelous creations. I cannot figure out what makes so special his “Trout Cebiche” – I invite you to try it and find out for yourself.
As we are so close, I would take 2 or 3 days and fly to Puerto Maldonado, is just an experience to land in the middle of the rain forest and find this vibrant small city, full of color, life, smells and cheerful people, I have many good memories from this part of Peru, the raw nature, the rain forest the sounds and of course the exotic gastronomy, unthinkable fruits, fresh water fishes, freshness, the simplicity of the dishes make it unique is not the same, one has to be there to feel it, 30 degrees [c], hot, sunny, damp, rainy - all this contrast results in a fantastic experience that will make you think “when can I come back”.
A perfect way of ending this trip is going off north of Peru, along its coastline, if I have to number all the places to visit it would require a trip by itself. But there are a few places I wouldn’t miss. I would first visit “Chicalyo”, known also as the capital of happiness, maybe because of its fantastic gastronomy, its blessed weather or the beautiful landscapes. This land is full of mysteries, histories and specially flavors, there are some dishes that cannot be missed, starting with the “rice & duck”, “ baby goat stew”, “dry ray cebiche” the fish stock soups, the fabulous cebiches or the sweet desserts.
A place I would not miss is Lamabayeque here I would visit the “Tumbas reales” museum, in my opinion the best in Peru, the Lord of Sipan was a ancient lord that ruled this valleys, with the findings of his tomb they built a whole museum - the amount of gold and silver is just breathtaking. Next to this museum is a famous restaurant called “Rincon del Pato”, one of the best in northern cuisine. After this delightful experience, I would continue north non stop until I get to Tumbes, I was saving the best my favorite dish for last, the mule foot clams, this fat and meaty mollusk, it only grows in the mangroves around “ Puerto Pizarro”. The best way to eat it is in Cebiche, marinated in lemon and its own juices, truly a world class dish, my personal favorite, of all Peru. After such a voyage , I would just sit in a table over looking the sea with a cold beer and just see the sun set over the mangrove, overwhelmed by the explosion of colors and sensations and just thank that I am back.
Eco Lodge Near Machu Picchu - Rupa Wasi
South American Culinary Tours - Thousand Flavors
French Kiss Desserts – Truffles & More - “do what comes natural”
Posted: December 1, 2007
GourmetStation provided hundreds of turkey dinners around the country this Thanksgiving and we’ve received excellent reviews. Was it the turkey most commented on? Well, no – it was the Pumpkin Pecan Cheesecake & the Amaretto Cookies! Without fail the desserts leave the lasting, and in most cases, most powerful impression.
French Kiss Desserts instructs us to “do what comes natural.” I know exactly what they mean – just like our turkey dinner recipients, what comes natural is the proverbial sweet tooth. Hail the sweet tooth and may it live on! (Actually French Kiss Desserts was referring to all natural ingredients, but I took some liberty here.)
I personally had the opportunity to sample truffles from French Kiss Desserts and my sweet tooth hasn’t been the same since. I did share a few, mind you – and the feedback from my co-workers was similar. Exquisite.
Mint Delight, Crème de Noisette, Peanut Eclipse, Dulce de Leche & Raspberry Truffles are all available online at French Kiss Desserts. We sampled Peanut Eclipse, Dulce de Leche & Raspberry and it’s difficult to say which was the winner. They were all winners. Although not the most elegant of the truffle samples, I favored the Peanut Eclipse – made me feel like a kid. Truffles are a sophisticated treat in addition to being intense. When you bite into these round buttery balls, there is a sensation like no other dessert can provide. So I invite you to share the fun we experienced and see for yourself. You can also contact French Kiss Desserts for special orders for weddings & other special events. A great way to impress your guests.