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If you're used to thinking of gift baskets as cheap woven containers of semi-fresh fruit, you may be interested to discover just how creative gift baskets have become. There's something for everyone, and it's not even limited to food items.

Gourmet Gift Baskets Impress Your Business Contacts

Gourmet Gift Baskets Impress Your Business ContactsIf you're used to thinking of gift baskets as cheap woven containers of semi-fresh fruit, you may be interested to discover just how creative gift baskets have become. There's something for everyone, and it's not even limited to food items.FOR GOLFING FANATICS:Got a client who loves to golf? Get him or her a golf-themed gift basket. Most include some gourmet treats, perfect for snacking on the green. But many of them also include great accessories, such as a putting cup, club cleaner, tee, ball marker, towel or golf club brush. The food may be gone by the end of the day, but the accessories will stick around, and remind your business associate of you.FOR GARDENERS:Most gardener gift baskets have a bit of a feminine theme, but many are neutral. Some include food, and most include accessories and tools like gardening gloves, seed packets, gardening tools, hand and nail cream.FOR SPA AND AROMATHERAPY ENTHUSIASTS:You'll find a terrific variety of spa, beauty and aromatherapy gift baskets available. Go with a scent theme, or choose one that includes soothing teas. Accessories can include such items as: wooden massager, back scrubber or soft hand towel.FOR EVERYBODY:You can never go wrong with groumet food and drink gift baskets - not with so many to choose from! If an elaborate, expensive champagne and caviar basket is outside your budget, go for simple with Shari's Berries, or a single bottle of Dom Perignon with some chocolate dipped apricot. These combinations are far more affordable, but speak just as eloquently to your good taste, which people will want to associate themselves with.

Dine in Style Every Day With a Few Simple Steps

Dine in Style Every Day With a Few Simple Steps

In Italy, stylish dining has long been embraced as a relaxing way to unwind after a busy day. So before you order takeout and eat in front of the television, take a cue from the Italians and make each meal a treat.Whether dining alone, with family or with your closest friends, turn an otherwise hurried meal into a chic expression of style with these tips from Ecco Domani Italian wines.* Determine the dcor. Whether you are dining at the kitchen table or in a more formal setting, it's easy to add some pizzazz to your surroundings. Candles cast a warm glow once the sun goes down. Strands of small lights also enhance the mood; string them around the room or even bunch them in a Mason jar for a funky tabletop display.* Master the art of mood music. Mellow jazz will help take the edge off a long day, and classical music can help lift your mood. Consider tailoring the music around the type of cuisine you are serving. For an Italian meal, for instance, play an assortment of Italian opera. If you're dining with family or friends, get them involved by inviting them to bring their favorite CDs. Set your disc player to shuffle so that everyone's music selection gets played during the meal. * Create a stylish menu. To help you unwind, it's best to keep your meal simple. Luckily, delicious meals are a snap to make with fresh, easy-to-prepare foods. And you can add flair to any basic dish with just a few additions.For an Italian meal, a tomato, basil and mozzarella salad is always a crowd-pleaser. Drizzle chicken and fish with olive oil and lemon for a fresh, light flavor. And dust colorful veggies with Italian seasonings to bring out their natural flavors.Whatever your menu, be sure to select a delicious wine to accompany the meal. Ecco Domani 2003 Pinot Grigio is a perfect wine for everyday dining because of its crisp, fresh flavor, which pairs perfectly with today's light cuisine.It is easy to infuse any setting with glamour by adding a few small touches. In the end, nothing says style like taking the time to make each meal special. - NU

Create Gourmet gift baskets

Create Gourmet gift baskets

If you want to make a gourmet gift basket by your own then dont take much time to think because making one is quite fun and also an affordable alternative to purchase them. But before you get a gift basket to start making the basket decide carefully that which candy and in what quantity you are going to place in it. You can gift a gourmet gift basket on any occasion may be mothers day or fathers day or even on the occasion of the birthday of your friends. You can make a trip to your local candy store whereby you can get a huge variety of individual candies wrapped in pretty wrappings. Other theme candy wrappings are also available such as sports theme wrapping, holiday and birthday themes are also very popular. The other way would be that you buy candy in bulk and later create small individual packing for your basket by using small cloth bags or squares of transparent wrap or tissue paper filled with candies. Thereafter you need to gather all the corners and tie it up with a bow. This is another cost cutting idea and also adds a personal touch to the gift basket. For a larger variety of candy choice you have also the option to buy candy online and this is pretty easy when you enter the term candy and you shall have all the results displayed before you. After you decide what you shall fill in the basket you should choose a style and size of the basket. When you make several baskets you should not limit yourself to the same choice for all. The choice for the basket could be personal and also consider what they shall do with it after the contents have been removed. You have various options and it is not necessary that you stick to baskets because if it is a child you can use a fun lunch box, for a lady cosmetic or handbag would be perfect whereas for a gentleman a metal tin or small travel bag would be great. With a little thought keeping in mind the interests and likes of the recipient you can easily make a gourmet gift basket really special. For more information, visit customgiftbasket.info

Delicious Desserts

Delicious Desserts

A "Dessert" is a meal course that usually comes after dinner. Most often Dessert foods are of sweet food but can also be of a strongly flavored food, such as cheese, like cheese cake. The world dessert comes from the Old French word "desservir", which means 'to clear the table'. Often times in the English language dessert is confused with the word desert(note only one "s"), which is a baren peice of land normally with sand as soil. It wasn't until after the 19th-century where the rise of the middle class, and the mechanization of the sugar industry, brought the privilege of sweets into the general public and unreserved it exclusively for the aristocracy, or as rare holiday treat. This was because sugar became cheaper and more readily available to the general public. As sugar was widely spread, so was the development and popularity of desserts.In today's culture dessert recipes have become a popular item for discussion, as they are a winning way to win people over at the end of any meal. This is partly because if you serve a mediocre meal, with an excellent dessert, people will remember you for the dessert and forget about the meal.Most cultures, have a seperate final distinction between the main course, and the sweet course. This is not true however in some cultures such as Chinese, who will mix in sweet and savoury dishes throughout the entire meal. Dessert is, often times seen as a separate meal or snack, rather than a course, and can be eaten some time after the meal by many individuals. Because of it's wide spread popularity there are even some restaurants that specialize in desserts.Some of the most common desserts are:- Biscuits or cookies- Ice creams- Meringues- Fruit- Cakes- Crumbles- Custards- Gelatin desserts- Puddings- Pastries- Pies or tarts

YES! You Can be a Food Gourmet and a Skilled Gourmet Cook Too

Yes, even you can cook up wonderful meals and impress your loved ones!Ever thought that gourmet cooking is not for you, or that you do not cook well? Then its time to totally change your mindset from today . . .Anyone and everyone can easily pick up cooking skills; younger or older, ladies and even the guys. It doesnt matter what your skill level is today; you can do much better and make great dishes like the chefs at your favorite restaurants. And whats more, the meals you cook will be done to perfection your kind of perfection. And you know what the best part is? You already have the most important ingredient . . . you know what great food is!Let's show you the way . . . Xperimental Cooking is putting YOU in charge youre the boss of the kitchen! You choose the ingredients you like and whip up meals to suit your specific tastes. Forget about strictly following recipes that are complicated . . . that requires you to buy special ingredients you will only use once then store till they expire . . . that calls for you to measure out precise amounts of each ingredient. All that is required is for you to have fun and Xperiment with blending ingredients that you like. Let your imagination rule . . . pick the items and create your masterpiece; from types of meats and vegetables, to how they are cooked, to what beautiful arrangement on your dinner plate. Xperimental Cooking is also about you and the people you are preparing a meal for. You know that each person has their unique preferences, so Xperimental Cooking is about helping you fulfill those preferences. Sounds complicated, you may think? But actually, it is rather simple; especially after you develop the basics that will forever change your mindset on cooking and open up a whole new dimension of creativity you never knew you already had within yourself.Now let us share with you the little secrets of Xperimental Cooking . . . the A, B, Cs if you will . . .A. INGREDIENTS The first key is for you to build on your knowledge of ingredients, as they are the basic building blocks for a good meal. You already know of many ingredients, now go and take a closer look; experience each ingredient individually and Xperiment with it. Everything edible can be an ingredient in your creation, so you need to know and understand each ingredient; from how it looks and tastes, to its texture, to how it behaves when cooked in different ways, to which other ingredients it is compatible with, to what happens if you add more or less of it to your food, etc. Since individuals experience things differently, you are your own expert; find out what you like and what you can do without. As you have your meals each day, take the opportunity to study the ingredients. Involve your family & friends and make it fun as you experience & Xperiment. At restaurants, and when you travel, question the chefs if you have a chance and gain perspectives into new ingredients you come across. For the computer savvy, you can also surf the web and quickly gain insight; there is tons of information online. Try typing the ingredient youre interested in on your favorite search engine and discover a wealth of knowledge at your fingertips. As you get to know about more ingredients and become more aware of the characteristics of each ingredient, you will be able to expertly combine them to expand the number of new dishes in your cooking repertoire. There are endless combinations, so keep Xperimenting; you will discover many winners to surprise your guests. Have fun building up your own database of ingredients.B. QUALITY When you begin with great quality ingredients, you are certain to produce top quality meals; if you start with poor quality ingredients, it wont come as a surprise that the results will naturally be disappointing. Quality can easily be determined when you use all your senses . . . Use your sense of Sight to look carefully at the ingredients. Check the color to see if it is bright or dull, consistent or has blemishes. Is the shape evenly symmetrical or distorted. Look also at the texture of the items. Your sense of Sight is the first sense that you will usually use when checking anything; and it is a powerful tool in determining the Quality of any ingredient. Practice and see if you can tell what the Quality of an item is, just by looking at it. You will quickly be able to use your Sight to initially screen ingredients to determine if they are worth a closer inspection or to move on. Use your sense of Hearing to listen to the tone when gently tapping or shaking an item. Does it sound hollow or solid, is there a rattling sound? Hearing is not frequently used, but can be helpful in a closer inspection of certain fruits, nuts and vegetables. Use your sense of Smell to sniff out fragrant fruits and the aroma of fresh herbs. You can also detect items to avoid when they emit off smelling odors. Train up your nose and your sense of Smell will come in handy when you search for Quality foods. If you have the opportunity, sample the items before making your decision. Besides checking that the Taste is what it should be, also observe the texture or feel it has in your mouth, when you chew on it, and when it slides down your throat. This is also your chance to confirm that you really like the Taste of the ingredient before buying. Your sense of Taste will be your most important tool when it comes to blending ingredients. With a well developed sense of Taste, you will be able to determine what ingredients, and in what quantities, will go well together. Finally is your sense of Touch. Go ahead, pick up and handle the ingredients you are inspecting. How does it feel in your hands? Is it heavy or light, hard or soft, firm or supple, smooth or rough, dry or moist? You can tell a good deal about the Quality of an ingredient by how it feels; you just need a little practice to fine tune and get the feel of things. Practice using all your senses to fully examine ingredients and learn how to pick Top Quality items for your specific needs. It is now time for you to exercise your senses whenever you go shopping for food. Have a good time tuning up your skills in search of Quality at the markets and stores.C. DESIGNING Now comes the fun part of Designing your meals. The first consideration is who you are cooking for and what are their likes and dislikes. Do take some time to ask your family, friends, or guests about their eating preferences, especially if they require special diets for health reasons, or are allergic to certain foods. From this mini survey, you can plan a meal that will delight everyone. You can now begin to narrow down your choices; consider if you want to do appetizers and/or soup, what are the best choice for your main courses, and if you wish to make desert? Design a simple meal or an elaborate feast: it's all up to you. Use your knowledge of ingredients to decide on what blend of ingredients will achieve the unique flavors you want. Also consider how the ingredients will look together, and how you can make your dishes visually appealing. At the beginning, you may feel more comfortable sticking to traditional flavors and cooking tried and tested recipes. But as you gain confidence after Xperimenting with traditional foods by altering their taste to suit your preferences better, then its time to be bold and creative; try to design something totally new once in a while. It is also fairly easy for you to design meals to take into account differing preferences among your guests; simply separate your ingredients and add or withhold them into individual portions of your dishes. In the Design phase, you may wish to consider the cooking style as well, since the way food is cooked will make a difference in the outcome in terms of taste and texture.D. COOKING STYLES Mastering many Cooking Styles is another way to increase the diversity of your meals. Brush up on your cooking skills by not only practicing the various Styles of Cooking, but also by paying close attention to the details of the cooking process, what each Cooking Style does to your food and the resulting appearance, taste & texture. Xperiment with variations to the standard method (different temperature, time, sequence, combinations, etc.) and observe the results. Learn new Styles as you come across them, and also try your hand at inventing new ways to cook. There are many methods of cooking your food; some more conventional like Baking, Barbecuing, Braising, Roasting, Stewing and Steaming. Some are more exotic like cooking meat on a slab of hot stone. So do try out the various cooking styles on your favorite foods and discover which are to your liking. Also Xperiment with combinations; for example you can first steam a lobster, then cut it open and put some cheese in before grilling for a short while to melt and brown the cheese sauce. Think of new ways to cook, after all its just applying heat to food. You can also broaden your knowledge and skills by observing how people of various lands cook their meals in special ways when you travel.E. PRESENTATION The final element is how you serve up the feast that you have prepared. Food Presentation is the art of making your meals visually appealing. Since the objective is to serve up something that will look good, Xperiment with what you think will look nice when assembled together. If you want to keep it simple, just focus on the dish and what is to be put on it. If you want to pull out all the stops, then go with a theme of your choice and dress up everything, including the dining room. Lets run through some ideas to move you along . . . On the simple end of the scale, all you need to do is select a suitable bowl or plate and arrange your food on it, then add something to garnish. The easiest is to place all your food onto serving plates for your guest to help themselves. Select large enough bowls and plates, matching if desired, that can hold the amount of food you have prepared. You can fill a serving bowl with soup and sprinkle some chopped spring onions on top to garnish. Fish can be served on an oval plate, or one of those fish shaped dishes, and you can arrange some lettuce and round slices of lemon to decorate. For prawns, try arranging them in a circle on a round plate, and put sauce for dipping right in the center. You can be more creative when you do individual servings. For the main course, you can simply lay out the meat, potatoes and vegetables on different sectors of the plate in a traditional manner; just remember to include ingredients with nice colors and arrange them in your chosen pattern. Try using carrots or tomatoes to add bright orange or red to your dish. Use corn, pasta or potatoes for a dose of yellow. How about tri-color pasta to really mix up the colors? Appetizers and deserts are my favorites as you can really let your imagination go . . . and come up with really delightful creations. Try using a Burgundy wine glass for your shrimp cocktail, then plant a stick of celery with the leafy end up on one side and garnish the lip of the glass with a circular slice of lemon for a lovely presentation of this favorite appetizer. Now go forth and create visual masterpieces to serve your guests; they will surely be astonished at your work of art. If you need more ideas, you can always look at how the chefs at your local restaurants present their dishes, or you can flip thru food magazines, or surf the internet for tons of ideas to get you on your way.Now that you know the Secrets to Xperimental Cooking, all you need to do is to start cooking; after all, as the saying goes . . . Practice Makes Perfect.

White Barbecue Sauce - Sweet, Sour, Tickling and Tangy

BBQ sauce is generally a basic mixture of tomatoes, sugar and vinegar. Tomatoes used can be in various forms such as tomato sauce, paste, puree and even ketchup. Sugar adds sweetness to the barbecue sauce and can either be corn syrup, honey or molasses. The addition of vinegar, on the other hand, lends a sour flavor to the bbq sauce and can be in the form of beer, white or flavored vinegar, wine or citrus juices. In general, bbq sauces can be used throughout the barbecue process from preparation to cooking.Bechamel sauce or White Barbecue Sauce has a long and illustrious history. It has been a pet of the French food connoisseurs, since 1651. One of the mother sauces of French cuisine, the white sauce is nowadays made by whisking scalded milk gradually into a white flour-butter roux. However, it can also be made by whisking a kneaded flour-butter beurre mani into scalded milk. The thickness of the final sauce depends on the proportions of milk and flour. White Barbecue sauce, unquestionably adds a delicate flavoring to your meat dishes.White Barbecue Sauces of Alabama are different from most other barbecue sauces in the use of their bases. These sauces are predominantly mayonnaise based, unlike the traditional and ubiquitous tomato. Chicken, turkey or pork - these white sauces are taste uppers beyond imagination. Like its tomato- and mustard-based cousins, white barbecue sauce comes in shades ranging from porcelain to putty. There are also differences in consistency. Some sauces flow like fat free milk, while others are more reminiscent of a creamy dressing. As for the ingredients, well, purists such as Myra Grissom, owner of Miss Myra's Pit Bar-B-Q in Birmingham, insists there are only four items who play the role: mayonnaise, vinegar, salt, and coarsely ground pepper. Perking up salads or topping pulled pork sandwiches or grilled fish whatever you are up to these sauces are great.Smuggler's Run White Grilling Sauce and Big Bob Gibson White BBQ sauce are sauces that can be recommended, without any hesitation. Mayonnaise, Egg Yolks, Water, Corn Syrup, Vinegar, Salt, Spices, Calcium Disodium, Cider Vinegar, Onion, Garlic, White Pepper, Salt and Xanthium Gum are what goes into the making of this taste bud rocker.Big Bob Gibson White BBQ sauce comprises distilled vinegar, sugar, salt, spices, egg yolks, mustard flour, paprika and garlic. Poultry, pork, seafood, and wild game-Big Bob, goes with them comfortably enough.

Summary

If you're used to thinking of gift baskets as cheap woven containers of semi-fresh fruit, you may be interested to discover just how creative gift baskets have become. There's something for everyone, and it's not even limited to food items.