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Gourmet And Themed Gifting Solutions For Family And Friends

Whether you are shopping for a gift for that little-known co-worker or for your best buddy, a themed gift basket can be the perfect choice. A themed gift basket is one that you create yourself, as opposed to a "gourmet" one you order from a company. Not only is this often a more affordable option, but it provides the opportunity to tailor the gift to any occasion or person. It transforms a potentially generic gift into one that is special and personalized.

Sending a get well basket to someone who has been ill or had a recent surgery is a delicate situation. It is best not to include anything that might harm the recipient. Oftentimes those who have been sick or had surgery have special diets or would not appreciate rich foods. Thus it is best to avoid including items like rich chocolates or wines in the basket. However, flowers are a safe option to include as are humorous items to lift their spirits such as a funny book. A cute gift such as a box of band-aids or thermometer might also inspire laughter and, hopefully, hasten the recipient's return to good health!

To create a "thank you" gift basket, you can relate the contents to the incident or occasion for which you are thanking the recipient. For example, if you are thanking a friend for inviting you to a barbecue, tuck in a bottle of specialty barbecue sauce or a barbecue-themed notebook for them to keep track of their favorite recipes. Alternatively, most people will appreciate some chocolates or a homemade item from your kitchen. Again, tailor the contents to the tastes of the recipient. Be sure to include a thank you note and, perhaps, some pictures of the event if appropriate.

Unfortunately, sometimes life can throw us a curve ball. When a loved one is suffering a loss, show them you care with a Sympathy gift basket. Anything that will help make their life easier during a difficult time is appreciated. This might include a gift certificate for housekeeping, pet sitting or lawn care. Some fresh flowers or candles always make a beautiful gift. If they have lost a loved one, some nice photos of the person they're missing, placed in high quality frames could become very special and treasured items.

In happier times, you might want to get someone a Happy Birthday gift basket! Keep in mind that the "basket" doesn't have to be a basket at all! If they're outdoorsy and like to hike or camp, how about a "gift backpack" filled with energy bars and camping supplies? Give your favorite movie lover a popcorn bowl stocked with DVDs and movie tickets. The scrapbooker in your life would be thrilled with a plastic storage box filled with colorful papers, stickers and ribbon. If the birthday boy or girl has a hobby, their gift basket will be a breeze to fill. Just make sure you get a big enough container to hold all your great gift ideas!

Have an open house coming up this weekend? You can create a quick housewarming gift basket for the host and hostess. If they are new homeowners, a book on house repair may be particularly helpful. You could also include a ceramic bowl filled with pistachios, some seeds for their new garden, or an herb plant for the kitchen window sill. A specialty cheese with a cute spreading knife tied with a ribbon is also nice.

As you can see, creating your own themed gift baskets can be a wonderful alternative both to the traditional wrapped gift and to the "gourmet" gift baskets available for purchase. You can create anything from a simple, small token of appreciation basket to an elaborate birthday extravaganza basket. By creating your own basket, you can determine how much you spend while gift that is truly meaningful to the recipient. Remember, it's not the cost of the gift, but the thought. The more thought you put into creating a personalized basket, the more meaningful the gift will be.

Choux Pastry - The Key To Elegant French Cakes

Would you like to master one technique that would allow you to produce an incredible variety of lovely French cakes right in your own kitchen? The good news for those of you who love elegant cake,s but are perhaps not the most talented of cooks, is that making French choux pastry is dead easy. And it truly is the basis for so many desserts - you could even invent your own.

What is choux pastry anyway? If you've ever had a cream puff, you have had choux pastry. It is a very simple concoction made from water, butter, flour, and eggs. The pastry dough itself is sticky and looks hopeless, but when you put it the oven it puffs up spectacularly.

The secret to the puffiness of the cream puff is in the mixing. All you need is a strong arm. Or I guess you could use your mixer if you've already been to the gym today. And be sure to follow your choux pastry recipe to the letter, carefully measuring all ingredients, adding them in the right order, and following cooking instructions.

I'm making this sound harder than it is! Don't be intimidated. Like I said, it's easy! Once you have choux pastry down, you can make all the cream puffs you could ever want in a matter of minutes. Tailgating Recipes - Free tailgating recipes from The Tailgating Pros. We have many tailgating recipes as well as recipes for a number of occasions. New recipes are added on a regular basis and we would like to add your favorite recipe!

But don't stop there. You could try any one of these elegant French cakes now that you know how to make a choux pastry. (As you go down the list, the cakes get more complicated.)

Chouquettes: These are small puffs without the cream, topped with big grains of sugar for a little sweetness. French kids love these for snacks, and they'd make a quick-to-fix treat anytime. I even let my kids have them for breakfast.

Cream Puffs: OK these you know. Fill your cream puffs with custard, chocolate pudding, whipped cream, or whatever else you might want. You can sprinkle them with powdered sugar or drizzle them with chocolate sauce or caramel. Get imaginative, there are no rules.

Eclairs: These are small oblong cakes made from choux pastry. They are traditionally filled with chocolate or coffee cream and than iced with a fondant in a like flavor. Rum and raspberry flavored éclairs are also sometimes made in France.

Religieuse: A large cream puff, with a baby cream puff riding on top. The puffs are filled with different sorts of creams, the tops covered in icing, and perhaps a little butter cream for a final decoration;

Profiterole: .You may have had these in a French restaurant. Three or four cream puffs are filled with ice cream and chocolate sauce is drizzled on top. Of course you could do this with different fillings and toppings. Yum. Now that's an elegant dessert, that is not much work at all!

Paris-Brest: This is a wheel shaped cake that was originally made to commemorate a bike race between Paris and Brest, on the Atlantic seaboard of France. The cake is sliced in two and filled with praline cream then the top is dusted with powdered sugar and almond slices.

Saint-Honoré: Here we are getting fancier still. A base of layered pastry dough is topped with a ring of filled cream puffs then topped with a hardened caramel. Whipped cream is mounded in the center before serving. noticias deportivas

Croquembouche: The masterpiece of French choux pastry desserts. A mountain of filled cream puffs are held together by caramel and further decorated, perhaps with dragées. It is a special cake reserved for special occasions in France and you will see it at weddings and christening parties.

Savory Puffs

Unswettened choux pastry can also be used to make French appetizers. Bite sized puffs are filled with cheese spreads, salmon mousse, foie gras or whatever else suits your fancy. Wouldn't that be cute at your next party?

If you add grated cheese to your choux pastry you get gougères. They are also popular at appetizer time in France.

French Desserts - What Are All Those Creams Anyway?

If you are interested in French cooking or if you are traveling in France, you may find yourself confused by the proliferation of crèmes in French desserts. You will find crème anglaise, crème patissière, crème brulé, crème frangipane, and crème fraiche to name just a few.

Here's a short list to help you tell those different crèmes apart so so that you will know what you are getting when you order dessert.

Crème anglaise - This translates literally as English cream. It is made by heating milk, adding it to beaten eggs, and than reheating the whole mixture until it thickens. It is frequently flavored with vanilla although other flavorings are possible. The result is a a fairly liquid dessert cream that is served cold, usually as an accompaniment to other things. A classic use of crème anglaise is in the confection of Ile Flottante (Floating Island) where you'll find islands of meringue floating on crème anglaise.

Crème Brulé - Arguably the most delicious of all French desserts, crème brulé is a symphony of contrasts. The cold, smooth, sweet crème, which is similar to a custard, sits under a crackling, hot, almost bitter caramelized topping.

Crème Caramel - The crème portion of this desert is very similar to a crème brulé. Here, however, the caramel is cold and liquid. If the caramel is on top of the custard, it is also known as a crème renversée.

Crème Patissière - This translates as pastry cream. You will find it used in all sorts of fashions in French desserts: as a layer in a cake, on the bottom of a fruit tart, or as the filling in puff pastry. Crème patissière is made in a fashion similar to crème anglaise, but flour or corn starch is added to the crème, so the result is considerably stiffer. This is basically what we call custard in English.

Creme d'Amandes - This is made from butter, powdered almonds, sugar, eggs and flour. It can be flavored with rum. It is used as a filling in various French desserts, notably a Pithiviers, which is a puff pastry pie.

Crème Frangipane - This is a mixture of crème d'amandes and crème patissière. It is used to fill various cakes and tarts, most famously the Galette des Rois, which is a cake eaten on and around Epiphany in France. Note the distinction between a pithiviers and a galette des rois.

Crème Fraiche - This is considerably different from the other crèmes I have mentioned, as it is a specific milk product used as an ingredient in many French desserts as well as other French recipes. Crème fraiche is obtained by skimming off the cream that naturally forms on the top of milk. It has a wonderful feel in the mouth and a taste that you might describe as nutty.

Crème Glacé - You know this as ice cream. The French make the distinction between glace, which is ice cream made from milk, and crème glacé which is ice cream made from cream.

Ready for dessert? I know I am! You can find simple French dessert recipes on my website if you want to get started.

A Taste Of Belgian Chocolate

Belgian chocolate, renowned since the 18th century, and held as gourmet in the chocolate world, is still made by hand in many places today, amid all the automated systems in use. It is a chocolate of honor, with great lure, elogance, and, well, the finest of ingredients. Belgian chocolate was taken by Jean Neuhaus and filled with creams, fruits, nuts, and other ingredients creating the tehn called praline. The original created almonds overlayed with caramel and sugar. Of course, it took on added appearances as other hands took hold on a popular treat.

The praline is quite delicate and in order to secure it in each box proper packaging methods had to be implemented. This method for packaging Belgian chocolate was called Ballotin. Aperfect gift for any occasion.

The Belgian chocolate manufactured by Guylian Chocolates are very popular. They come in very artistic and beautiful shapes like the Guylian seashells, chocolate seahorse twists, Guylian trufflina or Guylian solitaire. The dark chocolate solitaires and the Belgian pralines are also some of the popular varieties of Guylian Belgian chocolates.

There are exotic chocolates like the wedding chocolate flavors too. The Guylian chocolate seashells come in the shape of seashells or the Guylian Pearl of the Ocean in the shape of pearls and shells as well. Theses varieties of Belgian chocolate are available in small three-piece boxes, six-piece boxes or twelve-piece boxes. The Belgian chocolate bar could be dark chocolate or chocolate with orange or chocolate with strawberry.

The nutritional and energy qualities of the Belgian chocolate were appreciated in the early times and became a part of royal and aristocratic European culture. Today it is used by sport competitors since chocolate is an excellent energy booster. Chocolate mainly constitutes iron and magnesium and mixed with sugar or fruits have been considered to have high nutritional value.

In olden times, Chocolate, which is made from cocoa, was a favorite drink of the kings and nobles. Its dark color mixed with varieties of nuts and fruits, and later alcohol, gave the Belgian chocolate its tangy flavor. But there is another theory for chocolate as a medicine for anti-depression. Any type of chocolate contains something called pheryletylanine, which fights nervous depression. Belgian chocolate, especially the pralines, with the finest quality of ingrediants is a favorite of many. Health-conscious individuals will avoid the nuts, sugar and the alcohol in the chocolate desiring the pure milk chocolate instead.

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Choosing The Best Cuisine For Your Party

Food plays a vital role in any party whether it is a birthday party, backyard friends’ get-together or a wedding party. So make sure that you hire best food catering service for your party to avoid disappointment to your guests. Before finalizing the menu of the party with your catering services, you should pay attention whether your guests will be able to eat these recipes or not. They might keep a diet or have some health problem like allergies or so on. Therefore, it is important to ask your food catering service to prepare various dishes, so that everyone is able to choose something appropriate for them.

Before you decide any menu for the party, you need to know which meal you are serving whether it’s going to be a breakfast, lunch, tea, cocktail, dinner or dessert? Then search for the best caterer service that specialize and can provide versatility to your menu. You need to make sure you feature variety -- in flavor, texture, appearance, temperature, color -- to keep all of the senses stimulated of your guests. Traditional cuisines with a twist can also be one idea for the party but make sure your food catering services is good at it but it's helpful to have your eyes and taste buds ready.

Wedding is a big affair and a good wedding catering service can make it a mesmerizing memory. Good pairing of food and wine adds more delight to the taste buds. Know about the best pairs of food and wine from your party catering service or Internet and include those in your budget to your menu. Try to choose foods and wines from the same geographical region or ignore all rules and choose your favorite wine.

The choice of cuisines also depend on the location and types of guests, if there are going to be lot of kids consult your caterer service to prepare something which is dry and does not end the kids to mess up on their clothes. For outdoor/ beach wedding or any other party, food that needs to be eaten with a fork and knife is not the best plan. Hence, ask your wedding catering service and food caterers to plan accordingly. -> written by Order your drink online!

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