While it is age old romantic wisdom that food and love (sex?) go together, at no time is this celebrated more than Valentine’s Day. Candle-lit dinners, chocolates and conversation hearts are the conventional choices, but for the food lover in your life, may we suggest something a little more creative to express a tender sentiment?
Local craft and cute things shops are offering plenty of awesome food-centric Valentine’s stationary and gifts this year. Among our favorites are the cheeky “Like” cards by South Philly artist Cathy Cribb of Re.Mark. These minimalist images pair complementing foods into cozy duos that serve as sweet reminders of how you just know when something feels right. Re.Mark products can be found on Etsy, in Old City’s Smak Parlour, and Nice Things Handmade on Passyunk Ave.
|Photo | Marc Steel|
My good friends Chris and Melissa came to visit me from Vermont last week. As per usual, they came bearing gifts. This time, they brought me a Vermatzah. A culinary delight for Semitic Vermonters, Vermatzah is a matzah made with ancient ingredients and baking techniques.
It's a lot tougher than typical Matzah, and definitely grainier, but I loved it. It has more of a cracker feel. I wouldn't recommend making Brei with it, but it would definitely make an interesting and tasty addition to any Seder.
I'll let Vermatzah.com take it from here:
Every piece of our Matzah is handmade with a blend of organic Vermont Wheat and Ancient Emmer, grown under the best sustainable agricultural practices from harvest through baking.
Following the journey of our ancestors from the desert to the Green Mountain hills of Vermont, we strive to re-connect the food we eat with the story of where it comes from. At Naga Bakehouse we follow the path of our Vermont grown grain from the field to the harvest to the baking meticulously guarding the entire process. We then infuse the 5,000-year-old tradition of baking matzah by the open fire in small, handmade batches ensuring the freshest quality.
Why Round? For the past 5,000 years, matzah was hand shaped, irregular. It wasn't until modern mechanization in the late 1800s that matzah became uniform and square with a recognizable pattern. Vermatzah is a return to the past. Our wood-fired ancient round unleavened bread is a symbol of simplicity a metaphor for getting back to the basics. Vermatzah is eco-kosher, connecting modern ecology with ancient dietary laws and ethical standards about food production, preparation and eating. from the Green Mountain State.
More pics after the jump.
|Note the dime for scale of thickness.|
|Topped off with chopped liver. Perfection.|
|Hugs For Soldiers|
|The Girl Scouts "Cookies From Home" program sends treats to troops fighting overseas|
Nothing is more seasonal in February than Thin Mints, Caramel deLites and Peanut Butter Patties. That's right, fat kids, it's Girl Scout Cookie time. Though this fat kid loves nothing more than mowing down a sleeve of Thin Mints like she'll never have wear a bikini again, there comes a point where one must back away from box.
But how can anyone with a pulse resist those adorable little Girl Scouts with their big eyes, earning their way to summer camp through advanced cookie marketing? Support the kids (without the calories) and our men and women in the armed forces by participating in the Girl Scouts' Cookies From Home program.
Just buy a few $3.50 boxes from any Girl Scout for inclusion in cookie shipments to troops fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq. Last year Liberty USO of Pennsylvania & South Jersey, who facilitates the shipments for the Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania, delivered 4,626 cases all over the world. That's 55,512 boxes of sweetness for folks who will actually burn it all off during P.T .
You can find Girl Scout troops selling cookies near you by entering your Zip code into their Cookie Locator; do it now, 'cause the cookie sale ends March 7 and doesn't return until Jan. of 2011.
Being original on Valentine's Day gets tougher each year, especially if you haven't managed to scratch that ten-year itch. I mean, if you have been madly in love with one person for ten glorious years! Moving on...
Here's a fun fact: Did you know that this year Chinese New Year (year of the Tiger, raaarrrrrr) kicks off on Valentine's Day? If I had to choose just one to celebrate, I'd choose a carton of dumplings over a box of chocolates. Share this sentiment? Mix things up and pour a little spoonful of America's melting pot into your V-Day. Send your love kitten personalized, sweet-talkin' fortune cookies. What better way to say, âI love you, Tigerâ?
And who doesn't love a caffeine fix? Why not hand-craft pouches of tea for your hyper honey? All you need are some loose tea leaves, unbleached cheese cloth and twine or string. Truly a gift that is fit to be tied!
Of course, if it were me, I'd be down for a dish of fried rice and an order of Triple Precious from Charles' Plaza (243 N. 10th St.) in Chinatown. Maybe a little Tsingtao to wash it down, too.
|Edible Crafts at CraftGossip.com|
|Edible valentines for all skill levels|
For those too poor to visit Tiffany & Co. but in search of a meaningful gift for Valentine's Day (be it for your mom, best friend, true love or awesome kiddie) Meaghan Mountford of Edible Crafts at CraftGossip.com has assembled a collection of DIY edible gifts.
A wide range of baking skill levels are represented, from simple-but-high-impact projects like a "candy box" of decorated miniature chocolate cupcakes (pictured, by Hello! Cupcake), to cookie Scrabble tiles (pictured, by Bake at 350) frosted in royal icing to spell out a heartfelt message.
Non-mushy projects like pink and red rock candy in You Rock! header bags (pictured, by Martha Stewart's Craft Department) are appropriate for kid-to-kid Valentines, while a pure white cake (pictured, by i am baker) hides a rich red velvet heart.
Non-bakers can even get in on the action by covering Oreo Cakesters with store-bought fondant to create pretty Valentine petit fours; i am baker has the tutorial here.
Project Skill Ratings
- Easy: You Rock! candy (purchase rock candy, package in cello bags, print and staple labels)
- Basic: Cupcake "candy box" (bake and decorate mini cupcakes with candies); Valentine petit fours (buy box of Cakesters and fondant, cover without ripping)
- Patient and Good at Following Directions: Scrabble cookies (baking tools required; steady hands with royal icing)
- Jedi Sugar Skills: Vanilla and red velvet heart cake (there isn't even a tutorial up yet! Also requires carving cake)
The New York Times style magazine, T, gives some V-day love to our own mayor of Philly's "red-light district", Marcie Turney and her Marcie Blaine Artisanal Chocolates (108 S. 13th St.). Writer Charlotte Druckman catalogs Turney and partner Valerie Safran's 13th St. empire, as well as cherry-picking her favorites from the Marcie Blaine chocolate box.
The current truffle selection includes the well-calibrated Lolita Hot Chocolate, which features cinnamon ganache and ancho chile; the Bindi Madras, whose curry-coconut combo takes on an unexpectedly nutty, hickory-ish life of its own; and the Italian Prosecco, with its subtle boozy kick. More Philly-centric chocolates are also notable: Busy Bee Farm supplies the fragrant purple flowers for the Lavender Vanilla; the city's beloved La Colombe coffee (the Corsica blend) meets Maker's Mark whiskey in the Tipsy Poodle, so named for its alcoholic content and the chocolate curls that cover it; and the Cajeta's caramel is made from Pennsylvania goat's milk.
Click over to the T blog to find out which chocolates Druckman knows you'll want seconds of.
It's weird to walk in to Capogiro Gelato Artisans (119 S. 13th St.) and totally bypass that tempting spaceship full of cool, colorful cream.ï¿½ But their candy selection --especially around the holidays-- is so good, sometimes you have to gird yourself and just keep on walkin', especially when buying treats for others.
I strolled right up to newcomer sweet Bissinger's Gummy Pandas, all-natural, organically sweetened gummies in antioxidant-laced flavors like Pink Grapefruit with Grapeseed, Goji Guava with Camu Camu, Blueberry Acai and Pomegranate White Tea.ï¿½ The $4 resealable bag, perfectly sized for stocking stuffing,ï¿½ yielded up a bounty of super-tender bears that were much more tart than sweet, a welcome change from your typical bouncy corn-syrup candy.ï¿½ï¿½ As both a grapefruit and gummy aficionado I give these two snaps and a twist for the unexpectedly bright, clean flavor;ï¿½ though I am suspicious of Bissinger's claim that the naturally-flavoredï¿½ pandas "deliver good taste as well as nutrition."
Grab the pandas for your lucky recipients at the 13th St. Capogiro only; 20th St. store is expecting their shipment after the holidays.
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