Best Food Gifts of 2017, According to NorthJersey.com

Best Food Gifts of 2017, According to NorthJersey.com

The season of stylish 2017 gift-giving trends continues here on “Design Your Lifestyle”! In this article, we feature another wonderful list of gifts for the 2017 holiday season – this time, centered around food, the kitchen and kitchen design.

The list, compiled by NorthJersey.com (part of the USA Today Network), is a fine collection of food items, pantry items, cutlery, glassware and sweets. Much like the previous list we featured, we selected Esther Davidowitz’s piece for its scope of options, selective nature and inclusivity (there’s a little something for everyone on your list). Ms. Davidowitz serves as the Food Editor for NorthJersey.com, and her expertise certainly shines here.

Try a pickle subscription as a cool 2017 holiday gift idea! (Photo credit: Wiki Commons)
Try a pickle subscription as a cool 2017 holiday gift idea! (Photo credit: Wiki Commons)

For the rest of Esther Davidowitz’s wonderful list of 2017 holiday food and kitchen gift ideas, please visit her full article on NorthJersey.com!

We’ll admit a little bias – as we’re based in northern New Jersey, this list is of particular appeal to us. Each item on the list is created by a local artisan, shop or chef in the northern NJ area. However, that doesn’t exclude the rest of you – a majority of these items are available to buy online, or to ship directly to you through the individual storefront or merchant.

The intent of this article is not only to inform holiday gift buyers, but to support local business and small businesses during the 2017 holiday season – a concept we absolutely love. As Esther Davidowitz explains in the opening to her article:

Of course you can show your appreciation with a bottle of wine or a bouquet of flowers, but if your host is a food lover (isn’t everyone?) consider giving a food gift. Not just any food, but rather a treat that isn’t just delicious but also made in North Jersey. This way you can nourish your host and support your local businesses simultaneously.

That’s the kind of smart, stylish thinking that we can get behind when it comes to 2017 Christmas shopping and holiday shopping in general, Esther!

Here are a few of our favorite gems from Ms. Davidowitz’s list of 2017 food gifts and kitchen gifts, as featured on NorthJersey.com.

Selections from Esther Davidowitz’s 2017 Food Gift Ideas

1. Pickle Subscriptions from Pickle-icious

We know this one made you look twice – and that’s why we love it. Never mind that Pickle-licious is well-known in northern New Jersey as a go-to for pickle lovers – the store ships nationwide and offers a variety of pickle options in 3 and 6-month subscriptions. Pickle-icious offers subscriptions in quart and gallon sizes as well. What’s not to love?

2. Essie Spice Blends, Essie Spice

Essie Spice Blends are a tremendous way to introduce yourself to the flavors of west Africa in a genuine way. Owner Essie Bartels grew up in Ghana and sources all of her core spice blend ingredients from west Africa directly. Essie’s spice blends have achieved enough acclaim to be available in northern NJ Shoprite and Whole Foods locations – so they certainly have a place in the kitchen of any adventurous, flavor-loving cook.

3. Custom Handmade Cutlery, EDGES Custom Cutlery

EDGES Custom Cutlery Sommelier Collection, 2017.
EDGES Custom Cutlery Sommelier Collection, 2017.

Avid readers of “Design Your Lifestyle” already know all about our obsession with EDGES Custom Cutlery, one of the finest unique, hand-crafted cutlery houses in the United States. Rather than talking about the EDGES collections again here, check out what we’ve said about them in the recent past!

4. Chocolate Ganache Leather Notebook, Sook Pastry

Sook Pastry’s “The Notebook” isn’t just another chocolate gift assortment for the holidays. “It’s a gift of a lifetime,” owner Izzy Yanay told Esther Davidowitz in her article. Not only do you get a beautiful assortment of chocolate ganache pieces, but you receive them in a stunning faux-leather memory box that you can re-purpose after eating your treats!

For the rest of Esther Davidowitz’s wonderful list of 2017 holiday food and kitchen gift ideas, please visit her full article on NorthJersey.com!

A Kitchen Designer Shares His 2017 Home Thanksgiving Photos

A Kitchen Designer Shares His 2017 Home Thanksgiving Photos

Peter Salerno Inc. is the most award-winning North American kitchen and bath design firm of the 21st century. So it stands to reason that in the Salerno family home, Thanksgiving is a pretty big deal.

“[F]amily dinners are all about food, love and more food,” Peter Salerno quipped on social media during Thanksgiving 2017, posting a series of photos of his immediate and extended family sharing a sumptuous Thanksgiving dinner in their stunning Bergen County, New Jersey home.

Thanksgiving 2017 photos with Peter Salerno and Peter Salerno Inc.
Thanksgiving 2017 photos with Peter Salerno and Peter Salerno Inc.

Peter Salerno was joined for Thanksgiving by his wife Tracy, his father Rosolino and his mother-in-law Jo. Peter’s son Anthony was accompanied by his wife Eve and daughter Jesse, and Peter’s daughter Gabrielle came with her husband Brian and their daughter Brielle.

Peter was sure to thank the renowned Goffle Farms for the family’s delicious 18 pound turkey. The main course was accompanied by some outstanding side dishes, from the traditional (mashed and roasted potatoes, string beans) to the unconventional (a delicious lime and pineapple mold).

Thanksgiving 2017 photos with Peter Salerno and Peter Salerno Inc.
Thanksgiving 2017 photos with Peter Salerno and Peter Salerno Inc.

The meal also featured a beautiful and delicious pasta course – homemade pumpkin fettucine with a creamy sausage sauce. The fettucine was a huge hit with the family!

As the 2017 holiday season swings into full force, it’s important to take these moments to cherish those around you – both in your professional and personal lives. Peter Salerno takes great care to maintain a good work-life balance, and takes the time to nurture his work family alongside his own.

Thanksgiving 2017 was a pretty beautiful day for Peter Salerno and his family, but nothing compares to the warmth he felt in his own home. Peter sincerely hopes you had a blessed, safe and satisfying Thanksgiving full of love this year.

Enjoy these exclusive photos from Peter Salerno (of Peter Salerno Inc.)’s 2017 home Thanksgiving!

Peter Salerno's pumpkin fettucine with creamy sausage sauce.
Peter Salerno’s pumpkin fettucine with creamy sausage sauce.
Thanksgiving 2017 photos with Peter Salerno and Peter Salerno Inc.
Thanksgiving 2017 photos with Peter Salerno and Peter Salerno Inc.
Thanksgiving 2017 photos with Peter Salerno and Peter Salerno Inc.
Thanksgiving 2017 photos with Peter Salerno and Peter Salerno Inc.

Cooking on the La Cornue Flamberge Rotisserie

Cooking on the La Cornue Flamberge Rotisserie

Your choice of kitchen appliances is highly subjective, of course. For our money, the best rotisserie on the market today is the La Cornue Flamberge Rotisserie.


The Flamberge Rotisserie by La Cornue is as effective physically as it is stunning artistically. A French Blue edition of the Flamberge is present in the main display at the award-winning Peter Salerno Inc. flagship design showroom in Wyckoff, New Jersey – and it’s so wonderful, the staff can’t help but use it sometimes (see video above).

The Flamberge Rotisserie is powered by a 27,000 BTU gas burner, yet requires no special ventilation methods and needs only a 120-volt power supply. La Cornue utilizes its trademark vaulted design in the Flamberge’s concave rear walls, which is covered with synthetic wicks to draw up radiant heat without the flame ever touching your food.

An overview, directly from La Cornue’s official website:

A real jewel of technology, the Flamberge Centenaire roasts all meats, poultry, fish and whole fruits perfectly.

With a new, streamlined yet spectacular design, and a reliable, simplified mechanism, the Flamberge optimises the circulation of heat flow.

Both easy to fit because it has no particular ventilation constraints and practical, the Flamberge is a magnetic attraction in any kitchen, immediately arousing a desire to use it.

La Cornue designed special cabinet to accommodate “The Flamberge rotisserie” which will also offer you additional storage.

The centerpiece of Peter Salerno Inc.'s design showroom, complete with La Cornue Flamberge Rotisserie.
The centerpiece of Peter Salerno Inc.’s design showroom, complete with La Cornue Flamberge Rotisserie.

We at Design Your Lifestyle have been lovers of the La Cornue brand for years. An excerpt from a past article:

Ever since Albert Dupuy invented the first La Cornue oven over a century ago, the company has stood at the forefront of cooking design, craftsmanship and innovation. As such, La Cornue has developed a reputation as one of its industry’s leaders, and one of the world’s most luxurious brand names in the world of kitchen design.

Peter Salerno Inc. is proud to not only offer La Cornue’s outstanding line of cooking range products, but to display four La Cornue pieces in our beautiful showroom – a CornuFé range, a CornuFé 1908, a Flamberge Rotisserie, and an absolutely stunning Château range. Much of our partnership with La Cornue is thanks to the tireless work of our business ally and friend Craig Kmiecik, the East Coast Territory Manager for La Cornue at Purcell Murray Company. For over 30 years, Purcell Murray has personified culinary passion and provided the most exquisite brands of appliances, including La Cornue ovens.

For more information on the La Cornue Flamberge Rotisserie, please contact authorized dealer Peter Salerno Inc. at (201) 251-6608.

Fall in Love With White Truffle Season in Italy

Fall in Love With White Truffle Season in Italy

Fall is truly an adventure in Italy’s Piedmont region, as locals, foodies and tourists alike begin the hunt for white truffles. 

October to early December marks the Italian truffle season – especially the elusive and highly prized white truffle, which routinely sells at upwards of $1,000 a pound!

Peter Salerno's homemade white truffle and pasta dish.Peter Salerno's homemade white truffle and pasta dish.
Peter Salerno’s homemade white truffle and pasta dish.

According to Essential Italy, a leading Italian travel site: “Although truffles are generally found in the regions of Piedmont, Molise and Emilia Romagna, there are plenty to be discovered elsewhere. Tuscany, Umbria and Le Marche are perfect places to visit if you’re hoping to make the most of the truffle season.”

Very few of our acquaintances love Italian cuisine and the fine art of cooking white truffles more than Peter Salerno, the owner and founder of Peter Salerno Inc. (the most award-winning North American kitchen and bath design firm since 2002).

October-December is white truffle season in Italy's Piedmont.
October-December is white truffle season in Italy’s Piedmont.

Together with the fine staff at Urbani Truffles on West End Avenue in New York City, Peter Salerno developed his own white truffle and pasta dish to celebrate the Italian Piedmont’s white truffle season. Check out some exclusive photos of Peter’s trip to Urbani, as well as his finished dish!

More information from our friends at Essential Italy (we URGE you to read their full article!):

If you are in Tuscany in Autumn, one truffle-based event to try is the San Miniato Truffle Fair, known as the La Sagra del Tartufo Bianco. Held in the beautiful medieval hill town of San Miniato in November, the event usually takes place over several weekends – most typically the last three weekends of the month.

Tuscany is home to around 25% of Italy’s white truffle produce so there will be plenty to go around and it’s the go-to region if you are new to truffles. The festival is also a great place to visit for a day out with food and craft stands, as well as entertainment and restaurants that allow you to try their truffle menus. Other festivals in Tuscany include ones held in San Giovanni d’Asso, near to Siena, held on the second and third weekend of November, with a truffle museum open on the weekends.

October-December is white truffle season in Italy's Piedmont.
October-December is white truffle season in Italy’s Piedmont.

The go-to Italian regions for white truffle season are the Italian Piedmont (or Piemonte) region, Le Marche, Tuscany and Umbria. For the ultimate white truffle experience, check out the towns of Acqualagna, Alba, Volterra and Pietralunga, among others!

Feel free to share your favorite white truffle recipes, cooking tips, photos and experiences in the comments section below!

Peter Salerno's homemade white truffle and pasta dish.
Peter Salerno’s homemade white truffle and pasta dish.

Peter Salerno’s Family Recipe for Homemade Sangria

The Perfect Homemade Family Summer Sangria Recipe

Peter Salerno isn’t just a master kitchen designer, he loves spending time in his own kitchen entertaining family, friends and guests. This love of cooking and creating recipes filters up and down the Salerno family for generations, and has produced some time-tested, delicious recipes.

July 4th Red, White and Blue Sangria recipes (recipes & photo courtesy Epicurious)
Our family Sangria recipe) photo courtesy Epicurious)

When Peter Salerno married his wife Tracy, she brought with her a wealth of delicious recipes, cocktails and other “secret family recipes”. Tracy’s father, Mike Cavallo, was a master of many of these – but one of the family’s favorite creations from Mr. Cavallo was his famous sangria.

What makes the “Cavallo family sangria” recipe so delicious? It might be the perfect mix of ingredients, or the use of brandy and triple sec at the base. Or it may just be the special amount of love with which Mike made it.

In any event, it’s a sangria recipe that’s sure to please, and we’re sharing it with you. It’s the perfect summer sangria recipe for entertaining guests!

Mike Cavallo’s Perfect Summer Sangria Recipe

Ingredients

  • 7 Up/Sprite
  • Triple Sec
  • inexpensive brandy (something like Christian Bros., no need to go over the top!)
  • a bottle of red wine, preferably Merlot or Shiraz
  • ice
  • oranges (you can add apples and pears as well)

Preparation

  • Fill a *large* pitcher with whole slices of orange (leave the peels on), use a wooden spoon to press on the oranges to get a little bit of juice at the bottom.
  • Fill a 1/3 of the pitcher with ice
  • Pour even parts 7 Up/Sprite and wine (pouring both at the same time is the easiest way) until 2/3 of the way filled
  • Pour equal parts brandy and triple sec to taste (usually about 1/2 -2/3 a cup)
  • Fill remaining with the rest of the wine
  • Stir and let sit for 10 minutes in the refrigerator
  • Enjoy!
If it comes out too strong for you, it can be diluted by adding more soda.
DON’T add sugar, citrus fruits (lime, lemon, pineapple), or bitters!

May 9th is National Moscato Day: Find The Best Moscato Here!

Which Moscato Wines Are REALLY Worth Drinking?

Ah, Moscato. Perhaps no other beverage has created such divisive opinions within the community of wine aficionados as the product of the Muscat grape. Although the classic Moscato D’Anti originated in Italy, derivatives and clones of the Muscat grape are now grown from Oregon to New Zealand as demand for the fruity wine soars.

The Gallo Family created National Moscato Day in 2012 to celebrate the light, sparkling sipping wine that’s taken dinner tables, wine wholesalers and liquor stores by storm over recent years.

A fresh bunch of Moscato Bianco grapes, just in time for National Moscato Day! (Credit: Wiki Commons)
A fresh bunch of Moscato Bianco grapes, just in time for National Moscato Day!

Like it or not, the Moscato craze appears here to stay!

If you’re a lover of Moscato wines – be they Orange Muscat, Muscat Blanc or Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains – then May 9th is bound to be one of your favorite days of spring. But celebrating May 9th (National Moscato Day) in style isn’t quite as simple as picking up a pedestrian bottle of the fizzy wine.

As Richard Jennings, author of over 45,000 tasting notes, once noted:

America’s in the midst of a much bigger wine phenomenon than the sudden upswing in Pinot Noir sales following the 2004 release of the movie Sideways. Sales of slightly sparkling sweet wines with underlying acidity made from the Muscat grape have exploded over the past two years among younger buyers, especially Millennials — the 21 to 30 age group.

Some of these wines, especially from Italy’s Asti region, are terrific. Others, produced by huge wine conglomerates on an industrial basis looking to cash in on the latest trend, are truly dreadful.

So this National Moscato Day, how can you tell which Muscat to enjoy in your dining room, sitting room or custom wine cellar?

Imagine the custom wine cellar of your dreams. Peter Salerno makes it. (Credit Peter Salerno Inc.)
Imagine the custom wine cellar of your dreams. Peter Salerno makes it. (Credit Peter Salerno Inc.)

Here’s a great, short list of fabulous Moscatos to enjoy May 9th (or any day)!

Best Moscatos to Enjoy on National Moscato Day

1. Borgo Maragliano La Caliera Moscato D’Asti, 2014 (Italy)

At between $12-16 a bottle at most retailers, La Caliera is our favorite Italian Moscato D’Asti when it comes to a combination of taste and price. While each edition from 2013-2016 is a real winner, our selection is the 2014 vintage, full of green grape, pear and yet not overly sweet. This Borgo Maragliano Moscato D’Asti is a great pair with most desserts (even chocolate!).

The winemaker describes La Caliera as carrying a “fragrance of candied fruit, acacia flowers and a typical musky but delicate bouquet”.

2. Foris Moscato, 2013 (Rogue Valley)

Foris is a great Oregon-based brand that has a knack for versatile, light Moscato. 2013 is our favorite (2012 and 2016 aren’t half-bad either) for its low alcohol content and intriguing citrus quality. Rated an 87 by Wine Enthusiast, we also love Foris for use in mimosas and other wine-mix beverages – primarily due to the low alcohol content and orange flavor we mentioned.

At a price tag of roughly $15-17 per bottle, this is an affordable, enjoyable Moscato.

Custom wine cellar from Peter Salerno Inc. Man Cave Classics.
Custom wine cellar from Peter Salerno Inc. Man Cave Classics.

3. Stemmari Moscato, 2013 (Terre Siciliane)

This beautiful pale yellow Moscato sits neatly at 8.5% ABV and, unlike many Moscatos, serves exceptionally well as an aperitif rather than a dessert wine. Like its Foris counterpart, the 2013 vintage is exceptional, garnering a rating of 90 at the Ultimate Wine Challenge. (The 2012 is also excellent, receiving a score of 86 from Wine Enthusiast.)

Sweeter than some of its counterparts, you’ll also find the price tag a bit sweeter as well – retail average for this bottle is just about $10. If you feel like venturing out of the Asti region and into Sicily, you’ll be highly satisfied with this effort from Stemmari.

Our Favorite Cinco De Mayo Drink Recipes

Design Your Cinco De Mayo Cocktail Recipes

Cinco De Mayo is right around the corner! This May 5th, Cinco De Mayo will once again be observed as a celebration of freedom, democracy, and Mexican heritage and pride.

No matter what your home bar looks like, we’re here to help you get your Cinco de Mayo cocktail recipe list in order! Whether your home bar is a world-class stunner (like when Peter Salerno Inc. turned a ’59 Corvette into the most amazing bar in the world), or a more humble affair, Cinco De Mayo is the perfect time get behind your custom bar (built by Peter Salerno, of course!) and wow your guests with an assortment of amazing Cinco De Mayo drink recipes.

Here are Peter Salerno's favorite Cinco De Mayo drink recipes. (Credit Wiki)
Here are our favorite Cinco De Mayo drink recipes. (Credit Wiki)

Every year, we check out Delish for their updated list of Cinco de Mayo drink recipes – specifically their outstanding collection of updated margarita recipes. From the Bulldog Margarita (you MUST try this if you’re a fan of citrus) to their Perfect Cuervo Margarita, consider this your go-to margarita recipe source for this year’s Cinco de Mayo celebration!

So let’s check out some of our favorite Cinco De Mayo drink recipes, courtesy of our friends at Delish.

Design Your Lifestyle’s Favorite Cinco De Mayo Drink Recipes

All drink recipes courtesy of Delish.

Bulldog Margarita (our latest favorite!)

Ingredients

  • 4 c. ice
  • 2/3 c. lime juice
  • 1 c. tequila
  • 1/4 c. Cointreau or other orange liqueur
  • 4 tbsp. sugar
  • Coarse salt, for rim
  • 4 Coronitas (7 oz. each)
  • Skewers topped with sliced citrus, for garnish

Directions

  1. Combine ice, lime juice, tequila, Cointreau and sugar in a blender, pulsing to combine.
  2. Place salt on a shallow plate. Dip the rim of each glass in lime juice or water, then in the salt.
  3. Fill each glass with margarita mixture. Pop the caps off of the Coronita bottles, then flip each one upside-down into the margarita glass. (A little beer will empty into the cup, but once the neck of the bottle has sunk into the frozen margarita, it will stop pouring out.)
  4. Garnish each with a fruit skewer and serve.

La Paloma Margarita

Ingredients

  • 1½ oz. Don Julio Reposado Tequila
  • 4 oz. grapefruit soda
  • 1 wedge lime

Directions

  1. Add Don Julio Reposado Tequila and grapefruit soda in salt-rimmed, ice-filled highball glass.
  2. Garnish with lime wedge.

Perfect Cuervo Margarita

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce(s) Jose Cuervo Especial
  • 3 ounce(s) Jose Cuervo Lime Margarita Mix
  • 1 wedge(s) lime
  • 1 teaspoon(s) salt

Directions

  1. Rub rim of a chilled margarita glass with half a lime.
  2. Dip into salt to coat.
  3. In a shaker with ice, add José Cuervo Especial and José Cuervo Lime Margarita Mix.
  4. Shake vigorously.
  5. Strain into the margarita glass.
  6. Garnish with lime wedge.

Cucumber-Jalapeno Margarita

Ingredients

  • Coarse sea or kosher salt
  • 1 lime wedge
  • 1/2 cup(s) peeled, finely diced cucumber, plus a cucumber slice for garnish
  • 4 slice(s) (or up to 6 slices; thin) jalapeño, with seeds
  • 1/4 cup(s) cilantro sprigs
  • 3/4 ounce(s) (1 1/2 tablespoons) fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 ounce(s) (1 1/2 teaspoons) light agave nectar
  • 2 ounce(s) (1/4 cup) 100-percent blue agave silver tequila
  • 1/2 ounce(s) (1 tablespoon) Cointreau or triple sec

Directions

  1. Pour an even layer of salt on a plate. Rub the rim of an 8-ounce rocks glass or tumbler with lime wedge and invert glass into salt to coat rim.
  2. Combine cucumber, jalapeño, cilantro, lime juice, and agave nectar in a 2-cup cocktail shaker. Using a muddler or pestle, gently muddle mixture.
  3. Fill the shaker halfway with ice, then add tequila and Cointreau. Cover and shake well until shaker is frosty and cold.
  4. Fill prepared glass with ice. Strain margarita into it and garnish with the cucumber slice.

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