Strawberry-Orange Pasta Salad

Strawberry-Orange Pasta Salad.

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Strawberry-Orange Pasta Salad

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photo by:kraft

Cooking utensils

4-quart high casserole

colander

salad bowl

Spoon, preferable silicone cooking spoon

chef’s knife

utility knife

cutting board

 

2 cups farfalle (bow-tie pasta), uncooked

1/3 cup KRAFT Creamy Poppyseed Dressing

¼ cup KRAFT Real Mayo Mayonnaise

4 green onions, sliced – with chef’s knife

1 can (11 oz.) mandarin oranges, drained

1 cup sliced fresh strawberries – with utility knife

 

Cook pasta as directed on package, omitting salt; drain. Cool.

Mix dressing and mayo in medium bowl. Add pasta and onions; toss to coat. Gently stir in fruit.

Refrigerate 1 hour.

Kraft kitchens tips

Healthy living

Save 50 calories and 6 g fat per serving by preparing with KRAFT Light Mayo Reduced Fat Mayonnaise.

Make ahead
If wishing to prepare salad more than 1 hour in advance, combine dressing, mayo, cooked pasta and onions in large bowl. Combine oranges and fruit in separate bowl. Refrigerate up to 8 hours. Add fruit to pasta mixture up to 1 hour before serving. Keep refrigerated.

Substitute

Prepare using KRAFT Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing.

My tips:

Cook pasta in slightly salted water and season salad at the end with salt and black pepper. Pepper goes very well with strawberries and mandarin oranges and it just adds taste to the salad.

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Save Arzberg Porcelain

Last week I was reading again about the problems that the Arzberg Porzellan Company in Germany is facing. Most of my customers have seen their products at the Ambience store and I always post pictures of their products on my facebook page Ambience Cayman.

I grew up with Arzberg china; there were only a few pieces in our home, but good ones. And my very first coffee/tea set that I was able to purchase was a set from Arzberg.

I remember that my mother had a one piece sauceboat from Arzberg – a Form 1382 sauceboat designed by Dr. Gretsch. A one piece sauceboat means that the sauceboat and its tray are actually one piece. You can use a ladle or you can pour out of the sauceboat, all with minimal damage to the table cloths; but only until you will be unknowingly introduced to a 2 piece sauceboat. Somebody will pass the sauceboat on to you, holding the tray nice and firmly and you will take the handle of the sauceboat, the nasty crash of the tray on another piece of good china will follow and will with no doubt shape your behavior at a formal dinner table for the rest of your life. In the future you will always categorize dinner sets by their sauceboats.

Arzberg began around 1887 with their production.  In 1931 Dr. Ing. Hermann Gretsch‘s design “Form 1382” started its successful career. Dr. Gretsch had been complaining about unpractical tureens and Arzberg’s director challenged him to create the practical tureen – he succeeded and the rest of the set followed.

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He later worked also for the company Schoenwald and created one of their most successful hotel and restaurant china sets – called “Form 98”. I just returned from Germany and I do have a real bad habit, I do like to turn cups or plates in restaurants, just to see the logos. I am always surprised, almost all the time it is Schoenwald porcelain and mostly Form 98. Ambience customers do know Form 98 too: Schoenwald produces the set for Dibbern and their Solid Color china. Dibbern offers Solid Color since 1965 in now more than 30 colors.

But back to Form 1382, this form will be the beginning of Arzberg’s successful production of modern and functional everyday porcelain.  In 1954 the Museum of Modern Art in New York included Form 1382 into its permanent exhibition. While at the same time back in Germany Heinrich Loeffelhardt’s “Form 2000″ will become Arzberg’s new big hit on the market.

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And there are others that will follow:

Dieter Sieger, from Sieger Design with Cult

 

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Michael Sieger, TRIC porcelain, glass and plastic in one collection

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Peter Schmidt, Form 2006

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Hans-Wilhelm Seitz, Daily, Move and Cucina with the famous pasta bowl (what a hit at Ambience!)

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Heike Philipp: Profi a new classic in many colors and the Gourmet design, a collection suitable for gastronomes.

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Seitz’s design Daily is for me the perfect family china set. It always surprised me how seldom customers came in for replacement orders. And the Daily set is a strong starter set for young families. I have sold many Daily kids sets, their decors are:  Farm Animals, The Kitchen Mouse, Bremer Stadtmusikanten, Bear Orchestra.

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Cult and Form 1382 have been Ambience’s favorite wedding registry sets, mostly the plain white and also Form 1382 Platinum.

Cult Flying Object caused a lot of interest. What a different and striking décor made by David Palterer. I still have one charger plate; I just love the plate and want to keep it forever.

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During Dr. Gretsch’s time young industrial designers started to search for functionality, form and a good price value.  The term designer had not been established at that time, most of them have learned a trade and studied architecture. They wanted to create products that would be able to please the purchaser for a long time and not only for one or two seasons. These classic products are created to be used every day, they should grow with the family and their needs and not been placed into a china cabinet for use once or twice a year. But these products are constantly fighting against the trend of ever changing table sets that have to be very inexpensive and the cheap mass products that have been made in low wage countries. Almost no company can afford today not to jump on this production option.

It always puzzled me why so many people would buy one cheap set after the other, only to stay on top of the years fashion dictates and not chose a set that would last for a very long time and just buy a few accessories here and there to create a completely new dinner table decoration. There is so much to play with if one needs constant changes.

Over the last years Arzberg Porzellan has invested over 10 Mill EUROs in new machines for the production. But it seems that Arzberg’s last owner has made some mistakes, especially in the overseas marketing. The insolvent managers are fighting since several months to save the company and the production site.

Letters of notice had to be send out to the last 120 employees and the remaining  3 months of the  notice time the insolvent managers will have  to find a new buyer of the company, the brand name and/or the machines. It is rumored that buyers might be only interested in the brand name Arzberg; that would be sad, the name Arzberg still stands for Made in Germany and might lose out badly at the end.

Most of Ambience’s customers who bought Arzberg porcelain came from all parts of the world, Canada, US, several from South Africa, Australia and so forth. Many of them have been familiar with the brand Arzberg. Therefore I have decided to create the new facebook page “Save Arzberg Porcelain”. There is a German page with the same title –in German. I will try to translate their news from Germany and post it on Save Arzberg Porcelain.

I thought it would be good to help to inform about this issue, we find ourselves in a situation where we are always complaining about the notes: made in China, India, Brazil, Mexico and so forth. Please show your support for this company that is still trying to produce great goods for us in their home country. I would like to ask you to like the page, and also to share the information posted on it. There is still time to show possible interested buyers that there is an international and caring fan community.

Posted in Tableware

A new dinner set

Choosing a tableware package that is right for you does not have to be a daunting experience, rather, it should be viewed as a fun and enjoyable way to enhance your dining pleasure. A great dinner party will create those fond memories that will keep your guests coming back for more. Below you will find some of my thoughts that might help you to make the right decisions.

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Earthenware, Ceramic or Bone China
While trying to find a new set of china or simple crockery the selection of the material is a very important aspect in the decision making process. In the humid Caribbean climate I will always recommend to choosing hard porcelain or bone china over the so called earthenware and stoneware ceramics. Earthenware is more porous, is not as translucent and is more easily chipped. Earthenware is fired at lower temperatures and is not impervious to liquids. Due to its higher porosity it should be glazed in order to make it watertight. But if the glaze cracks, we might have to recognize how our tableware will get soft, and in a short time, brake into pieces.
Porcelain distinguished itself from earthenware and stoneware ceramics as being whiter and always vitreous. Earthenware absorbs up to 10% of water, fired stoneware up to 5%, and porcelain none at all. Porcelain’s toughness, strength and translucent quality are mainly due to its formation at high temperature of glass and mineral mullite within the fired body. Bone china is a type of porcelain that has bone ash as a major constituent. It is characterized by high whiteness, translucency and strength.
Therefore a combination of elegant bone china and extravagant design is an eye-catcher on any festively laid table.

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Stainless Steel, Silver Plated or Silver Cutlery (Flatware)
If you consider buying a new cutlery set the most important decision will be again about the material. For casual family and friend gatherings a flatware set in stainless steel is perfect. The more representative or formal the setting is, the more important it is to consider high-end stainless steel designs, silver-plated or sterling silver cutlery. Due to the high humidity in the Caribbean, you might shy away from any silver; however, traditionally manufactured silverware that is being used often and stored according to the recommendations, will withstand the climate challenges. Silver should be used and enjoyed and it will only increase in value. Even modern day dishwashers now cater to high-end cutlery with their cutlery drawer trays. High quality silver cutlery should be dishwasher safe. One piece of advice is to use powder dishwasher detergents and not to include low quality stainless steel products next to your silver cutlery. Otherwise it might come to a bad chemical reaction between both materials.
As for cleaning, even decorative high quality silver accessories will only need a silver cloth instead of a dust cloth. Most reputable companies will offer cutlery boxes or anti-tarnishing pouches for the cutlery.
Additionally, owners can personalize their silver cutlery, napkin rings or charger plates with engravings such as monograms, company logos or coat of arms.
If you want to choose silver-plated cutlery I recommend choosing 150g – 60 microns plating as this will increase the firmness of the surface, and thus, durability of the product. Some high-end silver companies will also offer to accentuate the cutlery with gold. This will compliment especially china sets with gold decorations.

Lead Crystal or Crystal
Decorative hollowware refers to conventional crystal glassware. Cut crystal decorating techniques exploit properties to create its brilliant, sparkling qualities as each cut facet reflects and transmits light through the object. Many customers are shying away from lead crystal glassware and are searching for healthier options. Tritan crystal glass is one of the new registered patents that deliver an extremely strong and durable high quality glass without any lead.
Furthermore the trend in crystal glassware has moved towards the fine sommelier glasses; that allows us to choose glasses according to the kind of red or white wine that we prefer to drink. Additionally those sommeliers glasses are all fine crystal glasses that are very suitable for the hot local Caribbean climate.
For a traditional formal table setting in the Caribbean we recommend looking at crystal glassware made in France, Spain, Portugal and Italy. Those temperatures are more aligned with ours, compared to colder, northern European countries which produces traditionally glassware for customers who enjoy their wine in front of a warm fireplace.

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Just give it a try
Does the material and the size of a cup or glass make a difference in the taste of coffee or tea? Take a little bit of time and try to find out for yourself. First you have to find a few different mugs and cups, ceramic, porcelain and even plastic. You might even find some porcelain mugs with thin and others with thick walls. Fill them with the same coffee or tea – if needed already sweetened. Do your tasting and find your favorite cup/mug. I assume it will be your favorite mug anyway, there must have been a reason why you loved that special cup or mug so much. It could also be that it just tastes the best out of the paper cup, that is fine, but you will still find a difference in taste. I love my morning tea out of a thin porcelain mug, I use a thicker mug at work and it is fine, but as soon as I exchange this mug with a thin cup I start enjoying drinking my tea.
You can do the same with wine, grab different glasses and fill them with the same wine. How different do they taste comparing thick with thin glasses. Drink a Burgundy out of Bordeaux and a Burgundy glass. Wine tastings are well known but explore the wine glass tastings. You should have a fun evening.
I stopped drinking wine in Cayman; I was always tipsy after one glass, until I enjoyed wine out of thinner glasses and recognized that I could actually drink more than one glass of wine. But I still enjoyed the same Italian wines, at home out of my glasses that I brought with me from Germany, but as a guest out of other glasses. Can it be that my thicker glasses do not fit with the temperatures in Cayman, I am not absolutely sure. But give it a try and find out for yourselves.
There is another question: why can I drink a Campari Orange in Spain before dinner but not in Cayman? It would just kill me.
One year I was visiting the Ambiente Fair in Frankfurt and while talking with a manager of one of my favorite porcelain companies he offered me a cup of champagne. Who would say no to that! Real cute porcelain cups, and I was totally surprised how refreshing and I want to say clear the champagne tasted. I was so surprised that I tried it back in Cayman with white wine. Yes, just give it a try; it was not bad at all.

Posted in Tableware

Breadfruit Salad

Equipment needed:

Large stainless steel cook pot ( 6 qt or more), cook’s knife and utility knife, cutting board and salad bowl.

2 young breadfruits

1 onion

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 cup mayonnaise

salt and pepper

1 red sweet pepper, diced

2 hard boiled eggs, diced

With the large cook’s knife cut the bread fruits lengthwise in half, cut the half’s into 4 to 6 wedges. Peel the breadfruit and cut the inner piece out. Rinse the wedges and place into the pot. Cover with water and bring to a boil, add 1 tsp. salt. Cook until tender and avoid letting the breadfruit become to soft and mushy.

Drain off the water and allow all the steam to evaporate.

After some 15 minutes cut the wedges into dices. In a bowl mix the mayonnaise with some salt and pepper and the very small diced onion. Add the breadfruit, pour the olive oil over the still warm breadfruit and blend everything. Add the diced sweet pepper and eggs. Let stand in the fridge for at least one hour and season to taste.

Posted in Uncategorized

Indulgence Cheesecake

Indulgence Chocolate Cheesecake

12 ounces vanilla wafers
1 tablespoon butter
16 ounces cream cheese
¾ cup sugar
2 eggs
1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
8 ounces “Indulgence” dark chocolate cream cheese spread
½ egg

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Lightly grease tray with 12 mini cheesecake forms with removable bottoms. Mini muffin pans will work very well too.
Crush the vanilla wafers with a food processor and blend in one spoonful butter.
Evenly place the mixture into each tin.
In a mixing bowl beat the cream cheese until creamy and add sugar, eggs and vanilla until light and fluffy. Fill each tin with mixture until 2/3 full.
Blend the dark chocolate spread with ½ egg. (Slightly whisk one egg and divide it then)
Spoon the dark chocolate mixture over the cakes, almost to the top.
Bake for 15 minutes.

Let the cakes cool. Garnish with some fruits and enjoy.

Posted in Uncategorized

Guacamole

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You will need the following Equipment:
One stainless steel kitchen mixing bowl – if possible with a flat bottom, a potato masher or a fork, soup spoon, tea spoon, lemon squeezer, a cutting board, a paring or utility knife and a cook’s knife.
1 ripe avocado
¼ onion – or even less
Juice of ½ lime
Salt and pepper to taste
A dash of hot pepper sauce
1 tsp mayonnaise
Sour cream
Use the utility or paring knife to cut the avocado in half and take out the seed. Hold one half avocado in your hand and cut the flesh carefully into squares without cutting through the skin of the avocado. Take the soup spoon and scoop out the pulp, pour the lime juice over the pulp and use the potato masher or a fork to mash the pulp as fine as possible. Use the cook’s knife to dice the onion as small as possible. Add the onion dices, the salt, pepper and hot pepper sauce. Fold in to taste additional lime juice and one tsp of mayonnaise.
Let sit for one hour and serve together with some sour cream and chips.

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