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Wednesday, July 30, 2014
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Published: Tuesday, 12/23/2008

Last-minute gifts call for culinary solutions

Here are some gift ideas for those who still have Christmas shopping to do:

Wanted: Last-minute gift for a 30-something single male. Clothing is out of the question. Has recently replaced the morning can of Coca Cola with iced coffee.

Solution: There are a number of single-serve coffee makers, among them the Senseo, which uses pre-measured pods to brew one or two cups of coffee in less than a minute. There are 14 Senseo brand varieties as well as two gourmet flavors. Not only can you buy Medium Roast, Sumatra Blend, and Cappuccino, two new flavors are Godiva Creme Brulee and Chocolate Creme coffees. Prices for the coffee maker range from $69.99 to $139.99. The pods, which come in 16 and 18-pod packages, range in cost from $5.49 to $6.49 per package. Products are sold at stores like Target, Meijer's, and at some supermarkets.

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Wanted: A last-minute gift with an Italian flavor for mother to give daughter, maybe as a Christmas or hostess gift.

Solution: An electric pizzelle-maker. The sweet, thin waffle-style biscuit or cookie is made with a special iron or press. It is often served plain or with ice cream. The Chef's Choice Pizzelle Pro Model 835 bakes three thin party-sized pizzelles in less than 60 seconds. The pizzelles can also be rolled into cylinders for delicious cannolis filled with whipped cream or ricotta cream filling.

Or check out antique stores as early pizzelle irons are sought-after antiques, according to BellaPizzelle, a maker of handmade pizzelles.

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Wanted: Culinary stocking-stuffers.

Solution: The new Kuhn Rikon Serving Knife is a combination knife and spatula with a built-in serrated edge and nonstick coating. It cuts and serves a piece of pie, cake, lasagna, or meatloaf.

Or, an oven thermometer or candy thermometer can fit in a Christmas stocking. There are programmable thermometers; digital instant read or digital deepfry/candy thermometers, and fork tines that measure and display the internal temperature of meat then beeps when it is ready.

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Wanted: A book about wine.

Solution: Wine Enthusiast Magazine Wine & Food Pairings Cookbook With More than 80 Recipes and Wine Recommendations (Running Press, $29.95) has recipes from chefs such as Bobby Flay and Rick Bayless.

Try Wrapped Oyster Fritters with Apple-Mint Chutney and Passion Fruit Sauce paired with a South African chardonnay. Or the sweetness of Warm Chocolate Souffles contrasts with the nutty caramel quality of a tawny port.

WineWise: Your Complete Guide to Understanding, Selecting, and Enjoying Wine is by Steven Kolpan, Brian H. Smith, and Michael A. Weiss, who are wine professors at the Culinary Institute of America (Wiley, $29.95). They suggest great wines at all price points. The "Bargains" chapter highlights inexpensive wines from around the world. Two countries - Canada and Greece - are identified as "up and coming" in the U.S. wine market.

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Wanted: Last-minute cookie decorating aids.

Solution: Squeeze, squirt, and drizzle frosting on cookies and cupcakes. The new Cookie & Cupcake Decorating Set from Kuhn Rikon includes decorating tips to create professional designs, lettering, or drizzles on cakes, cookies, and candies. It might even help to make eyes on Chocolate Covered Cherry Mice (see article on this page).



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