Friday, August 17, 2012

Italian Scones?

Have you ever met an Italian lady making English scones?  Neither had I....until I met Yvette from Ivéta Gourmet.

As I wandered through the Home & Gift Show at the Las Vegas World Market this past July, I happened to walk by a booth promoting a familiar looking product.  I stopped to take a closer look at the Ivéta scone mixes displayed on the table, and realized they were the very same scone mixes I purchase from my favorite little store in downtown Glendora, CA -- The Village Kitchen Shoppe.

Samples were available at the Ivéta booth for their gluten-free scone mixes, which I naturally had to try!  The scones were so moist and flavorful, that it's hard to believe how simple the ingredients are.  Listed on the packaging, the gluten-free scone mix consists of gluten-free flour, organic crystallized cane juice, dried fruit (apricot, blueberry, or cranberry), baking powder, vanilla powder, and salt.  They also have a vanilla or chocolate chip mix available as gluten-free.

The easiest part?  Add 3/4 to 1 cup heavy whipping cream (or cashew cream), and bake.  That's it!

In addition to the gluten-free scone mixes, Ivéta also offers a large variety of regular scone mixes including golden raisin, cranberry orange, ginger, pumpkin spice, and lavender white chocolate...just to name a few.  Other easy baking mixes are muffins, cupcakes, and biscuits.  And to go along with everything else, Ivéta makes their own clotted cream, lemon or key lime curd, and several fruit jams.

The name "Ivéta" is a variation on Yvette, who owns the company along with her husband John.  Yvette is one of the sweetest people you will ever meet, with an energetic personality and an infectious laugh.  As I sampled her delicious scones, Yvette shared with me the unconventional story of how an Italian lady began making English scones.

Yvette and John used to live in Chicago, where they owned and operated an espresso bar.  After someone suggested they add scones to their menu, Yvette went to the gourmet food show to see what she could find.  There happened to be some graduate students who created a unique scone recipe that did not require eggs or butter, just cream.  This was perfect for the espresso bar, because they could whip up the scones quickly and easily.  After several years, the owners of the scone company went their separate ways, leaving Yvette and John the opportunity to purchase the company and create Ivéta Gourmet!  For the complete story, click here.

Since then, Yvette has added many mixes and developed new flavors to build the company.  Not bad for a biscotti chef, right?  But don't worry, you can still taste Yvette's espresso and biscotti (as well as breakfast and lunch) at the Ivéta Café in Santa Cruz, CA!

Yes, the Ivéta scone mixes are light, moist, and flavorful.  But I think the most important thing is that they use the best ingredients.  There are never any artificial preservatives, food coloring, or hydrogenated vegetable oil...yuck!  Just simple, regular, natural ingredients.  And it is oh so tasty!

Check out the Ivéta Shop for more info.  And if you want my personal opinion...go for the Gluten-free Vanilla Scone Mix with Organic Pear Ginger Jam.  Mmmm!

At the Gift Show with owners of Ivéta, Yvette and John

Saturday, August 4, 2012

You Say Tomato

Ever since I was a girl, my mom has had a cookbook called "You Say Tomato."  There are recipes for anything and everything you can think of to do with a tomato, even desserts!  What I appreciate about the book is that each page has a brief history of where the recipe came from and how it has been modified over the years.

In the summer season especially, my mom's house is bursting with tomatoes from her garden.  So naturally, we turned to the "You Say Tomato" cookbook a couple weeks ago when I was visiting.  We decided on the traditional Spanish cold soup of gazpacho.  But with our own twist!

Apparently what makes gazpacho, well.....gazpacho, is that it contains a slice of stale bread.  So call us untraditional, but we left out the stale bread (we're German, not Spanish).  Joanne's recipe in the "You Say Tomato" book also uses croutons and a garnish, as well as heavily puréeing the soup ingredients.  My mom and I like our gazpacho to be finely chopped, almost like pico de gallo.  Hence, we used the salsa maker instead of a blender.  Here is the modified recipe:

6 large red tomatoes
1 large bell pepper (we used 2 small green ones)
1 large onion
1 large cucumber
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 c plus 2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
dash of salt and pepper, to taste
dash of cayenne pepper (we added that for extra spice)

Place all the ingredients in salsa maker (or blender) and chop finely until desired consistency.  Place in bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.  This recipe is supposedly for 6 servings, but it's an easy one to modify for larger groups.  If you enjoy fresh food as much as we do, this cold gazpacho will go quickly on a hot summer night!