▪ The Best Pasta Sauces
$28; Ballantine Books; 238 pages
If you’re looking for new ways to dress up your noodles this fall, James Beard-nominated author and Milan native Micol Negrin’s new recipe collection is worth a thumb-through. The book takes readers on a culinary tour through northern, central and southern Italy (as well as the islands), offering authentic, regional specific dishes that seem both familiar and exotic (Slow-Cooked Savoy Cabbage Sauce with Pork, anyone?) It also recommends sauces that work well with whole wheat pasta.
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▪ Cider Sauce
$4-$6; High Hill Ranch, 2901 High Hill Road, Placerville; www.highhillranch1.net
The farmsteads of Apple Hill will be plenty busy through December, selling all things apple-centric. That includes the High Hill Ranch line of homemade cider sauce, ideal for pouring over ice cream or apple pie. The ranch also offers apple cider, hot cider mulling spice mix, apple butter and apple pumpkin butter.
▪ Rickland Orchards Greek on the go! Almonds
$3.99 for 5.5 oz.; Safeway and other local retailers; www.ricklandorchards.com
The Greek yogurt trend takes new forms with these sweet snacks that come in a variety of combos. While the traditional covered almond is delicious, adventurous eaters may like yogurt-coated granola, strawberry or pretzel bits – all good lunch-box additions that pack in a bit of protein.
▪ Milton’s Craft Bakers Honey & Corn Crackers
$3.79 for 6.5 oz.; Safeway and local retailers; www.miltonsbaking.com
These addictive crackers taste like crunchy bits of cornbread, slightly sweetened with organic honey. In an era when 89 percent of U.S. corn crops are genetically modified, some consumers will be pleased that Milton’s uses non-GMO audited ingredients, so munch away.
▪ Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste
Skinny and hard to hold onto, vanilla beans give up their flavorful seeds only after a struggle with a knife. Nielsen-Massey, the premium vanilla company, has the answer, fellow bakers: real vanilla bean paste. A thick liquid, similar to molasses, it can be poured or measured. One tablespoon equals one vanilla bean or 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, and you get all those lovely flecks of seed. (Our sugar cookies never looked so cool.) It’s a bit of an investment, but it’ll stay fresh a lot longer than that scrawny vanilla bean.
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