Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Craft Critique: Bell's Brewery 30th Anniversary Ale

Every once in awhile a beer comes along that I simply must try. I thought I had missed my opportunity to enjoy a bottle of Bell's 30th Anniversary Ale until a friend of mine surprised me with a bottle a little over a month ago. I have been waiting for the right time to pop the top off this bad boy and give it a try, and even though it's not a lager, I decided National Lager Day was as good a time as enjoy to indulge.

Appearance 30th Anniversary Ale is an Imperial Stout, and as such, I was expecting something deep, dark and mysterious and that's exactly what I got! This beer is so dark and murky that when I held my glass up to the light, not a single ray penetrated through its depths. The beer was topped with a thin to medium sized, caramel hued head that dissipated fairly fast and left a thin wash of lacing. The pour appeared to be a bit on the thin side, but what it lacked in body it more than made up for in flavor.

Smell The aroma of Bell's anniversary brew is packed full of roasted malts, syrupy coffee, light notes of vanilla and a touch of dark chocolate and dark fruits. It isn't the most distinctive smelling stout I have tried, but it stays true to its style.

Taste The flavor of 30th Anniversary is as packed with roasted malts as the aroma is, and for me, that's a delicious thing. It has an intoxicating blend of sweet, roasted malt, coffee, burnt sugar, fig and toasted bread flavors. If you like strong, dark flavors, this is definitely not the beer for you. However, if you like strong flavors such as espresso, dark chocolate or licorice this may very well be the beer for you. The booziness of this beer, in smell and flavor, creeps in slowly as the beer warms and fully opens up.

Mouthfeel At first, while this beer was still fairly cool, it felt somewhat thin in my mouth but as it warmed, the viscosity definitely increased until it felt creamy. It's a medium weight beer with a lighter carbonation that accentuates the flavors beautifully. As the beer warms in temperature, a boozy warmth also makes its appearance across the tongue.

Overall Stouts and porters are my favorite styles of beer, so I was excited at the prospect of trying this imperial stout, especially after I thought the window of opportunity had closed. It is the epitome of why I enjoy stouts so much-the flavor is as dark as its color. I would recommend serving this brew between 45-50 degrees from a goblet to maximize both its aroma and flavor. When pairing with food, I would suggest buttery cheeses, such as brie and Havarti, if serving with an appetizer, smoked meats with an entree and dark chocolate or raspberries with a dessert.

For more information about Bell's Brewery, please visit their websiteFacebookTwitter and YouTube.

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The Craft Critique: Organic Cherry Ale from Samuel Smith

I recently wrote a review for this brewery's Organic Raspberry Ale and the time has come to follow up that review with a new one. This installation of my Bottoms Up! review series centers on Samuel Smith's Organic Cherry Ale.

Samuel Smith describes its cherry ale as:
"High natural acidity makes sour cherries a great choice for creating an ultimate fruit beer. The vibrant cherry character of this beer is perfectly underpinned by deliciously complex beer notes which result from the multiple yeast strains used for fermentation."
Here are my interpretations of this beer:

Appearance-The appearance of Samuel Smith's Organic Cherry Ale is a reddish hued beer that is topped off with a soft, hazy, pink head that fades away to a light to medium amount of lacing in the glass.

Smell-This ale offers a fresh fruity scent that imparts obvious notes of cherry. Upon smelling this beer, my mouth immediately began to water in anticipation of its cherry flavor. The scent of alcohol is almost imperceptible.

Taste-The taste of Organic Cherry Ale is immediately and strongly that of cherry juice balanced with a light hoppy finish. As this beer warms, the cherry flavor fades as a hoppiness begins to creep in. It has a crisp tartness paired with a slight hint of malty sweetness that is more of an aftertaste. The blending of flavors in this brew are magnificent as none overpowers the others and they truly blend together in a harmonious fashion.

Mouthfeel-Organic Cherry Ale is much lighter on its carbonation than Samuel Smith's Organic Raspberry Ale. It is a medium bodied ale that glides across the palate cleanly with a crisp feeling on the tongue.

Overall Impression-This beer is very easy to drink and I highly recommend it to those who don't like the hoppiness of most other beers. It lacks the fake flavor that comes with many fruity beers. I can honestly say this has been my favorite fruit beer to drink to date. I highly recommend this beer for a hot summer day or to serve with your holiday desserts. Pair with soft cheeses and fruit, chocolates, ham and chicken dishes. This beer would also make a great beer float!

For more information about Samuel Smith Brewing and their Organic Cerry Ale, please visit Merchant du Vin online, on Facebook or on Twitter.

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Samuel Smith to release 16,000 bottles of Yorkshire Stingo on August 1

August 1st is Yorkshire Day. It also happens to be the day the Samuel Smith Brewing releases their annual, limited run batch of Yorkshire Stingo. This barrel-aged, bottle conditioned strong ale features the deep, rich flavors of toffee, raisin, dried fruit and caramel, 8% ABV and comes in between 30-35 IBU's. This yearly brew is limited to 16,000 bottles, so be sure to snag a bottle as soon as you find one because it won't be on store shelves for very long!

For those of you who aren't sure just what Stingo is, it is a traditional strong ale brewed in the northern region of England. Samuel Smith's version is brewed with British malt and multiple hops and is fermented in open topped stone "Yorkshire Squares" with the proprietary Samuel Smith yeast strain. The beer then ages for a year in oak barrels that once contained cask-conditioned ale. It is also bottle-conditioned, resulting in a fruity aroma and finish. For optimal flavor, serve in a stemmed wine glass or small nonik at 55 degrees F. This beer pairs well with strong, aromatic cheeses, pickled fish, cured meats, duck, wild game and Kalamata olives.

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Beat the heat with a Parmesan crusted pork roast

With temperatures soaring this week, we are all seeking a respite from the high temps in any way we can. One way to beat the heat while still making great food for your family is to use your slow cooker. Instead of heating the whole house, you barely raise the temp in a small nook or cranny. And once the soaring temperatures of summer begin to break, this recipe transitions beautifully into fall. The ingredients may seem a little odd at first, but once you try this roast for the first time, you will be hooked!

PARMESAN PORK ROAST 
Ingredients

  • 3-4 pound pork roast, cut in half 
  • 3/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup honey 
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce 
  • 2 tablespoons basil 
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • dash salt 

Directions 
Turn your slow cooker on high and place the roast in it. In a medium size bowl, mix all of the remaining ingredients until smooth and pour over top of the roast, turning to coat well. Place lid on crock and cook on high 4-6 hours, until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees F.

Stroh's Brewery re-releasing Stroh's Bohemian Style Pilsner for a limited time

STROH’S TAPS INTO DETROIT BREWING TRADITION WITH RETURN OF STROH’S BOHEMIAN-STYLE PILSNER

The Stroh Brewery Company will once again brew beer in Detroit with the return of Stroh’s Bohemian-style Pilsner on August 22. “Stroh’s is Detroit,” said Dan McHugh, CMO of Pabst Brewing Company.

“By reintroducing Stroh’s Bohemian-style Pilsner and brewing in the city, we are tapping into the history and heritage of Stroh’s and the innovation and hard work of the people of Detroit.” 

Stroh’s beer was first brewed in Detroit in 1850. Stroh’s Bohemian-style Pilsner is a classic that earned the highest awards at the World’s Fair in Chicago in 1893. The new Stroh’s Bohemian-style Pilsner is inspired by a Stroh’s recipe from the late 1800’s. Stroh’s Bohemian will be brewed at Brew Detroit in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood.

 “The beer is a crisp, balanced pilsner with a floral aroma, subtle hop spice, and a rich, bready maltiness made from Saaz and Magnum hops and Vienna malt,” said Brewmaster Greg Deuhs.

 Stroh’s Bohemian-style Pilsner will complement Stroh’s Lager and Stroh’s Light brands in Michigan. It has 5.5% alcohol by volume and 33 IBUs (International Bitterness Units). It will be available in specially designed 12 oz. bottles and on draft in Michigan restaurants, bars, and retail stores beginning August 22.

To celebrate the beer launch and the return of Stroh’s brewing to Detroit, special tapping events will be help on August 26 at 4 p.m. in numerous locations throughout the state of Michigan. For more details, follow Stroh’s on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, or visit our website at www.StrohBeer.com.

ABOUT STROH’S BEER 
In 1848, during the German Revolution, Bernhard Stroh, having apprenticed as a brewmaster at his father’s side, immigrated to the United States. Bernard established his own brewery in Detroit in 1850. Stroh named his new company Lion's Head Brewery, adopting the Lion's Crest logo from the Kyrburg Castle in Germany – the same crest that adorns Stroh’s beers today. Stroh’s was last brewed in Detroit in June 1985. Pabst Brewing Company, America’s largest independently-owned brewer, bought the Stroh’s brand in 1999. For more information, visit strohbeer.com.

A Brief Moment In Culinary History: The Philly Cheesesteak

The cheesesteak sandwich, more commonly known as the Philly Cheese Steak, hails from humble beginnings in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1930, Italian immigrants Pat and Harry Olivieri opened a hot dog stand and quickly grew tired of eating the dogs they served. One day, the men bought some beef at their local grocery, sliced it and grilled with onions. Just as the men were about to taste their creation, a cab driver came by and insisted on trying the sandwich. Upon tasting it, he advised the men to ditch the dogs and start selling their innovative idea. Twenty years later, at the request of employees and customers, cheese was added to the popular sandwich. Sales soared and culinary history was made.

There is some controversy surrounding this popular American sandwich icon, though. Traditionalists swear the only way to eat a "true" cheesesteak is if it is topped with "whiz", a cheese type sauce that is ladled across the top of the sandwich. Others prefer melted provel or provolone cheese to be melted on top of the meat before it is placed in the bun for serving. Either way, you can't go wrong by ordering one of these yummy sandwiches!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Top crop and export growth has Aussie wines well placed on global stage

A STRONG 2016 vintage, a low Aussie dollar and thriving trading partners has the Australian wine industry well placed to increase its share of global markets.

The Australian wine sector recorded increases in volume and average purchase price of wine grapes this year, according to the Vintage Report 2016 released today in Adelaide by Wine Australia, the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia and Wine Grape Growers Australia. In what is widely regarded as a top quality vintage, this year there was an increase of 6 per cent in the national crush to an estimated 1.81 million tonnes, led by South Australia. The report also shows the average price paid for wine grapes grew by 14 per cent to $526 per tonne across Australia, the highest average price since 2009.

Wine Australia Chief Executive Officer Andreas Clark told the 16th Australian Wine Industry Technical Conference & Trade Exhibition in Adelaide, South Australia, that global sales of Australian wine was also on the rise thanks to a surge in bottle exports.

“Numbers for June 2016 released this month showed strong growth of 11 per cent to 2.11 billion in the 12 months to June. The average value of those exports grew by 11 per cent to $2.89 a litre, which is the highest level since February 2010,” he said. “Average values of bottled wine exports increased by 9 per cent to $5.35 per litre, which is the highest level since October 2003. There’s a very strong story coming through there.”

The United States is Australia’s biggest export market ahead of the United Kingdom and China but uncertainty following the Brexit vote and the ongoing appetite for Australian wine in Asia has China set to become the biggest importer of wine from Down Under in the long term. In the short-term, however, strong growth in the premium wine market in the United States on the back of a resurgent economy and relatively low Aussie dollar is seen as an immediate opportunity for Australian exporters. Australian wine is number one by volume and second to Italy by value of wine imported into the United States. But it is the strong growth in the $10 plus category that is showing the greatest potential.

“We think the US is the largest prize on offer at the moment,” Clark said. “We need to bring exporters and more quality producers back in to that market. China is continuing to show very strong growth. Education is our major platform there. We just need to continue to amplify our premium message into China.”

South Australia continued to be the nation’s biggest contributor to the wine industry, boosting its volume to reach 51 per cent of the total 2016 crush. Premium Shiraz in the top graded categories of more than $1500 per tonne rose to 13 per cent of the variety’s total crush and the national average price per tonne for Shiraz increased by 14 per cent. Similarly, premium Cabernet Sauvignon in the top categories grew to 9 per cent of the variety’s crush and its national average price increased by 17 per cent. Overall, the average price paid for red wine grapes increased 13 per cent to $651 per tonne and white wine grapes grew 12 per cent to $398.

Winemakers’ Federation of Australia Acting CEO Tony Battaglene said there had been uniform strong praise about the quality of wine from the 2016 vintage.

“There’s certainly very positive signs,” he told the AWIT Conference in the South Australian capital. “We do have cautious optimism about the future, certainly the 2016 vintage data and the related macro-economic export data suggest a positive trend but it’s clearly very, very important that we continue the industry investment in growing our export markets. It’s quite clear that we need to remain proactive as a sector to continue to grow this demand and to build upon the steps we’ve made, particularly in the key markets of the United States and China.”

The four-day Australian Wine Industry Technical Conference has been held every third year since 1970 by the Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI). According to the International Organization of Vine and Wine, Australia was the world’s seventh largest wine producing nation in 2015. Italy, France and Spain topped the list. There are 18 wine regions in South Australia, including the Barossa Valley, Clare Valley, Coonawarra, Adelaide Hills, Langhorne Creek, McLaren Vale, Limestone Coast and Riverland. More than 200 cellar doors are within an hour’s drive of the city centre of Adelaide.


7 ways to beat the summer heat at mealtime

Currently, a good portion of the country is experiencing the "dog days of summer" in huge way.  Heat related illnesses (sunburn, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke) begin to spike during this type of weather. Keeping cool and eating during this type of weather is difficult. When you're already overheated, the last thing you want to do is heat up your home even more by cooking. Here are 7 ways to help keep your cool while eating when the temperatures soar.

Order in. Sure, it costs a little more to have food delivered, but do you really want to venture out when the temps hit 90 or higher?

Carry Out. If no one delivers anything that sounds appealing to you, there is always the option of running out somewhere, letting someone else make your food and bring it back home.

Stay hydrated. Keeping your body hydrated will help it stay cool. Load up on fresh fruits & vegetables and be sure to drink plenty of water. If you have to drink caffeine or alcohol, do so in moderation as they are both dehydrating. Smoothies are a great way to get your fruit and keep cool at the same time.

Eat light. Summer is definitely not the time for heavy soups, stews or chilis. Think sandwiches and salads. If the thought of a full meal makes you cringe, nibble on healthy alternatives throughout the day. Fruit, veggies, cheese and crackers are all good choices for keeping your energy up without weighing you down. Visit our Summer Dining section for recipe ideas!

Grill out. Skip cooking inside and heating the house-move dinner outside and enjoy a little nature.With any luck, there will be a nice breeze blowing. At the very least, you can dine in the shade.

Break out the slow cooker. If time is short, the slow cooker can be your best friend in the summer time. Toss dinner in, turn it on and don't sweat the details. Dinner will be ready when you are. This is a great option for families on the go.

Eat dessert first! Do not pass go, do not collect $200.00-go directly to your local ice cream parlor! The point is, the easiest, and probably tastiest, way to beat the heat at mealtime is to cool off with a dip of ice cream, milkshake or sundae first. Everything is bound to taste a little sweeter!

The Clement Palo Alto offers shopping package with the famed Stanford Shopping Center

The famed Stanford Shopping Center recently completed a multi-million dollar redevelopment project, with world-renowned Bloomingdale's moving to a new location to make way for the improvements. The three-level, 125,000-square-foot re-imagined Stanford Shopping Center store includes 68 designer shops, over 100 new brands, and a refreshed assortment of stylish essentials for women, men, children and home.

The 25 new retailers to set up shop in the new area include: Anthropologie; Allen-Edmonds Shoe; LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics; Luisa Spagnoli, a Italian women's fashion boutique; AllSaints, a British fashion house; lululemon; Everything But Water, a designer swim and resort fashion boutique; The North Face; Uno de 50, a Spanish jewelry shop; and Vineyard Vines, a clothing and gift store; Japanese lifestyle retailer Muji and girls' retailer Brandy Melville.

Three new eateries were also part of the renovation, including the vegan/vegetarian restaurant True Food Kitchen; Tender Greens, which features fresh local produce; and Minamoto Kitchen, a shop that will sell artisanal Japanese desserts.

Several of Stanford Shopping Center's existing retailers also moved to expanded locations in the mall, including Victoria's Secret, BCBG/MAXAZRIA, J. Crew, Solstice and Tommy Bahama.

A new outdoor plaza, which was part of the renovation of the shopping center's common areas, features gardens, a stretch of lawn where people can sit and a water feature with infinity edges.

One of the three anchor stores in the Stanford Shopping Center is the iconic Bloomingdale's. The Clement Palo Alto is now offering an exclusive shopping trip to this celebrated store. This exciting experience can include such things as:

Complimentary Style Advisor (personal shopper) appointments and beauty consultations (advance reservations required) Little Brown Bag welcome amenity 15% off Savings Certificate (see in-store for details and restrictions) Exclusive event invitations Car pick-up service

Bloomingdale's is America's only nationwide, full-line, upscale department store and a division of Macy's, Inc. It was founded in 1872 and currently operates 38 Bloomingdale's stores and 16 Bloomingdale's, The Outlet Stores, in California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia. In addition, Bloomingdale's has an international presence with a location in Dubai. Be sure to follow @bloomingdales on social media, become a Loyallist, and for more information, or to shop any time, visit www.bloomingdales.com.

The Clement Palo Alto can design this shopping experience specifically to the hotel guest's needs and desires. The Clement Palo Alto's all-inclusive services and amenities include:

  • All-inclusive breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks 
  • All-inclusive wine, beer and cocktails (charges apply for premium brands) 
  • All-inclusive in-room dining 
  • All-inclusive mini-bar 
  • All-inclusive fully-stocked Guest Pantry available around the clock 
  • All-inclusive Business Center All-inclusive valet parking 
  • All-inclusive twice-daily housekeeping services 
  • All-inclusive overnight shoe shine services 
  • All-inclusive high-speed Internet 
  • All-inclusive personal assistants 
  • All-inclusive gratuities

The Clement Palo Alto is ideally located across from Stanford University and next to downtown Palo Alto, with its award-winning restaurants, world-class shopping and upscale spas. It is just 45 minutes south of San Francisco and only 30 minutes north of San Jose, not only making it convenient, but easily accessible to the world-famous sights and myriad activities of both cities.

Overall, The Clement Palo Alto offers a unique, one-of-a-kind 6-star experience in the heart of Silicon Valley with unparalleled personal service, all-inclusive luxury and privacy in a warm, inviting and luxurious residential environment.

To book a room and the shopping package, contact Oscar Gonzalez, our Guest Experience Specialist, at ogonzalez@theclementpaloalto.com, Monday through Friday or call (650) 322-7111.

Friday, July 22, 2016

el Jimador Tequila shares some tasty cocktails for National Tequila Day

As National Tequila Day approaches (it is Sunday, July 24), el Jimador Tequila, the #1 selling 100% blue agave tequila in Mexico, is offering up some unique and twisted tequila cocktails recipes for you, our faithful readers. Cheers!

Korbelrita 

  • 1 ½ oz el Jimador Tequila 
  • ½ oz Triple Sec 
  • 3 oz Sour Mix 
  • 187ml Korbel California Champagne 

In a shaker filled with ice, add ingredients and shake to mix. Pour into margarita glass rimmed with salt (optional). Flip the Korbel California Champagne upside down into your glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Black Raspberry Margarita 

  • 1 ½ oz el Jimador Tequila 
  • ½ oz Triple Sec 
  • 3 oz Sour Mix 
  • ½ oz Chambord Liquor 

In a shaker filled with ice, add ingredients and shake to mix. Pour into margarita glass rimmed with salt (optional). Garnish with a lime or blackberry.

Jimirita

  • 1 ½ oz el Jimador Tequila 
  • ½ oz Triple Sec 
  • 3 oz Sour Mix 

In a shaker filled with ice, add ingredients and shake to mix. Pour into margarita glass rimmed with salt (optional). Garnish with lime wedge.

Please remember to celebrate responsibly. Designate a driver!

White chocolate chunk macadamia cookies recipe

A couple of weeks ago, a good friend of mine sent me a text message saying how much he liked the white chocolate macadamia cookies where he works. It's been a long time since I had enjoyed one of those decadent cookies and his message created a craving of epic proportions. Last night, it became unbearable and I drug out my binder of recipes, searching for the prized chocolate chip cookie recipe that was shared to me by a friend's mom. I made a few adjustments to the recipe and the results were nothing short of sheer cookie heaven! Tony-this one's for you.

WHITE CHOCOLATE MACADAMIA COOKIES 
Ingredients 
  • 2/3 cup butter, softened 
  • 2/3 cup butter flavored Crisco 
  • 1 cup sugar 
  • 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed 
  • 2 eggs 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla 
  • 1 teaspoon butter vanilla baking emulsion 
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 3 1/2 cups flour 
  • 1 1/2 cups white chocolate chunks 
  • 3/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts 
Directions 
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl. beat together butter, Crisco and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs, vanilla and emulsion and mix until combined. Stir in baking soda and salt. Gradually add flour, adding 1 cup at a time, until completely mixed in. Stir in chocolate and nuts. Use a cookie scoop to shape dough and drop onto baking sheets. Bake 10-12 minutes. Cool on sheets for 2-3 minutes then gently remove to a cooling rack.

Cook's Notes 
  • If you don't have a cookie scoop, drop by rounded spoonfuls onto baking sheets. 
  • Adjust amount of chips and nuts to suit your personal tastes. 
  • I prefer a soft, almost underdone, cookie. To achieve this type of cookie, the cookie should be just barely golden on the bottom and still slightly soft in the center. For a crisper cookie, cook a little longer. 
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The difficulties of running a brewery to be addressed during annual meeting of Agricultural and Applied Economics Association

More than Malt and Hops: Difficulties in Running a Brewery 
Strict legal and economic regulations part of beer industry boom 

Beer is the most-popular alcoholic beverage worldwide, and studies show it is third overall behind water and tea. According to the Brewers Association there were 4,269 breweries in the United States in 2015, up from 110 in 1985. The boom in craft breweries has given Americans thousands of choices of beer.

While it’s become easy to brew beer, the regulatory environment surrounding the industry remains complex. Rules such as where and when beer can be sold and the size of containers beer can go in are just two examples, and the laws vary from state to state.

 “The beer industry has been heavily regulated since prohibition,” says Michael McCullough, a professor at California Polytechnic State University. “We’re focusing on the big hurdles small and regional-sized breweries are facing.” 

McCullough is part of “Regulation in the Brewing Industry: A Panel Discussion of Brewing Experts,” a session at the 2016 Agricultural & Applied Economics Association (AAEA) Annual Meeting in Boston July 31 – August 2. Three brewery owners and operators from New England will discuss everything that goes into starting and running a brewery, and the legal difficulties they’ve encountered. This session is being held Monday, August 1, 2016, at 2:45 PM at the Boston Marriott Copley Place, in the Hyannis Room on the fourth floor.


Zucchini and corn gratin recipe

Potatoes au gratin may be the standard cheesy side dish on most tables, but for those looking to try something new this year, look no further. This cheesy recipe features zucchini and corn and is absolutely to die for! Plus, it offers the added bonus of using vegetables that are currently in season and at the peak of their flavor.

ZUCCHINI AND CORN GRATIN 
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium white or yellow onion, chopped
  • 5 cups sliced zucchini
  • 1 cup whole kernel corn
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/4 cups cornbread stuffing
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese 
Directions 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a large baking dish with non-stick spray and set aside. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet and add the onion. Cook until it is tender yet still slightly crisp, about two minutes. Add zucchini, corn and water. Cover and cook over medium heat 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat when zucchini is tender and slightly mash it. In a bowl, beat together the egg, milk and seasonings until well blended. Stir in the vegetable mixture, half of the stuffing mix and half of the cheese. Spoon evenly into prepared baking dish. Melt remaining butter in a small bowl then add remaining stuffing mix and cheese. Sprinkle over top of the mixture. Bake 25-30 minutes, until the gratin is set and the topping is golden brown. Allow to stand a few minutes before serving.

Cook's Notes For a lower fat version of this recipe, use skim milk and reduced fat cheese.

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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Chaddsford Winery and Philadelphi 76ers launch limited edition tribute wine

PHILADELPHIA 76ERS LAUNCH THREE-PART, LIMITED EDITION, “BANNER SERIES” WINE WITH CHADDSFORD WINERY IN TRIBUTE OF ICONIC CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY

The Philadelphia 76ers, in partnership with Chaddsford Winery, have launched a three-part “Banner Series” wine collection which pays tribute to the Sixers' three NBA championship teams: the 1982-83 and 1966-67 Philadelphia 76ers and the 1954-55 Syracuse Nationals. The Sixers and Chaddsford Winery will produce 76 cases of the first wine in the series, dedicated to the 1982-83 NBA championship team whose roster included iconic NBA legends Julius “Dr. J” Erving, Moses Malone, and Maurice “Mo” Cheeks. Chaddsford Winery will donate 10% of the proceeds from each bottle sold to the Sixers Youth Foundation, a 501c3 public charity committed to coaching and mentoring young people in Philadelphia and Camden to be the next generation of leaders and innovators.

Philadelphia 76ers “Banner Series" wine is available now at Chaddsford.com and Chaddsford Winery in Chadds Ford, PA. A limited supply of bottles will be available at Sixers home games during the 2016-17 season.

"We are proud to honor the iconic legacy of Philadelphia 76ers basketball and championships with our commemorative 'Banner Series' wine,” said Chad Biggs, Philadelphia 76ers SVP of Corporate Development and Activation. “It was natural to partner with Chaddsford Winery, a premier brand in the industry and the preeminent winery in the Philadelphia region. This is a pivotal time in Sixers history and we anticipate Sixers and Philadelphia sports fans will be eager to celebrate and toast the exciting season ahead; while giving back to an incredible cause in the Sixers Youth Foundation.”

“As a leader in the Pennsylvania wine industry, with deep roots in the Greater Philadelphia region, we take great pride in our local partnerships,” said Corey Krejcik, General Manager of Chaddsford Winery. “We are thrilled that the Sixers organization, one of the most storied sports franchises in Philadelphia history, has selected Chaddsford Winery to work with on their exciting Banner Series wine program. We hope this is the beginning of a long, successful relationship – that spans numerous championships!”

The first wine to be released in the Sixers “Banner Series” wine collection honoring the 1982-83 championship team is a vintage 2014; this exclusive red cellar blend showcases soft integrated tannins that merge nicely with notes of raspberry, black cherry, and a hint of black pepper and oak. The wine includes components from Chambourcin from Lake Erie, PA; Chancellor from Lake Erie, PA; Pinot Noir from Adams County, PA; and Noiret from Finger Lakes, NY.

ABOUT CHADDSFORD WINERY
Located in the heart of the Brandywine Valley in beautiful Southeastern Pennsylvania sits Chaddsford Winery, one of the oldest and most acclaimed wineries in the state. Established in 1982, Chaddsford Winery is widely regarded as a pioneer in the Pennsylvania wine industry, and with production of approximately 30,000 cases annually, it remains one of the largest by volume. Focusing on making approachable, food friendly wines that reflect their unique ‘Mid-Atlantic Uplands’ microclimate, Chaddsford expresses their artisanship through a diverse portfolio of dry whites, reds and sweet wines. Visit Chaddsford Winery for a Wine Tasting, offered seven days a week, or a complimentary Winery Tour, offered at 2:00pm and 4:00pm on Saturdays and Sundays. More information and an upcoming events calendar is available at www.chaddsford.com

 ABOUT THE PHILADELPHIA 76ERS
The Philadelphia 76ers are one of the most storied franchises in the National Basketball Association, having won three World Championships, earning nine trips to The Finals and making 47 playoff appearances over 66 seasons. The team is owned by an investor group led by Managing General Partner Josh Harris.

Mixed berry crisp recipe from Driscoll's

Are you looking for a festive summer dessert that is a little different from the norm? Driscoll's
shared with us a heavenly mixed berry crisp that will brighten up your dessert table and perk up your tastebuds this hot summer season.




MIXED BERRY CRISP
Prep time 15 minutes * Bake time 40 minutes * Makes 6 servings
Filling
Topping 
  • 1 cup quick cooking or regular oats (NOT instant) 
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar 
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon 
  • 5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces 
Directions 
1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Lightly butter an 8 x 8 inch or 2 quart glass or ceramic baking dish.
2. Hull and halve or quarter the strawberries.
3. Combine strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries in a large bowl, with 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Transfer to prepared pan.
4. Mix oats and remaining sugar, flour, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl. Add butter and work into dry ingredients with a wooden spoon or pastry cutter until mixture is crumbly.
5. Sprinkle oat mixture evenly over berries.
6. Bake until berries are bubbly and topping is lightly browned and crisp, 35 to 45 minutes. Serve warm or room temperature with vanilla yogurt, ice cream or whipped cream

For more inspiring recipes using Driscoll's fresh berries, please visit Driscoll's website. Recipe and photo used with permission.

Rhinegeist celebrates two big beer wins

From the folks down the road at Rhinegeist:

Brewing over 70 different styles a year is no small feat for our brew team. They have to stay wildly meticulous amidst the ever-changing tweaks, all the while still holding quality and consistency paramount. We recently got some incredibly humbling and energizing awards for two of our current seasonals, Puma (Pilsner) and Streaker (Rye India Pale Ale).

Puma won gold at the U.S. Open Beer Championship and Streaker won gold at the Indiana Brewers' Cup. Puma went through months of small-batch experimentation and Streaker is our Crowdsourced IPA, meaning we let the people choose the ingredients.

For more information about these fabulous medals, please visit the Rhinegeist blog.

Congratulations guys and keep on brewing those great beers!

Cinnamon raisin bread recipe

Does the thought of back-to-school breakfasts make you break out in a cold sweat? Help streamline your morning routine by baking this bread over the weekend. Leave one loaf out to use for the coming week and freeze the rest for future use. If you are feeling really ambitious, you can double (or triple) the recipe and freeze the dough, proofing and baking loaves as needed. When paired with a piece of fresh fruit and a glass of milk, this tasty bread can help your child's day get off to a good start.

CINNAMON RAISIN BREAD 
Ingredients 
  • 1 1/2 cups milk 
  • 1 cup warm water, 110-120 degrees F 
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 .25 packages active dry yeast**
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/2 cup softened butter 
  • 1 cup raisins 
  • 8 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons milk 
  • 1/4 cup sugar 
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar 
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon 
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg 
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter 
**One envelope of active dry yeast equals 2 1/4 teaspoons which is equal to a quarter ounce 

Directions 
Heat milk in a small saucepan until it just begins to bubble, then remove from heat and cool until lukewarm. While milk is cooling, dissolve honey in warm water and add yeast. Place in a warm location and allow the yeast to feed for 10-15 minutes. Add in eggs, sugar, salt, softened butter, raisins and milk and mix well. Gradually beat in 7 cups of flour. Sprinkle counter with some of the remaining flour. Turn dough out onto the floured surface and knead until a soft dough forms, approximately 10 minutes. Add additional flour as needed to prevent dough from sticking to the counter. Lightly grease a large mixing bowl and place dough in it. Turn to coat the entire surface of the dough. Cover with a damp cloth and place in a warm location. Allow the dough to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour. While dough is rising, combine sugars and spices in a small bowl and mix well. Flour counter a second time and turn out dough. Roll dough into a rectangle about 1/2 inch thick. Brush dough with milk to within a half inch of the outside edge. Sprinkle moistened area evenly with sugar-spice mixture. Starting with one of the long ends, roll dough up tightly then cut into thirds. Tuck ends under and seal, using a little milk or water. Spray (3) 9X5 loaf pans with non stick spray and place a loaf of bread in each. Cover and allow to rise for another hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for 40-50 minutes, depending on your oven. Loaves are done when they are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped. Remove loaves from pans and allow to cool on a wire rack completely before storing.

Cook's Notes
If you want to add some crunch to your bread, mix in walnuts or pecans. Not only will you get added texture, you will be adding more protein to your breakfast. For a completely different flavor, use diced fresh apples instead of raisins for apple cinnamon bread.

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St. Arnold Brewing Company raises over $100,000 for local children's hospital

Saint Arnold Brewing Co., the oldest craft brewery in Texas, today announced the 2016 Feast of Saint Arnold raised a total of $106,000 for Texas Children's Hospital Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Center. The funds will support research into IBD, a group of autoimmune disorders including Crohn's Disease and ulcerative colitis, which together affect approximately 1.6 million Americans. A portion of funds also cover the costs of Texas Children's Camp Survived It All for gastrointestinal (GI) patients who otherwise would not be able to afford going.

Representatives of Texas Children's IBD Center included Pediatric Hepatologist Benjamin L. Shneider, M.D., chief of Texas Children's Hospital's Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition Service, and James Versalovic, M.D., Ph.D, Director of Texas Children's Microbiome Center. The first of its kind in the Southwest, Texas Children's IBD Center offers a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach to the diagnosis and treatment of IBD in pediatric patients. According to the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America, there may be as many as 80,000 children in the U.S. with IBD.

It is a cause that Brock Wagner, Founder/Brewer of Saint Arnold Brewing Co. takes seriously. He serves as president of the Houston Leadership Board of the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America and has personally made a 10-year $250,000 commitment to fund research in the Texas Children's IBD Center.

"We are involved in a lot of community activities, but the Feast of Saint Arnold is special – celebrating the tradition of great beer and food and giving back to our community – we are already looking forward to 2017," said Wagner.

First held in 2011, the Feast of Saint Arnold honors the Houston brewery's namesake, Saint Arnold of Metz (582-640), who is the patron saint of brewers. The feast featured four courses created through a collaboration between Saint Arnold Executive Chef Ryan Savoie and Brenner's Executive Chef Jason Cole. The night also featured special beers, including Saint Arnold Pumpkinator aged in Bourbon Barrels, cask conditioned Saint Arnold Divine Reserve No. 13 and "Dubbelganger," which is Saint Arnold Icon Red - Sorachi Ace Dubbel with Brettanomyces.

Saint Arnold acknowledges the support of Feast of Saint Arnold Platinum Underwriters Silver Eagle Distributors and Chuck & Marcy Taylor. Gold Underwriters are Frost Bank, Shaklee Distributors and the Bottle Shop. Silver Underwriters include Action Box, Del Papa Distributors, Friends of Martha, Martin Frost Hill, MicroStar Logistics and MRZ Parmet Chapman / Middleton Raines + Zapata. Those who wish to support IBD research can donate to Texas Children's IBD Center by clicking https://secure2.convio.net/tchos/site/Donation2?df_id=2063&mfc_pref=T&2063.donation=form1.

About Saint Arnold Brewing Company
Saint Arnold Brewing's 10 year-round beers, seven seasonals and three special series – Divine Reserve, Icon and Bishop's Barrel – are made and sold by the company's staff of 80 dedicated employees. Saint Arnold beers have won 21 medals at the Great American Beer Festival. The brewery on the north side of downtown Houston was listed by Thrillist among the best breweries in America for eating, and Smart Meetings magazine named it among the top breweries to host an event. Saint Arnold is located at 2000 Lyons Avenue and its beer hall open at 11 A.M. Monday through Saturday. For more information, visit www.saintarnold.com, On Twitter, follow @saintarnold, on Facebook, like www.facebook.com/saintarnold On Instagram, follow @saintarnoldbrewing

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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Celebrate National Daiquiri Day with daiquiri tidbits and trivia

While the daiquiri doesn’t always come to mind when thinking of classic cocktails, it has an interesting history and was the favored drink for many during the mid-century. While Hemingway might be the most famously associated with the cocktail, President JFK was another fan – he drank the cocktail on his sailboat, the Honey Fitz.

Based on the original recipe developed in 1898, The Original BACARDÍ® Daiquiri is made with 3 simple ingredients: BACARDÍ Superior, Simple Syrup (or Sugar), and Lime Juice. In addition to the classic recipe, the versatility of the daiquiri's flavor components lends itself to experimentation. Whether you enjoy it shaken, frozen, or in a #DaiquiriTimeOut shot (a beloved bartender tradition), there is a daiquiri for everyone.

The Original BACARDÍ® Daiquiri 
Ingredients

  • 3 parts BACARDÍ Superior 
  • 1 part freshly squeezed lime 
  • 1 part simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water boiled until sugar has been diluted)

Method
Put all ingredients into a shaker. Fill with half cubed ice and half crushed ice. Shake vigorously until chilled. Double strain into a coupe or rocks glass.
To download the full size version of this infograph, please click on the above image

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Sunday, July 17, 2016

Blackberry Farm Brewery releases "Native Yeast" series of beers

Blackberry Farm Brewery, located in Walland TN, is introducing a new Native Yeast series of brews with two inaugural beers: Blackberry Rye and Tennessee Cram Ale. Blackberry Rye comes in at 6.3% ABV and features heritage barley and rye malts. It goes through a two-step fermentation process with blackberries before being aged in Tennessee whiskey barrels. Tennessee Cream Ale is also a 6.3% ABV brew featuring flaked corn and heirloom grits. Both beers utilize a wild strain of native yeast harvested from honeysuckle blossoms found on Blackberry Farm's 9,000+ acre estate.

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Aimee Plesa

Peach schnapps infused peach ice cream: the perfect adult indulgence for National Peach Ice Cream Day

July is prime peach picking-and eating-time as these delectable fruits come into season across much of the country. Seeing as how today is National Peach Ice Cream Day, it is the perfect time to indulge in a truly decadent treat: peach schnapps infused peach ice cream.

PEACH SCHNAPPS INFUSED PEACH ICE CREAM
Ingredients
  • 1 cup peach schnapps
  • 4 fresh peaches, cut into bite size chunks 
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar 
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 pints heavy whipping cream 
  • 2 tablespoons honey 
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
Directions
Combine schnapps, peach chunks, sugar and cinnamon stick in a bowl and stir to combine. Cover and allow to sit for an hour at room temperature. This allows ample time for all of the flavors to blend together and marinate the peaches. While the peaches are marinading, whisk together the remaining ingredients in a large bowl. When thoroughly combined, pour into an ice cream maker and allow to run until the mixture reaches the consistency of soft serve ice cream, about 20-30 minutes. While the machine is still running, slowly add the peaches in. Allow mixture to freeze overnight before serving.

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Aimee Plesa

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Sponsors announced for 32nd annual Winesong Charity Auction & Tasting

SPONSORS ANNOUNCED FOR 32nd ANNUAL WINESONG, MENDOCINO’S PREMIER FOOD & WINE EVENT


Tickets are now on sale for the 32nd Annual Winesong event, a spectacular weekend of award-winning wine, fabulous food, fine art, music, merriment, and charitable giving. Produced by the Mendocino Coast Hospital Foundation, the main event--featuring a grand food and wine tasting and a live and silent auction--takes place at the gorgeous Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens on Saturday, September 10th, and on Friday, September 9th, the nearby Little River Inn will host ‘A Pinot Noir Celebration’ showcasing local winemakers. Proceeds from both events go towards supporting the local Mendocino Coast District Hospital that serves so many in the area.

Sponsors are a vital part of any event, they help offset costs of production, provide auction lots, and add value to the attendees’ experience. We’re very proud of our list of sponsors for the 2016 event. Some have been with Winesong for years, while others are new to the family, but all contribute to helping to raise essential funds for our rural Hospital. This year, we have a wonderful mix of local, national, and international sponsors that will assist us in making the 2016 Winesong our best event yet!

The main sponsor, Celebrity Cruises, is proud to support Winesong and the Mendocino Coast Hospital Foundation for the second year as part of their commitment to enhancing the life of the collective community here in Northern California. Celebrity Cruises is also excited to participate in such a unique food and wine tasting event, as the modern luxury experience they offer on their ships is focused on culinary excellence and an extensive selection of wines and handcrafted cocktails.

A host of additional local and national businesses will also be sponsoring this year’s event, including Harvest Market, North Coast Brewing Company, JetBlue, Mendo Lake Credit Union, The Coast FM – KOZT, Savings Bank of Mendocino, Mendocino Winegrowers, Inc., Safeway, CalStar Air Ambulance, and Birchware Compostable Utensils. For further information the 2016 Winesong event sponsors, please visit winesong.org/sponsors-2/.

In addition, Winesong recently announced the revered artist and long-time Winesong supporter, the late Lowell Herrero, as this year’s Artist of the Year, and named Grace Family Vineyards as the 2016 Honored Winery.

Further details regarding the Winesong events:

  • A Pinot Noir Celebration Meet the Winemakers Friday, September 9, 2016 | 1 to 4 p.m. The weekend kicks off with a prestigious Pinot Noir tasting, presented by Winesong and hosted by Little River Inn. Attendees will enjoy Pinot Noir from renowned Anderson Valley, along with wines from other award-winning pinot regions, alongside tastes of Little River Inn’s finest culinary offerings. General Admission Tickets for A Pinot Noir Celebration: Meet the Winemakers are $75 per person.
  • Wine & Food Grand Tasting in the Gardens Saturday, September 10, 2016 | 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Stroll through the lush Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens while enjoying vintages poured by world-class wineries from Mendocino, Sonoma, Napa, and beyond. Sample beer, spirits, and food from 50 of Mendocino County’s finest purveyors. The tasting is accented by various musical groups performing a variety of styles including jazz, classical, blues, calypso and folk rock. General Admission Tickets with festival seating at auction and access to wine and food tasting are $150 per person.
  • Silent & Live Auctions Saturday, September 10, 2016 | SILENT: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; LIVE: 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. The centerpiece of Winesong weekend is the Charity Auction, featuring both a silent and live auction. More than 200 lots will be on offer, featuring spectacular wines from the world’s most prestigious wine producers, rare vintages, large format bottles and special vertical and horizontal collections, as well as original art from acclaimed California artists (including Lowell Herrero) and highly coveted international and domestic vacation packages. Auction Reserve Tickets with assigned seating under the auction tent (w/catered lunch) and access to wine and food tasting are $250 per person.

Tickets to all events are available for purchase at: winesong.ejoinme.org/purchase-tickets-winesong-2016. For further information, please visit winesong.org or call (707) 961-4688.

About Winesong & the Mendocino Coast Hospital Foundation
Winesong is produced by the Mendocino Coast Hospital Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising funds for the Mendocino Coast District Hospital. Its mission is to help the small rural Hospital provide the best possible medical care to residents as well as the many visitors to the Mendocino Coast. Winesong proceeds have enabled the Hospital to purchase chemotherapy equipment, portable ultrasound machines for the Emergency Room as well as a state-of-the-art Diagnostic Imaging Center, Cardiology Equipment, and most recently, a Bedside Medicine Verification System.

About Celebrity Cruises
Celebrity Cruises' iconic "X" is the mark of modern luxury, with its cool, contemporary design and warm spaces; dining experiences where the design of the venues is as important as the cuisine; and the amazing service that only Celebrity can provide, all created to provide an unmatchable experience for vacationers' precious time. Celebrity Cruises' 13 ships offer modern luxury vacations visiting all seven continents. Celebrity also presents immersive cruise tour experiences in Alaska and Canada. Celebrity is one of six cruise brands operated by global cruise vacation company Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE, OSE: RCL). For more information, dial 1-800-437-3111, visit www.celebritycruises.com/.

Aimee Plesa

Jungle Jim's hosting first ever Buckeye Beer Bash

Not to be outdone by the National Hamburger Festival and the addition of their Buckeye Brewfest, Jungle Jim's, located in Fairfield Ohio, has announced their first ever Jungle Jim's Buckeye Beer Bash.


"So there’s ​no pretension here, just great Ohio beers. We’re celebrating the Buckeye State with a night full of some of the best Ohio breweries we could wrangle, all under one roof. We’ll have dozens of beers to sample from our favorite breweries from around the state. There will be live music from Strange Love, our friends from the NFL Alumni will be joining us, and we’ll have local food trucks Bonelicker’s and Renegade Street Eats to keep your stomachs full. This is going to be a great Ohio night all around"

Pre-sale tickets are $25 each with tickets being available the day of the bash for $30. Each ticket includes admission to the all-Ohio beer bash, a glass for sampling and tickets for samples. Doors open at 6:00pm on July 30th at the Snake House, which is located behind the Fairfield store-5440 Dixie Highway, Fairfield OH 45014. Jungle Jim's International Market is a RateBeer Top 25 Beer Retailer in the World award winner and winner of the CityBeat Cincinnati Best Craft Beer Store Award.

Breweries scheduled to participate include:
Old Firehouse Brewery
MadTree Brewing
Fat Head's Brewery & Saloon
Jackie O's Pub & Brewery
Hoppin' Frog Brewery
Urban Artifact
Fifty West Brewing Company
Taft's Ale House
Land-Grant Brewing Company
Listermann Brewing Company
Warped Wing Brewing Company
Rhinegeist
Great Lakes Brewing Company
Rivertown Brewery and Barrel House
Mt. Carmel Brewing Company
Christian Moerlein Brewing Co.
The Dayton Beer Company
The Brew Kettle
Maumee Bay Brewing Company
North High 

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Aimee Plesa