Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Maple walnut truffles recipe from Domino Sugar

If you're searching for a new sweet treat that celebrates the flavors of Autumn, look no further than this recipe from Domino Sugar! These truffles are filled with the sweetness of maple and the nuttiness of walnuts.


In a large mixing bowl, cream butter for 1-2 minutes until it becomes lighter in color. Scrape the sides of the bowl often. Add confectioners' sugar, mixing on low speed until incorporated, then on a high speed for 1-2 minutes. Add maple flavored granules, mix an additional 1-2 minutes until very fluffy and pale in color. Remove bowl from mixer; scrape all of the buttercream from the mixer blade. Stir in the chopped walnuts. Spoon into a covered container and store in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours to chill completely. When ready to make the truffles, spoon out a tablespoon-sized amount. Roll into a ball and set onto a foil-covered baking sheet with sides. Put the pan into the refrigerator to chill while melting the chocolate. In a glass or microwave-safe bowl with high sides, melt the chocolate. Carefully remove from microwave and stir well. Remove truffles from the refrigerator and, using a fork, dip truffle into the chocolate, allowing any extra to drip off. Set back on to the foil-covered pan. Place the pan back into the freezer/refrigerator to chill. Place each truffle candy into a mini wrapper. Truffles should be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Truffles can be served cold or set them out at room temperature 5-10 minutes before serving.

Makes 20 truffles.

Quick Tip: You can also dip the fork into the chocolate and drizzle over the tops of the truffles on the pan. Set back into freezer/refrigerator to chill.

Celebrate Halloween with a spooky cocktail from Tommy Bahama Restaurant and Bar

In case you haven't heard, Halloween isn't just for the little ones. Adults have been embracing the spookiest time of year for years and the numbers continue to grow! For those in the Manhattan area, stop by Tommy Bahama Restaurant and Bar and enjoy the creepy Zombie cocktail. For those not in the area, they were gracious enough to share the recipe with us to pass along to all of you.

Glassware Collins, Belgian Beer or Hurricane
Ice Crushed or cubes
Garnish Mint sprig and pineapple wedge

  • ¾ part Flor de Caña 4-year rum 
  • 1 part Mount Gay Eclipse Rum 
  • ½ part Trader Vic’s Dark Rum 
  • ¾ part Cointreau 
  • 1 part pineapple juice 
  • 1 part lime juice 
  • 1 part grapefruit syrup 
  • 1 dash of Angostura Bitters 
  • ¼ part Mount Gay Overproof Rum 
Add all ingredients in a shaker except Mount Gay Overproof Rum and top with ice. Shake well until chilled, strain over fresh ice and top off with Mount Gay Overproof Rum.

Conveniently located in Midtown Manhattan on Fifth Avenue at 45th Street, Tommy Bahama Restaurant & Bar is the ideal location for lunch, dinner or Happy Hour. 
 Tommy Bahama Restaurant & Bar – New York
551 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10176
Open 11:30am Daily, Island Time Happy Hour: 4-6pm Daily
For reservations, please call 212.537.0960 or visit

New still is just the tonic for island gin producer

One of Australia’s first dedicated gin distilleries will begin ramping up production in the next few weeks following the arrival of a new still.

Kangaroo Island Spirits (KIS), located on a pristine island off the coast of South Australia, has taken delivery of a 300-litre pot still and hopes it will eventually allow the business to increase production by up to 10 fold. KIS was established in 2005 by Jon and Sarah Lark and has just produced its 500th batch of its original Wild Gin in its 80-litre copper pot still.

The distillery at Cygnet River now produces two vodkas, liqueurs and up to six gins including its Old Tom Gin, which took out the Champion Gin Trophy at the Australian Distilled Spirits Awards in April.

Jon said the new 300-litre pot still featured a Carter head specifically designed for gin, making it much more efficient.

“We won’t know until we’ve done some test runs – but we could be looking at 10 times the capacity. The 80-litre still was running twice a day in double shifts – it was ridiculously small and there was no room for us to grow with that. A 300-litre still is quite small in the scheme of things so it definitely will still be craft. The products that come out of this new still will be absolutely the same gins - they may actually be smoother but I don’t think they will be discernibly different.”

KIS currently produces about 20,000 bottles a year and is sold in more than 200 bars, restaurants and bottle shops across Australia. Its gins boast a distinctly Australian flavour enhanced by the inclusion of local botanicals such as foliage from the coastal Daisy bush (olearia axillaris), native Juniper (myoporum insulare) and locally grown Lemon Myrtle and Aniseed myrtle.

Jon said he was fielding inquiries from Hong Kong, Mainland China, the United States, Spain, UK and New Zealand.

“We are finding there is increasing demand for our products and export is certainly on the horizon but we keep surprising ourselves with how much the domestic market is sucking up, which is great. We’re already thinking down the track – in two or three years time we might need to get another small still.”

Jon’s brother Bill Lark started Australia’s first craft distillery in Tasmania in 1993 and has built Lark Whisky into a globally respected product.

“We were probably the first Australian dedicated gin distillery when we started 10 years ago. We felt the early rumblings of this coming out of the UK and we decided we wanted to do small batch gin by hand using some local botanicals.”

Kangaroo Island, Australia’s third largest offshore island, is about 150km southwest of the South Australian capital Adelaide. Known for its natural beauty and wildlife, it is a tourism icon drawing more than 40,000 international visitors every year with the majority coming from Italy, Germany and North America. Jon said the mystique, beauty and tourism appeal of Kangaroo Island had helped his business. He said the proliferation of other Australian craft gins in recent years had done little to slow the growth of KIS.

“Demand for our spirit hasn’t fallen off at all. Once our still is in place we’ll do some trial runs this year of a rum and a whisky and there’s great potential on the island to work with KI Pure Grain and local beer guys to do some mash runs for us, which would be a nice co-operative arrangement for the whisky.”

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Caleb Radford (author) and Dean Wiles (photographer).

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Beets: The one root veggie you aren't eating but should

Beets and asparagus on a plate.I can almost hear the fallout now…

“Beets? Eewwww! What were you thinking, writing about beets?!”

Well, what I was thinking was that I wanted to write about a food item that I am not personally very familiar with in hopes of developing a potential fondness for it and hoping that maybe, just maybe, a reader or two would learn something along the way and try something new as well. I must admit that my exposure to beets has been very limited. Limited to only those brightly colored abominations known affectionately by some as pickled beets and called disgusting by countless others. My mother tried her hardest to get me to eat those things in my early years and I held fast, refusing to even give them more than a perfunctory sniff when presented with one. Fast forward 30 years, and here I am, writing about the many virtues (yes-there are many!) of this often misunderstood root vegetable. My, how the times have changed! Want to learn more about beets? Keep reading…

Beets, also known as beetroot, table beets, garden beets or red beets, are an edible, cool season vegetable. They are in season from June through October, making the summer months the perfect time to enjoy this veggie. Both the root and leaves are edible, making it a versatile vegetable to cook with and enjoy. Wild beets are believed to originate from pre-historic North Africa where just the leaves were eaten. It wasn't until the ancient Roman times that humans began consuming the root as well. During the middle ages, beets were often used to treat digestive problems and illnesses associated with the blood. It wasn’t until the 19th century that the beet was introduced to North America. Beet juice is currently used as a coloring for a wide variety of various other food items, including breakfast cereals, frozen novelties, tomato paste and sauces, jellies and jams, desserts and ice cream. It is sometimes used to make wine and ink, as well as added to road salt to more effectively treat winter roads.

You may be asking yourself, “Why should I eat beets?”, right about now. Well, according to research there is a growing number of reasons to give this vegetable a try.
  • Beets are a good source of the phytonutrients betanin and vulgaxanthin, which provide anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and detoxification properties. Studies on human tumor cells shown that these compounds can slow down tumor growth and help regulate inflammation specifically in the circulatory system and protect against liver disease.
  • Beetroot juice helps to lower blood pressure and may have a positive impact on athletic performance and exercise.
  • Beets also contain high amounts of boron, which is related to the production of  human sex hormones. They are rich in nitrates, too, which have been shown to boost a sagging libido in both men and women.
  • Pregnant women will benefit from the beta-carotene, beta-cyanine, vitamin B and iron beets contain, as they are beneficial to new cell growth and replenishing iron.
  • Eating beets may help lower the risk of developing colon, stomach, nerve, lung, prostate, breast and testicular cancers.
After reading about the numerous health benefits of eating beets, are you ready to add them to your diet? If so, choose small to medium size roots that are firm, have smooth skin and a deep, rich color. Take care to avoid roots that are spotted, blemished, bruised wet or shriveled. If you plan on consuming the green, the leaves should be fresh, tender and have a healthy green hue.

When storing beets, there are several easy steps to take to provide optimal flavor and preserve their nutrients. Shake the dirt from the roots, do not wash them. Cut the stems off about two inches from the top of the root. If you plan on using the leaves, store them, unwashed, in a plastic bag with the excess are removed. They should be stored separately from the root vegetable and can be kept in the refrigerator for up to four days before consuming them. Beet roots can be stored in a root cellar (or other cool, dry location) if uncut or in the refrigerator for up to three weeks if the leaves have been removed. Place them in a plastic bag, squeeze out excess air. Wrap tightly. Under no circumstances should you freeze uncooked beets.

The beauty of beets is how versatile they are. The roots can be eaten raw, grilled, boiled, baked or roasted while the leaves can be enjoyed raw or cooked. Cooked beets have a buttery flavor while the leaves are similar to chard or spinach. When steaming beets, limit their cooking time to 15 minutes or less to preserve as much as of their nutritional value as possible. To prepare them for cooking, gently rinse them under cold water and rub them with a paper towel to peel (wear gloves unless you want pink hands) then quarter them for faster cooking. To steam them, fill a steamer with 2 inches of water and bring to a rapid boil. Add the beets and cover. Steam for no more than 15 minutes. They are done when easily pierced with a fork.

For those of you who enjoy gardening and wish to add beets to your crops next year, good news! They are a fairly simple plant to grow, but do require good nutrition. Plant seeds once the ground temperature reaches 50 degrees F-usually in March or April. They should be planted 1/2 inch deep and spaced 1-2 inches apart in soil that has a pH between 5.5 and 6. Beets require high amounts of phosphorous and little nitrogen. To ensure germination, keep the soil moist. Once plants are two inches tall, thin them out to 3-4 inches apart. Mulch and water well as they continue to grow. Your first crop should be able to be harvested between 55 and 65 days.

Whether you choose to grow your own, purchase them from a local farmers market or get them at the grocery, there are a number of ways beets can be enjoyed. I hope you enjoy the following collection of recipes featuring this oft misunderstood root vegetable.

For some delicious recipes featuring beets, please click HERE!

Baked salmon over apple ginger quinoa from Nestle

The folks from Nestle were kind enough to allow me to share this amazing sounding recipe for salmon with my readers. If any of you try this, please leave me a comment and let me know if this salmon is as good as it sounds. I am allergic and unable to indulge =(

  • 1 plus 2 tablespoons cup Apple NESTLÉ® JUICY JUICE® All Natural 100% Juice, divided 
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce 
  • 1 tablespoon honey 
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons peeled, grated fresh ginger, divided 
  • 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar 
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil 
  • 4 (about 6 ounces each) salmon fillets 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallots or onion 
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped 
  • 1 cup ivory quinoa, rinsed 
  • 1 cup water 
  • 1 teaspoon MAGGI Instant Chicken Flavor Bouillon 
  • Ground black pepper 
  • Sliced green onions (optional) 
WHISK 2 tablespoons Juicy Juice, soy sauce, honey, 1 1/2 teaspoons ginger, vinegar and sesame oil. Reserve half of mixture for serving. Pour remaining mixture into shallow pie plate. Add salmon and turn to coat. Cover; marinate in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
PREHEAT oven to 450° F. Line baking sheet with foil.
HEAT olive oil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add shallots and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, for 2 to 3 minutes or until fragrant. Stir in quinoa; cook, stirring constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in water, remaining 1 cup Juicy Juice, bouillon and remaining 1 teaspoon ginger. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low. Cover; cook for 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Fluff with fork; cover to keep warm.
PLACE salmon on prepared baking sheet; sprinkle with pepper. Discard marinade. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Drizzle reserved marinade over salmon; serve with apple-ginger quinoa.

Beet, apple and cheddar tartlets recipe

CDC beets
Beets and apples are a wonderful addition to any diet as they deliver a variety of nutrients to help keep a body healthy and happy. These tasty tartlets are especially yummy on a crisp fall day.

Beet, Apple and Cheddar Tartlets
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry 
  • 3/4 cup shredded white cheddar cheese 
  • 1 small Granny Smith apple, cored and very thinly sliced 
  • 1 small beet, scrubbed, peeled, and very thinly sliced 
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves 
Thaw puff pastry and cut into 6 4-5 inch rounds. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lay puff pastry on it. Prick each round all over with a fork. Divide cheese in half then use half to top the rounds evenly. Place 3 apple slices and 3 beet slices on top of the cheese. Top with remaining cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste then bake until pastry is golden, about 12-14 minutes. Tartlets can be served hot or cooled to room temperature.

Bleu cheese and apple bruschetta recipe

blue cheese Français : BleuThis somewhat odd sounding appetizer is packed full of delicious flavor that is sure to brighten any meal. It is especially good when served with beef.

    • 1 loaf French bread, cut into 1/2 inch slices
    • 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
    • 1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped. Fuji or Granny Smith work best in this recipe
    • 3/4 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
    • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
    • 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
    Preheat broiler. Spread bread slices in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Broil until lightly toasted on each side (1-2 minutes then flip and toast broil an additional 1-2 minutes). Remove from broiler and set aside. In a bowl, mix remaining ingredients and top bread with equal amounts of apple mixture. Return to broiler for 2-3 additional minutes, until cheese is soft. Serve hot

    Sunday, October 2, 2016

    The Craft Critique: Chai High from Avery Brewing Company

    Every once in awhile a beer comes along that is a game changer. For me, Chai High from Avery Brewing Company was this beer. I am already a huge fan of stouts and porters with their bold, malty, robust flavor. Make it a coffee infused brew and I am over the moon! While I am not a big fan of tea, I have been known to indulge in the spicy goodness that is known as chai from time to time and I enjoy baking with it in several dessert recipes. When an associate of mine recommended this beer, I was intrigued by the sound of it.

    The brewery gives a very short and simple description of this brew:
    "American brown with local, fair trade, organic chai."
    While I am a fan of truth in advertising, Avery's description of this unique beer is doing them a terrible disservice. Here are my interpretations of this beer.

    APPEARANCE Chai High pours a rich brown, just as any good brown ale should. It is a murky brew topped with a high reaching, fluffy tan head that gives way to a considerable amount of lacing along the glass. It reminds me of the old fashioned cream soda I used to enjoy as a child, but cloudier in appearance.

    SMELL The aroma of this beer tells you right away that you are about to drink something very different from other beers on the market. Immediately your nose is filled with the warmth of chai tea-cardamom, clove, cinnamon and vanilla, a slight booziness and the merest hints of exotic florals. The scent of caramel emerge as the beer warms.

    TASTE The taste of Chai High is exactly what you would expect from a Chai ale-spicy, malty and earthy that gives way to a more traditional brown ale flavor on the back side. It offers a much more balanced flavor than I was expecting based on past experience with chai infused beers.

    MOUTHFEEL This beer offers what I would consider an average amount of body and carbonation. Both suit this beer wonderfully. It has a
    creamy mouthfeel that lingers long after the beer has been finished. The spices used to brew Chai High add a wonderful, lingering warmth on the tongue between sips.

    OVERALL I found Chai High to be a very drinkable brown ale, perfect for the fall season, but it would be just as wonderful on a cold winter night as a chilly autumn day. This beer definitely bridges the gap between seasons in a way so few do. For someone wanting a "fall beer" that is not pumpkin, I highly recommend Chai High. I would also recommend this to my fellow porter and stout drinkers or anyone who is interested in trying a heavier beer but are wary of the heavier styles. I would love to see Avery offer variations of this, much like Triple Digit Brewing does with Chickow. I think this would be amazing as a vanilla chai, pumpkin chai, barrel aged chai or gingerbread chai flavor. When pairing with food, I would try this beer with fall and winter type desserts, such as apple pie or crisp, cinnamon ice cream, vanilla bean cupcakes with a salted caramel filling or a pear galette. It would also work well with a salad that contains apples and a maple or apple cider dressing.

    For more information about Avery Brewing Company and their craft beer selection, please visit their website, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

    Saturday, October 1, 2016

    Italian chicken pot pie and basil biscuits recipe from Betty Crocker

    Do you love chicken pot pie but are getting a little bored with the same old, same old? Check out this scrumptious recipe from Betty Crocker and try something new tonight.


    • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
    • 1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup) 
    • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped 
    • 3 small zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 2 cups) 
    • 2 cups shredded deli rotisserie chicken (from 2-lb chicken) 
    • 1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce 
    • 1 can (15 oz) Progresso™ cannellini beans, drained, rinsed 
    • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes with Italian-style herbs, undrained 
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
    • 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper 
    • 1 cup Original Bisquick™ mix 
    • 2/3 cup yellow cornmeal 
    • 3/4 cup milk 
    • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil 

    1 In deep 12-inch skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Cook onion and garlic in oil 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft. Stir in zucchini, chicken, tomato sauce, beans, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Heat to boiling; reduce heat to medium-low. Cover; simmer 5 minutes.
    2 Meanwhile, in medium bowl, mix Bisquick mix, cornmeal, milk and basil just until moistened. Drop dough by 18 rounded tablespoonfuls onto hot chicken mixture. Cover; cook 8 minutes.

    Sixth annual Rocktoberfest kicks off at Rock & Brews Restaurants

    Rock-Inspired Restaurant Offering Food and Beer Specials in October at Participating Restaurants

    Rock & Brews Restaurants announced yesterday, September 30th, that their sixth annual Rocktöberfest begins today, October 1. The highly anticipated annual celebration of food, beer and rock music, in honor of the traditional Bavarian festival, will run during the month of October, 1-22 at participating restaurants.

    Rocktoberfest guests can enjoy a special Rocktöberfest menu with German-inspired foods and beers. Food specials include: German Pretzel; Bratwurst Sandwich; Chicken Schnitzel Sandwich and Chicken Schnitzel Platter; Braised Red Cabbage; and German Potato Salad. One liter steins are also available for purchase, with a choice of German inspired beers. Throughout the promotion, select Rock & Brews restaurants will offer an array of exciting Rocktöberfest festivities on Friday and Saturday nights, which will include your favorite classic rock tunes, prizes and games – in rock & roll style.

    “Rocktöberfest is our favorite time of year at Rock & Brews,” said Michael Zislis, co-founder and CEO of Rock & Brews. “We take this as an opportunity to pay homage not only to great beer and the famous festival, but also to the best rock and roll music in history.”

    For more information on Rocktöberfest at Rock & Brews, visit to get more details about the festivities at your local Rock & Brews restaurant.

    About Rock & Brews 
    Rock & Brews is a one-of-a-kind, rock-inspired restaurant and entertainment concept designed to engage people of all ages with quality comfort food and local favorites, a broad selection of craft and international beers, and an energized environment that is reminiscent of being at a family-friendly music event. Founded by rock icons Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley of KISS, along with partners, restaurateur Michael Zislis and concert industry veterans Dave and Dell Furano, the first Rock & Brews opened near Los Angeles International Airport in Southern California in April of 2012. Each of the brand’s 17 locations in the United States and Mexico boasts a backstage environment showcasing a “Great Wall of Rock,” iconic rock art, concert trusses and lighting and multiple flat screens sharing some of the greatest rock concert moments of all time. Most offer a play area for kids and many are dog friendly. For more information, please visit

    Let’s Make A Deal To Raise a Beer Stein Oktoberfest Style

    Host Wayne Brady Channels His Inner Lederhosen as Let’s Make A Deal Celebrates Oktoberfest on Monday, October 3rd. Nothing says beer drinking like Oktoberfest and Let’s Make A Deal will be celebrating the world’s largest beer drinking event for the first time in the show’s history. It’s time to put on your lederhosen, tap a keg of beer, grab a bratwurst and join host Wayne Brady as he strikes deals with Traders in an attempt to give away Oktoberfest-inspired items such as a trip to Germany and a car from one of the most recognized automobile brands in the world – Germany’s own Mercedes Benz. Games throughout the show are sure to be more fun than a German beer hall, with Traders dipping pretzels to guess mustard flavors, and the Smash For Cash pigs getting dressed up like Bavarians for the festivities.