Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Mrs. Butterworth’s Gets Crafty

Mrs. Butterworth’s® makes kids smile by sharing her secrets of thick, rich syrup at breakfast tables everywhere. Now, just in time for Earth Day, she’s teamed up with crafters from the Craft and Hobby Association to develop fun and exciting craft ideas- that REUSE items around the house- for the Mrs. Butterworth’s bottle! Craft enthusiasts and novices alike can find downloadable craft ideas (great for gifts) on the Mrs. Butterworth’s site and can even submit photos of their own creations!

“Almost a toy already, Mrs. Butterworth’s is a perfect crafting tool, and we already know that kids love to interact with the bottle,” says Allison Meyer, associate brand manager at Pinnacle Foods Corporation. “We’re excited to announce that Mrs. Butterworth’s is not just for breakfast anymore!”

“People are embracing the do-it-yourself approach not only because of the economic downturn, but also to make their lives more sustainable by making crafts as opposed to buying more toys and gifts,” says Victor Domine, PR manager of the Craft and Hobby Association. “Mrs. Butterworth’s is a natural fit, and our crafters have developed wild and adorable craft ideas.”

Three well-known crafters have developed recession-friendly craft ideas for use throughout the year. Visit http://launchpadserver.com/mbw/crafty/beta/ (this site address will change) to download craft ideas and a supply list from the first batch of crafts, created by creative expert Sarah Hodsdon. Check back in July for ideas from Terri Ouelette, national spokesperson for the Craft and Hobby Association and Emmy-Award winning TV personality, and in September for holiday crafting ideas from Kathy Peterson, Best-selling author, design expert, and TV Host on Lifetime.

For more information, rules and regulations, log onto http://www.mrsbutterworthsyrup.com/ and click on the “Getting Crafty” page.

About Mrs. Butterworth’s
You can enjoy Mrs. Butterworth’s in Original flavor, Sugar Free or Lite – all of which deliver that distinct thick, rich and buttery syrup. Lite, which delivers half the calories of regular syrups, has passed the test of time, now entering its 20th year on the market – and continuing to delight kids. Sugar Free was introduced in 2004 and meets the needs of consumers, whether kids or adults, who want sugar free syrup. Moreover, Sugar Free has 80% less calories and ½ the carbohydrates of regular syrups. Both Lite and Sugar Free recipes have been carefully crafted to make sure they deliver on the thick, rich and buttery syrup only Mrs. Butterworth can make. The distinctive grandma-shaped bottle, with its label doubling as an apron, continues to be the gold standard for the thickest, richest and most buttery syrup you can buy. There is one other way to bring the delicious fun of Mrs. Butterworth to breakfast – with Mrs. Butterworth’s Complete Pancake Mix in Buttermilk and Home-style flavors. Her pancake recipe is the perfect combination of sweet and buttery pancakes that kids will love.

Drinking Tea Something To Smile About

Drinking brewed tea, whether hot or iced, is one of the better beverage choices when it comes to protecting teeth from enamel erosion. Tooth enamel, the outer layer of the exposed tooth, is often under attack from sugars and acids in beverages like regular soft drinks, orange juice, and energy drinks.

A recent study compared the erosive effects of tea (green and black) to soda and orange juice using in-vitro tests. Water was used as the non-erosive control, and vinegar was the erosive control. The 20-week study was conducted under controlled conditions, and results were categorized as highly, moderately, or minimally erosive.

The results for black and green tea were similar to that of water – minimally erosive. Soda and orange juice were shown to be moderately erosive, and vinegar remained highly erosive.

Bassiouny MA, Kuroda S, Yang J. 2008. Topographic and radiographic profile assessment of dental erosion. Part III: Effect of green and black tea on human dentition. General Dentistry. Jul-Aug;56(5):451-61.

Green Tea vs. Gum Disease

Drinking green tea was inversely related to periodontal (gum) disease, according to the results of a recently published epidemiologic study. The study analyzed 940 Japanese men, aged 49 to 59 years old who took part in a comprehensive health exam.

The measurable outcomes were the following periodontal parameters: probing depth, clinical attachment loss, and bleeding on probing. The intake of green tea was defined as the number of cups per day in a self-administered questionnaire.

Drinking green tea was related to a modest drop in each of the three gum disease parameters. The relationship seems to be dose-dependent. Each additional cup of tea was associated with a greater decrease in gum disease factors.

McDonalds: Historic Shareholder Agreement Reached on Pesticide Use Reduction

Responding to shareholder concerns, McDonald’s Corporation has agreed to formally survey and promote best practices in pesticide use reduction within its American potato supply chain. As the largest buyer of potatoes in the US, McDonald’s commitment will support progress on this important issue, which affects the environment, public health, and farm employees.

This agreement led to the withdrawal of a shareholder resolution filed by the Bard College Endowment, Newground Social Investment, and the AFL-CIO Reserve Fund. This was the first shareholder resolution focused on environmental and worker health issues ever to be filed by a college or university endowment.

Through this agreement, McDonald’s has committed to: (1) survey its current U.S. potato suppliers; (2) compile a list of best practices in pesticide reduction that will be recommended to the company’s global suppliers (through the company’s Global Potato Board); and (3) communicate findings related to best practices to shareholders, and in the company’s annual corporate social responsibility (CSR) report.

The agreement was developed in collaboration between shareholders and McDonald’s, with support from the Investor Environmental Health Network. The agreement between McDonald’s and shareholders can be found on the SEC website at: http://www.sec.gov/divisions/corpfin/cf-noaction/14a-8/2009/bardcollege031109-14a8.pdf.

Bard College student Katherine Burstein, a member of the college’s Committee on Investor Responsibility, said: "The Bard community believes that colleges and universities can leverage their power as investors for positive social change. Through our work with the Responsible Endowments Coalition – which works on responsible investment issues with colleges and universities across the nation – we learned about the measures companies can take to reduce the undesirable effects of pesticide use, and decided to engage McDonald's on the issue.”

Newground Social Investment CEO Bruce Herbert, a member of the Board of Directors of the Institute for Children’s Environmental Health, said: “Because McDonald’s has such a commanding presence in the marketplace, this commitment offers the promise of significant reductions of pesticide use – which will benefit consumer health, as well as farm workers, local agricultural communities, and the environment.”

“Consumers, workers and our environment all suffer from over-use of pesticides,” said John Sweeney, President of the AFL-CIO. “As investors, we knew McDonald’s could take an important first step and we’re ready to work with the company to change and grow.”

Taun Toay, administrative member of Bard College’s Committee on Investor Responsibility, said: "Bard College prides itself on the progressive education it affords its students. Part of such an education should involve active citizenship, including a willingness to engage companies over issues of concern. Sound environmental policies reflect strong corporate governance and we are quite pleased that McDonald’s is taking further steps in that direction."

Dr. Richard Liroff, executive director of the Investor Environmental Health Network, said: “Leadership companies such as Sysco (which supplies Wendy’s), General Mills, and Campbell’s have already demonstrated that pesticide use reduction makes sense from both an environmental health and business perspective. We welcome McDonald’s stepping up to the plate and look forward to supporting the company’s efforts to reduce pesticide use in the future.”


Bard College’s Committee on Investor Responsibility is composed of both students and administrators. Bard is a four-year liberal arts college founded in 1860, located in the Hudson Valley of New York State. http://www.bard.edu.

Newground Social Investment is a Seattle, WA based Registered Investment Advisor. Newground provides socially conscious (SRI / ESG) money management and shareholder engagement services to individuals, institutions, and not-for-profit clients. http://www.newground.net.

The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) www.aflcio.org/ is a voluntary federation of 56 national and international labor unions , representing 11 million members, including 2.5 million members in Working America, its new community affiliate. The AFL-CIO Reserve Fund is a long-term investor and works with Union and other worker-based pension, health and savings funds, worth some $6 trillion, holding the retirement and health security of millions of working families.

The Investor Environmental Health Network is a collaborative partnership of investment managers, advised by nongovernmental organizations, who are concerned about the financial and public health risks associated with corporate toxic chemicals policies. http://www.iehn.org.

The Responsible Endowments Coalition works to build and unify the college and university-based responsible investment movement, both by educating and empowering a diverse network of individuals to act on their respective campuses, and by fostering a national network for collective action. http://www.endowmentethics.org.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Cincinnati Canstruction

Whether or not you know it by its proper name, you’re probably familiar with the annual Canstruction® event. It’s a food drive – one now organized more than 100 North American cities – that has a sculptural dimension. Participating teams collect or purchase canned goods and form them into iconic structures, using a minimum of outside materials to hold them together. When the contest is over, the canned goods are donated to food banks.

In Cincinnati, Canstruction has attracted entries from some of the region’s top architectural and engineering firms over the 12 years the contest has been put on by the Society for Design Administration and the American Institute of Architects.

This year’s event did the same, but added a new competitor: civil engineering technology students from Cincinnati State Technical and Community College.

It marked the first time that a college group had entered the Canstruction competition in Cincinnati, and only the second time that students have participated. (The only prior student entry was from an elementary school.)

The Cincinnati State team gave itself an enormous challenge: replicating the Ascent, the sweeping, iconic blue-and-white condominium tower in Covington designed by the internationally known architect Daniel Libeskind.

After weeks of planning the five Cincinnati State students – with a bit of help from faculty advisor Carol Morman -- erected their model in the lobby of the Aronoff Center for the Arts in downtown Cincinnati.

Meanwhile, professional teams erected other models elsewhere in the Aronoff complex, the main branch of the Cincinnati Public Library and the Taft Museum.

Unlike the professional teams -- which often rely on substantial corporate contributions and buy their canned goods in quantities so large that they arrive on pallets -- the Cincinnati State students relied on canned goods collected during a food drive on campus, along with cash donations for the purchase of limited quantities of canned goods.

For Preston Andriot, the first-year student Cincinnati State student who led the design team, the learning curve was as steep as the roofline of the Ascent.

The first thing he did was contact the Ascent’s local architects for renderings that showed the exterior design and the building’s footprint on the site at the foot of the Suspension Bridge. Then Andriot reduced the drawings to scale and tried to figure out how to replicate lead architect Daniel Libeskind’s design with cans connected only by tape, Velcro and gravity.

Andriot wound up making a cardboard scale model of the Ascent to help figure out how many cans to use and where to use them. That, in turn, required a crash course in the design, height and diameter of the cans collected in the Cincinnati State food drive – and then some decisions about what kind of canned goods to buy with the money the team had raised.

(The Cincinnati State team wound up using 1,807 cans. The interior core is heavy on Happy Harvest pork and beans, carrots, corn and green beans, while the exterior features Meijer’s beef and chicken broth, mainly because the labels are colored a shade of blue that’s close to the exterior of the Ascent.)

The student group – which also included Jay Foster, Jennifer Queener, Bill Leeker and Tyler Wayne – used a storage room above a Cincinnati State classroom to assemble and refine their model. Then it was off to the big show at the Aronoff.

For their efforts, the team was afforded recognition during the Canstruction awards banquet on March 27 – and the chance to attend an after-awards party at the new Bootsie’s restaurant, right across the street from where their model will stand for the next week.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Bike Riders, All-Clad & Celebrity Chefs

Bike Riders, the luxury travel company located in Boston's historic North End partners with award-winning chefs and All-Clad, the leading culinary cookware for a week of biking and great cooking. James Beard award-winning chef/owner Jody Adams of Rialto Restaurant in Cambridge, MA, national acclaimed chef Rick Moonen of rm seafood in Las Vegas, NV and celebrity chef James Boyce, of Cotton Row Restaurant in Huntsville, AL and formerly Studio in Laguna Beach, CA, are among the popular list of chefs to return to the countryside of Italy, France & Spain to pedal & cook with Bike Riders this fall.

After a successful FLIP promotion, Bike Riders announced plans to give away an All-Clad Stainless Steel French Skillet for Guest Chef trips booked by April 30. "All-Clad is the cookware preference for most professional chefs," said Director, Lorenzo De Monaco. "Plus we thought it would be a fun theme to help clients prep for their next bike trip and maybe they'll even show our chefs a thing or two." You can visit www.bikeriderstours.com for more details.

Additional celebrity chefs to join Bike Riders this season include; Roberto Donna of Galileo & Bebo Trattoria, Sanford D'Amato of Sanford, Matt & Kate Jennings of the Farmstead, Francesco Ricchi of Cesco & D'Acqua Restaurant, Enzo Fargione of Teatro Goldoni, Rob Evans of Hugo's Restaurant and chef/consultant, Francis Reynard.

Guest Chef Adventure destinations include Tuscany, Umbria, Puglia & Sicily in Italy; Burgundy, Dordogne & Provence in France and Andalucia, Spain. For a day-by-day itinerary of any of our Guest Chef Adventures, please visit our website, email info@bikeriderstours.com or call our Boston office at 800.473.7040.

About Bike Riders
Since 1991 Boston-based Bike Riders has been offering small, luxury biking trips to the Americas, Europe & Beyond. A Bike Riders trip features off-the-beaten path itineraries, world-class inns and celebrated restaurants, many of which are Bike Riders' exclusives. Privately owned and operated by Lorenzo De Monaco and Eileen Holland, a husband-and-wife team who share a passion for travel and good food, as well as roots in many of regions they visit. Bike Riders keeps travel parties small (max 16) and saturates travelers in the locale. Being small allows Bike Riders to gain access to places larger travel companies cannot and avoids the generic tour feeling. Bike Riders has been recommended by such publications as Travel & Leisure, Food & Wine, Vogue, USA Today, The New York Times, New York Magazine, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The San Francisco Chronicle, Fodor's, Departures and Italia Magazine. Bike Riders also offers self-guided and private tours. More informatio n can be found at www.bikeriderstours.com.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Organic Chicken for Cooking at Home in a Bad Economy

In today’s economy, people are cooking at home more and trying to eat out less. How about offering your readers advice on shopping for quality back-to-basic proteins like organic chicken or offering a roundup of options out there?

Coleman Natural Foods is the country’s largest organic chicken company, which implemented natural and organic animal raising practices and still represents the highest standard of meat production in the U.S. almost 135 years later. Working with small family farms throughout the country, selecting only the best breeds, raised to its exacting protocols with 100% vegetarian diets and no animal byproducts, Coleman Natural produces a wide range of premium natural and organic meat, poultry and prepared foods. The company never uses antibiotics, growth hormones, nitrates/nitrites or other chemical preservatives, MSG or fillers of any kind - ever. In addition, the chickens are humanely raised and sustainably farmed.

More info products can be found at www.colemannatural.com.

Van's Introduces New All-Natural Pancakes & French Toast Sticks

Van’s International Foods, the country’s leading all-natural frozen waffle brand, today introduces new, all-natural, frozen Pancakes and French Toast Sticks to their lineup, providing a great base for some quick & simple breakfast recipe ideas.

Van’s Pancakes
(available in Buttermilk and Wheat Free Homestyle varieties) The new Buttermilk Pancakes have 0 grams Trans fat, are free of preservatives and contain no artificial colors or flavors. Van’s Wheat Free Homestyle Pancakes are also gluten, dairy and egg free, making them a great choice for those who suffer from common food allergies. Both pancakes have a fluffy texture and can be easily prepared in the microwave.

Van’s French Toast Sticks
(offered in Homestyle and Wheat Free Cinnamon)
The Homestyle French Toast Sticks have 0 grams Trans fat and are free of artificial colors, flavors and preservatives. The Wheat Free Cinnamon Sticks are also gluten, dairy and egg free. Both offer an excellent source of calcium and are ready to serve after just a minute in the toaster.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Food & Beverage Program at Half Moon

Half Moon resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica has recently taken their Food & Beverage program to a new level, and I would love to give you some of the details of what’s been ‘cooking.’

Leading the helm is Executive Chef, Stephen Sowa. Chef Sowa joined Half Moon in 2008 and will be overseeing the four specialty restaurants – Il Giardino, The Sugar Mill, Seagrape Terrance and La Baguette. Chef Sowa has over 20 years of experience in the kitchens of international resorts. Additional details on the new team members below. Sowa will be commanding a culinary team of over 100.

In addition to our new exec chef, Half Moon’s signature restaurant, Sugar Mill, is offering a new fusion menu. The menu is influenced from the many cultures that sailed through the Caribbean- Africa, Asia and Europe- as well as the influence of the region’s kitchens. The new Caribbean fusion menu offers options such as Roast Pumpkin, Dried Tomato and Callaloo Gizzada, a savory twist on the Jamaican coconut dessert as well as the Banana Jackfruit Spring Roll, a nod to Jamaica's Chinese influence.

An addition to Sugar Mill is the new wine cellar. The centerpiece of the renovated restaurant is the stone-walled wine cellar which features custom shelving and offers vintages selections from Italy, California, France, New Zealand, Australia and Chile. An option for a private dinner is available in the rustic, yet state-of-the-art wine cellar. In addition, Sugar Mill now offers healthier fare options: ‘Fern Tree, The Spa, Healthy Choice.’

Get the Grill Out of the Garage: Simple tips to help prepare for BBQ season

It’s been a long winter and if you're not a hardcore griller, your barbeque has been hibernating in the garage for months. However, before you head to the butcher and grab some T-bones, there are some simple steps you should take to get your barbeque in top grilling condition. Grab a beer or two and get to work!

The top five tips for preparing your BBQ this Spring are:

1. Have your cleaning supplies ready

You wouldn’t cook in a dirty kitchen, so why would you grill on a dirty barbeque? In order to sanitize and deep clean your grill, you will need the following products: a brass wire brush, small pail to hold hot water, dish soap, venturi brush, a 1/16” drill bit, replacement grease cups, spatula, stainless steel cleaner and some fine sandpaper.

2. Give your grill a good spring cleaning

The cleaning supplies listed will help clean every nook and cranny of your barbeque.
· Start with the burners. It is easier to detach the burners and take them out of the grill for a very thorough cleaning. Pass a venturi brush through the burners to snag out any blockages then brush the tops of the burners using a brass wire brush. Once the burners are cleaned, check all of the burner ports to ensure that they are opened. If some are closed with food particles you can use a 1/16” drill bit to open them.
· Sear plates and cooking grills should be washed with hot soapy water. Simply brush the top side of your cooking grills with a little oil to re-season them.
· Hot soapy water works wonders on the cast base and sides of the grill and to remove grease splatters on the outside of the grill. For porcelain lids a thorough washing should suffice, for stainless steel lids a stainless steel cleaner should be used to remove any discoloring. Once the paint is dried, brush the cast aluminum with a little olive oil, this helps restore the luster and prevent oxidation.
· Lastly, use a spatula to scrape grease from the inside of the base all the way down towards the drip pan. Remove the drip pan and give it a good washing and be sure to replace the tin foil grease catcher.

3. Inspect all hoses and feed tubes

Once your cleaning is done it is a good idea to visually inspect all hoses and feed tubes on your grill. Look for any crimps, scratching and or punctures, if you detect any of these, it is time to replace the hoses.

4. Do a complete leak test of the grill

A leak test should be performed any time your grill has been in storage for a prolonged length of time or when you are changing any components on your grill. For complete leak test information, please consult our web site at www.napoleongrills.com to view the leak test video.

5. Check all ignition parts

Now that your grill is clean and safe it is time to check out how it lights. For battery ignitions it is a good idea to replace the batteries with new ones. Check all electrode leads and ensure the tips of the electrodes are clean and have no grease or rust build up on them, if they do you can use sandpaper to clean them.

For additional barbeque tips, visit Napoleon Fireplaces & Grills on the web at: www.napoleongrills.com

Cocktails for a Crowd: Grand Margarita and Grand Sangria Take Center Stage this Summer

"You are Invited: Summer Cocktail Party!" It seems so simple, invite friends over for cocktails and enjoy a long, leisurely evening with your favorite people, sipping a delicious drink. But what does it really take to pull this off? With a little advance planning, this summer's Grand Margarita or Sangria party can be the most successful and relaxed evening you have planned in years.

We asked cocktail master Andy Seymour, of aka wine geek (pictured at right), to share the art and science of making cocktails for a crowd. Andy updated Grand Marnier's classic Grand Margarita and the Grand Sangria for easy summer entertaining and provided us with the following tips:

1) Make the most-then adjust: Like any recipe, cocktail recipes are guidelines, and even more so when making them in batches. Add a little bit less of each ingredient than the recipe calls for to adjust the final flavor. It should taste the way you like it (unless you know your taste preference is really sweet or sour), so play with the last bit of mixing to give yourself the leeway you need to make it perfect. And remember, you should always have certain aspects on hand, whether it's additional simple syrup or lemons and limes. Think of these additives like they're salt and pepper to a food dish-you always have that on hand to perfect the flavor, why not have something on hand to perfect the flavor of your cocktail?

2) Use fresh juice whenever possible: Spend a few minutes squeezing fresh lime and/or orange juice. The brightness that fresh citrus adds will change the cocktail immeasurably and you'll be a cocktail hero!

3) Prep and make in advance: Cocktails can be made prior to the event in a pitcher or bucket, covered and kept in the refrigerator until the party begins-even several hours in advance. If you're making Sangria, freeze the fruit the night before and this will act like ice in the drinks. Then when the party begins bring out one pitcher at a time leaving the rest covered and cold.

4) Have enough! Nothing is worse than having a great drink that everyone is enjoying, and then having to switch them over to light beer when it runs out too soon. For a three hour party plan on two to three drinks per person-especially if that is your only cocktail. Provide in moderation and never let anyone have too much, but make more than you'll need; you may need to sip one when you're cleaning up that night.

5) Buy ice: It's the easiest thing to forget and we always assume we've got that covered, but making cocktails requires an immense amount of ice: Ice to shake with and a full glass of ice for many cocktails, it's usually more than we think. Buy enough ice to make 25 more drinks than you think you'll serve, (figure an 8 pound bag should be enough for about 25 drinks). Note on bagged ice: It usually clumps up and is difficult to use. Before you open the bag, go to your patio or other hard area and drop the bag from about 1 foot off the ground 3-4 times. This will break most of what's inside the bag back into the useable pieces we love.

While cocktails are a main part of the festivity, there aren't many parties that are named for cocktails, unless, of course, you consider the Margarita and the Sangria. These two cocktails are staples in the party arena. They're simple to prepare, perfect for large gatherings, and easy to pair with homemade chips and salsa or tapas of any variety.

We've done some careful calculations to the following recipes, allowing for correct quantities for pitcher size cocktails (serves up to 12 drinks) and punch bowl cocktails (serves up to 25 drinks). Enjoy!
Grand Margarita
½ Gallon
18 oz. Grand Marnier
54 oz. Don Julio Blanco Tequila
36 oz. Fresh Lime
18 oz. Agave Nectar

Combine all in a pitcher/bowl and stir. Strain over fresh ice into a rocks glass (or pre chilled martini glass) and garnish with a lime wheel.

1 Gallon
36 oz. Grand Marnier
108 oz. Don Julio Blanco Tequila
72 oz. Fresh Lime
36 oz. Agave Nectar

Combine all in a pitcher/bowl and stir. Strain over fresh ice into a rocks glass (or pre chilled martini glass) and garnish with a lime wheel.

Grand Marnier Sangria

½ Gallon
1 Cup Grand Marnier
1 Cup Seedless Red or Black Grapes
1 Sliced and Seeded Lemon
1 Sliced and Seeded Orange
2 Apples, Red and Green,
cored and cut into ½ inch wedges
2 Cinnamon Sticks
1 Bottle Chilled Casa Lapostolle Red Wine
4 Tablespoons of Superfine Sugar
2 Cups Orange Juice
6 oz. Fresh Lime Juice

Soak the fruit with sugar, Grand Marnier and cinnamon for at least 1 hour. Stir in chilled wine and orange juice. Add more sugar to taste, discard cinnamon sticks; serve chilled. Top of with fresh pomegranate or fresh figs if desired.

1 Gallon
2 cup Grand Marnier
1 ½ Cup Seedless Red or Black Grapes
2 Sliced and Seeded Lemon
2 Sliced and Seeded Orange
3 Apples, Red and Green,
cored and cut into ½ inch wedges
3 Cinnamon Sticks
2 Bottles, Chilled Casa Lapostolle Red Wine
4 Tablespoons of Superfine Sugar
4 Cup Orange Juice
12 oz. Fresh Lime Juice

Soak the fruit with sugar, Grand Marnier and cinnamon for at least 1 hour. Stir in chilled wine and orange juice. Add more sugar to taste, discard cinnamon sticks; serve chilled. Top of with fresh pomegranate or fresh figs if desired.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Napoleon's Everyday Gourmet Grilling launches in soft cover across United States

Grilled T-Bone Steak with Whipped Horseradish Cream, Bacon-Wrapped Scallops and Grilled Portobello Mushroom Stacks and Grilled. Sound good? They taste even better- and you can make them yourself! Napoleon Gourmet Grills, a brand synonymous with great grilling, has teamed up with celebrity chef Ted Reader to launch a lavishly illustrated soft cover cookbook that is sure to satisfy even the most discerning grilling aficionado.
“Napoleon’s Everyday Gourmet Grilling” demonstrates how to create sumptuous hors d'oeuvres, mouthwatering main courses, and delectable desserts using gas, charcoal, or Napoleon's SIZZLE ZONE™ technology. Detailed directions, provide readers with tips and tricks for creating a picture-perfect meal. The book features more than 125 unique recipes from the kitchen of one of the most flamboyant chefs in North America.

“Whether it’s at the cottage, at home, or for a special occasion, here are all the ingredients for creating a menu that will have everyone asking for more. Eating al fresco has never been so enjoyable. This book shows us how far grilling has come and how there are no limits to the type of food you can cook on a grill,” said Ted Reader. “Napoleon has the most versatile cooking system being able to grill, roast, rotisserie, smoke, bake and infrared cook, so it’s a perfect fit,” he added.

Napoleon’s Everyday Gourmet Grilling can be purchased at Napoleon dealers across the United States and select book retailers. This exciting volume of culinary ideas retails for $25.

About Ted Reader
Ted Reader is an award-winning chef and food entertainer, who’s parlayed his passion for food into a culinary tour de force that includes more than a dozen cook books, shelves of food products, live culinary performances, TV and radio cooking shows and appearances as well as culinary demonstrations, a catering company and teaching. Known for his pyrotechnic charm and fearless culinary spirit, it’s no surprise that GQ magazine labeled him the “crazy Canuck barbecue kingpin.” The dude just loves to cook! Ted’s quest for creating “real food for real people” has seen this high-profile culinary barbecue guru demonstrate his flair for grilling in all venues from swanky ball rooms to the Pacific Ocean to a downtown Toronto parking lot. Today, he owns more than 90 barbecues, grills and smokers in all shapes and sizes and never goes anywhere without one in the back of his truck. www.tedreader.com.

About Napoleon Gourmet Grills
When it comes to grilling, nobody does it better than Napoleon Gourmet Grills. Superb design, superior construction and built of the finest grade weather-resistant materials, every Napoleon Gourmet Grill is built to stand up to the elements. With a variety of Napoleon Grills’ products – from the very affordable, to units designed and built for real connoisseurs, there is something for everyone. www.napoleongrills.com.

About Key Porter Books
One of Canada's most prominent publishers, Key Porter Books Limited is known internationally for its high quality illustrated books, and at home for its mainstream books of national interest. In the words of the Right Honourable Jean Chretien, Prime Minister of Canada, "since coming into being, Key Porter has established itself as a pre-eminent publishing house, providing an invaluable vehicle for Canadian authors to bring voices to a national audience."Key Porter Books was founded as a joint venture of Anna Porter and Key Publishers in 1979 and incorporated in 1984. Key Porter Books publishes about 100 titles per year and has over 500 titles in print. Areas of specialization include Canadian politics, fiction, history biography, books on environmental and social issues, children's literature, health, wildlife, conservation, sports, business, cookbooks and photography. www.keyporter.com.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Breakfast with the Butterflies at Krohn Conservatory

Cincinnati Parks' Krohn Conservatory is donning the exotic sights, sounds, fragrances and flavors of India this spring as it invites visitors to sample the vast nation's culture, horticulture and, of course, butterflies. And, inspired by visitors' suggestions following previous Butterfly Shows, Krohn's General Manager Andrea Schepmann created a new weekly program called Happy Hour with the Butterflies and a one-time event called Breakfast with the Butterflies.

Highlights of Krohn's 2009 Butterfly Show, Flowers with Wings, will include:
A wondrous array of thousands of butterflies let loose in the Conservatory's seasonal exhibit room, transformed into an Indian garden; Weekend performances of Indian music and dance; Exhibits of Indian art, including one of rangoli, a sand-painting technique that will be applied to Krohn's concrete front walkway; A weekend tent market with vendors that will emulate an Indian marketplace; Interactive programs, such as sari and turban-wrapping lessons, and sculpting from clay small replicas of Ganesha, the elephant-like deity who is omni-present throughout India.

Krohn Conservatory's 2008 Butterfly Show, The Silk Road, featured butterflies, plants, artwork and other cultural treats from South China. It set a new attendance record for the popular annual Butterfly Show with nearly 80,000 visitors. This year, says Krohn's General Manager Andrea Schepmann, Butterfly Show organizers are shooting for 90,000 visitors (with much help from corporate sponsors Macy's Foundation and PNC Bank). With all that this year's Butterfly Show has to offer, the record should be easily broken.

Open for nine full weeks this year, Flowers with Wings is Krohn's most ambitious Butterfly Show yet. New features this year will include:
"Happy Hour With the Butterflies" for adults each Wednesday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Alcoholic drinks will be available, and visitors can watch films from India's famed Bollywood movie industry;
"Breakfast With the Butterflies" a reservations-only treat for butterfly devotees on June 6;
A collaboration with our Eden Park neighbor, the Cincinnati Art Museum: on May 24, a procession featuring a topiary elephant in homage to Ganesha will make its way from Krohn Conservatory to the Cincinnati Art Museum, where a multi-media music theater production will take place featuring an original work by noted Indian composer and world visionary Kanniks Kannikeswaran;
Two reservations-only programs - a May 15 wine tasting and a June 12 "Girls Night Out"- with popular local chef Amy Tobin.
As in past years, amateur photographers will be welcome on Monday evenings from 5:30 to 7:30, and Mother's Day and Father's Day will have no admission costs for those days' honorees. And, as always, volunteers for a wide variety of jobs will be needed by the score!

Krohn Conservatory is excited to have members of the area's Indian community working with Krohn's staff for this year's Butterfly Show. Local collectors of Indian art are loaning a variety of items for display in the Bonsai Room, which will be decked out against a Taj Mahal photographic mural. Artist Radha Chandrashekaran and dancer Sanjita Kothari are lending their crafts to the show while others, working more behind the scenes, are lending expertise and guidance to ensure respectful authenticity for this year's Butterfly Show.

After all, India is home to many rich religious traditions - Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam - and Krohn strives to honor that diversity with this exhibit. Guest artistic designer Jan Brown Checco calls Flowers with Wings "a great opportunity not just to sooth and entertain people via the gardens and the butterflies, but also to expose Krohn visitors to a culture that is as different from ours as India's."

Visitors to this year's Butterfly Show may be surprised to learn that marigolds and ficus trees, staples in our own gardens and homes, are native to India, says Heather Wiggins, who teaches horticulture at Cincinnati State and serves as guest horticulturalist for the 2009 Butterfly Show. Deep oranges, golds and crimsons will be well represented in the Butterfly garden. Heather also plans to incorporate water pools for India's exquisite lotus flower into the show's gardens, as well as Indian foods and herbs, such as cucumbers, eggplants, ornamental peppers, cumin, dill and anise, many of which will also be made available for sale as plants for home gardeners.

Having spent several months in India during her horticultural studies, Heather is thrilled to share the beauty of an Indian garden with visitors to Krohn. She hopes that when they enter the India-inspired butterfly-filled garden in Krohn's main exhibit room, "they'll feel the same way I felt when I first got to India."

For more information on Flowers with Wings contact Andrea Schepmann at (513) 421-5707; anyone interested in volunteering for the 2009 Butterfly Show can contact Christyl Johnson at (513) 421-5707.

Show: The International Butterfly Show - Flowers with Wings
Sponsored by: Macy's Foundation and PNC Bank
Show Dates: April 18-June 21, 2009 / Open daily 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Admission: Adults $6, seniors $5, Children 5-17 $4, ages 4-under no cost; $10 Butterfly Show Pin allows unlimited repeat visits. Available for purchase online.
Contact: Andrea Schepmann at 513-421-5707 or 513-352-3380 (TTY)
Website: www.ButterflyShow.com

Keep Your Yamazaki Whisky Cold With Japanese Ice Balls

This summer, keep whisky cool with the spherical ice ball, a sleek alternative to traditional ice cubes. Made in Japan, spherical ice molds make large, icy spheres, each 2" in diameter. These modern spheres are replicas of the hand carved ice balls by apprentice bartenders in Japan. They don’t melt as fast as traditional cubes, keeping whisky cool and pure through the long, hazy days of summer.

Need a whisky recommendation? Continue on the Japanese path and try Yamazaki Single Malt Whisky. Aged either 12 or 18 years, Yamazaki has a rich and sophisticated character all its own. Imported from Japan, it’s made with the ultra pure waters cherished in Japan’s most famous tea ceremonies. Experts around the globe continue to laud its excellence of taste, quality and intensity.

Yamazaki 12 Year Old is available for $40 and Yamazaki 18 Year Old is available for $100. The spherical ice trays are available for $8 at www.moma.org.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

New Kentucky Bison Company Breakfast Sausage

Thanks to their natural sustainability and unique health benefits, Kentucky Bison Company products have been making their way onto fine dining menus across the region. New to the catalog of offerings is a product that is perfect for the home cook and the gourmet chef-bison breakfast sausage! The sausage retails for $5.30 per pound and has 2.42 grams of fat per 100 grams of sausage, as compared to 28.4 grams for 100 grams of typical pork sausage. This new breakfast sausage is available in loose form and is great for all kinds of dishes including frittatas, omelets and breakfast wraps.

Kentucky Bison Company meat is available throughout the Louisville, Lexington and Nashville regions at restaurants and specialty markets. Patrons can also shop directly through the Kentucky Bison Company by calling 502.562.9491, toll free 1.877.859.2426, emailing Amanda@KyBisonCo.com, or visiting the sales office located at 603 E. Main St. during the hours of 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The foundation of the Kentucky Bison Company is the production, preservation and promotion of the Authentic American Bison. Its mission is to operate a bison farm and meat processing plant that provides success through production and processing of livestock and a positive, happy work environment with room for workers' advancement and personal growth. Kentucky Bison Company raises bison on Woodland Farm in Goshen, Kentucky and processes the meat at its own USDA-approved facility. For more information, visit www.kybisonco.com.

New Spaghetti & Meatballs dish launches in Ohio Wednesday, March 25

Noodles & Company, a globally inspired noodle restaurant that serves a balanced menu of freshly
sautsignature, comfort food dish to its Ohio menu This marks the first permanent noodles menu addition to the Noodles &
Company line up since 2004.

"At Noodles & Company, we're always striving to create more flavorful,
balanced dishes from around the world,Company executive chef. classic favorite. What really makes it special are the meatballs.

Everydish is served with five baked meatballs that are a delicious blend of
pork and beef with Italian herbs, parmesan and garlic. It's very hearty
and satisfying.

The five meatballs are served over a bed of spaghetti noodles with a
crushed tomato marinara sauce, available in regular or spicy, and are
garnished with parmesan cheese. Meatballs also can be added to any of
Noodles & Company Cheese, Penne Rosa or Mushroom Stroganoff.

The small Spaghetti & Meatballs is $5.95 and a regular is $7.25. Noodles &
Company plans to introduce the dish system wide in early spring. To find
an Ohio Noodles & Company near you, please visit www.noodles.com.

About Noodles & Company
Colorado-based Noodles & Company was founded in 1995 and is the worldfirst quick-casual, globally inspired noodle restaurant. From healthy to
indulgent and spicy to comforting, Noodles & Company's menu features
Asian, Mediterranean and American inspired noodle dishes, soups and

At Noodles & Company, we seek to nourish and inspire our guests with a
balanced and craveable menu made with fresh and wholesome ingredients.
Every bowl is prepared to order in about five minutes with only the best
noodles and pasta, fresh vegetables, authentic herbs and spices, artisan
sauces and grilled chicken, beef, shrimp or organic tofu.

Noodles & Company believes you can eat well without compromising on taste
or a nourishing meal. In fact, two thirds of its dishes are less than 500
calories. The companyhelp guests make customizable food choices to meet their own balanced diet
and needs. In recognition of its commitment to health and nutrition,
Health magazine recently named Noodles & Company Fast-Food Restaurant."

Noodles & Company is a tip-free zone and is open seven days a week in more
than 200 locations in 18 states. To view a menu and nutritional
information, find a location or see what else is going on in Noodleville,
visit www.noodles.com.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Staglin Family Vineyard and Chef Cindy Pawlcyn Aboard Silversea Cruise Line

Staglin Family Vineyard of Napa Valley, California has announced that Garen and Shari Staglin and guest Chef Cindy Pawlcyn (Founder of Mustard’s Grill, Go Fish and Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen) will be onboard Silversea voyage v1912 from June 10 - 20, 2009. This 10-day journey on the Silver Cloud travels from London, England to Germany, Russia, Estonia, Sweden and Finland. The other ports of call include Rostock, St. Petersburg, Tallinn, Helsinki and Stockholm.

The travel industry is hard hit with the current economic downturn, making it a buyer’s market and the perfect time to sample luxury at moderate pricing. Fares to be a part of the Staglin Family Vineyard and Chef Cindy Pawlcyn group start at $6,599, 40% off of regular fares, and includes a donation to IMHRO, The International Mental Health Research Organization. In addition to these never before seen prices, the Staglin package includes added priceless elements.

The Staglins and Chef Pawlcyn will be offering a number of private complimentary activities for their onboard guests, including food and wine pairings, cooking demonstrations, tastings, lectures, and a winemaker dinner. They have selected Silversea not only because it is the exclusive cruise member of Relais & Chateaux, but also for the ambience created through their 6-star, ultra-luxe ships, all-suite and all-inclusive nature, intimate size, service ratio, and added amenities. The Staglin Family Vineyard and Cindy Pawlcyn group is limited to just 30 fortunate individuals.

Silversea will be donating a portion of each guest’s cruise fare to IMHRO.. This not for profit group is dedicated to bringing the public and scientists together to find ways to ease the suffering of people with mental illness, and ultimately to find cures for schizophrenia, depression and bipolar disorder.

Silversea has been ranked the “Best Small Ship Cruise Line in the World” by readers of Condè Nast for nine years. Guests will have all the privacy they desire in their ocean-view suites (80% of which have private balconies) and all the entertainment of a large ship without the size and hordes of people. These smaller ships are also able to visit remote ports that large ships must forgo.

"Our Wine & Culinary Series cruises are a great way for guests to broaden their understanding and appreciation for one of life's most cherished luxuries – gourmet dining and fine wines," said David Morris, Silversea's executive vice president of worldwide sales and marketing. "We've invited top experts from some of the world's most acclaimed vineyards, restaurants and wineries to visit and interact with our guests, guiding them through entertaining tastings and lectures that add a unique and enriching dimension to their cruise experience."

Garen and Shari Staglin add, “We are delighted to showcase our Staglin Family Vineyard wines aboard Silversea and are thrilled to be able to pair them with Chef Pawlcyn’s cooking. Silversea’s affluent international clientele are the perfect compliment to our existing market. Our guests will enjoy the unique opportunity and benefit of sampling our favorite wines while exploring exotic coasts and ports aboard the finest cruise line afloat.”

This particular wine and culinary cruise pairing was arranged by Michael Mastrocola of Millennium Travel, a 30 year travel veteran. Wine and Culinary extensions can be arranged by request. For more information and to be included in all exclusive wine and culinary events with added amenities at the lowest prices it is essential to contact Michael Mastrocola, www.mmtravel.net, msmastrocola@sbcglobal.net or at (831) 659-0151.

Groceries From The Backyard: A Harvest of Savings in a Difficult Economy

The economy is tanking, grocery bills are climbing and food safety scares are on the rise. For the 43 million Americans planning a vegetable garden this spring, growing your own is a matter of dollars and sense.

Food gardening will jump 19 percent this year over last year, according to a new survey by the National Gardening Association (NGA). Homeowners with shrinking household budgets are looking for help in their own backyards. Can planting a veggie patch really save you money? Government agencies and gardening organizations say yes.

Every $100 spent on vegetable gardening yields $1,000 to $1,700 worth of produce, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates. That’s a serious hedge against skyrocketing food prices, expected to jump another 5 percent this year.

You’ll get a half-pound of edibles from every square foot of ground devoted to backyard crops, NGA experts say. Even a modest garden (15-by-15-feet) can produce more than 100 pounds of garden-fresh tomatoes, salad greens, vegetables and herbs. Better flavor and bragging rights come with the harvest.

Planting a vegetable plot and keeping it productive isn’t that hard if you start small, keep the basics in mind and plant reliable varieties. Take it step-by-step:

Lead with Location – A sunny, well-drained spot close to a water spigot is ideal. Leafy greens tolerate some shade, but other crops want eight hours of sun daily.

Suitable soil – Adding organic material is the key to an easy-care garden. It loosens stiff soil, helps retain moisture and nourishes important soil organisms. Good “ingredients” include manure, humus and chopped-up leaves. Spread a 4-inch layer of amendments on your plot and till into the top 9 to 12 inches.

Fertilize Faithfully– All edible plants remove some nutrients from the soil, and can quickly exhaust the soil without the help of a fertilizer. Always follow the rates given on the label when deciding how much to use.

Water wisely – One inch of water weekly is adequate for most vegetables. Soaker hoses or drip systems deliver water efficiently and keep foliage dry, fending off leaf diseases.

Patrol for pests – Monitor insect damage but try to keep your crops pesticide-free. Let natural predators fight your battles, hand-pick pests or dislodge them with a jet of water. If you must spray, do it late in the day when beneficial insects are less active.

Pick the right plants – Flower gardeners gravitate to the newest, showiest varieties, but smart food gardeners appreciate the tried-and-true. Bonnie Plants, available coast to coast, are time-tested varieties selected to suit regional conditions. For best results you’ll need to choose veggie and herb varieties suitable to your geographical location. Because Bonnie’s varieties are distributed regionally, you will automatically have suitable varieties available to you at retail in your area.

Look for Bonnie Plants in eco-friendly biodegradable pots that not only save tons of plastic pots from ending up in landfills, they also reduce transplant shock. Just tear off the bottom, set the pot in the ground and water.

If you’re ready to try your hand at creating your own backyard grocery garden, here are 10 easy crops to plant:

Basil – Perfect with tomatoes. Choose sweet basil or the compact ”Spicy Globe.”

Beans -- Bush beans like “Bush Blue Lake’”are easier to pick, but tall “pole” beans have higher yields.

Bell peppers -- Harvest green or red, when vitamin levels are higher. Try “Bonnie Bell” or the new, hot bell pepper “Mexibell.”

Chard – This leafy green tolerates cool temperatures well. Varieties like “Bright Lights” have brilliantly colored stems.

Cucumber -- Plant after the weather warms. Choose the mild Japanese cucumber or the old favorite “Burpless Bush Hybrid.”

Eggplant -- A much-loved favorite, eggplant thrives in hot weather. Try “Black Beauty” or the white-skinned “Cloud Nine.”

Lettuce -- Go for easy “leaf” lettuces like “Buttercrunch” “Red Sails,” or Romaine .

Parsley – Pick curly types or flat Italian parsley. This herb is rich in vitamins and a breath-sweetener, too.

Summer squash – Squash are very productive plants and easy to grow. Try zucchini “Black Beauty” or yellow crook-necked squash.

Tomatoes – These crimson favorites are the most popular backyard vegetable. Choose disease-resistant “Better Boy,” “Bonnie Original” or the extra-easy cherry tomato “Sweet 100.”

For gardening tips and more herb and vegetable varieties, visit www.bonnieplants.com.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Magnolia Downtown Los Angeles

Ron Marino and Laurie Mulstay open Magnolia in Downtown Los Angeles located at 825 W. 9th St. Magnolia Downtown is the fourth business for the LA-based entrepreneurial pair, who also own Magnolia and The BAR in Hollywood and CHLOE in Santa Monica.

With their great vibe, classic American menu, unpretentious style and staff, and mid-range prices, Magnolia presents a refreshing concept to the Downtown area. Magnolia will cater to the growing number of Downtown residents as well as the many business professionals in the financial and fashion districts, and will serve as an ideal lunch spot, a great place to grab drinks after work, or dinner following a Lakers game. Magnolia Downtown is conveniently located near the Staples and Convention Centers, Disney Concert Hall and LA Opera.

Executive Chef Richard Crespin, formerly of Gordon Ramsay and Jean Georges, will continue to oversee the menu for both Magnolia locations.

The owners, in collaboration with Meyer Davis Studios in NYC, designed the Magnolia Downtown décor. The space features similar components to its Hollywood location including the subway tile, comfy leather banquettes, white marble bar, a lounge area for drinks and appetizers and outside patios.

"The décor, menu, and attentive staff are simply the foundation for what we are confident will be the perfect compliment to the growing community that is Downtown Los Angeles. We are very excited to be a part this community," says Marino.

Magnolia Downtown opens Monday, March 16th, and will operate 7 days a week serving the classic Magnolia menu, with a full bar and specialty cocktails. The full menu is available "To Go" and delivery within a few blocks will begin shortly thereafter.

Dining Out Sober. Tips for Alcohol Awareness Month (April)

It is estimated that there are 18 million Americans who have an alcohol-use disorder. Dining out is often a difficulty in many's quests to battle this illnes...

Sarah Allen Benton, a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and recovering alcoholic, is the author of the new book UNDERSTANDING THE HIGH-FUNCTIONING ALOCOHLIC: Professional Views and Personal Insights (Praeger Publishers, March 23, 2009).

Benton offers some tips to those trying to beat alcoholism when out to dinner......

-- Restaurants assume that all patrons are going to drink and place the wine menu on top of the regular menu, forcing even sober customers to be often confused and open it. Servers make most of their money from expensive bills that have alcohol charged on them. They often try to push drinks on all customers which can be challengeing and very tempting for those in early sobriety. Especially if they're out with others who drink. Iimmediately send that menu away and make sure the server knows you will have no alcohol.

-- Many foods have alcohol in the ingredients, such as chicken Marsala (Marsala wine) and desserts with rum sauces. Some sober alcoholics do not eat ANYTHING that has alcohol in it, even if the alcohol is cooked. Others will have cooked wine sauces. However, rum cakes have pure run poured on them and I have personally been triggered by innocently having a piece of it and then realized it afterwards.

-- Drinking non-alcoholic beers can be tricky for some. Sober alcoholics may feel pressure to have something in their hand or appear like they are drinking with those who are drinking around them. Many sober alcoholics do NOT drink beverages that mimic alcohol for it can become a slippery slope of "pretending" that you can drink.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Celebrate Spring with Chocolate

With the arrival of spring bringing Easter, Mothers’ Day, and a bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables, the season is ripe for creating and sharing sweet moments with family and friends. And what would a celebration be without chocolate? Chocolate for Breakfast by Barbara Passino (The Gerald & Marc Hoberman Collection; February 2009; hardcover/$40.00; ISBN: 978-1-919939-55-1) allows us to indulge our chocolate fantasies with rich, creative recipes and menus, perfect for an Easter brunch, Mother’s Day breakfast, or just because.

“Chocolate has always been my passion, ever since I was a baby and my mother gave me a chocolate brownie as a bribe,” says Passino. “When I would visit my Aunt Johnny , she and I would share a secret ritual, tiptoeing down to the kitchen in the morning for a secret breakfast of brownies from the night before. That’s where I got the idea of having chocolate for breakfast.”

It was these loving memories that prompted Barbara to create the signature menus and recipes that she serves daily at her famous Oak Knoll Inn in California’s Napa Valley. Chocolate for Breakfast is a collection of Barbara’s passion-filled creations, techniques, philosophies and anecdotes, all presented in more than 100 easy-to-follow recipes that allow home cooks everywhere to start new breakfast rituals with their families. Menus with a chocolate twist showcase culinary influences from around the world, creating unique meals for family gatherings or to make any day special.

Barbara has organized recipes into chapters such as North of Southwest, Asian Persuasion, The French Connection, Moroccan Excursion, Valentine’s Day Decadence, Recipe for a Perfect Night’s Sleep, and All-American, making it simple to find a recipe or menu to fit any mood or occasion.

Recipes that use wonderful and fresh spring ingredients include:
· Lacey Singapore Omelet made with spring vegetables
· Triple Threat Chocolate Muffins baked in flower pots
· Spring Frittata
· Herbed Scrambled Eggs over Roasted Portabello Mushrooms
· Chocolate-filled Gazelle Horns served with Tajine of Eggs Baked with Summer Vegetables
· Chocolate Truffle Fritters with Cherry Sauce
· Chocolate Omelet with Blueberries in a Pinot Noir Sauce
· Chocolate Strawberry Dumpling

Barbara says to enjoy the season's fresh strawberries for Easter, followed by an Easter basket for grown-ups, both recipes from her book:
· Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake, followed by
· Eggs in a nest

For Mother's Day she suggests recipes that are so easy that the children can help with the cooking and so tasty that they will gladly eat:
· Baked Eggs with
· Triple Chocolate Muffins baked in a flowerpot

Barbara has also provided a list of Resources so even those who live in produce-deprived areas can find all of the items needed to create her recipes.

Start creating your own family traditions this spring with Chocolate for Breakfast!


Barbara Passino is the proprietor/chef of Oak Knoll Inn, a luxurious, intimate inn nestled amidst rows of grapevines in Napa Valley, California’s Wine Country. Her decadent breakfasts have become California legend and attract visitors from all over the world. In the midst of her 15 years in the world of finance, Barbara took time to study with master chef Marcella Hazan in Venice. Eager to learn about other cultures through the role of food in daily life, Barbara combined travel with the study of cooking and was inspired to turn her passion into a full-time dream-come-true: Barbara and her husband John bought the Oak Knoll Inn in 1992. All of this culminates in the greatest breakfasts imaginable.


Surrounded by 600 acres of vineyards, slowly drifting hot-air balloons and magnificent sunrises, Oak Knoll Inn is the perfect setting for a slow-paced, life-changing feast that Barbara likes to call breakfast. Guests from around the world return year-after-year to dine on Barbara’s latest culinary creations. Critics have delighted in the Oak Knoll experience, frequently describing it as Napa’s most romantic and luxurious bed and breakfast. Mornings at Oak Knoll start with breakfast that can be enjoyed in front of a crackling fire or out on the sunny deck. Every evening, Oak Knoll hosts a wine and cheese party, often with a visiting winemaker. A refreshing splash in the swimming pool in the morning and a soothing dip in the Jacuzzi at night are the perfect way to start and end the day. And, the secluded setting of Oak Knoll Inn belies the wonderful fact that some of Napa's best known wineries and renowned restaurants are just minutes away.

More information on Barbara Passino and Oak Knoll Inn is available at www.OakKnollInn.com

Thursday, March 12, 2009

OU Introduces New Passover Recipes for 2009

On Passover, most people can expect to munch on matzah in endless variations: matzah sandwiches, matzah pizza, and matzah lasagna. However, for those who want a little variety, inventive, creative recipes that don’t focus on matzah can be found on the Passover website of the Orthodox Union, www.oupassover.org.

Throughout the year, the OU’s website and the OU’s weekly e-zine, Shabbat Shalom, offers readers recipes, food columns, and kitchen advice. As Passover approaches, these features take on a Passover slant so that those celebrating the holiday can utilize the site’s helpful hints, laws, and recipes adapted for Passover.

Eileen Goltz, author of the cookbook Perfectly Pareve, presents original recipes comprising a treasure trove of selections, including chicken, muffins, kugel, desserts, and salads. Recipes are meat, dairy or pareve (neither meat nor dairy).

Ms. Goltz is a freelance kosher food writer who was born and raised in the Chicago area. She graduated from Indiana University and the Cordon Bleu Cooking School in Paris. She lectures on various food-related topics across the United States and Canada and writes weekly columns for the Chicago Jewish News, kosher.com and the OU Shabbat Shalom Web site. She is the author of the Perfectly Pareve Cookbook (Feldheim) and is a contributing writer for the Chicken Soup for the Soul Book Group, Chicago Sun Times, Detroit Free Press and Woman’s World Magazine.

The following are some of the new, featured recipes that can be found on www.oupassover.org:


Zest of 1 lemon, slivered
Zest of 1 orange, slivered
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon whole cloves
2 cups sugar
4 cups water
4 Bosc or Bartlett pears; peeled, cored and quartered
1 cup golden seedless raisins
1 cup pitted prunes
1 cup peeled, pitted and halved fresh apricots or 2/3 cup dried

In large heavy saucepan combine the lemon and orange zests, cinnamon, cloves, sugar and water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat simmer and add pears, raisins, prunes and apricots. Cooked, covered until the pears are just cooked but still firm, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the cinnamon sticks and cloves. Serve warm or chill and serve cold.



5 tablespoons butter
1/2 pound mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup finely crushed matzo
3/4 cup chopped green onions
2 cups shredded Cheddar
1 cup cottage cheese
3 eggs
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
Preheat oven to 350. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in skillet over medium heat. Sauté mushrooms until tender. Remove from heat. Stir in the matzo. When the mixture is cool press it into bottom and sides of greased 9" pie plate.

Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in skillet. Add and sauté green onions quickly. Spread the green onions over crust and then sprinkle the cheese on top of the onions. In blender or food processor, combine the cottage cheese, eggs, and cayenne pepper. Blend well. Pour the egg mixture into the mushroom crust. Sprinkle the top with paprika. Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until done. Let stand about 10 minutes before serving. Serves 6.



5 ounces frozen chopped spinach
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 teaspoon dried basil, crushed
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
12 portabella mushrooms (3 to 4 in diameter)
2 medium tomatoes, diced
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
Mozzarella cheese
Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350. Thaw spinach and press out liquid. In a bowl combine the spinach, cheese, basil, and pepper. Clean the mushrooms and remove the stems. Place mushroom caps top side down on a lightly greased cookie sheet, brush them with butter or margarine. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of spinach mixture into each cap. Sprinkle with the diced tomatoes and salt. Sprinkle the top with mozzarella and/or Parmesan cheese to taste. Bake for 12 minutes or till heated through or place on the unheated rack of a broiler pan. Broil 4 inches from the heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Cut into quarters and serve. Makes 12.



1 16-oz jar Pesach duck sauce
1 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/2 cup honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 cups matzo meal
3/4 cups chopped pecans
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded flat to an even thickness

Combine the duck sauce with the chopped apricots in a bowl. Let sit for at least an hour. Preheat oven to 400. Lightly spray a cooking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. In a medium bowl, combine the honey, salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic powder. Whisk to combine. In a shallow dish, combine the matzo meal with pecans. Brush the chicken cutlets with the honey mixture and then dredge in the pecan mixture. Place in a single layer in the prepared pan; spray the tops with cooking spray. Bake for 20 minutes. Serve the chicken with the apricot sauce. Serves 6.



4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 package of white button mushrooms
1/3 to 1/2 cup Pesach Italian dressing
1 can diced Italian style tomatoes (do not drain)
Red Pepper Flake (use a little or a lot depending on ho spicy you like things)

Arrange chicken breasts in single layer on bottom of crock pot. Chop mushrooms into quarters and place over chicken. Pour Italian dressing and tomatoes (including juice) over chicken and mushrooms. Crush red pepper flake in hands and then sprinkle over. Put lid on crock pot and turn to low. Cook 6 to 8 hours depending on thickness of chicken breast. Serves 4.



1 lb carrots, peeled, cut into sticks

2 large white onions, sliced into wedges
5 tablespoons butter or margarine
3 large apples, cored, thinly sliced into rings
1 teaspoon thyme (optional)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 cup matzo meal

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 2 quart casserole dish. Steam carrots in boiling salted water until tender-crisp. Set aside. In a skillet saute the onions in the butter until golden. In the prepared dish, layer the carrots, onions and apples. Sprinkle with thyme. Drizzle with lemon juice. Melt the remaining butter and then mix in matzo meal. Sprinkle the matzo meal mixture over vegetable mixture. Bake degrees for 15 minutes or until vegetables are heated through and the topping golden brown. Serves 4. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.



4 cups frozen mixed berries, fresh berries or frozen peaches
1/3 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup brown sugar
4 to 6 oven proof small bowls or ramekins

Place a cup of frozen berries in each dish and sprinkle generously with cinnamon. Allow to thaw overnight, or leave out for an hour or so. Turn on broiler. Mix the sour cream and vanilla. Adjust vanilla to taste. Put a dollop of the sour cream mixture on each of the ramekins of berries. Sprinkle brown sugar generously on top of each ramekin. Place on a shallow baking dish or broiler pan on second shelf under the broiler and watch carefully until the brown sugar melts and starts to brown. Take the pan out and let cool enough to place at the table. Serve warm. Serves 4 to 6.



1 1/4 cups oil
2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups matzo cake meal
1/4 cup potato starch
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
4 cups grated carrots (about 1 lb.)
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup white or golden raisins
5 eggs separated

Preheat oven to 350. Oil a 10" bunt tube pan. Into a very large mixing bowl, mix oil and sugar; mix well with a wooden spoon. Add cake meal, potato starch, cinnamon, nutmeg, carrots, walnuts, raisins and egg yolks. Stir to mix well. In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the egg whites until stiff and then fold them into the batter. Gently mix until all white traces disappear. Pour the batter into the bunt tube pan. Bake 60 to 70 minutes or until a toothpick placed into the cake comes out clean. Cool upright in pan on wire rack. Remove from pan and frost if desired.

Dairy frosting: Cream 1 8-oz. pkg. cream cheese with 1 stick sweet butter, until fluffy. Add 3 tablespoons honey and beat well. If frosting is too soft to spread, chill about a half-hour.

Pareve topping. Brush the top of the cake with warm honey and sprinkle with chopped walnuts.

Shaman Chocolates Launches New Organic Bars Featuring SuperFoods

Shaman Chocolates has expanded its socially responsible collection of gourmet, organic chocolate bars to include two unique new flavors. All profits from the sale of the certified organic and Fair Trade Shaman Chocolates help support the Huichol Indians, a tribe living in central western Mexico in the Sierra Madre Mountains, who are said to be the last Indigenous Tribe in North America to have maintained their pre-Columbian traditions.

Shaman Chocolates blended the purest certified organic and Fair Trade chocolate with some of the healthiest organic superfoods to create the new Organic Dark Chocolate with Acai, Lemon & Orange and Organic Dark Chocolate with Green Tea & Ginger chocolate bars. In addition to its rich fruit flavor, Acai berries provide more antioxidants than blueberries or pomegranates, and feature an abundance of omega fats, protein and fiber. Green Tea has been revered by cultures for over 4,000 years as a traditional medicine. Now, modern science is demonstrating that it contains high antioxidant levels and powerful flavonoids, and offers therapeutic, anti-inflammatory, cholesterol lowering, fat burning and other health benefits.

These two new flavorful chocolate creations join seven other delicious, organic varieties of Shaman Chocolates: Extra Dark Chocolate (82% cocoa), Milk Chocolate with Macadamia Nuts & Hawaiian Pink Sea Salt, Dark Chocolate, Dark Chocolate with Ruby Raspberries, Dark Chocolate with Coconut, Milk Chocolate and Milk Chocolate with Hazelnuts. The suggested retail price is $3.00 for a 2-ounce bar. The chocolate bars, which feature labels adorned with amazing Huichol artwork and imagery, are available at hundreds of retailers nationwide and also can be purchased at www.shamanchocolates.com.

Shaman Chocolates was created by Brant Secunda, the world-renowned shaman, healer and ceremonial leader in the Huichol Indian tradition of Mexico. He is the director of the Dance of the Deer Foundation Center for Shamanic Studies and a teacher of seminars and retreats worldwide (www.shamanism.com). By donating all profits from the sales of Shaman Chocolates, providing an outlet for their visionary yarn paintings and beaded artwork, and donating a portion of the tuition from each seminar and pilgrimage he leads, Secunda provides continuing economic support that enables the Huichols to continue to live in their traditional ways.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Sweeter Anniversary or Birthday

Along with chocolates, flowers (and perhaps a ring), Valentine's Day is a loving holiday worthy of something special - perhaps a delicious dessert, perhaps delicious, sweet wines to go with that dessert.

Quady Winery (www.quadywinery.com) has been making delightful, very creative, award-winning sweet wines in Madera, CA since 1975, shipping their wines to connoisseurs in the U.S. and worldwide.

Something Different - and Predictable - for a Change

And, unlike the uncertainly and guesswork we have all experienced opening a bottle of wine - only to find it has gone bad - these wines are consistently delicious and predictable.

Sweetness comes in many forms, perhaps as an aperitif before a great meal, wonderful as a sweet wine pairing with many desserts - and many people, regardless of age or romantic inclination - have not tasted excellent sweet wines.

There is Essensia, made from delicious Orange Muscat grapes (known in Italy as Orange Blossom Muscat), a delicious accompaniment to desserts, especially chocolate and those containing almonds, peaches, apples or apricots. With sparkling water, Essensia makes a refreshing spritzer; with sparking wine you have an Essensia Royale. Delicious.

Elysium - Made from the Black Muscat grape with a rose and litchi scent and especially appropriate for Valentine's with the heart on the label. Elysium is perhaps the best accompaniment for dark chocolate dessert. Valentine's Day made simple? A bottle of Elysium, a red ribbon and the finest chocolate dessert you can find.

Quady's Batch 88 Starboard, is, yes, Port. But, of course, it can't be "Port" because that comes from a place in Portugal, the Douro River Valley. Since "starboard" (right) is the opposite nautical direction to port (left) that's how it got its name. The grapes in this world-class port are primarily Tinta Roriz from the Madera, CA area, a blend of several vintages, 190 proof neutral grape spirits (instead of the usual 140 proof fortifying brandy) and then aged, on average, five years. Superb for those who love a great, after-dinner Port.

Deviation is a new style of dessert wine made by infusing aromatic plants into Muscat. In Deviation, Quady has infused two botanicals: Scented geranium and Damiana. The result is truly exotic, a breathtaking aroma of honeysuckle and rose. The wine tastes sweet but amazingly finishes dry. As one reviewer said: "Perhaps the most exotic beverage at this price I have ever tasted - literally breathtaking . perfect for the sweet warm shadows at the end of a long summer picnic, or any intimate occasion."

Electra, a light, very low alcohol (4%) picnic wine (with the tastes of peaches and melons) partners nicely with summer fruits (strawberries, nectarines, peaches and melons), salads, spicy Asian and Indian foods, light desserts, lovely blues skies and a day in the fresh air. It's just excellent as it is, or perhaps on the rocks or semi-frozen as a slushy.

Spain's Celebrity Chefs Bring a Fiesta to The French Pastry School

This coming June 26 and 27, The French Pastry School will welcome Spanish Master Pastry Chefs Francisco (Paco) Torreblanca and Oriol Balaguer for a one time only exclusive demonstration and workshop for pastry professionals and food enthusiasts alike. Chicago's Celebrity Chef and TV personality, Rick Bayless will be participating for the first time with The French Pastry School, preparing his own specialty cuisine during the event for all the participants and chefs.

The two-day workshop will comprise alternating demonstrations by both chefs allowing the participants personal interaction with the masters. Also on the agenda are meals with the guest chefs themselves, multi-course lunches prepared by Chef Rick Bayless of Topolobampo and Frontera Grill, plus private evening events on both the 26th and 27th. For more details and to register for the class, visit www.frenchpastryschool.com.

Chefs Paco Torreblanca and Oriol Balaguer have earned international acclaim in the pastry industry. Some of Torreblanca's accomplishments include the award for Best Master Artisan Pastry Chef in Spain in 1998; The Best Pastry Chef for Restaurant Desserts in Spain in 2004; Best Pastry Book in the World in 2003 by Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. Torreblanca runs his own pâtisserie business in Alicante, Spain, and has worked as an international consultant for many years. He first taught a course at The French Pastry School in 2004.

Oriol Balaguer's accolades are also numerous, including Award for Professional of the Year in 2006; Best Pastry Chef in Catalonia in 2003; Best Dessert in the World in 2001; and Best Book in the World in 2000. Balaguer worked under Ferran Adrià for seven years at elBulli restaurant, which has been named the Best Restaurant in the World four times by Restaurant Magazine. Balaguer opened his pastry and chocolate studio in 2002 and first taught at The French Pastry School in 2008.

"It is a great honor to welcome these chefs back to the school and present this rare and unique opportunity to pastry chefs and food enthusiasts everywhere," said Sébastien Canonne, M.O.F., co-owner and co-founder of The French Pastry School, "Chef Torreblanca and Chef Balaguer are two of the best pastry professionals in the world, and to have them here together will be an enlightening, once-in-a-lifetime experience for all involved."

A similar event was held last year featuring Chef Pierre Hermé. The exclusive workshop drew participants from all over the globe and included the participation of Chef Jean Joho of The Everest Room, Chef Dominique Tougne of Bistro 110, and Chef Art Smith of Table 52, formerly the personal chef to Oprah Winfrey.

Chef Hermé said of the two-day affair, "The preparation was perfect, the facilities were amazing, and the workshop was a wonderful, wonderful experience."

The French Pastry School, founded by Chefs Jacquy Pfeiffer and Sebastien Canonne, M.O.F., offers the best possible pastry instruction taught by master pastry chefs who have attained the highest achievements in their craft. Our programs are ideal for anyone interested in pastry from the career changer to the professional to the novice.

OU Passover Website for 2009 Is Up and Running

Since 2006, the Orthodox Union has been calming frazzled nerves and answering questions on everything from cleaning to cooking inspired by one of the most enjoyable – but also the most intricate and complex to prepare for – Jewish holidays, Passover. The OU does this by creating a Passover website that can be found at www.oupassover.org.

The website, which was recently updated for 2009, is a one-stop shop for all Passover-related queries. Subjects range from recipe substitutions and cleaning tips, to kosherizing household items for Passover and the proper amounts of the traditional food and wine that must be consumed at the seder.

Popular features that have returned from previous years include a fully downloadable Passover Guide, which sorts all the various products, both edible and household items, into two sections of those allowed on Passover and those not kosher for Passover; an expansive database of all OU Kosher for Passover products; and a section of frequently asked questions and answers of common Passover food inquiries.

Brand-new for 2009 is a section on Birchat ha-Chammah (a blessing over the sun said every 28 years, and one that is said this erev (eve of)Pesach, April 8); additional information expanded from previous years on caring for infants and the infirm; new feature articles about dieting on Passover and cleaning for Passover, such as “Pesach Dieters, Take Note! You Can Have Your Potato – and Eat It Too,” by nutritionist Shira Isenberg; and “The Chef’s Table: Healthy Passover Pleasures,” by cookbook author Norene Gilletz. There will also be articles on wine, traditional seder items, and matzah, such as “From Grapes to Kosher Wine,” by Rabbi Shmuel Singer, OU Rabbinic Coordinator, and “What Could be Hiding in My Romaine?” by Rabbi Dovid Bistricer, OU Rabbinic Coordinator.

The website is managed by Rabbi Yonaton Kaganoff, OU Rabbinic Coordinator.

“Passover is a wonderful, but also incredibly detailed, holiday,” declared Rabbi Menachem Genack, CEO of OU Kosher. “The OU Passover website clarifies many issues of concern regarding proper preparation and observance of the Festival, while also providing informative and enjoyable features on various aspects of the holiday. The website is a wonderful resource for the entire Jewish community.”

For more information visit www.oupassover.org.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Social Media Widget for Food & Wine Pairing 3.0

Food & Drink Pairing Goes 3.0 at NatalieMacLean.com

New Drinks Matcher Widget Offers Thousands of Pairings Online

New York, March 10, 2009 - Which wine tastes best with pork chops in a maple glaze? Does rosemary-marinated grilled halibut invite red or white wine? Are there also great food pairings for beer, spirits, cocktails, coffee and tea?

To answer these questions and thousands more, the web site NatalieMacLean.com now offers a new Drinks Matcher widget, a portable version of the site's existing food-and-wine pairing tool. You can download the free Drinks Matcher widget in just three clicks to your computer desktop, web site, blog or social media page like Facebook, MySpace or iGoogle from www.nataliemaclean.com/matcher.

"The variety of food-and-drink combinations has exploded in the last five years," says Natalie MacLean, publisher of North America's largest wine e-newsletter. "Chicken isn't just chicken anymore: Now we eat it stuffed with pancetta and fresh herbs, rubbed with curry spices or sautéed in an orange balsamic sauce. We're looking for more interesting flavors, both on the plate and in the glass-and we want them to work together."

During the eight years that Natalie spent testing the combinations for her Drinks Matcher, she found two extremes when it comes to food and wine pairing: "Some people say that it's complete nonsense, while others insist that there's only one perfect match for every wine. Neither approach helps wine lovers."

"People want some guidance, even though the pairings are subjective. It all comes down to balancing flavors and textures. I'm a thoroughly hedonistic researcher. Of the thousands of combinations I tried, some were delicious, others were a disaster. I share the ones that worked in the Drinks Matcher."

You can search the matcher for drinks to pair with meat, pasta, seafood, vegetarian dishes, pizza, take-out, sauces, herbs, cheese or dessert; or you can find dishes to go with wine, cocktails, liqueurs, beer, spirits, cider, coffee, tea-and yes, even water. The Drinks Matcher is meant to be a springboard to help you discover the matches you prefer. The perfect pairing, of course, is between you and the wine you like.

Who will use the Drinks Matcher?

- Food and wine lovers can use it as a handy desktop tool to plan dinners and parties
- Bloggers and wine clubs can add it to their sites to keep visitors coming back for pairing suggestions
- Liquor and gourmet stores, wineries, restaurants and culinary schools can use it to help customers, staff and students

Get the Drinks Matcher:

- Post the Drinks Matcher widget in just 3 clicks: http://www.nataliemaclean.com/matcher
- Two compact sizes to fit any computer desktop, site, blog or social media page
- Mobile format for Blackberries, iPhones and SmartPhones works in liquor stores or restaurants

What can the Drinks Matcher do for me?

The Drinks Matcher will help you discover mouth-watering pairings, like these that Natalie selected for her Top 10 comfort foods:

1. French onion soup with Chilean Chardonnay
2. Irish lamb stew with Irish Stout
3. Spaghetti and meat balls with a Bloody Mary
4. Roast chicken with Burgundian Pinot Noir
5. Shepherd's pie with Australian Shiraz
6. Macaroni and cheese with Argentinian Malbec
7. Roast beef with Californian Cabernet Sauvignon
8. Pork chops and applesauce with Washington Late Harvest Riesling
9. Toffee pudding with Colombian Dark Roast Coffee
10. Chocolate cake with Kentucky Bourbon

You'll also find Natalie's favorite green food and wine matches for spring and summer vegetables on her web site: http://www.nataliemaclean.com/view.asp?id=246. When you visit the site, check out the other handy online tools she offers:

- Free e-newsletter, recipes, blog, wine glossary, podcasts, articles, wine links, events, Twitter updates, RSS feeds
- More than 50,000 wine reviews searchable by price, score, cellar maturity, food matches and recipes

About Natalie:

Natalie MacLean is an independent journalist and author of the bestseller Red, White and Drunk All Over. For Google searches on popular terms like "food and wine matching," Natalie's site is often on the first page of the results as it has become a go-to resource for food and wine lovers. Natalie has won four James Beard Journalism Awards, including the MFK Fisher Distinguished Writing Award. At the World Food Media Awards in Australia, she was named the World's Best Drinks Writer.

Rex Pickett, author of Sideways, says that Natalie "writes about wine with a sensuous obsession," and is "laugh-out-loud funny." Eric Asimov of the New York Times calls Natalie's approach "a winning formula," describing her as "the disarming Everywoman . . . she loves wine, loves drinking." The Financial Times of London observes: "Natalie MacLean is a new force in the wine writing world-a feisty North American answer to Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson."

Monday, March 9, 2009

So Long, Winter - A Toast to Spring!

Each year as nature shakes off the heavy cloak of winter, lighter cocktails make a re-appearance inside the home and at the bar, heralding the arrival of spring and the rapid approach of the summer season. When diners can again consider whether they’d like to eat indoors or “al fresco,” friends take brunch out on the patio again and weather permitting, an early evening cocktail hour and dinner can be hosted in the backyard.

Campari, the colorful one-of-a-kind Italian spirit, can be mixed into a variety of classic and contemporary cocktails and served as the ideal accessory for a range of seasonal occasions. This spring, consider experimenting with this unique ingredient, a spirit that has had the same secret recipe since its creation almost 150 years ago. The versatility of this blend of herbs, spices and fruit peels makes Campari a distinctive complement to many spring cocktailing moments, from an Easter celebration to a Mother’s Day luncheon.

Experience the passion of mixologist Manny Hinojosa, who won last year’s Shake It Up: The Battle of the Mixologists competition in Las Vegas with a Campari cocktail. Hinojosa created the Cielo Rosso at the Walnut Creek Yacht Club in San Francisco’s Bay Area, a cocktail which makes a terrific addition to a spring lunch. If you’re a bit more advanced in your bartending abilities, shake up bartender Pete Vasconcellos’ Vermiglio, originally served at Mia Dona in New York.

As April showers awaken deep-buried bulbs to yield May flowers, let the Cielo Rosso and Vermiglio cocktails awaken your senses.

Recession Proof Recipes: New Online Resource for Healthy Meals that Save Cents

It is no secret that supermarket spending has been impacted by the recession. Whether you live in a small town or big city, all consumers are seeking solutions to cut corners. Today, the Idaho Potato Commission (IPC) launches “Watching Waistlines and Wallets” (www.idahopotato.com/waistlines_wallets), a web-based resource designed to help cost-conscious shoppers cook-up meals that bank on flavor while saving cents. No longer will Americans have to compromise their palates or pocketbooks to serve up satisfying meals!

“Watching Waistlines and Wallets” features a repertoire of recession-proof and nutritious recipes all for less than an estimated $3.50 per serving. Enjoy healthy, home-cooked meals without having to do the math. This carefully selected inventory of tried and true Idaho® potato recipes showcases convenient meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner that are great tasting and use commonly stocked pantry items. A sampling of recipes and their approximate cost include:
§ Breakfast: Fruity Idaho® Potato Breakfast Squares – $1.10 per serving
§ Lunch: Idaho Potato Crusted Pizza – $1.50 per serving
§ Dinner: Hearty and Heart Healthy Idaho Potato Soup/Stew -- $2.00 per serving
§ Side Dish: Low-Fat Idaho Potato Gratin -- $1.00 per serving

“While trying to maximize our meal-planning budgets it has become increasingly important to understand the nutritional ROI (return on investment) of every meal,” says Frank Muir, President/CEO, IPC. “When it comes down to it, cost and convenience usually are considered more often than flavor or healthfulness. We’ve packaged all four of these factors into ‘Watching Waistlines and Wallets’ and are excited to share this valuable, user-friendly resource with consumers.”

Each recipe begins with nutritious Idaho® potatoes as the building block. In fact, one 5.3 oz spud is only 110 calories, contains zero fat and cholesterol, and is packed with nutrients including 45% daily value of vitamin C, nearly two times as much potassium as a banana, fiber, protein, vitamin B6 and complex carbohydrates. At about 25 cents per potato, that’s a lot of nutritional bang for your buck -- and even better, your quarter!

Next, add the convenience factor. Whether you’re running after kids or running a business, all recipes feature simple instructions and commonly stocked pantry items. With an assortment of recipes and variety of preparation techniques, you will be amazed at the endless options for Idaho® potato preparations.

For the complete database of “Watching Wallets and Waistlines” recipes, including eye-catching photographs and important nutrition information, please visit www.idahopotato.com/waistlines_wallets.

The Idaho Potato Commission is a state agency that is primarily responsible for expanding the markets for Idaho grown potatoes through advertising, promotion and research. The Commission also protects the use of the “Idaho® potato” and “Grown in Idaho®” seals, which are federally registered Certification Marks that belong to the IPC. These Marks ensure that consumers are purchasing potatoes that have been grown in the state of Idaho.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

A Top Chef's Contest Promotes Selfless Acts of Kindness

With the U.S. unemployment rate currently hovering around 8% and climbing, more people are anxious and depressed. According to a study released this week by the National Sleep Foundation, one third of Americans are losing sleep over the state of the economy.

But what about the people who are turning tough times into opportunities for personal growth? What about the people who are looking at the recession as a chance to connect with their communities and help other people in need? "Tough times also have a way of bringing out the best in people," says award-winning chef Clive Berkman.

To help struggling families, Berkman is offering his services as a private chef for one week to the grand prize winner of the "Create Your Own Empty Bottle Moment Contest." "Full bottles speak of possibilities," say
s Berkman. "But empty bottles tell the great stories. How are you impacting other peoples' lives? Did you take your layoff and make it something greatÑa chance to make the major life shift you always wanted to make but were secretly scared?"

In addition to the grand prize winner, the top 25 entries will receive a free copy of Creating Empty Bottle Moments: Cooking with Clive, which will help them create savory meals for less. The contest is open to all residents in the 50 U.S. states, 18 years and older.

The "Create Your Own Empty Bottle Moment Contest" begins March 15, 2009. To enter, fill out the online entry form at www.CookingWithClive.com. Winners will be announced Memorial Day Weekend, May 2009.

In his new book, Creating Empty Bottle Moments: Cooking with Clive (March 2009, ISBN 978-1-888237-71-9, $30.00, Baxter Press), Berkman shares the empty bottle moments of his guests at one of the finest restaurants in Houston, including the presidential announcement of George H.W.
Bush and cooking steaks for Van Halen. The book also contains menus with recipes from some of Berkman's most memorable meals.

A native of Johannesburg, South Africa, Berkman began his culinary career in the South African Army as a kosher chef. He attended chef training at Cassio College in London. He is best known as the chef, manager, and part owner of Charley's 517 in Houston. Under his guidance, the restaurant achieved many accolades, including The DiRoNa Award and Travel and Holiday magazine's Dining Award. It was one of only three restaurants in Texas to win Wine Spectator magazine's Grand Award. Berkman lives in Houston.

Creating Empty Bottle Moments: Cooking with Clive by Clive Berkman (March 2009, ISBN 978-1-888237-71-9, $30.00, Baxter Press)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Lost Continent Double IPA will be the first release of Grand Teton Brewing’s bi-annual seasonal beers

Grand Teton Brewing Company, known throughout the West for their exceptional microbrews, will begin shipping Lost Continent Double IPA mid-April as the first of their two seasonal beers. Lost Continent will be available from May through the end of September. From October 1st through the end of March, Grand Teton Brewing will be offering Black Cauldron Imperial Stout. Both brews will be available in uniquely designed 4-packs (12oz bottles) and in ½-Bbl kegs.

Lost Continent Double IPA has an astonishing three pounds of hops per barrel in the kettle and another pound per barrel of “dry-hops” added after fermentation, bringing this beer to 90+ IBUs. Starting with an original gravity of 22˚ Plato (1.088 SG), this is a full-bodied beer weighing in at 8.0% ABV. The hops provide citrusy, resinous spiciness, making this beer a great match for any bold food. Try it with prime rib, Cajun blackened pork or chicken, Thai, Indian or Vietnamese cuisine.

Grand Teton Brewing updated the name and image of their Double IPA to reflect the history of IPAs. The image on the bottle and 4-pack depicts an old nautical map, compass rose and fictitious “Lost Continent”. (Feel free to browse the map of the Lost Continent on the website www.grandtetonbrewing.com .) The bottle’s label is adorned with metallic gold trim and its top is wrapped with gold foil.

India Pale Ales were originally brewed to quench the thirst of the British who occupied India in the 1700s. The higher gravity, heavily hopped ales could survive the long, arduous voyage (across the equator twice) through tropical waters where lighter, sweeter ales would spoil and sour. These IPAs soon became the choice beer for adventurers who had the curiosity to see what was over the horizon. As explorers raced to discover uncharted corners of the globe, many considered it necessary to bring IPAs with them.

We encourage you to keep exploring and looking for your own Lost Continent. As you venture out into the unknown, make sure to pack a beer that will survive the journey.

Both the Lost Continent and Black Cauldron beers were born from the renowned Cellar Reserve Program. Over the last 6 years, these have been the most popular of the Cellar Reserves, with numerous requests from bars, retail stores and fans. Both beers are high gravity and bottle and keg-conditioned. Conditioning creates a smooth, creamy head, fine layer of yeast at the bottom and exceptionally long shelf life. For simplicity of shelf placing and register sales, both 4-packs will have the same UPC.

Be on the lookout for Black Cauldron Imperial Stout coming this October. For information on either brew or the seasonal program, call the brewery at 1-888-899-1656 or contact your local Grand Teton Brewing distributor.

Grand Teton Brewing Company was founded in 1988 as the first modern “micro” brewery in the state of Wyoming. Today, founder Charlie Otto and his company are in the top 100 craft breweries in North America. Premium microbrews include the 2X gold-medal-winning Bitch Creek ESB, Sweetgrass IPA, Workhorse Wheat and the favorites of the Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, Old Faithful Ale (pale golden), Au Naturale (organic blonde ale) and Teton Ale (amber). From their production facility in Victor, Idaho, Grand Teton Brewing Company beers are hand-crafted from only the finest ingredients, including locally-grown grains and pure Teton mountain spring water. GTBC is a green company utilizing bio-diesel and feeding local farmer’s cattle with spent grain from the brew kettle. Discriminating beer drinkers can find their favorite GTBC brews on tap and in bottles throughout Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Utah, California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Wisconsin, Arizona, Kansas, New York and Missouri.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Redesigning of Top Chef's, Fabio Viviani's Website

Newly designed restaurant
website will be fully featured and reflect popular chef's culinary
style. Digital Imagination today announced the redesigning of Top
Chef's, Fabio Viviani's website. The dramatically updated site will
be accessible at the below website in early March 2009:


"Ventura County's own Top Chef, Fabio Viviani may be a household name,
but his current website isn't doing much to resonate with his newly
acquired fan base," explained Kiffen Taylor, Co-founder and CEO of
Digital Imagination. "Creating a website that's not only media rich,
but also leverages off of Viviani's current fame is what we see as our
biggest priorities. The restaurant's site is an extension of Fabio,
and should reflect that.

Fabio Viviani is the Co-Owner and Executive Chef of Cafe Firenze
Italian Restaurant and Martini Bar, one of the most recognized
restaurants in Ventura County. Born and raised in Florence, Italy, he
has traveled across Europe and is trained in classic Italian and
Mediterranean cuisine. Viviani incorporates Italian, French and
Spanish influences in his dishes and believes that cooking is a craft.

Mr. Viviani is currently working on opening the Firenze4Kids
Foundation, which will emphasize the promotion of health and wellness
for kids through good nutrition and will also launch
kidshealthcafe.com, the largest informative resource library available
online, designed to enhance a healthy and safe lifestyle for children.
Additionally, Fabio also works as William Shatner's private chef.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The most buzzed about Grill cleaning gadget introduces a new addition!

resh off a successful first year, The Grill Daddy and Grill Daddy Pro, the highly publicized (and much talked about) tools go from a “does it really work infomercial product..” to the most raved about Grill cleaning tools on the market! The first grill cleaning tool of its kind, perfectly sleek and ultra lightweight, eco-friendly and made to last, The Grill Daddy and Grill Daddy Pro are specifically designed to thoroughly, quickly, and easily clean any barbeque grill with the power of steam no matter what the mess! Now… with grilling more popular than ever and with the overwhelming popularity of today’s cooking shows, nuvo kitchen gadgets, ultra modern cooking utensils and designer appliances are the “must have” home items and the Grill Daddy Brush Co. steps up and introduces the Grill Daddy Platinum, the ultra luxe edition for the most discerning griller.
Available in three convenient styles, the smaller travel size Grill Daddy, larger master cleaner the Grill Daddy Pro and the new designer Grill Daddy Platinum, are the ultimate must haves for BBQ aficionados, Entertaining enthusiasts, Sport fanatics, Calorie Cutters, Health conscious, Picnic buffs and Gourmet Grill lovers everywhere!
Grill Daddy: The quintessential tool for camping in the woods, beachside bonfire, tailgating or a summer evening barbeque with friends. At 14 inches long, the Grill Daddy is designed for smaller, compact travel grills, great for tailgating, and retails for $19.99.
Grill Daddy Pro: Is the ultimate dream cleaner for the BBQ competitor, serious Chef and/or the ultimate griller. The Grill Daddy Pro is both easy to use and affordable at $24.99 and is great for cleaning large grills; it is perfect for today's hottest restaurants or for a large backyard barbeque party.

Grill Daddy Platinum:: For the discerning chef and design devotee. Crafted from timeless metal alloy, the new sleek design of the mid-sized Grill Daddy enjoys all the features and benefits of the original Grill Daddy and is available for $49.99. It’s the ultimate grilling tool that combines performance and luxurious design. Great gift item for housewarming, bridal shower, and father’s day, etc.

Not only is Grill Daddy the best Grill cleaning tool on the market with its no battery/energy saving ability to produce steam that literally melts the grease away but the Grill Daddy is Eco- Friendly too as it only uses water to clean (no harsh chemicals) and it's made with FDA approved materials so no lead or toxins. It sterilizes as it cleans and conveniently stores on hanging hooks along with other grill utensils, helping to make life just a little more organized! Specially designed for convenience and safety in mind, the Grill Daddy handles keeps hands away from heat and provides maximum leverage while the heavy duty stainless steel bristles break up caked on food without harming porcelain covered grill grates. By liquefying the grease, it helps to decrease future grease build up in the brush and cleans grills down to the original surface restoring sear marks for grilling perfection. Dishwasher safe, the brushes easily detach to make brush clean-up a cinch!

The Grill Daddy and Grill Daddy Pro can be found at retailers such as Home Depot, Wal Mart, Ace and True Value Hardware Stores while the Grill Daddy Platinum is currently available by special order. Detachable replacement brushes are available online www.buygrilldaddy.com.