Monday, December 28, 2009

Mynt Martini Opens Today

Located directly on Fountain Square
in the heart of downtown Cincinnati, Mynt Martini boasts the "best
location in Cincinnati" according to owner Chico Garcia.

Mynt Martini will feature 3,800 square feet of interior space and
another 1,200 square feet outside on the patio that includes sweeping
views of the Westin Cincinnati, Tyler Davidson Fountain, and Fountain
Square's giant videoboard atop Macy's. The lounge can hold up to 400

Mynt will have high-quality entertainment options including the best
DJs, live music, bartending shows, and comedians entertaining guests
on our full-size stage located behind one of three interior bars.

"We feature Las Vegas-style martinis, high-quality service, and will
be known for creating the party and not waiting for it to happen,"
said Garcia. "This will be very evident on New Year's Eve because
we're going to make sure everything is high-quality and that everyone
is taken care of...we're not trying to pack as many people in as

Following the grand opening onTuesday December 29th, Mynt Martini’s
hours of operation will be from 4pm to 2:30am with serving of light
fare until 11pm, including oysters, feta stuffed tomatoes, yogurt and
berries, and a special Mynt Fruit Salsa with pineapple, mango,
jalapeno, mint, cilantro and lime. Mynt will be open for lunch in
early February.

"Everything on the menu is very healthy," said Garcia who also
mentioned that Mynt will be serving "very aggressive" salads and soups
which seem to be lacking in the market. Food prices will range from $8
to $12 and will also be available during happy hour specials.

The most unique item on the menu is thought to be the Myntini which
includes 2oz of VOX Vodka, .5oz of Finest Call Mojito Mix, 1oz Finest
Call Sour, and three secret ingredients. Mynt's Las Vegas-style
martinis will cost between $9 and $12.

Mynt Martini will have a five-hour happy hour special 7 days a week
from 4pm to 9pm that includes $5 martinis and $5 menu items. There
will also be special offers for followers of Mynt Martini's Twitter
and Facebook accounts, including three to four special events
throughout the year.

"Everyone that has seen the concept so far has absolutely loved it,"
said Garcia. "On top of it all we're at one of the most beautiful
locations in the city; we're not near Fountain Square...we're
literally right on it."

Join us today at 4PM for the ribbon cutting ceremony of Mynt Martini
and the start of our new Happy Hour!

Monday, December 21, 2009

White Castle Celebrates Web site Launch with Coupons for Free Slider

Cincinnati White Castle, Home of the Slider and America’s first fast hamburger chain is offering a coupon for a FREE slider with any purchase now through Dec. 31. This offer is in celebration of White Castle’s newly launched Web site featuring user generated content from fans everywhere. You can find the coupon here:

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Mardi Gras Cocktails Worth Their Weight in Beads

Embraced as a day to indulge without abandon, Mardi Gras or “Fat Tuesday” has long been known for inspiring great celebrations around the world. Providing no better reason to hit the bars or plan your own carnival-themed bash at home on a Tuesday night, Mardi Gras is a party not to be missed!

Purple and green beads, flashy sequined masks, and bright costumes are only part of the experience; no Mardi Gras is complete without delicious and colorful cocktails. Embracing old cocktail favorites like the “Red Rooster” and introducing new ones using southern classics like sweet tea, SKYY is ready to celebrate this decadent holiday in style with cocktails featuring its new all natural SKYY Infusions. Infused with succulent real fruit, sweet and vibrant, the line of SKYY Infusions vodkas is an easy way to ensure your home bar is stocked and Mardi Gras-ready.

Whether your ideal celebration of debauchery is Bourbon Street, Rio, Sydney or your own backyard, the cocktails below will have you screaming, “Laissez les bon temps roulez,” or if you don't speak French, "Let the good times roll!"

NOTE: Were lucky enough to be able to try some of the SKYY infusions and serve them at a party. Incredibly well received. You can't go wrong.

Mardi Grape
2 oz. SKYY Infusions Grape
2 oz. Grapefruit Juice
2 oz. Grape Juice
0.5 oz. Club Soda

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a Collins glass with fresh ice. Garnish with green and red grapes on a toothpick.

Southern Belle
2 oz. SKYY Infusions Pineapple
0.5 oz. Dark Rum
1 oz. Coconut Rum
1 oz. Gin
1 oz. Raspberry Liqueur
1 oz. Triple Sec
3 oz. Orange Juice

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a hurricane glass with ice. Garnish with cocktail umbrella and straw.

Beaded Lady
1 oz. SKYY Infusions Passion Fruit
0.5 oz Gin
0.5 oz Triple Sec
0.5 oz Lime Juice
2 oz. Pineapple Juice
Dash of Bitters
Soda water

Combine all the ingredients (except the bitters and soda) in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into iced tall pilsner glass. Top with soda & bitters. Garnish with pineapple star.

Red Rooster
1.5 oz. SKYY Infusions Raspberry
2 oz. Cranberry Juice
0.5 oz. Orange Juice

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into rocks glass with fresh ice. Garnish with cherry and orange slice.

Fat Tuesday Iced Tea
2 oz. SKYY Infusions Citrus
1 oz. Lemonade
3 oz. Sweet Iced Tea

Combine all ingredients over ice in a highball glass. Garnish with a lemon wedge.

Naturally Pomegranate

AgroLabs liquid Nutrition company's' Naturally Pomegranate is an antioxidant-packed superfruit supplement that has been improved as preservative-free with state-of-the-art, environmentally-friendly packaging. One ounce of AgroLabs Naturally Pomegranate has the antioxidant equivalent of eating 15 whole pomegranates.

Naturally Pomegranate antioxidants help you neutralize free radicals that may damage cells, antioxidants also play an important support role in cardiovascular health and the Naturally Pomegranate juice can help boost your antioxidant defenses.

Additionally, Naturally Pomegranate is an organic product that can be used in the kitchen to perfect your culinary skills. It can be integrated into many marinade, dressing and glaze recipes to provide and an exotic flavor to traditional chicken, beef, tofu or fish entrees.

AgroLabs products are distributed nationwide through major mass market, grocery, drug and vitamin retailers - including Costco. AgroLabs products are also available for purchase online. Additional information on AgroLabs and its products can be obtained from its website at or by calling (972) 471-2140. Naturally Pomegranate starts at $14.49 for the 16 fl oz and $17.99 for the 32 fl oz.


1/3 cup chopped shallots
½ - 1 jalapeno pepper (to preference), seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup Naturally Pomegranate(tm)
½ cup catsup
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 ½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon cayenne

In a small saucepan, sauté the shallots and jalapeno in olive oil over medium heat until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the blueberries, Naturally Pomegranate(tm), catsup, vinegar, brown sugar, mustard and cayenne and stir to combine. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring often. Puree the sauce in a blender or food processor until smooth. Season to taste with salt. Strain through a fine mesh strainer, using a rubber spatula to push as much sauce as possible through the mesh. Return the sauce to clean small saucepan to quickly reheat just before serving.

Calories: 101, Protein: 1g, Fat: 5g, Sat. Fat: 0.5g, Choles: 0mg, Dietary Fiber: 1g

Makes 2.5 cups (10 servings)


1/4 cup Naturally Pomegranate(tm)
5 tablespoons pure maple syrup
4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon finely minced ginger
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1 medium apple, peeled, cored, seeded and diced
1 tablespoon butter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Whisk the Naturally Pomegranate(tm), maple syrup, vinegar, soy sauce, Dijon mustard ginger and cayenne in small bowl to blend. Transfer to a small saucepan, stir in the apple and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook until the apple is very soft and the sauce is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the butter and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Calories: 124, Protein: 1g, Fat: 3.5g, Sat. Fat: 2g, Choles: 87mg, Dietary Fiber: 1g

Makes 4 servings


1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup Naturally Pomegranate(tm)
1 tablespoon low-fat mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon canola oil

Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Add canola oil and whisk to blend. Season with salt to taste.

Calories: 52, Protein: 0g, Fat: 4g, Sat. Fat: 0g, Choles: 0mg, Dietary Fiber: 0g

Makes 4 servings

New Wakame from Navitas Naturals - A Nutritious & Tasty Sea Vegetable

Navitas Naturals, the organic foods company that is best known for its array of superfruits sustainably harvested from the land, is venturing into the sea with the announcement of new Organic Wakame Flakes. Wakame has been cherished in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean traditional cuisine and medicine for many centuries and now Navitas Naturals is bringing this ancient food to North America.

Sustainably harvested in the pristine ocean waters off Tasmania and Patagonia, Navitas Naturals Organic Wakame is a highly nutritious food. This leafy sea vegetable is naturally packed with a wide range of essential vitamins and minerals including potassium, iron, calcium, iodine and magnesium. Wakame is also high in antioxidants, and a good source of both soluble and insoluble fiber. The flakes have a salty flavor and slippery crunch that adds an exotic addition to soups, salads, and Asian-inspired dishes. A delicious recipe for Wakame Stir-Fry is below, and many more can be found at www.navitasnatuyrals/recipes.

Offered in a 2-ounce resealable pouch for an SRP of $5.99, Organic Wakame Flakes are wild-grown, certified organic, kosher, vegan, and raw. These and other Navitas Naturals products can be found at a variety of stores throughout the U.S. and Canada including Whole Foods Markets, and online at and In addition to Wakame, Navitas Naturals offers a wide variety of organic superfoods including stevia, raw cacao, virgin coconut oil, mesquite, lucuma, acai, yacon, mulberries, maca, camu camu, goldenberries, pomegranate, chia, flax, goji berries, hemp seeds and raw cashews.

The mission of Navitas Naturals is to provide premium organic power foods that increase energy and enhance health. Navitas Naturals products are of the highest quality, are sourced directly from farmers, and are cultivated sustainably and in accordance with fair trade practices. “We look to the past for inspiration,” says Zach Adelman, founder and President of Navitas Naturals. “Our products come from ancient cultures around the world where they are traditionally used for both culinary and medicinal purposes.” For more information, please visit

Wakame Stir-Fry

2¼ cups vegetable broth
1 cup brown rice
1 Tbsp sesame oil (or olive oil)
¼ cup yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp soy sauce
1 cup baked tofu, chopped into cubes
1½ Tbsp Navitas Naturals Wakame Flakes

To make the rice, bring the vegetable broth to a boil in a medium-sized pot. Add in the rice, cover pot, and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until rice is tender, about 45 minutes. Soak wakame in 2 cups of room temperature water for 5 minutes, then drain water. Set aside. Warm sesame oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until onions become slightly translucent – about 5 minutes. Stir in the rice, soy sauce and tofu. Cook for 2-3 minutes longer, or until all ingredients are heated through. Remove from heat and fold in the wakame. Add additional soy sauce if desired. Serves 4.

Healthy Holiday Dessert Recipes, Eating Advice from Cancer Education Center

With the holiday season upon us, and its emphasis on parties and food, the Center for Advancement in Cancer Education ( urges informed moderation. The not-for-profit organization specializes in dietary guidance for cancer prevention, prevention of recurrence, and support during or after treatment.

"Food is everywhere, and we all tend to eat too much during the holidays. Desserts are probably the hardest to resist, and are a big source of Christmas weight gain. Careful attention to the holiday dessert-binging tendency can actually help lower our risk for cancer, because obesity and sugar intake are both tightly linked to the disease," says Susan Silberstein, PhD, Executive Director of the Center for Advancement in Cancer Education.

According to a report released last month by the American Institute for Cancer Research, more than 100,000 cases of cancer each year are caused by excess body fat. Obesity is a known cause of cancers of the endometrium, esophagus, pancreas, kidney, breast, and colon. Obesity also negatively affects survival and can make treatment more difficult. (CNN Medical News Nov. 5, 2009: (

"Obesity is only one problem caused by holiday over-indulgence. A second specific concern is ingestion of sweets, which can suppress immune function and actually feed cancer," adds Silberstein.

Cancer cells use a lot more glucose than normal cells. Researchers at Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah have uncovered new information on the mechanism by which sugar "feeds" tumors. The research is published in the journal "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences." ("Science Daily," Aug. 18, 2009.)

For these reasons, many health-conscious people feel they have to either "cheat big-time" and pay later, or deprive themselves and their guests of the indulgent joys of holiday desserts.

"Not so!" emphasizes Silberstein, who also authored the recipe book "Hungry for Health." "Don't worry. You can have your proverbial cake and eat it too," she elaborates.

The following simple, guilt-free, healthful dessert recipes are excerpted from Silberstein's "Hungry for Health" (

1/4 C flaxseeds, ground
1/4 C unsweetened carob powder, sifted
1/3 C walnuts, finely chopped
1/3 C raw almond butter
1/3 C honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
small bowl of unsweetened shredded coconut

Process all ingredients until mixture forms a dense ball. Remove from processor and roll small portions between palms of hands to form one inch balls. Roll in coconut to coat. Place on serving platter and refrigerate.
Yield: About 18 truffles

18 Deglet Noor dates, pitted
1 C almond butter
1/2 C shredded unsweetened coconut
18 pecan halves (optional)

Fill dates generously with nut butter. Roll top of date in coconut. Press a pecan half into top of each date, if desired.
Yield: 18 pieces

1 1/2 C raw almonds
1 1/2 C raw cashews
1 T flaxseeds, finely ground
1/4 C sesame tahini
3/4 C honey
1 T vanilla extract
3/4 tsp. sea salt
1 1/2 C unsweetened coconut

Place almonds and cashews in food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add flax, honey, tahini, vanilla, coconut and salt and pulse a few times more. Press firmly into 9 by 5 by 1 inch brownie pan and refrigerate several hours. Cut into small squares and store in airtight container in refrigerator. Remove just before serving.
Yield: About 24 pieces

For more information about "Hungry for Health," or about the scientific data linking diet to cancer prevention and control, contact the Center for Advancement in Cancer Education at 888-551-2223, or visit and .

Food and Beverage In 2010

The recession hasn’t significantly dampened consumers’ interest in nutrition, and we’ll continue to see evidence of this trend—more detailed nutrition labeling, marketers touting new varieties of antioxidant-rich foods (black garlic, exotic berries), more “all natural” options (like the sweetener stevia) and even organic fast food. We’ll also see more evidence of the green trend affecting the food industry, with growing consumer awareness of how food choices affect the environment and more green packaging on supermarket shelves. The rise in DIY is also in evidence here, with more people fermenting their own foods and gleaning their own fruit.

Bacon Everywhere
The humble BLT is getting upstaged: Bacon is being spotted in everything from cocktails (made with bacon-infused liquor or the new Bakon Vodka) to desserts, including bacon-and-egg ice cream at the famous Fat Duck in the U.K., a bacon chocolate bar from Vosges Haut-Chocolat and Lollyphile’s maple-bacon lollipop.

Black Garlic
Developed in South Korea, this chewy, savory-sweet fermented garlic boasts twice the antioxidants as regular garlic and doesn’t cause bad breath. It’s cropping up in gourmet restaurants and upscale food markets, and on the Food Channel.

Coconut Water
As spring water sales continue to cool, beverage marketers are looking for the next big thing. Sales of coconut water—which is low in calories and high in potassium—have doubled this year to roughly $20 million, according to Beverage Marketing Corp. In September, Coca-Cola bought a minority stake in coconut water brand Zico.

The Devil Wears Packaging
One of JWT’s 10 Trends for 2010. As the eco spotlight focuses on the environmental costs of packaging, brands will increasingly switch to bottles, boxes and other solutions that reduce, reuse, recycle, remove and renew. Example: Kenco Coffee in the U.K. recently launched Eco Refills, which it says use 97 percent less packaging than its glass jars.

Exotic Berry Flavors
Watch for several varieties of hitherto unheard-of antioxidant-rich berries—among them aronia, yumberry and maqui berry—to become the next acai berry: the must-eat superfood that pops up in everything from juices and teas to cereal and energy bars.

This age-old, inexpensive process of preserving vegetables is coming back into fashion. Cleaner and safer than canning, the process also produces the healthful bacteria known as probiotics. Root vegetables, cabbage and fruits are all well-suited for fermentation.

Greening the Palate
People will become increasingly aware of the impact their food choices make on the environment, well beyond local sourcing issues. Some foods (notably red meat) have a much bigger carbon footprint than others; some choices are better in terms of water consumption; and foods with palm oil are being linked to rainforest destruction. In Sweden, which is formulating dietary guidelines that take emissions into account, some restaurants and food manufacturers are already listing emissions information.

Maximum Disclosure
One of JWT’s 10 Trends for 2010. While manufacturers and retailers have become increasingly transparent in recent years, legal requirements and competitive pressures will force fuller disclosure about everything from ingredients and calorie counts to carbon footprints and sourcing. Example: In September, California became the first state to mandate calorie disclosure for restaurant chains.

Watch for a backlash from government authorities and experts against the proliferation of health and nutrition claims from food and beverage brands. Much as “greenwashing” has made consumers skeptical about brands’ environmental claims, shoppers will increasingly take health messaging with a grain of salt.

Organic Fast Food
Organic is the new hook in quick-service eateries, with chains such as Organic to Go, Naked Pizza and O!Burger popping up around the U.S. The wave is hitting Europe too. Look for more chains in more regions.

Return of the Pacific Sardine
Whether grilled or pan-roasted, the humble sardine, once again plentiful in Monterey Bay, is popping up on menus across the U.S.—and being hailed for both its environmental and nutritional credentials (sardines are low in mercury and high in omega-3 fatty acids). And for today’s cost-conscious diners, they’re also a bargain.

Slow Beverages
There’s “slow food,” and now there are slow-down beverages—anti-Red Bulls. Brands including Slow Cow, Drank, Jones GABA, Mary Jane’s Relaxing Soda and OmegaChill are fortified with ingredients such as chamomile, melatonin and valerian root that purportedly promote calming; some take on the energy-drink category directly by claiming to also boost mental focus and concentration.

A year after the U.S. FDA approved this no-calorie herbal sweetener for use in food and beverages, an array of stevia-sweetened products touting “all natural” claims are on their way to market. Although manufacturers are still working out taste issues. Mintel expects stevia sales to jump from $21 million in 2008 to upward of $2 billion by the end of 2011.

Urban Fruit Gleaning
Mix the traditional practice of collecting leftovers from farmers’ fields with social networking and you’ve got urban fruit gleaning. Web sites in the U.S., U.K. and Canada encourage produce proponents to post about fruit trees in public areas that can be harvested and surplus goods from home gardens, and connect people who want to swap too many tomatoes for a bumper crop of apples.

The Wine-Tail
Sangria is old news: Mixing wine with juices, hard spirits and soda is going in new directions as mixologists create various “wine-tails.” These cocktails come without the high alcohol content.

Chase Away Winter Chills with a Warm Bowl of Homemade Soup

When it’s cold outside nothing warms us up faster than a bowl of soup. And if it’s homemade, that makes it even better. Today it is possible to create a soup to suit every mood and menu… from delicate broths and steaming purées, to stews that warm you to the bone and chowders as fresh as a seaside morning. Whether it’s hot or cold, the first course, or the centerpiece of a meal, soup has the power to soothe the soul.

World-renowned culinary college, The Culinary Institute of America, has updated one of their most popular cookbooks to create The New Book of Soups (Lebhar-Friedman; December 2009; Hardcover/$35.00; ISBN: 0-86730-860-0), with all the recipes and techniques from their original Book of Soups, but with more recipes, techniques and new color photographs. The New Book of Soups is filled with over 160 new and improved, delicious soup recipes created by the chefs at The CIA.

Like its predecessor, The New Book of Soups is the home cook’s ultimate guide for preparing appetizing soups and stews for any occasion, any time of the year. This expanded edition features an incredible array of recipes as well as illustrated step-by-step instructions and techniques that explain the basics of soup making. Helpful guidelines are included in every chapter of the book for topics such as creating Broths, Hearty Soups, Stews, Cream Soups, Puréed Soups, Bisques and Chowders, and Cold Soups. There is even a chapter on Accompaniments to add that perfect touch to any soup recipe.

Recipes in the book come from a number of different traditions and cultures, providing the home cook with an array of flavors from around the world, along with time-honored favorites. Recipes include:
• Stracciatella
• Thai Hot and Sour Soup
• Fisherman’s Soup
• Tunisian Vegetable and Bean Soup
• Vietnamese Water Spinach and Beef Soup
• Shrimp and Chicken Jambalaya
• Lamb Khorma
• Potage Au Pistou (Vegetable Soup with Garlic and Basil)
• Apple Soup
• Curried Eggplant and Lentil Soup
• New England Clam Chowder
• Italian-Style Summer Vegetable Stew
• Oxtail Stew in Red Wine
• Fresh Spring Pea Purée with Mint
• Gazpacho
• Chilled Infusion of Fresh Vegetables with Fava Beans.

A warm, delicious bowl of soup gives us the simultaneous experience of aroma, taste, texture, and temperature, all in one spoonful. Soup recipes can be easily adjusted to meet the needs of the moment or any dietary restriction. These soup recipes can be put together easily for a quick weeknight meal, doubled to accommodate a large party, and freeze beautifully to be stored and used for another day.

With its thorough approach to soup-making techniques, breadth of recipes, and beautiful color photography, The New Book of Soups is an indispensable addition to any home cook’s library.


Founded in 1946, THE CULINARY INSTITUTE OF AMERICA (CIA) is an independent, not-for-profit college offering bachelor’s and associate degrees in culinary arts and baking and pastry arts. Courses for foodservice professionals are offered at the college’s main campus in Hyde Park, NY, and at its branch campuses, The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, in St. Helena, CA, and The Culinary Institute of America, San Antonio in San Antonio, TX. A network of more than 37,000 alumni in the foodservice and hospitality industry has helped the CIA earn its reputation as the world's premier culinary college.

Sample Recipes from the Book:

Crab and Mushroom Chowder
Makes 8 servings

Many supermarkets now carry a decent selection of “exotic” mushroom varieties, such as shiitake, oyster, and cremini mushrooms. You can make this delicious chowder using a single variety or a combination. Avoid white mushrooms though; they don’t have the flavor and texture needed for this hearty soup.

5 cups assorted mushrooms (about 1 lb)
3/4 cup water
6 tbsp butter
3/4 cup diced onion
1/4 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced leek (white and light green parts)
2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 qt Chicken Broth (Recipe below)
2 1/4 cups diced russet potatoes (peeled)
3/4 cup milk
6 tbsp dry sherry
2 tsp heavy cream
1 tsp salt, or as needed
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper, or as needed
10 oz lump backfin crabmeat, picked over for shells

1. Cut the stems from the mushrooms and slice the mushroom caps. Set the caps aside. Simmer the stems in the water for 30 minutes to make a mushroom broth. Strain the broth and set aside.

2. Heat 5 tablespoons of the butter in a large soup pot. Add the onion, celery, leek, and garlic. Cook until tender, stirring occasionally, about 4 to 6 minutes.

3. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for 3 to 4 minutes. Gradually whisk in the chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes. Strain through a sieve, pressing hard on the solids to recover as much thickened broth as possible. Return the broth to a simmer and discard the solids.

4. Add the potatoes to the broth and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and add the milk, 4 tablespoons sherry, and heavy cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

5. Meanwhile, melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced mushroom caps and sauté until tender, about 7 to 10 minutes. Add the mushroom broth, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen any particles of mushroom stuck to the pan. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

6. Stir the mushrooms with their liquid and the crabmeat into the chowder. Check the seasoning once more and make any necessary adjustments. Serve in heated bowls, adding the remaining sherry to the individual bowls, if desired.

Chicken Broth
Makes about 2 quarts

Chicken broth is a crucial ingredient in soup making and the flavor of homemade broth is hard to beat. You can double or even quadruple this recipe and freeze the extra so you always have some on hand. To make a double chicken broth, substitute cold chicken stock or broth for the water in this recipe.

4 lb stewing hen or chicken parts or meaty bones, such as backs and necks
3 qt cold water
1 1/4 cups diced onion
1/3 cup diced carrot
1/2 cup diced celery
5 to 6 whole black peppercorns
3 to 4 parsley stems
1 bay leaf
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 1/2 tsp salt, or as needed

1. Place the chicken and water in a large pot. The water should cover the chicken by at least two inches; add more if necessary. Bring the water slowly to a boil over medium heat.

2. As the water comes to a boil, skim away any foam that rises to the surface . Adjust the heat once a boil is reached so that a slow, lazy simmer is established. Cover partially and simmer for 2 hours, skimming as often as necessary.

3. Add all of the remaining ingredients. Continue to simmer, skimming the surface as necessary, until the broth is fully flavored, about 1 hour.

4. Remove the chicken pieces from the pot and cool slightly. Dice or shred the meat and use to garnish the broth or save for another use; discard the skin and bones.

5. Strain the broth through a colander or sieve into a large metal container. Discard the solids.

6. If you are using the broth right away, skim off any fat on the surface. If you are not using the broth right away, cool it quickly by transferring it to a metal container (if it’s not in one already) and placing the container in a sink filled with ice cold water. Stir the broth as it cools, and then transfer it to storage containers. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Label and date the containers clearly before putting them into the freezer.

Make It Easier
Some stores sell packages of necks and backs that can be used to prepare broth. This broth can also be made with the carcasses of roasted birds. Save the bones after all of the meat has been pulled or carved away (freeze them if you will not be making the broth within a day or two). You will need the carcasses of about 3 birds for each batch of broth.

Catalan Beef Stew
Makes 4 servings

The cuisine of Spain is rapidly becoming more familiar to cooks and restaurant-goers. This dish marries a flavorful cut of beef from the shoulder with some typical Catalonian ingredients: oranges, olives, red wine, and bacon. Bitter oranges are traditional, but if you don’t have access to a bitter orange, use a Valencia (juice) orange and a touch of lime juice for nearly the same flavor profile.

1 tbsp olive oil
5 slices bacon, thick-cut, diced
2 lb boneless beef chuck or bottom round, cut into 2-inch pieces
Salt as needed
Freshly ground black pepper as needed
2 cups chopped yellow onion
2 cups red wine
2 tbsp orange peel julienne
2 bay leaves
2 tsp minced garlic
2 parsley sprigs, minced
1 cup Spanish black olives, pitted

1. Add the bacon to a casserole dish or pan and sauté until the bacon is crisped and browned, 5 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a bowl with a slotted spoon, letting the oil drain back into the casserole.

2. Return the casserole to the heat and heat the oil until it shimmers. Season the beef generously with salt and pepper. Add the beef (working in batches to avoid crowding the pan) and sear on all sides until brown, about 8 minutes. Transfer the beef to the bowl with the bacon using a slotted spoon and letting the oil drain back into the casserole. Add the onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until deeply caramelized, 25 to 30 minutes.

3. Return the beef and bacon to the casserole, add the red wine, orange peel, bay leaves, garlic, and parsley; bring the liquid to a boil. Immediately adjust the heat for a gentle simmer. Season the stew to taste with salt and pepper throughout cooking time. Simmer the stew, covered, until the beef is nearly tender, about 2 hours. Add the olives and continue to simmer until the beef is fork tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Serve in heated bowls.

“Soup can be the perfect antidote for whatever ails you and they are the perfect fit for our busy lives. The New Book of Soups gives readers just what they need: lots of soups to enjoy, plenty of instruction to make the unfamiliar familiar, and gorgeous photos that will have you searching for a spoon.”
Cat Cora, Executive Chef at Bon Appétit Magazine and Food Network Iron Chef

NOTE: Received a copy of this book and it's even better than the first edition... which was great. This is a can't miss for anyone who loves soup!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Top 10 Food Trends For 2010

Experimentation nation, umami, and food with benefits are just three of the top 10 trends to watch in 2010, according to the experts at The Food Channel® ( The website released its top 10 for ’10 today based on research conducted in conjunction with CultureWaves® ( and the International Food Futurists®.

Keeping it Real
In a back-to-basics economy it is natural to return to basic ingredients. This isn’t about retro, or comfort food, or even cost. It’s about determining the essentials and stocking your pantry accordingly. It is about pure, simple, clean and sustainable. It is—dare we say—a shift from convenience foods to scratch cooking.

Experimentation Nation
Restaurant concepts are in flux as people redefine what going “out” to eat means. Gastropubs, fusion dining, shareables, and communal tables are all being tried. New concepts around “fresh” and DIY will do well. Experimentation is the trend, so we’ll see concepts come and go.

More in Store
We predict growth in grocery stores, particularly as private label assumes prominence. Those old generics have morphed into their own brands, so that there is blurring and less of a caste system. Grocery stores are also doing things such as upgrading delis and fresh take-out sections, all the way to returning butchers to a place of prominence.

American, The New EthnicSM
This is all about flavor delivery. Immigration has come to the plate, and we are now defining a new Global Flavor Curve. Part comfort, part creativity, the latest flavors are coming from the great American melting pot. So, it’s about grandma’s food, but the recipes may be written in Japanese.

Food Vetting
You are what you eat! That’s what’s leading this trend—our constant need for assurance that we are eating the right things, that our food is safe, that we are not ingesting pesticides or anything that will someday prove harmful. Call it food vetting or sourcing—the issue is that people are asking where their food comes from.

Mainstreaming Sustainability
People have mainstreamed sustainability, unlike a year ago, when we were somewhat afraid to use the word. America is just now learning how to be sustainable, and Americans are holding themselves responsible. In 2010 we’ll see people and companies becoming sustainable for authentic reasons.

Food with BenefitsSM
Call it what you will—nutritional, healthful, good-for-you—but this trend toward beneficial foods is growing at a pretty big rate. Expect food to either have nutrients added, or have the word “free” (gluten-free, allergy-free).

I Want My Umami
The “foodie” has settled into a more universal designation of someone who loves food—not a food snob. They are just as likely to want a PB&J as they are to try the latest soft shell crab sushi. And they may put French fries on it! The point is experimentation and a willingness to try new things.

Will Trade for Food
In an era when you can rent a name-brand purse for a special event, we want to know how we can apply that same concept to consumables. So what do we do in a bad economy when we have more time than money and skills that we still want to put to use? We barter. We predict that we’ll all see more of the barter system come into play now that technology can assist with connections.

I, Me, Mine
It’s the rise of the individual. While sharing has come into its own in restaurant concepts, there is a separate but equal trend toward individuality. It’s part of the reason why we are making our own cheese, smoking our own meats, and making our own specialty desserts. Expect more attention to the individual, but it’s not just about portion size—it’s also about food that reflects personality.

Read more about the Top Ten Food Trends for 2010 by checking

Celebrate the holidays with Buca di Beppo

Italian eatery Buca di Beppo has decked the halls with boughs of holly and is ready to share some holiday magic with you and your family. Buca is encouraging all family, friends and large groups to book a family-style Italian dinner for the holiday season before it’s too late.

Buca di Beppo, known for its generous family-size portions, is the ideal location to celebrate the holiday season. Featuring new dishes such as baked rigatoni and Italian sausage and peppers, Buca’s affordable prices and delectable dishes will make this year a holiday to remember.

Buca is also offering free Buca bucks during the holiday season. With every $100 in gift cards purchased, guests will receive an additional $25 Reward Card FREE!

For a full listing of holiday store hours or to book your holiday gathering at Buca di Beppo, please visit Reservations are recommended.

About Buca di Beppo
Recently acquired by Planet Hollywood International, Inc., with locations from Albany to Honolulu, Buca di Beppo restaurants embody the Italian traditions of food, friendship and hospitality. Dishes enjoyed for generations in villages throughout Italy inspire the menu, which features both Northern and Southern Italian favorites. While the food has pleased millions of palates from coast-to-coast, Buca di Beppo is equally famous for its quirky décor and upbeat atmosphere. Most Buca di Beppo locations are open daily for lunch and dinner. Catering is also available at many locations nationwide. Visit for locations, hours of operation, menus, reservations or to place an online order for Buca To Go.

New Year's Eve in San Francisco

Infusion Lounge, one of San Francisco’s most innovative nightspots celebrates the New Year with a wide array of offerings from VIP club packages to hotel packaged stays and a gourmet four course dinner. Dine in 09’ and ring in a new decade afterwards.

Whether looking for a club to ring in the New Year, a great spot for a New Year’s Eve dinner or a complete package with an overnight stay, Infusion Lounge offers a diverse range of New Year’s Eve plans for you and your closest friends. The popular lounge will bring in the New Decade with two musically energized rooms presented by resident DJ’s J Espinosa and Solarz and will also include a special video set by DJ Don Lynch. In addition to the resident DJ’s guests will be treated to live musical performances, acrobatic fetes and an open premium bar up until midnight. Guests are encouraged to dress in Infusion’s colors of black, red or silver. General club admission is currently $125/person.

For an additional $50/each, guests can make dinner reservations starting at 7 p.m. at Infusion Lounge where they will be treated to a delectable four course meal, started with the amuse bouche, paired with a complimentary bottle of champagne or wine and will include the following food choices:


1st Course

Charred Haricot Verts & Mango Salad
Coconut-Anise Vinaigrette

2nd Course

Crab Dumplings
Sichuan Pepper Oil/Soy Reduction/Sugar Snap Peas

3nd Course

Slow-Poached Halibut with Fragrant Coconut Broth
Parsnip Puree/Mint Emulsion


Lemongrass Filet Mignon
Five-Spice Ginger Merlot Sauce/Scallion Mashed Potatoes

4rd Course

Dark Chocolate Marquis
Ginger Crème Anglaise/Caramel Angel Hair


Warm Vanilla Bean Rice Pudding
Tropical Fruit Compote/Passion Fruit Sherbet

For guests who want to avoid fighting the post midnight cab mayhem, Hotel Fusion (directly above the club) is offering a special NYE “Hangover Package.” The package includes a single night hotel stay for two guests, NYE club entry for two at Infusion Lounge, a hangover kit including Red Bull, Apsirin and Alka Seltzer, world class contintental breakfast with extended hours and a late check out. Pricing: $339* for a deluxe Queen or a Junior Suite for $449* Hotel Fusion will even offer guests an additional night stay for $49 for guests who book the NYE package.

Pricing Overview:
General Club Entry:
$125/each through 12/25
$150/each 12/26-12/31
$200/each at the door
Dinner Package:
$175/each through 12/25
VIP Tables:
$1250 starting price and admits 10 guests and includes Bottle of Champagne
Hotel Packages:
$339 Deluxe Queen, Club entry for 2 (excludes taxes)
$449 Junior Suite, Club entry for 2 (excludes taxes)
$49, additional night stay

For more information or to book NYE tickets, visit or call (415) 421-8700. For Hotel information or to book NYE packages, visit: or call (415) 568-2525

Infusion Lounge is located at 124 Ellis St. San Francisco, CA 94102-2110 and is open Tuesday through Saturday, 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. For more information, go to or call (415) 421-8700.

Follow Infusion Lounge on Facebook at and on Twitter at

Named by Condé Nast Traveler Magazine as one of “the World’s 35 Hottest New Nightclubs” in 2009, the 6,500 square foot Infusion Lounge is one of San Francisco’s most innovative nightspots. Set in the heart of Union Square, Infusion Lounge has by design, created a new category of nightlife in a city best known for its classic neighborhood joints and traditional nightclubs. Infustion Lounge is opereated by C-TWO Group. For more information visit:

C-Two Group ( is a privately held company headquartered in San Francisco that includes C-Two Entertainment and C-Two Hotels and is the managing partner of Infusion Lounge.

Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls announces new seasonal menu

The Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls today unveiled a new seasonal menu that incorporates organic ingredients and the best from Ohio farms. Offered now through mid-March 2010, the new seasonal menu features entrée selections such as Chef Anthony’s Stuffed Meatloaf, Butternut Squash Ravioli, Oven-Roasted Filet Mignon, Shrimp Risotto, Macadamia Salmon and Sage Brown Butter Roasted Chicken Breast. All entrees can be upgraded to a three-course dinner, which begins with the Inn’s famous Wisconsin Cheese Ball & Olive Tapenade Basket and a choice of the Homemade Soup of the Day or The Inn’s House Salad with House Made Vinaigrette.

Reservations are highly recommended for Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls dining and are available at (800) 653-2557. Additional information and complete menus are available online at

In addition to featuring hearty winter fare designed to warm Inn guests this season, The Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls just announced that it is now offering all of its entrees as ala carte selections. Entrees start at only $16 and can be upgraded to a three-course dinner for just $8 more. Ala carte, appetizers, salads and soups start at $4 and feature the Inn’s Wisconsin Cheese Ball & Olive Tapenade Basket, Smoked Duck Flatbread, Goat Cheese & Sherry Ciabatta Toast Points, House Made Soup of the Day, The Inn’s House Salad, Champagne-Pear Salad and Caesar Salad.

"We find that some of our guests, particularly those who are staying with us for two or more nights, may want to eat a little lighter at times," Innkeeper Ellen Grinsfelder said. "We've arranged our new menu so guests can choose just an appetizer and soup or salad if they like; or they may wish to split an entree," Grinsfelder added. "This way, they'll feel more comfortable splurging with one of Chef Anthony's amazing desserts, which really should not be missed."

In winter, the Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls dining room is open for full-service dining Wednesday through Sunday. A gourmet picnic basket is available for dinner Monday and Tuesday evening.

"This is no ordinary cold sandwich picnic," said Grinsfelder. "Our picnic baskets are designed to enjoy in your cabin or cottage and are really something special. They include such Inn favorites as Rock Cornish Hen and other delicacies."

The Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls’ staff is highly knowledgeable about the menu and its preparation, which features local, fresh and organic ingredients. They're also skilled at pairing the perfect wine from the Inn's impressive wine list with any dish. (Wine is now available daily, including Sundays.) Each entrée on the menu includes a suggested wine pairing, which may be ordered by the bottle, with some also available by the glass.

A Hocking Hills Tourism Association Certified Green destination, The Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls is located ½ mile above Hocking Hills’ scenic Cedar Falls. The region offers a variety of recreational opportunities including hiking, bird watching, canoeing and fishing, as well as exquisite photo opportunities. The Inn’s pampering spa offers a full compliment of spa services, including couples massage, girlfriend getaways, and group events. The Gathering Place at The Inn at Cedar Falls caters to weddings, reunions, business retreats and brainstorming sessions for up to 50 guests. Reservations and complete information on the Inn, Spa and Gathering Place are available at or (800) 653-2557.

IHOP Sets Goal to Raise $1.75M on National Pancake Day 2010

IHOP, one of America’s favorite restaurants for breakfast, lunch and dinner, has announced plans to serve millions of free pancakes again next year in celebration of National Pancake Day on Tuesday, February 23, 2010. Planned as a celebration of friends, family and community, IHOP hopes the program will raise $1.75 million for Children’s Miracle Network, an international non-profit organization that raises funds for children’s hospitals, and other worthy local causes.

2010 will mark IHOP’s fifth year celebrating the national event and the company has set an ambitious goal to raise a cumulative $5 million for charity in the first five years of its free flapjack philanthropic effort. More than 1,400 IHOP restaurants throughout the United States will once again invite guests to enjoy a free short stack of IHOP’s signature buttermilk pancakes from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on National Pancake Day. In return, IHOP guests are asked to donate what they would have paid for the free pancakes, or more, to the Children’s Miracle Network hospital in their community, or another designated local cause.

"We are flipping for ‘five in five’ with our 2010 National Pancake Day campaign, and with our guests’ generous support, plan to reach our goal of $5 million in five years,” said Carolyn O’Keefe, IHOP’s senior vice president, marketing. "IHOP’s franchisees and guests have raised more than $3.25 million to support Children’s Miracle Network and other local charities since we started our National Pancake Day in 2006. The day has become a tradition for families and friends who wish to enjoy great food and great service while helping out a great cause.”

Children’s Miracle Network “Miracle Balloons” will be sold for $1 and $5 each and will be personalized and displayed at participating IHOP restaurants from February 1 through February 23, 2010. Miracle Balloon sales offer guests another way to show their support of Children’s Miracle Network and contribute to the National Pancake Day fundraising effort.

In 2009, IHOP gave away three million pancakes and raised nearly $1.5 million in support of Children’s Miracle Network and other local charities, far exceeding its goal to raise $1 million. Since starting its National Pancake Day celebration in 2006, IHOP has given away more than 6.1 million free pancakes to benefit children’s charities –- that stacks up more than 53.5 miles high!

For more information about IHOP’s National Pancake Day, or to learn more about Children’s Miracle Network and make an online donation, visit

Children’s Miracle Network is an international non-profit organization that raises funds for more than 170 children’s hospitals. Countless individuals, 90 organizations and 400 media partners unite with Children’s Miracle Network hospitals to help sick and injured kids in local communities. Donations to Children’s Miracle Network create miracles by funding medical care, research and education that saves and improves the lives of 17 million children each year. To learn more go to

For 51 years, the IHOP family restaurant chain has served its world famous pancakes and a wide variety of breakfast, lunch and dinner items that are loved by people of all ages. IHOP offers its guests an affordable, everyday dining experience with warm and friendly service. The first IHOP opened in Toluca Lake, Calif. in 1958, and as of September 30, 2009, there were 1,433 IHOPs in 50 states, Canada and Mexico. IHOP restaurants are franchised and operated by Glendale, Calif.-based International House of Pancakes, LLC and its affiliates. International House of Pancakes, LLC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of DineEquity, Inc. (NYSE: DIN).

Friday, December 11, 2009

Dry Sack Packs a Punch for Holiday Entertaining

Dry Sack, a medium dry sherry from Spain, is a best selling aperitif and a stylish alternative to white wine. However, these days, Dry Sack is not only enjoyed over ice or straight up. Many top chefs and mixologists have discovered that this versatile sherry is a terrific flavor enhancer for savory dishes and cocktails, adding just the right amount of subtle nutty flavor. For holiday entertaining and beyond (think Super Bowl parties!) here are two recipes featuring Dry Sack as "the secret ingredient" that will be hits at your next party.

Dry Sack Sherry and Soy Sauce Glazed Chicken Wings
3 pounds chicken drumettes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/4 cups Dry Sack sherry
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons apricot preserves
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
Hot sauce
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon thinly sliced scallion, optional

Arrange 2 racks about 4-inches apart in the upper third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Generously oil 2 rimmed baking sheets or roasting pans.

Arrange the drumettes on the baking sheets and season on all sides with salt and pepper. Roast 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the Dry Sack, soy sauce, preserves and garlic in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Stir in the sesame oil and hot sauce to taste and set aside in the saucepan.

Remove the trays from the oven; carefully spoon 1/4 cup of the hot sherry mixture over the wings to coat the tops and roast another 15 minutes.

Remove the trays from the oven; turn the wings and spoon 1/4 cup sherry mixture to cot the surface. Return the trays to the oven reversing their positions on the two racks. Roast 15 to 20 minutes longer to an internal temperature of 180°F.

Return the sherry mixture to boiling. Loosen the wings from the trays with a spatula and transfer them to a large bowl; toss them with 1/4 cup of the hot sherry mixture and arrange on a serving plate.

Stir the sherry vinegar and scallion, if desired, into the remaining hot sherry mixture and use for a dipping sauce.

Spiced Winter Punch Bowl (serves 10-20 people based on 5 oz. glasses)
Recipe: Chris Hannah, French 75 Bar, Arnaud's, New Orleans

32 oz. (4 cups) gold rum
16 oz. (2 cups) Dry Sack (a little more than half of the 750 ml bottle)
8 oz. (1 cup) clove tea*
8 oz. (1 cup) orange juice
8 oz. (1 cup) lemon juice
4 cups whole cranberries (raw or cooked)
2/3 cups (about 5.5 oz) cinnamon syrup*

Combine ingredients in a large punch bowl with cubed ice.

*To make clove tea, steep 1 tablespoon of whole cloves in 8 ounces of boiling water for 5 minutes, strain.

*To make cinnamon syrup, bring one cup of water to boil with 5 cinnamon sticks in the
sauce pan. Once water is at full boil, add 2 cups sugar. Stir until dissolved. When syrup is room temperature take out cinnamon sticks.

Produced since 1906 by the world-renowned winery, Williams & Humbert, in Jerez, Spain - where the world's finest Sherry is exclusively produced - Dry Sack is a distinctive blend of the Palomino and Pedro Ximenez grapes. It is aged a minimum of six years in oak casks under Spain's time-honored solera system of fractional blending. The result is a deep-hued golden color and a balanced flavor, not too dry and not too sweet. Dry Sack is 19.5% alcohol by volume. It is sold in 140 countries. Average retail price is $15.00. Dry Sack is imported by Kindred Spirits of North America, Inc., Miami, FL.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Simple Menu Change Promotes Weight Loss In Time for Summer

According to National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the average woman consumes 355 calories of sugar - think a milk shake or a large piece of cake - every day. The American Heart Association says women shouldn’t consume more than 100 calories of sugar, and men 150 calories of sugar, per day.

Something’s got to give.

A simple menu change with one sweet ingredient can cut hundreds of calories to help slim down just in time for the beach. With Xagave, an all-natural agave nectar, you can save yourself the expense of costly gym memberships and extravagant crash diets to feel more comfortable for the fast-approaching bathing suit season.

Xagave, the only premium blend of white and blue agave nectar, leaves a sweet, neutral taste, and replaces all the empty calories normal table sugars contain. This is the only sweetener with superior cooking qualities and health benefits that make eating right taste so good.

Many are unaware of the amount of sugar consumption that detracts from our weight loss and makes us unknowingly pile on calories. This simple step will cut out the grueling diets and punishing workouts with tasty, healthier food.

Snapfish Partners with Rachael Ray to Support Ohio Town, Part 2

Snapfish by HP today announced an exclusive special offer for viewers of “The Rachael Ray Show,” furthering their collaboration to help the struggling town of Wilmington, Ohio, celebrate the holidays despite the economic downturn.

For the next five days, visitors to will find information on how to create their own Snapfish calendar and can take advantage of the offer by signing up at Once there, consumers can buy one calendar and receive a second calendar and a photo flip book at no additional cost, using the code “RACHAELRAY” at checkout.

Snapfish photo calendars make meaningful and thoughtful holiday gifts that keep giving all year long. Photo flip books can bring memories to life with photos from holidays past, a trip or vacation, or favorite moments from the year to share with someone special.

Snapfish helped commemorate Rachael Ray’s trip to the town in November when she purchased new furniture and appliances for a local Wilmington soup kitchen and stocked it with food for a year as part of her “Thanksgiving on Main Street” special.

Snapfish provided 5 x 7-inch everyday photo books to all Wilmington town members present at Rachael Ray’s Thanksgiving dinner, using images captured by local budding photographer and Wilmington High School student Zach McCune.

Snapfish by HP is the No. 1 online photo service in the world, with more than 75 million members and more than 5 billion unique photos stored online. With a presence in 22 countries, Snapfish is a global leader in digital photography and serves as the top photo sharing site in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, China and India.

More information about Snapfish and Rachael Ray is available at

About HP
HP creates new possibilities for technology to have a meaningful impact on people, businesses, governments and society. The world’s largest technology company, HP brings together a portfolio that spans printing, personal computing, software, services and IT infrastructure to solve customer problems. More information about HP (NYSE: HPQ) is available at
Note to editors: More news from HP, including links to RSS feeds, is available at

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

50 Great Tips for Getting Your Picky Toddler to Develop Healthy Eating Habits

If you are raising a toddler, then you need very few reminders of how it can be a real struggle to get your little one to eat a nutritious and balanced meal. Christina Schmidt, M.S., Nutritionist and Author of The Toddler Bistro: Child-Approved Recipes and Expert Nutrition Advice for the Toddler Years (Bull Publishing Company, 2009, ISBN: 978-1-933503-19-6, $16.95) can help. She has spent some time in the trenches giving parents the guidance they need to turn their kitchens into mêlée-free toddler bistros. Here is a sampling of some of her tried and true tips:

Create a toddler-friendly eating area for your child. Toddlers like their own spaces and may eat more of your lovingly prepared meals at a table sized just for them. Also, be sure to accommodate with plates, cups, forks, and spoons that are just for your kid. Be creative by using colorful place mats and matching dishes decorated with your child's favorite cartoon characters, cars, trucks, princesses, animals, etc.

Outsmart that little rebel. If your child likes to test his limits by saying "no" a lot when it comes to the foods that you offer, be sure to turn away from his tantrums. Giving attention to his protests often fuels the fire. Instead, offer him just a few choices. By giving your child a choice or two at mealtimes, you're letting him feel that he is still part of the decision-making process and that he has some control.

Invite your grazer to the table...but still give him room to roam. Focusing on food is sometimes an insurmountable task for toddlers. They may be grazers who rarely sit and finish a meal and would rather snack throughout the day. Don't worry—if you make progress with one out of three meals and some snacks, you are doing very well. Keep up a consistent mealtime and snack routine despite your little one's obliviousness to the plate.

Expect the unexpected! Toddlers can be highly unpredictable One day it's "I don't want it!" and the next week the same kid can't get enough of the once-hated food, or vice versa. Whatever it is, as long as you keep offering healthy options to your toddlers, it's a win/win situation.

Commit to being copied! Now is the time when you can make the biggest difference in your toddler's eating behavior. Studies show that food preferences are shaped between ages two and three. Be a role model for healthy eating and manners in front of your toddler. Even if the results are not immediate, it will pay off in the long run!

Remember the three bears! Food should be presented to your toddler not too hot, not too cold, but just right, which is warm or close to room temperature.

Make each bite count. Pack each bite with nutrition because you never know when pickiness or loss of appetite will rear their ugly heads, sabotaging your efforts for the day. Your goal is to maximize the opportunity for your toddler to eat healthy, so make sure all of the foods that your toddler is eating are full of the vitamins and nutrients that he or she needs.

Keep the pressure in check. Don't overreact, scold, bribe, beg, or reward with a treat to get your toddler to eat. Over-controlling your toddler's eating behavior turns down the volume of the natural internal cues for hunger and fullness. Studies show that unpressured children will instinctively balance their diets.

An alternative to the "clean your plate" concept. Your job is to choose the menu and dining times for your child. Your toddler may decide which of your daily specials to eat, if any. If your child isn't wolfing down everything on the plate, avoid requiring that your child clean it. Instead, try requesting "courtesy bites." You may get your child to take a few bites of those peas without all the drama and stress that goes along with cleaning the plate.

Don't replace food with fluids. Prevent your toddler from filling up on excessive fluids before meals. Offering sips of water or milk to quench thirst is fine. Two full sippy cups before a meal, however, may be the reason the plate goes back to the kitchen untouched.

Avoid short-order chef syndrome. Allow your little purists their eccentricities, such as not wanting foods to touch each other, but don't cater to special food requests at each meal. This will only reinforce finicky behavior. Offer limited choices (broccoli or carrots?), and serve one sure winner with each meal. Try this trick: Offer a tablespoon of the suspect food with an old reliable favorite when your toddler is hungriest. It works!

Think weekly! Obsessing over getting all of the food groups into your toddler just might drive you bonkers. Instead, think weekly. Toddlers' diets magically tend to balance out nutritionally over a few days to a week, so don't panic if you come across a day that isn't quite as nutrition-packed as you would have liked for it to be.

Step away from the stereotypes. Avoid stereotyping your toddler as picky, and make a mental note not to be a role model for finicky eating in front of your child. Chances are, if you continue presenting those "problem foods" to your child, he or she will eventually come around and may even begin to enjoy them. If you are a picky eater, now might be a great time to start tasting those healthy foods with your child! A child who is cast as a hater of all that is green may begin believing it himself and may never try that broccoli ever again.

Grandfather new foods in with the old standbys. Slowly introduce new foods, and don't make a big deal out if it. Every few days to few weeks, introduce an unfamiliar food into a meal with an old reliable, and let your toddler get used to the look and taste of the new offering.

Tasting needs the test of time. Most parents only reintroduce a food three to five times, while studies show that it takes eight to 15 times for new foods to get a green light from toddlers. Don't give up. Keep reintroducing the food every few days.

If you grow it, they will eat it...or if they simply see how it's grown, they will eat it. Go to the local farm for a tour so that your tot can see where his or her favorite foods come from and how they grow. Toddlers love to eat foods that they have watched develop from seed to plate, so go ahead and plant that vegetable garden!

Cultivate a culinary kid. Bring your toddler into the kitchen with you and let him or her help prepare foods. Toddlers love to help out and to create, and therefore might be inclined to eat what they've helped prepare. You can enlist your toddler, starting at around two years of age, to wash produce, peel bananas, stir and mix, sprinkle spices, help measure and pour ingredients, tell you when the timer goes off, hand you ingredients, decorate and arrange dishes, and help clean up. You can even try creating the menu together!

Become a food artist. Remember that you eat with your eyes before you eat with your mouth, so design and use colorful foods on the plate. Arrange green beans into a pine tree or a spider. Make a fruit or veggie rainbow on the plate.

Name it something new! Broccoli can be trees, peas can be baseballs, oatmeal raisin can be ant cereal, spaghetti and cheese can be slimy worms, tomato slices can be hot rod wheels. If your child loves fries or cookies, try cutting veggies and other less-favored foods into those shapes and call them "veggie fries" or "carrot cookies."

Shape and sculpt. Cut foods into fun shapes. Use fun cookie cutter shapes for sandwiches, cheeses, and fruits. Make teddy bear-shaped pancakes and swirl mashed sweet potatoes with yogurt. Buy fun pasta shapes such as stars, suns, moons, animals, etc. Make foods as mini versions; silver dollar-sized pancakes, mini muffins, and tiny pizzas really do appeal to those little hands!

Tell a tale. Make a story out of your child's meal. "Once upon a time, a bird dropped a very tiny seed..." In this way, your toddler's bite of food becomes an important chapter in the story.

Set a serene table. Create a calm and relaxed dining atmosphere for your toddler. Stress can promote poor appetites, so put off your Table Manners 101 lecture for later and just enjoy your toddler time!

Make it a family affair. Bring the family together for meals as often as possible. Today's world of working parents makes it tough, but it's worth it to fit in at least one family meal a week; once a day is even better! Eating together at home provides a sense of structure and security for your toddler. Research shows that eating together leads to a healthier diet with less fat, trans fat, cholesterol, salt, and soda, and with more minerals, vitamins, and fiber.

Hide it! Sneak in a serving of veggies by hiding purées in mashes, sandwiches, pita pockets, sauces, or soups. Cover vegetables with sauces or grated cheese, or flavor them with dill, lemon, honey, olive oil, orange zest, or basil. Grate veggies into muffins, pancakes, breads, meatloaves, or salads.

Offer toddler-sized servings. Serve one tablespoon of each dish per year of age, or about one quarter of an adult serving at meals and snacks. Toddler stomachs are the size of their fists, so a little goes a long way. If you are in doubt, serve less than what you expect. In one study, three- to five-year-olds who were fed double portion sizes ate 15 to 25 percent more calories than those served proper portions.

Limit desserts and sweets. Toddlers will get sugar one way or another, so your job is to moderate how much and how often. Research has shown that early introduction to sugary foods encourages sugar cravings in adulthood.

Fruit juice flunks out of the toddler bistro diet. You may think that fruit juice is a healthy option for your child—and it is compared to soda and sugary drinks—but note that fruit juice still has a high sugar content, and it lacks protein. Milk and water are bistro favorites.

Soda pop not! Toddlers should be drinking milk and water. Soda contains empty calories, meaning that its calories are missing vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Soda displaces better beverages like milk from toddler diets and can compromise the immune system, dehydrate, interfere with nutrient absorption, and contribute to obesity.

Water wise. Train your toddler early on to select water from the menu. This refreshment is popular when served in fun cups, and it can be flavored with slices of orange or other fresh fruits. Have refills available in hot weather and during highly active times. Watch for signs of dehydration: dark urine in small amounts, thirst, flushed appearance, headache, fever, tiredness, dry mouth, or fast breathing.

Skip the salt. We get plenty naturally. Use half the salt called for in recipes and choose low-salt brand foods. Oh, and keep that shaker off the table!

Power struggles with food are dead ends. Believe it or not, diet improves with less parental control and more of simply providing a variety of healthy food choices. Trust your toddlers when they act or say that they are full. "Full" signs are turning the head away, throwing or playing with food, eating more slowly, trying to ditch the high chair, feeding the begging dog, and simply not finishing. Focus on offering many types of nutritious foods many times.

Be aware of the eight most typical allergenic foods. The "Bistro Big Eight" include eggs, milk, tree nuts, peanuts, soy, fish, shellfish, and wheat. Be aware of how your toddler may present signs of an allergy If you suspect a food allergy, eliminate the questionable food(s) and contact your health care provider. Your child may need to be tested for allergies.

Bug-proof your bistro. Practice safe food handling and protect the foods inside your fridge from spoiling by setting the temperature to at least 40 degrees. Pay attention to expiration dates, and cook foods to the proper temperatures. Be sure to keep those little hands clean, too!

Choking checks. Avoid nuts, seeds, popcorn, chips, pretzels, vegetable and fruit skins, whole raw apples and carrots, whole green beans, small dried fruits, whole grapes and cherries, whole olives, berries, melon balls, tough or big pieces of meat, hot dogs, hard cookies and biscuits, globs of peanut butter and nut butters, pickles, and big bites! Toddler diners should be seated when eating and should not giggle or talk while chewing. Cook fruits and veggies according to how many teeth your toddler has, and supervise your toddler while dining.

Avoid trans fats. Breast-feeding moms, all toddlers, and everyone else should completely avoid or at least minimize eating this type of fat. Partially hydrogenated trans fats are commercially altered fats that make oils more stable and increase food's shelf life. They are used in foods such as bakery goods, breads, snacks, and margarines. They contribute to the risk for diabetes and heart disease and interfere with growth and development. Read the labels and stay away from foods with "partially hydrogenated oil" or "trans fats" in the contents.

Low-fat and fat-free products aren't always great for toddlers. Unless special circumstances exist, children under the age of two need full-fat foods and beverages to support healthy brain and body development. After two years of age, you may begin to substitute low-fat products for their full-fat counterparts.

Meats to miss. Avoid bacon, sausages, hot dogs, cured meats, and packaged deli meats. (Freshly sliced meats from the deli are okay.) Besides being high in fat and salty, they contain sodium nitrite, a preservative that can be cancer-causing when these meats are cooked at high temperatures and when sodium nitrite reacts with chemicals in the stomach. Recent data shows that 27 percent of toddlers are eating hot dogs, bacon, and sausage—not a healthy diet!

Pesticide perils. Pesticides not only kill bugs; unfortunately, they may also block toddlers' abilities to absorb nutrients from foods, which interferes with normal weight gain and brain development. Pesticides have also been shown to decrease the normal vitamin and mineral content of some fruits and vegetables. Be sure to wash and scrub all fruits and veggies using warm water and a little liquid dish soap. Don't forget to wash produce with rinds, like cantaloupes and oranges, because your cutting knife transfers pesticides and bacteria into the fruit! Remove outer leaves and break apart broccoli and cauliflower before washing.

Whenever you can, opt for organic! Look for the USDA 100 Percent Certified Organic seal on foods. It means that no artificial ingredients or preservatives are present and that foods are grown without conventional pesticides, antibiotics, hormones, irradiation, or genetically modified foods. Organic foods have also been found to contain more nutrients than regular produce.

Plastics in the news. Toddlers are vulnerable to certain chemicals (dioxins and DEHA) found in some plastic wraps, which may disrupt their normal hormone, immune, cognitive, and growth development. These chemical plasticizers are absorbed from plastic wrap into fatty and acidic foods, especially in the presence of heat and light. Leave an inch or more space between food and plastic wrap when storing food in the refrigerator or heating in the microwave. Store leftovers in glass containers or baggies, repackage plastic-wrapped store-bought foods, and take out foods packaged in Styrofoam containers when you get home. And throw out those old plastic containers!

Bravo for breakfast! Studies show that toddlers who eat breakfast are better behaved, have increased attention spans, have better problem-solving skills, have boosted metabolisms, and have a lower risk for obesity than those who skip this meal.

The case for carbohydrates. Although carbohydrates are the diet buzzword of the twenty-first century, toddlers need them! Carbs are the brain's first choice for fuel. They get a bad rap because of the "refining" process, how they are cooked, and the fact that they are often over-eaten. Go for 100 percent whole grains in breads, rice, pasta, and cereals. Carbohydrates are also in beans, fruits, and vegetables, especially the starchy veggies like corn, potatoes, and peas.

Protein. Toddlers need protein for growth, tissue repair, muscles, hair, skin, hormones, healthy bones, and healthy immune systems. Protein also helps fight plaque buildup on teeth! Foods with a protein punch include meats, fish, and dairy products.

Calcium. Calcium is essential for strong bones and teeth! Only 50 percent of children ages one to five meet the recommended daily amount for calcium, and it ranks as one of the most common nutrient deficiencies. Not to worry: one cup of milk plus one-half cup of yogurt will satisfy your toddler's daily calcium requirement.

A side of supplements. It's easy to go overboard when considering the wide array of supplements available in today's market. Toddlers should get the bulk of their nutrients from their actual food rather than from using nutritional supplements as an excuse to eat candy and french fries. While supplements can be helpful, just don't use them as a substitute for a healthy, balanced diet.

Incorporating iron. Iron from meats, poultry, and fish is more easily absorbed by humans than iron from plant sources. Vitamin C foods and foods high in protein increase iron absorption. If you have a famous spaghetti sauce recipe, try cooking it in a cast-iron pot. This is another way to add iron to your veggie-based foods.

Everything tastes better outside! Make simple picnics and have your toddler help you find just the right spot to enjoy your outdoor dining! Older toddlers can help choose and prepare healthy selections for the picnic. Pack it up in a fun, colorful container. Your children may surprise you and try that piece of broccoli that they typically reject if it is served outside with a picnic.

Make your kitchen the gathering place for family fun. Many recipes are handed down over generations and are like diaries for families. Learning the basics of good health and nutrition is that secret extra ingredient that you can share with your child.

Praise them! Reinforce healthy eating with praise and role modeling. You'll be amazed how far this will take you.

Keep a sharp eye on toddler tubbiness. (Baby fat is fine, obesity is not.) Some cultures believe that chubby children are healthier. On the contrary, clinically overweight toddlers are in greater danger of developing chronic diseases. They also battle peer ridicule and poor self-esteem.

About the Author:
Christina Schmidt, M.S., is a nutritionist and a certified nutrition educator who has been featured on NBC's Today Show and has written nutrition articles for The Bump magazine. She is also the author of The Baby Bistro, The Baby Bistro Box, and The Toddler Bistro Box. Christina is President of Baby Bistro Brands and lives in Santa Barbara, California.
For more information, please visit

About the Book:
The Toddler Bistro: Child-Approved Recipes and Expert Nutrition Advice for the Toddler Years (Bull Publishing Company, 2009, ISBN: 978-1-933503-19-6, $16.95) is available at bookstores nationwide and through major online booksellers.

Healthy Snack Alternative for 2010

As the holiday season comes to a close, many Americans will be making resolutions to watch their waistlines for the year 2010. The new year brings new temptation as the temperature drops, football season heats up ; once again we find ourselves fighting back cravings for our favorite comfort foods from half-time to happy hour.

But now people can choose a better alternative to add great taste to their favorite snacks! Organicville, makers of USDA certified organic, vegan and gluten-free ketchup, barbeque and teriyaki sauces, salsa’s and vinaigrettes offers the same delicious flavors as similar products without harmful high sugar additives. Sweetened with agave nectar- a 100% natural sweetener, which digests more easily compared to other types of sugar, Organicville products are perfect for the health conscious consumer who wants to enjoy their favorite snacks without worrying about their weight-loss resolutions for the new year.

Founded by Rachel Kruse, a 33 year-old entrepreneur, third-generation vegetarian and organic consumer, she turned to creating delicious, healthy products to offer a better alternative to sugars, preservatives and processed foods – as growing up, she couldn’t find organic dressings and condiments that tasted great. The goal: to enjoy a great tasting organic product without having to sacrifice flavor or quality.

Organicville’s Product Quick Facts:
· Products: ketchup, salsas, BBQ and teriyaki sauces, and vinaigrettes.
· Vinaigrettes are available in 11 great flavors including: Orange Cranberry, Miso Ginger, Olive Oil & Balsamic, Sun Dried Tomato & Garlic, Herbs De Provence, Tarragon Dijon, Sesame Tamari, Pomegranate, Sesame Goddess, Non-Dairy Ranch and French (fourth largest salad dressing brand nationally)
· Gluten free
· USDA certified organic
· Sweetened with agave nectar
· No High Fructose Corn Syrup – ever!
· No added sugar
· Contain less sodium than other brands
· Fat and cholesterol free
· Vegan

Organicville’s organic ketchup, barbeque and teriyaki sauces, salsa’s and vinaigrettes are available for purchase in supermarket chains, natural food stores nationwide and online at Additional product and availability information can be found at

Monday, December 7, 2009

EL AL Airlines Provides Exciting Hanukah Recipes

As with all Jewish holidays EL AL, Israel’s national airline, is bringing Hanukah to the skies by serving thousands of passengers special holiday treats. An anticipated 1,375 potatoes, 6,600 ounces of raspberry jam, and 68 cups of cinnamon will be used to prepare festive sufganiot (jelly donuts) and latkes (potato pancakes) that will be served on flights from New York (JFK/Newark). These treats will also be offered in premium class lounges throughout the world, in addition to the selection of snacks that are usually available. A nightly candle lighting will also take place.

To make sufganiot and traditional latkes at home, follow the easy and tasty EL AL recipes outlined below, created by Executive Chef Steven Weintraub of Borenstein Caterers (a subsidiary of EL AL). Borenstein offers healthy, freshly prepared in-flight kosher meal options which are served to all passengers traveling from New York (JFK/Newark).

1 cup warm water
All-purpose flour as necessary
1 cup sugar
to give dough a bread-roll
4 oz. melted shortening (not too hot)
1 dozen. whole eggs
24 oz. raspberry jam
2 tbs. baking powder
1 cup sugar

1/4 cup cinnamon

Combine yeast, water, sugar, shortening, eggs, baking powder and flour. Roll into donut hole-size balls. Set over warm stove and allow to rise to double in size. Fry donuts in hot oil until golden brown. Remove from grease and cool partially on wire rack. Fill with raspberry jam using a spiked pastry bag. Roll donuts in cinnamon-sugar. Cool at room temperature. Makes about 3 ½ dozen.

5 raw, peeled, shredded Idaho potatoes
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 diced small spanish onion
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 diced red pepper
1/8 tsp. ground white pepper
1/4 cup flour
1 cup canola oil
1 egg (beaten)

Sauté onions and red pepper in 2 tbs. in oil. Add shredded potatoes; quickly sauté and blend. Remove from heat and add flour, egg, baking powder, salt and pepper. Blend well. Heat skillet and add remainder of oil. Drop a ¼ cup of mixture in a skillet. Form round pancakes and fry until golden brown on each side. Makes about 2 dozen.

About EL AL
Celebrating 60 years of service, EL AL, Israel's national airline, offers the most nonstop flights between New York (JFK/Newark) and Israel as well as the only nonstop service from Los Angeles. Worldwide, EL AL flies to more than 40 destinations from Israel and serves dozens of other destinations throughout the world via partnerships with many other carriers (including 22 additional cities in the U.S.A.). Only EL AL has First Class service on nonstop flights between the U.S.A. and Israel. The airline has annual revenues of about $2.1 billion and carries more than 1.9 million passengers annually.

EL AL embodies Israel’s values of innovation and caring and the promise of a genuine Israeli welcome. Your Israel experience begins with EL AL and warm Israeli hospitality. Israeli flight attendants will make you feel at home, the best trained Israeli pilots will take you to and from Israel and passengers enjoy enhanced in-flight dining with freshly prepared healthy meals.

EL AL. It’s not just an airline. It’s Israel.

Nestle/Fair Trade Chocolate –Questions Raised

Nestlé SA announced today that it would begin to source Fair Trade Certified cocoa for its Kit Kat bars in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Since stories about the use of child, forced and trafficked labor and the widespread poverty among farmers in West Africa’s cocoa industry surfaced in 2001, organizations in the United States and around the world have been campaigning to convince major chocolate companies, especially Nestlé, to commit to sourcing Fair Trade Certified cocoa. A lawsuit filed in 2005 in US courts against Nestlé on behalf of Malian children who were trafficked to Cote d’Ivoire to harvest cocoa is still ongoing.

While Nestlé’s announcement may be a very small step toward supporting a more sustainable and labor-friendly system of cocoa sourcing, the company’s history and practices around the world raise questions about its commitment to Fair Trade. Additionally, Nestlé has not announced any plans to use Fair Trade Certified cocoa in its products in the United States.

Nestlé is one of the most boycotted companies in the world. Trade unions have criticized the company for a range of labor rights abuses including in Colombia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, the Philippines and Tunisia. Nestlé has also been a target of campaigners concerned about its impact on access to water and baby food marketing, among many other issues.

Nestlé’s minimal investment in Fair Trade Certified coffee also provides reason to be skeptical about its commitment. Nestlé’s Fair Trade line is only a marginal part of its coffee products and it has not increased its purchasing of Fair Trade coffee despite its promises to do so. In October 2009, Nestlé launched a new program related to their global cocoa sourcing called “The Cocoa Plan” which does not include investing in Fair Trade cocoa, suggesting that the company does not intend to shift toward more equitable trading relationships through the Fair Trade system and it is unclear if Nestlé plans to expand Fair Trade cocoa beyond the UK.

Bama Athreya, executive director of the International Labor Rights Forum, said, “Nestlé cannot claim to be sourcing responsible cocoa by using a small amount of Fair Trade Certified cocoa when the majority of its cocoa could be produced by forced labor and child labor. As the largest food company in the world, Nestlé must make a stronger commitment to protecting worker rights in its cocoa supply chain as well as in its production facilities and in the sourcing of other agricultural products.”

Todd Larsen, Corporate Responsibility Programs director at Green America, said, “We urge Nestlé to go beyond this token commitment to Fair Trade and to take steps to end all sourcing from child labor and pay a living wage to its workers worldwide. Consumers the world over are increasingly concerned that their chocolate purchases are supporting slavery and misery, and are increasingly purchasing Fair Trade chocolate as a result. They will be looking to Nestlé to do far more to support farmers worldwide.”

Adrienne Fitch-Frankel, Fair Trade Campaign director at Global Exchange, said, “While we thank Nestlé on behalf of the thousands of cocoa farming families who will begin to thrive by receiving the Fair Trade price for their cocoa, we also ask, ‘How can Nestlé leave so many thousands of children languishing in child slavery and abusive labor conditions, and keep so many farming families mired in poverty while growing cocoa for the rest of Nestlé’s products?’ Nestlé’s profits depend on the hard work of cocoa farmers, and justice will only be done when those farmers can live in dignity.”

Paul Hong-Lange, director of Oasis USA, said, “This step by Nestlé guarantees that no slave labor or exploitation will be used in the production of one line of chocolate in one region of the world. This is a good start but it still leaves the conscientious American wondering if Nestlé chocolate on the shelf in their grocery store is tainted with slave labor. We urge Nestlé to do better by more farmers and more consumers.”

Over 60 organizations and chocolate companies have endorsed a “Commitment to Ethical Cocoa Sourcing” that sets a higher standard for sustainable and responsible cocoa sourcing than Nestlé. The commitment can be found online:


Global Exchange is a membership-based international human rights organization dedicated to promoting social, economic and environmental justice around the world.

Green America is a non-profit organization whose mission is to harness economic power—the strength of consumers, investors, businesses, and the marketplace—to create a socially just and environmentally sustainable society.

The International Labor Rights Forum is an advocacy organization dedicated to achieving just and humane treatment for workers worldwide.

Oasis USA is a non-profit organization committed to developing communities where everyone is included, making a contribution, and reaching their God-given potential. Oasis USA is the West Coast Office for Stop the Traffik Campaign in the USA.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Raos at Caesars Palace Offers New Throwdown Menu After Pellegrinos Win on The Food Network

Can’t beat the Italians when it comes to the fishes. On The Food Network’s “Throwdown with Bobby Flay,” the Pellegrino family of the world-renowned Rao’s defeated Bobby Flay. The challenge: who could prepare the best Feast of Seven Fishes, the Italian holiday tradition where families gather and share a delicious multi-course meal of fish. The episode will re-air this Saturday, Dec. 5 at 12 p.m. EST/PST on The Food Network.

'Tis the season for the tables to be turned when the Pellegrino family of Rao's Restaurant at Caesars Palace challenged chef Bobby Flay of Mesa Grill fame to a holiday Throwdown! But despite the victory, this was a lovefest or perhaps love-“feast” all around.

“Really, we both won,” says Frankie Pellegrino. “It was an honor to work with as well as compete against such an esteemed colleague as Bobby Flay. This was an incredible experience. Family is why we do what we do and it was great to bring home a win for Team Pellegrino. We wish everyone a very happy holiday season.”

Flay turned up the heat and fired up his team in order to compete against a notorious family of more than 100 years of Italian tradition on its side. Three mouth-watering fish dishes were the menu du jour. As an excited audience gathered, they cheered and basked in the festive charm as our chefs got down to business.

“Family was everything in this competition, even down to the recipes. One of the winning dishes was a fresh spice Rosso Bruno tomatoes and lobster medallions. This is a dish I have been cooking since 1986. The fresh ingredients make all the difference in making the dish light and full of flavor,” says Carla Pellegrino.

On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, guests can experience the “Throwdown Menu” inspired by “Throwdown with Bobby Flay.” The menu begins with the antipasti: Cacciuco Toscano, a seafood soup with lobster, shrimp, calamari, sea bass, PEI mussels, cockles clams and scallops in white wine and tomatoes broth over a Italian garlic bread. Next: Pellegrino’s perennial recipe, the Linguini All’aragosta. The third is the classic Brazino Sotto Sale, a Mediterranean sea bass baked under salt crust.

For more information, go to

Caesars Palace is the world’s best known resort-casino, celebrating the glory that was Greece and the grandeur that was Rome, in an 85-acre destination location that sets the standard for entertainment, dining and luxury. Reigning at the heart of the Las Vegas Strip, Caesars Palace ranks among the world’s top luxury resorts known for their originality and beauty and features 3,300 hotel guest rooms and suites, 23 diverse restaurants and cafes, five-acre Garden of the Gods pools and gardens, 50,000 square foot Qua Baths & Spa and 300,000 square feet of premium meeting and convention space. The 4,300-seat Colosseum sits just steps from celebrity chef restaurants and the acclaimed Forum Shops at Caesars and spotlights world class entertainers such as Bette Midler, Jerry Seinfeld and Cher.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Spring Cocktail Recipes

The SKYY Violet
Created by Jon Gasparini of Rye on the Road

1.5 oz. SKYY Vodka
.75 oz. Creme de Violette
3 oz. Dry Sparkling Wine (such as Drusian Prosecco)
3 dashes Fee Brothers or Angostura Orange Bitters

Stir SKYY Vodka, Orange Bitters and Creme de Violette with ice. Strain into Champagne coup or flute and top with Prosecco. Top with zest of an orange and garnish with orange twist.

Love Letter
Created by Adam Wilson of Beretta

1 oz Campari
1 oz Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice
0.75 oz Cointreau
0.25 oz Maple Syrup (should be 1:1 with water)
0.25 oz Small Hand Grenadine
3 dashes of Peychaud's Bitters

Shake. Add Soda. Pour over ice in highball. Garnish with a lime zest.

Tongue Tied
1.5 oz. X-Rated Fusion Liqueur
1.5 oz. SKYY Infusions Cherry
Splash of Grenadine

Shake X-Rated and SKYY Infusions Cherry over ice. Strain into a martini glass. Slowly add a dash of Grenadine so that it sinks to the bottom. Garnish with a cherry with a knotted stem.

Spring Cocktail Recipes …

The Spaghetti Western by Scott Baird of 15 Romolo in San Francisco
0.5 Campari
1.25 oz. Russell’s Reserve Rye Whiskey
0.33 oz. Agave Nectar
1.5 oz. Mexican Lager Beer
Juice from Half a Lemon
Pinch of Sea Salt
6 to 8 Sweet 100 Tomatoes

Muddle tomatoes with salt in a cocktail shaker. Add Russell’s Reserve Rye Whiskey, Campari, agave nectar, and lemon juice with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a Collins glass with fresh ice and top with beer. Garnish with a lemon peel and two tomatoes on a toothpick.

Farmer’s Crush by Brandon Skaggs of Cortez Restaurant & Bar in San Francisco
1 oz. Campari
0.25 oz X-Rated Fusion Liqueur
1 oz. Fresh Orange Juice
1 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
1 oz. Lemon Verbena Simple Syrup*
1 Whole Mission Fig
6 Blueberries

Muddle blueberries and fig with orange and lemon juices in a cocktail shaker. Add Campari, X-Rated Fusion Liqueur and ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a Collins glass with fresh ice. Add splash of lemon verbena simple syrup and top with Prosecco. Garnish with sprig of verbena.

To make lemon verbena simple syrup, boil 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar, stir to dissolve. Add ½ cup of lemon verbena leaves, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Let cool and strain and discard lemon verbena. Syrup should be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to one month.

1 oz X-Rated Fusion Liqueur
1 oz SKYY Infusions Passion Fruit
4 kumquats
½ oz fresh lime
Dash of simple syrup

Muddle fresh kumquats with sugar and lime. Add X-Rated Fusion and SKYY Passion Fruit Vodka. Shake and strain over fresh ice. Garnish with a kumquat.

X-Rated Flip
1.5 oz X-Rated Fusion Liqueur
½ tablespoon of egg whites
½ oz simple syrup or agave nectar
½ oz lemon juice
Dash of bitters(optional) Fee Brothers Peach or Grapefruit

Pour egg whites in pint glass and shake for 30-45 seconds. Add X-Rated Fusion, simple syrup, lemon juice and bitters. Shake vigorously and strain into martini or fluted rocks glass. Finish with lemon zest

2 oz X-Rated Fusion Liqueur
½ oz simple syrup or teaspoon sugar
3.5 oz Hibiscus Lemongrass Tea

Build drink in Collins glass and garnish with lemongrass

The SKYY Violet by Jon Gasparini of Rye on the Road in San Francisco
1.5 oz. SKYY Vodka
.75 oz. Creme de Violette
3 oz. Dry Sparkling Wine (such as Drusian Prosecco)
3 dashes Fee Brothers or Angostura Orange Bitters

Stir SKYY Vodka, Orange Bitters and Creme de Violette with ice. Strain into Champagne coup or flute and top with Prosecco. Top with zest of an orange and garnish with orange twist.

Grapefruit Ginger Fizz
Originally served at the Mondrian
8440 W Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood

2.5 oz. SKYY Infusions Citrus
1 oz. Grapefruit Juice
1 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
Ginger Ale

Combine SKYY Infusions Citrus, grapefruit and lime juice in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled martini glass. Top with ginger ale and garnish with an edible flower or grapefruit.

Created by James Stuart – Director of Food and Beverage at The Bowery Hotel
335 Bowery, New York

2.5 oz. SKYY Infusions Citrus
1 oz. Combier Orange Liqueur
1 oz. Martini & Rossi Bianco
0.5 oz. Pimm’s No. 1
Lemon Twist

Coat Pimm’s inside of the martini glass. Combine SKYY Infusions Citrus, Bianco and Combier in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with a lemon twist.

*Why Called ALFIE? Skyy Spirits is from America (A); “L” is for Lemon; Combier Orange Liqueur originates from France (F); Martini & Rossi Bianco is from Italy (I) and Pimm’s No. 1 hails from England (E).

Pink Grapefruit – Mint Martini
Originally served at The Stanton Social
99 Stanton St., New York

2 oz. SKYY Infusions Citrus
1 oz. Fresh squeezed Grapefruit Juice
1 oz. Lemon Simple Syrup
Fresh Mint

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a martini glass and garnish with piece grapefruit and fresh mint.

Tootsie Rolls Go Kosher

Tootsie Roll Industries, Inc. today announced that Tootsie Rolls, Tootsie Fruit Rolls, Frooties and DOTS have become kosher-certified by the Orthodox Union, the world’s largest kosher certification agency. New packaging bearing the “OU” symbol will be distributed nationwide beginning in the next few weeks.

“We take great pride in producing wholesome confectionery products with fresh ingredients of the highest quality. This will bring our iconic brands to an entirely new consumer base that can now enjoy our products,” said Ellen Gordon, President, Tootsie Roll Industries.

The OU rigorously monitors of all aspects of production. It supervises the process by which the food is prepared, examines the ingredients used to make the food, and regularly inspects the processing facilities to make sure that its standards are met.

“We are very pleased to have Tootsie Roll join with other leading confectionery producers who have attained OU certification in recent years. It was also gratifying for OU to guide Tootsie Roll through the certification process and bring these famous candies to the growing kosher market place,” said Rabbi Eliyahu Safran, OU Kosher’s Vice President of Communications and Marketing. “It was rewarding for OU Kosher’s team, headed by Rabbis Dovid Jenkins and Abraham Juravel, as well as Phyllis Koegel, OU Marketing Associate, to corroborate with Tootsie Roll’s team and bring the much sought after Tootsie Roll products to an ever-growing kosher market place.”

About Tootsie Roll Industries, Inc.

Tootsie Roll Industries, Inc. is one of the country's largest candy companies, headquartered in Chicago with operations in Massachusetts, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Mexico and Toronto. In its 112th year, the company produces more than sixty-four million Tootsie Rolls per day and is considered the world's largest lollipop supplier. The company sells many well-known branded products including Tootsie Roll, Tootsie Roll Pops, Tootsie Pop Drops, Caramel Apple Pops, Child’s Play, Charms, Blow Pop, Blue Razz, Cella’s chocolate covered cherries, Mason Dots, Mason Crows, Junior Mints, Charleston Chew, Sugar Daddy, Sugar Babies, Andes, Fluffy Stuff cotton candy, Dubble Bubble, Razzles, Cry Baby, Nik-L-Nip and EI Bubble. For more information about the Company, see the Company’s website on the Internet at: