Monday, January 31, 2011

Mardi Gras in Shreveport

Bossier’s local eateries have a story, a flavor and a person with a passion for what they do. Columbia Café is different in an extraordinary way.

Located in the heart of the Highland neighborhood and nestled between Centenary College and Byrd High School in Shreveport, Columbia Café is a quaint little bistro that has more than just incredible food. The 1930’s craftsman bungalow has a history that was brought back to life when owner and creative developer, Matthew Linn purchased and restored it. Each room has a story from the copper-ceiling sunroom to the hidden private dining room.

The atmosphere is comfortable, like coming home after being away for a while, if your home were equipped with a fully-stocked wine wall and incredible artwork from all your most creative and artistic friends. The eclectic collection of antique furniture mixed with unique details, like a mosaic wall that took months to complete, make Columbia Café one of the most distinctive dining venues in the area.

Consistent with the atmosphere, the culinary experience is gratifyingly delicious. Combining southern flair with a gourmet spin, the cuisine will please any palate. The chef likes to experiment so the menu changes weekly, if not daily sometimes.

And what would a café be without a cup of savory robust coffee? Matthew is an expert when it comes to the java bean. He actually roasts his own coffee beans next door to the restaurant. His care and expertise in this arena makes having a cup of coffee more of a glorious caffeinated experience. Matthew is also a culinary connoisseur, and understanding how food affects the body is a specialty of his.

True to his passion for the Highland neighborhood, Matthew founded the Krewe of Highland. In its 18th year, the Highland Parade is one of Louisiana’s largest family-oriented parades. When asked why he decided to start his own Mardi Gras krewe and parade, Matthew said it was because he loves New Orleans, and he wanted to experience it in his own neighborhood. “This parade is a fun, friendly way to bring people out of their houses,” he said.

The Krewe of Highland Parade is scheduled for Sunday, March 6 at 2 p.m. For more information about all Mardi Gras parades and events go to ( For a Columbia Café menu, click here (

Did you know?
A traditional Mardi Gras dish, grits and griots is a savory combination of pork, fat and grits – an effective hangover cure. “It allows alcohol to bypass being processed through the liver, allowing you to consume more alcohol if eaten prior to drinking and curing the after effects of intoxication,” Matthew said.

Coastal Uncorked Food And Wine Festival Welcomes New Sponsor

Coastal Uncorked, the premier food and wine festival along the Grand Strand, welcomes A&I Fire and Water Restoration as a gold sponsor for the festival. The support of A&I Fire and Water Restoration will allow them to be a part of many events during the weeklong festival. This will be their first year participating as a sponsor.

The second annual Coastal Uncorked Food and Wine Festival will be held May 8 - 15, 2011. Along with the Tasting Trolley, golf tournament, and Gala, celebrity chef and personality Paula Deen will participate in a cooking demonstration and cookbook signing.

“We are thrilled to have A&I Fire and Water Restoration become a 2011 sponsor of Coastal Uncorked,” said Candace Howell, executive director for Coastal Uncorked. “This Festival wouldn’t be a success without it’s wonderful sponsors and we hope A&I will be a lifetime sponsor of this event.”

A&I Fire and Water Restoration is a full-service general contractor specializing in quality repairs and property restoration. For more information on A&I please visit their website at

About Coastal Uncorked Food, Wine and Spirits Festival Featuring Paula Deen
Coastal Uncorked Food, Wine and Spirits Festival Featuring Paula Deen is the Myrtle Beach, S.C. area’s premier food and wine festival. The second annual festival, which is scheduled for May 8-15, will be highlighted by a cooking demonstration featuring Paula Deen on Saturday, May 14. The festival will also feature a restaurant week; a wine tasting trolley tour of Myrtle Beach; outdoor entertainment at Market Common and the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk and Promenade; the Coastal Uncorked Golf Tournament; and the Coastal Uncorked Food Fight fundraiser. All funds raised during the festival will be used for future events and a portion will be donated to the Horry Georgetown Technical College Culinary School and the Clay Brittain Hospitality Program at Coastal Carolina University.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Orchids at Palm Court Named One of the Top 50 Restaurants in the United States! by OpenTable

The Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza is pleased to announce that its fine-dining establishment, Orchids at Palm Court, has been named "One of the Top 50 Restaurants in the United States." by OpenTable.

OpenTable, Inc a leading provider of free online reservations for diners and guest management systems for restaurants, announced the winners of its 2010 Diners' Choice awards for the Best Overall restaurants in December 2010. The list of winners is derived from more than seven million reviews submitted by OpenTable diners for more than 15,000 restaurants in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Based on feedback collected from OpenTable diners between December 2009 and November 2010, Orchids was one of the top 50 restaurants in the country to receive the highest average "overall" rating, one of the categories on which diners can provide input about their experiences at a particular restaurant.
Other Recognition

Orchids at Palm Court has been honored with numerous awards including:
Orchids named Cincinnati's Top Resturant by Zagat Survey, 2011
Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza named #1 Food & Beverage Hilton Hotel in the US, 2010
American Automobile Association's (AAA) coveted four-diamond award for excellence for five consecutive years.
Cincinnati Magazine named Orchids #1 restaurant for 2010 & 2009.
The Cincinnati Enquirer's restaurant critic, Polly Campbell, gave the Orchids a five-star (extraordinary) rating in November 2009.
The American Culinary Federation presented Orchids and Chef Kelly with its prestigious "Award of Excellence" and named Chef Megan Ketover as "Pastry Chef of the Year - Northeast Region" in 2009.
About Orchids at Palm Court & the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza

Orchids at Palm Court is part of The Restaurants at Palm Court which also include The Bar at Palm Court and The Grille at Palm Court. They are located in the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza. The Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza opened in 1931 and is one of the world's finest examples of French art deco architecture and the restaurant features rare Brazilian rosewood walls with German silver-nickel metalwork and lighting fixtures. The two-story ceiling features large Romanesque murals and on the north end of the restaurant is an original Rookwood Pottery fountain flanked by two large seahorses which illustrates the magnificent examples of art deco in the restaurant. The hotel is a charter member of Historic Hotels of America, is a registered National Landmark and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

American Roland Food Corp. supports the Taste of the NFL “Party with a Purpose”

American Roland Food Corp. is excited to announce their participation in The Taste of the NFL. Held annually on the night before the big game, the Taste of the NFL brings together the nation’s top chefs, NFL players, and hundreds of volunteers to show over 3,500 guests a Texas “big time” in an effort to give hunger the boot! This year, The Taste of the NFL XX will be held at the Fort Worth convention center. American Roland Food Corp is a proud partner, donating time, product, and support to the participating chefs. Proceeds from the night’s event go directly to food banks around the country.

Each year the Taste of the NFL hosts 32 chefs as representatives from the NFL cities, pairing food and wine for thousands of food and football fans. Guests can get their pictures taken with current and past NFL players and sample spectacular dishes from their favorite chefs around the country. Over the past twenty years, over ten million dollars have been donated to hunger relief organizations across the United States. This year a portion of the proceeds will go directly to the food banks in Fort Worth, in addition to proceeds being distributed to each NFL city’s Feeding America affiliated food bank.

This year marks the 20th anniversary bringing back past chefs who have participated in this important event. Celebrity Chefs Tom Colicchio, Susan Goss, Robert Del Grande, Susan Spicer, Todd English, Stephan Pyles, and Nancy Silverton along with NFL greats Jan Stenerud, Bobby Mitchell, Floyd Little, Tommy Nobis, and Bob Lurtsema are joining Miss America 2011 for this “Party with a Purpose.”

“Roland® is delighted to participate in Taste of the NFL this year,” said Lisa Kartzman, Director of Public Relations for American Roland Food Corp. “We have supported hunger related causes for years and welcome the opportunity to reach more people in need through this wonderful event.”

American Roland Food Corp. is pleased to be providing specialty and high quality items such as the Roland® staple, whole artichokes. These artichokes are being featured in a blue corn crusted artichoke dish the chefs and players will dine on at the VIP event the night before the Taste. We are also excited to have Roland® product in the hands, and on the plates, of the many talented chefs cooking at the big event on Saturday. Also being highlighted is Roland® almond paste in Spiced Wisconsin Cranberry Broth with Crispy Walnut Cranberry Turnover & Maple Cream by Roland® chef ambassador and James Beard award winning chef, Sanford D’Amato. D’Amato, the chef representing Green Bay and “the Pack,” says “as chefs we are constantly getting charity requests. Since I make a living cooking and selling food, it is only natural to give back by feeding people. Nothing makes us happier. It is only right that we chefs raise money to stop hunger.”

As a company, American Roland Food Corp. is committed to the food industry and our success is based on decades of innovations and setting trends. We are committed to making food available to those less fortunate, which is one of the reasons we are thrilled to be a part of the Taste of the NFL and supporting the fight to end hunger!

The Taste of the NFL’s mission is to address the needs of the hungry and homeless by raising awareness and money through special events. For more information on how you can get involved please go to And for a complete list of the talented chefs participating in this event go to

For more information on American Roland Food Corp. please go to Or become a fan on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for exciting news from Texas!

Taco Bell Fights Back

Taco Bell announced today that it is setting the record straight, launching a nationwide advertising campaign to share the truth about its seasoned beef. The company is placing full page ads in national publications including Wall Street Journal, New York Times and USA Today as well as in local market newspapers including Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Orange County Register, San Diego Tribune, and San Francisco Chronicle. The company is also executing a campaign to reach its Hispanic customers.

To reach consumers online, the company launched a YouTube video featuring Taco Bell President Greg Creed speaking about the facts of the brands “not-so-secret” recipe. The video will be placed on the company’s YouTube channel (, Facebook page (, website ( and supported with an aggressive online campaign on leading search engines and social media networks.

The Advertising Copy reads:

Thank you for suing us.

Here’s the truth about seasoned beef.

The claims made against Taco Bell and our seasoned beef are absolutely false.
Our beef is 100% USDA inspected, just like the quality beef you buy in a supermarket and prepare in your home. It is then slow-cooked and simmered in our unique recipe of seasonings, spices, water, and other ingredients to provide Taco Bell’s signature taste and texture.

Plain ground beef tastes boring.
The only reason we add anything to our beef is to give the meat flavor and quality. Otherwise we’d end up with nothing more than the bland flavor of ground beef, and that doesn’t make for great-tasting tacos.

So here are the REAL percentages.
88% Beef and 12% Secret Recipe.

In case you’re curious, here’s our not-so-secret recipe.
We start with USDA-inspected quality beef (88%). Then add water to keep it juicy and moist (3%). Mix in Mexican spices and flavors, including salt, chili pepper, onion powder, tomato powder, sugar, garlic powder, and cocoa powder (4%). Combine a little oats, caramelized sugar, yeast, citric acid, and other ingredients that contribute to the flavor, moisture, consistency, and quality of our seasoned beef (5%).

We stand behind the quality of our seasoned beef 100% and we are proud to serve it in all our restaurants. We take any claims to the contrary very seriously and plan to take legal action against those who have made false claims against our seasoned beef.

Greg Creed
President, Taco Bell

About Taco Bell Corp.
Taco Bell Corp. ("Taco Bell"), a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc., (NYSE: YUM), is the nation's leading Mexican-style quick service restaurant chain. Taco Bell serves tacos, burritos, signature quesadillas, Grilled Stuft Burritos, nachos, and other specialty items such as Crunchwrap Supreme®, in addition to the Why Pay More!® Value Menu. Taco Bell serves more than 36.8 million consumers each week in nearly 5,600 restaurants in the U.S.

TGI Friday's BOGOHO Link

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Affordable Gifts for Mother's Day--Consider New Senseo/HamiltonBeach Single-Serve Coffeemachine

If every year you find yourself at a crossroads when it comes to choosing the right gift for Mom, turn to something practical and useful that is sure to perk up her day. If she’s always on the go or looking for ways save some cash here and there, an affordable single-serve coffee machine may do just the trick this Mother’s Day! Senseo, the world’s leader in single-serve coffee recently partnered with Hamilton Beach to introduce the new “Stay or Go” coffee machine. Priced at $29.99, this ultra-affordable coffee brewer uses top-quality pre-measured Senseo coffee pods in variety of brews, giving you the perfect cup of coffee every time.

Hamilton Beach Stay or Go Personal Cup Pod Coffeemaker
· Perfect for any coffee-loving Mom on-the-go
· Brews up to a 14 oz. cup of delicious coffee right into a standard coffee cup or travel mug using SENSEO coffee pods
· Includes one free bag containing 18 SENSEO coffee pods
· Compact design that won’t take up much counter space
· Suggested retail price of $29.99
· Available at major national retailers, including Walmart and Kohl’s

New Cooking Basics For Dummies Offers Great Tips and Recipes for Every Occasion

There are a lot of reasons why more people are opting to put away the takeout menus and pull out their long-forgotten cookbooks. Whether you’re trying to get the number on the scale to go down or the number in your bank account to go up, cooking at home can be an intimidating task if you don’t have a good grasp of the basics.

Cooking Basics For Dummies®, 4th Edition (Wiley Publishing, Inc., December 2010, ISBN: 978-1-1180-1362-5, $21.99) appeals to beginners who want to learn the basics of cooking and implement understandable and practical recipes in their everyday cooking experience. This hands-on guide shows you the fun and easy way to prepare meals all your guests and family members will love, from die-hard vegetarians to the most passionate meat eaters.

• Fix it up fresh and fit: How to cut fat, calories, and carbs when cooking
• Culinary crowd pleasers: Easy recipes the whole family will enjoy—no matter what the occasion!
• Beyond boiling water: Learn about grilling, slow cooking, pressure cooking, roasting, and sautéing
• Special request? No problem! Considerations for vegetarians, special diets, and sustainable dishes with flavor and pizzazz
• A little prep-work goes a long way: Tips for reading recipes before getting started
• Fantastic food in a flash: Timesaving cooking tips
• So you won’t have to borrow that cup of sugar: Staples for your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer

With the help of Cooking Basics For Dummies, you’ll be able to handle boiling, poaching, steaming, braising, grilling, and so much more like a master. You can use simple tips and tricks to cook healthy meals, bake yummy desserts, throw a fabulous party, and save time in the kitchen. With a bit of planning, some expert advice, and fresh ingredients, you’ll be cooking delicious meals in no time—even if you consider yourself a kitchen novice.

About the Authors:
Bryan Miller is a food and feature writer covering restaurants and dining trends all over the world.
Marie Rama is an independent food, beverage, and media consultant.
Eve Adamson is the coauthor of The Mediterranean Diet.

About the Book:
Cooking Basics For Dummies®, 4th Edition (Wiley Publishing, Inc., December 2010, ISBN: 978-1-1180-1362-5, $21.99) is available at bookstores nationwide, major online booksellers, or directly from the publisher by calling (877) 762-2974.

The next stop on the online RV Cooking Show will be California

Showcasing central California’s spectacular Santa Ynez Valley and the luxurious Flying Flags RV Resort (, located in the picturesque town of Solvang, the RV Cooking Show (, in partnership with Horizon RV Resorts, is delighted to announce an upcoming five-episode series dubbed Food, Fun & Friends at Flying Flags.

From rolling hills and wonderful wineries to activities and attractions to fresh, local flavors, the RV Cooking Show will share the bounty of the area – in the heart of Santa Barbara’s wine country – with those who love to travel and love to eat. The series will include two live events at Flying Flags as well as a number of exciting extras for live and virtual viewers. Series details to follow as they become available.

“The Santa Ynez/Santa Barbara region is rich in natural beauty, history and no surprise, is a foodie paradise. We are thrilled to bring the best of this remarkable area and its trademark taste sensations to our fans all across the globe. This series is going to be simply terrific,” said RV Cooking Show producer and host Evanne Schmarder.

“Just as with pairing great wine with great food, the pairing of Evanne’s RV Cooking Show with Flying Flags RV Resort promises to be spectacular. It is a perfect match, and we’re certain that our guests, along with all of the RV Cooking Show’s fans, are in for something truly remarkable. We can’t wait!” added Randy Hendrickson, President, Horizon RV Resorts.

Filming will take place this spring and will be available in time for the summer travel season. For more information about the upcoming Food, Fun & Friends at Flying Flags series contact Evanne Schmarder, RV Cooking Show, at or 702-460-9863.

About RV Cooking Show

A virtual cooking class on wheels with an RV travel twist, the RV Cooking Show takes viewers on adventures to some of the most sought-after or interesting but little-known RV locales in the country and then creates healthy, easy, delicious destination-related dishes in host Evanne Schmarder’s RV kitchen. Evanne may be contacted at or 702-460-9863. You may also log on to for more details.

About Horizon RV Resorts

Horizon RV Resorts is a third-party Campground and RV Park Management and Consulting group exclusively serving the outdoor hospitality industry. Founder Randy Hendrickson has been involved in the industry for 15 years, providing management services to properties in California, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, Utah, Texas, Florida, North Carolina and New York.– including the newly remodeled, top-rated Flying Flags RV Resort in Solvang, California. For more information contact Randy Hendrickson at or 623-535-5151. You may also visit their website at

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Leinenkugel's Prepares Football Fans for an Unforgettable Wisconsin-Style Big Game Party

Football, food and beer are undeniably a winning combination. The Wisconsin-based 144-year-old Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Co. is showing football fans how Wisconsin celebrates with brew-based recipes and pairings as its home state team competes in the country’s biggest annual sporting event for the top spot in football.

Leinenkugel’s Honey Beergarita

Kick-off the Big Game with a new take on Leinenkugel's best-selling brew!

• 1 cup tequila
• 1 12-oz. can lemonade concentrate
• 4 12-oz. bottles of Leinenkugel’s Honey Weiss

Mix in a pitcher and serve over ice. Garnish with lemon slices. Makes one pitcher.

Leinie’s Classic Big Game Beer Cheese Spread

• 1 8-oz. package cream cheese
• 4-oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
• 1 tablespoon chopped green onion top
• ¼ cup Leinenkugel's 1888 Bock (seasonal Jan. - March)
• 1 teaspoon horseradish
• ½ teaspoon dry mustard

Microwave cheeses for 2 ½ minutes. Gradually beat in remaining ingredients. Cook covered for another 1-2 minutes, stirring twice. Serve with pretzels, crackers and veggies.

Leinie's Sunset-Glazed First Down Chicken

• 10-12 pieces of chicken (cut for grilling)
• 2 bottles Leinenkugel’s Sunset Wheat (measure out 1/3 cup and set aside for sauce)
• 3 tablespoons Canola Oil
• 1 cup finely chopped onion
• 2 tablespoons of minced garlic
• 10-oz can mandarin oranges (save 1/3-cup liquid and finely chop oranges)
• 4 tablespoons pure maple syrup
• 2 tablespoons soy sauce
• ¼ teaspoon ginger
• ½ teaspoon pepper

Clean, salt and pepper chicken and place in a gallon-sized plastic storage bag. Pour all Leinie’s Sunset Wheat, minus 1/3 cup, into bag with chicken. Refrigerate overnight.

To make Leinie’s Sunset Grilling Sauce sauté garlic and onions in canola oil over medium-low heat until onions become lightly browned and translucent. Add 1/3 cup liquid from orange can and oranges to onion mixture and continue to sauté until juice is reduced. Turn heat to low and add maple syrup, soy sauce, Leinie’s Sunset Wheat, ginger and pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Prepare charcoal. Place chicken in baking dish and bake at 350° for ½ hour. Place partially baked chicken on grill and baste with Leinie’s Sunset Grilling Sauce until done. You may want to make extra sauce to serve with chicken.

A Sweet Ending

Pair Leinenkugel's Berry Weiss, featuring a fresh blend of indigenous Wisconsin berries, including blackberries, elderberries and loganberries, with chocolate or a triple cream cheese like Camembert for a simple dessert option.

Small-Batch Vodka and Gin from Smooth Ambler Spirits Now Availablein Ohio

Ohio residents need no longer cross state lines to purchase the highly-rated, handcrafted Whitewater Vodka and Greenbrier Gin of West Virginia-based Smooth Ambler Spirits. Now this small-batch, premium cut brand is available in more than 100 fine liquor stores, bars, and restaurants throughout the state. Each 750 ml bottle is priced at around $29.95 and additional Smooth Ambler products can be found online at

Each of Smooth Ambler’s artisanal spirits is crafted using the foundational elements for a bourbon recipe, a master distiller’s blend of corn, wheat, and malted barley. This non-traditional approach to creating “white” spirits like vodka and gin produces a notably distinct taste, with a smooth finish that upholds its namesake. Says founder Tag Galyean, “We set out to vodka and gin with rich flavors that need no dressing up with mixers or enhancements.”

Smooth Ambler’s Whitewater Vodka recently received a rating of 90 from the reviewers at, noting the flavorful intensity and advising that with this vodka, “…chilled in a glass is all you’ll need.” The reviewers at also gave Smooth Ambler’s Greenbrier Gin a rating of 91, highlighting the journey of unexpected flavor blends that “…make this gin really sing.”

Hand-crafted care is devoted to every single bottle that leaves the 5,200 square-foot distillery, with each one personally signed and dated by its bottler. A family business with deep roots in the community, the distillery often invites the local townspeople – and visiting tourists – to participate in “Bottling Days” that result in new cases of Smooth Ambler being shipped to fine liquor stores and dining venues/bars throughout West Virginia, Ohio, Virginia, and Washington DC.

Founded in 2009, Smooth Ambler Spirits introduced its first batch of vodka in April of 2010, with gin and white whiskey following shortly thereafter. The distillery was founded by West Virginia native Tag Galyean, the master architect and spa designer known for luxury hospitality design at famed resorts such as The Broadmoor (CO), The Greenbrier (WV), Hotel Hershey (PA), Pebble Beach (CA) and Turnberry Isle (FL). Tag’s longtime colleague and son-in-law, John Little, leads the Smooth Ambler team as chief distiller. Smooth Ambler will debut its first bourbon batch in April of 2011, which is lovingly aging in small barrels at this very moment. For more information, visit the distillery online at and

Bud Light Gives Facebook Fans Super Bowl Ad Sneak Peek and Internet-Only Spot

Bud Light is going online to engage consumers in the run up to football’s biggest game of the year, inviting fans of the brand’s Facebook® Page to guess the storylines to each of its three Super Bowl ads. If the Bud Light community is able to “Unlock the Spot,” Bud Light will serve up a fourth, Internet-only ad exclusively to its fans.

Bud Light has begun posting images from each of its Super Bowl commercials on the “Unlock the Spot” tab of, with two additional images from each ad to follow over the next several days. The ads represent new chapters in Bud Light’s successful “Here We Go” campaign, but no further information about the commercials will be made available. If its community can work together to correctly identify the storyline of each ad by Saturday, Feb. 5, Bud Light will unlock a special, Internet-only 90-second commercial ahead of its scheduled release after the broadcast of Super Bowl XLV on Sunday, Feb. 6.

“Every year there is anticipation, excitement and discussion about Super Bowl ads,” said Gregg Billmeyer, vice president, Premium Lights, Anheuser-Busch. “We wanted to give our fans their own piece of that – something that will encourage discussion among them, attract new fans and reward them all by giving them content they’d be the first to see.”

Bud Light’s digital programming for the big game also extends to the brand’s experiential event in Dallas, the Bud Light Hotel. At Bud Light Hotel, Bud Light will become the first brand to build an official Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) application on Facebook Platform for guests to share their experience with friends.

The unique service allows people to use a Facebook application to sync their Facebook account with an RFID-enabled token. By scanning the token at an RFID reader, users can automatically publish their activities at a particular event to their profile page without using a computer or mobile device.

At the Bud Light Hotel, guests will be provided RFID-enabled wristbands, which they can sync with their account at Bud Light kiosks fitted with readers. At kiosks throughout the event space, guests will be able to take and publish pictures directly to their News Feed with one swipe of the RFID bracelet. If a group of friends takes a picture at a kiosk, they can each swipe their RFID wristband and publish the pictures to their individual Facebook profiles as well.

The 193-room Bud Light Hotel is a temporary re-branding of a hotel in the heart of downtown Dallas. After debuting during last year’s big game in Miami, the Bud Light Hotel has quickly become one of the hottest destinations during pro football’s biggest weekend. This year, the Bud Light Hotel features a Texas-sized tent (132’ x 230’), which will transform the hotel’s parking lot into a premier concert venue capable of hosting 3,500-plus guests (21 years of age or older). With a star-studded lineup of concerts and exclusive events – including the legendary Playboy party and performances by Nelly, Ke$ha and Pitbull – the Bud Light Hotel will be the place to party in Dallas. For more details, visit

7 Tips on Healthy Drive-Thru Choices for Busy Teens

Being a teen is tough. Most days your schedule is jam-packed with activities from the time you crawl out of bed to the time you face-plant onto your mattress at night. You’re balancing school, social life, homework, chores, and a host of extracurricular stuff that might range from sports to band practice to an after-school job. You really don’t have time to plan out your meals and count calories—but you still want to be healthy (and—let’s face it—look great in those trendy new jeans).

Is there any way to reconcile these health-conscious desires with a lifestyle that often necessitates greasy paper bags from the drive-thru window?

Absolutely, say Ellen Shanley and Colleen Thompson. You just have to know—and act on—some basic nutritional facts when you’re ordering.

“Fast food is part of the American lifestyle, and it’s not realistic to suggest that teens—or adults, for that matter—will never eat another burger or large fry again,” says Shanley, coauthor along with Thompson of the new book Fueling the Teen Machine: What It Takes to Make Good Choices for Yourself Every Day, 2nd Edition (Bull Publishing Company, 2010, ISBN: 978-1-933503-37-0, $16.95, “The key is to simply know what your best choices are the next time you need a fast meal on the go.”

Shanley and Thompson know what they’re talking about—they’re both registered dieticians who practice and teach at the University of Connecticut. They’re also parents, and they’re all too aware that teens’ concerns about their bodies don’t always mesh well with their day-to-day diets.

“In the midst of the daily whirlwind that is the typical teenager’s life, a fast-food snack after the game or a quick combo eaten with friends is sometimes the only realistic option,” confirms Thompson. “Plus—let’s be honest—lots of fast-food fare is tasty! And the good news is it can be incorporated into a healthy lifestyle.”

Read on for seven of Shanley and Thompson’s fast-food-savvy nutrition tips…some of which may really surprise you:

(Super)-Size does matter. We live in a society where bigger is better. Even in fancier sit-down restaurants, servings are often larger than what a healthy teenage stomach can comfortably consume. And while it’s tempting to go for the biggest package deal, the same thing is often true of “mega-sized” fast-food meals. Before you order the jumbo burger and the humongo gulp drink, think twice about whether you really need all that food.

“Fast-food restaurants hook you in by promising a lot more food for just a little more money,” points out Shanley. “They don’t care if your eyes end up being bigger than your stomach! So be discriminating. Are you really that hungry? Why not share your mega meal with a friend? Or just get smaller versions of the items you want. You’ll be consuming fewer unhealthy bites, but your tastebuds will be just as satisfied.”

Fish and chicken don’t always deserve their healthful rep. You know what they say about assuming: don’t. This is especially true when it comes to choosing your “main course” at the fast-food counter. It’s a common (if not universal) assumption that white meat is healthier than red meat—but that’s not always the case. Since many fast-food restaurants bread and fry their chicken and fish, these choices often end up having as much or more fat and calories than a hamburger.

“If you’re craving white meat, choose chicken or fish that is broiled, baked, or grilled,” advises Thompson. “If you’re not sure how a certain menu item is prepared, ask! Actually, most fast-food restaurants have the nutrient content of their menu items either right in the restaurant or certainly on their websites.”

Download the (nutritional) lowdown. Yes, it’s important to know what’s in the foods you eat—how many fat grams and calories, how much sugar, and, yes, how much good stuff like calcium and vitamin C. As mentioned, all fast-food joints provide nutritional info on their menu items. And Thompson and Shanley suggest that you stay on top of what’s what the high-tech, twenty-first century way. That’s right—there’s an app for this, too!

“You can download apps that tell you the nutrition information on all of your favorite fast-food menu items,” says Shanley. “This can really help you make an educated decision the next time you visit the restaurant.”

Go green. Yeah, sometimes you’re just craving some salty fries more than anything else. But if you’re not being driven by the relentless need for some deep-fried potatoes, give some thought to ordering a side salad instead. It’s a great way to fit in a serving of nutritious veggies!

“Know what kind of salad you’re ordering, though,” cautions Thompson. “Salads can actually be full of calories, especially if they have heavy dressings or added items such as chicken strips, croutons, nuts, etc. In fact, just two ounces of ranch dressing—about one typical packet—contains twenty grams of fat. That’s as much as is in a quarter-pounder! Go for the ‘lite’ or reduced-fat dressings, or use less of the heavier ones. And choose a salad that’s heavier on the veggies than on the extras.”

Skip the mocha-frappe-espresso-ccino-with-whipped-cream coffee drink. Yes, coffee shops are fun hangout spots, and all those specialty coffees and baked goods look scrumptious! (And some fast-food restaurants have these sweet, caffeinated treats, too!) But did you know that one beverage and a muffin are often a whole meal in terms of calories…though not necessarily in terms of nutrition? Ordering these treats on a regular basis might not be so desirable after all.

“To increase your intake of other food groups at coffee houses, try ordering some 100 percent fruit juice or fat-free milk, or having a protein-rich egg on your bagel instead of cream cheese,” suggests Shanley. “And if you’re craving coffee, order your beverage with skim milk, sans flavor shots and piles of sugar. This way, your drink can actually provide a fair amount of protein and calcium.”

Think outside your go-to wrapper. Most of us gravitate toward one or two meals when we go to our favorite fast-food spots. Although it might mean reading the menu more carefully than you have in years, going beyond “the usual” might pay off for your tastebuds…and your body.

“In recent years, many fast-food chains have become more health-conscious and have expanded their menus,” Thompson points out. “Look for and try more nutritious choices such as soup, baked potatoes, salads, yogurt, milk, or bagels. Who knows? You might even find a new and improved ‘usual.’”

Step away from the soda. Did you know that those caffeinated, refreshing beverages account for as much as 10 percent of the typical teen’s daily calories? Yikes! Many of us overlook drinks when assessing the nutritional value of any given meal, which can be a mistake. You don’t have to cut sodas entirely—but remember that moderation is key.

“Consider going back to your childhood mainstays like water, 100 percent fruit juice, and milk when placing your order,” advises Shanley. “Chances are, they’ll be just as tasty as you remember—plus, they’re excellent sources of vitamins, calcium, and even protein. Also consider smoothies made with real fruit, especially if they’re not loaded with sugar.”

“Mix and match these tactics when the drive-thru beckons, and you’ll be doing your body and health a favor,” concludes Thompson. “Remember that many of the choices on the menu can fit into your meal plan—it’s just a matter of how often you choose certain foods and what you eat along with them that make the difference. By simply changing your side item or beverage and being aware of what each choice really contains, you’ll save lots of calories and gain a good deal of nutritional value.”

“The bottom line is, it’s all about balance,” adds Shanley. “Every young person has days that get away, practices that run late, and families who can’t always sit down for a meal at the same time. Don’t worry too much about the occasional supper in a bag—just make the best choices you can and compensate the following day by emphasizing fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.”

About the Authors:
Ellen Shanley, MBA, RD, CD-N, is a registered dietitian and a faculty member in the Department of Allied Health Sciences at the University of Connecticut, where she directs the dietetics program and teaches courses in food systems management. Ellen lives in Glastonbury, Connecticut, with her husband and two adult children (who just graduated from college).

Colleen Thompson, MS, RD, is also a registered dietitian and the director of Hawley Armory, the fitness center for employee health at the University of Connecticut. Colleen lives in Wallingford, Connecticut, with her husband and their three teenage sons.

Together, Ellen and Colleen have coauthored Overcoming Childhood Obesity and Connecticut Cooks for Kids, a cookbook and nutrition resource for childcare providers and young children. They have also published several articles and abstracts about nutrition, food service, and nutrition education in a variety of professional publications including the Journal of the American Dietetic Association and the Journal of School Nutrition.

About the Book:

Fueling the Teen Machine: What It Takes to Make Good Choices for Yourself Every Day, 2nd Edition (Bull Publishing Company, 2010, ISBN: 978-1-933503-37-0, $16.95) is available at better bookstores and major online booksellers. It is also available online at or by calling 800-676-2855.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

National Meat Week, January 30-February 6

National Meat Week is January 30-February 6 and is the perfect time to celebrate the many protein options available in the meat case at the local grocery store—and the farmers who produce it.

“Compared to decades ago, today’s consumers have an array of meat options when shopping in their local supermarket,” said David White, executive director of the Ohio Livestock Coalition (OLC). “The key to navigating the meat case is to know the similarities and differences between the various choices so consumers can make informed decisions and feel good about the product they are taking home to feed their families.”

Experts at the OLC recommend the following tips to make the next trip to the meat case a breeze:

Get to know the local butcher. Whether purchasing at a supermarket or a meat market, the butcher can answer questions, such as how to purchase meat, what’s a good buy, and how to prepare and cook it.

Look for specials. Be a smart shopper and review weekly specials before heading to the grocery store, and purchase meat when it’s on sale. Sometimes chicken may be least expensive. At other times, the best buy might be pork, beef, turkey or lamb. Another way to stretch the dollar is to purchase a whole cut, such as a whole pork loin that can be divided into four different cuts of meat – pork roast, pork chops, strips and cubes.

Read the labels. Meat labels provide a wealth of information. The label states the type of meat (beef, pork, chicken, turkey, veal or lamb), the wholesale cut (loin, rib, shoulder, leg, etc.) and the retail cut (steak, chops, roast, etc.). The label also includes the sell-by-date, the weight of the meat, cost per pound and total price.

Check the packaging. Look for packaging that does not contain any holes or tears, and make sure that the meat is cool to the touch.

Keep the quality. All fresh meat is perishable and must be handled and stored properly to avoid spoilage and food-borne illness. Upon arriving home, immediately place meat in the refrigerator. If individuals do not plan to use the meat within a few days, freeze the package at 0°F or colder.

Eggs are not found in the local meat case, but they are an additional important source of protein. Eggs are often referred to as “the perfect food” because they have only 75 calories, and are packed with high-quality protein. In fact, they’re often used as the standard against which other proteins are measured.

In addition, milk, cheese and yogurt are good sources of protein and are quick, portable and easy options to include in lunchtime meals.

During National Meat Week – and every week – take the opportunity to learn more about the variety of options available in the supermarket and the farmers who provide the safe, affordable, high-quality products.

The OLC, formed in 1997, is a statewide trade organization consisting of diverse agriculture organizations and individual farmers committed to advancing environmentally friendly, socially responsible and economically viable livestock farming practices.

For more information about Ohio’s livestock farmers, and their role in providing Ohioans with safe, wholesome, affordable food, please visit the Ohio Livestock Coalition’s Web site at Links to the individual sites of livestock groups also are available there.

McAlister's Donates 100% of Restaurant Tips to SPCACincinnati

McAlister’s Deli

5 McAlister’s Deli locations in Kentucky and Ohio collected over $3,000 to donate to SPCA Cincinnati in lieu of tips from September-December 2010.

McAlister’s Deli donates 100% of tips that guests leave on the table to charity 100% of the time, every day of the year!

September-December 2010

All Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky McAlister’s Deli Restaurants

Monday, January 24, 2011

Try the New Chef if You Are in West L.A.

Westwood recently appointed Executive Chef Dakota Weiss to bring her acclaimed culinary voice and perfection for good food to the hotel to oversee all kitchen operations including NINETHIRTY and The Backyard Restaurant, both managed by Choice Hospitality Group. Chef Weiss brings in new tastes and bold flavors to W with her unique, yet fresh and simple dishes.

“We are happy to welcome Chef Weiss to W Los Angeles - Westwood. Her extensive culinary experience and extreme passion in the kitchen makes her a perfect fit for our hotel. We are excited to have her be a part of our W team!” says Ren Hirose, General Manager of W Los Angeles – Westwood.

Chef Weiss has previously worked for top chefs including Jeff Drew, Dean Fearing and Bruno Menard, and has taken their influence to create her own unique and avant-garde approach to food. “I try to keep things light and fresh, but flavorful,” says Weiss. “When creating a dish, I use all of my senses not only my taste buds. I use my eyes, nose and heart.” Chef Dakota must be able to enjoy the dishes herself if it’s going on her menu.

The new menu will still consist of small and large plates with entrees ranging from light fare to simple dishes with bold flavors all combined with American farm-fresh ingredients. Small plates include NINETHIRTY chopped salad: red beets, pears, smoked pistachios, drizzled in herb de provence vinaigrette; Seared Hamachi: porcini mascarpone, pickled mushrooms, atop napa cabbage salad and Oysters X’s Two: chillin-carrot mignonette, bakin-creamed arugula and parmesan. Share & Side dishes offer groups an opportunity to mix, match, and taste various menu items including Parsnip Gratin: caramelized shallots and aged pecorino, Mustard Braised Brussel Sprouts sprinkled with golden raisins or Mac n’ Cheese: smoked bacon, granny smith apples and garlic bread crumbs. Select Large plate entrees include Beef Bourgogne: pappardelle noodles and roasted root veggies; Drunk Mussels: Washington state black mussels, white wine, garlic, hominy and grilled bread; Stout Braised Chicken n’ Biscuits: herbed buttermilk biscuit, roasted crimini mushrooms, farmers market carrots, Chile Roasted Eggplant Crepes: charred tomato couis, goat cheese croquettes, and Maple Syrup Braised Pork Shank: whiskey and brown butter yams, haricot vert, and crispy sage.
Chef Dakota was born and raised in Lancaster, California before moving to Santa Fe, Mexico at the age of 12. While she has lived all across the United States including Arizona, Texas, and Florida, one thing remains the same as she spent many hours in the kitchen with her mother, suspense novelist Charmaine Coimbra. According to Chef Weiss, her mother is who she acquired her love for food, appreciation of fresh products and flair in the kitchen. She attended and graduated top of her class from Scottsdale Culinary Institute in 1997 where, shortly after, she worked under Chef Jeff Drew at Coyote Café and spent three years there cultivating her talents. She then spent six years working for Ritz-Carlton including the Ritz-Carlton in Atlanta where she made a name for herself working closely with Chef Bruno Menard and returned to Los Angeles to work for Jer-ne Restaurant and Bar at the Ritz-Carlton in Marina Del Rey. Soon after, Chef Weiss worked at Sunset Tower Hotel’s Tower Bar and moved to Philadelphia to help open Stephen Starr’s restaurant Parc. Although she has lived and traveled to other parts of the country, Chef Weiss will always consider Southern California home and worked at Hotel Shangri-La in Santa Monica before arriving at W Los Angeles. “Southern California air runs through my veins”, says Chef Weiss and she currently has no intention of leaving.

Weiss’ French training and broad range of experience has made her an all-around, versatile chef. With her passion and creativity, she creates dishes that delight the palates of all who come to enjoy great food.

SPRING & SUMMER Programming at NINETHIRTY Include:

NINETHIRTY Sunday Brunch – at a location previously famous for their Sunday brunches, Chef Dakota Weiss revamps the way we think of Sunday brunch. Every Sunday 10:00AM – 3:00PM. Choose from classic benedict to an all-in-one breakfast pizza for $20.11 per person. Add all-you-can-drink bloody marys, sparkling wine and bottomless mimosas for an additional $20.11. Or keep it refined and order a bottle of wine for $20.11.

TABLE 930 – our version of a Chef’s Table. Special seating in a private poolside cabana during special holidays (i.e. Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, etc) and available by request for special occasions. Chef will create special menus and present each entrée to the guests.

WINE DOWN at W - after-work cocktailing at it’s finest. Wine tasting series held the third Wednesday of each month. Chef Weiss pairs delectable delights with exquisite wines from an array of wineries and vineyards. $20 for unlimited tastings.

TwEAT about NT - guests who tweet about their experience at NINETHIRTY (using @WLosAngeles twitter username) mentioning their favorite dish or cocktail receive a 9.30 nibble or cocktail free with purchase of an entrée during their next visit


A stylish contemporary escape in the heart of Westwood, W Los Angeles - Westwood is a sanctuary within the bustling city. Located on two acres of lush landscaping, this modern oasis offers 258 one- and two-bedroom Thom Filicia-designed suites, more than 4,000 square feet of meeting space, state-of-the-art technology and world-class service. At W Los Angeles, guests can enjoy the ultimate W lifestyle: dine at critically acclaimed restaurant NINETHIRTY; indulge in cool, sophisticated nightlife at Whiskey Blue; relax poolside in a private cabana while enjoying cuisine from poolside bistro, The Backyard, and enjoy ‘BIP’ status with poolside blissages with bliss® los angeles. Centrally located within minutes from Beverly Hills/Rodeo Drive, Hollywood, and the coastline, W Los Angeles enjoys a prime location in beautiful Westwood Village offering easy access to key interest points such as UCLA, the Armand Hammer Museum and the Geffen Playhouse. For more information on W Los Angeles-Westwood, please call (310) 208-8765 or visit

Fresh Blueberries - Easy as Pie

Fresh, homemade pies don't have to wait until summer. With tasty, ripe blueberries from Chile available in the supermarket right now, it's easy to make a beautiful dessert anytime at all.

Fresh blueberries need no pitting, peeling or chopping--just a quick rinse and they're ready to toss with freshly squeezed orange juice and some tapioca and sugar. Spoon this fresh, all-natural mixture brimming with fresh berry goodness into a homemade or ready-made crust, top with another crust, and pop it into the oven.

Blueberries not only bring flavor to the table; each juicy bite brings healthful benefits, as well: A half-cup of blueberries packs plenty of fiber, vitamin C, potassium and antioxidant into only 40 sweet calories. Blueberries contain more disease-fighting antioxidants than red wine or green tea. Half a cup of blueberries a day may help improve brain function plus help prevent Alzheimer's and dementia, according to independent university studies. Some scientific evidence suggests that blueberries may be beneficial for the skin New skin care treatments include blueberry extracts to help revitalize the skin and hasten healing.

Look for fresh Chilean blueberries at your local grocery stores and enjoy the taste of summer all year long.

Deep Dish Fresh Blueberry Pie
Makes 10 servings

1-1/2 cups sugar
6 tablespoons quick-cooking Tapioca
8 cups Fresh Chilean Blueberries
Juice of 1 orange
1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon milk

Pastry dough for a large double crust pie.

Preheat oven to 375.

In a large mixing bowl toss together sugar, tapioca, Blueberries & juice. Roll out pastry bottom on a well-floured surface to fit in pie dish. Place in the bottom of a 9-½ inch deep-dish pie plate. Spoon filling into pie dish. Chill while rolling out top layer of pastry. Cut out 5 or 6 small wholes in pastry top using a decorative cookie cutter. Gently roll dough onto top of pie. Crimp edges of pastry to form a tight seal & decorative trim. Brush pie with egg & milk wash.

Bake Pie on a tray for 45 to 50 minutes. The blueberry filling should be bubbly & the crust golden brown.

Cool before serving.

Calories 443, fat 16 gms, calories from fat 144, saturated fat 4 gms, cholesterol 21 mg, sodium 9 mg, dietary fiber 4 gms, protein 4 gms

For more information please visit

Superfood Snack Suggestions
Toss some fresh Chilean blueberries together with walnuts andtoasted oats laced with a touch of honey.

Fill a snack-size bag or container with flavor-rich blueberries.
Take them along to work, school, an outing, or sports event.

Sweeten up Your Morning, Noon and Night.

Ladle pancake batter onto a hot griddle, then scatter some fresh blueberries over the batter and finish cooking as usual.
Heat fresh blueberries in maple syrup to pour on pancakes or waffles.

Try blueberries, toasted nuts and crumbled blue cheese over a fresh spinach salad.

Blend fresh blueberries with a banana, milk and crushed ice for a beautiful, deep purple smoothie.

Blueberries love compatible spices; try them with cinnamon, coriander, fresh, ground or crystallized ginger, nutmeg, or vanilla

Add great nutrition and a little fun to the kids' meals - like adding blueberries to their oatmeal in the shape of a smiley face, or a snow man, a wreath or other holiday icons .

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Valentine's Day in Oregon

A nip in the fresh country air, a cozy fire in your deluxe room, massages for two, a disarmingly divine meal paired with world class pinot noir. If that’s not a recipe for romance, what is? The Allison Inn & Spa, Oregon wine country’s premier luxury resort on 35 hillside acres has created a Valentine’s package to make anyone swoon:

The Allison’s Valentines & Vineyards Package- Starting from $430

February means romance is in the air, so why not escape to the ultimate wine country resort in the peaceful Willamette Valley? Valentine’s Day is the perfect holiday to cherish quality time together, enjoy a luxurious bedroom with king bed, fireplace and soaking tub. Complimentary chilled champagne upon arrival starts the celebration…followed by a delicious, customized four-course dinner in the acclaimed JORY Restaurant featuring Oregon Wine Country Cuisine ensures a meal to be remembered. (Special menu available on Sunday and Monday evenings only. On Friday and Saturday, guests may order from the a la carte menu and receive a $150 credit towards food and beverage).

The Valentine’s menu, served Sunday and Monday, February 13th and 14th, 5:30 pm to 9:00 pm (exclusive on these days), is as follows:

First course: Choice of Roasted Apple Crepes with pancetta, arugula salad & comté cheese OR Champagne-Lime Scallop Ceviche with oysters, piquillo peppers, cilantro coulis & white corn tortilla chips.

Second course: Choice of Coconut-Curry Mussels with Oregon mushrooms, peanuts, cilantro & grilled roti OR Sunchoke-Saffron Soup with pearl onions, hazelnut gnocchi & goat cheese crème fraîche OR Garden Chicory Salad with candied walnuts, Rogue River blue cheese, honey crisp apples & red onions.

Third Course: Choice of Parsnip Ravioli with black périgord truffle, fried quail egg & caramelized fennel OR Roasted Duck Breast with broccolini tempura, cara cara oranges, almonds & bitter orange coulis OR Pan-Seared Halibut with endive ravigote, spaetlze, maitake & dijon-molasses sauce OR Pepper-Crusted Wagyu New York Striploin with potato confit, cream-braised cavolo nero, cippolini onion & smoked port sauce.

Dessert: Choice of Peppermint Pots de Crème with “red hot” candy & pistachio nougatine OR Medjool Date Beignets with passion fruit Chantilly & white chocolate ganache OR a selection of chocolates for two.

Valentine’s menu is $75 per person for food plus $45 per person for optional wine-pairings. (Wine not included in customized special menu).

Select from JORY’s 700 varieties of wine from our award-winning wine cellar to accompany your gourmet meal on Sunday and Monday evenings. We also offer 50 wines-by-the-glass in JORY Bar.

The Valentines & Vineyards one-night lodging package is available Friday through Monday evenings, February 11-14. Take advantage of The Allison Spa and book your spa treatments well in advance. Our indoor swimming pool and Fitness Studio is complimentary and for the exclusive use of resort guests. The nearly 15,000 sq. ft. spa, the largest in Oregon, also features 12 treatment rooms, three lounges, landscaped garden terraces and fire pits, organic spa products complemented by ingredients grown in the garden, Jacuzzi, saunas, steam rooms and a retail boutique. Package rates start at $430 based on double occupancy. Taxes and gratuities not included. Valet and overnight complimentary parking.

Friday and Saturday evenings, there are live Jazz performances in the Living Room, adjacent to JORY Bar from 6:30 – 10:00 pm. A lovely way to start your celebration or end with a night cap. For information or reservations, phone toll-free 1-877-294-2525 or 503-554-2525. Please visit: as well as on Facebook and Twitter. For JORY reservations, call (503) 554-2526. The Allison Spa: (503) 554-2524.

The Allison Inn & Spa is a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts Boutique segment and is located at 2525 Allison Lane, Newberg (Willamette Valley), Oregon 97132 (less than an hour from downtown Portland and two hours from the Oregon Coast).

Thursday, January 20, 2011

2011 is the year of GOAT: Milk, Meat, Cheese

Goat is ready for the spotlight. Making appearances everywhere from high-end restaurants to street food carts, goat meat and dairy products are being lauded as the next big thing. From the prolific duo Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough comes Goat: Meat, Milk, Cheese (Stewart, Tabori & Chang; April 2011; U.S. $29.95/Can. $35.95; ISBN: 978-1-58479-905-4), a lusciously illustrated collection of recipes and anecdotes all centered on this ubiquitous and versatile food.

It’s the world’s primary meat, but still largely a mystery to the average home cook. It’s kosher; it’s good for the environment; it’s tasty and lean. The most comprehensive and accessible cookbook on the subject, Goat will revolutionize the way American cooks think about “these bearded head-butters.” With recipes such as Pan-Roasted Chops with Blackberries and Sage; Braised Meatballs with Artichokes and Fennel; Chocolate-Dipped Goat Cheese Balls; and Quesadillas with Poblano Peppers, Goat Cheese, and Mango Chutney, this book is sure to become the must-have resource for this new frontier.

Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough have written more than twenty cookbooks, including the bestselling Ultimate cookbook series that started with The Ultimate Ice Cream Book. They are columnists for and writers for Fine Cooking, Cooking Light, and the Washington Post, among others. They will be touring in CA, TX, and the Northeast. Contact me ( for bookings. Check out their recent TV appearances on “The Today Show” and “The View” here:

From Goat: Meat, Milk, Cheese:
Pan-Roasted Chops with Blackberries and Sage

Bruce calls this technique sear-and-shove: Sear the chops in a hot skillet, then shove the skillet into a hot oven. Make sure your skillet is oven safe, preferably cast iron or heavy stainless steel. And with no wooden or plastic handles. I once left a dish towel wrapped around a skillet’s handle after I’d shoved the thing into the oven. You know, firemen are the nicest people.

1 tablespoon goat butter (or unsalted cow butter, if you must)
1 teaspoon minced fresh sage leaves
1 pound goat loin chops or rib chops, each about 1/2 inch thick
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more as needed
1/4 cup whole goat milk
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup fat, sweet fresh blackberries
1 small shallot, minced
A crunchy baguette
2 tablespoons dry white wine or dry vermouth

1. Set the rack in the center of the oven. Fire up the oven to 400˚F (205˚C).
2. Melt the butter in a medium-sized, oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Season the chops with the salt and pepper, then slip them into the skillet. Brown for 2 minutes, shaking the skillet to loosen them up.
3. Turn the chops and shove the skillet into the oven. Roast until an instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the center of one of the chops registers 140˚F (60˚C) (Bruce’s recommendation) or 145˚F (63˚C) (the USDA’s), 4 to 5 minutes.
4. Remembering that the skillet is ridiculously hot, remove it from the oven, set it over medium heat again, and transfer the chops to a serving platter or individual serving plates.
5. Stir the minced shallot into the skillet and cook just until soft, probably less than 1 minute. Add the sage and cinnamon; stir until aromatic, about 15 seconds. Now pour in the wine or vermouth. As it boils, scrape up any browned bits in the skillet. The amount of liquid is tiny; it will boil instantly. Work fast.
6. Pour in the milk and drop in the blackberries. Bring to a full boil and cook for 1 minute, or just until somewhat reduced. Check for salt, then ladle this sauce over the chops. Tear the baguette into pieces so that some can accidentally fall into the sauce as you eat the chops.

Helping Hungry Children in Cincinnati

Did you know that a bread bowl could fill bellies AND warm hearts? Everyday, roughly 500,000 Ohio children don’t know where their next meal is coming from. During the coldest month of the year, Panera Bread’s Soup for the Soul fundraiser is leading the Southwest Ohio community in eliminating this hunger statistic.

Now through February 28, $0.25 from every bread bowl sale will help fund cooking classes that teach families in need how to make healthy, affordable meals at home. All proceeds benefit Panera Bread’s local Operation Doughnation partner, Children’s Hunger Alliance.

What: Panera Bread’s Soup for the Soul
Benefitting Operation Doughnation partner, Children’s Hunger Alliance
When: February 1 – 28
Where: All Southwest Ohio Panera Bread bakery-cafes
Why: To feed local children and families in need during the coldest month of the year
How: Simply purchase a bread bowl for your friends, colleagues, family or yourself and/or drop spare cash and coins into any Operation Doughnation collection boxes!

Please spread the feel-good news about Soup for the Soul this winter – tell family, email friends, invite colleagues out for a bread bowl of soup … there are so many ways you can make a difference! Day or night, dine-in or to-go, every bread bowl you buy helps the Children’s Hunger Alliance to feed one more hungry child and to educate one more struggling family.

The New Storage Craze....Ecozip Bags!

Zip up savings and help the environment one packed lunch at a time with Ecozip plastic bags.

Ecozip bags are the innovative new plastic snack bags revitalizing the market by helping consumers use less plastic while giving them more. Each bag is compartmentalized into two zippered pouches to keep items separated, yet together for easy access. These offer three times the savings of regular zippered storage bags and are a convenient and versatile option for lunch packers, house organizers, and on-the-go families. They are the first and only multi-pocket bag filling the void on the pantry shelf, and come in three sizes: 1 gallon, 1 quart, and sandwich. Each bag features their patented three zipper design. Items can be accessed from the top or bottom zippers, while the middle is an interior zipper that can be left open for one large bag or zipped closed for two smaller ones.

Through consumer responses, interviews, and personal experiences, the creators of Ecozip knew the market was ready for something that could inexpensively condense, organize, and reduce waste in everyday life. Ecozip bags provide portion control to those dieting or trying to live a healthy lifestyle, compact storage spaces for scrapbook embellishments or school supplies, and a sealed place to keep makeup and toiletries separate while passing through the TSA.

Can't stand eating a soggy sandwich by the time lunch rolls around, but don't want to have to use two or more bags to keep things apart? Zip up the luscious tomato and lettuce in the smaller pouch, and add it later to the dry sandwich contained below it. Only one bag is used instead of two and lunchtime can be enjoyed again.

For those who travel often for work or fun, Ecozip bags save space with added convenience. Traveling by plane means having everything easily accessible for the authorities. Ecozip bags allow flyers to keep all their makeup together in one pouch, while storing applicators like brushes and cotton balls clean and dry within the other. No spilling or contamination, and no wasted space means no worries or delays.

Get more bang out of your plastic bag buck with the endless possibilities of Ecozip bags.

Ecozip bags are being sold through various hometown retailers and markets throughout the United States.

For samples or additional information, please visit

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Make Champagne Cocktails and Chocolate Truffles Special for Valentine’s Day with Easy Leaf Products

Easy Chocolate Truffles gilded in Edible Silver and a sparkling Champagne glass of Bacio Di Oro, the Kiss of Gold, makes for a perfectly romantic Valentine’s Day. Need more sweets for your sweet? Try our Devil’s “Fool” Cake with Cocoa Frosting and a golden rimmed Orange Pomegranate Martini for that extra sparkle. Easy Leaf Products, the ultimate decoration for food and beverage, has the perfect delicacies to help you find the way to the heart of that special someone with tantalizingly delicious and gorgeously displayed recipes. Visit for more recipe ideas and to purchase ORO FINO Edible Gold and ARGENTO FINO Edible Silver products.

With the use of the cleverly designed and packaged shakers and boxes with bamboo tweezers, every culinary devotee can easily and efficiently adorn food and beverage in their own home. ORO FINO (edible gold) and ARGENTO FINO (edible silver) are available in three forms: leaves, sprinkles and petals. Amazingly, the products are quite affordable with prices ranging from $23.00 to $120.00.

Easy Leaf Products’ uniquely packaged line of ORO FINO (23 Karat Genuine Edible Gold) and ARGENTO FINO (Pure Edible Silver) are perfect for gilding cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, wedding cakes, pastries, and savory dishes. Products are available for purchase on Easy Leaf Products e-commerce website ( and a variety of retailers across the nation such as Dean & DeLuca, Surfas and Sur La Table. Easy Leaf Products, a division of Neuberg & Neuberg Importers Group, Inc., is based in Los Angeles, CA and is the sole importer and distributor for all ORO FINO and ARGENTO FINO products in North America.

Permission to print: Proper credit must be given to Easy Leaf Products, Chef and Photographer.
Recipe images are available upon request.

Created by Chef Wendy Brodie on behalf of Easy Leaf Products

Serves Two
4-6 shakes of ORO FINO 23 K Edible Gold Sprinkles
2-4 ORO FINO 23 K Edible Gold Petals
8 oz Champagne
2 fresh raspberries

Shake the ORO FINO Edible Gold Sprinkles into each of two champagne flutes. Pour 4 oz champagne into each flute. Drop in one raspberry each and then allow to fizz, very slowly lay a gold petal on each.

Sip slowly and as the flute empties the gold sprinkles adheres to your lips, to be kissed by your loved one, thus Bacio di Oro; the Kiss of Gold.

By Lynn Neuberg of Easy Leaf Products

12 oz (2 cups) semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
pinch salt
1 cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
ARGENTO FINO Edible Silver Leaves/Sheets

In a double boiler over hot water, melt chocolate. Stir sweetened condensed milk, salt, chopped nuts, and vanilla. Cool the mixture until easy to shape into small balls. Dip each ball into finely chopped nuts, or for a very special touch set one cooled ball onto a full sheet of ARGENTO FINO Edible Silver Leaves/Sheets and roll in circles until fully coated. Enjoy!

Created by Chef Beth Ginsberg on behalf of Easy Leaf Products

Cake Ingredients
1 ½ cups (10oz/300g) natural cane sugar
1 cup (4oz/120g) all purpose flour
1 cup (4 1/2oz/135g) Dutch process cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 egg whites
5 oz (150 g) low-fat silken tofu
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons (7floz/210ml) unsweetened applesauce
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
1 TB orange extract
½ tsp orange extract

Chocolate Icing Ingredients
8 oz (240g) low-fat silken tofu
¾ cup (3 ½ oz/100g confectioners sugar
½ cup (2 ¼/70g) Dutch process cocoa powder
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp rice syrup or maple syrup
ORO FINO Edible Gold Leaves

To make the cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and baking powder. Place egg whites, tofu, applesauce and vanilla in food processor and puree.
In a large mixing bowl, combine tofu mixture with dry ingredients. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth.
Pour into a lined, heart-shaped pan or mold, spray with canola oil spray, then bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-45 minutes (insert a skewer to test doneness). Serve with cocoa frosting.
Decorate with ORO FINO Edible Gold Leaves

To make frosting:
In a blender combine tofu, confectioner’s sugar, cocoa, vanilla and rice syrup or maple syrup. Blend until smooth. Chill for 30 minutes.


Preparation Time: 5 min.
2 oz Vodka (use your favorite brand)
1/2 oz Frozen Boiron Pomegranate Purée
1/2 oz Frozen Matisse Blood Orange Purée
1/2 oz Simple Syrup or Sour Mix (50% simple syrup and 50% lemon juice)
Dusting ORO FINO Edible Gold Flakes, for garnish

Wet rim of martini glass and dip in ORO FINO Edible Gold Flakes. Combine all ingredients in shaker and strain into frozen martini glass.

Friends at the Table: The Ultimate Supper Club Cookbook

Debi Shawcross has just released "Friends at the Table: The Ultimate Supper Club Cookbook" (Franklin Green Publishing, April 2011) – which can provide all the details to starting, preparing for and delivering the ultimate dinner party.

Shawcross aims to fix the supper club frenzy in Friends at the Table. It is a gorgeous, step by step plan that details what to prepare, how to prepare, what to drink, how to present and the exact timing of everything involved. A 24 hour countdown / task manager in addition to wine pairings makes this a truly solid guide. Menus are sectioned into Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall and offer options from grand and elegant to more casual and ethnic. I have listed sample menus below.

Quick feature: The UK Daily Mail recently listed the stress of a casual dinner party as comparable to a job interview, the daily commute and an impromptu meeting with a bank manager. J And yet at one point or another, we all attempt the impossible. Shawcross would love to provide a checklist, missteps to avoid, seasonal menu and clockwork timing that will deliver an impressive night. We can provide a full menu- with images and opening beauty shot and introduction.

Quick Bio: Debi Shawcross is a graduate of the California Culinary Academy and Arizona State University. After completing a specialized study in wedding cakes from CCA, Shawcross launched the wildly successful Silver Spoon Desserts of San Francisco. With a move to Richmond, VA, in 2003 she opened Signature Menus, providing specialized cooking classes and dinner club instructional sessions that cater to private parties and corporate events. She is the author of the best-selling Signature Salads, now in a third printing. Shawcross is a regular guest on Virginia This Morning and a repeat guest on Martha Stewart Sirius Radio. Her blog “Table Talk” was named to Saveur Magazine’s “Sites We Love: Best on the Web” and she remains a contributing blogger to Food Gawker and Skirt! Magazine.

Sample Menus


Cilantro Shrimp Skewers with Tomatillo Dipping Sauce

Crab and Poblano Chile con Queso

Chicken Enchiladas Suizas

Yellow Rice

Black Beans with Peppers and Tomatoes

Cinnamon Sugar Cookie Crisps


Brie, Sun-Dried Tomato, and Basil Bruschetta

Winter Salad with Cranberries, Toasted Amonds, Rouquefort, and Port Wine Dressing

Pork Medallions with Arugula and Tomatoes

Rosemary Parmesan Mashed Potatoes

Chocolate Espresso Torte with Raspberry Sauce

Fresh Peaches and Plums from Chile Brighten Gray Winter Days

With fresh peaches and plums from Chile currently in ample supply, now is the time to brighten gray winter days with a sweet, colorful and nutritious homemade dessert.

Our ROASTED CHILEAN PEACHES & PLUMS with COOKIE CRUMBLE recipe highlights two of Chile’s “summer fresh” winter fruits. Roasted peaches and plums are central to this recipe and provide both sweetness and tartness that tantalize the tongue. The crumbled cookie topping provides a satisfying crunchy counterpart to the tender roasted fruit. And the deep, rich colors of this luscious dessert are a vivid complement to the muted browns and grays of the winter months.

Chile is the #1 exporter of fresh fruit from the Southern Hemisphere, and winter peaches and plums are a principle export from Chile. Most Chilean fresh peaches that are sold in U.S. markets are freestone, and de-fuzzed by the grower making them easier to cook with and ideal for snacking.

The Chilean Fresh Fruit Association suggests consumers select peaches that are colorful and free of bruises and let them ripen at room temperature for a day or so until they become softer. Fresh plums, being naturally juicier than other stone fruits, are at their ideal ripeness when they give slightly under a light touch. Typically eaten out of hand, they’re a wonderful addition to this crumble dessert, as well as in cobblers, compotes, and tarts.


6 Amaretti Italian or oatmeal cookies, crumbled
1/4 cup toasted nuts, chopped
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup chilled butter, cubed
Pinch of salt

2 fresh Chilean peaches & 3 fresh Chilean plums, halved, pits removed

Preheat oven to 400°.

In a food processor, combine all crumble ingredients. Pulse until crumble is chunky and mixed well.

Place fruit in a buttered medium sized roasting pan. Sprinkle crumble on top. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Fruit should be tender and juicy when pierced.

Serve warm with ice cream if desired.

Makes 8 servings.

Nutrients per serving: calories 160, fat 10 gms, calories from fat 90, saturated fat 5 gms, cholesterol 18 mg, sodium 93 mg, dietary fiber 1 gm, protein 2 gms

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

GoPicnic® Unveils 8 Better-for-you Meal Solutions

GoPicnic®, the Chicago-based leader in great-tasting, flavorful meal solutions, will introduce four all-natural and four deli meals that are pre-packaged, ready-to-eat and require no refrigeration or preparation at the 36th Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco, January 16-18, 2011. GoPicnic will be located at the GoPicnic ( Booth 475 in the Moscone Center.

GoPicnic will offer the following new convenient menus, all with fewer than 500 calories per meal. Five of the eight meals are gluten-free, making them easy and safe on-the-go meal options for consumers with gluten sensitivity.


Peanut Butter + Crackers: A balanced meal featuring natural peanut butter, organic crackers, unsweetened applesauce, cheddar bunny crackers and gummy bears. The Peanut Butter + Crackers meal has 9 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber and 430 calories. MSRP: $4.99.

Tuna + Crackers (Gluten-Free): A balanced meal featuring lemon pepper tuna, multi-seed crackers, unsweetened applesauce, fruit & nut mix and an organic dark chocolate square. The Tuna + Crackers meal has 9 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber and 330 calories. MSRP: $4.99.

Salmon + Crackers: A balanced meal featuring chili lime salmon, organic crackers, fruit & nut mix, dry roasted edamame and an organic dark chocolate square. The Salmon + Crackers meal has 22 grams of protein, 11 grams of fiber and 410 calories. MSRP: $4.99.

Hummus + Crackers (Gluten-Free, Vegan and Kosher): A balanced meal featuring hummus dip, multi-seed crackers, dry roasted edamame, fruit & nut mix and an organic dark chocolate square. The Hummus + Crackers meal has 24 grams of protein, 12 grams of fiber and 410 calories. MSRP: $4.99.

Classic Deli

Salami + Crackers: A balanced meal featuring beef salami slices, organic crackers, Asiago cheese spread, fruit & nut mix and an organic dark chocolate sandwich cookie. The Salami + Crackers meal has 10 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber and 370 calories. MSRP: $4.99.

Steak Nuggets + Cheese (Gluten-Free): A balanced meal featuring beef steak nuggets, parmesan peppercorn cheese spread, multi-seed crackers, fruit & nut mix and Almond Roca toffee candy. The Steak Nuggets + Cheese meal has 13 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber and 320 calories. MSRP: $4.99.

Turkey Pepperoni + Cheese (Gluten-Free): A balanced meal featuring turkey pepperoni slices, multi-seed crackers, Asiago cheese spread, dried cranberries & pineapple and Almond Roca toffee candy. The Turkey Pepperoni + Cheese meal has 12 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber and 290 calories. MSRP: $4.99.

Turkey Stick + Crunch (Gluten-Free): A balanced meal featuring a turkey snack stick, bbq flavor chips, dried apricots, fruit & nut mix and an organic dark chocolate square. The Turkey Stick + Crunch meal has 9 grams of protein, 7 grams of fiber and 330 calories. MSRP: $4.99.

“GoPicnic meals are the ultimate solution for food portability and convenience, especially for people with busy lifestyles and for consumers requiring a special diet like gluten-free, kosher or vegan, all options offered in our complete selection of meals,” said Julia Stamberger, CEO and president of GoPicnic. “With an increasing demand for health and wellness on the go, GoPicnic offers unmatched portion-control options that are flavorful, nutritious and keep appetites in check. Each meal is compact enough to easily fit in a laptop bag, backpack or purse.”

GoPicnic partners with top-quality manufacturers to develop products featured in GoPicnic meals, including Late July Organics, Old Wisconsin and popchips. GoPicnic also features its own high-quality brands, including Sweet Perry Orchards and Copper Cowbell. All GoPicnic meals contain no artificial flavors or colors and no trans fats, high-fructose corn syrup or added MSG. GoPicnic all-natural products additionally contain no artificial preservatives. GoPicnic meals retail for $4.99, and are available in select retail locations nationwide and online at and

About GoPicnic®:
Julia Stamberger founded GoPicnic, Inc. in 2006 to create nutritious, delicious, ready-to-eat meals that have the added convenience of being shelf-stable, and require no refrigeration or preparation. GoPicnic’s initial clients were major U.S. airlines wrestling with costly waste and customer-service issues from their buy-on-board fresh food–service programs. Recognizing the many benefits pre-packaged "picnic" meal programs brought to a wide array of other industries, GoPicnic expanded its offerings to reach consumers, retail outlets, hotels, and airports. For information about GoPicnic meals and programs, email or call 773.328.2490. For more information about GoPicnic and to purchase GoPicnic meals, visit

Mirror Lake Inn Adirondack Festival of Food and Wine

The Mirror Lake Inn Resort and Spa is hosting the 6th Annual Adirondack Festival of Food & Wine, March 31-April 3, 2011. The popular 4-day Lake Placid event will feature wine tastings, culinary demonstrations, seminars, a cooking competition and a 7-course dinner prepared by the inn’s Executive Chef, Jarrad Lang, along with his culinary team and visiting master chefs and vintners from around the country.

Fittingly taking place in Lake Placid, a town that has long been a world stage, this year’s food and wine festival features the theme “Elegant International Street Foods,” a unique spin on the prevailing food industry trend of focusing on street fare. The festival’s menu and events are designed to reflect indigenous ingredients and culturally rich preparations of regional cuisines. Guest chefs will interpret various exciting, flavorful preparations fusing international delicacies with locally grown Adirondack meats and cheeses, all with a touch of Four-Diamond class.

Festival event itinerary includes:
· An opening wine reception featuring a vast selection of wines from around the world and book signings by award winning chefs.
· Guest Chef cooking demonstrations, wine seminars and tastings.
· Interactive food demonstrations will include “Taste and Flavor-Spice and Wine,” “The Streets of Bangkok,” “New Orleans Gumbo,” and “Smoke and Cure.”
· The Grand Tasting Reception, a walk around tasting where vintners and producers provide dozens of different wines and street foods from a variety of world locations.
· The Ready-Set- Cook! Competition which pits the inn’s culinary team against the talents of guest chefs.
· A seven-course dinner paired with wines prepared by guest chefs and the inn’s culinary team.

During the four-day food & wine festival guests will have the opportunity to meet and mingle with world-renowned winemakers, chefs, oenologists, fellow food enthusiasts, and special guest Kevin Zraly.

Zraly is a distinguished wine educator, author, and founder of the illustrious Windows on the World Wine School. Acclaimed as the creator of the famous wine list at Windows on the World (which sold more wine than any restaurant in the United States), he has been teaching wine for over 30 years and has studied wine-making techniques in California and all the great wine regions of Europe.

Festival attendees will also learn tips and techniques for incorporating local, regional and seasonal ingredients and they will head for home with a file of recipes for their personal use. The Mirror Lake Inn’s culinary team, led by Executive Chef Jarrad Lang, is committed to sustainability with a focus on foods from the regional community. The team works closely with agriculturists throughout the Adirondacks to ensure that the Lake Placid restaurant acquires the best in fresh and natural foods.

To attend the festival, guests can purchase a four-day lodging package which includes 3 nights of luxurious accommodations, a hearty Adirondack breakfast each morning, and entry into all food and wine events (taxes and gratuities are additional).

For more information about the Mirror Lake Inn visit

About the Mirror Lake Inn Resort and Spa

The Mirror Lake Inn Resort and Spa is a luxury lakefront resort in the Adirondack Mountains. It enlivens the senses, providing an extraordinary, personalized experience for the body, mind and palate. The inn offers the finest world-class cuisine as well as casual dining options with impeccable service amidst awe-inspiring views. The full-service spa pampers the body and refreshes the mind with a comprehensive menu of services. The inn is surrounded by opportunities for outdoor adventure and is only a short walk to Main Street in Lake Placid.

The Mirror Lake Inn Resort and Spa has received a number of readers’ poll commendations from Travel + Leisure, Condé Nast and Departures. The resort is also a winner of the Award of Distinction from Wine Enthusiast and is an eleven-time winner of the Wine Spectator’s Dining Guide Award of Excellence. It has received the AAA Four Diamond award for 26 consecutive years and is a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World.

For more information on the Mirror Lake Inn visit

A Valentine’s Feast for Two from Certified Angus Beef

Prepare a mouthwatering, romantic dinner your dearest will love.

Keep the romance close to home this Valentine’s Day and plan an intimate meal sure to satisfy your better half.

A premium steak is a match made in heaven for a special occasion menu. Not only is it full of the robust, succulent flavor your sweetie craves, it’s simple to prepare – which leaves you more time to enjoy your rendezvous.

Try a little tenderness … and togetherness
Choosing the right steak is a little like meeting your true love: When it’s right, you know you’ve found “the one.” Look for generous marbling, the little white flecks that will melt into deliciously juicy flavor as your steak cooks.

Certain cuts are the perfect choice for your Valentine. A generously-cut strip steak can be shared, offering a full flavor and a firmer “bite” that is appealing to beef lovers. Prepare it in the French “au poivre” style and expect some “oh-là- là” to follow!

Or, choose a Porterhouse, which is ideal for a couple to enjoy together. On one side of the T-shaped bone is the classic, boldly flavored strip steak, while the other side is a meltingly tender, mild and buttery filet mignon. This bone-in beauty boasts balanced flavor, tenderness and juiciness to fulfill any appetite.

The perfect pair
Enhance the delectable flavor of your steak by pairing it with a balanced, inviting red wine, such as Chateau Ste. Michelle Cabernet Sauvignon. Propose a toast to your togetherness and the opportunity to savor a succulent, satisfying meal with your sweetheart.

Steak Au Poivre for Two
• 1 (16-ounce) Certified Angus Beef ® strip steak
• 2 tablespoons whole peppercorn blend (black, white, red, green)
• 1 tablespoon kosher salt
• 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
• 3 tablespoons butter (dice 2 tablespoons into small cubes and keep refrigerated)
• 1 tablespoon minced shallot
• 1/4 cup brandy
• 1/4 cup beef stock
• 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
• 2 tablespoons sour cream

1. Crack peppercorns with the back of a skillet. Cut strip steak in half Press cracked pepper firmly into both sides of each steak. Season with salt.

2. Heat oil and 1 tablespoon butter in medium sauté pan over medium high heat. When butter foams, place steaks in pan, pressing firmly. Lower heat to medium and sear about 5 minutes on each side. Transfer steaks to a clean plate and tent with foil to keep warm.

3. Add shallots to the pan and, holding the pan away from heat, add brandy. Return pan to medium high heat. Expect a flame while the alcohol burns off. Cook a minute until brandy thickens. Add stock, bring sauce back to a boil and reduce until thickened to a sauce consistency.

4. Whisk in Dijon, sour cream and cold butter. Taste sauce and add salt to taste; remove from heat. Spoon sauce on plates and place steaks on top.

Serves 2

Nutritional Information per Serving: 616 Calories; 43g Fat; 19g Saturated Fat; 184mg Cholesterol; 5g Carbohydrate; 0g Dietary Fiber; 50g Protein; 3414mg Sodium; 28% daily value Iron (based on 2,000 calorie diet).

Porterhouse for Two with Lemon Potatoes & Asparagus
• 1 (20-24-ounce) Certified Angus Beef ® porterhouse steak
• 1 lemon, washed
• 12 ounces fingerling potatoes, cut in-half lengthwise
• 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
• 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
• 12 spears petite asparagus (or 6 normal size)
• 1 tablespoon minced flat-leaf Italian parsley
• Salt and pepper to taste

1. Zest half of lemon and set lemon and zest aside. Preheat oven to 450°F.

2. In a bowl, toss together fingerlings, olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper. Place in ovenproof casserole dish and roast until browned and softened (25-30 minutes), stirring once or twice during roasting.

3. While potatoes are roasting, season steak with salt and pepper. Sear steak on a grill pan over high heat, 2 minutes per side. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Add asparagus to pan and place in oven until asparagus softens and steak is at the desired doneness, approximately 5 minutes for medium rare. Remove steak from pan and allow to rest on cutting board, tented with foil.

4. Slice lemon in half; juice one half over roasted potatoes. Add asparagus, lemon zest and parsley; stir to combine and divide among two plates Cut meat from the “t-bone” of the porterhouse. Slice if desired and serve tenderloin or strip steak cuts according to preference.

Serves 2

Nutritional Information per Serving: 735 Calories; 34g Fat; 12g Saturated Fat; 207mg Cholesterol; 29g Carbohydrate; 4g Dietary Fiber; 76g Protein; 315mg Sodium; 54% daily value Iron (based on 2,000 calorie diet).

Recipes provided by the Certified Angus Beef ® brand

For more information on choosing the right cut of beef, delicious recipes, or cooking instructions, visit the Certified Angus Beef ® brand website at

Monday, January 17, 2011

Boutique Producer, Riazul Tequila, Offers Anejo with Unique Blend of Notes -Ranked #1 on

What discerning palates don’t want is mass-market fare from mystery origins that is overly processed.

The same mindset holds true for budding tequila aficionados, looking past certain over-processed, mass-market bottles to uncork that great tequila blanco, anejo or reposado for sipping. And it all begins with the land on which the agave is harvested.…

Enter newcomer Riazul Premium Tequila, a single-estate tequila that recently received unusually high marks from the likes of and the esteemed Beverage Testing Institute. Riazul’s agave fields sit on 250 acres of virgin, mineral-rich red volcanic soil, or “tierra roja” in the Jalisco highlands— handed down for generations following the Mexican War of Independence.Here, the high elevation, cool climate, and soil give rise to agave that matures for close to a decade before reaching harvesting quality. During that time, the agave soaks up unique aromas and flavors indigenous only to this region. The agaves contain higher sugar content, resulting in more aromatic tequilas with sweeter tasting notes.

The end result? “Silky, smooth, sweet” — terms not commonly applied to a tequila. Riazul’s distinctive flavor profile has cultivated a reputation that, at once, appeals to the spirit snob while also making converts out of previous tequila non-believers.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Top North American food authorities gather for True Italian Summit

Top North American food authorities will gather in San Francisco January 17 – 19 to discuss and debate the notion of authenticity and “truth in food” – from challenging the local food movement for an expanded definition to countering the harmful effects of misleading product labeling – on behalf of the Italian Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, Buonitalia SpA and the TrueItalian initiative.

TrueItalian is a consumer awareness campaign designed to highlight the unique flavors and unsurpassed quality of authentic Italian food and wine products, protect the reputation of the Italian brand and support the farmers, vintners and artisans who have built Italy’s reputation for excellence. The campaign aims to improve understanding at a global level regarding the specific, unique characteristics of authentic Italian products.

Restaurant consultant, author and James Beard Foundation award-winner Clark Wolf will moderate an impressive culinary think tank comprised of leading chefs, authors, food writers, retailers, producers and buyers. San Francisco’s acclaimed Foreign Cinema will provide the backdrop for a dialogue that will focus on “international and cultural sustainability” and the role of authentic foods in a culinary culture that increasingly values locally sourced products – balancing the environmental imperative of relying on local, sustainable production with the cultural demand for authentic regional products.

The summit will also consider global counterfeiting and the epidemic of faux Italian food products on the market – as many as 7 out of 10 foods sold in the U.S. as authentic Italian are imposters, according to the Italian Farmers Union – with offenses ranging from Italian “look-alike” or “sound-alike” packaging, misleading product claims and clever substitutions to outright fraud. Often of inferior quality or flavor, these imitation products not only cheapen the Italian brand, they cause significant harm to the Italian economy, agriculture and livelihood of the small producers and family farmers that make up a majority of Italy’s food delivery system.

In addition to Wolf, panelists and participants in the San Francisco TrueItalian Summit include Ari Weinzweig of Zingerman’s; Mitchell Davis, Ph.D., Author/Historian and VP of the James Beard Foundation; Darrell Corti of Corti Brothers; Daphne Zepos of Essex Street Cheese Company; Daniel Scherotter, Executive Chef and Owner of Palio d’Asti; David Lynch, Master Sommelier of Quince Restaurant; and Nancy Radke, CCP who serves as the director of the U.S. Information Office for the Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano-Reggiano. Plus, Presidents and product representatives from more than 15 Italian consorzios will be present to discuss and sample their products along witha handful of nationally-prominent specialty food retailers, chefs and Rodrigo Cipriani, President of Buonitalia SpA. Cipriani is the head director of all Italian food and wine exports to the U.S. for the Italian Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry.

Events surrounding the San Francisco TrueItalian Summit will take place at Foreign Cinema located at 2534 Mission Street, San Francisco, California.

For interviews or more information about the TrueItalian Summit, please contact Karen MacKenzie at MacKenzie Agency Public Relations, (707) 545-3280. Please review the attached document for more information regarding the history and background of TrueItalian.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Cacique and Chef Aarón Sánchez Announce Finalists to Compete in the Go Auténtico Challenge Cook- off

Cacique, largest Hispanic cheese brand in the U.S. and Celebrity Chef Aarón Sánchez announced the four amateur chef finalists whose Latin-inspired recipes featuring Cacique’s authentic Hispanic products have earned them the right to compete in the Go Auténtico Challenge Cook-off at Chef Sánchez’s restaurant, Centrico, in New York City.

Go to Cacique’s website at to read more details about the finalists and their original Go Auténtico Challenge dishes. Fans can tune in and watch the finalists preparing their dishes in a series of vignettes during the cook-off on The Cooking Channel in February 2011 to see who earns bragging rights as the most unique, Latin-inspired recipe using Cacique’s products.

“We are thrilled about the large volume of original recipes and video submissions we received for our inaugural Go Auténtico Challenge, but our four finalists stood out for their outstanding creativity and prominent use of our authentic Hispanic ingredients,” says Gil de Cárdenas, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Cacique.

After considering many extremely creative entries, Cacique’s panel of reviewers selected the following four contestants to compete in the final Go Auténtico Challenge Cook-off:

-Stella Ortega of South Lake Tahoe, CA with her deliciously spicy and complex Chicken a la Diabla. Her use of zesty Cacique chorizo livens up the chicken, and reconstituted dried chiles bring out traditional, old-world flavors, while fresh Queso Fresco balances the spiciness perfectly. See Stella’s recipe here:

-Leah Lyon of Ada, OK with her creative Shrimp Rajas al Carbon Panela Tostaditos recipe. A fried Panela cheese round takes the place of a tostada base, while the savory shrimp mixture is garnished with an elegant lime-infused Crema Mexicana Agria, avocado and bacon garnish.See Leah’s recipe here:

-Helena Giesea of Monte Rio, CAwith her recipe for Cactus Frittata. Cactus, also known as nopales, is a staple in Mexican cuisine and Helena’s creative spin on this traditional ingredient placed her among the final four. Helena’s Cactus Frittata is a wonderful vegetarian option, highlighting crumbles of robust Cotija cheese and authentic, mild Panela cheese.See Helena’s recipe here:'s_cactus_frittata

-Susan Ten Pas of Myrtle Creek, OR with her recipe for Roast Squash and Pear Soup with Chorizo Meatballs. The title of this recipe alone proved intriguing and tasting it demonstrated that risky ingredients and creativity could be very rewarding. Susan uses Crema Mexicana and Crema Mexicana Agria to thicken and enrich her soup, while using zesty Chorizo to bring to life the subtle flavors of the squash and pears.See Susan’s recipe here:

Chef Aarón Sánchez and guest judges, which include his mother, celebrated Mexican cooking authority Zarela Martinez, Master Chef Brad Barnes from The Culinary Institute of Americaand Gil de Cárdenas, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Cacique, make up the panel of celebrated judges to evaluate each contestant’s dish based on taste, effective use of Cacique products, dish presentation, and recipe creativity.

The winner of the Go Auténtico Challenge Cook-off receives an all-expense paid trip for two to Napa Valley, California and a five-day culinary boot camp at The Culinary Institute of America.

“To achieve authentic Hispanic flavors, you have to start with the best ingredients and not substitute quality,” says Celebrity Chef Aarón Sánchez. “I’m really excited about this year’s Go Auténtico Challenge finalists and the unique dishes they created using Cacique’s line of authentic Hispanic cheeses, creams and chorizos. I encourage everyone to go to the Cacique website to see all the contest videos.”

Feeling inspired? See Chef Aarón Sánchez’s Cacique-inspired recipes and seasonal recipes to adorn your table at

Learn more about Cacique and their family of products at

Cacique products are available at leading national retailers such as Kroger, Safeway, WalMart and HEB and Hispanic specialty retailers such as Fiesta, Food 4 Less, Northgate, Mi Pueblo, Pete’s Fine Foods, Sedanos, SuperiorWarehouse and Vallarta.

For news updates, information and special offers, follow the Cacique on Twitter @Cacique_USA and become a fan at Facebook at

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Delicious Deal for Monday January 17

On Monday, 1/17 cookie-lovers will have access to an incredible deal. LizLovely cookies are Artisan, handcrafted organic cookies made with fair trade ingredients from a 100% vegan cookie bakery in the Green Mountains of Vermont.

LizLovely also bakes an entire collection of gluten free cookies with the same philosophy.

Next week for 24 hours- will offer 24 cookies (your choice of 2 twelve packs: choose from gingersnap, snickerdoodle, chocolate chip, cowgirls, gluten free and more) for just $17 plus shipping (or less!)- The regular retail price is $36 plus shipping.

And the best part? On jasmere the more customers that shop, the lower the price goes for all- so $17 is just the start! The cookies could be even less by the end of the 24-hour sale and no one is charged until the sale is over. And there is no exclusivity to members-only on jasmere- anyone can get the deal of the day by logging on to!