Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Scarily Healthy Halloween Goodies

This Halloween, skip the candy and opt instead for these spook-tacular treats that kids of all ages will love! Whether planning a Halloween party for little ghosts and goblins, or a spook-tacular soiree for adult party-goers, the following healthy eats & treats are sure to make everyone grin fiendishly!

Orange Dream Bars
Serve up some delicious ice cream bars at your Halloween party that have been lightly coated in chocolate from Arctic Zero®! Touted as a protein shake on a stick, these all-natural creamy delights boast only 85 calories and are lactose-free, gluten-free and fat-free. http://www.myarcticzero.com/bars.php/

Cheddar Cheese Nut Thins
Everyone will be munching happily as they snack on gluten-free and low-fat Cheddar Cheese Nut Thins! Perfect for dipping into any fiendish delight this Halloween, Nut Thins are heavy on taste but light on the waistline! www.bluediamond.com.

Throw a Spooktacular Soiree
Planning a Halloween bash? The best place to start is with InvitationBox.com – without a doubt, this trendy online design studio has the most unique, festive and diverse selection of Halloween party invitations. http://www.invitationbox.com/

Ghouls Wanna Have Fun
Little ghouls (and big ghouls, too!) will love painting their nails this Halloween with the “Ghouls Wanna Have Fun” gift set by Piggy Paint. Free of formaldehyde, toluene, phthalates, biphenyl A, ethyl acetate and acetone, the sets include non-toxic and odorless polish in Halloween hues and remover. Available at: www.piggypaint.com.

Who bobs for apples anymore? Treat little ones at the party to this brainteaser of a game called Wurmm from Recent Toys instead! Help the wurmm find his way out of a green apple by twisting and directing him through the holes to find a passageway out! For ages 4 & up. http://www.recenttoysusa.com/index.php?id=40

Monday, August 29, 2011

New Online Community Foodiacs.com Launches September 6

The newest online community for food enthusiasts www.foodiacs.com announces its September 6 website launch. Foodiacs is tailored to people who are passionate about food and will connect them with product offerings that are exclusive to the site. Each Foodiacs offering will be available for only a limited time, and at a limited quantity, and will not match any offer at any other online retail outlet.

“We recognize the quality and passion that goes into creating these artisan foods and want to bring lesser known but high quality items to the forefront of the food community in a unique way,” said Katie Clegg, chief eating officer of Foodiacs.com. “Foodiacs is about helping companies get recognition for innovation and outstanding ingenuity – but more importantly it’s about connecting consumers, who are Foodiacs like us, to gourmet food artisans, epicurean products, specialty kitchen equipment and, ultimately, new experiences they’ll love.”

Foodiacs has exclusive product offerings, or events, booked through March 2012. The events will launch every one to two weeks on Tuesdays at 12 p.m. and will feature a variety of unique food-related products. Starting in 2012, the site will also connect “Foodiacs” with local food industry leaders for exclusive tastings, culinary tours and educational experiences.

The first event to be featured is Back to the Roots, a grow-it-yourself box garden of pearl oyster mushrooms. The event will run from September 6 at 12:00 p.m. ET - September 20 at 11:59 a.m. ET. Each “Foodiac” that purchases two boxes will receive a third box and classroom curriculum to be donated to the school of their choice.

The site is currently in beta form until September 6. Interested food enthusiasts can sign-up to receive news, events and product offerings via email.

About Foodiacs

Foodiacs.com is an online gathering place for the passionate eaters of the world. It connects community members with exclusive products and services, including artisan treats, high-quality kitchen tools and cookware, and elite culinary tours and classes. Starting in 2012, Foodiacs.com will also share local food-related events in regional areas, such as a special tasting event offered by a local craftworks chocolate company or a preview dinner at a new restaurant. Each Foodiac offering will be unique to the site and only available for a limited time. For more information visit: www.foodiacs.com or follow Foodiacs on Facebook and Twitter.

Food Network's Extreme Chef Host Marsh Mokhtari Reunites With Winning Chefs Anthony Lamas and John Tesar at Seviche Louisville on Sept. 27

Following his victory on Food Network’s Extreme Chef, Seviche chef/owner Anthony Lamas is teaming up with the show’s host Marsh Mokhtari and fellow Extreme Chef winner John Tesar to present a five-course dinner on Tuesday, Sept. 27. The Extreme Chef dinner at Seviche will not require an extreme palate, but guests will be treated to several culinary surprises during the cocktail reception, including cricket tacos and rattlesnake anticuchos inspired by challenges on the hit show’s premiere season. Mokhtari and Tesar will be available to guests to discuss their adventures with Extreme Chef. The reception begins at 6:30 p.m., and dinner, which includes wine pairings, will be served at 7 p.m. The price for the Extreme Chef dinner is $65 per person plus tax and gratuity. Space is very limited for this event. For more information or to make a reservation, please call (502) 473-8560.

About Marsh Mokhtari:
Born in the UK, Mokhtari, a seasoned world traveler, has lived on four continents. His globetrotting started at an early age when he spent his first six years in Iran, and then later moved to England, where he ultimately earned a degree in medical physics from the University of Newcastle. While there, he played American football for the UK national team and rugby for the Newcastle Falcons.

He went on to enjoy a successful career in executive search in London. While on sabbatical in Australia, he had a fortuitous encounter with a film crew and found his true calling. The lure of acting, adventure and travel took Mokhtari to Bolivia where he hosted Death Road, a one-hour special for History Channel that garnered him instant credibility and notoriety. The National Geographic Channel saw his potential and commissioned a series of specials, Perilous Journeys, featuring him. He has been a guest star on numerous TV shows and recently completed shooting an independent feature, CarJack. Mokhtari is also currently the host of Food Network’s new series, Extreme Chef.

About John Tesar:
John Tesar is the executive chef of renowned restaurant The Commissary in Dallas. As the former executive chef at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek (Texas’ only five-star, five-diamond hotel), Tesar has spent more than 20 years overseeing the kitchens of many critically-acclaimed restaurants such as New York’s 44 & X Hell’s Kitchen, Vine, 13 Barrow Street, The Supper Club and The Inn at Quogue in the Hamptons.

As executive chef of rm restaurant, Tesar was responsible for food and beverage operations for celebrity chef Rick Moonen’s 15,000 square foot Las Vegas restaurant, including an intimate 80-seat dining room fashioned after the original three-star rm restaurant in New York. Tesar first joined Moonen in the New York restaurant before moving west in 2005 to assist with the Las Vegas location. He has served as a personal chef for several high-profile clients, including Giorgio Armani and Mariah Carey.

After pursuing a liberal arts degree at New York University, Tesar moved to Paris for classical French culinary training at the prestigious La Varenne Ecole de Cuisine. He returned to the Hamptons and ventured into his first foray as chef-owner at the three-star Hampton Square Restaurant. New York magazine food critic Gael Green called him “a bright new talent in a city already bursting with talent.”

Tesar has served as a guest chef at the James Beard House five times. He has appeared on The Today Show, Ready Set Cook, Chef du Jour and Good Day New York. He has also been named a “Top Rated American Chef” in the Zagat Restaurant Survey. Tesar continues to support many charity events like Share our Strength.

About Seviche:
Seviche is located at 1538 Bardstown Road in Louisville, Ky. Chef/owner Anthony Lamas was a 2010 and 2011 semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation “Best Chef Southeast” award, and the restaurant was named one of the “ten great places for Latino flavor and flair” in the country by USA Today. Esquire food correspondent John Mariani said of Seviche: “Anthony Lamas has proven himself to be one of America’s best chefs…If you have time for one meal in Louisville, make it Seviche.” All of Seviche’s seafood comes from sustainable sources and is harvested in a manner that does not harm the environment. The restaurant proudly follows the guidelines of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Program, and Lamas has been honored with the Seafood Ambassador award. Hours of operation are 5 to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 5 to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. To make reservations or for more information, call (502) 473-8560 or visit www.sevicherestaurant.com.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Chipotle Mexican Grill Creates 'Chipotle Cultivate Foundation'

Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE: CMG) today announced that it has created the “Chipotle Cultivate Foundation,” a new foundation aimed at supporting people, organizations and institutions that are committed to making a better, more sustainable future.

“For more than a decade, we have been working to improve the nation’s food supply by finding more sustainable sources for all of the ingredients we use in our restaurants,” said Steve Ells, founder, chairman and co-CEO of Chipotle. “By creating the Chipotle Cultivate Foundation, we are extending our reach beyond our restaurants and will be supporting organizations and people that are working to improve individual family farms, animals and the environment, and youth and education programs. ”

Chipotle has a history of supporting causes related to improving the way people eat. Over the last two years, the company has donated more than $2 million to philanthropic organizations, with much of that benefitting groups that are working to improve some element of the food system, including Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, The Nature Conservancy, FamilyFarmed.org, The Lunch Box, and the Niman Ranch Scholarship Fund, among many others.

For more information regarding the Chipotle Cultivate Foundation, visit CultivateFoundation.org.

Coffee-mate Launches New All-Natural Creamer: Natural Bliss

Nestlé Coffee-mate®, the brand that inspires coffee lovers everywhere to add their flavor, is introducing a new all-natural way to create your perfect cup—NATURAL BLISS™. Coffee-mate Natural Bliss™ is made with only four simple ingredients: milk, cream, sugar and natural flavor. Available in three delicious flavors—vanilla, caramel, and sweet cream, Natural Bliss was created to offer dairy lovers a new way to add flavor, naturally.

As consumers become increasingly aware of what is on their plate, the trend in food over the past few years has focused on simplicity and fresh, natural ingredients. The introduction of Coffee-mate Natural Bliss provides a new, all-natural way for people to create their ideal cup, using the simple and natural ingredients they love. Made with creamy dairy and the perfect balance of sweetness and pure natural flavor, it lets the taste of coffee shine through.

“Coffee-mate has been the coffee creamer brand of choice for generations, and millions of people around the world can choose from more than twenty flavors to personalize their cup of coffee,” said Vilma Livas, Marketing Manager, Nestlé Coffee-mate. “Now with Natural Bliss we’re giving people who whiten their coffee with dairy an opportunity to experience the delicious flavor that Coffee-mate is known for in a brand new, all-natural way.”

Natural Bliss is made with 100% all-natural ingredients without any artificial preservatives. Each bottle contains sixteen fluid ounces of authentic ingredients, inside a white bottle with soft images of each of the natural flavors. Kosher and gluten-free, this luscious dairy creamer has a pure taste with a touch of natural sweetness, silky texture and delicious aroma – all in one convenient bottle. The perfectly balanced combination enhances the flavor of coffee, to make the most of your coffee moment.

Coffee-mate Natural Bliss (SRP $2.69/16oz bottle) can be found in the dairy section of your local grocer nation-wide. For more information please visit www.naturalbliss.coffee-mate.com and www.facebook.com/coffeematenaturalbliss.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Vegetarian Indian cookbook shows readers how to make the kitchen an instant take-out place for healthy, delicious food

Most of us know firsthand that today's fast-paced lifestyles make smart, healthy eating an on-going challenge. Gita Patel addresses this modern problem with her new book, Blending Science with Spices: Tasty Recipes & Nutrition Tips for Healthy Living.

One of four finalists in Cooking Light magazine's Healthy Cook of the Year contest in 2010, Gita's philosophy and approach to creative healthy cooking relies on her traditional Indian background, the varied foods she grew up eating, and her extensive background in modern nutritional science. She comments, "Current research connects the foods we eat with how we feel. That means our busy, stressful lifestyles require foods that act as medicines to nourish our cells."

Dr. Thomas M. Wnorowski, research director for BodyBio, Inc., raves "The recipes and tips help to make kitchen time more fun than work, with an outcome that is gustatorily divine."

A practical vegetarian cookbook, Blending Science with Spices makes it easy to eat well. Gita walks readers through how to stock and organize the kitchen, answers important questions, and offers an index, glossary, and nutrient analysis as well as individual recipes and full menus. All told, her book encourages readers to take control of their health. She concludes, "Feeding Health is my approach to managing and preventing chronic disease through the art of Indian cooking, where nutrition can be wrapped in vivid flavors."

Author: Gita Patel is a registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator, and certified LEAP (Lifestyle Eating and Performance) therapist specializing in diabetes, women's health, heart disease, vegetarian nutrition, healthy aging, migraines, IBS, IBD, Celiac disease, gastrointestinal problems with food allergies, food sensitivities and food intolerances, and multiple sclerosis. A professional speaker, she has addressed numerous national conferences, including the American Diabetes Associates and the national MS Society.

Blending Science with Spices offers nutritious, gluten-free recipes using spices and herbs to enhance vegetables, beans, and grains.

"Blending Science with Spices...takes us on a spectacular culinary journey through western India providing the reader with an array of nutritious and light Gujarati-style dishes...Gita serves up healthy and superbly flavorful delights like eggplant with onions and tomatoes - each recipe with full nutrition information and a little nutrition science to highlight the ingredients. [This] is the perfect cookbook for healthy eaters who want to eat simple and oh so flavorful plant-based meals."
~ Janet Bond Brill, Ph.D., RD Nutritionist and author

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Morton's The Steakhouse Cincinnati Hosts Award-Winning Mollydooker Blending and Wine Tasting Celebration

Raise a glass to fine Australian wines this fall at the Mollydooker Blending and Wine Tasting Celebration! Held on Tuesday, Sept. 13 at Morton’s The Steakhouse Cincinnati, the event will feature Sparky Marquis, the award-winning winemaker and owner of Mollydooker Wines. During the event, Marquis will lead guests through a tasting of several 2010 Mollydooker Leftys, named playfully after the fact that both Marquis and his wife Sarah are left handed. He will also invite patrons to participate in a fun wine blending session, where they will create and vote on their favorite blends. Guests will also be treated to a three-course dinner and both Marquis and wine expert Michael Brown from Vintner Select will be available throughout the event to answer guests’ wine-related questions. The evening starts at 6:30 p.m. and the cost is $100 per person, including the tasting, blending, dinner, wine pairings, tax and gratuity. Space is limited. For more information or to make a reservation, visit www.mollydookerwines.com.

Iconic Barolo Producer Vietti to Unveil 2004 “Villero” Riserva, a Bottling Only Made in Outstanding Vintages

Dalla Terra™ Winery Direct® Founder and Chairman Brian Larky, and Luca Currado, fifth-generation oenologist of Vietti today announced the September release of the 2004 Villero Riserva Barolo DOCG (SRP $300). Only produced in outstanding vintages, this wine is released on average once or twice a decade and is vinified from grapes grown on the south and southwest-facing slopes of one of Piedmont’s most celebrated cru vineyards, the Villero vineyard in Castiglione Falletto. This rare wine becomes a Riserva after a seven-year ageing process spending eight months in once- and twice-filled French oak barrique and 26 months in 30hL Slavonian oak casks before being bottled unfiltered and unfined in July 2007. The previous release of Vietti’s Villero Barolo Riserva was the 2001 vintage. Vietti produced 621 750mL six-bottle cases, 100 magnums, 12 double magnums, and five 5L bottles of the 2004 vintage.

“We are thrilled to release the 2004 Villero. Within living memory no decade has been as generous in treating us to extraordinarily great vintages as those of the new millennium,” said Currado.

While famous for its top quality and scarcity, the Vietti “Villero” has also caught the attention of connoisseurs for its unique labels, which are commissioned by the Currado family to local artists for each differing vintage—a practice that was introduced in 1970, and dedicated exclusively to the “Villero” Riserva since 1982. These specially-designed original works (lithographs, xylographies, etchings, silkscreens, linocuts) are inspired by the wine of that particular vintage. The print run is the same as the number of bottles produced, and the first hundred labels are signed by the artist. In 1996, the entire Vietti label archives were exhibited at the New York Museum of Modern Art. Russian sculptor and painter Leonid Sokov was tapped for the 2004 “Villero” label. Sokov’s pop art style and artistic compositions are filtered and adapted to Socialist Realism through the use of ideology as an object of consumption

About Vietti
Although the family has made wine for two centuries, the first Vietti-labeled wines were produced by third-generation Mario, who transformed the family’s farm into a grape growing winery. In 1952 Alfredo Currado married Mario’s daughter Luciana and made a name for Vietti’s single-vineyard Barbera and Barolo. He also put the native Piedmont varietal Arneis on the wine map.

In 1990 Alfredo and Luciana’s son Luca joined the family business as winemaker after working at California's Simi Winery, Opus One and Long Vineyards and Bordeaux's Mouton-Rothschild. His innovative winemaking utilizes a unique combination of the modern and traditional, including roto-fermenters, barriques, large Slovenian oak botte, and open-top fermenters. Recently he eliminated equipment that measures acid and tannin levels in favor of a more intuitive, and wine-specific approach, and also stopped publishing tasting notes, preferring that wine critics and drinkers apply their own perceptions and preferences to his wines. In 1983 Mario Cordero, Alfredo and Luciana’s son-in-law joined the winery to run marketing and sales. Vietti currently owns 80 acres of vineyards spread over nearly all the key regional appellations, including Barolo, Barbaresco, Barbera d'Asti and Barbera d'Alba. Total production is currently 17,000 cases. For more information about Vietti, please go to www.vietti.com

About Dalla Terra™ Winery Direct®
Dalla Terra’s wine portfolio reads like a Who’s Who of some of the most esteemed family-owned wineries in Italy. Each producer has played a major role in the significant strides Italy has made over the last twenty years in improving the quality of its wines. Dalla Terra Winery Direct_ is changing the nature of the wine importing and distribution business. Founder Brian Larky’s innovative approach to selling wine skips the national importer level in the three-tier distribution system, allowing U.S. distributors to buy directly from the producer. This unique business model offers a more efficient, economical and consumer-friendly way of shipping, distributing and marketing wine—despite a strong Euro that has raised some prices as much as 25%. In spite of these unfavorable exchange rates, Dalla Terra continues to act innovatively to bring both quality and value to American wine consumers. For more information on Dalla Terra, visit www.dallaterra.com.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Dr. McDougall's Right Foods Introduces Organic Vegan Ready-to-Serve Soups

In a continued effort to provide consumers with the tastiest and most eco-friendly vegan options available, Dr. McDougall’s Right Foods® is expanding its industry-leading soup line to include Organic Vegan Ready to Serve Soups. Available in five flavors, the carton-packaged soups are high in plant-based protein and fiber, non-GMO, vegan and all natural.

The new Organic Vegan Ready to Serve Soup flavors – Lentil Vegetable, Tortilla, Lower Sodium Black Bean, Lower Sodium Vegetable and Lower Sodium Tomato – are gluten free and join Dr. McDougall’s Right Foods®’ already successful line of nine vegan ready-to-serve soups. Three of the organic soups are lower sodium, boasting only 290mg sodium per serving without sacrificing great taste.

“We believe a delicious soup should be satisfying and good for you,” says Dr. McDougall’s Right Foods® co-owner Rita Vinnicombe. “These great-tasting flavors cater to those who love soup and want to enjoy it free of pesticides and without the hidden calories from cream, butter, cheese or oil.”

Dr. McDougall’s Right Foods® Organic Vegan Ready to Serve Soups are packaged in paper-based BPA-free packaging sourced exclusively from certified sustainably managed forests. They are often found in the natural food section of select traditional grocery stores, as well as in many natural food stores and online at www.rightfoods.com. Organic Vegan Ready to Serve Soups are sold at a SRP of $3.89.

About Dr. McDougall’s Right Foods®
As the nation’s leading natural soup cup brand, Dr. McDougall’s Right Foods® offers more than 40 all-natural, healthy meals that deliver on taste, nutrition and satisfaction. All of Dr. McDougall’s Right Foods® products, including the company’s new Asian Entrées line, are vegan, low-fat, and free of cholesterol, heavy salt, animal products or genetically modified ingredients. Organic and gluten free options are also available. For more information, please visit www.rightfoods.com.

Royal Rose Radicchio LLC Announces "Power Partners"

Michelangelo and oil paint. Beethoven and the piano. Salad makers and radicchio. Every artist has a signature tool for creating masterpieces. This sassy Italian redhead's arrival on the American salad scene is a sign that we're ready for bigger, bolder flavors.

The assertive flavor of radicchio, once only the darling of cutting-edge chefs, has penetrated the US salad market. No longer an "adult" ingredient, it is showing up in salads from McDonald's to the salad blends in the produce aisle. Blending it with other, milder greens and lettuces has made radicchio an everyday player in salads everywhere.
Now, American ingenuity in the kitchen is taking radicchio beyond the traditional tossed salad. This is tasteful news, as radicchio's bold flavor is an ideal foil for myriad other ingredients and flavors.

"Radicchio's slightly spicy bite--its bright, bitter note—makes it pair deliciously with many other flavor components," said Robin Kline, food writer, dietitian and culinary consultant. "In fact, there are five categories of foods that make radicchio perform brilliantly—mellowing its bitter character to 'just right'. These pairings or flavor-layering techniques create delicious synergy in a dish."

When you add cooking—which alters radicchio's assertiveness—there are six approaches for serving radicchio. "And when you use many ingredients, exponentially there are endless ways of serving this vibrant, sturdy vegetable from Italy," she said.

Flavor Partners for Radicchio

SALT: This everyday ingredient is critical for highlighting many other flavors. Indeed, many foods would taste flat or bland without a touch of salt. Salt masks some of the assertive bitterness of radicchio, and adds its own salty magic to the eating experience.
"Salt acts as a filter on the palate for bitter flavors," said Dr. Ken Prusa, food scientist and professor of product development at Iowa State University. "So combining a bitter flavor with salt pleases the palate."
Common salty ingredients include table salt, sea salt, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and a wide variety of condiments. Salty foods to pair with radicchio might include olives, salty cheeses such as feta or Parmesan, cured meats such as ham or prosciutto, salted nuts, anchovies and capers.

SOUR: "Acid ingredients like lemon juice and vinegar chemically alter bitter compounds, resulting in a more palate-pleasing effect," said Prusa.
Sour ingredients are found everywhere in the kitchen. Beyond the obvious and essential vinegar and lemon juice, think about fermented dairy products like buttermilk and sour cream, cured and aged meats such as prosciutto, some salamis and sausages, tart fruits such as carambola (starfruit) or green apples, and wine.
Anthocyanins, the group of compounds that gives radicchio its deep cherry-red color, are maintained—and radicchio's red color—with the addition of acid, according to Shirley Corriher, food scientist and author of CookWise. So sour ingredients are important to taste, and also serve to maintain radicchio's vibrant color.

SWEET: "Sweet and bitter is a match made in culinary heaven," said Kline. "Anyone who appreciates a piece of chocolate understands this. One flavor enhances the other, bringing out the best in both."
When pairing radicchio with sweet flavors, there's a culinary world to choose from: Examples include table sugar, honey, molasses, cane syrup and maple syrup; fresh or dried fruit such as pears, apples, grapes, dried cranberries, apricots, raisins; jam, jelly or preserves, and candied nuts.

FAT: Bitter compounds, according to Prusa, are attracted to fat molecules, actually binding with them. So ingredients with a high percentage of fat will act as a buffer for bitter flavors.
"Oil and vinegar are the 'yin-and-yang' of the kitchen. We can't imagine a vinaigrette or salad dressing without oil: It's a similar situation with oil and the bitterness in radicchio" said Kline. "Oil and other fatty foods, used with restraint, are perfect partners with radicchio. Not only does fat surround the bitter flavor compounds, mellowing them, but also the clean, bitter flavors in radicchio cut the unctuousness of some fatty ingredients like smoked salmon, making an extremely pleasing flavor combo."
Fat ingredients include oils--both neutral in flavor such as vegetable, peanut or grape seed and flavored oils such as walnut and extra-virgin olive oils; butter and rich dairy products such as heavy cream, sour cream and rich cheeses like triple crème or camembert; avocado, bacon, and oily fish such as smoked salmon.

PUNGENT: Many foods we enjoy every day, and use commonly as ingredients, such as mustard, are pungent. "Pungency is usually a complicated set of flavors and elements in a food that result in biting, acrid, sharp and strong flavors," said Kline.
Pungent flavors are very strong and assertive—no culinary wallflowers here! So pairing pungency with radicchio's bold bitterness makes for a head-on 'strong meets strong' flavor marriage. "Pungent and bitter is a brilliant flavor match," according to Kline
There are many foods with pungent flavors with which to pair radicchio. Pungent flavors are found in mustards, anchovies, many ripe cheeses such as blue cheeses; any smoky food such as smoked cheeses, bacon and other smoked meats, smoked fish; cured olives, especially dry-cured; horseradish; sulfurous vegetables such as onion and garlic; freshly ground black pepper.

COOKING: As any cook knows, but maybe doesn't really think about, is that cooking any food dramatically alters it. According to Harold McGee, food scientist and author of On Food and Cooking, "every cooking method has its own unique influence on any food, including altering its flavor compounds."
"The bright, bitter flavors in radicchio are mellowed by cooking," Kline agreed. "We all love radicchio in its raw state, dressed so many delicious ways, but cooking radicchio seems to be a savory culinary secret that needs to be shared."
"Quick, direct-heat cooking methods transform radicchio into a slightly mellower vegetable," said Kline. "Being naturally tender, unlike other winter 'braising' greens, radicchio can be cooked quickly. Grilling, roasting, sautéing, even deep-frying reveals a softer side of radicchio's personality."
Roasting radicchio, as Los Angeles Times food editor and author of How To Read A French Fry Russ Parsons discovered, "drives off much of the bitterness in radicchio, leaving a sweet vegetable with an intriguing edge."

Endless Flavor Combos
Radicchio offers creative cooks endless possibilities for flavor pairings. Most ingredients—salty, sour, fatty, sweet and pungent—will carry more than one flavor component, and using several ingredients together with radicchio results in captivating, complex flavors in dishes that win raves for the cook.
"With flavors that harmonize so beautifully together, you have a dish that tastes like more than the sum of its parts," said Kline. "That's not only synergy, that's good cooking!"

Chipotle Mexican Grill to open second location in Mason, closer to PKI

Chipotle Mexican Grill will open its second location in Mason, Ohio Tuesday, August 30. The critically acclaimed burrito shop will serve its gourmet menu of burritos, tacos, salads and bowls at 2364 Kings Center Court in Suite 100, approximately two miles from the popular Kings Island theme park.

Distinguished by fresh, premium-quality food from sustainable sources, an iconic look and speedy service, Chipotle offers a new perspective on food. Today, Chipotle serves more naturally raised meat (meat from animals that are raised in a humane way, never given antibiotics or added hormones, and fed a pure vegetarian diet) than any other restaurant company; more than 75 million pounds this year.

Quality ingredients are the hallmark of Chipotle. In addition to naturally raised meats, Chipotle serves an increasing percentage of organically grown black and pinto beans, and sour cream and cheese made with milk from cows that are not treated with the synthetic hormone rBGH. Chipotle is also the only national restaurant company with significant commitments to purchasing produce from local farms when seasonally available, with plans to double its use of local produce this year.

“We are changing the way the world thinks about and eats fast food,” said Steve Ells, Chipotle founder, chairman and CEO. “There was a time when only the most demanding chefs in the best restaurants were using the same quality of food we are using, but we’re committed to making better food affordable and accessible so everyone can eat better.”

All of the fresh food is prepared in open kitchens in plain view of customers. Customers can choose from a variety of delicious ingredients to customize their order – cilantro-lime rice, whole black or pinto beans, grilled marinated meats or braised and shredded meats, freshly sautéed fajita vegetables, house-made guacamole, aged shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream and a choice of fresh salsas.

The design of each Chipotle also mirrors Ells’ food philosophy: simple ingredients used in creative ways can elevate the ordinary to extraordinary. While all Chipotle restaurants use similar materials to achieve a sparse, clean, urban look, no two are alike.
Hours at the restaurant are from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily. The phone number for the new Mason, Ohio location is (513) 336-9830.

Fall Tea Season: Time to discover your flavor with Numi Organic Tea

As Americans become ever more health-conscious, tea drinking in the United States has seen tremendous growth. According to industry sources, this cultural shift toward a healthier lifestyle is expected to push sales of tea in America to a whopping $15 billion by 2012, a huge increase considering sales were only about $4.6 billion in 1999.

The Tea Association of the U.S.A. estimates that “in 2010, Americans consumed well over 65 billion servings of tea, or over 3 billion gallons.” There are over 3,000 specialty tea rooms in the United States today, compared to 200 fifteen years ago. And annual imports of tea into the US have grown 25% over the last 20 years, with green tea leading the way with an increase of 118%. It’s no surprise that this burgeoning marketplace has sparked innovation and the excitement of new trends and flavors.

Fall Tea Season: Time to Discover New Tea Tastes

Nothing warms up a cold day better than a hot cup of tea. And, with all the growth in the tea market, consumers are seeking out new and better-tasting teas and tea blends. Top tea companies are happy to oblige with innovative new products. One company leading the way in tea innovation is Numi Organic Tea. Numi is rooted in the principle of creating a healthful product that nurtures people and honors the planet.

From the beginning, Numi has sought to bring a more dynamic, exciting and flavorful tea drinking experience to its customers. In 1999, the company launched Rooibos. Also called Red Tea, Rooibos is an herb indigenous to the Cederberg region of South Africa. It has a deep, earthy vanilla taste, is rich in antioxidants and known for its calming affects. That year also saw the debut of Honeybush from South Africa and Desert Lime from the Middle East. Honeybush is a flowering shrub that yields a rich earthy brew with sweet honey overtones, a secret healer that is rich in antioxidants. Traditionally harvested and dried in the hot desert sun, rare Arabian Dry Desert Lime has been drank for centuries. It has a distinct, tart citrus flavor and is an oasis of health.
In 2004, the company brought the first Flowering Tea™ to the U.S. market, introducing a whole new category to Americans. To create these exquisite buds, premium, hand-picked organic tea leaves hand sewn around flowers into bundles or rosettes by artisans in China. When steeped in hot water, these rare Leaves of Art™ slowly blossom into a bouquet of breathtaking shapes and exquisite flavors.

Most recently, in 2011, Numi introduced a line of organic Puerh teas in convenient teabags and ready-to-drink bottled iced teas. As the world’s first complete product line of organic Puerh teas available for the national US market, these are a true find for health-conscious tea aficionados. Independent ORAC tests have shown that Numi’s Organic Puerh tea yields more antioxidant capacity than most green teas. In China, Puerh is traditionally known as a healing tea that can improve digestion & metabolism, help weight management (along with a healthy diet & exercise), and boost energy (without the jitters). (These statements have not been approved by the FDA.)

Numi’s Puerh is picked from 500-year-old organic wild tea trees in Yunnan, China. Puerh tea leaves are piled, dampened and turned in a unique 60-day fermentation process. This results in Puerh’s deep earthy flavor and many health benefits that have been touted for thousands of years. Numi Puerh tea bags come in four different flavors: Emperor’s, Mint, Magnolia and Chocolate. The bottled teas are available in Classic Puerh, Mint, Jasmine, Peach, Earl Grey and Mango.

Numi lets nature speak for itself, hand-picking premium organic teas and herbs and blending them with only real fruits, flowers and spices. Since the company uses real ingredients and high quality teas & herbs (not tea dust or fannings), there is no need to apply other, less genuine flavorings or fragrances to create flavor.

As the days grow longer and temperatures fall, it’s the perfect time to treat one’s taste buds to a new experience in tea. At Numi, there’s truly something for every tea lover. Consumers can visit www.numitea.com to explore a whole new world of exciting flavor.

Numi Organic Tea blends premium organic teas and herbs with only 100 percent real ingredients, allowing Nature to speak for itself. As a pioneering, quadruple-bottom line company (people, planet, product, profit), Numi sources directly from fair labor gardens that guarantee a livable wage and better opportunities for farmers and their families. Numi is a company committed to reducing its impact on the planet through ecologically responsible choices in sourcing, production and recycled and non-GMO packaging. www.numitea.com.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Nielsen-Massey Recipes Can Turn Kids into the Envy of the Cafeteria

Kids are now heading back to school and the transition out of summer mode can be difficult, especially for those who would rather play in the pool than practice their spelling. During the switch from home to school, parents can comfort kids by sneaking homemade snacks—inspired by Nielsen-Massey Vanillas products— into their backpacks.

Nielsen-Massey’s Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Powder is a discreet, practical way to add extra flavor to some of childhood’s classic dessert recipes. Give classroom cupcakes an extra punch of flavor by stirring a pinch of Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Powder into the batter. Take a brownie recipe to the next level by sprinkling Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Powder over the treat.

“Our Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Powder is extremely versatile and easy to use,” said Beth Nielsen, chief culinary officer of Nielsen-Massey. “When school starts back up and schedules get crazy, using our vanilla powder can be an easy way to quickly enhance flavors.”

For a healthy, delicious treat that is sure to make your child the envy of everyone in the cafeteria, try Nielsen-Massey’s Healthy Fruit Nut Muffin recipe below.

Healthy Fruit Nut Muffins
Makes 1 dozen muffins

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
½ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup plain yogurt
½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1 teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Powder
½ cup shredded carrots
1 cup coarsely chopped peeled apples
½ cup raisins
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup coconut

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray twelve muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray.

Combine the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Add the egg, yogurt, butter and vanilla powder and mix with a wooden spoon; do not over mix. Stir in the carrots, apples, pecans, raisins, cranberries and coconut; the batter will be thick.

Fill each muffin cup with 1/3 cup batter. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

Grower Producer Champagne from Vanguard Wines

“These pure wines from Agrapart are among the most
alive and energetic Champagnes I encountered, and
they should be a part of any well‐stocked cellar.”
‐Antonio Galloni, The Wine Advocate

Champagne Agrapart & Fils

One of the oldest Grower Champagne (RM) houses in existence, the estate dates back to the 1880s when Arthur
Agrapart stopped selling the fruit from the family farm to the big houses and began making wine on his own. Since then
the estate has been expanded and handed down through the generations to the current owners Natalie and Pascal
Agrapart. Though just 9.75 ha (24 acres) in size, this land is spread over 62 plots of some of the finest terroirs in
Champagne. The winery itself is located in Avize, but the plots of land are spread primarily over the Grand Crus of Avize,
Oger, Cramant and Oiry.

THE PARTICULARS: Organic farming of vines that average 50 years in age, hand harvesting, tilling mostly by horse and
plow, fermentations with native yeasts, complete malolactic fermentations, aging in oak barrels and much longer than
normal aging on the lees. They also do not disgorge until 60 days before the wine is to be sold, thus ensuring freshness
along with complexity and structure.

NV Champagne Les 7 Crus Blanc de Blancs $28.66 wholesale $42.99 retail
Representative of the 7 terroirs Natalie and Pascal work with, 60% of this wine is from the Grand Crus of Avize, Oger,
Cramant and Oiry. Half from the 2007 vintage and half 2006, the wine undergoes a complete ML and is aged in a
combination of oak barrels and stainless steel tanks before secondary fermentation. The wine is then aged a full three
years on the lees before disgorgement. Only 8 grams/ liter dosage with minimal sulfur addition.

“The NV Brut Blanc de Blancs 7 Crus is absolutely beautiful. This is a touch darker than past releases, with hints of
hazelnut and spice that add baritone‐like layers of complexity to the fruit.” 90 points, The Wine Advocate
NV Champagne Terroirs Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru $36.66 wholesale $54.99 retail

Sourced from some of the best vineyards within the Grand Crus of Avize, Oger, Cramant and Oiry. Half 2006 and half
2005 which were both excellent vintages in Champagne! The wine is aged in oak and stainless steel for almost a year
before secondary fermentation, and then the wine spends a full four years on the lees. Disgorgement only happens
when we order, so that the wine remains as fresh as possible when we are ready to pick up. Only 4 grams/ liter dosage,
so this qualifies as an Extra‐Brut, but with such quality fruit and ripeness the wine remains lush and balanced.

“The NV Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Terroirs exhibits a more pointed and focused interpretation of Chardonnay than
the 7 Crus. Energy, vibrancy and superb delineation are the hallmarks of this delicious Champagne.”
90 points, The Wine Advocate, Issue #192Grower Producer Champagne from

Friday, August 19, 2011

New for Fall 2011: Van Gogh Vodka introduces Rich Dark Chocolate and Cool Peach flavors

For more than a decade, Van Gogh Vodka has been considered a pioneer in the world of flavored vodkas thanks to their constant innovation and ability to create vibrant and authentic flavors. With close to 20 exceptional flavors in their portfolio already, Van Gogh Vodka is pleased to announce the introduction of two new flavored vodkas to their super-premium line: Rich Dark Chocolate and Cool Peach (SRP: $27.00/ 750ml), both of which will debut this fall 2011.

For years, milk chocolate WAS “chocolate” and the choice of most American’s was probably Hershey’s. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, dark chocolate was discovered for its intensity and possible health benefits leading to a seminal moment in chocolate history. With this new interest, the American palate began to evolve and move toward a more sophisticated taste profile. Like our taste for fine wines, international coffees, specialty cheeses and the like, rich, dark chocolate is also having its moment as the new artisanal treat.

Van Gogh Vodka’s Rich Dark Chocolate Vodka is one of its most decadent and delightful to date displaying an intense chocolate fragrance with hints of coffee, nutmeg and spice. In the mouth, the complex, dark cocoa taste is beautifully complemented by notes of coffee, chili pepper, caramel, and exotic spice giving this sophisticated dark chocolate vodka layers of complexity and slightly spicy finish that will linger on the tongue.

“My inspiration came from ancient history when chocolate was a drink, not a candy as we think of it today,” says Master Distiller Tim Vos. “The Aztecs thought that cocoa was somehow attached to the goddess of Fertility and that’s why they drank it. They were quite sophisticated and often mixed their cocoa with vanilla, chili pepper and pimento – flavors we’re rediscovering as enhancements to chocolate that truly bring out the rich taste.”

“We decided to create Rich Dark Chocolate because we have observed a trend where consumers are migrating away from soft, easy beverages to bold and strong drinks with an edge. Van Gogh Rich Dark Chocolate Vodka has a lot of cocoa, a bit of chili pepper, coffee, caramel and a hint exotic spice—a really sublime combination that offers a wonderfully concentrated chocolate experience.”

Van Gogh was the first brand to introduce chocolate vodka to the market in 2002 with the introduction of their best-selling Dutch Chocolate Vodka. By comparison, their newest chocolate-inspired vodka, Rich Dark Chocolate, contains double the amount of cocoa for a more intense taste that chocolate aficionados will appreciate.

Peaches were originally cultivated in Asia where they have been prized for centuries and a favorite of kings and emperors. The delicate fruit made its way around the world over -- to India, Europe and eventually the Americas. Known by some as the fruit of happiness, riches, honor and longevity, it is no wonder that peach is one of the most requested flavors from Van Gogh devotees. According to Tim Vos, “we receive a large number of requests for peach every year, but we felt it vital to get the flavor just right before any sort of release. While working with peach, we realized that the addition of a small amount of mint added a refreshing zing that we thought really enhanced the overall flavor.”

Van Gogh Cool Peach Vodka features the fantastic combination of ripe, juicy peach complemented by a bright hit of mint. Open a bottle and the fragrance of fresh peach wafts up to the nose mingled with undertones of sweet almond and a touch of mint. Like the nose, the taste is overwhelmingly peach with notes of sweet almond and a welcomed punch from the mint at the very end that leaves a cool and refreshing finish.


About Van Gogh Vodka
Van Gogh flavored vodkas (SRP $27/750ml) are crafted in small batches by Master Distiller Tim Vos at the Royal Dirkzwager Distilleries in Schiedam, Holland, which were given “Royal Appointment” in 2005 by Netherlands’s Queen Beatrix. The Van Gogh Vodka portfolio includes 21 authentically flavored vodkas: Açai-Blueberry, Banana, Black Cherry, Citroen, Coconut, Dutch Chocolate, Double Espresso®, Espresso, Grape, Mango, Melon, Mojito Mint, Oranje, Pineapple, Pomegranate, Raspberry, Vanilla, Wild Appel, Dutch Caramel, and the brand new Rich Dark Chocolate and Cool Peach – whose pure, refined flavors are naturally infused in a proprietary process. Van Gogh also produces an exceptional Classic 80 proof vodka (SRP $27/750ml), the new Triple Wheat Van Gogh BLUE Vodka (SRP $29/750ml) and a Gin (SRP $27/750) whose finishes are smooth and delicate.

Al fresco recipes from Claddagh Irish Pubs

The Claddagh Irish Pubs, located in Mason, OH (5075 Deerfield Blvd.) and Newport, KY (1 Levee Way, Suite 2122), are taking the “beer garden” to new heights! The newly revamped large patio spaces are complete with flower and foliage displays, shade features to block the sun’s hot rays, and fire pits to keep the party going during summer nights and, when the weather turns cooler, help maintain a comfortable temperature well into autumn. In addition, Claddagh has added summer-inspired menu items, perfect for enjoying the pub’s genuine Irish hospitality with friends and family throughout the season.

“People often think of traditional Irish pub fare as something best enjoyed in the winter, so we wanted to lighten up the menu and offer some fun, from-scratch summer appetizers and entrées,” says Karen Murphy, Claddagh corporate director of food & beverage. “We’re using local and regional products where possible to make these dishes wallet-friendly as well.”

Claddagh’s summer menu starters include shareable platters of Salmon Mousse ($7.99), a luscious blend of smoked salmon, cream cheese, lemon juice, and fresh dill, served with flatbread crackers, and a bright Bruschetta ($7.99) of diced fresh tomatoes, garlic, red and green onion, basil, and olive oil with a drizzle of balsamic reduction and served atop French bread. The Chicken Satay Shots ($5.99), marinated chicken skewers served with a satay dipping sauce, are the perfect kick start to a summer meal, particularly alongside a refreshing pint of craft or imported ale. For a cool vegetarian salad, Claddagh offers the Tomato Mozzarella Salad (S5.99), layers of fresh tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella, sprinkled with chopped basil and cracked black pepper and drizzled with balsamic reduction.

The seasonal entrée selections at Claddagh include Chicken Kebabs ($14.99), grilled skewers of marinated chicken, red pepper, mushroom, and red onion, served over rice and seasonal vegetables, and vegetarian-friendly portabella Mushroom Ravioli ($13.99) tossed lightly in butter and served with a savory sage pesto-alfredo sauce drizzle. For a summery seafood medley of cod, smoked salmon, and mussels in a creamy sauce, the pub offers Seafood Pie ($14.99), which is capped in a crunchy layer of breadcrumbs.

For summer, Claddagh has also introduced new thirst-quenching Sangrias ($7.50/glass, $25/carafe) with fresh fruit and topped with a splash of Sprite. The cool white sangria is made with a base of Pinot Grigio and peach juice, and the ruby red sangria features Merlot and pomegranate juice.

The Claddagh Irish Pub-Mason, OH (5075 Deerfield Blvd., 513.770.0999) is open Monday through Thursday 11 a.m. to midnight, Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. The Claddagh Irish Pub-Newport, KY (1 Levee Way, Suite 2122; 859.581.8888) is open Monday through Thursday 11 a.m. to midnight, Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

TY KU Wins Platinum Medal at the 2011 SIP Awards

TY KU Premium Sake & Spirits is proud to announce that its newly launched premium Junmai sake, TY KU Sake Silver was awarded top Platinum Medal honors at the 2011 Spirits International Prestige (SIP) Awards. The SIP Awards are an annual international spirits competition with over 250 different brands judged in a blind tasting by real consumers, leveling the playing field for both new and established brands alike—awarding The Platinum Medal as the highest honors of the competition. This prestigious accolade for TY KU Sake Silver proves that the newest addition to TY KU’s portfolio of premium sakes and Asian spirits is one of the most celebrated new products of the year. In addition to the SIP awards, TY KU Sake Silver has received the Five Star Diamond Award, The Hot, New, Now brand at 2011 WSWA Convention and a 90 point rating from Tasting Panel.

TY KU Sake Silver is an award-winning imported Junmai sake that delivers the superior taste and quality that only authentic, imported Japanese sake can provide—but at an unprecedented, affordable price point of $15.99 per bottle. Instead of serving customers poorer quality, heated sake, restaurants can now offer the premium experience of TY KU Sake Silver at a similar price point.

TY KU Sake Silver is one of the purest beverages on the planet, made from only four all natural ingredients including pristine water, Akebono rice milled more than 30%, famed #9 yeast and handmade koji. Expertly brewed in Nara, Japan, TY KU Sake Silver is a premium Junmai representing the top 15% of all sakes in the world. TY KU Sake Silver has a fresh, slightly sweet taste with subtle pear notes; its rich flavor is soft and silky on the palate. Although it naturally complements fresh fish, sushi and Asian cuisine, TY KU Sake Silver’s well-rounded body can be paired with a wide variety of lighter Western cuisine.

“Receiving the top honor of a Platinum Medal at this year’s SIP Awards is a true testament to TY KU Sake Silver’s superior taste and quality. We are extremely humbled and proud of how well received our new Junmai sake has been by the industry. TY KU Sake Silver is a significant addition to our award-winning sake portfolio and we are confident that TY KU will quickly become the called upon brand name in sake,” says Tara Fougner, TY KU Director of Marketing.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

English-style Baker’s Bacon a Cut Above the Norm Monterey chef-restaurateur Tony Baker goes back to his roots

Bacon is a sacred institution, and each year the average American eats nearly 18 pounds of the delectable meat. But much of the bacon we consume is overly fatty, injected with phosphates and water, and mass-produced by large corporations that ignore sustainable practices.

As one of California’s top culinary minds, Chef Tony Baker of Montrio Bistro in Monterey, Calif. leads the way in sourcing and serving the finest quality, delicious, responsibly sourced ingredients.

And his own Baker’s Bacon is no exception. Now Chef Baker has finally realized his dream of providing Americans with small-batch, artisanal, dry-cured, sustainably sourced bacon made in the English style.

Baker’s flagship bacon is his “Back” bacon while traditional American-style bacon comes from the underbelly of the pig, creating meat streaked with fat. Baker’s English-style bacon is derived from the lean back of the pig — a cut above! — cured with a nice balance of sweetness to salt, and a smoky, complex, ham-like flavor.

Sourced from sustainable, naturally raised hogs, Baker’s Back Bacon is hand-rubbed with a blend of sugars, kosher salt and a secret concoction of spices. Next, it’s slowly smoked in a 50+ year old smokehouse for many hours with real apple wood.
“I came up with this bacon out of need, the market is saturated with mass produced watery bacon, I wanted a bacon for my restaurant that met my quality expectations without breaking the bank” said Baker, known for his fresh, seasonal menus with an eye toward sustainability. “It takes me back to my English roots. It really doesn't get any better than this!”

We start with naturally raised hogs, a secret blend of spices, then hand rub and smoke in a smokehouse that's been smoking bacon for over 50 years.”

When sliced it’s commonly called rashers in the United Kingdom, English-style bacon is leaner with more savory meat flavor but with the telltale sweet-and-salt balance and smoky essence we’ve all come to crave from bacon.

Made in the USA but inspired by a centuries’ old method and perfected by a chef’s personal demand for quality and sustainability, Baker’s Bacon is truly a cut above ordinary bacon.

Bakers Bacon is available online. Orders can be placed at www.bakersbacon.com. All orders are shipped 2 day UPS in artisan packaging and then boxed in insulated packs! For more information or to order today got to www.bakersbacon.com.

Bakers Bacon: The Facts
Bacon the way it's supposed to be!
Available in three mouthwatering styles!
Baker’s Natural Back Bacon -- English Style Dry Cured and Apple Wood Smoked, Thick Sliced Back Bacon
Baker’s Bacon -- Dry Cured and Naturally Applewood Smoked
Baker’s Double Smoke Bacon -- Dry Cured and Double Naturally Applewood Smoked
The Facts:
· Bakers Bacon is sold in 3 lb retail and 15# wholesale packs
· Baker’s Bacon created for chefs by a chef
· Dry Cured and Naturally Applewood Smoked
· Ingredients: Brown Sugar, Salt, Black Pepper, Sodium Erythorbate, Sodium Nitrite.
· USDA EST. 8273 (the round USDA stamp)
· Made in U.S.A
· Baker’s Back Bacon is made from all natural sustainably raised pork with no growth prominents or antibiotics.
Bakers Bacon is packed in Monterey, California and should be kept refrigerated. For more information go to www.BakersBacon.com.

Marchesi De' Frescobaldi Announces Third Annual 'Tuscany to You' Consumer Recipe Contest

Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi, one of Italy’s most prestigious wine producers, announces today the launch of the third annual ‘Tuscany to You’ nationwide consumer recipe contest. The contest invites home cooks, aspiring chefs and food lovers from across America to submit their favorite Italian/Tuscan-inspired recipe through the Tuscany Tonight website (www.tuscanytonight.com) for a chance to win a private dinner for four prepared in their home by Tuscany-based chef Donatella Zampoli. The contest will run from August 1, 2011 through December 31, 2011.

The recipe entries will be narrowed down through popular vote to a final top ten. Chef Donatella will evaluate the final ten on a host of criteria including simplicity, depth of flavor, and originality. The Grand Prize winner will receive a dinner for four, paired with Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi wines, prepared by Chef Donatella in the winner’s home.

“When we originally conceived the idea for the recipe contest, I was truly curious to see how Americans would interpret Tuscan or Italian cuisine in their home kitchen. The overwhelming response the first two years and the creative recipes solidified my notion that authentic Italian cuisine is taking hold all across the United States,” stated Donatella Zampoli, consulting chef for Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi.

In 2010, the Tuscany to You winner was Thomas Bohne of Boulder, Colorado. Bohne, an Iraq War veteran and culinary student at Johnson & Wales, , wowed Chef Zampoli with his Lobster and Shrimp with Vanilla Champagne Cream Sauce dishwhich beat out hundreds of entries to claim the top prize.

All consumers who register on www.tuscanytonight.com will be eligible to submit recipes. Those who enter a recipe and register to vote will be sent a complimentary tool that features cooking measurement conversions. Where legal, consumers who register to vote will also be directed to a mail-in coupon that they can download and print for savings on Frescobaldi wines.

Chef Zampoli’s accomplished culinary career has spanned more than 30 years. Prior to being the consulting chef for all of the Frescobaldi wine estates in Italy, she was the chef at Mas del Saugo, a restaurant in Northern Italy that earned a Michelin star for her innovative cuisine. She has also worked with some of the world's most noted culinary stars including Wolfgang Puck.

The Tuscany Tonight website is a comprehensive online resource for Tuscan wine, food and travel enthusiasts. Created by the Frescobaldi family, which has been making wine in Tuscany for more than 700 years and 30 generations, the site offers recipes, wine and food pairing and party planning tips, as well as educational information on Italian wine. The ‘Tuscany to You’ Grand Prize winner will be announced in February 2011. For more information, please visit: www.tuscanytonight.com.

Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi wines are represented in the U.S. by Folio Fine Wine Partners, an importer, fine
wine agency and producer of quality wines for the world’s premiere and emerging wine regions.
Owned by the Michael Mondavi family, Folio is based in Napa, CA and provides sales, marketing and public relations services to wine brands from California, Argentina, Italy, Austria and Spain.

Official Contest Rules
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. A PURCHASE WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING. VOID IN CA, TN, AND UT AND WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. Open only to legal residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia (excluding residents of California, Tennessee and Utah), who are 21 years of age or older at time of entry. Contest starts August 1, 2011 at 12:00:01 a.m. CT and ends December 31, 2011 at 11:59:59 p.m. CT ("Contest Period").

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Entertain with VOGA Italia Wine this Holiday Season

This Holiday Season, shake up some wine cocktails with a holiday twist that will get even your Grinchiest guests in the spirit. From Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve, these festive concoctions are sure to spice up your upcoming Holiday parties and gatherings.

Please find a few holiday recipes from VOGA Italia Wine below.

Thanksgiving Sangria

2 (750-milliliter) bottles VOGA Merlot
1 cup pomegranate juice
1/3 cup Triple Sec (orange-flavored liqueur)
1 orange (cut into sections)
1 apple (cut into sections)
1 cup of cherries
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
1/4 cup sugar
2 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick

Combine all ingredients in a pitcher, stirring until sugar dissolves. Cover and refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Garnish with cherries or cinnamon sticks.

VOGA Holiday Cocktails

Miracle on Bourbon St.

· 1 cube of sugar
· 4 dashes of angostura aromatic bitters
· 1/2 shot of bourbon whisky
· Top up with VOGA Premium Sparkling Pinot Grigio

Coat the sugar cube with bitters and drop in to the glass. Pour bourbon whisky into chilled glass and top with VOGA Premium Sparkling Pinot Grigio.

Apple-Ginger Toddy

· 1 teaspoon of fresh ginger
· 15 oz. apple cider
· .5 teaspoon cinnamon
· 4 oz. of VOGA Merlot

Muddle fresh ginger and add hot apple cider, cinnamon, VOGA Merlot. Shake and strain into a martini glass or lowball rock glass. Serve hot and garnish with a cinnamon stick or apple slice

New Year’s Eve Sparkling Cocktails

The VOGA Sparkler

· 2 oz. VOGA Sparkling
· .5 oz. vodka
· .5 oz. Raspberry Liqueur
· .5 oz. Soho Lychee Liqueur

Combine vodka, raspberry liqueur and soho lychee liqueur in the bottom of a champagne flute.
Top with VOGA Sparkling Pinot Grigio

Midnight Kiss
· 2 oz. VOGA Italia Sparkling
· 1 oz. apple cider
· .5 oz. ginger vodka
· Juice from ½ lemon
· 1 apple (sliced)

Combine ginger vodka, apple cider, fresh lemon juice and stir. Top with VOGA Sparkling and garnish with apple slices.

About VOGA Italia Wine:
VOGA Italia hails from Italy, the country best known for producing some of the world’s best wine as well as its’ keen sense of style. VOGA Italia encompasses all aspects offering a collection of crisp delicious wine thoughtfully packaged in a revolutionary re-designed bottle featuring a unique resealable cap. Since the company’s inception, VOGA has earned numerous awards and accolades for their sleek and sexy glass cylindrical bottle, presentation and most importantly taste. The collection retails from $10.99 to $15.99 and includes Pinot Grigio, Merlot, Moscato, Quattro, Sparkling Pinot Grigio and Sparkling Pinot Grigio Chardonnay. VOGA is available in over 62 countries, hundreds of major cities, and can be found in thousands of the world’s trendiest bars, restaurants and shops. Wherever, whenever, if you are drinking VOGA you are drinking IN Style.

For more information on VOGA Italia wine www.vogaitalia.com

Cultivating Knowledge and Crops: Women AreKey to Sustainable Agricultural Development

Women account for 75 percent of the agricultural producers in sub-Saharan Africa, but the majority of women farmers are living on only $1.25 per day, according to researchers from the Worldwatch Institute. "The lack of access to information technology and the inability to connect rural enterprises to banks can prevent women from obtaining vital financial services," said Danielle Nierenberg, director of the Institute's Nourishing the Planet project, a two-year evaluation of environmentally sustainable agricultural innovations to alleviate hunger.

Despite the challenging circumstances that women in developing countries face, important innovations in communications and organizing are helping women play a key role in the fight against hunger and poverty. "Access to credit, which provides women farmers with productive inputs and improved technologies, can be an effective tool in improving livelihoods in Africa and beyond," said Worldwatch Institute's executive director Robert Engelman.

Worldwatch researchers traveled to 25 countries across sub-Saharan Africa to meet with more than 350 farmers groups, NGOs, government agencies, and scientists, highlighting innovations, such as better extension and communication services, that are helping farmers improve their livelihoods. The findings are documented in the recently released report, State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet.

Nourishing the Planet highlights four innovations that can strengthen women's agricultural capacity: providing microfinance credit, providing access to the global market, providing extension services, and providing organizational support to women's projects.

· Providing women with microfinance credit. Globally, women fall well short of receiving the same financial benefits and opportunities as men Only 10 percent of the credit services available in sub-Saharan Africa, including small "microfinance" loans, are extended to women. The New York-based nonprofit Women's World Banking is the only microfinance network focused explicitly on women, providing loans of as little as $100 to help women start businesses. Microfinance institutions from 27 countries provide the loans to women who in many cases have no other way to access credit.

· Providing women access to the global market. In Africa's Western Sahel, the production of shea butter is boosting women's entry into global markets. Women-run cooperatives across the region are tapping into the global demand for fair trade and organic beauty products by selling the skin-care cream they produce from the shea nut crop to cosmetics firms such as Origins and L'Oréal. These "responsible" companies in turn pay fair price for the products and invest in the women's communities.

· Providing women with extension services. In the United States, outreach programs like Purdue Cooperative Extension Services offer training for women to grow their businesses and increase profitability. And in Uganda, agricultural extension workers have introduced women's groups to "coolbot" technology-solar energy and an inverter-that can be used in traditional reed, mud, and thatch shops to reduce temperatures and prolong the shelf lives of vegetables. "When extension programs invest in women farmers, the payoff can be huge," write Dianne Forte, Royce Gloria Androa, and Marie-Ange Binagwaho in State of the World 2011 "Women receive an education, raise yields, increase their incomes, and improve the nutritional status of family members, contributing to the wellbeing of entire communities."

· Helping women work together. Around the world, numerous organizations are helping to empower and support women farmers. In the United States, American Agri-Women, a coalition of farm, ranch, and agribusiness women's organizations, works with more than 50 state and commodity affiliates on legislative and regulatory matters as well as on student and consumer education. And the country's National Women in Agriculture Association helps socially disadvantaged women in rural areas obtain resources administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, with the mission to "educate, develop, network and create bonds of sisterhood among all women."

With a large percentage of women worldwide still lacking necessary services, it is time that policymakers include women, respect what they know, and stand beside them in pursuing the right to equality for all women. The ideas and technologies for the success of women are available, and development programs have the opportunity to thrive if they embrace the knowledge and skills of women farmers.

State of the World 2011 is accompanied by informational materials including briefing documents, summaries, an innovations database, videos, and podcasts, all available at www.NourishingthePlanet.org. The project's findings are being disseminated to a wide range of agricultural stakeholders, including government ministries, agricultural policymakers, and farmer and community networks, as well as to the increasingly influential nongovernmental environmental and development communities.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Highly anticipated Honeycrisp offspring to be widely available in September - Register to win “An Apple A Day, The SweeTango Way”

Excitement has been building for years for new SweeTango® apples and there will be a lot more to bite into this fall – possibly three times as many as 2010. A cross between the popular Honeycrisp™ and Zestar!™ varieties, SweeTango® began gracing store shelves in limited quantities in 2009.

This year, apple lovers can visit sweetango.com to register for a chance to win “An Apple A Day, The SweeTango Way.” Two lucky winners, one from the U.S. and one from Canada, will receive a season’s worth of SweeTango apples (approximately four dozen) – a surefire way to get your “apple a day”!

SweeTango is an early season apple that will begin hitting retailer shelves shortly after Labor Day. Consumers can visit Facebook.com/SweeTango to find out about availability in their area.

SweeTango®’s satisfying crunch and complex flavor deliver a superior apple-eating experience. Both sweet and tart with hints of fall spices, SweeTango®’s flavor, balanced by vibrant acidity, dances to a long and satisfying finish on the palate.

The same apple breeders who gave us the Honeycrisp released SweeTango® after more than a decade in development. The new apple is grown and marketed by Next Big Thing, A Growers’ Cooperative – a unique partnership of some of the most respected family-owned orchards in North America.

“As with any new variety, the volume of apples produced in the early years can be a bit unpredictable,” said Dennis Courtier, director of Next Big Thing, A Growers’ Cooperative. “The trees are still young, but they have matured to a point where we are able to expand distribution nationally.”

“SweeTango® is unlike anything most people have ever tasted and we’re happy that more apple lovers across the country will be able to enjoy it this year,” adds Courtier

Apples like SweeTango don’t come along very often, said David Bedford, University of Minnesota apple breeder and a key contributor in the development of SweeTango®, Honeycrisp and Zestar!

“It can take 30 years and 10,000 attempts to find a great-tasting apple,” Bedford said. “Consumers who have tried SweeTango® are telling us we’ve found something special with this new apple, specifically citing its complex flavor combination as a key attribute that sets this apple-eating experience apart from any other.”

The name SweeTango® was chosen to reflect the harmonious flavor combination you experience upon first bite. The distinctive crispness and complex flavors of the apple promise to make it an immediate consumer favorite.

Harvested early in the growing season, SweeTango® is a managed apple variety, which means only licensed growers can produce the fruit. Beginning this fall, apple lovers can purchase SweeTango® online at sweetango.com. The website, and Facebook (Facebook.com/SweeTango) and Twitter (@SweeTango) pages, also will have updated information on where consumers can find this great new apple in their area.

About Next Big Thing
Headquartered in Lake City, Minn., Next Big Thing, A Growers’ Cooperative is a 45-member cooperative of family growers, spread over five time zones from Nova Scotia to Washington State, that will grow and market managed varieties of apples, beginning with SweeTango®. You can find more information on SweeTango® at www.sweetango.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sweetango. Also follow @SweeTango on Twitter.

About the U of M Apple Breeding Program
In 1908 the University of Minnesota created the Fruit Breeding Farm, now known as the Horticultural Research Center, on 80 acres near Victoria, Minn. Over the next century the farm grew to become the center of fruit research and breeding, particularly for northern climates. Apple varieties that have been named and released by the University include Fireside, Haralson, Honeygold and, more recently, Honeycrisp™ and Zestar!™

New! Rich, Full Bodied, Authentic Modena Aged Balsamic Vinegar Idealfor Cooking and Dressing

New! Rich, Full Bodied, Authentic Modena Aged Balsamic Vinegar Ideal for Cooking and Dressing

Anna Zoitas definitely has a flair for fulfilling people’s palates with unusual culinary delights. Her latest creation is Aceto Balsamico di Modena, authentic aged balsamic vinegar from Modena, Italy — the premium source. Selected as a silver medal finalist by the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade, its smooth, sweet, full-bodied flavor is achieved by blending the intense Lambrusco and Trebbiano grapes and using a higher proportion of grape must to wine vinegar than many other balsamics on the market.

Made in Italy in wood barrels, it is a highly versatile balsamic, ideal for cooking and dressing. Drizzle it straight on fresh strawberries, salad, bread or cheese, or cook with roasted meats and chicken (see recipe below).

A 30-something entrepreneur, Anna grew up in New York City but spent her summers visiting her grandparents’ farm in Greece, where she got closer to the source of natural foods and artisan living. “With my siblings, we used to gather fresh eggs from the chickens, feed the sheep with a milk bottle, play with the rabbits — and try to stay away from the smelly hogs. I learned to cook on an outdoor fire and use farm fresh ingredients.” She went to a local Greek Catholic school in New York City and earned dual degrees from New York University, Stern School of Business, in management and organizational behavior with an emphasis on international business.

In 2009, Anna was invited to be one of the judges for the sofi Award at the prestigious Specialty Food Show in New York. In just over four days, she tasted 3,000 food products, judged them and selected the best from each category. Having experienced such incredibly delightful foods, Anna knew she had found her calling and, shortly thereafter, created Seven Deuce Inc., her specialty food product business that includes The Artisanal Kitchen and Urban Tribe brands.

For more information, visit www.theartisanalkitchen.com.

Recipe Suggestion:

BBQ Chicken Breast with Aceto Balsamico di Modena Caramelized Red Onions

BBQ chicken topped with caramelized red onions made with The Artisanal Kitchen Aceto Balsamico di Modena.


4 medium-size chicken breasts
4 tablespoons Aceto Balsamico di Modena (purple label) by The Artisanal Kitchen
2 red onions, sliced thin
2 tablespoons of Three Olives Olive Oil by The Artisanal Kitchen
Pinch French Fleur de Sel.
Garnish: parsley


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Put the olive oil and salt in a medium-size frying pan and heat on low. When oil is heated, add sliced red onion to the pan and cook over a low flame for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are caramelized. Next, add The Artisanal Kitchen Balsamico di Modena to the onions and continue to cook on a very low flame, stirring frequently, until the onions have turned a dark brown color. Scrape the balsamic residue off the bottom of the pan, mix with the onions and cook for a few more minutes to allow the remaining balsamic to be absorbed into the onion mixture.

Cook chicken breast on the barbeque and, once done, lightly salt and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the top. Place a few tablespoons of onion mixture on each chicken breast, garnish with a parsley leaf and serve.

For more information, visit www.theartisanalkitchen.com.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Graeter's Reopens in NKY - Fort Mitchell Now Open

Graeter’s Manufacturing Company is pleased to announce the reopening of the company’s retail location at 301 Buttermilk Pike in Fort Mitchell, KY. The Graeter’s retail location in Newport/Fort Thomas, KY, at 1409 North Grand Avenue is planning to reopen in mid-September.

Both retail locations are now company-owned and have been completely remodeled with new décor and equipment, and both stores will offer Graeter’s full line of bakery, confectionary and candy offerings.

“We are certainly excited to bring Graeter’s back to Northern Kentucky,” said Richard Graeter, President and CEO. “We have deep roots in Kentucky and we thank our loyal fans for their continued support.”

There are currently no plans to reopen the store previously located at 342 Monmouth Street in Newport, KY, or the store previously located at 8860 US Highway 42 in Florence, KY. Graeter’s is working with its Louisville-based franchisee to open new stores in the Lexington market.

Through Labor Day, Fort Mitchell store hours are Monday - Saturday, 6:30 a.m.-11 p.m. and Sunday, 9 a.m. - 11 p.m. After Labor Day, the store will close at 10 p.m. For more information, guests can visit Graeters.com or call (859) 341-3005.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Top Ten Beverage Trends for 2011

The Food Channel® ( foodchannel.com) presents its “ Top Ten Beverage Trends for 2011.” By partnering with CultureWaves® ( www.culturewav.es ), the International Food Futurists®, and Mintel International ( www.mintel.com), The Food Channel has been able to identify the most significant beverage trends in dessert for 2011, from adding flavors to water, to new adult beverages, to drinking for enhanced nutritional benefits.

The Food Channel readers also weighed in, responding to the website’s beverage survey. You can view the results here. “Our Food Channel beverage survey confirmed what we’ve seen in the marketplace,” said The Food Channel Vice President and Editor in Chief Kay Logsdon. “It indicated we’re drinking more water these days, although we like to dress it up a little. And, it told us that coupons have little or no influence on whether we purchase a beverage at a fast food restaurant.”

The Food Channel Top Ten Dessert Trends in 2011
1. D.I.Y. Flavor— Many of us are taking flavor matters into our own hands.
2. Parental Discretion Advised— We’re still seeing lots of buzz around beverages and kids.
3. Iced Coffee Is Scalding Hot— Consumption of this cold caffeinated beverage has heated up.
4. For Medicinal Purposes Only— There’s certainly no shortage of ways to “drink to your health.”
5. Sipping Seasonally and Simply— In much the same way we’re eating local and choosing foods when they’re in season, we’re making a more conscious effort to drink that way, too.
6. Fast Food Beyond the Fizz—T here are changes happening here, too, with specialty drinks getting as much play as burgers and fries.
7. Craft Beers: The Buzz Is Back— While overall beer sales are flat these days, sales of craft brews are seeing double-digit increases.
8. Bourbon Booming —The retro revival of the classic cocktail has hip young consumers bellying up to the bar for whiskey.
9. Show Biz— While the food generally takes center stage in restaurant exhibitionism, beverages are being offered more starring roles.
10. Drinking Ourselves Thin—We want to enjoy our drinks without drinking in the extra calories.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Supper Club hosted by CNC - August 18

The Cincinnati Nature Center and Edible Ohio Valley have joined together to bring the inaugural Edible Supper Club to the historic Krippendorf Lodge. Chef Joanne Drilling will prepare a four-course dinner inspired by locally grown heirloom tomatoes for 25-30 guests on Thursday, August 18 at 7pm.

Each guest will enjoy a locally sourced, and seasonal, four-course meal while dining with their neighbor's at a communal table. Local heirloom tomato growers will dine with us and discuss the different heirloom varieties of tomatoes Chef Joanne will be using in each course. The event is byob – guests are asked to bring their own alcoholic beverage of choice. The event will be Thursday, August 18, 2011, from 7 to 9 pm.

Reservations for the Supper Club at the Krippendorf Lodge are purchased in advance on the Edible Ohio Valley website for $58 (www.edibleohiovalley.com), or by calling 513-297-0810.

Edible Ohio Valley and The Cincinnati Nature Center are committed to increasing awareness of local foods and sustainable growing practices. The Supper Club series is designed to bring these issues to the table – to enjoy, discuss, and learn about speciality crops grown in our area – in the historic setting of the Krippendorf Lodge.

175 Best Babycakes Cupcake Maker Recipes

Cupcakes are the feature of every bakeshop—from trendiest gourmet to hometown favorite—while current magazines tout cupcakes for every event from glamorous wedding to homemade birthday fun.

Babycakes, the appliance that created a new, exciting product category in the housewares industry, is creating quite a stir! Today, stores are clamoring to feature this family-friendly product leader.

We are lucky enough to offer the first and the only cookbook specially written for the Babycakes Cupcake Maker appliance. This innovative cookbook is written (with all recipes tested) for the Babycakes Cupcake Maker. The recipes in the book are the correct size/portion, and baking times are specific for the appliance.

We offer cupcake recipes from classics and kid favorites to innovative flavors, even cupcakes with liquor. Oh, and we even remembered the frostings! We also include recipes for mini-pies—another food trend that is rising in popularity. There is a chapter on gluten-free treats reflecting the trend toward special diet and gluten-free cooking. And, another chapter in the book features all kinds of cheesecakes—quick, easy, and packed with deliciousness.

Babycakes are versatile and appeal to absolutely everyone. Children like the small tasty cupcakes and after school snacks, while adults will love making a batch of cupcakes/muffins for the office and featuring the appetizers at cocktail parties. The book presents them all—fabulous desserts to simple baking, savory lunch to appealing appetizers, every day to holiday.

Many people exclaim that the appliance is an ‘Easy Bake Oven for adults’ and we completely agree. And, the best part? With just two bites…there is so little to feel guilty about.

Selected recipes available for reprinting include:

· Red Velvet Cupcakes

· Curried Chicken Salad Cups

· Pumpkin Cheesecakes with Caramel Topping

· Lemon Meringue Mini Pies

· Raspberry Streusel

· Cheddar, Ham and Broccoli Quiches

· White Chocolate Snowmen Cupcakes

KATHY MOORE and ROXANNE WYSS are recognized as leading experts in small appliances, and they wrote the booklet that is packed with the Babycakes® cupcake maker by SELECT BRANDS.

In their food consultancy firm, they develop recipes, test products and generally set the standard for innovative recipes and food information. Their recipes appear regularly in the column, “Eating for Life” in The Kansas City Star, a James Beard award–winning publication, and they appear regularly on national television. Kathy lives in Missouri and Roxanne lives in Kansas.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Share Our Strength’s Dine Out For No Kid Hungry Fundraising Program held September 18-24

He may be known for creating delectable culinary dishes in his multiple New York City kitchens, but now Marc Murphy, Executive Chef and Owner of the Benchmarc Restaurants and judge on Food Network’s “Chopped Champions,” is hoping to put childhood hunger in America on the chopping block. Together with Food Network and hunger-relief organization Share Our Strength®, Murphy will encourage everyone to dine out at one of thousands of restaurants across the country participating in Share Our Strength’s Dine Out For No Kid Hungry, a national fundraising program held the week of September 18-24.

Food Network has worked with Share Our Strength over the past several years to raise awareness of childhood hunger in America, while offering its audience actionable ways to help. For Share Our Strength’s Dine Out For No Kid Hungry fundraising program, Murphy and several other Food Network personalities from “Chopped Champions” are lending considerable culinary clout to national print and broadcast public service announcements (PSA’s) that encourage viewers to eat at participating restaurants the week of September 18-24. In addition, Food Network will promote the fundraising program on-air during season three of “Chopped Champions,” airing August 30th through September 27th.

Murphy’s own NYC restaurants—Landmarc at the Time Warner Center, Ditch Plains Upper West Side, Ditch Plains West Village and Landmarc Tribeca—will also be raising funds for Dine Out For No Kid Hungry.

“Ending childhood hunger in America by 2015 is something everyone can contribute to,” says Murphy. “As a culinary professional and, more importantly, as a father, ensuring that our children can take advantage of community programs and healthy eating education is crucial. If you typically eat out, you can help end childhood hunger by simply dining out at any of the more than 4,000 restaurants participating in this amazing campaign.”

Funds raised through Dine Out For No Kid Hungry support Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry® Campaign, to end childhood hunger in America. Specific efforts include ensuring that children in need are enrolled in federal nutrition programs like school lunch and breakfast; investing in community organizations that help connect kids with the food they need; teaching at-risk families how to cook healthy, affordable meals; and building public-private partnerships to end child hunger at the state and city levels. Last year, restaurants raised more than $1.5 million through Dine Out For No Kid Hungry—a number they hope to double this year.

“U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics show that nearly one in four children in this country are at risk of hunger. They just can’t count on getting the food they need,” said Debbie Shore, co-founder of Share Our Strength. “We’re incredibly proud to have Food Network partner with us in our fight to end childhood hunger. The influence, compassion and enthusiasm of Chef Marc Murphy will be invaluable in communicating how simple it is for anyone, anywhere to join our fight against hunger.”

Now in its fourth year, Dine Out For No Kid Hungry leverages America’s love affair with chefs and restaurants, the desire to give back to those in need and the yearning to patronize businesses that are doing the same. More than 4,000 participating restaurants, including independently run locations such as Murphy’s Benchmarc Restaurants and chain brands such as Boston Market, P.F. Chang’s, O’Charley’s, raise funds in a variety of ways, from donating a percentage of sales, to hosting customer promotions and merchandizing opportunities. Share Our Strength’s Dine Out For No Kid Hungry is nationally sponsored by Sysco, American Express, Ecolab, Open Table, Food Network, USA Today , and the National Restaurant Association. For more information, or to find participating restaurants, visit www.DineOutForNoKidHungry.org.

Restaurants Nationwide Participating in Food Day, October 24

Prominent chefs, nutritionists, and food activists are inviting the nation’s restaurants to celebrate Food Day on October 24 by announcing improvements to menus and sourcing policies that advance health and the environment. Organizers say that restaurants could observe Food Day in a wide variety of ways, including by buying more produce, meat, and eggs from local farms; by adding more whole grains to breads and pastas; or by collecting money for food banks, farmers markets, or other local organizations.

Chefs already participating in Food Day include Alice Waters, of famed Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Calif., Dan Barber of Blue Hill in Manhattan and Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Michel Nischan of the Dressing Room in Westport, Conn., early organics pioneer Nora Pouillon of Washington, D.C.’s Restaurant Nora, and sustainable seafood expert Barton Seaver. Food Day is also partnering with groups like Chefs Collaborative, American Culinary Federation, and the Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture, and is encouraging local restaurants to seek out partnerships with area hunger and sustainable-agriculture groups.

“Food Day is a great opportunity for restaurants to show their commitment to locally produced artisan foods, to showcase a variety of whole grains, and to reach out to an audience hungry for more sustainable ways to consume that are more in keeping with the health of our bodies and our environment,” said Ellen Gray, co-owner, along with her husband Todd Gray, of Equinox Restaurant, Watershed, and Todd Gray’s Muse at the Corcoran, all in Washington, D.C.

Restaurants could invite farmers to meet diners, plan special menus or events, or publicize Food Day via email and social media. Some examples already in the works include:

A chain of vegan restaurants, Native Foods, will organize cooking demonstrations and tastings in its seven locations in California; In Manhattan, the massive Italian market Eataly has started handing out Food Day materials, and will bring in 20 farmers to talk to customers; Food Day organizers in New Haven, Conn., are planning a Real Food Restaurant Week during which restaurants will offer special meals featuring local produce and healthier options; and Uncommon Ground restaurant in Chicago will observe Food Day by offering a three-course Farm-to-Table prix fixe menu from October 16 to October 24.

Organized by the non-profit Center for Science in the Public Interest, Food Day will encourage people around the country to sponsor or participate in activities that encourage Americans to “eat real” and support healthy, affordable food grown in a sustainable, humane way.

Modeled on Earth Day, organizers hope Food Day will inspire Americans to hold thousands of events in schools, college campuses, houses of worship, restaurants, and even in private homes aimed at fixing America’s diet and food system. A Food Day event could be as small as a parent organizing a vegetable identification contest at a kindergarten class—or as massive as a rally in a city park, with entertainment and healthy food. Health departments, city councils, and other policymakers could use Food Day to launch campaigns, hold hearings, or otherwise address communities’ food problems.

“I’m excited that many restaurants are seizing the opportunity presented by Food Day and becoming part of a movement aimed at getting people to celebrate honest-to-goodness real food that comes from farms and not factories,” said CSPI executive director Michael F Jacobson.

Food Day is led by honorary co-chairs Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), and an advisory board that includes author Michael Pollan; prominent physicians Caldwell Esselstyn, Michael Roizen, and David Satcher; nutrition authorities Walter Willett, Kelly Brownell, and Marion Nestle; actor Jane Fonda; filmmaker Morgan Spurlock; and Rodale, Inc. CEO Maria Rodale.

Besides restaurants, many national organizations, such as the American Dietetic Association, American Public Health Association, Community Food Security Coalition, Earth Day Network, Farmers Market Coalition, Humane Society of the United States, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, Prevention Institute, and Slow Food USA, along with many city- and state-level organizations, are planning on organizing or participating in Food Day events.

Buca di Beppo Unveils New Cocktails and Desserts

Buca di Beppo Italian Restaurants has unveiled its new citrus inspired beverage and dessert menus designed to dazzle taste buds with refreshing warm weather treats.

Making their debuts on the menus:
Lemon Basil Vojito – Vodka lovers rejoice! SKYY Infusions Citrus Vodka, simple syrup, basil leaves, fresh lemons and the perfect amount of soda water are mixed to create a refreshingly new twist on an original.

Buca Bella – It’s a beautiful thing! SKYY Vodka, Caravella Limoncello, Monin Peach Tea and Prosecco are served over ice to create a new warm weather favorite.

Mediterranean Orange – A delight to see and experience, this cocktail is made with SKYY Infusions Blood Orange Vodka, Caravella Limoncello, orange juice, and a Midori surprise at the bottom of every glass!

Lemon Drop Italiano – A makeover of an Italian classic, Buca di Beppo creates this delicious aperitif with SKYY Infusions Citrus Vodka, Caravella Limoncello, simple syrup, fresh lemon juice and basil served in a chilled martini glass.

Italian Crème Cake – Experience a piece of heaven when you bite into this six layer lemon cake filled with mascarpone cheese and served on a pool of raspberry-hazelnut sauce, and topped with fresh whipped cream and mint sprig.

In addition to the new drinks and desserts, there is still an opportunity to enjoy Buca di Beppo’s Summer Lobster specials available through September 11, which include items such as Lobster Fonduta, Lobster Caesar Salad, Lobster Fra Diavolo Pizza and many more delectable dishes that are perfectly suited for enjoying in the warmer weather.

International Organic Scandal: Major Canadian Grain Exporter’s Certification Suspended Organic Industry Watchdog Says "System Working as Designed"

After two years of speculation by U.S. and Canadian organic farmers, facing below-cost competition eroding sustainable pricing, and even forcing some out of business, an announcement last week, by the Canadian government authority overseeing organics, has finally offered an explanation.

Jirah Milling and Sales, based in Quebec, Canada, has had their organic certification suspended by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). The company, annually selling thousands of metric tonnes of organic feed soybeans and grains in U.S. markets, had been under scrutiny for some time. Organic soybean growers, and other crop producers, on both sides of the border had been questioning how Jirah could apparently sell organic beans significantly below what they knew to be the cost of production.

"We have been aware of problems with imported soybeans for years and have been actively investigating this operation for many months," said Mark Kastel, Senior Farm Policy Analyst at The Cornucopia Institute. "It was obvious, from collaborating with U.S organic grain producers, and their cooperative leaders, that something was wrong," Kastel added.

Michael Saumur, the National Manager of the Canadian Organic Office at CFIA, said that they had received two formal complaints about Jirah's operations. Jirah then received "multiple assessments," he said. The assessments revealed what Saumur would only term as "deviations" from the company's organic plan. Jirah, Saumur explained, was "given ample opportunity to correct" the deviations. Unable to do so, Saumur said "it was deemed applicable to issue a suspension."

While Saumur expressed the need to maintain confidentiality about further details, one complaint concerning Jirah, filed in November 2010, alleges blending of cheaper conventional grains with organic and then the sale of the adulterated product as certified organic feed.

"Since we have spent years investigating cheap Chinese soybean imports, dominating the West Coast market, we initially thought that Jirah was transshipping beans from China and ‘sanitizing’ them with a Canadian label," said Kastel of The Cornucopia Institute, a farmer-based organic industry watchdog. "It now appears that any improprieties were homegrown on Canadian soil."

Cornucopia said it is "highly concerned" by reports from Canadian truckers that Jirah is said to be continuing to ship organic grain into the US and has been observed unloading containers of imported soybeans. The Institute has reached out to operations selling organic grain and feed asking that they contact Cornucopia, confidentially, if they have dealt with Jirah in the past.

Michael Saumur, the Canadian regulator added, "We hope potential buyers will be careful."

Jack Erisman, an organic crop producer in Pana, Ill., reported that "Even with growing demand from organic egg and dairy producers, over the past two years, I have had soybeans that I could not sell in the marketplace."

Cornucopia's investigation also brought the group in contact with Canadian farmers familiar with Jirah's activities. "The Canadian farmers' allegations, reported to us, were that Jirah was buying a nominal quantity of legitimate organic soybeans but the vast majority of their beans were coming from conventional IP [identity preserved], GMO-free growers," Kastel said. "These Canadian growers are the real heroes; they brought this apparent fraud to the attention of Canadian regulators and Cornucopia and tirelessly pushed for action," observed Kastel.

Cornucopia said it was a grave disservice to all the ethical Canadian farmers to have their reputations besmirched by the action of one greedy marketer. "With the exception of this bad aberration, Canadian farmers can be trusted just as much as U.S producers,” said Kastel.

The CFIA's suspension of Jirah's organic certification took effect on July 25. Ten days after the announcement, the USDA and its National Organic Program alerted the U.S. market to the suspension, noting that this operation could no longer "sell, label or represent their products as organic" due to non-compliance with organic regulations. Canada and the U.S. have a formal equivalency agreement covering organic food and agriculture.

"This is an excellent example of the system working as it was designed," said Will Fantle, Research Director at the Wisconsin-based Cornucopia Institute. "Our only serious disappointment is that it took so long for Canadian officials to act and over a week for the USDA to publicly warn participants in the organic industry not to purchase suspect products from the suspended Canadian source."

Jirah's most recent in a series of "serial" organic certifiers had been Letis, based in Argentina. Independent third-party accredited operations like Letis are charged with acting as the overseers of organic integrity. "It's very unusual for United States or Canadian farmers or organic handlers to contract with foreign certifiers, who typically work in their country of origin," said Fantle. Letis was ordered by Canadian regulators to pull its organic certification of Jirah.

The owner of Jirah Milling and Sales, Andrew Eastwood, told the editor of Sustainable Food News that the suspension would have a "tremendous impact" on the company. He noted that Jirah's customers "are certainly looking at other options right now." Eastwood indicated that his company will try to remedy the situation with CFIA.

CFIA's Saumur said that Jirah has thirty days to seek a review of their organic suspension. CFIA, administering the relatively new Canadian organic program, has yet to develop a formal mechanism for fines or additional penalties for Canadian organic regulatory violations.

Cornucopia said that none of the Canadian farmers that they had directly worked with on this investigation were willing to speak on the record due to fear of recrimination or violence. "We had one incident, related to the investigation, reported to us concerning the vandalism of an automobile to the tune of many thousands of dollars," said Kastel.

"Buyers should know," said Merle Kramer of Saline, Mich., Marketing Director at the Midwest Organic Farmers Cooperative, "that when we are in a $24.00 organic soybean market and they get four bids for around $24.00 and one bid for $19.75, it should be obvious that those are not organic soybeans. Unfortunately, for some the main concern is to get cheap organic grains and a piece of paper that says it is organic."

Marvin Manges, a certified organic farmer from Yale, Ill., said, "I have been raising organic crops for 25 years (21 years certified) and there has always been a strong market for what we and other farmers produce. In the last few years we have faced unfair competition from questionable imports from China and Canada. It's good to see that regulators are finally taking our challenges seriously."

In assessing the current regulatory crackdown, Jack Erisman, the other longtime Illinois organic grower, affirmed, "The organic marketplace is only fair when we are all playing by the same rules."

In addition to the USDA's announcement, The Cornucopia Institute is offering a stern warning to U.S. buyers to avoid products represented as organic by Jirah, which has removed all information referencing organics from their website.

"We have received reports that they have continued to attempt to sell, since their suspension, using the certification documents of individual farmers from whom they are buying soybeans and other commodities," said The Cornucopia Institute's Kastel "This would not be legal as any handler, storage facility, miller or roaster of soybeans would itself have to carry valid certification."

According to Canadian officials, unlike the laws governing organics in the United States, their certification/accreditation program, still in its infancy, has no provision for more serious penalties, other than suspension or cancellation of a company's right to do business. In the US certified entities found to be violating the law can be subject to fines of up to $10,000 per incident.

"We are also disappointed that the Canadian provincial and federal regulatory officials are not being more forthright with the public," commented Kastel. "In the past the USDA has released the details in terms of complaints, investigations and the facts found. Although we understand the allegations we do not even know for certain what violations led to the rare move to strip on organic processor/handler of their certification. This information should be public so that this incident can act as a deterrent."

The Cornucopia Institute has also had conversations with farmers on both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border, to assist them in preparing a class-action lawsuit seeking civil damages for any marketplace injury that reputable organic producers have incurred. "We encourage farmers who have been competitively injured to contact us regarding potential future litigation," said Will Fantle, Cornucopia's Research Director.

The Institute is also asking for help from industry stakeholders in identifying Jirah’s U.S. customers. "We'd like to speak to additional companies that have done business with Jirah and we hope they will assist us in this ongoing investigation," said Fantle. Stakeholders can contact Cornucopia through its website, www.cornucopia.org.

The Cornucopia Institute has learned that Jirah might also be in the process of changing its ownership structure. "We continue to caution buyers of organic commodities against purchasing at prices that seem too good to be true, Kastel added. "It is incumbent upon responsible participants in this industry to do their own due diligence and not strictly rely on paper [certification documents] as the be-all, end-all for protecting the integrity of the products they are marketing."

The Cornucopia Institute is dedicated to the fight for economic justice for the family-scale farming community. Through research, advocacy and economic development our goal is to empower farmers both politically and through marketplace initiatives. The Organic Integrity Project acts as a corporate watchdog assuring that no compromises to the credibility of organic farming methods and the food it produces are made in the pursuit of profit. We will actively resist regulatory rollbacks and the weakening of organic standards to protect and maintain consumer confidence in the organic food label.