Thursday, December 22, 2011

New Year's Eve Celebration Menu from the White House Inn


Baked Brie - $10
Spinach & Artichoke Dip-$10
Lobster Mac n
Shrimp Cocktail -$10

House salad- mixed greens with carrots, onion, croutons & your choice of dressing

Caesar Salad topped with cheese & croutons


Accompanied by your choice of 2 side dishes

Prime Rib - $32
12 oz Prime rib topped with au Jus

Chicken Rochambeau - $28
8 oz. chicken breast with ham, provolone cheese & topped with brown gravy

Lobster Tail - $48
Two 6 oz. lobster tails

Filet Mignon - $38
8 oz. filet mignon Oscar style

Surf & Turf - $55
8 oz. filet & 6 oz. lobster tails

Steak Lynchburg - $38
12 oz. strip studded w/ peppercorns & fresh made Jack Daniels sauce

Salmon - $32
8 oz. pan seared & topped with a shrimp lemon Burre Blanc

Side Dishes:
Baked Potato, Sweet Potato, Mashed Potato, Rice, Vegetable Medley, Green Beans & Saut

The White House Inn is located at:

4940 Muhlhauser Rd
Hamilton (West Chester), OH 45011
Phone: 513.860.1110
Fax: 513.860.9050

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Menus Now Available on LocalEats Apps and

LocalEats, a top-selling travel app dedicated to helping diners find the best locally owned restaurants in America, and SinglePlatform, a company committed to helping local businesses get discovered online, announced a content partnership today. The partnership places SinglePlatform’s menu content into both the LocalEats iPhone and iPad apps, as well as the website. The new content brings LocalEats users complete access to 12,000+ restaurant menus from LocalEats-selected restaurants, without having to leave the app or the LocalEats website to view them.

Since the LocalEats app launched in 2008, it has consistently added increased in-app functionality for users, such as the ability to call a taxi via Taxi Magic, make a reservation with OpenTable, or even find a restaurant deal, through its recently announced partnership with top dining deal aggregator BiteHunter.

SinglePlatform co-founder Wiley Cerilli said, "LocalEats is unusual in that it's not a user-generated content app, but instead is a highly curated app that doesn't include chains. At SinglePlatform, we want to help the world find exactly these sorts of restaurants -- places that perhaps don't have the resources to plug their menu into the internet across the spectrum, or even have a website -- but which can greatly benefit from having it deployed from a "single platform" like ours.”

"We are happy have a menu partner who can provide more than just big-city restaurant menus, and in fact shares our commitment to helping great local restaurants across America be discovered,” said Kelsey Weaver of LocalEats. “Because of their direct relationship with restaurants, SinglePlatform has the most up-to-date menus available in markets of every size, from large to small. Users of LocalEats will enjoy the increased convenience of viewing menus in-app. ”

The LocalEats app, which also includes international destinations, is available now in the App Store.

Bring Color & Flavor to Winter Cooking with the Piquillo Pepper

Envision a rich, sweet pepper, hand-picked from the hills of Peru and fire-roasted before being packed so perfectly that each pepper is ready to use, straight from the jar. Roland® Piquillo peppers are delectable and easy-to-use. Their vibrant color and piquant, roasted flavor makes them the perfect ingredient to liven up winter cooking. Sandra Gutierrez, chef and author of The New Southern-Latino Table, makes a scrumptious Chicken Stew with Piquillo Peppers and White Wine (recipe below) that will bring warmth to your kitchen. “Piquillo” is Spanish for “little beak,” which describes the beak-like shape of the pepper. Traditionally grown in Spain, Roland® Piquillo peppers are grown in Peru in a similar climate and soil. Bright red, sweet, and tangy, the Piquillo is a great addition to salads, stews, and sandwiches. The slightly smoky flavor adds a depth and intrigue to dishes. Because the piquillo is so delicately packed, it is perfect for stuffing or serving whole. The peppers are nearly uniform in size, color, and shape which makes them easy to use with little waste.

Drain the piquillo peppers and blot them dry with paper towels so they're easier to slice.
Don't rinse piquillo peppers under running water; doing so, removes flavor.
Use piquillo peppers in place of roasted red peppers in your favorite recipes.
To make a deliciously flavored sandwich spread or dip, simply process 3 or 4 piquillo peppers with 1 cup of mayonnaise and 1 grated garlic clove, until smooth.
Add finely minced piquillo peppers to your next pot of chili for a sweet touch.
Stuff piquillo peppers with a creamy salad (such as egg, potato or tuna) for a quick, easy, and elegant appetizer.


Chicken Stew with Piquillo Peppers and White Wine
By Sandra A. Gutierrez

1 large chicken cut into 8 portions
Salt and Pepper
2 tablespoons Roland® extra virgin olive oil
2 cups thinly sliced white onions
1-½ cups sliced Roland® Piquillo peppers
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
2 cups chopped plum tomatoes
8 ounces white wine
¼ cup Roland® capers
1 cup black Roland® olives (like Kalamata), pitted and left whole

Pat chicken dry with paper towels; season liberally with salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven, set over medium-high heat, heat the oil. When the oil is hot, brown the chicken pieces on all sides, until golden brown. Remove the chicken to a separate plate and set aside; remove pan from the heat and with a spoon, remove all but 1 tablespoon of the fat rendered in the pan (discard the excess fat). Set the Dutch oven over medium-high heat; add the onions and cook, while stirring, for 1-2 minutes or until onions have begun to soften. Add the piquillo peppers, oregano, thyme, and bay leaf stir well, until combined and cook for 30 seconds. Add the plum tomatoes and the wine, stirring well and scraping up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Return the chicken to the pot (and any juices that collected on the plate as it rested) and bring the liquid to a boil; cover, lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the capers and black olives and cover again; simmer an additional 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through (the juices will run clear when pierced with a fork). Before serving, season with more salt and pepper, to taste. Note: I like to serve this in deep bowls with plenty of crusty bread to help me sop up the juices. It's also delicious when spooned over an easy pilaf made with rice (or farro) or over cooked noodles.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Unique New Year’s Eve Cocktail Ideas from Nielsen-Massey

The bubbly will be flowing on New Year’s Eve, but there are a lot more holiday cocktail options than the traditional champagne. Party hosts can impress guests with unique drink recipes and staple cocktails that are easily enhanced with a dash of flavor extract.

Nielsen-Massey Vanillas offers products that are secret weapons for creative mixologists looking for ways to add extra flavor to classic drinks. A dash of Nielsen-Massey’s Rose Water adds a light taste to champagne while Pure Almond Extract mixes well in a piña colada. Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Sugar is also a great way to rim cocktail glasses.

Inventive mixologists can add a teaspoon of Pure Peppermint Extract to 2 ounces of vodka to create Peppermint Schnapps or try the Nielsen-Massey Peppermint Pattitini recipe below that will bring New Year’s cheer to the party.

Nielsen-Massey Peppermint Pattitini

2 oz. Vodka
2 oz. Half & half or cream
1 heaping Tablespoon hot cocoa mix (i.e. Ghiradelli Premium Hot Cocoa)
¼ teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Pure Peppermint Extract
½ teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Pure Chocolate Extract
½ teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Pure Tahitian Extract (Madagascar or Mexican if preferred)
Chocolate syrup
Mini candy cane

Add all ingredients except the syrup in a shaker and shake vigorously. Pour into chilled martini glasses. Garnish with a swirl of chocolate syrup and candy cane.

* for a fun twist, swirl chocolate syrup in martini glasses, then place in freezer for 5-10 minutes
** garnish with a sprig of fresh peppermint for more holiday cheer

Serves 2

Pucker-Up with Wolfgang Puck's New Valentine's Cocktail: the Red Velvet Martini

Master Chef, Wolfgang Puck and Spago Beverly Hills’ Executive Pastry Chef Sherry Yard introduce The Red Velvet Martini, their latest cocktail drink just in time for Valentine’s night. Wolfgang Puck’s new Double Blend Mocha Organic Cold Brewed Iced Coffee is the secret ingredient along with Vodka, Chambord, and fresh raspberries. Double Blend Mocha provides a decadent flavor base as it’s made with bold, rich espresso and Viennese chocolate.

“My iced coffees, initially inspired by our pastries and crème brûlée, are a guilt free pleasure because they are only 120 calories, organic, made with a cold brewed process” says Wolfgang Puck. “All the coffee flavors like Vanilla Fusion, Double Blend Mocha, Crème Caramel and Cafe Au Lait add that extra special pizzazz to holiday deserts, shakes and drinks.”

Here is Wolfgang’s recipe for The Red Velvet Martini introduced at Wolfgang Puck at the Hotel Bel-Air in Beverly Hills, California:

· 2 oz Wolfgang Puck’s Double Blend Mocha Organic Cold Brewed Iced Coffee (Very cold)
· 1 ½ oz Vodka
· ½ oz Chambord
· 3 Fresh Raspberries

Muddle the raspberries and put all ingredients in a Martini shaker and shake well for 10 seconds, strain, pour into your favorite Martini glass and have a Happy Valentine’s Night.

All four flavors are now available in The Fresh Market Stores, The Natural Food Section of Kroger, Rice Epicurean Markets, Fry’s, Dillons, Kings Sooper, Smith Food Stores, Henry’s Farmers Markets, select Whole Foods Market, CVS, and Bristol Farms Stores , Jimbos in California and Morton-Williams, Amish Market, Westside Markets and Garden of Eden in Manhattan.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

BRAVO! introduces two-course dinner menu January 9!

BRAVO! Cucina Italiana in West Chester is continuing to celebrate into the New Year with the debut of its $15.95 two course dinner menu on Jan. 9. For $15.95, guests can enjoy a delicious soup or salad and one of five housemade entrées, Sunday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to close. BRAVO! is a BRAVOIBRIO Restaurant Group concept.

BRAVO!’s $1595 two course dinner menu will offer guests an opportunity to enjoy authentic, Roman-inspired cuisine at an affordable price. Guests can choose from a variety of choices for the first course: Insalata Della Casa, featuring chopped greens, cucumber, tomato, bacon, crispy pasta and creamy parmesan dressing; BRAVO! Chopped Salad, dressed in traditional Italian; Caesar Salad, with housemade croutons; or the chef’s select Soup of the Day. Guests can select one of BRAVO!’s most popular entrees for a second course: Chicken Parmesan Milanese, with herb pasta, fresh Mozzarella and housemade pomodoro sauce; Chicken Chopped Salad, dressed in Tuscan Italian; Balsamic Glazed Chicken, served with fresh asparagus, Mediterranean orzo and grain pilaf tossed with artichokes, basil, Kalamata olives, garbanzo beans, grape tomatoes and Feta; Lobster Ravioli, with sautéed shrimp and grape tomatoes in a tomato cream sauce; or Sausage Tortelloni, tossed with pancetta and housemade tomato sauce.

BRAVO! offers $7.95 lunch specials Monday through Friday, featuring daily selections of heaping sandwiches, lavish salads, scrumptious pastas and unique pizzas. BRAVO! Bar Bites! are available for $2.95 Monday through Friday from 3-7 p.m. and 9 p.m.-close in the bar area. Bar guests may indulge in portions of BRAVO! appetizer classics such as Bruschetta with Mushrooms and Boursin, Crispy Shrimp Napoli, Artichoke and Spinach Formaggio, Meatball Sliders and Fries, Cheese Ravioli Al Forno and Balsamic Onion, and Portobello & Gorgonzola Flatbread. BRAVO! invites guests to celebrate $5 Martini Night every Wednesday in the bar, beginning January 4.

Participating locations:

9426 Waterfront Drive
West Chester, OH 45069
(513) 759-9398

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Lots of Luscious Latkes

Although potato latkes are a traditional Chanukah treat, why not experiment this year by making latkes with other vegetables? With the recipes below, you can enjoy a different kind of latke every night of Chanukah!

I prefer to use russet potatoes because they are higher in starch and have lower water content. However, you can also use red potatoes or Yukon Gold successfully.

To keep grated potatoes from turning a grayish color, immediately add grated onions to the potatoes—the onion juice will prevent the potatoes from turning black. (You can also achieve the same effect by crushing and adding half a vitamin C tablet to the potatoes.) If you want to grate the potatoes by hand, do it at the last minute to keep the potatoes white.

For lacy latkes, grate the potatoes using the grating blade of the food processor, using very light pressure. Empty the potatoes into a colander and rinse under cold running water to remove the starch (this also helps prevent the potatoes from turning dark). Squeeze dry and then process in batches using the steel blade, with very quick on/off pulses. Do not overprocess. Transfer the grated potatoes to a bowl and mix them with the other ingredients, working quickly.

You can bake latkes instead of frying them. If you’re frying, don’t overcrowd the pan, as it will lower the temperature of the oil. When the latkes are done, their outsides will be crisp and the centers will be tender yet cooked through.

Most latkes can be made in advance and frozen successfully. Reheat them, uncovered, at 375° for about 10 minutes on a foil-lined baking sheet, until they’re crispy and piping hot. There’s no need to defrost them first.

Serve latkes with a dollop of applesauce or tomato salsa for a meat meal, or with low-fat sour cream or yogurt for a dairy meal.

Norene’s Easy Potato Latkes

Makes about 2 dozen latkes or 5 dozen miniatures

These latkes are quick and easy, and you can use basic ingredients you’re sure to have on hand.

4 medium potatoes, peeled and scrubbed
1 medium onion
2 eggs (or 1 egg plus 2 egg whites)
1/3 cup flour or matzah meal
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons oil (plus more as needed)

Insert steel blade in food processor. Cut potatoes in chunks and cut onion in half. Place both in processor with eggs. Process until puréed, about 20 to 30 seconds. Add all remaining ingredients except oil; process a few seconds longer to blend into a smooth mixture.

Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Drop large spoonfuls of potato mixture into hot oil to form pancakes; brown well on both sides. Repeat with remaining batter, adding more oil if necessary. Drain well on paper towels.

Note: Stir batter before cooking each new batch. Latkes can be placed on a baking sheet and kept warm in a 250° oven. They freeze well.

Baked Version: Place oven racks on the lowest and middle positions in oven. Preheat oven to 450°. Drop spoonfuls of potato mixture onto well-oiled baking sheets; flatten slightly. Bake 10 minutes, until bottoms are browned and crispy. Turn latkes over and transfer pan from upper rack to lower rack and vice versa. Bake 8 to 10 minutes longer.


Carrot Latkes

Makes 16 to 18 latkes or 5 dozen
hors d’oeuvres.

6 medium carrots
1 medium onion
3 eggs (or 2 eggs and 2 egg whites)
3/4 teaspoon salt
Dash freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons oil (plus more as needed)

Insert grater in food processor. Cut carrots to fit feed tube and grate using medium pressure. Measure 2 cups.

Using the steel blade of the processor, process onion until fine, about 6 to 8 seconds. Add all remaining ingredients except oil. Process until blended, about 15 seconds.

Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Drop large spoonfuls of carrot mixture into hot oil to form pancakes and flatten slightly. Brown well until golden, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Repeat with remaining batter, adding more oil if necessary. Drain well on paper towels.

Note: Freezes well.

Variation: To make zucchini latkes, replace carrots with 3 medium zucchinis. After grating, salt zucchini lightly and let stand for 15 minutes. Press out
excess moisture.

Cauliflower Latkes

Makes 14 latkes

These luscious, low-carb latkes are a delicious alternative to traditional potato latkes, with just 42 calories and 4 grams of carbohydrates each.

1/2 medium cauliflower, cut into florets
(about 4 cups)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic (about 1 teaspoon minced)
1 large egg
1/4 cup matzah meal or bread crumbs
2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
3/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons oil (plus more as needed)

Steam the cauliflower for 10 minutes or until tender (or microwave on high, covered, for 6 to 7 minutes). Measure 3 cups cooked.

In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, process the cauliflower until mashed, about 10 to 12 seconds. Add all remaining ingredients except oil; process with quick on/off pulses to combine. If the mixture seems too loose, add a little extra matzah meal.

Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Drop rounded spoonfuls of cauliflower mixture into hot oil to form pancakes and flatten slightly. Brown well until golden, about 4 to 5 minutes on each side. Repeat with remaining batter, adding more oil if necessary. Drain well on paper towels.

Note: Latkes reheat well, but freezing isn’t recommended.

Variation: To make broccoli latkes, substitute 4 cups of broccoli florets for cauliflower.


Winter Vegetable Latkes for a Crowd

Makes 48 latkes

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled
2 large carrots or 12 baby carrots
2 large parsnips
2 large potatoes
1/2 Vidalia or other sweet onion
4 to 5 scallions
1/4 cup fresh dill
6 large eggs
1 cup whole wheat flour or matzah meal
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup grapeseed or canola oil (plus more as needed)

Peel the vegetables and cut into chunks. In a food processor fitted with a grater, grate the sweet potatoes, carrots and parsnips in batches through the feed tube, using medium pressure. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside. Next, grate the potatoes in batches through the feed tube, using medium pressure. Combine with sweet potatoes and other grated vegetables.

Remove the grater and insert the steel blade into the food processor. Process the onion, scallions and dill until finely minced, about 8 to 10 seconds. Add the eggs to the processor bowl and process for 5 additional seconds. Transfer the mixture to the grated vegetables and add flour, salt and pepper; mix well.

Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Drop rounded spoonfuls of vegetable mixture into hot oil and brown well, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Repeat with remaining batter, stirring before each new batch. Add more oil if necessary. Drain well on paper towels.

Note: Keeps for up to 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator and reheats well. Freezes well for up to 2 months.

Chef’s Secrets:

Eggs-Actly!: Instead of using 6 eggs, substitute 4 eggs and 4 egg whites or 1 1/4 cups liquid egg substitute.

Warm It Up: To keep cooked latkes warm, arrange in a single layer on a large baking sheet and place in 250° oven. Do not cover.


No-Fry Potato and Spinach Latkes

Makes about 24 medium latkes or 6 dozen miniatures

Traditional latkes are usually fried in at least 1/4 cup of oil, so one latke contains about 3 grams of fat. I don’t know anyone who can stop at just one latke, so these “no-guilt” latkes are a terrific alternative. Each one contains just over a gram of fat—now that’s a miracle!

4 teaspoons canola or olive oil, divided
3 medium potatoes
10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 medium onion
1 to 2 carrots
2 tablespoons minced fresh dill (or 2 teaspoons dried)
3 eggs (or 2 eggs plus 2 egg whites)
1/4 cup flour (white or whole wheat)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Place oven racks on the lowest and middle positions in your oven. Preheat oven to 450°. Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil. Spray with non-stick spray, then brush with 1 teaspoon of oil. Or, use two non-stick baking sheets and brush each one lightly with oil.

Peel potatoes (or scrub them well if you don’t want to peel them). Using the grater of your food processor, grate potatoes using light pressure. Place potatoes in bowl and set aside. Insert the steel blade of the food processor and process spinach, onion, carrots and dill until fine. Add potatoes, eggs and the remaining 2 teaspoons oil. Process with quick on/off pulses to mix. Quickly blend in remaining ingredients.

Drop mixture by rounded spoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets and flatten to form latkes. Bake uncovered for 10 minutes, or until bottoms are browned and crispy. Turn latkes over and transfer pan from upper rack to lower rack and vice versa. Bake about 8 to 10 minutes longer, until brown. Best served immediately.

Note: Latkes may be made a day in advance and can be frozen.

Variations: Instead of baking latkes, brown them in a non-stick skillet. Instead of adding the oil to the latke mixture, use it for frying.


Estee’s Celery Root Potato Latkes

Makes 10 latkes

Here’s a slightly different version of typical potato latkes. The celery root adds wonderful flavor and is a great idea for those who are watching their carbs. This recipe is from my friend Estee Kafra, a food photographer and food writer.

2 cups grated potatoes
2 cups grated celery root
2 eggs
1/4 cup flavored breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper and salt, to taste
Vegetable oil for frying

Place the grated potatoes and celery root into a colander and press to squeeze out extra juices.

Pour mixture into a large bowl and add all remaining ingredients except oil; mix well.

Heat vegetable oil in a large frying pan and place tablespoons of batter into the hot oil. Be careful not to overcrowd. Once edges have browned, flip latkes over and cook on other side. Remove latkes from oil with slotted spoon or spatula and place on paper towel to drain.


Estee’s Crispy Cheese Latkes

Makes 14 latkes

Another wonderful latke recipe from Estee Kafra.

1 cup low-fat cottage cheese
1 pound farmer cheese
4 eggs
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
1/3 cup sugar (or less, or substitute with Splenda)
1 teaspoon vanilla sugar
Oil for frying
Low-sugar strawberry jam for garnish

Place all ingredients except oil into a large mixing bowl. Using an immersion blender, blend until a thick batter forms.

Heat a frying pan with a thin layer of oil. Drop in batter, a tablespoonful at a time. Adjust the temperature to ensure the latkes don’t burn; flip them once the batter is a bit firm and the bottom is brown.

Remove from pan and place on paper towel to absorb excess oil. Garnish with jam.

Note: These cheese latkes have less flour, less sugar and more cheese than most cheese latkes.

Variation: Estee sometimes adds a bit of jam into the middle of the latke right before it firms up. To do this, make an indentation in the center with a spoon and place a small amount of jam in it. Flip over carefully. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Cincinnati seniors published in national cookbook

Atria Senior Living, one of the nation’s largest providers of independent living, assisted living and memory care services, announced today the release of A Dash and a Dollop. From dishes that came to America by boat in the 1800s to meals that saw families through the Great Depression, the book is a unique collection of Atria residents’ favorite recipes and the cherished stories behind each one, including their role in family legacies, traditions and customs.

Envisioned by Atria Senior Living as a way to gather some of the many untold stories from residents nationwide, A Dash and a Dollop will be available online at Barnes and Noble® later this year. Each of Atria’s 13,000 residents will also receive a gift copy throughout the month of December.

“In Atria kitchens across the country, it’s not uncommon for our culinary directors to recreate some of our residents’ favorite dishes for everyone to enjoy,” said Ronda Watson, vice president of culinary services for Atria Senior Living. “In doing so, we often hear the stories behind the recipe’s significance, whether it’s a favorite memory from childhood, or a dish a resident prepared for their family for many years. That’s where the inspiration for this book was born – through hearing these stories and understanding the meaningful role that cherished recipes can play in a family’s life.”

According to Watson, recognizing the pivotal role of the kitchen in each resident’s unique life story inspired this heartfelt creation. And according to a recent consumer survey, most Americans feel the same connection to the kitchen, with 96% of those surveyed saying that food and cooking are important parts of their family traditions.

The survey also revealed that two out of three Americans’ favorite recipes are connected to memories shared with loved ones, and 65% also make recipes that have been passed down by a loved one.

“Families have been coming together in the kitchen for centuries, and this is our way of sharing our residents’ special memories with everyone both inside and outside of the Atria family,” added Watson

Julie Harding, chief operating officer for Atria Senior Living, sees A Dash and a Dollop as a way to both preserve residents’ memories and honor those who call Atria home.

“These recipes represent an important piece of our residents’ unique life stories,” said Harding. “Some of the stories in this collection are incredible – it’s really amazing what the creation of A Dash and a Dollop has helped us learn about the residents who make their home with us, and now, we’ve given them a tangible way to share their recipes and stories with their friends and family.”

For more information about A Dash and a Dollop, visit

Monday, December 12, 2011

Biking Italy's Wine Routes for Foodies - New Tours for 2012 from Italiaoutdoors

Italiaoutdoors introduces three innovative tours to its 2012 “Bike the Wine Roads” line-up: the “Primavera del Prosecco” tour, April 1-8; the “Grape Harvest Bike the Wine Roads of the Veneto” tour, September 15-24; and the “Bike the Wine Roads Tours of Trentino-Alto Adige,” September 29-October 8. Designed and led by co-owners Chef and Wine Curator Kathy Bechtel and recreation specialist Vernon McClure, all Italiaoutdoors cycling holidays offer an in-depth exploration of notable wine regions throughout Northeastern Italy. Set amidst spectacular backdrops such as the Dolomite Mountains, the tours are further customized according to the participants in each group.

Italiaoutdoors’ bike routes cover 30-45 miles daily, accommodating all skill levels and covering various terrains ranging from shores to mountains. Each group has a maximum of eight travelers to guarantee that each guest receives personalized attention from the two expert tour guides. The small group size also allows for daily itinerary refinement based on interests and levels. Tour prices range from $3,495-$3,995 per person, based on double occupancy and include accommodations in 3+ star hotels; all ground transfers, daily wine tastings; bike rental; GPS (great for personal exploration of the areas as well); all entry fees to attractions; all breakfasts, lunches, snacks; and most dinners. A single supplement is available.

Primavera del Prosecco Bike Tour – April 1-8, 2012
Price: $3,495 per person, double occupancy
Italiaoutdoors invite cycling and culinary fans to explore the Prosecco region and welcome spring with a visit to the province of Treviso during this eight-day bicycle holiday. Tour participants will visit the region during the Primavera del Prosecco festival, a celebration of wine, food, art and culture. The tour travels through different wine regions each day and participants enjoy distinctive regional dining and wine experiences including Prosecco’s world-renowned sparkling wine as well as lesser-known treasures including Piave, Colli Berici and Breganze.

Grape Harvest Bike the Wine Roads of the Veneto Tour – September 15-24, 2012
Price: $3,995 per person, double occupancy
This 10-day tour whisks travelers through the depths of the beautiful Veneto region. Home to the largest number of quality DOC wines in Italy, the area produces world-renowned vintages, including Valpolicella, Bardolino, Soave, Prosecco and Breganze. Guests begin this journey with a ride along the shores of Lago di Garda, followed by visits to neighboring cities Verona and Vicenza. While visiting these two historic gems, guests will taste prominent wines ranging from Valpolicella and Soave to Gambellara and Colli Berici. Other highlights include a visit to the picturesque town of Bassano del Grappa, home to Breganze and Colli Asolani wines. The trip winds down with a tour of the lush Prosecco region.

Bike the Wine Roads Tours of Trentino-Alto Adige – September 29-October 8, 2012
Price: $3,995 per person, double occupancy
Beginning in the city of Bolzano, this 10-day bicycle holiday kicks off with a journey down the picturesque Sudtirol Weinstrasse, or “Wine Road,” home to the many wonderful wine producers of the Sudtirol Alto Adige region. Heading south, guests will travel through the Mezzocorona and Mezzolombardo wine areas where they will enjoy a variety of Teroldego Rotaliano wines. The scenery then changes from mountains to lakefront views in the Veneto, with a visit to the Lago di Garda. Trip highlights include a visit to the historic city of Verona – home to Juliet’s balcony and the ancient Arena that still hosts cultural events and operas today – and a visit to Soave, a charming walled city that produces refreshing white Soave wines.

Any of these tours can be run on alternate dates for a private group of 4-12, for the same price. All Italiaoutdoors private tours are individually designed to match the interests and abilities of each group, providing a personal and authentic experience of the region.

About Italiaoutdoors
Italiaoutdoors is an owner-operated private guide service, creating and guiding active culinary and wine tours in Northeastern Italy. Unique in their ability to combine active biking, skiing and hiking adventures with world-class culinary programs -- including tours with James Beard award-winning chefs -- Italiaoutdoors customizes vacations for small groups. Italiaoutdoors has more than 15 years of recreational programming experience in the region, plus formal culinary and wine training. Programs also include cooking classes, wine tastings, and restaurant dining which explore the best in local regional cuisine and undiscovered wines. Itineraries are rounded out with city visits, shopping, cultural excursions or just relaxing poolside. The owners -- experts in fitness, food, and the region –personally lead each tour., 1-978-270-5774.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Toast to 2012 with Perrier Jouët

Getting prepared for New Year’s Eve can be challenging: picking out the right outfit, deciding on the perfect party, and most importantly choosing the bubbly that you will toast with at midnight!

Perrier-Jouët, one of the world’s leading champagne houses, is the essence of beauty and luxury, and in celebration of its 200th anniversary has launched Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque Brut 2004. The special Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque champagne bottles are ordained with an iconic floral design, dating back to 1902. Serving as a hostess gift or to complement any bouquet or centerpiece, Perrier-Jouët is the perfectly elegant choice for toasting to a new year! At $139 a bottle and $150 for the gift set, Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque is already a favorite among Kim Kardashian, Zoe Saldana, Hilary Duff, Eva Amurri and mom Susan Sarandon.

There is even a more affordable option, Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut at $45! Perrier-Jouët bottles and Gift Packs can be purchased at select local retailers and on-line, including but not limited to:,,,

In addition, below, please find two specialty cocktails to spice up the traditional champagne toast.

Perrier-Jouët Rose
¼ oz. Rose Water
1 sugar cube
3 dashes of fresh pomegranate juice
Directions: Place the sugar cube in the bottom of a Champagne flute. Saturate it with rose water. Carefully top off with Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque/Brut and add pomegranate juice. Garnish with dry baby rose buds.

Perrier-Jouët Fraise Sauvage
2 oz. Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque/Brut
1 ¼ oz. Vodka
¾ oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice
¼ oz. simple syrup
1 whole strawberry
Directions: In a bottom of a mixing glass muddle the strawberry into a purée. Add all ingredients except Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque. Add ice, cover and shake vigorously for 7-8 seconds. Pour Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque/Brut into a chilled cocktail-martini glass and pour the cocktail over it. Garnish with half a strawberry.

Registration Opens for Ohio's Largest Sustainable Ag Conference

Registration is now open for the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association’s (OEFFA) 33rd annual conference, Sowing the Seeds of Our Food Sovereignty, February 18-19, 2012 in Granville, Ohio (Licking County).

The state’s largest sustainable food and farm conference, the event draws more than 1,000 attendees from across Ohio and the Midwest, and has sold out in advance the past two years. This year’s conference will feature keynote speakers Woody Tasch and Andrew Kimbrell; more than 70 informative, hands-on workshops; two featured pre-conference events on February 17; a trade show; a fun and educational kids’ conference and child care area; locally-sourced and organic homemade meals, and Saturday evening entertainment.

“Our conference title says a lot about what we believe and what we’re trying to accomplish,” says OEFFA Program Director Renee Hunt. “Farmers, businesses, chefs, and consumers are working together to reclaim our food sovereignty—rebuilding local food systems and Ohio’s rural farming communities, demanding access to healthy, organic food and information about how that food is produced, and relearning sustainable agriculture practices that nourish our bodies, our communities, and the environment.”

Keynote Speakers
Saturday’s keynote lecture titled, “Slow Money: Investing as if Food, Farms, and Fertility Matter,” will be provided by Woody Tasch. Tasch is the chairman of the Slow Money Alliance and inspired the Slow Money movement by writing Inquiries into the Nature of Slow Money: Investing as if Food, Farms, and Fertility Mattered.

The Slow Money Alliance advocates for sustainable financial investments that support local, community-based food and farm businesses. So far, $4.5 million has been invested in 16 small food enterprises through Slow Money’s national gatherings. In the last year, $5 million more has been invested through Slow Money chapters.

For 10 years, Tasch was chairman of Investors’ Circle, which has invested $133 million in 200 early stage sustainability businesses since 1992. Tasch also served as treasurer of the Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation where, as part of an innovative mission-related venture capital program, a substantial investment was made in Stonyfield Farm, now the world’s largest maker of organic yogurt.

Sunday’s keynote lecture titled, “The Future of Food,” will be provided by Andrew Kimbrell. Kimbrell is one of the country’s leading environmental attorneys and the founder and executive director of the Center for Food Safety (CFS) and the International Center for Technology Assessment (CTA). The Center for Food Safety pursues public education, policy advocacy, and legal actions to curtail industrial agricultural production methods that harm human health and the environment, including genetic engineering.

Kimbrell is author of 101 Ways to Help Save the Earth, The Human Body Shop: The Engineering and Marketing of Life, Your Right to Know: Genetic Engineering and the Secret Changes in Your Food and general editor of Fatal Harvest: The Tragedy of Industrial Agriculture. His articles have appeared in numerous law reviews, technology journals, magazines, and newspapers across the country, and he has been featured in documentary films, including “The Future of Food.” In 1994, Utne Reader named Kimbrell one of the world’s leading 100 visionaries. In 2007, he was named one of the 50 people most likely to save the planet by The Guardian-U.K.

The conference will also feature more than 70 hands-on, educational workshops and cooking demonstrations with topics including: bramble and strawberry production; no-till farming; edible landscaping; pest management; compost; pork, beef, and lamb production; poultry nutrition; food preservation; food safety; social investing; farm and business planning; renewable energy; mushroom production; season extension; mulch; cover crops; aquaculture; dairy health; recordkeeping; Farm Bill policy; co-ops; small space gardening; companion planting; organic certification; fiber production; permaculture; tax planning; genetic engineering; field crops; grassroots organizing; conservation funding; cheesemaking, and more.

In addition, the conference will offer a three part series of workshops about high volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF), commonly known as “fracking,” which is an intensive extraction process that uses a high pressure chemical cocktail to fracture rock to release natural gas. The workshops are designed to educate farmers, landowners, and concerned citizens about the environmental and social risks of this process, existing laws and regulations, and what actions can be taken by landowners and community organizers.

The conference will also offer the following featured conference guests:
- Jeff Moyer, the director of farm operations at the Rodale Institute and an expert on organic crop production, will discuss no-till organic farming, utilizing cover crops to enhance soil fertility, and effective compost management.
- Gary Zimmer, farmer, author, educator, and president of Midwestern Bio-Ag, will discuss nutritional considerations for pasture-based dairy operations.
- Dan Ravicher, a patent law professor and executive director of the Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT), will provide an update on a federal lawsuit against Monsanto which seeks preemptive court protection for farmers who may be accused of patent infringement if they become contaminated by Monsanto's genetically engineered seed.

Pre-Conference Events
Two on-site pre-conference events will also be featured on February 17 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The first, “Slow Money for Ohio? Financing the Local Food System,” will feature Slow Money Alliance founder and chairman Woody Tasch and a panel of experts, to talk about Slow Money, the challenges of capitalizing the local food economy, and successful strategies to nurture sustainable food systems and businesses.

The second pre-conference event, “No Till, No Drill, No Problem: Integrating No-Till Methods into Organic Production Systems,” will feature Jeff Moyer, director of farm operations at the Rodale Institute, to discuss practical ways to build soil fertility and tilth, suppress weeds, and manage cover crop rotations, to increase production.

Additional Features
The conference will also feature a kid’s conference offering a variety of exciting workshops for children ages 6-12; a playroom for children under 6; a book signing by Woody Tasch and The Contrary Farmer, Gene Logsdon; an exhibit hall offering an interesting array of information, products, services and resources that relate to sustainable agriculture; a raffle; a non-denominational Sunday service; and Saturday evening entertainment, including a performance by The Back Porch Swing Band and a film screening and discussion of The Greenhorns.