Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Holiday Wine That Tastes As Good As It Looks

This holiday season, sip pretty with VOGA Italia wine.

VOGA’s delicious and eye-catching wines give your guests something to talk about. Forget the usual table décor, VOGA adds the perfect touch of elegance to any dinner table or bar area. Replacing the same-old bottles of wine, VOGA Italia tastes as good as it looks. Plus, with VOGA’s newest addition to the family, Baby VOGA Sparkling (a mini sized 187 mL VOGA Sparkling), being a host has never been easier. Sans glass, these Sparkling minis make a fun individual treat for both guest and host alike!

VOGA Italia’s collection retails from $5.99 to $15.99 and includes:

Pinot Grigio
Baby Sparking (NEW!)

Start Screaming for Healthy Ice Cream

Everyone is screaming for ice cream… December 13th is Ice Cream Day (as if we need an excuse to indulge!) Now you can satisfy your sweet tooth without the guilt! Healthy ice cream has arrived. Sounds too good to be true, but Arctic Zero has found a way! (www.myarcticzero.com)

It’s less than 150 calories a pint- yes, I said PINT! Gluten-free, fat-free and high in fiber; have your ice cream and eat it too!

All the reasons people are screaming for Arctic Zero…
Made with 14 grams of whey protein
High fiber
Low glycemic
No Sugar Alcohols
Less than 150 calories per pint

It comes in tons of great flavors- chocolate, chocolate peanut butter, coffee, cookies & cream, mint chocolate cookie, strawberry banana, and vanilla maple. Or try the 85 calorie bars in chocolate, vanilla, strawberry or orange dream.

Arctic Zero is available at grocery stores and markets nationwide.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Local Palomino Partners with Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign with a Pledge to Help End Childhood Hunger

Seattle-based Restaurants Unlimited, Inc. (RUI) today announced that it will partner with Share Our Strength® for a six-week promotion in all of its 21 restaurant brands across 11 states. From Friday, July 27 through Sunday, September 9, RUI will offer 20-percent off gift card purchases, with five percent of sales going to Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign. Together with RUI, Share Our Strength aims to make no kid hungry in America a reality.

“We chose to work with Share Our Strength because we are committed to giving back to our communities and we couldn’t think of a better cause than ending childhood hunger in America,” said Chris Harter President and CEO of Restaurants Unlimited, Inc. “We have committed to donating a minimum of $75,000 with the belief we can raise even more, and we hope that will make a difference in the battle children are facing here in our country.”

Those wishing to participate and help RUI donate more than $75,000 to Share Our Strength can purchase gift cards by visiting any RUI restaurant or by purchasing a gift card* through the RUI website. Participating restaurants include Palisade, Palomino, Stanford’s, Kincaid’s, Henry’s Tavern, Portland Seafood Company, Cutters Crabhouse and more. For a full list of restaurants, visit www.r-u-i.com.

“Everyone has a role in helping end childhood hunger in America,” said Billy Shore, Founder and CEO of Share Our Strength. “Restaurants Unlimited is a critical partner who has joined the cause and put its entrepreneurial spirit to work immediately to help us raise critical funds and share the story about No Kid Hungry. I encourage everyone to join them by visiting their restaurants often. Together we will reach our goal of making sure every child in America gets the nutritious food they need, every day.”

For more information on Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign, visit Strength.org.

About Restaurant Unlimited, Inc.:
Since opening its first successful restaurant in 1968, Restaurants Unlimited, Inc. (RUI) has brought its talent for bringing the finest food to some of the best possible locations across the nation. RUI operates 21 different restaurant brands in 46 locations throughout the U.S. Unique concepts include Portland City Grill, Palisade, Cutters Crabhouse, and Skates on the Bay. Multi-unit brands include Kincaid’s, Palomino Restaurant & Bar, Portland Seafood Company and Stanford’s. The restaurants are located in 11 states, including Alaska and Hawaii. RUI is located in Seattle, Wash. and owned by private equity firm Sun Capital Partners. Additional details are available at www.r-u-i.com.

Cool Weather Crops Are Hot This Fall

The growing season isn’t over with the arrival of cool weather. Until the first hard frost hits, you have plenty of time to plant, pick and plate cool-weather crops – You’ll save yourself some money in the grocery’s produce aisle too.

Fall is a great time for gardening thanks to cooler, milder temperatures, a decrease in garden pests, and moister, well-draining soil. These conditions make it ideal for crops that prefer cooler weather. Some vegetables taste even better when nipped by light frost.

July through August is the optimum time for planting cool crops, so don’t delay. Planting in summer ensures crops will have time to mature before the first freeze in fall. Choose varieties that mature quickly; you can find the days to maturity on plant tags. Starting with transplants, rather than seed, will help make the growing process much easier.

If you’ve been diligent in your garden all summer, you won’t have much work to do preparing it for cool crops. If your garden got a little ahead of your efforts, don’t worry. It won’t take long to get it into tip-top shape for a second season of planting. Just follow these simple steps:

Tidy up: Remove spent plants, like early planted beans, cucumbers or lettuce, since they’re pretty much done for the season and can harbor pests. Clear away holes left from pulling plants, and get rid of weeds before they go to seed. Throw away anything distressed and compost the rest.

Discard any fallen fruits, rotting produce can attract pests. Take note of where everything was planted so you can be sure to rotate crops.

Set up the soil: Freshen garden soil by removing the existing layer of mulch and replace it. Straw makes an excellent cover because it’s easily scattered, it’s also a favorite home for spiders that will help control insect pests in your garden. You can also use a layer of shredded leaves for mulch. Loosen compacted soil and fluff it up with a garden fork. Major tilling isn’t necessary; just move soil enough to allow new plant roots to settle in and let water get through. Test soil (you can buy a testing kit at most garden retailers) to see if it needs help. Add amendments, if needed. At the very least, work some compost in where your plants will be growing.

If you’ll be using a cold frame or hoop, set it up early so that it’ll be ready to go when you need it and you won’t risk damaging plants and roots once they begin to grow.

Pick your plants: Starting with transplants will buy you lots of time. Since plants are six weeks or older when you put them in the ground, you’ll harvest sooner than if you start from seed. Look for transplants from an established grower, like Bonnie Plants. Sold in biodegradable, environmentally friendly pots, you’ll find fall varieties selected for your geographic region at most local garden retailers. Here are some top crops for fall planting:

* Top Bunch Collards – This hybrid is heavy yielding, early maturing, and more uniform than traditional varieties. They grow best in full sun, tolerate partial shade, are rich in vitamins and sweetened by frost. Space transplants 36 inches apart.

*Spinach – A cool-weather vegetable related to beets and Swiss chard, Bonnie’s Spinach is a fast-growing plant, yielding many leaves in a short time in fall. Although spinach prefers full sun, it’s one of the few vegetables that produce a respectable harvest in partial shade.

* Winterbor kale – This nutritious leafy green is a vigorous producer that endures winter easily. Cut the outer leaves so that the center can continue growing. Space transplants 12 inches apart.

* Early Dividend broccoli - Popular, productive and easy to grow, this broccoli is high in fiber and calcium. Space transplants 18 inches apart.

* Mustard greens – Offering spicy hot leaves, this is a very fast-growing, nutritious vegetable, and always tastes sweeter when nipped by frost. Space plants 12 inches apart.

* Bonnie hybrid cabbage – Grows large, round, blue-green heads. Cabbage is especially high in beta-carotene, vitamin C, K and fiber.

Get started now to ensure your fall harvest is healthy, hefty and fulfilling. With preparation, the right plants and some diligence, you can bet on fresh, low-cost produce well into fall. For more information on vegetable and herb varieties, gardening tips, ideas and advice, visit www.bonnieplants.com.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Cool Off With Cocktails By Central Michel Richard

Central Michel Richard at Caesars Palace is pleased to introduce five new seasonal cocktails to its menu.

Whether guests situate themselves at Central’s expansive white onyx bar fronting the lobby of Caesars Palace, or a table outside on the restaurant’s lushly landscaped terrace to enjoy the sunshine and gentle breezes—these cocktails are sure to set a festive mood:

CAIPIRIHNA DE UVA – With lime wedges, Cachaça, muddled red grapes, basil leaves and honey simple syrup, this twist on the classic Brazilian cocktail is delicioso!

BUBBLEBERRY - Bring on the bubbly! Vodka, lemon juice, simple syrup, Domaine de Canton—the world’s first ultra-premium French ginger liqueur—and Champagne are mixed and finely strained into a Champagne flute before being finished off with a mint leaf roll.

LEMONADE SMASH – A blend of Gentleman Jack Tennessee whiskey, honey syrup (made with honey, hot water, Angostura bitters and cloves), fresh lemon—all capped by a splash of club soda.

SUMMER SANGRIA – This fresh summer concoction features lime, muddle strawberries and blueberries mixed with Moscato d'Asti wine, brandy and St. Germain Elderflower liqueur garnished with fresh lemon and orange wedges.

GRANADIA SANGRIA – Another twist on the summer classic, this time with pomegranate vodka, St. Germain Elderflower liqueur, fresh lemon juice and simple syrup, all shaken and strained above an iced Bordeaux glass,all topped with ginger ale and floated with Luigi Bosca Malbec wine.

USDA Organic Audit--Procedures for Approving Synthetics Followed, Allegations of Corruption Unexamined

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG), at the USDA, released a brief report today outlining their review of serious allegations of collusion with corporate agribusiness, conflicts of interest, illegal appointments and false information tainting the decision-making on the part of the National Organic Standards Board, the expert panel created by Congress to protect the integrity of the organic label.

The OIG audit was prompted by a congressional request and a formal complaint filed by an organic industry watchdog, The Cornucopia Institute, a Wisconsin-based not-for-profit policy research organization.

"The limited scope of this review by the OIG simply confirmed that the USDA's National Organic Program (NOP) was correctly administering the process of reviewing non-organic and synthetic substances before they were added to the National List," said Mark A. Kastel, Codirector at The Cornucopia Institute. "Their audit made it clear that they did not look into the allegations documented in our heavily footnoted, 75 page-white paper, The Organic Watergate."

In The Organic Watergate, subtitled Connecting the Dots: Corporate Influence at the USDA’s National Organic Program, Cornucopia documented the allegedly illegal stacking of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) with corporate executives and consultants.

Cornucopia complained that two of the individuals appointed to board seats reserved by Congress for citizens who "own or operate an organic farm" are actually corporate agribusiness executives who did not qualify when appointed.

In their audit, the OIG only interviewed USDA personnel and relied on minutes and resumes to verify the legality of appointments. "We will issue a FOIA request for the resumes of the suspect board members to make sure that truthful and accurate information was reviewed by the OIG," Kastel said. "We can't hold them responsible for making the wrong call on this if they were reviewing information that was intentionally deceptive, but we are disappointed they conducted no interviews or looked no further into the specific allegations we made."

The OIG audit only looked at the NOSB as it was constituted in 2011. At that time, one of the "farmer" members was Wendy Fulwider, who is a full-time employee of the CROPP Cooperative, a $750 million business enterprise that sells the majority of their products on a wholesale basis to other large marketers, with the balance under its Organic Valley label.

"Ms. Fulwider clearly stated at the May 2012 NOSB meeting that her extended family's farm was just about to qualify, after transition, to market its first organic commodities," said Charlotte Vallaeys, Director of Farm and Food Policy at The Cornucopia Institute. "The intent of Congress is clear in that this seat is reserved for actual organic farmers, not conventional farmers thinking about switching to organic or in the process of converting."

The Cornucopia Institute has been contacted by a number of highly qualified farmers, who have been passed over for appointment to the NOSB, in deference to corporate "imposters." These organic farmers are in the process of organizing a lawsuit to remove the apparently illegal corporate appointments.

"By virtue of the fact that they only looked at the 2011 board, the OIG also did not address our complaint concerning Ms. Carmela Beck, a full-time employee of the giant California-based conventional and organic berry producer, Driscoll’s, Incorporated," added Vallaeys.

According to a July 7 New York Times story Beck originally applied for a seat on the NOSB earmarked for organic handlers (food processors) but was placed instead in another slot reserved for farmers when the USDA made their appointments.

Cornucopia officials stated that it now appeared likely a judicial review would be necessary to resolve the propriety of the composition of the NOSB.

Cornucopia's Organic Watergate report also alleged that the Technical Reviews, used by the NOSB to evaluate the health and environmental safety of synthetics allowed in organics, were biased and performed by corporate agribusiness executives or consultants.

"The OIG report specifically alludes to their evaluation of the Technical Review that was prepared for mutated algae and soil fungus-based oils (DHA and ARA), which were approved for use in organic foods by a one-vote margin by the NOSB last fall," stated Vallaeys. "This is the one factual element in the OIG audit that we categorically disagree with."

The omega-3 and omega-6 oils were petitioned by Martek Biosciences, a division of the $12 billion Dutch conglomerate DSM, and had the backing of their largest customer, Dean Foods, which adds the nutraceuticals to its Horizon brand milk. Two peer-reviewed and published meta-analyses concluded that, unlike Dean/Horizon marketing claims, the materials, loaded with synthetic additives, are not efficacious in terms of brain development.

The Federal Trade Commission has forced Dean Foods to change some of the marketing claims they were making, and the company is facing over a dozen class action lawsuits claiming fraudulent representations to consumers.

Cornucopia prepared an examination of the Technical Review for the NOSB, which clearly outlined biased and unsubstantiated health claims in the document, which violates mandated procedures.

"Making health claims, supporting the petition by Martek Biosciences, without substantiating them with scientific citations in the Technical Review provided to the NOSB is a grave disservice to its members, who generally do not have a scientific background, as well as to the organic community at large," said Vallaeys.

The OIG report states, "We did not attempt to evaluate the accuracy or completeness of any scientific technical reports or petitions" and "… We are not reaching any conclusion as to the merits of the complaint itself."

"The real controversy here, concerning what we are calling The Organic Watergate, is all about improper and illegal corporate influence and the outcome of the process that has resulted in illegal synthetic materials being blessed for use in organic food. We are disappointed that the OIG did not take the time to investigate these serious allegations," Kastel lamented.

"There is a higher authority than the USDA, as to the propriety of how organic food is produced, and I'm not even talking about the federal courts. I'm talking about the organic consumer. And they will vote last in the marketplace in support of organic brands that do not play fast and loose with the goodwill of their customers," Kastel stated.

To illustrate the brevity of the OIG's review only about 2 2/3 pages, of the 12 page report actually addressed their audit findings and methodology, including the executive summary. The balance consisted of a cover letter, table of contents, background on the USDA's organic program, and abbreviations used in the document.

"We have a lot of respect for the OIG, and its independence, and are disappointed that this report did not address the serious allegations of influence peddling and corruption in the decision-making process at the NOP," stated Cornucopia's Kastel. "To my knowledge, no individual or organization has ever suggested that the USDA was not following legal procedures in the NOSB review process. The allegations are that the process is being followed but has been corrupted."

Over the past year, the powerful Organic Trade Association (OTA) has partnered with agribusinesses like General Mills, Dean Foods, Smuckers and biotechnology giants like DSM/Martek to grease through a number of gimmicky synthetic ingredients, over the objection of every nonprofit, public interest group that has submitted formal comments to the NOSB.

At the upcoming fall meeting, there will be nine more synthetic materials, including two synthetic preservatives and one synthetic antimicrobial, that the industry is trying to approve for use in organics.

"We hope consumers will continue to seek out locally produced and wholesome organic food, and processed foods from reputable companies, that have not engaged in questionable behavior," Kastel said.

"Companies like Nutiva, Eden Foods, or Nature's Path, the largest breakfast cereal company that produces 100% organic nutrient-dense foods, are proving that you can be large, multimillion-dollar enterprises, profitable, and rapidly growing, without selling-out the values that this industry was based upon," Kastel added.

Eden Foods CEO, Michael Potter, attended last May’s NOSB meeting to firmly tell the board that they should be operating under the "precautionary principle" when reviewing all additives in organics. He clearly acknowledged in his testimony that he was "not an Organic Trade Association member."

Consumers seeking out organic foods of the highest integrity can find a series of scorecards and buyers guides to help their decision-making process at: www.cornucopia.org.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

GSN Announces Cast for "Beat the Chefs"

GSN (formerly Game Show Network) announced the cast lineup for its new original series BEAT THE CHEFS, in which amateur home cooks pit their recipes and their cooking skills against professional chefs. BEAT THE CHEFS will premiere Thursday, August 23, 2012 at 9:00 pm ET/PT on GSN.

BEAT THE CHEFS is an hour-long show, in which everyday people who love to cook set out to prove that their family recipes are worth prize money and bragging rights. Each week, the show pits homegrown talents against three professional chefs as they cook the same dish—from firehouse chili to Grandma’s famous chicken and dumplings—with one question in mind: Whose tastes the best? A panel of critics will judge and decide if the amateurs can “beat the chefs.” Hosted by American Idol finalist Matt Rogers (“Coming Home,”) BEAT THE CHEFS is produced by RelativityREAL, with Tom Forman (“Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”) and Brian A. Veskosky (“Deal or No Deal,” “Don’t Forget the Lyrics,” “Fear Factor”) serving as Executive Producers.

The BEAT THE CHEFS cast members include:


The host of BEAT THE CHEFS is Matt Rogers, a finalist on the third season of “American Idol.” He is continuing his country music career, where he has been performing with various artists including James Aldean, Luke Bryan, and Granger Smith. Rogers has hosted “Coming Home” for Lifetime and “There Goes the Neighborhood” for CBS. He served as co-host for “American Idol Extra” and served as a correspondent on several sports and entertainment shows, including “The Best Damn Sports Show Period,” “Access Hollywood,” and “Entertainment Tonight.” Rogers also appeared on the 'Idols' edition of FAMILY FEUD.


Known for his victory over Bobby Flay on "Iron Chef America" and as co-host of “Worst Cooks in America,” Beau MacMillan is executive chef of Elements restaurant at The Sanctuary resort in Arizona, named one of the “Top 100 Restaurants in America” by Gourmet. MacMillan trained at the prestigious Johnson & Wales University and is acclaimed for his distinctive style, using the freshest ingredients to create American food with Asian accents.

Chef Antonia Lofaso is familiar to foodies as a fierce competitor and favorite on “Top Chef” and a finalist on “Top Chef All-Stars.” After graduating from the French Culinary Institute in New York City, she began her career at Wolfgang Puck’s famed Spago in Beverly Hills and later went on to run the kitchen at Los Angeles hot spot Foxtail. She currently serves as consulting chef for Black Market Liquor Bar in Studio City, California. Her first book, The Busy Mom’s Cookbook, will be released in August 2012.

Chef Jeff Henderson was the first African-American executive chef at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, a sought-after public speaker and author of the New York Times bestselling memoir Cooked. A former at-risk youth who turned his life around after discovering his talent for cooking, Henderson has proven to be an inspiration to others. After apprenticing with renowned chef Robert Gadsby, he worked his way up through 5-star restaurants around the country, including the Hotel Bel-Air and L’Ermitage Beverly Hills, before landing at the 5-diamond Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas. He will open his own restaurant in Los Angeles in 2013.


Renowned food and travel journalist Brad A. Johnson is the only critic in America to win both the James Beard Award and the Cordon Bleu World Food Media Award for restaurant criticism. A global traveler with a refined palate, Johnson has visited every continent in search of the world's finest cuisine, from the Michelin starred restaurants of Paris and Milan to the backstreets of Bangkok and the rainforest of Bali.

Christy Jordan, a ninth-generation Alabamian, publishes SouthernPlate.com, a web site dedicated to classic Southern recipes and quick and easy family favorites. She is also a contributing editor of Taste of the South magazine. Her first book, Southern Plate: Classic Comfort Food That Makes Everyone Feel Like Family, features the recipes she grew up with along with heartwarming stories of family and values that she has come to be known for. Jordan attended the University of North Alabama, where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Home Economics.

BEAT THE CHEFS resident judges Johnson and Jordan will be joined by a celebrity guest judge each week, including Academy Award® Nominee and star of The Dark Knight, Eric Roberts; television personality, author and former host of OWN’s “Big Bowl of Love,” Cristina Ferrare; Julie Powell, author of Julie & Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen; and Melissa Rycroft, a finalist on ABC's “Dancing with the Stars” and correspondent for “Good Morning America” and “Entertainment Tonight.”

About GSN
GSN is a multimedia entertainment company that offers original and classic game programming and competitive entertainment via its 75-million subscriber television network and online game sites. GSN’s cross-platform content gives game lovers the opportunity to win cash and prizes, whether through GSN’s popular TV game shows or through GSN Digital’s free casual games, mobile and social games, and cash competitions. GSN is distributed throughout the U.S., Caribbean and Canada by all major cable operators, satellite providers and telcos. GSN and its subsidiary, WorldWinner.com, Inc., are owned by DIRECTV and Sony Pictures Entertainment. For further information, visit GSN at www.gsntv.com.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Dates Announced for Panama City Beach Seafood & Music Festival

Panama City Beach has announced the dates for the Panama City Beach Seafood & Music Festival: UNwineD 2012, a five-day festival featuring coastal cuisine, live music, regional artisans and a fishing tournament. Scheduled for the last week of October, the festival will run Wednesday, October 24-Sunday, October 28, 2012. This year’s waterfront location will be at Grand Lagoon Marina, situated between two of Panama City Beach’s most iconic local restaurants – Capt. Anderson’s and Boatyard.

“The Panama City Beach Seafood & Music Festival: UnWineD 2012, is an opportunity for all of Northwest Florida to show off the bounty of fresh seafood and fun the region has to offer in the fall,” explains Panama City Beach CEO and President Dan Rowe. “Panama City Beach has something for everyone year round, but autumn is one of my favorite times and we look forward to welcoming many guests this season.”

This year’s event promises to showcase the flavors of the area’s most celebrated chefs preparing local favorites and feature award-winning wines and beers from around the world. A portion of proceeds from the event will benefit the Beach Chamber Education Fund, FRLA Educational Foundation and Bay County ProStart Schools. Ticket information and additional details will be announced in the coming weeks and updates can be found at www.visitpanamacitybeach.com.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Wine Lover's Tour of Italy

Emilia Romagna may not be familiar to tourists who plan to visit Italy, but the magic words recognized everywhere are Prosciutto di Parma, Parmigiano Reggiano, Balsamic Vinegar and Lambrusco.

Wine Lovers Tours is offering a 7 day Fall tour to this area with visits to producers of these products and many opportunities to sample the region’s culinary highlights. This wine and food tour starts October 8 in Parma, home of Barilla pasta. In addition to culinary and wine visits, the group will visit the Ferrari Car Museum and several historic locations.

The tour ends with two days in Bologna. The all-inclusive price is $3,299 with a single supplement of $335. There is also a discount for doing multiple tours.

Vincent Marottoli, President of Wine Lovers Tours, personally leads each tour. For over 30 years, he has organized wine and food tours to most of the world's most famous wine regions. He has a Ph.D. in French and is also fluent in Spanish and Italian. For additional information, he can be contacted by phone: 800-256-0141or by email info@wineloverstours.com

VOGA Italia's Spiced Sangria and Mini Sparkling for Holiday Celebrations!

Introducing VOGA Italia’s Spiced Sangria. Easy to make, delicious and affordable, this cocktail is a great beverage to serve guest for all occasions. The warm flavors of cinnamon, apples, and figs add a “fall-feeling” making this an excellent beverage of choice. The wine retails anywhere from $10.99-$15.99/bottle which makes entertaining a large crowd extremely affordable. VOGA’s collection ranges from Italian made Pinot Grigio, Premium Sparkling, Moscato, Quattro and Merlot.

Also perfect for holiday gatherings, VOGA recently launched VOGA BABY, a sparkling wine which hails from the Trentino region of Italy offering a smooth and balanced taste with a citrus finish. This 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Grigio blend is produced via a prolonged Charmat method to refine the perlage and fullness of the wine’s fruit flavorings.

Baby VOGA Sparkling wine is packaged in a mini-version of VOGA’s sexy, unique and award-winning bell-shaped bottle, with a screw on top to keep the wine gently sparkling. Baby VOGA Sparkling is available nationwide, for a suggested retail price of $5.99 for the 187 mL bottle.

These individual sized bottles make perfect party favors, and look super chic displayed with straws for simple sipping! VOGA Italia’s Spiced Sangria

3-4 fresh figs, sliced (or 1 cup dried figs)
1-2 fresh gala apples, sliced
1 cup of cherries
2-3 oranges, sliced (not peeled)
1 lemon, sliced
2 bottles VOGA Italia Merlot
3 cups sparkling apple cider
1 cup orange juice
½ cup brandy
½ cup dark spiced rum
4 cinnamon sticks
5 whole cloves

• Slice apples and insert whole cloves directly into the fruit.
• Combine all fruit slices in a glass pitcher and slowly pour in brandy and wine. Cover and chill from 2-24 hours (the longer, the better!)
• Before serving, add sparkling cider and orange juice. Stir gently and serve over ice.
Makes about 15 servings

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Ohio Valley Greenmarket

The Hamilton County Park District and edible OHIO VALLEY magazine are bringing together community leaders in sustainability at the first annual Ohio Valley Greenmarket, August 3-5. This three-day celebration will showcase sustainable initiatives by local businesses, organizations and individuals through fun activities, including a community dinner, workshops, demonstrations and a farmers market festival.

Friday, August 3: Ohio Valley Greenmarket kicks off with a community Pig Roast in Winton Woods featuring speaker Paul Willis, co-founder of Niman Ranch, a network of 700 small family farms across the Midwest that raise natural beef, pork, lamb, and chicken eggs with strict humane animal care standards, and traditional farming practices. The dinner cost is $35.00 per person and will raise funds for the Hamilton County Parks Foundation.

Saturday, August 4: The celebration continues with lunch and a hands-on workshop at Gorman Heritage Farm with Debra Prinzing, noted author of The 50 Mile Bouquet, who will introduce seasonal, local and sustainable floral ingredients. That evening, Debra will be at the Woodlawn Community Center for a presentation about growing, harvesting and design approaches that contribute to the slow flower movement. Cost for the lunch event is $75.00 and the evening event is $15.00.

Sunday, August 5 from 11:00 am-5:00 pm: The Ohio Valley Greenmarket special event at Glenwood Gardens, located at 10397 Springfield Pike in Woodlawn. This FREE, full-day fair will feature: * A farmers market * Cooking and gardening demonstrations * Various speakers including the Greater Cincinnati Master Gardeners * The new Ford C-Max Hybrid and Ford Focus electric cars * Free giveaways! * Thanks to sponsors: Local 127 and Lavomatic restaurants, Greater Cincinnati Master Gardeners Association, Chipotle, Ford, YMCA, Sustain Brands, Metro, Whole Foods, Yelp, WNKU and Yagoot

Tickets for August 3 and 4 can be purchased at http://www.greatparks.org/events/ohio-valley-green-market.html

edible OHIO VALLEY is an award winning publication that celebrates the tri-state region’s established food traditions, new food trends, and the growers and producers who shape the local food landscape. Learn more at www.ediblecommunities.com

A valid Hamilton County Park District Motor Vehicle Permit ($10.00 annual; $3.00 daily) is required to enter the Hamilton County Parks.

For additional information, please visit GreatParks.org or call (513) 521-PARK (7275). Also, be sure to check out our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter to find out more about what’s happening at the parks!

Make Snack Time Smart with Bitsy’s Brainfood

The creators of Bitsy’s Brainfood, Alexandra Buckley Voris and Maggie Jones Patton are on a mission to revolutionize snack time. They are committed to the idea that healthy bodies and minds are connected and have launched Bitsy’s Brainfood, the world’s first nutrient rich smart snack for kids.

Alexandra Buckley Voris and Maggie Jones Patton met while working at Children for Children (CFC), a New York based non profit with the mission of mobilizing the energy, ingenuity and compassion of young people to discover their power and potential through volunteering and service learning programs. Among the groundbreaking, nationally recognized programs created under Alex and Maggie’s tenure was Building Healthy Communities, a childhood obesity prevention curriculum that was endorsed by The Alliance for a Healthier Generation. It was among the first federally funded programs of its kind. With a mutual desire to make the world a healthier place, Alex and Maggie decided to pursue their long time dream of addressing childhood obesity and the need for smart snacks for families and kids. Thus, Bitsy’s Brainfood was born.

Alex and Maggie believe that every moment in a child’s day is an opportunity for learning. With letter shaped snacks, interactive packaging, cool stickers and characters that spark imagination, Bitsy’s Brainfood not only makes snack time educational but also exciting and fun.

Bitsy’s Brainfood Key Features

· Made with organic ingredients and all natural fruits and veggies
· Available in Zuchini Gingerbread Carrot, Sweet Potato Oatmeal Raisin, Orange Chocolate Beet and Lemon Broccoli
· Excellent source of iron, calcium, vitamins A, B 12, D 3 and Folic Acid
· Made with Omega 3 DHA
· No preservatives, trans fats, artificial colors or flavors
· Available for $2.79 per box at www.freshdirect.com and www.bitsysbrainfood.com.

The Mystic Cookbook: The Secret Alchemy of Food-- One-of-a-KindBook for Features, Recipes, Review, Excerpts, Articles and More!

The Mystic Cookbook: The Secret Alchemy of Food, the extraordinary and gorgeous new book by international bestselling author Denise Linn and her daughter, food columnist Meadow Linn, is a treasure of unique wisdom and knowledge that illuminates the power of food to transform.

Do you want to nourish the spirit, as well as the body? Inspire love and romance? Elevate all diners to an enlightened state? Create harmony between everyone at the table? Charge the meal with all the delicious elements that will attract wealth and abundance? Or set the stage for a leap in consciousness?

These two women open a portal for readers to embark on the sacred journey from nourishment to nirvana--and to harness the hidden dimension of food. Readers will learn how to infuse purpose and intention into the cuisine, how to invoke the secret alchemical power of a spice, and ways to combine ingredients for specific results. More than 40 scrumptious recipes and 100 color photos adorn the book.

Denise and Meadow Linn have infused The Mystic Cookbook with spiritual essence and collective knowledge from their vast travels and experiences around the globe. Denise (www.DeniseLinn.com), is an international lecturer and healer, who is also the author of 18 books and a popular radio talk-show host. Meadow (www.MeadowLinn.com) writes a food and lifestyle column for a newspaper in Seattle and has a well respected blog Savor the Day. She is the inventive chef for the workshops that she and her mother present around the world.

Tolearn more visit www.TheMysticCookbook.com

New Quinoa and Sugar-Free Cooking & Baking Cookbooks

The Complete Idiot’s Guide® Quinoa Cookbook

Quinoa, a grain-like seed similar to rice, is a healthy staple food for vegetarians, vegans, gluten-free dieters, and anyone looking for a healthy superfood that is easy to make. However, quinoa is surprisingly flavorless, and if improperly cooked or seasoned, will not tempt taste buds or inspire healthy eating. The Complete Idiot’s Guide® Quinoa Cookbook teaches readers how to properly cook and add a variety of delicious flavors and techniques to quinoa. Packed with over 250 recipes, the cookbook teaches readers how to make everything from quinoa pancakes to quinoa carbonara. The cookbook includes quinoa recipes for:

• Quick egg and griddle breakfasts
• Salads – vegetarian and meat-topped
• Sandwiches
• Soups, stews, and chilis
• Easy snacks and appetizers
• Quinoa dinner and desserts

The Complete Idiot’s Guide® Quinoa Cookbook also includes cooking and baking tips for making the perfect quinoa every time, as well as the history and health benefits of this ancient seed.

About the Author Susan Irby (Los Angeles), “The Bikini Chef,” is host of “Bikini Lifestyles” on KABC radio in Los Angeles, as well as America One, Direct TV, and PBS Television. On her show she helps others reach their health goals by focusing on lifestyle changes rather than short-term diets. Irby is a seven-time author including Substitute Yourself Skinny Cookbook, Boost Your Metabolism Cookbook, and her $7-a-Meal Quick & Easy Cookbook, and $7-a-Meal Healthy Cookbook. Visit her at thebikinichef.com.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide® Quinoa Cookbook
ISBN: 9781615641932, July 2012, $18.95
Author: Susan Irby (Los Angeles)

The Complete Idiot's Guide® to Sugar-Free Cooking & Baking

The average American eats a third of a pound of sugar per day and may researchers believe that sugar is as addictive, and dangerous, as drugs and alcohol. Today’s processed foods are packed with refined sugars that raise blood-sugar levels, pack on pounds, cause behavioral problems, and are suspected to be the culprit behind a host of other serious diseases and disorders. The Complete Idiot’s Guide® to Sugar-Free Cooking & Baking provides insights into the addictive nature of sugar and ways to break free and gives readers the tools needed to serve their families tasty food without guilt or serious health effects. The guide includes:

• 150 recipes for satisfying meals and delicious desserts without refined sugars
• Kid-friendly snacks without sugar-based behavioral or health repercussions
• The skinny on natural sugar substitutes and a foolproof substitution system for use in favorite recipes
• The truth about unexpected foods that contain hidden and refined sugars—and how to avoid them
• Nutrition planning advice for dieters, diabetics, families with kids, and anyone else who wants or needs to avoid sugar

The Complete Idiot’s Guide® to Sugar-Free Cooking & Baking will help readers kick the sugar habit, improve their health, and aid in preventing the onset of serious sugar-related diseases.

About the Author
Liz Scott (New York) is the award-winning author of six books on healthy cooking and eating, including specialty diets such as high fiber, dairy-free, and alcohol-free. She has developed recipes for gluten-free eaters, diabetics, and sugar-free dieters, including My HCG Plus using Stevia and other sweeteners. Recognized by the National Health Information Network for excellence in Patient Education and Information, Liz is also a coveted speaker and consultant at health facilities and treatment centers around the country and is a contributing columnist to numerous online newsletters and blogs including Renew Every Day, the online magazine source for a healthy recovery from substance and food addictions.

The Complete Idiot's Guide® to Sugar-Free Cooking & Baking
ISBN: 9781615641840, July 2012, $18.95
Author: Liz Scott (New York)

Monday, July 16, 2012

Gateway to Big Sur presented by Hyatt Carmel Highlands and The Big Sur Food and Wine Festival To Kick Off on Thursday, November 1, 2012, at the Hyatt Carmel Highlands

Hyatt Carmel Highlands, located at 121 Highlands Drive in the Carmel Highlands, long known as the legendary location for culinary talent and host of the world famous Masters of Food and Wine announced today they will serve as the lead sponsor and host of the opening event of the Big Sur Food and Wine Festival. Join us on Thursday, November 1st from 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. for the Gateway to Big Sur presented by the Hyatt Carmel Highlands and Big Sur Food and Wine Festival. The Gateway to Big Sur entices the palate in a celebration of local flair and regional flavor in the epicenter of culinary innovation.

The Hyatt Carmel Highlands will be transformed into an enchanting oasis featuring thirty-five vintners, menu tastings from eighteen notable chefs including the Hyatt Carmel Highlands Chef Matt Bolton and two guest chefs from two Hyatt West Coast properties and live entertainment There will be wines from Pisoni, Talbott, Chappellet, Continuum, Au Bon Climat, andmore, all paired with great foods from chefs including Matt Bolton at the Hyatt Carmel Highlands, Kent Torrey of the Cheese Shop, Domingo SantaMaria of Deetjens Big Sur Inn, Truman Jones of the Restaurant at Ventana Inn and Spa and other culinary personalities.

Hyatt Carmel Highlands will be bringing in two guest chefs for this opening event: Greg Lopez, Executive Chef for Two Hyatt Hotels in Seattle as well as Urbane A New Jersey native, Chef Greg earned his culinary arts degree from The New England Culinary Institute and has spent more than 10 years in fine dining establishments, boutique hotels and resorts. His goal in the kitchen is to take Mother Nature’s bounty, highlight technical skills and present each dish with a chef’s whimsy.

Chef Greg oversees four kitchens in the two Hyatt Hotels in Seattle as well as Urbane. The much loved and lauded multi-award-winning restaurant Urbane continues to tantalize the tastebuds with its degustation delights and sophisticated, high-quality fine dining experience. Under Chef Greg’s reign, the kitchen uses local and national seasonal produce as a starting point for dishes that both excite, and sometimes challenge, the palate. The cuisine style is based in both European and Asian traditions and influences, combining classic techniques with a modern execution.

Adam Nichol, Chef De Cuisine, Grand Hyatt San Francisco
At an early age of 15, Chef Adam began his culinary journey. A classical French trained chef with modern cooking methods, Chef Adam prides himself on his use of seasonal ingredients uniquely and thoughtfully prepared. Chef Adam also worked at New York Central in the Grand Hyatt where he specialized in creating ideas for simple, delicious plates to put together, utilizing different meats that you don't necessarily see on everybody's menus -- buffalo, elk, ostrich. “I have a passion for cooking, a passion for food and that’s my driving force is,” said Chef Adam. Chef Adams is the Chef De Cuisine for One Up Restaurant and work under Ian Libberton at the Grand Hyatt San Francisco.

“We could not be more delighted and honored to co-host this event with the Hyatt Carmel Highlands,” states Toby Rowland-Jones, founder and President of the Festival. “Two and half years ago, we hosted the first Gateway opening night for our weekend at this historic resort, and the staff and management could not have been more helpful in our goal of promoting the culinary creativity of the entire Big Sur coast, while raising funds for local Big Sur non-profits. The idea of revitalizing the feeling of the world-class Masters is a sort of dream come true for us. Many of our committee members worked at the Masters and because of the intimate nature, it’s there they developed winemaker and chef friendships that have deepened throughout the years. These friendships are dear to us and our festival.”

The 2012 Big Sur Food and Wine Festival takes place November 1-4 throughout the coast of Big Sur and is sponsored by Hyatt Carmel Highlands, Hyatt Hotels, Mercedes-Benz of Monterey, Post Ranch Inn, J& L Wines, and Farmer Family Fund among others. Tickets for Gateway to Big Sur and other festival events will be on sale by July 1st. For more information, please contact Toby Rowland-Jones at 831-667-0800 or toby@bigsurfoodandwine.org, or visit www.bigsurfoodandwine.org

About the Big Sur Food & Wine Festival
The Big Sur Food and Wine Festival promotes Big Sur as a culinary destination while raising funds for the Big Sur community to promote Health, Safety and Education. Since 2009, the festival has raised over $65,000 for various nonprofit organizations in Big Sur including the Health Center, the Henry Miller Library, the five separate schools throughout the Big Sur area, as well as a culinary scholarship for a local youth now studying at the Culinary Institute of America in New York.

Background on Pacific’s Edge:
Pacific’s Edge is an award winning, glass-walled restaurant with spectacular ocean vistas. Our “California Coastal”cuisine provides the freshest local ingredients, meats and seafood, with dishes that meld a seasonal focus with sophisticated comfort food in a convivial ambiance that makes it appealing for everyday dining or any special occasion. Pacific’s Edge has received AAA 4 Diamond awards year after year, and has been named one of the Top 100 Restaurants in the United States by Zagat and one of the Top Ten Restaurants with a View by USA Today. Wine Spectator has lauded our wine list throughout the years with both Grand and Best of Award of Excellence awards.

About Hyatt Carmel Highlands, Overlooking Big Sur Coast
Perched on the hillside of the Carmel Highlands with breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, Hyatt Carmel Highlands combines true Carmel luxury with an approachable and sophisticated spirit. A haven for artists and discerning travelers since its opening in 1917, Hyatt Carmel Highlands features 48 luxuriously renovated guestrooms, including 11 suites, 32 Ocean View rooms and 5 Garden View rooms. In addition, Hyatt Carmel Highlands offers spectacular dining at the award-winning Pacific’s Edge restaurant and California Market, 4,800 square feet of meeting space, in-room spa services, heated outdoor swimming pool, three spa tubs and a StayFit fitness facility. Situated only four miles from downtown Carmel, Hyatt Carmel Highlands idyllic setting and personalized service has attracted families, weddings, honeymooners and privileged travelers for nearly a century. Hyatt Carmel Highlands is recognized among the world’s finest hotels as part of Condé Nast Traveler's 2010 Gold List and Travel + Leisure’s 2009 “T+L 500” World’s Best Hotels. www.hyattcarmelhighlands.com.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Young chef and Internet sensation demystifies the kitchen, and shows college students how to cook for life

If freshman year came with an intro to cooking, more college students just might become lifelong healthy eaters.

But unless you're in culinary school, you won't get a crash course in "Kitchenability." That's where Nisa Burns, a spunky young chef and Internet sensation, comes in.

A culinary graduate of the Art Institute of Virginia Beach, Nisa's easy, healthy recipes have gained fans on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube nationwide. Her mission? To show college students how to become best friends with their kitchens in order to feed themselves for life, a process she calls becoming "Kitchen-able." It's about making cooking easy and natural, rather than intimidating and overwhelming.

To that end, Nisa shows students healthy, accessible alternatives to the cafeteria or drive-thru lane with her highly-anticipated cookbook, Kitchenability 101: The College Student¹s Guide to Easy, Healthy, and Delicious Food (October 2012; Paperback $17.95; eBook $7.99), which comes with QR codes linking to Nisa's popular how-to videos.

³It¹s not about having a big, fancy kitchen‹you can have amazing Kitchenability in your dorm room or apartment,² says Nisa. ³It¹s about developing a partnership with your kitchen, knowing what you can do and how you can play in it.²

College readers will learn that it is just as easy (and tasty!) to make an Avocado Lettuce Wrap as it is to heat up a processed TV dinner ­ and usually cheaper, too. Kitchen newbies have Nisa as their guide in each of these recipes, which helps students cook quickly and healthfully on a college budget.

³As you cultivate confidence in the kitchen, you¹ll feel motivated to create foods that fit your lifestyle, instead of just eating whatever is fast and available. Kitchenability is about making awesome foods that nourish and strengthen your mind and body so you can succeed in college and beyond."

Kitchenability 101 offers shopping plans, supply lists, budgeting tips, skills and recipes for cooking in college spaces ­ including dorm rooms, apartments and houses. The QR codes link readers to Nisa's online video demos for delicious dishes like Gnocchi with Pesto, Chicken Mole, Creamy Hummus Dip, and Dark Chocolate Cookies with Chocolate Mousse Filling.

NISA BURNS (Kitchenability.com) is the Chef of a New Generation, appealing to students who want to cook easy, healthy, and delicious food. She is a chef, culinary graduate, author, and speaker. Cooking since she was a child, Nisa is a graduate of the Art Institute of Virginia Beach. Her recipes have gained fans on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube nationwide. She lives in Virginia Beach.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Cookbook Author Paul Virant to Share the Craft of Canning at the Brown Hotel, Louisville

Taste the latest food revolution from Michelin-starred chef Paul Virant at The Brown Hotel on Thursday, August 9. In celebration of his new cookbook, The Preservation Kitchen: The Craft of Making and Cooking with Pickles, Preserves, and Aigre-doux, the Chicago restaurateur will bring new life to traditional canning techniques in a sophisticated, seasonal meal in the renowned English Grill. Virant will join The Brown Hotel’s executive chef Laurent Géroli for the one-night-only dining event. Guests can meet the chef and cookbook author at an opening reception at 7 p.m. and a four-course meal with paired wines will follow. Dinner is $65 per person plus tax and gratuity.

Carmichael’s Booksellers will be on hand to sell copies of The Preservation Kitchen, which chef Virant can personalize. For more information or to make reservations, please call the Brown Hotel at (502) 583-1234.

The evening’s dinner menu will feature:

Plated Hors d’Oeuvres
Charcuterie Platter
Chicken liver mousse on grilled bread with an assorted pickles and jams
Accompanied by a Beer Jam Manhattan

First Course
Fried Green Tomatoes
Lightly breaded and fried tomatoes with basil mayonnaise and local lettuces

Second Course
Grilled New York Steak with Fennel Panzanella Salad
Served family-style with braised lima beans and a pickled summer squash salad

Raspberry Brown Butter Cake
Topped with yogurt ice cream and elderflowers

About Paul Virant: Chef Paul Virant of Chicago’s Vie and Perennial Virant is a nationally recognized chef and restaurateur. He released the first canning manual and cookbook authored by a Michelin-starred chef in spring 2012. The Preservation Kitchen: The Craft of Making and Cooking with Pickles, Preserves, and Aigre-doux is a collection of Paul Virant's canning techniques, preserve recipes and seasonal menus. The cookbook (hard cover, ISBN 978-1-60774-100-8, $29.99) is inspired by chef Virant’s award-winning fare and reveals the magical world of capturing flavors in a jar. Virant was nominated for a James Beard award in 2011 and has appeared on The Today Show and Iron Chef America.

Don’t Call Him Junior: Son of Baconator Joins Wendy’s Hamburger Lineup

Wendy’s® is the home of bacon -again- with the introduction of the newest “kid” on the block, Son of BaconatorTM.

Bacon lovers now have another reason to head to Wendy’s for their bacon fix. Son of Baconator joins the original Baconator® in Wendy’s all-star bacon lineup — all featuring thick, center-cut, fresh-cooked Applewood Smoked Bacon.

Following in the footsteps of dear old dad, Son of Baconator is not to be taken lightly. Wendy’s stacks four strips of Applewood Smoked Bacon onto two 2.25-ounce patties of 100% pure, North American, fresh, never frozen beef*. This hearty bacon cheeseburger also features two slices of melted American cheese, ketchup and mayonnaise and served on a premium buttered, toasted bun.

For customers whose appetites crave something bigger and stronger, the original Baconator continues to serve up the same fearless flavor but with two four-ounce patties of hot, juicy, fresh beef and six strips of thick Applewood Smoked Bacon — made fresh to order just like all of Wendy’s sandwiches.

“The thick, center-cut, fresh-cooked Applewood Smoked Bacon we serve gives customers the best tasting bacon for their buck,” said Craig Bahner, Chief Marketing Officer. “With both Baconator and Son of Baconator, consumers can now decide how big they want to go.”

Love bacon? Prove it by following @IAmBaconator on Twitter (www.twitter.com/IAmBaconator) and checking out Baconator’s own Facebook page (www.facebook.com/Baconator) for the latest bacon news. * Fresh beef available in the contiguous United States and Canada.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Never Too Early To Be Thinking Of The Holidays

It’s time to get in the holiday spirit with these gifts ideal for the wine and cocktail connoisseur.

Wine is always a go-to gift during the holidays. Make your bottle stand-out by pairing it with the Capabunga. This nifty reusable cap completely reseals wine providing a seal so secure you can store the wine on its side. Caps come with fun holiday sayings like “Naughty” and “Nice” and “L’Chaim”. www.capabunga.com

Lisa Leonard Wine charms:
Make sure your friends don’t lose their wine glass during the party with Lisa Leonard Designs adorable numbered wine charms. Each one is handcrafted with vintage letterpress numbers and strung on an easy to open ball chain. Each charm measures about one and a quarter inch thick and the set of 8 retails for just $46. The wine charm set is available at www.Lisaleonard.com

Go Cocktails
We all love holiday parties, juts not the extra 10 lbs we have as a “gift” from a season of calorie-laden events. Your friends will be thrilled when you keep their waist line in mind by whipping up skinny cocktails with Go Cocktails. Portable, single-serve, sugar-free, powdered cocktail mixers that come in a packet for those who are watching their health yet still want a high quality cocktail that tastes great, without guilt! Just add water and ice and the alcohol of your choice. Available in delicious flavors, such as Appletini, Lemon Drop, Margarita, and Cosmo. http://www.gococktails.com/