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Archive for February, 2009

CHEESE OF THE WEEK: Kuh Heublumenkäse


Kuh Heublumenkäse from iGourmet.
This week’s cheese recommendation is from guest blogger Dana Romero, proprietor of La Fromagerie D’Acadiana in Lafayette, Louisiana.

A semi-hard cheese (or Schnittkäse), Kuh Heublumenkäse comes from Bavaria, the largest state in Germany. Bavaria contains the city of Munich, and according to GermanFoods.org, 75% of German cheeses are produced there. This cheese is made from cow’s milk, with floral and herb ingredients that include safflower, blue mallow, peony and marigold, with rosemary, oregano and a dash of unrefined rock salt.

To achieve Kuh Heublumenkäse’s strong floral character, the cheese-makers first coat the cheese wheels with herbs and flowers and then seal it with transparent wax. It’s then allowed to ripen for six months, during which time the combined essences seep into the cheese’s paste. By the time it’s ready to eat, this innovative cheese is bursting with aroma and flavor. The creamy cow’s milk balances perfectly with the herb and flower flavors. In addition, consumers buy the cheese with the coating still intact, so diners get to not only smell and taste the floral notes, but also see the colorful flowers entrenched in the wax. Consider this cheese for your next tasting party or as a hostess gift—its lovely presentation will be the highlight of the cheese plate.

So, as you wait out the arrival of spring in the bloomin’ cold, have a taste of a fresh flowering meadow. I encourage you to ask for this cheese from your local cheese monger and pair it with a Pinot Grigio. Or, for an authentic German experience, pair it with a dark German-style beer such as Gordon Biersch Dunkelweizen.

You can learn more about German cheese (and other foods) at GermanFoods.org. If you’re looking for German cheese in your local shops, keep an eye out for any names that end with the suffix käse—German for “cheese.”

Shop igourmet.com

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PRODUCTS: Appliances That Can Save You Money

In these penny-pinching times, these five appliances can save you money. Statistics were supplied by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (aham.org).

1. Coffeemaker. Brew your morning cup at home. Resisting a three dollar cup of purchased coffee will save you nearly $1,000 per year. If your coffeemaker is old, you can upgrade…and buy great beans.

2. Freezer. In 2008, shipments of home freezers were up 5% as consumers started to realize the savings in stocking up on frozen sale items. Purchase meat, fish, poultry and costlier items you use a lot of (Haagen-Dazs, anyone?) while they’re on sale and stick them in the freezer. If you have room, buy a supplemental freezer and look for an ENERGY STAR model to save even more on energy costs.

ronco-food-dehydrator

The Ronco food dehydrator.

3. Water Filter. Use a water filtration system in your kitchen instead of buying bottled water. This practice will save you hundreds and hundreds of dollars a year, and will help the environment by reducing the number of plastic bottles that clog landfills. It will also spare you the travail of hauling water.

4. Your Favorite Foodmaker. What do you regularly spend money on that you could make at home, if you had the right appliance? If you have a daily need for cappuccino, smoothies, pizza or frozen yogurt, you might break even or be ahead of the game if you got the right appliance or gadget and fed your hunger at home.

5. Food Dehydrator. If you spend a lot of money on healthy dried fruit and veggie snacks, consider making your own with a food dehydrator. Ronco has a nice one, “as seen on TV.” If money is no object, see our Snacks Section for our favorite dried fruit and vegetable snacks.

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RECIPES: Classic & Frozen Margaritas

A Frozen Margarita.

 

There are many claims to the invention of the Margarita, but the prevailing credit goes to Margaret “Margarita” Sames, a wealthy Dallas socialite. As the story goes, the cocktail was born over the Christmas holiday in 1948. According to an interview in 1994 in the San Antonio News-Express, published in the town where Mrs. Sames had retired on the 45th anniversary of the cocktail:

Margarita and her husband, Bill, invited some friends from Dallas to visit them in Acapulco. Their cliffside hacienda was under construction, so they borrowed a home from a local friend, with luxurious grounds and a pool with a swimming bar. Sames wanted to make a refreshing drink that could be enjoyed poolside before lunch. “After all, a person can only drink so many beers or so many Bloody Marys, or screwdrivers or whatever,” she said. “I wanted to make up a new drink.”

Margarita had initially tried to invent a rum drink, inspired by her visits to Cuba, but had no success. Tequila was her favorite spirit, so she turned there. Having tasted and enjoyed the orange-based French liqueur Cointreau, she decided to combine the two. At the time, she said, there were no mixed drinks using tequila, which was served in classic style in a shot glass, with salt and a slice of lime.

 

Read more about the history of the margarita, and find recipes for Ms. Sames’ classic margarita, as well as the ever-popular frozen version.

Margarita Sames was 35 years old when she invented the cocktail that would become America’s favorite. No matter what your age, as long as you’re of drinking age, you too can invent an immortal cocktail. Just be sure to do a lot of blogging about it, so there won’t be any question years from now, that it started with you.
 
  

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CONTEST: Win 5 Pounds Of Top Pick Artisan Ravioli

Last year, Nuovo Pasta’s artisan ravioli was one of our Top Picks Of The Week (read the review). Now, Marx Food, which retails this amazing pasta, has a contest to win a five-pound box. All you have to do is go to the Marx Food website by noon on March 2 and leave a comment about which of the more than forty Nuovo pasta varieties you most want to try and why.

The winner will be randomly selected and announced on March 2nd, and will receive one five-pound box of the Nuovo pasta of his or her choice.

From the top: Portabella & Asiago Ravioli,
Gorgonzola & Sundried Tomato Girasole and
Roasted Vegetable Pansotti.

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RECIPES: Grilling Winners

avocado-shrimp-boats
Avocado Shrimp Boats
Want to check out 15 great grilling recipes? Consumers nationwide submitted their best to the Crisco Cooking Sprays Grilling Hall of Fame Contest. Fifteen grill masters from around the U.S. have become finalists. You can vote for the winner at http://www.grillinghalloffame.com and collect these recipes:

– Avocado Shrimp Boats
– Cardamom–Scented Tropical Fruit & Marshmallow Skewers with Apricot Sauce
– Garlicky Grilled Pizzas with Grilled Shrimp, Feta, and Sun Dried Tomatoes
– Grilled Chicken and Roasted Pepper Panini
– Grilled Greek Feast
– Grilled Mango-Citrus Chimichurri Shrimp

– Grilled Sweet Potato Salad with Jacama, Blue Cheese and Chipotle Lime Dressing
– Lani-Ono Island Chicken
– Lemon-Rosemary Shrimp Crostini
– Pineapple Ribs
– Spice-Rubbed Mahi-Mahi Walks the Plank
– Succulent Shrimp and Spinach Grilled Pizza
– Sweet And Spicy Asian Surf And Turf Skewers
– Grilled Salmon with Pineapple Salsa and Grilled Vegetables

According to The Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association, 58 percent of grill owners use their grills year round. So, check out the recipes, download your favorites and get grilling!

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