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Archive for February 22, 2010

COOKING: Cassis In Your Kitchen?

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The new cassis for cooking. Photo courtesy
SurLaTable.com.

The cassis in our kitchen is crème de cassis, a heavenly blackcurrant (a.k.a. cassis) liqueur made in Burgundy. We employ it in various desserts, and adore it mixed with sparkling wine (a Kir Royale cocktail) or sometimes, in a still white wine (a Kir).

Cassis is a great fixer-upper for white wines that you don’t much like. The sweet, silky blackcurrant liqueur covers up how flat, flavorless, acidic or otherwise unattractive the wine is.

The cocktail was named after Félix Kir, a longtime mayor of the city Dijon in Burgundy (from 1945 to 1968)—as well as a former parish priest, resistance fighter and subsequent knight of the Légion d’honneur. As mayor, he popularized the drink by offering it at receptions. The cocktail was previously called a blanc-cassis and mixed with Aligoté, a white Burgundy. (We’re not, we emphasize, implying that the mayor served bad wine.)

According to Sur La Table’s thinking, cassis is the new hot color for Le Creuset enamel-coated cast iron cookware. The retailer has the exclusive on the color, available now in SLT stores nationwide and online. It’s paired with Le Creuset stoneware in lilac. If purple is your thing, put it on your wish list. Or as one NIBBLE wag was heard to say, “Wait for the clearance and buy it at 30% off.”

But don’t wait to pick up a bottle of cassis. For cocktails, ice cream, sorbet, flavored ganache, trifles, cake filling and frosting, and a fruit salad dressing, it rocks. On the savory side, you’ll forget all about duck with cherry sauce once you substitute the cherries for cassis.

 

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CHERRY TIP OF THE DAY: Toast To George

It’s the birthday of the Father of Our Country (George Washington, to those of you who didn’t attend grade school in the U.S.).

Washington was quite a fan of egg nog and devised his own recipe that included rye whiskey, rum and sherry.

  • If you’ve been missing nog since the holidays ended, try this egg nog recipe (plus the history of egg nog) and toast to George. If egg nog isn’t your thing, there are two other choices.
  • First, there’s kirsch (kirschwasser/kirsch water), which is a cherry eau de vie. In keeping with the Washington’s Birthday cherry theme, try it or any cherry schnapps straight or in a cocktail.
  • The other appropriate libation: a Margarita. Why? February 22 is also National Margarita Day! See the history of the Margarita plus Margarita recipes.
  • For the kids: alcohol-free egg nog or delicious tart cherry juice!
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Toast to Washington with egg nog: He loved
it! Photo courtesy Chefs.com.

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PRODUCT: Baileys Coffee Creamers

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Try it—you’ll like it! Photo courtesy HP Hood.

Here’s a terrific coffee enhancer that delivers far less calories than those mocha-chocolattes. They’re so rich and creamy, no added whipped cream is needed.

Baileys Coffee Creamers—“all the flavor of Baileys without the alcohol”—are now available on the East Coast (for the time being, anyway—everyone else will have to be patient).

The #1 liqueur in the world recently introduced the line of super-premium coffee creamer products following three years of development and consumer testing. We say: Great job!

The four flavors—which include both sugar and real cream for your coffee—include Caramel, French Vanilla, Hazelnut and The Original Irish Cream. They’re all good—addictively good. Our favorite is Original, which tastes “just like Baileys without the alcohol.” A shot of Caramel in your coffee could substitute for a rich dessert.

In fact, at 35-40 calories per tablespoon, added to a cup of zero-calorie coffee, these are a great dessert substitute as well as a sure-to-be party favorite.

And they’re very affordable. Suggested retail price is $2.49 per 16-ounce container. French Vanilla and Hazelnut are available in quarts for $3.99. Look for them in the dairy section of your supermarket. The products are lactose-free (but do have 5g cholesterol per tablespoon) and have no caffeine. They are certified kosher OU-D.

The products are produced by HP Hood under license from R & A Bailey & Co. The website is BaileysCreamers.com—but there’s not much on it at this point. Hopefully, some of the recipes we picked up at the Coffee and Tea Festival in New York City will end up there soon.

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