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Archive for July 14, 2011

FOOD HOLIDAY: National Grand Marnier Day

Today is National Grand Marnier Day.

The cognac-based orange liqueur, beloved around the world, has just gotten more loveable. If you can afford the price of this love, it’s a beautiful experience.

Marnier-Lapostolle Inc. has announced a new limited edition expression, Grand Marnier Quintessence. The name means “fifth essence,” from the Latin quinta essentia. It’s the company’s fifth expression, or version.

Quintessence is the first new Grand Marnier expression offered in the U.S. since Cent-Cinquantenaire, which was launched in 1977 to mark the company’s 150th anniversary. It will please those with the most discriminating palates—and the deepest pockets.

Quintessence is a rare blend of exceptionally old vintage cognacs. It includes cognacs that are from 25 to 100 years old. Part of the magic includes the 1906 Grande Champagne and the 1955 Grande Champagne bottlings.


Santa baby, leave a bottle under the tree
for me. Photo courtesy Marnier-Lapostolle.


Another part of the magic is the exacting and time-consuming double distillation of the bitter oranges after maceration. This extra step in the process creates a more velvety and concentrated orange perfume.

And what a fragrance! The nose is an exquisite, fresh and rich orange perfume, with no alcohol.* Thanks to all of the aged cognacs in the bottle, it is mellow and round on the palate, with much less heat than the signature expression and a long and complex finish.

*We’re very experienced with the aroma of Grand Marnier. In grad school, studying late every night, we’d pour ourselves a snifter and inhale it for hours as we studied. We couldn’t drink it, given the work load.

Only 2,000 bottles were made, each retailing at about $700. It’s a special holiday gift for someone—or a weekly indulgence for a rock star. It’s out of our budget, but the company held a special tasting so writers could try it. Lucky us!!

If Quintessence is not in your cards, consider the flagship bottle of Grand Marnier ($38), the Cuvée du Centenaire ($155) or the Cuvée du Cent Cinquantenaire ($240).

Try these Grand Marnier recipes with the flagship bottle:

  • Grand Margarita (made with Grand Marnier instead of the basic triple sec)
  • Grand Marnier Cookie Crumble (a drinkable dessert)
  • Grand Marnier Crème Brûlée
  • Grand Marnier Mascarpone Cheesecake
  • Grand Marnier French Toast

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    TIP OF THE DAY: 26 Uses For Distilled White Vinegar

    In the U.S., distilled white vinegar is typically made from corn. Photo courtesy H. J. Heinz.


    Man has made vinegar for more than 2,500 years. After wine was discovered—by accident, from fermenting fruit—the oxidizing of wine led to the accidental discovery of vinegar.

    Vinegar is more than a condiment or a recipe ingredient: It’s a health and wellness aid and a versatile household cleanser as well.

    There are hundreds of uses for vinegar. Today we’re focusing on just two: vinegar as a cooking helper and as a kitchen cleaner.

    Great-grandma and her ancestors relied on distilled white vinegar, for making perfect meringues and cleaning the ice box.

    Here are 26 kitchen uses for distilled white vinegar—which is what you should call it to differentiate it from white wine vinegar and white balsamic vinegar.

    Read the full article about distilled white vinegar.

  • The History Of Vinegar
  • How To Make Vinegar
  • Types Of Vinegar
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    NEWS: What To Do With Invasive Fish Species? Eat Them!

    You’ve no doubt heard about invasive species of fish and other water creatures that have been brought into the country, to the peril of the native populations of lakes, rivers and oceans.

    The invasive species either arrive accidentally (attached to sea vessels or escaped from fish farms) or are intentionally introduced to fix another problem (for example, to eat marine plants that are clogging up a waterway). These unwelcome fish, crab, eels and other water dwellers create problems by taking over other species’ food sources and habitats—or eating the native fish themselves! Even the popular tilapia, escaped from fish farms into waterways, is on the invasive fish list.

    Invasive species are often hard to remove because they do not have natural predators in the regions where they’ve been introduced. But soon, hopefully, we’ll have a partial strategy: Eat them!

    Food & Water Watch, a not-for-profit organization that works to ensure that the food, water and fish we consume is safe, accessible and sustainably produced, suggests adding invasive species as a menu item to help reduce these populations to less destructive levels.


    The lionfish is a beauty, and also a poisonous
    terror. Photo by Christian Mehlführer | Wikimedia.


    What’s for dinner?

    The Asian carp that are clogging the Mississippi River and the Great Lakes, the European green crabs that have proliferated along both coasts, the lionfish that is devastating reef fish populations along the Florida coast and the Caribbean, Asian swamp eels and rusty crawfish could all be bound for the fish market soon.

    Do your part by purchasing them and ordering them when you see them on restaurant menus. They may be invasive, but they’re also delicious.

  • Download the scoop on invasive species that would make a great meal.
  • Read more in this article from the New York Times.

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    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Lactose-Free Ice Cream

    Donut-shaped ice cream novelties are just
    one delight in the Clemmy’s line. Photo by
    Jaclyn Nussbaum | THE NIBBLE.


    For people with lactose intolerance, there are still plenty of dairy options: lactose-free milk, yogurt, sour cream and cream cheese.

    But what about ice cream?

    Unless they’ve already discovered Clemmy’s, those with lactose intolerance have had to stick with sorbet for a frozen treat.

    Clemmy’s hits the trifecta: lactose-free, sugar-free and gluten-free. It’s a real find, with nine popular flavors in pints plus ice cream novelties (shown in the photo).

    Clemmy’s is also the only sugar-free ice cream on the market. There are plenty of No Sugar Added ice creams, but they still contain small amounts of sugar that exists naturally in the milk and other ingredients. Clemmy’s removes every last bit.

  • Read the full review.
  • Find more of our favorite ice cream brands.
  • What’s the difference between French ice cream and Philadelphia ice cream? Check out our Ice Cream Glossary.


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