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Archive for September, 2011

COOKING VIDEO: Make A Luscious Yet Simple Lemon Tart Recipe

 

How does one pick a favorite pie or tart when one loves them all?

Given a choice—facing a restaurant dessert menu or a bakery display case, for example—we almost always pick the lemon tart. A buttery crust filled with a creamy, refreshing lemon filling, it’s hard to come across one that isn’t a delight. (Note: It won’t be a delight if bottled lemon juice, or anything other than fresh juice and zest, is used.)

Lemon tart is popular with those who love their sweets, as well as others who don’t like sugary desserts. The video below walks you through the process of making a lemon tart. While the speaker doesn’t sound too animated, the results are exciting.

The video doesn’t address garnishing, but a bit of whipped cream works just fine.

As a dessert or for afternoon tea, consider serving tea with lemon or espresso with lemon peel.

If you’d like to serve a wine with your lemon tart, a sweet muscat is the best choice. It’s easy to find a Beaumes de Venise or a California Muscat like Bonny Doon at your wine store. Check out our dessert and wine pairing chart whenever you need a pairing idea.

Pie versus tart. Do you know the difference between a pie and a tart? There are quite a few!

Discover a world of delicious tarts, pies and pastries. Take a look at our beautiful Pastry Glossary.

Love lemon? Check out the different types of lemon.

   

   

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PRODUCT: Bakon Vodka, For Home & Gifts

As we wrote about the Bloody Mary bar earlier today, we searched for our post on Bakon Vodka. We couldn’t find it.

One of the quirks of WordPress is that posts disappear. Months later they can reappear (maybe, maybe not). Since we discovered this content-owner-nightmare, we’ve taken screen shots of every post we publish—not only to be able to recover the content, but also to prove to others that we’re not delusional.

So here’s our re-created 411 on Bakon Vodka:

We enjoy flavored vodkas, although we think that the flavor is often hard to detect in a mixed drink. Fortunately for us, we enjoy drinking vodka neat.

So, we enjoy Bakon Vodka in a shot glass or a brandy snifter.

Made in the Pacific Northwest from local potatoes, Bakon Vodka has a light infusion of smoky bacon that tastes real (the actual production technique is proprietary). We could wish for more bacon flavor, but we trust that the manufacturers tested all the different levels of concentration to strike the best balance.

 

A subtle infusion of bacon flavor makes
Bakon Vodka a great gift for bacon lovers.
Photo courtesy Bakon Vodka.

 

When we use Bakon Vodka in a Bloody Mary, its delicious subtlety doesn’t have a chance amid the larger percentage of tomato juice, plus the horseradish, hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce.

But it has inspired us to enjoy our Bloody Mary with a rasher of bacon. You can make candied bacon, too.

We give Bakon Vodka as gifts. It‘s novel, delicious and everyone is more than happy to receive a bottle.

Bakon Vodka retails for about $30.00. Learn more at BakonVodka.com.

Find reviews of more of our favorite spirits, plus cocktail recipes.

  

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PRODUCT: Try Flavored Pretzels For A Change

Pretzels with an extra twist: special flavors!
Photo by Jaclyn Nussbaum | THE NIBBLE.

 

Given the many brands and different flavors of potato chips out there, you’d think there would be an equal choice of flavored pretzels.

But there isn’t.

Snyder’s Of Hanover is our favorite of the bigger pretzel lines. They sell flavored pretzel pieces in seven flavors, including BBQ, Cheddar and Ranch, plus Nibblers (pretzel nuggets) in Honey Mustard and Sourdough.

H.K. Anderson, a favorite smaller line (read our review), makes honey mustard-flavored pretzels.

Now, there’s a new line of flavored pretzels from Vibrant Flavors (makers of one of our favorite seasonings, Oregon Dukkah). While they look like standard small pretzels, Vibrant Flavors pretzels have unexpected bursts of flavor. The flavor is inside; there’s nothing to get onto your fingers.

The pretzels are made in Barbecue, Beerzels, Italian Herb, Maple Bacon, Roasted Garlic and Sweet Onion. Our favorites were Italian Herb, Maple Bacon and Sweet Onion.

 

While the Beerzels may sound tempting, they have a very particular taste. Instead, go for a glass of real beer and a pretzel—plain or flavored. To our palate, the Garlic tasted of garlic chips—not one of our favorite expressions of garlic.

You can buy the pretzels online at VibrantFlavors.com and Amazon.com.

In addition to snacking from the bag, we’ve enjoyed the pretzels:

  • With cottage cheese and yogurt
  • With soup and sandwiches
  • Atop a salad, instead of croutons
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    More Pretzels

  • The history of pretzels
  • Reviews of our favorite pretzels and other salty snacks
  • Bake soft pretzels at home
  •   

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Customize Bloody Mary Drinks With A Bloody Mary Bar

    The Bloody Mary is one of the most popular drinks in America (some studies put it at the top of the list). No wonder innovative Chef Geoffrey Zakarian of The National in New York City decided to take the standard up a notch.

    At The National, a “Bloody Mary specialist” wheels the “Bloody Mary cart” tableside, to create guests’ dream Bloody Mary drinks. With or without a cart, you can do something similar at home for a memorable Bloody Mary experience. Just follow these steps:

    1. Mix Up A Batch Of Basic Bloody Mary
    Start with a basic pitcher of Bloody Mary. You can also have a second pitcher of Bloody Maria, substituting tequila for the vodka. Using a chipotle-flavored hot sauce turns a Bloody Maria into a Chipotle Maria.

  • Mary. Here’s the classic Bloody Mary recipe, as well as the original recipe. While the original didn’t use prepared horseradish, the classic does. We love horseradish, but some guests might not like the heat and spice. So, add a bit to the basic and enable guests to add more in Part 2, below. (We love loading our drink with horseradish.)
  • Ice. While your pitcher should be sitting in ice to keep the base chilled, some people like ice in their drinks.
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    Custom garnishing makes this the best
    Bloody Mary. Photo courtesy BakonVodka.com.

     

    2. Customize Your Seasonings
    You can add any or all of the following seasonings:

  • Worcestershire Sauce. While Worcestershire sauce is part of your basic mix, a substantial number of people (like us) prefer a Bloody Mary with extra Worcestershire sauce. With all due respect to Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce, a venerable brand, the American version is made with high fructose corn syrup. If you don’t want HFCS, look for a substitute at your natural foods store or try online.
  • Beer. Adding beer turns a Bloody Mary into a Michelada.
  • Beef Bouillon. This turns a Bloody Mary into a Bloody Bull. Maggi Seasoning Sauce, a concentrated bouillon liquid, turns a Bloody Mary into a Michelada Clementina or “Chelada.”
  • Clam Juice. This turns a Bloody Mary into a Bloody Mariner.
  • Hot Sauce. Use Tabasco, sriracha (an Asian hot sauce), your favorite or ours (our favorite hot sauce is Big Papi En Fuego).
  • More Heat. Prepared horseradish, fresh or dried jalapeño or habanero, cracked black pepper and/or cayenne pepper.
  • Celery Salt. We love the flavor it imparts to a Bloody Mary.
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    While the classic Bloody Mary drink contains some hot sauce and pepper, there are many who like it extra-hot and spicy.
     
    3. Choose Your Garnishes
    Dress up the drink with any or all of the these garnishes—speared onto a cocktail pick, added to the rim of the glass, set onto a service plate or inserted into the drink itself, as appropriate:

  • Bagel chip
  • Bacon or candied bacon strip (speared)
  • Blue cheese wedge
  • Celery or fennel stalk
  • Gherkins, dill pickle spears or pickle chips
  • Jerky (speared)
  • Lemon or lime wedge
  • Olives
  • Pearl onions
  • Peppadews
  • Pepperoncini
  •  
    The National serves Bloody Marys in a 14-ounce iced tea glass. You can use a classic 11-ounce collins glass.

    If you have a rolling cart, now you have another use for it. Of course, you can use your bar, a buffet or a table.

    If you’ve always wanted a rolling cart from which to serve tea, coffee or cocktails, you can get one from about $50.00.

    The history of the Bloody Mary.

    Bloody Mary recipes.

    More of our favorite cocktail recipes.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Have A New York Egg Cream

    The glass is contemporary, but the egg
    cream ingredients are classic. Photo ©
    Linda Schirmbeck | Fotolia.

     

    There is tuna in a tuna noodle casserole. There are strawberries in a strawberry shortcake. There’s ice cream in an ice cream soda.

    But there’s no egg in an egg cream—and there’s no cream, either. The ingredients are milk, seltzer and chocolate syrup. In other words, it’s a carbonated chocolate soda made creamy with milk, or carbonated chocolate milk.

    Since today is Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, we’ve been thinking about great Jewish-American food inventions. The egg cream, invented in a Jewish neighborhood in New York, is at the top of the list.

    So our tip of the day is: Experience the legend and enjoy an egg cream. We’ve included the regular recipe and our own diet version below.

    EGG CREAM HISTORY

    Many references say that the egg cream was likely invented in 1890 by a Brooklyn soda fountain and candy store owner, Louis Auster. However, Auster’s store was in actually in the East Village of Manhattan, at the southeast corner of Second Avenue and Seventh Street. In October 2008, the grandson of the founder of Ratner’s, the famous deli restaurant next door, set the record straight with his recollections of Louis Auster’s candy store and the egg creams made with Auster’s own secret chocolate syrup formula.

     

    More exciting than a “two cents plain” (a glass of seltzer, or carbonated water*) and less expensive than a malted milk—not to mention great-tasting—the egg cream was a hit. Carbonated soft drinks were in their infancy. Coca-Cola, a fountain syrup available in Atlanta starting in 1886 and first bottled in 1894, was not a northern soda fountain feature at the time (Coca-Cola history).†

    Kids and adults alike loved the egg cream. It was enjoyed at soda fountains, with patrons sitting on stools or in booths, sipping egg creams through a straw. Other soda fountain owners got in on the act, spreading the egg cream throughout New York City. The chocolate syrup of choice became Fox’s U-Bet.‡ And the egg cream was often enjoyed with a pretzel, making the combo a sweet-and-salty snack. Some soda fountains served the egg cream in glasses with silvery metal holders. Others just used a tall glass.

    How did they make the famous drink? First, soda jerks pumped the syrup into the glass: two or three pumps, each pump the equivalent of a tablespoon and a half of syrup. The milk followed, and then the seltzer, which produced a foamy white head.

    There are different theories on the name of this “eggless” egg cream. Perhaps the best is that the foam on the top looks like beaten egg whites.

    We’re old enough to have had egg creams mixed at a soda fountain. After most of the remaining soda fountains and luncheonettes of New York disappeared in the 1970s—replaced by fast food restaurants and delis that did not make drinks—the egg cream faded from view.

    Years later, in 1990, Jeff Goltzer, who fondly remembered them, started to produce Jeff’s Egg Cream. You can buy them online in chocolate, diet chocolate, vanilla, diet vanilla and even orange, which is like a Creamsicle soda.

    EGG CREAM RECIPE

    For immediate gratification, make your own egg cream. In a tall fountain glass, combine:

  • 2 tablespoons chocolate syrup (you can buy Fox’s U-Bet chocolate syrup online, including a sugar-free version)
  • 6 ounces whole milk (you can substitute lowfat, nonfat or nondairy milk)
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    Mix, then add:

  • 6 ounces seltzer or club soda (soda water)
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    Serve with a straw. For a modern variation, use cherry- or raspberry-flavored club soda.

    Note: If you don’t have large fountain glasses, use less milk and seltzer to fit into the glass. Adjust the sweetness to your preference.

    For a diet egg cream:

  • Use sugar-free chocolate syrup and nonfat or lowfat milk, plus seltzer.
  • Or, try our recipe mixing Canfield’s Diet Chocolate Fudge Soda with milk. We fill the glass 1/3 with milk, then add the soda. To make the drink sweeter, we add a packet of noncaloric sweetener to the milk, and stir before adding the soda.
  •  
    Canfield’s also sells a Diet Cherry Chocolate Fudge soda.

     
    *Seltzer and club soda are both soda water. The difference: seltzer is salt-free and club soda has salt.

    †It was the rise of the well-advertised Coca-Cola and other soft drinks that led to the wane of the egg cream, and the rise of fast food restaurants that led to the demise of the soda fountain itself.

    ‡In 1894, H. Fox & Company in Brooklyn began to produce chocolate syrup. The name U-bet wasn’t created until the 1930s.

      

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