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Archive for June 9, 2012

FATHER’S DAY GIFT: Custom-Engraved Johnnie Walker Scotch

Engrave your Father’s Day message on a bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue Label. Photo courtesy Johnnie Walker.


If the dads on your Father’s Day gift list drink Scotch, they’d be very happy to receive a bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue Label.

There are nine expressions of Johnnie Walker, including the more prevalent (and more affordable) Black Label and Red Label bottlings. Blue Label is the distiller’s top Scotch, a premium 80 proof blend that recreates the authentic character and taste of 19th century Johnnie Walker blends. The flavor is rich, peaty, malty and smooth.

As a top-of-the-line expression, each blue-hued bottle has a serial number and a certificate of authenticity, and is packaged in a silk-lined box.

As part of the mystique, there is no official age declaration for Blue Label. The youngest whiskey in the blend is rumored to be 28 years old. The blend contains more than 20 rare single malts and superior grain whiskies (by comparison, Black Label’s youngest Scotch is aged for 12 years).


As one of the most expensive blended Scotches on the market, you can expect to pay some $225 a bottle, $525.00 for a 1.5-liter bottle.


For a “keeper” of a gift, Johnnie Walker Blue Label offers a complimentary bottle engraving service. It transforms an already rare bottle of whiskey into something memorable.

Whether it’s a simple “Happy Father’s Day” or a more personal “I Love You,” head to the website to order your bottle(s).


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TIP OF THE DAY: Make Savory Verrines

Yesterday we introduced dessert verrines, dishes layered in small glasses. They can be either sweet or savory; the goal is to create a visually-stunning and sophisticated small bite.

Today, we take on savory verrines, popular as appetizers or cocktail food. You can also serve them as sides with a main course.

Think of three to five foods you enjoy together, then layer them in a glass.

We especially like to turn leftovers into savory verrines. They hardly seem like leftovers when they’re placed in such glamorous surroundings.


Here’s a beginning list; you’ll no doubt have more to add.

  • Beef & Lamb: The best option is cooked ground meat (crumble leftover burgers) or tartare. If you can chop steaks or other cuts thinly enough to be easily chewed, go for it.
  • Cheese, Crumbled Or Grated: Blue cheese, Cheddar, goat cheese, any Italian grating cheese, anything that can be crumbled or grated

    How to get people to eat their veggies: top
    mashed cauliflower and curried carrots with
    Greek yogurt or sour cream. Verrine glass
    from Starfrit.


  • Custards: Make soft custard flavored with basil, dill, fennel or mixed herbs
  • Dairy (For Layers Or Topping): Crème fraîche, fromage blanc, fromage frais, Greek yogurt or sour cream, plain or flavored with herbs: basil, chives, dill, fennel, garlic or mixed herbs
  • Dried Fruit: Dried blueberries, cherries, cranberries, raisins or chopped larger fruits such as apricots and plums (fruits pair well with meat and poultry)

    One of our favorite combinations:
    Guacamole, sour cream and salmon mousse,
    topped with smoked salmon. Photo courtesy

  • Fresh Fruit: Apples, pears or stone fruits, raw, poached or sautéed
  • Fish & Seafood: Ceviche, salmon and smoked salmon, salmon or tuna tartare, shellfish, any sashimi ingredient (chopped)
  • Mousse: Fish, seafood, chicken liver
  • Soups: Instead of making custard (or in addition to it), you can create a layer from cream soup concentrate (we’ve used cream of asparagus, celery, mushroom and tomato soups—add some herbs for complexity)
  • Vegetable Salad: Chopped, sliced or shredded cucumbers, radishes and/or tomatoes, tossed in vinagrette (you can add lentils or grains, from couscous to quinoa
  • Vegetable Purée: Anything from broccoli, cauliflower and carrots to mashed sweet potatoes
  • Wild Card: Beets, beans and legumes (including chickpeas, edamame, lentils and peas), corn, chopped olives, flavored rice or other grain, minced jalapeño, salsa
    To top it off, you can use one or more garnishes:



  • Bread: Breadstick, crumbled rice crackers, croutons, panko, seasoned bread crumbs
  • Chopped Nuts: Almonds, macadamias, pecans, pistachios, walnuts
  • Colorful Spices: Crushed red pepper, dill seed, flavored sea salt, fresh-cracked pepper, toasted sesame seeds, tricolor peppercorns, turmeric
  • Herbs: Basil, chives, dill, thyme; also, chopped scallions
  • Freeze-Dried Vegetables: Corn, edamame, peas, mixed veggies
  • Microgreens: Sprouts or other microgreens, celery leaves or fennel leaves
  • Pickled Vegetables: Baby beets, capers or caperberries, cucumbers, dilly beans, jalapeño, etc. (how to pickle)
  • Seafood: Caviar and roe, boiled shrimp, octopus tentacle, raw baby scallop
  • Seeds: chia seeds, pumpkin seeds (pepita), poppy seeds, sunflower seeds or a mix
  • Spices: Cardamom, curry, dill seed, ginger, fennel seed, toasted/roasted garlic, sesame seed
  • Toppings: Crème fraîche, Greek yogurt, sour cream, savory whipped cream (add a bit of salt and pepper or some whiskey instead of sugar and vanilla)
  • Vertical: A vertical element adds even more panache: asparagus spear, breadstick, dilly bean, rosemary sprig; basil or spinach leaf, etc.

    If you read French, there’s a larger selection. Here’s what we found in English, but we expect to see more as publishers catch up with the trend”

  • Verrines: Sweet and Savory Parfaits Made Easy [Kindle Edition]
  • Terrines and Verrines

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    PRODUCT: Brownie Bowls For Spectacular Sundaes

    Here’s a new way to enjoy brownies à la mode: brownie sundae bowls.

    Made by Chicago Metallic, one of our favorite manufacturers of baking equipment, they add pizzazz to an already delightful dessert.

    Beyond brownies, you can make other cake recipes in the molds as well. Just pour the batter into the molds, bake, cool and fill the bowls with:

  • Ice cream or frozen yogurt
  • Fruit and whipped cream
  • Pudding
  • Whatever appeals to you (share those ideas with
    One regular batter recipe or box of brownie mix produces four brownie bowls.


    Enjoy the sundae, then eat the [brownie] bowl. Photo courtesy Chicago Metallic.


    A set of two large silicone brownie molds is $10.99.The non-stick, easy release bowls measure 5.1/4-inches in diameter and are dishwasher safe.

    How can you resist?

    Get your brownie bowl molds now.


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