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Archive for October, 2012

COCKTAIL RECIPE: Pumpkin Passion & Types Of Rum

Drink a Pumpkin Passion for dessert. Recipe
and photo courtesy Frangelico Hazelnut


For Halloween, Thanksgiving or any time in-between, try this rum-and-vodka-based cocktail, enhanced with hazelnut liqueur and homemade pumpkin simple syrup. You can also use the syrup for pumpkin lattes, pancakes, and mixed with carbonated water for a seasonal pumpkin soda.


Ingredients For One Drink

  • 1-1/4 ounce Frangelico Hazelnut Liqueur
  • 1-1/4 ounce Flor de Caña 7 year Grand Reserve Rum
    (or other dark rum)
  • 1/2 ounce pumpkin simple syrup (recipe below)
  • 1/4 ounce vanilla vodka
  • Garnish: whipped cream, plain or Frangelico-flavored, and ground cinnamon (see Frangelico whipped cream recipe below)

    1. Place all ingredients except garnish in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a martini glass rimmed with brown sugar.

    2. Top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.



  • 1/2 cup pumpkin purée (purée canned pumpkin)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar

    1. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar.

    2. Remove from heat and allow to completely cool.

    Enjoy this flavored whipped cream with chocolate, coffee, nut, pumpkin and vanilla desserts. See more flavored whipped cream recipes.

  • 1 cup heavy cream, chilled
  • 2 teaspoons light brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon Frangelico

    1. Chill the bowl, beaters and cream thoroughly before beginning. Using an electric mixer, whip cream, sugar, and vanilla on medium-low speed until frothy, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until soft peaks form.

    2. Add Frangelico and continue to beat until stiff but still creamy. Makes about 2 cups.



    Rum is distilled in the Caribbean from sugar cane juice or molasses. The better rums are made with high-quality molasses, which contains a higher percentage of fermentable sugars and a lower percentage of chemicals.*

    There are different styles of rum, based on factors such as distillation technique, blending technique, alcoholic content and country style preferences. One of the easiest differentiators to understand is aging.

  • Light rum/silver rum/white rum/clear rum/crystal rum. Light rum is aged briefly or not at all. It has the least flavor, and can be filtered to remove any color. Light rum is typically used for mixed drinks.
  • Gold rum/oro/amber rum. This medium-bodied rum is generally aged in wooden barrels. Wood aging imparts a darker color (from the wood tannins) and a stronger, more complex flavor to any spirit. Gold/amber rum can be used for cocktails or sipped straight.

    Flor de Caña 7-year-aged rum is delicious for sipping or mixing. As you can imagine, the 12-year-old is even better! Photo courtesy Flor de Caña.

  • Dark rum/black rum.† A grade darker than gold rum, dark rum is generally aged longer and in heavily charred wood barrels, for even stronger flavor and roundness (the highly regarded 7-year-old Flor de Caña, for example, has a palate of dark caramel and toasted nuts and a toasted coconut finish; the 12-year-old is almost semisweet, with flavors of nougat, almond, molasses and sherry and a peppery spice and caramel finish). Because of the flavor, dark rum is typically used in recipes.

  • Cachaça. Cachaça (ka-SHA-suh) is a sugar cane distillate made in Brazil, in the style of gold or dark rum. It is the ingredient used in the popular Caipirinha (kai-puh-REEN-ya),cocktail. More about cachaça.
    Rum production is much more complex, with many choices made by the distiller to produce a specific flavor profile. Here’s a good overview of exactly what goes in to making the different types of rum.
    *The chemicals, which are used to extract sugar crystals from the sugar cane, can interfere with the actions of the yeast that fermentat the molasses into rum.

    †Black rum is so-named for its color; brown rum and red rum are dark rums described by their colors.


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    TIP OF THE DAY: Turn Use Single-Purpose Appliances Into Multi-Purpose Appliances

    One of our friends won’t buy any appliance or gadget that has a single use. As a result, she has no bread maker, no fondue pot, no waffle iron.

    We emailed her this article from Caifornia-based writer Katie Waldek. She has figured out how to make those single-purpose appliance into multi-purpose ones:

    Bread Maker. Think outside the loaf to other dough-based foods: bagels, pasta dough, pizza dough, pretzels and tortillas. You can also use your bread maker to make jams and chutneys: Many models even have that setting built in, says Waldek.

    Electric Fondue Pot. An electric fondue pots can easily double as a deep fryer, says Waldek. You can control the temperature without needing a thermometer. If you’re making a big dinner and run out of burner space on the stovetop, you can use it to heat soup, boil water, etc.


    This Aroma rice cooker also functions as a slow cooker. Photo courtesy Aromma.


    Pasta Maker. Use it to roll out fondant, phyllo dough, pie crusts and wonton wrappers.

    Rice Maker. Use it to make other grains and pulses, from amaranth, beans and lentils to quinoa. Cook oatmeal and other hot cereals, polenta and soups. Your rice maker also works as a steamer for dumplings, fish and seafood, meats, potstickers, tamales and vegetables. The Aroma ARC-1000 Professional Series 20-Cup Sensor Logic Rice Cooker is also designed to double as a slow cooker (great idea!).

    Waffle Iron.W Use it to make French toast, hash browns, latkes, falafel, panini and quesadillas. On the highest setting, it can make a pizza.
    If you have additional ideas, let us know!


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    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Krave Gourmet Jerky

    One of eight delicious flavors of Krave
    gourmet jerky. Photo courtesy Krave.


    Jerky was created in prehistoric times, as people endeavored to preserve their fresh-killed meat without benefit of coolers. They dried the meat in the sun.

    Today’s jerky makers use ovens; and if you’re Krave Jerky, you double-marinate the meat and slow bake it into melt-in-your-mouth tenderness.

    Then there’s the flavor, or rather, eight of them, divided among beef, pork and turkey jerky: Basil Citrus, Chili Lime, Curry, Garlic Chili, Honey Chipotle, Lemon Garlic, Pineapple Orange and Smoked Teriyaki.

    In other brands these flavors might not be so appealing; in Krave Jerky, they’re masterful. They’re the very definition of gourmet jerky.

    Check out the full review and try a sampler. You’ll likely return for stocking stuffers and other holiday gifts.

    Discover how wonderful fine jerky is with a beer, glass of wine, Bloody Mary or Martini. And take a look at recipes on the company website that use jerky as an ingredient: from blue cheese dip and bruschetta to chicken and artichokes.


    If you’re inspired, watch this video to see how easy it is to make jerky at home. Although without the secret recipe, we can’t vouch for it tasting as good as Krave Jerky.

    Find more of our favorite jerky products and other savory snacks.


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    TIP OF THE DAY: Wedding Cake & Matching Cupcakes

    We’ve been to quite a few weddings and other events where cupcakes have replaced a traditional tiered cake.

    We love cupcakes, but miss seeing a cake.

    Yummy Cupcakes of greater Los Angeles (Brentwood, Burbank and Santa Monica) provides the solution by making cupcakes with a matching layer cake.

    You don’t have to save this tip for a wedding: Consider the combination for an engagement party, anniversary party, baby shower, Sweet 16 or other special occasion.

    Avocational bakers who want to bake their own special occasion cakes—or have friends who want to do it—don’t need to worry about creating a tiered spectacular.

    Another bonus: If the cake isn’t sliced at the event, it can be taken home for the next day or frozen for later enjoyment.

    Find more of our favorite cakes and cake recipes.


    For a wedding or other important party, show a small cake atop the tiers of cupcakes. Photo courtesy Yummy Cupcakes.



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    HALLOWEEN & THANKSGIVING RECIPE: Pumpkin Seed Dip With Crudités & Tortilla Chips


    Mexican cuisine chef Rick Bayless of Chicago’s Frontera Grill knows about pumpkin. It’s a popular ingredient in Mexico, and pumpkin seeds, called pepitas in Spanish, are used extensively in moles and other recipes.

    For Halloween, Chef Bayless has given us his pumpkin seed dip, which he serves with crudités and Frontera tortilla chips. Note that this is a savory dip, nothing like the sweet pumpkin purée dip popularly served with ginger snaps (of course, we like that version, too).

    This dip should be enjoyed with a good beer or a glass of wine.


    The recipe can be made up to two days in advance. Makes 2½ cups of dip.


  • 1 jar (16 ounces) habanero salsa (we used Frontera brand, one of our favorites)
  • 1 cup hulled roasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • Juice of 1 lime (about 2 tablespoons)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus a few sprigs for garnish
  • Salt
  • Extra pepitas for garnish
  • Tortilla chips
  • Assorted raw vegetables (crudités)/li>

    1. CUT. Cut the vegetables and set aside with the tortilla chips for serving.

    2. BLEND. Put 1 cup (half) of the salsa, pumpkin seeds and lime juice into a blender. Process to a thick paste.

    3. STIR. Scrape into a bowl. Stir in the remaining salsa and cilantro. Season with salt to taste.

    4. PLATE. Serve with cut vegetables and/or tortilla chips.


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