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Archive for May 22, 2014

FATHER’S DAY: Pairing Food With Single Malt Scotch

Ready for an evening of fine food and Scotch? On Thursday, May 29, Empire Steak House in New York City will show why single-malt Scotch pairs well with every course. A five-course classic steakhouse menu will be paired with leading single-malt Scotches, in a tasting led by Master of Whisky* Spike McClure; $150 includes five courses, five single malt scotches and a hand-rolled cigar.

You may not be able to attend the event, but you can create something similar at home. How about for Father’s Day? Empire Steak has shared their menu and Scotch pairings with us. We’ve included pairing notes notes from Spike McClure, plus tasting notes on the single malts courtesy of Master Of

Each region of Scotland produces different flavors, and each distillery within a reason likewise. As with any wine varietal, different bottlings have flavors that pair better with particular foods. McClure’s top five favorite pairings for steakhouse cuisine and single malts:

  • Talisker 10: with fresh clams, fresh oysters, chorizo sausage, barbecue
  • Oban 14: with white fish, chicken, Swiss cheese
  • Cragganmore 12: with duck, mushroom risotto, Gouda cheese
  • Glenkinchie 12: with Parmesan cheese, asparagus, bitter greens, chicken
  • Dalwhinnie 15: with chocolate, cake, pudding, ice cream

    From the first course to the last, the right single malt replaces wine at dinner Photo courtesy

    *Master of Whisky is not an official industry certification, but a term given to global brand ambassadors by Diageo, the world’s largest producer of spirits. More information.

    Course 1: Raw Seafood Bar

  • Little Neck clams and fresh oysters on the half shell
  • Scotch Pairing: Talisker Storm (Region: Isle of Skye)
    Scotch Tasting Notes
    The nose shows initial brine and banana. The palate is thick and mouth-coating with wood smoke, brine, some tin and chilli heat too. Red chile peppers appear in the finish, along with oak dryness and a hint of embers. The smoky, “maritime” character pairs well with seafood.

    Course 2: Fish & Seafood

  • Grilled Chilean sea bass with pan seared scallops, with steamed spinach
  • Scotch Pairing: Oban 14 (Region: West Highland)
    Scotch Tasting Notes
    The nose is rich and smoky. Medicinal notes are quite evident along with seaweed and other notes of the sea that pair with fish and seafood. The palate is robust, with notes of cut hay and wood smoke, along with citrus and a smooth sweetness. The finish is long, with notes of fruit and oak.



    Serve Scotch instead of wine with a cheese
    course. Photo courtesy Wisconsin Milk
    Marketing Board.


    Course 3: Poultry

  • Grilled chicken with linguine and white clam sauce, with sautéed asparagus
  • Scotch Pairing: Cragganmore 12 (Region: Speyside)
    Scotch Tasting Notes
    The nose is aromatic, redolent of florals (heather), fruit salad, smoked almonds and stemmy hay. The palate is rich with notes of honey, stone fruits, berries, chestnuts, walnuts and almonds. The finish is ofgood length and smoky, with a delicate peppery spice.

    Course 4: Beef

  • USDA Prime dry aged New York sirloin steak, with German potatoes
  • Scotch Pairing: Lagavulin 16 (Region: Islay)
    Scotch Tasting Notes

    This sought-after single malt has the massive peat-smoke that’s typical of southern Islay; it stands up well to red meat.

    The nose is reminiscent of Lapsang Souchong tea, with notes of iodine, sweet spices, mature sherry and creamy vanilla. The palate is very thick and rich: malt, sherry and fruity sweetness with powerful peat and oak. There’s a long, spicy finish with figs, dates, peat smoke and vanilla.
    Course 5: Dessert

  • Chocolate ice cream with wafers (substitute dessert: cheese plate)
  • Scotch Pairing: Dalwhinnie 15 (Region: Highlands)
    Scotch Tasting Notes
    The nose is aromatic with toffee, fruit salad, nectarine and custard; along with floral notes of apple blossom and honeysuckle and a touch of smoke. A semblance of manuka honey and vanilla encourage pairing with dessert. The palate is malty with gentle smoke and a touch of spice. The finish is long and malty, with flavors of almond and walnut.

    In Ireland and the United States, the word whiskey is spelled with an “e,” while the British, Scots and Canadians opt to drop the “e.”

    Scholars can’t determine why the “e” was dropped in Scotland. One theory is that the Irish made whiskey first and pronounced it with a broad “e.” When the Scots began to make it, they dropped the “e” to differentiate their product.

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    FOOD FUN: Watermelon On A Stick ~ And Many, Many Other Foods

    Many people believe that everything tastes better on a stick. That’s why we consistently come across foods that have no need to be on a stick, served on a stick. County fairs and urban street fairs are full of them.

    We’re not talking about skewers, which make grilling and serving easier; or ice pops, candy apples or cotton candy, which require a stick to be held and eaten.

    No, many foods that were once served with a fork or a toothpick, with or without a dipping sauce, are now placed atop wooden ice-pop sticks. Consider chicken nuggets, fried ravioli, meatballs, mini franks, rumaki, bacon-wrapped baby potatoes and Caprese stacks. You can find them all on sticks.

    Why? It’s fun. (We hate to think, cynically, that the movement was started by manufacturers of the ice pop sticks.)

    We particularly liked the fun of watermelon slices on sticks: an idea for your upcoming Memorial Day festivities.

    The idea is from South Fork And Spoon, a Bridgehampton, New York-based caterer and “food concierge” that has a website full of tempting fare for lucky Hamptonians.



    Watermelon on a stick: more elegant than hands-only, more fun than a fork. Photo courtesy South Fork And Spoon.


    Intrigued by watermelon-on-a-stick, we delved into the food-on-a-stick category.

    The Iowa State Fair touts “60 foods on a stick,” from hard-boiled eggs to deep-fried brownies. The blog features 100 foods on a stick.

    Here’s a selection from both, which includes everything from junk food to elegant fare. Visit the sites directly to see the photos.

  • Breakfast Sausage
  • Doughnut Holes
  • French Toast Squares
  • Griddle Stick (turkey sausage wrapped in a pancake)

  • Assorted Fruit & Cheese
  • Carmellows
  • Chocolate-Covered Tiramisu
  • Chocolate-Covered Turtle Mousse Bar
  • Deep-Fried Cupcake
  • Deep Fried Fresh Pineapple
  • Deep-Fried Milky Way & Snickers Bars
  • Fruit (with yogurt dipping sauce)
  • Monkey Tail (chocolate-covered banana)
  • Rock Candy
  • Salted Chocolate Dipped Almond Pretzel
  • Peanut Butter & Jelly


    Sandwich on a stick. Photo courtesy



  • Cake Pops
  • Cheesecake & Chocolate-Covered Deep Fried Cheesecake
  • Chocolate-Covered Chocolate Chip Cannoli
  • Chocolate-Covered Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Pop
  • Chocolate-Covered Frozen S’mores
  • Chocolate-Covered Key Lime Dream Bar
  • Chocolate-Covered Peanut Butter Bar
  • Coconut Mountain (coconut ball dipped in fresh chocolate)
  • Deep-Fried Brownie
  • Deep-Fried Ho-Ho, Twinkie & Twinkie Log (frozen Twinkie dipped in white chocolate and rolled in cashews)
  • Ice Cream Wonder Bar
  • Ice Cream Sandwich
  • Mini Pie Pops
  • Smoothie On-a-stick (frozen strawberry smoothie)
  • Strawberry Shortcake Pops (shortcake pieces, strawberries, whipped cream)


  • Bacon Wrapped Pork Riblet
  • Cajun Chicken
  • Corndog & Cornbrat
  • Chicken Drumsticks & Thighs
  • German Sausage
  • Hard-Boiled Egg
  • Hot Bologna
  • Hot Lips (breaded chicken breast smothered with hot sauce, served with blue cheese dressing)
  • Octodog (hotdog in the shape of an octopus)
  • Pork Chop
  • Tandoori Tofu
  • Teriyaki Beef
  • Sesame Chicken

  • Cheese Stacks or Fried Cheese Skewers
  • Deep-Fried Pickle
  • Grilled Cheese, Tomato & Basil
  • Corn On the Cob
  • Grilled Pumpkin & Other Squash
  • Salad
  • Zucchini Lollipops (fried zucchini)

    There’s no reason not to collect, wash and reuse wood Popsicle sticks—or Wooden Treat Sticks or craft sticks, as they are more properly known (Popsicle is a trademarked name, not a generic term). Why throw things into the landfill when they can enjoy a second (or tenth) life?


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    TIP OF THE DAY: Cheese In Your Soup 2 ~ Mozzarella

    Sure there’s Parmesan in minestrone, Cheddar cheese soup and other varieties featured in our article, Cheese In Your Soup.

    Here’s an idea from Puglia, Italy for a garnish of cubed mozzarella—and anchovy, for anchovy lovers. (No lovers, just leave it off.)


    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1/2 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into
    1/2-inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
  • Fine sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1 small white onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 medium zucchini (courgettes), quartered and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

    Mozzarella: It’s not just for pizza and parmigiana. Photo courtesy

  • 3 cups vegetable broth, heated to a simmer
  • 4 flat anchovy fillets, roughly chopped

    1. TOSS together cheese, 1 tablespoon oil, oregano and a pinch of salt in a bowl.

    2. HEAT the remaining 2 tablespoons oi in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 7 minutes.

    3. ADD zucchini, stir to combine and cook for 1 minute more. Add broth, bring to a simmer and cook until zucchini is tender, about 10 minutes.

    4. CAREFULLY PURÉE mixture in a blender until smooth; season with salt to taste. Cool soup to just warm. Serve topped with cheese cubes and some chopped anchovies.


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    TIP OF THE DAY: Sunshine Raspberries


    Double Gold raspberries, sold as Sunshine
    Raspberries by Driscoll’s. Photo courtesy


    Grocers have the same challenge as other retailers: how to catch the eye of consumers with something new, and get them to spend more money.

    Seeking to sell more to grocers, browers are always on the prowl for new produce varieties, with distinctive flavor and a different look from conventional supermarket varieties.

    So today’s tip is: Be on the prowl for what’s new and exciting.

    In the raspberry department, what’s new is Double Gold raspberries. A cross-breeding of conventional red and the newer gold raspberries, Double Golds have a deep blush color, combining hues of both red and yellow into a peach-like effect, and a distinctive conical shape.

    The berries are naturally bred, never genetically modified or subjected to irradiation.

    As befitting their parentage, Double Golds—called Sunshine Raspberries by a major grower and distributor, Driscoll’s—have a unique flavor of their own—different from both the red raspberry and the golden raspberry, but still an obvious member of the family.

    Said Courtney Weber, a Cornell University small fruits breeder and associate professor of horticulture, “If consumers get a taste of these, they will buy them.”


    The variety was released to growers by Cornell, where it was bred, two years ago. The Double Gold plants bear deeply blushed, golden champagne-colored fruit in two crops per season (hence the “double” in the name). New to the retail marketplace, they are being sold under the Driscoll’s label as Sunshine Raspberries.

    The plants have also been sold to u-pick growers, farm stands and home gardeners. You can buy the plants from

    Imagine a bowl of the three different colors of strawberries, sparkling like jewels. Or, top pound cake, angel cake or sorbet.

    It’s a treat for summer entertaining!



    Here’s how they look at the grocer’s. Photo courtesy Fresh Direct.



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    PRODUCT: Maple Bacon Frozen Yogurt


    Maple Bacon frozen yogurt with toppings.
    Photo courtesy Yogen Fruz.


    While there are more than 1300 Yogen Fruz stores worldwide, there’s none anywhere near us. But if you’re within easy distance (store locator) and want to try maple bacon frozen yogurt, head over.

    Yogen Fruz says their one-of-a-kind Maple Bacon flavor has a smokey bacon flavor with a hint of maple that. The company recommends optional toppings: a drizzle of caramel and chocolate sauce, chocolate curls and red velvet cake bites.

    We’d prefer a garnish candied bacon (recipe below).

    Launched in time to celebrate Father’s Day, a four-ounce serving (what you get may be much more) has 120 calories, excluding toppings, and 1.5g fat. as well as being lower in fat

    Frozen yogurt is made from lowfat or nonfat yogurt plus sweetener, gelatin, corn syrup, flavoring and sometimes, coloring. Churned in an ice cream machine, it is available soft-serve and hard-packed.

    Depending on the brand, the flavor varies from slightly to much more tart than ice cream.


    Frozen yogurt both freezes and melts much more slowly than ice cream; yogurt has a much higher freezing and melting point than milk. The beneficial bacteria Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus are believed to be killed when the yogurt is frozen.

    If you want to make frozen yogurt at home, you can use nonfat yogurt and milk in place of regular milk and yogurt in the recipes. We recommend that you use a high quality ice cream maker that can get the job done over the longer freezing time.
    Check out the different types of frozen desserts in our Ice Cream Glossary.



  • 8 pieces thinly sliced bacon
  • 1/4 cup plus two tablespoons maple syrup

    1. PREHEAT oven to 300°F.

    2. PLACE bacon strips flat on a cooling rack screen on a baking sheet. Bake the bacon for approximately 10 to 12 minutes, or until thoroughly brown and crispy.

    3. COOL bacon; brush both sides of the bacon strips with maple syrup using a pastry brush. Place the bacon back in the oven and bake for an additional 3-4 minutes.


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