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Archive for 2014

TIP OF THE DAY: Rainbow Shots

Here’s a fun way to welcome the New Year. These Rainbow Shots were the winner of this year’s DeKuyper Bartender Challenge.

The winning recipe was submitted by mixologist Carolyn Connelly of Noblesville, Indiana.

Carolyn took inspiration from the Pousse-Café (pronounced POOSE-caff-fay), an after-dinner drink composed of several layers of different colored liqueurs that sit on top of each other in a clear glass. The name means “pushes coffee,” or coffee chaser, in French. The term first appeared in 1880. (If you’d rather make a Pousse-Café, here’s a video showing how.)

Because different liqueurs (and other liquids) have different densities, they can be made to sit atop each other in discrete layers, when poured in order of the densest to lightest. The result is a fun drink that delights the eye, rather than a strategic layering of flavors.

But instead of layering the different liquids in a single drinking glass, Carolyn made the drink in a mixing glass, and then poured the different colors out layer by layer (almost like a magic show). The densities of the liquids allow the different colors to pour out one at a time. Try it!


Ingredients Per Set Of Shots

  • 1 part Blue Curaçao liqueur
  • 1-1/4 parts fruit-flavored vodka (Carolyn used Pinnacle Tropical Punch)
  • 5 parts fresh orange juice
  • 1 part grenadine syrup
  • 6 shot glasses
  • Mixing glass and ice


    These separate shots were made in one mixing glass. The colors form separate layers. Photo courtesy DeKuyper.



    1. POUR the grenadine syrup into a mixing glass over ice.

    2. ADD additional ice and layer in the orange juice by pouring it gently over a bar spoon into the mixing glass.

    3. LAYER in the in the vodka and add more ice.

    4. TOP with Blue Curaçao and pour into six shot glasses arranged in a single row.



    The ingredients used to make Rainbow Shots. Photo courtesy DeKuyper.



    DeKuyper is the top-selling line of domestic cordials, with nearly 60 mixable and versatile flavors of cordials, liqueurs, crèmes, brandies and schnapps.

    Some DeKuyper flavors have inspired the creation of what are now famous cocktails. For example, in the mid-1980s DeKuyper Peachtree Schnapps inspired the creation of the Fuzzy Navel. In the mid-1990s, DeKuyper Pucker Sour Apple Schnapps inspired the creation of the Appletini.

    DeKuyper was founded in Holland in 1695 by Johannes DeKuyper & Son. Today the company is a subsidiary of Beam Suntory Inc.

    For recipes and more information on the DeKuyper Cordials and Liqueurs, visit



  • Cordial, in the U.S., refers to a sweet, syrupy, fruit-flavored alcoholic beverage. It is often used as a synonym for “liqueur.” In the U.K., however, cordial is a non-alcoholic, sweet, syrupy drink. An example: Rose’s Lime Cordial, which originated in the U.K., is called Rose’s Lime Juice in the U.S. because American consumers think of “cordial” as alcoholic.
  • Eau de vie is a French term for an unsweetened fruit brandy, similar to Schnapps. It has come to be used to mean an unsweetened liqueur as well, probably because of the similarity of taste and texture.
  • Liqueur is fruit steeped in an alcohol that has already been fermented and distilled.
  • Schnapps is a generic German term for all white (clear) brandies distilled from fermented fruits. True Schnapps has no sugar added. However, the major American commercial brands are all heavily sweetened to cater to American palates. [Source]

  • Cream liqueur is a liqueur that includes dairy cream. The high amount of alcohol enables the cream to be shelf stable (i.e., no refrigeration is required). An example is Baileys Irish Cream liqueur.
  • Crème liqueur does not have any dairy product, but has a creamy texture. Examples include crème de cacao (chocolate liqueur), crème de cassis (black currant liqueur), crème de menthe (mint liqueur) and crème de mûre (blackberry liqueur).

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    RECIPE: Trois Crèmes Cake

    In Mexico’s popular Pastel de Tres Leches or Tres Leches Cake, three forms of milk—condensed, evaporated and whole milk—are poured over a baked vanilla sponge cake to create a very moist comfort food.

    Here’s a Trois Crèmes Cake that uses crème fraîche three different ways for a much more sophisticated effect: a crème fraîche cake with hazelnut and crème fraîche filling, drizzled with salted vanilla crème fraîche caramel. The three different uses of creme fraiche make it very elegant.

    The recipe and photo are via Vermont Creamery, courtesy of Paul Lowe Einlyng, a native of Oslo, Norway, whose online magazine and blog will make you want to make everything. Paul now lives in New York City, where he working as a stylist, editor, publisher, magazine developer and blogger.


    Ingredients For The Cake

  • 1½ cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1¼ cups sugar
  • ½ cup crème fraîche
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla or maple syrup
  • ½ cup chopped hazelnuts


    Make your last cake of the year this beauty. Photo courtesy Sweet Paul | Vermont Creamery.


    Ingredients For The Caramel

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons lightly salted butter
  • 1/2 cup Vermont Creamery Madagascar Vanilla Crème Fraîche*
  • Pinch of flaky sea salt
    Ingredients For The Crème Fraîche Filling

  • 2 cups crème fraîche
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
    *If you can’t find Vermont Creamery Madagascar Vanilla Crème Fraîche, add a half teaspoon of pure vanilla extract to regular crème fraîche. It won’t be as wonderful, but it works.



    Crème fraîche. Photo courtesy Vermont Creamery.



    1. MAKE the caramel. Pour the sugar into a dry saucepan and melt it over medium-low heat. it will first begin to get clumpy and then after a few minutes it will melt completely. Once the sugar is completely melted, carefully…

    2. ADD the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Be careful as the sugar will boil up as you add the butter. Stir to combine the butter completely into the sugar. Finally, drop the crème fraîche into the caramel a spoonful at a time while you stir it. It will boil up and sputter yet again. Mix until fully incorporated. Stir the mixture for about 1–2 minutes more until it reaches your desired consistency. Be careful if you are tasting your caramel because it’s super-hot! Remove from heat and allow to cool. You can store it for up to 1 week in a sealed container in the fridge. If so, you may want to microwave it slightly before serving or using it as a topping.

    3. PREHEAT the oven to 325°F. Grease and flour a 9-inch round cake pan. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a mixing bowl and set aside.

    4. CREAM the butter and sugar in a stand mixer until light fluffy. Add in the crème fraîche and mix until fully incorporated. Add in eggs one at a time and mix until fully incorporated. Add in the vanilla or maple syrup and chopped hazelnuts and mix until incorporated. Add in the dry flour mixture slowly and mix until all is incorporated.


    5. POUR the batter into a 9-inch round pan and bake for 45–60 minutes. Check for doneness with a toothpick starting at 35 minutes. The toothpick inserted in the center of the cake should come out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack. When the cake is completely cool, slice it in half to create two equal layers of cake.

    6. PREPARE the crème fraîche filling by simply mixing the crème fraîche with the powdered sugar.

    7. PLACE the bottom layer on the cake plate and spread 2/3 of the crème fraîche mixture on the bottom layer. Drizzle a bit of the caramel on top of the filling and place the top layer on top. Spread the rest of the crème fraîche on top of the cake. Sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts and drizzle the caramel all over the top of the cake.

    8. SERVE immediately and store any leftover cake in the fridge, as the crème fraîche needs to be kept chilled.

    Crème fraîche (pronounced crem fresh, French for “fresh cream”) is a thickened cream—not as thick as sour cream, more of the consistency of yogurt, which is an appropriate analogy because it is slightly soured with bacterial culture. Originally from Normandy, the dairy heartland of France, today it is used throughout Continental and American cuisines.

    Sour cream, which is more accessible and less expensive, can be substituted in most recipes; but crème fraîche has advantages: It can be whipped, and it will not curdle when cooked over high heat. In addition, it is usually a bit lighter in body than commercial sour creams, more subtly sour, and overall more elegant.

    Crème fraîche is made by inoculating unpasteurized heavy cream with Lactobacillus cultures, letting the bacteria grow until the cream is both soured and thick and then pasteurizing it to stop the process. Thus, authentic crème fraîche cannot be made at home because generally, only pasteurized cream is available to consumers. To add Lactobacillus to pasteurized cream will cause it to spoil instead of sour.

    Crème fraîche is the ideal addition to sauces and soups because it can be boiled without curdling. Our favorite use is as a topping and garnish. Just a dab helps balance flavors and makes anything more delicious. Here’s more about crème fraîche plus a recipe to make your own.


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    TIP OF THE DAY: Smoked Salmon Rillettes & Champagne

    Rillettes are a classic rustic French preparation of similar to pâté (or the cretons of Quebec), popularized in central France (think Anjou, Le Mans and Tours). Originally made with pork, the meat was cubed or chopped, salted and cooked slowly in the still-warm cooking fat until it is tender enough to be easily shredded.

    The shredded meat—originally pork belly or pork shoulder—is mixed with enough of the fat to form a paste or pâté in French, which refers to any cooked ground meat and fat minced into a spreadable paste. The paste was placed in a crock.

    The word first appears in writing in 1845. It derives from the Old French rille, meaning a slice of pork (rille dates all the way back to 1480).

    Rillettes are typically served at room temperature with bread or toast points—and wine, of course. Long before the current, trendy bacon jam, there were rillettes.

    Over time, the technique was applied to other meat and poultry: chicken, duck, game birds, fish (anchovies, salmon, tuna), goose and rabbit. Fish is not actually cooked in the fat, but it is blended with fat to create the paste.

    In this recipe from Chef Aida Mollenkamp, was developed for Moët & Chandon to serve with Champagne. You can serve it with any sparkling wine.



    Smoked salmon rillettes. Photo courtesy Chef Aida Mollenkamp.


    The recipe—Smoked Salmon, Crème Fraîche, and Fennel Rillettes—requires just 15 minutes or prep time, plus 2 hours of chilling time.

    Chef Mollenkamp gave the classic recipe a modern, quicker, and slightly healthier twist, including a double dose of anise flavor from the fennel and the tarragon. The spread has a smoky, sweet anise flavor and is as delicious on a cracker as it on toast for a luxurious sandwich.

    Let your imagination wander: We’ve enjoyed the leftovers on toast with scrambled or poached eggs!



    Great with smoked salmon rillettes: a magnum of Moët et Chandon Brut Impérial Champagne. Photo courtesy



    Ingredients For 2 Cups (15 to 20 Hors d’Oeuvre Servings)

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup minced shallots
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2/3 cup small dice fennel
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh tarragon leaves or chives, plus more for serving
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon Pernod or other anise-flavored liqueur (see below)
  • 1/2 teaspoon loosely packed lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup crème fraîche*
  • 1 pound hot-smoked and/or cold-smoked salmon
  • Crackers or toasts, for serving
  • Optional: cornichons, pickled onions
    *If you can’t find crème fraîche, you can make it with this recipe, or substitute sour cream or plain Greek yogurt.


    1. MELT the butter in a medium frying pan over medium heat. When the foaming subsides, add the shallots and season with a pinch of salt and a few cranks of freshly ground black pepper. Cook until the shallots are translucent and soft. Set aside to cool slightly.

    2. COMBINE the shallots with the fennel, lemon juice, herbs, Pernod, lemon zest and crème fraîche. Season with a pinch of salt and some freshly ground black pepper.

    3. BREAK the salmon into bite-sized pieces and fold into the mixture until just combined. Taste and adjust the seasoning as desired. Transfer the rillettes to an airtight container, cover and refrigerate until chilled through, at least 2 hours.

    4. LET the rillettes sit at room temperature for a few minutes before serving so they’re spreadable. Sprinkle with herbs and serve with crackers or toast, along with the cornichons and/or pickled onions. For the best flavor, consume the rillettes within four days of preparation.

    If you don’t have Pernod, you don’t need to spring for a bottle for the tablespoon required here. Instead, you can substitute absinthe, aguardiente, arak (a Middle Eastern liquor like ouzo), ouzo, pastis, raki (a Turkish liquor like ouzo) or Ricard.

    Sambucca, which is anise-flavored, is typically sweetened and thus not right for this recipe.


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    RECIPE: Eggnog Crumble Bars

    If it’s a lazy day and you’ve got eggnog, bake these creamy Eggnog Crumble Bars for New Year’s Eve. “Crumble” refers to the streusel topping on the bars.

    The recipe is from Annie’s Eats for Go Bold With Butter. Check out both websites for more delicious recipes.

    Prep time: is 15 minutes, cook time is 35 minutes. While the bars are baking, check out the history of eggnog.

    “Grate whole nutmeg for these rather than using the pre-grated stuff,” Annie advises. “It definitely enhances the flavor.”


    Ingredients For 16 Bars
    For The Dough

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 6 tablespoons eggnog


    Another way to use eggnog in baking! Photo courtesy Go Bold With Butter.


    For The Filling

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup eggnog
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


    For breakfast, make Eggnog French Toast. Substitute eggnog for the milk, but do add the egg! Photo courtesy Organic Valley.



    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Line 8 x 8-inch baking pan with foil or parchment paper.

    2. MAKE the dough: Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon in medium bowl; stir to blend. Add the butter, cutting it into the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter or two knives, until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the eggnog and stir with a fork or knead very briefly, just until crumbly dough comes together.

    3. TRANSFER two-thirds of the dough mixture to the prepared baking pan and press down into the bottom of the pan to form an even layer.

    4. MAKE the filling: Combine the cream cheese and sugar in bowl of electric mixer. Beat on medium-high speed until smooth, light and fluffy. Blend in the egg, then the eggnog and vanilla, until smooth. Pour the mixture over the layer of dough in the baking pan. Crumble the reserved dough over top of eggnog mixture.

    5. BAKE—rotating the pan halfway through baking—until just set, about 25 minutes. Let cool to room temperature on wire rack. Chill well before slicing and serving.


  • Eggnog Mini Bundts Recipe
  • Eggnog Mini Cheesecakes Recipe
  • Eggnog Panna Cotta Recipe Recipe
  • Eggnog Truffles Recipe
  • Eggnog Wreath Cookies Recipe
  • White Chocolate Eggnog Fudge Recipe

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    RECIPE: Snack On Sriracha Kettle Corn

    Americans consume approximately 17.3 billion quarts of popcorn each year. Sweet-and salty kettle corn is the category’s fastest-growing flavor. Hot and spicy foods in general have been trending for some time.

    So Hannah Kaminsky of Bittersweet Blog combined the two into a recipe for Sriracha Kettle Corn: sweet and salty plus a warm burn with each bite.

    This whole grain snack couldn’t be easier or faster to whip up, whether for better snacking while you’re hanging at home this week, or when guests drop by. Adjust the sriracha to taste, depending on how hot you like it.


    Ingredients For 8-10 Cups Popcorn

  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3-5 teaspoons sriracha
  • 1/2-1 taspoon flaky sea salt (like Maldon)


    Sriracha kettle corn adds heat to the traditional sweet and salty seasonings. Photo © Hannah Kaminsky | Bittersweet Blog.



    Sriracha, a hot sauce that originated in Thailand. Photo courtesy Huy Fong Foods.



    1. HEAT the coconut oil in a large stockpot over medium heat, along with two or three kernels. Keep covered, and when the test kernels pop, add the rest, along with the sugar and sriracha. Stir well to coat before quickly covering with the lid once more.

    2. SHAKE the pot constantly and vigorously to prevent the corn from burning. This is critical, both for even cooking and for fewer unpopped kernels. Once the popping has slowed to one every two to three seconds…

    3. REMOVE the pot from the heat and uncover, continuing to shake for a few minutes until the popping has stopped. Pour the popcorn onto a sheet pan and sprinkle evenly with salt, to taste. Let cool and break up the large clumps, picking through to remove any unpopped popcorn kernels that might remain.

    Kettle corn is sweet-and-salty popcorn. A Colonial invention, the corn was popped in iron kettles and then sweetened with sugar, honey and sometimes molasses before adding the salt. It is less sweet than caramel corn and appeals to those who like a sweet-and-salty flavor profile.

    Check out the history of popcorn.



    Sriracha, pronounced see-RAH-jah, is a Thai hot chili sauce. It is made from red chiles, distilled vinegar, garlic, sugar and salt; and is aged for three months or longer.

    Unlike American hot sauces such as Tabasco, which are vinegar sauces that are infused with hot chiles, sriracha is primarily puréed chiles, making it a much thicker sauce.

    The sauce is named after the coastal city of Si Racha in eastern Thailand, where it was first made and marketed. Different brands can be found in the Asian aisle of many supermarkets and in Asian groceries.

    According to multiple sources, including an article in Bon Appétit, the sauce was made more than 80 years ago in by a local woman, Thanom Chakkapak. She initially made the condiment for her family, and then for friends, to enjoy with the local seafood (think of it as a much hotter counterpart to American cocktail sauce).

    As is a common story in the specialty food business, they encouraged her to sell it commercially—and it became the best-selling chile sauce in Thailand. In 1984, Ms. Chakkapak sold her business to a major food company, Thai Theparos Food Products.

    What’s the correct spelling: sriraja, si-racha, sriracha or siracha?

    According to Andrea Nguyen, who wrote the article for Bon Appétit: Since Thailand does not adhere to one romanization system for Thai words, many variants have emerged, chosen by manufacturers who have created their own version of the original sauce.

    However, the most commonly accepted spelling is sriracha.


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