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TIP OF THE DAY: Irish Beer & Cheese Party

basiron-green-pesto-close-ig-230sq

Kerrygold Dubliner

Kerrygold Dubliner With Irish Stout

[1] Basiron Pesto Rosso has an Italian name, is made in Holland and is perfect for an Irish celebration (photo courtesy Atalanta Corp). [2] Kerrygold’s Dubliner is a unique cross between cheddar and parmesan cheeses. [3] It also is made in a limited edition with Irish stout.

 

Yesterday we featured a recipe for “Irish Nachos,” made with potatoes. We recommended serving them with a tasting of Irish beers:

  • Beamish Irish Stout
  • Fuller’s
  • Guinness Draught, Extra Stout, and Foreign Extra Stout
  • Harp Lager
  • Murphy’s Irish Red
  • Murphy’s Irish Stout
  • O’Hara’s Celtic Stout
  • O’Hara’s Irish Wheat
  • Porterhouse Brewing Co. Oyster Stout
  • Smithwick’s Irish Ale
  •  
    If you don’t want to cook anything, taste the beers with a platter of Irish-themed cheeses.

    Today we feature four brands. Three are Irish—Cahill, Cashel and Kerrygold—but we couldn’t help but recommend our favorite green cheese, made in The Netherlands.

    All cheeses Your local cheesemonger may carry them; or look for them online.

    All cheeses are made with milk from grass-fed cows, who enjoy a natural life (no hormones).

    1. BASIRON PESTO VERDE

    This green beauty (photo #1), made green with the addition of basil-garlic pesto, is a a Gouda*-style cheese, made from pasteurized cow’s milk and vegetarian rennet.

    It is made in The Netherlands by the Veldhuyzen family, who make other fabulous-flavored Goudas (below).

  • Breakfast: Green cheese grits or a cheese omelet.
  • Lunch: Green grilled cheese, ham and cheese, etc.
  • Happy Hour: With a beer, an Irish whiskey and soda, or a glass of fruity red wine.
  • Dinner or Snack: On a cheese plate.
  • Dinner: Gouda fondue; shaved over pasta, potatoes, rice or vegetables; melted over anything; stuffed in a chicken breast.
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    The line includes Alpine (with herbs from The Alps), Garden Herbs, Garlic, Kummel (caraway), Hot Chili (deep yellow for Halloween), Jalapeño, Mustard, Nettles, Olive Tomato, Pepper, Pesto rosso (a deep orange color for Halloween or Thanksgiving), Smoked Bacon, Sweet Red Pepper, Tricolor, Truffle, Walnut, Wasabi and Wood Garlic!

     
    Obviously, there’s quite a demand for Basiron flavord Goudas.

    We’ve had four of them, but on our bucket list: to try them all at one big tasting.
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    *How Do You Pronounce Gouda? Most Americans pronounce it “GOO-duh.” But the Dutch might not understand your request. The name of this cheese is pronounced variously as “GAOW-duh” or “HOW-duh” (with the H standing for the Dutch guttural “ch” sound, like clearing your throat).

     

    2. KERRYGOLD

    Kerrygold (photos #2 and #3 above) may be better known in the U.S. for its Irish butter, which has national distribution.

    But its cheeses deserve equal recognition!

  • Aged Cheddar is an outstanding, limited production, one-year-aged cheddar, noted for its rich, rounded flavor and firm, smooth body (more).
  • Dubliner is a unique cheese, a mixture between Cheddar and Parmigiano Reggiano (more).
  • Skellig is a popular cheddar variety in the U.K., a class of European cheddars that focuses on complex flavors, without the intense, sharp bite of traditional aged cheddars. The complex cheese is firm yet creamy, with a distinct nuttiness and sweet apple and butterscotch notes (more).
  •  
    Kerrygold also makes specialty versions of two of these cheeses

  • Kerrygold Dubliner With Irish Stout.
  • Kerrygold Aged Cheddar with Irish Whiskey.
  •  
    Serve one or all of them. Kerrygold also makes a Swiss cheese, if you want to see how Ireland interprets Switzerland.
     
     
    3. CAHILL’S FARM CHEDDAR

    Marion Cahill of Cahill’s Farm is recognized as a pioneer of today’s fine Irish cheese.

    The Cahill family has been farming and cheesemaking for four generations. Originally the milk was sold locally and the cheese was made for the family. Thankfully, that has changed.

    Using a base of tangy Irish cheddar, Marion experimented with flavors, and developed a head-turning range of flavored cheddars (photo #4).

     

    cahill-farm-cheddar-ig-230

    Cashel Blue Cheese Ireland

    [4] Cahill makes cheddar infused with three different spirits: porter, elderberry wine and whiskey (photo courtesy Cahill Farms). [5] Cashel Blue is an Irish blue cheese in a sweeter style, not salty (more).

     
    The curds are variously soaked in elderberry wine, porter and Irish whiskey. While elderberry and porter are visually stunning, all three deserve a place on the cheese board.

    Cahill’s makes other flavored cheeses which can be hard to find in the U.S. But keep an eye out for Ardagh Chalice Wine Cheese, Ballintubber Cheese with Chives, Ballyporeen Cheese with Mixed Irish Herbs and Kilbeggen Irish Whiskey Cheese.
     
     
    4. CASHEL BLUE

    When you think of Irish cheese you don’t think of blue cheese. But Louis and Jane Grubb of Beechmount Farm produces Cashel Blue, a noteworthy blue among all options.

    From the rolling hills of Tipperary, will delight people who don’t like robust blue cheeses. It’s extra creamy and not salty (photo #5).
     
     
    So eat, drink and be merry, as you treat friends and family to a special “Irish cocktail hour” or beer tasting.

    You don’t have to hold it on St. Patrick’s Day. No one would turn down the opportunity, whenever the invite arrives.

      

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    ST. PATRICK’S DAY: Irish Nachos Recipe

    Irish Nachos

    Murphy's Irish Red

    O'Hara's Irish Stout

    [1] “Irish Nachos” for St. Pat’s. Find more recipees from the Idaho Potatoes. [2] and [3] Got beer? Serve the nachos with some Irish brew.

     

    You won’t want to wait until St. Pat’s to enjoy this scrumptious snack.

    Serve it with your favorite beer; or in the spirit of the holiday, these Irish beers.

    How about an Irish beer tasting? Here are some of the most popular brands:

  • Beamish Irish Stout
  • Fuller’s
  • Guinness Draught, Extra Stout, and Foreign Extra Stout
  • Harp Lager
  • Murphy’s Irish Red
  • Murphy’s Irish Stout
  • O’Hara’s Celtic Stout
  • O’Hara’s Irish Wheat
  • Porterhouse Brewing Co. Oyster Stout
  • Smithwick’s Irish Ale
  •  
    RECIPE: “IRISH NACHOS”

    This recipe, created by Idaho Potatoes, has no common ingredients with the popular Tex-Mex recipe—except perhaps for the scallion garnish.

    Instead, crisp slices of roasted potatoes are topped with corned beef, sauerkraut, melted Swiss cheese, and homemade Thousand Island dressing. It’s a crowd-pleaser for sure, for St. Patrick’s Day or any other day of the year.

    Variation: You can also turn these ingredients into a layered “Irish Potato Salad” in a glass bowl—like a layered dip, but a side dish.

    Ingredients For The Nachos

  • 1 pound Idaho Red Potatoes, cut into 1/8-inch slices
  • 1 tablespoon olive or canola oil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 and ½ cups chopped corned beef
  • 1 and ½ cups sauerkraut, drained well
  • 1 cup grated Swiss cheese
  • ½ cup pre-cooked crumbled bacon
  • 3 tablespoons thousand island dressing, plus more for serving
  • 2 tablespoons sliced scallions, for garnish
  •  
    Ingredients For The Thousand Island Dressing

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
  • 2 teaspoons finely diced red onion (or other onion)
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely minced garlic (about half of a small clove)
  • 1 teaspoon white or white wine vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste
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    Preparation

    1. MAKE the Thousand Island Dressing at least one hour in advance of using (and the day before, if desired). Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Taste and add additional seasoning if desired. Refrigerate for at least an hour to allow the flavors to meld.

    2. PREHEAT the oven to 450°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

    3. PLACE the potato slices in a large bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat.

    4. TRANSFER the potato slices to the prepared baking sheets, spreading them out in an even layer (be sure not to overlap the slices). Bake for 12 minutes on each side, or until golden and slightly crispy. Turn the oven down to 350°F.

    5. LIGHTLY GREASE a cast iron pan or small baking dish. Layer the potatoes in the bottom of the pan. Top with the chopped corned beef, sauerkraut, and grated Swiss cheese (in that order). Sprinkle with crumbled bacon. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.

    6. DRIZZLE the dressing over the top and garnish with the scallions. Serve immediately.
     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Green Tobiko For St. Patrick’s Day

    Green Tobiko Gunkan

    Oyster With Caviar

    Caviar Potato Bites

    Grilled Salmon With Caviar

    Substitute green tobiko for roe of other colors. [1] Green tobiko, the eggs of flying fish roe, in sushi (a gunkan maki—photo courtesy Toria Sushi.[2] Oyster with caviar (photo courtesy Rebelle NYC). [3] Caviar potato bites; the same concept works with potato chips and cucumber slices (photo Fotolia). [4] Top grilled fish (photo courtesy FishStar). [5] In a simple butter sauce (photo KN Studios | Fotolia).

     

    Ready for some culinary adventure on St. Patrick’s Day?

    We look forward to our annual green bagel and corned beef and cabbage, but needed to find something green for hors d’oeuvre and a first course (not guacamole, not spinach dip, not green bean salad, but something special).

    Browsing through the market, we came across a large jar of green tobiko caviar and began to play with it.

    Tobiko (flying fish roe) is a popular sushi ingredient, as both a garnish and in a gunkan-maki or “battleship roll” (photo #1).

    The roe, or caviar*, if you will, comes from the flying fish of Iceland and the Pacific Ocean. Naturally orange in color with a delicate nutty taste (no fish flavor), it has eye appeal and a crunchy texture.

    Over the past 20 years, the roe has been colored black, gold, green or red—for colorful garnishes beyond the sushi bar.

    It can also be flavored; for example, spicy orange tobiko, green wasabi-flavored tobiko, yellow citrus- ginger-and yuzu-flavored tobiko and pale red ume (plum) tobiko.

    We’ve even had brown truffle tobiko!

    So garnish we will! Here’s what we came up with for green tobiko with everyday dishes, nothing haute cuisine.
     
    BREAKFAST

  • On eggs any style.
  • On plain yogur.
  • On a bagel and cream cheese, with or without the smoked salmon.
  •  
    APPETIZERS

  • On potato chips, a dab of sour cream or crème fraîche; or on cucumber slices.
  • Baby potatoes (cut in half, top with sour cream and garnish with tobiko—photo #3).
  • On eggs and deviled eggs.
  • On fish and seafood, from a plain grilled filet to ceviche and shrimp cocktail.
  •  
    FIRST COURSE

  • Caviar Martini (small Martini glass layered with guacamole, sour cream, and tobiko on top).
  • Ceviche or crudo.
  • Oysters on the half shell (photo #2).
  • Savory crêpes.
  •  
    DINNER

  • On scallops or fish fillets (photo #4).
  • In sauces (photo #5).
  • On mashed potatoes (you can garnish or mix it in).
  • Baked potatoes and sour cream, even chives.
  •  

    TOBKO VS. MASAGO: THE DIFFERENCE

    Even if you’re a sushi bar habitué, you may not know that there’s a difference between masago and tobiko.

    Both are small beads of roe, both are naturally orange in color.

    However, the do differ:

  • They are the roe of different fish: capelin for the masago, and flying fish for tobiko.
  • Tobiko has larger eggs. We find them to be ore flavorful and crunchy, and the eggs are larger.
  • If you tasted them side-by-side, you’d taste a difference; but since their roes are used mostly for color and crunch…
  • Tobiko is the roe that is most often colored (green, red, yellow, etc.) and flavored.
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    ________________

    *For centuries, “caviar” referred only to sturgeon eggs; all other fish were “roe.” However, the barriers have broken down, and no one should look askance at you if you call tobiko, ikura, and any other fish eggs “caviar.”

     

     
      

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    RECIPE: Green Bloody Mary With Tomatillos

    Gearing up for St. Patrick’s Day, we wanted to try a Green Bloody Mary. Yes, can green it up for St. Patricks Day, with the tricks below.

    The first GBMs of our experience were made with the green tomatoes and yellow tomatoes of August—more legit than this St. Patrick’s Day version, since puréed tomatoes equal the tomato juice of a traditional Bloody Mary.

    But those tomatoes are around for just a few weeks of the year, and months away from St. Patrick’s Day.

    So we went a-looking, and found this recipe from New Orleans bartender Jimmy Syock, who made it as party of the Bloody Mary Bar at Atchafalaya Restaurant.

    He uses what’s typically a year-round fruit: the tomatillo (yes, it’s a botanical fruit; all about tomatillos).

    We adapted Jimmy’s recipe a bit, although we kept his party-size measurements. You’ll get 12 Collins glass-size drinks, and more if you use an Old Fashioned/rocks glass.

    Recipe #2 is a much simpler to make, and just four servings.
     
    RECIPE #1: JIMMY SYOCK’S GREEN BLOODY MARY

    Ingredients For 12 Drinks

  • 2-1/2 pounds tomatillos, peeled and seeded
  • 2-1/2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1-1/2 English cucumbers, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1-1/2 jalapeños, trimmed and seeded
  • 1 bunch celery, trimmed and roughly chopped
  • 1 bunch cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 yellow onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, trimmed, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 3 cups vodka (plain or infused, e.g. lemon, lime, pepper)
  • 1 cup fresh lime juice
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Garnish: see below
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    Preparation

    1. COMBINE all ingredients except lime juice and salt in a blender; process until smooth. Strain to remove the pulp and any remaining seeds.

    2. STIR in the lime juice and add salt to taste. Chill until ready to serve.

    3. GARNISH as desired from the list below.
     
    GARNISHES

    We’ve omitted the standard celery stalk and lemon or lime wedge. When you go green, you upgrade your garnishes.

    Some ideas:

  • Fresh veggies: bell pepper circle (sliced horizontally), celery stalk, cucumber or zucchini wheel, dill spear, fennel stalk, rosemary sprig, scallion, yellow cherry or grape tomatoes.
  • Pickled veggies: asparagus, carrot, dill pickle spear, dilly bean (green bean), garlic, gherkin/cornichon, jalapeño, okra, olive, onion, pepadew.
  • Proteins: bacon strip, boiled or grilled shrimp, cheese cubes, crab claw, ham cubes, jerky, mozzarella balls, salami or sausage slices.
  • Rimmers: celery salt or other seasoned salt, dried herbs (thyme, oregano) or a mixture of the two, cracked black pepper with a hint of nutmeg, coarse salt mixed with lime zest, Old Bay (mixed with something else here for a milder taste).
  •    

    Tomatillo Bloody Mary

    Tomatillo Bloody Mary

    Tomatillos

    [1] Jimmy Syock’s Tomatillo Bloody Mary, via Garden and Gun. [2] Here’s the recipe from The Kitchy Kitchen, which includes the option of infusing your vodka with vegetables. [3] Tomatillos from The Chef’s Garden.

     

    You might enjoy putting an “antipasto pick” together with choices from each group; for example, a cheese cube, grape tomato, ham cube, and gherkin.

     

    Bloody Mary Crab Claw

    Garnished Bloody Mary

    [4] Garnished with a crab claw, dilly beans and a riot of pickled green vegetables (photo courtesy Orange County Register). [5] Fully loaded, from The Wayfarer | NYC.

     

    RECIPE #2: GREEN TOMATILLO BLOODY MARY

    Ingredients For 4 Drinks

  • 1 pound tomatillos, husked and rinsed
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 6 ounces vodka
  • 2 tablespoons horseradish
  • Green hot sauce
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • Garnish: choose from the list above
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PURÉE the tomatillos and cucumber in a blender or food processor. Add the vodka, horseradish and a few dashes each of green hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 teaspoon celery salt and a pinch of kosher salt.

    2. POUR into 4 ice-filled glasses. Garnish and serve.
     
    KNOW YOUR BLOODY MARYS

  • Bloody Mary History
  • Bloody Mary Recipes: the classics plus Danish, Mexican, Scottish, Russian and Spanish Marys
  •  
    MORE BLOODY MARYNESS

    These recipes use traditional red tomato juice, but you can switch to the green blend as you prefer.

  • Bloody Mary Drink Bar Or Cart
  • Bloody Mary Ice Pops
  • BLT Bloody Mary
  • Deconstructed Bloody Mary
  • Michelada (with beer)
  •   

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Popcorn & Wine Pairings

    Popcorn & Wine

    Chocolate Popcorn Red Wine

    Popcorn Wine Pairing

    [1] (photo courtesy Hidden Valley). [2] (photo courtesy Coupons.com).[3] Go whole-hog with a pairing flight (photo courtesy Skinnygirl).

     

    For the Oscars on Sunday, how about some popcorn pairing fun?

    If you typically watch the show with a bowl of popcorn, consider moving past the beer and soda in favor of wine pairings.

    Wine and popcorn? Why not?

    It’s another opportunity to see how your palate responds to different flavor pairings.

    As with all foods, wines are paired to the seasonings of the dish. That big combo can of three flavors—buttered, caramel and cheese corn—enables you to try three different wine pairings, with more flavor pairings below.

    WHAT WINE GOES WITH POPCORN?

    As with beer, sparkling wine goes with anything, whether white (cava, prosecco), rosé sparkling or red sparkling (such as brachetto d’asti or lambrusco). (See the different types of sparkling wine, and rosé sparklers).

    But you can also create a pairing party. Your personal preferences take precedence over “logical” recommendations below. If you prefer pinot grigio or rosé, serve it!

  • Buttered Popcorn: Look for a buttery wine—chardonnay or grenache. Rosé is another option.
  • Caramel corn: Pick a dessert wine, like moscato; or a wine with caramel notes such as Montilla-Morales, or late harvest Pinot Noir.
  • Cheddar or Parmesan Popcorn: Strong cheese flavors require a robust wine, such as cabernet sauvignon, zinfandel or an oaky chardonnay.
  • Chile Popcorn: For Cajun, chipotle, jalapeño, etc., gewürtztraminer, riesling or sauvignon blanc pair with heat. On the red side look at malbec or pinot noir.
  • Dark Chocolate Popcorn: Calling the dessert wines: banyuls, late harvest zinfandel, maury, port, shiraz, vin santo.
  • Global Spices: With curry, harissa and other strong flavors, try gewürtztraminer, riesling or sauvignon blanc.
  • Kettle Corn: Try an off-dry/semi-dry (slightly sweet) or sweet wine: demo-sec champagne, lambrusco semisecco, sercial madeira, sweet riesling.
  • Milk Chocolate Popcorn: Look for montilla-moriles, moscatel de setubal, sherry (amontillado, cream or PX), port, vin santo.
  • Salted Caramel Or Chocolate: Dry sparkling wine works here, or one of the suggestions for chocolate-wine pairings.
  • Salty Popcorn or Bacon Popcorn: Like lots of salt? The best pairing is beer or a Margarita.
  • Truffle Popcorn: Earthy truffles like an earthy wine: barolo,cabernet sauvignon, merlot, pinot noir, syrah, tempranillo.
  • White Chocolate Popcorn: Dessert wines are called for, especially brochette d’acqui, ice wine, lambrusco, muscat/moscato, port.
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    POPCORN HISTORY

    Where would we be without popcorn?

    Americans consume approximately 17.3 billion quarts of popcorn each year.

    The history of popcorn—originally not a snack food, but ground into flour for subsistance far.

    The history of popcorn in the U.S.. It was first used by the colonists as a breakfast cereal, served with milk and sugar.

    What makes popcorn kernels pop—only strains developed to pop are used for popcorn.

     
      

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