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TIP OF THE DAY: Pairing Beer With Summer Produce

Grilled Mushrooms & Beer

Elote - Mexican Corn

[1] Grilled mushrooms and grilled pineapple with baby arugula and shaved parmesan. Enjoy the earthy mushrooms with a darker beer: amber lager, porter, or stout (photo courtesy Urban Accents). [2] Corn should be enjoyed with a lighter beer: American lager, German wheat beer or saison. Here’s the recipe for this delicious plate of elote, Mexican corn on the cob (photo courtesy Good Eggs | SF.

 

Last Week was National Farmers Market Week, but all of us should support our local farmers every week. It’s where the season’s freshest local ingredients can be found.

Even in the depths of winter, where there is no fresh produce in our region, we go to buy apple cider, applesauce, baked goods, kimchi, pickles and anything else they make.

The folks at (Let’s Grab a Beer) took the opportunity to pair beer styles with particular types of produce. They selected some summer fruits and vegetables and paired them with beer styles that bring out the flavors in the food.

For your next cook-out or hang-out, try these recommendations and see if you agree.

If you need an explanation of a particular beer style, head to our Beer Glossary.
 
Chile Peppers
Beer Styles: American Lager or IPA.
Pairing Notes: Spicy, hoppy beers are a great choice for chiles, whether served raw in a dish, grilled shishito peppers or roasted poppers (stuffed jalapeños). Lager can help to tame the heat if the dish is too fiery.
 
Corn
Beer Styles: American Lager, German Wheat Beer or Saison.
Pairing Notes: A light and slightly sweet beer will complement each bite of the sweet corn and salty butter. Try it with everything from corn salad to elote, Mexican seasoned corn on the cob.
 
Green Beans
Beer Styles: English Brown Ale or Belgian Wheat Beer (Witbier).
Pairing Notes: Green beans tend to go well with beers that are both malty and sweet like the English Brown Ale. If you prefer your green beans with a citrusy dressing, try a Belgian Wheat Beer instead.
 
Grilled Mushrooms
Beer Styles: Amber Lager, Porter, Stout.
Notes: The roasted flavor of malted barley in these darker beers complements the earthiness of mushrooms. Try them with grilled stuffed mushrooms, or in a portabella salad with feta, this one with goat cheese or a grilled corn salad (no cheese). For a great beer snack or warm-up to dinner, try this Mexican layered salad, great as a beer snack.
 
Melons
Beer Styles: American Light Lager, German Wheat Beer, or Belgian Wheat Beer.
Pairing Notes: The fruity flavors produced by the yeast in German Wheat beers will often match up well with certain melon flavor profiles.

 

 
Spinach
Beer Styles: Belgian Wheat Beer (Witbier) or German Wheat Beer (Weissbier).
Pairing Notes: The lighter style and vibrant and citrusy flavors of wheat beer complement herbaceous greens. Mix greens into a salad with any fruit, accented with a crumbled dry cheese, like feta. Some of our go-to recipes: watermelon and feta salad (or strawberries, or both fruits) and spicy radishes with stone fruit and feta,
 
Strawberries, Raspberries, Chocolate-Dipped Fruit
Beer Styles: American Light Lager, American Stout, Chocolate Stout, Fruit Beer, Imperial Stout, Pale Ale.
Pairing Notes: In addition to fruit beers like lambic and kriek, turn to American beers and ales: American hops impart citrus flavors and aromas to beers. With chocolate-dipped fruits, darker beers with more heavily roasted barley provide great fusion. For a true beer dessert check out this Chocolate Stout Float recipe. You can make it with chocolate stout or Guinness.
 
Tomatoes
Beer Styles:r American Amber Ale, American Lager, IPA.
Pairing Notes: The hoppy flavors of these beers accent the acidity of tomatoes, while their slight sweetness harmonizes with different types of tomato sauces. Here are ways to use summer tomatoes for every meal of the day.
 
BONUS PAIRINGS: CHEESES & NUTS

For a cheese course, snack, or an accent to other recipes, try these pairings:
 
Acidic Cheeses (e.g. Sharp Cheddar)
Beer Styles: American Pale Ale, IPA, Porter.
Pairing Notes: Sharp cheeses are generally more bitter, and thus well suited to the bitterness found in hoppier beers. For some contrast to an acidic cheese, also try porter.
 
Nutty Cheeses (e.g. Gruyère)
Beer Styles: American IPA, Dark Lager, Oktoberfest Ale.
Pairing Notes: For harder cheeses that have a nutty aftertaste, pick a beer that is more barley-forward yet balanced. For contrast, try an American pale ale.
 
Tangy Cheeses (e.g. Goat Cheese)
Beer Styles: American Light Lager, Belgian Wheat Beer.
Pairing Notes: The fruity and citrusy flavors of wheat beers sync up beautifully with tangy cheeses. These bright, carbonated beers are refreshing in warmer weather.
 
Nuts
Beer Styles: Amber Lager, English Brown Ale.
Pairing Notes: For nuts that are both salted and roasted, go with a darker beer that has some complementary roasted barley flavors. These two styles also have a refreshingly crisp finish.
 
Now, put some pairings together to see what you like best.

 

Honeydew & Cucumber Salad

Heirloom Tomato Salad

Strawberries & Balsamic Vinegar

[1] Melon dishes like this honeydew and cucumber salad are delicious with wheat beer and light lagers (photo courtesy Good Eggs). [2] The best tomatoes of the summer—heirloom tomatoes—are splendid with an American ale, lager or IPA. [3] A classic Italian dessert, strawberries with a balsamic drizzle (and optional shaved Parmesan) pair best with citrussy beers and dark beers. Here, the berries are served with raw sugar and lemon zest for dipping (photo courtesy Driscoll’s.

 

  

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TIP OF THE DAY: The Different Types Of Rum

August 16th is National Rum Day.

Rum can be a confusing spirit for the everyday consumer. What’s silver versus white rum? What’s silver versus gold rum? Which one should you use for a rum cocktail?

It starts with distilling molasses.
 
A BRIEF HISTORY OF RUM

Sugar cane grew wild in parts of Southeast Asia. It was first domesticated sometime around 8,000 B.C.E., probably in New Guinea. It arrived in India, where better extraction and purifying techniques were developed to refine the cane juice into granulated crystals.

Sugar then spread quickly. By the sixth century C.E., sugar cultivation had reached Persia; and, from there to elsewhere in the Mediterranean, brought by Arab expansion and travel.

In 1425, sugar arrived in Madiera and the Canary Islands. In 1493, his second voyage to the New World, Christopher Columbus brought sugar cane seedlings. They were grown, first in Hispaniola and then on other islands. The main sugar-exporting countries in the Caribbean today are Barbados, Belize, Cuba, Guyana and Jamaica.

In the 17th century, Caribbean sugar cane planters produced sugar by crushing sugar cane, extracting and boiling the cane juice, then leaving the boiled syrup to cure in clay pots. A viscous liquid would seep out of the pots, leaving the sugar in the pot.

The seepage was molasses—and no one wanted the thick, cloying by-product. It was fed to slaves and livestock, but a monumental amount of molasses was still left over. Sugar was a great cash crop for European planters, but two pounds of sugar yielded a pound of molasses!

There were no customers or known uses for molasses, so the planters dumped it into the ocean: very sweet industrial waste.

Finally, slaves figured out a use, and a great one at that. They fermented the molasses and distilled it into alcohol, to yield what became known as rum (source).

Then, playing around with the now-valued molasses, it was discovered to be as good as sugar in baked goods, and more flavorful.
 
THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF RUM

There are several types of rum, known as grades of rum, in the industry.

   

Aged Rum On The Rocks

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[1] Enjoy aged rum on the rocks. [2] Add the basic grade, known a light, silver, white and other names, to an iced coffee for Jamaican Iced Coffee (photos courtesy Appleton Estates rum).

 
The different types based on factors such as distillation technique, blending technique, alcoholic content and style preferences of the country or the individual distiller. One of the easiest differentiators to understand is aging.

Aged rums will differ based on type of barrel and length of time in the barrel. Anejo means old in Spanish; Extra-Anejo is the most aged rum you can buy.

The better rums are made with high-quality molasses, which contains a higher percentage of fermentable sugars and a lower percentage of chemicals.*

  • Light Rum or Silver Rum or White Rum or Crystal Rum. This is “entry-level rum,” offering alcohol and a little sweetness, but not much flavor. Light rums can have a very light color, or can be filtered after aging to be totally colorless. It is aged briefly or not at all. It can be filtered to remove any color, earning it the names “crystal” and “white.” Light rum is typically used for mixed drinks.
  • Gold Rum, Oro rum or Amber Rum. Medium-bodied rum, midway between light rum and dark rum, gold rum is typically aged in wooden barrels. Use it when you want more flavor than light rum provides, for example in a simple cocktail like a Daiquiri or a Mojito.
  • Dark Rum. The rums in this group are also called by their particular color: brown, black, or red rum. This category is a grade darker than gold rum, due to longer aging in heavily charred barrels. As a result, dark rum delivers stronger flavors, more richness and a full body. There are strong molasses or caramel overtones with hints of spices. Dark rum is used to provide a deep flavor in cocktails and is typically used in baking and cooking (it’s the rum used in rum cake).
  • Flavored Rum. Following the growth of the flavored vodka market, you can now find light rum flavored in apple. banana, black cherry, citrus, coconut, cranberry, grape, guava, mango, melon, passionfruit, peach, pineapple, raspberry, strawberry, spiced…and on and on. They have a base of light rum, are mostly used to make cocktails, but are also enjoyable drunk neat or on the rocks.
  • Spiced Rum. Spiced rum is infused with spices—aniseed, cinnamon, pepper and rosemary, for example—and botanicals such as orange peel. The better brands use gold rum and are darker in color, but cheaper brands made from inexpensive light rum will darkened their products with caramel color.
  • Single Barrel Rum. This is the finest rum for sipping. The term “single barrel” refers to the process: After its initial aging, the rum is handpicked and blended before it is barreled for a second time in new American oak barrels, which impart flavors. It is slowly aged again, and finally bottled.
  • Overproof Rum. For serious tipplers, these rums are much higher than the standard 40% ABV (80 proof). Many are as high as 75% ABV (150 proof) to 80% ABV (160 proof). Bacardi 151, for example, is 151 proof.
  • Premium Rum or Viejo Rum. This long-aged spirit is like Cognac and fine Scotch: meant for serious sipping (viejo means old, añejo means aged—it’s semantic). The rum can be aged 7 years of more, and is produced by artisan distillers dedicated to craftsmanship. Premium rum has far more character and flavor than “mixing rum”—it’s a different experience entirely, enjoyed for its complex layering of flavors. The 18 year old Centenario Gold from Flor de Cana is a wonderful sipping experience, but also is priced at $65 or so. You can find a nice 12-year-old in the $25 range.
  •  

    Flavored Mojitos

    Daiquiri Cocktail

    Use silver/white rum for mixed drink. [1] Mojitos—original, mango and lime—from RA Sushi in Orlando. [2] The classic rum drink: the Daiquiri (photo courtesy Tempered Spirits).

     

    WHAT SHOULD YOU BUY?

    For mixed drinks, use the basic light/silver/white rum. Here are the top rum cocktails.

    For sipping, look to aged rums. Compared to aged Scotch, they’re relatively inexpensive.

    Here are some tasting notes from Ethan Trex at:
    Here are recommended brands from Ethan Trax at MentalFloss.com. Unlike pricey aged whiskey, you can pick up some for $25 and $40.

  • Bacardi Anejo
  • Brugal 1888 Gran Reserva
  • Cruzan Estate Single Barrel
  • Don Q Gran Anejo
  • El Dorado Special Reserve 15 Year Old (Guayana)
  • Gosling’s Old Rum
  • Mount Gay Black Barrel
  • Pyrat XO
  • Ron Zacapa Centenario 23 Year Old
  • Ron Vizcaya VXOP
  • Sugar Island Spiced Rum
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    WHAT ABOUT CACHAÇA?WHAT ABOUT 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), Brazil’s national cocktail.

    Cachaça is often called “Brazilian rum,” but the Brazilians take exception to that. They consider their national drink to stand in a category of its own.

    The actual difference between rum and cachaça, which taste very similar, is that rum is typically made from molasses, a by-product after the cane juice has been boiled to extract as much sugar crystal as possible. Cachaça is made from the fresh sugar cane juice (but so are some Caribbean rums, particularly from the French islands). Both are then fermented and distilled. The style is usually like that of light rum, but some cachaça brands are in a style similar to gold rums.
     
    Cachaça has its own holiday: International Cachaça Day is June 12th.

    Here’s more about cachaça.

     
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    *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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    FOOD FUN: Alcohol & Gummy Candy

    Champagne With Gummy Worms

    Gummy Worm Mojito Cocktail

    Gummy Worm Cocktail

    [1] Champagne with gummy bears. [2] Mojito with a gummy worm garnish—although a Mezcal drink might make more sense with the worms (photos 1 and 2 courtesy Monarch Rooftop). [3] Gummies slithering in a Tequila Sunrise (photo courtesy Drinking In America.

     

    Search for “adult gummies” and you’ll turn up bottles and bottles of nutritional supplements.

    They’re not just multivitamins but biotin, fiber, fish oil, melatonin, vitamin C and more. (Caveat: Before you get too excited, check the grams of sugar on the bottle.)

    Let us introduce you instead to our kind of adult gummies: soaked in wine or spirits.

    Some background: A few months ago, a candy boutique in Los Angeles, Sugarfina, introduced rosé-infused gummy bears. Thanks to social media, they were sold out by pre-order before they even arrived from Germany; there’s a long waiting list (Monarch Rooftop says the number now exceeds 14,000).

    We had tried the Champagne Gummies, which are still available. There also are Cuba Libre Gummies, infused with rum and Coca-Cola.

    We wouldn’t have known the Sugarfina gummies were infused with Champagne, much less with Dom Perignon. (We deduced that the amount of champagne used was “just a splash.”)
     
    REAL ADULT GUMMIES

    Monarch Rooftop, a lounge with a view of the Empire State Building (71 West 35th Street, Manhattan), infuses its own gummies for a selection of creative cocktails. The current menu offers:

  • Tipsy Teddy Bears: gummy bears soaked in Champagne/Rosé.
  • Rummy Worms: gummy worms soaked in rum and paired with a Mojito.
  • Fish Out Of Water: vodka-soaked Swedish Fish laid atop a blue Jell-O shot.
  •  
    They inspired us to infuse our own gummies by soaking them in alcohol. We first tried spirits, then wine. We briefly considered a Boilermaker: beer with whiskey-infused gummies instead of the shot. Maybe for the Super Bowl?

    Whatever you want to infuse, the recipe is below.
     
    National Gummy Worms Day is July 15th, giving you plenty of time to test your own cocktail menu.

    MAKE YOUR OWN ALCOHOL-INFUSED GUMMY CANDY

    The hardest part of this is deciding which spirit and which fruit juice to use. You can halve the spirits and juice and make a split batch to see which you like better. Flavored vodka is even better.

    Beyond Gummy Bears & Worms

    So many decisions! There are gummy butterflies, Easter bunnies, fish, flower blossoms, frogs, fruits, gummy rings, lobsters, peaches, penguins, pigs, rattlesnakes, sharks, Smurfs, soda bottles and turtles.

    You can make your own adult gummy recipe book, with different shapes and flavors for different occasions. Tequila-infused gummies for your Margarita? Certainly: And get the Mexican Hat gummies.

    Check out the novelty gummies on Nuts.com.

     

    Tips

  • Look for a large size of gummies: a 1 kg tub (2.2 pounds) or bulk pricing. A five-pound bag of Haribo Gold-Bears is $12 on Amazon.com. That’s $2.40/pound. If your local store sells them in bulk for much more than that, you may wish to consider your options.
  • Don’t overlook flavored vodkas. We think they’re a better choice than plain vodka. We also loved sipping artisan gin, so made them for a small snack bowl. We ours soaked in gin; although we used everyday Tanqueray to infuse.
  • Test the amount of alcohol. You can make a split batch, or vary the amount your next batch.
  • Make them as gifts, too, with a reminder note to consume within five days.
  • These are not Jell-O shots. Don’t expect a buzz.
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    RECIPE: ALCOHOL-INFUSED GUMMY CANDIES

    Plan ahead: The gummies need to infuse in alcohol for five days.

    Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups of vodka or other spirit or wine
  • 2 pounds gummi candy
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PACK the gummies into a lidded container and cover with the spirit. The alcohol should barely cover the top of the gummies.

    2. STIR, cover with the lid and place the container in the refrigerator.

    3. STIR twice a day for five days. If you use a large enough container, you can simply shake it. When ready, drain and serve.

    That’s it!
     
    What If They’re Too Alcoholic?

    First, taste them on the third day. If they’re what you expect, drain them and enjoy. If they’re still too boozy, try them with a cocktail. The combination may provide the right counterpoint. If not…

    You can fix the batch by draining the alcohol and covering the alcohol in apple juice. Shake and taste in a few hours. They may need to juice-infuse overnight.
     
    THE HISTORY OF GUMMY CANDY

    Gummi candy was first produced by Haribo, a Bonn, Germany, confectioner. Haribo is a contraction of Hans Riegel Bonn.

    Founder Hans Riegel invented the Dancing Bear, a fruit gum made in the shape of a bear, in 1922. It was succeeded in 1967 by what would become known worldwide as Gummi Bears, which would spawn an entire zoo of gummi animals.

    Gummi worms, however, were introduced by another gummi candy manufacturer, Trolli (named for forest trolls), in 1981.

    Many Americans use the English spelling, gummy, instead of the German gummi.
     

     

    Gummy Bear Sangria

    Cocktail With Gummy Candy

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    [1] Wine-infused dummies with sangria. Given all the fruit, we’d serve them on the side. Here’s the recipe from TrendHunter.com. [3] A root beer float with soda bottle gummies. Add vanilla vodka along with the root beer and ice cream. Check out these alcoholic root beer float recipes on Yummly.com. [4] What to drink while watching “Shark Tank.” At the Sugar Factory in New York City, it’s called The Ocean Blue (photos 2 and 3 courtesy Sugar Factory).

    MORE WAYS TO SERVE GUMMIES

    Beyond filling candy bowls, you can:

  • Garnish the rim of soft drinks or cocktails.
  • Garnish desert plates.
  • Top cupcakes or iced cookies.
  • Use as ice cream/sorbet toppers.
  • Make gummy fruit kabobs, alternating gummies with fresh fruits.
  • Dip in chocolate and harden on wax paper or parchment, for “gourmet” gummies. For this one, it’s better to avoid the smaller gummies like bears.
  • Decorate the rim of cocktails.
  • Add to popcorn.
  • Make gummy trail mix: gummies, M&Ms or Reese’s Pieces, nuts, pretzels and raisins or dried cherries or cranberries.
  • Make the classic Dirt Cake or Dirt Pudding.
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    RECIPE: Atlantic Beach Pie, A Spin On Lemon Meringue Pie

    Lemon Meringue Pie Slice

    Atlantic Beach Pie Recipe

    Lemon Meringue Pie

    Chess Pie

    [1] A slice of classic lemon meringue pie (photo courtesy IncredibleEgg.org). [2] The Atlantic Beach Pie variation substitutes a crunchy saltine crust (photo courtesy Crook’s Corner | Our State magazine). [3] You can never have too much meringue (photo courtesy McCormick; here’s the recipe). [4] Chess pie is a lemon custard pie baked in an all-butter pie crust (photo courtesy Good Eggs).

     

    August 15th is National Lemon Meringue Pie Day, celebrating one of America’s favorite pies.

    THE HISTORY OF LEMON MERINGUE PIE

    Lemon-flavored custards, puddings and pies date to the Middle Ages, which concluded in the 15th century. Meringue was perfected in the 17th century.

    The modern lemon meringue pie is a 19th-century recipe, attributed to Alexander Frehse, a baker in the Swiss canton of Romandie. By the late 19th century, the dish had reached the U.S. and achieved popularity.

    It combines a lemon custard single crust pie with meringue, the fluffy topping made from egg whites and sugar, baked on top. Here’s the classic lemon meringue pie recipe.

    Fast-forward a century to Atlantic Beach Lemon Pie, a Southern specialty from the beaches of North Carolina.

    It’s a lemon meringue pie with a twist: It has a crunchy, salty crust made from crushed saltine or Ritz cracker crumbs.

    It fell out of fashion for decades, until it was rescued from obscurity by Chef Bill Smith of Crook’s Corner in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

    Chef Bill added his own touch, substituting whipped cream for the meringue topping.

    Chef Bill has been generous with his recipe. We encountered this recipe in OurState, magazine in Greensboro, North Carolina, whose editor asked him to write about it. Here’s the original article.

    RECIPE: ATLANTIC BEACH PIE

    Ingredients For The Crust

  • 1½ sleeves of saltine crackers
  • 1/3 to ½ cup softened unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
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    Ingredients For The Filling

  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 egg yolks (tip: eggs separate more easily when cold)
  • ½ cup lemon juice* (about 4 juicy lemons) or Key lime juice (16 Key limes, or substitute juice from 5-6 regular limes)
  •  
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    *To get more juice from a lemon (or any citrus), microwave it for 10 seconds. Then roll it on the counter, exerting pressure with your palm. You’re now ready to halve and juice it.
     
    Ingredients For The Garnish

  • Whipped cream
  • Coarse sea salt (especially black lava or pink salt like alea for contrast)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Place the crackers in a plastic bag, seal and crush crush with a rolling pin into tiny, flaky pieces. You will have about 2½ to 3 cups of cracker crumbs. Do not use a food processor or you will end up with cracker dust that doesn’t work.

    2. ADD the sugar, then knead in the butter until the crumbs hold together like dough. Press into an 8-inch pie pan. Chill for 15 minutes, then bake for 18 minutes or until the crust colors a little. While the crust is cooling…

    3. BEAT the egg yolks into the milk, then beat in the citrus juice. It is important to completely combine these ingredients.

    5. POUR into the shell and bake for 16 minutes until the filling has set. The pie needs to be completely cold to be sliced. Serve with fresh whipped cream and a sprinkling of sea salt.
     
    WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PIE?

    Check out the different types of pie in our yummy Pie Glossary.
     
    PIE HISTORY

    The ancient Egyptians, who were great bread bakers, worked out the details of early pastry. Theirs was a savory pastry: a dough of flour and water paste to wrap around meat and soak up the juices as it cooked.

     
    Before the creation of baking pans in the 19th century, the coffin, as it was called (the word for a basket or box), was used to bake all food.

    Pastry was further developed in the Middle East and brought to Mediterranean Europe by the Muslims in the 7th century. Another leap occurred in the 11th Century, when Crusaders brought phyllo dough back to Northern Europe (the First Crusade was 1096 to 1099).

    Greek and Roman pastry did not progress as far as it could have because both cultures used oil, which can’t create a stiff pastry. In medieval Northern Europe, the traditional use of lard and butter instead of oil for cooking hastened the development of other pastry types.

    Pies developed, and the stiff pie pastry was used to provide a casing for the various fillings. By the 17th century, flaky and puff pastries were in use, developed by French and Italian Renaissance chefs. These pastry chefs began to make highly decorated pastry, working intricate patterns on the crusts.

     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Oven-Roasted Tomatoes

    When you encounter a bumper crop of tomatoes or see a great sale on tomatoes past their peak: roast them! You can use any fresh tomato: beefsteak, cherry, grape, plum, roma; conventional or heirloom.

    Healthful and delicious, you can serve them as a side with anything, add them to salads and pasta, serve them with a cheese course, and on and on.

    There are so many ways to use this basic recipe. Some of our favorites:

  • Sprinkle with coarse and crunchy or seasoned salt and/or fresh-ground pepper and serve as an antipasto or salad course
  • Blend with simmered with onions, red wine and herbs for a flavorful tomato sauce.
  • Use as a pizza topping.
  • Chop and add to risotto.
  • Serve with a cheese plate.
  • Serve with your favorite soft cheese, drizzled with balsamic vinegar and fine olive oil.
  • Use as a general garnish, plate décor or side.
  •  
    RECIPE: OVEN-ROASTED TOMATOES

    This slow-roasted recipe requires 20 minutes prep time and 1 hour of cook time. It makes enough for leftovers, which can be added hot to pasta, cool to burgers, salads and sandwiches. Use them within a week.

    Roast a mix of sizes and colors for a more beautiful presentation.

    Ingredients For 10 Servings

  • 3 pounds ripe tomatoes, any type
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme (substitute basil, marjoram, oregano or savory)
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 375°F with a rack in the center. Line a shallow roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

    2. PREPARE the tomatoes: Wash, remove any stems and slice them in half lengthwise (with large tomatoes, make a few thick slices). Gently scoop out the seeds with a small spoon. Set the tomatoes, cut side up, in a single layer on the baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with the thyme and garlic.

    3. ROAST for 40 minutes, then increase the oven temperature to 400°F. Continue to until the tomatoes caramelize, about 20 minutes.

    4. TURN off the oven and let the tomatoes sit inside for 10 minutes. Remove the pan to a rack and let cool completely.
     
    PLUM TOMATOES & ROMA TOMATOES: THE DIFFERENCE

    If you wonder why plum tomatoes (a.k.a. Italian plum tomatoes) and roma tomatoes look the same, it’s because for the most part, they are.

    The plum tomato can be oval or cylindrical, while the roma is oval or pear-shaped. Their vines are slightly different.

    They are meatier subspecies, with less liquid and seeds than other tomatoes. That’s why they’re preferred for canning and for tomato sauce.
     
    FUN TOMATO FACTS

    The scientific name of the tomato is Solanum lycopersicum. Individual sizes from cherry to beefsteak are subspecies of lycopersicum.

    Tomatoes are members of the Solanaceae family, popularly called the nightshades. Botanically they are berry*-type fruits.

    Other edible nightshades include eggplant, naranjilla, potato (but not sweet potato), tomatillo.

    Another popular nightshade is the chile pepper: hot and sweet varieties and the spices and condiments made from them, such as cayenne, chili powder, hot sauce and paprika.

    Tomatoes originated in the Andes Mountains of Peru, where thousands of different types grew wild. They were first cultivated by the Incas and spread to Central America, the Aztec Empire.

     

    Beautiful Heirloom Tomatoes

    Cherry Tomatoes

    Roasted Tomatoes Recipe

    Heirloom Plum Tomatoes

    [1] Beautiful heirloom tomatoes (photo courtesy The Chef’s Garden). [2] Simple roasting produces glorious results (photo courtesy Hidden Valley). [3] Roasted cherry tomatoes (photo courtesy Good Eggs | San Francisco). [4] Heirloom roma tomatoes (photo courtesy Hannah Kaminsky | Bittersweet Blog).

     
    The tomatillo (Physalis philadelphica), a cousin in the Solanaceae family, grew wild in Central America. It was cultivated by the Aztecs and called tomatl (pronounced to-MAH-tay).

    When the Aztecs began to cultivate the red berry* from the Andes, they called the new species xitomatl (hee-toe-MAH-tay), meaning “plump thing with navel” or “fat water with navel.”

    The Spanish arriving in what is now Mexico called the tomato tomatl (spelled tomate). The Spanish called the smaller green fruit, called tomatl by the Aztecs, tomatillo.

    Tomate first appeared in print (in Spanish) in 1595 [source and a deeper discussion].
     
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    *The scientific use of “berry” differs from common usage. In botany, a berry is a fruit produced from the ovary of a single flower. The outer layer of the ovary wall (the pericarp) develops into an edible fleshy portion. Thus, “berry” includes many fruits that are not commonly thought of as berries, including bananas, cucumbers, eggplants, grapes, tomatillos and and tomatoes. Paradoxically, fruits not included in the botanical definition include strawberries and raspberries, which are not true berries [source].

      

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    FOOD HOLIDAY: Recipes For National Creamsicle Day

    Creamsicle Cheesecake Recipe

    Creamsicle Cheesecake

    Creamsicle Milkshake

    [1] How about a Creamsicle cheesecake for National Creamsicle Day? Here’s the recipe (photo courtesy Sweet Street Desserts). [2] This recipe from Cook’s Country layers the cake, sherbet and ice cream in a springform pan lined with lady fingers. [3] Prefer a drink? Try a Creamicle shake or cocktail (photo courtesy Williams-Sonoma).

     

    The Creamsicle® was created by the Popsicle Corporation, established in the Depression by Frank Epperson, who had invented the Popsicle®. The vanilla ice cream pop, coated with orange sherbet, became a sensation.

    Today Creamsicle® and Popsicle® are registered trademarks of the Unilever Corporation. Any company wishing to use the name for a product must get a license from Unilever.

    But in the Wild West of online recipes, anything goes.

    Here’s more Creamsicle history.

    Since August 14th is also National Creamsicle Day, take a look at other Creamsicle-inspired food.
     
    FAVORITE CREAMSICLE VARIATIONS

    The easiest, and a favorite of ours, is a simple bowl of vanilla ice cream and orange sorbet (mango sorbet is a great substitute).

    You can also make vanilla cupcakes with orange frosting or top vanilla ice cream with orange liqueur.

    Here are more celebratory recipes:

  • Creamsicle Cheesecake
  • Creamsicle Cocktail
  • Creamsicle Ice Cream Cake
  • Creamsicle Milkshake (recipe below)
  •  
    Also check out fior di Sicilia, an Italian essence used to flavor baked goods and beverages. Its flavor and aroma are reminiscent of a Creamsicle.
     
    RECIPE: CREAMSICLE MILKSHAKE

    Make this recipe, from Williams-Sonoma kitchens, in 5 to 10 minutes.
     
    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 1/2 cup vanilla ice cream, firmly packed
  • 1/2 cup orange sherbet, firmly packed
  • 1/3 cup milk, plus more as needed
  • Optional garnish: orange wheel/wedge or whipped cream
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the ingredients in a blender and process on the low setting. If the shake is too thick, add more milk until the desired consistency is reached.

    2. POUR the shake into a tall glass and garnish as desired.

     
     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Savory Tomato Clafoutis

    Clafoutis (cluh-FOO-tee) is a rustic tart, initially made with cherries in the Limousin region of south-central France, where black cherry trees abound.

    Today, other stone fruits and berries are also used. When other kinds of fruit are used instead of cherries—apples, berries, pears, other stone fruits including prunes—dried plums—the dish is properly called a flaugnarde (flow-NYARD).

    In the centuries before ceramic pie plates were invented (during the Renaissance), the filling was placed into a hand-crafted dough with no sides (think of a galette, or a pizza with a higher side crust).

    The fruit is placed in a pie shell and covered with a flan (custard)-like filling; then baked until puffy. The fruit is not only inside the custard, but tempting nuggets pop through at the top.

    The recipe originated in the Limousin region of France, where black cherries were plentiful (red cherries can also be used). The name derives from the verb clafir, to fill, from the ancient language of Occitania, the modern southern France.

    Fruit clafoutis can be served warm, room temperature or chilled; vegetable clafoutis are better warm.
     
    RECIPE: SAVORY TOMATO CLAFOUTIS

    A savory clafoutis is similar to a quiche. Without a crust it is a savory custard, and can be made in a pie plate or in individual ramekins.

    This recipe was contributed by Karen, FamilyStyle Food to Go Bold With Butter, a source of wonderful recipes.

    Karen made the dish as a custard, without a crust. You can do the same, or use a pie crust or a crust of crushed biscuits/crackers.

    Prep Time is 10 minutes, cook time is 55 minutes. Serve it warm from the oven or room temperature, for brunch, lunch or dinner, or as a first course or snack.

    For a more artistic presentation, use cherry tomatoes in an assortment of colors. You can also combine cherry and grape tomatoes.

     
    Ingredients For 4-6 Servings

  • 12 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes in assorted colors, halved
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Kosher salt or seasoned salt*
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1/8 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, sliced into ribbons
  • Optional crust
  • Optional garnish: marinated tomato “salad”†
  •  
    __________________
    *We used rosemary salt, a blend of sea salt and rosemary. You can make your own by pulsing dried rosemary (or other herb) and coarse salt in a food processor. Start with a 1:3 ratio and add more rosemary to taste.

    †We cut up the leftover tomatoes and marinated them with diced red onion and fresh herbs in a vinaigrette of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Drain it thoroughly through a sieve and then use it as a topping or a side garnish.

     

    Cherry Clafoutis

    Mixed Berry Clafoutis

    roasted-tomato-clafoutis-goboldwbutter-230

    [1] A classic clafoutis, a custard tart with black cherries (here’s the recipe from FoodBeam.com). [2] This mixed berry clafoutis is from The Valley Table, which highlights the cuisine of New York’s Hudson Valley. It is garnished with fresh berries and a side of crème fraîche. [3]A tomato clafoutis with flavorful summer tomatoes (photo courtesy FamilyStyleFood.com.

     
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 375°F. Prick the bottom of the pie shell all over with a fork. Line the bottom with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until the crust begins to color around the edges, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, set aside and raise the oven temperature to 400°F.

    2. TOSS the tomatoes and butter on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt to taste. Roast 15-20 minutes until the tomatoes are soft and begin to caramelize. Transfer the tomatoes to 9-inch round or square baking dish, or set aside until Step 5.

    3. REDUCE the oven temperature to 375°F. Whisk the egg yolks, 1 teaspoon salt and the sugar in large bowl until lightened and creamy. Stir in the flour, 3 tablespoons of the Parmesan and the cream.

    4. BEAT the egg whites in separate bowl or heavy-duty mixer until they form soft peaks. Fold into yolk mixture until blended. Pour batter over tomatoes and sprinkle with basil.

    5. BAKE 18-20 minutes or until batter is puffed and light golden. Sprinkle remaining cheese over top and serve warm.
     
    CHECK OUT THE HISTORY OF PIE

    Invented by the ancient Egyptians, for some 2,000 years food was not baked in containers (e.g. pie plates, baking pans), but completely wrapped in dough. The dough wrap was called a coffin, the word for a basket or box.

    Here’s the scoop.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Fruit Salad With Fresh Cheese

    Fruit Salad With Halloumi Cheese

    Fruit Salad With Goat Cheese

    Fruit Salad With Goat Cheese

    [1] Watermelon and zucchini with grilled halloumi cheese. [2] Watermelon and strawberry salad with fresh goat cheese. [3] Fresh stone salad with feta. Photos courtesy Murray’s Cheese.

     

    Make fruit salad even more delicious: Serve it with cheese.

    Fruit and cheese are an ancient tradition. Today’s tip is for fruit salad with fresh cheese.
     
    WHAT IS FRESH CHEESE?
     
    Fresh cheese is aged for a few days or not at all. Ranging from creamy and spreadable (fromage blanc, ricotta), to soft and pliable (halloumi) to crumbly (goat cheese), if has no rind, which develops during the aging process.

    During the cheesemaking process, the milk for fresh cheese is “ripened” with starter cultures, bacteria that convert the milk sugar (lactose) into lactic acid. This enables the milk to thicken.

    Rennet is then added to further thicken the milk and create curds, rennet is then added . Once curds form, the liquid (whey) is drained away and what remains is turned into cheese.
    Some suggestions from Murray’s Cheese, our favorite purveyor of great cheeses from the U.S. and around the world:

  • Milky: fresh goat cheese or ricotta
  • Grilled: Halloumi, grilled and paired with watermelon and cherry tomatoes on the vine.
  • Sweet & salty: feta with watermelon and oranges or stone fruits.
  • Fresh cheeses include:

  • Cheese curds
  • Cotija
  • Cottage cheese/pot cheese
  • Cream cheese
  • Farmer cheese
  • Fromage blanc
  • Goat cheese (chèvre)
  • Mozzarella
  • Oaxaca
  • Panela
  • Paneer
  • Quark
  • Queso fresco
  •  
    We’ll add two slightly aged cheeses to the mix:

  • Feta, a Greek cheese that is brined and lightly aged
  • Halloumi, a Greek cheese that can be unaged or aged, and holds its shape when grilled or fried
  •  
    The difference between cheese and other cultured milk products like sour cream and yogurt is rennet.

    Cheese is defined as made from curds, and rennet precipitates the curds from milk.

    Thus, while products like fromage blanc, quark and queso fresco look like sour cream and yogurt, the former are made with rennet. You may not be able to see the curds, but they’re there.

     
    READY TO MIX & MATCH?

    Any fruits will do, but pick the best of summer: berries, melons, stone fruits and/or tropical fruits.

    Pick up whatever looks best at the market, make fruit salad and serve it with a fresh cheese.

    Even better: Provide a plate of different cheeses and let guests add whatever they like.

    Whether for dessert, snack, or other course, consider serving the fruit salad and cheese with:

  • Flatbread (from Middle Eastern like lavash to Swedish flatbread like Wasa)
  • French croutons (toasted thin slices of baguette or ficelle)
  • Fruit bread (such as raisin bread) or cornbread
  •  
      

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    FOOD FUN: Filet Mignon “Sculpture” For National Filet Mignon Day

    Here’s some food fun for National Filet Mignon Day, August 13th:

    Instead of serving the meat flat on the plate, create a filet mignon “sculpture”: a commemoration of the tenderest cut of beef.

    In this example from Rue 57 restaurant in New York City, the filet is set against a mound of mashed potatoes, and surrounded by:

  • Jus
  • Pearl onions
  • Peas
  •  
    Two croutons (toasted baguette or ficelle slices) garnish the dish, but you can crown the mashed potatoes with sprig of chive, rosemary or thyme instead.

    You can tailor the dish any way you like. For example:

  • Serve the jus on the side.
  • Add mushrooms or other vegetables.
  •  
    CHECK OUT THE DIFFERENT BEEF CUTS IN OUR BEEF GLOSSARY.
     
    WHAT IS JUS?

    Jus, pronounced ZHOO, is the French word for juice. With meat or poultry, it refers to a thin gravy or sauce made from the meat juices.

    The fat is skimmed from the pan juices and the remaining stock is boiled into a sauce, adding water as desired.

    Some cooks use additional ingredients to add flavor; for example, brown or white sugar, garlic, herbs, onion, salt and pepper, soy sauce and/or Worcestershire sauce. Our mother was fond of Gravy Master.

    In France, it would be argued that such additions are not jus, but a more complex sauce.

     

    French Dip Sandwich

    [1] Honor filet mignon on its national holiday, August 13th (photo courtesy Rue 57). [2] The French Dip sandwich, roast beef on baguette with a side of jus for dipping. Here’s the recipe from One Perfect Bite.

     
    “Au jus” (owe-zhoo) is the French culinary term that describes serving the meat with its pan juices.
     
    CAN YOU NAME THE AMERICAN SANDWICH THAT IS SERVED AU JUS?

    In the U.S., jus is served as a side in a small bowl, with a French dip sandwich: a roast beef sandwich on a hero roll or baguette.

    Here’s how the French Dip originated: another happy accident.
     
    CHECK OUT THE DIFFERENT SANDWICH TYPES IN OUR SANDWICH GLOSSARY.

      

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    FOOD FUN: Getting Political With Snapple

    Through Election Day (November 8th), you can drink to your political party with Snapple TEAcision 2016.

    The new limited-edition flavors from Snapple include:

  • Blue Fruit Tea, a blend of blueberry and blackberry flavors
  • Red Fruit Tea, a blend of pomegranate, cherry and raspberry
  •  
    These “political” flavors follow on the heels of of the “patriotic” July 4th special edition, Oh Say Can You Tea, a black tea with strawberry flavor and a hint of mint.

    That flavor had this Snapple Real Fact on the back of the bottle cap: In Massachusetts, it’s illegal to dance to the National Anthem.

    What’s under the caps of Snapple TEAcision 2016?

    You’ll have to try them to find out!

    Stock up for election results-watching.

     

    Snapple TEAcision 2016

    Drink to your party with TEAcision 2016 (photo courtesy Snapple).

     

      

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