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HALLOWEEN COCKTAIL: Porter’s Rye Way To Hell Punch

[1] Porter’s Rye Way To Hell: great name, delicious drink (both photos © Ogden’s Own Distillery).

[2] You don’t have to be as tough as this gunslinger to enjoy a shot of Porter’s Rye. See his story in the section below.


On this socially-distant Halloween, here’s a fun way to celebrate Halloween with your pod.

The recipe is courtesy of Porter’s Small Batch Rye, an artisan rye handcrafted by Ogden’s Own in Utah.

Recipe notes:

  • If you’re not a rye drinker, substitute bourbon or your favorite clear spirit.
  • Prep time is 10 minutes, plus apple carving time.
  • The yield is 10-20 servings, depending on portion sizes.
  • Although the photo shows the cocktail in a drink dispenser with a spigot, you can use a punch bowl.
  • If you’re cutting the recipe in half, a large pitcher will do.
    For the “evil apple” garnish (see photo #1), you’ll want an apple variety that browns very slowly, or not at all. These varieties include Ambrosia, Cortland, Empire and Gala apples.

    If you want to use the apples as garnishes for individual glasses, get the smallest ones you can find. You may also need straws so the drink can be sipped through the apple’s core.


  • 6 cups of apple cider
  • 25 ounces Porter’s Small Batch Rye Whiskey
  • 25 drops bitters (Angostura Aromatic Bitters or maple bitters)
  • 20 ounces hard cider
  • 7 cups of ice*
  • 1 teaspoon absinthe per glass (substitute Herbsaint or Pernod, or secondarily, Ouzo or Sambuca)
  • Optional garnish: red apples, carved with scary pumpkin faces

    1. MIX the rye, apple cider and and bitters in a large drink dispenser or punch bowl. It can be mixed and stored up to two days before serving, to infuse the flavors. Before serving…

    2. ADD in the hard cider and ice. Enhance the taste with additional bitters as desired. When ready to celebrate and enjoy, rim each party glass with a drizzle of absinthe†. Add ice cubes to glass and pour in the infusion. Garnish glasses and punch bowl with a crew of spooky carved apples for a hair-raising experience when served.


    Porter’s Rye Whiskey is a 95/5 blend of rye and barley. This 90 proof straight rye whiskey is aged in heavily charred new oak barrels for more than three years.

    American rye whiskey is similar to bourbon, but must be distilled from at least 51% rye‡ grain.

    Rye whiskey was the most popular type of whiskey in the U.S. until the start of Prohibition in 1919.

    Rye has been going through a resurgence in recent years, with both artisan distillers and big brands.

    Ogden’s Own is first released approximately 1,000 cases of Porter’s Rye in 2019.

    Who’s the man on the bottle?

    The Porter’s whiskey line is named for Orrin Porter Rockwell, a notorious gunslinger and enforcer in the Old West. It is said that he killed more outlaws than Wyatt Earp, Doc Holladay, Tom Horn and Bat Masterson combined, earning him the menacing title, the “Destroying Angel.”

    Paradoxically, he was a devout Church member and bodyguard for both Joseph Smith, founder of the Latter Day Saint Movement, and Brigham Young, who succeeded him.

    Back to the rye:

    Rye whiskies are produced in both the U.S. (e.g. Jim Beam) and Canada (e.g. Canadian Club).

    However, Canadian whiskey, which is often referred to and labeled as rye whisky for historical reasons, may or may not actually include any rye grain in its production process [source].

    Historically, in Canada, corn-based whisky that had some rye grain added to the mash to give it more flavor, came to be called rye. So if you’re looking for real rye, ask or stick with a big brand (all Canadian Club expressions are rye-based).

    But—we say this as patriotic Americans—stick to American brands to be sure.

  • Here’s more about Porter’s Small Batch Rye.
  • Here’s more about Odgen’s Own Distillery.

    *For a punch bowl, freeze a block of ice in advance. You can use a bundt pan or other mold to create an attractive shape (we use a star-shaped gelatin mold).The larger the piece of ice, the slower it will melt. Ice cubes will melt much faster than a block of ice, and will dilute the punch that much faster.

    †We used a Q-Tip.

    ‡Bourbon can be made from 51% corn or rye, and can be a blend of both.


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    RECIPE: Pumpkin Sage Polenta With Roasted Vegetables

    If you’ve never cooked polenta, it’s a great comfort food—and gluten free, too. We don’t know why Americans don’t eat more of it—and more parsnips, too, while we’re at it.

    (Parsnips [photo #2] are one of the delicious fall vegetables roasted for this recipe.)

    Fall and winter months beg for a dish of warm, creamy polenta.

    Roast your favorite fall vegetables to top this recipe—and roast extra, so you’ll have them for the next day or two.

    Then, set it off with a rich pumpkin cream sauce, with notes of cinnamon and nutmeg.

    We’ve also made and enjoyed the recipe without the cream sauce—but substituted lots of freshly-grated parmesan.

    Ingredients For The Polenta

  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 box (9.2-ounces) instant polenta (photo #4)
  • 1 cup pumpkin purée (photo #3)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
  • 1 teaspoon salt
    For The Roasted Vegetables

  • 2 large parsnips, peeled, quartered and sliced
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and sliced (photo #5)
  • 1 turnip, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 pound Brussels sprouts
  • 1 large red onion, dice into large pieces
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
    For The Cream Sauce

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin purée
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 375˚F.

    2. ROAST the vegetables. Toss the vegetables with olive oil in a large mixing bowl and arrange on a nonstick baking sheet. Sprinkle with sage, salt and pepper.

    Roast the vegetables for 25-30 minutes, or until soft and caramelized. Meanwhile…

    3. MAKE the sauce. Warm the heavy cream and butter in a saucepan. Once the butter has melted, stir in 1/4 cup of the pumpkin, the parmesan, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.

    Keep warm on a low simmer until it’s time to serve.

    4. COOK the polenta. In a sauce pot, bring the water, chicken stock and butter to a boil. Slowly whisk in the polenta. Continuously stirring, cook for about 1 minute, or until the polenta begins to thicken.

    Remove from the heat. Stir in 1 cup of the pumpkin, the sage and salt.

    5. SERVE. Divide the polenta into individual bowls and top with the roasted vegetables and a generous drizzle of cream sauce.

  • Cheesy Polenta Bowl With Jammy Eggs, Roasted Tomatoes & Red Peppers
  • Chicken Thighs With Polenta
  • Fried Eggs With Polenta
  • Ham & Cheddar Polenta Fries
  • How To Make A Grain Bowl: A Template
  • Olive Oil Polenta Cake
  • Polenta Pesto Lasagna
  • Things To Do With Polenta Slices
  • Ways To Serve Polenta

  • What Is Polenta?
  • Polenta Vs. Cornmeal

    *Parsnips belong to the Apiaceae family, which also includes anise, asafoetida (a spice used in Indian recipes), caraway, celery, chervil, coriander, cumin, dill, fennel and lovage, among others. Why don’t Americans eat more parsnips, a delicious vegetable?


    [1] Pumpkin Sage Polenta: It’s a beauty (photo © DeLallo (photo © DeLallo).

    [2] The parsnip, Pastinaca sativa, is a root vegetable closely related to carrots and parsley* (photo © Good Eggs).

    Canned Pumpkin
    [3] Make sure you use canned pumpkin purée. Pumpkin pie filling has added sugar and spices (photo © Jessica Gavin: Culinary Scientist).

    [4] Instant polenta is a great time saver. If you can’t find it locally, order it from DeLallo (photo © DeLallo).

    Butternut Squash
    [5] The recipe calls for a butternut squash, easy to find and easier to cut than acorn squash. But you can substitute any winter squash, including fresh pumpkin (photo © Hawk Haven Vineyard).



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    TIP OF THE DAY: How To Scoop & Roast WInter Squash Seeds

    [1] Acorn squash, one of the two most-available winter squash varieties for the table (photo © Kim Daniels | Unsplash).

    [2] Tied for first place: butternut squash (photo © Good Eggs).


    It’s a little bit of a chore to scrape the seeds out of an acorn, butternut or other winter squash*.

    Here’s a tip: Use an ice cream scoop!

    Another tip: Before you begin to slice the squash, place it in the microwave for 2 to 3 minutes. It will be a lot easier to peel, seed and cut.

    Some people clean the seeds to roast. We don’t have an easy way to do that yet, but here’s a thought:

    You don’t have to remove every last bit of string and flesh pumpkin from the seeds.

  • PREHEAT the oven to 300°F.
  • PLACE the seeds in a bowl of water and soak them briefly, rubbing the seeds back and forth with your fingers or palms and pinching to dislodge as much string as you can.
  • Don’t go crazy. These are a fun food, not a frustrating one. Roast what you have, strings and all.
  • PAT dry and toss the cleaned seeds in bit of oil and salt, just enough to lightly coat. Add optional seasonings: chili powder, cumin, oregano, paprika, rosemary or other favorites.
  • SPREAD in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. It’s O.K. if there is some overlap.
  • ROAST until the seeds are just starting to brown, 20 to 25 minutes. You can stir them halfway through.
  • STORE the seeds at room temperature in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
    You can also use sweet seasonings, trading oil and salt for maple syrup and brown sugar, plus optional fall spices: allspice, cinnamon, clove, ginger, nutmeg. A pinch of salt is a good addition.

    We use the roasted seeds as a general garnish, in grains and salads, and in yogurt. Here are:

    > 20 Uses For Roasted Winter Squash Seeds, Including Pumpkin



    *You can tell winter squash from its thick, hard exterior. You need force in order to slice into it. Acorn, butternut, delicata, hubbard, pumpkin, spaghetti squash and others are winter squash. Summer squash has a thin peel that can be eaten. Yellow squash and zucchini are examples.


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    RECIPE: Fall Pasta Carbonara With Bacon & Apples

    [1] A seasonal carbonara, with bacon and apples. The recipe is below (photos #1 and #2 © Delallo).

    [2] If you can’t find mezzi rigatoni locally, head to DeLallo’s online store.

    [3] Mezzi rigatoni close up (photo © J. Eltovski | Morguefile).

    [4] This delicious bacon is from Butcherbox, a quality meat subscription service with beef, pork and poultry.

    [5] The recipe uses a Granny Smith apple. You can substitute Cortland (photo © Lisa Solonynko | Morguefile).

    [6] Homemade rigatoni mezzi rigatoni made with the extruder attachment on a Kitchen Aid mixer. Here’s the recipe from The Baker Chick (photo © The Baker Chick).


    October is National Pasta Month. We have a fall-focused recipe using mezzi* rigatoni, or half-size rigatoni (photo #2), from Delallo.

    The recipe for Pasta Carbonara With Bacon & Apples is below, after a discussion of rigatoni—a cut that many non-cooks can confuse with penne.

    Rigatoni (righ-gah-TOE-knee) are tube-shaped ridged pasta (see the ridges close up in photo #3).

    Ridged pasta, or pasta rigate (rih-GAH-tay) in Italian, is a style that developed during the Industrial Revolution. New mechanization enabled more sophisticated machine shapes, made with extruders.

    While some pre-industrial artisans labored to make ridged pasta, the effort required was not likely cost-effective.

    But voilà: Bring on the machinery and bronze dies to extrude pasta, and you’ve got all the ridged pastas (and other shapes) one can desire.

    Ridged pasta was an immediate hit. It enabled chunky meat and vegetable sauces to better cling to the surface, lodging in the grooves. That was a bonus for the tubular pastas, which allow the sauce to be inside and outside.

    According to Barilla and The Pasta Project, rigatoni were created in Rome in 1930.

    While this may seem long ago to some, it is relatively recent given that pasta has been made in Italy since the 8th century (the history of pasta).”

    Rigatoni became a mainstay in Lazio (the province of which Rome is the capital). Of note is the classic Roman dish La Pagliata (also called Pajata), made with the intestines of an unweaned calf (one only fed on its mother’s milk. Here’s more about it.

    Rigatoni traveled to southern Italy, where they became a favorite combined with local ingredients.
    Rigatoni Vs. Penne

    Rigatoni are are larger than penne and ziti. They are made in varying lengths and diameters, based on the manufacturer.

    Typical rigatoni are approximately 1-1/2 inches in length and 1/2 inch in diameter. Mezzi Rigatoni are approximately 5/8 inch in length with a diameter of 1/2 inch.

    The differences between rigatoni and penne:

  • Rigatoni is a pasta rigate. It has ridges down the length of the tube.
  • The ends of the rigatoni tubes are square-cut, instead of diagonally for penne.
  • Rigatoni are larger than penne.
  • Penne is made in both smooth and rigate styles. Rigatoni are only rigate.
  • Rigatoncini are a smaller rigatoni, close to the size of penne.
    The word rigatoni comes from the Italian word rigato, meaning ridged or striped (which should come as no surprise at this point in this article).

    Other rigate pasta include:

  • Conchiglie (shells) that are made in rigate and smooth versions.
  • Pipe (PEE-pay, meaning pipe or tube), is a snail shape is similar to lumaconi but with ridges.
  • Tortiglioni are larger than rigatoni, with deeper grooves.
  • Manicotti, meaning “little sleeve.” They are the largest†of the tube pastas, great for stuffing.
    And now, the recipe!



  • 1 egg, plus 2 additional egg yolks
  • 1-1/2 cups grated parmesan cheese/li>
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1/2 pound bacon, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, chopped into ¼” chunks
  • Red chili pepper flakes
  • 5 quarts salted water
  • 1-pound package of DeLallo Mezzi Rigatoni (photo #2) or substitute
  • Coarse sea salt (substitute kosher salt)
  • Freshly=ground black pepper

    1. BEAT the eggs and cheese together in a large serving bowl. Add salt and pepper. Set aside.

    2. HEAT the olive oil and garlic in large saucepan. Once the garlic begins to turn golden, remove it from the oil and discard. Add the bacon to the pan and sauté until it becomes golden brown, about 6 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

    3. ADD the onion to the pan and cook until it begins to soften, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add the apple to the pan. Cool together with the onions for 3 to 4 minutes.

    4. ADD the bacon back to the pan and season with chili pepper to taste. Meanwhile…

    5. BRING 5 quarts of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package instruction. Drain, reserving 2 cups of the pasta water to finish the sauce.

    6. COMBINE the hot pasta with the apple mixture and oil in the serving bowl with the eggs and cheese. Toss to coat and to gently cook the eggs with the heat of the pasta. Once combined…

    7. ADD about 1/4 cup of the reserved hot pasta water and toss. If the pasta appears too dry, add another splash of pasta water. Serve immediately sprinkled with additional cheese.


    *Mezzi rigatoni, often misspelled in the U.S. as mezze rigatoni. Both word variations mean “half,” but rigatoni is a masculine noun and takes the masculine plural adjective, mezzi. Mezze would modify a feminine noun.

    †Manicotti is the Italian-American version of cannelloni. Manicotti tubes are ridged, larger and slightly thicker; cannelloni tubes are smooth, a bit smaller and slightly thinner.

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    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Runamok Sparkle Syrup, Order ASAP

    There’s something different in maple syrup, and so special that it keeps selling out.

    It’s Runamok Maple’s Sparkling Syrup, flush with edible gold (photo #1).

    Runamok is an artisan producer of specialty maple syrup; not only classic varieties, but exciting flavored ones.

    Not just for breakfast, these syrups are special garnishes or mixed ins for cocktails, desserts, marinades, sauces and more.

    While today’s focus is on the sparkly syrup, there are many other options that make great gifting.

    They’ll also open your eyes to what great maple syrup tastes like. It’s not your mother’s supermarket brand.

    There’s more about the line .

    The first batch of Sparkle Syrup sold out in minutes. The company is planning another “sparkle harvest” in mid October.

    Pre-order today to secure your bottles of joy!” says Runamok.

    Why Sparkle Syrup?

    “Sparkle Syrup was created with one sole purpose: to make you smile,” Runamok notes.

    “Life has been very, very serious lately; it is safe to say that 2020 has left no one unscathed.

    “And while we can’t fix the big stuff, we can offer this little bit of whimsy to help make everyone smile.”

    The shimmer comes from food-safe pearlescent mica, the kind that’s used to add glitter to chocolates, cookies and desserts.

    It’s completely edible and adds no additional flavor to the syrup. It’s purely an aesthetic innovation.

    Just like a snow globe, the sparkles do settle after time. You just need to turn the bottle upside down and shake before pouring.

    This syrup innovation tastes like Runamok’s traditional (rich and excellent!) maple syrups, but it’s full of sparkly gold glitter, sure to delight.

    The glitter doesn’t alter the flavor or the texture, just the eye appeal and food fun.

    And yes, it keeps selling out so if you want some for yourself and for gifts:

    Put yourself on the waitlist today!

    You may not be able to buy happiness, but you can buy an 8.45 fluid ounce bottle of Sparkly Syrup for $16.95, and feel happy every time you use it..

    Beyond Sparkle, Runamok makes other Limited Edition syrups, infused with flavors: Cocoa Bean Infused, Holiday Spice Infused, Strawberry Rose Infused, even a forthcoming new Festivus Infused for the holidays (in honor of the Costanza family?)

    That’s in addition to year-round bottles of Cardamom Infused, Cinnamon + Vanilla Infused, Coffee Infused, Elderberry Infused, Ginger Infused, Hibiscus Infused, Jasmine Tea Infused, Makrut Lime Infused and Smoked Chili Pepper Infused.

    Exhausted yet? Don’t be. These syrups are worth your attention. On the website, you’ll see how each of them can be paired to add glorious flavors to food and drink.

    How to choose? Staff favorites include Coffee Infused Maple Syrup, Makrut Lime-leaf Infused Maple Syrup, Smoked Chili Pepper Infused Maple Syrup and the non-infused Whiskey Barrel-Aged Maple Syrup.
    Don’t want flavored syrup?

    Try the non-infused classics: Bourbon Barrel Aged, Rum Barrel-Aged Maple Syrup, Smoked With Pecan Wood, the aforementioned Whiskey Barrel-Aged Maple Syrup and their signature maple syrup, Sugarmaker’s Cut.

    A good maple syrup deserves much more play than the conventional French toast, pancakes and waffles. Try it with;:

  • Baked Apples & Compotes
  • Hot Beverages: coffee, tea
  • Breakfast: on grapefruit or hot cereal, mixed into yogurt, brushed on cooking bacon
  • Butter: compound butter for cooking, maple butter spread
  • Cocktails: instead of sugar or simple syrup, or in Bourbon Maple Sour, a Mapletini or toddy
  • Cold Beverages: cocktails, club soda (to make maple soda), iced tea, lemonade, anything with blueberries
  • Condiments: mix in syrup for a sandwich spread, add to chutney, salsa
  • Confections: blondies, candied nuts, cookies, fudge, pumpkin maple cheesecake
  • Dessert Sauce: baked apple and any apple dessert, fruit salad, grilled fruit, ice cream, rice pudding
  • Dipping Sauce
  • Fruit Salad
  • Glazes: chicken, ham, pork, salmon, turkey
  • Marinades
  • Sides: baked beans and other bean and grain dishes
  • Snacks: drizzled over popcorn (add chili flakes, too)
  • Soups: butternut squash, pumpkin
  • Vegetables: in baked and otherwise cooked sweet potatoes, glazed carrots, mixed into other vegetable dishes
  • Vinaigrette: a splash in regular, balsamic or Dijon vinaigrette
    Need sweetness in whatever you’re eating?

    Use maple syrup, America’s indigenous sweetener.


    [1] Runamok Sparkle Syrup, right spoon, compared to regular maple syrup, left spoon (all photos © Runamok Maple).

    [2] Turn everyday apple slices into a fun snack.

    [3] Top your favorite dessert, from rice pudding to ice cream to un-iced loaf cakes: carrot cake, pound cake, zucchini bread…even angel food cake.

    [4] Runamok’s Sparkle Syrup can sweeten and sparkle iced tea, but Runamok flavored syrups like Makrut Lime, above, can add an extra flash on the palate.

    [5] Be sure to check out Runamok’s 16 syrups and limited editions. Here, Cocoa Bean Infused Maple Syrup.

    [6] A holiday gift for your favorite foodie.


    Based in Fairfax, Vermont, Runamok Maple is led by husband and wife team Eric and Laura Sorkin, who have dedicated themselves to providing their customers with innovative, high-quality maple syrups.

    The brand continues to prove that maple syrup is a must-have pantry item and can be used for anything from meat marinades to cocktails to your favorite dessert.

    Why Runanok? The name comes from the wild and unpredictable nature of making maple syrup. It is one of the last wild-harvested products, which inherently makes things very chaotic.

    Weather, storms, animals, equipment, etc. all play into the craziness of sugaring. Runamok is a fun name to convey the many unpredictable things that can happen in the course of a year.


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