Archive for April, 2011
Today’s guest blog is by Erwin C. Santiago and his adventures at an industry-only seminar, comparative blind taste testing and cocktail clinic!
Hiyo! If you recall, I started off as a Foodie Intern and did a guest blog after watching the Julie & Julia movie. Since then I became Kathy Casey Food Studios’ Social Media Manager (yay! Go me!) and am learning more about the hospitality/culinary/mixology worlds. I will still consider myself a foodie newbie, but I’m learning something new every day by working with Kathy and the team.
I had the honor and privilege to attend an industry-only gin seminar and clinic held at Liberty Bar in Capitol Hill on April 27th. I’m typically a man behind the computer doing social media/techie related tasks, so being able to attend the gin tasting was a fun outing for me.
The gentlemen behind aka Wine Geek hosted the day’s event and guided the packed bar through the palette pleasing adventure. Starting the seminar off with a gin punch, Steve Olson and Andy Seymour guided us through gin’s sordid history and its evolution while Leo DeGroff worked behind the bar, preparing other gin cocktails for us to sip later. (Side note: Steve did let the audience know that Washington, Oregon and Colorado lead the nation in the number of micro-distilleries around!)
This is what I sat down to! Look at all those glasses!
I sat down with seven (….yes seven!) gins to taste. As I sipped, swished, tasted, breathed and spat out each gin, I learned to appreciate the depth of flavor of a quality base spirit such as gin. I did have to leave early but had an amazing time learning the ins and outs behind a greatly misunderstood spirit.
April 28th, 2011
With Easter fast approaching, it’s time to stock up on wonderful treats and eggs to later hide for kids and adults to find. Colorful jelly beans. Marshmallowy yellow chick or pink bunny Peeps®. Chocolate Easter bunnies. Once Easter is over, what do you do with the leftovers?
Continue reading on Amazon’s Al Dente Blog.
To view the clip from KING 5’s New Day Northwest, click here.
April 20th, 2011
Having a blast in New Orleans! I’m currently at the Mom 2.0 Summit Conference with Almond Accents dishin’ out d’lish bites! Here’s one of my tasty treats, my Toffee Almond Jumbles! Enjoy! -Kathy
Toffee Almond Jumbles
Makes 16 pieces
1 package Almond Accents Butter Toffee Glazed sliced almonds
2 cups Wheat Chex®
1 cup broken pretzel sticks (about 1/2-inch pieces)
1 1/2 cups butterscotch chips
1/2 cup chocolate chips
sea salt for sprinkling (optional)
In large bowl, mix Almond Accents, Wheat Chex and broken pretzels. In a 4-cup microwavable cup, microwave butterscotch chips, uncovered, on medium for 10 seconds; stir and repeat in 10-second intervals until mixture can be stirred smooth. Pour over cereal mixture, stirring until evenly coated.
On a wax-paper lined cookie sheet, form mixture into 16 “stacks”; if mixture begins to cool and crumble, return to microwave for 10 seconds then continue.
In another small microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips, uncovered, on medium in 10-second intervals, until chocolate can be stirred smooth. Drizzle chocolate over snack-mix stacks and lightly sprinkle with sea salt if desired. Refrigerate until just set. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
Recipe created by Kathy Casey Food Studios®
April 15th, 2011
I always know spring is here when the fennel starts to come up in my urban garden. We have wild growing fennel tha t grows along our back gate here in Seattle – it is non-bulbing but provides us a lot delicious pollen for sprinkling and plenty of seeds to harvest every year! Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) is indigenous to the Mediterranean but it thrives anywhere with fairly dry soil. Everything from the bulb to the pollen is staple ingredients in culinary traditions from Greece and India all the way to Northern Europe. It grows best in moderate to cool temperatures (60’s-70’s), which thankfully we get in abundance here in the Pacific Northwest. Fennel shares family ties with other classic aromatics such as carrots, celery and parsley. Of course it is also popularly known as one of the three main ingredients in absinthe!
Continue reading on Amazon’s Al Dente blog!
April 14th, 2011
Picking the right wine to go with a meal can be a daunting task in the first place, but Master Sommelier Evan Goldstein, four-time James Beard Award nominee, wants you to take a few risks and try something a little less ordinary. In his book Daring Pairing, the exciting new companion to Perfect Pairings, Goldstein teams up with thirty-six acclaimed chefs to highlight less conventional wine choices with perfectly tailored dishes. A “down to earth guide to wine’s less-travelled terrain”, Daring Pairings visits countries all over the world to explore their unique varietals, like Txakoli, the light-bodied, frizzante white from Spain’s Basque region, Greece’s obscure dark and fruity Xinomavro and the spicy, earthen Barbera from Italy’s Piedmont region.
Of course, it takes two to tango, and you need food to pair these spectacular wines. The chef-tailored recipes in this book are elegant without being fussy. Each one, from start to finish, would be equally as appropriate for a dinner party or a weeknight meal, but with Spring right around the corner, I want to share Loretta Keller’s offering from the book, Mushroom Salad with Warm Goat Cheese Toasts, which Evan suggests pairing with the versatile, slightly acidic Chenin Blanc. He also recommends a diverse list of Chenin producers, grouped by price range such as ‘everyday’, ‘premium’ and ‘splurge’ so you can tailor the suggestion to your own tastes!
So next time you’re perusing the wine section, keep Evan’s spirit of adventure and discovery in mind and pick up something you’ve never tried before! Salut!
Chenin Blanc and Mushroom Salad with Warm Goat Cheese Toasts
Makes 4 salad-course of first course servings
6 oz white button mushrooms, trimmed
1/2 cup crème fraiche
6 drops fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp grated lemon zest
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 celery stalk
4 slices coarse country bread
2 Tbsps extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, halved
1/2 lb fresh goat cheese, at room temp
1 Tbsp fresh tarragon leaves
1 Tbsp finely slices fresh chives
1/4 cup fresh chervil leaves
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 Tbsp coarsely chopped fresh dill
1/2 cup small-leaf arugula
1 cup mache
2 Tbsps extra virgin olive oil
2 tsps fresh lemon juice
Using a mandoline or a sharp knife, thinly slice he mushrooms, then place in a bowl. Add the crème fraiche, lemon juice, lemon zest, and a pinch each salt and pepper. Gently combine the ingredients, being careful not to break up the mushrooms. Set aside.
Using a vegetable peeler, remove the strings from the celery stalk, then thinly slice the stalk crosswise with the mandolin or knife. Add the mushrooms and gently toss to mix.
Toast the bread slices, and brush one side of each slice with the olive oil. Drag the cut side of the garlic clove across the oiled side of each bread slice once or twice. Spread one-fourth of the goat cheese one each slice of toast.
Working quickly now, make the herb salad. In a bowl, combine all of the herbs, the arugula and the mache. Drizzle with the olive oil and lemon juice and toss to mix. Season with salt and pepper and toss again.
Divide the mushroom salad evening among 4 plates. Scatter the herb salad over the top, and place a slice of warm goat cheese toast on the side. Serve immediately.
Recipe by Loretta Keller found in Daring Pairings: A Master Sommelier Matches Distinctive Wines with Recipes from His Favorite Chefs, University of California Press, Los Angeles
April 7th, 2011