Archive for the ‘Other’ Category
Happy Mardi Gras and let the good times roll!
New Orleans is a magical place for many different reasons, whether your fascination lies in the incredible culinary offerings, the historical buildings of the French Quarter or the stately manses of the Garden District. Jazz? Blues? Street performers? Cultural attractions? The mighty Mississippi? The “Crescent City” has something for everyone.
Summoning up a memory of walking in front of the nearly 300 year old St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square, as the fog rolls in on a sultry night and the tops of the buildings, trees and lampposts disappear from site, one gets the feeling of being wrapped in a blanket of sensual pleasure.
You made your way to one of the ubiquitous coffee shops and enjoyed the only beverage that seemed appropriate for the location and weather, a cafe au lait on ice.
Months later, having returned from your vacation, you hear Billie Holiday on the radio crooning her version of “Do You Know What It’s Like to Miss New Orleans?” and suddenly you do. You attempt to recapture the feeling of that night by struggling to make a New Orleans style coffee at home. You fail miserably. Your glass contains a bitter brew, not the deep flavorful smooth inky coffee of New Orleans.
Fortunately, now there’s a solution, thanks to the late inventor Philip McCrory, who in 1989 perfected a large quantity method of duplicating the ‘trick’ so many New Orleans coffee shops use in very small batches to get that special taste – cool brewing. Brewing freshly-roasted batches of beans without heat for a smooth and non-acidic coffee, served hot or cold.
The result is CoolBrew, a coffee concentrate that lets you make the perfect cup or pot every time. Arriving in a unique bottle that inhibits air contact with the brew, simply squeeze an ounce of CoolBrew into your cup and top with cold or hot water. Add your favorite sweetener or dairy product if you like.
If you enjoy flavored coffees, CoolBrew has a something for you, as well, including Mocha, Vanilla, Hazelnut, and, to celebrate their 25th anniversary, new Chocolate Almond. And yes, there’s a Decaf too.
Invite me over and I’ll say “I bet I can tell you where you got dat coffee!”
Here’s a few idea starters for other ways to use CoolBrew.
(CoolBrew furnished samples for this taste test).
Cool Brew reviews
200 years before Starbucks was a twinkle in the founder’s eyes, New Orleans had its own coffee culture.
The port of choice for Latin American coffee bean growers for most of the 18th and 19th centuries, the Crescent City has been home to coffee brands, roasters, and distributors for decades. The beginning of the ubiquitous New Orleans coffee shop can be traced to the early 19th century, when Rose Nicaud set up the first portable coffee stand near New Orleans’s iconic French Market.
One of the secrets to the great coffee served in NOLA has always been a cold-dripped process; the method uses no heat to extract the most flavorful brews from freshly-roasted coffee beans, and produces a very rich concentrated coffee.
The methodology had always been completed in very small batches, until 1989, when the late pharmacist and innovator Phillip McCrory invented an innovative cold filtration process that could be implemented on a much larger scale than previous attempts. Freshly roasted coffee beans are brewed very slowly using only cold water, and acids generally found in hot-brewed coffee are removed organically in the process.
The process perfected, McCrory began a quest for unique packaging, that would be both a brand identifier and the most efficient way to store and serve his unique brew.
Finalizing the design of a unique, double-necked bottled, to preserve freshness by limited air contact with the coffee, the New Orleans Coffee Company launched CoolBrew in 1989 with local gourmet grocery Dorignac’s as the first retail outlet. Shortly after the launch, the original Whole Foods Market, which was also located in New Orleans, took on the brew, along with other local markets.
Now celebrating its 25th anniversary, and still family owned and operated in New Orleans, CoolBrew not only prides itself on being an iconic Louisiana brand, but also is a huge promoter of sustainability in its business operation.
Their plastic bottles are recyclable, and coffee grounds are donated to local landscaping companies to make rich compost.
Available in a variety of flavors, to celebrate the company’s 25th anniversary, they have launched a special, limited time flavor of Chocolate Almond, with a deep essence of rich chocolate combined with the full-flavored nuttiness of almonds.
To make a fresh cup of hot coffee, or a tall glass of iced coffee, open the bottle, squeeze an ounce into 9 ounces of hot or cold water, add milk and or sugar if you like, and enjoy.
I’m loving the Chocolate Almond, and I’ve always been a fan of CoolBrew’s French Roast, especially as an iced Cafe au Lait style beverage.
CoolBrew is so rich and flavorful, you can enjoy it as an ingredient in your favorite recipes as well as a beverage. Some idea recipes for specialty beverages, desserts and sauces can be found on the CoolBrew website.
To find a CoolBrew retailer near you, use the company’s online locator tool; to get it sent to your home, directly, order online. If you’re heading to Mardi Gras this weekend, of course you can tote home a suitcase full!
(Editors note: CoolBrew furnished samples for this taste test).
Executive Chef Kevin Ilenda at Restaurant 301 in Duluth, Minnesota, continues to wow and educate local diners with his special wine pairing dinners. The most recent event featured wines from the vineyard of Sonoma Valley’s Gloria Ferrer. The area of Sonoma that Gloria Ferrer has under vine is called Los Carneros, and boasts a climate suitable for Pinot and Chardonnay; much of the grow from this area is destined to become sparkling wine.
The Ferrer family’s heritage as a grower and vintner dates back more than one hundred years, and working with local restaurants and distributors around the country (in Duluth, Ferrer wines are distributed by Wine Merchants), the winery is on the road sharing its special vintages.
Ilenda put on his creative thinking toque for the five course repast at the Gloria Ferrer event at Restaurant 301.
The evening started with an amuse-bouche of a stuffed mussel, paired with Ferrer’s Brut. Ilenda spread his own wings with a dazzling first that featured the flavors of East and West Asia and the Subcontinent, a chicken wing confit with greens, a plum/cardamon chutney, pickled fennel and a Daikon radish. Pairing was a medium body Pinot-based sparkling Blanc de Noirs.
A 2010 Chardonnay led the 2nd, a crab onion bouillabaisse, topped with sweet rye croutons and highlighted with a mint avocado meringue.
The substantial third course featured a serving of caramelized halibut, with a celery root puree, and a variety of lightly seasoned vegetables. The course was accented with Ferrer’s 2010 Pinot.
While few diners at the sold out event had room for dessert, Chef’s creation was persuasive on the plate and the palate. Ilenda had dreamed up a chocolate and almond sponge cake, with a creme glace of coffee and Grand Marnier.
Restaurant 301 is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Call (218) 336-2705 for reservations or information. In Duluth, you can find Gloria Ferrer wines at fine retailers like the Mount Royal and Lake Aire Bottle Shops.
(photos copyright 2014 Kawikamedia.com)
As you can probably surmise, I’m always screwing around in the kitchen, looking for a different way to do prepare something. Today I stumbled onto a method that I think is good enough to share.
Someone gave me a canister of “honey wheat” pretzels, which ordinarily I wouldn’t think of buying or consuming, I generally like my sweet and savory flavors to keep their distance from each other. I sampled a couple, they weren’t that bad, nor that sweet, and I was getting ready to make some fried chicken when the proverbial light bulb went off – why not use the pretzels as fried chicken coating? So I did, and the results were delightful.
Here’s the dope:
- 1 C pulsed fine honey wheat pretzels
- 1 T Tony Chachere Creole Seasoning
- 1 C plain flour
- 2 eggs beaten
- 2 C your preferred frying oil
- Chicken parts of your choosing
Pour the plain flour onto a plate
Beat the eggs and pour onto a plate
Combine the pretzel flour and creole seasoning in a plastic bag
Dredge the chicken pieces in flour, dredge in the egg was, and toss into the bag that has the pretzel mix. Shake vigorously.
Bring the oil to frying temp in a deep pan, and place the chicken pieces in to fry. Turn frequently and cook to your preferred temp.
I cooked legs and wings about 12 minutes and boneless breasts about 18, which is a little longer than most recipes suggest, but the thick coating keeps the meat moist, even with these cooking times.
Remove from heat, let cool on a rack for ten minutes prior to consuming.
I really enjoyed this ‘mistake’, the coating was not to thick, not to thin, there was a hint of sweetness from the honey pretzels, and a little salty kick from the Creole seasoning. Give it a try!
Fried Chicken Recipe
Within spitting distance of the Wisconsin border, on US 41 north of Chicago, Captain Porky’s is one of those delightful gems one hopes to discover but doesn’t run into all that often. A combination restaurant and seafood market, the three Kallianis siblings started the restaurant in 1984, having settled in the suburban Chicago area after immigrating from Greece.
The restaurant part (order at the counter, sit at large wood picnic tables inside) features cooked to order seafood, sandwiches, and bbq specialties, like ribs and chicken.
The market part offers a fresh seafood counter, order like at a butcher shop, by the pound, or in the case of some fish, they will slice off ‘sized to order’ steaks. In a small deli counter are house-made fresh salads and a few Greek baked goods. A variety of micro brews are available by the bottle for those dining in.
They serve their sandwiches New Orleans “po boy” style, on French rolls dressed with tomato, lettuce, and mayo. They also offer a couple of New Orleans specialties like gumbo and jambalaya. Note that for another day.
Sandwiches and meals are served ala carte or with a slight upgrade, with sides. Steak fries are available, as are a host of other fried delicacies, like rings, okra, zucchini, hush puppies, eggplant, as well as several southern vegetables.
I went outside the norm, and had a walleye po boy. Walleye is a tender flesh, mild fish indigenenous to the upper Midwest, Canada, and Alaska. I asked for a little side of remoulade sauce, a very traditional New Orleans condiment that originated in France. Call it tartar sauce with a kick, which can come from adding capers or curry powder. If you feel inclined to make it at home, here’s Emeril’s recipe.
I knew the fish would be fresh from seeing it in the counter (pic below). It was cooked perfectly, with a light breading, and was ample sized, a good value for the money. Steak fries were great, as well, especially when I used the remoulade as a fry dipping sauce.
If you live in the Chicago area, particularly the NW burgs, or in SE Wisconsin, it’s worth a trip, if you haven’t been. Excellent job, folks. Time to consider bringing your chow to the rest of the country!
The family owns an another restaurant next door, The Shanty, which features seafood, steaks, pasta as well as a Friday fish fry, and breakfast on Sundays.
Captain Porkys Seafood and BBQ Review
I should have given up on KFC a long time ago, but especially today, when their android app kept crashing on me. Just couldn’t get it to go, an indication that I shouldn’t have “went,” I guess.
There are so many fast food chicken places I like better, from my ‘chicken fingers of the south” tour, to my usual favorite, New Orleans born and bred Popeyes. And apparently my memory isn’t good enough any more to remember my last visit to KFC.
So why did I go today? It was free, a coupon good for two “Original Bites” meals, which come with a drink and a side. Original Bites are relatively new on the menu, a nugget type chicken, though smaller, and boasting “all white breast meat hand breaded in our kitchen.”
I was offered a choice of two sauces, Honey BBQ or Ranch to go along with my chicken
bits bites. That’s it? No Buffalo, Mustard, Sweet/Sour, whatever, or did I just get a lazy cashier or poorly equipped store? How were the bites? Meh. A lot of breading and a little chicken, the ten piece meal clocks in at $5.99 if you’re paying money or in bitcoin.
Since it is “Original Recipe”, it’s rather flavorless. Since I was getting two meals, I got two sides, the potato wedges, which are thick cut fries dipped in batter, fried, and seasoned, and the green beans, which sadly seemed like they had been cooking for a couple of years. With no texture left at all, and no flavor, they were the saddest beans I have ever run in to. Made me cry purdy near.
Will I go back? I hope not, but just like most Americans, I am a prisoner of convenience.
Pix below show the difference between the product on the KFC website, and what I was served.
KFC Original Bites Review
There was a story over the weekend, widely covered, but not, about how China has banned the import of shellfish from the Pacific Northwest of the US. First time it has happened. Chinese say it is because they found traces of a ‘toxin’ in recent shipments. But is that it really?
Some other news stories over the weekend that didn’t get as wide as coverage were regarding the continuing dumping of radioactive water from the Japanese reactor melt-down, into the Pacific. Another one about how sailors on a USN ship that was helping at the scene of the disaster a few years ago – has a crew coming down with all manner of weird cancers.
I was living in Oregon when the first solid debris from the Japanese nuke disaster starting floating up on the coast. Of course, there’s no way to stop radioactive ocean water from making its way to the US.
Panic stories have suggested the entire west coast of the US and Hawaii will be uninhabitable within a couple years. In addition to the fact that Colorado, Wyoming, and Idaho would become very crowded, California, Oregon, and Washington supply an ungodly high percentage of produce in the US (and grape wines, of course), and this would result in further problems.
What if Godzilla returns?
Should we be concerned? Are we? Is this a real crisis? Time will tell.
Rivers Edge Chevre Wins “Best American Cheese” for the second time in 2013 in international competition
Rivers Edge Chevre’s Up in Smoke was chosen as the “Best American Cheese” at the 25th annual Guild of Fine Foods World Cheese Awards on Wednesday, November 27th 2013. The competition was held at the BBC Good Food Show in Birmingham, England. This win follows on the heels of Rivers Edge Chevre’s Humbug Mountain winning Best USA Cheese in July at the 116th annual International Cheese Awards in Nantwich, England.
Up in Smoke is a hand formed 4 oz. round of fresh chevre that is smoked over maple and alder and then wrapped in smoked Big Leaf Maple leaves that have been misted with bourbon. Patricia Morford received word of her cheeses fate via an email from fellow Oregon Cheese Guild member and one of the over 250 judges of the World Cheese Awards, David Gremmels, (co-owner of Rogue Creamery).
“Congratulations Pat on winning a Supreme Super Gold tonight at the World Cheese Awards and being Crowned Best American Cheese! I chose, presented and championed your cheese tonight on the supreme judges panel. It showed and tasted brilliantly against 60 competing cheeses and the panel of 15 judges totally agreed by giving it a Supreme Super Gold and crowning it Best American Cheese.”
Before making it to the final round of judging it had received a Super Gold in the class it had originally been entered in (Class 5007- Goat’s milk cheese smoked). The final panel of 15 judges represented 13 different countries. Up in Smoke competed against smoked goat cheeses from all around the world in its original class and then against all the cow, sheep and goat cheeses entered from the United States before being awarded “Best American Cheese”.
Up in Smoke was not the only Rivers Edge Chevre cheese to win an award, Siltcoos, a small ash coated, soft ripened wheel of chevre that is decorated with a fern was awarded a Gold in its class (Class 5514- Any cheese that has been awarded Supreme Champion (or its equivalent) in a national or international cheese awards in any country). Siltcoos was entered in this class because it had won Best in Show at the 2012 American Dairy Goat Association’s cheese competition.
Rivers Edge Chevre is a farmstead goat cheese producer located in Logsden, Oregon. Their cheese is sold across the United States and can be purchased 7 days a week on the farm at their self-serve cheese refrigerator located on the front porch of the dairy at 6315 Logsden Rd., Logsden, Oregon 97357.
up in smoke cheese
Like most people, I have my share of Thanksgiving memories, encompassing the whole range of emotions – joyful, painful, embarrassing, curious, mildly amusing.
The years that I have spent the holiday “alone” have usually fallen into the “interesting” category; one year I went to Waffle House in the middle of the night for my ‘feast, and ended up reflecting on the holiday and America in general. It was a couple months after Hurricane Katrina, and the folks gathered at the WH were grateful to have a hot meal of any kind.
My first Thanksgiving living in China was both interesting and fun; a local restaurant in Guangzhou (Canton) served up their take on the American spread to a group of ex-pats. It was great fun.
My favorite Thanksgiving ever was one my daughter prepared, she was about ten, and she had planned an entire day of non-stop feasting, with the only assistance from the big people coming in the form of a couple of runs to the grocery store. She prepared perhaps thirty different items, from breakfast, thru lunch, snacks, and the traditional feast. She had written down the entire food list on a scrap of paper that ended up stained with food and beverages at the end of day, that piece of paper is one of my most treasured possessions.
A year after Katrina, money was tight, and my squeeze du jour and I went to a fancy grocery store, and bought tasty morsels in small increments – a buck worth of this, $3 of that, and had a fabulous ‘tapas’ style dinner with all sorts of delicacies.
Two years ago, a friend hosted a huge potluck, and it seems everyone was very accomplished in the kitchen, and it was a wonderful night, with great people, close friends, and tasty foods. Evolving it into the weirdness category, a bunch of us left dinner and went to a local dive tavern, and grazed thru the bar’s Thanksgiving dinner. That was a good one.
There was one in Hong Kong, I spent the day cooking, my girlfriend was at work, and came home about 11 PM. I had assumed we would celebrate the day, and wasn’t aware it was never a significant thing for her. Oh well.
Last year, 2012, totally forgettable, a bunch of people, none of whom wanted to be around the others, some ersatz relatives, people dropping by for dinner even though they had already had two or three elsewhere. It was the last Thanksgiving I would have in the city and house that I had lived in for the longest single stint I had spent in one place in my adult life. Exile came weeks later.
This year, a return to normalcy, beyond normalcy, in a posh tropical seaside resort, surrounded by people I love and who love me, unconditionally, always have, and always will. The food will be a splendiferous feast of lobster, shrimp, tropical fruits, a pig roast on the beach, accompanied by an unending supply of umbrella drinks.
I am blessed. This is heaven. A destination I deserve after seven years in hell.
Amble up the North Shore of Lake Superior, you’ll be treated to some gorgeous scenery as well as a choice of hot spots for haute. The Clearwater Grille strives to serve ultra tasty food in a casual atmosphere; it’s located in the building locals know as the former “Lakeview Castle.” Boasting a large area for private events, and catering services, private dining rooms can accommodate between 12-500.
The Clearwater is open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday, and for brunch on the weekend, featuring a Bloody Mary bar on Sundays.
Kawika and the Minnesota Posse stopped by and had one of the items that the house boats about, Yankee Pot Roast, a beef roast stewed with carrots, onion, and celery in a rich beef gravy, with a side of smash and choice of soup or salad. To a man, all enjoyed the dish.
A neighboring table went with one of the daily specials, a “Cowboy Burger”, which looked tasty as well. While not described on the menu, it looked to be the ‘standard cowboy’ configuration, including bacon, cheese, bbq sauce, and crispy onion strings.
Clearwater Grille Review