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Endless Pairings: Negra Modelo

Posted by on November 12 2014 in Cheese, Drinks, Fowl, Pig, Red Meat

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Mexican beer and fall-themed food. The perfect complement? Well, that’s what were determined to find out when Negra Modelo sent us a “pairing kit” to put it to the test. When presented with the opportunity to taste test, my answer is almost always yes. Negra Modelo sent us a box full of spices from The Spice House, two tulip glasses, a wooden cutting board, and a $50 Visa gift card to purchase the goods. Challenge accepted. Think of it as the at-home version of Chopped. Being seasonal food fans (mainly fall), we began planning a menu of fall foods that would highlight the spices (follow The Spice House recommendations) and pair well with a Vienna (dark) lager. Yes – a European beer style from Mexico. Here’s the menu:

  • Aged Cabot Cheese with apples, fig jam, balsamic glaze, and crostini
  • Spiced roasted brussels sprouts
  • Sweet potato puree with nutmeg and cinnamon
  • Ribeye steak with Quebec beef spice
  • Cornish Hen with bicentennial seasoning
  • Pork with bavarian style seasoning

We had a friend over and made a beer pairing tasting menu. Negra Modelo was served with the appetizer, followed by a taste of each protein with the sides. The beer and food was judged based on the flavor of each, whether the spices complemented the food, and if the beer paired well with each “course.” On to the tasting notes:

Negra Modelo (ABV: 5.4%)

Appearance: Dark caramel with a red hue

Aroma: Sweet scents with subtle scents of toast

Taste: Sweet malts give caramel flavor, biscuit flavor with light herbal and earthy tastes

Mouthfeel: Clean and crisp with lingering sweetness

Overall: A pleasant surprise, Negra Modelo provides more character than expected. While it is an InBev beer, I can forgive that if the brew offers some flavor. For a lager from Mexico, it offers the basic profile of a lager with extra sweetness of caramel and a toasty flavor as well. Tastes like it would pair well with fall foods. So here we go! continue reading…


Cocktail O’Clock: A Fall Drink Sans Pumpkin

Posted by on November 11 2014 in Drinks, Recipe

Pear and Sparkling Cider

OK people, I know we all like to get overexcited about our pumpkin beers and our PS lattes, but does every fall cocktail these days have to be pumpkin-based? Nothing against the good ol’ gourd, I just feel like some other fall ingredients tend to get overloooked — like apple cider!

This classy fall cocktail combines cider, champagne, bourbon and pear for a decidedly different fall taste.

Pear and Sparkling Cider Cocktail

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Endless Road Trip: Collingswood Pop Shop

Posted by on November 10 2014 in Cheese, Food Travel, Restaurants, Sandwich

There is more to South Jersey than the Real Housewives: there is food. We were recently visiting  to celebrate my future sister-in-law’s birthday and went to the Pop Shop in Collingswood, NJ. The name “pop shop” insinuates great ice cream floats, milk shakes, and fountain soda. However, I noticed that every waiter was wearing shirts touting their love for cheese. The shop was featured on Food Network’s Throwdown with Bobby Flay for their grilled cheese. The menu features the sandwiches from the show so some of us got that, while future sister-in-law ordered the trophy of dessert breakfasts – s’mores french toast. Then of course, we all gorged ourselves with desserts. Enough chit chat – on to the food.

S’mores French Toast:

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Under the heading of “Fantastic French Toast Dreams,” you will find cinnamon bun french toast, banana’s foster, and even ham and cheese. But then you see the s’mores french toast on the menu and by chance see a waiter flaunting a pile of french toast, graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallow on what has to be a silver platter. Clearly someone at the table is ordering the s’mores french toast. Sister-in-law ordered it with a small amount of persuasion from the table and offers to give up half of their sandwich for a bite of the gooey french toast.  Well I got my bite in a trade for some bacon and cheese fries. The bite included savory fresh french toast  soaked with chocolate sauce. Then the marshmallow sauce that glues the stack of french toast together hits you. Your bite must include a piece of the top of the stack, since that is where the crunch of the graham cracker comes from. While I would never be able to finish an entire dish of it, I would suggest someone at my table order it again.

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The Cronut of Pasta

Posted by on November 6 2014 in Cheese, Recipe

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The only problem with pasta…is that it isn’t a cake.

Until now.

Renowned noodle-maker Giovanni Rana shared this recipe for TORTELLINI BIRTHDAY CAKE. Yes, you read that right. Yes, you need to make this NOW.

Tortellini Birthday Cake

1 22 oz. package Giovanni Rana Cheese ‘Delicato’ Tortellini
1/2 cup Giovanni Rana Marinara Sauce
1/2 cup grated parmigiano reggiano, divided
1/4 cup butter, plus extra for pan
1/4 cup flour
3 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups (packed) grated fontina cheese, divided
1 egg
1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1/2 cup ricotta

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Endless Beer: Ommegang Valar Morghulis

Posted by on November 6 2014 in Drinks

Valar Morghulis

ABV: 8%

“When confronted with the most feared saying in Valyrian, take a sip and choose your words wisely.”

We’ve all been waiting for the October release of the latest Ommegang Game of Thrones series. Now that we’ve all been able to find it somewhere, drink it up and converse about the series and what to expect next, we can talk about the beer! There are a lot of cool beer series out there, but I think Ommegang and Game of Thrones wins with most creative and true to the style (of the books and the beer). The creativity in determining what kind of beer, the label art, and even the marketing message is impressive. I’ve had each series but this is the first time I’ve had the brew after reading four of the books. I gotta tell ya, the excitement in receiving this sample from Ommegang can’t compete with many things.

Fun fact: the Valar Morghulis Dubbel was chosen by the people in a facebook poll. If you don’t know (how dare you?), Valar Morghulis means “all men must die” and to say it is foreboding would be an understatement. One of my favorite characters – Arya Stark is given a two-headed coin by a man that is able to change his appearance and also just happened to kick ass on a number occasions in the book. For two kick ass characters to be represented, the beer must do the same – kick some ass. The poll participants chose a Dubbel as the style of the beer and Ommegang went to town to create a Dubbel that  lives up to its name. In knowing the ABV was at 8%, my expectations were for a boozy taste with sweet malts and to get some strong yeasty characteristics. On to the tasting profile! continue reading…


Newsflash: Trader Joe’s Now has BOXED WINE

Posted by on November 5 2014 in Drinks

Trader Joe's Boxed Wine

The headline says it all. Maybe the most important headline of your/my/OUR lives.

According to a smug, boxed-wine loving friend, this Trader Joe’s boxed wine has been a thing for awhile now.

But I just found out about it. So I figured a lot of you didn’t know, ether.

Well, it’s here, and it’s more than adequate. I LOVE YOU TRADER JOES. Thank you and good night.


Smoky-Sweet Autumn Breakfast Hash

Posted by on November 4 2014 in Breakfast, Eggs, Recipe

Smoky-Sweet Autumn Breakfast Hash
Rise and shine! It’s November and it’s time to start eating some hearty, wholesome meals.

This weekend I was bored of my typical post-Saturday-morning-gym egg-and-vegetable scrambles so I decided to change it up a bit and really embrace some fall produce. If you don’t have butternut squash readily available, you could definitely use sweet potatoes instead, for a more traditional hash. I really want you to use good sausage in this – none of that frozen Jimmy Dean breakfast patty stuff. I used an all-natural chicken-apple-gouda sausage from the local grocer.

Smoky-Sweet Autumn Breakfast Hash

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