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Endless Beers: What Difference Does a Glass Make?

Posted by on June 18 2014 in Drinks, Trends

stoutglassIPA Glass

Hopefully most of our readers have finally bought in to the #drinkcraftbeer movement. Really, it’s not even a movement, but common sense. Why would anyone pay to drink something that tastes like (a) nothing, (b) pee, or (c) crap? You wouldn’t. So the next step in becoming an all-out beer snob is to drink beer from a GLASS, not the bottle or can. I originally thought the whole experience of picking glassware depending on the kind of beer was a gimmick. However, after testing various Spiegelau glasses out, I’ve changed my tune.

First of all, the main reason behind drinking your suds from a glass rather than the bottle or can is to get the aroma of the beer and to allow it to properly carbonate. The aroma will indeed change the taste of the beer – typically heightening your senses as you indulge in a cold one. Typically, I’ll just pour it into a pint glass no matter what kind of beer, and enjoy. But there are different and innovative ways to drink our beer now. Here are two taste tests (I know…my work is difficult) of the latest innovative beer glass collaborations.

The Glasses:

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Brusselkale: This is a Thing

Posted by on June 17 2014 in Trends

Brussel Kale Sprouts

What are the two trendiest vegetables in the food world? Probably Brussels sprouts and kale. So I guess it was only a matter of time before the BRUSSELKALE was invented. Don’t get me wrong, I do love both of these vegetables, but is it really necessary? It kind of feels like they’re just capitalizing on the crazy popularity of these veg. Kind of like when pomegranate became the new antioxidant superfood then there was pomegranate-flavored everything.

I guess I’m not the first person to realize this is now a thing. Today did a story on Brusselkale, too. It even called it the “Brangelina of veggies” (ugh, barf, just… no, Today. No.) Here’s the gist:

Kale sprouts, aka BrusselKale, are yes, a hybrid of Brussels sprouts and Russian Red kale, and starting to pop up in U.S. grocery stores.

Developed in the U.K. using old-fashioned breeding techniques, kale sprouts (or flower sprouts, as they are known there) look like flowering buds, with green-and-purple leaves. Brussels sprouts are big in the U.K., especially around the holidays, so British seed house Tozer Seeds set out to create a more subtle-tasting sprout, Lisa Friedrich, U.S. spokesperson for Tozer, told TODAY.com.

While new hybrid veggies come out all the time—think purple haze carrots—the kale sprout “is the most distinctive one we’ve seen since broccolini launched in 1999,” Bob Whitaker, chief science officer for the Produce Marketing Association, told TODAY.com.

Are they trying to sell me something I don’t need? After all, I can cook myself Brussels sprouts and/or kale on their own. I guess I can try it on my own and decide for sure, but when I saw these in the store I didn’t really feel like paying $10/lb for them, when kale and Brussels on their own are so much cheaper. Have any of you tried this Brangelina veg? What do you think?


Green Chili Mac Attack

Posted by on June 16 2014 in Cheese, Recipe, Restaurants

Green Chili Mac & Cheese

From mac and cheese with lobster to mac and cheese burgers, mac and cheese hot dogs and more, there’s not much we get more excited about here at ES than good ol’ elbows and cheez product. (Who wants to write up the 100 ways to mac and cheese post?!?)

This new take comes from Mexicue, one of my favorite NYC restaurants, and mixes some serious spice up in yo’ mac.

Green Chili Mac and Cheese

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Bourbon Chocolate, and More…

Posted by on June 13 2014 in Desserts

RaakaChocolate

I don’t really think I need to tell you much more. I’ve debated at work about the few foods that go good with anything. We narrowed it down to two: cheese and chocolate. Well, I believe I’m helping make the chocolate point with the Raaka Bourbon Cask Aged Chocolate. Raaka touts itself as the first company to make a chocolate that uses cask-aged cocoa beans in their bourbon cask-aged chocolate.  The first time I noticed this chocolate was in Bryant Park during the Christmas season. My fianceé and I went into the small shop expecting some kind of gimmick. They provided small samples of each flavor. I could definitely taste the sweetness of the bourbon in the chocolate.

Of course, I tried all of their other flavors, and each sample had a distinctly pleasant and different flavor from the other. End of story–I ended up with a gift bag full of Raaka chocolates for Christmas (thanks fianceé). The bars are still hidden away to savor for the sudden urge I may have every now and then. Apparently the trick to the deliciousness of these chocolates is twofold: (1) the chocolates have uniquely different flavors (see Bourbon Cask Aged, Vanilla Rooibos, or Porter) and (2) the simplistic “virgin” crafting of the chocolate.

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Endless Beers: Stone Smoked Porter WITH CHIPOTLE PEPPERS!

Posted by on June 11 2014 in Drinks

 

SSP_chipotle_22ozBottle_Web

Are you surprised? Stone rarely provides a beer that anyone can consider “ordinary.” The smoked porter with chipotle peppers is anything but. I’ve had beers with peppers in them – habanero, jalapeño, you name it. However, every one of those beers that I’ve tried has been a “sipper.” Meaning…no way in hell can I even drink 12 oz of that stuff. This smoked porter is different. I had it in a large bomber bottle, and I was able to drink the whole thing. The brew gives the bold, distinct flavors of a Stone Porter (including vanilla bean), but then ends with a smokey chipotle kick that is strong, but not so strong that you don’t want any more. Here are the tasting notes…cheers!

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Cool Summer Iced Tea… in a Flash!

Posted by on June 10 2014 in Drinks

Takeya Iced Tea Pitcher

I’ve always liked iced tea fine, but it wasn’t until I moved to Texas that I really began to appreciate it. There’s nothing like a big glass of chilled tea on a hot, sweaty day. Now that Austin is really heating up again, I find myself guzzling it on almost a daily basis. (Looks like I’m onto something, apparently it’s National Iced Tea Month – they have a day/month for everything!) I don’t love sweet tea like some southern dwellers – I prefer it no sugar, with lots of lemon. No matter how you liked your iced tea, it can be a bit of  a hassle to make at home. Sometimes I make hot tea, pour it into a water bottle, add ice, etc. but it’s not the most graceful process. 

Takeya sent me their new flash chill tea maker to check out, and I was interested to see if its specialty “beverage system” was better than my patented “pour warm tea over some ice in a cup” method. Turns out, yes, it is.

Takeya Iced Tea Pitcher

If you’ve ever used an infuser system it’s kind of the same idea. You put tea (either loose leaf, bagged, or their special Takeya pods) into the little infuser section in the middle, add in some hot water, let it steep, take the infuser out, add a bunch of ice, close the super-seal top, and shake-shake-shake. Voila! A batch of icy, flavorful tea.

Takeya Iced Tea Pitcher

You can buy one of these bad boys from the Takeya online store – the smallest version, the 1 quart, runs for $25. If you’re an iced tea aficionado, it’s really not a bad deal at all. And way easier/classier than throwing some ice cubes into a mug of tea.

Here’s a recipe from Takeya to get you started…


Watermelon, Lime, & Mint

INGREDIENTS

FOR 2 QUART ICED TEA MAKER

Makes 8 glasses

2 TAKEYA Mintopia Green Iced Tea Packets

4 cups cold water, preferably filtered

4 tablespoons honey

Ice

1 lime

2¾ cups watermelon, chopped into ½-inch pieces

²?³ cup fresh mint, chopped

(Optional: extra watermelon for garnish)

DIRECTIONS

To get an even bigger watermelon kick from this drink, fill glasses with frozen watermelon cubes just before serving the Green Mint iced tea infu­sion. Just slice watermelon into 1-inch cubes and freeze until solid.

1. PREP Tear open the TAKEYA Mintopia Green Iced Tea Packets, pour tea into Tea Infuser and twist into lid.

2. BREW Heat water to a boil, cool for 3 minutes and fill the pitcher halfway. Lower the lid with attached Tea Infuser into the hot water, allowing steam to vent, and brew for 3 minutes. Remove the lid and detach the Tea Infuser. Stir in honey until dissolved.

3. FLASH CHILL Top off with ice, seal lid and shake for 30 seconds to flash chill. Remove 2½ cups of the iced tea to make room for the fruit infusion.

4. ADD CITRUS FLAVOR Twist the Citrus Juicer into the top of the pitcher and juice the lime. Twist off the Citrus Juicer, seal and shake to mix.

5. ADD FRUIT & HERB FLA VORS Twist the Fruit Infuser into the Infuser Extender and add chopped watermelon and mint. Twist the Fruit Infuser into the lid, lower it into the iced tea and seal airtight. Zip on the Thermo Jacket and infuse for 3 hours in the refrigerator.

FOOD PAIRING Bring on the spices and pair curry, pepper and hot sauces with the sweet and refreshing flavors of watermelon, lime and mint.


Nutty Jalapeño Chicken Stuffed Peppers

Posted by on June 9 2014 in Contests, Fowl, Recipe

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Ya”ll know we love to cook with some peanut butter here at the simmer, so I got pretty excited when I saw that the Southern Peanut Growers conducted its first “PB My Way” regional recipe contest, calling for the craziest, funnest, must surprising peanut butter recipes from around the country.

This winning recipe, submitted by Lori McLain of Denton, Texas, is the kind of idea what makes online casino australia people who hate PB say “WHY would you do that?” and people who love it shout GENIUS.

Sign me up for the latter category.

Nutty Jalapeño Chicken Stuffed Peppers

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