Month: November 2012

All About Absinthe

I’ll admit that I’ve always been fascinated with absinthe. From stories of the green fairy to the fact that it was banned in the United States in 1915, this anise-flavored spirit has long held my attention and I was excited to see it on the shelves during my last trip to the local liquor store.

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I was curious, though, about what to do with it once I’d bought it. I’d never even tasted absinthe before, and didn’t have any idea about how to use it. Enter Tom Sandham and World’s Best Cocktails. The best thing about this book is that it provides detailed history and information on each liquor and spirit. I learned a ton about absinthe that I didn’t know and they had some amazing cocktail recipes that I was eager to try out. This one caught my attention because a) it’s beautiful and b) it was easy to make.

Green Beast 
Excerpted from World’s Best Cocktails by Tom Sandham 
Award-winning French bartender Charles Vexenat created the Green Beast at the Cocktails & Spirits bar show in Paris. It can be served as a long drink or in a punch bowl for larger gatherings. Multiply the specs as you multiply your guests.

1 fl oz/25 ml Pernod absinthe
1 fl oz/25 ml lime juice
1 fl oz/25 ml sugar syrup
3 1/2 fl oz/100 ml water
ice cubes

Serve in a highball glass.

Pour the ingredients into a glass in the order listed, stirring and adding ice as you do so. Garnish with cucumber slices.

World’s Best Cocktails is an exciting global journey, providing the secrets to successful cocktail making, their history and provenance, and where to seek out the world’s best bars and bartenders, from London to Long Island and beyond. Cocktail and liquor connoisseur Tom Sandham provides a comprehensive appraisal of global cocktail culture, highlighting the trends and techniques that make the finest drinks popular in their native climes and across the world.

Tom Sandham is a highly-respected drinks writer in London who is at the forefront of cocktail culture. He writes a cocktail column for The Times online and is former editor of CLASS, the number one magazine in the world of cocktails. He has judged at the most prestigious cocktail competitions all over the world, landing in places as diverse and distant as Lapland or Cuba on a weekly basis.

An Interview with Pie Expert Millicent Souris

Thanksgiving is around the corner and that means the time for pies has arrived. From pumpkin to apple, pie has become a big part of our Thanksgiving celebration. There are a lot of many reliable trading platforms from where a trader will get to pick and choose the one of his choice as per his convenience and affordability. This variety here is mainly to cater to the needs and expectations of the various traders and their trading interests.

Rather than picking up a pie from the local bakery this year, whynot switch it up and try your hand at something new? Millicent has a delicious recipe for sweet potato pie with sesame praline.

Millicent Souris is the author of How to Build a Better Pie: Sweet and Savory Recipes for Flaky Crusts, Toppers, and the Things in Between. Her book will help you learn the skills, practice the techniques, master the recipes, and build yourself a better pie.

Photo credit: How to Build a Better Pie (c) Quarry Books, 2012

Here’s what Millicent had to say about pies, pie-making, and more.  

How did you get into pies?

I was inspired to make pies when I asked my friend what he had done on his days off and he answered that he made an apple pie. I was cooking at a bar in Portland, Oregon in 2000. I just started to make pies, I had never baked before. The first pie I made was a banana cream pie from a James Beard cookbook. Then I started making two pies a day when people came over to watch the World Series.


You talk in the introduction of your book about a “redneck [that] inspired you to make pie.” How did you meet Matt Stark? Does he still make pies?

Matt Stark was the door guy at the bar where I work. I don’t know what he does now. He plays in a country band, and probably makes pies and kills things.

What’s your favorite recipe? Why?

I really like the sweet potato pie with sesame praline. I think the praline is a lovely addition, surprising and delicious. It’s not just clever for the sake of being clever. It was my friend Gerard’s favorite. He has since passed.

How do you brainstorm new pie recipes?

I come up with new recipes out of necessity. What’s around really dictates what I make. And reading cookbooks.

What’s the most unique pie flavor you’ve ever made?

Using the over-ripened tomatillos and tasting how sweet they were. I also made gallettes with quince and green tomatoes once. That worked.

Do you prefer sweet or savory pies? 

Pie is pie.

What do you teach in your pie classes? What would a student expect to learn?

I teach really the minutiae of making the crust and rolling it out. It changes according to fruit season. I discuss the details and why crust acts the way it does.

Photo credit: How to Build a Better Pie (c) Quarry Books, 2012

What is the most important pie technique/tip that you give your students?

Incorporating the fat into the crust, adding the water, and how to roll it out.

Are some fillings more temperamental to deal with than others? If so, which ones? How do you get around it?

Juicy fruit pies are challenging because they need time to set up. Eggs need to be baked properly. Dairy should be room temperature. Usually every bit of food has some aspect of it that demands our respect and attention.

What is the most challenging aspect of making a pie?

Pre-baking a crust can really get my goat.

So what’s next in the world of pie-making?

Thanksgiving.

Check out our other pie-related articles: Has your pie gone to the birds? andCheddar Cheese Double Crust.

Millicent Souris is a New-York-based, self-taught, homegrown, DIY-driven pie-maker. She’s made thousands of pies in the past 10 years (you may have tasted some of them in places as far-flung as Chicago and Brooklyn). A resident of Brooklyn, she teaches pie-making workshops at the Brooklyn Kitchen, and she can spot a limp crust from 100 paces.

Going Al Dente

Making homemade pasta is a skill that every home chef should master. After all, pasta is not only a delicious staple of most households, but a visually appetizing dish that is sure to impress. The best part? It’s not as tricky to make as it seems.

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I’m a history geek and love to know where traditions and cooking methods come from, so I was excited to stumble across this fun fact in Aliza Green’s book Making Artisan Pasta.

Photo credit: Making Artisan Pasta (c) Quarry Books, 2012.

Where does al dente pasta come from?

“The preference for firm cooked pasta developed in eighteenth-century Naples, which became the center of Italy’s dried pasta production because its breezy climate was perfect for air-drying pasta, crucial before the invention of mechanical dryers. Earlier, pasta was cooked until quite soft, but when Neapolitan street vendors began selling pasta from carts, customers came to prefer pasta with chewy, substantial texture that was easier to eat with the hands, as was then the custom. By the nineteenth century, their taste for firm pasta had spread to the rest of Italy, though the term ‘al dente’, meaning ‘to the tooth,’ didn’t appear in the Italian language until World War I.

“We now know that the starch molecules in pasta are packed so tightly that only about half are digested rapidly as long as the pasta is kept firm and bouncy. So, pasta that is cooked al dente is easier to digest and more healthful.” —Excerpted from Making Artisan Pasta by Aliza Green.

Pick up your copy of Making Artisan Pasta today.

Aliza Green is an award-winning Philadelphia-based author, journalist, and influential chef whose books include The Fishmonger’s Apprentice (Quarry Books, 2010), Starting with Ingredients: Baking (Running Press, 2008) and Starting with Ingredients (Running Press, 2006), four Field Guides to food (Quirk, 2004-2007), Beans: More than 200 Delicious, Wholesome Recipes from Around the World (Running Press, 2004) and collaborations with famed chefs Guillermo Pernot and Georges Perrier. A former food columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News, Green now writes regularly for Cooking Light, and is known for her encyclopedic knowledge of every possible ingredient, its history, culture, and use in the kitchen and bakery. Green’s books have garnered high praise from critics, readers, and culinary professionals alike, including a James Beard award for “Best Single-Subject Cookbook” in 2001 for Ceviche!: Seafood, Salads, and Cocktails with a Latino Twist (Running Press, 2001), which she co-authored with chef Guillermo Pernot. Visit her website at http://www.alizagreen.com.

Steve Legato is a freelance photographer specializing in food, restaurant industry, cookbooks, and advertising. His work has been featured in Art Culinaire, The New York Times, Food and Wine, Wine Spectator, Food Arts, GQ, Departures, Wine & Spirits, Travel & Leisure, Philadelphia Magazine, Delaware Today, New Jersey Monthly and Main Line Today. He resides just outside of Philadelphia, PA. Visit his website at http://www.stevelegato.com.

Fall Recipes for the Family

As a new mom and an avid foodie, I decided early on that I was going to take a stab at making my own baby food. After all, we are CSA members of our local farm and always have fresh veggies around the house. As a fresher it is definitely a difficult task for the trader to get into this field and that too with a reliable and legit trading platform. You can learn the facts here now from such websites that are specifically designed and formed to help the traders with basic information.

The first few months of creating baby purées was a success and our little man is a voracious eater.

As my son gets bigger and we can include him in more family meals, I am often left searching for the best balance of trying new recipes and finding something that my one year old can eat, will enjoy, and offers the right combination of nutrients for his growing body.

Enter Bountiful Baby Purées. More than merely a how-to on blending baby foods, this comprehensive baby cook book takes new parents from the basics to preparing family meals that everyone will adore.

I can’t help but share a new favorite in our household. I’m sure you’ll love this delicious fall breakfast… even if you don’t have kids 🙂

Whole Grain Pumpkin Pancakes
Excerpted from Bountiful Baby Purées

Yield: 12 to 15 medium-sized pancakes

2 cups (250 g) whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons (7 g) baking powder
1 cup (235 ml) milk
1 1/2 cups (370 g) Pure Pumpkin Raspberry Purée*
1 teaspoon (14 g) unsalted butter
Pure maple syrup, for serving

1. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, baking soda, and baking powder.
2. In a separate bowl, combine milk, Pure Pumpkin Raspberry Purée, vanilla, and eggs.
3. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until combined.
4. Melt about 1 tablespoon (14 g) of butter in a large skillet or griddle and heat to medium-high. Ladle pancake batter into skillet to make medium sized pancakes. As soon as bubbles begin to form on the top side of the pancakes, flip. Both sides should be lightly browned when done.
5. Remove pancakes from skillet and serve immediately with maple syrup.

*Pure Pumpkin Raspberry Purée

1 small baking pumpkin, seeded
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 up (120 ml) water
1 cup (125 g) fresh raspberries
1 banana

1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC, or gas mark 4)
2. Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds. Brush olive oil on the pumpkin flesh.
3. On a lined parchment baking sheet, place the pumpkins halves flesh side down on the sheet. Bake for 40 minutes, or until soft.
4. Scoop the pumpkin flesh from the skin and add to a blender with 1/2 cup (120 ml) water and raspberries.
5. Add banana to the blender and purée.
6. Add water as needed to obtain the desired consistency.

Anni Daulter is a professional cook, advocate of sustainable living, and author of Organically Raised: Conscious Cooking for Babies & Toddlers (Rodale, May 2010) and Ice Pop Joy (Sellers). She was also the founder and operator of a fresh organic baby food company, Bohemian Baby, for three years, where she developed all recipes and branding for the company. Her food was sold to all the top celebrity babies including the children of Gwyneth Paltrow, Adam Sandler, Christy Turlington, Stevie Wonder, Bridget Fonda, Debi Mazar, the late Heath Ledger, Angela Bassett and many others. Bohemian Baby food was featured in more 60 articles and was sold in local Whole Foods stores. Anni has since ceased production and has begun to write cookbooks with a healthy focus for families. She has also launched her new site, Conscious Family Living (http://www.annidaulter.com), which she hopes to turn into an online magazine. Anni lives in Los Angeles, CA with her husband Tim and four children.