Three Ways to Celebrate Dry January and National Cheese Day

Skip the Cabernet and grab something a little bubblier this month – a variety of full-flavored sparkling waters. In keeping with Dry January and National Cheese Lovers Day approaching this January 20th, check out Waterloo Sparkling Water delicious pairings.

Waterloo Grape Sparkling Water

Pairs with: Blue Cheese and Spiced Pecans

Tasting Notes:

Waterloo’s juicy and full-bodied Grape flavor pairs perfectly with the rich and bold flavor of Blue cheese. Couple with spiced pecans for a nutty and buttery finish.

Waterloo Black Cherry Sparkling Water

Pairs with: Sharp Cheddar and Caramelized Onions

Why?

Waterloo Black Cherry is crisp and refreshing, with notes of muddled fruit. Pair with sharp cheddar and caramelized onion for a sweet counterpart to the strong and savory cheddar flavor.

Waterloo Peach Sparkling Water

Pairs with: Goat Cheese and Thyme Infused Honey

Why?

Waterloo’s Peach sparkling water is ripe and boasting with true-to-fruit flavor. Pair with a young, soft goat cheese and thyme infused honey for a savory and sweet combination.


Salamati: Hamed’s Persian Kitchen: 70 Recipes and Stories from Iran to the Other Side of the World

for the adventuresome home chef, Allahyari offers a world of flavors.”

In mortal danger for his beliefs, Hamed Allahyari and his pregnant girlfriend fled their homeland of Iran, first spending two months in Indonesia and then, after grueling hours long by truck over badly paved back roads and then days crammed aboard a boat another five months on Christmas Island before being granted asylum by the Australian government. Once there, life remained extremely difficult for the young couple who were now parents of two young children, and though Allahyari had been a chef and restauranteur in Iran, no one was interested—or so it seemed—in Persian cuisine.

Unable to find work Allahyari began volunteering at the Resource Center, an organization that provides support, legal advice, and other assistance including meals to refugees and people seeking asylum.

“Every day they feed 250 people a free lunch,” Allahyari writes in the introduction to his cookbook Salamati: Hamed’s Persian Kitchen: Recipes and Stories from Iran to the Other Side of the World. “I started cooking there two days a week, making Persian food for people from all over the world: Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Miramar, Sierra Leone, all kinds of places, and most of them had never tried Persian food before. But when they tried it, they liked it. They talked to me about it, asked me about it, and it made me happy.”

Culinary Connections

At the recommendation of others, Allahyari also began teaching cooking classes, demonstrating how to make such dishes as Zeytoon Parvadrah (Olive and Walnuts Chunky Dip), Abdoogh Khiar, Yogurt and Cucumber soup, Sabzi Pofow Ba Mahi (Fish with Herb Pilaf), and Persian Love Cake. Over the years, Allahyari taught more than 2500 people how to make Persian food. Now, he caters and is chef/owner of SalamiTea, a restaurant located in Sunshine, an ethnically diverse neighborhood in Melbourne. The name is a play on “salamati,” the Persian word meaning both “health” and “cheers.”

Salamati is more than just a cookbook, it’s also a memoir and homage to the country he had to flee. The introduction to the featured recipes in his book might offer a personal connection to the dish, a description of a unique ingredient that helps define it and bring out its best flavors—though he also offers a substitute for such items as Persian dried limes, which might be difficult to locate outside of a major city, and/or puts the food in context with the scenes to Iran.

This dish is traditionally served in Iranian shisha shops, the cafes where older men gather to smoke water pipes, drink tea and solve the problems of the world,” he writes about Ghahve Khunee Omelette (Street-Food Tomato Omelette). “Shisha shops don’t really serve food but inevitably people get hungry while they’re hanging around, so it’s become traditional for staff to whip up a quick tomato omelette for customers and serve it with bread, raw red onion, herbs and lemon. If you want one, all you ask for is ‘omelette.’ There’s no menu as such.”

Not all the recipes are easy but for those who don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen, there are enough simple ones to get started. Full-color photos of each recipe show what the finished product will look like. And for the adventuresome home chef, Allahyari offers a world of flavors.

This review originally appeared in the New York Journal of Books.

Six Great Cocktails for Fall

Celebrate Halloween and beyond with   Q MixersWaterloo Sparkling Water and Dos Equis. For those looking for creative and fun cocktails, they have you covered with seasonal cocktails you and your guests will die for 😉! Grab your candy corn, tune into Hocus Pocus and get your cocktail shaker out!

Q Mixers is sharing (3) must-try libations perfect for party batches that instantly takes your Halloween bash from boring to boo-licious. 

Waterloo Sparkling Water has (2) ALL-NEW cocktail recipes featuring their limited time only flavor, Cranberry. Perfect for a fall night by the fire.

Dos Equis has a recipe that brings a spicy twist to the classic fall apple cider.

Jekyll & Hydeball

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 oz Tequila
  • 1 oz Pineapple Juice
  • 1 small dash Tabasco
  • 5 oz Q Sparkling Grapefruit

Method:

Build in highball glass filled with ice and top with Q Sparkling Grapefruit. Garnish with the tops of two chili peppers to create devil horns.

Frankenlime Collins

Ingredients:

  • 1 oz Gin
  • 0.25 oz Midori
  • 0.5 oz Lime Juice
  • 5 oz Q Spectacular Tonic
  • 1 Lime Peel

Method:

Shake all ingredients except the Q Spectacular Tonic and strain into a large glass mug. Top with chilled Q Spectacular Tonic Water and garnish with a lime peel.

Eyeball Highball

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ oz Bourbon
  • ½ oz Lychee Juice
  • 4 oz Q Ginger Ale
  • 1 Lychee Eyeball

Method:

Build drink in highball glass and garnish with lychee eyeball. To make the lychee eyeball garnish, drain a can of lychees (reserve lychee juice for the recipe) and insert a blueberry into the hollowed out lychee.

Loo-ner Eclipse

Ingredients:

Method:

In a mixing tin, add apple cider, lemon juice, and cinnamon syrup. Then add ice and shake well. Strain over fresh ice and top with Waterloo Cranberry. Garnish with fresh cranberries, grated cinnamon, and cinnamon stick.

Chai By Night

Ingredients:

Method:

In a mixing tin add chai tea and almond milk. Add ice and give it a quick shake to produce a light foam. Strain over fresh ice and top with Waterloo Cranberry. Garnish with shaved milk chocolate.

Apple Cider Habanero

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz. Dos Equis® Ambar
  • 3 oz. apple cider (habanero infused)
  • ½ oz. lime juice
  • 1 oz. tequila reposado (100% agave)
  • 3 large ice cubes
  • Apple slice

Method:

Make habanero infused apple cider by soaking 100g of habanero peppers in 1 gallon of apple cider for two hours room temperature (or longer to taste). Pour cider, lime juice and tequila over ice and stir. Top with Dos Equis® Ambar. Garnish with apple slices.

Bourbon Entertaining Made Easy By Experts

Inspired by the amazing win of Strike Rich, the second biggest upset in the Kentucky Derby’s history, I decided to delve into Kentucky food history by reading and cooking from a new book on the subject, it’s title compelling asking Which Fork Do I use with My Bourbon?: Setting the Table for Tastings, Food Pairings, Dinners, and Cocktail Parties from University Press of Kentucky.

Wondering what fork to use when serving bourbon isn’t a question we commonly ask, but authors Peggy Noe Stevens and Susan Reigler are entertainment and bourbon experts who travel frequently conducting seminars and tastings. The impetus for their book stems from being constantly asked how to go about hosting the perfect cocktail or dinner party starting from table setting to pairing the best foods and bourbons.

Their bourbon credentials are impeccable. Stevens is an inductee into the Bourbon Hall of Fame, the first female master bourbon taster, founder of the Bourbon Women Association, and one of the originators of the Kentucky Bourbon Trails. Reigler is the author of several bourbon and travel books including Kentucky Bourbon Country: The Essential Travel Guide and The Kentucky Bourbon Cocktail Book, a former restaurant critic and beverage columnist, and past president of the Bourbon Women Association as well as a certified bourbon steward.

Now Stevens and Reigler are the type of Kentucky women who if they were going to tailgate at the Kentucky Derby wouldn’t bring a cooler filled will take-out from the deli counter of the local grocery store to be served on  paper plates and eaten with plastic dinnerware. This type of Kentucky woman brings great grandmother’s silver serving dishes and great great Aunt Mabel’s fine China. And, of course, the food would be equally well turned out though not necessarily fussy or hard to make.

Despite the elegance of it all, Stevens and Reigler don’t want anyone “to work their fingers to the bone planning and executing.”

Susan Reigler

Peggy Noe Stevens

After all, they say, “the best form of bourbon etiquette is simple to make people feel comfortable.”

The following recipes are from Which Fork Do I Use With My Bourbon.

Dark and Bloody Mary:

  • 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, paprika mix
  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • 2 large lemon wedges
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato juice

To prepare the seasoning mix, combine in a mortar (or spice grinder) one part each smoked sea salt, smoked black pepper, and smoked paprika (the authors suggest these should all come from Bourbon Barrel Foods– bourbonbarrelfoods.com). Finely crush with a pestle and shake together in a jar.

To a pint glass or a large mason jar filled with ice, add the bourbon, squeeze and drop in the lemon wedges, and add 1teaspoon of the seasoning mix and the Worcestershire sauce. Shake. Add more ice and the tomato juice. Shake again.

Garnish with a long straw and baby corn, large pitted black olive, and cherry pepper, all on a stick.

Wabbit

Combine all the cocktail ingredients in a shaker. Shake on ice and double-strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a sage leaf.

Date Syrup

Macerate 1 pint of dates with rich syrup (1 pound of “sugar in the raw” and ½ pound of water, heated and stirred until the sugar dissolves).

Susan’s Tuna Spread:

Author Susan Reigler came across this recipe forty years ago in a small spiral-bound  book of recipes by James Beard that was included with her purchase of a Cuisinart food processor. She always gets raves when she serves it. Spicy and tangy, this is not your bachelor uncle’s bland tuna fish salad.

  • 2 5-ounce cans albacore tuna packed in water, drained
  • cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup tightly packed fresh parsley sprigs
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1½ tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and blend briefly.

Bourbon Pineapple Poundcake:

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup bourbon
  • 1 to 2 fresh pineapples, quartered and sliced
  • in thick strips
  • 1 pound cake

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees. Mix the brown sugar and bourbon until it forms a thin paste. Lay the pineapple strips side by side in a baking dish.

Brush the brown sugar mixture thickly on the pineapple strips. Put the dish in the oven and allow the mixture to melt over the pineapple until warm.

Lay the pineapple strips over slices of pound cake and ladle any extra juice over each slice. Serve immediately.

Woodford Reserve Chocolate Bread Pudding:

  • 12 cups stale French bread, diced in 1-inch cubes
  • 1 quart whole milk
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1¾ cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 6 ounces dark or bittersweet chocolate, chopped in large chunks
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Place the bread cubes in a large bowl and toss with the milk until the

bread is moistened. Soak for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together the eggs, sugar,

vanilla, and cinnamon and pour over the bread-milk mixture. Fold

together until well mixed.

Fold in the chocolate chunks and mix until evenly distributed. Pour

into a greased, deep 13- by 9-inch pan. Drizzle the melted butter over

the batter and cover with foil.

Bake for 30 minutes covered and then for another 10 to 15 minutes

uncovered, until the pudding is set and firm in the middle and golden

brown on top. Serve warm with Bourbon Butter Sauce.

Bourbon Butter Sauce

Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat.

Whisk in the sugar and bourbon and bring to a simmer. Crack the eggs

in a large bowl and whisk until blended. Add a little warm bourbon

mixture to the eggs and whisk. Continue to add the bourbon mixture

a little at a time until the eggs have been tempered. Pour all the liquid

back into the pan and return it to medium heat. Bring to a light simmer

and cook for several minutes, until thickened. Keep warm and serve over bread pudding.

Photography by Pam Spaulding.

Straight Bourbon: Distilling the Industry’s Heritage

“Bourbon is a legacy of blue grass, water and Kentucky limestone,” Carol Peachee tells me when I ask what makes Kentucky bourbon so prized.

Limestone? Water? Bluegrass? What’s that have to do with fine bourbon?

Turns out it’s quite simple. According to Peachee, the limestone filters the iron out of the water as it flows through the rock, producing a sweet-tasting mineral water perfect for making the greatest tasting liquor. Limestone, with its heavy calcium deposits, also is credited with the lush blue grass the state’s prize-winning horses gaze upon — making their bones strong.

It’s been a long time since I took geology in college, but I do like the taste of good bourbon and the sight of stately horses grazing in beautiful pastures and the more I can learn about it all, the better. Which is why I love Peachee’s entrancing photographs.

Carol Peachee

I first met Peachee, an award-winning professional photographer, when she was autographing copies of her latest book, Straight Bourbon: Distilling the Industry’s Heritage (Indiana University Press 2017; $28). Creating beauty as well as a sense of yearning, her books, including The Birth of Bourbon: A Photographic Tour of Early Distilleries, take us on a wanderlust journey of lost distilleries and those now re-emerging from the wreckage of Prohibition. At one time, Kentucky had over two hundred commercial distilleries, but only sixty-one reopened after the repeal of Prohibition in 1933. Now, as Kentucky bourbon becomes a driving force throughout the world, once barely remembered and long closed distilleries are being restored and revamped and are opening again for business.

Using a photographic technique known as high-dynamic-range imaging ― a process that produces rich saturation, intensely clarified details, and a full spectrum of light ― Peachee hauntingly showcases the vibrancy still lingering in artifacts such as antique tools, worn cypress fermenting tubs, ornate copper stills some turning slightly green with oxidation and age, gears and levers —things we would never typically think of as lovely and compelling.

Traveling with the Book

Keeping copies of her books in my car when I travel to Kentucky, I love visiting some of the places and sites she’s photographed.

Her passion for bourbon may also have come about, in part, because she lives in Lexington, Kentucky which is rich in the history of bourbon making (and, we should say, sipping).

To get a taste of how bourbon connects to the land, when in Lexington, Peachee suggests a stop at the Barrel House Distilling Co. including the Elkhorn Tavern located in the old James B. Pepper barrel plant. It’s part of Lexington’s happening Distillery District. But fine bourbon doesn’t just stop in Lexington.

“There are so many bourbon distilleries now,” she says, noting that the heritage of good bourbon making is more than the equipment and the water.

“The cultural heritage of distilling also lays in the human culture,” she writes in the Acknowledgements section of her latest book, “the people who learned the crafts of milling, copper welding and design, barrel making and warehouse construction and then passed them on through the generations down to today’s workers and owners.”

And now Peachee has passed them down to us so we can fully appreciate the art of distilling

Town Branch Bourbon Bramble

  • 2oz Bourbon
  • 3/4oz Fresh squeeze lemons
  • 3/4oz Simple syrup
  • 5 Fresh blackberries muddled

Shake with ice, strain and pour over fresh ice in rock glass with blackberry garnish.

Town Branch Bourbon Mint Julep

  • 2 oz Bourbon
  • 8 mint leaves
  • 1/4oz simple syrup
  • Dash of bitters

Muddle ingredients.

Add crushed ice with mint garnish and straw.

The above recipes are courtesy of the Lexington Brewing & Distilling Company.

14th Annual TASTE AWARDS: Call for Submissions

With the tagline “Honoring the Best There Is,” The TASTE AWARDS are the premier awards celebrating the year’s best in Food, Fashion, Health, Travel, and Lifestyle programs in Film, Television, Online & Streaming Video, Podcasts, Radio and Photography.

New Award Added for Tik Tok Videos

14th Annual TASTE AWARDS Committee adds Special Awards Category for TikTok Videos

In recognition of the growing influence and reach of TikTok content and creators, the Awards Committee has announced a new special awards category this year specifically for videos that are on TikTok.

The category for Best TikTok Video is for content that specifically appears on TikTok, for topics including food, drink, fashion, travel, health or lifestyle.

More at www.TheTasteAwards.com

Submission Deadline

Regular Submissions for the 14th Annual Awards are open through September 6th for content first released between October 2021 and October 2022.

Annual Awards

The Annual Awards have included appearances by stars, celebrities, producers and executives from networks and platforms such as the Food Network, the Style Network, Bravo, the Cooking Channel, Sony Pictures, DreamWorks, TLC, Discovery, Lifetime, E! Entertainment Television, PBS, APT, Create TV, NBC, ABC, the CW, HGTV, the Travel Channel, HD Net, Hulu, YouTube, Vimeo, Vice, LiveWell Network, Esquire Network, Bio/FYI Channel, iHeart Radio, HBO, MyxTV, Small Screen Network, StyleHaul, PTA, Zagat, Mode Media, WatchMojo, Amazon Prime, Netflix, Lifetime Network, Vox Media, Buzzfeed, Tastemade, and more.

SUBMIT ENTRIES AT www.TheTasteAwards.com  or at FilmFreeway.com/TasteAwards

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