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Last update: February 28, 2007 08:55 AM (All times are in UTC)

February 27, 2007

Ode to a Carrot Pudding

With apologies to Ernest L. Thayer

O' little pudding
siting in the pot
Woe to the cook
who thinks her skills are hot

I'm apprehensive of the recipe
but I still concede to do it
The first problem quickly arrives
I cannot find any suet

I use margarine in place of the kidney's tallow
I'm told it's a good replacement
Now I wish I'd taken that advice
and buried it in the basement

I combine the carrots with pomme de terre
And add a bit of flour
Add some spices, throw it all in a mold
And watch it steam for hours

Hour one I sit their waiting
watching water steam
I hear the bubbles popping
As if I'm in a dream

Hour two I'm getting anxious
Wondering if it's good
How is the pudding cooking
beneath the pudding mold's hood?

Hour three is upon me
the end is finally near
I pull the pudding from the pot
and give a silent cheer

Alas the joy is all for naught
This recipe I so rue
'cause it's less of a carrot pudding
and more of a carrot goo

Oh, somewhere in this favored land
the sun is shining bright.
The band is playing somewhere,
and somewhere hearts are light.

And, somewhere men are laughing,
and little children shout,
but there is no joy in in my house
'cause I'm going to go and pout.

February 27, 2007 08:55 PM

Chodorow vs. Bruni: the conflict continues

Filed under: Restaurants, Raves & Reviews, Newspapers, On the Blogs

Some seem to think that restaurateur Jeffrey Chodorow's grudge against NY Times restaurant critic Frank Bruni runs deeper than just one bad review. Chodorow has, after all, said that he feels his restaurants have always gotten the short stick from the reviewer. A recent piece on Page Six of the NY Post seems to confirm this, as Chodorow has just announce that Bruni is banned from all of his 29 restaurants.

For those of you wondering how the Chodorow plans to ban someone whose looks are supposed to be a secret, just know that restaurant staffs make it their business to unmask restaurant critics whenever possible, many kitchens will have a wall of critics and other notable people to keep an eye out for. Chodorow's employees have an extra reason to look for Bruni because Jeffrey has offered a free trip for two to the Caribbean to the first person to recognize him. As insurance to make sure he is seen, Chodorow plans to post a photo of Bruni on his personal blog sometime soon.

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February 27, 2007 07:01 PM

Krispy Kreme, now available in whole wheat

Filed under: New Products, Bakeries, Fast Food

The term "It's what's inside that counts" definitely applies to Krispy Kreme's latest offering, but I'm not referring to a fruit filling or a 'kreme' center. Instead, this particular doughnut is made with 100% whole wheat flour. Weighing in at only 180 calories each, the Whole Wheat Doughnut has a distinct caramel flavor and is similar in style to their "original glazed".

With an enormous number of consumers turning to low-carb dieting over the past few years, it isn't surprising that sales in the doughnut industry have taken a hit. Hoping to recapture some of the lost market by offering an alternative to the original, the Senior VP of Marketing for Krispy Kreme promises that this doughnut delivers the taste we expect, while offering the benefits of whole wheat to the health conscious consumer.

If this is a success, I imagine they may offer the choice of whole wheat in some of their other flavors as well, but no official word has been given on that yet. The doughnut is now available in participating Krispy Kreme stores throughout North America.
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February 27, 2007 04:29 PM

Do chain restaurants promote "extreme eating"?

Filed under: Restaurants, Super Size Me, Fast Food

It has long been suggested that the oversized portions offered to diners at many restaurants are responsible for the expanding waistlines of Americans. Now, the health/lifestyle watchdog group Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) is implying that "table-service chain restaurants," such as Cheesecake Factory, TGI Fridays and Ruby Tuesday's, are cramming their dishes full of fattening, unhealthy ingredients on purpose, encouraging "extreme eating." Sometimes described as the "food police" CSPI cites the fact that these restaurants are not entirely forthcoming with the nutritional information on their foods, pointing out that Ruby Tuesday's Fresh Chicken & Broccoli Pasta entree has 2,060 calories and 128 grams of fat, while The Cheesecake Factory's Chris's Outrageous Chocolate Cake(layers of chocolate cake, brownies, coconut pecan filling and chocolate-chip coconut cheesecake) had 1,380 calories.

However misleading it may seem to call a dish "Fresh Chicken and Broccoli Pasta" and cram it with (mostly) cheese, it doesn't sound like there is any ill intent there, does it? The restaurants say that their menus change so frequently that it would be impractical to put together nutritional stats for individual dishes and change the menus all the time. They cite value-conscious consumers, who view large portion sizes as one of their highest priorities when eating out. Looking at both sides of this issue begs one question: which came first, huge portion sizes or the desire for them?

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February 27, 2007 03:04 PM

Update: New breakfast bars found!

Filed under: Breakfast, Snacks, New Products

I mentioned a while back that I could no longer find Kellogg's Nutri-Grain bars at any of the supermarkets in my area, and several of you left comments and sent e-mail saying you couldn't find them either. I'm pretty sure they're not being made anymore (though Nutri-Grain does have various breakfast pastries). Now I think I've found a great substitute.

Quaker has just released their own Breakfast Bars (so new they're not on their site yet), and in the same flavors that the Nutri-Grain bars came in, blueberry and banana muffin! The verdict? They're quite good. They're smaller and not as moist as the Nutri-Grain bars were. These have a slightly tougher, toastier look and feel to them, but I like them a lot.

Note to Quaker: don't discontinue these! Or, if you're going to, give me a heads up so I can buy several cases from you. Thanks.

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February 27, 2007 02:28 PM

Mad Cashier

February 27, 2007 01:29 PM

Pepsi boosts caffeine in new diet soda

Diet Coke is slightly higher in caffeine than regular Coke. Both are higher in caffeine than Pepsi, which has slightly more caffeine than Diet Pepsi. Either out of a desire to get consumers to sit up and take more notice of their brand, or simply as an attempt to jump on the energy drink bandwagon, Pepsi is rolling out a new, more caffeinated, diet "sparkling beverage." The new soda is called Diet Pepsi MAX.

Pepsi MAX is a diet soda that has been sold outside of the US for almost 15 years, so the fact that the name of the new drink is extremely redundant (a diet diet soda?) shouldn't be entirely confusing because US consumers aren't that familiar with it. The drink is sweetened with a blend of aspartame and acesulfame potassium, both artificial sweeteners, and will contain roughly 5.95 mg of caffeine per ounce of liquid. This puts at a much higher level than Diet Coke (3.8mg) and regular Diet Pepsi (3.0mg), and in the ballpark with Coca-Cola Blak (5.75mg) but not as high as Enviga (8.3mg), Red Bull (9.64mg) or coffee (13.44mg).

Diet Pepsi MAX is being targeted at 25-34 year olds and will hit stores in June

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February 27, 2007 01:27 PM

Technorati Search: supermarket

February 27, 2007 01:25 PM

Fighting with your foods

Filed under: On the Blogs, How To

A french fry is much easier to eat than a lobster, and for many other foods it is simply a fact that some are easier to eat than others. Some, like the aforementioned lobster, are simply difficult to get into. Others are difficult to maneuver into your mouth gracefully (giant burritos, salads with huge lettuce leaves ) and still others are messy to the point where many diners simply avoid them (ribs) unless they have a very high comfort level with their dining partners.

Chow took on the task of identifying some of these foods are offering readers some tips on how to eat them without the food getting the upper hand. Their suggestions include angling tacos over a plate and pinching the edges of the tortilla together to prevent/direct drips, aiming to eat sushi in two neat bites, spear peas with a fork instead of scooping them and deboning a fish using a banana leaf (or a fork).

I would also suggest a few more food-fighting tips to get your through dinner. First, keep a napkin handy to deal with messes and try to eat sloppy foods either very slowly or very fast to minimize the chances of contact with clothing. When possible, cut your food into bite-sized pieces, even if you think that the piece on your plate will probably fit into your mouth. Finally, try to get you dinner companion to order the same type of food that you did, so that in the event you get messy or eat awkwardly, you won't be the only one.

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February 27, 2007 12:03 PM

Soda companies improve their images by promoting "sparkling beverages"

Filed under: Business, Trends, Did you know?, Soda

Advertising companies and politicians like to play with semantics for the purpose of changing images. Big soda companies seem to be heavily invested in changing their images this year - with Pepsi completely revamping their packaging and Coke teaming up witt Jay-Z to promote Coke Zero - so it isn't entirely shocking to hear that they no longer want soda to be thought of as "carbonated soft drinks." Instead, they're "sparkling beverages."

In what some might describe as a blending of advertising and politics, the name change represents some social climbing on the part of soda companies. They are trying to distance themselves from their high-calorie, junk food roots, which politicians and other people in positions of power continually hold against them. Unfortunately for the cola companies, soda is so popular that no matter what Coke and Pepsi executives decide to call it, changing the name for the product to "sparkling beverage" is like trying to change the word for "beer": it's just not going to happen.

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February 27, 2007 10:31 AM

Fatburger offering healthier choices

Filed under: Trans Fats, New Products, America, Fast Food

Remember when you went to a fast food restaurant and all you could order was deep fried fare, full-fat shakes, and items smothered in sauce or cheese? Those days are definitely becoming a distant memory. In an effort to appeal to the health-conscious consumer, Fatburger has added two healthier food choices to their permanent menu - the Veggieburger, a meatless Boca soy patty, served up on a whole wheat bun, and the Fat Salad Wedge - lettuce wedge topped with diced bacon, tomatoes and choice of dressing. They also offer a Turkeyburger and fresh marinated chicken sandwich, both of which have been on their regular menu for some time now.

They aren't stopping there though. Fatburger has now joined the ranks of fast food restaurants working towards becoming trans fat-free. Since January 1st they have been switching over to a soy bean-based oil for their fried products, and expect the transition to be complete in all of their locations by the end April.
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February 27, 2007 09:03 AM

Home Sausage Making, Cookbook of the Day

Filed under: Books, Meat, Cookbook of the Day

It might sound like a challenging thing to attempt, but making sausage at home is actually not as difficult as you might think. With a guide like Home Sausage Making : How-To Techniques for Making and Enjoying 100 Sausages at Home to walk you through the steps, you'll find yourself with a solid foundation in the art of sausage-making in no time at all. This book contains 100 recipes for various types of cased and uncased sausages (all up to USDA food safety standards) and 50 additional recipes for ways to cook those sausages once they have been properly made. The selection covers a wide range of sausage types, from pork to seafood to vegetarian, and an equally wide range of ethnic flavors, from Polish Kielbasas and Spanish chorizo to Asian Duck and Pork Sausages. Other recipes include basic Breakfast Sausage, Italian Dry Sausages and Liverwurst.

If you're serious about making sausage, you might want to consider investing in a meat grinder and sausage skins, which the authors recommend and call for in several of the recipes. You can still make many of the recipes without them, but you'll have more options and more professional results if you take the time to use them.

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February 27, 2007 08:02 AM

Food Porn: Lemon Cream Tartlets

Filed under: Dinner, Dessert, Food Porn, On the Blogs

Cold (and wet, depending on where you live) winter weather tends to make us crave hot, hearty foods, but that doesn't do anything to diminish the appeal of something light for dessert after a heavy meal. In fact, a bright cirtus dessert can serve as a reminder that spring is still on the way - and the Lemon Cream Tartlets from Helene at Tartelette are very spring-like, indeed. The recipe comes from Dorie Greenspan's newest book, Baking: From My Home to Yours, and it is rumored to be one of the best lemon tartlet recipes out there, with an intense lemon flavor and silky smooth texture. The texture is due to the fact that an entire cup of butter is used to make the filling for only a handful of tarts, making it anything but light in fat and calories. One bite should make you be enough to forget the nutritional stats and just let you enjoy the heavenly flavor of the tart.

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February 27, 2007 07:00 AM

February 26, 2007 - supermarket online. Jakość z dostawą do domu

February 26, 2007 10:07 PM

For Jack: Girl Scout Cookies remove Trans Fats

Jack, over at Fork & Bottle, has made it a tradition to annually remind me and others of the trans fat found within my beloved box of Thin Mints. I never knew how to respond to his e-mails, because ...wel.. They're THIN MINTS! And I loves them so very much!

I'd then get accosted by the parents within my workplace, letting me know that if I didn't purchase the thin mints, their daughters would call my voicemail and leave messages of tears and threats. Have you ever recieved a phone call with an 8 year old girl sniffling while warning you to becareful starting your car? It can be very disconcerting.

However, back to Jack. It appears as if his protests had reached the right ears.

The Girl Scouts have marked their 90th year in the cookie business by getting most of the artificial fat out of all varieties of their iconic treats, which had been under attack by a few health-focused consumer groups.

The change reflects a movement by the scouts in recent years to add an element of health consciousness to their annual bake sale.

This year, about half of all Girl Scout troops are also offering a sugar-free cookie called the Little Brownie. A cookie with reduced saturated fat, the Cartwheel, was introduced last year.

Phew! I can now drive to work without having to inspect my car's ignition set.

February 26, 2007 08:55 PM

Acme Supermarkets

Online version of Acme's supermarket

February 26, 2007 06:26 PM

Giant Supermarket

Online version of Giant Food store where you can shop online

February 26, 2007 06:18 PM

Montana Legend Steaks - Pretty. Tasty.

Filed under: Lunch, Dinner, Beef, Raves & Reviews, New Products, America

montana legend steaks
Several weeks ago, I had the good fortune of being invited to a tasting for Montana Legend, a direct-to-consumer rancher (kind of like Omaha Steaks) of premium Angus beef -- no growth hormones nor antibiotics, and grass-fed. "We're doing a steak tasting. Are you inte..?" and before the question was complete, Montana Legend was on my calendar. I mean come on, people. Beef.

This past weekend. They were going to be grilling different cuts aged in a variety of ways, and would also be serving other foods, so I donned my best waist-less pants and headed over to the tasting.

Continue reading Montana Legend Steaks - Pretty. Tasty.

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February 26, 2007 06:04 PM

Dean Foods will refuse milk from Cloned Cows


Dallas-based Dean Foods is a $10 billion company that owns Land OLakes and Horizon Organic, among dozens of other brands. In a statement issued Thursday, the company said its customers and consumers don't want milk from cloned animals.

'Numerous surveys have shown that Americans are not interested in buying dairy products that contain milk from cloned cows and Dean Foods is responding to the needs of our consumers,' the statement said.

Personally, I still haven't come to a decision on if I would consume products from cloned animals. Most of my consumer choices essentially come down to my trust of the company making the product in question.

However, I'm wondering what data Dean's is using to base their decision. Was it an inhouse poll or consumer letters and e-mails?

February 26, 2007 04:55 PM

The commoditization of the Starbucks experience - and what's being done about it

Filed under: Coffee, Business, On the Blogs, Did you know?, Coffee shops

Earlier this month, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz wrote a company memo that expressed concern over what he termed the "Commoditization of the Starbucks Experience." first posted the memo online and its authenticity was later confirmed by Starbucks, then picked up by more traditional media outlets.

The memo basically said that because of the rapid and wide-reaching expansion of the company, as well as the desire to do so quickly and efficiently, there has been a "watering down of the Starbucks experience." For example, switching to automatic espresso machines removed "much of the romance and theater that was in play with the use of the La Marzocca machines (the manual machines the stores used to have)." Another issue Schultz had was with the store designs, which have become too standard, too sterile and, in some cases, too distanced from actual coffee.

Speed and quality are important to any food service business, but not at the expense of experience of the customers' enjoyment and Shultz is proposing that they start making some changes to recapture that coffee shop experience that Starbucks first offered. There won't be a full-scale reversal in company strategy in pursuit of this goal. Instead, changes will be implemented gradually to move the stores away from the cookie-cutter, fast food chain genre while still chasing a larger global presence. Examples of this include having baristas measure out freshly roasted coffee beans, rather than having them in prepackaged bags, and changing the merchandise to have more coffee-centric merchandise, like grinders and brewers, instead of stuffed animals.

The changes planned for now seem small, but getting the aroma of freshly roasted beans back into the stores is a step in the right direction.

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February 26, 2007 04:31 PM

Largest dairy says they won't use clones

Filed under: Science, Farming, Dairy, America, Health & Medical

Now that meat and milk from cloned animals has been approved for sale and consumption by the FDA, all kinds of issues have been raised about these animals, from whether or not they can be considered organic to whether people will actually want to eat them. Those who support cloning say that cloned animals will be more disease resistant and that the products derived from them will be more consistent and of higher quality. The largest dairy producer in the US, the Dean Foods Co., has announced that they will be avoiding all of these issues because they will not sell milk from animals that are clones or have been cloned. A representative said that they "see no consumer benefit from this technology" and that surveys done on their behalf show that most US customers are simply "not interested in buying milk or milk products that come from cloned animals."

Dean Foods is the first major company to come out against using milk from cloned cows, joining smaller companies like Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream and Organic Valley.

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February 26, 2007 03:04 PM

Smoothie sales are skyrocketing

Filed under: Lunch, Snacks, Business, Dairy, Fruit, Trends, America

We love smoothies. New consumer research shows that smoothies have been one of the fastest growing food/drink markets over the past five years, where sales have been up more than 80% to over $2 billion in annual sales. This includes both made-to-order smoothies, from businesses like Jamba Juice, as well as pre-packaged products.

There are a couple of reasons for the popularity of smoothies, but the biggest one is that they are perceived as being health-conscious, without being too "healthy." Most smoothies involve a blend of milk, yogurt, sorbet and fruits, often with additional vitamins and supplements mixed in. They aren't necessarily low calorie, but they are better for you than a double cheeseburger and fries in terms of nutritional content. Smoothies are also convenient, and their appeal as an "on-the-go meal" is one thing that has helped them become a fixture in people's busy lives. The biggest market is people 18-34, with 50% of respondents to researchers inquiries said that they had at least one smoothie a month.

To keep up the growth, smoothie manufacturers will have to look to new flavors and new twists on their existing recipes. Look for more flavors/ingredients in existing recipes, like the addition of green tea and açaí, and expect to see a wider range of offerings, from low-calorie smoothies to decadent ones, to draw in new consumers.

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February 26, 2007 01:31 PM

The real cost of bottled water

Filed under: Water, Business, On the Blogs, Did you know?

For the past couple of years, there has been a growing interest in getting local foods whenever possible, largely because it is perceived as helping the local economy, being better for the environment and better for your health (assuming the local food is organic, etc., not factory-farmed). There is one food - a drink, actually, that has strongly resisted this trend, where "'distance and exoticism are marketed as advantages": bottled water. Fiji, one of the more expensive store brands, is now the number 2 selling premium bottled water in the US.

At $1.50 and up per bottle, Fuji is not cheap. Some will say that a thing is only worth as much as someone is willing to pay for it, but others wonder how much the water is really worth. A reader asked Triple Pundit what the true cost of a bottle of Fuji water was. Sustainability Engineer Pablo Päster responded, calculating the (approximate) production and materials costs of a 1L bottle, travel/shipping expenses for shipping both full and empty bottles and, of course, the water itself. In the end, it comes down to a cost of approximately $.22 per bottle, leaving a $1.28 (or more) profit for the manufacturer and retailer.

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February 26, 2007 12:02 PM

Kraft expands Chicken Strip recall

Filed under: Business, Poultry, America, Health & Medical

If you recall, last week we wrote about the Oscar Mayer chicken strip recall which was aimed at a specific batch of the product. Kraft Foods has since expanded the recall to include ALL code dates, sizes, and flavor varieties of their Oscar Mayer/Louis Rich Chicken Breast Strips and Cuts. Though they state that no traces of Listeria have been found anywhere other than in the original contaminated sample, they are voluntarily removing all product that was made at that facility as a precautionary measure.

As stated in a "Market Action Notice" on their website: "Kraft's most important responsibility and highest priority is consumer and product safety. We have a number of processes in place to ensure that our products meet the quality standards we have set and our consumers expect. We would not allow any product to be sold if we believed it posed a health or safety risk."

The recall now includes any of the product with a "best used by" date of May 28, 2007 or earlier.
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February 26, 2007 10:31 AM

Whole Foods, Iceland and whaling

Filed under: Business, Chocolate, Stores & Shopping, Did you know?, Islands, America

Skyr isn't carried in too many American stores, but the Icelandic yogurt definitely has its fans. It is thicker than conventional yogurt, largely because it is strained, much like Greek yogurt. You are most likely to be familiar with the yogurt if it is carried at your local Whole Foods, where it is packaged into small containers and flavored like conventional yogurts, with berries, vanilla, etc. Despite the generally positive reaction from consumers, Whole Foods no longer promotes the fact that they carry Skyr, or any other Icelandic products, because of the company's offical policy of dissapproval for Iceland resuming commercial whaling last year.

The average consumer, perhaps the average Skyr fan, in the US isn't aware of the whaling issue and because Whole Foods hasn't promoted it, they're not likely to - especially because Whole Foods is planning to stock more Icelandic products this spring. Whole Foods will be carrying Nói Síríus chocolate easter eggs in approximately 70 stores. To entice WF to stock the eggs, Nói Síríus seems to have offered them at almost no cost, as the marketing director of the chocolate company said "There are no profits involved, this is first and foremost a sales experiment." More will be imported next year if they prove popular. Whether Whole Foods will be promoting them now, or in future, is still unknown, though it certainly seems like it would be a good business strategy to promote the products you carry if you're going to carry them at all.

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February 26, 2007 09:02 AM

The Sugar Solution Cookbook, Cookbook of the Day

Filed under: Books, Cookbook of the Day

I have to admit up front here that I don't personally need (or want, for that matter) a "solution" to sugar. I do, however, have plenty of friends and relatives who have concerns relating to their blood sugar levels for various reasons, from dietary concerns (low carb, weight loss, etc) to medical issues, like diabetes, that a cookbook packed with hundreds of blood sugar-conscious recipes would appeal to. The Sugar Solution Cookbook: More Than 200 Delicious Recipes to Balance Your Blood Sugar Naturally is such a book, filled with easy to make recipes that will not only help keep blood sugar levels under control, but that are simple enough to discourage the desire to "cheat" on such a diet. Weight loss seems to be the main theme of the book, and several meal plans are included, but the recipes can be useful whether you are trying to slim down or not. Cooks will be tempted by Stir-Fried Orange Chicken and Broccoli and an ultra-tender Pot Roast. The writers didn't forget about dessert, either. Peanut Butter Bundt Cake and Dark Chocolate Pudding are on the menu for after dinner. The recipes are nutritionally balanced, with a generous use of whole grains, as well as of good fats in place of bad ones, and the book has lots of tips for substituting out sugar and carbs in recipes in general that should come in hand.

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February 26, 2007 08:03 AM

A permanent English breakfast

Filed under: Breakfast, British Isles, Food Oddities

The traditional English breakfast includes most (or all) of the following foods: bacon, fried eggs, baked beans, sausages, tomatoes (often fried), mushrooms (also fried), toast, juice and tea or coffee. The breakfast is known as a "full" breakfast not only because it starts with a full plate, but because it leaves you with a full stomach. Despite its size, however, it is still only a meal and won't last forever no matter how you feel for the first hour or so after one.

For a never-ending breakfast, you'll have to consider what one man in Wales did. Dayne Gilbey, 19, volunteered to get a full English breakfast tattooed on the top of his head by tattoo artist Blane Dickinson. Dickinson put out a call for a volunteer because he wanted to do something different and because tattoos are often very personal, it can be hard to find interested parties for more unusual designs. Dickinson came up with the breakfast idea four years ago and has been waiting ever since. The tattoo took six hours to do and, if he had charged for it (which he didn't) would have cost £350 ($685).

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February 26, 2007 06:59 AM

Shopping survey shows organic meats gaining; chicken and beef often chosen for dinner

February 26, 2007 05:06 AM

February 25, 2007

And now, another episode of Everybody Loves Nacho Cheese

Filed under: Cheese, On the Blogs

Nacho Cheese Sunflower SeedsOK, maybe not everybody, but this guy does, and he has a new blog about it.

The subtitle of the blog says it all: "This site is dedicated to everyone who loves nacho cheese." That's pretty upfront. You know what you'll be getting if you go to the site. It's not a site where you'll learn about the baseball or discuss politics or even see pictures of his cats. Unless, of course, they're covered in nacho cheese.

For such a limited topic, this is a great blog. You'll reviews of nacho products, links to other nacho blogs, and, of course, many recipes.

Suddenly I have an incredible urge to make nachos for dinner.

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February 25, 2007 05:33 PM

Tasting Notes: Maraschino Liqueur

Maraschino LiqueurAfter my recent post on Maraschino cherries, my interest in Maraschino liqueur was piqued. I had considered purchasing some over the internet, but hesitated, unsure of if I could find a cheaper alternative. Not two days after that decision, I walked into a local liquor store, and what do I find on the specialty table but several imported bottles of Maraska Maraschino liqueur. How fortuitous!

The only history I could find on the internet comes from the Croatian maker of the spirit. But before we get to that, it is fairly well known that Maraschino is a Croatian drink first and foremost, and migrated to Italy likely with the importation of the Marasca cherry.

The liqueur appears to have started out as many liqueurs did, as a medicine created and doled out by monks at a Dominican monastery in Zadar (located in what is present day Croatia). IN the early 1500's, they prepared a spirit called Rosolj. Later named maraschino, after the cherry used in the drink, it gained popularity, due not so much for it's medicinal qualities, but rather because it was tasty and altered the consciousness of those who drank the stuff to excess.

The above is an educated guess, based off the fact that many alcoholic beverages started out as medicines only to be abused and then sold as a drink. Read the early history of whiskey to see what I mean.

The popularity of the drink was likely the doing of the traders of Venice, as Zadar fell under Venetian rule at the time. The Italians took it world wide, including to America, where we promptly made the drink illegal (along with the majority of other liquors) and applied the name to an electric neon day-glo candied cherry that had lost it's connection to the spirit. Such is the culture of American food.

Oh, and by the way - It's pronounced mare-uh-SKEE-no, rather than mare-uh-SHEE-no. I think I'll apply the former pronunciation to the liqueur, and the latter to the candied cherries.

Eyes: Maraschino is as clear as pure water. However, it's somewhat thicker that water.

Nose: Sweet, and very cherry-like with a hint of wood.

Taste: If you like sweet liqueurs, Maraschino is for you. Tastes of cherries, almonds and even honey are present. There is an overall "woody" taste as well which works to temper the sweetness a fair amount. The aftertaste left my palate a little numb, and left a bit of a plastic taste, but overall, the drink is quite pleasant.

Overall: I love this drink. Not only is it tasty straight up or on the rocks. It mixes very well, giving drinkers a variety if options. My favorite so far? Mixed with Club Soda and a bit of Campari. Yum! I have a strong feeling that it would combine quite nicely with Amaretto. Even Gin has some possibilities.

I would absolutely buy this again. Luckily they have an order page with other liqueurs that I am wanting to binge upon.

tags technorati : Maraschino, Liqueur, Cherry

February 25, 2007 04:56 PM

Healthy Chocolate: Can we stop this already?

I've already talked about this way back when, but it's worth repeating.

FACT: The flavanoids found within cacao are indeed healthy for you.

FACT: The further you get away from "pure" cacao, the more you temper and/or offset whatever health benefits that the cacao offered. Word on the street is that any dark chocolate containing under 70% cocoa solids has pretty much zero to little health benefits to the consumer.

FACT: Anybody who tries to sell chocolate as being nutritious, without acknowledging the above facts, is trying to mislead you. For example,Tom Vierhile, director of Datamonitor's Productscan Online, in a January article found in USA Today, said:

"Chocolate has become a quasi-health food," quips Tom Vierhile, director of Datamonitor's Productscan Online. "Chocolate has been stricken from Santa's 'naughty' list this year."

Mr. Vierhile is trying to sell you something- probably something with chocolate in the ingredient list.

FACT: Adding chocolate to anything (cereal, beer, sugar, caramel) adds little to no health benefits. Sorry.

FACT: Fran's Chocolates? Delicious.

Via Megnut

tags technorati : Chocolate, Healthy Chocolate

February 25, 2007 04:56 PM

Another Recall

An "Oh, by the way" post here -

Carolina Culinary Food is recalling packages of Oscar Mayer ready-to-eat chicken breast strips with rib meat because they may be contaminated with listeria.

The nationwide recall affects all six-ounce packages of "Oscar Mayer/Louis Rich chicken breast strips with rib meat, grilled, fully cooked, ready to eat" that bear the establishment number "P-19676" inside the USDA mark of inspection on the front of the package. On the back of each package is a "Use by" date of "19 Apr 2007."

No illnesses have been reported yet.

Side note - Kraft owns the Oscar Meyer brand, who in turn, outsources their production to Carolina Culinary Food.

February 25, 2007 04:56 PM

After Peanut Butter and Salmonella

When I've written about food borne illnesses in the past, whether it was Mad Cow or E.Coli, it was always in the abstract. Though the news stories surrounding both of the topics above seemed pervasive in the national media, I never seemed to know of anyone, or be contacted by anyone who had been directly affected by those diseases.

Over the past several days, this has changed.

I've spent the weekend reading both e-mails and comments from people who were/are directly affected by the Salmonella outbreak from Conagra's Peanut Butter. I've heard from wives who watched their husbands suffer after they had eaten an apple topped with peanut butter, to parents who were horrified that they fed this garbage to their children. I read about people blaming their water supply to people thinking that it was a bug going around. Everyone one of these people have communicated shock and dismay that it was a simple jar of peanut butter that has affected their lives so.

To these folks, I can only say a few things.

First, I am sorry you had to go through this. I realize that this may sound shallow coming from someone whom you have never met, but I do feel as frustrated as you do. As anyone who was near me can testify, I could not stop bringing this topic up this weekend. I understand that you had put your faith in a system, and that system has failed you.

Secondly, use this as a learning experience. Be mad, but be smart! If you have recently eaten the peanut butter, SEE A DOCTOR! Then, go home and wrap up the peanut butter and take it to a lawyer. Do not throw it away, as it is now evidence. Keep it out of the reach of children, and keep it stored in such a way that it will never be used, but keep it. This goes against what both Conagra and the government are telling you.

Long term: keep up to date with the producers of food, and ask yourself relevant questions regarding your food decisions that you make with these producers. How many recalls is too many for a company to have? Are you willing to pay more for brands that have a better track record with safety? Which companies own your favorite brands? Where is your food is coming from?

We are entering a new era of food production and distribution. And evidence is coming in that we cannot put blind faith in any company that puts food in our pantries and on our tables. It is up to us, as consumers, to hold them to the standards we want and to hold them accountable when they fail to meet those standards.

tags technorati : Peanut Butter Conagra Salmonella

February 25, 2007 04:56 PM

The Year of the Boar

Happy New year to all of those who celebrate the Chinese Calendar. Tara and I are bringing in the new year by having a duck dinner tonight at a local restaurant.

My own celebration of the year of the pig includes signing up for the bacon of the month club.

February 25, 2007 04:56 PM

The wrong question about Cloned Meat

The folks at the Cattle Network take a crack at why those who argue for the labeling of products from cloned animals are misguided:

What industry cannot allow is an argument over the precautionary principle: That all foods are suspect until long-term, comprehensive longitudinal studies can demonstrate beyond doubt that a product is absolutely safe. To diffuse such tactics, it needs to be noted that the precautionary principle is its own Catch-22.

While I admit that there are asking some questions regarding the safety and viability of food products from cloned animals, it's only one of several that should be addressed.

The absolute first point I want to bring up is that there are many people who are ethically opposed to the idea of cloned animals. Whether it's due to their religion or due to their distrust of those corporations promoting animal cloning, it doesn't matter. All of them have the right to opt out of the cloned animal marketplace if they wish to. The only way that they can exercise that right is if the products are labeled accordingly.

Talking about the nutritional qualities, safety, and the effects of breeding cloned animals are important questions that will be answered in due time. But let them be answered by the consumers who have no ethical quandaries surrounding the cloned animals.

February 25, 2007 04:56 PM

It's a short one this week...

Because when you're married to someone with a film degree from NYU, Oscar Night is like the Super Bowl plus some other... big... sports thing at the same time. Whatever. It's huge!

And, because I've got a whole bunch of you-don't-even-need-to-look-away-from-the-TV-to-eat-it sized foods to prepare, I'm gonna cut to the action, so to speak. So, in honor of tonight's Oscars, I decided to honor one of my favorite Oscar-winning movies of all time.

And that movie is...?

[...] Read more!

February 25, 2007 04:56 PM

Baby Carrots in Marsala Wine

Do you remember this recipe? Remember how I said that other alcoholic beverages would work? Could I ask anymore questions in this first paragraph?

This recipe is not that different from the Carrots in Vermouth, with two key exceptions. 1) cooking the carrots in the Marsala instead of adding the wine at the last minute. 2) This dish has more of a "sauce" than the other.

That being said, it's still carrots flavored with an alcohol. And it seems that the Carrots with Vermouth was a bigger hit than this dish.

I'm going to add one last recipe for carrots and then I'm moving on.

  • 1/2 cup chicken broth (or salted water, if you wish)
  • 3/4 cup Dry Marsala wine
  • 1 Pound Washed Baby Carrots
  • 1/4 Cup Unsalted Butter
  • Salt & Pepper To Taste

Place a small pot over medium heat. Add the chicken broth and 1/2 cup of the Marsala wine. Add the carrots and bring to a slow boil. Cook until slightly tender, 7-10 minutes. Drain broth and set aside the cooked carrots in a bowl.

Melt the butter together with the Marsala wine. After the butter melts, allow the wine to reduce by half. Add the carrots and cook over high heat until the mixture thickens and the carrots are well coated, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Serves 4

tags technorati : recipes,carrots,Marsala Wine

February 25, 2007 04:56 PM

Mad Cow: The Story amongst the Headlines

There has been plenty of activity in the past three weeks in regard the cattle and Mad Cow disease. Here are some headlines that write a larger story about Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (aka Mad cow). Ten bucks and a pound of ground beef from Safeway to the person first able to give the subtext to all of this.

Ninth case of mad cow confirmed in Canada

On Wednesday, Canada confirmed its ninth case of mad cow disease since 2003, in an Alberta bull that died on a farm last week. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said that a mature bull tested positive for mad cow, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy. Dr. George Luterbach, the agency’s senior veterinarian for Western Canada, said the animal’s death caused the farm to identify it as an “animal of interest” as part of a national surveillance program.

Latest Canada Mad Cow Case Shows Epidemic

Two major U.S. cattle groups reacted to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's overnight announcement of a new case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease, by decrying the latest case as proof of an epidemic and calling for more information.

Canadian cattle slip past USDA safeguards

Hundreds of cattle from Canada, which this month confirmed its ninth case of mad cow disease, have entered the United States without government-required health papers or identification tags, according to documents obtained by cattlemen in Washington state.

Mad-cow scrutiny is scaled way back

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently scaled back mad-cow testing by more than 90 percent, leading to closure of the WSU lab and several others around the country.

USDA Refutes Washington Cattlemen's Take On Canada Cattle Imports

USDA officials are disputing a claim by Washington producers that hundreds of Canadian cattle have crossed the border without the proper paperwork.

Bruce Knight, the USDA official charged with investigating whether any federal trade infractions occurred, told Dow Jones Newswires that initial review indicates there have only been a handful of errors in state-level documentation in Washington.

Uhhh...just how many is "a handful"?

tags technorati : Mad Cow BSE USDA

February 25, 2007 04:56 PM

Useful wall art for cooks!

Filed under: How To, Food Gadgets

Have you ever had to quickly run to your computer to use google or had to search through the indices of a few cookbooks to look for equivalent measure conversions? If so, you'll probably like this idea from a practical standpoint, and if not, you might like it from an artistic one. This Equivalent Measure wall transfer is easily applied to a kitchen wall or cabinet by rubbing the design with the included burnishing tool. Once on, it is permanent and can easily be washed without rubbing off, although it won't damage the wall in any way. It lists common equivalencies that most cooks will need to reference from time to time and has a graphic of lightly colored measuring spoons in the background, which gives it a slightly "country" feel and prevents it from looking like you simply decided to write on your wall. It measures 14" x 19" and comes in light or dark brown.

If you have neat writing or are reasonably artistic, you might want to consider skipping the $70 expense and trying to do it yourself.

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February 25, 2007 04:01 PM

Wine and Winter Cakes: The Boston Globe in 60 seconds

Filed under: Newspapers, in sixty seconds

  • Eat your vegetables!
  • Forget all those other sauces. Red, tomato-based sauces are the way to go.
  • Pastrami gets all fancy.
  • What does your city taste like?
  • When I was in grade school, everyone was saying I had to learn the metric system because that's what we'd be using in the future. I didn't, and we don't.
  • Karl's Sausage Kitchen is a legendary place around Boston. It was even mentioned in one of the Spenser novels.
  • What is Katylyst Kombucha?
  • This week's recipes: Winter Cake, Seattle Salmon Dip, Bratwurst in Beer, and Coq au vin.
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February 25, 2007 03:11 PM

Limited editions you don't want to see...

Filed under: Candy, Food Oddities, On the Blogs

I always keep an eye out for new and limited edition candies when I'm at the store. The candy companies love putting them out and, frankly, most of us know what the originals taste like. It's interesting to compare old and new to see what works and what doesn't. But even I will admit that things are getting a little out of hand when you can venture into what was once the candy aisle and see that not only has it been replaced entirely with different kinds of limited edition Hershey's Kisses, but that it has been expanded to cover four aisles, making room for all the other new varieties of old candies.

How far can manufacturers and retailers go with this trend? Cotton and Sand , getting more than a little annoyed with the overload of not-so-special releases, came up with some as-yet-unrealized (thankfully!) candy bar concepts that poke fun at the overwhelming selection candy consumers now face. Kit Kat Malt Liquor sounds like the best of the bunch, but I think I'll pass on Vegetable Skittles, Seafood Gumbo Reeses Peanut Butter Cups and Snickers Bacon Bars.
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February 25, 2007 02:04 PM

Cauliflower gene offers health benefits

Filed under: Science, Farming, Did you know?, Health & Medical

Genetically modified foodstuffs do not have a very good public relations team working for them. Hearing that food has been genetically modified in some way will turn off most consumers because the assumption associated with it is that the food has been made more pest/disease resistant and less flavorful through unnatural means. Unnatural, in this instance, refers to a quickly forced change in a particular plant and not to a gradual evolution through selective breeding. The word does not have a positive connotation, yet in spite of that, not everything done with GM foods is a bad idea.

The US Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service (USDA ARS) is currently working with a gene that "induce high levels of beta-carotene into food crops." The gene, named Or is responsible for the orange color of some cauliflower and "promotes high beta-carotene accumulation in various plant tissues." Beta-carotene, is processed by the body into Vitamin A, so an increase of its concentration in foods that are naturally low in it could make a significant impact on worldwide Vitamin A deficiencies, which affects approximately 250 million children worldwide. More studies (there have only been eight years' worth) are needed before any action is taken.

This isn't to say that GM foods are necessarily a good idea, but it does show that there are applications beyond inserting jellyfish genes to make food glow.

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February 25, 2007 12:03 PM

Orange Creme Hershey's Kisses, re-released and reviewd

Filed under: Chocolate, Candy, Raves & Reviews, New Products

Way back in 2005, Cybele reviewed Orange Creme Hershey's Kisses at Candyblog. The orange-flavored white chocolate kisses didn't last too long at the time, but Hershey's has just re-released them, labeled as a "limited edition" offering for their year-long 100th anniversary celebration.

The original review noted - and I completely agree - that these chocolates taste a lot like orange creamsicles in the way that they blend orange and vanilla. The chocolate has a tempting orange scent and melts into your mouth smoothly and easily when you bite into one. Unfortunately, these kisses also have an almost overpowering sweetness to them that makes it difficult to eat any more than one at a time without having something to wash them down with.

The concept for these kisses is a good one. I'd try mixing these up with dark chocolate kisses (or other dark chocolates) for some variety and to subdue the sugar.

The bag makes no mention of how long the release will last, but I wouldn't be surprised if they stick around at least until Easter at the beginning of April.

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February 25, 2007 10:34 AM

Slashfood Features and Recipes, Week of 2/18

Filed under: Site Announcements


  • Food phobia leads to cheddar cheese-only diet
  • Food Theme Parks hit the big time in Japan
  • Cocoa Bunny Peeps!
  • Guinness names world's hottest pepper
  • The King's burger throne
  • Slashfood Ate (8): Delicious pancakes for Fat Tuesday


  • Peanut Butter and Milk Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
  • Red Velvet Roll Cake
  • Whole Grain Pancakes
  • Baby Green Salad with citrus, cranberries and candied nuts
  • Creole-style Red Jambalaya
  • Spago's smoked salmon pizza
  • Best Picture Cocktails
  • Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake in Mint Condition (cocktail)
  • Mocha Mint Bavarian (cocktail)
  • Velvet Rope (cocktail)
  • Hurricane (cocktail)
  • Minted Bourbon (cocktail)
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February 25, 2007 09:02 AM

Truffles: 50 Deliciously Decadent Homemade Chocolate Treats, Cookbook of the Day

Filed under: Chocolate, Books, Cookbook of the Day

Basic truffles are not difficult to make in the grand scheme of candy making. They have a ganache center rolled in cocoa - simple. The tricky part comes in when you try to move beyond that very basic and unassuming plain truffle. One option is to carefully read the recipes of bloggers for tips and ideas. Another option, which could be used in conjunction with the blogger choice, is to read Truffles: 50 Deliciously Decadent Homemade Chocolate Treats. The relatively short book offers step-by-step tutorials and lots of great tips about every element of the truffle-making process, from choosing the chocolate to shaping the truffles to storing the finished product (assuming that they don't all get eaten up right away). Fruits, nuts, spices and liqueurs all show up at least a few times in this book, adding lots of variety to the treats so that every single one sounds impossibly tempting. Just take Champagne Bittersweet Chocolate Truffles, Matcha White Chocolate Truffles, Pumpkin Spice Truffles, Rum Raisin Truffles and Tiramisu Truffles as a sampling of the possibilities.

If you do embark on a truffle-making journey, make sure that there are people around to share them with you. The only thing worse than a waisted truffle is looking at the change in your waistline if you eat a whole batch by yourself.

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February 25, 2007 07:52 AM

February 24, 2007

"I Shit My Pants": Spontaneous Ancient Literary Structure in Modern Day Colloquial Speech

February 24, 2007 11:25 PM

Oscar Night Happy Hour: Best Picture Cocktails

Filed under: Recipes, Cocktails, Happy Hour, Spirits

This week, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer ran a great series of cocktail recipes that were created in honor of the five Best Picture nominees at this year's Academy Awards. With the exception of the drink inspired by The Queen, most have little to do with the feature that they represent, but there should be at least one out of the five that will appeal to everyone who likes to watch the awards with a nice cocktail.

  • For The Queen we have Royal-Tea, a mixture of Beefeater gin, Earl Grey tea, sugar and lemon, over ice (pictured).
  • For Little Miss Sunshine we have Sunshine in Malibu, with mango and coconut rums and a bit of orange juice
  • For Letters from Iwo Jima we have Lychee Letters, with Lychee Liqueur, Martell Cognac VSOP, and splashes of both pomegranate and orange.
  • For Babel we have Babel On the Rocks, a layered drink with vodka, Kahlua and cream.
  • For The Departed we have The Departini, which has a decidedly south-of-the-border feel with tequila, lime and agave nectar.

The full recipes are after the jump.

Continue reading Oscar Night Happy Hour: Best Picture Cocktails

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February 24, 2007 05:27 PM

Peanut Butter and Milk Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Filed under: Breakfast, Snacks, Food Porn, Nuts/seeds, Chocolate, Recipes, Fruit, Magazines

Like so many other people, I nearly always have a couple of bananas laying around that are getting overly ripe. Sometimes I just stick them into the freezer for later use, but I often toss them into a loaf of banana bread. Banana bread is fast, easy and works great for both breakfasts and for snacking. The only drawback is that you can get tired of it after making the same loaf recipe several times in a row. It is easy to dress up a loaf by tossing in chocolate chips, nuts or raisins, but it's nice to have some more varied variations available, as well. In this month's Vegetarian Times magazine, I saw a recipe for Peanut Butter Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips that looked quick, easy and tasty. Not surprisingly, it lived up to my expectations. The bread is slightly heavy, but not too dense, and has a good balance of peanut butter and banana flavors. I used milk chocolate chips instead of semisweet and cut back on the amount slightly. The bread is good plain and toasted, for breakfast, with tea or for dessert!

Continue reading Peanut Butter and Milk Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

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February 24, 2007 03:33 PM

Oral Fixation Mojito Mints

Filed under: Candy, New Products

Today seems to be unofficial mint day here at Slashfood. While Nicole is enjoying her Dark Chocolate Dipped Cinnamon Altoids, I am dreaming of another concoction I heard about earlier this week. I was trying to tune out watching one of those shows on the Food Network about how to make candies, mints, etc., and while I've seen the process done many, many, times before, something they said made me stop what I was doing. Apparently, Oral Fixation makes a mint that is supposed to taste just like a Mojito - which just happens to be my favorite drink.

I did a little research and found out that they actually have a number of interesting flavors, including:

Mimosa Mint (Orange Mint Cocktails), Antioximints (Green Tea Mints), Jasmints (Herbal Jasmine Mints), Fabulous Fruit (Very Fruity Tropical Mints), 7 Deadly Cinnamon (Hot Cinnamon), Night Light (Caffeinated Chai Mint), Mojito Mint (Lime Mint Cocktail), Classical Peppermint (Strong Peppermint), and Spare Mint (Spearmint).

All of the mints are sugar-free, with the exception of Night Light which uses brown sugar to bring out the full flavor of spiced Chai. Has anyone out there tasted these yet? Do they taste like the flavors they are supposed to?
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February 24, 2007 01:32 PM

Drinkable Desserts winners announced

Filed under: Recipes, Cocktails, Happy Hour, Spirits

We've been following the Baileys Drinkable Desserts contest for several weeks now, in which both professional and amateur mixologists could put together their most inventive concoctions and put them up for public voting, with the hopes of winning the grand prize of a trip to New York City for two for a private cooking class in the Gourmet Cooking Arts Center with Chef de Cuisine, Jennifer Day. The contest coincided with the launch of Bailey's two new flavored liqueurs, Baileys Mint Chocolate and Baileys Caramel. The liqueurs proved to be good choices for baking, as well as for making cocktails, but some of our favorite entries included the Caramel Apple Pie-Tini, The Baileys Vanilla Bean and I Want S'More.

The contest just finished up and the two winners have been announced: Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake in Mint Condition (amateur, pictured) and Mocha Mint Bavarian (pro). The recipe are after the jump.

Continue reading Drinkable Desserts winners announced

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February 24, 2007 12:03 PM

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