Archive for December, 2011

You Could Be the Next Online Food Star!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011
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Think you have what it takes to be the next Food Channel online star?

The popular network is introducing a new show called “Pitch Place,” which gives viewers a chance to pitch their own food show. You can do a cooking demo, tour local food haunts or even produce a food-related drama or comedy show.

All you need to do is create a 2-3 minute video demonstrating what your show concept is. Have fun with it — do your cooking demonstration or show your mad comedy or dramatic skills. Make it entertaining, about food and different than other things out there.

 There’s even an extra incentive to try out: the chance to win a Coby Kyros 10″ Android Tablet Computer valued at $350.

So pull out your camera (video, Flip, iPhone, whatev!) and start shooting.

But you’d better make it quick. Show concepts must be submitted by Jan. 9.

For more information — including rules and details on submitting your pitch — visit http://www.foodchannel.com/articles/article/pitch-place/.

A Spicy Take on This Year’s Holiday Ham

Sunday, December 18, 2011
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It’s hard to beat a good honey-glazed ham – at Christmas or any time – and I’m not saying you should even try.

But if you ARE looking for ways to spice up your traditional holiday feast, how about a ham glazed with a hot-sweet-sour combination of sorghum, chipotle and Grand Marnier? Sounds pretty good to me.

Courtesy of the folks at Texas Pete Hot Sauce, this recipe promises to drop a “flavor bomb” …


Chipotle, Brown Sugar & Sorghum Glaze

1 cup chipotle hot sauce
2 cups brown sugar
3/4 cup sorghum
2 Tbsp. Grand Marnier
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup thyme, dried
2 Tbsp. black pepper, fresh ground

  1. Combine all ingredients and whisk together thoroughly.
  2. Use as a marinade, basting sauce, glaze or finishing sauce.

Bridge Brew Craft Beers Shine in Private Tasting

Friday, December 9, 2011
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I had a wonderful opportunity to sample some truly fine West Virginia craft beers at a holiday gathering this week.

At The Manahan Group’s ‘Winter Manaland,” my buddy/owner George rolled out the green carpet (and made it snow on Capitol Street!) for friends and clients at a private tasting of three brews from Fayetteville’s increasingly popular Bridge Brew Works. Then it was downstairs to ever-popular Pies & Pints for a smorgasbord of mighty fine pizza, salads and more beer.

On the special tasting menu …

  • LONGPOINT LAGER: A local interpretation of a “Dortmunder Export” brewed in the traditional German style, this lager gave off aromas of biscuits and hops and was smooth-going-down with a malt-derived caramel, nutty and slightly bitter finish.
  • BELGIAN-STYLE TRIPEL: Brewed in tribute to the beers of Trappist monks, this strong pale ale was a complex blend of malty brewer’s yeast balanced with lemon and spices for an effervescent almost Champagne-like feel going down. Really nice.
  • TRUBELL STRONG ALE: This powerful (11.2% alcohol) Belgium-style “quadruple” made with vast amounts of malted barley and traditional yeast was so-named because — after a pint or two — one might easily find themselves in a little “trubell.” So take it easy, but enjoy the dark fruits, caramel, spices and underlying tropical fruit that mark this masterpiece. I’ve really never sampled a beer quite like it.

It was a great night of food, friends and tasty adult beverages. Tis the season!

When it Comes to Nutrition, Every Little Step Counts

Saturday, December 3, 2011
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As the weather starts to turn colder, my thoughts (and cravings) definitely veer off the old healthy-eating path, trying to pull me to the Land of Comfort Food.

But as much as I love me some good chicken ‘n’ dumplins’ and velvety (not Velveeta) mac ‘n’ cheese, I don’t like care for the doughy deposits they leave around my mid-section.

So is there a way to indulge without all of the caloric consequences?

Sure there is. Just think of small changes you can make to some of your favorite comfort foods. Substitutions like …

  • Pizza: Instead of having 3-4 pieces of pizza, enjoy a slice (maybe 2) and a side salad instead. Or go veggie, substituting healthier toppings for grease-laden meats and multiple cheeses. Better still, make it on a whole wheat crust.
  • Spaghetti: Enjoy a reasonable portion (not the plate tipping mound you crave) but top it with plenty of tomato-based sauce. I also occasionally slip veggies in the sauce for extra nutrition. The response is usually favorable, if they even notice the veggies at all. Bonus!
  • Hamburgers: Lessen the nutritional ramifications of America’s favorite sandwich by using a higher-quality lean beef, or substituting lean chicken, turkey or even a veggie patty. Stack with veggies, too, and go easy on the bacon and cheese. Instead of fries, add a veggie side.
  • Macaroni & Cheese: Mix in vegetables like tomatoes, spinach, peas or carrots and try a lighter cheese sauce (made with milk, not cream) and don’t drown the noodles in so much of it. Also try to serve mac ‘n’ cheese as a side dish, not the main dish, to keep portion size under control.

I know I’ve said it before, but little things make a difference.

I used to make fun of someone for drinking diet soda as they inhaled a sugary dessert.

“Hey, it’s better than having dessert with a regular soda.”

True that.

Water instead of soda, skim instead of whole, baked instead of fried, whole grain instead of bleached white flour …

Every little thing helps.