Monthly Archives August 2014

Greek Delight: a Masticha Cocktail

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There is a great Greek dessert that is called Greek Delight. It is actually more widely known as Turkish Delight, since it originated in Turkey. Some people still dispute that which is reasonable. After 400 years of culinary overlap recipes did exchange back and forth and many dishes lost origin. We can, however, give the credit to the Turkish for the development of this delightful dessert. Actually the Greek name of the dessert is loukoumi, very close to the turkish that is loukoum. Greeks though will keep calling it Greek delight just because. The delightful dessert is a gel made with corn starch, sugar and a flavoring. It is then covered in a mixture of powder sugar and cornstarch to prevent the pieces from sticking with each other, and on your fingers. The flavors predominant in Turkey are rose and pistachio. In Greece it is mastiha and rose. Mastiha is a unique spice produced at the island of Chios. In the past I have made another cocktail flavored with Mastiha and even a cheesecake. Here I make a cocktail inspired by the flavors of the Greek Delight (Mastiha and Rose). This cocktail merges the flavor of Masticha and Rose in one unique combination.

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The Best Bagels in New York: Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company

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Bagels were brought to the United States by immigrant Polish-Jews, and became a thriving business in New York City. It started as an item exclusively oriented towards the Jewish population but soon enough it took over New York City. Why not? It is portable, fast to make, easy to eat with one hand and you can combine it with everything, from peanut butter and Nutella to smoked salmon and capers. Next to hot dogs and pizza, the bagels complete the trinity of the New York iconic foods. As it is expected similarly to the other two foods, there are hundreds of stores around the city that are competing in making the city's best bagel. The Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company (BB&CC) is probably the best. I am not saying that the rest are not good, I am just saying that this is the best! Hands down the best.

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Homemade Grenadine Syrup

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One of the most used syrups in the mixology world is the Grenadine. It is the syrup that is used one in a large number of cocktails like the Jack and Rose, Tequila Sunrise, Sea Breeze, Roy Rogers, Pink Lemonade and Shirley Temple. As the name denotes, it is a pomegranate flavor syrup, that is sweet and tart making it the best additive to balance cocktails, specially those made with hard alcohols like the tequila or brandy. The Mott's brand "Rose's" is by far the most commonly used grenadine in the United States. Until sometimes in the 80s it was made with pomegranate. However, now it is a mixture of high fructose corn syrup, water, citric acid, sodium citrate, sodium benzoate, FD&C Red #40, natural and artificial flavors, and FD&C Blue #1. Yes you read it right. There is no pomegranate in the recipe anywhere. It is a glucose (or corn syrup if you prefer) and artificial colors. Not that I share the prejudice of many with the red dyes or artificially colors, but why something that is associated with the sweet and tart flavor of the pomegranate completely lacks it? Dear readers, mixologist and food hobbyists it's time to take the king of flavored syrups back. It is easy to make, has a thousands uses and darn it, it tastes good.

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Summer Food: Eggplant Napoleon

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The summer is almost over (with 2 weeks left to it), but the summer food does not have to go. Summer comes with all these fresh veggies at their peak of ripeness giving us endless possibilities for creative cooking, that does not have to be confined in the salad making. In this recipe I am making a dish that is largely inspired by a Raw Food class I recently attended in New York City. The class is regularly offered in California by Gisselle Gordon, but if you are lucky you might catch Gisselle in one of her trips. My views on Raw Food as a diet perspective are outlined in the previous posts, but regardless the fact that I largely disagree with the claims, I cannot overlook the taste aspects of it especially what it comes loaded with fresh ingredients in a way you have never seen before. This is actually a great way to few all these diets, focus on the taste and the appearance of the food, don't dismiss them just because you don't agree with their claims. It is called being open-minded, and in the culinary world it can take you very very far.

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Larousse Gastronomique

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In the modern culinary world new food items appear every day. Most of them are classic in some cuisine, but most of the times new to you (or me). Especially if you are watching Food Network or other similar channels, that involve culinary competitions shows you exposed to a large number of these ingredients. You need to sort the out. There are tones of references on the internet and even books that I reviewed before like the vegetable bible, but there is one book that makes the difference.

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