beer-cheese-pairing

How to Pair Beer and Cheese

You don’t have to be an expert to host a beer and cheese pairing. Just knowing a few basics about beer and characteristics of cheeses is really all you need to know for to pair beer and cheese. Similar to wine, beer has a natural progression, so you’ll want to follow that from light to dark. If you start with a strong beer like IPA it can ruin the nuances of the other beers in your flight. The other thing to be careful of when trying to pair beer and cheese is to make sure not to have too many different kinds or the flavors get lost.

Pilsner – A Pilsner is mild and has floral notes. It pairs well with spicy items. So go for a spicy, peppery cheese like a spicy Havarti. That would bring out the best notes in the beer. Avoid cheddar though. Habanero Cheddar sounds great but may be too overpowering for the beer.

Wheat – This pairs nicely with a Chevre, slightly sweet goat cheese.

Brown Ale – What’s nice about this beer is that it is friendly with many cheeses. Try it with an aged Swiss or mild cheddar. Another cheese that would do well with it is a sheep’s milk cheese. Taste a couple cheeses and pick which one you like best for your beer and cheese pairing.

IPAs – IPAs or India Pale Ales are hoppy and have a strong flavor. Pair it with a blue cheese or a sharp cheddar. Since IPAs vary so much, you could put out two different cheeses for your beer and cheese pairing and let your guests try both. Some guests may like one better than the other.

Stout – Lastly you’ll be pairing a dark beer like a stout with your cheese. The coffee-like taste of a stout needs something a bit smokey to pair with. Gouda is probably one of the best cheeses you can pair with a stout.

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Lobster Sustainability Matters

If you are a lobster lover, you seize every opportunity you can to have this seafood delicacy. As tasty a treat as lobster is, if you don’t live near a city or town where lobster is caught, you may not be getting the best lobster possible. Sure, it is possible for this to be shipped, but it requires that there is a demand for this specialized lobster.

Here is a behind the scenes look at lobsters from Maine and straight talk from lobstermen who are out there on a daily basis catching these majestic creatures. There’s a lot more to the quality that you may know. Plus, these lobster men care about sustainability and have been practicing these efforts long before it was cool.

Protecting the quality of their product and the marine environment is paramount to Maine lobstermen. Some regulations that help ensure the health of the lobsters include:

Harvest Method: Harvesting in Maine is by trap only. Traps include escape vents for under size lobsters as well as biodegradable escape hatches to free lobsters in lost traps.

Minimum Size Limit: Minimum 3 1/4″ measurements make sure baby lobsters have the opportunity to mature and reproduce before being harvested.

Tail Notching: Female lobsters with visible eggs cannot be harvested. Before releasing her, the harvester notches her tail to identify her as a good breeder, thus protecting her for life from being harvested.

Trap Limits: The total number of traps per harvester is limited by both the state and lobster zones.

Lobster Seed Fund: Supported by license fees, the Fund purchases females that extrude their eggs after being harvested. This unique buy-back program helps to ensure that the good breeding stock is returned to the ocean to reproduce.

Here’s your guide on how to crack a Lobster:

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Photo credit: Lobster of Maine

Whisky-cocktails-millenials

3 Whiskey Cocktails for Millenials

Who Says Whiskey is for Older Crowds? Impress Your Millenial Friends with Whiskey Cocktails

Why is it that Whiskey always seem to be left alone in the bar scene? It is understandable that most people find Whiskey to harsh to drink while dancing the night away but could it not be introduced in some cocktails? Generally it is assumed that the sweeter drinks tend to give you the staying power on the dance floor as it is usually loaded with sugar.

Sugar is not an ingredient that one would associate with Whiskey and many of the clubbers will shy away from the so called old mans drink. Yet they really do not understand the potential that scotch in small doses in sweet drinks can have. It can liven up the party in a relatively short amount of time.

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Impress your friends with these whiskey cocktails

Of course there are the few drinks out there that may inspire a look into by the up and coming Millenials that are trying to mature. One of these mild scotch drinks is the Rusty Nail. This wonderful drink contains 1 oz of scotch oz of Drambuie. And a twist of peel from a lemon

This drink forgoes the common rule of no ice with your whiskey, as the glass should be filled almost to the brim with cubes. Then the Drambuie and scotch are poured in together stirred vigorously and garnished with the peel. This makes a delightful small mixed drink that is much easier on the throat as well as the stomach that straight whiskey.

Another popular drink is the whiskey sour. This drink is open to enjoyment by all classes and generations, including millenials. This drink contains 2 oz of blended whiskey, the juice of half a lemon, tsp of powdered sugar, one cherry and half slice of lemon.

Again this drink is easy to make. Shake the blended whiskey, the powdered sugar and the lemon juice with ice then strain into a whiskey sour glass. Lastly, top with the cherry and garnish the drink with the lemon slice.

Another great drink that the millenials enjoy is the Rob Roy. This is a very simple drink that is relished by many and is very short on the prep time so you can be back on the dance floor in no time flat.

This drink contains 1 oz of scotch whiskey and oz sweet vermouth. You merely stir contents with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

These are easy cocktails that can be enjoyed while out dancing the night away or if you are hosting your friends at your home for a more intimate gathering. Be a a rock star by introducing them to these whiskey cocktails.

Culinary-school-affordable

Affordable Culinary School Pathway to Success

Culinary Program Turns Traditional Culinary School on Its Ear!

Have you had a dream of becoming a chef? What stopped you from attending culinary school? No matter what age you are, now is a terrific time to think about attending a culinary program. Of course, you have to select the right culinary program and school for your education.

Instead of spending tens of thousands of dollars on a culinary program that will take years, what if I told you there was a culinary program that only cost a fraction of the cost of traditional schools? And the icing on the cake of this culinary program? Students can complete it in less than 9 months.

Sure, we’ve all heard about some of the hardships facing students coming out of culinary programs over the past several years. They are promised a flourishing career after spending a ton of money or worse, come out of culinary school with an amazing amount of student loan debt only to face grim prospects of employment. But this culinary school program gives students the chance at a successful career by doing things differently.

1.) Students apprentice at local restaurants and catering companies. Often times because the culinary school students have gotten many contacts here, they either end up being hired by the establishment or have a good recommendation of where to work elsewhere.

2.) Students of this culinary school program learn many aspects of cooking that prepare them to run their own business. They learn about cost-saving measures that afford them the advance skills to start their own business and run it successfully.

3.) The culinary school brings together a close-knit family of students and instructors. They keep in touch for years after graduating and are willing to help and promote one another’s business, which gives them moral and emotional support.

Listen to the Podcast on the Culinary School Program (click on the button below):

Learn more about the culinary school program:

Culinary Apprenticeship

Make sure to shop for all your classy barware at Culinary Outfitters.

wedding-reception-cheap

How To Plan a Cheap Wedding Reception

5 Tips for Planning a Cheap Wedding Reception

The wedding reception is an important part of any wedding. The reception is often the easiest way for many to celebrate their marriage with their close family and friends. Unfortunately, wedding receptions can be expensive. Those who are not prepared to pay for a large reception may feel as though they cannot have a fun wedding reception.

Fortunately, you can have a wedding reception without the high cost. You can easily plan a cheap wedding reception. This type of reception does not have to look cheap, and will be sure to keep to your low budget. These five tips will help you to have the cheap reception that you want.

  1. Have Solid Invitation Numbers Available
    If you are planning for a cheap reception, you need to be sure that you avoid waste. You want to be sure that you are planning for the exact amount of people that will be at your reception. You need to have a solid number of invitations. At most, plan for the number of invitations that you have sent out. If possible, require RSVPs to be sure that you know the exact number of people who plan on attending.

wedding-reception-cheap-ideas2. Set a Budget
If you are planning a cheap wedding reception, you need to make sure that you have a solid budget. Plan on the amount of money that you can afford to spend on your wedding reception. Force yourself to stick to that budget. If you want a realistic budget, talk to others who have planned receptions. This will give you a general idea of the cost of a wedding reception that you will be able to base your budget off of.

3. DIY Items for your Wedding Reception
If you or some of your friends and family are craft enlist their help to plan some of the items for your wedding. A crafty person can find lots of items inexpensively online for your wedding reception. These can be put together for a wedding centerpiece that could look elegant and beautiful. Need a program for your wedding? Print out online and glue them to popsicle sticks and place on guests’ seats.

4. Constantly Compare Prices / Slash Costs for you Wedding Reception
Be sure to comparison shop for all of the objects that you need to rent or purchase. Comparing prices will help you to find exactly what you want for your reception, but at the lowest cost possible. Duh! By avoiding inviting children, you can lessen costs for your wedding reception. While it is taboo to many guests, forgoing booze at your wedding reception, can also save you thousands of dollars. But please don’t have a cash bar, that’s just tacky!

5. Buy a Package for your Wedding
Many wedding venues will allow you to buy a package that includes setup, food and the venue all for one price. This always turns out cheaper than when you book a venue and have to choose individual vendors yourself. It also saves you time because you don’t have to choose between a million options for your wedding reception.

You do not need to have a cheap looking reception to have a cheap wedding reception. With carefully selected items and serious planning, you can have the wedding reception that will help your family and friends celebrate your wedding at a price you can afford.

Check out our suggestions for marriage gifts too.

marriage-gift

Marriage Gift Ideas

A Wedding Basket is a Perfect Marriage Gift Idea

Weddings are a happy time for everyone involved and the bride and the groom are probably ecstatic for the coming day to arrive so they can say “I Do” to each other! When it comes to the wedding reception, many people have much more fun because they are able to unwind and relax. Gifts galore await the bride and the groom at the wedding reception and if you have ever purchased any sort of marriage gift then you have also probably spent countless hours trying to think of what to get the bride and the groom. If you have never thought of giving them a marriage gift basket, though, these can be awesome gifts for any couple.

There are all sorts of ways in which someone can be creative with their marriage gift basket as well. From making the actual basket by themselves to making sure that they put in everything special into the basket, marriage gift baskets are good presents to give that show your love and support.

A few of the items that you may want to include with the marriage gift basket are bath products. Not only are bath products usually well received but there are a plethora of options out there as well. For example, bubble bath is actually something that many couples enjoy because they’ll be able to use together. If you are going to include bubble bath in your marriage gift, though, a few of the other bath products that you must include are bath towels, wash cloths, and possibly even a few bars of soap.

Aside from bath products, though, there are plenty of other things to include with a marriage gift basket. For starters, how about putting in some things that they’ll need for their kitchen? Unless one or both of them owns a house with a fully-stocked kitchen chances are that they’ll need a few odds and ends to get them started. For example, spices and herbs, as well as coffee and teas are a good idea to include with the marriage gift basket. Considering, however, that spices, herbs, coffees, and teas should not be the only thing in a wedding gift basket, you could even go a few steps further to include some cooking utensils that they’ll probably need as well!

Many people might actually think that giving a marriage gift basket to a couple who has just celebrated their wedding ceremony, though, is too impersonal and is also distasteful. On the contrary, though, if you put a lot of thought into how the marriage gift basket will be presented and all of the products that you’ll place in the gift basket yourself it can be a truly special gift to give to the two people in love! Furthermore, chances are that the wedding couple will receive duplicate gift items anyway, so this way creating a wedding gift basket will ensure that your marriage gift is like no other gift they receive!

Barware and other items are a great choice for your marriage gift basket too.

6 Benefits of Drinking Lemon Water

Not only does it taste terrific, but there are many benefits to drinking lemon water.

Sure, cocktails are terrific and many cocktails use lemons in them. However, as doctors and nutrition experts tell us, we may want to back away from all the booze and incorporate more water into our daily lives. Also, many people are now cutting back for abstaining for liquor due to health or religions reasons. Whatever the reason here are some reasons to add lemon water into your life.

*It keeps you looking and smelling good! Besides the other reasons listed below, there are several health effects of drinking lemon water that everyone can begin to see rather quickly. 1.) It reduces blemishes. 2.) It helps you to lose weight by keeping you full. 3.) It freshens your breath! Yeah, so after you hit the pizza buffet at lunch, drink a glass of lemon water.

*Lemons are loaded with Vitamin C, which acts as an immune booster for your body.

*By drinking lemon water during the day, you are helping to rid your body of harmful toxins. They are flushed out with the aid of the lemons.

*Energize yourself. Looking for a boost of energy when you hit that afternoon slump? Try a glass of lemon water. It energizes your body and won’t have you crashing like a sugar rush would.

*Calm yourself. Lemon water helps reduce anxiety. Even the smell of fresh lemons calms your nervous system.

*Got a sore throat? Squeeze some lemon juice into a glass of warm water and let it sooth your throat. You’ll be surprised at how quickly this works.

tasting-in-the-dark-wine

Tasting in the Dark: A Blind Wine Seminar

Tasting in the Dark with Francis Ford Coppola Wines

You’ve no double heard of a blind wine tasting before. This involved tasting wine where the label is covered. The idea matching how good of wine connoisseur you are to be able to discern the wine. But this wasn’t the kind of wine tasting I attended. And no, it wasn’t anything kinky either. This was all about elevating your senses by taking away one. This was Tasting in the Dark.

You know the name Francis Ford Coppola from his legendary films. What if he were to take away all of the images? Your senses would suddenly enhance aspects you never noticed—the sound of a child laughing in the background of the scene, the scent of the perfume of the woman in the row behind you, and the saltiness of your popcorn. This is the premise of Tasting in the Dark.

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As we all gathered in the corner of the restaurant, we were each given blindfolds to put on. Instructed that we’d put our hand on the shoulder of the person in front of us, we slowly and very carefully walked into to our seminar room. First we were given glasses of different items to smell, to get our sense of smell activated. Anise was easy to identify as the strong smell of licorice was present. Vanilla bark was harder to discern. But one thing was for sure, it really helped us focus in on that sense of smell.

Next were three different wines placed in front of us. The white with fruity notes was easily identifiable. The reds, although easy to pick out different hints of cherry, vanilla and other notes were not as easy to identify. This was a neat way to explore wines. The subtle nuances of wine are no longer subtle, instead having our full attention. You can smell the fruit. You can feel the tannins. You realize how much more you get out of tasting wines like this.

Hoby Wedler, recently awarded Forbes Magazine 30 under 30 for Food and Drink, was our host of the unusual wine tasting. Hoby says blindfolds help participants concentrate on the wine, accentuating the sensory experience of its flavors and aromas.“You’re really focusing just on the wine and not on the visual cues,” Wedler says. You bring your curiosity we’ll bring the blindfolds.

Hard Boiled Eggs: Oven vs. Stove Top

What’s the Deal with Making Hard Boiled Eggs in the Oven? Is it worth the hype?

If you fancy yourself a kitchen connoisseur in any fashion and keep up with the latest cooking trends, then you’ve seen the videos lately, touting making eggs in the oven vs. boiling them on the stove top as Grandma did. We tried it and here’s what we found.

First, the process:
You will need a muffin / cupcake tin to make hard boiled eggs in the oven. Either six of a dozen will do depending on how many eggs you want to cook. We tried 6 in case it didn’t work out. You bake the eggs for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Of course, oven temperatures may vary, but 350 seems to be standard.

How did the Hard boiled eggs in the oven turn out:
Taking the eggs out of the oven, the first thing I noticed were the dark spots on them. I’m not sure why this happened. When peeled the spots stayed on. The spots didn’t affect the taste but didn’t make them appealing in any way. Since I always immerse my eggs in ice water after they are done boiling, I don’t know that the peeling process was any different using the oven. It certainly didn’t seem any easier. The eggs seemed drier and with much less flavor than when they are cooked on the stove top.

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The Verdict:
Don’t make oven-boiled hard boiled eggs. It takes much longer for an over to heat up to 350 degrees than it does to bring a small pot of water to boiling. The taste from cooking eggs in the oven isn’t nearly as good as the stove top.

Tip: No matter how you make your hard boiled eggs, they tend to peel easier if they’re at least a week old vs. brand new eggs.

Throwing a party, shower, etc? Don’t forget to stock on up on the best accessories from Culinary Outfitters.

guide to wine buying

Introduction to Wine Buying

Tips for Finding and Buying the Best Wine

When it comes to wine, there are literally hundreds if not thousands of different types to choose from. Determining what wine is best suited for you can be quite difficult if you are new to this the wine buying world. Here are 8 ways to buy the best wine possible.

Go to wine tasting events. This is a fantastic way to discover wines that you will enjoy without purchasing a whole bottle to find out if you like it. Many times wine cellars and wineries offer wine tasting as part of their tours. But in recent years, restaurants all over are having wine tastings for as little as $20 for a tasting of a variety of different wines.

Don’t be fooled into thinking only pricey wines are good. You should experiment with wines from all price points and ratings during your introduction to wine buying. Sticking with only expensive wines is a waste of money and could prevent you from finding the perfect wine for you. There are many wines that are tasty and are under $15.

If you are going to a party or a gathering, and you would like to bring wine, try to stick with something that is not too strong. Pinot Noir is a great choice for occasions like this, because it goes with most food. Also, if you find yourself easing into red wine during yor introduction to wine buying, Pinto Noir is a good choice as it is lighter than bolder cabernet or merlot.

Avoid wines on the eye-level shelf in your wine store or grocer. They are put at eye level for a reason. Often, these shelves will be “sold” to larger local wineries that can afford to put their wine in the prime shelf position. Smaller wineries that offer some great wine selections are usually relegated to the upper or lower shelves in the market. Don’t be afraid to experiment during your introduction to wine buying.

When thinking about a wine to pair with your meal, do not forget to include champagne and other sparkling wines while you are learning about wine buying. These wines don’t have to be relegated to special occasions. Keep in mind not all sparkling wines are sweet or dry; they can be anywhere in between. Usually these wines go well at the beginning of the meal. It pairs well with salty snacks and light dishes like cheeses and fruits. However, more and more, these have been paired with fried “comfort foods.” Think items like fried chicken or potato chips drizzled with blue cheese.

When shopping for wine, it’s great to seek advice from wine experts at your local wine store, but don’t let them sway you away from a wine you think you’d like to try. It’s best not to spend a small fortune on any wine until you have a solid understanding of what tastes good to you.

Sweet wines are referred to as dessert wine. They often have alcoholic additives in them to make the flavor even bolder. This creates a syrup-like wine which is great in small doses, one of the reasons it is served is smaller glasses. Pairing it with a savory dessert creates the best course of the meal, so try it at your next dinner party.

Unlike other wines, red wine needs a chance to breathe after opening. So, leave the bottle uncorked for about 30 minutes before your drink it. This gives the wine more time to interact with the oxygen in the air. If you are pressed for time (and willing to spend the money during your introduction to wine buying), pour the wine through an aerator and into a decanter so that it breathes properly first.

Becoming a wine expert doesn’t happen overnight. Follow the tips here and you are well on your way of becoming a wine connoisseur in your own right. Just remember to have fun during your wine education and be sure to drink responsibly.