Extreme Beer, Morimoto Beer Cheese and Sausage Potato Salad

What is extreme beer?

Sam Calagione, founder of the Dogfish Head Brewery in Milton, Del., is also one of the founders of the extreme beer movement in the US. Across the country, extreme beer means beer with chipotle peppers added, beer with chocolate syrup added, beer with triple the usual amount of bitters, making it extra puckery. It’s the tiniest fraction of the entire beer industry, making up less than 1% of all beers. But it’s also the fastest growing, and the most fun.

Other extreme beers

Allagash Brewing Co. in Portland, Maine, makes its Victor Ale with a dash of Chancellor grapes, and ferments the beer with red-wine yeast.  Russian River Brewing Co. in Santa Rosa, California makes a handful of beers that are aged in wine barrels for as long as 2 1/2 years before bottling. The concept with all of these brews?  Add extra layers of complexity to a beverage that many people think of as plain and eben watery.  Winey beers are a hybrid of sorts.  They are carbonated like beer and brewed with the same malted barley and hops, yet they usually have a stronger aroma, fruitier tastes–and alcohol levels that, at 10% to 15%, are two to three times that of a typical beer. They’re also supposed to be drunk warmer.  Port Brewing Co. in San Marcos, Californiea recommends its Angel’s Share ale be stored and served at 50 to 60 degrees, the “cellar temperature” of wine.  Even the packaging and pricing mimic wine.  These beers cost $15 or more for a 759-milliter (about 25-ounce) bottle–the same quantity as a standard wine bottle–that often is secured with a cork rather than a cap.  

Beer Cheese

Not to be left out the cheese industry has made beer cheese. 

Rogue Creamery has created Morimoto Soba Ale Cheddar.  According to Rogue, the smooth and creamy flavors transport tasters to a down to earth Japanese pub.  Chef  Masaharu Morimoto, one of the stars of the Food Network series Iron Chef, was intimately involved in the process that produced the cheese that bears his name.  The toasty, buckwheat-rich beer penetrates the cheese, creating its distinctive marbling. 

Sausage Potato Salad

For a quick and easy holiday meal in minutes try the Sausage Potato Salad featured on the Dinner in Minutes home page.  Make it a day ahead and enjoy a no hassle Labor Day with friends.

Linda Gassenheimer’s Favorite Finds at the Fancy Food Show

Linda’s Gassenheimer’s Favorite Finds at the Fancy Food Show, 2007

The Fancy Food Show held each year at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City draws thousands of foodies.  People from all facets of the food industry – small markets, major grocery chanins, chefs and caterers – descend on the show to see what is new in the food world.  Somer 25,000 retailers attend and select the specialty products we will see on the shelves this autumn. 

I noted several major trends this year: Health and organic foods were popular last year, but this year the category has mushroomed. There was a natural and organic foods pavilion with 650 products at the show.Convenience foods for quick and easy meals was a major trend.  As one attendee remarked, “If I can’t eat it now, forget it.”New ingredients and combinations are employed to make new sauces, condiments and drinks products, 

Here are some of my favorite finds:

Healthy and Natural

New age fruits took center stage in this category. Pomegranates, Goji Berries and Acai are healthful fruits, packed with vitamins and antioxidants.  

Stonewall Kitchen Pomegranate Grilling Sauce

The tart, refreshing taste of red pomegranates helps to create a sauce with a subtle sweetness. It’s perfect for chicken, pork or fish. In addition, the Roasted Apple Grilling Sauce was the winner of the 2007 NASFT Outstanding Cooking Sauce Award.  Suggested retail prices for either product $6.50 for 11 oz. bottle. 800-207-jams (5267), 

Himalania Organic Goji Berries. 

The newest fruit of the health food sector is the Goji berry. These little red berries are rich in B vitamins and a good source of protein and potassium.  Originating from the Tibetan plateau, they have been harvested by monks for thousands of years. They are certified USDA Organic. Use them right out of the bag for snacks, in cereal, over salads or bake them into muffins or bread.Suggested Retail price $4.99 for 4 oz. bag, $7.99 8 oz. bag, 310-559-0259  

O.N.E. Amazon Acai Drink

Acai (pronounced ah-sigh-ee) is a fruit grown wildly in the middle of the Amazon Rainforest.  Fresh acai berries are the main ingredient in this refreshing, delicious natural drink. Suggested retail price $2.89 for 11 oz. bottle, 888-one-coco,

Republic of Tea Acai Green Tea

The deep purple acai fruit lends flavors of concord grape and ripe blueberries to this natural tea.  Suggested retail price $.950 for 50 tea bags, 800-298-4832,   

Niman Ranch Apple Gouda Sausage

Niman Ranch produces fine meats.  Their new products Apple Gouda, Spicy Italian and Thai-Style sausages are made without nitrates and are packed with flavor.  Smoky, creamy Gouda cheese and apple make a slightly sweet dinner sausage. Lemongrass, ginger, cardamom and coriander add aromatic flavors to the Thai sausage.  Suggested retail price for each of these flavors $9.95 for 12 oz. package, 866-808-0340, , 

Convenience Foods,

Melissa’s Steamed Lentils Delicious, fresh lentils, ready-to-eat hot or cold make serving this nutritious and tasty food a breeze. Just open the package and use in salads, as a side dish or garnish. There are no preservatives or additives.  Lentils are high in protein and an excellent source of fiber. Suggested Retail Price $3.99 for 17.6 oz. package,  800-558-0151, 

Hot Sauces were a hot product at the show.

Dave’s Gourmet Adjustable Heat Hot Sauce

Some like it hot, some not. Choose your own heat level with this pump spray hot sauce by turning the cap.  You can decide if you want a little spicy, hot or fiery.  The pump spray gives an even distribution of sauce on your food.  By the way, if you’d like to cast your vote for president, go to Dave’s web site There are hot sauces featuring caricatures of all the major candidates.  When you buy a bottle, it is a vote for that candidate. Profits go to the American Cancer Society. Suggested retail price $9.99 for 7.1 oz jar. 800-401-0372,, 

Texas Sassy Tequila Ketchup,

This is ketchup with a kick. The tequila flavor is great for a dip for seafood.  It’s also good on hamburgers and hot dogs.  Suggested Retail Price $12.99 for 12 oz bottle. 512, 215- 4022,, 

Sunland Peanut Butter Spread Creamy, packed with flavor and all natural, this peanut butter is a winner. Their new flavors, banana, caramel and raspberry do not contain hydrogenated oil. Suggested Retail Price $4.75 12 oz jar 866-732-6880  

Restaurant Savvy — secrets restaurants won’t tell you

Know the angles to help you get the most out of your restaurant visit.

It’s the show that helps you spend the bucks.

 Recent statistics: Americans now spend roughly half their food budget eating out. Large glass wine towers with robots retrieving wine, prompt diners to buy more wine.

Lot’s of noise and music encourages faster turnover of tables, as does bright lights and colors.

 Some menus list items with the most profit first so it catches your eye.  They bury the high-price items in the middle.


Smile, you may be on candid camera.

 From white- table cloth, pricey restaurants to a lunchtime sandwich shop, cameras are everywhere.  Mostly these are to deter employee theft, but you may be in the picture, too. In some very upscale restaurants the cameras are focused on the plates so the chef can tell when each course needs to be plated and served.

 Watching your cholesterol?  Beware.

 Ordering a salmon fillet may be a healthful choice, or maybe not.  Many restaurants use butter and other calorie-heavy ingredients in their dishes.  An average restaurant meal can be well over 1000 calories. 


Who gets the tip?
Many restaurants have a tip pool.  What you leave for the waitress or waiter will be divided amongst the people who serve you – bartender, busboy.   But, sometimes the management dips into the tip pool even through it is against Federal Law.

 Watch your bill.  Some restaurants have included the tip in the bill.  If you’re not sure, ask.  It’s a rare server who will remind you that the tip is included once you’ve left another tip on the table.

 Be guaranteed to get a table at the local hotspot.

Become a regular at your favorite “in” restaurant.  Go on off nights and be sure to tell the maitre ‘d you enjoyed the meal and will be back soon.  Ask for his/her card.  When you want to return on a busy night, a good maitre ‘d will make sure there’s a table for you.

Broward Partnership for the Homeless

Chefs Helping the Homeless Benefit

Celebrated chefs in South Florida have created a food-lover’s adventure that will benefit homeless men, women and families with children.  Broward Partnership for the Homeless and Florida Table magazine are co-hosting the event. 

The evening begins with 5:30 cocktails at the newly opened Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Fort Lauderdale showroom.  At 7 PM guests pick a number and hop into the corresponding limo to be driven to a sruprise restaurant for a four-course gourmet dinner. 

Only 12 tables of eight will be sold for $2,000 each with proceeds benefiting Broward Partnership forthe Homeless, Inc.

Date: Saturday, August 25, 2007

For information call 954-832-7037,

Chef Chris Wilber, Canyon Restaurant, Southwestern Cuisine and Cooking Fresh Corn

August means harvest season in many areas.  One of my favorite memories growing up in Connecticut was going to the local farm to buy freshly picked corn.  We would rush home and cook it immediately.  I can still taste the fresh sweet flavor.  Corn is an important ingredient in most cuisines.  It’s especially important in Southwestern cooking. My guest on my weekly National Public Radio program Chef Chris Wilber from Canyon Restaurant in Ft.Lauderdale talked about corn’s influence in his cooking.   

Corn is an all-American vegetable and has a rich history in Native American and Southwestern cultures. Native Americans instructed the Spanish conquerors in the harvesting and use of corn – roasting it in clay pits, making cornmeal and dough for tortillas. Corn in the Southwest is grown in six colors with blue corn being the most distinctive and highly prized.   Corn is essential to Southwestern cooking.  Tortillas, tamales, tostados, burritos, tacos, enchiladas , nachos are just a few of the dishes based on the use of corn.   

Buying corn, look for:

Tightly closed husks

Green and moist, not woody, stems Lots of golden brown corn silk coming out of the cornRipe corn has fat kernels and when you poke a kernel the juice is milky color. 

Corn cooking time: 

Husk attached – 10 minutes Husk removed – 7 minutesGrilled corn husk removed – 8 to 12 minutesGrilled corn with husk – 25 minutes 

Dinner in Minutes recipe: Turkey Mushroom Quesadilla with Corn and Black Bean Salad

The recipe and photo can be found on the Dinner in Minutes home page.  Click on the recipe there for full details.

Chef Chistorpher Wilber, Canyon Restaurant,

An intimate view of Princess Diana from her personal chef, Darren McGrady plus her favorite Bread and Butter Pudding

An intimate view of Princess Diana from her personal chef, Darren McGrady plus her favorite Bread and Butter Pudding

Princess Diana touched the hearts of people around the world. It’s hard to believe that this August 31st marks the 10th anniversary of her death – a very sad memory.

I interviewed Chef Darren McGrady on my WLRN 91.3 FM NPR program.  ( to listen world-wide) He was Princess Di’s personal chef for 5 years.  He lived in


Palace and has many delightful and revealing stories about life around the royal table.  His book, detailing that life is Eating Royally (Thomas Nelson Press, $29.99.)

Here is an excerpt from that interview:


Your book gives us a look at a real person rather than a princess.  What was she like?

DMcGThe Princess came to the kitchen fairly frequently to get a snack or to chat.  She would sit on the chest freezer near by eating her lunch and chatting about the previous night’s soap operas. Sometimes she would burst into the room and say, “You won’t believe what the Queen has just told me.” Conversations would meander over many topics. 

LGYou talk about Princess Diana’s favorite foods in Eating Royally.  Foods like Bread and Butter Pudding.  This doesn’t fit with the publicity about her eating disorders.   

DMcG When I came to the Palace, she was over her bulimia and was careful about what she ate. I once offered her a donut I had made for the boys and she refused saying it would go to her hips.  She would have a yogurt for dessert.  

LGYou mention that dating was difficult after the divorce. 

DMcG It was impeded by the relentless attention her every move generated.  


You’re carrying on Princess Diana’s legacy of working for the charities that she was involved with. 



My advance and all royalties from Eating Royally will be donated to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric Aids Foundation.  This will be supporting her favorite causes, children and aids.


Princess Diana’s favorite foods.

She loved pasta, fresh vegetables, chicken and fish.  Dessert was always fruit or yogurt.


Bread and Butter Pudding

This was Princess Diana’s all-time favorite.

3 ounces raisins

1/4 cup Amaretto

12 slices white bread, crusts removed

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted

9 egg yolks

2 teaspoons vanilla paste

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup milk

2 cups heavy cream

2 tablespoons granulated sugar, to dust top of pudding

3 ounces sliced almonds, lightly toasted

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Soak raisins in the Amaretto, and leave covered with plastic wrap at room temperature 6 to 8 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Cut 4 slices of the red into 1/2-inch dice, and spread the diced bread on the bottom of a casserole dish.  Sprinkle the raisins on top of the bread cubes, and  pour any remaining liquid over the bread.  Cut the remaining 8 slices of bread in half diagonally, and then cut each half slice in half diagonally to create 4 even triangles per slice.  Dip the triangles into the butter, and arrange on the top of the raisins, overlapping the triangles slightly.  Pour any remaining butter over the tops of the bread.

Whisk the yolks, vanilla paste, and sugar in a large bowl until combined.  Bring the milk and cream to a boil in a heavy saucepan over high heat, and pour the hot mix onto the egg yolks, whisking constantly.  Pour the warm egg mixture over the bread, making sure all of the bread is coated, and set aside the coated bread for 20 minutes to allow the egg mixture to soak into the bread.

Place the casserole dish in a roasting tray filled with hot water halfway up the sides of the casserole dish, and bake on the middle rack in the oven for 30 to 45 minutes, or until golden brown on top with the filling just set.

Remove the dish from the oven and roasting tray, and sprinkle with the extra sugar.  Broil or use a crème brulee torch to caramelize the sugar.  Sprinkle with the toasted sliced almonds, and dust with powdered sugar.  Cool slightly, and serve warm with a jug of cream and some fresh berries.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

From Eating Royally by Darren McGrady, (Thomas Nelson Press, $29.99.)

South Florida Restaurant News, August 2, 2007

South Florida Restaurant News, August 2, 2007

As heard on Linda’s WLRN NPR radio program Food News and Views

It seems that dinner is going casual. Recently several upscale restaurants have closed, while a trend is developing for star chefs to open in lower rent areas with smore approachable, less fussy cuisine.

High-Profile restaurants that have failed:


Norman Van Aken closed Norman’s in Coral Gables last May. He plans to open Tavern N Town in Key West this Fall.

Pacific Time

Jonathan Eismann closed Pacific Time on Lincoln Road and plans to open in the Design District in about a year.

Astor Hotel

Johnny Vinczencz short-lived return to Miami closed in July. He has retreated to his Johnny V restaurant in Fort Lauderdale.


Jeffrey Brana, longtime executive chef at Norman’s, closed Restaurant Brana last February.

Other closings include, Duo, M. Woods, Mosaico, Zucca, Afterglo, Black Orchid Café, Cafeteria, Max’s Grill.


New contenders continue to come:

Devito South Beach

150 Ocean Drive

South Beach, FL


Prime Blue Grille (Contemporary Steak and Seafood Restaurant

315 South Biscayne lvd,

Miami, FL 33131


Restaurants Mentioned on the show

Fresco California Bistro

1744 SW 3rd Ave.

Miami, FL 33129


Grass (contemporary cuisine)

28 NE 40st

Mimai, FL 33137


Hy-Vong (Vietnamese restaurant)

3458 SW Eighth Sts.

Miami, FL


Primo Pizza

100 First Street

Miami Beach, FL


The Food Gang

9472 Harding Ave

Surfside, FL 33154


Broward and Palm Beach Counties

Angelo’s Corner Pizza

200 Garfield St

Hollywood, FL


Antonio’s Pizzeria

6880 Miramar Pkwy

Miramar, FL


Bozo’s Sandwich Shop (home cooking open for lunch and take out dinner on Friday)

601 SW 12th Ave.

Ft. Lauderdale, FL


Chops Lobster Bar (steak and seafood restaurant)

101 Plaza Real South

Boca Raton, FL 33432


Café Martorano

3343 E. Oakland Park Blvd.

Ft. Lauderdale, FL


Creolina’s (Cajan/creole)

209 SW Second St.

Ft Lauderdale, Fl


Helen Huang’s Mandarin House

2031 Hollywood Blvd

Hollywood, FL


Hi-Life Café

300 N. Federal Highway,

Fort Lauderdale, FL


Lola’s on Harrison (Contemporary Comfort Food)

2032 Harrison Street

Hollywood, FL 33020


Mojo Caribbean Flavor (Trinadad)

5371 10th Ave. N.

Greenacres, FL


Pho 78 (Vietnamese restaurant)

7849 Pines Blvd (btw N. University Dr. and 78th Terrace

Pembroke Pines, FL


Phyllis G’s Enigma (fine roadhouse fare)

2717 N. Federal Highway

Delray Beach, FL


33rd and Dine French Café

3330 NE 33rd St.

Ft. Lauderdale, FL


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