Taste of the Nation Turnberry Resort

Share our Strength Taste of the Nation was a great success.  Kudos to Chef Allen Susser who has helped organize the event since its begining.

Check out this push-up dulce de leche ice cream from Joe’s Stone Crab.

Fred Tasker’s Port Wine Suggestions

The finest wine from Portugal is, not surprisingly, port. Port is a powerful, sweet dessert wine. It starts out like a regular wine, but halfway through the fermentation they add a dollop of grape brandy, which stops the fermentation. It leaves you with a wine that can be quite sweet, and up to 17 percent alcohol.

Port is great. But drinking it can be dangerous to your image. People think of doddering old men sitting in leather chairs in men’s clubs, nodding off over a glass of port.

The English writer Evelyn Waugh wrote: “Port is not for the very young, the vain and the active. It is the comfort of age and the companion of the scholar and the philosopher.”

We port lovers know better. There’s nothing more satisfying, after a fine meal, than to sip a glass of port with a piece of Cheddar or bleu cheese and a handful of walnuts. Or even a dark chocolate dessert.
Ports come in several styles:

  • There’s ruby port: This is the least expensive and the most popular. It’s stored in stainless steel tanks and bottled early, creating a youthful, lively wine. A nice example is Nonvintage Fonseca Ruby Port: bright red color; crisp, almost zingy flavors of tart cherries; soft tannins; $17.
  • There’s tawny port: It’s aged from seven to 40 years in wood barrels, turning it tawny in color and mellow and nutty in flavor.
  • There’s vintage port:  This is made only in the best years, aged for two or three years in wood barrels, then often aged for another decade or two in bottles. It’s best of ports.
  • There’s Late-bottled vintage port: This is aged four to six years in barrels, then bottled; it often uses top grapes that were earmarked for vintage port, but diverted from lack of market demand.

So don’t worry if drinking port gives you the image of an old man. One of my favorite sayings is this: “Wine does improve with age. The older I get the more I like it.”

Add salmon to gazpacho for a quick, cooling supper


Fresh salmon, cucumbers and tomatoes make a soothing soup supper. Gazpacho is a Spanish soup served at room temperature or chilled. Adding freshly cooked salmon creates a one-dish meal.

The secret to the rich flavor of this dinner is that the salmon is cooked for just a few minutes. It may be a little red in the center when it is removed from the skillet, but it will continue to cook in its own heat.

Shortcut: Buy already-diced tomatoes, cucumber and onion in the produce section of the supermarket.

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Linda’s Fancy Food Show Favorite Finds

Dulcet, Mild Indian Curry Ketchup
Suggested Retail Price $6.00/14 ounce bottle

Indian Cashew and Cream Sauce
Suggested Retail Price $6.49/12 ounce jar

Robert Rothschild Farm, Mexican Mole Simmer Sauce
Suggested Retail Price, $9.19/8 ounce bottle

The Mediterranean Snack Food Company, Baked Lentil Chips
Suggested Retail Price $3.99/4.5 ounce bag

Kaffe Magnum Opus Coffee, Fair Trade Coffee
Suggested Retail Price $9.25/pound

Firelighters by If You Care
Suggested Retail Price $5.99/72 piece bag

Crunchmaster Multi-Seed Crackers
Suggested Retail Price $3.09/4.5 ounce bag

Raw Green Bush Tea
Suggested Retail Price $10.00/tin with 36 tea bags

The Ginger People
Suggested Retail Price $4.00/32 ounces, $1.99/12 ounces

Fruit of the Land Fig Cabernet Preserve
Suggested Retail Price $9.99/8.8 ounce jar

Petite Maison Fig and Pear with Orange Compote
Suggested Retail Price $4.75/8.4 ounce jar

Dockside Market Keys Crab Mustard Sauce
Suggested Retail Price $5.99/6 ounce jar

Falk Salt
Suggested Retail Price $4.99/4 ounce package

Ben Tre (cocao beans from Ben Tre province of Vietnam)
Suggested Retail Price $9.95/3 ounce bar

Jelly Belly

Firelighter eco-friendly charcoal lighter

Lighting a charcoal grill is safer and more eco-friendly with Firelighters by If You Care.  There’s no kerosene or paragon in these small wood and oil impregnated squares.  The wood comes from sustainably managed forests and contains non-GMO vegetable oil.
Firelighters by If You Care, Suggested Retail Price $5.99/72 piece bag,

Pureed mangoes make a tasty sauce for scallops


A hint of curry and fresh ginger turns fresh mango puree into a spicy Asian sauce. Mangoes are at the height of their season. We usually think of them as a snack or dessert, but this sauce adds flavor and color to pan-seared scallops.

Peeling a mango can be messy. Try this easy method: Hold the mango upright on a cutting board with the narrow side facing you. With a serrated knife, slice off each side of the mango as close to the seed as possible. Hold one of the halves, peel side down, in the palm of your hand and scoop out the pulp with a spoon. Repeat with the other half. To remove fruit from the seed, peel the section containing the seed and cut off the fruit.

As a shortcut, you could buy mango chutney, add fresh lime juice and just spoon it over the cooked scallops.

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Linda Gassenheimer’s Favorite Finds at the Fancy Food Show

The NASFT Summer Fancy Food Show was held at the Jacob Javitz Center in New York City, June 27-29.  It gives a preview of what we’ll be seeing at our local markets this autumn. With 2,400 exhibitors covering a space of over 7 football fields, there was a lot to see and taste with products ranging from artisanal cheeses to savory snacks, frozen desserts, ethnic sauces and dark chocolate. Covering the show is a major workout for the stomach and feet.  And, yes, I walked through and tasted many of the products there.

So what are the trends we’ll be seeing this year?  I found bold ethnic flavors in a variety of products to help the home cook (Indian, Moroccan, Mexican.) You will be able to create your own Indian-spiced meal with these 2 outstanding products:

Mild Indian Curry Ketchup produced by Dulcet, a true winner.  Use it on meats, fish or vegetables for a quick Indian-flavored dinner;

Indian Cashew and Cream sauce by Stonehouse 27 is made with all natural ingredients – no added sugar, no trans fats and it is low in salt.  Use this spicy, creamy sauce to saute meat, fish, poultry or vegetables.

I saw many eco-friendly, sustainable, fair trade products: manufacturers are meeting this new demand.

Fair-trade, organic coffee from Kaffe Magnum Opus uses part of the sales proceeds for a project called Café Femenino a social program to help women growers.

Lighting a charcoal grill is safer and more eco-friendly with Firelighters by If You Care.  There’s no kerosene or paragon in these small wood and oil impregnated squares.  The wood comes from sustainably managed forests and contains non-GMO vegetable oil.

There are more products responding to consumers interest in healthy eating: low-salt, low saturated fat and gluten-free.

Multi-Seed Crackers by Crunchmaster are low-sodium, low saturated fat and wheat free and gluten free, yet crisp and tasty.

Added to the healthy snack/cracker list are Baked Lentil Chips. You’d never know they’re baked not fried.  They’re perfect to use as a base for spreads or eat them on their own. They’re gluten-free and a good source of fiber.

And the fruit of the year is fig which is being used to flavor many products from jams, compotes, vinegars and oils to dark chocolate.

Petite Maison Fig and Pear with Orange Compote,

Fruit of the Land Fig Cabernet preserves and

Scharffen Berger’s Ben Tre (cocoa beans from Ben Tre province of Vietnam) single origin dark chocolate bar with fig overtones are a few of my favorites.

And special congratulations to a local Coconut Grove family, Renee Frigo-Graeff and Daniel Graef.  Their Delicate Cucumber and Shallot Artisan Vinaigrette won the award for best Salad Dressing and it was well deserved.  In addition, they’re Lucini Premium Select Extra Virgin Olive Oil is USDA certified organic.  The olives are handpicked from a single estate.

Next Food Network Star Contestant Aria Kagan’s Mac n’ Cheese

Aria’s Mac n’ Cheese Recipe courtesy Aria Kagan
8 to 12 servings

•    Kosher salt
•    2 bags eggs noodles
•    5 tablespoons unsalted butter
•    1 small onion, chopped
•    2 jalapenos, chopped (with seeds)
•    5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
•    1 quart whole milk
•    1 pint half-and-half
•    12 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, grated
•    8 ounces cream cheese
•    8 ounces goat cheese

•    2 cups panko bread crumbs
•    2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
•    1/2 teaspoon salt
•    1/2 pound bacon slices
This recipe makes 1 very large mac n  cheese or you can divide it into 2 pans.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the egg noodles according to package directions until al dente, cooked, but with a little bite to them. Drain well, and set aside.
In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat and saute the onion and jalapenos. Cook the mixture for about 5 minutes, or until the onion is softened. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for 6 minutes.
Pour in the milk and half-and-half and whisk until the mixture thickens, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add in the Monterey Jack, cream cheese, and goat cheese and whisk until all the cheese is melted. Turn off the heat and stir in the cooked noodles.
Pour the mixture into a 9 by 13-inch baking dish or 2 smaller baking dishes and set aside.
On a baking sheet, blend together the panko, melted butter and salt and spread the mixture out into an even layer on the pan. Bake in the oven until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Watch it so it doesn t burn.
On another baking sheet, lay out the strips of bacon and bake them for 15 minutes, or until crispy.
Bake the mac ‘n’ cheese for 15 minutes, or until bubbling. Remove from the oven and top with the toasted panko and then the bacon. Serve hot.
A viewer, who may not be a professional cook, provided this recipe. The Food Network Kitchens chefs have not tested this recipe and therefore, we cannot make representation as to the results.

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