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Issue Date: Fall 2006


Food Facts & Feats

A chocolate-lover's paradise, dragon fruit revealed and figs for 2007


Jayne Eiben, Liz Logan and Laura Taxel

Ohio Cuts Ahead of the Competition
The International Housewares Association named the high-performance Katana Series cutlery Best in Category for 2006, and so did judges for The International Design Magazine's annual design review. The Japanese-inspired line of knives was created by the product design team at the Toledo-based Calphalon Group, manufacturers of professional-quality cookware and kitchen tools.

The rust-resistant knives have an inner core of hard steel encased in 32 layers of steel alloys. The result is exceptional strength, durability and a lovely wavy surface pattern. Blades can be finely honed, and retain their edge longer. The ergonomically designed grip, called an integrated bolster, makes each knife fit naturally in the hand. Head designer Joel Tetreault says Calphalon married the latest in materials and technology with a stylized, streamlined look that he calls sleek and sexy. The result is some cutting-edge cutlery.
- Laura Taxel

Food Show Choco-rama
When it comes to enjoying food, what could be more fabulous than chocolate? That's why the I-X Center's Fabulous Food Show (Nov. 10-12, www.fabulousfoodshow.com) will feature the ultimate chocolate bar, a space devoted to all things dark, decadent and ooey-gooey. Chocolate cakes, cookies and candy will vie for attention beside several chocolate fondue fountains. The larger fountains will be almost four feet high and consist of 20-30 pounds of melted chocolate, more than enough for all who attend this exciting event to dip everything from strawberries and pineapple to marshmallows and biscotti. Adults looking for an added buzz can order a chocolate martini from the bar. It all adds up to a whole lot of cocoa butter. Organizers anticipate visitors will consume hundreds of pounds of the sweet treat over the weekend.
- Jayne Eiben

Wine + Cheese = A No-No?
New scientist magazine dropped a bombshell on the epicurean community earlier this year when it announced that wine and cheese are not the Sonny and Cher of our era.

It seems scientists at the University of California, Davis, successfully tricked a group of expert wine tasters out of their senses with the dairy delight. The tasters were given a variety of both expensive and cheap wines to sip, with and without cheese, and the results were odious: "The cheese suppressed just about everything," wrote New Scientist. "Strong cheeses suppressed flavors more than milder cheeses, but flavors of all wines were suppressed. In other words, there are no magical wine and cheese pairings."

But don't send out those cancellation letters for your next wine-and-cheese party just yet.

"By the end of the night, after several glasses of wine and several courses, who's assessing wine? No one!" says Marianne Frantz of the Cleveland Wine School. "So bring out the cheeses and savor the flavors!" if you prefer your wine by the glass, Vineyard Fresh Wine Preservative created by Vineyard Fresh of Hudson should be on your hot list. Over at Blue Point Grille, general manager Todd Thompson's so pleased with the system that he's been using it to keep his $30-a-pour Stags' Leap Winery '97 Cabernets at maximum freshness.

The moment a bottle of wine is opened, oxygen begins to affect the flavor, erasing subtle undertones and accentuating the alcohol's bite. The change is barely noticeable if you drink it all at one sitting, but over time the process can spoil a good vintage, especially reds. Vineyard Fresh's preservative system creates a protective barrier between the wine and the oxygen with a tasteless, harmless mixture of argon and nitrogen. The invisible gases are sprayed into the bottle before re-corking it, using a canister that looks something like a mini fire extinguisher.

You can pick up the preservative for $12.50 at Heinen's, Chuck's Beverage in Chagrin Falls, Miles Farmers Market, Royal Park Fine Wine in Cleveland, Rozi's in Lakewood and Rocky River and Grand River Cellars Winery Tasting Room in Madison.
- Liz Logan

Party Hardy Without the Hard Stuff
In january, the Cleveland Clinic Press will release “Sober Celebrations: Lively Entertaining Without the Spirits” ($24.95 at area bookstores and on Amazon.com).

The new cookbook, by Chef Liz Scott, a graduate of The French Culinary Institute, recovering alcoholic and author of the award-winning “The Sober Kitchen,”is a resource for those who want to celebrate without beer, wine or hard liquor in any form. It features menus, recipes, alternative beverage pairings and ingredient substitutions for traditional dishes. She’s created “mock-tails” so everyone can raise a glass and toast the season.

Here's a sneak preview of her recipes:
Olde English Trifle
Pomegranate Ratafia

Fancy on a Budget
Known for its spectacular views of the falls, Blake’s Restaurant in Chagrin Falls is not the first spot that comes to mind for dinner on a budget. But along with papaya-encrusted sea bass ($29.95), a luscious cheeseburger appears on the menu pleasing to both taste buds and wallets: nine ounces of 100 percent Kobe beef, served with Tillamook cheese (fancy sharp cheddar), tomato, red onion, lettuce, a homemade onion roll and freshly cut french fries. Cost of cheeseburger: $8.95. Cost of a window table: $0.

Book Buffet
Carla Snyder and Meredith Deeds’ second book, “The Big Book of Appetizers,” has just been released (Chronicle Books, $19.95). Snyder, the chef de cuisine at the Western Reserve School of Cooking and a regular Feast! contributor, recently chatted about these quintessential party foods.

Feast!: It's hard enough finding time to cook dinner and dessert for friends. Who has time for appetizers?
CS:
Few people host old-fashioned sit-down dinner parties any more. Instead, guests are invited to bring an appetizer and a bottle of wine to share with other guests. Making a great appetizer adds to the camaraderie of the evening.

F!: Yes, but every time I'm asked to come with an appetizer I bring the same old thing.
CS:
While it's true that bacon-wrapped water chestnuts are tasty, they're a little stale. It's nice to bring something charged with the "wow" factor to give some spark to the party.

F!: What's your favorite "wow" appetizer?
CS:
I love our prosciutto-wrapped figs stuffed with saga blue cheese. Mushroom goat cheese pate with fresh herbs is another favorite of mine.

F!: Would bringing cheese and crackers be a bad choice?
CS:
There's nothing wrong with cheeses. We write about including sheep, goat and cow cheeses on a platter to vary the tastes and textures. We also recommend serving cheeses with sliced figs or mangos instead of grapes.
- JE

Check out Snyder and Deeds' recipe for mushroom and goat cheese pate

 

Va-va-va Vino
If you prefer your wine by the glass, Vineyard Fresh Wine Preservative created by Vineyard Fresh of Hudson should be on your hot list. Over at Blue Point Grille, general manager Todd Thompson’s so pleased with the system that he’s been using it to keep his $30-a-pour Stags’ Leap Winery ’97 Cabernets at maximum freshness.

The moment a bottle of wine is opened, oxygen begins to affect the flavor, erasing subtle undertones and accentuating the alcohol’s bite. The change is barely noticeable if you drink it all at one sitting, but over time the process can spoil a good vintage, especially reds. Vineyard Fresh’s preservative system creates a protective barrier between the wine and the oxygen with a tasteless, harmless mixture of argon and nitrogen. The invisible gases are sprayed into the bottle before re-corking it, using a canister that looks something like a mini fire extinguisher.

You can pick up the preservative for $12.50 at Heinen’s, Chuck’s Beverage in Chagrin Falls, Miles Farmers Market, Royal Park Fine Wine in Cleveland, Rozi’s in Lakewood and Rocky River and Grand River Cellars Winery Tasting Room in Madison.

 

Guilt-free Feasting
Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn Jr., a retired Cleveland Clinic surgeon, now dedicates his life to preventing heart disease. His solution is simple: Eat plant-based, low-fat foods and embrace a heart-healthy lifestyle. His book “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease” won’t be published until early next year, but Feast! readers can get a sneak peak at some recipes created by the doctor’s wife, Ann Crile Esselstyn, right here:
Soy Milk Mashed Potatos
Mushroom Gravy
Thanksgiving Stuffed Pumpkin
Walnut Sauce
Very Easy Blueberry Cobbler
Crustless Pumpkin Pie

The Esselstyns practice what they preach — the couple hasn’t eaten turkey, buttery mashed potatoes or fat-infused gravy for the holidays in more than 20 years.

Instead, their menu features stuffing baked in a pumpkin, soy-milk mashed potatos and for dessert a crustless pumpkin pie and blueberry cobbler; it’s meant to keep everyone well for many more years of holiday celebrations.


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