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  1. For me, that means there has to be some tomato sauce - something to cut the fattiness of the cheese. I keep it simple and like to go straight garlic confit, lightly broiled bread, if I have time. A little bit of salt if needed, but that depends on the bread. Easily spreadable and stores well! If it's a quick thing, I rub garlic on the crust (after toasting), and do olive oil/parm on the flesh.
  2. theisenm85

    Lunch for 40

    Also... if you're really intent on pickled onions, I wouldn't mention that. Most will love the extra acidic bite, and most to none of the extra squeamish will be the wiser.
  3. theisenm85

    Superbowl Food

    Ok - so.... I've got 60% of the food planned out for the superbowl (4 friends, 6 people total). I'm making Ropa Vieja (braised/shredded beef with spices/veggies) from Mark Bittman's Best Recipes in the World - with sides, probably guac, cheese, sour cream and corn tortillas. (If it's not traditional with those sides, at least it's delicious) My girlfriend has a mean cheese/hot pepper/alcohol mix that is perfect for chips. There will be 1-3 other dishes, and one gluten intolerant guest.... what dessert do you make? Bonus points for 80-90% prepared in advance/no gluten, or simple ideas. Fruit over ice cream is my favorite right now, something more elaborate would be awesome - I like to cook, and will be doing 90% of the ropa vieja the night before, so advance prep is preferred... Also, wouldn't mind hearing any and every Super bowl snack food - I live for this stuff!
  4. That's a really interesting question... I think that there's a issue with wine (and other things) that doesn't pop up as much for food critics in that - not everybody is a winemaker every day. Most people make food every day - from one level to another (from microwave to haute cuisine). However, a very small percentage of people make wine. While wine critics should obviously be well versed in winemaking techniques to reach the height of their profession - it's not like they're adjusting sulfite/TA/pH or choosing yeast/bacteria strains to use regularly. It's much more likely that they're salting their food or choosing between sauteeing and braising on a daily basis. I would bet that many critics can't explicitly explain why a wine is unsatisfactory - to a winemaker's satisfaction. Subjectivity is a big issue here. If a wine doesn't taste good to a critic, but it tastes great to the winemaker - and the critic can't explain in winemaker's lingo why they don't like it - then what use is it to the winemaker? He still believes he's making the wine he wants to. Obviously, the winemaker can be wrong as well - but if the critic can't identify that this yeast did this, or the sulphite management was crap, or the Total Acidity was too low - there isn't a lot to go on. That said, the winemaker should be ready to decipher the comments of the uninitiated - way more often than not, they're the customers. I guess it comes down to - if the winemaker has a clear vision - he needs to follow his vision. If his vision isn't working (sales), then he needs to figure out what somewhat cryptic feedback is telling him. In either case, I believe a really great critic probably needs to be pretty darn familiar with the winemaking process - but since that's gonna be relatively few people - you still need to listen to critics of all shapes and sizes.
  5. I was the one who got looks from the family when I ate Bisquik pancakes with no syrup/butter. Frankly, they were sweet enough for me as is... I have no idea if the ingredients on that include sugar, but I swear I tasted it. Then again, it's been at least a decade since I've had the stuff. Every once in a while I'd get the hankering for syrup.... but not often. I'm definitely on the savory side - I do get the craving for non-savory, usually if it's around and delicious looking, but not too often.
  6. Belgian yeast strains are known for having high ester/phenolic profiles. Esters created by Belgian yeast strains often represent a wide variety of fruity tastes from bananas to apples to cherries to pears to whatever. Phenols created by Belgian yeast can represent smokiness, clove, vanilla, black pepper and other things. Basically, Belgian yeasts will create fruity/spicy flavor profiles - often referred to as "funky". Many Belgian Beers (Blond, Tripel, Golden Strong) have very simple malt bills, little to no hopping, creating a blank canvas for the yeast to create most of the flavor of the beer - quite the opposite of America where hops tend to play the star, England where many beers are malt forward, or Germany where balance and simplicity is championed. (Yes, there are exceptions to all of these gross generalizations). Brettanomyces (Brett) is a "wild" yeast strain that can eat sugars that traditional yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) can't - as well as produce a fair amount of acetic acid. (think vinegar) In small (and sometimes larger) quantities, acetic acid can have a positive affect on a beer. Brett also has its own set of ester and phenolic profiles - usually creating tastes slightly less "accessible" than most common brewing yeasts, even compared to many Belgian strains.
  7. Stone/Jolly Pumpkin/Nogne Holiday Ale BuckBean Orange Blossom Ale Kostrizer Schawrzbier Buckbean Scharzwbier Spaten Oktoberfest Spaten Optimator Paulaner Salvator Krusovice Dark Warsteiner Dunkel other.... I was falling off my chair! Just kidding. Most were part of a Beer Judging Certification Program class. All were just tastes, so no real alcohol intake.
  8. I suppose that it's possible. However, profits in the wine industry are pretty hard to come by - especially for smaller wineries. And honestly, if the bottles maintain close to the same resistance to breakage, what's wrong with going with a lighter more eco-friendly bottle?
  9. I'd be amazed if people still fell for that. Good stuff.
  10. theisenm85


    Personally, I find the Sun-Dried Tomato crazy overpowering.... and not in a good way. Lately, it's been a common theme for me... can't do manufactured flavors. The only one I can think of that I like is Cool Ranch Doritos.... However, original triscuits are amazing... I can't eat just one. Therefore, I try to never buy them... because the box is gone way too quick.
  11. Yeah, the "Honey Scam" is a fun one. People who come to my shop are often surprised to hear that honey is useful for drying stuff out, upping alcohol, and whatever - but it won't really add the expected honey flavor. Then again, most things that are basically 100% fermentable without too many other chemicals (like grapes) just won't taste like much once yeast get a chance. "Honey Wheat" just sounds like music to the ears of most (Which, in the right hands, it probably can be)
  12. I'm gonna try and play around a little bit today with some Sumatra coffee - other than cedar woodsiness, the flavor most reminds me of strawberries. Is anyone aware of a strawberry liqueur I could use to make a drink with this coffee? Or maybe other ideas?
  13. Possibly... I'm a little suspicious that the distributor in our area isn't good at getting these things fresh... I've had a couple that were more hoppy than others. I'm relatively certain DFH 90 wouldn't hit the hoppiness of PTE or Ruination.... but I'm pretty sure it's hoppier than I usually taste it. Oh well. edit: I should say... the distributor in my area isn't terribly good at selling craft beer - so it probably sits around for a while.
  14. Maui Brewing Coconut Porter Dogfish Head 90 minute IPA Maui Brewing Big Swell IPA Very good stuff. The Coconut porter has a lovely coconut taste, very nice beer. DFH is not as fresh as it possibly could be out here on the west coast... but still nice beer. For a malt forward imperial ipa, not much better out there. Big swell is a nice "restrained" ipa. I say "restrained" because being on the west coast, ipas that aren't pretty dry and ridiculously hoppy aren't that common. I can imagine it being awesome on the beach, very smooth drinking, pleasantly hoppy without being overbearing.
  15. Don't be too jealous... you guys have more than plenty of stuff we can't get out here.
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