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Winter Shorts

December 3, 2014

Some people might resent having to buy their own birthday cake. I’m not one of those people. Really, I’ve been thinking a lot about the TC Paris chocolate cake with whipped salted caramel. That’s a crazy good cake. But it’s just a little too far out of the way for a cake run.

Now I have something else in mind. Something that’s a little bit brighter to help drive away these winter blues. Not that I’m down. It’s just that my toes are turning blue. Damn, it’s cold. And it’s going to get colder. Ugh.

Not exactly shorts weather.

But those aren’t the kinds of shorts I’m talking about in the post title. Really, instead of doing one long post today, there are a lot of short topics that I want to share. I’ve got a big list piling up, people are getting in the winter spirit, holiday parties will be starting soon, and Christmas will be here before you know it. Yikes. No time to waste.

The Tuttorosso Giveaway Results
For everyone who entered this promotion, thank you. As promised, comments closed on November 30. The winner was Jennifer Valenti. Random.org picked the number three. Jennifer will soon be receiving the prize pack from Tuttorosso. Hopefully this will be the nudge she needs to make her own damn sauce. If you didn’t win, there’s a little bit of good news for you too. The national Tuttorosso giveaway on the brand’s facebook page has been extended until December 23. So you can still win free stuff there if you are so inclined.

The Tastemaker Series
Thank you for your nominations. I’ve got my first pick. But I’ve also decided to hold off on this until January. December is just nuts, and I don’t want this to get lost in the holiday madness. Once the holiday shopping is done and New Year’s Eve is behind us, people in upstate New York are back indoors huddled around their computers for warmth and companionship. That seems like the best time to launch this initiative. Really, I have no idea what I was thinking. This is a much better plan.

We’re Getting a Pop Up Ramen Restaurant
Speaking of tastemakers, Heather & Vic strike again. I’ve been nurturing a fantasy about trying to facilitate a pop-up Ethiopian restaurant or maybe a pop-up Korean fried chicken dinner somewhere within the Capital Region. It’s good to have ideas. It’s better when people actually make them happen. This is very exciting, and KAB has all the details (including a video on why you should be excited about ramen for those who may not already know).

Pumpkin Spice Season Transitions into Egg Nog Season
Please don’t make me write another egg nog post. Most of what you find in the supermarket these days is crap. Even if it’s expensive. Read the ingredients before you buy. Always. And if you are going to buy it in the store, the only brand that I stand behind is Meadow Brook. It can be a fun treat to pour some good egg nog into your coffee. Just don’t forget that whatever they are pouring behind the counter isn’t what you think it is.

One Stop Shopping for Local Food Gifts 
Part of me thinks it’s crazy to spend $5 for the privilege of shopping at this holiday expo. But gas is expensive, and this can save you driving and aggravation. You’ll be able to buy products from Albany Distilling, Cabot Creamery Cooperative, Cheesecake Machismo, dreamPuff confections, Hidden Hollow Maple Farm, Hudson-Chatham Winery, Hudson Valley Distillers, Kymas Farm Winery and Distillery, Lake George Distilling Co, Mountain Winds Farm, Nine Pin Ciderworks, Peanut Principle, Pixies Preserves, S & S Brewery, Sundog Cider, Yankee Folly Cidery and many many more. Plus Chef Michael Lapi of the Chefs’ Consortium will be there at 1 pm and he’s just fantastic. Oh, there’s also going to be a chocolate fountain.

There is No Such Thing as a Chocolate Fountain
Go to the expo, but don’t wade into the fountain. In fact, be wary of the chocolate fountain wherever you may go. It’s holiday party time and this infernal contraption has a way of showing up in the most unlikely of places. Oh, I know it looks compelling. It smells pretty good too. But stop and think about how one gets chocolate to flow like that. Have you ever melted chocolate? It doesn’t liquify. It doesn’t cascade over edges. That happens only when you combine chocolate with oil. Lots and lots of oil. So much oil, that I have to wonder if what flows from the fountain can even legally be called chocolate. Don’t. Just don’t.

Saratoga Springs is Having a Restaurant Week
Or at least that’s what I hear. I have yet to check out the menus, but did you check out what chef Dominic Colose has to say about the promotion? He also details his menu (and its theme) on his blog. I’ve got to say, it looks good.

It’s Never Too Early to Prevent a Ham Disaster
Usually, my warning comes later in the season. Perhaps in the past it’s been too late to make a difference. So this time I’ll try issuing this important guidance before people order their Christmas hams. If you enjoy a hot ham on your table, do not under any circumstances order a HoneyBaked ham. I love the HoneyBaked ham, but they are meticulously engineered to be served at room temperature. Any application of heat, be it in the form of the slowest oven or the briefest jolt in the microwave, diminishes the quality of a HoneyBaked ham. You pay a premium for its unique glaze and juicy interior. Heating one of their hams is equivalent to lighting your money on fire. You’re welcome to do it, it’s just horribly, horribly wasteful.

Surely I’m forgetting something, but I have cakes to decorate. More on that later.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. December 3, 2014 3:20 pm

    I was reading through your Meadow Brook post that you linked. As a self-proclaimed nog-ologist I would only make one correction. You say it pours thin like half and half. Most nog recipes have something like a cup of cream to a pint of milk which is essentially creating half and half. You also say the mouth feel/consistency that commercial nogs utilize gums/thickeners to emulate stems from butterfat.

    While cream certainly contains a boatload of butterfat the thick and silky mouth feel of a good nog stems from one’s treatment of the eggs, both whites and yolks. The ideal state of a good nog is fleeting and cannot be packaged and that is what they are going for with carageenan/guar gum/etc.. You need to beat your yolks into a pale yellow before adding them to your dairy. Then you beat the whites and fold them into the whole mess.

    I think you could actually elevate Meadow Brook nog into an even tastier form by folding in a few egg whites. I have already consumed my nog quota for the year shamefully early or I would try it myself.

  2. December 3, 2014 11:13 pm

    Ohhhh. You have an upcoming Birthday? Do tell.

  3. Chantelle permalink
    December 3, 2014 11:24 pm

    TC Paris is never too far away!

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