Archive for the ‘Food & Fun’ Category

Drinks, drinks, drinks

Posted: Thursday, 9 August, 2012 by deacongray in Food & Fun, Thirsty Thursday

Hey folks! Thirsty Thursday is crawling to a close here and I wanted to share a new recipe with you!

This drink comes straight from Michael Chiarello, one of the many brilliant Food Network Stars. Yes, it is a Halloween themed drink, but it sure sounds fun – and I can’t imagine it would be hard to devirginize it, LOL!

Vampire Blood Drink

Recipe courtesy Michael Chiarello

Prep Time: 15 min
Inactive Prep Time: 24 hr 0 min
Cook Time: —

Level: Easy

Serves: enough ice for 1 big punch bowl



Mix the juices together. Add the sorbet, softened, and stir until it disappears. Add the seltzer.


Before serving, chill with the Body Part Cubes of floating face and hands.


Pour into glasses and stir with glow stick swizzle sticks.

Body Part Ice Cubes:

12 cups cold water

2 to 3 drops green food coloring


Special Equipment:

1 roll packing tape

1 roll plastic wrap

2 plastic gloves

1 plastic Halloween face mask


Color the cold water with enough green food coloring to make it stand out against the background of thepunch.


Use packing tape to seal of the eyesnose and mouth openings of the mask. Line the inside of mask withplastic wrap to prevent leaking. Place it in a bowl that will hold the mask as still as possible while freezing. Fill with the colored water up to the line of the mask, making sure not to spill over if possible. Place bowl in freezer to solidify, at least 24 hours.


Fill 2 food service gloves with colored water and twist and knot opening closed to make a tight seal. Freeze gloves for 12 to 24 hours.


When frozen, cut plastic gloves off. Take ice out of mask, putting hot water on the outside of the mask, if necessary, to help it come out easily.


Carefully float the face and hands in the punch.

Experimenting with Soup for Thirsty Thursday

Posted: Thursday, 31 May, 2012 by deacongray in Food & Fun, Thirsty Thursday

I love soup. Especially cream based soups. Growing up, my father used to make a ‘sausage, potato, and kale’ soup. He used smoked sausage, potatoes, kale (or spinach when he could not find kale) mixed with chicken broth, water, and some seasonings. It was really good, if a little bland. I took that soup and mixed it up a bit. It is very similar to the Zuppa Tuscana at Olive Garden – and very good.

Here is how I normally make it:

1 pound ground Italian Sausage
1 onion, diced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 box chicken broth
4 cups water
thinly sliced potatoes
heavy whipping cream

Brown the sausage and remove from pan. In grease, plus a little olive oil, sauté onions and garlic until translucent. Add sausage back in plus water, chicken broth, and potatoes. Simmer until potatoes are soft, then add kale and cream. I also add ground red pepper and crushed red pepper flakes.

My husband does not like kale – or other bitter greens – so I have not been adding that lately. Tonight, I went to make some for the girls at work tomorrow, but discovered I am out of chicken broth, so we are experimenting with beef broth. The cream and beef broth make an odd color for the soup, but it should still be OK. I’ll let you know!

Have you been experimenting with soups or other traditional dishes lately? Let us know!

Thirsty Thursdays – Apple Butter

Posted: Wednesday, 23 May, 2012 by deacongray in Food & Fun
Tags: , , ,

It’s Thirsty Thursday. I don’t know about where you live, but around my neck of the woods, it means drink specials at local bars. Well, this particular writer is not a big drinker. So at the GraveYard Press, Thirsty Thursdays are dedicated to club reviews, drink reviews/recipes, and food reviews/recipes. Have something you want featured? Let us know and we’ll put it up for you!

To start things off, let me tell you about my most recent cooking adventure. At my convenience store, we sell apples. We get two deliveries twice a week. This ensures that our apples are always fresh but can lead to a lot of “waste”. Typically it is the bananas but this week, it was apples. I brought home about 25 apples and decided to make Apple Butter. I scoured the Internet for a recipe and this is what I found:

Think homemade Apple Butter is hard? It isn’t. Yes, it takes a while to cut and peel the apples – especially enough to fill a 6 or 7 quart crock pot, but it is so worth it. Plus, unlike store bought Apple Butter, you control the ingredients and degree of sweetness. Also, I will let you know I did not use the recommended Apple Cider, but rather 100% no sugar added Apple Juice.

6-quart slow cooker
apple wedge slicer
potato masher
immersion blender (or a jar blender)

16 medium to large Gala apples, unpeeled, cored, and cut into wedges (Might be slightly more or less, just enough to fill your slow cooker.)
2 cups (220 g) light brown sugar or raw sugar
1-1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 cup (240 ml) apple cider
pinch of salt


1. Add enough apple slices to cover the bottom of the slow cooker. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of brown sugar and some of the cinnamon over the slices. Repeat until you’ve used all of the apples, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Add a pinch of salt and pour the apple cider over the  apples. Toss the apples with a wooden spoon.

2. Cover and cook on low for 10 to 12 hours, or overnight. Remove the lid, mash the apples down with a potato masher, and stir to mix. Leave the lid off and continue cooking on low, mashing and stirring occasionally, until the mixture has reduced to about 1/3 and is thick. Turn off the slow cooker and allow the mixture to come to room temperature.

3. Use an immersion blender (or jar blender) to purée the cooled mixture until it’s very smooth. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 months or in the freezer for up to 3 months. You may also process jars using the boiling water method.



Use 1 cup maple syrup and 1 cup brown sugar to sweeten the apples.

Try this spice mix: 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves, and 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice.

If using a 4-quart slow cooker, adjust the number of apples (about 8 medium to large apples), and reduce the sugar to 1-1/2 cups.

10 delightfully wicked brews

Posted: Wednesday, 15 February, 2012 by deacongray in Food & Fun, Uncategorized

 Every once in a while I like to drag all the local Werewolves, Vampires, and just plain wicked people who like good beer down to a local watering whole called Brewforia. One of them suggested that we take a long hard look at some of the more colorful labels, and offer a list of some of the more wicked brews. So we selected 10, no real order…perhaps more disorder involved in the selections. I hope you enjoy.

ABA did not make the main list, but it always makes my list so I thought I would add it. Enjoy the write up, there are more like it on some of the other beers.

“This is an aggressive ale. You probably won’t like it. It is quite doubtful that you have the taste or sophistication to be able to appreciate an ale of this quality and depth. We would suggest that you stick to safer and more familiar territory–maybe something with a multi-million dollar ad campaign aimed at convincing you it’s made in a little brewery, or one that implies that their tasteless fizzy yellow beverage will give you more sex appeal. Perhaps you think multi-million dollar ad campaigns make things taste better. Perhaps you’re mouthing your words as you read this.

At Stone Brewing, we believe that pandering to the lowest common denominator represents the height of tyranny – a virtual form of keeping the consumer barefoot and stupid. Brought forth upon an unsuspecting public in 1997, Arrogant Bastard Ale openly challenged the tyrannical overlords who were brazenly attempting to keep Americans chained in the shackles of poor taste. As the progenitor of its style, Arrogant Bastard Ale has reveled in its unprecedented and uncompromising celebration of intensity. There have been many nods to Arrogant Bastard Ale…even outright attempts to copy it… but only one can ever embody the true nature of liquid Arrogance!”

10. Wychcraft

A pale golden potion with delicate red hues, WychCraft Golden Ale has a heady burst of fresh citrus aroma derived from three infusions of Styrian golding hops. A sprig of gentle warming malty flavour finishes with a dry biscuit note and a counterpoise of bitterness.

WychCraft’s innovative new recipe includes adding three infusions of Styrian Goldings hops to the copper, to create a highly aromatic brew, bursting with succulent citrus and lime hop character. A light base of delicately flavoured English Fuggles hops, and the use of a lager malt, help retain the signature hop character and create a wonderfully aromatic and fragrant summertime beer. Beguiling to the end…



9. Avery 2010 Mephistopholes Stout 1 12 oz Bottle Overview

Ratebeer give Avery’s Mephistopholes Stout a very well deserved 99 points out of a possible  Mephistopheles is the crafty shape shifter, the second fallen angel. Amazingly complex, coal black, velvety and liqueurish, this demon has a bouquet of vine-ripened grapes, anise and chocolate covered cherries with flavors of rum-soaked caramelized dark fruits and a double espresso finish. IBU’s 107.

Mephistopheles is the final installment of “The Demons of Ale” series.


Avery White Rascal Belgian Style White Ale

Beer Style: Belgian White Ale Hop Variety: Czech Saaz Malt Variety: Two-row barley, Belgian wheat OG: 1.050   ABV: 5.6%   IBUs: 10 Color: White A truly authentic Belgian style wheat or “white” ale, this Rascal is unfiltered (yup, that’s yeast on the bottom) and cleverly spiced with coriander and Curacao orange peel producing a refreshingly fruity thirst quencher.

7. Caldera Vas Deferens Ale 22 oz Bottle
8.1% abv Belgian-Style Strong Ale brewed with blood orange zest, orange bitters, and dark Belgian candi sugar. This ale is not meant to reproduce! Limited availability.

6. Grand teton Black Cauldren


There are few styles of beer more flavorful than Imperial Stout. Our thick, rich version was brewed with plenty of caramel and roasted malts and subtly spiced with American Chinook and Styrian Goldings hops. We’ve accentuated the natural smokiness of the brew by adding a small amount of beechwood-smoked malt. At 22 degrees starting gravity and 8.0% alcohol by volume, this beer boasts flavors of chocolate and coffee, along with raisins and dried fruit soaked in sherry.

Black Cauldron is a strong ale, best enjoyed in moderation, and paired with full-flavored grilled or roasted meats or with dessert. Chocolate cakes, truffles, fruit tarts, caramel flan or crème brûlée are all excellent matches.

 Mayhem is a deliberate Double IPA, brewed and conditioned with a special Belgian yeast that contributes complexity and spice. Abundant American hops offer grapefruit, pine, must and mint, which play off the fullness and sweetness of pale malts then provide a biting yet enticing finish.

Mayhem Double IPA accents the complex spice combinations found in Thai, Indian, Cajun, Morrocan, Mexican and Southwest American cuisines as well as BBQ marinades, dry rubs and sauces.

4. Midnight Sun’s Fallen Angel Golden Ale is a traditional Belgian-style golden strong ale–deep gold in color with tiny, conniving bubbles forming a very thick, meticulous head. Effervescent and crisp, this delicious ale tempts the palate with apple, pear and a little earthy mustiness. Its beauty and brightness is angel-like in appearance but the devil in is its strength.

3. Dead Guy Ale
Dead Guy is a German-style Maibock made with Rogue‘s proprietary “PacMan” ale yeast. It is deep honey in color with a malty aroma, rich hearty flavor and a well balanced finish. Dead Guy is created from Northwest Harrington, Klages, Maier Munich and Carastan malts, along with Perle and Saaz Hops



krampus Imperial Helles Lager

are you naughty or nice?

St. Nicholas, aka Santa Claus, is a magical figure, the bringer of gifts and an icon of holiday spirit. Forgotten by most is his evil side kick and enforcer of ‘the list’. European tradition says while St. Nick is busy delivering presents to good little boys and girls, Krampus hands out punishments to the bad. A fanged, goat-horned bully, the Christmas Devil uses sticks and chains to beat the naughty children. Dark malts and aromatic hops create the diabolical spirit of this brew. It is finished with lager yeast and aged cold for no less than 30 days. This Imperial Helles Lager will warm even the darkest hearts.

This season, replace the cookies with a bottle of Krampus. If he happens to pay a visit, toast to him with this devilish brew. Merry Kramp-mas to all, and to all a good pint!
9.0% abv. • 20º plato • Imperial Helles Lager • 22 oz / 1/6 keg

1. Wychwood King Goblin Special Reserve Red Ale 16.9 oz Bottle

Brewed only on a Full Lunar Moon.

As the full moon casts its eerie light over the shadowy old Eagle Brewery, a magical brew gurgles forth from the casks.

A beer enlivened by the energies of the universe, when the elements are converging into a harmonious alignment. Truly a brew fit for a celestial majesty.

King Goblin is hand crafted from roasted chocolate and crystal malts, with a timely infusion of fuggles, sovereign, styrian and cascade hops to produce an indulgently rich, full, smooth beer of exceptional quality and character.

Recommended Rosé

Pamela Geddes (Spain) La Rosita 2003

OK, not a Champage, but a delightful sparkling rosé from one of the most interesting winemakers around, Scot Pamela Geddes. Pamela gave up a career in the Scotch Whisky industry to make wine, first in Australia, then South America, and finally at her own winery near Barcelona in Catalunya. This is Pamela’s sparkling Monastrell rosé a 12.5% beauty with a pale pomegranate colour, delightfully small, persistent bubbles and a nose crammed with fresh, summery berries, a touch of briar and a delicious creaminess. On the palate it is off-dry, with super ripe berry fruit, and a character of cream and strawberry pulp. The acidity is beautifully judged, with the mousse soft yet persistent, in a really lovely wine. £9.99, Cornelius, Hendersons, Peckhams, Luvians,

If the idea of matching Champagne to curry brought you up short a couple of sentences ago, I’m not surprised. That, too, would have been my reaction until last year, when I got to taste the latest releases of Krug with a selection of curries. A pairing of Malabar lobster – all coconut sauce and delicate spicing – with the Grande Cuvée stands out in my memory as one of the best matches of the year. But rich, weighty Champagnes, such as Krug’s Grande Cuvée, Bollinger’s Grande Année and Mumm’s Grande Cuvée are natural matches for richer styles of seafood, whether spiced or not. A relatively plain dish of lobster (or even langoustines) grilled and then smothered in butter, partnered with a green salad and one of the above wines would be my idea of Valentine’s Day heaven.


I might even be tempted to partner such a wine – especially one with a bit of cellar age – with foie gras terrine on toasted brioche. Not only do the flavours of wine and dish complement each other, I honestly think that a rich, dry wine with good acidity (such as Champagne) is a far better match for foie gras than Sauternes or other sweet wines, as I find the traditional pairing somewhat cloying and sickly.

A Sweet Treat for Anytime

Posted: Wednesday, 21 December, 2011 by nicolajones in Food & Fun
Tags: , ,

A Sweet Treat for Anytime
Nicola A. Jones

This holiday I decided to try a variety of new cookie recipes. I found a wonderful recipe for applesauce-honey cookies, which after making the kids simply adored. The recipe tells you to chill the dough for one hour, but I found that it worked better if you leave it in the fridge for longer. The dough is also very soft, so if you wanted to you could easily add half a cup of rolled oats to increase the nutritional value of the cookie, and make it somewhat stiffer of dough. Make sure that you thoroughly coat the surface you are working on in flour as well as your hands because the dough is very sticky because of the honey in the recipe. The taste of the cookie is very mild apple tasting, and can easily be spiced up with additional cinnamon and ginger, or you might think about adding dried apple chunks, dried cranberries, orange peel, or nuts to the dough. You can also make up a big batch, and keep it stored in the fridge for up to a week as long as it is sealed tightly in plastic wrap and wax paper. The cookies keep well in air tight containers, and make a nice sweet after school snack or accompany tea well.

The following recipe comes from Great American Home Baking, which was a mail order card recipe program during the 90’s. There is no publisher listed, or publication dates.

Applesauce-Honey Cookies
10 minutes preparation, 1 hour chilling, 14 minutes baking per batch
Makes 3 1/2 dozen cookies

2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tablespoon honey, at room temperature

1. Mix together flour, backing powder, cinnamon, ginger and salt.
2. Beat together butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy.
Beat in egg, applesauce, and honey. At low speed, beat in flour mixture until well combined. Shape dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.
3. Preheat oven to 375* F. Grease 2 baking sheets.
4. On a floured surface, using floured hands roll dough into 1-inch balls. Place cookies 2 inches apart, on prepared baking sheets. Using a floured fork, firmly flatten each cookie, leaving deep grooves.
5. Bake cookies until just set and golden, 14 minutes. Transfer baking sheets to wire racks to cool for 1 minute. Transfer cookies to racks to cool completely.
If you want to add in extra spices do so at step 1. I would recommend adding ¼ tsp. nutmeg and ¼ orange zest, but experiment and find the blend that you enjoy most. Try adding a ½ cup of rolled oats after blending in the flour mixture in step 2. Add dried fruit or nuts before shaping if you so desire. Keep in mind that at this point the consistency of the dough is like a thick sticky paste. The end results are light, fluffy cookies, which are moist and delicious. Happy baking everyone!