Archive for November, 2013

TD3Brining turkeys has been the rage for the past few years now. However, the folks at Fire & Flavor has made brining easier and even more flavorful with their Turkey Perfect Herb Brine Kit.

About the Turkey Perfect Herb Brine Kit from Fire & Flavor: “Fire & Flavor’s Herb Brine infuses your bird with delicious herb flavors. Rosemary, thyme, sage, and marjoram. Brine Kit Includes Brine Mix and one Large Brine Bag – will brine up to a 25lb turkey. Brining creates tender turkey with crisp golden skin every time.”

Find the Turkey Perfect Herb Brine Kit from Fire & Flavor.

Find all the fine products of Fire and Flavor here.

While cleaning out the barn recently, I came across a box of old record albums. Most of the LPs were pretty generic and unremarkable. However, I was stuck by this find, John Fitzgerald Kennedy: A Memorial Album, which was found in time to mark today, the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination in Dallas.

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The album, which was released shortly after his death, includes audio from JFK’s most famous speeches as well as from eulogies from notables of the time. The album is not particular rare, as millions were sold, and can be purchased for short money from sellers on sites like eBay and Amazon.

Borboun Glazed Turkey A130130 FW Thnksgvng Tanya Holland Nov201Meanwhile, the fine folks at Food & Wine magazine have a ton of holiday recipes and entertaining tips just in time for Thanksgiving.

Or course I was drawn to this recipe for Bourbon-Glazed Turkey with Pearl Onion Giblet Gravy.

About the recipe for Bourbon-Glazed Turkey with Pearl Onion Giblet Gravy from Food & Wine magazine: “Chef Tanya Holland’s secret for a turkey with juicy meat and nicely lacquered skin: Brine the bird overnight, and then baste it frequently with a bourbon-brown sugar glaze as it roasts.”

Find all the great recipes and holiday tips from Food & Wine here.

Wrapping up my recent trip to Chicago (and other previous trips) I present a few tips for dining out in the city’s Old Town neighborhood.

FF: The Fireplace Inn

CF6For a good reliable dinner in that comfort-food-meets-new-world way, you can’t go wrong with The Fireplace Inn.

About The Fireplace Inn: “Located in Chicago’s historic Old Town neighborhood, The Fireplace Inn has been known for serving the best barbecue in the city since 1969. Steaks, Seafood, Ribs, Gourmet Burgers and Vegetarian dishes line our new menu bringing a remarkable array of flavors to one of Chicago’s favorite restaurants. With over 40 flat panel HD televisions, The Fireplace Inn provides an incredible atmosphere to see all of your favorite sporting events. Conveniently situated in the heart of the world famous Chicago comedy district, The Fireplace Inn is also the perfect place to dine before or after a show.”

The Fireplace Inn is located at 1448 N Wells in Chicago, IL.

FF: Declan’s Irish Pub

cf8For the “authentic” Irish pub experience, in a city full of Irish pubs, the best is Chicago’s Declan’s Irish Pub.

About Declan’s Irish Pub: “Located in bustling Old Town, Declan’s Irish Pub provides bar-goers with the most authentic Irish bar experience outside of the Emerald Isle. From classic fish and chips to the 140 year-old mahogany bar, the bar’s decor and menu was inspired by our desire to offer terrific pub food with indulgent and health choices available. Patrons can sip on Irish brews and Whiskey’s, in addition to standard American offerings, while they enjoy signature pub food like the Declan burger, pulled pork sliders, and a Vegan Hummus Flatbread. Declan’s boasts over twenty flat screen TVs, a private second-floor party room, a full service kitchen, and one of the largest sidewalk cafes in all of Chicago.”

Declan’s Irish Pub is located at 1240 N Wells in Chicago, IL.

FF: About Old Town Burger Saloon

CF9But sometimes all you want is a good burger and a soft drink (or appropriate adult beverage). When this is the case and you find yourself in Chicago, you must hit Old Town Burger Saloon.

About Old Town Burger Saloon: “Western bar famous for Stuffed Cheeseburgers and Taco on a Bun. Only restaurant/bar with a life size horse. We broadcast Ohio State and Ohio University games on Saturdays. Sundays are NFL games. We offer great daily specials! Come visit us today.”

Old Town Burger Saloon is located at 1208 N. Wells in Chicago, IL.

FF: The Refinery

CFAFor a more fancy dinner, but not too fancy, you can’t go wrong with the casual elegance of The Refinery.

About The Refinery: “The Refinery delivers a genuine experience in hospitality. With a warm, hip, and comfortable soul it is a reflection of its Old Town neighborhood. It is a place where refinements to the ordinary and familiar yield an atmosphere of relaxed sophistication, and where culinary art is approachable. The Refinery presents a unique offering of fresh foods and handcrafted beverages designed to affordably remain on the cutting edge of the ever-evolving American palate.”

The Refinery is located at 1209 N. Wells in Chicago, IL.

FF: The Fudge Pot

CF5After a late lunch, or if you have a sweet tooth, instead of lunch, stop by The Fudge Pot and pick up a handmade treat.

About The Fudge Pot: “We provide Chicago, IL with delicious candy, made fresh, daily. Our candy specialists work around the clock to make sure you get your pick of the candy covered strawberries, apples and fudge, every time you come in. We specialize in customized chocolate shapes for any occasion. Take your pick of a variety of our famous toffees. You can also have your pick of award winning lollipops, fudge and chocolate bars. You can always expect nothing but the tastiest candy that will satisfy your taste buds.”

The Fudge Pot is located at 1532 N Wells in Chicago, IL.

FF: Pulp and Ink

CF7Not food, but a fun shop to poke around in before or after you eat is Pulp and Ink – a stationery shop!

About Pulp and Ink: “Since 2001 Pulp & Ink has been defined as classic & innovative / contemporary & timeless. Offering a well-edited assortment of fashionable, urban-minded stationery, greeting cards, gift wrap and amazing custom printed invitations and announcements. We serve as one-stop shopping for any event – whether it’s your wedding or a business luncheon. Offering such time saving services such as hand-crafted calligraphy, RSVP service and gift wrapping.”

Pulp and Ink is located at located at 1344 North Wells in Chicago, IL.


For more about Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood, check out the official site of The Old Town Merchants & Residents Association here.

SAPThe fine people at Saveur magazine have put together an excellent Thanksgiving Guide with everything you need to prepare a memorable holiday dinner.

Two of Saveur’s recipes caught my eye and I may try for my own Thanksgiving celebration: their recipes for Salted Caramel Apple Pie (right) and Brussels Sprouts and Bacon (below).

Saveur’s Salted Caramel Apple Pie: “A deep-dish pie is packed with both sweet and tart apples to balance the rich, salted caramel sauce.”

Find Saveur’s recipe for Salted Caramel Apple Pie here.

BSBSaveur’s Brussels Sprouts and Bacon: “When you caramelize Brussels sprouts in rich bacon fat, the sweet-salty combination is absolutely irresistible.”

Find Saveur’s recipe for Brussels Sprouts and Bacon here.

These are just two of the many fine recipes and entertaining tips Saveur offers in their latest issue and as part of their Thanksgiving Guide.

Find Saveur’s complete Thanksgiving Guide here.

TD4The folks at The Fruit Company have an excellent selection of great gifts to send to your friends and family for Thanksgiving. Or, if you are like me, have something sent to yourself to ensure you have some fresh fruit around the house – like the Fruit Company’s Thanksgiving Fruit Basket.

About the Fruit Company’s Thanksgiving Fruit Basket: “A tisket, a tasket, there’s nothing like this Thanksgiving basket! It’s gobble gobble all the way with all your favorite fall fruit and gourmet items. Fuji, Granny Smith and Honeycrisp apples, Comice and Red D’Anjou pears, toasted almond biscotti bites, decadent dark chocolate fudge, caramel apple chews, pumpkin spice almonds, and more. This is the perfect fall gift basket for any large Thanksgiving gathering.”

See all the Thanksgiving options from The Fruit Company here.

1927One added benefit of my recent vacation was I had time to finish reading One Summer by Bill Bryson. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed this book. In One Summer, Mr., Bryson takes us back in time to provide us a detailed view in what it was like to live through a pivotal period in America, the summer of 1927.

As we live in modern times we either think we are living through unique times or that “the good old days” are behind us. By exploring a defined period of time in depth, like the summer of 1927, we can put things in perspective and realize that our times are not so special and the good old days were not always as idyllic as we like to think.

About One Summer by Bill Bryson: “The summer of 1927 began with one of the signature events of the twentieth century: on May 21, 1927, Charles Lindbergh became the first man to cross the Atlantic by plane nonstop, and when he landed in Le Bourget airfield near Paris, he ignited an explosion of worldwide rapture and instantly became the most famous person on the planet. Meanwhile, the titanically talented Babe Ruth was beginning his assault on the home run record, which would culminate on September 30 with his sixtieth blast, one of the most resonant and durable records in sports history. In between those dates a Queens housewife named Ruth Snyder and her corset-salesman lover garroted her husband, leading to a murder trial that became a huge tabloid sensation. Alvin ‘Shipwreck’ Kelly sat atop a flagpole in Newark, New Jersey, for twelve days—a new record. The American South was clobbered by unprecedented rain and by flooding of the Mississippi basin, a great human disaster, the relief efforts for which were guided by the uncannily able and insufferably pompous Herbert Hoover. Calvin Coolidge interrupted an already leisurely presidency for an even more relaxing three-month vacation in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The gangster Al Capone tightened his grip on the illegal booze business through a gaudy and murderous reign of terror and municipal corruption. The first true ‘talking picture,’ Al Jolson’s The Jazz Singer, was filmed and forever changed the motion picture industry.”

I have written before that I have always been fascinated with Lindbergh’s flight and his life. Mr. Lindbergh is a central figure in One Summer, but his epic achievement and the resulting global reaction to it, is put in great context by what else was going on at the time. At the same time Babe Ruth was cementing his legend, Al Capone was becoming infamous, movies gained sound and the seeds of the Great Depression were sowed… All figures and events that shaped the popular culture and the America we live in today.

The content of what was happening in 1927 is compelling on its own. However, Mr. Bryson is a gifted writer and presents the story of this pivotal summer in America in a way that is very engrossing, informative and thoroughly entertaining.

One Summer by Bill Bryson is available from Amazon and other fine book retailers.

TD1Cooking a turkey can be very intimidating. However, with the Gourmet Gobbler Roasting Kit from Urban Accents, cooking the perfect turkey may be easier than ever as it comes with everything you need to cook the perfect turkey – except the turkey.

About the Gourmet Gobbler Roasting Kit from Urban Accents: “Make the juiciest turkey ever with our exclusive Gourmet Gobbler, the ONLY Complete Turkey Brining and Roasting Kit. Includes everything to create a perfect juicy turkey, every time. Follow the easy step-by-step-instructions on the box, or watch the video on this site to use our Brining kit to easily roast your turkey!”

Find the Gourmet Gobbler Roasting Kit from Urban Accents here.

…President Abraham Lincoln delivered The Gettysburg Address:

ga“Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation: conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war. . .testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated. . . can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war.

We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate. . .we cannot consecrate. . . we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.

It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us. . .that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion. . . that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain. . . that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom. . . and that government of the people. . .by the people. . .for the people. . . shall not perish from the earth. “

TD2Well, believe it or not, Thanksgiving is a week from Thursday. That’s just crazy. I will be hosting a traditional family Thanksgiving dinner here in New Hampshire, which I am looking forward to. As I do my planning, I have come across a few “finds” appropriate for the holiday – which I will share over the coming days.

First up, the seasonal stuffings from Vermont-based Olivia’s Croutons.

About the Seasonal Stuffings of Olivia’s Croutons: “Traditional Stuffing – A mix of French and Multigrain breads heavily seasoned with our own blend of traditional poultry inspired seasonings. Add your own veggies and broth to create a hearty, flavorful side. Cornbread Stuffing – Our savory cornbread seasoned with a southern inspired blend of poultry seasonings, just waiting for your personal touch to create an over the top classic side dish. Gluten Free Stuffing – Stuffing is a staple at many Holiday meals. If you have been missing out due to a wheat allergy, we have answered your call! We have reinvented the comfort food classic for the whole family to enjoy!”

Learn more about Olivia Crouton’s seasonal stuffing mixes – including where to purchase them – here.