Category Archives: How to

They grow up so fast

Recent graduates of Food Blogging with Steven Shaw.

The last 6 weeks flew by.  Check out these noteworthy blogs born during that time:

My Third Child is a Restaurant: manuevering through parenthood and a career
Lickin’ It: a bad-ass ice cream blog
Eating My Way through My Quarter Life Crisis: no job, no boyfriend, no clue = no problem
What Would Cathy Eat: heart healthy recipes that don’t suck
A Fork, Knife and Spoon: adventures of a city mouse/country mouse; she has sheep!
Reubenography: exploring the Jewish deli through its bastard son

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Filed under Events, How to, Lessons

Join in the fun

Another round of Fundamentals of Wine is starting up tomorrow.  Join us on an 8 week journey through the world of wine.

Riesling grapes in Germany

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Filed under How to, Wine

How to open a bottle of wine without a corkscrew shoe hit wall drunk awesome

This time I can’t take credit for the title of the post.  I found it on YouTube and why mess with perfection?


Filed under How to, Videos

Want one of these?

I created this blog because I took a class we offer at FCI called Food Blogging with Steven Shaw.

I was skeptical at first.  I’m not on Facebook and I don’t tweet, and lord knows there were plenty of people who had already beaten me to the punch. 

You might be thinking that most blog platforms are free and easy to use, which is true.   So why would you need to take a class?    

1. It’s fun.  You’ll meet like-minded folks, who are passionate about food and beverage.
2.  We’ll help you hone your concept and your writing skills.
3. There will be great guest speakers and networking opportunities.
4.  Even if you have a blog already, you’ll learn how to promote it and how to potentially make money from it.
5.  How can you resist this face?

The fearless instructor

My class ended in June and seven months later, I’m still enjoying sharing my passion for all things beverage.  Class starts again February 18.  Come join in the fun.


Filed under Events, How to

Sugar showdown


Blue agave plant in Jalisco State, Mexico

Agave (ah-GAH-vay) nectar is the new simple syrup at many bars in NYC.  It’s produced from the same blue agave plant used to make tequila – large, spiky and in the succulent family, like aloe vera.  Species of agave abound, but blue agave has a high carbohydrate content which turns into a high fructose content in the nectar, making it the most desirable variety.  The sap or nectar from the plant is called aguamiel or honey water in Mexico and it’s extracted from the piña or core of the 7-10 year old agave plants.  After extraction, it’s filtered and heated, breaking the carbs down into sugars. 

Light and dark varieties are made – both can be made from the same plants; the differences stem from filtering and heating temperatures.  The lighter ones are compared to honey and represent the style you’ll mostly find at the bars, while the darker ones are compared to maple syrup.  You can find it at health food stores, Whole Foods or online.

In a recent conversation with my boss, Nils about my home bar, I mentioned my bottle of agave nectar.  He asked why I bothered, citing that it’s just a more expensive version of simple syrup.  My response was that I didn’t need to use as much because it was sweeter.  He then said, well, it depends on how you make your simple syrup.  Duh. 

Historically, I’ve used a one-to-one ratio of sugar to water when making simple syrup.  Dissolve 1 cup of sugar in 1 cup water on the stovetop – pretty simple, right?  Nils advocates using 2 parts sugar to 1 part water, making the excellent point that he prefers not to dilute his cocktails. 

I was also a sucker for the packaging of the agave nectar – a clean, little squeeze bottle – as opposed to the unwieldy Tupperware I’ve used to store simple syrup in the past.  Getting the sticky liquid from the tub of plastic often yielded more syrup on the inside of the refrigerator/floor/counter than it did into the cocktail-in-the-making. 

What about the difference in taste between simple syrup and agave nectar?  Which is tastier?  In a recent hydrocolloids class, Nils and Dave did a quick experiment and got mixed results – some preferred the simple, some the agave. 

When my current bottle of agave runs out, I’m going to give Nils’ recipe a shot.  He keeps his in the fridge and says it lasts a few weeks.


Filed under Cocktails, How to

Chill out

Vacu Vin Chiller‘Tis the season for a glass of a crisp white or a refreshing rosé and if you’re impatient like me, you want it now and you want it cold.  I picked up the Vacu Vin Rapid Ice Chiller about a year ago and I haven’t used an ice bucket since.  This little baby fits in the door of your freezer and will chill your bottle in about 5 minutes.  There’s no mess, minimal waiting time, it maintains the cold well and it enjoys walks on the beach (or in the park or over to your couch).  It’s also cheap – the link above is from Amazon, where you can get 2 for $8.99.  I’m jealous because I only have one.  They also offer a Champagne chiller, but I’ve used this one on all of my bottles of bubbly and it does just fine.

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Filed under How to, Wine

Bringing home the stinkin’

Oh, if only any of these vials smelled as good as bacon. 


What could make this show up in your glass?

You may have seen my post about Le Nez du Vin, the wine-smelling practice kit.  Well, I liked the master aroma kit so much that I recently purchased the faults (les défauts) kit.  And boy, does it stink – onions, rotten apples, moldy earth, oh my.  It’s great to be able to recognize the delicious aromas in wine, but it’s also important to recognize faults – no sense in wasting your time on a bad bottle, right?

The faults in the kit are broken into different categories and today I’m going to share with you the ones that are related to harvest and those that come about through exposure to oxygen. Continue reading


Filed under How to, Wine