Appetizing Thoughts: The Difference Between Hard Cider and Apple Cider Beer

Roast Curry Hard Apple Cider Beer & Cabbage

Do you know the difference between hard cider and apple cider beer? The public relation’s representative for Angry Orchard gently reminded me when a recipe for Angry Orchard Summer Ale Hard Cider Beer Shrimp Boil was published last summer. Oh… well that was quite an error on my behalf. But, I did notice a few friends mention how they love “…Angry Orchard’s Apple Cider Beer…” Wait… Am I the only one who mistakenly thought it’s the same product with various names or brands? According to Time Magazine, the production of American hard cider more than tripled from 2011 to 2013, from 9.4 million gallons to 32 million gallons. Which means, there could be quite a few people who are confused about the difference. If we’re part of a growing trend of increasingly purchasing hard ciders, perhaps we should learn more about it.The Angry Orchard’s public relation’s representative accepted my request to interview Ryan Burk, Angry Orchard’s Head Cider Maker. Cheers to learning about hard cider in the interview, and towards the end, get a recipe for Roast Curry Hard Cider Chicken and Cabbage.

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{Appetizing Event} Taste 15: What’s a Dairy Farm, Part II

Dried Corn, this variety grown for feed, leftover on one of Spirit Farms fields
Dried Corn, this variety grown for feed, leftover on one of Spirit Farms fields.

During my mid-twenties, I stopped drinking and eating dairy products. My circle of friends declared it evil. We thought it had too much hormones and antibiotics. Furthermore, so-called health experts said dairy products were bad for people of color, because milk wasn’t consumed in Africa. It wasn’t until a trip to Europe changed my views about dairy products. After all, who can resist European cheese, yogurt and butter? The day my dietary restrictions were thrown away, was the moment I was guiltily eating fresh baked bread from a danish bakery. It was a moment when a soothing thought crossed my mind, “Please eat everything. When is the next time I will visit Europe, again?” My guilt disappeared, as I feasted on European dairy products to discover I didn’t have a milk allergy. The irony? During the summer of my European feast, I lost weight. And, I fell in love with dairy-based ice cream.  Read more

Got (a Question About Dairy) Milk?

Dairy Question Image

Did you read my story about the pros and cons of GMOs, which also features a recipe for a Strawberry Pecan Galette? The next story with features an interview with a dairy expert. Since traveling to California and Arkansas, I had the opportunity to learn about the science of food. The experience of visiting a dairy farm and talking to farmers were full of “ah-ha moments.” Part of the sponsorship agreement with is to do an interview based on any of the topics covered during the trips. Dairy Milk is my chosen topic.

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Appetizing Thoughts: The Now and Future of First Fresh Olive Oil

Saffron Olive Oil Cookies with Blood Orange Glaze

In 2011, Bill Sanders of First Fresh Olive Oil was interviewed, in which he demystified olive oil and promoted the launch of a kickstarter campaign raising money to start a private label selling quality olive oil in the United States at competitive prices. Since successfully raising the funds, he has garnered two outstanding industry recognized awards, crossed the country to introduce his peppery tasting olive oil by offering tastings and learned a few start-up marketing lessons. In this follow up interview, he explains his future goals, inspiration from a recent Sicilian trip for First Fresh Olive Oil and why using olive oil in desserts is better, especially for the recipe—Saffron Olive Oil Cookies with Blood Orange Glaze —at the end of the interview. 
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RedPandora Popcorn Contest: Guess the 2011 Oscar Winners

RedPandora Popcorn
Long lines of people wait their turn to purchase bags of popcorn all over Chicago during the after work hours. I’m not a big popcorn fan, thus the phenomena is an odd sight. When a coworker brings a bag of the classic Chicago mix, I carefully pick out my individual flavor. She tells me to eat the flavors combined. “Gross!” I thought, “A mixed bag of caramel and cheese popcorn sounds like another crazy Chicago food idea.” This is a city that eats fried chicken and spaghetti together or places peppermint candy in pickles. One day, I meet this super web designer, Jimmy Thomas, a brilliant creative thinker. He invites me to take a lunch break to get some popcorn. Fine. I order one small caramel popcorn bag. He buys that strange mix. Again, he mentions the popcorn taste better when it’s mixed. Exasperated, I start a long-winded explanation of how anyone could enjoy a gross mixed bag of popcorn, “…caramel and cheese… why would anyone…” As I start the next sentence of my compliant, he places a handful of the Chicago mix popcorn in my month. “…Yum. Okay. Ummm…” was my humbled response. Guess what? I was in line the next day for my mix bag of popcorn.

Many years later, I learn Jimmy has started a food company, RedPandora. He’s making sandwiches, salads, and Chicago’s favorite salty and sweet treat, popcorn. It’s made with natural ingredients and unique flavors. His flavor combinations are wild compared to that classic Chicago mix. RedPandora and have teamed up together to spread the good news about his popcorn and food and to offer a contest. It doesn’t include shoving handfuls of his popcorn in your mouth. All you have to do is guess this year’s Oscar winner in the following categories: Best Pictures, Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Actress in a Leading Role, and Directing. The contest and details are at the end of this inspiring food story interview with Jimmy Thomas of RedPandora. Read more