Displaying items by tag: Compliments to the Chef, Paula and John Reardon

Thursday, 18 February 2021 15:45

My Mezzaluna

Hello my Foodie Friends!

We are definitely spending more time in our kitchens. Food prep has become an essential step in creating the spectacular dishes we are now creating for ourselves, family, and friends. 

There is one tool that has become an “essential” in the kitchen: enter the mezzaluna. The mezzaluna is the meal prep tool that you never knew you needed. Meaning “half moon” in Italian, this old-fashioned workhorse will cut your chopping time in half—and it’s actually fun to use. Why chop or mince when you could rock? The mezzaluna, with its half-moon-shwaped blade and knobby handles at each end, possesses the simplicity of a tool like the hammer. Its design recalls an earlier time, before the food processor, and before home cooks had knife skills worthy of a restaurant kitchen. Operating a mezzaluna is simple: Grab the two handles and rock back and forth while the curved blade does its thing, gliding over the board. It makes a pleasing whooshing sound when seesawing—somewhere between a rocking chair and a samurai’s sword. Your fingers will be tucked safely away too, as you use both hands to grasp the sturdy handles instead of guiding the blade as you might with a conventional knife. In other words, they are foolproof—which is useful when you want to keep all your fingers intact. The crescent-shaped curved blade is often used in Italy for pesto and soffritto, the small dice of carrot, onion, and celery that is the base for so many soups and stews or to dispatch herbs, garlic, ginger, nuts, and anything else that needs to be roughly chopped (done in seconds) or finely minced (more like a minute.

Mezzalunas come in a variety of sizes (if you want to impress your mates by slicing up a pizza like a pro, opt for a larger one), with one or two parallel blades. The latter will give you twice the number of chops in the same amount of time, but you risk getting bits of food stuck between the blades. Many will find that the traditional single-blade ones are best.

Stop by Compliments to the Chef, your Neighborhood Kitchen and Cutlery store, to find those cool tools that can help you as you plan out your menus and get chopping. Make a mezzaluna a part of your culinary “go to” collection. Remember my Foodie Friends, “Life Happens in the Kitchen.”

 Take Care,
John & PaulaREARDON RoastedZucchini

Published in Food
Thursday, 11 February 2021 15:15

Cooking is Love Made Visible

Hello my Foodie Friends!

Valentines Day is right around the corner. As we get ready to celebrate Valentines Day and truly show those around us that we love them, it is a perfect time to remind ourselves of our focus to eat healthier and take care of our heart.  A heart healthy eating plan and lifestyle are considered the best weapons against heart disease.  Turning your kitchen into a heart-healthy area of your home can involve including certain items to assist you.  Developing a healthy living routine can include using a technology seeking approach by using a food scale to help make your plan work for you.  Weighing out foods and ingredients is the most accurate way of calculating how much you actually eat.  A food scale can be a fun way of double checking portion sizes and helping to keep yourself accountable. 

There are several types of food scales. The mechanical scale has a platform on which you can place whatever it is that you want to weigh. The weight is then displayed after the weights of the ingredients that you want to measure have pushed down a spring that is connected to the meter of the scale. The main advantage of mechanical scales is that they are cost effective and are not complicated when it comes to operating them. The kitchen digital scale is one of the most reliable scales in the world. The reason why many people perceive it as the best kitchen scale is because of its precision. In fact, it has the ability to measure even the smallest quantities with an accuracy of up to four decimal places. Another advantage of digital scales is that they give you the measurement as you add more weight so there is no need for you to wait for the scales to balance. Making healthier food choices can help with improving the quality of your diet.  However, regulating the size of food portions is a simple process that can help with weight loss.  Weighing out food before it is eaten is a convenient method of controlling portion sizes and is something you can easily do at home with basic kitchen equipment. A digital kitchen scale helps with measuring. 

A pointer to assist with weighing: Weigh out the desired portion size. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, a standard portion for most meats and fish is 3 ounces. Look for portion size information on packages and use on-line resources such as MyPyramid.gov to learn about the recommended portion size of other foods. Weigh the food before it has been washed or cooked. Place the plate of food on the scale. The calibrated scale will measure the weight of the food only. Remove or add more of the foods until you reach the required portion. You can remove the plate as many times as you like provided that you do not press the tally button for a second time. For Food Safety reasons, you need to wash the plate thoroughly with hot water and detergent between weighing different foods.

Stop by Compliments to the Chef, your Neighborhood Kitchen and Cutlery Store. We can help you with selecting the culinary tools you need to create that special meal this Valentines Day. “Cooking is love made visible.” Make something special for those that you want to show your love to. Remember: “Life Happens in the Kitchen.”

 Take Care,
John & PaulaREARDON ShrimpStuffedShells

Published in Food
Thursday, 04 February 2021 13:36

You’re My Everything

Hello my Foodie Friends!

Who doesn’t love a good bagel? Once you find that place that makes the perfect bagel, it is difficult to avoid making a bagel a regular event especially when thinking of the crusty outside and chewy interior along with the amazing flavors that are now available. If you only think of bagels in terms of breakfast and the occasional pizza, you’re missing out on using a surprisingly versatile weapon in your kitchen’s arsenal. Not only are there more things you can do with bagels than you’re thinking, it is a perfect recipe start for those with a hectic schedule. Keeping an extra sleeve of bagels in the kitchen cupboard can be surprisingly useful. 

Whip up a batch of Bagel French toast with a hint of cinnamon, some amazing egg custard, and whatever fresh fruit is in season, and you’ll never use bread again. How about Mac n cheese? Bagels are the last thing to be added to the mac n’cheese (and you can definitely use your own favorite recipe or cheesy combination) before it’s baked for ten minutes to finish it off, giving the top of the cheesy, flavor-filled casserole a crispy brown crust. It will be filled with bubbling cheese underneath and all the flavor of your favorite bagel and will change the way you make mac n’ cheese. How about adding it to your salad? Whatever bagel you choose is going to turn into the perfect salad garnish. After just a few minutes in the oven, your shredded bagel pieces will crisp up as they cool, and your Caesar salads will never be the same when they’re topped with croutons. Get creative with breakfast. Rather than making a hole in a perfectly fine slice of bread for the egg-in-a-hole recipe, use the hole that’s already in a bagel for a heartier morning egg. If you’re already updating this favorite by swapping in a bagel, spread your toasted bagel with smashed avocado — seasoned just the way you like it — and then add your egg.

Is you mouth watering yet? When you are attempting to slice a bagel with a knife, you understand the difficulty, as well as the potential safety issues. You need a safe tool to easily slice bagels. Choose a bagel slicer. 

It is designed for heavy-duty usage made with high quality bases and guards and solid handles to prevent breakage. Never worry about cutting yourself.  The guillotine blade safely slices the bagel behind the protective finger guards. It is dishwasher safe in the top rack only. It is engineered for safety and performance.  All you have to do is insert the bagel, push down, and remove the perfectly sliced bagel. There are so many delicious dishes to make with bagels. 

Stop by Compliments to the Chef, your Neighborhood Kitchen and Cutlery for a bagel slicer to assist you with slicing your favorite bagel. Let the one you love know that they are your “everything.”  Remember my Foodie Friends; “Life Happens in the Kitchen.”

 Take Care,
John & PaulaREARDON BagelPudding

Published in Food
Thursday, 28 January 2021 15:01

Back to the Old Grind

Hello my Foodie Friends!

So many foodies are getting back to the basics with using the mortar and pestle as part of their food preparation. The mortar and pestle is one of the most primitive kitchen tools. You place ingredients in a bowl usually made of stone or ceramic and then pound them with a tiny club. In an era of specialized kitchen gadgets, mortars and pestles have maintained their relevance remarkably well. The mortar and pestle is versatile, easy to use and provides more control than its electric counterparts, allowing for both rustic and refined preparations. It is an excellent addition to any kitchen, and who can resist the allure of using an ancient tool to create something truly handmade? This tool adds fun and flavor to any kitchen. Grinding herbs and spices in a mortar and pestle releases their delicate natural oils, something an electric appliance cannot do. It is perfect for making healthy dips like guacamole (the Mexican version of a mortar and pestle is called a molcajete) and fresh tomato salsa as well as flavorful pastes and pesto from fresh herbs and olive oil. Mortars and pestles are also ideal for grinding spices into rubs and toppings to sprinkle over your favorite dishes.

You can choose the best mortar and pestle for your kitchen by anticipating how it will be used most frequently. Smaller mortars and pestles are perfect for grinding spices, whereas larger versions are better suited for grinding large leafy items and nuts, or for mashing avocados.

Here’s a list of cooking tasks you can accomplish with a mortar and pestle:
• Grind your own peppercorns and spices including cinnamon sticks, coriander, and cloves.

• Remove cardamom seeds from their pods and then crush to use in Indian cooking.
• Grind sea salt to the fine texture of popcorn salt and season your movie night treat.
• Crush whole dry chilies into flakes. Crush capers to use in homemade tartar sauce recipes. Smash fresh peeled ginger to use in Asian recipes. Crush some flax seeds to release their benefits and add to yogurt for a nutritious breakfast or snack.
• Crush lavender to use in baking or potpourri. Crush herbs and seeds to make medicinal teas. Make fresh, homemade nut butters. Turn fresh garlic cloves into a paste and spread on Italian bread with olive oil for some intense garlic bread. Crush some fresh basil, garlic and pine nuts together in the larger sized units. Then mix in some olive oil to make super fresh and flavorful pesto.

One of the most classic uses of the mortar and pestle is for pesto. Combining the flavors of basil, pine, nut, Parmesan, garlic, and olive oil can make a wonderful pesto to add to pasta, spread on a sandwich, or eat by the spoonful. When it comes to making pesto, you can’t go wrong with a pestle and mortar. You could make it in a food processor, but you just won’t get the same flavors as when you’re pounding and crushing all that lovely basil by hand. 

Cooking can be fun! No matter how long you have been cooking, there is always something new to learn. The mortar and pestle may take a little elbow grease, but it is the tool that will not fail you. Go back to the old grind for a while, stepping away from modern technology and use the mortar and pestle for your incredible culinary creations. Stop into Compliments to the Chef, your Neighborhood Kitchen and Cutlery store located at 33 Railroad Place to get your “cool” tools for your favorite foodie. Remember, “Life Happens in the Kitchen.”

 Take Care,
John & PaulaREARDON BasilPesto

Published in Food
Thursday, 21 January 2021 14:31

Wok this Way

Hello my Foodie Friends!

What new culinary creations are you craving during these colder months? One approach that many of our foodies are using is to stir-fry. Stir-frying is the quintessential weeknight supper! If you have a fridge full of ingredients, and half an hour to put dinner on the table, cooking with a wok is definitely the go-to method. Vegetables retain their bright color and crunch and you can watch meat and aromatics go from raw to crisp in seconds, making stir-frying in a wok a fun way to cook. 

A wok is a wide bowl shaped cooking vessel with handles used commonly in Chinese and Asian cooking. The types of foods generally cooked in woks are stir frying, stewing, boiling, braising and steaming. Compliments to the Chef carry a large assortment of high quality woks and Stir Fry’s that suit the needs of the Asian cooking enthusiast. Some of the best companies carry this cookware Joyce Chen, Helen Chen (her daughter), and Ken Hom to name a few. Both the carbon steel and non-stick woks spread heat evenly and are easy to clean up. The handles are designed to stay cool on the stovetop, so you can easily remove the pan from the burner without using potholders. The curved sides of a wok diffuse heat and extend the cooking surface, which helps with tossing and stirring. The great depth allows ample room to cook a whole fish, if so desired. Simmering, deep frying, or steaming, are just a few of its multiple uses. Season them with vegetable oil before use and after cleaning.  With the carbon wok, the more you use a wok, the more flavor it will  take on, and the better your food will taste. As you cook with the wok, the metal pores open, and the fat you’re cooking with seeps in. 

There are other ways to use a wok that we may not typically think of. 

With its wide top and plenty of room, a wok is great for tossing a salad. Woks are great for making taco filling or any of the rice-and-pea type of dishes like arroz con pollo or paella. Consider a wok for scrambling eggs especially in large quantities. The eggs cook almost instantaneously, with no sticking, even if you’ve pre-cooked some vegetables before adding the eggs to the wok. When cooking a Mexican-style meal, cook on very low heat and use it to keep tortillas warm. Another use can be as a steamer by placing a steamer rack on the bottom with water. A wok is great for steaming lobster.

Where ever your tastes take you, this pan can deliver while you “wok this way.” 

Stop by Compliments to the Chef, your Neighborhood Kitchen and Cutlery store for those cool tools to help you with your special dinner. Also knife sharpening is still available! Remember my Foodie Friends; “Life Happens in the Kitchen.

 Take Care,
John & PaulaREARDON MushroomPepperSteak

Published in Food
Thursday, 14 January 2021 15:15

Love is All Around

Hello my Foodie Friends!

January reminds us that we are in the midst of winter and colder temperatures, we find ourselves reaching for the dinner staples that keep us warm an full. This time of year we love to make the most comforting recipes. After a day filled with snow adventures, my mother would often reach for one of her winter staple items, Stuffed Peppers, to make for a family of seven. I can recall how delicious it would smell in the house when the herd of kids came busting through the door after a day of playing in the snow. When making this dish, my mother would always reach for her favorite saute’ pan. Using the right cookware to help you with your winter recipes is important. A good dish is made up of different ingredients: a good recipe and having good cookware. Owning a few well-chosen pieces will give you the flexibility to cook whatever you want and the performance you need to cook it better. They may look different, but they all share essential qualities you should look for. Good pans are worth their price because they manage heat better.  Terms such as; “Good conductor” and “heavy gauge” are the key features of good cookware. Here’s how these characteristics affect cooking.

You get responsive heat. Good heat conductors, such as copper and aluminum, are responsive to temperature changes. They’ll do what the heat source tells them to do—heat up, cool down—almost instantly. You get fast heat flow. Heat flows more easily through a good heat conductor, assuring a quick equalizing of temperature on the cooking surface. You get even heat diffusion. A thicker pan has more distance between the cooking surface and the heat source. By the time the heat flows to the cooking surface, it will have spread out evenly, because heat diffuses as it flows. Depending on what you’ll be cooking in the pan, you may also need to look for other attributes.

My mother always reached for her sauté pan sautéing and other cooking that called for quick temperature changes. She would use it to sauté garlic just until fragrant and then turn down the flame, so that the pan would cool down quickly so the garlic did not burn. 

Love is all around especially when we make the family tradition recipes that bring back memories of a time past. Stop by Compliments to the Chef, Your Neighborhood Kitchen and Cutlery store. We have an assortment of cookware to assist you with your cold weather recipes. Remember my Foodie Friends; “Life Happens in the Kitchen.”

 Take Care,
John & PaulaREARDON StuffedPeppers

Published in Food
Thursday, 07 January 2021 15:47

Sisters & Food

Hello my Foodie Friends!

The hangover of the holidays is over and it’s time to get back to eating right and using great tools to make that happen. It’s a new year and a fresh start so let’s make some delicious food together. My older sister CarolAnn, is a master with mandoline slicers while using them frequently in her food prep.  Since she is eight years older than I am, when I was very young, I thought she was the smartest person in the world. When she taught me something it always stuck with me. I was a terrible listener with everyone except for her. I remember when I was young and allowed to visit her at her new house after she had gotten married. I would sit in her kitchen and watch her make the best salads.  She would include many ingredients in her salads so that you were as full as if you had eaten a plate of Italian food. CarolAnn’s secret weapon in her prep was the mandoline slicer. She would peel and make cuts to cucumbers and many other vegetables, then would run them through the mandoline slicer to make the perfect bite-sized pieces. As she was doing all of this, she would explain every step and how to be safe. She would also add in words of wisdom about life and work. 

As I reminisce on these times, I learned that food creates a home, connections, celebrations, and embraces family and friends. In creating meals, we are creating homes and a nurturing environment. The meals do not have to be fancy or gourmet. It isn’t about how special the recipe is. It is about being conscious of an important part of life and honoring that importance. By elevating the importance of food in our family’s lives, you pass that importance on to them. Families connect around the dinner table, all sharing the meal they know is just for them. Whether I’m making a salad or a meal, CarolAnn’s teachings are always on my mind. As she is now very ill, and she is fighting for her life, I feel and appreciate those learnings even more. 

Do you have a mandoline slicer hiding in the back of your pantry, just begging to be used? Essentially, you can accomplish much of a mandoline’s work with a steady hand and a sharp knife. However, when slicing up zucchini ribbons, slicing eggplant or shredding brussel sprouts, mandolines cut prep time down significantly and promise consistent, even results. And they’re fun to use; especially when you need to create consistently thick or thin slices for your favorite recipe. At Compliments to the Chef we carry several different brands of mandolines. The OXO Good Grips mandoline is a perfect tool for home chefs. It is a trusty tool through thick and thin (produce). Slice or julienne cucumbers, potatoes and more with a turn of the comfortable dial on the Chef’s Mandoline Slicer. Each mandoline includes a food holder that protects hands and the stainless steel blade quickly makes even slices. All blades store safely on board and are removable for easy cleaning. With this easy-to-use mandoline, hands and fingers stay away from sharp blades at all times. Most mandolines come with three or four slicing blades beyond the basic blade. These allow you to slice paper thin, a little thicker (think potato chips), thick julienne (think french fries), and thin julienne. If you’re not sure how your blades will slice, invest in a few potatoes and try each setting out. It’s usually a good idea to have a few extra veggies on hand when you’re learning to use your mandoline slicer as well so you can get the hang of the whole process. 

At Compliments to the Chef, your Neighborhood Kitchen and Cutlery store, we have items that can assist with making your meals. Show your love through the foods you cook and if you have a big sister give her a hug. Stop by Compliments to the Chef located at 33 Railroad Place and let us know how we can help you with your culinary needs. Remember my Foodie Friends; “Life Happens in the Kitchen.” Happy New Year! May 2021 bring you health, happiness, and hope.

 Take Care,
John & Paula

REARDON VeggieTian

Published in Food
Wednesday, 23 December 2020 13:08

The Christmas Eve Feast

Hello my Foodie Friends!

Our most relished Christmas treasures come with the decorations, the scents of pine, the sounds of music and jingles, and for many, what happens in the kitchen. Many of our holiday traditions begin in the kitchen. We hold tight to our families’ holiday traditions, especially when it comes to food. There are foods such as; roasted chestnuts, savory smoked ham, fruity cakes, specialty cookies, and eggnog that we hold to as popular holiday traditions. These iconic foods are vital to holiday menus and are fully ingrained in the culture of the holiday, as they tend to be eaten solely during this time of the year. 

Coming together to celebrate the holidays becomes a time of giving.  It is a time to be with your family and show your gratitude and appreciation of what you have. This holiday season, we may be more challenged than others in spending the holidays with those that we love. As we prepare for our smaller gatherings, I reminisce on some of my favorite Christmas Eve’s spent with those that are still with us, and some that I have lost in recent years. 

Through out the decades that have gone by, many of my memories include family and friends who cooked up incredible holiday feasts. I reflect on the Christmas traditions of mine and Paula’s Italian families in which the Christmas Eve Feast cannot be overlooked. In meeting my wife four decades ago, our first Christmas Eve together was spent at her parents’ home celebrating the Feast of Seven Fishes with all of the fish dishes presented that evening. Paula’s family was more traditional than mine, probably because my Dad was Irish so we had a little of each. I watched with a calm expression as my wife ate and relished the marinated fresh anchovies as part of the antipasto.  Jumbo shrimp, baked clams, and fried calamari were also part of the first course, which, I ate too much of. Next an array of dishes began to come out of the kitchen.  These included: the seafood salad, which is a combination of crab, shrimp, calamari, and lobster with celery, olive, and parsley in citronette, the Baccala salad with salted cod tossed with sweet cherry peppers, capers, and olives in a lemon dressing, and then the octopus salad, also known as Inslata di Polipi.  This is where I stopped and stared at the cut up octopus tentacles sitting in front of me and I loudly proclaimed that, well, “I love Fried Baccala” and politely said I must have some. There are many ways to serve fish during the feast. Some people include as many as 12 or 13 dishes, including mussels in spaghetti, fried calamari, anchovies, sardines, whiting with lemon, scungilli, lobster fra diavolo, capellini with tuna sauce, branzino, sole, and shrimp scampi, or linguini with clam sauce. 

Meanwhile back at my house my Mom was cooking an Irish feast for my Dad of Roast turkey and stuffing, clove-studded baked ham, crispy goose fat potatoes, steamed Brussels sprouts, buttery sweet carrots, crispy parsnips, cranberry sauce, bread sauce and gravy. 

The holidays are about getting together and having a good time. It is about enjoying yourself and the people you are with. Cooking for the people you love is a gift in itself. Hold onto the traditions that have been created by generations past; or create your new ones. Enjoy your holiday season. Stop by Compliments to the Chef; your Neighborhood Kitchen and Cutlery store located at 33 Railroad Place to help you with your holiday gifts and culinary needs. We hope that 2021 brings many blessings, laughter, health, and happiness to you and your families.  Remember my Foodie Friends; “Life Happens in the Kitchen” -

Happy Holidays to all of our Foodie Friends!

 Take Good Care,
John & Paula

REARDON SevenFishes

Published in Food
Thursday, 17 December 2020 16:19

What Goes Around Stays Around

Hello my Foodie Friends!

When I was a young boy the holiday season was my family’s favorite time of year. Of course my parents used it to its full potential to keep three boys and two girls in line. Our biggest thrill was the chance to go downtown and peek into the storefront windows seeing the latest toys and letting Santa, Mom, and Dad know what we wanted under the tree. For myself and my brothers, it was especially hard to refrain from becoming the Three Stooges avoiding our usual antics and teasing of each other. If we didn’t get along then we risked getting nothing and my Dad was a man of his word. We also loved this time of year because Mom and Dad became a dynamic team and focused on our happiness instead of the day-to-day problems they faced with finance issues that were typical of the middle class back then. It seemed like Mom and Dad knew every shop owner by their first name and all the shop personnel always fussed over their children. Shopping downtown was a magical event for us. The snow covered trees, merchant’s store fronts decorated with animated figures, holiday lights, decorations, and music. Each of us would run free to pursue the treasures that we wanted from Santa. We loved every store.  For us a clothing store was a place that kept us from the toys. However, the clothing store mom loved was located on the top floor of one of the downtown buildings and you needed an elevator to get to it. An ELEVATOR!!! Do any of you remember what the older style elevators were like?  It was like a carnival ride. It even had an elevator operator (what I wanted to be when I grew up). Several of our downtown buildings in Saratoga Springs still have the old style elevators. At the end of our shopping day, we would have a wonderful meal as a family, sitting exhausted filled with memories that would last a life-time.

We would like to thank all of our Foodies for shopping Local this year!  Shopping locally helps you connect with the people in your community and learn more about what is going on around you. When people come in my store during the holidays they call out to me and exclaim; “Hello John, we are some of your Foodie Friends!”  Economically, spending money locally, gives back to the community.  Shopping should be an enjoyable experience with interactions that leave us feeling good versus feeling like we have to do a chore. I find that’s far more likely to happen when I’m patronizing local independent businesses. Learn and experience product quality and durability, getting expert advice without having to waste time doing your own research. Aside from the experience, physical contact with an item makes people feel more certain about a purchase decision. When you go to a store, you know what you’re getting. The price is there. There’s no shipping fee. You can see the item, hold the item, and get the instant gratification you desire from buying the item. Savor the sights, sounds and smells of the season while shopping. During the holidays the shops are filled with festive decorations, sounds and smells. When you step through the doors and hear “Jingle Bells” or “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” playing throughout the store, you can’t help singing along as you walk around. I think we all need this type of cheer considering the current times we are challenged with. 

This holiday season; visit our beautiful city of Saratoga Springs and all of the unique shops within the city for those special treasures. Make it an event where you actually spend time with people (and not the computer) to select those special gifts to give. 

At Compliments to the Chef, we have really cool tools for your favorite foodie. Having the right tools to prepare your recipe is the key to making a pretty good dinner a great one. It’s much easier to cook when you are equipped with high-quality utensils that make your job as fun and easy as possible. 

Paula and I look forward to the holidays every year with our children. Unfortunately, due to COVID – we will not have our son with us who lives in California. This is a sacrifice many of us are making this holiday season. Cherish your moments together and stop by and fulfill your holiday culinary needs at Compliments to the Chef, your Neighborhood Kitchen and Cutlery store located at 33 Railroad Place, Saratoga Springs. This holiday season; shop local and nab those ideal gifts for the ones you love. Remember my Foodie Friends, “Life Happens in the Kitchen.”

 Take Care,
John & PaulaREARDON MadeiraGlazePrimeRib

Published in Food
Friday, 13 November 2020 15:39

“Shaken, Not Stirred”

Hello my Foodie Friends!

Among many of my favorite things to do, is to hunker down and watch good movies. I have shared in prior articles my love of movies, classic characters, and franchise within the film industry that keep me connected to a group of characters and story lines. A true favorite of both Paula and mine is the James Bond film franchise.  Since we were young children and now, we still love to watch Bond movies together. Through the decades we have been entertained by a hero through and through, one that includes not being afraid of danger. This past month we lost part of the iconic James Bond family, Sean Connery. Sean Connery, in particular, set the mold for the Bonds to follow. He blended his rugged Scottish heritage with an essential element of elegance to portray the debonair intelligence agent. However, no real or fictional character has done more for the classic Martini than James Bond. It is in Casino Royale that we are introduced to James Bond’s refined drinking style. The term “shaken, not stirred” has become a catch phrase from the James Bond fictional character of Ian Fleming’s novels that have become much followed movies. In the film “Casino Royale,” James Bond instructs the bartender how to make his Martini; “A dry Martini. Three measures of Gordoni, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well unil it’s ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel.” This Martini has also taken on the title of the “Vesper.” Here is the official recipe for “The Vesper Martini:” 60 ml. gin, 20 ml. vodka, 10 ml. Lillet Blanc or Cocchi Americano. Shake all ingredients with ice in a shaker. Then pour into a chilled Martini glass. Add a lemon twist. 

The Cocktail shaker is the essential tool you will need to make many of the cocktails you may be creating this holiday season. The majority of cocktail recipes call for the ingredients to be shaken using a cocktail shaker. It is by far the most used, enjoyable, and entertaining method for preparing mixed drinks and it’s unbelievably simple. The primary purpose for shaking cocktails is to completely integrate all of the drink’s ingredients in order to create one beautiful blend of flavor. The shake is the most thorough way to mix drinks and, if you notice, the majority of cocktail recipes recommend this technique.

The goal of shaking is to: Thoroughly mix the drink’s ingredients and create a unified flavor and give the drink a good chill. The use of a cocktail shaker can add enough dilution to knock the strength of the drink down so it is more pleasant to sip. You can also use the cocktail shaker to mix your non-alcoholic creations. 

Stop by Compliments to the Chef, your Neighborhood Kitchen and Cutlery store to pick up the accoutrements you may need this holiday season to entertain. Maybe even start rewatching your favorite film classics or franchise. Remember my Foodie Friends, “Life Happens in the Kitchen.” 

 Take Care,
John & PaulaREARDON WardEight

Published in Food
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