Thursday, March 5, 2015

Thursday Sips & Nibbles

I am back again with a new edition of Thursday Sips & Nibbles, my regular column where I highlight some interesting, upcoming food & drink events.. **********************************************************
1)  In anticipation of St. Patrick’s Day, Davis Square watering hole Saloon will host an Irish whiskey pairings dinner celebrating the tastes of County Cork on March 10 at 7pm. Emceed by Saloon’s resident malt man and Beverage Director Manny Gonzales, this four-course Éire-inspired menu has been designed by Executive Chef Dana Love and features Irish whiskey pairings hand-selected by Gonzales from Saloon’s expansive whiskey portfolio. Throughout the dinner, Gonzales will impart his wisdom by giving them a liquid tour of the Midleton section of County Cork.

The menu will be presented as follows:

Spinach Salad (applewood smoked bacon, pickled red onion, fig vinaigrette)
Powers John Lane 12 Year Old Single Pot Still Whiskey
Cauliflower Soup (Marcona smoked almonds, cracked white pepper, Banyal gastrique)
Red Breast 12 Year Single Pot Still Whiskey
Smoked Beef Short Ribs (potato cake, caraway braised cabbage, crispy leeks, Guinness reduction)
Midleton Very Rare
Honey Bread Pudding (crème fraîche ice cream, Irish whiskey caramel, candied orange zest)
Jameson Black Barrel

Cost: $55 per person
Advance reservations required. For tickets, please visit:

2) The Massachusetts Cheese Guild encourages the discovery and enjoyment of cheese made by the Commonwealth’s 20+ artisanal cheesemakers all year-round. In early spring, however, a unique natural phenomenon makes this the best time of the year to indulge in fresh goat cheese. Why?

On Massachusetts goat farms, February and March are when female goats (called does) give birth (called freshening because pregnancy refreshes their milk supply) to their babies (known as kids). The kids are nursed with milk that is ultra-rich in butter fat and milk solids. As they produce far more milk than their offspring require, the excess milk from lactation is turned into cheese. Experts and enthusiasts agree that fresh goat cheese (chevre) tastes markedly better in the spring than at others times of the year.

Beginning in early April, be on the lookout for fresh goat cheese produced by Massachusetts Cheese Guild’s artisan members. The following examples are sold in better specialty shops and grocers, at farmers markets, and at the farms’ own stands.

Chevre from Crystal Brook Farms, Sterling
Less than 3 days elapse between milking the goat and the finished cheese. 65 new kids born this month alone, reports the farm.

Chevre from Valley View Farm, Topsfield
Also fresh artisanal goat feta, a camembert style, and goat Tomme. Sold primarily on the North Shore, but who wouldn’t want to seek out cheese made from the milk of does named Maple, Caramel Truffle and Milkshake?

Capri brand chevre from Westfield Farms, Westfield
Available everywhere in 10 flavors including plain, Hickory Smoked, Wasabi and Chocolate (use it for the cheese pie recipe below)

Monterey Chevre from Rawson Brook Farm, The Berkshires
A favorite of top chefs in that region; this bucolic farm sees the arrival of 120-130 kids each spring.

Ruggles Hill Creamery, Hardwick
Makes ten types of goat cheese, from barely aged Ada’s Honor to a grey-molded tomme called Greta’s Fair Haven, which is aged 60 days or more.

Chocolate Goat Cheese Pie Recipe
Courtesy, Westfield Farms

1-1/3 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup milk
32 oz. Capri Chocolate Goat Cheese, at room temperature
4 beaten egg yolks
3 TB all purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla
4 egg whites whipped until stiff

Dissolve the granulated sugar into the milk, then add the goat cheese, egg yolks, flour, and vanilla. Next. fold the beaten egg whites into the cheese mixture. Fill the crust described below and sprinkle the remaining crumbs over the top. Bake in a 350° degree oven for one hour. Do not over bake; the cheese pie will firm up when cooled.

Buy one from the supermarket, or make this easy one:
Crush 1 1/2 cups graham crackers until very fine.
Stir in 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar & 6 TB melted butter til blended.
Reserve 1/3 of the crust for a topping and pat the rest into an 8” pie pan.
Bake for 15 minutes at 325 before adding the filling.
Finish baking as indicated above.

3) Bergamot Chefs Keith Pooler and Dan Bazzinotti along with Beverage Director Kai Gagnon will recreate Bourbon Street at Bergamot on March 11, from 10pm-1am, with a “Pop Up” New Orleans Celebration.

The Bourbon Street “Pop Up” is $20 per person and that includes all the food. There will be a cash bar featuring Bourbon Street specials as well as New Orleans Jazz music to get revelers in a celebratory mood. Select Dishes that will be featured include:
- Chicken Etoufee
- Barbecue Shrimp
- Sausage Po’ Boy
- House-made Beignets

For tickets, please call 617-576-7700

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