Archive for the ‘alcohol’ Category
Until recently, I had never seen sorghum grain in my life. I only became familiar with sorghum molasses a couple of years ago, when I encountered it on a trip through the South. But sorghum, as I learned, has been around for a long, long time.
Sorghum has been known by other names, the most common of which are “Guinea corn, “Johnson grass,” and “milo.” “Egyptian millet” and “great millet” have also been used, which is understandable, since the grain does look like millet on steroids. I’ve purchased sorghum flour in my favorite Indian market, Patel Brothers in Jackson Heights, where it’s called marathi.
The oldest documented cultivation of sorghum is dated at 3000 B.C. in Egypt. Sorghum thrives in hot, arid climates, where other crops might fail. That could be the reason why it became such an important crop in the Near and Middle East. The Muslims introduced it to Spain, who then introduced it to France, and from there, it spread out to other parts of Europe. Sorghum is an important crop in Africa, and it is believed that it was introduced into the U.S. by African slaves in the early 17th century. According to Grain.org, sorghum is the third most important cereal crop grown in the U.S. and the fifth most important in the world. The U.S. is now the world’s largest producer and exporter of sorghum.
Sorghum became a particularly popular product in the U.S. South, where sorghum molasses is a common substitute for maple syrup and is spread on biscuits, corn bread, pancakes, and—as I found out in Alabama—THROWED ROLLS.
Aside from food, sorghum is commonly included in animal feed, and it is used in the production of alcoholic beverages, such as maotai and kaoliang in China and beer in the U.S., such as Bard’s and Redbridge by Anheuser-Busch. In southern Africa, sorghum beer is popular and is said to be a traditional beverage of the Zulu people. Also, people in South Africa used sorghum beer to get around the prohibition laws imposed on the black community. And since sorghum is a gluten-free grain, sorghum beer is a great choice for those with gluten sensitivities. (If you’re so inclined, you can brew your own sorghum beer. Here are a set of instructions.)
As far as nutrients go, sorghum is rich in potassium, phosphorus, thiamine, and niacin, has some calcium, and has small amounts of iron and riboflavin.
When cooking with sorghum, it’s best to use “moist” recipes—that is, recipes that call for moist ingredients or a good amount of liquid—because the grains are thick and starchy and if they’re too dry, they can have a pasty mouthfeel and be difficult to swallow. And it’s best to serve sorghum hot (or at least warm) because as it cools, the starchiness becomes prominent.
While sorghum might be easy to find in the South, not so much in the Northeast. However, I did, by chance, find some at an Asian market. I wasn’t looking for it, but there it was and, of course, I had to buy some. I did a little research on the best ways to use sorghum and came up with this recipe. Enjoy!
Sorghum and Kale Saute with Cannellini
1 cup sorghum grain
2 cups vegetable broth
4 cups chopped kale
1 ½ cups cooked cannellini
3 large cloves garlic, sliced
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp paprika
Red pepper flakes to taste (optional)
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 350 degree F.
2. Rinse and drain the sorghum. Place in a heavy-bottomed, oven-safe pot or Dutch oven and stir over medium-low heat until dry and slightly browned.
3. Carefully pour in the vegetable stock and a pinch of salt. Stir and place in the oven; bake until liquid is absorbed and grains are tender, about 40 to 50 minutes. If necessary, add a little more liquid to the pot.
4. Heat oil in a wide pan. Add garlic and cook 1 minute, sprinkle in paprika and red papper flakes and immediately put in the kale. Add salt and pepper and cook, covered, over medium-low heat until kale is wilted and tender (but not mushy. Add the sorghum and beans and mix well. Cook for 5 minutes to blend flavors. Add more liquid if necessary.
5. Check for seasoning and serve hot.
Introducing the first beer just for women…Chick Beer!
On the home page of the new Chick Beer, it states:
What makes it appealing for women? The makers say that the lady-loving qualities are:
- 97 calories and 3.5 carbs per bottle
- A softer, smoother, less bitter taste
- Lightly carbonated, “for less of that bloaty feeling”
Brewed in Wisconsin, Chick Beer’s distribution is limited, but they will be expanding their territory.
Chick Beer had also pledged to donate 5% of its net profits to charities that” further women’s interests,” domestically and internationally.
I can’t wait to try some.
Chicagoans, sadly, have had to say good bye to Trader Vic’s, the original tiki bar palace. The Chicago Tribune reported it on July 6. Victor Bergeron opened his Polynesian-themed restaurant in Oakland, CA, in 1936 and in 1944 created what would become the quintessential, iconic island drink: the Mai Tai.
The tiki concept, wildly popular in the 1940s through the 1960s, began a shame-filled descent into cheese-land and many of the Trader Vic’s locations have closed over the last several decades.However, it seems that tiki-themed restaurants and bars are returning to reclaim their cheesy glory! There are 14 in New York City alone. And for you nostalgia-lovers out there, there are still Trader Vic’s restaurants to be found, from Sarasota, FL, to the United Arab Emirates, and even in Kiev, Ukraine, where it’s called the Mai Tai Lounge. For a list of locations, go to the Trader Vic’s website HERE. And I am not ashamed to admit that I own a copy of Trader Vic’s Tiki Party.
Trader Vic’s Original Mai Tai
- 2 ounces 17-year-old Jamaican rum
1/2 ounce orgeat (almond syrup)
1/2 ounce orange curacao
Juice of one fresh lime
1/4 ounce simple syrup*
- Lime slice for garnish
- Sprig of mint for garnish
Makes 1 serving.
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- In a small saucepan, bring sugar and water to a boil; simmer until the sugar is dissolved, 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool completely.
I guess it’s a good thing that National Beer Week and Grape Popsicle Day (May 27) are just in time for Memorial Day Weekend. Well, I’m sure that the beer holiday, at least, was made the fourth week of May because of Memorial Day, but we won’t split hairs.
Anyway, if you want to know all about beer, try 2BaSnob or the beer guide at Food & Wine. As for the grape popsicle, I thought I’d go one better than the cold ice on a stick–a cold cocktail. Here’s a recipe for Grape Popsicle Cocktail from GroupRecipes.com. And remember, be responsible…don’t drink and drive!
- 2 oz vodka shopping list
- 1 oz red grape juice shopping list
- 2 oz lemon-lime soda shopping list
- Highball glass with ice shopping list
- Garnish-grape Popsicle on a stick for the side of the glass
- Combine ingredients over a modest amount of ice in a skinny highball glass.
- Garnish, of course, with a grape Popsicle.
- Be careful — too much ice and the Popsicle becomes unmanageable, and that’s just no fun.
Hi, all. I hope that the first week of the new year has been good to you. I know a couple of people who have lost people very close to them this week, so my heart goes out to them. It’s not an auspicious way to start the year, but one can hope that things can only get better from here.
Let’s get drinking…
You might think from the title of this blog that I’m some kind of lush. Far from it. I advocate safe, responsible drinking. I’m often the designated driver and I always check to make sure friends are in the proper condition to drive. I also respect recovering alcoholics’ need to stay away from the stuff.
Having said that, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with enjoying the occasional libation. And with the resurgance of cocktail culture and the emergence of the mixologist—which is basically a bartender schooled in chic and complex drink making, versus a bartender, who may not know what to do with Chartreuse (a liqueur made in France by Carthusian monks) but will make you a wicked dry martini—you can really have a lot of fun trying out all different kinds of concoctions, from wild and crazy to sophisticated and classy.
Join the party…
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