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TIP OF THE DAY: Coffee Stout & Other Styles For World Stout Day

Coffee Stout Stone Brewing
[1] Xocoveza, a coffee stout from Stone Brewing, has been described as “a liquid Christmas cookie” (photo courtesy Gear Patrol).

Coffee Stout
[2] Amaro Obsidian Coffee Stout from Deschutes Brewery.

Founders Brewing Breakfast Stout
[3] Breakfast Stout from Founders Brewing is a milk stout with coffee, although adding it to a bowl of cereal is a personal choice.

Stout With Salted Nuts
[4] The simplest nibble with a glass of stout: salted nuts (photo courtesy McCormick).

[5] Treat yourself to a coffee stout float. The recipe, from Eat Wisconsin Cheese, is below.


November 5th is World Stout Say. Stout is the darkest and heartiest of beers (porter is in second place).

And if you like coffee too, we have a recipe for dessert: a coffee stout float.

There are several categories of stout, a beer that has natural coffee and chocolate flavors from the types of malt used.

  • Chocolate Stout is a sub-category that uses different malts for an even more pronounced chocolate flavor. These days, some brewers add actual chocolate into the brew, or brew over cacao beans, or both.
  • Coffee Stout uses dark roasted malts to add a bitter coffee flavor. With the tandem growth of interest in microbrews and fine coffee, craft brewers have added specific ground beans to create, for example, “Breakfast Coffee Stout (photo #3),” “Espresso Stout” and “Guatemalan Coffee Stout.”
  • Cream Stout, Milk Stout or Sweet Stout is a style made sweeter with unfermentable lactose (milk sugar). The majority of stouts made are this style.
  • Dry Stout or Irish Stout is very dark and toasty or coffee-note style, exemplified by the world-famous Guinness.
  • Imperial Stout or Russian Stout or Russian Imperial Stout has more of a rich, roasted quality and a higher level of alcohol. These are potent beers that can be almost as thickly textured as liqueur. Examples include Samuel Smith’s Imperial Stout at 7% alcohol and Brooklyn Brewery’s Black Chocolate Stout (a Russian Imperial), at 8.7% alcohol. The alcohol content of imperial stouts can go up to 9% and 10%.
  • Irish Dry Stout uses unmalted roasted barley and bittering hops (rather than those that emphasize flavor or aroma), with a small amount of sour malt to add character.
  • Oatmeal Stout adds oatmeal to the mash, which gives a smoothness and creaminess to the stout. It has more restrained flavors and less alcohol than Imperial stout. Samuel Smith makes a benchmark oatmeal stout, with notes of fruit, licorice, chocolate and toffee.
    Other variations can be developed by a particular brewer. Caraway stout, for example, includes caraway seeds in the mash.

    It’s hard to pick one style from the list, so allow us to suggest a coffee stout. With the ascendancy of coffee as a craft drink in the U.S., combining it with stout is a natural.

    Beyond stout, coffee can be added to every style of beer. Here’s a list of the 18 “best” coffee beers from Gear Patrol, and 27 coffee beer recommentations from Thrillist.

    Stout is top fermented, which makes it an ale. Both stout and porter, its historic predecessor, are differentiated from conventional ale by their brown-black color, fuller body and stronger flavors.

    Stout originated in Ireland, where traditional stouts are very rich, yet sharp and slightly bitter. It followed the creation of porter, a strong, dark ale, higher in alcohol, that originated in London in the early 1720s.

    Large amounts of porter were subsequently exported to Ireland. By 1776, Arthur Guinness was brewing it at his St. James’s Gate Brewery in Dublin. Guinness Stout appeared by 1820.

    In the 19th century, porter evolved, creating the new category of stout, meaning strong. It was first called stout porter (stronger porter); later, the porter reference was dropped.

    Stout had a black color through the use of black patent malt and more roasted malts. It had a stronger in flavor than port. The alcohol level edged up, too.

    This is achieved by brewing with barley that has been dark-roasted to the point of charring (think of espresso beans, compared to a medium-roast coffee). It is thus both darker and maltier than porter, has a more pronounced hop aroma, and may reach an alcoholic content of 6% to 7%.

    While stout declined in popularity in the latter half of the 20th century, it has been resurrected by artisan brewers. A craft beer retailer should have a good selection.

    Stout pairs well with strong, spicy and salty flavors:

  • Barbecued, grilled, roasted and smoked foods
  • Chocolate, including candy, cake, ice cream (photo #4), mousse and pudding
  • Desserts, especially fruity desserts (pies, tarts) and spicy ones like gingerbread/gingerbread brownies (recipe)
  • International cuisines: Indian, Middle Eastern, Szechuan
  • Rich braises and stews
  • Salty foods, like chips, nuts, pretzels and Roquefort cheese
  • Shellfish*: crab, oysters on the half shell, and other shellfish
  • Strong cheeses
  • Spicy sausages such as Andouille
    For an easy dessert, whip up a coffee stout float with just two ingredients: stout and ice cream.

    If you can’t get coffee stout, use any cream/milk stout plus coffee ice cream.

    The recipe follows.


  • Coffee stout
  • Ice cream: chocolate, coffee or vanilla

    1. PLACE two scoops of ice cream in a pint glass or other large glass.

    2. Slowly pour the stout over the ice cream, to fill the glass.

    3. SERVE with a straw and a spoon.
    IN OUR


    *Although shellfish is not strong, spicy or salty, the pairing works—especially with Irish dry stout. Serve the shellfish simply.



    PRODUCT: Brigadeiros For National Candy Day

    November 4th is National Candy Day, and we’d like to introduce you to a type that’s relatively new in the U.S.: brigadeiros.

    They’re a Brazilian cousin to the original chocolate truffles: smooth, creamy and intensely chocolate, with no hard shell, but rolled in sprinkles or nuts (photo #1).

    The chocolates have an interesting history.

    In 1945, shortly after the end of World War II, Brazil was in the process of electing a new president.

    One candidate was Brigadier Eduardo Gomes, good-looking and single. He attracted many female fans (hopefully for other reasons as well).

    Women organized parties to raise funds for him, and created a confection called brigadeiros (brigadier’s) to promote their candidate.

    In post-war times there was still a shortage of fresh milk and sugar, which led the ladies to use condensed milk, mixing it with butter and chocolate and covering it with chocolate sprinkles.

    Gomes didn’t win the election, but the brigadeiros named for him became a permanent part of the national confectionary, said to be the country’s favorite sweet.

    In addition to retail purchases, families make them at home (here’s a recipe), often eating the warm chocolate mixture right from the pot (called brigadeiro de colher, spoon brigadeiro, it’s an inadvertent mash-up of eating chocolate fondue from the pot and cookie dough from the bowl). It’s a standard treat at birthday parties.

    San Francisco chocolatier, Renata Stoica, a São Paolo native, uses an old family recipe to bring the brigadeiros tradition to the U.S.

    At her shop, tinyB, she sells gift boxes of classic brigadeiros rolled in sprinkles or chopped nuts.


    Brigadieros TinyB
    [1] A 15-piece box of brigadieros (all photos courtesy tinyB).

    Tiny B Brigadieros
    [2] A perfect bite with after-dinner coffee.

    There are also assortments infused with tropical flavors—coffee, passionfruit, pineapple—and spicy cayenne brigadeiros.

    There are 4-piece boxes up to 30 pieces, along with two-piece customizable favor boxes for weddings and other occasions.

    Get ready for the holidays. Give chocolate lovers what they haven’t had before.




    RECIPE: Miso Cod, Halibut Or Snapper With Asian Vegetables

    [1] Miso snapper with steamed Asian vegetable mix. The recipe is below (photo courtesy

    Nobu Miso Cod
    [2] The original inspiration, Nobu’s black cod with miso (photo courtesy Nobu Restaurants).

    [3] Miso paste can be used in many dishes (photo courtesy
    Good Eggs).

    Steamed Asian Vegetables
    [4] Steamed Asian vegetables. This recipe from Julia’s Album serves them with peanut dressing.

    Chopped Asian Salad
    [4] Chopped Asian salad. Here’s the recipe from Eating Bird Food.

    Miso Soup
    [5] Miso soup. You can make it (recipe) as a first course to the fish recipe (photo courtesy Sushi Lounge | NJ).

      Years back, when Nobu opened in New York City in 1994, we discovered the glory of miso-glazed cod.

    Black cod with miso is became a signature dish, and as chef Nobu Matsuhisa opened restaurants around the world, the dish went global.

    We liked it so much, we bought miso and made our own version. Cod has gotten pricey, so we often substitute halibut or snapper.

    It’s become a favorite.

    Here’s a version of the recipe from IMUSA. We’ve also included a miso salad dressing

    Here are more ways to use miso and the different types of miso.

    If you like the miso soup at Japanese restaurants, it’s a cinch to make at home. Here’s the recipe.

    Serve the fish with steamed Asian vegetables and/or an Asian-inspired salad. Ingredients for both are included.

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 4 cod, halibut or snapper fillets (or other white fish), 6 ounces each
  • ½ cup white miso paste
  • Rice vinegar
  • ¼ cup mirin (sweet rice wine)
  • 1½ tablespoons fresh ginger
  • 3 tablespoons green onions (scallions), chopped
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • Bok choy leaves
  • Jasmine rice, cooked
  • Steamed Asian vegetables: bell peppers, bok choy, broccoli, carrots, Chinese cabbage, snow peas (these need only a brief steaming), sugar snap peas
    Ingredients For Optional Asian Side Salad

    Select what five or six of these:

  • Baby spinach
  • Bean sprouts
  • Carrot, julienned
  • Chinese cabbage
  • Cucumber
  • Edamame, shelled
  • Enoki mushrooms
  • Mesclun mix
  • Mizuna
  • Mustard greens
  • Pea shoots
  • Red cabbage or radicchio
  • Sliced water chestnuts
  • Snow peas
  • Tatsoi
  • Watercress
  • Optional garnish: Chinese fried noodles, chopped almonds or peanuts, cilantro, toasted sesame seeds
    Here are two recipes for the dressing: ginger-soy dressing and Asian peanut dressing.

    Preparation For The Fish

    1. COMBINE the peanut oil, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce and sesame oil in a large bowl. Toss the vegetables (except for the bok choy) in the marinade.

    2. COMBINE the miso paste, mirin, ginger and scallions in a separate bowl. Pour over the fish. Allow both the vegetables and fish to marinate for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.

    3. PLACE a bed of bok choy in the bottom of a bamboo (or other) steamer and place the marinated fish over it. Discard the excess marinade.

    4. DRAIN the vegetables and place in the top portion of the bamboo steamer: carrots first, then peas, topped with chopped bok choy.

    5. PLACE the steamer over a 14 inch wok or other steaming device, with 2 inches of water. Bring the water to a boil over medium high heat. Once the water is boiling and steam is visible, reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking for 10 to 12 minutes. Turn off the heat and remove steamer from wok.

    6. PLACE the bamboo steamer over a large plate and serve with jasmine rice.

    The most common type of miso is white miso, made from soybeans, sea salt and fresh organic rice koji*. It is fermented for 6 months fermentation to a sweeter, more mellow flavor than other types of miso (red, black) and is used in marinade, soups, sauces and salad dressings.

    This recipe is courtesy Good Eggs and Aedan Fermented Foods.


  • 2 tablespoons white miso paste
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, ground†
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons mirin 2
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger

    Thoroughly blend all ingredients.


    *Koji is cooked rice that has been inoculated with a fermentation culture, Aspergillus oryzae. Here’s more about it.

    †You can use a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle.



    PRODUCTS OF THE WEEK: Sandwich Crackers From Lance & Honey Stinger Snack Bars

    November 3rd is National Sandwich Day, and we’re taking on a different type of sandwich: sandwich crackers.

    From our perspective, sandwich crackers (photo #1) get pushed into the kids’ snacks category, even though they’re tasty fun for everyone. We rarely come across them at our local news stands or supermarkets.

    In fact, the penultimate time we thought about sandwich crackers was some 20 years ago. We were at work, starved for a snack, and the concession’s Ritz peanut butter cracker sandwiches seemed a better option than a candy bar.

    More recently, Lance contacted us about their cracker sandwiches (photo #2), and our eyes opened at assortment they sent. The category has evolved beyond peanut butter. We became big fans and believe that these snacks deserve adult attention.

    Before you shrug and pass them by: If you like peanut butter and cheddar crackers, try them. If you prefer cream cheese or jalapeño cheddar cheese on a regular cracker, there are snacks for you, too.

    Take a look at this lineup, which includes some better-for-you options on whole grain crackers:

  • Lance ToastChee Cracker Sandwiches
  • Lance Sharp Cheddar on Whole Grain Cracker Sandwiches
  • Lance Whole Grain Cheddar Cracker Sandwiches
  • Lance Peanut Butter on Whole Grain Cracker Sandwiches
  • Lance Toasty Cracker Sandwiches
  • Lance Reduced Fat Toastchee Cracker Sandwiches
  • Lance Nip Chee Cracker Sandwiches
  • Lance Malt Cracker Sandwiches
  • Lance Honey Peanut Butter on Captain’s Wafers Cracker Sandwiches
  • Lance Grilled Cheese on Captain’s Wafers Cracker Sandwiches
  • Lance Cream Cheese & Chives on Captain’s Wafers Cracker Sandwiches
  • Lance Jalapeño Cheddar on Captain’s Wafers Cracker Sandwiches
    There are also gluten-free sandwich crackers; Power Break sandwiches with 11 and 12g protein, and a new breakfast-oriented line in:

  • Blueberry Muffin
  • Cinnamon Roll
  • Maple French Toast
    Our only question: Why no PB&J sandwich crackers?

    The line is certified kosher by OU.

    Find out more at

    Even more recently, we discovered…

    They call themselves snack bars (photo #3): a layer of nut butter sandwiched between two white cracker layers, enrobed in chocolate (photo #5), in a bar shape (photo #4).

    Conceptually, they combine the idea of a candy bar (with excellent chocolate coating) with the nut butter of an energy bar and scrumptious cracker crunch.

    We know runners who eat them at race time and for general snacking. We don’t run, but we sure do snack.

    The Organic Cracker N’ Nut Butter Snack Bar is available in three flavors

  • Almond Butter & Dark Chocolate
  • Cashew Butter & Dark Chocolate
  • Peanut Butter & Milk Chocolate
    The bars, while made of everyday ingredients, are put together in a way that gives us a luxurious snacking experience. Also try them with your morning coffee.

    We’ve been buying them by the dozen at


    Lance Sandwich Crackers
    [1] Peanut butter and cheddar cracker sandwiches: a childhood treat that pleases our adult snacking needs (photos #1 and #2 courtesy Lance).

    Lance Sandwich Crackers
    [2] One of the more than 12 Lance varieties: ToastChee, toasted cheese.

    Honey Stinger Nut Butter Snack Bars
    [3] Two of the three nut butter options, which include almond, cashew and peanut butter (photos #3, #4 #5 courtesy Honey Stinger).

    Honey Stinger Energy Bar
    [4] Honey Stinger’s snack bars, in almond, cashew or peanut butter.

    Honey Stinger Bar Inside
    [5] Inside the bars.

    The company also makes organic Waffle Snacks and Energy Chews. You can try a bit of everything in the variety pack.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Membrillo, A Great Cheese Condiment

    Membrillo & Charcuterie
    [1] Serve membrillo (top left) with a charcuterie and/or cheese board. You can serve it whole or pre-slice it (photo courtesy Volpi Foods).

    Homemade Membrillo
    [2] Homemade membrillo from food photographer and stylist Melina Hammer.

    Membrillo & Quince
    [3] Membrillo and the quince it is made from (photo courtesy Directo al Paladar).


    Membrillo (mem-BREE-yo) is a semisoft cheese condiment that is quince paste: brownish-red, firm, sticky. It is made in loaves, and sliced to serve on cheese platters.

    It is more accurately called dulce de membrillo in Spain, Italy, Israel and Latin America, to differentiate the the fruit itself (membrillo) from the fruit paste (dulce de membrillo). The name changes to marmelada in Portugal and Brazil; pâte de coing in France; and quince paste in English-speaking countries.

    A relative of the apple and the pear, quince is high in pectin, and the resulting paste has the consistency of a thick jelly. It has a sweet and tart taste and looks like a dense block of gelatin.

    You can buy it or make it (membrillo recipe). Homemade membrillo is a very nice gift for foodie friends.

    If you buy it, purchase it at a cheese store or specialty store. You can buy it packaged in Latino food markets, but it’s (understandably) more commercial, less elegant.

    Traditionally membrillo has been served with Spanish cheeses like Mahón, Manchego and Roncal. But just as fruit can be served with any cheese, so can membrillo.

    It also pairs well with nuts and other salty and savory foods. And, it’s a substitute for guava paste.

    In addition to serving quince paste, the fruit is cooked (braised, poached), used to make pies, spreads (jelly, jam, marmalade), desserts (cake, ice cream, pie) and sauces (including a version similar to applesauce).

    Here are 13 additional uses for membrillo:

  • Accent a grilled cheese or ham and cheese sandwich (especially with Manchego or similar cheese, such as Cheddar or Jarlsberg).
  • Add to a charcuterie board.
  • Assemble canapés of membrillo, Manchego and serrano ham on toast.
  • Bake into fruit bars or thumbprint cookies, substituting for preserves.
  • Breakfast toast: Instead of jam, spread cream cheese or other soft cheese over toast, and top with a thin slice of membrillo. You can also make quince butter to spread on toast.
  • Create a glaze for roast chicken, lamb or pork. Combine membrillo with stock and whisk over heat into a sauce; whisk in some sherry vinegar at the end. Baste regularly (also baste with the pan juices).
  • Garnish cheesecake, serving a slice of membrillo on the side, or creating a membrillo glaze for the top.
  • Make dessert puffs: Cut puff pastry dough into 1- x 3-inch strips. Top with quince paste, goat cheese and chopped fresh rosemary onto each strip, then pinch the outer edges together. Bake at 350°F until the pastry is golden, about 12 minutes.
  • Make gougères with Manchego cheese, and include a piece of membrillo.
  • Serve for dessert with cream cheese, goat cheese or mascarpone.
  • Spread onto crostini or bruschetta, with cheese of choice.
  • Sweet Foods: Quince is used to make jam, jelly, quince pudding, pies and tarts. Adding a dice of quince to applesauce and apple pies enhances the flavor and texture. It can be baked, braised, poached or stewed and served as a dessert or a side with meat and poultry.
  • Turn into a salsa for fish: a tiny dice of membrillo, figs, lemon, basil and marcona almonds.
  • Turn into syrup. Whisk with water over heat to create a syrup for yogurt, fruit and desserts. Try it as a sweetener for tea and in cocktails.
    Most varieties of quince are too hard and astringent to be eaten raw. Cooked, quince become flavorful and aromatic.

    It may well be that the fruit Eve fed to Adam in the Garden Of Eden was not an apple but a quince (the edible variety is Cydonia oblonga, not to be confused with the ornamental genus, Chaenomeles).

    The book of Genesis does not name the specific type of the fruit that Eve picked and shared with Adam. Cultivation of quince preceded apple cultivation in the area. Many early references that have been translated as “apple” may in fact have been quince.

    Quince is also presumed to be the “golden apples” of the legends of antiquity.

    Quince is related to both the apple and the pear. It looks like a combination of the two: a large, lumpy pear.

    Native to the Caucasus, the mountain range that separates Europe and Asia, quince trees originated in the deciduous forests in the foothills of the Caucasus mountains, stretching east from Iran and Turkestan.

    The fruit was subsequently grafted and bred by the ancient Greeks, to produce quince with an exceptional quality [source].

    The Greeks loved quince. Quince was sacred to Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and fertility. Plutarch notes that Greek brides chewed on a piece of quince to get sweet-smelling breath before entering the bridal chamber (what about the husbands?). They were also set in bowls to perfume the area with their aroma.

    The Romans continued the Greek tradition, often representing the Aphrodite’s counterpart, Venus holding a quince. They also gave quince to newlyweds for good luck and fertility.

    Quince appears in the art of antiquity: from wall paintings and mosaics in Pompeii, to ancient Babylon.

    After the discovery of preserving foods in sugar, in the fourth century C.E., Roman agriculturist and writer Palladius baked quince honey strips, which turned quince into a spread. As early as the seventh century, recipes for jellies prepared with quince juice and honey began to appear.

    In the Middle Ages, quince was also highly valued. It was often served at tables of monarchs and aristocrats.

    The alchemist and confectioner Nostradamus left several written recipes for quince compote [source].

    The tree spread throughout southern Europe and up to England. Quince trees were first recorded in Britain in 1275, when Edward I planted them at the Tower of London. Recipes from the 13th and 14th centuries include quince pies. The fruits remained popular in the 17th and 18th centuries, but were ultimately edged out by apples and pears, which are enjoyable to eat raw (quince are not).

    From England, quince traveled to Colonial America. Jefferson grew quinces at Monticello. If you’re so inclined (and live in zones 5 through 9), quince is easy to grow: self-pollinating and almost impervious to pests.
    The Meaning Of “Membrillo”

    Membrillo is the Spanish word for a fruit paste condiment and the fruit from which it is made: quince.

    The name membrillo comes from the name for the quince tree’s branches (the tree is Cydonia oblonga). When the branches are new, they are tender, flexible, and highly resilient, just like wicker: mimbre. “Membrillo” is the diminutive of mimbre.

    The word “marmalade,” which originally meant quince jam, derives from “marmelo,” the Portuguese word for quince. The form of quince we personally eat most often—membrillo—is a quince paste (crema de membrillo) enjoyed with Spanish cheeses. (If you see it, buy it—it couldn’t be more delicious.)
    Cheese Condiments

    Mexican Cheese Course With Membrillo

    Quince Tart Recipe

    Quince Tart Tatin Recipe


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