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The Drink Tank: Seth Benhaim, co-founder and CEO of Infuse Spirits

Inspired by cunnamedocktails made with house-infused rums on a trip to Barbados, Seth Benhaim began experimenting with his own infusions in his grandmother’s garage. Her two rules: No parties and no drinking… Little did she know she was fostering the beginnings of a multi-award winning spirits business, Infuse Spirits.

Benhaim and his team use old world techniques to hand infuse American distilled corn-based vodka with dried and fresh fruits and vegetables, and exotic spices. Unlike many other flavored vodka producers, Infuse uses no artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners. What you see is what you taste.

Listen in to hear how the magic happens…

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Learning About Whiskey in The Kitchen Workshop


In this episode of The Kitchen Workshop, host Mary Reilly from Edible Pioneer Valley talks with Richard Betts about smelling and tasting great whiskey. Richard is author of The Essential Scratch and Sniff Guide to Becoming a Whiskey Know-It-All. His book walks us through the aroma pallette professional tasters use to taste and grade whiskeys.

Pour yourself a glass of your favorite spirit, lean back and listen.… Read the rest

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Lavender from Los Poblanos with Aimee Conlee

Bees_lavender-fields_7-2014_Web1-940x563Recently, I returned to the well-know Los Poblanos property in Albuquerque’s North Valley, just east of the Rio Grande.

On my last visit, I spoke at length with Executive Chef, Jonathan Perno about his creative process and vision their restaurant and wholesale operation.

This, time I set out to learn more about the wholesale side of Los Poblanos.  So I for the interview, I found myself sitting inside a cozy little packing and storage building building on the north end of the property, talking  about the unique and varied Los Poblanos Lavender Products with Project Manager, Aimee Conlee.

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The Kitchen Workshop: The Complete Guide to Sushi and Sashimi

FinalSushiCoverHave you ever thought at making sushi at home? On this episode of The Kitchen Workshop, Mary Reilly, publisher of Edible Pioneer Valley, talks with Jeffrey Elliot and Robby Cook about tips to master sushi. Robby, the executive chef of Morimoto in New York City,  and Jeffrey have taken their vast knowledge about sushi history and technique and given us The Complete Guide to Sushi & Sashimi.

On this episode, Mary, Robby and Jeffrey make sushi rice, roll maki, and discuss how to pick the right fish for your sushi-making experience.

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The Kitchen Workshop: Prohibition Cocktails with Matthew Rowley

On this episode of The Kitchen Workshop, Mary Reilly (the publisher of Edible Pioneer Valley) speaks with Matthew Rowley. Matthew is the author of Moonshine! and the new book Lost Recipes of Prohibition. He write about folk distillation and illicit spirits.

Mary and Matthew spoke about the amazing Prohibition-era notebook that Matthew used as the foundation for his book, drinking during our country’s “dry” period, rum shrub (see below for a recipe) and ice liquor.

Rum Shrub

750 ml 151 proof rum

3.25 ounces fresh orange juice

3.25 ounces fresh lemon juice

Peel of 1/2 lemon, pith removed

Peel of 1/2 orange, pith removed

13 ounces sugar

16 ounces water

Combine the rum, juices and citrus peels in a large swing-top jar. Seal and let macerate 24 hours in a cool place. Meanwhile, make a syrup by heating the sugar and water in a nonreactive pot. When cool, combine with the strained rum mixture, stir to blend and bottle.

The West Indian Shrub is identical, except that it uses fresh lime juice in place of the lemon and orange juices.… Read the rest

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The Blue Plate Special: Autumn Comfort Food with Ruth Reichl

Ruth Reichl

6 years ago Ruth Reichl (It’s “RYE-shul,” not “RYE-Kul) had been the editor-in-chief of Gourmet magazine for 10 years.  Food magazines everywhere were succumbing to the onset of the Internet, but it never crossed her mind that Gourmet might shutter.  Until it did.

In conversation with Blue Plate Special hosts Kurt and Christine Friese, Reichl discusses the demise of Gourmet, how retreating to the kitchen was her salvation, and the book that resulted.  My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life is part journal, part cookbook, part collection of tweets that read like Haiku.  The great book designer Susan Turner used Reichl’s recipes and journal entries, along with the inviting photography of Mikkel Vang.

Afterwards, Kurt and Christine discuss their current go-to comfort foods for eating alone, like real ramen, and curry.  The book they refer to by Deborah Madison is called What We Eat When We Eat Alone, and you can get that here.

Follow Ms. Reichl on Twitter, and get her new book from your favorite local, independent bookseller by clicking here.

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The Kitchen Workshop: Preserving the Japanese Way with Nancy Singleton Hachisu

9781449450885On this episode of The Kitchen Workshop, Mary Reilly (the publisher of Edible Pioneer Valley) speaks with Nancy Singleton Hachisu, the author of Japanese Farm Food and the new book Preserving the Japanese Way.

Nancy and Mary talked about Japanese pickling and preserving. Nancy shared her method for making miso and discussed where to find good miso, if you’re not making your own.

Learn more about Nancy’s books and appearances at

Find miso and and koji at South River Miso, and many Japanese ingredients at Gold Mine Natural Foods.

Nancy was kind enough to share her recipe for miso squid with us. Find it below.

Miso Squid – Ika No Misozuke

Serves 6

We are fortunate to have a constant supply of very fresh squid in Japan. If you have any doubts about the freshness of your squid, you might want to perform a boiling water–ice bath operation a couple of times by pouring a stream of boiling water over the squid for 10 seconds, then plunging in a bowl of ice water to refresh (yudoshi). Also squid is one sea creature that does not suffer much from freezing, so frozen squid is an alternative to fresh. Miso tends to burn, thus low-ember coals or far away from the broiler is best. Squid stands up to the miso and the long, slow cook more than fish, as its surface is naturally taut and becomes slightly caramelized. Utterly delectable as a before-dinner snack or appetizer. Also excellent cold the following day.

5 small fresh squid (about pound/150 g each)

½ teaspoon fine sea salt

1 tablespoon sake

4 tablespoons brown rice or barley miso

1 to 2 small dried red chiles, sliced into fine rings

Position a cutting board immediately to the left of the kitchen sink. Set the bag of squid directly behind the board and a wire-mesh strainer in the sink itself. Remove the squid from the bag and lay them on the board. Gently dislodge the inner gastric sacs from the bodies by running your finger around the perimeter of the inside body walls and pull the sac out in one piece. Reserve the sacs and some of the meat for making shiokara, if you like, otherwise, toss into the strainer for later composting. Stick your finger inside the body and pull out the plastic-like stick, called the gladius and set the bodies in the sink to wash.

Pat the squid bodies well with a clean dish towel. Drape across a dinner plate, and sprinkle all sides with the salt. Stash in the fridge for 1 to 2 hours uncovered.

Muddle the sake into the miso and spread over both surfaces of the squid bodies with a small rubber scraper; smooth around the tentacles (still attached at the top) with your fingers. Return the squid to the refrigerator for 2 or 3 hours more for a deep, dark taste. Grill slowly over low-ember coals or on a rack set in the third slot from the top of an oven broiler for about 5 minutes on each side. Julienne and eat as is for a before-dinner snack.

VARIATION: The laconic gentleman who hid behind dark glasses at the Wajima air-dried fish place parted with his favorite way to make squid: Marinate in soy sauce for 30 minutes and grill. Simple. I like to serve it with a squeeze of yuzu or Meyer lemon.

From Preserving the Japanese Way: Traditions of Salting, Fermenting, and Pickling for the Modern Kitchen, by Nancy Singleton Hachisu/Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLCRead the rest

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Farmer Ric Murphy & Sol Harvest Farm


Farmer Ric Murphy and his wife, Aimee Conlee are the founders of Sol Harvest Farms a small urban, organic farm in Albuquerque, NM offering local, seasonal, year-round fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers! 

Built from a foundation of their locally grown  “leafy greens” products, their fast-growing business exemplifies an ideal, efficient, community focused farm-to-table operation. Sol Harvest grows seasonal fruits, aimee1vegetables, herbs and flowers all year-round.Sol Harvest serves local restaurants, independent grocers and sells what it grows at the Downtown Growers Market near downtown Albuquerque.

Today, they are growing “organically” through their heartfelt connection to community, keeping a pulse with the local demand.

Recently, I spoke with Farmer Ric Murphy about their story, their challenges, their success and their vision for Sol Harvest. The story starts with a powerful team with complimentary skill sets, and an eye for opportunity on a local level.

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Foodology with Gregory Gould

GouldOur guest is Gregory Gould, Albuquerque based foodologist, food scholar and activist.

Foodology is the interdisciplinary study of food from the perspectives of economics, sociology, anthropology, history, agriculture, medicine, nutrition, biology, religion and politics.

Gregory Gould presents lectures and workshops on food history to provide better information on issues related to Diabetes prevention and obesity.

See our previous feature about the work Gregory Gould is doing here: the rest

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Blue Plate Special: Stalking the Elusive Pawpaw, with Andrew Moore

In this edition of The Blue Plate Special, Kurt and Christine visit with Andrew Moore, author of Pawpaw: In Search of America’s Forgotten Fruit, just released by Chelsea Green.  Andrew discusses the elusive treats origins, flavors, uses, and why you should never eat the seeds.  Following that discussion, Kurt gives Christine a primer on knife basics – bare essentials, selection, care and use.

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