Ouzo, A Cook’s Friend, too!
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Those, not Greek, tend to know ouzo best as the fun incendiary when a restaurant waiter torches an appetizer of white cheese.

“Opa!” everyone shouts.

The crowd responds with an excited chorus of “Opa’s!”

All too soon the waiter douses the flame with fresh lemon juice.

The warm, crusty, tangy cheese remains get consumed by all.

Ouzo is made from distilled grapes, flavored with aniseed, also mint and fennel. Some bottler recipes call for cinnamon, mastic (a resin), coriander, cloves or cardamom. Its alcohol potency ranges from moderate to strong and can pack a wallop. When adding some to an open skillet, take the pan away from the stove, as it flames easily.

Besides sipping ouzo it’s also a cook’s friend for a hard-to-figure-out, licorice flavor a non-Greek can’t put their finger on. Some compare it to the famed absinthe, and a museum on the Greek island of Lesbos is dedicated to Ouzo. Thoroughly enjoying the sipping of ouzo is considered a Mediterranean art. Though clear by itself, ouzo turns milky white when ice is added to it and changes it chemically.  Continue reading

Malted Milk Powder in your Smoothie?
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If you stopped by a soda fountain today, which you can hardly do anymore, you’d find hand-made Cokes, you’d have also seen a stand holding a container of Horlick’s Malt Powder. Now, these are all gone, except powdered malt which is now readily available in supermarkets near the cocoa and hot drink section.  

Malt starts as sprouted barley which is dried then ground into powder. It is combined with dried milk to become malted milk which goes on to be malt balls, Ovaltine, milkshakes and an important kitchen cooking ingredient. Malt’s flavor can be described as subtle, roasted and a bit nutty. When malt doesn’t become malted powder it goes on to be important in the making of beer, whiskey and malt vinegar. Continue reading