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Hacks for the holidays!

It’s true what they are saying – the holidays are going to be a little different this year. But the spirit of the season is still going to be rich and full, with family and friends close by.

So – let’s celebrate! Our bubbles may be smaller, but not the joy in each other’s company – and biting into something divine and delicious, made especially for the occasion. This year, dishes will be smaller, family favourites will take on a whole new meaning, and brunches will be big.

And this year – why not holiday hack your cheeseboard? Popular any time of year, cheeseboards are particularly welcoming during holiday get-togethers as they’re so versatile and can be as simple or detailed as you want them to be. You can let your creative juices flow and create gorgeous works of edible art with what you place on your particular board. Just add family and favourite movies!

Just recently, Abraham Wornovitzky, considered one of Canada’s top chefs and food stylists (and former contestant on Chopped Canada) reached for his fave Castello cheeses and created whimsical cheeseboards inspired by three of the most popular holiday films: The Grinch, Frosty and RudolphtheRed Nosed Reindeer. Cheeses he used ranged from creamy Bries to crumbly Cheddars, buttery Havarti to a smooth blue. Check out his boards at https://www.castellocheese.com/en-ca/occasions and the videos to help you create them. Plus each board listed has a shopping list of what you’ll need – and you’ll have gorgeous holiday cheeseboards to carry you well into New Year’s Eve celebrations.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:


The Grinch Board

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Castello Cheese

For Grinch board:

Selection of cheeses, including Camembert, Brie, cream cheese with chives, Fontina (wedges), aged Havarti, extra mature Cheddar, Danish blue plus frizee lettuce, broccoli, cucumber, sugar snap peas, Granny Smith apples, green grapes, wasabi peas, pickled asparagus spears, kale chips, green olives, guacamole.

For Frosty board:

Camembert, extra-creamy Brie, cream cheese with pineapple, aged Havarti, sliced, black pepper Cheddar, sliced, extra mature Cheddar, cubed, Danish blue, crumbled, blueberries, raspberries, red grapes, cherry tomatoes, Red Delicious apple, cornichons, rosemary sprigs, cheese straws, crackers, mixed nuts, selection of cured meats (optional), soft black licorice candies to create hat, pretzels or small breadsticks for arms and pipe.


The Rudolph Board

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Castello Cheese

For Rudolph board:

Cracked black pepper Cheddar, aged Havarti, Brie rounds, Danish blue cheese, Fontina, extra mature Cheddar, kale leaves, broccoli florets, roasted red pepper, cherry tomato, cauliflower florets, green grapes, crostini or crackers, caper berries (or green olives), gherkins (or pickles), blueberries, blackberries, honey, crushed candied pecans, two raw almonds (for Rudolph’s horns).

Cocktails for the holidays

Food and cocktail pairings have become increasingly popular in Canada among chefs and bartenders, and Canada’s reigning Manhattan champion, bartender James Grant, created the following cocktails perfect for the season.

An Old-Fashioned Christmas

Adapted from a cocktail courtesy James Grant. Serve with gingerbread cookies

2 oz. bourbon (Woodford Reserve suggested)

1 tsp. (5 mL) gingerbread cookie spice*

2 dashes Angostura Bitters

2 dashes Orange Bitters

Garnish, cinnamon stick and orange slice, star anise

Blend all ingredients in a shaker and shake. Strain over ice.

*For gingerbread cookie spice, blend 2 tsp. (10 mL) cinnamon, 1 tsp. (5 mL) ground ginger, 1/2 tsp. (2 mL) ground allspice, 1/4 tsp. (1 mL) ground nutmeg and ground cloves. Blend thoroughly. Keep remaining spice blend in an airtight container for future use.


Merry Manhattan

handout /

handout

Merry Manhattan

2oz. bourbon (Woodford Reserve suggested)

1 Tbsp. (15 mL) Mulled Sweet Vermouth*

1/2 Tbsp. (7 mL) Dark Italian Amaro liqueur

2 dashes Orange Bitters

Stir over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a twist of orange zest studded with 3 cloves.

*Add 2 Tbsp. (30 mL) mulling spices to 3 cups (750mL) of sweet vermouth in a nonreactive container. Allow to infuse overnight and then strain out and rebottle. Will keep in the fridge for one month.



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