Wednesday, 31 October 2007
Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays. Probably because of the sheer amount of sugar involved. As a kid (or adult for that matter), what other holiday can you dress up funny and stuff your face full of candy and sweets and not get yelled at? And then there are all of the fun (and sometimes absolutely disgusting) things that you can serve to your friends at Halloween gatherings that you would never dare to serve on any other holiday. The only time it is permissible and even encouraged to put worms, spiders, bugs, and bats in your food. Happy Halloween!
Halloween Crisp Treats
1/2 cup butter
10 cups crispy rice cereal
9 cups mini marshmallows
2 cups candy corn
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
orange food coloring
Grease a large jellyroll pan. In a large saucepan over low heat, melt the butter and marshmallows together. Mix it together until it is smooth. Put the crispy rice cereal, candy corn, and mini chocolate chips into a large bowl and mix well. Mix the orange food coloring into the marshmallow mixture and mix well. Put the marshmallow mixture into the cereal mixture and mix it together quickly. Spread the mixture into the greased jellyroll pan and press it down into the pan with well-greased hands (butter works best). Press the candy pumpkins onto the bars, keeping in mind how big or small you will want to cut the bars. You can have fun with this by serving it in a bed of gummy worms, cut “bites” out of the candy pumpkins and have the gummy worms look like they are eating the pumpkins.
Sparkling Halloween Punch
4 cups apple cider
2 cups orange juice
2 cups pineapple juice
2 cups apricot nectar
6 cups chilled gingerale
orange and lemon slices
In a large bowl, mix the apple cider, orange juice, pineapple juice, and apricot nectar. Refrigerate for 2 hours or more. Right before you are ready to serve it, mix in the gingerale and add the orange and lemon slices. Drape gummy worms over the sides of the bowl. For an added Halloween touch, put small plastic spiders in ice cube trays and fill with water. Put in the freezer and add the spider ice cubes to the punch.
Jill Seader loves to share her baking recipes at YourBakingStory.com. She has a passion for baking and stories that she shares through recipes and recipe scrapbooking supplies. Come share your story or create one of your own!
Tuesday, 30 October 2007
We are all in a hurry. We live busy lifestyles, often juggling our careers, our families and our relationships. It is no wonder that many of us resort to ready meals and takeaways. We know that they are not exactly healthy, but they are fast, and fast is good. Spending hours in the kitchen after a long day at work is not a very appealing image.
It’s no secret that cooking with fresh ingredients is a lot healthier for you. There are no added preservatives or other unknown names on the wrapper with lots of numbers attached to it. There’s less salt, less sugar and less fat. And let’s not forget that fresh food tastes better.
You don’t have to be a Jamie Oliver or Nigella Lawson to be able to cook. Nor do you have to spend many hours in the kitchen. Adding a salad to your meal only takes a few minutes – the time it takes to wash and slice a lettuce, some onion, pepper, tomato or whatever you prefer. Mix it all together and you have something fresh and healthy that night. If you place some meat under the grill, you have a pleasant dinner in virtually no time.
Everyone knows that vegetables and fruit are good for you. But did you know that when you eat a lot of junkfood, you will feel sluggish, lacking in energy and that your mood can be affected? People who use fresh ingredients tend to feel happier and more energetic. This does show that our bodies may function on less healthy food, but that it functions far better on a balanced diet.
Consider growing your own herbs. You can grow them just about anywhere – if you have a garden, that’s great, but they do well enough on a balcony or windowsill. Herbs add a lovely flavour to your meals and they look nice, too.
When in a hurry, a nice and easy meal to cook is a pasta dish. Instead of simply buying a jar of sauce, consider spending a little time to make something yourself. This only takes about half an hour and it is very rewarding. If you have a smaller family, you will probably have leftovers for the next day, which means you can simply heat it up and have another nice dinner.
You could fry some mince. Slice an onion, some garlic, peppers and chili peppers. Fry these in a bit of olive oil and add them to the mince. Add some diced tomatoes and perhaps some tomato puree, add herbs and spices to taste and you have a very basic but rather tasty pasta sauce. Boil some wholemeal pasta and you’re done. Of course, you can add as many ingredients as you like – this will depend on your creativity and preference.
A similarly versatile dish is chili. You can add a load of vegetables to this, which means it is very healthy and full of flavour. A pan of chili can last a couple of days, again making a good, easy meal for the next day.
Don’t be afraid to experiment. Have a look at some quick and easy recipes online, then give them your own twist to accommodate your taste buds. Many meals are easy to prepare and take up only a little of your time.
You’ll soon feel healthier, happier because you know you are eating well and because cooking is a rewarding experience, and you may even start enjoying yourself in the kitchen.
Monday, 29 October 2007
You have been on that low carb diet for a while and now you simply do not know what else you can eat. You are fed up with the same foods you have been eating since you started and now every breakfast, lunch or dinner are more than a quest.
Many people face the same difficulty in choosing their menu while they are on a low carb diet. The reason behind this is that they are unsure which foods are allowed and which – not.
Low carbohydrate diets in fact are very generous. You can eat almost everything unless it contains a lot of carbohydrates.
Vegetables: during a low carb diet only low carb vegetables are allowed. You will be amazed how many vegetables you can eat. You can consume all kind of greens such as lettuce, spinach, chard; beans, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, mushrooms, cucumbers, all kinds of peppers, onions and all kinds of herbs. The main vegetables that are not allowed because they have high carb levels are corn, potatoes, peas, beets and carrots.
Fruits: fruit consumption during a low carb diet can be a bit tricky as most of the fruits contain a lot of glucose. However you can eat all kind of berries (strawberries, cranberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries), grapefruit, melons, apricots, plums, peaches, pears, cherries, apples. Depending on the diet you might be allowed to eat some fruits that have higher sugar levels such as grapes, oranges, tangerine, and pineapples. Fruits that are strictly forbidden are bananas and all kinds of dried fruits.
Meat: most of the low carb diets feature an extensive use of meats. This is due to the fact that meat contains a lot of proteins and some essential substances for your wellbeing. However you should be careful what meat you eat. Avoid breaded meats or heavy meat souses, check if the hams and luncheon meats you want to eat have added sugars.
Dairy: dairy foods such as milk, yogurt, and cream have a lot of carbohydrates so be very careful about their consumption. Make sure you know how to count the carbs in these products. An option is to find substitutes such as soy milk and cream.
Obviously it is impossible to list all of the foods you can or cannot eat during your diet. For that reason you can take a diet food list that will have all of the foods you can eat. What you should do is to check with this list if the food you want is allowed or not. After a while you will not need the list anymore. Another tip is to concentrate on the foods you can eat and stop thinking of the ones you are not allowed to have.
Friday, 26 October 2007
If you are looking for fine Italian wine and food, consider the Campania region of southern Italy. You may find a bargain, and I hope that you’ll have fun on this fact-filled wine education tour.
Campania is the shin of the Italian boot. It is located in the southwestern Italy on the Tyrrhenian Sea. Its total population is about 5.8 million, making it the second most heavily populated region of Italy.
Campania’s best-known city is its administrative center, Naples, once glorified by the phrase “See Naples and Die,” which referred to its beauty and not its high crime rate. Other well-known cities include Sorrento, a playground of the jet set, and Pompeii, destroyed by Mount Vesuvius about two thousand years ago.
Campania devotes about 100,000 acres to grapevines; it ranks 9th among the 20 Italian regions. Its total annual wine production is about 52 million gallons, also giving it a 9th place. About 64% of the wine production is red or rosé (a bit of rosé), leaving 36% for white. The region produces 17 DOC wines and one DOCG wine, Taurasi, one of the two DOCG wines produced in southern Italy. DOC stands for Denominazione di Origine Controllata, which may be translated as Denomination of Controlled Origin, presumably a high-quality wine. The G in DOCG stands for Garantita, but there is in fact no guarantee that such wines are truly superior. Only 2.8% of Campania wine carries the DOC designation. Campania is home to almost three dozen major and secondary grape varieties, with a few more white varieties than red ones.
Campania is not a major producer of international white grape varieties. Common Italian white varieties include Falanghina, Fiano, Greco, and Coda di Volpe.
Campania is not a major producer of international red grape varieties.The best known Italian red variety is Aglianico, best expressed in the DOCG wine, Taurasi, and Piedirosso.
Before we reviewing the Campania wine and cheese that we were lucky enough to purchase at a local wine store and a local Italian food store, here are a few suggestions of what to eat with indigenous wines when touring this beautiful region. Start with Scialatielli alle Vongole, Herbed Pasta with Clams, Garlic, and Cherry Tomatoes. Then try Branzino all ‘Acqua Pazz’, Sea Bass in ‘Crazy Water’. And for dessert, indulge yourself with Coviglie al Caffè, Coffeee Custard and Ladyfingers.
OUR WINE REVIEW POLICY While we have communicated with well over a thousand Italian wine producers and merchants to help prepare these articles, our policy is clear. All wines that we taste and review are purchased at the full retail price.
Mastoberardino Radici ‘Fiano di Avellino’ DOCG 12.0 % alcohol about $20
When you see a green band on an Italian white wine bottle, you have a DOCG wine, Italy’s top of the line classification.
Mastoberardino is the largest and best known producer in southern Italy. Fiano di Avellino is an indigenous white grape variety. They came together in an excellent wine.
The wine had a beautiful straw color. I found it to be delicate yet complex and elegant, not the least bit thin. At the first pairing it held up to spicy barbequed chicken and barbequed eggplant slices. Among the many flavors, it was spicy and smoky.
The next pairing was with whole wheat pasta and chicken meat balls in a peppery tomato sauce. Here the wine took on a floral character.
I would have loved to taste this wine with the Mozzarella di Bufala Campana (Water-Buffalo Mozzarella cheese) described in my article “I Love Italian Wine and Cheese – The Latium Region” but it is not sold in my city. I had to settle for Pecorino Sardo, a nutty cheese made in Sardinia, an island almost directly west of Campagnia. In the presence of the cheese the wine became almost unctuous.
I really feel that this wine deserved its top of the line designation. The best white wines often come from cold climates such as Germany and northern France. Who would have thought that such a fine white wine could come from sun-baked southern Italy? The neighboring woods and eighteen hundred foot elevation of Avellino are certainly an essential part of the final product, well worth the $20, which is more than I usually spend on a wine bottle.
Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but to be honest, he would rather just drink fine French or other wine, accompanied by the right foods. He teaches classes in computers at an Ontario French-language community college. Presently his wine websites are http://www.theworldwidewine.com and http://www.theitalianwineconnection.com
Thursday, 25 October 2007
An excellence spiral ham is the decisively trouble-free yet all-around meat and here is proof. These are five diverse ways to serve it so you can have a different meal each day of the week with a small degree of preparation time. And since the ham is fully cooked, it is a spontaneous meat to create these comfort food masterpieces day after day. And you thought that half of a ham was going to be too large for your family unit of four!
Cook time: 45 minutes,
Prep Time: 10 Minutes,
Ingredients: 9 inch pie crust shell, 3 eggs, 1 ½ cups half and half, 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese, 1 cup chopped cubed ham, salt and pepper to taste, optional: chopped spinach, onions or mushrooms
Sprinkle half the cheese on the pie crust, whisk remaining ingredients and pour into pie crust. Bake at 375 for 45 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Remove and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
TIP: If you don't have half and half handy, use the milk in your fridge and add 1/3 stick melted butter.
Great Ham Dinner
Cook time: 45 minutes,
Prep Time: 20 minutes,
This is my idea of the perfect meal - holiday or otherwise. See recipes - sides for the side dishes that best compliment the ham. My choice would be green bean casserole, macaroni and cheese and sweet potato casserole. Delicious and colorful!
Ham Chef Salad
Cook time: 0 minutes,
Prep Time: 10 minutes,
1 cup chopped ham, 4 slices Swiss cheese sliced, 4 slices cheddar cheese sliced, 2 hard boiled eggs chopped, ½ cucumber sliced, one head of iceberg lettuce chopped. Combine all ingredients and serve with your favorite dressing. In my family, we each use a different dressing but here's a couple of fun and simple dressing suggestions. Combine 1/3 cup each ranch and Thousand Island dressing. Ranch island dressing! Combine 1/3 cup each Italian dressing (I like Newman’s) and Caesar dressing (again, I prefer Newman’s.) It's a Newman medley!
Cook time: 30 minutes,
Prep Time: 15 minutes,
Ingredients: 1 1/2 cups ham diced, 1 large onion diced, 1 can okra drained, ½ green pepper chopped, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 cup uncooked rice, 1 can (14 oz.) diced tomatoes, ½ cup chicken broth, 2 T. olive oil, hot pepper sauce (Tabasco or other), salt and pepper to taste. In a large saucepan, use olive oil to brown onions, garlic, okra and green pepper. (about 5 minutes) Add remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer until rice is cooked (about 25 minutes).
Wild Rice and Ham Chowder
Cook time: 45 minutes,
Prep Time: 10 minutes,
Now that you've twiddled down the ham, you can end the week with a great soup using your ham bone. See recipes - soup for this favorite or any of the other ham soup recipes. Serve with crusty bread and/or remaining salad from Wednesday!
An appealing place for glazed hams dinners, gifts and knowledgeable discussion.
Wednesday, 24 October 2007
If you travel to the Caribbean islands or along the coast of Central America, you'll often see lobster on the menu of the restaurants. This isn't the true, or Maine type lobster you may be more familiar with, but rather a somewhat similar looking creature called the spiny lobster or rock lobster.
Have no fear. Spiny lobsters are every bit as delicious as their more northern distant relative. But there are some differences between the two that you should be aware of, especially if you're the one doing the cooking.
It's quite likely you'll encounter a spiny lobster in your local supermarket any day now, if you haven't already. Spiny lobsters are generally more abundant and less expensive than true lobsters, and acceptance among consumers is growing. In many restaurants in the U.S., when you order lobster tails, you'll be getting tails of spiny lobsters.
You should first of all know that the cousinship between spiny and true lobsters really is a distant one. They are related by virtue of both being crustaceans, but that's about it. Spiny lobsters are actually more closely related to freshwater crawfish (also spelled "crayfish"). In fact, some varieties of spiny lobsters are called see crawfish.
Spiny lobsters lack the claws, or chelae, of true lobsters. Thus, most of their meat is to be found in their tails.
You can cook a spiny lobster much as you would a true lobster, except of course that you must forget about getting any claw meat from it. If it's a good-sized specimen, though, rest assured that your spiny lobster will yield a generous portion of delicious meat from its tail alone. When cooked, that meat will be white, well textured and with a distinct hint of sweetness to it.
If you're starting with a whole lobster, you should place it in boiling, salted water, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Lobster tails can be cooked the same way, except you should reduce the cooking time to 8 to 10 minutes. Total cooking time will depend on the size of the lobster, of course. (If you're cooking a whole spiny lobster, you'll know it's done when its shell has turned a bright reddish orange.)
After cooking, take scissors and snip off the underside of the shell of the lobster tails. Lift the meat out of the top shell and put it in a bowl or on serving dishes.
Crave something fancier? Cook lobster shells as above, then salt and pepper the tail meat and brush it with melted butter. Top it with a tomato relish made from 2 cups of diced tomatoes, a tablespoon of olive oil, 3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar, 3 fresh basil leaves, 1 minced shallot and 1 minced garlic clove. Wonderful!
Tuesday, 23 October 2007
Now that your home is going to be the center of attention this holiday season, it would serve you well to decide what to include on your Thanksgiving Dinner Menu. Before we get into the dinner menu specifics, there is one important fact you must realize. You can't please everyone. But with a little ingenuity and prior planning you can please the people who matter most.
Below you'll find two thanksgiving dinner menu tips that will keep your guest focused on food and not your shortcomings as an event host.
No Surprises Thanksgiving like any major holiday is all about tradition. And for this particular holiday more so than any other, its all about coming together to enjoy some great food and of course to enjoy the company of friends and family as well. Most people will expect traditional thanksgiving dishes such as roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing or dressing, cranberry sauce, homemade bread, desserts etc. You can totally turn off your dinner guest by going against the grain and serving something other than what they're used to being served. This may seem like a no brainier, but you will be surprised how many people will complain if you try to get creative. Just try serving something different, than what most people is use to seeing on a thanksgiving dinner menu and they seem to get crazy.
Lend a Helping Hand Not you, you're doing enough just by being the host of this years thanksgiving dinner event. I'm talking about asking you guest to lend a helping hand. This works to your advantage for many reasons. Anyone who agrees to bring a dish has just taken ownership in helping you make this holiday event pleasant for everyone. Even more important is that you don't have to spend too many hours in the kitchen. This will free up valuable time to focus on other important arrangements.
Just remember, the two keys to a successful holiday event are getting your guest (only those who can cook) involved and no surprises. Now you just need to get your recipes in order.
Linnen Hodo, the webmaster of http://www.soulfoodandsoutherncooking.com/ invites you to visit and download some free traditional thanksgiving recipes. Your guest will be delighted to try some of Grandmas favorite dessert recipes such as red velvet cake, pecan pie, sweet potato pie and many more. There are also several mouthwatering potato recipes including candid yams, sweet potato casserole, and mashed potatoes.
Monday, 22 October 2007
It has also been proven that sometimes, eating a vegetarian meal
diet can help to cure these diseases. A vegetarian is also less likely to be overweight than a non-vegetarian.
There are three main reason why many people become vegetarians, these are because they do not agree with the way that animals are treated, they simply do not like the texture or taste of meat or because it contains a high amount of cholesterol. But many people become vegetarians for a whole array of different reasons.
Vegetarians eat much more antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotenes and phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are components that are found in plants that help to prevent diseases. Antioxidants lower the chances of getting heart disease, cancer and other diseases.
Eating red meat can increase the risk of cancer of the breast and colon, or heart disease and strokes. It is proven that meat eaters have much higher rates of cancer than vegetarians.
It is recommended that a healthy diet should consist of getting 30% of total calories from fat and no more than 10% of total calories from saturated fat. 55% of total calories should come from complex carbohydrates such as vegetables, fruit, grains and cereals.
Studies show that some Americans eat five times as much protein as is recommended because they eat large amounts of meat. Excessive intake of protein can take calcium from the bones, which in effect can cause bone disorder.
It is important to get enough leafy vegetables that are high in antioxidants, which are good for overall health.
Listed below are some good reasons why a person should revert to being a vegetarian.
Vegetarians live longer
Eating more plant foods leaves less room for meat, which clogs up arteries
Plant foods are much higher in iron
Vegetarians have a lower risk of being diabetic
Food poisoning commonly starts from meat or poultry
There is a wider range of fruits and vegetables than there are animals
Eating a plant based diet guards the body against diseases
Vegetarians eat more fiber
Studies show that vegetarians are much calmer and spiritual than meat eaters
Vegetables, fruits, grains and nuts offer our bodies the nourishment that it needs
Vegetarians are more compassionate
Constipation is less likely in vegetarians
It is important to remember to:
1. Eat foods that are mainly from plant sources.
2. Do not eat too much salt or sugar.
3. Eat a minimum of six servings of grains, breads and pastas.
4. Eat a minimum of five servings of vegetables and fruits.
There are a wide variety of low calorie, vegetarian dishes
available, which will benefit your body and make you a much healthier and happier person.
Friday, 19 October 2007
Do you work outside the home? Do you have a family coming in at different times yet still expecting ‘something to eat’ almost at the drop of a hat? Do various members of your family have differing tastes?
Has one suddenly decided to become a veggie?
What’s a woman to do? She needs to keep the family happy and well nourished. She needs to hold down her job. She needs to keep within the budget or there is the possibility of debt looming. So, all of this begs the question – how?
Perhaps not the first place you would think for information on providing cheap, nourishing, easy-to-cook meals, but definitely an Aladdin’s cave of information.
Elsewhere on this unusual site the willing reader - and believe me you will be very willing once you see the sheer volume of down-to-earth advice given – you will be shown how to shop and not over-spend and when and where to shop to sort out the best bargains. This is just for starters!In these days of perpetual motion – whatever happened to leisure - any tip to save both time and money is more than welcome. On the slightly dismal side, food is becoming increasingly more expensive and unless the budget is going to be ruined, all the information available to provide quick, nourishing and tasty meals for your family is needed.
Even if you live alone, this does not ensure you that you are both wealthy and time rich. The advice given for families applies equally well to singletons.
On the pages of this web site you will find a wealth of recipes to suit most tastes, which in turn will doubtless spark off your own ideas. How about a Pick-and-Mix Salad, that can be easily adjusted into a Traffic Light Salad to encourage children who have a tendency to be fussy eaters? A good way of getting salad vegetables tucked away.
Then there are the good old Slow Cooker (Crock-Pot) recipes that become true-life savers for a busy mum. No need to fret if you do not have a Slow Cooker just take a look around eBay for the unwanted present or free cycle for one that is no longer needed. Once you have a Slow Cooker you will wonder how you ever managed without one. No need to mess up the oven with splashing fat from a roast joint – use the Slow Cooker. No need to fret about the time a casserole takes to cook and fussing whether the meat is tender. Use the Slow Cooker.
Switch your meal on to cook over-night or while you are out at work. This type of cooker uses just more than an average light bulb as far as power is concerned and will guarantee to tenderize any cheap cut of meat.
So, make haste, investigate this new web site. Pick someone’s brains and reap the benefit of the time and money you will save. Can’t be bad!
Thursday, 18 October 2007
No one should miss the opportunity to sit down to a dinner of fresh shellfish. Living near a coastline would obviously be the easiest way to enjoy such a dinner. Although residents of inland communities may not have as easy access, they may step out to the local fishmonger or restaurant in the area specializing in fresh shellfish who likely have their produce shipped in fresh on a daily basis. A more convenient option is to purchase fresh shellfish from a reputable online store. As Fedex offers overnight delivery within the continental US, you can enjoy a fresh seafood meal on a regular basis without having to settle for the poor substitute of a frozen entree.
Lobster is, of course, the greatest dish among all seafood. However, the first person to try and eat one must have been courageous, and they were not popular for many years. A little known fact is that lobster, though now an expensive delicacy, was once the food of the lower class. Though this is true, it's probably of little consolation when one has to pay $11.95 per pound in stores, or as much as $29.95 in a restaurant
. Most times, it's best to order lobster online to ensure that you are getting it as fresh as possible. That way, one can order it fresh from the coast on which it was caught and have it shipped direct, even to the deserts of Arizona.
When preparing lobster at home purchase one live and kicking from your local fish market or seafood counter and bring them home. Be certain not to store them in fresh water as that will kill them, just seal them up in the fridge and plan to at them that evening as lobster doesn't keep very well.
This is the difficult thing. Depressingly, every lobster will sacrifice him or herself for your dinner, and you are the person to cause this occurrence. In order to be as humane as possible, you may release them into a pot of fiercely boiling water, or you can kill them first by sticking a knife swiftly between the body and the head in order to instantly kill them. Selecting the latter option means steaming them in a smaller quantity of water. Grilling your lobster is also an option.
When it's time to enjoy some lobster, don't be shy or hold back. Add the lemon and the butter that taste so good and enjoy the delicious meat within the shell. You may even find the edible tomalley or red roe within the shell as well as an extra treat.
Lobster doesn't have to be the only dish served at this kind of ocean-themed meal. Fresh shellfish such as mussels, steamer clams, oysters, shrimp and crayfish are all delicious ways to enjoy the gifts of the sea. Mussels are excellent when scrubbed and steamed in water, wine or broth. Steamer clams are dipped in their own broth after steaming to remove any remaining sand. Oysters are perhaps the most versatile of all, being popular fried, baked and even raw.
If these kinds of seafood are all still somewhat frightening, there is another choice for the light hearted. The option of going into your grocer and purchasing a bit of clam chowder is always open. Fresh fish isn't bad either, but you'll still get that briny taste of the ocean. Serve with oyster crackers, a dash of cream and lots of ground black pepper. Lastly, enjoy and pretend your on the beach.
A delicious dish of fresh shellfish is a pleasure available now to all of us, thanks to reputable online vendors, who send fresh seafood overnight anywhere in the continental USA. However, the king of seafood is undeniably lobster and you can get fresh ones through online vendors who ship them from the coast. To cook at home, buy it live and cook and eat on the same day. It can be boiled, steamed or grilled and eat with lemon and butter added for that delicious taste. Other seafood to savor includes mussels, clams, oysters, shrimp, crayfish and langoustines, not to forget clam chowder for soup and fresh fish.
Wednesday, 17 October 2007
Gourmet meal cooking is not really hard, you just need to know the basics.
Gourmet food is served in fine restaurants and is made with only the best ingredients. The recipes are often complex, or they give the illusion of being complex because of the flavors. Gourmet chefs
often experiment with ingredients. They find new and innovative ways to serve old favorites. And more than anything, they create a pleasant dining experience for their guests.
But what a lot of people do not realize is that you can cook gourmet foods at home. The basic steps to cooking gourmet are no different than those to prepare home cooked meals. The only difference is that when cooking gourmet foods, you may need to go to specialty stores to find ingredients, but this is not always the case. Here are some things you can do to learn how to start out with gourmet cooking.
VISIT GOURMET RESTAURANTS
Visiting gourmet restaurants can go a long way to help you understand what gourmet food is all about. When you visit, bring a notebook so you can jot down your impressions. Or, you can just simply remember what you observe. Here are some things to look for:
The menu is a great place to go for inspiration. What kinds of foods are on the menu? How do they describe what they are serving? What ingredients are being used in the foods? How is that different from the things that you normally cook?
Take a closer look at the ingredients after your initial observations. Are there some things that appear in several of the dishes? What are they?
Creativity and Personal Style
You may start to notice that the dishes all have commonalities. This is the chef’s personal style and how he or she expresses creativity.
How does your food look?
Once you place an order and get your food, make a note of the appearance. How are the colors? How is it arranged on the plate? With gourmet food, appearance is just as important as the recipes and the ingredients.
How does your food taste?
How does the food taste? Did the chef do a good job making the food unique? Is it flavorful?
Using your observations you can slowly begin to apply these principals to your own cooking at home.
FIND THE BEST INGREDIENTS
Gourmet chefs spend a long time looking for only the best ingredients. They tend to feature seasonal foods on their menus and only purchase things that are fresh, beautiful, and flavorful. They build their dishes around the ingredients and not the other way around. Here are some tips for finding the best ingredients:
Think about what is in season. If tomatoes are in season, for example, you may want to find a way to accentuate those flavors by creating a salad or a pasta dish.
Farmer’s markets are a great place to go for fresh ingredients. These go from the ground to the market with little transport time. This means that anything you find at these places is likely high in flavor.
Gourmet food shops
There are a lot of gourmet food shops scattered around the world. Here, you can find those special ingredients and spices that will make your food unique.
Don’t ignore your local market for finding ingredients. More and more people are starting to cook gourmet foods in the home and the supermarkets are starting to understand that there is a demand for it.
Once you find the ingredients that you need, you can start creating your own gourmet foods.
Tuesday, 16 October 2007
Enjoy these very simple yet healthy salmon recipes.
Salmon Recipe - FRIED SALMON RECIPES - I
Firstly. cut slices of salmon into small pieces and put into a saucepan together with pepper, salt, minced parsley, and lemon-juice to be used as seasoning. Then add sufficient amount of butter and fry carefully. Serve with Ravigote or any preferred sauce.
Salmon Recipe - FRIED SALMON RECIPES- II
Wrap slices of salmon in oiled paper, fastening firmly, and fry in deep fat. Drain carefully and serve in the paper.
Salmon Recipe - FRIED SALMON RECIPES- III
First step is to sprinkle salmon steaks with salt and flour. Then brush with the beaten yolk of an egg and fry in hot olive-oil. Drain, garnish with fried parsley, and serve.
Salmon Recipe - FRIED SALMON CUTLETS- I
Steam the salmon steaks then let it cool down. Afterwards cut them into fillets, dip in egg and crumbs, fry in deep fat, and serve with Tartare or Hollandaise Sauce.
Salmon Recipe - FRIED SALMON CUTLETS - II
Firstly prepare very thick cream sauce and mix with it cold cooked fine-cut salmon. Then season it with red pepper, salt, and lemon-juice and let cool down for a few minutes. Shape into cutlets, dip into beaten egg, then in crumbs, and fry in deep fat.
Salmon Recipe - FRIED SALMON CUTLETS - III
Rub cold boiled salmon smooth with one-third the quantity of mashed potatoes. Season it with salt, pepper, and pounded mace. Shape into cutlets, dip in egg and crumbs and fry in deep fat. Serve with any preferred sauce.
First step is to butter a baking-dish and line the sides with a rich biscuit crust. Fill the pan with fresh or canned salmon, and season it with salt and pepper, lemon-juice, a pinch of mace, and a teaspoonful of onion juice. Spread over the salmon a cupful of boiled lobster which has been seasoned with melted butter and Worcestershire Sauce. Cover with biscuit crust, slit diagonally down the centre, and bake for an hour in a moderate oven.
PICKLED SALMON - II
Start by cutting the fish into large pieces and cook them until done in salted and acidulated water. Drain, let it cool down then skin them. Put two quarts of vinegar, one cupful of boiling water, four blades of mace, two tablespoonfuls of sugar, a dozen cloves, two tablespoonfuls of mustard seed, an onion sliced, a dozen pepper-corns, one small red pepper, two bay-leaves, and a teaspoonful of celery seed into a preserving-kettle. Wait until it boils, add the fish, boil up once and cool. Let stand for two or three days before using.
For more great tasting, healthy, easy to cook and prepare recipes for salmon that will make a huge difference to your family meal, feel free to visit our How To Cook Salmon
- Home of Salmon Recipe blog and you'll certainly never run out of salmon recipes again.
Monday, 15 October 2007
Halloween's just around the corner! Halloween means pumpkins and pumpkins mean baked pumpkin seeds. Yummy! Try this recipe for spicy pumpkin seeds. You'll love them and your guests and goblins will too.
They are so crunchy, delicious, and fun to eat. They're really easy to do, especially if you've just carved out a pumpkin.
So, don't throw those seeds away! Make this an opportunity to impress not only your friends but all the little gobblins in your life, too.
You can also buy pumpkin seeds if you aren't carving a pumpkin this year.
This is a great, healthy snack for Halloween, but you can also use these pumpkin seeds as a topping on salads or a dessert.
What you'll need:
- 2 cups pumpkin seeds (hulled)
- 1/4 cup water
- 3 Tablespoons of brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
- Dash salt
First things first: preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
Then, combine water, the pumpkin pie spice, the brown sugar, and the salt in your choice of saucepan - medium sized is good.
Simmer the mixture over low heat for about 10 minutes making sure you stir it until all the sugar is completely dissolved.
Then, add your pumpkin seeds and cook them for about five minutes while stirring occasionally. You'll need to drain the seeds on a paper towel and then place them on a baking sheet.
Finally, bake the seeds for 10 to 15 minutes, turning them over by stirring them a little. When the seeds turn crispy, you know they are ready.
That's it! How easy is that? You can store the pumpkin seeds in an air tight plastic container until you are ready to use them. They are also very tasty right out of the oven.
This recipe makes about 2 cups of spiced pumpkin seeds.
For a variation, try substituting and equal measure of apple pie spice or a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice with a dash of cloves instead of the pumpkin pie spice. So yummy!
Sara Gray is an avid lover of appetizers and has created a great website called Easy Appetizer Recipes where you can find delicious ideas for all kinds of hot and cold appetizers, raclette grilling, tapas small plates, snacks, chips and dip ideas, and appetizer soups.
Friday, 12 October 2007
Fall is a great time to try out some new pumpkin recipes. There's nothing like the smell of fresh baked pumpkin bread or cookies in the kitchen! You have to give this pumpkin cornbread a try.
Cranberry Pumpkin Bread
2 eggs, beaten slightly
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 1/4 cups flour
1 cup chopped cranberries
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine eggs, sugar, vegetable oil, and pumpkin, mixing well. Combine flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the batter and add the pumpkin. Stir in cranberries. Spoon batter into 2 greased and floured loaf pans. Bake for 1 hour.
3/4 cup melted butter
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup canned pumpkin
Combine butter and sugar, beat in eggs 1 at a time, sift in dry ingredients and mix well. Stir in pumpkin. Pour into greased cupcake pans. Bake 15 minutes at 375 degrees.
1 cup pureed pumpkin
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups corn meal
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, separated
Heat milk, butter, and sugar in saucepan to melt butter. Put pumpkin in a bowl and add milk mixture. Add corn meal, 1/2 cup at a time, and stir to blend. Add salt and egg yolks and stir in. In another bowl, beat egg whites and fold in batter. Grease an 8 inch square pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes.
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1 cup cooked pumpkin
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chopped pecan nuts
Mix oil, sugar, egg, and pumpkin together and add remaining ingredients. Drop by spoonfuls on greased cookie sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes at 350 degrees. Makes 3 dozen cookies.
Rachel Paxton is a freelance writer and mom who is the author of What's for Dinner?, an e-cookbook containing more than 250 quick easy dinner ideas. For more recipes, organizing tips, home decorating, crafts, holiday hints, and more, visit Creative Homemaking at http://www.creativehomemaking.com
Thursday, 11 October 2007
These chicken alfredo recipes are delicious and make a great meal. Just check these out and I'm sure you'll be amazingly surprised.
So here we go for some chicken alfredo recipes:
1 1/2 pounds chicken strips or tenders
1 1/3 cups french's® french fried onions
1 12 oz. Jar alfredo sauce
1 cup frozen peas thawed
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons bacon bits hot cooked pasta
1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large nonstick skillet until hot. Stir fry chicken until browned.
2. Stir in 2/3 cup french's® french fried onions and remaining ingredients. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Serve over pasta. Top with remaining onions.
Chicken Breasts Alfredo
3 whole chicken breasts split/boned
1 cup fine bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated romano cheese
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup snipped parsley
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons butter
6 slices mozzarella cheese
1 cup whipping cream or evaporate milk
1/2 cup grated romano cheese
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup snipped parsley
1/4 cup water
Coat chicken with flour. Mix eggs, water, romano cheese, parsley and salt. Dip chicken pieces in egg mixture, then into bread crumbs. Heat butter and oil in large skillet. Cook chicken breasts over med. Heat until browned about 15 min. Remove chicken to baking dish 11-1/2 x 7-1/2". Heat oven to 425. Make cheese sauce. Pour cheese sauce over chicken. Top each piece with a slice of cheese. Bake until cheese melts and chicken is tender, about 8 min.
Cheese sauce: heat cream, water and butter in 1-qt. Saucepan until butter melts. Add cheese; cook and stir over med. Heat for 5 min. Stir in parsley.
That's it for today! If you want more chicken alfredo recipes
Tuesday, 09 October 2007
The better question to ask is why not?
Eating properly is much like determining how you are going to get to the next city or how you are going to pay for that new pair of shoes. You need to have a plan. Planning is essential in most everything you do nutrition included. Do you just aimlessly get in your car and start driving and hope you get to the proper destination?
This is essentially what you are doing when you just haphazardly put food in your mouth and hope that you will eat less and lose weight.
Here are the benefits of mapping our your meals.
* You know how many calories you are consuming
* You control the nutrient ratio and don't overeat too much of the wrong nutrients.
* You can easily make changes to your plan because you know what you have been eating and what is working or not working.
* You are less likely to stray with your eating
1. Your plan should be laid out so that you will know how many meals you will eat every day. Approximately when you will be eating these meals is also important so you can write that down as well.
2. Next layout how many servings from each food group
you will be eating and at which meal you will be eating them. This is the key to avoiding wasted grazing and snacking on unhealthy choices. It also helps you define how many calories you will eat that day and in what ratio.
3. Then prepare your grocery shopping list so you know exactly what you are purchasing for the week and how much.
4. Finally prep as much food as possible by cutting up vegetables you need for the week ahead of time. If you are eating chicken and other meats cook them all at once so you just have to heat them up or pack them in your lunch and they are ready to be eaten.
Purchase many different tupperware containers to store your food in so that again it is easy to assemble your meals and you aren't wasting time figuring out what you are going to eat and how you will obtain the food.
By following these simple, but essential steps to proper meal planning you will have a much higher success rate when it comes to weight loss and dieting.
A laid out planned meal plan
is the same as a well thought out exercise plan. You have a goal or objective and you then have a plan to succeed with that goal. Now it is up to you to carry out that plan. I guarantee your chances for success will increase significantly and you will be loving yourself for following and sticking to your plan.
Monday, 08 October 2007
After playing 18 holes on a favorite course, those who play golf are bound to be hungry. Take this into consideration when throwing a golf party after the big scramble. Often couples get together weekly to face off on the links and celebrating this friendship will encourage these games for years to come.
Spice up an ordinary dinner party for the golf league by creating a golf-inspired menu. Titleist Cheese Balls, Iced Tee, Fore! Chili and Cart Cupcakes.
To make a Titleist Cheese ball for the golf part gather 8 ounces cream cheese – Softened, 1/2 cup cheddar cheese – shredded, 8 ounces Processed Cheese Spread -- (Cheese Whiz), 1/4 cup green onion -- finely chopped, 1 Clove garlic – minced, 1 tablespoon butter, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 tablespoon brandy, 1 tablespoon fresh parsley – snipped, 1 teaspoon paprika, 6 drops Hot Pepper Sauce, 1 1/2 cup pecans -- finely chopped. Place cream cheese and cheddar cheese in a 2-qt microwaveable dish. Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Add cheese spread and microwave on High for 20 to 30 more seconds, or until cheeses begin to soften. Beat until smooth. Place onion, garlic and butter in small bowl. Microwave on High for 30 to 45 seconds, or until onion is tender. Combine with cheese mixture and Worcestershire sauce, brandy, parsley, paprika and red pepper sauce.
Refrigerate at least 2 hours. Shape into 48 balls. Roll in pecans. Place on a large tray covered with wax paper. Cheese balls should not touch each other. Freeze until firm. These can be frozen for up to a month in advance.
To Serve: remove 12 cheese balls from container and place in circle on serving plate. Microwave on 30% power (medium-low) for 45 seconds to 2 minutes, or until defrosted but still cool. Rotate plate 1/2 turn every 30 seconds. Let stand 3 to 5 minutes before serving.
Serving up this menu will have you being the talk of the sandtraps!
Mrs. Party... Gail Leino takes a common sense approach to planning and organizing events, celebrations and holiday parties with unique ideas for golf party supplies and fun party games. She explains proper etiquette and living a healthy life while also teaching organizational skills and fun facts. The Party Supplies Hut has lots of party ideas with hundreds of free holiday printable games and free birthday party activities. Over 100 adorable Themes including Golf Party Supplies to fit your birthday celebration, holiday event, or "just because" parties. Party themes include cartoon characters, sports, movie, TV shows, luau, western, holidays, and unique crazy fun theme ideas
Wednesday, 03 October 2007
This recipe makes a great chicken pot pie without preservatives (no need for them because this won’t stick around for long in your refrigerator).
2 (9-inch) deep dish frozen pie crusts, thawed
1 (15 oz.) can mixed vegetables, drained
2 cups chicken breast, cooked and diced
1 (10.75 oz.) can condensed cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a bowl, combine the mixed vegetables, chicken, cream of chicken soup and milk. Pour mixture into one of the pie crusts. Turn over the other crust and pop it out of the tin and onto the top of the filled pie. Seal the edges and poke holes in top crust.
Bake for 30 minutes or until crust is golden brown.
Chicken Pie Recipe: Bisquick Chicken Pot Pie Recipe
This classic Bisquick recipe has been around for ages. It’s easy to make and it’ll be a favorite for years to come.
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup Bisquick
1/3 cup onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon thyme
1/2 cub chicken broth
2/3 cup milk
1 3/4 cup chicken
10 oz. pkg. frozen peas and carrots
In a saucepan, combine butter, Bisquick, onion, pepper and thyme; bring to a boil. Stir in the chicken broth and milk. Bring to a boil again, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute. Add in the chicken and frozen vegetables. Mix thoroughly and take pan off of the heat.
Pour mixture into a 9-inch square baking dish. Make topping and place over pie. Bake 45 minutes or until crust is a light, golden brown.
1 1/2 cup Bisquick
3 tablespoons hot water
3 tablespoons butter, softened
Mix together all ingredients and form into a ball. Roll out dough and place over pot pie mixture.
Pot Pie Recipe: Cheesy Homemade Chicken Pot Pie Recipe
Nothing better than homemade chicken pot pie with cheese added. Yum.
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 cup chicken meat, cooked and shredded
3/4 cup green peas
1/3 cup celery, diced
1/3 cup carrots, diced
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup milk
2 (9-inch) pie crusts
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
In a medium saucepan, combine the chicken stock, shredded chicken, peas, celery and carrots. Bring mixture to a boil.
Mix the cornstarch with the milk and stir into the stock mixture. Cook the mixture for 5 minutes; stirring constantly. Remove from heat and let cool for 1 hour.
Stir the cheese into the filling mixture and pour all into a 9-inch pie crust. Place the second crust on top of the mixture and seal the edges. Cut slits into the top of the crust to vent. Place pie on a cookie sheet and bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.
Mmmm . . . where can you find that yummy recipe
Tuesday, 02 October 2007
Even though it just turned October; now it the time to start planning your Thanksgiving meal preparations.
THANKSGIVING DAY Helpful Tip 1: Do not wait until Thanksgiving day to start cooking your Thanksgiving meal. Start ahead of time. You can make side dishes and gravies and freeze them. You can make pie crusts early. You can dice onions and peel and slice potatoes and refrigerate them. You can make and store some food items a week ahead of time. Other food items are better left to just hours ahead of the final meal preparation. But you don't have to wait until the last minute and make everything simultaneously. That type of disorganization in the kitchen could be stressful, especially if you're not an old pro at making Thanksgiving dinner (and you have a load of guests on the way).
THANKSGIVING DAY Helpful Tip 2: Defrost the turkey on time. There is nothing more stressful than knowing family or other guests are expecting the prime attraction for Thanksgiving day only to realize it's still frozen hard as a rock. Plan ahead. A frozen turkey can take as long as three days to defrost. Read the cooking directions on your frozen turkey. And make room in your refrigerator to defrost it for the suggested time span.
THANKSGIVING DAY Helpful Tip 3: Make sure you have the right cookware before Thanksgiving day. Don't assume. Visually check your kitchen cabinets for these items. It might have slipped your mind that you loaned your best roasting pan to a friend three months ago (who has yet to return it). Also realize that if you're cooking a turkey big enough to feed twice as many people this year as last year, you might need a bigger pan than you own. Don't wait until you're ready to prepare the turkey to find this out. Shop early for appropriate size cookware. Also stock up on any serving trays or cooking utensils that you'll need to prepare and serve the turkey and side dishes. The right tools make any job easier and less stressful, including that of cooking.
THANKSGIVING DAY Helpful Tip 4: Shop for some food storage containers before Thanksgiving day. You can count on eating Thanksgiving leftovers for a few days. The latest popular food storage containers are plastic with snap lock lids and can go from fridge to microwave and back. Pyrex glass storage containers are always good too and glass stains less. But both types can go in the dishwasher.
Your ultimate goal is to enjoy Thanksgiving day from start to finish. Creating a little plan for Thanksgiving before the big day can go a long way toward making this happen.
Monday, 01 October 2007
These food shopping tips are for when you are purchasing groceries in supermarkets or other retail locations, we all know how confusing and overwhelming it can be to go grocery shopping on a regular basis. Sometimes what you have on your list is not fresh when you arrive to the grocery store. Sometimes you can go to the same grocery store that you have been going to for years and find that they no longer carry your favorite food or beverage item.
A lot of the time you are probably are in a rush to get your grocery shopping completed so you can go back home and relax. Unfortunately, you do need to examine the products before you toss them into your cart. Food buying tips for you and your family can help a lot in getting good, quality, fresh products in your kitchen.
When you first arrive at the grocery store your first hit should be the canned goods you need. Your final items before you go through the checkout should be your perishable items such as refrigerated foods, frozen foods, and deli foods.
Food Shopping Tips For Produce
Oftentimes this can be one of the most difficult kinds of food to shop for. Produce is an unpredictable item because of the way they might be handled by others. Refuse to buy any fruit or vegetable that has been damaged. If you buy freshly cut produce make sure you rest it in ice at home. Other produce should be in your refrigerator within two hours of buying it. Wash all of your produce with cold water – no soaps of any kind; they can leave a residue.
Food Shopping Tips For Meats
Check the meat packaging before buying. Be on the lookout for any holes in the package, any wear, and be sure that the package is cool when you touch it. Don’t buy any meat that is not refrigerated or kept cold in some way. Keep your raw meats away from your other food products so there is no cross-contamination. When you get home put the meats in a plastic bag that can be sealed so nothing leaks.
Food Shopping Tips For Canned and Boxed Foods
Make sure you check the packaging on canned and food products. Check for any swelling, holes, leaking, or moisture. Do not buy any canned or boxed food products with these problems. If you see any signs of damage don’t buy it.
Many people suffer from bacterial illnesses from cross contamination of products. You can avoid this by keeping meat products away from others, and bagging them when you get home. Clean up any spills right away. You should also consider owning several cutting boards – one for meats, one for cheeses, and one for produce.
It might be far and in between but have you ever stumbled on some outdated food, an opened package, or a real rotten smell over in the produce or meat department of your local supermarket. Usually I would pick the item up put it back and decide to purchase it somewhere else. If you mention the problem to an employee and you don't think anything would be done, contact the manufacturer, farm provider, or distributor of the product as they would definitely want to know. On most products there is a consumer hotline 1-800 telephone number that is dedicated so that the manufacturers can get first hand information about their products.
The same goes for restaurants, deli shops, and food vendors if it doesn’t smell right or look to be fresh don’t eat it. If you see major violations or unsanitary conditions you need to report it to the right local authority i.e., Licensing and Inspections, Health Department, etc. as you might decide to eat it but what about the next person or child who might eat the food?
Helpful Food Safety Websites
Consumer Advice and Publications on Food Safety, Nutrition, and Cosmetics
Partnership for Food Safety Education
USDA Food and Safety and Inspection Service