- December 2014 (1)
- November 2014 (1)
- October 2014 (2)
- September 2014 (6)
- August 2014 (3)
- July 2014 (5)
- June 2014 (1)
- May 2014 (2)
- March 2014 (2)
- February 2014 (1)
- January 2014 (1)
- December 2013 (1)
- October 2013 (2)
- September 2013 (3)
- August 2013 (4)
- July 2013 (2)
- May 2013 (2)
- April 2013 (2)
- March 2013 (1)
- February 2013 (1)
- January 2013 (1)
- December 2012 (1)
- November 2012 (2)
- October 2012 (2)
- September 2012 (3)
- August 2012 (1)
- July 2012 (2)
- June 2012 (2)
- May 2012 (2)
- April 2012 (2)
- March 2012 (1)
- February 2012 (4)
- January 2012 (2)
- December 2011 (2)
- November 2011 (1)
- October 2011 (1)
- September 2011 (5)
- August 2011 (3)
- July 2011 (5)
- June 2011 (5)
- May 2011 (7)
- April 2011 (6)
- March 2011 (5)
- February 2011 (8)
- January 2011 (7)
- December 2010 (2)
- November 2010 (9)
- October 2010 (7)
- September 2010 (10)
- August 2010 (15)
- July 2010 (17)
- June 2010 (5)
- May 2010 (4)
- April 2010 (13)
- March 2010 (6)
- February 2010 (4)
- January 2010 (5)
- December 2009 (3)
- November 2009 (4)
- October 2009 (5)
- September 2009 (8)
- August 2009 (6)
- July 2009 (9)
- June 2009 (9)
- May 2009 (12)
- April 2009 (11)
- March 2009 (14)
- February 2009 (15)
- January 2009 (13)
- December 2008 (8)
- November 2008 (10)
- October 2008 (19)
- September 2008 (17)
- August 2008 (10)
- July 2008 (18)
- June 2008 (14)
- May 2008 (17)
- April 2008 (18)
- March 2008 (18)
- February 2008 (19)
- January 2008 (18)
- December 2007 (12)
- November 2007 (16)
- October 2007 (19)
- September 2007 (13)
- August 2007 (16)
- July 2007 (10)
- June 2007 (7)
- May 2007 (15)
- April 2007 (10)
Wednesday, October 31 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
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
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.
Tuesday, October 30 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, October 29 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, October 26 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.
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.
Thursday, October 25 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!
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
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
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
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, October 24 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, October 23 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.
Monday, October 22 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, October 19 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?
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.
Thursday, October 18 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, October 17 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, October 16 2007
Enjoy these very simple yet healthy salmon recipes.
Monday, October 15 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:
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!
Friday, October 12 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, October 11 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.
Monday, October 08 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!
Wednesday, October 03 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.
Best Chicken 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, October 02 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, October 01 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.