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Monday, November 29 2010
It's not everyday that people can enjoy a meal at a fine dining restaurant. In fact, some people never get a chance to go to such establishments due to budgetary concerns. Not only that, those restaurants are often a fair distance away from most people, and thus they could be inconvenient to travel to as well. What if you could recreate those culinary delights in your own kitchen? You can when you stock it with Alaska dungeness crab. From start to finish, you really can't go wrong with that amazing seafood delicacy.
It starts when it's plucked from the pristine waters off the coast of Alaska. Just like all the other delicious seafood up there, Alaska dungeness crab is wild-caught, which means it will be allowed to feed, grow and mature in its natural environment before being harvested. In the end, it will feature a superior taste and texture that farm-bred varieties can't come close to matching. Additionally, the Alaskan seafood industry is adamant about sustainability, which future generations of producers and consumers will be thankful for. Current consumers will also be thankful for that because they'll be able to buy and eat their seafood without feeling any sort of guilt or worry.
Alaska dungeness crab is also extremely convenient because it can be bought frozen. Any fears that it loses its flavor when stored that way will immediately be put to rest as soon as the final product is tasted. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that having frozen crab at the ready will make a fine dining caliber meal easily accessible. Cooking it is a simple matter of steaming it as the directions on the bag specify. If you need some help, there's a Cook It Frozen website you can visit as well as a Cook It Frozen iPhone application that you can download. Although cooking it is sometimes considered the hard part, with those kinds of resources in your corner you'll have no problems preparing it just right.
The benefits don't stop with the exquisite flavor your taste buds are going to experience. Alaska dungeness crab is also good for your health because it's an excellent source of high quality protein, zinc, copper, calcium, and more. At the same time, it's low in fat and calories. Ultimately, it's food you can enjoy as often as you want. Being available year-round, enjoying it as often as you want is a realistic possibility too.Thanks to its exquisite taste, it's pretty clear why Alaska dungeness crab is featured on the menu of many fine dining restaurants. The only thing that's not clear is why it's not featured on your kitchen's menu more often. Given all the good things that it has going for it, it's really only a matter of time before that changes though.
Friday, November 19 2010
Green Bean Casserole was never part of my traditional Thanksgiving lineup. Which is odd since it’s been a Thanksgiving icon for 55 years. Yes, this year marks the 55th anniversary of the green bean casserole, invented by Campbell Soup Company in 1955 to prompt happy housewives to buy more cream of mushroom soup.
I always thought that my Thanksgiving dinner covered all the bases—ample side dishes, casseroles, two kinds of stuffing, dessert and of course the turkey. But apparently, I’d been cheated out of this Thanksgiving icon my whole life. So I decided on a whim to see what I was missing. I bought the whole shebang—the condensed cream of mushroom soup, the French-cut green beans and the French’s original French Fried Onions in a can. I whipped it up and it was delicious. I’m not going to lie. But it was also high in calories, sodium and saturated fat. Since Thanksgiving is already somewhat of an overindulgence, I wanted to scale back on the processed ingredients and make a healthier, fresher version to enjoy at my Thanksgiving table.
We developed a healthier version of green bean casserole in the EatingWell Test Kitchen a few years back, so I made that recipe the following week to see how it compared flavorwise. I liked it better. Sure, it’s easier to open up a few cans of soup and throw on prepackaged fried onions, but I found that our version had more depth of flavor and, nutritionally, it was better for me.
Here’s what we did and how our version compares to a traditional version. See our recipe below:
We cut the sodium by taking out the canned soup. Instead, we made our own white sauce and used fresh mushrooms. Butter adds richness, but also adds saturated fat. So do full-fat milk and sour cream—all ingredients you can find in traditional versions of green bean casserole. We call for low-fat milk and reduced-fat sour cream. We also use buttermilk powder, which adds tang. You get tons of flavor and 8 grams less saturated fat than traditional versions. We cut calories by skipping the canned fried onions and sautéing our own. Tossing fresh onion slices with flour and seasoning and pan-frying them in just a small amount of oil gives you the texture and flavor of the canned version without all the calories.
Green Bean Casserole
This healthy revision of green bean casserole skips the canned soup and all the fat and sodium that come with it. Our white sauce with sliced fresh mushrooms, sweet onions and low-fat milk makes a creamy, rich casserole.
3 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a 2 1/2-quart baking dish with cooking spray.
Makes 6 servings, about 3/4 cup each.
Thursday, November 18 2010
Does the very thought of cooking the impending supper raise your blood pressure? Do you have a feeling of dread? "Oh no! I've got to go to the store before closing time!" or "I would have loved to have made THAT but I am missing one ingredient!" or maybe, "No honey, I can't help you with your homework because I have got to cook dinner now!"
There is nothing worse than approaching the evening with no clue as what you are going to serve the family. And if you are leaving work or you are tired, it is so easy to buy food which is less than nutritious and slap it on the table. Sure, you have provided food - but what messages have you given along the way?
Meal planning can help reduce this stress. We all plan our work schedules, kids' schedules, our wardrobes - but why do we leave food to the last minute? The benefits of meal planning are numerous.
Meal planning reduces stress
Take a little time out once a week to plan your healthy dinner recipes for the week. Note who is going to be out for dinner during the week and plan accordingly. Try to cook in such a way that you get a leftover meal from the meal that you cook from scratch. For example: if you are going to cook a roast chicken with a rotisserie rub you may as well cook two chickens. The next night you will be rewarded with a chicken pasta bake, chicken enchiladas, chicken soup or chicken quesadillas. The same goes for easy recipes for ground beef: make a double batch of Bolognese sauce and the next night you can make a lasagna, empanadas, beef tacos or a cottage pie. Using leftovers definitely reduces the stress around cooking. Plus, meal planning ensures that you follow a healthy diet plan.
Meal planning allows you to have family quality time
This is logical. If you have planned your meals at the beginning of the week you have a head-start. It means that often half of your preparation is done in advance. Better still, you may have been able to prepare something in the morning so that all you have to do is reheat it in the evening. This frees you up in the evening to help where help is needed or simply to enjoy your loved ones. It also gives you a little time for YOURSELF instead of being harassed!
Meal planning helps you to instill family values
This one sounds odd but it is true. If you buy a take-out or similar food, there is really little excuse for the family to turn off the television in order to come and sit at the table. All you have provided is some sustenance. FOOD. However, if you cook a meal from scratch, there is a sense of occasion. There is a reason to lay the table and for everyone to sit at it. There is a reason to come together for half an hour or more to eat the food that you have prepared. This then gives you the chance, over years, to share your values. And this doesn't mean that meal time should be around scolding bad manners. No, not at all. It is saying that this time is important family time where everyone can share the experiences of the day, where you can discuss alternative ways that a person could have handled a situation, giving encouragement or praise where it is due. It is also a time where you can create family traditions - in our family we say grace, not every night, but often enough for it to be meaningful. And if there is an occasion that needs prayer or thanksgiving we include that in a prayer at the beginning of the meal. Simple but special.
Meal planning is not a control freak thing: it allows for creativity
Lastly, meal planning is not an extension of controlling behavior. This is not organizing for organizing's sake. Rather, it is a means of bringing a modicum of calm and peace into our busy lives. It will save you time and avoid your going on random trips to the store. It will save you money because you will make the most of your ingredients. And it will allow you the flexibility and creativity to enjoy preparing daily meals instead of finding them a chore.
Quick Easy Dinner Ideas will give you lots of inspiring ideas. Monthly Meal Planning offers free monthly meal planners and a wide variety of healthy dinner recipes.
Monday, November 15 2010
You will see that gourmet food items are prepared with excellent culinary skills and various special ingredients are used for giving them a delicious taste and exotic aroma. Besides cooking them with sophistication, special attention is also paid to the presentation of the food items. In the market you will gourmet cheese, meat, dairy products, coffee, tea, spices, liquor and various others. Gourmet foods items are preferred by the rich and famous because they contain a special tantalizing taste that no ordinary food item can provide you. The ingredients that are used for preparing gourmet food are very costly that is why these food items are very rare to find.
If you want to please a loved one then you can present him or her beautiful gift basket containing gourmet delicacies. These days various good shops are selling these expensive food items to the customers. In this article, I would like to provide you all the important information that you require about the gourmet food delicacies.
1. Gourmet seafood
2. Gourmet cheese
3. Gourmet Coffee
4. Gourmet chocolate
5. Gourmet tea
Above are certainly very special items that you must certainly try out for the great taste and aroma.
Friday, November 12 2010
Our two-week countdown to Thanksgiving helps you get organized so that the day of the feast is easy and relaxed.
Use our Google Calendar to export this list to Outlook or your iPhone.
TWO WEEKS AHEAD
Thursday, November 11, 2010
TWO WEEKS AHEAD
Friday, November 12, 2010
TWO WEEKENDS AHEAD
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Related: 6 Steps to a Stress-Free Thanksgiving
ONE WEEK AHEAD
Thursday, November 18, 2010
ONE WEEKEND AHEAD
Saturday, November 20, 2010
ONE WEEKEND AHEAD
Sunday, November 21, 2010
THREE DAYS AHEAD
Monday, November 22, 2010
See Also: Complete Thanksgiving Menu Generator
TWO DAYS AHEAD
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
ONE DAY AHEAD
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Thursday, November 25, 2010
THE DAY AFTER
Friday, November 26, 2010
Wednesday, November 10 2010
What's with a homemade Christmas recipe? The recent changes in the economic landscape have also changed the way of thinking for most families. More than ever, the idea of being more efficient over everything is becoming the preferred approach. For years many people simply ignored this since one could afford to be less efficient anyway.
Now, however, you see more people looking at fuel economy when purchasing cars, leaving big gas guzzlers gathering dust. The same thing can be seen in way we eat, with more and more household making their own homemade Christmas recipes to put on the table. Let us look at what you'll get when you serve a homemade Christmas recipe:
It will always be cheaper. Whether you do the math or not, a homemade Christmas recipe will always be the more cost-effective choice. In fact, it is even possible to have three home-cooked meals for the total price of dining out. Sure it will take some of your time since you'll be preparing everything before actually doing some cooking, but this is only a small price to pay considering that every food you order already has overhead costs for labor and the other utilities such as power and water use. That's an extra few dollars you save plus tip.
A homemade Christmas recipe is safer. There are at least three other ways that a family can partake a meal.
In the past a family would call a restaurant and have food delivered to them or to simply toss a packed meal into the microwave. Definitely these options have saved many families (especially the designated cooks) time in order to do several other things while the food arrives. However, one can never really know the ingredients that get mixed over the food you just picked. Microwaveable meals are even more dangerous, since there are certainly numerous preservatives added to keep them longer in the shelves.
The third way would be to follow a recipe online or from a cookbook. It is a better alternative than the previous two, but doubts would still linger over the choice of ingredients and the amounts that are suggested. Also, the method of cooking can be suspect as you tend to lose some of the nutrients along the way. Besides, most would alter some conditions of the recipe anyway.
With a homemade Christmas recipe, you can command the ingredients that will be used and how to cook them, eventually having the confidence that nothing will be detrimental to the health of your family.
You can be healthy with a homemade Christmas recipe. A safer recipe also means that it is much healthier for everyone. You can dictate which ingredients can be added to mix that will not just add flavor but also improve the health qualities of your homemade Christmas recipe.
As mentioned above, one can change some of the ways the meal can be cooked and at the same time replace some ingredients with healthier options. A homemade Christmas recipe can also be helpful to create a better schedule of meals that will purely be healthy for everyone.
Monday, November 08 2010
Sometimes it is important to stop and take time to appreciate the important things in life, how fortunate we are, how blessed to have made it this far. Family is often the one constant in many peoples lives, and even if the relationship has been testing at times, family is often the one part of our lives that cannot be denied. Even when times have been tough there are still things that we can be thankful for and often the tough times are the very reasons for people pulling closer together than before.
An important part of many people's lives is their family. These are the people who know everything about us and accept us anyway. Many families will have had their stressful times. Money worries, divorces, health concerns can test a family to the limits, but often the result is that when they come together again, through the difficulties, the bonds become stronger as a result. They know more about each other, and still continue to love, accept and support each other. Family loyalty is a powerful connection.
And often family are the very people who motivate us to carry on through difficult times, sometimes without the need to say a word. The thought of their support, the desire not to disappoint them or let them down, the thought of how much they have done for us over the years, the sacrifices they have made, can be enough to give us that extra surge of energy, desire and enthusiasm to carry on.
The festival of Thanksgiving is a special time of sharing and appreciation of the family. More Americans travel home for Thanksgiving than for any other festival, including Christmas. It is a quiet indicator of how important family ties are regarded, more important than receiving presents or throwing opulent parties. Many people travel miles simply to share this special meal with their family.
The relevance of stopping for a time to celebrate the bond and connection that you have together is important. However long there may be it is important to acknowledge the different generations as they gather together. Reminiscencing about past experiences, telling anecdotes, sharing news. Remembering not to take family for granted. It is important to demonstrate that these important people matter. Taking the time out of ones regular day-to-day life, knowing that ones whole family is travelling to the family home to share a meal together. Committing to be with parents, siblings, children, communicates with actions that these people are important and are worth the effort involved in making the journey.
Roots, heritage and traditions are often at the heart of many families. Whatever else is going on in people's lives the rest of the year, there is a constant theme and connection of family values, attitudes, outlook which are reinforced with the time spent sharing meals, celebrations, being reunited. Taking time to stop everything else and say 'thank you' with actions says it all.
Sunday, November 07 2010
Scallops are one of the most familiar and popular types of seafood. Scallops are related to clams, oysters, and mussels in that they are also bivalve molluscan shellfish. However, with scallops only the adductor muscle that is used to open and close the scallop's shell is sold and eaten in the U.S. This muscle is the succulent scallop "meats" that are familiar to consumers. Three different types of scallops are commonly sold in seafood markets in the U.S. The largest and most familiar is the Sea Scallop. Bay Scallops are intermediate in size and the smallest are Calico Scallops.
Sea Scallops are the most commercially important scallop in the U.S. They are harvested in offshore ocean waters from Maine to North Carolina with metal dredges. Scallops cannot close their shells tightly and die soon after being taken from the water. Because of their perishability, sea scallops are shucked on the harvest vessel as soon as they are caught, and the meats are iced. A small amount of Sea Scallops are harvested by fishing vessels operating from Eastern Long Island ports, but the majority are harvested in New England and Virginia. New Bedford, Massachusetts for many years was the leading fishing port in the U.S. in terms of the dockside value of landings mainly because of the amount of Sea Scallops landed at that port. Although sea scallops are available all year, peak landings generally begin in spring and continue through the fall.
The Bay Scallop is less plentiful but greatly desired by scallop fanciers. These smaller cousins of Sea Scallops are the most delicate and many say the sweetest of all Scallops. Bay Scallops live in coastal bays in the Northeast. The majority of the harvest has traditionally occurred in the Peconic Bay on Eastern Long Island and on Cape Cod in Massachusetts. Harvests from Peconic Bay have been minimal for much of the past decade. A number of factors are likely to have contributed to poor bay scallop harvests some of which include Brown tide algae blooms, nutrient availability and loss of suitable scallop habitat. The harvesting season for Bay Scallops begins in October and the majority of the scallops available for harvest are generally taken within the first month of the season. Bay scallops from Cape Cod are also available during the fall. This same species of scallop is being cultured and farm raised in China and other parts of the world, and imported "Bay Scallops" are available in the New York marketplace during most of the year.
Calico Scallops are found in the warmer waters off the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, and also in Central and South America. Calico Scallops are small, and are removed from their shell by a shucking process in which the whole scallops are lightly steamed to loosen the scallop meat from the shell. Shucked calico scallops are easy to recognize because they are pale white and opaque around the edges and about the size of baby marshmallows.
Scallops have a characteristic sweet mild flavor that is well known to most seafood lovers. Scallops cook very quickly (generally 3 to 5 minutes) and can be prepared by a wide variety of cooking methods such as sautéing, poaching, broiling, baking, and deep-frying. Most recipes utilize mild ingredients that complement but don't overpower the delicate taste of the scallop meat. Overcooking can toughen the scallop muscle and cause it to lose much of its moisture and naturally appealing flavor. Dry scallops carefully before pan-frying or sautéing and avoid placing them in the oil or butter until the pan is already hot. They should sizzle and brown almost immediately which will help to seal in the scallop's natural juices.
Sellers are frequently asked if the scallops are real or if they've been "manufactured" from skate or shark. The origin of this rumor is hard to determine --there are probably restaurants that have tried such sneaky tricks--but it's hard to imagine it being worth the effort. First of all, skate flesh with its striated bundles of muscle fibers looks nothing like scallops. Some shark could look a little like scallop flesh, but if you look closely it doesn't fit the bill either. If you get your scallops home and still have doubts, check for the tiny white muscle that should be adhering to the side of the scallop. This is where the scallop muscle was attached to the shell. The only "imitation" scallop that you might find in the marketplace are made from surimi which is made from fish fillets and then formed into the shape of crab legs, scallops or other shellfish. These products should always be labeled as "Imitation" crab or scallops.
Aphrodite, the Greek symbol of love and beauty, rode the foamy sea in a chariot made of scallop shell. The apostle St. James also earned fame for scallops, still known by much of the world as "coquille Saint Jacques," by wearing scallop-shelled armor as his personal emblem when he was executed by Emperor Herod. Despite these lofty associations, the handling of scallops is one of the dirty little secrets of the seafood industry.
Commercial seafood distributors routinely put scallops through a chemical process called "soaking." Phosphates are added to improve appearance, prolong shelf life, and add false weight.
Rich Scallop Soup
1 pound Scallops, chopped into small pieces
Recipe provided by the North Carolina Sea Grant Program
Scallops with Green Onion Butter
1 pound Bay or calico scallops (or sea scallops cut in quarters)
Recipe provided by the North Carolina Sea Grant Program
Recipe provided by the North Carolina Sea Grant Program
Scallops on the Half Shell with Wasabi Lime Vinaigrette
Recipe Courtesy of Ming Tsai
12 shucked scallops (small or singing)
Mix all together and spoon on top of scallops. Garnish with a little more wasabi tobiko. Plate on crushed ice or rock salt.
Yield: 4 servings
Seared Scallops with Hot Garlic Oil and Chinese Sausage Sticky Rice Package
Recipe Courtesy of Ming Tsai
Canola oil to cook
In a hot saute pan, add a little oil and carmelize the seasoned scallops. Use 3 scallops per package. Place on top of opened package and garnish with cilantro leaves and flash with garlic oil.
HOT GARLIC OIL:
16 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
In a saucepan, heat oil. Add garlic and cook until garlic is light brown. Immediately spoon on top of scallops.
STICKY RICE PACKAGE:
3 cups sushi rice
Monday, November 01 2010
Aside from the beer, another thing that comes to mind when talking about Germany is sausage. There are over 1,500 types of wurst in the country. Germans definitely need their meat fix as each person consumes about 67 lbs of meat and sausage products per year on the average.
The main types of wurst are: Wurst-Aufschnitt (cold cuts or processed meat eaten as slices or spread on top of bread), Bratwurst (the main species or the world-renowned kind) and Bockwurst (look like Viennas but are firmer and spicier). Depending on how they are made, the major kinds of sausages are: Brühwurst (scalded sausage), Rohwurst (fresh sausage), and Kochwurst (cooked sausage). Regional specialties such as "Munich Weisswurst", "Thuringian Rotwurst", and "Nürnberger Bratwürstchen" or Black Forest ham are not only known in the towns where they originated but they have also become famous in the whole country and all over the globe as well.
Germans also eat wurst with butter, hard-boiled eggs and bread rolls for breakfast. At lunch, the Germans' biggest meal of the day, sausages are accompanied by potato salad, Sauerkraut, mustard, and horseradish. Supper, Abendessen in their language, is the lightest meal, where bread, cheese and vegetables are often eaten with wurst.
The curried kind or Currywurst in German, even has its own museum in Berlin, the Deutsches Currywurst Museum which was opened in August 2009. Stories about the sausage are also showcased which include ingredients & spices, history & legend, ecology & fast food and cinema & TV.