Monday, November 30, 2009

Quick Elegance Crepes

There’s nothing like the quick elegance of crepes. They’re the easiest to make out of all th sophisticated dishes. There’s no worry about them falling or over broiling. There’s no fear that you’ve; over cooked or over whipped them. They can be made a variety of ways for a variety of moods. They’re just great to serve - especially during this holiday season.

Crepes are as French as the French themselves. The name derives from the Latin word crispa meaning curled. Crepes started out as buckwheat pancakes in the northwest province of Brittany where they ‘re still made today with the original recipe. They’re traditionally served with cider . For main courses their known as galettes or galettes samasine. Nowadays, crepes can be found all over France and you can easily buy them off street vendors from Paris to Lyon, from Toulouse to Marseilles and Nice.

Crepes are more or less easy to make. Take a batter made from flour, eggs, milk and a pinch of salt and spread thinly over a well oiled or buttered (I prefer butter) frying pan fro just a few minutes. Using a spatula , delicately turn the crepe over and cook the other side. How you stuff them is up to you. I like mine with cooked spinach and a simple béchamel sauce. Another way is just with a sprinkle of lemon and granulated sugar Parisian style. .

Crepes may be a snap to make but they’re also the most elegant. You can serve them as a treat for yourself or for an holiday party. Either way they’re just a great touch to everyday eating.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Edam Good Cheese

The holidays bring those ubiquitous wine and cheese parties. The question is what makes a good cocktail hour cheese? It could be Brie but that can get too runny and messy at times. Any of the Italian cheeses can have a sharp bite which can almost ruin taste buds. The best bet is the mild Edam, a wonderful cheese that can be sliced or cubed. It is a perfect accompaniment for breads and crackers and is also good on its' own.

Edam cheese originated in Holland and probably started in the 14th Century. It was a good cheese for traveling and made its way to the New World during the era of exploration. I t sis still popular in the US, Canada and the Nordic counties. Edam is also liked because it's one of the lower calorie cheese , being made with skimmed milk. It's lower in calories than its' cousin the Gouda cheese.If you;re looking for it in your local cheese shop, look for wedge with the black wax rind around it as opposed to the usual red. Edam cheese has a mild, slightly nutty and salty flavor. It won't over power the foods that it is served with

How to serve Edam? I usually like mine of pretzel flats. These are a type of cracker that have a baked pretzel exterior. They work perfectly with the Edam's mild taste . I also like the cheese thinly cut on brown bread. It makes a wonderful sandwich at parties .It's also is light and doesn't leave that heavy feeling that some other cheeses leave.

This holiday season , think of serving Edam cheese with your white wines and champagnes. Its' the perfect partner , allowing other tastes to be spotlighted. Its' mild , nutty flavor is subtle and doesn't go harshly with the stronger flavors of the season.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Stretching Thanksgiving

American holidays are awfully short. They're usually one day and then they're over with. This definitely applies to Thanksgiving. We can't wait to zip through the holiday and concentrate on today - Black Friday. Well, you can stretch the holiday out thanks to leftovers and extending some dishes. It;s just a quick trip to the grocery store for some extras to recreate a smaller version of yesterday's feast.

The first things to usually go are the turkey, stuffing and gravy. These are parcelled out to less fortunate relatives who had to go home to empty fridges. Not to worry if you're hankering for more. Just head over to store's deli section for some fresh sliced turkey breast. Then bounce over a few aisles to pick up some tinned gravy and Stove top stuffing. OK, these are not as good as the fresh homemade kinds but at least they're still something. As for veggies, there's always microwavable squash and turnip dishes along with creamed spinach. These are easy to make sides that just require little effort and prep time.

Desserts are another hot ticket item. If you find yourself mooning over an empty pie plate then again head back to the grocery where you can still buy leftover pies. An even better choice are the half and quarter pies that some supermarkets sell. Also consider getting soem fresh fruits. You're probably in need of something fresh and wholesome after all that high calorie gorging. A nice dessert is cut orange s sprinkled with dried cranberries.

Even though Thanksgiving is officially over , you can still celebrate it. Justextend your leftovers with some additions for a second round of holiday eating. It's a nice way of hanging onto another day of good cooking.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to Americans all over the world. Celebrate the date with food but also woith thanks. We have a good country , a good president and good lives. Be grateful for these things.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Prep TIme in The Kitchen

Just when I'm feeling better it's time for you foodies to go into the cooks' prep time for Thanksgiving. I'll keep this short but I'll nag you at what you should be doing right now.

What you should be doing instead of reading this or surfing the Internet is making sure you have all of tomorrow groceries . If not, then get yourself to your nearest store and pick up everything you need. Turkey on the list? Sides all picked out? What kind of dinner rolls do you and your guests favor? Did you remember to buy a bag of those after dinner butter mints? Hand sanitizers? Buy plenty of those. This is the flu season after all.

Today is also the day you should be rolling out the pie crusts for your pies. This is also a good time to update the wine list and check your liquor cabinet to make sure you have everything for you your guests tastes.Another important issue is to make sure you have plenty of room for your guests and any unexpected ones that should drop by. This is a good time to bring in the folding chairs up from the basement and have them on the ready.,

Be prepared this Thanksgiving. Make sure everything is going to run smoothly. As for me I have some serious healing to get back to

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Back And A Little Bit Better

Hey fellow foodies, I'm back with a short entry today. I've come from the spacey regions that cold sufferers come from . I haven't had anything but mush and soup to eat , so you can imagine how my palate must feel right now

ll be back in full force tomorrow. ready to take on Thanksgiving and whatever comes with the day before prepping and jitters. In the meantime read the old er columns Every one is raving about the Langue du Chats one I published earlier this year along with the pfefferneusse one from last Christmas.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Wanted: A Healthy Foodie Writer

Sorry guys, I'm still sick with a bad cough and cold. Hopefully you'll get a column tomorrow.


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Foodie Out Sick

Sorry guys,

I have a very bad head cold that I can't shake off. I cannot think or write straight. Everything should be all right by Monday. I'll be back to relative normal by then. Enjoy the older columns in the meantime.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Good Foodie Manners

This is the season to be asked to dinner. With that, your;e going to have to be a polite foodie and bring something to the table. Never - ever show up at your host's home empty's just rude and also unthinking. Bring along some sort of gift that pertains to the meal. You can choose from wine, candy or flowers. It doesn't matter the cost as long as you come in with a thank you gift.

Wine is always a lovely present. try to choose one that is either the host 's favorite or one that goes with the meal. If there is a celebration , such as a promotion or publication , then carry a bottle of Prosecco or Asti to help ring in the good news. You many want to think about gifting with a cordial or liquor. These can be great in after dinner coffees or in drinks. if it's a more rustic celebration think about a robust hard cider that goes well with fall barbecues or cassoulets.

Flowers and candy are other good gifts to bring to someone's house. A bouquet od a fall mums look pretty on a set table and your host will appreciate them. Don't choose elaborate sprays. Just pick out a simple bouquet you cna get at your local grocery store. A box of chocolates is another nice way of saying "Thanks, for inviting me." You don't have to settle on Godiva there's Russell Stover and Whitman Candies have excellent samplers that will appeal to everyone's tastes.

Be a polite foodie and remember to bring a gift. Just don't go crazy looking for that special vintage or that rare flower. Surprise them your hosts with something simple yet from the heart!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Getting Ready For Thanksgiving

Yesterday's Times Dining section was all about Thanksgiving. there were articles about desserts sides and quick dishes you can make. To be honest this whole section is a keeper. There are so many good recipes that you can make them for other holidays as well and even for holidays parties.

I particularly liked Mark Bittman's "101 Starts on The Day" This article was literally 101 quick and easy recipes. from appetizers to desserts. I liked that he included baked pears and Indian pudding in his dessert section. Not a lot of food writers put this first recipe in their articles and I don't see why not. Baked pears are just as delicious as baked apples and add more sophistication to a meal. Indian pudding is a once popular dessert that we don't see anymore. it;s just a simple cornmeal and molasses baked pudding that would also go well after a Christmas ham. Bittman has a spicy brittle recipe in their, made with jicama peppers. This would be a nice after thought , and a better after dinner alternative to butter mints (although those are nice too)

Other articles were about desserts and stuffing. The Times, never one for tradition offers different spins on both recipes. Florence Fabricant's article gives us recipes for a chocolate maple mousse and the french pastry , the charlotte which is made with bread and dried fruit. Melissa Clark's article on various stuffings gives us new spins that involve shrimp and shiitake mushrooms in twow separate dressing recipes.

You can have a traditional Thanksgiving spread but you can also experiment. The Times offers different takes on classics with recipes that are worth keeping. These should get you through any holiday and make your dinner table a little more exciting.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

How About A Nice Brisket?

Brisket is another cold weather dish that suits anybody’s palate. This hearty cut of beef can be turned into a satisfying main meal and then into tasty leftovers. It is also easy to cook and there are several ways in which to prepare it. It’can also go with many sides.

Brisket is the cut of beef that is located in a cow's upper breast or lower chest region. Ashkenazi and eastern European Jews brought brisket recipes with them and it became popular in delis in New York‘s Lower East Side. It’s usually cooked braised such as pot roast. The American South also loves brisket, rubbing it with a variety of spices and then cooking it over a low charcoal or hardwood heat. Usually it’s hickory smoked for added flavor but other woods such as pecan or mesquite can also be used. The Chinese love this cut as well. They first spice it and then cook it over a low heat. The slices are served in soup or over noodles.

You can make brisket a variety of ways. The easiest is braising it like pot roast and serving it with carrots and potatoes. You can add beer to the recipe . Use a dark one rather than a light one. For a tangier fare, think about a spicy chili marinade or rub. For a sweeter, yet still tongue tickling taste try a maple syrup , ground pepper marinade for a sweet spicy flavor. Mix maple syrup with white wine vinegar, one or two tablespoons of oil and a good dose of cracked pepper.

Brisket is a wonderful dish to serve during these cold November nights. Make it traditional style or add some spices for a more interesting flair. Either way , this cut of beef is going to be delicious

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Oliver's Twist On Cooking

Jamie Oliver is a good chef. He's also likable too with his Cool Britannia demeanor and breezy style of cooking. He's also out to conquer America , well, at least our eating habits anyway. He claims that we're a country of snackers with not a lot of fresh veggies and fruit s in our diets. he wants to start a revolution - as he did with British diets.

Oliver is credited with turning the English school cafeteria on its' head. He banished mystery meats and canned, sodium drenched veggies from kids diets. The result was better nutrition and more variety. Kids now eat healthier and tastier versions of tacos, pasta, pizza and burgers. Oliver pushed to make school food the best of British cooking. He's now on that crusade here visiting various school districts throughout the country. He also wants Americans to grow their own produce, even if it's just herbs. Another push is to eliminate our need for sugary drinks and snacking. In his eyes, he recently told USA Weekend magazine American eats way too much.

This is all well and good but can anyone really reform the American diet? Our First Lady is trying. Some families out there are following her example by offering more leafy greens and better meals and snack choices. The problem is do Americans ever really listen? Do we ever really change our bad habits.. We may go on health kicks but we always returns to our one true love- junk food. Look, we're passionate about chips and dips, madly in love with our sodas and go wild for anything barbecued to a crisp.

Good luck to Jamie Oliver with this big project. I don't know if he can thoroughly convince any Yank to change his or her eating habits. We balk at being told what to do - especially by a Brit. That was tried two hundred and more years ago and look what happened then. There was even a tea party too.

Monday, November 16, 2009

High Time For Pie

This is the season for pie baking. Between harvests and Thanksgiving everyone should be rolling out crusts and preparing filling It s’ a great dessert with a long history. People have been celebrating with this simple dessert for millenniums. It’s no wonder that we moderns include it into our holiday rituals.

We have the ancient Egyptians to thank for pie making. They were the first to put a mixture of nuts honey and fruit s into uncooked pastry and bake it. They haeven had two names for covered and open pies. The covered ones were called coffins because of their closed in shape while the ones without were called traps. The Greeks who ruled Egypt in the late Fourth Century were so enamored that they brought the recipes back to Greece. They surrendered the recipe to the Romans who fell madly in love with them. They were even offered to the gods in the temples. From then it spread through out Europe with variations leading to tarts and tartlets. Pie hit England and made their way over to America with the early colonists. Early pie crusts were solid and not at all flaky like their modern day cousins The crusts acted as containers to hold in the juices and fillings. Pie crusts got so thick at times that anything could be put into them , including jugglers and orchestras.

Luckily you don’t have to put Cold Play in your Thanksgiving pie to impress guests. You can go with apple or pecan, both easy pies to make. Another fun and quick choice is the pudding pie - taking an already made pie crust and filling with the pudding of your choice. It’s then easily topped off with Cool Whip, or Reddi Whip and garnished. There’s a lot of variations here but th e most popular flavor s are chocolate and butterscotch.

Pies are a wonderful and fun addition to any holiday dessert table. They’re easy to make , especially if the whole family pitches in. Make two or three in one flavor or vary it. Either way you’ll have a good time both baking and eating these treats.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Is Champagne Bubbled Out?

I normally reserve any Times article for Thursday's entry but there was one in today's Saturday's Business section that caught my eye. It was about champagne going flat - no not that kind of flat but flat lining it in sales. A lot of the major companies like Moet-Chandon and the ever expensive Veuve-Cliquot are reporting worldwide losses. That means that the companies are going down in price overseas mostly in Britain and France. Hopefully the price will go down as well.

Let's face it though, Champagne is a tough sell. I ordered it for my birthday dinner not long ago. the maitre d' suggested I try Prosecco which was fifty dollars cheaper. I did and was glad. Now I'm a Prosecco fan for life and will probably run to that for any kind of celebratory drinking. I'm also loyal to Prosecco's cousin Asti, thanks to my Piemontese heritage . As a life long New Jersey resident I will probably forgo any overseas champagne and stick to my beloved Tommisello winery's vintages or even some Napa Valley Asti or Prosecco.

Should you buy a bottle of champagne during these hard economic times? You can, but maybe save it for a romantic evening or anniversary or celebrate that everyone still has their jobs with a few close office pals.I wouldn't serve it at a family Christmas party. Relatives usually expect wine or some other kind of mixed drink(unless of course it's to announce something special like an engagement or a promotion). have a few bottles for new year's . The best bet is look for sales along with comparison shop and go for the best deal.

If you want to help the industry buy a bottle of champagne. The pricing should be good these days and it does pay to have one or two bottles in the house. It's rare that champagne goes on sale. This alone should be reason to celebrate.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Killer Foods

Surprisingly enough your diet may be killing you. I'm not talking about the fried food and beef here but the good stuff. Some fruits and vegetables can have some negative side affects. We all know about their attributes but did you know they also have a dark side? Yup. What may look like a plate of pure healthy may actually be bad for you.

Take for example the beet. Yes it's good for you in moderate doses. Who doesn't love it in a salad covered with vinaigrette and set off by onions? Yet eat too much and it can cause kidney damage. It's also not recommended for people who suffer from kidney stones. The same applies to the iron rich spinach. We're all taught from an early age to venerate spinach yet it does have a dark side. Again it's not good for those suffering from kidney stones. However it still is a good green to eat so have it at least once a week.Then there are tomatoes. Yes they are tasty and are good from salad to soup however they are high in acid. This is a bad thing for those suffering from stomach disorders.

Fruits should also be eaten with care too. The main reason is that they are packed with sugar - albeit the natural kind. Gobble down too many apples and bananas and you'll gain weight. Some berries like strawberries contain powerful allergens which can cause all sorts of painful rashes and hives. Ditto for oranges. Eating a lot of this fruit can bring on the case of hives - definitely not a good thing with the winter wool season coming.

Veggies and fruits are healthy for you. However , like with any other foods, don't over do your intake! Ea in moderation and they'll remain healthy and good for you!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Salute To Po Boys

Yesterday's Dining section of the New York Times ran an excellent and well detailed article by John T. Edge about that Louisiana staple the po boy. This is a great sandwich that can be made a variety of ways, with seafood or meats, sauces and veggies. New Orleans is celebrating the sandwich in the city of its' birth by having a festival celebrating it this November 22nd. Famous restaurants such as Emeril's and Jack Dempsey's will have cooks making tons of po boys for the crowds and fans expecting to gather there.

The po boy has an interesting history. It is one of the newest sandwiches being born in 1929 during a labor strike for streetcar workers. The strikers who would come for lunch would be called "poor boys' by the Martin family where one time streetcar workers themselves and now had a new business a coffee and sandwich shop. They vowed they would feed the striking and hungry workers a new kind of sandwich that had wider slices of bread. This enabled them to put more fillings on and thus provide a more satisfying lunch. The sandwich took and was perfect for the varied cuisines of New Orleans.

What is a classic po boy? It could range from one with a ham filling to fried shrimp to roast beef and gravy.It's usually also stuffed with lettuce tomatoes and a pickle and the bread is slathered with mayonnaise. There is also a French fries po boy where crinkle fries are stacked on top of beef. There are others that have fried green tomatoes and remoulade sauce,a homage to Creole and Southern cooking at their best. You can make your po boy own using French or Italian bread and a variety of favorite fillings, gravies and extras.

The po boy is a great Louisianan dish , reflective of the city's history. It honors the seafood and beef along with the colorful culinary history . It's also a wonderful dish to make , giving it your own personal spin.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Spinach The Good Green

By now you’re probably sick of being told to eat your spinach. Yet this leafy green is not only good for you but is also tasty and a great addition to any meal. It’s one of the most versatile too. It can go into a cold salad or hot dish. You can eat it for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner. It can be served so many different ways that you’ll never grow tired of it.

The plant is one of the oldest. It was first cultivated in India and Persian and brought to Europe and Asia through Muslim traders and invaders. It is still a popular ingredient in Indian cooking and is the base for many of their vegetable dishes. Spinach made its' way into Muslim Spain around the 11th Century and became popular in European cooking. It was a favorite of Catherine de Medici who brought it from Northern Italy into French cuisine when she married the French king Henri IV. Spinach is a member of the Amaranthaceae family and is a cousin to chard. It does flower however its’ the leaves that are edible and widely used. Spinach is an excellent source of iron however it's not absorbed into the body unless it’s eaten with Vitamin C The leaves are also a good source of calcium as well along with Vitamins A,B, K and magnesium.

Spinach is also versatile. There’s nothing like a good spinach salad at lunch. You can add bacon and chopped hard boiled egg to it along with a simple vinaigrette dressing. Another easy dish is a spinach omelet made with freshly sautéed leaves. Just sprinkle in a dash of Parmesan cheese for more zip. This holiday season make creamed spinach as a great side to your turkey or ham. Add a teaspoon of nutmeg and a few pats of butter for a richer, slightly spicier flair.

Spinach is a great addition to any diet. It’s not only good for you but fits in well with your plans. Serve it cold in a delicious and refreshing salad or warm as a great side to any meat. It truly is a good green.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Is Your Kitchen Holiday Ready?

Even though it's two weeks before Thanksgiving you should be asking yourself is my kitchen ready for the holidays? Are your appliances up to snuff?Do you have the right equipment to make your favorite dishes and to try new ones? these are the questions you should be asking yourself before you ask what to make and serve.

The most important appliance to check are your stove and fridge. These two are the main ones that keep any holiday kitchen functioning. make sure your stove, its' burners and broiler is in working order You'll be needing every part of it for various roasting ,baking and broiling needs. If there is a problem , then have it fixed within the next two weeks. The same philosophy applies to the fridge. You don't w ant it to go when you haven a whole freezer of veggies as well as a lower section stuffed with a turkey. Other appliances that need to be checked are your food processor ,. blender and mixers. Some of these probably haven't been used since last year (or to mix that last August's batch of margaritas). Check out these to make sure they work properly. Luckily every store from Target to Wal-Mart to K-Mart is having big sales right now so you can easily run out and replace anything at low cost.

You should also do a run through on lesser items too. Make sure your cookie sheets are up to snuff as are your graters and corers. Again if they're not , then just buy new ones. Check cookie cutters and icers to make sure they're ready for another round of holiday baking. Replace anything that's looks raggedy or junky..You may also want to get rid of any old spices and sauces that are laying around in your cupboard or fridge. They've probably lost their potency and need to be replaced.

Before you know it the holidays will be here. Make sure your kitchen is ready for them with working appliances. It'll make holiday cooking and baking that much easier and less worry free.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Get Stewed

November’s chilly days call for a nice stew. It’s the perfect and the easiest meal to make for these cold days. You can add as much or a s little as you want. It can be chicken, beef, fish lamb or even vegetarian. Stew is a perfect dish to customize and make your own.

Stew has been around for millenniums. It was first mentioned in ancient Rome‘s by Apicius and or Taillevent wrote about ragouts in his Le Viander cookbook. The English a nd Irish have been making hearty lamb and mutton stews for centuries. These recipes were brought to America where colonists enjoyed Brunswick stew. This was a robust mix of squirrel, rabbit ,pork and beef along with corn, tomatoes and onions. Today the squirrel is omitted but okra and peas are added in for extra flavor.

Today’s stews are just as interesting to whip up. What’s even better is that you can make it in the morning and pop in into a slow cooker for your evening meal . By the time you come home from work, voila - a nice hot dinner! You can vary your stews with red wine for a more French taste or paprika for a Hungarian goulash vibe. Also you can top with a quick Bisquick crust or make dumplings to add to the stew’s richness. If you feel your stew is too ‘thin” then add some barley to thicken it.. Another good thing is that stew is reheatable and makes for good leftovers as well.

This is the perfect season to create a hearty stew. You can use tried and true recipes such as Brunswick or your own creation to come up with a rich and flavorful dinner. Either way a hearty , hot stew is the best way to chase away November’s chills and frosts.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Support Your Restuarants

It's tough on all of us during these hard economic times. It's cheaper to eat in than out. Unfortunately doing this hurts our local restaurants . Some have gone out of business due to this -although in my area', it's mostly in Manhattan. The local restaurants need our business to survive and we need them. They are a good source of jobs and bring people who otherwise wouldn't visit our main streets and stores.

What to do? You can eat out at least once a month. There's nothing wrong with that plus its nice to get away from cooking and the cleaning up afterwards. It's also good to have a girls or guys night out to reconnect with friends and to add some spice to a weekend. Another good idea is to have a lunch out everything and then with office mates as a chance to recharge batteries. Nothing beats a hot pasta or salad in the middle of the work day if you feel that' s too much on your wallet or purse then you can even if you steal away to a fast food joint for a hamburger or chicken nuggets.

Another way of supporting local restaurants is taking advantage of the coupons that come in your mail. This is a fun way of treating yourself and your family along with saving some bucks. Also sign up for all the chain restaurant's newsletters . They will send you various coupons for your birthday and for the monthly specials that they have. This way you can have a nice meal at a discount. Chain restaurants also have some great luncheon twofers where you can get the second entree at half price. These are usually advertised in your Sunday coupon section. Look for them there.

Support your local restuarants during these hard, economic times. The owners and staff will not only appreciate your custom but also will be glad to see you . Try to eat out at least once a month . it's well worth it.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Swiss Chard A Fall Gourmet Treat

This is the season for Swiss chard. Unfortunately not a lot of people outside chefs and foodies know about it. That is a shame because it's so tasty and nutritious. it;s a big vegetable in northern Italian cooking and rounds out an autumn table throughout Piedmonte. It;s also versatile and easy to cook with not being whats; known as a tempermental veggie.

Swiss chard is a variation of spinach to be disntinguished from French chard. it;'s is distinguishable from the other supermarket greens by its' shiny green leave s and yellow, white or red ribbing. It does have a slightly bitter taste when raw but that dissipates upon cooking. Cooked Swiss chard tastes like a more subtle more sophisticated version of spinach. it's the perfect veggie for cold weather because it is packed with the necessary Vitamins,. A, B and C as well as being high in calcium.

The Piedmontese love Swiss chard. MY family used booth the stalks and the leaves. the stalks are cooked with a beaten egg, melted butter and vinegar to create a tart but tasty side dish. The leaves can be eaten raw as a salad or thrown in to create a mixed field green one. . We usually cook ours the same way as spinach and just add butter on top. IT'S a nice side dish to roasted chicken or London broil.

This season embrace Swiss chard. It's a good for you vegetable but also a one that will add sophistication to your table. It's a more elegant way of introducing greens to your fall table.

Piedmontese Style Swiss Chard,

1 bunch Swiss chard stalks cut in 2 inch pieces.
Butter and olive oil for sauteing,
1 beaten egg
2-3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
dash water
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Boil the Swiss chard in salted water for 10 minutes. At the same time heat butter and oil in a frying pan (there should be enough to coat the pan's bottom). After chard is done drain and put into frying pan. At the same time whisk a beaten egg with the vinegar and water . Stir in the Parmesan cheese and our over the Swiss chard. Cook for ten minutes or until egg is thoroughly cooked.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A Good Foodie Read

This is the season for poring over cookbooks , looking for new recipes for the holidays. Yesterday's New York Times Dining section had an excellent review of some of the fall's best cookbooks. Some are old favorites , like LaRousse Gastronomique. some are new spins on old cuisines such as as How To Roast A Lamb :New Greek Classics. All are worth adding to your bookshelf. There are some great ideas here not just for you but also for the other foodies on in your life.

The article, written by Julia Moskin lists a variety of books.She mentions Larousse Gastronomique, which is a must have for any foodie out there. This is the ultimate go to book , first created in 1938. It is an encyclopedia of food rather than a cookbook. My Mom still has hers and it is worth every penny. Clarkson Potter is the publisher and it now cost $90 but worth the steep price. LaRousse will give you explanations on everything from simple boiling to creating a perfect croquenbouche. It has detailed drawing of meat cuts along with fruits and vegetables. There is also the down to earth Damned Good Food by Mitch Omer and Ann Bauer, (published by Borealis books). This is a foodie's cookbook with recipes that are redolent with butter, cheese, bacon and brown sugar.. Greek and Italian cooking are also here with the books How To Roast A Lamb : New Greek Classic Cooking written by Micheal Psilakis and published by Little Brown and the Italian Why Italians Love To Talk About Food written by Elena Kostiokovitch. These have new spins on traditional recipes and would be perfect to dig through for some holiday dishes and desserts.

Dessert recipe books are also mentioned in the article. There is the great macaroon or macaron book entitled I Love Macarons written by Japanese pastry chef Hisako Ogita. It's not really a cookbook but a how to about how to tint and create fillings for these little treats. Another baking book , The Craft of Baking cowritten by Karen DeMasco and Mindy Fox is a great book for any kind of baker or cake lover. It also encourages them to be creative and innovative with the recipes as well.

This is the season to pick up a good cookbook. The ones listed here will certainly help you in preparing and making a good holiday meal or even a dinner for friends. Stroll through your bookstore to look over them at them .Hopefully after a good browse you'll be inspired to buy them. They're worthy additions to any foodie' s library collection.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A New Spin On An Old Classic Grog

Mention grog to anyone and they’ll probably ask “Isn‘t that the pirate’s drink?” Wel,l yes it is. However it’s a good drink for a fall party. You can make it to accompany a hearty meal or a chill November barbecue. Grog is also a relaxing hot drink if you’re suffering from a sore throat or even just a hard day at the office. It’s easy to make and doesn’t require a lot of ingredients.

The word grog itself came from an 18th Century British admiral, Edward Vernon, who invented the drink and wore a grogam (a silk and wool blend) coat. His nickname was “Old Grog” hence the name ,Thanks to Britain ‘s involvement in the Jamaican rum industry sailors were able to supplement their diet with rum , mixed with stale fresh water. Lemons were added to give the mixture a fresher taste. It also helped protect them against scurvy. In fact Vernon’s seamen were the healthiest in all the British Navy thanks to this addition. In the next centuries , grog slowly disappeared from the sailors' rations and was only brought out of special days like Trafalgar Day in October to celebrate Nelson’s victory against the Barbary pirates.

Grog isn’t a well known cocktail here in the States although it is made at private parties from time to time. There is a Caribbean version that’s drunk regularly . It consists of water and a light rum along with grapefruit , orange and pineapple juice, A dash of cinnamon is thrown in for extra spice. Your best bet is mixing rum, hot water and lemon juice along with different spices such as cinnamon and clove. This last may be strong. You can sub in cardamon if you like or crystallized ginger for a sweet yet fiery bite.

Use this age old drink during the chilly days ahead. It’s the perfect beverage for those barbecues as well as for a relaxing night by the fire. It just takes a little rum, some citrus juice and a dash of spices to make this special drunk. You may not fee l like a pirate but you‘ll feel shipshape drinking it.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Leek Season

Now that fall is here certain vegetables will be making appearances. One is the leek.This cousin of the onion , garlic and shallot is versatile. Put it into soups or as a tasty topping. its' mild flavor accentuates the other ingredients nicely.

Leeks are one of the word's most ancient vegetables. They were cultivated and eaten in ancient Egypt bu t it;s most associated with Wales. It is the symbol of the country and Welshmen put it on their lapels for St. David's day, St David being the country's patron saint. Ir was even mentioned in Shakespeare's Henry V when the kind himself acknowledges that he should wear a leek for he is a Welshman, you know." Leeks are high in Vitamin B6 and iron , important nutrients to ward off any flu or cold this season.

What to do with leeks? If you're Piedmontese like I am then you'd have them on broiled on buttered toast with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. Leeks are also good in soup or even braised as a side dish. You can also put them in pancakes and make a leek pie with them. They are easy to cook with and just require a light washing before cooking to remove any residual dirt.

This season get acquainted with leeks. They are not only tasty but good for you. They had a sublte earthy flaovr to meals , making them one of the perfect fall vegetables.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Start of The Winter Vegetable Season

I love November . It’s the start of the winter vegetable season. I begin to see different cabbages and root vegetables coming out in their full glory at my local supermarket. Their appearances remind me not only that Thanksgiving is close by but also of hearty meals. These cold weather harvests add to soups and main dishes , providing us with a with the same doses of minerals and vitamins as do their summer cousins.

Leeks are starting to make a comeback right now. I love leeks, whether in soup or in that famed Piedmontese hot sandwich: leeks on toast. This last is the perfect combination of fresh cooked leeks, buttery toast and freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Another vegetable returning right now is cabbage. This is one of the most versatile fall and winter vegetables. You can shred it into a salad. , stuff the leaves with meats and rice for a filling main dish or combine it with other veggies for a soothing soup. It’s also good for you and high in Vitamin C - a must have during this flu season.

Other vegetables returning to fall tables are Swiss chard , turnips, parsnips and kale. These are also good for you and versatile. There are many different dishes you can make with them. Swiss chard is good cooked with egg and vinegar (again a much loved Piedmontese dish) while turnips and parsnips can be mashed or turned into healthy souffles. Kale leaves are good baked with olive oil and salt as a better alternative to potato chips. Actually you can create a good vegetarian diet with all of these veggies and never touch meat.

Now that it’s November be on the look out for these vegetables. They are a rich reminder that fall and winter can yield some amazing harvests. Add them to your table for nutrition as well as for color and taste .