Friday, September 30, 2011

Fruit For Dinner

Fruit always makes a good dessert. After all there's nothing liked sliced apples and cheddar or a fruit compote or pie. However any fruit can be incorporated into the main course. The flavor gives a sweet taste but it's also earthy and unique. What's even better is that there are so many different fruits you can use to create a variety of different dishes.

Salads and fruits are a natural go to gether. Fruits add texture and crunch as well as color, making any tossed greens that much more appealing. Try adding sliced Bartlett pears to an arugula salad along with Assiago cheese and sliced almonds. For more bite try a Pecorino cheese that will compliment the pear's woody , sweet flavor. You can create a similar dish with apple but used a smoked Gruyere or cheddar and strips of cold grilled chicken.Another idea is a grape and chicken salad . The fruit's taste completes the meats. For all of these a simple vinaigrette dressing, using red wine or apple cider vinegar is the best. Stay away from anything too garlicky or too herbal otherwise it'll overpower the fruit's taste.

You can also use fruit sin roasted or cooked dinners. There's the famous duck a l'orange which doesn't necessarily call for the entire fruit. Just the freshly squeezed juice and zest are used for this. You can also try cherries with duck too for a different spin.Another standard is pineapple with ham. The pineapple has always been used to cut down the protein enzymes in the meat however the extreme sweet and saltiness has been a favorite for generations, Prunes and plums also figure in roasts too. especially in beef. This combo can work well in North African tagines or even in just a simple meat loafs.

Fruit doesn't have to be just in dessert dishes. It can be a chief ingredient in a tasty salad or a flavorful roast. Aadd any kind you want , from apples to cherries from plums to oranges to create tasty and unique dishes that are sure to be enjoyed.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Crispy Cracklings

Nothing beats chicken skin.There's something about the crunchy, texture or melt in your mouth buttery flavor.It's not only the most prized piece of the chicken but now the most used. Chicken skin is enjoying a resurgence in tasty recipes.It's no longer bad for you. It's good.

Chicken skins were the subjects of a major article in yesterday's New York Times Dining section. The article, written by Times newcomer, Sarah DiGregorio, explores the new found popularity of crackling , the crisped part of the skin on chicken (or pork). Chicken crackling is nothing new.It has been around in Philippine, as well as Japanese and Jewish cuisine where it is known as gribenes. For centuries cultures who often use poultry also utilize the birds' skins. It is usually deep fried and eaten as a snack instead of a main dish,as with the Filipino dish chicharon manok.

Chefs all over the US are getting creative with it. New York City Chef Ilan Hall has a GLT sandwich , gribenes served with lettuce and tomato that resembles a BLT. The Philadelphia chef, Mitch Prensky, owner of the restaurant Supper, puts them in his spaghetti carbonara and Ruben sandwiches. The skins provide crunch and texture as well as flavor. Southern chefs know how to do chicken skin right. Sean Brock, executive chef at Charleston South Carolina's Husk and McCrady's marinates then in buttermilk then smokes and deeps fries them. They are then served with a hot sauce and a honey dip. He also makes a rabbit terrine with them as well as enveloping that Southern classic chicken and dumplings with sheets of skin.

Nothing beats crispy, crackly chicken skin. It is one of the tastiest parts of the chicken and the most flavorful.It's no wonder that chefs are now making it their number one ingredient and dish!

Dedicated to my own little chicken skin lover Sparkey . Any bird was her favorite but she loved chicken the best. May she and her brother, Puff, enjoy them forever.....

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Taste of Bosnia

Bosnian cooking is not really known here in the US. However, thanks to the recent waves of immigrants from the former Yugoslav Republic, that's all changing. It is a delicious cuisine, unique and full of interesting dishes.As it becomes more and more mainstream, others will discover its' charms and flavorful, hearty dishes.

It was a subject of an article in today's New York Times Dining section. John T. Edge, a Dining regular contributor, interviewed Bosnians in St Louis Missouri where there is a huge community started in th e1990s. Many fled their country because of the terrible atrocities and found haven in this bustling Midwestern town. As it once featured German food, St Louis now seems to be the heart of Bosnian cuisine in the US. Bakeries , butchers and cafes have sprung up introducing a new kind of home cooked, home style dining.

Bosnian cooking is varied. Their bread , a round yeasty loaf called lepinja is sliced open and served with cevap, or beef sausages, There is also pljieskavica shaved beef and onions served on the bread as well. This is a favorite of Bosnian American youth. Bosnian Muslims also have contributed their part too. Many brought over the delicious smoked beef also known as suho meso. This subs in as pizza topping s for pepperoni along with other dishes. There is also a native confection which is a chocolate and walnut candy dusted with coconut.

Bosnian food may only be catching on in Saint Louis. but it will sure to hit the rest of the US. the reason being is that has made tasty foods that everyone can enjoy. It's traditional but also new at the same time

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Preserve Us!

Some people may lament the summer's leaving and all the harvest that comes with it. However you can still enjoy what's left of this last harvest and fall's new one by preserving. This homespun method has always been received with a smirk however there is nothing like them. Homemade jams and jellies go well with everything from fresh baked scones and muffins to ice creams and pudding. It's a great way of getting more out of your harvests.

Preserving or canning does take some time and involvement. You do have to have special canning jars with two piece lids for success. The lids consists of a small cap that seals the jar's rim along with an outer part known as the screw or band cap that keeps the inner one in place. You'll also need a large covered waterbath. This is a large pot that looks like a lobster pot . It has a removable metal basket at the bottom and this lifts the jars from the water. You can use a stock pot with a wire cooling rack too. You'll need a jar lifter as well. These look like large tongs and are useful in lifting the hot jars from the water. You'll also need a funnel and a non metallic spatula or knife. .Use these to break any bubbles that may have formed in the jars. Pectins are also needed in the preservation process. These are fruit based gels that helped bind and solidify the preserves.

One you have the equipment you can have fun with what you want to preserve. It's good to use high acidity fruits and tomatoes. They go through the process the best. Most people use strawberries but you can also can other berries such as raspberries or blackberries. Figs can also be preserved along with pears. This last will be entering its' harvest season right along with apples and grapes. Remember that most grocery markets are able to ship fruit in from South America all year round so you can still preserve summer faves likes peaches, and apricots well into December. You can also take advantage of the winter's citrus crop. There are some great recipes for preserved grapefruit and oranges .

Preserving is a great way to hold onto the summer and fall harvests. Homemade preserves are also a great way to liven up any dessert along with adding extra flavor to muffins or biscuits. Try this time honored method for keeping that just picked taste.

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Versatile English Muffin

English muffins can be used for almost anything. You can have them to start the day . They 're also good in a lunch or dinner or even for a quick snack. Pair them with any ingredient for a tasty and quick dish.

English muffins hav always been a a breakfast treat. After all there's nothing like one hot from the toaster, dripping with butter. However it makes an excellent base for a breakfast sandiwch. You can put either scrambled or a sunnyside up egg along with sausage and cheese on it. The famed Eggs Benedict require that the base be an English muffin, . You cna have the classic which also has Canadian bacon and Hollandaise sauce or variations. There's the Maryland Benedict thats subs in the bacon with a crab cake or the Californian style which features a slice of avocado added.

English muffins can also be used to make quick yet filling lunches and dinners.A simple recipe uses just cheddar with bacon. it's requires nothing more than just simple layering and then heating up in the toaster oven. You can even add a pickle or an onion for a British spin on it. A classic recipe is English muffin pizza. Just add pizza sauce, oil and shredded mozzarella and pop into the toaster oven for ten minutes or until the cheese melts. You can also prebake the muffins for a crispier crust. These pizzas also make good afternoon snacks especially if you're going to be eating the main meal a lot later on.

English muffins are versatile. You create a luxurious breakfast or a hearty lunch. They're perfect increating a fun dinner or easy snack. Try them in a variety of ways for some delicious eating.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Healthy Tailgating

Healthy and tailgating usually aren't used in the same sentence however it can be done. You can create healthy football fare that's both tasty and good for you. The best part is that you won't be sacrificing favorites or flavor. Another good thing is that they're easy to make.

Most parking lot parties start out with a grill.After all there's nothing like the taste of a well done burger or dog. However these can be bad for you with all that cholesterol and nitrates added. Switch to turkey or vegan substitutes. They taste the same yet provide you with lower calories and less preservatives. Also there is so much variety with veggie burgers these days you can bring four or five different types. Flavors range from the spicy Southwestern to the mushroom lovers to the tomato and soy cheese Italian. Serve on either rye or pumpernickel rolls for a healthier alternative to white bread.

Sides can be made just as healthy too. Cole slaw , always a favorite, can be pared down . It can have added crunch by introducing carrots and both red and green pepper strips to it. Also cut out the mayo and sub in a vinaigrette. Potato salad, long a tailgater standard, can be made with less mayo as well,or even with just oil and red wine vinegar. Add some onions and celery for flavor and texture . If your crew demands a macaroni salad, again make it healthier with spelt or whole wheat pasta and splash it with a low cal Italian dressing.

Tailgating is fun. Yet it doens't have to wreck havoc with your diet or health concerns. You can create a tasty, healthy party that's sure to create fans!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Bean Counting

Beans have always been the staple of any diet. They are nutritious and flavorful; a good stand in for meat when needed. What is also great about them is that there are so many different kinds of them and so many dishes featuring them., You can create hot or cold dishes - all delicious - all healthy.

Beans have been around for 3,000 years. The first came from wild plants found in Afghanistan and the Himalayas and were soon made into dishes. The plants quickly were transplanted to Aegean and Mediterranean areas however dried beans were also found in Peru. These were carbon dated from 2000 BCE and it was obvious that they were used in various recipes. Modern people can enjoy many different kinds of beans, from fava to pigeon. Peas are also part of this family as well as are lentils however these are divided into subcategories such as Pisum for peas and Lens for lentil.

Bean dishes are varied, You can create a tasty cold three bean salad which incorporate cannelini, kidney and chickpeas. Add some onions along with a vinaigrette dressing. A pea salad is different as well as being healthy. Mix fresh or frozen peas again with chopped onions and mayonnaise (sub in oil and vinegar for a lighter version).For a hot dish baked beans are classic. Sub in soy or turkey bacon instead of the pork if you don't want a high sodium dish.Then there's Mexican cuisine where beans figure prominently. Any dish has beans , whether red or black either in them or as a side.

Beans are a healthy and tasty choice for any dish, whether main or side. They are versatile hot or cold ; easy to cook and serve. Try any of the many varieties for a delicious change of pace.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Foodie Got Game

It used to be that stadium food meant a pretzel and a hot dog followed by a cup of luke warm beer. If you were lucky the food stand also had burgers and nachos. However all that is changing. Gourmet food is hitting the sports arenas and with it some pretty luxurious snacks.

This was the subject of Glenn Collins article in yesterday's New York Times Dining section. It seems that that New York City landmark, Madison Square Garden is kicking up its' fare to meet foodie standards. It makes sense. After all Manhattan is the gourmet capital of the world these days and why wouldn't a sports venue not get into the act too. There are lobster rolls along with brisket and and hard carved prime ribs along with other prime deli meats from the famed Carnegie deli. There will be two dozen high end specialty food stands in the Garden. Of course hot dogs still reign but they will be cheddar brats , made with high quality bratwurst braised in imported Dutch beer . Sauerkraut , also served, is made with a Riesling white wine.

Yankee Stadium has also undertaken this gourmet food idea. They have sliced steak carts that sell juicy steaks from the famed Lobels. Johnny Rockets is also there and baseball fans probably got a taste of that chain's heavenly onion rings and patty melts. The stadium also has Melissa's for fresh fruit (a welcome change from all that meat and grease ) as well as the Hard Rock Cafe. There are also Italian style stands to buy zeppoli and eggplant parmigiana. Yankee Stadium also offers private buffet areas where fans can eat in private but still enjoy the game from skyboxes.
These are membership only with expensive dues and entrance fees.

The days of just buying a dog or a pretzel at a game are over with. A new sports fan has emerged and that's one that is also a foodie.They want much more than sports fan s of previous eras. They want gourmet with that win.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Chewing On The Chew

Daytime television is changing. The decades old soap operas are gone and in their place talk shows. The Chew is one of these. It's not so much about celebrities but about the food they eat. It's an open dialog and forum that features a variety of personalities.

This new TV show and pioneer of sorts is the subject of a New York Times article in their Dining section. Dining regular , Julia Moskin, explores this as well as interviewing one of the pillars of The Chew, chef , Mario Battali. The premise of the show, according to Mr. Battali is cooking as well as panel discussions.Dr .Oz's daughter, Daphne, is also on the show as are fellow newcomers, Michael Symon, Carla Hall and Clinton Kelly. The show will also feature helpful hints such as creating the perfect sloppy Joe and making olives tastier to name a few.

Is this the future of daytime TV? Execs seem to think so . Thanks to the Food Channel and more foodies out there, food based shows are not only big hits but huge draws for advertisers. The Chew already has food giants like Kraft , Campbells and Hershey's buying advertising time. This beats the usual mix of smaller advertisers and local businesses who buy into the less than lucrative afternoon time slot. Another plus is that the food shows are the most Tivoed and they can be watched at any time. People's tastes are also changing and they want more reality TV instead of manufactured drama. This is what The Chew will provide as other shows . It will be shown on ABC and join The Travel CHannel amongst others in featuring food centric entertainment,.

Food shows are the hottest thing on television right now.It's no wonder that The Chew was created and replaced traditional programming. The proof is literally in the pudding , however , as to whether it will succeed or not.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Well Made Meat Loaf

Meat loaf is considered the ultimate comfort food. It reminds us of home cooking and passed down family recipes.It's easy enough to make and with certain ingredients can also be considered even gourmet.Still, it's the perfect meal, especially on a crisp, fall evening.

The most important ingredient is the meat. Ground beef is the most traditional but you can also mix it with ground pork and veal. Mixing the different flavors makes for a tasty and juicy loaf. For a lower calorie one use ground turkey meat instead or even vegetarian beef crumbles. There is even a baby's firsts one made with equal portions of meat and formula. Binders usually are eggs and bread crumbs. The last can be flavored to give the meat loaf more taste.

Other ingredients can also be added. You can put in a hard boiled egg for more taste and protein. Some recipes call for bacon to be placed on the top for some crispiness and texture.Italian meat loaf calls for the addition of mozzarella and sauce while barbecue style calls for a half a cup of your favorite barbecue sauce. You can also make a cheesy meat loaf by adding strips of cheddar on top and putting under the broiler for minute or two. Other popular add ins are oregano, garlic, mushrooms and onions. For the vegan loaf, you can add healthy but yummy ingredients such as sunflower seeds , broccoli, cauliflower and carrots.

There's nothing as comforting as a meat loaf dinner on a cool fall night. You can vary what you put in and tailor it to your family's tastes and likes. You can experiment with it or leave it traditional.No matter how you make it it's still a family favorite tasty and satisfying.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Are You Eating Enough?

It's a question most of us have heard since childhood: Are you eating enough?As adults we would say yes. After all we try to have three meals a day.The problem is are we eating the right foods.Do we just grab a burger and feel satisfied with that? Or should we be eating more helpings of veggies and lean meats.

Any meal is a tricky navigation. Thanks to busy schedules, especially now in the fall, it's hard to find a healthy fast food or actually stay in our kitchens long enough to cook. Sometimes we think a sandwich will do the trick. After all what's so wrong with meat and bread. ? It's just not substantial enough. You may want to put some tomatoes on it or even sliced hard boiled egg for more protein.Don't add chips to round it out. Think grape tomatoes or even a pickle as a healthier alternative. Soup is another good choice for lunch or dinner. Round it out with a small mixed salad.

Sometimes we also feel like forgoing meals to keep on a diet or to have a quick weight loss. Don't. This is not a good way to shed pounds, Eat leaner, lighter fare. Try turkey or veggie burgers as opposed to red meat ones. Ratatouille is a low cal dish, tasty and chock full of tomatoes, onions and eggplant.Never skip breakfast or fill in with a quick breakfast sandwich. Oatmeal is a good choice as is fresh fruit with black coffee or plain tea. Stay away from doughnuts , bear claws and Danishes. Tasty yes, filling, yes, healthy, no

Are you eating enough? Ask yourself at every meal. However make sure you're also asking yourself is it healthy enough or is it a filler? Eat , but eat well

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Sunflower Seeds- Wholesome Snacking

Everyone loves snacks. We adore them for their pure saltiness, worship them for their handiness and love them for their crunch. Unfortunately most snacks are too unhealthy for us. That's where sunflower seeds comes in. They are a healthy alternative to chips and provide more energy too. Another plus is that they're just plain fun to munch on.

The hippies weren't the first to discover the joys of the sunflower seeds. Native Americans used them far more often than they did , squash corn and beans. Women from various tribes throughout North America either made them into cakes, mixed them with animal fat or ground them into a thickener for drinks and soups. Warriors took these seed based foods into battle or on hunting expeditions with them for sustenance. Sunflower seeds fell out of favor with the incoming Western European immigrants who preferred raising corn , wheat and barley. However the Russians feel in love with them, thanks to Peter The Great. He saw the pretty flowers in Holland brought them back to Russia and introduced his court to the tasty seeds.

It wa only in the 1970s that sunflower seeds became part of the American diet. Scientists had better methods of analyzing their properties and found them to be extremely high in Vitamin E. This not only helps the skin maintain its' elasticity but also helps in preventing cardiovascular disease. Sunflower seeds also contain a large dose of magnesium,helpful in preventing strokes and high blood pressure. Seeds eaten on a regular basis will also lessen migraines and asthma.
Sunflowers seeds are also versatile. You can used them as a topping for breads and rolls too or scattered in salads. You can even use them in a brittle too or just plain
If you want healthy and fun snacking look no further than sunflower seeds. They're not only tasty but good for you. Nosh on them when you want something salty and crunchy. They're the better choice.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Food Rumors

By now you've probably heard about the apple juice warning. Arsenic was found in it, creating quite a stir thanks to TV health show host Dr. Mehmet Oz. What he failed to mention is that apples, like other fruits, have traces of organic arsenic in them. What he also failed to mention is that it's perfectly safe to drink apple juice. This is what happens when rumors spread.

Over the years there have been all sorts of different food rumors. From rat hair in Snickers bars to severed thumbs in Coke cans, lies and fish stories have been incorporated in the fabric of American food history. It's hard to tell the difference at times and it doesn't help that we have alarmists fueling the rumor mill fires. What is worse is our sheep mentality. We tend to believe anything that is thrown our way, even though we may not have any solid evidence.

What to do? Be alert and aware. Usually when there is a recall or a salmonella outbreak , it will be announced on TV or the radio. Some reliable internet sites like The Huffington Post, will also give accurate reports.Some parenting or "mom" blogs are also good to check, especially when it comes to baby and toddler food warnings. Also check your grocery stores will print out signs telling you if there is a problem and what foods to avoid. There may also be a ban on buying them as well. Don't always rely on friends and family however. They may not have gotten the correct information in the first place.

Rumors abound all over. They can be downright scary when it comes to food. However they can also be downright inaccurate too. Be smart . Go to the right source for your food facts.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Weights and French Recipes

Yesterday's New York Times Dining section was chock full of interesting articles, Beside's the one on foil cooking (see yesterday's entry) there is one on cooking scales along with one featuring the French government's recipe book.What is also interesting is that the Times is featuring new writers such as Farhad Manjoo and Elaine Sciolino.

Manjoo's article about kitchen scales is a controversial one. Most chefs and even home cooks don't use them. Everyone relies on measuring cups along with dashes and pinches. Scales are only used by those watching their weight and have to have exact measurements. Yet using them cuts down on washing measuring cups and spoons. Just put the bowl on scale , add the ingredients and pour in what is needed. Kitchen scales aren't that expensive. You can get a good one from twenty to fifty dollars. Most stores do have have them and they are easy to find.

The second article is about a different kind of scale, the fair political balance France seems to have. That article, written by Elaine Sciolino tells of a political unity that this country could benefit from. A cookbook, aptly named The Cuisine of The Republic: Cook With Your Deputies (La Cuisine de la Republique: Cuisenez avec vos deputes!) is a compilation of different and downright delicious recipes from French politicians (and note- not one tea bag mentioned). The dishes are traditional and representative of each region. There are escargot and aged hare along with scalloped potatoes and a simple cake taken from a 15th Century recipe.

The Times Dining section had some interesting articles this week. One divided chefs into a controversy,One united politicians in celebrating their heritage . Both are good reads.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Foiled For An Easy Barbecue!

As I wrote in yesterday's entry it is still the season to grill and barbecue. However unlike the lazier midsummer ones , the barbecues now are a little more rushed. Blame it on our busy schedules which seem to kick it up a notch come September. however there is a solution. Foil packing your meats and veggies. The result is a quicker and actually tastier way of barbecuing done right.

Foil cooking was the subject of the Al Fresco section in the Dining section of today's New York Times. The piece, written by new regular, Alice Hart, explains the simplicity of this easy cooking method. What's great is that it goes the best on a hot grill but you can also use it in an oven or even on a campfire.Another plus is that you can make the packets up in advance (think your own Swanson TV Dinner line). They can also be transported in a cooler to any camp site and the foil also used as plates later on.. As far as with wrapping use a double layer of foil. . This ensures that the insides will be well cooked and that the package won't tear apart, creating spills.

What to put into a foil pouch or packet? Ms. Hart includes a delicious halibut recipe that is heavily spiced with coriander , cumin seeds and lemons to give it a North African flavor. Fish or chicken really are the best meat s for pouch cooking. They are the juiciest, (although I can see a flank steak also being used) and the most flavorful. Use steak cuts or in the case of poultry breast meat. There are recipes where you can cook veggies this way too. You can add butter and white wine and let it heat up in the packet, marinating the contents.

Foil cooking is an easy way of making , moist and tender meals. It's also fuss free because you can just throw away the foil afterwards. What a perfect way to have a fall barbecue.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Can We Grill Yet?

Even though we're edging towards fall, we can still participate in summer activities. We can still spend the weekends at the beach. We can still wear shorts and tees. Best of all we can still grill.Just because autumn is a week away, doesn't mean we have to stop having our favorite warm weather favorites.

This is the time of year when you can combine the best of the two seasons. Apple, that autumn requisite, can be added in a variety of ways to your grilling. Apple wood can add to any outdoor cooking,by imparting a smoky, fruity flavor. This is a great taste for chicken but also for pork. You can either buy a bag of it or gather fallen branches from your local orchard. To get more apple taste try making an apple relish or chutney to go with your grilled meats.

This is also the time to think about adding a little spice to your barbecue. Sage is one of those spices that are added to all sorts of autumn dishes. You add a dash of it to dry rubs for pork and beef. The fall classics, cinnamon and nutmeg, usually reserved for desserts can also be used in dry rubs for extra zing. Cinnamon has a very , dominant, fiery taste that would work well with grill pork kabobs or even chops Nutmeg is just as potent but has a more subtler taste. It works well with chicken but you can also use it on turkey too.

Yes, you can still grill This is the perfect weather for it. You can add some autumnal twists to this fun summer way of cooking.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Easy French Cooking

Easy and French cuisine rarely are heard in the same sentence. Yet you can create tasty Gallic influenced foods in no time at all. There are many dishes that can be whipped up without a maximum of toil and trouble. They're not only great mais tres facile!

Crepes are one of the easiest French dishes to make. The batter can be made anywhere from an hour to a night before and let stand. All it it takes is flour, melted butter or olive oil and a cup of milk along with salt and two eggs. Crepe batter is similar to pancake batter but should be a tad thinner (this comes from a good whisking). Lightly grease a crepe or regular frying pan and that's it. Finish with a sprinkle of sugar and cinnamon for a sweet meal. You can also stuff crepes with shredded ham and cheddar cheese and let the hot crepe cook them up. Another idea is filling crepes with canned chicken ala king. This makes for a really yummy dinner and one even kids will enjoy. You can also saute tomatoes , squash,eggplant and onion together for a quick ratatouille filling .

Another quick French meal is steak au poivre, steak with peppercorns. This bistro fave just requires steak , then coating it in salt and peppercorns. It is quickly pan fried.Use the drippings and cognac along with butter, dark stock and shallots to create a yummy sauce. Serve with fries for a true Parisian meal. Croque monsieur is another easy dish. Basically it's just a fried in butter grilled cheese with ham. You can make a bechamel sauce for it or add an fried egg to create a croque madame. After a busy day, this is a fun dinner to make and also a satisfying one.

French cooking isn't all fancy dishes and complicated time consuming sauces. You can have a tasty Parisian meal in just minutes. Best of all it's also tasty and filling and just as good as any multistep Gallic dish.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Helping Others The Foodie Way

Tomorrow is the tenth anniversary of September 11th and it has gone from a day of mourning to a day of giving back. Luckily ,foodies as well as anyone else, can help in the way they know best - with food . There are so many ways of bringing comfort and support to others- not just in New York but around the world.

Remember those who do need you. There are so many soup kitchens that need help.You don't have to be a great cook. You can also participate in the setting up and cleaning up. You can dish out portions and offer a friendly smile and kind words. You can also donate food or if you can cook offer to make the main dish or sides. Be vigilant in your offer. After all the holidays are coming up and that's when soup kitchens need as much help as possible.

Another way of giving back in a foodie manner is making care packages for our troops overseas. They appreciate some home baked cookies and favorite candies sent to them .Another way is helping to have bake sales and start up lemonade (or coffee) stands to raise money. If you 're a restaurateur , then offer discounts on meals for our military. Outback Steak House is famous for this and it's a trend that's thankfully catching on. It's just a nice way of saying thank you to those who protect our country and what we stand for.

Tomorrow is the tenth anniversary of our darkest day. It is good to mourn. It is better to remember the sacrifices these heroes have made. Try to emulate them by donating time, effort and food to help others.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Gearing Up For Fall

Thanks to the late summer heat you may feel like just eating a quick sandwich followed by an ice for dessert. However fall is just around the corner and with it comes chills and cold stormy weather. If you want to maintain that summery glow and good health,it's important to eat right. Take advantage of the harvests right now and rethink your eating habits.

Already doctors and chain drug stores are pushing for flu shots. You can also boost your immunity by eating some of the bounties our gardens and farms are offering right now.Broccoli and spinach are excellent sources of iron and calcium.These can be bought at any stand and can be made into all sorts of yummy dishes. Try them in omelets (eggs are also good immune boosters too) or in a flavorful quiche . Tomatoes are a must too. They are loaded with vital antioxidants and important vitamins and minerals . Again fresh tomatoes are excellent in sauces but also try them sliced on toasted Italian or French bread. Drizzle with olive oil , another very good for you food.

Desserts can also be healthy. Blueberries and raspberries, the last in full harvest right now can provide you with manganese and fiber. Raspberries are surprisingly chock full of Vitamin C and you can have them fresh right now or better yet, atop chocolate ice cream with chocolate syrup. Apples, that fall standard, is another good flu fighter.Eat them just a a snack with caramel or in pies or galettes.They also are good in a Waldorf salad and add a certain tartness in grilled chicken salads.Dark chocolate is another diet must have. The candy is full of antioxidants which help the body Have it in moderation from a simple candy bar to shaving it over ice cream (for a yummy stratichella) or over puddings and cupcakes.

It may still be summer but it's time to start eating for fall and winter. The more good food you consume the healthier you 'll be during flu season. Eat right now , fell better later on.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

New York's Fall Foodie Fest

New York is amazing in the fall. There's the start of the opera and theater season. Bryant Park is awash with fashion shows and designers. The air is crisp and redolent with with aromas of new restaurants. The Big Apple is baking - with interesting ideas and foods for Autumn 2011.

This was the main piece in yesterday's New York Times Dining section. Every year this section features a preview of new eateries opening up. Like the papers' movie and theater previews it always features the most interesting along with opinions on what will be the most successful. There are several restaurants that are predicted to succeed. Korean is big and there are a number of Korean places opening up. This is due in part to a historical TV show running in the country that features a 15th Century chef. There is intrigue and traditional recipes both are appealing to the country's young people. What this translates into is a wave of fresh new chefs opening up new places in the metro area. It also means a new spin on Seoul food. Other restaurants such as Alison 18 is a reinvention of the great romantic restaurant owned by Alison Price Becker . A plus for it is that it will feature also breakfast, something many city eateries do not offer

Others include the unusual Danish restaurant called Aamanns/Copenhagen. This will bring in all sorts of people from foodies to trendsetters to try this rare slice of Scandinavia. A new French restaurant,La Promenade des Anglais is joining New York's long list of French bistros. The chef, Alain Allegretti is bringing the food of his native Nice here. Kutschers, that longtime Catskill fave is starting a second restaurant in Tribeca. Here people can enjoy Borscht Belt classics such as matzoh ball soup and Romanian tenderloin. There is also an updated version of gefilte fish that will look more like a French quenelle than just fish on a dish .It will also be made with pike or whitefish instead of the traditional carp.

Manhattan is agog with different tastes this season.This is the perfect time to not only see the city but also experience some of the great chefs and new eateries . Try them for to celebrate autumn in New York.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

New York A Melting Pot Of Chefs

Manhattan has always been a melting pot.For the last four centuries people from around the world have come to it, seeking fame and fortune. It's no different in this century and the island is attracting many a foreign chef . This is good for foodies because now Manhattan has more culinary variety than ever.

This was the subject of an article in today's New York Times Dining section. The piece, written by Glenn Collins, tells of a few restaurateurs who left their countries to start a branch in New York.It should pay off. New York is one of the top destinations cities no matter what the season. Many feel this way including the Alexandrian family of Beirut. They left the Middle East to start an Armenian restaurant . Yes they can bring in the many Armenian -Americans in the tri state area, however they also want the tourist trade too.

This is the same philosophy for other chefs. Spanish chef , Miguel Sanchez Romera closed his place in the gastronomy capital of the world Barcelona to start a restaurant with his name at the trendy Dream Downtown Hotel.He'll probably receive a bigger following here than back in his native Spain. An English chef Niall Howard also will undoubtedly get more fans when he opens the New York branch of Hakkasan here later this fall. Other chefs are coming from such diverse places as Peru , Denmark,Italy, South Korea and Russia.

New York has always been an immigrant's dream. Nowadays it's a reality to chefs who open their restaurants here. it also means they've made it in one of the toughest restaurant towns in the world

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Picky Eater's Lunchbox

It's that time of year when parents should breath a sigh of relief.After all it's the start of the school year. Instead moms and dads are growling and pulling their hair over the little one's lunch box. Why? They have picky eaters.

Some kids will eat everything and anything. These are little foodies in the making. Some are just downright fussy. They won't eat certain foods , whether because of taste , texture or color. What to do? Work around it. Be clever and creative. If they hate fresh veggies, such as carrots and broccoli(most kids despise them).Try packing a flavored dip such as a low calorie ranch or onion. If they insist on sandwiches make them fun and healthy wraps. Add some kid pleasers such as guacamole or salsa in them Shredded cheese ,a good source of calcium can also be added.

What about sweets? Let's face it , kids practically demand them whether they starting kindergarten or high school. How does a parent handle this and what can be done. The easy and actually the best answer is fruit.Again make it fun. Pack grapes which are a finger food and one that can be shared. Apples and pears can be sliced too , With the first you can include cinnamon for extra taste. Fruit roll ups are another great lunchbox dessert. They're the closest thing to candy despite being relatively healthy and again a blast to much on.

Picky eaters can be worse than detention or extra homework.The solution is to create a fun and tasty lunch that will be eaten and not traded. Can it be done? Yes and successfully too!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Fruits of Their Labor

Everyone, enjoy their their Labor Day. Just remember that whether you eat in or out there are several people responsible for your meal.

If you've gone to the grocery store thank the people there who work hard to maintain a good and clean place where you can buy your food. Also keep in mind the workers who pick your veggies and fruits along with dairy workers and those who work in plants to give you everything from cookies to cold cuts.

If you're eating out today, then tip your waiter a dollar or two extra for their help. Waiting tables is no joke as is cooking in a diner . Short order cooks have to create a variety of dishes in practically no time at all. Also leave an extra dollar for the bus boy too. They are the ones who have the messy job of cleaning up after you.

Whatever you eat today think about the tons of workers who made it happen and hope that they have a a day off from their toils and labors.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

A Late Summer Picnic

Just because the calendar says September that doens't mean to put away the picnic basket and blanket. It's a still beautiful time of year to have a beach or lakeside gathering of your favorite foods.There may be a twist of something hot added but that's about it. Otherwise enjoy a lovely meal under sunny , and cool blue skies

This is still the harvest season so you can pack farm fresh tomatoes along with cucumbers and peppers. The tomatoes can be made in a variety of ways, as a sandwich , eaten plain w ith sea salt or sliced as a side. Cucumbers are good sliced thick and crunchy and dressed with a spicy vinaigrette. You can also make a lovely sour cream and dill dressing too This is a refreshing departure from your average cole slaw. peppers are good , just sliced and waiting to be dipped in little ups of ranch or onion dip or in any kind of salad. Of course this is a picnic so have plenty o or sandwiches with cold sodas or better yet chilled non alcoholic cider.

The weather, which depends on where you, are may get a nip to it. You can still enjoy a lovely outdoor meal. Try bringing along different soups in thermos to warm up. A hot tomato soup along with oysterettes is like a foodie blanket, protecting you from the chill .Another choice is a smooth squash or pumpkin soup with rice. You can also bring along little containers of butter or cream to add to the soup's taste and texture. Spice up your condiments too. Think about adding a hot mustard to your mayo or sprinkling a few drops of chili powder to your ketchup. Also tote along a thermos of hot tea, coffee or cocoa instead of the usual cold drinks.

Just because we're on our way to fall, it doens't mean to forgo all our fun summer activities . Plan a fun picnic at your favorite lake or ocean beach , and bring a hamper full of the best of the season.It's a great way to enjoy September's cool blue skies and refreshing breezes.

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Time for Food Drives

Winter will be on us soon although it is only September.It is a time to think of those less fortunate and what they do to survive during the cold months ahead. You can be in charge of one at your kid's school or go one step further and have one with your neighbors or office mates. Even groups of friends can get together and start a successful food drive.

The first step is to get organized. Either pick yourself or someone who has a lot of extra room to be the designated drop off. Then it's time to group together and discuss what charity you want to donate to and when. Many churches in the area do have food pantries and they would appreciate the extra cans. After all many people are still jobless and use these places on a weekly basis. if you live in a metropolitan area then there are plenty of shelters (sadly enough) who would appreciate canned and dry goods. Go on the internet and do a thorough search .Drop off stations will come up , either by town , county, parish or state.

What should you donate? Formula , surprisingly is number one. A lot of families cannot afford this and it and diapers would be greatly appreciated. Canned food , certainly, such as veggies that are chock full of vitamins .These can be made into a variety of tasty sides and also can keep for months. Think about chilis and tinned meat ssuch as tuna, deviled chicken and ham. Another must are pastas and sauces. These are perfect for those with fussy kids and any pasta dish is filling and nutritious. Canned fruits are excellent choices too.Although not as nutritious as the fresh ones , they still can be handy and also can be made into different desserts. Also think about donating pet foods because many in need do have cats and dogs that they're struggling to feed.

Cold weather may seem like a lifetime away right now. However it's not too early to think about food drives for the poor and needy. The more you collect, the more they'll benefit.Start right away for a successful drive.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

From Blog To Cookbook The Homesick Texan Cookbook

Many bloggers dream of turning their daily weblogs into books and from there into solid gold. This has happened to Lisa Fain, creator of the great blog The Homesick Texan Cookbook. Her insights and recipes will be available September 13th when the blog turned book goes out to the public. It's a cookbook that has a definite appeal. Why? Because it features all old fashioned Texan recipes.There are chilis and biscuits, cornbreads and barbecues. Any foodie can recreate a perfect Houston barbecue or San Antonio Tex Mex feast.

Ms Fain was the subject of yesterday's weekly Feed Me column in The New York Times Dining section. The interview ,conducted by Alex Wichtel, highlights this former office worker's love of her native Texan cuisine. She started her blog when she was working in the magazine production section of Advertising Age . It became a full time job and she quit to work on it and the accompanying cookbook. It paid off. There are many people who follow her and love the down hominess of her recipes. These are family recipes with the chief ingrdients being love.

I checked out the site and it is a good one. The recipes are true Texan , using native chiles and produce. Since Texas is also part of the South the recipes also reflect that cuisine. There are a lot of cornbread, crawfish and biscuit recipes along with sweet buns and cobblers. I love her black eye pea dip and will try it along with her pea salad, a Texas classic.Ms. Fain also has a section where you can buy other authors' cookbooks featuring barbecue and Southern cooking. You can also buy chilies , Mexican chocolate and other ingredients along with pots and pans too.

The Homesick Texan Cookbook is a great blog and it will be neat cookbook too. If you haven't visited this site yet please do. You'll pick up some tasty homestyle Texan recipes and some interesting down home advice.