Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Short Pantry

I'm writing this a mile from my home. Thanks to Hurricane Sandy we have noWiFi so I'm writing this in a Dunkin Donuts on Rte 46 . it is packed because there is no electricity in our area and people meed a good cup of coffee to survive. I have gas so I. Can get coffee , tea and hot cocoa any time. As for my readers outside the East Coast ,Just bear with me for the next few days.I do not know what will happen.I 'll try to write as much as I can.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane Eating Safety Tips

Now that Sandy is in our midst, it's time to think about beating safely.There are so many factors to consider.Hopefully this will only be until Wednesday .Until then here are some tips. Water is one of your most vital essentials during this time.Make sure everyone, including animal companions have at least one gallon of water per each day.This can be used for coffee and tea as well.If you run out and there,s a problem either boil it or put an eyedropper full of bleach to decontaminate it. Juice and even Gatorade are good energy boosters.Have boxed milk for kids and toddlers in case the stores are flooded out for a few days. As for food every fridge should have the basics right now.Make sure you have eggs and milk along with bread.If anything you can always make French toast even if you just have oil to fry it.Any kind of block cheese is good as well.One, it keeps, and two it's a good source of protein. It's also versatile because you can have it hot or cold.Fruit and some veggies will keep.Have pears ,apples and plums around because these can be kept for a few days without rotting. They're also a good source of natural sugar, excellent for an energy boost. For all my readers stuck in this cataclysmic event ,please don't panic .It will get better.If you're lucky to be at home ride it out with the above hurricane essentials.Stay safe.Stay dry,Stay well fed.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Hurricane Cuisine

Thanks to Hurricane Sandy, most of the East Coast will experience hurricane cuisine  tinned food and bottled water mixed with whatever is in the freezer. Anyone can get creative with whatever is in their kitchen, providing they have gas and/or electricity.It's also a time to take out the grill again if need be.

Usually a freezer can keep its 'temps until the second day without power. Don't keep opening it otherwise you'll lose the food inside. Instead concentration what's in the refrigerator part. If you're lucky you 'll have eggs. Paired with almost anything, from meats to cheese to veggies, you can create a nice omelet that the family can enjoy. Cheeses can be melted and made into a Welsh rarebit or fondue.Again bread can be dipped into this as well as boiled potatoes. You can also use the extra veggies along with tinned tuna  or any meat as a hearty salad.

What happens when the freezer goes? Again try to be creative.TV dinners may be hard to cook because they may require the microwave. You can cook some in your oven if you do have a gas stove. For some of the other frozen foods, you;re going to have to get creative and possibly drag out the grill. Frozen burgers can be thawed and cooked , if you have a gas grill. If you have an electric try to use a neighbor's hibachi of there is one. Freezers also keep all that extra sauce you made with your tomato harvest. Thaw it out and make either soup or sauce.Ice cream melted down can be mixed with milk for a malted.

Hurricane cuisine can be much like the phenomena itself, wild daring , outrageous. Yet out of that can come substantial and, yes, even nutritious food, Don't fear it. work with it.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Peanut Butter And Pickles

Peanut butter is great on its' own .It'a phenomenal with chocolate and even bananas. With pickles? Surprisingly yes. More an dmore people are going for a pickle and peanut butter combo.

This crazy combo was a feature of Wednesday's New York Times DIning section. Dwight Garner, who seems new to The Times experimented with it in the DeGustibus column,It actually has been around for generations, wit h Mr. Garner's father eating it durng his law school days. Even Southern grannies have made this for lunches and snacks .If it's still gross imagine as a sophisticated version of PB & J.

How the sandiwch is made is important  Mr. Garner suggests Clausen's or any pickle that has a slight sweetness. (I would suggest the sugary gherkins) to itl Bread and butter pickles work just fine as well. It should be crunchy and hold up to the creaminess of the peanut butter. As for the peanut butter itself, stay away from crunchy and try a classic like Smuckers.Also put it all on a good white breadsuch as Arnold's.

Peanut butter is good. So are pickles. Together they create an interesting treat.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Reclaiming Quiche

Quiche is one of those foods that goes through waves of popularity. It was hot from t he Sixties to the Eighties and then fell out of favor. Some restaurants serve it still as do grocery stories, however' the recipe is so far from the original, that's it not really quiche. That's about to change. Some new recipes are emerging that restore the dish back to all its' Gallic glory.

It was the topic of an article in yesterday's New York Times Dining section. City Kitchen by Dave Tanis. Mr. Tanis explores true quiches, those light , eggy pies with even lighter and crispy crusts, These are the closest f not the exact of what French groceries sell as well as what is made in homes. What makes them lighter is what they're baked in. Most Americans bake kitchens in deep dish pie plates. Don't!This ruins the texture. Bake any quiche in a shallow dish with a removable bottom.This ensures a creamy filling with a slightly unctuous or oild texture.

Mr. Tanis gives some good recipes Of course he includes the classic quiche Lorraine,..However instead of the usual ham he suggests bacon along with Gruyere instead of the usual Swiss.There is also a tasty crab meat one that;s seasoned with fresh tarragon and chives. The trio is rounded out by a quiche with herbs and goat cheese.It has scallions and thyme along with parsley. There is a double surprise of lemon zest and the goat cheese placed at the quiche's bottom. These are great for not only Sunday brunches but for a Saturday night dinner too.

Qucihes made right are wonderful. Use these recipes with the proper baking equipment to create a true Gallic tarte salee or savory quiche. It's like tasting the best that France has to offer

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Most Perfect Dumplings

New York City is known for it's big Chinese community. The community has given the city some of the best recipes and dishes from Beijing duck to dumplings. It's the last that making waves again. Dumplings are becoming hot again  -although they never went out of style.There are some new variations as well as traditional dumplings too.

New York Times Dining regular, Jeff Gordonier has  the lucky assignment of tasting and rating some of New York''s best dumplings.He has found traditional ones in Queens' Flushing where there is the second largest Chinese population in the world. Here dumplings are made the old fashioned way but with a spin - lamb is used. The ingredient, more suited to Mongolian tables, are a big draw at Mission Chinese Food on Manhattan's Lower East side. These were so popular that the restaurant;s chef and recipe's creator, Danny Bowien has made close to 1,000 on some days.

The dumpling takes on a funky New York neighborhood twist too. Mr . Gordonier was also fortunate to try the pretzel dumpling which has a funky inside and a chewy pretzel like outside. The inside can be made of a tasty pork a d scallion or a variation on chicken parm. There are also fillings such as pad Thai, cheesesteak and barbecued pork. Another restaurant, the trendy Brooklyn Red Farm creates dumplings that look like small golden crabs,complete with black sesame seed eyes. Dumplings are easy to make at home as well and you can try these with any number of ingredients.

Dumplings are definitely hot right now however there was never a time when they weren't popular. Go to Manhattan to sample these tasty treats. If not make them yourself, whether with the traditional or new trendy ones. Either way ,it makes for some good eating.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Salmon- Is It Good Or Bad?

We all hear the plus side of eating salmon.Yet, surprisingly there is a down side to this healthy fish.It can be bad for you at times. What's the up side of this tasty dish?What's the bad side? Are there many benefits  - or just one or two?

Salmon is one of the most popular fishes to eat. Everyone love;s the rich flavor and the meaty flesh, which is more textured that most fish.It's also very versatile too. Salmon can be used as a main dish or added to a salmon.You can grill, char or broil it.The plus side of it it's good for strengthening your muscles as well as tissues. It is chock full of Omega-3 which will lower your cholesterol.It also is responsible for preventing the  eye disease macular degeneration. Eating salmon will improve skin tone as well as making your hair shiny.The fish is full of the necessary Vitamin D, which helps in preventing breast and prostrate cancers.

Yet  salmon, especially farmed can have a dark side. Fish raised in a contained environment can absorb PCBs,dioxins, dieldrin and toxaphene, Dieldrin is a banned pesticide that is easily soaked up by the fish .Why a pesticide is in a contained area  is puzzling, however it is there. Toxaphene again is another pesticide that still persists in the environment. Both it and dieldrin can cause liver, and kidney cancer. However the risks for these are small in comparison to the benefits. The best bet is getting wild salmon which costs a little more than the farmed but is trouble free.

Is salmon good or bad for you? Mostly it's good. The risks from chemicals are small and practically non existent if you buy the wild variety. It's a good food, excellent for your health as well as being just downright delicious. Don't stop eating it.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Chelsea's Hip Bakeries

Chelsea is now one of New York City's hottest and hippest neighborhood. This is where you cool restaurants and shops along with the celebs and stars that shop there. The area also boasts a wide array of bakeries as well. Two of the most famous is Billy's and Blossoms.. These provide both tourists and locals with a wide array of cakes, cookies, and that still trendy treat, the cupcakes.

Billy's Bakery located on Ninth Ave , between 21st and 22nd Street, It also has locations in again the still popular Tribeca as well as The Plaza Food Hall near midtown. The bakery supposed was started by two friends however there is also the understory that the bakery was started by the famed Magnolia's bakery's workers who stole that bakery's most famous recipes. Whatever is the real story, the cakes and cookies are heavenly . Their mini cheesecakes are packed with flavor. The chocolate one is full of dense rich, crumbs while the texture is super creamy. The cakes all have a homemade from the Fifties taste and look. The cookie sandwiches. filled with homemade butter cream are to die for and a local favorite.

A few doors down is Blossom, a bakery with a twist. All their products are made without butter , eggs and milk. It's a division of the famed Blossom Vegan Restaurant (which is right across the street from the bakery)Unlike Billy';s they offer savory treats such as the Breton version of the croissant Koiugn Amann- a fine feat to pull off because regular ones are laced with butter.Their cakes are varied, as are their cupcakes. The vanilla ones are the best,It's a dense old fashioned cake made with a buttery blob of icing on top. The chocolate ones are intense and really don't need the frosting. However the best is Blossom's biscotti. These are not the traditional cylinder shaped ones but large spread out almond cookies that resemble oatmeal cookies. These are a mix of almond and crunch  = sheer perfect in every  bite.

Whether you love in trendy Chelsea or just visiting stop by either Billy's or Blossom for a cupcake and a coffee. Both have different world views and recipes yet a common thread  to make the best baked goods. Their goal has been met . Go to either or both for a satisfying bite of sweetness.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Coleridge And A Proper Tea

Tomorrow is Samuel Taylor Coleridge's birthday (as well as being Trafalgar Day)/ The early romantic poet, , best known for Kubla Khan and The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner. Like any writer, he probably appreciated sustenance (and opium) during his writing sessions/. He was born in Devon,a shire known for it's luscious cream teas. Anyone can recreate them, to experience a true English writer's afternoon - or evening snack.

What makes a good English tea? Good English tea.Typhoo is the best, coming from the United Kingdom,itself .It's a deep rich  tea that has a lovely aftertaste.Twinings is very good too You can try the traditional flavors such as Assam or Earl Grey. Lady Grey is also good ,however because it has orange over tone' its'best plain or with sugar. The others go well with a splash of milk in them. You must never several cream at an English tea. It's just not allowed. If you do want a twist or modernize the tradition, then use fruit teas for a different spin. They're refreshing both hot or cold (which only works during a summer high tea)

As for food, if you're having a tea for one you can create a small plate of sandwiches for yourself .These go well if you;re creating epic poems as Coleridge did or just blogging. You can create cucumber or watercress sandwiches with cukes and cress. Layer these on lightly buttered spices of small bread. Another filling is a meat one that can be made with a mix of devilled ham or chicken and mayo. For a tea party make these sandwiches along with jam filled ones and perhaps petit fours or colorful macaroons.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge, like his fellow romantic poets, William Wordsworth and William Blake appreciated a good tea. Any modern writer or Anglophile  would appreciate a hot cup of tea accompanied by delicious sandwiches and sweets. It's  a great respite to have from writing

Friday, October 19, 2012

Caribbean Greens

The Caribbean is known for lush islands, sparkling azure waters and pearly white beaches. What many people don't know is that the area is also known for producing vital fruits and vegetables. along with spices. If you want to vary your diet , add a dash of Caribbean green to it.

This was the subject of an article in yesterday;s New York Times Home and Garden section.The piece, written by Michael Tortorello tells of East New York, a haven for Caribbean immigrants and the exotica that grows there. The islands have always been a source of botanical wonder, first entrancing Columbus during his visits to the various islands. Anyone can grow the native spices(save for the extremely hot Scotch Bonnet which is banned in some states) and they can be made into all sorts of tasty gumbos and dishes.However don't worry if you have a brown thumb,most average supermarkets sell them. You can try a fiery fish chowder with different herbs  or a jerk chicken,made with a spicy herb based rub .

Caribbean fruits and vegetables also are varied.There are plantains which can be used in both sweet and savory dishes.Mangoes, originally from India now thrive in the islands. These can be good anyway, from being in a sorbet to even grilled .There is also the custard fruit which has a creamy custardlike flesh. Then there is the cancer fighting soursop which can be  made into a tasty punch.For veggies there is the spinach like callaloo, a staple of many Jamaican dishes.Okra , an import from West Africa is another basic and can be made into a variety of dishes.

The Caribbean is full of delicious fruits, vegetables and spices. Add some to your menu for variety. It's a fun and healthy  way to experience the islands.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Intrigue Of Burmese Food

Myanmar, once known as Burma, has always been an intriguing place full of different colors and flavors.It's foods reflect this with the variety of tastes and flavors. The blend is unique with nods towards neighboring countries as well as the nation's history. The cuisine is a mix of fiery and sweet , vegetable and meat. The combinations are both interesting and endless.

Burmese cooking was the subject of an article in yesterday's New York Times Dining section.The piece written by Dining regular, Julia Moskin tells about the range of tastes and flavors of Burmese cooking. Since Myanmar is between China and India, it is strongly influenced by them. There are the spices such as the Indian turmeric and okra mingling with the dried shrimp and tart veggies from the nearby Yunnan province. The Chinese influence also includes limes and peanuts in several recipes as well.

Ms. Moskin also got the chance to cook with one of the top experts on Burmese cooking,Naomi Duguid who has written cookbooks on several other cuisines She is also known for her Mexican cooking and making that popular. She introduced Ms, Moskin to thoke, the varied salad made up of several ingredients. Thoke is more a sauce than salad because of its' consistency. However there are several thoke recipes that call for bigger slices of tomatoes along with melons for a more salad  like dish. Even though the country is partly Muslim, they do make a ginger pork slider with lemon grass,ginger and garlic.

Burmese cuisine is as exotic and colorful as the country itself. It has its' own voice despite the Indian and Chinese influences.It is tasty and sweet , sharp and spice, a diversity of all sorts of flavors and taste.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Snail Lady

Snails surprisingly require as much work as cattle. Hard to believe those little escargots can be as troublesome yet  as tasty as any flock of chicken or herd of cattle. However they have a wrangler who makes them plump and delicious , perfect for satisfying the retro meal of escargot avec beurre.

The lady in question is Mary Stewart and she was interviewed in today's New York Times Dining section. Dining regular , Jeff Gordonier  conducted the interview on Stewart's snail farm,(yes, there is such a thing) north of Bakersfield, California. She has been raising and selling them to prime restaurants like Tertulia and Vinegar Hill House in New York and Moto in Chicago. The Walrus and The Carpenter in trendy Seattle also asks for her escargot. She is even trying to launch a snail caviar which are snail eggs. These are whitish pearls that have the same saltiness as roe but with a more earthy ,less briny flavor.

Escargot was the hit of the Sixties. Gourmands and hip foodies of the time always had it on their plates and on their radar. Nowadays this retro food is coming back  but without the traditional butter sauce (although it is a good introduction for those new to snails).Moto's chef, Richie, Farina pairs it with  wild mushrooms and edible flowers along with herbs and garlic arranged to be moss. It;s a stunning visual that serves the snails well. At Tertilia in New York's West Village the snails are paired with a risotto and Spanish ham or jamon Iberico..For novices with fresh snails, try them in a white wine sauce , infused with garlic and  au x fine herbes.

Mary Stewart is a unique woman., She has not only become a snail rancher but put escargot back on foodie;s menus again. Thanks to her, it;s now fun to eat snails.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Healthy Fall Party Foods

This is the time of year for all sorts of get togethers- from tailgating dos to Halloween parties. It's also time for harvests too, full of  healthy fruits and veggies . Combine the two to get fun and nutrition. You'd be surprised at what can come out of a healthy menu.

Tailgating parties are a must this time of year. However they;re usually a leftover from the summer barbecue. The menus revolves around barbecued everything . This may be good but a bit unhealthy . Try adding some veggies to those kabobs such as fall faves like Brussels sprouts or carrots. Beets are big right now and you can make a regular salad with sliced ones or a slaw full of shredded beets.This is a nice offset to those brats and dogs.If you're planning on an at home party then think about another seasonal favorite- artichokes, These can be stuffed with breadcrumbs or just have the leaves dipped in a vinaigrette  as a nice hors d'ouevre . Artichoke hearts are also a good topping on homemade pizza as well.

This is also the time for fruits as well.Of course every Halloween party planner is probably planning a bob for apples games. You can also vary it by having a bob for pears instead. Both are good in mini tarts or in regular sized ones too. Any get together would benefit from an old fashioned homemade pie too. Try a sweet potato one because this is also the season for them. These can als be made into pudding as well and served with a creme fraiche. You can also make a fudge with them or bake them into chips.Cranberries are another fall treat. These can be baked into cookies and muffins, and mixed with nuts , makes an interesting after dinner nibble.

This is the season for fun fall parties. Inject some healthiness in them by adding the fruits and vegetables of the season. They can not only be good for you too but also tasty in some great recipes!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Fall Baking

This is the perfect time for cake baking. The weather is free of humidity.The air is cool and crisp and many bakers do appreciate a hot oven warming up a cold kitchen.It's time to get out the flour and sugar and start creating good old fashioned cakes.

One of the best cakes to make is a pound. It's the most versatile, going from bake sales to a finishing off a nice Sunday dinner.It's also good in the sense that it is a true scratch cake and doesn't come from a chemical laced mix.Pound cake is one of the earliest recipes having graced tables from Colonial times. You can stick with the basic recipe and make a simple vanilla one or vary it with spices or chocolate chips. Try baking one with a fall theme, by using apple cider. Glaze with caramel sauce to finish it. Sour cream pound cakes may be very dense and rich but they are tasty.

Coffee cakes are another fall treat that can be easily made. They too are wonderful for finishing a fall meal or perfect for a church gathering or bridal shower. Coffee cakes start with an almost yeasty bottom topped with luscious cinnamon laced crumbs. Aptly enough they're also called crumb cake too as well as streusel cakes.A crumb cake is one of the simplest cakes to make and always turns out right. You can also create different varieties as well , adding cocoa powder instead of cinnamon to the spice mix. Another idea is keeping the cinnamon but blending in cooked apples for a fruitier treat. Add sour cream too to the cake batter for again a rich and smoother cake .

It's the perfect time for baking now that the weather is cooler.Try a classic pound cake or delicious crumb to celebrate the season. Either one is perfect for an autumn get together or bake sale.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Times Food Issue

Attention all foodies!The Sunday magazine of the New York Times is completely dedicated to food! This is just a fun issue with all sorts of recipes and food related articles Spoiler alert! Some articles will be discussed.

I normally don''t write about any food issue the day before it hits the stands. However this was too good to keep to myself. The Sunday Times has some really good articles, especially the interview with America's Test Kitchen's Christopher Kimball. Alex Halberstadt goes beyond the Kimball's nerdy exterior and discovers a really interesting cook and writer with exciting recipes and ideas. There is also an article from Makr Bittman about California's Central Valley, the area where most of America's vegetables and fruits originate along with its' many problems.

There are also tons of really interesting recipes. Check out the twenty five ones just for bacon. There is even one for  bacon laced popcorn which would make an interesting appetizer. It's combined with everything from polenta to lentils and pasta. Christopher Kimball'contributed an  unusual vodka infuse pie crust while Bittman's article has some good fruit and vegetable based ones. Also check out the article with drink recipes from New York's lady bartenders.

Don't plan on going out tomorrow. Stay home and really savor the Sunday New York Times magazine. It's a chewy, yummy paean to food and drink.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Fall Crepes

Fall's crisp weather demands warm tasty meals and snacks. What better than freshly made crepes filled with the harvests of the season? They're a nice surprise to come home to after a hard day of work or a great way to beginning a Sunday brunch.

The basic crepe recipe is easy. It's sort of like a pancake  with flour, water salt, oil and melted butter.Instead of pouring the batter thickly  as you would with a pancake, almost drizzle it onto a heated and oiled skillet(you can use a combo of oil and butter to cook the crepes). The batter must be ice cold, chilled in the fridge for a good hour or more before using. The fun part is filling them. Now you can use the last of the summer tomatoes , peppers and eggplants to make a yummy ratatouille . This makes for a tasty and healthy dinner. You can also make a savory potato, ham and cheese crepe using a sharp cheddar mixed with thinly sliced ham shreds and any kind of potato.

Since it's apple season, don't think twice about using apples for both a savory and sweet crepe. Try the cheese crepe with apples for a different kind of dinner.. Caramelized apple , made with maple syrup is a nice dessert , especially served with a side of vanilla ice cream,.You can also just apples and raisins sauteed with butter and brown sugar, and then filled a buckwheat crepe with it and serve with a cloud of whipped cream. You can saute pears too. These are cooked with butter, sugar and cinnamon and them spooned into a hot crepe. Instead of making pumpkin pie, try pumpkin crepes instead filled with  the cooked filling and topped with a sweet butter sauce.

Crepes in the fall - it;s not only a romantic idea but a tasty one. Try them savory or sweet. Either way they;re the perfect treat for a crisp autumn day.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Nibbles And Bits

Tasting menus have graced Manhattan tables for the last ten years. Many famous ones specialize in just this , giving customers a soupcon of their favorite dishes and flavors. Tasting or sampler dishes are a great way of finding out a restaurant's best dishes .It's also a neat way of broadening one's palate , enjoying a host of different flavors and textures.

It was the subject of an article in yesterday's New York Times Dining section.The section's main editor, Pete Wells, wrote about it and the epidemic copying now all around the US,There are even some New York City restaurants such as Atera and Blanca that serve noting but the tasting menus. Some other trendier ones as in San Francisco's Saison, diners receive chef Joshua Skenes techniques that involve dry aging, curing, fermenting, curing and grilling over fire.Unfortunately tasting tables comes with a few  caveats. One is they;re darned expensive. New York's Brooklyn fare charges $225 dollars.Another warning is that they're length affairs taking two to three hours. This is fine if you're with a good party of fellow foodies..This is serious eating. Another problem is that they don't give out that appealing fresh bread most restaurants such as Momufuko Ko and Blanca.

Chefs also have a few  problems with tasting tables and samplers. One, they can't tell what dishes are popular. Usually a clean plate or a barely nibbled on appetizer, dinner or dessert can tell the restaurants' cooks what's liked  and what's hated.Because there's only a nibble placed on a dish, the whole thing is eaten up. Also they can;t come out and ask a completely stuffed customer "How was everything?" Not after three hours of scarfing down a dozen appetizers, mini meals and spoonfuls of dessert.There's also the headache of figuring out how to keep morsel sized portions from cooling down so quick. A regular sized portion will retain the oven's heat.A smaller one will not,.

Yet , despite it all, tasting menus are hot amongst foodies who have the time and money to spend . They may be responsible for the next trend. Sampling may be hitting restaurants all around the country and with that more palates will be broadened.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

From Oops To Ooh!

We've all had them., Those kitchen disasters from baking to roasting where the whole cake or dish turns out to be a flop.What to do? Turn them into an entirely new dish. This actually works and can resuscitate a complete bomb , turning it into a tasty treat.

This was the subject of today's A Good Appetite Column in The New York Times Dining section. Melissa Clark writes of her own disasters and how she salvaged them. It's easily done. Any minus can be turned into a plus in the kitchen, For example overcooked meat or fish can be paired with sliced potatoes and fried into rosti , a tasty , and savory potato pancake.Overcooked and mushy veggies can be the main ingredient in a souffle. If a culinary disaster happens at a dinner party , then just rename the dish, Ms. Clark suggests. No one will be the wiser.

Desserts too can turn out to be bombs as well. Reconsider calling an unset pudding a creme Anglaise and use it as a sauce fruits and cakes. A bad batch of cookies or a gooey cake that didn't harden  can either be turned into trifle or individual parfaits using berries and whipped cream,There is also the  age old idea of adding more icing or whipped cream to cover the flaws too.This works well for cupcakes too. Sometimes they either wind up being undercooked or burnt. A mound of frosting can do wonders as can cute decorations.

Don's worry if you have any kitchen disaster. It can be reworked into an entirely new dish .In fact it may result in a better , tastier recipe.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Cake Or Yeast Doughnuts ?You Decide !

This is the time of year for doughnuts.They;re perfect with a good hot cup of coffee or a sparkling glass of chilled cider. Which one do you want? The dense cake or the lighter yeast variety. Many people have opinions about which is better?

There has always a controversy between the two kinds. Yeast doughnuts ,like the ones Dunkin Donuts sell are good, albeit a bit chewy . They are always made with yeast like bread and are usually lighter in texture with a fluffier interior. The dough can be twisted into krullers or churros or roped to form pretzels.Most yeast ones  are usually glazed and make for a better jelly kind. They are more complicated to make however, requiring the extra step of allowing them to raise. They can be made with chocolate , however  most have a vanilla or sweet bread flavor.

Cake doughnuts or donuts are the best doughnut for beginners to make.They're mixed exactly like cakes with baking powder for a leavening agent,This results in a denser, more substantial treat ., Cider doughnuts are considered cake doughnuts. Both types are usually fried although you can bake and even microwave cake ones in special molds.As with cakes you can also vary the batter creating carrot cake ones,along with chocolate or black forest. You can also add nuts and chocolate chips to them as well. Cake doughnuts can be glazed but the more traditional way to go is either plain, or heavily dusted with confectioner's sugar or cinnamon sugar.

This is the season for a tasty doughnut or donut. Both the cake and the yeast version are delicious . treat yourself to whatever kind you like  - and savor the its taste and texture.

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Columbian Food Exchange

Today is Columbus Day , celebrating Columbus' voyages to the New World. Whether he consciously knew it or not he changed the way the wold ate .Foods were exchanged and introduced to the Native Caribs and the Europeans.. Thanks to him, diets were forever improved and mostly in a good way.

Thanks to this intrepid explorer European diets have become as varied as possible. The  Northern Italians acquired corn for polenta, formerly made with barley. Tomatoes were introduced and became a vital ingredient in southern Italian cooking. No one can imagine the two cuisines without these. Ireland got potatoes, which also became a staple in other diets like the Scandinavian,. German Polish and again the Northern Pineapples also entered European society and has become a staple ever since.Without cacao, there would be no Swish chocolate. The New World also gave the Old World turkeys and peanuts too.

The Old World, however, also had its' contributions. Both the continents of Europe and Africa gave the new frontier fruits such as peaches and pears which grace many an American orchard. They also gave us coffee from Africa and olives from the Mediterranean along with turnips from Northern Europe.American farms welcomes bananas and grapes too . Most of America's bread basket originated in the wheat and barley fields over there as well Europeans also brought pork, lamb and beef to the indigenous population as well as horse to work the fields.

Christopher Columbus  did not just settle new lands. He also created a culinary tornado with effects that we still feel today. More than any chef or nutritionist, he changed the way the wolrd ate

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Over Spicing Outselves

October is known for its’ fall harvest - namely pumpkins. Every store and fast food joint along with coffee shop features some kind of homage to this seasonal gourd. The problem is are we overdosing on it?Or more specifically the spices that go into making a pumpkin pie

No offense. I like pumpkin - preferably in soup.It's also good for you., rich in beta carotenes as well with vitamins. However when everyone from Dunkin Donuts to Starbucks features a pumpkin something, It's not thegourd though. It's the many spices that go into it, namely nutmeg, allspice ginger and cinnamon. Each one is fragrant and flavorful on its' own in a drink, Combined together and its just becomes too much - a sort of liquid gingerbread complete with addition of a mound of whipped cream and caramel drizzlings. There's nothing wrong with just cinnamon dusting the top of a foamy cappuccino, Add more and and the average coffee becomes an Indian spicy chai.

The same is true of some baked goods this season as well,.There's nothing wrong with an old fashioned spice cake. Yet some companies feel it's the season to make everything pumpkin-y and super spicy. That means loading up cookies and cakes along with doughnuts and muffins with those same spices along with a bright orange tint for to emphasize the gourd-y goodness of  it all.Cinnamon along with allspice , ginger and nutmeg can be excellent if used moderately even blended together. However some places over saturate their doughs with it,creating a slightly overpowering treat.If they want to stick with the fall theme, then maybe try either a cinnamon or nutmeg based recipe or just decorate with iced on brown and gold leaves or again even a pumpkin drawn on top in icing./

It's the season to enjoy the harvest. However most places go overboard with worshipping pumpkin to the point of oversaturation. Enough is enough! Maybe its' time to turn the attention over to that other fall fave , the apple

Friday, October 5, 2012

Stanley Tucci, Master Actor and Master Chef

Stanley Tucci is one of the most versatile and talented actors of the modern film age. He can range from sparkling as in “The Devil Wears Prada” and downright creepy as seen in “The Lovely Bones”. Yet he shines when it comes to food and not just in the movies “Big Night “ or “Julie and Julia but as a great chef.

The celebrated actor and his family were the main subject of an article in Wednesday’s New York Times Dining section. The write up was by Dining regular and food critic , Frank Bruni .It tells not just of Stanley’s contribution to the culinary world but that of his grandmother, Concetta and his parents. He follows in his nonna’s footsteps by creating delicious homemade sauces and traditional Calabrian dishes. There are also Northern dishes in his arsenal too thanks to his parents moving the whole family to Florence Italy in the Seventies, Mr. Tucci has even carried the food to his art. He was one of the writers of the movie “Big Night” the Nineties classic that centers around an Italian owned family restaurant at 1950’s Jersey shore. His grandmother’s recipe for a type of everything in it calzone with timpani was one fo the film‘s highlights.The movie spawned a cookbook entitled appropriately enough “The Tucci Cookbook.” In it readers will find anecdotes and recipes.

Mr. Tucci loves to cook. His family’s home in Katonah , New York has a backyard pizza oven along with a huge gas grill. He also has a wood and aluminum roasting box (which sort of looks like a casket) called a caja China for cooking meats. He is a whiz at everything from roasting pig to making the elegant peaches in red wine. Mr. Tucci is so into food and drink that he has even befriended the renowned chef, Mario Batali and hosted a short lived wine show called “Vine Talk”. It will come as no surprise if he opens up a restaurant in Manhattan, considering his passion for food far surpasses his love of acting.

Stanley Tucc may be a very versatile actor but his talent for being a chef is also well known. If he does leave the movie business there will be a job in the culinary world waiting for him. Even better will be a new group of fans, - not film buffs but foodies who appreciate a good meal.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Edamame Snacks

Snacking is always fun, Unfortunately it's not always healthy which is a pain. That problem can be solved by making those yummy soy beans or edamame. These beans are not only fun but good for you. They make a great treat for movie night or during football games.

The beans were the subject of Mark Bittman's column How To Cook Anything in yesterday's New York Times Dining section. Edamame is an excellent snack along with any other bean as Mr. Bittman points out, He seems like an avid vegetable gardener as he describes the variety of his homegrown legumes from black beans to scarlet runners. Any bean can be turned into a snack, All you do is just boil them, drain them and then sprinkle them, preferably with coarse sea salt. They're an excellent source of protein which are rich in proteins and good carbohydrates.They're also devoid of all that fat and transfat most snacks have.

Now here's th e fun part. Use spices and sauces to jazz up them and any other bean. Most people like edamame just with a sprinkle of sea salt and maybe dipping the pods in a rich dark soy sauce. However , there are other dips that work just as well, Try rice vinegar or lemon juice for a tart variation.Toast sesame seeds til they pop and sprinkle them onto the shelled beans. You could also add a few chiles for some bite.Toast nori or Japanese seaweed and crumble on top. You can also toss the shelled beans with curry or chili powder for some fun fire,. Another idea is to  sweat some garlic or ginger in peanut oil. Drizzle this over the edamame.

Edamame is a good and healthy snack. Have them plain or with a variety of sauces for a different kind of nibble. They're fun and unusual , but better than the usual fare.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Cooking With Ms Stewart

Martha Stewart is a Renaissance person  for the home arts. What she does and has done is amazing as she initiates America and the world to domestic creativity. Her cooking and baking are well known as are her recipes . She can take any recipe whether simple or complicated and turn it into a unique masterpiece.

She was the subject of the new New York Daily News Wednesday food section. (usually my Wed entry is rserved for the New York Times Dining section however that may change thanks to the Daily News ). The News' Patty Lee interviewed her about her new half hour  show Martha Stewart's Cooking Show."which is on Sundays at 4 PM.In it she harks back to another PBS master cheff , Julia Child. Unlike the second she will explain each recipe and step in her unique, authoratative way. This is a great show for beginners because each step is thoroughly explained.

The recipes given range from super super easy to relativehard. There is an easy one for an herbed omelet  made with clarifued butter. This is a great way to not only enjoy a perfect omlet but to experiment with herbs like tarragon , parsley and chervil. There is also a brown sugared carrot recipe, perfect with r. The baked mac and cheese is pure Martha. She adds not only cheddar but also Gruyere and fontina along with grated Parmiggiano Reggiano cheese as well.THis is an adult version of th family classic and it would go well with a fine dry white wine..There will be episodes as well. Martha Stewart is a great inspiration to anyone, whether they be a cook or craftsman.Her new show will garner her a lot of new fans. They will certainly benefit from her recipes and advice.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Time For Applesauce

Now that it's apple season it;s time to make the classic applesauce. This is a great way of using the apples and also creating a versatile dish. Applesauce can be used as a side or as a dessert, as well as a healthy snack. It's also a cinch dish for novices who want to create a tasty dish using the fruit.

Applesauce requires cooking apples. If you go apple picking or even if you're picking them up from your local grocery store, look for these. The best are Fuji, Golden Delicious, JonaGold, Granny Smith, Gravenstein, or the Mackintosh. If you want to spice it up a bit , mix up a few varieties together.You will also need cinnamon, either the stick or powdered form, along with both brown and white sugar.Lemon juice and zest is needed to preserve it Cook 20 to 30 minutes in a big pot (a lobster pot is great for this) and then mash with a potato masher. Don't worry if you make a lot. Applesauce freezes well and can last up to a year in the freezer.

Now that you have it you can use it as a side or a dessert. Most Germans usually serve roast pork with a heaping side of it. The apple's enzymes breaks down the pork's fibers when they're eaten together, making for a better digestion,  You can also make it as a side with pork medallions too. For breakfast try it to liven up some oatmeal or farina. As a snack, try it mixed in with honey into Greek yogurt. A nice dessert is an apple sauce parfait with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce. Another good use for it is in baked goods Apple sauce cuts the fat, making any baked  product healthier.It also improves a cake's or cookie's texture as well.

Cook all those apples you've picked in a tasty homemade applesauce. It's a great way of getting an apple's nutrients but also the delicious taste. Try it with a meal or as a snack. It's a scoop of homemade goodness.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Fall Harvest Is Here Part One

Fall is officially here and with it brings a wide variety of good for you fruits and veggies. This is the season to not only eat well but to eat healthy. There are a wide variety of produce out there you can make any way, from fun snacks to delicious meals and sweets.Take advantage of this cornucopia of harvest delights.

This is the season for apples and pears. Many farms right now are offering pick your own jaunts through their orchards. Apples are rich in Vitamins A, C and K. They're rich with the B vitamins like thiacin and niacin. Try them as a sweet snack or in a pie or cake.Pears are also in season right now and they too are rich in Vitamin C along with fiber.Pears can be good on their own but they're also wonderful in a buttery tart or a spicy crisp. Grapes are another fall fruit and this is the season for the red variety. These are a wonderful snack or can be used giving color to fruit salads. Also have them with a ripe cheddar fpr a different dessert.

Vegetables also shine during the autumn season.Squash is huge right now and one of the stars of the family is the pumpkin, It's bright orange colors signifies that's it's rich in beta carotene.You can go either way with it. It is chock full of calcium and potassium too. It can make a wonderful pie filling or mousse or can be a delicious soup, rich with onions and cream. Another biggie is kale. Kale is one of the best vegetables to eat.It is loaded with Vitamins C and K along with caretonoids and flavanoids. Eating it will prevent block clots and heart disease, along with lowering high blood pressure. Make the always healthy kale chips for a fun snack or unusual hors d"ouevre. It;s also good stir fried or  sauteed with olive oil and garlic.

Use fall harvest to improve your overall health.Try the many bounties of healthy fruits and vegetables in a variety of differnt dishes and treats. Take advantage of this great season and all it has to offer