Saturday, March 30, 2013

A Healthy, Tasty Easter

Tomorrow is Easter and for all my readers have a good and healthy one. Indulge a little in chocolates (it wouldn;t be the same without them). Don't go too wild on the Peeps or anything too marshmallow-y. Ditto with the jelly beans which are pure refined sugar.

Revel in the greens of the season. This is the start of the asparagus one and every Easter dinner should have a dish of either roasted or baked stalks. They are tasty and a great addition to any table. The same can be said for fennel. Make a tasty and cool fennel salad with a simple lime and olive oil dressing for a fresh Spring flavor. Go easy on the ham and baked beans, They're loaded with salt and also nibble at the cakes and cookies sparingly. Finish with an iced herbal tea to refresh yourself and kick back  to enjoy the pretty clothes and colors.

Have a good Easter and a healthy one too. Eat wisely . Don't gobble up all the sweets. Go for the veggies instead and enjoy and observe the day..

Friday, March 29, 2013

Good Friday And Fasts

today is Good Friday. Most Christians around the world have already observed the day. What you can do is try fasting or light eating along with donating to your local or church pantry. Even skipping a small meal can help the body, purifying it. if you do feel hungry then broth and crackers can alleviate the pangs.Most religions do have a fasting period. it's not only a sign of respect, it 's also helps the body detoxify. however you observe this Good Friday, keep in mind those who do not have. donate whatever food you have to your local food pantry.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Spicing Up Kid Favorites

Little ones are either the best or the worst food critics. They know exactly what they like and make no bones about it. Unfortunately with their ideas comes a refusal to try new or improved dishes.This limits their palates and their diet.However all it takes is some craftiness and creativity to make them change their minds.

Melissa Clark realized this with her four year old daughter. She explores her kid's diet and passion for only white foods in her New York Times Dining column A Good Appetite. Dahlia loves baked mac as any kid does along with chicken pot pie. Her mother, being more adventurous decides to spice these up. It is hard though because kids,even teen agers, have a set idea of what they want to eat. There are no variations. They like it because it is comfort food.Anything else would be blasphemy.

How does Ms. Clark change it up. With the baked mac and cheese, cheddar is replaced with creamy marscapone and the slightly sharp and biting mix of Parmesan and Reggiano cheese. For silkiness, she adds some Brie too and nutmeg for a different  flavor. Her daughter likes this, thankfully  as she does her mother's twist on chicken pot pie. This is slightly adult with the addition of white wine along with garlic, celery root and leeks. This recipe is a great one for introducing new veggies to kids. She also has another kid classic rice pudding, this made with golden raisins  and cardamon for zest.

It's tough to change anyone's tastes, especially a kid's. Yet that little tongue can be persuaded into trying new flavors by subtly changing the recipe.It may be sneaky but it's a great way of getting even the most sutbborneest and youngest food critic to eat and accept.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Tasty Easter Breads

with Easter comes an array of traditional and delicious foods. One of the oldest and and flavorful is the egg bread. This is either a braid or circle studded with brightly colored Easter eggs. usually it's the centerpiece for many a holiday table. the bread was the subject of an article by Dave Tanis in today's New York Times Dining section.The City Kitchen columnist creates the most traditional bread possible.He adds the Old World blend of currents and raisins along with dried cranberries,and almonds.for added aroma he throws in caraway and anise seeds.As for the eggs, he recommends putting them in after the dough's second rising.Braiding is pretty easy but if you're making a few, then sticks to loaves and circles. Easter bread can be a L natural too.To start with you can dye the eggs in beet juice, onion skin and turmeric for a more natural color.Instead of white flour try whole wheat flour instead. You could also vary the recipe too with honey instead of refined white sugar.Sub in more nuts in place of the raisins and currents too.There are also recipes for dairy free holiday breads too.Cinnamon is also used for flavoring instead of the dried fruit. Easter is a tome of sweet treats and old traditions.Bake a bread studded with colored eggs to celebrate this.Whether decadent or healthy it is a true holiday gift.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A Better Ham

Ham is a holiday must have, especially for Easter. It's always the highlight of the meal, with its' tender pink flesh and crispy outer skin. Yet it can be dangerous to those with health problems or for those on a diet. There are ways to create a better, ham without sacrificing the rich flavor.

Surprisingly the meat is considered healthy on its' own.It's considered a lean meat with only 190 calories a slice along with being almost fat Free.. Yet what you put on a whole ham can dramatically make it not only taste good but also turn it into a health hazard.Most cooks glaze it with a variety of sweet toppings from ginger ale to brown sugar. Let's face it ,it does add a nice contrast to the meat's inherent saltiness. Instead try glazing it with whiskey or brandy. Ninety per cent of the alcohol burns off, leaving a smoky interesting flavor. Either that or cut down on the fruit juice , honey or brown sugar.

Another way to make your Easter ham better for you is cutting down on the salt.Don't soak it with high sodium chicken broth.Presoak in water instead to leech out the excess salt. Also dont' serve it with Worcestershire salt.Think a light mayonnaise or even a low calorie mustard on the side. Serving a smaller ham where everyone receives smaller portions is another way of making a meal more nutrition friendly. That way everyone can concentrate on the yummy spring vegetables like asparagus and greens.

A holiday ham doesn;t have to be unhealthy. It can be a nutritous part of your Easter dinner along with still being the jewel of the table.It willbe not only good for you but still the alluring centerpiece everyone looks forward to eating.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Healthy Easter Fun

With Easter comes the usual treats, most often Peeps and chocolate eggs along with jelly beans. These are fun and colorful however they're full of refined sugar not to mention empty calories. They're only filling the plastic eggs not your little ones' tummies. What to do ,Make your Easter egg hunt healthy.

Instead of filling the eggs with candy, think fruit or even veggies. If there's no allergy problem then, think about putting in berries such as strawberries and blueberries. Blackberries can be fun too as long as their not too sour. You may want to try raspberries instead Grapes are another fun fruit to tuck into the plastic eggs. You can add one kind or two for variety. There's enough sweetness to satisfy those little sweet tooths but enough goodness to satisfy mom and dad.

Veggies are another fun item to add to eggs.Make sure, like the ,fruit, that they're organic. Try baby carrots (perfect for all those faux bunnies out there) along with broccoli and cauliflower florets. Pepper strips may dry out so try cherry or grape tomatoes instead.  Dried peas or even salty edameme can also be used for some exotic and exciting tastes.If you cna fit them, add two sorts  of veggies for fun

Make your Easter egg hunt healthy this year by subbing in fresh fruit and veggies instead of candy. The hunters will definitely benefit from this burst of natural goodness. There won't be that hyper activity and all around, everyone, including the folks will feel better.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Going To The Grain

Grains are one of the most important elements of a good diet. However not many people incorporate them into their diets. Why is a good question. They can be made into several tasty dishes that are nutritious and support our body's needs. Not only that, there is a wide variety to choose from and throw together with some veggies and meat to create a healthy lunch or supper.

Whole grains or seeds contain all the essential parts and naturally occurring nutrients of the entire grain seed,They can range from the lesser known amaranth to the ever popular wild rice. In between are the more common, corn, rye and barley along with teff, triticale  sorghum and triticale. grains can be used as fillers or even stuffing. For some such as the rices and millet, they can be incorporated  into puddings and even cakes for dessert.Grains are always a plus for any diet. You can reduce heart disease, diabetes and colon cancer along with obesity.

If you're new to cooking with whole grains then start with simple recipes. Stuffed peppers are always easy and a fun dinner treat. Stuff with rice or quinoa along with tomatoes  Quinoa can also be made into stuffing as well as tabbouleh. Try rye in soups or breads .Barley is always good in soups but it can also be used in risottos and chilis. For mores exotic dishes use the grain from North Africa , amaranth can be eaten like popcorn, or cooked like grits.Millet , another good for you grain, can be made into a light ,fluffy pilaf or baked into healthy biscuits , muffins and breads.

Discover the goodness of the different grains out there. They can be easily made into tempting and tasty dishes. Try one or two to wet your feet or all of them  for a better diet.

Friday, March 22, 2013

A Happy Healthy Cookbook

Some would think it would be hard to live on a whole grain, gluten free diet. That is farther from the truth thanks to a new cookbook. The author, , renown for her wholesome and healthy cookbooks, Jill FInlayson, has come up with a whole batch of  tasty and good for you dishes. These range from breakfast to desserts, from snacks to sides to whole meals. This is the perfect must have for those who want to eat healthy witohut giving up flavor.

The book is entitled The Complete Gluten-Free Whole Grain Cookbook by Robert Rose Publishing. It is not only a comprehensive cookbook but also a great guide for grains; Ms.Finlayson explains what grains such as millet and sorghum are along with their history. All grains, whether as unusual as Job's tears (a sort of millet) to the common (oats) also have storing tips as well as nutritional data. This helps in choosing what dishes to make as well and how healthy you want to go. She also has a few pages solely on the benefits of a gluten free diet, such as it helps protect against certain cancers as well as heart diseases.

Just when you think this is going to be a purely tasteless recipe book,think again.Ms. Finlayson has some excellent recipes for every meal. Start the day off with her hot amaranth cereal. She has pancakes,both the buckwheat type and blueberry wild rice ones. For dinner or even lunch try her turkey chili made with turkey. There are also jambalaya  along with the spicy Indian beef biryani.  She also has a brown rice risotto and a gluten free pizza crust, The desserts range from a simple brown rice pudding to   wine soaked cornmeal cake. Health food, no , healthy food and perfect for any gathering from a family dinner to party, yes,

Please go and buy this newest creation from Jill Finlayson, You'll not only kick your white flour dependency but eat much healthier too. Best of all you'll be introduced to a variety of amazing recipes that are sure to be family favorites as well as classics.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Passover:New And Traditional Foods

Passover is starting soon and with it the special recipes that have been handed down. The holiday is celebrated all over the wold and with that come international recipes.Cooks , well versed in the tradition can change It up a bit. Novice ones can fall back on the traditional but traditional with a twist.

Both Elaine Scolino and Melissa Clark touched on this yesterday in Wednesday's New York Times Dining section.Ms. Sciolino lives in Paris and creates a French styled seder for her husband (she is Sicilian and Catholic) Instead of the usual chicken fat or schmaltz she uses duck fat. The matzoh is  infused with orange and wine ,w hile the noodles are made from potato and egg. She is able to buy ground almonds because the French sell them in their marketplaces.. Here she makes ossobucco and a Sephardic Jew tradition rice (the Ashkenazis ban it completely from the Passover table.)If you;re not too much into tradition, you can try this as well.

Melissa Clark goes for the traditional by making use of Manishcwitz Wine, a jammy port like brew. The wine has been standard for generations here in the States. It is primarily used in haroseth , a loose paste  made with chopped apples, walnuts and cinnamon, She takes it  a step further with an endive salad with relatively the same ingredients. To this she adds the walnuts but coats them with a bath of egg white and cayenne mixed with the Manischewitz for bite and sweetness..

Passover seders have always relied on the traditional. However it's nice to experiment or add from other tables, It makes for an interesting meal , not to mention an interesting palate.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Holiday Ham Guide

ham is the main subject of any table preparing for Easter. it is usually the staple of the dinner.Yet many traditional sit downs are ruined by a of meat.The solution is finding the right joint for what you can plan and manage. It was the subject of an article in today's New York Times Dining section.The pics was. Written byJuliaMoskin,one of the to pros of cooking and culinary food writing. her article will guide readers through the intricate maze that is selecting a holiday ham. Most people buy what is known as"city hams" which are hams that have been only brined with water and salt.This produces a wet cured, lightly smoked pre baked ham.However these may not come up to par.Most tend toe dry not juicy and require a lot of liquid ,whether itbe pineapple juice or ginger ale to give them a chewier, more palatable texture. Ms Moskin recommends going for country hamsThese are tremendously more expensive(think five pounds at $245dollars for some of the more gourmet ones) however the taste is worth it. A country ham is one that has been lovingly cured with real wood smoke and pure maple syrup.The pigs all have been pasture raised too and produce a better taste.Still most of these natural ones need to be soaked for a few hours as do,the city hams to allow for tender meat You can try her mother's remedy of also braising the meat for two hours in wine and water with a follow up trip to the oven.This produces a lovely ,crisp skin.,especially with a glaze of mustard and b town sugar,along with a coating of breadcrumbs. Holiday hams needn't be a headache.You can go for the city which will require more work.You can also try the country hams, better flavor but more money.Either way you'll have a tasty Easter dinner.There will be some bother but again, it's worth it.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

How Sweet No Sugar

It's been a part of our lives since infancy. We craved it as children , the addiction well lasting into our teens and adulthood.What is this ruinous food? sugar! pure and simple. the white stuff has been a part of our lives since we first learned to walk and talk.There is always candy around and treats laden with it.The problem is that it not only rots our teeth but ruins our immune system and plays havoc with our cholesterol .It's tough to get off it because it's like that other white powder - cocaine.What you can do is go for substitutes.Want cookies? Then try Kashi's different types made with evaporated cane sugar. Make your own soda with a carbonator and freshly juices. Even look into using Stevia and bring it with you when you go for coffee. Once you start weaning. Yourself ,then try to cut down on cakes and cookies, eventually eliminating them all together.Breads fall into this category as well as do crackers.You can switch over to whole grain breads if you want be keep this to a limit.Go back to occasionally snacking on fruit however ,be wary.Even though they are good for you ,they do turn into sucrose and glucose. try to sub in carrots which are naturally sweet into a dessert or snack.Some herbal teas suc as chamomile have a certain, slightly sugary taste to them.Try a hot or iced glass of it to satisfy those sugar cravings. Yes, sugar is sweet but it's also bad.Try to curb those cravings or at least wean yourself off them.You'll feel better and look better.What can be better than that.

Monday, March 18, 2013

A Deep Cleansing Diet

We're always told to take deep cleansing breathsDoing such refreshes us, calms us down and even prepares us for a restful night of sleep.However we can do the same with our diets and our lives.There are several cleansing diets out there.Theynot only improve our lives but our diets as well. Cleansing diets require a great deal of discipline.Some last only last for two weeks,some last for longer usually a month.It is rigorous where you have to give up all the bad but yummy stuff.Gone are any kind of meats,candy,dread, salt ,soda, along with anything dairy.The food also has to be raw and it"s mostly a raw veggie mix.Water is the only allowed beverage along with decaf teas and coffees.The water used should be filter and drunk from on BpA bottles.This last means that they're made without the chemical Bisphenol A , a xenon estrogen that can screw up your hormone system. whoever is issuing the diet will prescribe a series of supplements to fill you up on fiber and minerals. is a cleansing diet for every one? That depends on the person and his or her willpower. as someone going through this diet bright now, I have to admit it is tough. You can fall off the wagon.Let's face it, a chunk of forbidden bread and butter or even a forkful of breaded tilapia is heavenly after a few days of going without. I am appreciative of all the chemicals and bad stuff leaving me. according to the administrator , most of the inflammation will leave my body. I will feel better and I will be more cautious picking up old food habits like soda, and cookies.Most of my diet is already heathy, with eating brown flour and forgoing fried foods.This will keep me in tune though with making the internal better. Are you up for a cleansing diet? if you're concerned about your health and diet ,you will. it's a good way of Making the right choices.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Soda Bread An Irish Treat

Irish soda bread and St Patrick's Day go hand in hand.However it varies from the US to Ireland.Whatever yup bake now or for the year,it's still a treat.Soda bread is easy to make And very ea

Friday, March 15, 2013

Cabbage Updated For St Paddy's Day

Sunday is St Patrick's Day ,a day of a few Irish treats and many Irish brews. One of those treats is cabbage. However in the Sunday New York Times magazine section,Mark Bittman transforms it from a soggy side to something unique and tasty. Most St. Patrick's Day cabbage recipes usually requires one over boiled cabbage, usually almost white in color and a huge hunk of corned beef.Mr. Bittman opts for a better vegetable.He gives four different ways to make a tastier side dish. He recommends one not cooking it,like Cole slaw but not drowning it in sugar and mayo.The second way is braising while the third is soup .The next takes on a more Asian than Irish side. Stir fry. Mr.Bittman recommends ways that enhance the cabbage's taste and texture. There are so many different ways to enjoy this heart healthy veggie.Try it braised in curry with chicken ,cilantro and lime Indian feel(India and Ireland do have a connection.They were both part of the British Empire). you can also try the raw ,crunchy way of Thai style or aCeasar salad vibe.You can also cook it in soups ,one with ham and beans ,the others include hot and sour,Chinese style or pho another Asian soup.Stir frying involves shrimp and mushrooms ,welcome reliefs over Corned beef.There is also a ground poke one while there is a tomato and egg one. St. Patrick's Day cabbage doesn't have to be mushy, white and over boiled .It can be reinvented into tasty soups ,curries and stir fries.It can be served braised or raw for variety.Any way you serve it ,it's a good intro or even end to a fun saint's day.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Alpine Wines

Yesterday was a salute to Piedmonte, Italy where the new pope's family came from. The New York Times Dining section also welcomed Francis I with a salute to not only Piedmontese wines but to all Northern Italian wines of that area. These go well with almost everything kind of meal and are as different as the northern provinces.

Eric Asimov , who  writes  weekly for the The Pour, the weekly wine column, must have had a ball with the tasting. He got to try some of the Val' d'"Aosta's best fermentation's,.These can be strong tasting and smelling, their aromas with a large acetone odor (think opened nail polish bottle).He did enjoy the cornalon, made mostly in the Swiss Alps.Piedmonte also came in at number two with a nebbiola grape.

If you want a fruity wine then try the Maison Anselmet. A bit steeply priced at thirty dollars, it is bright with an earthy flavor.I can see this wine going well with the region's lighter cheeses.such as fontina (which is like Brie). There is also Fumin which is also bright and has a strong spiciness. If you want a drink that will match the area's hearty meals,. then try Rosso 2007,  which is a rich deep , almost ruby red wine. For funkiness try the licorice ENfer d:Anvier (translated roughly as the hell of Anvier which is a reference to how the sun hits the local vineyards.

The northwest regions of Italy produce the most interesting wines with different tastes and aromas. Try them this Spring. It's the flavor of Alpine vineyards.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Piedmontese Influence

Our new pope Francis I may be Argentine born but his family hails from Piedmonte , Italy.It's where French cuisine also orginates and where butter is loved 24/7. Piedmontese food also has a healthy side, relying on fresh veggies  as well  along with fruit and nuts for dessert instead of heavy pastries.
Will there be Piedmontese food with an Argentine twist at the Vatican? Possibly.

Argentine food relies heavily on the beef industry.It's what made the country great back in the last century. There is grilled asado which is a kind of barbecued beef .There are also varieites of beef sausages and meat patties. Our new pope will probably also love sweets as most Argentines do. It's where that famed flavor dulce de leche a caramel like paste that's eaten on its; own  or over pancakes.It;s also used for cake filling too.

However ti''s also influenced by the Italian and Spanish communities as well. Often there will be pasta on a Sunday dinner table as well as a variety of good veggies such as Swiss chard and leeks, Bagna calda, Italian for hot bath is a favorite. This is an anchovy based sauce, mixed with butter, olive oil and garlic. Savoy cabbage is usually dipped in and cooked until it's wilted. However the Argentines will probably put cut up steak bits in it for added flavor. Zabaglione a n egg yolk based custard may even be the base for their dulce de leche.

Piedmonte's rich influence is felt both in the New and Old Worlds. It has turned Buenes Aires into a sophsiticated food town with stylish restaurants and good home cooking. It is what Piedmontese cooking is all about  - no matter where it's served

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Using Your Beans

One of nature's best foods is the bean.It's tasty , nutritious and versatile.You can have it in soups or salads,hot or cold .It can be made into a main dish or a side.Best of all there are so many varieties.You could make a different bean dish every day and each one would be unique. Beans are one of the greatest sources of fiber and soluble fiber.They're also high in protein,which also makes them a good sub for meat.They're also high in iron and floats as well as complex carbs.They may give you gas and if that's the case, you could take Bean-o or Gas-X or a more natural solution would be to soak them overnight in vinegar or baking soda to neutralize them.Most beans do require an overnight soak or even a precook rinse.Beans can either come in cans or in packages.It pays to have a big variety of both around. What are some bean recipes that are both tasty and good for you.A meatless chili is always a good bet.You can use a few different types in it such as kidney ,garbanzo and black beans. of course kidney beans are good on their own, usually cooled off in a salad. Serve them in a tasty three bean with the bright yellow wax beans and green beans for color and nutrition.Some three bean salads do have a dose of sugar. Sub it with a bit of honey or a tiny bit of stevia. Add iodine rich sliced red onions cut thin and herbs too.Lentils are another great and versatile bean.Try in in a veggie laden with soup or on it's own with antioxidant rich turmeric .This is not only a delicious meal but also a great dip for whole wheat tortilla chips. Any kind of bean is good in any kind of dish.Try them hot or cold for a tasty treat. They are a worthy addition to any diet.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Start Them Young

Every little kid wants cupcakes and candy.It's hard to say no to a toddler or even a kindergartener who wants a treat.However most parents - and even grandparents are getting smart. The older folks are offering better snacks and rewards to the little ones. Hopefully that means a new generation who will have a healthier outlooks to both party foods and treats. One of the worst places for sugary snacks are birthday parties. Some school districts , especially in New Jersey have banned any kind of baked good and candy. most do this for allergies.Many kids do have milk and egg ones however some teachers believe that sugary birthday treats have no place in the classroom and just let the birthday boy or girl wear a crown or pick out the playground game of choice. as for your own you can organize a make your own pizza party using healthy toppings and whole wheat crusts. Another fun snack is kabobs, using free range chicken and small veggies like pearl onions and grape tomatoes. for sweets, try the ever popular banana chunks or orange slices (before serving , it's good to include an allergy list with the invite. you can plan accordingly then). At home, try to cut out colas and chips. If the kiss want soda think about getting a carbonator.This takes regular watervand carbonates it, giving it the desired fizz and bubble. Add fruit juice from your juicer as flavoring. also gets your tots and toddlers used to juiced fruits and veggies. There will be no unwelcome sugars and preservatives in their diets. Also ,instead of white flours , think about whole grains as lll. homemade nut butters which can be made are anotherbgood idea. Pepper strips and baby carrots are always a fun playground snack.As they get older think about giving them broccoli and cauliflower to nibble on as a snack.Sprinkle on herbs such as Rosemary or oregano for some spice. If you want healthy kids, then start them young on diets. good food ,healthy food is key to living well.The younger they know this, the better.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Kashi Goodness

Eating food that's both tasty and good for you can be tricky.It's hard to find a manufacter that can provide flavor and nutrition ,yet Kashi comes to the rescue here.From breakfast to a small snack ,this company can give you healthy and fun food. the best part is that there are a lot of choices and good ones at that too. Kashi first started in crunchy granola SouthernCalifornia byLa Jolla couple Phil andGayleTauber.They started with Kashi Breakfast Pilaf ,a morning mix of different grains and natural sweeteners.They followed it a year later with a kind of puffed cereal.Now you can buy their instant oatmeal, which unlike other instant varieties, has the added goodness of flaxseed to it.They even make waffles both in their seven grain and blueberry kinds.Kashi has also entered the main entree market as well. Their frozen foods range from Italian to Mexican to Asian. there is a three cheese penne to aMayanharvest bake.For those who want a healthier Chinese then try their lemongrass coconut or sweet and sour chicken.They laso have steamed meals which are even better for you. the ingredients are not only heart healthy but tongue tasty too.There's everything from a spinach and artichoke pasta to an Italian veggie medley pasta.They also have awiderange of all natural pizzas,ranging from Margherita to the ultra trendy BBQ chicken. Kashi also has some awesome cookies and snacks.Their dark chocolate chip cookies are not only tasty but good for you.There's the usual seven grains,along with oatmeal and evaporated cane syrup.Wildflower honey is laso added for a slight sweetness. there are laso crackers and pita chips in sorts of sweet and savory flavors.You can serve these to the kids as a between meal snack orto guests as hor d' ouevres.The flavors range from honey sesame and toasted Asiago for the crackers and the zesty salsa, and sea salt seven grain along with garlic pesto for the pita chips.There are also snack bars that look like decadent candy bars but are in fact chock full of theTauber's usual seven grains.These come in the lower calorie Golean or the regular.The first is chocolate dipped in a full of antioxidants dark chocolate.The other is plain but still delicious. if you want tasty plus healthy, then go over to the Kashi line..They offer everything from breakfast to pizzas,from cookies to crackers.Switch over to them now for a healthy and fun diet.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Craft Beers Yet Another Controversy

Artisan beers may be the hippest drinks right now however there's always a fight about them. This time its' how they're bottled. Beer has always been served in smaller bottles unlike wine and since the last few decades in cans. Now they're coming in larger containers, much to the chagrin and dislike of beer lovers.

The New York Times Dining Section wrote about it in yesterday's paper with newcomer ,Clay Risen weighing in on the topic. Most beer bottles now are almost as big as wine bottles. This is fine if you're sharing a beer with a date or with friends. However unlike a Merlot or Chablis , you can't cork it and bring it home with you. Even many  craft beer store owners such as Ben Granger have problems with this. People won't buy the larger beers so they sit on the shelves  and collect dust, more or less.Six packs are still the big seller and probably will be , despite their usual taste

Others , namely brewery owners disagree.This is the case with Bruery , a California beer manufacturer,located in Placentia. The director of marketing,Ben Weiss, believes that people will open up a milliliter of beer to share with friends.These are fancy beers, not Buds or even Sam Adams The brews are made with cacao nibs and honey. They're meant to be opened for a group or a few served at a party with fancy wines and champagnes. Yet as most beer fans point out , beer is just that.It's not as frilly as wines and won't have the connoisseur following that they've always  had already
Should beer be put into larger bottles like wine? Yes, if it's a fancy artesanal one. It would go well , not at restaurants but at parties where a bigger format would be more appreciated.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Winter Pickles

Pickling is usually a summer activity. It's an easy way to deal with extra veggies , especially with all kinds of cucumbers. However you can also pickle in the winter too, with root veggies . It  creates not only an interesting side but also a fun and different appetizer at parties too.

It was the subject of an article(and a really great informative video) in today's New York Times Dining section,Melissa Clark of A Good Appetite took radishes, the traditional kind and a cool melon looking one Radishes make the best pickles during this time of year because they're watery and are able to absorb the juices. She then sliced them and pickled them in an interesting Korean influenced brine.The added hot flakes gave it more zing than a usual kind.

This is an easy recipe for anyone .You can be more truer to form and add some anchovies or Korean fish sauce.vegans can leave that out and rely on the hot pepper  for extra flavor.Without the sauce it;s basically a dry brine with the  radishes tossed and then "marinated" in diced garlic and ginger.the pepper has to be flakes ,Using powdered may give you very fiery kind of pickles and may make for some dangerous eating For a hint of citrus , Ms. Clark added a bruised lemon grass stalk but you can also added kaffir lime leaves too.

This may not be the time for fresh pickles yet if you want them ,make them.This pickled radish recipe is the perfect one for pickle lovers as well as for those who want to liven up their late winter meals.These are easy to make and easy to love, thanks to their fire and and spice.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Hackensack's Heritage Diner

Hackensack, New Jersey has always had a lot of heritage and that inludes it's diner also called The Herirtage. this is Bergen County's oldest diner yet thanks to new ownership ,it's as fresh as waver. The diner is literally surrounded by history.It is near the Bergen County Courthouse near the church where the British raided during the American Revolution.The spot itself was where the first Hackensack Bus station was and has been there since the mid 1950's.The food ,despite the long list of owners has always been good.It was always featuring the salad bar alone with the kid's menu.It was known for it's burgers and fries,along with it's platter sized onion rings.(note order these if you're with three other people because of their mega size).They are also have good grilled cheese ,with the bread being grilled and buttery on both sides. of course the diner is known for the American classic , the giant cookie and they have several different kinds from oatmeal to sugar along with chocolate chip The Heritage has sophisticated meal as well.It has one of the truest to recipe French onion so.completevwith a crunchy slice of French bread and covered in cheese.It's also served in a good sized crock where as some eateries serve it in a bowl.The Heritage features a vast variety of cuisines as well.Thie dim sum is better than any Chhinese restaurant in the local area and it serves excellent nachos and cheese.It also has good Yankeee food like steak , bean soup and melt lof.You can have your lunch oe dinner with a drink but many just stick with soda or the Heritage's excellent fresh brewed tea.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Small Pastas, Big Ideas

Everyone thinks pasta should be long and stringy nor square and chewy to be delicious. That's not necessarily true.Some of the best pasta dishes require the smaller kinds.These are usually made of the same flour but are cut smaller.They still PAC the same taste whether in bowl of sauce or bowl of soup. There are several different kinds of mini or little pastas.Elbow macaroni is probably the most popular and also the most used .These curved little tubes are usually used in the summer ,drenched in mayo and covered with carrot sliced and celery bits .However elbow macaroni is also good with a tangy tomato sauce and makes a fun lunch for kids.Ditalini ,literally meaning little fingers inItalian are another tasty little pasta.It'sone of the ingredients in pasta efagiole and is a chewy , perfect with the soup's other signature ingredient chick peas. Orzo ,usually considered "Greek pasta" is a rice like pasta that can be used hot or cold.Orzo is goods pilaf and can accompany chicken kabobs or even lamb.You can also make salad with it as well.Create a Greek style, using feta cheese along with chopped onions and peppers along with a spice infused dressing.Pastina is another great mini pasta.It can mostly found in soups ,adding spark and flavor to simple beef,chicken and vegetable stock.Pastina can also be made with egg as a quick and healthy dinner.It can also be made with butter fora nice comfort meal or even snack. Small pastas can pack a big punch.Use them in a variety dishes from snacks to dinners.Try them for a huge burst of flavor.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Mystery of Mung Beans

Most Americans don't have a clue as to what mung beans are. Yet they make up an important part of Asian cooking.They are easy to integrate into American cooking and become a part of everyday dining.Not only  that  they're a fun way of itroducing the family to cook food.

Mung or moong beans orginally came from Siberia and went as far south as India.This was 3,500 hundred years ago and the beans also hit the Thai penisula,It is also known as green or golden gran and made into several dishes mostly in the Indian subcontinent,.You can find them in southern United States and dry regions of Southern Europe as well.Mostly they''re used in Indian cuisiine where they're eaten with every meal from breakfast to dinner,In China, they're used more as a dessert and ice cream. as in Indonesia.Mung beans are usually eaten as pancakes with ginger in Indian cooking where these can be served all day long.

Mung beans can also find their way onto American tables as well.Most are used in healthy soup and rice recipes.They're a good source of dietery fiber and can be made a variety of ways.Many cooks use them as extra beans in bean soup.There is also a stew recipe which includes potatoes along with onions.The mung beans serve as the protein instead of meat You can make the Indian style pancakes however it's a long process that involves three to four hours freezing time.It's bascially as easy as making cookie dough and then rolling it out to fry it.

Mung beans are a different and exotic ingredient that can be added to any meal. Try them in a traditional pancake. or better yet in soup and stews.They're healthy and good for you along with being tasty.

Friday, March 1, 2013

The Intrigue of Malaysian Cooking

Malaysia has always been  one of the world's most exotic places.With it comes a variety of food just as exotic.There are chilies and spices along with different ways of prepping food. It creates a new way of eating and cooking Southeastern Asian.

Malaysia is covers the southernmost part of the Thai peninsula and the northernmost part of Indonesia.Its' influence is Chinese and Indian with other countries thrown in Malaysian cooking has influences of both its' major cultures..Rice is a huge staple there and it's usually steamed with coconut milk and then served with  fried anchovies, peanuts, eggs sliced cucumber and a spicy chili pate. this is called sambai and is one of the country's  national dishes.Noodles and the Indian breads are also popular and are served with a variety of meats. Unless other Asian countries, the Malaysians use every kind of fish and fowl along with beef and goat available. Spices are generously used here and thy are usually turmeric , chiles and garlic. along with tamarind and aromatic herbs.

Malaysians have also give the world's best exotic fruits. They're responsible for lychees and mangos along with guavas along with the mangosteen or the "Queen of Fruits".Coconuts is also widely used both in main meals and desserts.Both India and Java influence the pastries,There is an Indian dish that involves  jaggery ,unrefined brown sugar and mixed with coconut and rice noodles.Malaysians celebrate holidays and probably their birthdays with sticky rice cakes in brown sugar.They also have moon cakes which are big in the Chinese Moon festival.

Malaysian cooking is as varied and delicious and the groups of people who make up the can be spicy and sweet or savory and herbed.It represents a whole range of cultures that blend together beautifully.