Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Your Holiday Food Guide Really

Imagine going on a vacation in a foreign city and not knowing what to eat. You're stuck as to what foods to try or what restaurants are good. Not to worry. There are food guides , people who can help you with meals and eateries. These are more than foodies. These gourmets can navigate and find some of the best deals and tastes in any city, whether the US or Europe.

Jeff Gordonier explored this in an article in today's New York Times Dining section. A regular contributor to this section, he gives readers tips and idea son how to hire their own food guide. There are a variety of web sites that advertise as well as food bloggers that help help tourist with restaurant finding.These services do not come cheap however.Prices range from $75 to $100 dollars per person (this means only adults) and a grand for a small party of people..It tends to be only a three to four hour excursion and the price of food is included. Armed with the  knowledge gleaned, visitors then can stick with the  restaurants and markets shown to them.

Is this a good idea? Actually yes, Many tourists, especially, Americans in Europe, tend to stick with what they know - namely MacDonalds'.While this may be fine at home, it is  nice to try the local cuisine. Food guide Ansel Mullins of Istanbul Eats takes his customers  through Istanbul's  the market  places tot try exotic Turkish street food such as kokorec. Normally tourists wouldn;t eat this, a sandwich made from sweet breads and intestines. However with Mullins , they get to try this and not miss out on it's tastiness. He also points out that tourists get to try smaller mom and pop places instead of the higher priced restaurants, and get to explore and sample local food markets.

Eating on vacation can be a stressful event. However there are food guides to help out .They can show some of the best places to enjoy the local cuisine and flavor.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Ice Cream Sandwiches Yoru Way

Everyone loves a good ice cream sandwich. What's not to love? It's a great marriage of creamy coldness surrounded by crunchy (0r at least chewy) wafer or cookie. Now there's a new book out that indulges our love of these summery treats. There's all sorts of combos , all mouth watering good.

I Scream Sandwich!(Stewart Tabori &  Chang Publishers) is the ideal gift for both ice cream and cookie lovers. Food writer Jennie Schacht wrote this truly lovely valentine to America's best loved warm weather snack.  I love the fact that she includes the sandwich's history along with the invention of the various types such as the Harbor Bar a Maine treat, coated in chocolate and the San Francisco version the It's It along with the classic and elegant Sicilian version  granita stuffed in a buttery brioche.Another plus is that she offers easy alternatives for those who don't have an ice cream maker or just don't have the time.All recipes are pretty simple to replicate  so both pros and novices can feel comfortable with creating them,

Her recipes for both the chilled  fillings and the wafers that encase them are just scrumptious sounding. There is the cookies and milk one, taking a nod from the famed Italian latte gelato. This is  a simple milk flavored ice cream placed between homemade chocolate chip cookies. For fruit and yogurt lovers a plum flavored frozen yogurt is sandwiched between two lavender walnut shortbread rounds. Ms. Schacht even has an entire chapter dedicated to ice cream sandwich of the month. The holiday ones are the most interesting. There is a pumpkin pecan  ice cream with maple flavored shortbread for Thanksgiving while Christmas is the ultra fun mint chocolate ice cream with a brownie crust. these are cut out with gingerbread forms so they're super cute. There are even add in recipes  such as a salty caramel sauce or fudge for creating ripple effects in the ice cream.

For those who love their ice cream sandwiches. I Scream Sandwiches is the book for you.It is chock full of interesting cookies and ice cream combos. Each one is flavorful and unique  - perfect for a summer treat.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Vacation Dieting

Even though it's vacation season you shouldn't take a holiday from good eating. There are a million temptations out there on the road and in hotels . Try to avoid them if you can, along with eating right. You'll not only feel better but have a better vacation too.It's good to come home over relaxed not over weight.

Getting to your destination can be tricky, especially if you're traveling by car.Almost every roadside rest area  has either a McDonald's or a Burger King. Cinnabon and Starbucks also reign supreme at these  too. Try to eat prudently. Opt for the grilled chicken and a salad or baked potato if there's a Wendy. Some stops even sell heroes. Stick with a simple one that has only lettuce and tomato along with turkey or chickenas fillers. Avoid the fries. As for drinks stock up on chilled bottle water.Iced tea or iced black coffee are perfect for those long trips.

When you get to hotel room,. don't go crazy with the variety of restaurants  and treats .have a simple egg white  or  fresh fruit for breakfast , maybe tacos and guac for lunch or even dinner .Instead of the captain's platter of fried fish and crab cakes at the seafood joint, go for a simple steamed lobster with lemon. Try to incorporate as many local fruits an veggies into your diet too. It's tempting to hit the resort's ice cream stand but try the town's Farmer's Market instead. there you can  find healthy peaches and plums for a nice evening snack. If you're by a boardwalk, judge what you think is healthier fare / Fried clams may be tasty but opt for a tad more nutritious slice of pizza instead.Instead of frozen custard go for Italian ice instead.

Stick to your normal eating habits when you're on holiday. Enjoy the sun and surf, not the empty calories. It'll make for a healthier and happier vacation.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Easy Sunday Grilling

There’s nothing like barbecue on the weekend, especially on a lazy Sunday. The problem is that a full fledged picnic does take a lot of work. There are marinades to be mixed up along with salads to be tossed. Dessert also figures into this because there’s nothing like ending any meal, indoor or out with sweet ending.

  Luckily there are short cuts to make even the best summer Sunday meal easy. One of the first things to cut back on is the marinade along with the rubs. Sometimes just the most basic ingredients work the best. Try an olive oil one with white wine vinegar or lemon juice. Toss in some rosemary and oregano - and that’s it. An easy marinade that could work well with beef chicken or even lamb, If you want to just try a rub then use this one made from brown sugar cayenne and black pepper along with sea salt. Iit provides , sweet heat and bite . For meats think simple steaks or chicken breasts or a rack of ribs. Forget the more elaborate potato and macaroni salads. Stick to a mayo free slaw made with only oil and lemon juice spiced up with red and white peppercorns .Better yet try a pepper and carrot salad that easy to chop up and easy to serve with any favorite dressing.

  How to end that simple Sunday meal? With a simple slice of watermelon. This is the easiest and most refreshing dessert, All you need is a napkin to wipe up afterwards. You could also serve a bowl of chilled nectarines, plums and peaches .this is not only a delicious but tasty end . For a more elegant spin, cut them up and let them soak in a red wine and sugar bath one half hour before eating. For the kids let them make their own ice cream sandwiches using any store bought cookie and any flavor of ice cream.

   A summer Sunday barbecue doesn’t have to be elaborate. It can be as simple with basic ingredients . Keep it easy for a great meal that requires little effort but big taste

Friday, July 26, 2013

Dinner Served With Ideas

Good dinner conversation is hard to come by.A good dinner party is an even rarer bird.However there 's a new book out there that can help.Yes, you too can have interesting dinner parties with provocative ideas and tasty recipes thrown into the mix.It's guaranteed to make dinner parties how they should be - sparkling and as memorable as the food eaten. The book is The Philosopher's Table (Tarcher/Penguin) written by Marietta McCarty.Ms McCarty is not a chef or cook byanymeans.She is a philosopher who as written books on the subject for both adults and children.Yet she does something truly creative.she combines deep thoughts with deep dishes.It creators those types of dinner parties we only read about in classic books.Every month ,from January to December, has a theme for a potential monthly party.Every philosopher,from Immanuel Kant to Lao Tse is featured.Different isms are also explored,from what about love to the ecology to simplifying one's life.There are not only recipes but suggestions about what to read and listen to while eating and conversing. What about the recipes themselves?Ms.MCarty takes her recipes from other books(and gives them credit at the end of each chapter).Each reflects the idea of that month's philosophy.All corners of the globe are covered,from Kenya to Kentucky, from England to Iraq. The recipes are easy to follow and they are made to feed eight( the typical number for a successful dinner party).There are also suggestions for what type of alcohol and desserts to have handy. Guests should love each month's menu ,filled with all sorts of surprises and tasty dishes. The old fashioned dinner party is not a thing of the past.It can be revived, thanks to Marietta McCarty's new book The Philosopher's Table.Buy it to enjoy good food and good conversation.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Macaron Madness

Have we OD'ed on the simple yet elegant macaron? The answer could be yes. Yet despite their now commonplace stature they still maintain  an air of luxury. Buy the true French ones and you can still taste the complex yet surprisingly basic taste of almonds and sugar/

They were the subject of Elaine Sciolino's Letters From Paris column in yesterday's New York Times Dining section.Macarons are  as common to the French as croissants, in fact too common that they're not the big deal anymore. Ms. Sciolino has discovered that Parisians like the creamier and more heartier eclair better/Also profiteroles are also hot right now according to the trendy Madame Figaro magazine. e this has something to do with the French McDonald's serving them up with their cafes or possibly we have Sofia Coppola  popularizing them  as uber hip in her movie :"Marie Antoinette" a few years ago.

Still a good macaron is just that. The original recipes was made by two Benedictine nuns in  postrevolutionary France. Thanks to the new government banning religious orders, they took refuge with a local doctor and made a living baking macarons. The company House of the Macaron Sisters or Maison des Soeurs Macarons  guards the original recipe, ensuring the most purest of macarons. This is a simple almond instead of it being infused with today's trendy flavors of saffron, anise, strawberry and anything else .Smaller french bakeries also keep to the original recipe  as well. Ms Sciolino also give the recipe. You do need good cool weather (never make them on a hot humid day) as well as precision to create perfect little rounds, Baking time is only fifteen to twenty minutes.

Is macaron madness over? for those trendy pastel colored ones yes. However the true, pale creamy colored ones are here to stay - as they have been for over two hundred years

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Grain Range

Grains have been part of our diets since the beginning of time immemorial.They are versatile, going wells with any kind of meat, fish or even vegetable.They are healthy for us as well,adding to our nutritional blanche.Best of all they can be made in variety of ways from salads to beds cradling the main dish. They were the subject of Mark Bittman's Flexitarian column in today's New York Times Dining section.Mr Bitman gives ideas about cooking it as well as serving it.There are so many different types from wheat berries to faro .He laso gives a shout outvto rice and its many varieties from red to black ,from basmati to wild.He offers suggestions on how to cook it,which is usually for a while to ensure the full flavor and how to serve it - any way you want.You can even use unsweetened puffed rice cereal too.This is a quick and healthy addition to any salad. There Re some good recipes.Mr. Bittman recommends a faro Nicoise using faro as the base along with the classic salad's ingredients.It's a tasty alternative and makes a nice summer dinner dish.There's also a millet dish featuring corn, mango and shrimp.You could add quinoa too to this for another healthy dish.These grains can work well on their own, but remember grains do need a sidekick.You can cook them in water but add some butter and spices too to being out their true taste.You can also cook them in a veggie, beef or chicken broth too. Grains are a wonderful addition to any diet.There's a variety of them out there to add to salads and meat dishes.They not only give the kick of nutrition but also flavor too.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Random Acts Of Foodie Kindness

Even though the weather is warm outside there are still hungry people who need a cool drink and a meal.We tend to only remember the needy and homeless when the temps fall. Yet they're there, twelves months a year. That's why it's important to remember them now.

Food pantries and food banks always are on the lookout for fresh veggies and fruits. An ideal gift is any bumper crop from your garden.If you have extra tomatoes or lettuce, think about donating them. Fresh veg is great and can be stretched into a variety of tasty and healthy dishes. The same for fruits.If your plum or peach tree has an abundance of fruit, don't hesitate to donate what you don't want. Kids would love to have a sweet but nutritious snack.Their parents would love it as well, because it's not all those cheap sugary treats that are laden with transfats and empty calories.

Water would come in handy too , at shelters. Donate as many cases as you can. Nothing beats a cool swig of water, especially on a hot summer's night. Also if you see a homeless person, treat him or her to a bottle of water or iced tea. If they're hanging around where you;re eating ask if you can buy them a meal.|Some cafes do have a pay what you can price  for those who are financially strapped. This applies to anybody, from the recently laid off to those who have lost everything. Spread the word about these if you can, These are the restaurants and eateries that should be garnering  a lot of business.

There are still the homeless out there, there are still the hungry. Just because it;s summer, doesn't mean that they just disappear. They're around, needing , wanting our help. We have to make sure their summer is going well with good food and a cooling drink.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Royal Birth Day Foods

England is celebrating the new Prince of Cambridge with not only gun salutes and balloons but also with celebratory foods. Britons are probably giving this new Windsor a champagne toast, they are also enjoying some party foods as well. There's a whole range of tasty nibbles that are being served tonight.

The United Kingdom has a plethora of dairy farms and well fed cows. It's known for its;creamy cheeses as well as beef dishes . Hopefully there are crackers spread with sharp but tangy cheddar and the blue veined Stilton.,The Welsh give Caephilly cheese, a crumbly white one with a slight . tang.Since the English also gave the word the sandwich, thanks to John Montagu, Fourth Earl of Sandwich, people should be enjoying a late celebratory supper with them. Sarnies as they're called there can be made with hearty slices of cottage loaf, cheese slabs and freshly cut roast beef or ham. They could be thin sliced affairs affairs will with any kind of meat paste and pickles.

The English will probably also celebrate with their famed meat pies.This can include shepherd's pie, a hearty beef stew topped with piped mashed spuds.The Cornish from southwestern England give us pasties, tasty  little pies filled with everything from roast beef and gravy to potatoes The area also gives us the farmed stargazey pie, a pilchard and egg filled one with fish heads bursting through the crust or gazing at the stars.Of course there are the famed English roast dinners, perfect for any party. This can be roast beef but also a roast turkey or goose, complete with all the trimmings and sides.

The United Kingdom is in full party mode right now thanks to this new prince, There are so many different celebratory foods to choose from  cheese and pies to roasts and sandwiches. It's a definite feast for a this latest royal

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Versatile Watermelon

What fruit can be good eaten alone ,but also in soups cocktails and also salads?it 's the watermelon.This summer fave is usually good on it's own but it can add something to almost every meal.It's a great ingredient for everything and anything, from cocktails to sorbets.Try it in a variety of different ways. This warm weather must have is the subject of an article in tomorrow's New York Times Sunday Magazine(head's up if you don't want to read it). Times regular,Mark Bittman gives us an entire cornucopia of recipes to experiment with for any meal or even party.I love his spin on classic cocktails.He makes agin and basil ,which has both the refreshing flavors of basil and pureed watermelon added to gin.There's also a watermelon daiquiri ,perfect for hose midsummer parties. of course you can add chunked melon to salads and soups .There's a spicy Greek version where onions and bring kalamata olives are added to the fruit.There is also a bright pink gazpacho that can be tweaked and twisted with crab meat or peaches and blue cheese. watermelon, however shines as dessert and Mr.Bittman knows this.He starts off with a lemonade cooled with watermelon ice cubes.This is a nice finish to any meal. There is a creamy yogurt based sorbet freshened lemon juice.There are the uber fun Popsicles that have a fillip of lime added to the flavor and my hot weather go to granita. popsicles and sorbets are simple enough but the granita is a snap to make and the most reviving. all it takes is a pan of pureed watermelon ,sugar and lemon juice.Freeze for two hours and then scrape into shards.It's a cool alternative to a slushy.Of course nothing beats just a simple slice , chilled for a few hours and pure juiciness. Watermelon is one of the most versatile summer fruits out there.Use it in. A variety of different dishes ,whether for cocktails or dessert,soups or salads.It's one of your best ingredients ,this summer.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Pork On The Grill

Pork is usually a barbecue's uninvited guest. Most people prefer beef or chicken or even the rarer shrimp or tuna. Yet by ignoring pork ,they're missing out on some tasty cuts.It's a versatile meat that can work well with anything on it,from. A spicy rub to a simple citrus squeeze. One of the best cuts is the simple pork chop.Pork , unfortunately has the problem of being dried out and too tough when set over an open flame.For a juicier bite,brine the chop in a salt and water bath for two to three hours prior to putting on the barbecue.Another idea is a marinade. This works well for a thinner pork chop because the meat will absorb more of the fluid. Start with a simple vinaigrette ,.Use olive oil lemon juice and maybe some Rosemary for extra flavor. you can also use a bottled salad dressing such as Italian for grilling. Pork loin is another grill worthy cut.Again, it may dry out after intense searing so prepare it with a marinade.With this you can go spicy by adding chili peppers to the liquid or sweet ,adding eithervhoney or molasses alongvwithva dash of orange juice.For something different try poke kabobs.These can be marinaded in a vinegar and preserve mix to give it a tang.For all pork dishes ,please use meat thermometer.Undercooked pork can harbor parasites which can lead to trichinosis, a deadly condition affecting the internal organs.The internal temps on any pork cut should be 145 degrees Farenheit. Pork is a great alternative to chicken or beef.Try pork kabobs or grilled chops for a different barbecue experience.It's a tasty shake up to the ordinary.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Delicate and Cool Peach Dishes

Peaches are one of those warm weather treats that work well in every dessert.They are sweet but not overpowering ,juicy ,but not so much.The Italians know what to do with them especially during these sweltering times.Turn them into cool and elegant desserts, perfect ends to a summer 's late supper. Dave Tanis explored this in yesterday's City Kitchen column in yesterday's New YorkTimes Dining section.He has a couple of recipes perfect for the current crop.The first is the sheerly simple bath in red wine.Use a medium red wine along with sugar.For bite Mr. tanis gives the fillip of freshly ground black pepper along with Ginger and nutmeg.This cuts down on the sugar and makes the dish thoroughly refreshing.You can add a few blackberries ,as the recipe suggests, for color and variety. The second ish is a bit more labor intensive but still tasty.It is the absolutely heavenly zabaglione mixed with the peaches.Zabaglione or sabayon as the Piedmontese call it , is an ethereal blend of egg yolks,sugar and Marsala wine.This is whipped into a froth as it cooks in a bain marie or double boiler.The custard is then poured into individual frappé or coupe dishes.The peaches are layered on top until they lightly sink in. This is the time for ripe , juicy peaches.Try them in an elegant Italian style either with a cold spiced wine bath or gracing a dessert glass of sabayon.These are two ,chic yet simple ways to have this gem of the season.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Paella Both For Land And Sea

Paella is one of those dishes that works well in the summer.It ISA versatile dish that can use both land and. Sea ingredients.It is a dish that can be made on a grill or even a fire pit.All in all it's a great dish ,chock full of tasty ingredients ,flavored with spices. This delicious dish was the subject of an article in today's New York Times Dining section . The piece written by Dining regular John Willoughby tells of a yearly contest between his writing partner , Chris Schlesinger and restaurant owner Valerie Burgo of South End Formaggio of Boston. Mr. Schlesinger is known for a seafood paella while Ms Burgo is famed for her land inspired paella.There is even an audience that tries out both.Either way ,both is a winner.There's nothing like a flavorful paella ,redolence with spicy meats and al dente rice.This last is a special Spanish style one that rapidly soaks up the liquids. This gives the rice a chewy external while the inside is creamy and moist What is the difference between land and sea paellas.Ms Burgo uses rabbit which is seared before being added to the dish.This maintains the meats smokiness throughout the dish.Other meats include chicken ,the traditional spicy Spanish sausage, chorizo along with jam on .A seafood paella is redolent with shrimp and clams.Chicken and choriz is laso used as is the traditional bomb a rice.Mr Schlesinger adds a scraped garlic garnish to. His along with a savory mix of saffron ,sherry and cumin.The best part for both is the crust at the bottom called rak rak. This is a crunchy addition to already tasty dish.. Paella is one of the best summer meals out there.It is a delicious mix of spices meats and rice.Whether you make it land inspired or sea influenced ,it is a veritable dish of the gods.Make it any way this summer, and enjoy the cornucopia of different flavors.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Eating Through A Heat Wave

Doing anything during a heat wave is a chore. This includes cooking and eating. Yet you have to sustain yourself despite the high temps? What to cook and eat? The easiest, lightest foods you can think of making and eating. There are some tasty dishes that are a cinch to create and are as light as air.

Think salads during these impossible days. Put a spin on the original by using Spring greens or spinach as the base.Add much needed protein with bacon, hard boiled eggs and cheese. Use cold cuts or already cooked bacon (or you can just microwave it). A chef salad is the perfect hot weather dinner , with various cold cuts such as chicken roast beef, and ham tossed over Cobb lettuce. You can also throw in julienned cheeses such as American , cheddar and Swiss. Served with a homemade French or a simple vinaigrette along with breadsticks,Another is the famed French Salad Nicoise. This is made with tuna fish and anchovies along with hard boiled eggs, and capers with tomatoes and greens. It's a refreshing alternative to the classic dish.

As much as grilling is a part of summer it is also hot. Who wants to stand over an inferno for half an hour in 100 degree temps?. Go cold with sandwiches. The best kind is an Italian hero. These are easy and fun to make. Get a variety of different sliced meats such as morta della, cappicola and salami. Shred lettuce and slice tomato to layer on the bread along with mozzarella or Provolone slices. You can make a dressing using oil, red wine vinegar and rosemary. Heroes can also be stuffed with homemade chicken , tuna or egg salad Remember to make the salads as close to dinner time as possible This ensures freshness and are free from the threat of food poisoning and salmonella.

During these impossible times. you have to eat. Make the lightest and easiest foods with the least minimum of fuss. They'll get you  and your through these hellish times

Monday, July 15, 2013

Cooking With Guinness

If you want to bring out the flavor of red meat or even chocolate then think about adding a traditional Irish ingredient.  Think Guinness stout in for heartier stews and more flavorful burgers. It doesn't create a boozy  type of meal but one that gives richness and complexity to even the simplest of dishes.Even just half a cup of the brew can do wonders, even in cake batter.

Guiness' rich taste comes from the fact that it's made with barley since its' inception in1759. Also the roasted malt and hops also bring something to the flavor as well. The ale works best in tandem with red meat. Use it in shepherd's pie to create a rich earthy taste  that will bring out the literal beefiness. This works well with the traditional crisp potato crust and even sweetens up the pie's carrots and peas.Another idea is the famed Guinness burger where half a cup s added to ground meat along with a dash of Tabasco and chopped onion. Again the stout will bring out the meat's flavor, creating one of the best burgers ever.

Can Guinness be used as a marinade? Yes! In fact it's; excellent for any kind of steak or even kabob.A good recipe includes two cans of stout along with molasses  for thickness and sweetness. (the recipe comes from The Food Network) For added bite, toss in red pepper flakes and garlic (although I'd nix these). There is a simpler recipe that calls for onion along with garlic. I would maybe just use brown sugar , molasses and Guinness and leave the meat soaking in it  for two to three hours. You can finish with the latest cupcake flavor Guinness, The stout is also used in creating a boozy mini cake , usually with a chocolate or devil's food base.

Guinness is a great drink on it's own . However it;' also best used for bringing out the flavor of beef and even cakes. Use it to create a great summer dish full of flavor.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Crisp Cookie Revolution

There's something going on with cookies in the United States. Gone are those clingy chewy kind and in their stead a new version. It's the crisper , more homemade tasting and looking kind. To be honest it's a step up and away from all those soft little Frisbees that have been gracing our tables.. These provide better texture and flavor.

To be honest crisp cookies have been around since - oh  forever. They were called snaps, and were wafer thin (although strangely enough not wafers) and the first were ginger flavored. The name probably came from the sound the cookie makes when being broken or bitten/Much later the Nabisco company made them in chocolate and chocolate chip along with the ginger ones They fell out of favor thanks to  companies like Entemann's introducing a denser, richer chewier dough in the early 1980's . People wanted  clingy cookies , more with a cake like texture than the traditional brittle one.

That's changing. I noticed a return to the crispy side when I first discovered  the version from the  Flaky Tart, a four star bakery from Atlantic Highlands New Jersey The baker produced one that had the melt in your mouth buttery and chocolate flavoring yet with a crackly texture. I also discovered that they made their oatmeal cookies with the same bone china texture.Then this type started showing up in grocery stores , just in the chocolate chip flavor. I recently found out  that Target's brand Archer Farms also has these snaps, however they've expanded into the snickerdoodle and sugar cookies types along with the ubiquitous chocolate chip.

Will this trend last forever? I hope so. There's nothing like a crispy cookie to satisfy your need for crunch and sweetness.Crispy rules.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Preserving Your Produce

Hot weather is not kind to fresh produce. Weather can make even the crispest and freshest harvests go wilty and soggy. There are ways of preserving fruits and veg - and it can be very simple and tasty.

Most veggies like broccoli turn brown almost as soon as they're cut.It has to do with the way the mitochondria reacts to being severed (as mentioned in Wednesday's New York Times Dining section).  You can easily mist them and other vegetables such as tomatoes and peppers by placing  them between paper towels. Another way is a sort of pickling by using a simple oil and red wine vinegar dressing. This keeps the veggies crisp and flavorful. Some people swear by salt but that only brings out the moisture and prematurely ages the produce

Fruits should also be kept fresh otherwise mold spots occur.Try to keep them separate or even in brown paper bags. This last can help in the ripening process as well. Lemons and limes fare the best, while apples require a cool dark place - even a cellar is good . Another way of keeping fruit fresh and tasty is cutting it up and macerating  the pieces in a simple sugar sauce. Mix brown sugar or stevia together and pour over it .Add some lemon juice to preserve flavor and color. You can servealso this plain or with Cool Whip or vanilla ice cream.

Keeping produce fresh is a hard task during these hot days. It can be done though to ensure fresh and still tasty food. Don't let the hot days get you or your harvest down.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Vacation Cooking

Cooking when you're on vacation may seem like a chore but it's really more of an adventure.You're working. With a limited number of pots and pans along with gadgets.If you're lucky you'll Be in an area near local farms ,lakes and oceans.This creates a fresh locavore vibe that will give you great ideas and make you more culinary creative Cooking on holiday was the subject of anoretic in yesterday's New York Times Dining section.The piece written by regular Melissa Clark, ahow how to ,make the best of your vacation house kitchen.She recommends bringing a versatile Dutch oven along with tongs for handling both pasta and corn.Also pack a chef's knife and a paring knife and possibly a bread knife.Bring a small micro planer(although you can buy a hasp at a local hardware store)If Your rental doesn't have a grill ,then pick up a cheap portable one for grilling and toasting(you can even use it for toasting bread in the morning). as for foodstuffs, Ms. Clark recommends basics such as olive oil ,lemon and sea salt.You can also bring garlic , hot sauce, fresh herbs ,ice cream Parmesan cheese and honey or maple syrup.I would nix the ice cream from my list.Most vacation areas have stands that produce excellent home made ice cream.I would also bring oatmeal along with regular black pepper.She recommends cooking simple like grilled sausages with radicchio.This ISA simple yet filling meal, perfect after a day at the beach.There is also an easy recipe for grilled garlic bread with basil and Parmesan cheese.Think serving this with sliced prosciutto or ham fresh from local deli.You can also grill fresh picked fruit such as peaches and even strawberries to be served with fresh cream or vanilla ice cream. packing for a vacation house kitchen is relativelyeasyBring the basically and be open to trying local ingredients.It'll create an easy and fresh approach to holiday eating.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Your Own Gourmet Salt

Sea salt is one of the hottest food items right now. This gourmet specialty is everywhere, seasoning everything from popcorn to ice cream.Now there's a way to make your own.You can have your own. Version of fleur de sell orMalden's Surprisingly it's a simple procedure. it was the topic of an article in today's New YorkDaily News (I'm TheTimes Dining section a rest tonight)Making your own sea sal T is easy ,even if you have to use the waters right off of Manhattan.Take the seawater first thing in the water before the swimmers arriveRun the water through cheesecloth to eliminate any sand or gritThen put int o ashallow glass baking pan.You can dry it out in a low temp oven for days or outside for two or thee weeksOnce thieves are dry ,scrape from pan and store in an airtight container. Making your own salt. a shallow you to customize it.You can add lavender as some fancy French companies do. Try an apple wood one by adding soaked chips to the dryig process.There is also a recipe for lemon salt, popular with chefs in London right now.Thos requires both le,on juice and lemon zest added.Squueze over the drying salt and process in a warm sunny place like a window sill.SSpice up your salt with dill or Rosemary for something to add to salads.Drip some vanilla extract over the still. Wet salt for a dessert kind sea salt is hot right now.Customize your own with different flavors or just create a plain one.It's a neat way of having this trendy foodie item.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Our Changing Food Demographics.

Our food demographics are changing. It's evident in our supermarkets and shopping carts. Companies are taking how we eat as well as our passions into consideration. What is happening is  new food trends are emerging and it's heading towards more exotic fare becoming ordinary.

This was the subject of a very interesting article in today's New York Times Tuesday Business section, The piece, written by Stephanie Strom tracks what American consumers are buying for their meals and snacks. It turns out that sales of ethnic foods rose 4.5 percent and will increase in the upcoming years. We are moving away from traditional comfort foods and Yankee classics and buying more Mediterranean and Middle Eastern foods. This could be because of our longing for healthier diets. Both consist of more grains and produce than the usual diet of burgers and fried or sugary foods.

Other emerging trends are Asian and Latino influenced. The more traditional Campbell's Soup is adding such exotic ingredients like lemongrass and coconut to its' tomato soup while noodles in some of  their soups are being replaced with the hipper and healthier quinoa. Younger consumers are also shying away form classic soda brands like Coke and Pepsi and embracing the brightly colored Jarritos soda. This is a more natural brand that features more fruitier taste in traditional glass bottles. Other trends include combining snacks and dinner to create a tastier and more fun meal.

How we eat influences who and what we are. We also influence what companies make and sell too. That translates to a varied and tasty American palate.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Add More Fire To You Barbecue SAAS Hot Sauce

Sometimes your barbecue can be -well - boring. After all it's the same old steaks and ribs, chicken and tuna.What it and you need is a kick. All it takes is a different sauce with enough fire to shakeup your outdoor grilling. This comes in the form of SAAS Hot Sauce. If this won't liven up your grill , nothing  else will.

SAAS is one of the latest hot sauces to hit the market. Originally made by a team of students in 2008 with the purpose of creating something to raise money for good causes. One  student was a sauce chef and they used his zest and recipe to create a truly unique creation.SAAS came up with both the original and the onion and garlic flavors. This is not a sauce for the faint hearted. The main ingredient is habenero peppers which is one of the hottest around.Red and orange habeneros are mashed and then put into a brine.Sea salt molasses , honey and vinegar are also added for undertones and texture.

SAAS works best as a marinade,Pour directly onto meat may require some courage as well as a gallon of water afterwards.It is so fiery that you may want to use it in small quantities, blending it with oil and possibly honey,. The sauce could also be used when making any kind of jerk because of its' fieriness.It could be use a sa coating but paint it on meat sparingly Add a very thin glaze of it to ribs  for a different spin It could also be added to ketchup to zing up burgers and steaks. Even tuna can be enhanced by it but again use SAAS Hot Sauce with extreme caution.

If you want to give zip and dash to your Sunday barbecue then use SAAS.It is a spicy accompaniment to any outdoor cooking. It will make that grilling even hotter.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Summer Fridge

One of the most important rules of summer is keeping it light.This also applies to your fridge.This is not the season to load it up with leftovers and tons of other stuff. The more you have in it ,the more chance of it emitting that lovely rotten overripe food smell. The best bet is to stock it to a bare minimum.Keep it easy and breezy until the fall. Leftovers and doggie bags are always fun.However they're not so festive when they 've been left in the fridge for a week or two.Try to eat them a day or two after you've brought them home.Otherwise toss.The food will also get mold y too ,thanks to the hot weather(even though they're cold.,mold still flourishes )Ditto for those left over uncooked hamburger patties.Grill them or crumble into a quick chili with tomato paste, beans and spices.Those big salads you got at the diner and couldn't finish.Definitely eat those or chuck a day after .The greens will get soggy and not taste so good. During the summer months we have a tendency to go wild for the produce of the season.Even though fruits and veg are good for you, it's best to buy only in small quantities.Pitted fruits such as plums and peaches go bad and develop mold spots after a week. Don't over buy these.Keeper fruits, fruits that retain their freshness even after being in the fridge a week are strawberries. Blueberries and black berries( basically any berry),Veggies have. A little better shelf life however don't go too crazy with them. Cheese Can keep as well but it's best to only have one or two kinds. In the fridge(although they can always be added to omelets or melted into sauces. if you want a fresh smelling fridge ,keep it light and easy.Don't overload it or you'll have a hot smelly mess on your hands.Let the refrigerator have a vacation too this summer.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Sonker Pie's Southern Cousin

Nothing beats Appalachian cooking especially in the summer.It is an agrarian type of food , relying on ingredients from the trees and wild fields .The dessert, sonker, is one of these traditional dishes that comes from the orchards and berry fields that dot this wild mountain region.It is a tasty easy dish, perfect after a meal of fried chicken and barbecued ribs. This cousin of that other American classic ,the cobbler was one of the pies featured in the New York Times Dining sectionIt solely featured all sorts of pies.The piece ,written by Dining regular,Kim Severson, tells about this simple sweet ,found expressly in West Virginia.It's sort of like a pie but not really.Think of it as a hot soupy concoctions first made with fresh cooked fruit and any left over bread.It may be a cousin to the British slump which is stove top steam fruit covered with dumplings.It makes sense because the area was founded by British settlers in the 1700's and ,like other foods in the region more or less retained it's roots. Sonker is a little different than the average cobbler which has somewhat chewier texture.It has something called dip in it which is an amalgam of milk, sugar and a thickener such as cornstarch or flour.A drop or two of vanilla is added for flavor.Fruit and butter are added with the liquid from the fruit reserved. A pancake like batter is poured over it. it's baked for a little over half an hour.Sweet potato is used too, mostly by the region's African American population. In fact they only refer to the sweet potato kind as sonkers while they reserve the name cobbler for the fruit varieties. Sonkers are a great summer dessert.They are easy to make and a great way to end a family picnic.Try one aaa a nice way to greet a lazy sumer evening.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy July 4th!!!!!

To all my foodies around the world Happy July 4th! Celebrate with hot dogs and hamburgers along with big scoop of potato and macaroni salad! 

Treat our servicemen to an icy cold beer or their family  to ice cream. Celebrate the fact that we always have our tables and our stomachs filled.

Enjoy this day with family , friends and fireworks!


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Times Big Pie Issue

Today's New York Times Wednesday Dining issue is a real keeper.It's all about that. Summer fave pie! There are all sorts of articles and recipes along with hints and tips given by the Dining's section regulars.It even has a piece,about empanadas , meat pies.Any pie lover or baker would benefit by keeping this section. One of the best pieces is the pie's anatomy broken down and explained in scientific terms.Follow this and you will have the perfect apple pie.There's even a photograph with the crust and filling deconstructed. It explains everything from thickening molecules to pie geometry. it even gives the best measurements for slicing the apples (imagine the guys from The Big Bang Theory giving you baking advice,it's actually Amy Rowat ,an assistant professor and biophysicist at the University of California who teaches a course in science and food).Other experts such asJulia Moskin,Florence Fabricant,Jeff Gordonier and Melissa Clark also give the best suggestions and tips for creating the perfect pie. Another reason why this issue is worth saving are the many recipes.David Tanis of A City Kitchen gives us the only savory meat pie recipe ,that of the empanadas.This is an Argentinian by way of Spain version of a Cornish pasty.Instead of fruit it has corn and potato chunks along with Canadian bacon and spices .Melissa Clark does double duty with her advice and recipe of a plum chutney crumb pie.This is crumb topped confection filled with a fiery home made plum chutney.It's topped with clove and cinnamon infused crumbs.Then there is the recipe for soaker ,a type of pie ,famous in the American South.(more on that in Friday's blog) This issue of today's New York Times Dining section is truly worth keeping.It offers good recipes and good advice on pie making.Keep ittocreate the perfect summer tome treat!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Rochelle Park Diner Hometown Goodness

New jErsey has it's fair share of diners.Almost every town has signature one, usually big and flashy bathed in neon and serving fancy platters of all sorts f foods.the Rochelle Park Diner is it's town signature eatery but it's really the antithesis of one.It is small with a limited menu yet the food is four star quality good. The one thing that stands out is it's size.Unlike other diners that seem to have wings, the Rochelle Park is cozy L shaped place with an old fashioned counter.The decor is just plain charming with cute utensil printed wall paper and old-fashioned tile mosaics everywhere. Again, unlike it's fellow diners across the state,it has a small menu.There are no exotic burgers offered or a huge array of elaborate appetizers.It serves two soups daily ,a mouth watering Manhattan clam chowder and the soup of the day.There's not a lot of choice which is good.It's how diners used to be and sadly aren't anymore. The Rochelle Park diner does have some gems.There is the Eggs Benedict amongst the omelets along with pastrami and eggs.The omelets themlseves are straightforward. With just one extra added. There are some simple salads, that can any addition from steak to salmon added or they can be eaten just plain. sandwiches range from the classic such as The Happy Waitress to the trendy like the Athenian panini.The diner serves excellent pastas.Their linguine is exactly like homemade with a rich marinara sauce while their eggplant parmesan is nicely breaded and fried to a chewy crisp.They offer desserts such as brownies and puddings to finish off the meal. New jersey has some good diners however if you want a cute,quiet place then try the one in Rochelle Park.It has excellent food served in a cozy setting.It 's a great getaway fora summer meal .

Monday, July 1, 2013

Summer's Traditional Foods

Now that it is truly summer ,it's time to bring out all those great foods that are only served during these steamy days.Thanks to both it. Being harvest time as well as being too hot to cook in a traditional kitchen,annual caves come out.There are so many from barbecue fare to boardwalk and beach classics. Salads make a big come back when the temps soar.Nothing beats a simple lunch of iceberg lettuce ,and tomato wedges.Finish with a homemade French dressing of equal parts mayo and ketchup. another salad that screams not only summer but chicness is the Provencale salad Nicoise. This involves mixing greens and tomatoes with hard boiled eggs ,capers ,anchovies and tuna fish.It has a simple oil and vinegar dressing and is served with huge hunks of the crustiest French bread. Of course nothing beats good old fashioned burgers and dogs.Put them on buttered buns and load up with extras, like pickles and onions for the first and relish and mustard for the second. Of course summer means a return to Boardwalk and country fair classic foods.Nothing beats the rare treat of a corn dog ,a mix of sweet and savory.There's also sausage and pepper sandwiches , bursting with super spicy Italoan sausage and peppers. Sweets come out too, like the enticing and crackly candy apples,either dipped in nuts or coconuts along with everyone's must have cotton candy.No matter how old you are nothing finishes a night out like big fluff of the stuff.Luckily the warm weather provides us with nature's sweet treats. indulge in strawberries plums and nectarines.These make great snacks , especially on picnics or after the gym.Blueberries and cherries are also still in abundance.Scatter them over your favorite home made or store bought ice cream or turn into luscious compotes. Summer is officially here and with it all the foods we love. Enjoy them at the beach or the lake. make sure you serve them at your barbecue.Just celebrate these lazy hazy days with fun foods and fun times!