Monday, June 30, 2014

Your Best Summer Friend - Water

Hot weather brings about thirst.That's a given.We reach for all sorts of cooling quenchers from cola flavored Slushies to all sorts of fruit infused teas and juices.Yet the best liquid is the simplest.Water.We need it as much as we need sunscreen and bug repellent during these ,sweltering months. Everyone should be in the habit of drinking Adam's ale. (and yes ,this is a cute but accurate description) Humans need water , especially now with the high temps.We can last a month without food but only a week without water.It is needed for lubricating vital organs as well as eliminating wastes from the body.It regulates our body temperatures,and keeps our eyes, mouths and noses moist.If you notice that your urine is a dark yellow or that you seem to be getting a lot of headaches , then you're probably dehydrated. Surprisingly drinking too much water can be bad as well.The condition is called hyponatremia where too much ingested water causes cells ,especially brain ones to swell.Side effects are nausea ,severe headaches and cramps.Mostly runners get this due to the extreme need to drink.The everyday person should have about six to eight full glasses of water a day.The best way to determine if you are getting enough of it is to look at your urine.You're drinking the right amount if it's a pale straw color.Deep yellow to orange colored urine is a sign of dehydration and if this is the case starting drinking more. A lot of people, especially adults, shy away from drinking water, especially now.Some would prefer an icy soda or slushie , others live for an iced coffee.These do add to the fluid intake but there are drawbacks too.Sodas and slushies have a high sugar content as well as leaving drinkers wanting more.Sweet drinks are also fattening ,not a plus during swimsuit season.Caffeine is even worse. It dries out skin cells not to mention it is a powerful stimulant.The problem with water is well, it is water. It's nice to take a sip before dinner or in the middle of the night when you wake up with cotton mouth.Water is luckily versatile, you can zest it up with a splash of lemon or lime.If you want something with a little more dash, then add some sliced strawberries or crushed blueberries.If you still crave fizz then think club soda.This is nothing but carbonated water.It's a great drink for the beach or for those summer parties when you don,t want alcohol.Like it's plainer cousin, it can be jazzed up with crushed fruit or fruit slices. If this hot weather is leaving you parched, then reach for a chilled bottle of water.It's the best weapon in dealing with the sweltering days of summer.Crack open a bottle now and enjoy it's cool purity.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Ninety Acres: Fresh Food ,Fresh Innovations

For those who think New Jersey is nothing but diners and fast-food they should visit Ninety Acres near Gladstone in the middle of NJ horse country.This highly rated restaurant uses all veggies and some meats as well as herbs from their on site garden and farm. These are spun into amazing dishes , bursting with color and flavor.To eat here is like dining in Lyons or Chengdu.Every dish is well thought out and well executed.It is the food that best represents the abundance that is the Garden State. Let me preface this by adding that I attended a wedding at Ninety Acres so it was a preplanned menu more or less.Chef David Felton whom I sat down with and interviewed is the head chef at Ninety Acres(Foodie Pantry will be featuring that interview with him later on in the week)From the hors d'ouvres to the hors d'ouevres, the array of dishes were truly delicious and innovative.One could simply worship the leeks on miniature toast squares as well as an ethereal pizza topped smartly with the interesting combination of onions, Parmesan cheese and apples.This last I could have just eaten and nothing else.The guests started with a salad of mixed greens and a carrot dressing .I loved the surprise of cashews nestled amongst the different leaves The main course roasted Griggstown, chicken with a purée of white beans was buttery and tender. Fresh picked peas were also included, these being grown only a few yards from where we were sitting. The dessert, of course, the wedding cake was simply the best one I have ever had. Deeply rich chocolAte cake was swathed in a light frosting while it's filling was reminiscent of a Brown Derby cake, with fresh strawberries and bananas mingled with buttercream.Fresh fruit was also served with it as well. I am planning on returning to try some of Chef Felton's other creations.Everything is on his menu, The restaurant's Bring Me Food concept is quite intriguing.Here diners actually sit around hue restaurant's exposed kitchen while Chef Felton caters to each culinary whim within reason and also with the ingredients featured that particular night.Their regular menu is drool worthy too. They have a farmer's menu with comfort favorites as fish and chips and meat loaf all done with a sophisticated fillip.The restaurant also features polenta with a variety of different topping.Those alone worth visiting. I would love to try the ground corn meal with tomatoes and eggs ,a meal from my childhood revamped into something wonderful.another must try is the polenta with Organic mushrooms and Rosemary.Ninety Acres also offers pizza and. With it more fresh locally gown and raised ingredients.Their desserts are fun ,especially the malt ice cream or chocolate chip cookies served with milk. I have to thank my little cousin for letting me share her special day and food.I have been introduced to one of the best restaurants in the Garden State.Ninety Acres is just truly amazing. Their food and ideology reflect what good cooking with fresh ingredients is all about. Y .It is fresh

Friday, June 27, 2014

Lo Salt A New Shake On Salt

Salt is a must have in our lives ,especially now in the hot weather.However too much of it can be Lethal.What to do? You could give up the white stuff or you could try a salt substitute.There in lies another problem.The fake stuff can be metallic tasting and even leave a funny metal after taste.LUckily the United Kingdom Has given us a great import LO Salt. This Scottish made seasoning is perfect alternative to regular salt. The taste is pretty close to actual salt and thankfully there is no aftertaste.I would go easy with it however because it does have 450 milligrams of potassium.Be very stringent with LoSalt if you have high potassium levels, have Addison's Disease or kidney problems(you can also bring the salt to your doctor and get his or her opinion and blessing on it). A small pinch goes a long way.Lo Salt has sixty-six percent less sodium than regular salt and is perfect for those with high blood pressure or those just watching their salt intake. Lo Salt comes in both iodized and original.It is sold worldwide and sold coast to coast in the United States.Check Whole Foods, Ralph's and Dominicks either in their condiments or natural food aisles.You can also buy it on Amazon too. What I like about Lo Salt is the taste.It is intense, sort of on the same level as sea salt.Another plus is that it dissolves easily, making it perfect for cooking and baking.Since the taste is somewhat intense just use a small pinch. A few grains are all you need for a salad or even to sprinkle on fresh picked tomatoes. Lo Salt can be mixed with other spices (and again use as little as possible , the flavor does go a long way) to create rubs or mixed seasonings.The Lo Salt website has a variety of different recipes you can try,from salted pumpkin seeds to tike marsala to Rosemary mashed potatoes.You can also use it in baking and in icings. The hot summer weather requires we all increase our salt intake.Use Lo Salt for instead of regular salt for a healthier alternative.YOu'll satisfy your need without jeopardizing your health.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Two Takes On Bread

Everyone likes bread.However this kitchen and diet necessity can sometimes be boring .Luckily it is versatile whether to use as a cushion for food or remade as exotic street fare.These are two ways to enjoy it, both going from the mundane to the exotic and unusual. Bread was the topic of both Melissa Clark's A Good Appetite and David Tanis"City Kitchen columns in yesterday's New York Dining section.Ms. Clark decided to broil slices of thick, fine crumbed Pullman loaves or pan de mie (translated honey bread) The bread's soft spongy texture makes it perfect for the base of crab toast.This is a nice Summer Sunday supper.This involves buttering and toasting thick slices in the broiler and putting soft shell crabs under it too.Home chefs can get the crustaceans cleaned at your local fishmonger.The sauce over it is pureed Italian parsley spiked with jalapenos.This is smeared on top as a kind of pesto.If you want something simpler you could just make a garlic butter or an Old Bay mix to drizzle over the toast slices. David Tanis has a more exotic spin on the staff of life.He turns to Indian street food, namely dhokla a savory steamed loaf"Instead of traditional flour it is made with semolina.Ginger, green chile and turmeric are added for bite and fire.As for leavening there are two ways home chefs can go.There"s the old style Indian method which calls for soaking dried grains or legumes overnight,grinding them to make a batter and letting that ferment overnight.The result is natural yeast.A quicker and preferred way is mixing baking powder and flour which only takes an hour to rise.The result when baked is a springy almost spongecake bread.This would be good on it's own but then there is the tarka,the fiery topping made from a blend of cumin and curry cooked in vegetable oil.It is served with mint infused yogurt, also spoked with chiles. Bread made be just an ordinary part of one's diet but it can be made extraordinary.Try Melissa Clark's crab toast or David Tanis dhokla.They both will bring flavor and excitement to something so mundane.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Perfect Summer Burger

This is the season for hamburgers.Nothing beats the good home made ones straight from a skillet or barbecue grill.These are the best whether just plain on a bun or dressed with condiments and extras. This German American classic was deconstructed in an article in today's New York Times Dining section by regular contributor and former editor of the issue,Sam Sifton.He relied on different sources for advice in making two varieties of the meat patty.The kind made depends on if you're a meat lover or not.There is the tavern style.This requires more meat namely eight ounces to a regular burger's four.However don't go past the eight ounces otherwise you"ll windup with an underdone mini meatloaf,according to chef Geoffrey Zakarian ,who creates lush and flavorful kind for the Manhattan restaurant The National Bar And Dining Rooms.Seasoning is more intense with more sea salt and pepper used.The result is a juicy patty brimming with flavor served on a toasted bun.The other version known as diner style is a thinner, crisper patty.These can be doubled on a bun for meat lovers .The tavern style is usually cooked for three minutes while the other is only cooked for a quick two and should have a burnished crust.The most preferred method of cooking is a good cast iron skillet over a regular flame on a burner or a grill.The hamburger meat should be chilled before cooking because the fat should still be solid and be allowed to melt slowly within the chuck. Mr. Sifton gives good advice as well. Forming the patties is the most important step.This is also the time to add extras and chefs will do so.Some butchers will as well throwing in bacon and even cheddar chunks and potato chips.Home chefs can add chopped onion for more flavorful burgers.The meat should be a ground chuck ,not too fatty but not too lean either.However it should be ground at home.Store ground meat can pose a health problem and there is also a second problem,that of the fat globules which makes for a mushy feel to the patty's interior.Keep it in the fridge until you're ready to cook. As for forming them, an ice cream scoop or spoon is recommended to extract a golf ball sized chunk of meat.This has to be tossed onto the grill in one fluid, swift movement.A pat of butter should be used as the grease.Use a heavy spatula to press down.It flattens the ball. Which now should be the size of a hamburger bun.Season and then wait ninety seconds before flipping on the raw side.What can you put on a done burger?Ripe tomato slices and Bibb lettuce only suggests Chef Zakarian, the last being perfect for holding the patty's juices.Then it's just ketchup and mustard. Mayo , sliced pickles and onions can also be added but these will infringe on the burger's taste. Nothing beats a perfect burger. The best is a homemade one, straight from the grill and brimming with juiciness. What better than that for a summer's meal.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Kitchen Ceaning Yays And Nays

One of the worst summer chores is cleaning the kitchen.This involves getting rid of smelly leftovers and stale hard as rock whatever.The chore can be made less difficult simply by sorting.Figure put what is keepable and what's toss able. You'll have a cleaner, fresher cooking area, prefect for the minimal cooking of the season. If you haven't cleaned out your freezer now is the time to do so. After all, it'll be stocked with ice pops and pints of ice cream.Despite the old wives tale ,you can eat last year's ice pops only if they don't have a slight odor.Ice cream is another matter.It starts acquiring a funny taste at around six months. Get rid of it if it's been in the fridge for a whole twelve months. Frozen foods are different .They can be kept until their expiration dates. Check all dates before cooking or tossing. If you have frozen herbs or homemade pesto, again remember when they went into cold storage. Herbs only have one year. A little different theory works for down below.Fruit and veggies should be cleaned out after two weeks or ten days, depending on the particular produce. Tomatoes will emit a sour, earthy smell when they rot and will have almost prune like skins. Some foods will have the green patina of mold. Any cold cut will,after a week as will Ginger and some cheeses. Try to weed these out on a regular basis to have an odor free fridge.Canned and bottled foods and drinks can be kept much longer. Barbecue sauces, ketchup and mustards can sometimes last years however if they look syrupy or gummy chuck them into the garbage bin. Baked goods have much better and longer shelf lives. Some people even thrive on rock solid stale cookies and cake. they are good dunked into coffee. However they can be so hard as to break teeth.Luckily wild life such as raccoons and wood chucks have sweet tooths.You can toss anything without chocolate to them. Chocolate is dangerous to most animals so throw chocolate chips and stale brownies away. Stale baked goods can also be repurposed. Grind them up into crumbs to sprinkle over ice cream or as a filling for an ice cream cake.The same applies to bread especially French or Italian loaves. These actually make the best crumbs and they can be reused in a variety of dishes.Try them to thicken soups or as a breading for fried foods. unfortunately bread and cake's ingredients can't be saved. the only long lasting one is sugar or honey.Eggs turn after a month, flours gets wormy. toss these or give them away if you can't use them.Milk has both a sour smell and taste after only two or three days. flavorings such as vanilla and almond extract can surprisingly hold on for six months to a year, thanks to the alcohol in both. A clean kitchen is an inviting one.Remember to purge it of old rotty foods on a regular basis. it makes for not only an uncluttered one but one that is free of nasty smells and molds.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Know Your Lettuce

This is the time of year for salads.Unlike other summer dishes, these can be varied thanks to the mammy kids of greens to start off with as a base. Home chefs just think there is only romaine and iceberg.They're sort of right, however there are so many different types that you can make an entirely different salad almost every night of the week. Yes, most Americans do buy more iceberg and Romaine than any other kind.Both have their merits.Sadly iceberg has the least nutrition and the least flavor but it is the best base for tossing a salad with strong flavors.A popular summer one is a wedge of iceberg drenched in bleu cheese.You could also add tomatoes and crumbled bacon too.Iceberg also is good for chef salads too, because of the variety of strong flavored meats and cheese.Romaine is another well loved type.It's the base of Caesar salads but can be used as a base for others as well.You can add sliced avocado slices along with tomatoes for a nice vegan side or main meal.Romaine is good too with turkey ,chicken and most seafood.For a more elegant bowl, think aboutbadding crab and lobster morsels with a simple oil and lemon vinaigrette.Try to eat Romaine at least twice a week.It is high in Vitamin C as well as in phosphates and folates. Bibb and butter lettuce are excellent selections.They are top of the line because of their rich buttery flavor.Their leaves form perfect C's and they are the best choice for holding chicken, tuna, crab and turkey salads.It is also good with a simple vinaigrette to emphasize its amazing flavor. Mention escarole and most home chefs will say it's a soup ingredient.However this Vitamin C rich green is actually a great base for salads.The trick is to buy it or if you're growing it in your garden, to pick the Leaves early on.They will be very sweet,only acquiring the bitter aftertaste later on.Escarole leaves are a wonderful base for Mediterrenean salads with strong flavored ingredients.Think an escarole salad with salame, or prosciutto, Provolone or feta cheese and any kind of olive from black to kalamata.Mesclun is another choice.This is actually a mix of different lettuces that have been seeded and grown together.Mix them with the feathery frisee or the peppery chicory.Again these are rich in vitamins and nutrients and a nice spin to a salad.Since these are strong flavored greens ,think delicate add ins such as plain croutons, grape tomatoes and possibly snap beans.Stick with a very light dressing possibly with a citrus base. Vary your salads this summer.Get out of theviceberg and Romaine comfort zone and try the other greens. have fun discovering other types of lettuce and creating new and exciting salads.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

The Perfect Summer Party

IT is now summer 2014 and with it comes a dearth of summer parties.From showers to grad parties to barbecues? Hosts will be creating get togethers.Some parties will be successful while others will may miss the mark.Anyone can throw the perfect summer party.Just follow a few simple rules and you"ll have a memorable gathering. The first step in creating the perfect summer do is planning your menu.Many people want to have everything at a barbecue, from hot dogs to chicken to bruscheta.Whoa! whoa!Whoa! If you want a barbecue then stick with a barbecue centered course of action. Add some coleslaw or a macaroni salad as sides to offset the spiciness of the barbecue .As for bread think corn bread which is good mopping up extra sauce or good with butter.As for hot dogs and hamburgers, roasted plank fries and a corn onion salad would be great accompaniments.Have a table with add ons, such as lettuce ,tomatoes,onions and sliced pickles.For dessert, think mini sundaes with homemade ice cream and s ' mores for the kids while adults can enjoy a fresh made blueberry or strawberry crisp?Have chilled bottles of beer for the adults and chilled bottles of both root and birch beer for the little ones and non drinkers.End with iced coffees. Many hosts want to throw a party with exotic or sophisticated fare.Don't go all over the culinary map for your dishes.If you want to serve lamb kabobs and Harissa, don't have a side of potato salad followed by pad Thai.Stick with just one nationality.Finish off the kabobs with a rice pilaf or couscous.Finish with honeyed figs,or serve them with a fruity sorbet.If you want to have bruschetta, fine,but remember it goes best with a steak or chicken with an oregano rub.A perfect side is a tomato salad and a perfect dessert are strawberries soaked in either Asti Spumente or Marsala wine.If you're throwing a potluck party, make sure everyone is on the same page.If many people are involved have a meeting and discuss the menu and who should bring what.Also find out what their culinary strengths and weaknesses are a d assign dishes accordingly. Anyone can throw the perfect summer party.It starts with organization and ends up with happy guests.There's nothing complicated at all about it.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Gluten Free Not Just A FadAnymore

It was just a scant decade or so ago that we heard stars chatter on about the benefits of a gluten free diet.Everyone thought it was just one of those flash in the pan dietary restrictions. However we have now learned that it is a condition.A good portion of the American population now has some form of celiac disease, a serious allergy to gluten.Luckily restaurants and home chefs are well aware of it and are changing their ingredients to ease the condition. It was the topic of an article in Wednesday's New York Times Dining section.Regular contributor, Kim Severson, delved into this international problem.Celiac disease is a painful and scary allergy that at it's best, can cause diarrhea and bloating while at it's" worst cause severe malnutrition and irreversible damage to the small intestine, Liver and brain.For children it means intolerable stomach pain and severe malnourishment.It is caused by gluten, the protein in wheat that gives dough it's elasticity.It's a hard allergy to live with because sufferers can,t even have a slice of bread or enjoy a cake without it.Luckily that 's all changing.Homes and restaurants across the country are going gluten free, looking for other grains to fill the need. Now there is pasta made from rice flour and ground chickpeas, as well as pizzas, cookies and cupcakes. a child with the allergy now can have the same treats as friends can. Gluten free also means healthy.Many non sufferers are embracing this diet too.Dishes will be Lighter and simpler.The taste won't be that different either. It does mean losing weight, less intestinal inflammation and surprisingly less fatigue.It's also actually more adaptable than any other diet.If some restaurants adapted a low carb diet, they'd have to get rid of their bread including sandwiches along with most desserts Adapting a gluten free menu is much easier.It also gets diners to try new grains such as buckwheat and chickpea.The diet may meet with some opposition.Some hard core Christians as well as ethnic groups may be offended because grains are an important part of the Bible and their upbringing.They feel they will either be less Christian or lose their culinary history by adapting this kind of diet. Gluten free goods are here to stay.It's perfect for those with celiac disease, even better for those who want to eat better. It's a great diet and one that will be mainstream and fully acceptable soon enough.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Cool Foods For Summer

It is already hot and sticky in most of the Northern Hemisphere.It's impossible to eat let alone cook.What's a foodie to do? Go for cool foods.Make dishes that require minimal kitchen time along with minimal prep time.The results are light and airy dishes, perfect for lunch or even dinner. David Tanis tackled this issue in his City Kitchen in yesterday's New York Times Dining section.He suggests taking a page from Italian home chefs.Make it fresh and simple and you"ll never go wrong.He suggests making a simple diced base salad.It requires minmal cooking and prep time.What is great about insalata di risotto is that is can be made in a variety of ways.Mr Tanis turns his into a frutti di mare. He takes shrimp ,squid and mussels boiled on salted water as the main ingredients.Green beans and sliced cherry tomatoes are the veggies , both fresh picked and perfect foils for the seafood.It's all placed on a bed of Arborio rice. This variety is used instead of white rice because it will hold up to the oil and vinegar.Regular white rice will get mushy after too much time in the vinaigrette. Arborio holds up much better, however if you want to use brown rice for a healthier spin.Just don't use Too much dressing on it Rice salads can be varied on ingredients. According to Mr. Tanis, Italian home chefs add leftovers such as chicken and /or various cold cuts.It's a great way of cleaning the fridge. Leftover meats can be julienned and added to any overage from barbecues can be sliced up and then cubes into bite sized pieces. Think a grilled London broil salad, dressed with a garlicky vinaigrette, graced with thinly sliced beefsteak tomatoes.For a vegan insalata, grill asparagus , corn ,and peppers.Use a dressing full of lemon , olive oil and fresh picked herbs.For a truly refreshing evening meal or even a Sunday brunch. For another lighter turn try flakes tilapia or salmon,both broiled ,witness just peas and onion and a simple oil and red wine vinegar. This is the start of light cooking and eating.Try an insalata riso fora meal that's both light and yeasty.It's easy to male and easy to eat,perfect for the onset of summer.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The King of LA Cooking

One man is deciding how Los Angeles eats and that is restaurant maven Roy Choi.He is responsible now for how the West coast metropolis eats.His ideas are a combination of both traditional and stoner new wave.It's down home and hipster all rolled into lists of tasty menus. It won't be long before he hit here,in the New York metro area. Chef Choi's story was a front page one on today's New York Times Dining section"Dining regular contributor ,Jeff Gordonier, wrote about this unique and truly only in America story.Only a few years ago Chef Choi wwas selling tacos out of a typical LA food chef.The service called Kogi featured tacos stuffed with Korean barbecue.This is pretty common fare however ,in like other food trucks.Kogi had a huge following onTwitter.Fans raved and promoted this fusion quick food on almost an epic scale.This led to his second venture,Chego,a fast food stand located in LA's Chinatown.Here Chef Choi sells rice bowls,comfort food from his Korean American childhood.He has also embraced truly American classics such as beer can chicken, cheeseburgers, mashed potatoes and cornbread at another of his restaurants, The A Frame, a former refurbished IHOP.He then went into Caribbean cooking with the shack called Sunny Side, a homage to those Jamaican and Bahamian beachfront eateries.He serves rum drinks that go well with the mofango and oxtail stew along with blueberry pancakes.To top that off this food mogul also supplies the joshed at at bar called The Alibi.His versatility comes from his background,a family of restaurant owners, an education at the Culinary Institute of America and a stint at Le Bernardin You would think Chef Choi would be busy enough with all these eateries, but he still has the energy to run his own trendy hotel in downtown LA?The Sydell Group backed him up and he created.It's trendy but thankfully not pretensious (unlike some Greenwich Village ones)People can walk in, and feel welcomed no matter how they're dressed.The hotel is home to yet another of Chef Choi's list called Pot and features the food of his childhood.It's combined with a bakery to produce Asiansweet buns amd hipster baked Mac and cheese.The hotel also houses a vegetable driven restaurant called Commissary.Not only that he tailored room service not to those traditional room service dishes but to what. People would actually eat such as Spam and eggs and a twist on Ramen soup.This last can easily be copied at home.It's just the famed Ramen soup pack that has a poached egg, butter and a slice of American cheese to it(this will be attempted later but with Parmesan cheese instead of the American).The refurbished soup is popular with Korean American kids, a sort of comfort food like baked Mac and cheese. Roy Choi is one of the newer wave of chefs.They mix their culinary heritage with hipster influence and American culture.The result is what American wants to eat.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Sweet Low Calorie Heaven

Warm weather brings about the craving for something refreshing and icy.Unfortunately the one food that fulfills those two requirements is ice cream.The problem is that it's a fine treat every now and then.Yet summer calls for a blissfully cold and sweet every night.Don't worry. there are some great low calorie treats that are both tasty and chill. One of the best of the frozen treats is Greek yogurt reconfigured into ice cream.One outstanding one is Oikos.It may be low fat but it tastes as good as any creamy, rich ice cream.The dark cherry is full of tender , large bits of fruit.It is even better with syrup,tasting like a sinful bonbon.Their cafe au lait is rich in flavor too.When it's this low in calories you can give it a drizzle of hot fudge and whipped cream.Other yogurt companies also have put out frozen yogurts ,both in bar and Popsicle form. Stomeyfield Farms has their yogurt in classic bar form drenched in a dark chocolate coating.If you're concerned about artificial additives, then you can make your own.It's easy .Just add sweetener and vanilla(or any other flavor )".You can put it through an ice cream maker or just freeze in a container for more of an iced milk kind. Another idea is frozen fruit piece es.Dole has come out with Dippers in both strawberry and banana.These are chunks of fruit coated in deep dark chocolate.These are a treat after a hot day.They're both refreshing and flavorful.They"re also sixty calories for the strawberry and eight forvthe bannas.You can make this yourself with Smuckers's hard shell topping or melted dark chocolate.This you can havevwith, especially now that it's cherry season.You can also freeze melon chunks and grapes too for a refreshing variety.Another idea is ice.Ther's no dairy and it's low in calories and cholesterol.Most pops are between twenty five and fifty calories? You can even have two or three without feeling guilty.If you want a more sophisticated version think about a coffee granit.This is simple frozen and forked sweetened espresso .It's another refresher , especially served with a low calorie topping such as Cool Whip. Y ou can have a cold icy low calorie treat.In fact you'll like these you'll forget about ice cream.When you crave something cooling , you'll head for something that won't mess with your diet.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Roger Mooking:The Man of Man,Fire ,Food

Chef Roger Mooking truly is an adenturous cook. This Trinidad born , Toronto raised chef has a new show on the Food Network Man Fire Food. He travels around the US , obsrving and participating in fire based cooking techniques.It's an interesting culinary ride, especially when he gets to try pine needles. Foodie Pantry was honored to have a recent interview with him

Foodie Pantry-What exactly is the show about?Who thought of the concept? Who is your audience?

Roger Mooking:Man Fire Food is all about cooking with fire in its various ways – we smoke, we grill, we bake, we boil; everything you could imagine and then everything you couldn’t imagine as well. The show was born from the brain of Irene Wong of Irene Wong Productions, the Executive Producer and more than occasional Director of the series. I got involved when the Cooking Channel brain trust put us together. Our audience is very broad, I get a lot of emails and social media comments from all walks of life, broad range of ages, gender, race, income, and any other kind of marker. Food is universal and man has been cooking with fire for a VERY LONG time now.

FP: What was the most unusual fire cooking method you’ve seen on the show so far?
RM:There are too many to hone down into one definitive answer but later this season you will see some truly unusual techniques. No spoilers.
FP:What was the most dangerous?
RM:Fire is potentially always dangerous so I suppose they all are in some way.

FP: What were the most unusual ingredients used? Did you try them?
RM:Pine Needles. And of course I did.

FP: What was the most low tech grilling method? The most hi tech sophisticated one?
RM:Low tech was also Pine Needles, you will have to keep watching to see that one; its pretty amazing actually. Most high tech was...not sure you can get very high tech when cooking with fire. There have been some impressive contraptions but Im not sure I would call them high tech. No rocket launcher chicken...yet.

FP: Who was the best griller on the show? Did you like his or her offering?
RM:This is a loaded question but we don’t just cover grilling. I do all things with fire from grilling, smoking, steaming, direct coal cooking, etc...Cant just limit the scope to grilling.

FP: Did you pick up any marinating or grilling tips?
RM:Countless. The universal one being – put the cold thing on the hot thing and take it off when its done. All cooking can basically be summed up into this idea. Check out my social media feed and I;m posting weekly grilling tips. Check 'em out.

FP: I have to ask this - did you finish any meals with s”mores?
RM:Not yet. Not yet.

Man ,Fire ,Food will be on the Food Network Monday night at 8PM EST.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

A Feast For Dad

Tomorrow is Father's Day and it"s the day to not only shower the guy with gifts but also with food.There are many ways to celebrate.You could go grill, Dagwood or total bacon.Any way is sure to please the fathers and the men in your life. Men love to grill and eat any meat grilled.This phenomena could be a vestige left over from our Neanderthal or Cro Magnon days.Nothing beats dogs and burgers with toasted buns.Add some cheddar strips along with a chile sauce and you have a great warm weather lunch.Steak is another barbecue must have.If you want to give Dad the perfect one choose a lean cut with little or no fat( you may want to go to a butcher for this) .Marinate in olive oil and dust lightly with freshly ground pepper and sea salt. Lamb is making a surprising come back and it is delicious when fire roasted.It can be served with the spicy Harissa sauce ,popular in North Africa or crusted with Parmesan and bread crumbs. Pork is another meat not really grilled that often and that's a shame. Grilled pork chops are wonderfully rich in flavor as well as being versatile. Pork too can be ground into burgers or marinated with a Chinese sauce that features the famed five spices. Finish the meal with s'mores dad style.Add crumbled bacon on the chocolate for a sweet and salty treat or make a bacon sundae.Startvwith vanilla or chocolate ice cream, add hot fudge and then toss on a few very crisp bacon slices An old fashioned Dagwood sandwich is another good meal choice if you're taking the man of the day to the beach or mountains.Nothing beats a customized sandwich made with love.Pick out his favorite cold cuts, and layer them with a host of different veggies from tomatoes to avocados.Cheese is another must have. You can go with the usual cheddar and American cheeses but for bite try the Montery Jack or Vermont super sharp cheddar.These can shake up an otherwise boring sandwich.To keep it moist , you can sprinkle the bread with oil and red wine vinegar but you could also add mayo or mustard or both.Russian dressing is another spin that adds zing to an ordinary sandwich.To really add flavor add bacon to the sandwich.This works well with ham or roast beef.Bacon is another Father's Day treat and the whole day can be dedicated to it.Think of bacon laced omelets or Eggs Benedict with a few strips instead of Canadian bacon to start off the day.Lunch could be bacon cheeseburgers while dinner could be a relatively healthy spinach salad, decorated with crumbled bacon.Bacon can even be an ingredient or part of the icing in a rich stout and chocolate cake or cupcakes. Nothing says love more than being served a favorite food or a meal made woth mich loved ingredients.Treat Dad to whatever hecwants, whether it's a burger, sandwich or just a plate of bacon.He'll not only appreciate it but he'll enjoy it too! Happy Flag Day to all my American readers!

Friday, June 13, 2014

The Best Cake Decorating Book Ever.

Everyone thinks that cake decorating is an art.Many home bakers would love to create a fancy cake or whimsical cupcakes but are deterred by the complexity of decorating.Never fear.There is a great how to book out now that not only guides step by step but has great ,hints ,suggestions and recipes.Even a novice can create a truly professional looking gâteau with this how to. Carey Madden'Manhattan baker , is the author of this amazing decorating guide and dessert book.It is called Sensational Buttercream Decorating (Robert Rose Press,New York) and it is perfect for any baker.There are many things to like about it,One is that she gives scratch cake recipes from simple vanilla and chocolate to the more complex pink lemonade and sweet potato spice cake.She also includes gluten free and vegan recipes too.(understandable ,since her client base includes Madonna ).Another plus is that actual book is more like a notebook where you can wrote notes in the margins.It also has templates to cut out to insure you have a picture perfect cake. The book is chockfull of good advice.She spells it out what you will need for decorating and shows how to use each tool.Ms. Madden also shows how to create different kinds of flowers from the classic rose to mums and hydrangeas.She also gives pointers on how to write in various fonts, as well as giving suggestions on what lettering to use for different occasions. The showcase of this book are the highly detailed pictures of gorgeous cakes and cupcakes.There are fifty projects to try.One of my favorites is a basket weave icing so named because it looks like an actual basket.This simple looking design is a series of intricate short lines of brown or chocolate icing around the cake's sides.It is the perfect sort for a summer or spring bridal shower.Another breathtakingly beautiful cake is the bow and swag.It is reminiscent of a Victorian hatbox with small exquisite pearl drops of icing. Another design in this vein is the calico cake, reminiscent of a sprigged muslin that a Jane Austen heroine would wear.This is a series of random deep pink rosebuds with sugar pearls. It is a perfect cake for a girl s only brunch.There are also downright fun designs such as the hot pink and black zebra design and the totally neat cheetah icing ,done in the mottled spots of the big cats.Cupcakes are well represented in the book as well.They can be topped with peach colored buttercream rosettes or hydrangeas petals.These would be the perfect little cakes for an afternoon tea or funraiser Fundraiser.There are also whimsical ones with buttercream bumblebees and lady bugs.Ms.Madden also throws in easy decorations with simple ruffled and combed effect. These are lovely in their simplicity. Carey Madden's book is a must have for home bakers longing to create that most beautiful cake or cup cake. Any one can create a picture perfect creation with simple buttercream, dye and tools. The icing and decorations will certainly take the cake!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

An Unusual Cheesecake

June is here and with it comes strawberries.Those lush, juicy gems are everywhere They are the best in cheesecake"Nothing beats the blended flavors of the earthy berries with the sweet tanginess of cheese.It is as perfect marriage of flavor and texture. Melissa Clark discovered this in her column, A Good Appetite in yesterday's New York Times Dining section.She makes the ultimate strawberry dessert ,the cheesecake.This isn't your average diner one, a big almost Edam looking round with jellied clots of the fruit on top.This is a cheery pink one,made sophisticated with a mix of tart goat cheese and creamy store bought cream cheese.(I imagine you could use marscapone if need be). Also gelatin is used as the binder. red wine is also used to intensify the pink color and is first mixed with the gelatin. You can use orange juice instead or better yet strawberry juice ,fresh made or bought.Coarsely chopped fresh strawberries are used however frozen ones are also good.One of the best points about this cheesecake is that it is a no bake one.The mixture is poured into a waiting crust and then refrigerated for four to six hours. The crust is another matter.Ypu can use an already pre made Graham cracker crust.It makes sense, given the easiness of the recipe.However Ms. Clark goes purist with making her own.This is a raw dough baked until it"s crisp.The cheesecake is then poured into it.Is it better to go a step above and create a from scratch crust?Yes, if you have the time to spend on it.The cookie crust requires honey along with dark brown sugar and two kinds of flour.Since it is cookie dough it does have to be chilled for at least two hours.If you don't have the time,but still want a homemade crust,then grind up regular store bought Graham crackers.Crush these and mix with melted butter.Another idea is using chocolate wafers mixed with melted butter or margarine, Let it set and then pour the cheesecake into it.The finished product can be decorated with whole or halved berries. A strawberry cheesecake is a treat.This one goes beyond that as it becomes work of art.It is a different spin on the most classic of June desserts!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Coffee Cocktails, Anyone.?

Can a cup of Java be as intoxicating and complex as a mixed drink? The answer is a surprising yes.There are an elite grouping of coffee bars that are taking the average cup of coffee to new levels.It's coffee but for the coffee affection ado. These spruced up brews were the subject of an extensive article in today's Wednesday New York Times Dining section.Oliver Strand, newcomer to the section, got the lucky chance to taste a variety of different shots.A Los Angeles coffee shop has the honors of being the most innovAtive and the best (although some New York City coffee shops come in close).The owners, Charles, Babinski and Kyle Glamville, are the owners of two places, G & B Coffee and GoGet Em ,Tiger.Where they make coffee with only whole milk and real sugar.Any thing even vaguely diet related is not allowed.This simply creates a better cup. They do add a homemade almond macadamia milk to their lattes.It's first shaken over ice with espresso,then strained into a chilled Mason jar.Ice is then added and it's not must any cube.The ice is made from a Kold Draft ice maker, a machine only found in cocktail bars.The result is more a cocktail dessert hybrid, elevating it to a new level of Joe?they also are the ones behind the coffee milkshake, two double shots of espresso blended with fresh made vanilla ice-cream that has also been dusted with espresso grounds. Babinski and Glanville have gone a step further.They have mixed homemade Ginger beer, exciting on , with espresso to create a drink called The Dark And Stormy.Mr.Babinski has also toyed with the idea of carbonating the coffee to create floats.They have already broken new ground with a trio of drinks called The Business And Pleasure.This is a shot of espresso ,carbonated ice tea,with the fizz made with citra hops and an iced almond macadamia milk cappuccino. Their idea for these new creations came from when both worked at different coffee companies.While doling out cookie cutter cappuccinos and lattes both men talked to regulars about what they really liked and wanted. Their first two creations were a nod to the. Christmas and Thanksgiving holidays.They infused cream with fresh mint for their peppermint mocha while the pumpkin spice latte has freshly ground spice base of nutmeg,Ginger, allspice clove and cinnamon.The eggnog latte started off in a growler, a canister where mixed drinks are made.Other coffee companies around the US are trying similar recipes.Intelligentsia Coffee inManhattan has a coffee drink based opacity fave, the egg cream .Black and Blue Curee Coffee in Austin, Texas puts coffee in kegs and serves it like a frothy stout.In San Francisco,tonic is added to the brew at Saint Frank to create a fizzy Brazilian tonic.while Washington DC Mockingbird Hill has a Kenya Cola .It also has an extra kick of bitters to it. Thanks to coffee innovators , a cup of Joe will be an experience and not just a daily jolt to wake up.There will be new ways and new methods to turn this ancient brew into something sophisticated and modern.It won't just be aborting cup with froth anymore.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Smuckers Sundae Side

Everyone hears Smuckers and think jams.That is true.The company does produce a wide and delicious array of jams and jellies but they also have a line of syrups and toppings ranging from the gourmet to All American.All that is needed is ice cream and a spoon and you can create a fun summer sundae. Smuckers was the company behind the hard shell coating on ice cream.This is what you usually get at ice cream chains like Dairy Queen.It starts out as a thin liquid and then hardens to a crunchy shell.This was an instant hit when it went public almost thirty years ago.It's still fun to use.Smuckers now has expanded the flavors from just chocolate to caramel, fudge, pink lemonade rainbow sherbet and root beer.There's even a dark chocolate and pretzel one for a taste of salty and sweet.They are great and different if you're creating a kids cone bar at a summer birthday party.They also have regular syrups too as well as toppings.The company has some fruit ones such as pineapple and strawberry.It also has the jarred toppings which have always been classics.Try the old fashioned butterscotch with their pecan or walnut syrups or layer hot fudge and marshmallow toppings for making a rocky road sundae. Smuckers has a sophisticated side as well.There are gourmet toppings that could also be used on crepes or dessert waffles.I've tried their chocolate coconut which is amazing. It is so rich and thick, it's more like a pudding.It was good with ice cream but it can be used for so many other desserts like a sauce for beignets.The other flavors are salted caramel which would even be good as a spread for brioches and croissants.There is also dark chocolate and hot fudge.You could serve these last two with sliced strawberries or sliced bananas as a spin on a fruit sundae.Smuckers also has the syrups in squeezable microwaveable bottles for a true hot sundae experience.These are in both light and dark chocolate as well as with caramel and butterscotch,.There are also sugar free toppings, both in the fruit and the microwaveable caramel and chocolate.Splenda is used instead of sugar so the taste is still pretty true to the original flavors. Make Smuckers your go to with ice cream this summer.You can make fantastic sundaes and cones.Try a hot fudge sundae or a fruity split. Go sophisticated with their salted caramel or chocolate coconut ladled over a crepe or waffle.Smuckers let's you go wild with creating sweet treats.

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Bad Foods Of Summer

Summer can give us some of the healthiest foods but it can also offer some of the worst too. from the barbecue to the boardwalk, over fried , over grilled and over sweetened nainsook meals and treats are gobbled down in abundance. if you want a healthier diet, avoid them or cut down.Just don't make them a habit. Barbecues are usually thought of as wholesome affairs.After all what could be more American?however grilled meats can be hazardous if eaten on a daily basis. That innocent burger and hot dog have now been remedied unhealthy thanks to cooking them over coals. Meats can be rendered carcinogenic thanks to the high heat.One way to avoid this is cut meats such as chicken and steak into kabob side bites.They will cook up quicker and spend less time on the grill. Grilled veggies are fine and even encouraged.Try corn, tomatoes, even asparagus and peppers.Also those fresh grilled veggies are much better than those picnic salads.Most are cholesterol bombs laden with too much mayo and even sugar.To make a healthy potato salad or Cole slaw sub in olive oil for the mayo or even a low fat mayonnaise.You cam also try Nayonaiise a soy based sub vegans use'Also flavoring with dark honey is much better. you can even use it in barbecue sauces instead of brown sugar.Beach fare also comes with caveats.Most beachfront stands sell fun foods.However their after effects aren't such.Many pavilions serve everything from cheesy nachos to nuggets.They are tasty after a day of splashing in the waves but they're not nutritious.Pack a cooler with veggies slices a healthy homemade Greek yogurt dip along with fruit and pretzels.For drinks think fresh brewed ice tea and water instead of soda and juices. Summer also brings about trips to the boardwalks and fairs.It is a Herculean feat not to buy any of the junky foods .Surprisingly enough cotton candy is about the most healthiest.It's is pure sugar, yes, but it has no grease , lard, butter or flour.Another Ok treat is the candy apple.The only problem with it is that it can play havoc with your dental work.Chirros are becoming popular and who doesn't love them.They're crunchy and sweet, often served with a chocolate or caramel sauce.These are loaded with everything from grease to white flour.There's really no sub for them so if you do crave one go easy.Ice cream and frozen custard are always featured.These too are cholesterol laden. ,especially if you pile on syrups and whipped creams.Opt for Italian ice instead.Another fair ground treat is fried anything.Avoid this booth at all costs.As yummy as fried butter it is is just pure poison. The summer is full of diet land mines,These can be fun and downright delicious but they are lethal. Eat these sparingly just as a rare treat. then go back to the fruits and veggies of the season.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Your Summer Must Have Pyure Stevia

Stevia seems to be the sweetener of choice these days.Yet there are so many kinds to choose from.The worry is over .Use Pyure ,a sweetener that's good for you and tastes good too.It's the perfect plus for summer dining.It can go from barbecue to dessert, in variety of recipes. I like using Pyure for a number of reasons.One it has fiber which can help lower cholesterol.The company also uses the best of the leaves from the stevia plant which means a sweeter taste.The company also practices sustainable farming, a big plus on my list.Pyure comes in a variety of forms,making it extremely versatile for both cooking and baking. The packets can be used to sweeten summer coolers such as lemonade or fresh brewed iced tea as well as sweetening my regular nighttime herbal one(another benefit of using Pyure is that it won't keep you up at night like regular sugar would)"The sweetener comes in a granular form and you use it the same way you would sugar.The measure for the two are the same although I would decrease the amount of stevia used because ot it's intense sweet taste.The company also make a green tea energy drink featuring Pyure and natural fruit flavors. Loke sugar, Pyure can be used in a variety of different summer recipes.Try a pinch of it in a homemade low calorie barbecue sauce.Mix ketchup,Pyure ,and apple cider vinegar along with some fresh ground pepper or cayenne for a sweet and fiery rib sauce.It can also be used as a dry rub for different kinds of meats such as chicken wings, brisket , and beef ribs.Mix two to three packets with sea salt, fresh ground black ,white and pink pepper corns along with a dash of garlic powder.Rub and then cook.Of course Pyure is a great sweetener for ades but it can also be used in cocktails too.Try it in a star fruit martini or a watermelon cucumber cooler.Pyure can be added to sliced strawberries to create a sweeter, low calorie shortcake and do not hesitate to use it to sweeten fresh whipped cream.This last will go well with any short cake or even over ice cream.Pyure can be used in making this last as well as in homemade sherbets, ices and sorbets. If you have to pick a stevia brand for your summer cooking, look no further than Pyure.It has a great taste and great benefits.Use it in everything from barbecue sauce to homemade ice cream.Have all those fun summer foods without the worry of too many calories.

Friday, June 6, 2014

The Effects Of D Day

Today is the seventieth anniversary of D- Day the beginning of the end of World War II.It was the time when brave young men, just barely out of childhood, saved the world, making it a safer and better place.Sadly we still have conflicts and brave young men and women fighting in them.There's so many things we can do for them and their families ,from baking a simple cake to treating them to a dinner and a homecoming party. One of the nicest things you can do for any service person or vet is treating him or her to a home cooked meal. Nothing beats a steak with homemade plank fries or hand made burgers on the grill.Also invite their families too, and make sure there are special treats for their kids.If you have a garden or a few fruit trees ,do not hesitate to bring over the best of the crop.You can also do this at some VA hospitals (if it is allowed.check first before you go).If you know a returning soldier, then treat him or her and their spouses to a romantic candle lit dinner.Throw in a bottle of champagne and then leave. Another way of just saying thank you is baking a batch of cookies or a cake. It may be a small token of gratitude but it will mean a lot to them.Also gift cards to restaurants or even coffee shops is just a minute way of showing your appreciation for them. Another way of showing your gratitude is helping out at VFW picnics or arranging dinners or drives.Older veterans too appreciate whatever you bring ,whether homemade Cole slaw or just your grilling skills. If you have any veterans in your neighborhood, invite them out to dinner or over to your house for a meal. Your and your kids will enjoy their stories along with making friends.Visit nursing homes and independent care centers.A gift of in season fruits and vegetables are always nice and good for their diets as well.Again offer to take them to a favorite restaurant for not just good food but a good heart to heart talk. Sadly enough there will always be conflicts.Thankfully there will always be brave men and women who will fight them.We need to honor them in some way, whether with a dinner or home baked gift.It's a very small token to say thank you.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Maya Angelou, Writer,Poet, Home Chef?

Maya Angelou was one of the seminal writers of both the 20th and 21st Centuries.She was also nominated for a Tony award and also appeared on one of the first TV. Miniseries, Roots.Yet she had another talent - cooking.Dr .Angelou was an accomplished hostess and a home chef.Her parties were as legendary as her words. There was a very lovely memorial and remembrance to her in yesterday"s New York Times Dining section.Jessica B. Harris,who knew the great poet and writer, gives us a different facet of her life.In a way, it's no wonder that Ms. Harris memory takes place in California's Sonoma wine country.This is a region where the soil is rich and both fruits and vegetables grow in abundance.Any foodie or adept home chef would live in an area such as this.She was also a True hostess, always having a well stocked pantry.She loved en tertaining any kind of party from the small and intimate to the loud and noisy.Cooking for both was a snap and a pleasure for her.One of the best memories Ms. Harris has is Dr.Angelou's New Year's Day feast.It was a true Southern, affair with hop pin' John,ham roast chicken ,greens and candied sweet potatoes.It was held at her North Carolina house, a home with undoubtedly an ample kitchen to cook and create.Her New York parties had the literati and stage ,from Jimmy Baldwin to the great Nina Simone. It should come as no surprise that Dr. Angelou also wrote a cookbook, first published in 2004 ,Hallelujah!The Welcome Table: A Lifetime Of Memories With Recipes is mixed with her recipes and recounts of her life. It was a best seller, even rivaling her prose and poetry in sales.Like many writers she traveled the world but unlike them she collected recipes.She was adept at recreating many different dishes like her 12 boy curry, so named because it required twelve servants to carry it. This colonial dish ,despite it's somewhat dubious history, was a favorite.She also wrote a humorous poem ,The Health Food Diner, almost Ogden Nashian in it's humor and meter , lightly ridiculed vegans with their righteous ways as well as listing a long and yummy list of all sorts of meats from corned beef to prime rib. Dr. Angelou was an amazing writer but she also was an amazing cook and cookbook writer.Yes, she was remembered for her fiction and poems but she should. Also be remembered for her legacy of good dishes.She was a star, not just of Literary circles but of the kitchen as well.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Chilies Without Heat

Heat is always associated with Mexican chilies and food.It's what makes the cuisine unique and also popular.There is one part of Mexico where the fires isn't always ablaze.It flavors, it adds to the existing flavors ,but it doesn't"t burn brightly.If any thing it smolders. Mark Bittman, wrote about this area, the Yucatan Peninsula is a large article in today"s New York Times Dining section.He travels to the area and ,of course it inspires and influences his cooking.Like other parts of Mexico, chiles are a part of every day eating.However these won't burn the throat or bring on tears when eaten.There's more of a fruitiness, according to Mr. Bittman. Cooking with these are easy and there's a lot a home chef can do with them.Milder chiles are great because they will not dominate and become the main flavor.The best chiles to use are the chipotles which are smoked ,dried jalapenos.With any chile pepper, the key is roasting and/or toasting You can roast them over an open fire or in a skillet( sans oil or butter).You can even use an oven .Any roasting releases complex aromas.Your best bet is using fresh chiles.They benefit the best from roasting.You can discard the skins if you want but it's really not necessary The article has some interesting recipes.There are scrambled peppers and eggs.This makes a different brunch recipe.It has jalapeño along with chopped red bell peppers.The scramble can be served inside a flour tortilla or on toast.It would also be perfect with a side of black beans and rice too,There is also puzzle a pork and chile based dish,driven by smokier milder chilies such as chipotle or nachos.It's kind of like a soupy stew, also using hominy or maize as well.The third recipe is a chile tomato sauce.This is not so hot and could be both the base for chile as well as for arrabiata sauce.Ancho chiles are blended with garlic and onions along with honey and apple cider vinegar.after cooking it is ten pureed and placed into a glass jar.You can save it for a week however it probably won't last ,thanks to it's versatility. Chiles can be both hot and smokey.If you want a more subtle flavor go with the milder ones of the Yucatan Peninsula.You can create some tasty dishes ,enjoying the peppers true flavor with out the tongue and throat searing heat.It's a different twist onMexican favorites,

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Dressing Up

What makes an ordinary bowl of tossed greens and chopped veggies a stand out? The dressing.Any dressing from a simple vinaigrette to a creamy ranch or tangy Thousand Island can add zip and verve even to just shredded iceberg lettuce and tomato wedges.Homemade dressings are not only yummy they're a snap to make.Even kids could create fancy ones for the evening salad. Sometimes the simplest is the best.Many salad devotees opt for the great Italian food writer,Marcella Hazan's recipe for a good side salad! Toss greens in olive oil, add a few drops of vinegar and then shake in fresh ground pepper and sea salt.This dressing works well if you have a strong main meal such as pasta or a roasted meat.The salad is secondary in this case.However with these hot June days, salads are becoming the main meal. Yes, you can still have an oil and vinegar base but try adding aromatic herbs such as oregano and rosemary.This is a basic Italian dressing recipe and can even be used on heroes too.A fruit infused vinaigrette is always a nice change of pace.Buy fresh picked blue berries or strawberries and bruise then( crush them with the back of a spoon)'Add to a white wine vinegar for fourteen days. If you want you can make several different fruit flavors, including peach and blackberry along with raspberry.Try these with salads having grilled chicken or turkey as the main ingredient. Creamy dressings are a bonus.They not only give a certain oomph to ordinary salads but they are chock full of flavor.One of the easiest and tastiest is French.This is just a simple mix of mayo and ketchup.There are recipes that nix the mayonnaise and sub in corn oil and white vinegar.Many prefer the first recipe .For added zing put in sweet relish or even chopped gherkins to create Thousand Island dressing.Sub in chopped pickles for the gherkins or sweet relish and you have Russian dressing.This is not only good in a salad but also slathered on a Reuben sandwich as well. Ranch dressing is popular right now and it's an easy one. Mix buttermilk with mayo and add garlic , onion powder and chives.Caesar salad is always a treat and the dressing is an easy to whip up.It"s mayo ,anchovy paste,Parmesian cheese and lemon juice mixed together and then minced garlic is thrown in.If you're making a creamy dressing ,then think big salad.Any of these dressing goes well with a chef salad laden with all sorts of meat. You can also add grilled shrimp, salmon to these as well as croutons and variety of veggies. warm weather calls for a salad.Jazz it up with a home made dressing.Any one is easy to whip up and dress a variety of meats,greens and veggies.

Monday, June 2, 2014

The Delights Of Salmon

Here the scoop not only is salmon good for you,it's also one of the most flavorful meats.It's also the most versatile.You can grill it,bake it or broil it.Even canned salmon is versatile and a healthy meal choice.It too can be turned into a variety of different salads and even dips.Because it's light, it's the perfect meat for these warm late Spring days. Salmon has a tremendous amount of benefits.One is that it is chocked with an unusually high amount of Omega 3 proteins, in fact more than any other fish. The protein is excellent for lowering cholesterol as well as strengthening cells.It can also help the body fight off such cancers as colon, breast and prostrate.It even decreases the risk of bolo related cancers such as Hodkins lymphoma.Incorporating salmon into your daily diet can also make you happier.Studies have shown that people who have a salmon rich diet do not suffer from depression along with having a decreased risk of hostility.It's also good for joints, reinforcing cartilage.Another benefit is that eating the fish two times a week can significantly cut down on the onset of macular degeneration ,a condition in which the retinas dry up. Salmon is also a flavorful fish on it's own. Unlike tuna, which has the best flavor when it's packed in oil, salmons,strong, almost earthy flavor stands up. However it works wells with such a variety of herbs,spices and sauces, more so than any other fish. There are several different types to choose from.The first choice is wild or farmed?Which is the better and healthier choice? Many chefs and nutritionists will tell you to buy wild.Farmed salmon is no different than chicken , beef or pork that have been raised in pens.They can get lice from each other, thanks to rampant over crowding and then treated with antibiotics which humans can later ingest.Salmon farmers and Congress are in talks about improving conditions, making the penned area more in the free range tradition. There are also different types.King or Chinook salmon have a rich flavor and firm flesh.This is excellent smoked but can be cooked another way as well.For more flavor and color consider there'd or sockeye kind,This makes the best sushi,because of these two attributes and works well with other strong flavors ,Coho or silver salmons the most used, especially in restaurants.It's a light orange in hue and has a mild flavor.It's basically what 's in cans and works great in light dishes such as salads.There is also the pink or bumpy and dog.The pink is an excellent source of protein yet it and chum or dog are ignored or dismissed by salmon snobs?The last is prized in Europe and is versatile in a number of dishes. If you want a dish that is both healthy and flavorful, consider salmon. it is perfect in a salad of summer vegetables or grilled with lemon. not only thAt but you'll be delivering a healthy dose of benefits to every part of your body. Enjoy salmon in any form,It really is a true treat.