Thursday, July 31, 2014

A Greek Spin On Tomatoes

Tomatoes are in season right now.Probably everyone has tried all sorts of recipes with them by now from the simple sandwich to a primavera pasta sauce.To be honest we" re all a little tired right now of them and looking to a new and different tomato dish.Not to worry,There are a couple novel spins that can be part of a great summer meal. David Tanis decided to give this summer staple a Hellenic twist in his A City Kitchen column in the The New York Times Dining section yesterday with two very tasty dishes.The first is a tomato salad, similar to what would be served in Athens.A true Greek salad is nothing like what diners get here in the States.These huge bowls are filled with everything but the kitchen sink.A true one just has tomatoes , olive oil (preferably a fruity kind) and at most some herbs.There is feta cheese but only a small serving of it. Add pinches of dried oregano and fresh mint.If you want more variation then slice a red onion and throw in a few small bell peppers.It's a nice side for any thing barbecued, perfect with kabobs or good on its with crusty Greek bread or even pita.It's even a great dish to bring on a picnic or to the beach with some sandwiches.Mr Tanis recommends beefsteak tomatoes, fresh from the garden but I can also see the dish being made with plum or even cherry kinds. The second recipe is actually a baked one, featuring one of the staples of Greek cooking : seafood.It's made with feta cheese and more tomatoes.There"s an old culinary myth that cheese and any fish or crustacean cannot be cooked together.Ignore it.The feta becomes part of the sauce and compliments the fish.Besides it's added at the very end so the flavor is not permeable..The dish is a layered kind of one, with cooked tomatoes first, then the shrimp followed by the cheese.The only seasoning is just mint and oregano but you can omit these if you feel their flavors are too strong..Again Mr.Tanis recommends beefsteaks, but I can 't see why plum kind can be used too. A Greek spin on tomatoes is always welcome.Try it in a salad , with onions and peppers or baked with shrimp.Both recipes celebrate this summer standard in new ways with classic ingredients.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A Good Peach Pie

This is the time of year for fresh baked fruit pies.The trees are ripe with all sorts of harvests and what better than to put them in a pie.One of the best is a fresh peach.This makes a flavorful and tasty dessert, especially when served with a huge scoop of vanilla ice cream or freshly whipped cream. Melissa Clark created the recipe for a perfect one in this week's A Good Appetite in the Wednesday New York Times Dining section.Her peach pie is guaranteed seconds because she makes a slab pie instead of the traditional nine inch round one.It is much bigger than the average pie and is usually baked using a jelly roll pan.It's an excellent suggestion if you"re baking this pie for a party.Everyone can enjoy a second helping.Ms.Clark uses a baking dish for a deep dish pie.This means more peaches but you could also throw in nectarines,which she did or try berries, pears or plums.Another spin is the addition of tapioca to thicken the filling.Cornstarch can be added too instead as a thickener.Lemon juice is also used as is brown sugar subbing in for white. For extra flavoring there is the choice of vanilla extract or adding the bean. The crust is a simple one, nothing unusual there.The twist comes with the topping, a spin on classic streusel.Ms.Clark gives it zing with ground Ginger along with cinnamon.Instead of oatmeal for crunch ,she sticks with a simple crumb recipe composed of the spices, sugar and flour held together with unsalted butter.The crumble topping is a the right compliment for the smooth,surprisingly almost custardy filling.If you want more crunch or a certain nuttiness then add crushed almonds for a delicate flavor or walnuts for a more heartier one. The is good on it's own but you can also serve it with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream or even creme fraiche. There probably won't be leftovers but if there are any, the pie stores well in the fridge. This is the time for delicious home baked pie.Try a tasty peach one with a streusel crumble.It's the perfect way to enjoy the summer harvest of this fruit.Have it with a scoop of ice cream.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Ramen,The Perfect Summer Soup

If it's too hot to cook then think ramen.This Japanese import and new American standard is a great way to have a light ,hot meal without too much effort.What is extremely likable is that home chefs can customize it to their tastes.Have it as a broth or a really quick pasta dish.Toss in what's good and what"s fresh and it's a 1-2-3 dinner for one person or for a family. A brief history of ramen is that it was originally Chinese called lamina and a cousin of lo mien.The noodles are soba or wheat.It was starting to become popular as early as the 1900'sin Japan where it was mispronounced ramen. The soup hit the States in the Eighties ,courtesy of Momofuko Ando , the Taiwanese founder of Nissin Foods.It was an instant success, first being slurped down by dorm students and busy professionals.Original Japanese ramen is very thick and rich with all sorts of meats, vegetables and fish.Different regions such as Tokyo have their own spin using a soy and chicken broth and topped with pork cops,egg nori, chicken or even seaweed.Yokahama is known for it's ramen chock full of pork and onions.Hakata ramen has the zing of mustard greens.There are even ramen stalls throughout the big cities there as there are here in the States.Such cities such as New York, Chicago and Los Angeles boast some of the best soba noodle restaurants int the world.There are also homemade ramen recipes but save these for the winter. This is the height of summer.Buy the easy pre made kind.It's only three minutes on the stove and then it's done. One of the best parts of ramen is that you can customize it how you want.You can definitely give it a Tokyo spin by cooking pork chops with it.Of course it will take longer to cook up however the soup will have the chop's juices mixing in with the flavoring.A quicker and easier take is sliced ham chiffonaded.Add some scallions too for more flavor.One of my favorites is a recipe that was just recently published in the New York Times Dining section.Just add a whole egg to ramen and cook up.The result is not unlike the Italian, primarily Roman based, stratichella soup.The egg cooks up into stringy bits that wrap around the noodles.It's a nice way of getting protein without a heavy meal.Home chefs can also add any of their garden harvest.Corn practically goes hand and hand with ramen and adds crunch as well as sweetness.Think about quartered tomatoes along with cubed bell peppers.Spinach is also good as are sliced onions.Another good thing about these amped up ramens is that they're great reheated .You can also add more ingredients on the second cooking to change it up a bit. Ramen soup is a summer staple.Have it plain or toss in some meat veggies or eggs for a heartier dish.It's the best choice for a hearty but light meal on a hot summer's day.

Monday, July 28, 2014

A Finer Fritter

One of the best and fun recipe is the simple fritter.These are pure fun both to eat and make ,whether they're savory or sweet.If you're worried about eating anything deep fried, there is a solution.It's less oil which produces a crisper, fritter.The recipe is an easy one too so any one from novice to home chef can make a batch of these yummy treats. The recipe comes from my bisnonna, my Piedmontese great grandmother.It's a simple and easy recipe that comes from the Val Susa not far from where the Turin Winter Olympics were held.Start with one egg mixed with one tablespoon of olive oil, and a cup of water.The dry ingredients are a cup of flour and a good pinch of sea salt.Beat well and chill for one hour at least. I then dipped male squash flowers in the batter and fried them for only a few minutes. The flowers should be fresh picked.A warning about them: they can be hard to come by.Not many farmer's markets or specialty grocery stores carry them.The best way to get fresh picked squash flowers is to grow squash yourself.It's a relatively easy vegetable to grow and if you let the flowers become squash then you have double the use.With sushi itself , you can also turn it into fritters.Some recipes call for the squash to be chilled.before dipping into batter.I found for a really crisp fry , use a quarter of a cup of olive oil along with a tablespoon of butter or margarine.Mostly everyone in my family uses butter,This is a standard in Piedmontese cooking. I prefer. Both the taste and result of I Can't Believe It's Not Butter.My spin is two tablespoons,.It imparts more flavor on the final product and, the combo of oil and this amount gives the fried squash fritters a really lovely golden hue.You can sub in tomatoes or even asparagus when it's in season.For asparagus ,parboil first before battering. This fritter batter can be used for fruit too.The batter is slightly altered with the addition of a tablespoon refined sugar.However this really isn't necessary because the fritters are usually sprinkled with powdered sugar after frying.My Nonna and Mom made and (and still make) the fritters using cored apple slices.This gives the fritters a nice doughnut shape with a hole in the middle.I have seen the recipe with cubed apples ,as was done on a recent rerun of America's Test Kitchen.Use whatever works for you.The apples should be washed and dredged in flour frost .This produces a crisper fruit, since cooking will bring out the apple's water content.If not done, you could wind up with a mushy middle.The only apple to use is the Granny Smith.It has the perfect texture and taste for this.If you want .You could add some cinnamon to the batter for more zing.This batter can also be used for banana fritters.Cut the bananas in half and then lengthwise.Dip in batter and fry.For the fruit, use corn or grape seed oil, not olive oil.Again,dust with sifted confectioner's sugar or service with a warmed chocolate sauce. Fritters are always a fun treat.They are easy to make as is the batter.Whip up a batch ,whether savory or sweet for some good eating.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Your Best Dip And Salsa Cookbook

Nothing is more fun than a big bowl of home made dips and anything to scoop it up.Thanks to a brand new cookbook, the home chef and chief party thrower can create some tasty spreads, perfect with homemade chips.Even better the dips are versatile.Have them while entertaining friends on the patio or sharing a movie with the kids on movie night.They're a great appetizer or snack. Authors Judith Finlayson and Jordan Wagman have come up with a great cookbook 150 Best Dips and Salsa (Robert Rose Press 2014)solely devoted to dips and salsa.There are also chip recipes too for those who want to create the whole party from scratch gathering.This book is chock full of neat recipes and hints.Ms Finlayson,and Mr. Wagman go the international route from French tapanade to Middle Eastern hummus.This last has so many variations.There's easy hummus which involves canned chickpeas to hummus from scratch.The scratch one is the most authentic , with the chickpeas being soaked for a good solid six hours before being pulverized.This widely popular dish can also be made with roasted garlic while another recipe calls for the addition of roasted peppers?The surprise is hummus made Greek style with yellow peas or favas along with one consisting of butter beans.For a totally different spin, make their walnut hummus to awe your party crowd. Another Middle Eastern treat, baba ghanouj is also included ,and this is a great ,spread , redolent with grilled eggplant and tahini.Feta lovers will be in heaven too.There are some interesting recipes that involve the Greek cheese along with some interesting add INS.Toss in some chopped kalamata olives or a squirt of lemon.Tahini, a Hellenic specialty too, is represented as is tzatziki. Of course dips and salsas are the main stars here.The authors toss in some humor too, as see in in the bloody Mary dip.It's a fun take on the brunch drink sauces with a drop of vodka.Onion dip, the classic American party must have is amped up a few notches with caramelized red onions and different cheeses such as Swiss and Parmesan.Other veggies such as water cress and fennel are also turned into spreads.Tomatoes ,usually a staple in salsa, also shine in dip.Ms .Finlayson and Mr .Wagner give us roasted tomatoes along with a tomato and mushroom one.Tomatoes along with other fresh veggies as well as fruit loom large in their many salsa recipes.A very good one, perfect for a summer soirée is a tomato and spinach one.Thyme and garlic season this and would be good spooned over crostini or pita chips.Two other perfect salsas for right now are the fresh tomato along with summer tomato salsa.The last also includes, fresh chiffonaded basil leaves for that straight from the garden flavor.For a heartier salsa, try the Avocado and corn one.It is spiced with all sorts of peppers from the mild bell kind to fiery jalapenos.Other veggies such as radishes, green beans,corn and cucumber find their way into dips too.Fruit slash are here and they could either go with chips or jazz up a simple bowl of chocolate or vanilla ice cream.For this try the spicy pineapple banana one.There is also one that's reminiscent of Turkey stuffing using apples and cranberries.The back of the cookbook is devoted solely to dippers, from the simple crostini and pita chips to the more elaborate corn cakes and potato wedges. 150 Best Dips And Salsas is a home library's must have.There is a wealth of great party and snack foods in it ,perfect for any kind of gathering.Get it and enjoy the wide variety of fun dips and dippers! 150 Best Dips and Salsas is the perfect cookbook for people who not only love to throw parties but for those,e chefs who just love fun foods.It is chock full with some of the best dips and salsas.Get it.It will definitely snacking and partying.

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Perfect Rice Dish

Depending on the skill level, rice can either make or break any chef, whether, home or professional.However, with a little help and the right kind of grain anyone can make a superior rice dish light and fluffy.The best part is that there's no need to use expensive rice or elaborate contraptions.Just use the right rice and a simple pot. Kim Severin explored this the other day in the Wednesday The New York Times Dining section.Many people ,even her , have problems with cooking rice.It can be too sticky and too starchy tasting ,which not only ruin it but ruin whatever dish it's accompanying.She enlisted help in this from a wide net of,social media, friends, coworkers and family.Julia Moskin ,another Dining contributor and Ms. Severin's brother recommended the fairly known knuckle method.This calls for measuring both rice and water levels against one's knuckles.This would work if everyone has the same sized fingers.There is a better method, and she found it.For one ,pick a good rice.The recommended kind is Carolina Gold.It is nuttier and more flavorful than the average white rice.You can use Basmati,an Indian rice that is more expensive but cooks up fluffier.Another good choice is Jasmine a Thai rice which is stickier and more flavorful.The next step is rinse the grains very well to remove any lingering starch.Measuring is a key also ,Two cups of water to one cup of rice.Add salt as well.Timing and patience are also crucial.You have to be patient to cook rice.Usually it takes a good fifteen minutes to cook up properly.One of the most important is a new step baking.She borrowed this from Virginia Willis,a Southern chef.Chef Willis learned this in cooking school and it makes big difference both in taste and texture.Baking time should be around seventeen minutes after fully boiling. What to do with it once its cooked? I liked the simple recipe Ms Severin included.It 's a plain rice dish with a tablespoon of butter.This is just a perfect dish on it's own but also a good side for any Cajun recipe or even a goulash when noodles might seem too heavy or chicken with gravy.There are also some other rice recipes such as the Southern classic red beans and rice.This is a hearty dish and a good showcase for the featured ingredient.It's a mix of red beans and spicy Andouille sausage ,flavored with all sorts of spices and herbs such as cayenne pepper and basil?It is an elaborate dish that takes two days to prepare but worth it.An easier one is Mexican style which requires canned tomatoes and peppers with the kick of jalapeño.You can cook it in water or for even more flavor try chicken stock.If there's any leftover plain rice then use it in the additional rice cake recipe.This is a truly tasty treat with the addition of zucchini and onion .Mint and cheddar cheese shreds are also added while two eggs are used for binding the rice to the other ingredients.The patties are then fried in butter.These would make great appetizers however they're perfect for a dinner or lunch .Serve with a blob of sour cream for extra flavor. Making rice should not be so scary?Buy the right kind.Follow the steps to create a light dish that makes not only a good side but an excellent main meal.The fear will go and in its'place, a passion for the perfect rice dish.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Your Best Veggie Burger Ever

Mention veggie burger and most people, including vegetarians and vegans, will flinch at best.The patty in question has always had a bad rep.Most have squishy middles and a decidedly green taste,that is more or less reminiscent of mushy peas.However there is a good alternative, the homemade veggie patty.Best of all it doesn't have to be over doused with ketchup or mustard to be eaten.People may even ask for seconds or without any extras. Luckily for home chefs, Melissa Clark of The New York Times Wednesday Dining section, like a good, well made burger.She gave a really good recipe in yesterday's A Good Appetite column.Her spin does have a lot of ingredients and steps but the patties are well worth it.The recipe comes from Lukas Volger's 2001 cookbook "Veggie Burgers Every Which Way"(Experiment Publishing)She also takes a very good tip from Kenji Lopez-Alt on his Serious Eats blog. Use kidney beans and roast them first..The secret is the less moisture the better.Most commercial and even homemade veggie burgers have a lot of water in them due to tofu ,, beans and veggies.These retain too much water. Roasted beans also lends to the texture.The more solid the burger the better it will grill or even fry in a pan. Ms. Clark also throws in other ingredients to simulate both a beef flavor and taste.Tempeh and ground nuts give the patties the nubby meat texture while mushrooms and cheese add a savory taste(although you can omit the last if you're a true vegan).Grated roasted beets surprisingly adds that nice pink middle .The addition of pimenton gives spicy and smoky notes.Other ingredients are mayo which imparts a nice juiciness along with more nuts in the form of tamari almonds or cashews.To hold it together Ms. Clark recommends panko bread crumbs along with brown rice.The actual process is involved.There's a lot of pre roasting and baking along with using a food processor to grind down everything.Since this is really a five, step with sub step process ,consider making it in bulk and freezing it and two, have help.One home chef may not be able to handle all the many steps on his or her own. Have a friend or family member help with some of the lesser preparations. A good veggie burger is not hard to find. it can be made in any kitchen. the result is a tasty, chewy patty that is even better than the real thing.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Donating Your Cooking Skills

It can't be emphasized enough that so many shelters and soup kitchens need help and even some expertise.Many home chefs out there do have a specialized area, a dish or method that they"re good at and can be brought to any shelter.It is a great way of livening up a sometimes dull diet.The people there will appreciate it and so will you. Anyone can volunteer at a soup kitchen or a women's or homeless shelter.Home chefs can find these satisfying, not only feeding the community but also their souls.If anyone has a specialty they should bring it to these places.Sometimes a sandwich like a BLT or meatball hero is a treat.If you're good at making homemade spaghetti or even sauce ,show off.Everyone loves a home cooked meal with Freshmade pasta..Comfort food is always in demand.Ask what are the favorites and make them.Hand battered fried chicken, homemade meatloaf and gravy and even hand cut plank fries can go a long way not only in satisfying hunger but also telegraphing the message You are loved.You are special."Another help is introducing more nutritional foods and info.If you have any background in diet and nutrition, share it.Introducing fruit and veggies instead of snacks and sweets is a step in the right direction.Good nutrition is the key to staying healthy and keeping dieases at bay. Shelters are always grateful for any home chef with special skills.Sometimes there are children there which can difficult both forthem and their parents.Donate time and skills.If you're good at cake decorating,then spend an afternoon frosting cupcakes.Make ice pops from pureed fruits for a healthy yet fun snack.Pizza parties are always welcome and let them make good for you pies with whole wheat crust and fresh tomato and toppings.If the shelter has some extra land(and some do) then help with creating a garden patch.Both kids and adults will love this.They not only learn about growing but also have a harvest at their fingertips.Donate some tomato and pepper plants.If there is a lot of room think about growing corn and watermelon for now and pumpkins for the fall.Have a small square for herbs such as basil and dill.Introducing these natural spices and showing how they can flavor dishes is much better off than letting them always each for salt .If there is a bumper crop,think about opening up a stand to create a fund . Showing off special skills makes any home chef happy. Get a double dose of it by showing off at your local shelter or soup kitchen. Every one will benefit.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Heartiness of Indiana Cuisine

Mid western cooking,namely the cooking from Indiana, is one of the most heartiest and most interesting of American cuisine.This is what's called down home cooking, with plates laden with good old fashioned foods.They are hearty and served all year round ,whether they're for Christmas or a summer picnic.They reflect the different groups that settled in the area. The German population in this state was vast.There are even towns where only a 19th Century German dialect is spoken.One of the state's favorites is a pork tenderloin sandwich.This is a variation of weiner schnitzel, deep fried till crispy and then put on a roll.Another sandwich popular around the Southern city of Evansville is pulled pork or as it's locally called a soak. This is a heavenly mixture of shredded pork mixed with a sweet barbecue sauce served on a roll.The lower half of it is saturated hence the name.It is messy ,fun and beyond delicious.Soaks are always served with Coke, hence the famed dish Coke and a soak.Burgos, is another popular Southern Indiana dish.It originates from across the Ohio River, from Kentucky and is a variation of Brunswick stew.This was a pioneer dish and first had any kind of wild game added to it.Early recipes called for possum and skunk and they are used, even today. However restaurants and stands use everything from fowl to beef to pork.Some recipes call for all of these so you get a mélange of flavors.Burgoo needs to be cooked anywhere from four to six hours and should be cooked out doors.Corn bread or corn muffins usually accompany bowls of it to sop up the gravy.The drink of choice is a neat bourbon. Desserts figure hugely too in any Indiana meal.One of the most famous is the cream sugar pie, a variation of the French version.The filling is a flour based filling ,redolent with cream and butter.Maple syrup and /or brown sugar can also be added .Sometimes nutmeg or cinnamon is added instead for a different, more holiday version.Cobbler is another popular Hoosier dessert, thanks to the abundance of peach trees.This is an easy to make dessert, especially if home chefs use Bisquick.It's baked batter and sugar spoon dropped on top.Straight from the oven baked cobbler is wonderful with freshly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. There's also the different but flavorful soda cracker fudge, a yummy mix of peanut butter, and marshmallow fluff cooked with soda crackers ,milk and butter.The result is a sweet and salty after dinner snack.Another treat is persimmon pudding .This is similar to the English plum pudding, and cooked like it, with it steaming in a hot water bath.Persimmon pudding can be served with apple sauce, creme anglais or just simple ice cream or brandy butter. Midwestern cooking is a mélange of European recipes and American creativity.Thecdishes are interesting with unique. Ingredients such as soda crackers in fudge or bourbon in burgoo.It's tasty and different , but most of all from the heart and truly filling.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Classy Chefs On PBS

Long before the Food Channel, there was PBS's line up of cooking shows.It started in the early Sixties with the famed ,great Julia Child and continues to today.They maybe quieter than the brighter, more in your face shows on other channels but their low key style speaks volumes.Watching them is like spending time ,learning from a master chef. One of the most famous is Jacques Pepin.Chef Pepin is the child of French restauranteurs.His background is distinguished,being one of French President's Charles DeGaulle's chef.He also helped revamped Howard Johnson's menu back in the Sixties.His shows have always been very quiet, yet informative.Even when he and his daughter,Claudine cohosted a cooking program together, it was never loud or sweetly cloying as some family centered cooking shows are.He shows home chefs not to have any fear with dealing with sometimes foreign or unfamiliar ingredients.The way he makes gnocchis and eggs are poetic, quietly going through the steps, acting much like a thoughtful professor.Another great master chef is Lidia Bastianich.Chef Bastianich is known for her amazing restaurants,Del Posto of New York City and Lidia's of Kansas City and Lidia's of Pittsburgh.Watching her explain the different steps along with her hints is quietly informative.There's no gimmicks, no bells and whistles.She is very good at explaining everything, from why a certain ingredient is used to what knives to employ when cutting meat.Her other show, Lidia Celebrates America is a great culinary travelogue where she explores different ethnic groups, enjoying their customs and show viewers, not only different cuisines but the different traditions and cultures that they've come from. One of the best PBS cooking show is America's Test Kitchen.This is a fun half hour,chock full of advice, hints and recipes.The host, Christopher Kimball is like your favorite professor.He is goofy at times, funny but vastly knowledgeable.He is helped by Bridget Lancaster, and Julia Colin Davison.These chefs create the different dishes while Kimball asks pertinent questions and helps out.There is also the very informative Tasting Lab segment where the audience blind taste tests different foods.This is a great way of finding out what canned and boxed foods are the best tasting. Another informative segment is the Adam Reid who handles the Equipment Corner.This is where he shows different gadgets from blenders to cookie presses and rating from best to worst. The show also centers around weekly themes, from pizzas to roast chicken to crumb cakes.While American's Test Kitchen is primarily American cuisine, PBS has some very good ethnic ones.There's Daisy Cooks with host chef Daisy Martinez who brings Spanish and Latino cuisine to viewers.Scandanavian cooking is shown in New Scandanavian Cooking, a rarity, because there has never been an interest in this ancient and varied cuisines along with shows solely featuring Thai and Jewish cooking. PBS may not have flashy food shows with personality super stars,but it does have quality cooking shows with great master chefs. Home chefs will learn as much as if they took a cooking course.There a&e Re lessons to be learned and great recipes to try.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Loving Kitchen,The Best Cookbook Ever!

Everyone should have at least one really good cookbook in their library.This should have a mix of comfort foods, fun dishes and culinary classics.If you don't have such a cookbook, there is one that has all of these components.TheLoving Kitchen (Nelson Books Publishers) is a great must have or must give. Leeann Rice has crafted this perfect cookbook.Every kind of dish is mentioned, Every meal is covered.What I like and that is so striking about it, is the the book is very homey.It's like a favorite relative or a best friend giving you both advice and recipes.Ms Rice's personality comes out strong ,a rarity in any cookbook.The end of the book is dedicated to creating memorable and fun family dinners along with ideas about reaching out to both neighbors and community, Ms. Rice a food blooger includes recipes that could easily be used in a church pot luck dinner or at a sophisticated summer party.This is a great book due to it's variety.Another plus is that she spells everything put.There may be many steps in a recipes but they are clearly written out so there will be no errors.Also there's no need torun down to some specialty food mar let to pick up an unusual spice or odd vegetable.Everything is readily available from the nearest grocery.To be honest you can have a whole day's worth of recipes from this cookbook.Start off with her eggs in a cradle, simple poached eggs cooked in dinner rolls, have one of her salads or soups for lunch and end the meal with either a casserole or meat dish ,followed by one of her many given desserts. Again the variety of The Loving Kitchen is just astounding.The breakfast dishes alone come in two categories and reflect her life in Nashville, TN?There is the must try sugared bacon that would go well with any egg dish along with the baked oatmeal.which is a kind of breakfast casserole.She laso has Sweidsh pancakes as well as the buttermilk kind too.Since she is a transplanted Southerner., Ms. Rice does have some good old fashioned casserole recipes.There is a chicken and rice one, great to make when there's dinner guests along with a hot chicken salad one.The Fiesta Noodle Bake is sure to be a family favorite.It is rich with simple spices like chile,cinnamon and red pepper.There are also very chic recipes too.Ms.Rice has penned down some excellent seafood ones such as pan seared scallops with orange butter sauce and lemon herb crusted fish filets.There are recipes on whole wheat pasta as well as on lasagna pinwheels.What is also unusual about this book is the special attention give to sides.To be honest, they could easily star as the main dish in a meal.She gives us the elegant green bean bundles, that are tied together with bacon and roasted Brussels sprouts with pancetta.Serve these with Ms Rice's roasted chicken for a truly simple yet classy dinner for guests.Sandwiches are not forgotten either and she includes a great guide to making different types of panini.Finish with any of her desserts such as her Nickerdoodles, her take on the classic cookie, nake after her son,Nick or her oh so sweet strawberry cupcakes.There are also yummy crisps and cobblers too along with a dark chocolate strawberry shortcake and frozen margarita pie. TheLovingKitchen is the must buy must have book.It is a great cookbook, chock full

Friday, July 18, 2014

Easy Summer Birthday Cakes

Summer birthdays are always fun.There's barbecues, sangria, and of course cake.The only problem with the last is baking is not fun even in air conditioning.The best idea while keeping it homemade is easy to make no bake cakes.These are fun and just as yummy as the baked and iced kind. One of the easiest and tastiest are the Jello No Bakes.These consist of a quick crust or base, a mousse like center and creamy toppings.There are easy cheesecakes ,including a home style and cheryl one.You can customize them by adding either melted or solid chocolate chips along with adding slivered or ground almonds to the crust.There's also a fun peanut butter cup cake and and Oreo flavored one too.These are wonderful ends to any party and take fifteen minutes at best to just whip up and assemble.These can also be made into cupcakes by making the dessert in muffin tins. Jello itself has a slew of no bake cake recipes that would make the perfect birthday cake.Try layering different varieties of Jello to create an airy but flavorful confection.Cream cheese plays a big part in creating a no bake treat.You can blend it with Cool Whip and other flavors such as chocolate or citrus to create an airy and light slice.Start with either a simple Graham cracker or ground cookie crust as the first layer, then add the cream cheese and cream mix.Decorate with fruit slices or chocolate curls depending on what you ,'ve made. Refrigerator cakes are another fun summer birthday treat.One of the most easiest and the most elegant is the chocolate wafer log.This is a no brainer to create.Just take those famed chocolate wafer cookies and layer them on their side, using the topping as "mortar"to glue together.You can use chocolate Cool Whip for pure decadence .You can even add a side of bananas or cut strawberries to cut the intense flavor.Another icebox cake is the classic Nilla wafers with a custardy cream.The original recipe calls for raw eggs but if you're having qualms about this omit them and just used whipped topping mixed with pineapple and any kind of nut meats.A variation of this is a dessert loaf made with condensed milk and the addition of raisins .Icebox cakes can also be made with crushed graham crackers.Layer the crackers and then heap on layers of CoolWhip and fresh fruit such as sliced peaches.For a quick spin on the classic Brown Derby cake, alternately layer chocolate Graham crackers, whipped topping and slices of bananas and strawberries.Reserved some crackers to be crushed and sprinkled on top of the cake.You can also do a home made ice cream cake this way too.Layer the crackers with softened ice cream for a really special treat. Summer birthdays need a summer cake.Whip up a cool airy creation ,perfect for a balmy nice.It's not only a greatbway to end a special birthday meal but also to celebrate a summer baby.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Cool Salads That Are Hot

Pasta salads are a staple during this sweltering days. As cooling as they are , they can be a bit boring.After all there's only so much you can do with macaroni doused with runny mayo.However zing and zest can be added for a new twist.Toss in a few exotic ingredients and you have more than just a simple bowl, you have an adventure. David Tanis explored this in his A City Kitchen column in yesterday's New York Times Dining section.He recommended Also mixing the pasta at times and trying something different such as couscous.He combines pearl or Isreali couscous.This is slightly different than regular couscous, in the sense it is smaller and nuttier tasting.Mr. Tanis brings the flavors of the Middle East with dashes of turmeric,cinnamon and cumin.It has homespun American familiarity with potatoes,roasted peppers green beans and tomatoes.Torn mint is scattered on top for more color and another layer of flavor.The finished salad is bright and colorful,perfect on it own or as a side to any kind of kabob or grilled lamb.Regular couscous can be used too , although it won't be as flavorful as the pearl variety. Couscous and it's cousin bulgar are great in cold salads and they're a nice alternative to lettuce and pasta.Incorporate these grains in your summer dining to liven up meals and parties. Mr .Tanis also gives his take on the pasta salad. It 's a kind of riff on Pasta al a Norma.This is made with eggplant and unlike the hot pasta dish ,the vegetables which include tomatoes are cooked separately.The first is cooked over a stove top grill while the tomatoes are broiled.Mr.Tanis recommends cooking ziti, his pasta of choice,in very salty water until al dente.The dressing is a simple olive oil mixed with pepper flakes,or peperoncino as well as garlic.Another pasta spin is on cold buckwheat noodles that are much beloved by both the Japanese and Koreans.The soba noodles are usually served in cold to ice cold broth however Mr. Tanis nixes the broth, opting instead for a second bath in ice cold water and then patted dry with a paper towel.He adds traditionally used vegetables such as cucumbers,scallions and radish sprouts.The dressing is a mix of sweet and hot,miso mixed with mirin and soy sauce.Cayeene pepper is added for zing while sugar brings the undertone of sweetness.Lime juice is also put into to give a burst of citrus.This salad is just perfect on it's own, great after a Sunday at the beach. Pasta salads need not be those sad mayo drenched affairs that evoke grimaces and upturned noses.These are bright and fun, exotic and fun.Serve this to liven up your summer table.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Your Summer Cooking Guide

Everyone thinks summer cooking is a snap.It is, if you do it right.To be honest all you need is a grill ,different meats and seafood along with,veggies and spices for a season of simple cooking.All you need is guide and voilà, tasty and healthy meals. Melissa Clark provided a guide like this in today's New York Times Dining section.This is a keeper because it not only give you the basics but also advice and hints.I like the part about grills and cooking over both direct and indirect heat.This is the key to the perfect barbecue.Meat should be cooked indirectly while smaller foods such as shrimp should be grilled on direct heat.Charcoal should also be carefully added throughout the grilling for a steady fire?Another handy tip is bringing big boned meats such as ribs, whole chickens, legs of lambs along with beef brisket and pork butt should be brought to room temperature to ensure a cut that won't have a frozen center.This may take several hours however.Marinate everything except burgers and sausages(this includes hot dogs) for anywhere from one hour to twenty- four.Marinades should have some oil in them and half a teaspoon of salt to every pound.Other ingredients for a good marinade are spices,herbs, garlic and lemon.Ms Clark also reminds us that big pieces can take anywhere from two to seven hours to fully cook. Smaller pieces take only one half hour to forty five minutes.Shrimp and other fish can be cooked in a fish basket (check Williams Sonoma or Sur la Table for this)Veggies can be put in a basket as well or laid perpendicular to the grill.Corn can be grilled with or without the husks.An ear will only take two to four minutes to fully cook up. There are other basic recipes included too.She recommends cooling summer soups made from both fruits and vegetables. Start with a blender comes the suggestion.Treat the soup like you're making a smoothie.Add three cups fruit or vegetables to one to two cups of liquid.Toss in a few ice cubes and a healthy pinch of aromatics.These soups are great to make and eat on an exceptionally hot workday.It takes minimal effort to both whip up and eat.Try the both spicy and sweet cantaloupe and jalapeño combination or a refreshing tomato and cucumber potage.Ms. Clark also simplifies salads The secret to a good one?Treat them like the main dish instead of the second rate side.One of the most classic to be redone is potato salad.Try the German style which is the addition of the flavorful bacon and bacon grease plus cider vinegar and dill.For an exotic spin that will go well with shish kabobs is the MiddleEastern style.This has the sweetness of pomegranate and molasses blended with the kick of garlic and toasted coriander seeds.A dash of lemon juice gives it some freshness. For a more American salad,try the buttermilk version that also has the briny tang of anchovies plus the traditional green goddess dressing.Healthier salads are also included.They are rice, quinoa or faro loaded with summery add ins like olives tomatoes and camatalopes.Ms. Clark also includes the how to for spice mixers such as gremolata and sukkah along with a sweet and spicy brown sugar curry infused dry rub. Ms. Clark gives us a fantastic and easy to read summer cooking guide. Use it to create the perfect barbecue or outdoor'll always have a great warm weather dinner with this.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Your Vacation Kitchen Check List

Many people are heading to their vacation homes right now.Nothing beat a getaway in a private house., whether owned or rented.One of the best things is having your own kitchen.This is great in providing your family with fresh food and freshly cooked meals. However in order to make it a holiday ,make sure that your getaway kitchen is fully stocked with all sorts of supplies. Many second home owners usually make sure that their kitchen appliances is in working order by opening up their homes in May.However pots and pans along with tools are left ignored. Recheck everything. Handles may be loose so a new pot or pan may have to be bought.Don't go wild thoughamd run to the nearest department store for an expensive replacement. Many shore towns have supermarkets that sell all sorts of kitchen must haves .Also make sure you have plates and utensils(although if you want to take it easy, use the sturdier Chinet paper plates and bowls along with dollar store knives, forks and spoons)If you're staying by the ocean, then have lobster crackers and seafood forks.If you're big on grilling, then just have a hibachi or a simple grill.Some vacation rentals are lucky to have a microwave.This is great for making popcorn for those rainy days or for reheating leftovers from eating out in local restaurants.If you want you can bring an electric mixer from home or purchase one locally.Again don't go wild and get a fancy one.Another idea is going old school and just using forks and spoons for beating eggs and batter.Some of the most important tools to bring are a spatula,an all purpose knife and a spaghetti spoon along with a wooden spoon and ladle..Again if you forget any of these, check local supermarkets or even the dollar store where you are for them. As for staples, flour is always good to have.This can be used to make pancakes, or even batter for fried fish chicken.Eggs are a must have too because you can use them for breakfast but also as an ingredient in other dishes.For the kids milk and juice are better choices than soda(and they'll have plenty of that when they"re on the Boardwalk or at the amusement park)Take advantage of local farms.Here you can buy fresh tomatoes perfect for primavera sauces,along with fresh picked corn.These farms also sell peaches,blueberries and strawberries, perfect snacks to noshonat the beach or by the lake.Farms also have just baked pies and breads which are always a nice treat.A shore holiday also means seafood.Buy lobster and cod along with crabs from neighborhood sellers.They may also have clams and mussels too.These last are versatile, being perfect roasted, or steamed. Even though it is a holiday, try to eat properly.Try to stay away from too many fast food joints and treats.Eating where're your staying ensures that everyone will not overload on junk and ruin their digestive systems A rental or second home kitchen should also be part of a fun getaway.Make sure that yours is not only fully stocked with good and healthy food but with working appliances.There's nothing like enjoying a barbecue or seafood pasta prepared in a well working kitchen. make sure that yours sin this condition for a dream vacation full of good food and easy cooking.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Summer Harvest Fun

One of the best times to get creative in the kitchen is the summer.There is so much produce to experiment with along with different cooking and prepping techniques.Go to your local farm ,farmer's market or even your garden to get the ingredients of a fun meal. Tomatoes are in abundance right now.Many farms and gardens are yielding big juicy beefsteaks along with smaller varieties of plums and cherry kinds.These give home chefs the opportunity of creating a tomato only salad or a truly tasty Neopolitan bread salad.This last is a mix of any kind of tomato sliced up and marinated with chunks of stale Italian bread marinated in a garlicky vinaigrette.If you're a tad more adventurous then try a stab at ho,e made ketchup. You do need a lot of them, about three pounds, however most farmer s mArkets do sell tomatoes by the bushel.Another fun tomato dish is salsa.Nothing beats a bowl of freshly made tomato salsa ,especially at a barbecue or pool party.Corn is also in abundance .Try barbecue roasted corn ,not just with butter but with a tangy olive oil spread ,heightened with garlic and oregano.If you're still a butterphile then make flavored butters such Lemon and garlic but also think about honey, maple or chile butter spread.Peppers and onions are also in harvest right now.You can try stuffed peppers with grilled steak bits and tomato sauce or used as part of shish kabobs.Onions are also good in a tangy salad or minced as a burger topping. Summer fruit is all over the place right now too.Strawberries are still being picked as are blueberries. You can cook both up with a simple sugar syrup to use over wafflers or vanilla ice cream.Use these along with other fresh fruits in different andinteresting homemade ice cream flavors.Try a blueberry basil combo or a peach and prosecco sorbet.Crisps are one of the easiest and fun desserts to try, especially for novice home chefs.It's an easy cooked fruit stew with a.crunchy buttery topping.Cobblers are another fun summer treat,easily made with Bisquick.They're just a simple batter with any kind of fruit, even blackberry.Fruit can also be used in savory dishes too.Think peach and strawberry pureed in a chicken marinade.Blackberry and even blue berries work well in a steak marinade or even as a chutney alongside a grilled flank or skirt steak.Salads are definitely more zinger with the addition of fresh fruit.Just don't add a mélange of it ,that it overpowers the other ingredients.A better idea is using pureed fruit in a homemade dressing instead.Also juicing fresh fruits and adding the juice to ice tea is another fun and easy way to enjoy the produce of the season. A full summer harvest is like an artist's palette.They're so many different ones to use in creating a fun culinary masterpiece.Pick up or just pick your supplies now for some inventive and tasty cooking.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Clam Season

One of the biggest thrills of any summer is clamming.Many enthusiasts love he idea of clam digging and then cooking Them in a variety of different ways.This is what summer at the shore is all about ,especially for foodies.Get wet, splash about and dig up some plump clams for an ocean fresh dinner, perfect for a summer's night. Most Americans eat three different types of clams One is the Mercenaria Mercenaria, or hard clam,along with the soft shell,Mya arenaria and the quahog Artica Islandia. Some die hard lovers like to go clam digging.Unlike fishing ,there's really no equipment ,save for a bucket and possible small specialized rake if you're on the beach.If you're doing it by boat you need to get clam tongs(check the Internet for places that sell them)"These are scissor like and scrape the bottom of the shallow ocean floor(you should be out in about ten feet of water, just off the shoreline).They dig a couple of feet down below the surface, churning up the bivalves .You can also do this on land, too,using a Shinnecock rake.Walk out onto wet sand at low tide and , using it, scrape away.Another shallow water technique of gathering is the millennia old treading.Go in knee to waist deep , feel with your feet and them bend over.This should be done preferably in a bay or inlet where there's no danger of waves or undertow.Throw back clams that are too small and remember not to overfish the area that you're in.Before you clean them ,let them soak for about twenty minutes?They will spit out the sand during this time.When you're ready to cook lift each from the water and give them a good scrubbing with a veggie brush. Now that they're ready ,decide on how to make them.Clams are good steamed and this is the easiest method too.Steam them in a combo of grape seed or olive oil, white wine and onion, Add the clams and the clam juice as well and steam for ten minutes until they've opened.Serve with slices of crusty French bread and white wine.You can also steam them with just garlic and butter.For a fancier meal make a pot of linguini and have linguine with white clam sauce.Want the hungry surfer experience? Fry them.Clam shacks on both UScoasts are known for this fun treat.Use corn flour mixed with a scant pinch of cayenne pepper along with salt and pepper.First bathecem in milk or buttermilk and then dredge in the dry coating.Fry in vegetable , peanut or grape seed oil.Drain immediately on paper towels and serve hot with just lemon wedges.If you want some zing also have a bottle of hot sauce at the ready,Serve with fries and ice cold beer for a true clam shack experience. Enjoy not just the beach but the bounty that comes with it. there is nothing like fresh harvested and cooked clams. Savor their plumpness and brininess while enjoying a cool ocean breeze.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Hot Soup For A Hot Day

This may be July and the temps ,at times, may be unbearably warm, but it's still soup weather.After months of eating chilled salads, it's nice to have a soothing bowl of steamy home made soup.It's something that's appreciated and something easy to get down.There's also the plus of using farm fresh veggies too when making it. Any soup, no matter what time of year you make it.,needs a good base.You can make it yourself ,either with chicken, beef, fish or vegetable stock. Chicken or beef broth is easy to make, Most home chefs use a whole chicken and or a good beef cut with the bones(these provide the most flavor).You can skim off the fat and foam that will arise but in all honesty, you'll also be robbing the stock of flavor too.You can add the meat as well .You can also freeze the stock for up to a year.Definitely take advantage of your garden or local farmer's market. .Nothing beats a good tomato or even a rich beef minestrone.Adds peppers and onions for added flavor. try fresh yellow onions from the farmer's market or your own back yard to create that truly Gallic treat: French onion soup.this is a wonderful and truly tasty change from the usual barbecue and burgers. Fish stock is another handy stock to have in your fridge.This is mostly fish bones and shrimp shells?The bones can come from sole, flounder, halibut, and turbot. These should be cut into two-inch pieces and rinsed clean of any blood.With this you can make one of the best summer dishes ever, bouillabaisse.This is a yummy mix of lobster ,along with different fish along with spices such as saffron . You can also make a nice chowder, perfect for a rainy summer day.Chose from chowders such as Manhattan,New England or Rhode Island.Manhattan is the best for adding farm fresh vegetables such as ripe tomatoes and potatoes. can use the fish stock, which is strongly recommended or chicken as some recipes suggest. Vegetable stock is about the healthiest and a great way of using surplus harvest.The basic recipe calls for carrots, celery and onions, along with parsley and thyme. Add some olive oil for body.With this you can create a satisfying and rich corn chowder with the addition of fresh corn off the ear as well as scallions and potatoes.A vegetable stock allows you to also make vegan soups such as minestrone and lentil as well. It may be warm outside but that shouldn't deter any home chef from making a hot homemade pot of soup.It's a great and soothing change from the usual summer fare. It's also more comforting than any cold lunch or dinner.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Garden Fresh Dishes

Gardens all over are starting to yield the first harvests of the season.This is a boon for home chefs.The ingredients are not only organic and fresh but versatile.They can be made into a plethora of different dishes, from sauces to sides. Both David Tanis of A City Kitchen and Melissa Clark of A Good Appetite know this and wrote about using fresh garden veggies.Mr Tanis has an excellent recipe for using smaller tomatoes such as cherry and grape in a easy to make sauce.This is a neat take on primavera style.The tomatoes are cooked in olive oil until they burst.This gives the edges a nice caramelization along with a rich browning.Red pepper flakes are added in to give the sauce an arrabiata vibe but you can nix them if you feel he sauce will be too spicy.Mr.Tanis also add the salty pancetta bacon for another flavor burst and again this this optional He uses fusilli but again you can use any kind of pasta you want.Add this to the sauce and then add three tablespoons of butter for richness and more flavor.The pasta with sauce is then spooned into individual bowls and topped with a dollop of ricotta and a mix of scallion and mont.If this is too much just have a light sprinkling of Parmesan on top of the finished dish. Melissa Clark also discovered how good fresh vegetables ,are ,especially in a soufflé.Zucchini and squash are in season as well.The first is incredibly versatile.It can be fried,steamed sautéed or as Ms.Clark did, fold it into a soufflé.She also incorporates squash blossoms, again another versatile part of the squash.These are excellent made Piedmontese style ,dipped in batter and fried or stuffed.Ms.Clark also incorporates them in her souffles. The souffles themselves are rich , having béchamel sauce along with half and half and four s Large eggs.This is a labor intensive recipe with separating the eggs and prepping all the other ingredients.If you still hankering for squash? Ms. Clark recommends an easy steamed recipe that just calls for the squash with butter salt, and water.Other easy recipes are are zucchini coins, breaded slices fried crisply along with zucchini pancake.Both are nice easy ways of enjoying the squash's verdant, refreshing flavor. Serve with a tangy remoulade sauce for a summery appetizer. Take advantage of the great harvests that summer brings. tomatoes can be made into delicious sauces while squash can be turned into regal souffles or tasty coins.Go to your garden or farmer's market and pick up a basket of either today to enjoy fresh flavor.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A Second Take On Tofu

Mention tofu to anyone and at best you"ll just get a head shake no.Most people are against it, both hating to cook and eat it.Yet it is tasty and versatile.It's time to take a second look and another bite of tofu. Mark Bittman certainly did and wrote about it in his column in today's New York Times Dining section.It's actually becoming more embraceable thanks to many people going vegan for dietary or even ecological reasons. Tofu is not anything new.The Asians have been fermenting soy for 2000 years and been popular since the Fifth century.The given recipes are varied and tasty,ranging from scrambled to marinated.To be honest if done right, tofu can fool the most dedicated meat lover.Not only that , home chefs don't have to resort to the pre pressed kinds like burgers and tofu pups to win over family and friends.A brick of it can be transformed into so many different ways.One day it can be turned into a jerky while the next it could be sauted and served over rice like a tofu scampi.Any way will draw more fans and more people curious about it. Mr. Bittmen has a cornucopia of different recipes.He introduces readers to the Mediterrean dish escabeche.This is a Spanish or Southern French meat dish ,usually made with chicken ,rabbit and pork and marinaded for twenty four hours.You can use the tofu for this in a marinade in olive oil, white wine ,Dijon mustard and shallots.You could also make it Provencale style with the addition of chopped black olives and tomatoes.This would work well on a weekend night ,with a good bottle of white wine.Another tasty recipe is Mr. Bittman's take on chorizo, tofu mixed with onion and garlic.To give it color and bite is the addition of cumin and paprika along with cinnamon and cider vinegar.Another recipe is scrambled tofu ,done with tomatoes and scallions in a soy sauce bath.For the more adventurous,Mr Bittman throws in a vegan mayo made with the silkily fluid seitan, This is great for those watching their cholesterol and weight.You can add basil or even tarragon or celery seeds to amp it up.seitan cal also be used in desserts such as mousse and puddings as well as in savory dishes such as soups. Tofu should not be hated or even feared.It is a versatile alternative to meat ,eggs and even dairy try making it in a flavorful dish .Done right it's a dream everyone will enjoy.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

New Foods On The Horizon

Every season brings new foods for foodie's to try.Some are kind of out there, some should have been invented years ago.All are interesting. All are tasty.All may just be household names and foodie must haves in a year or two. The Daily News Sunday Food section featured some of these latest concoctions after their food writer,Gina Pace tried these edible innovations at the Fancy Food Show at the Javits Center last week.There are some very interesting and even fun creations coming out.Some are healthy ,some are fancy and fun.One interesting choice are Brussel Bytes, a take on kale chips.Sequoia Cheney developed these after getting a diagnosis of diabetes.These are dehydrated sprouts mixed with coconut. They're both savory and sweet ,a neat addition to movie night or the lunchbox.Other healthful innovations are salmon dogs and shrimp burgers.These are better choices than the red meat and pork kinds and more interesting than turkey burgers and pups.Another treat from the sea are the ever good for you are Ocean Halo Seaweed Chips.Trader Joe"s is already selling these and have wild flavors like chili lime and Korean BBQ.These are high in protein and low in calories.Lifeoce ,an inspired invention from Paulette Fox is morsel sized Popsicles, inspired by her late mother's need for ice chips during her ovarian cancer battle.The small squares have a healthy coconut water base and come in neat flavors like Bright Berry Bouquet and Citrus Chomp. of course Ms. Pace also found the down right fun foods too.She got to see how a Chef Jet works.This is a 3D printer that can make interesting and colorful cake toppers in any design a baker can create.This is perfect for bakeries specializing in fanciful birthday and wedding cakes.There is also Scott Withrall's tasty sea salt and vinegar caramels, a tart spin on that popular candy.Have them with Smoked Cola Gum drops .Candy maker Jami Curl was experimenting with subtle smoky flavors first in cookies and then with the sugar laced Mexican version of Coca cola.It's a gumdrop with savory notes.If you want something a tad more sophisticated then try either Divno Gelato, a European favorite where fruit sorbets are put back into their skins or rinds or Mercer's Wine Ice Cream Try Sparkling Strawberry right now as a chic dessert or a mulled wine called Spice after a smoky barbecue?Speaking of barbecue,you can top steaks and burger with bacon cheeseburger cheese .This is from New York cheese maker Yancys which also has a wasabi laced from age.Wash it down with HiCaf iced teas which are caffeine infused drinks that are the perfect drink to get up roused up. There are fun foods on the horizon. they are going to be healthy anf fun or just plain decadent.They'll definitely worthwaitong for.

Monday, July 7, 2014

The Hungry Of Summer

Even though it's summer, there are still the hungry and needy.So many people tend to forget them because most feel they"ll be OK.That's far from the truth.The weather may be fine, and in their favor but they still lack good and proper nutrition.Their children don"t even have the luxury of a treat of ice cream or Popsicles. Surprisingly homeless shelters are still packed in summer.Though not surprisingly the amount of volunteers decreases.If you can and have the time, then help out.If you have a garden, and fruit trees, feel free to share.Anyone would appreciate a juicy ripe tomato, and it's bursting with much needed antioxidants and vitamins.The same goes for carrots and peppers.Another kind idea is buy extra on your next trip to your local farmer's market and donate some.Also help out and cook at the shelter.Try to get local companies involved as well to donate for a barbecue.Everyone needs a fun afternoon ,full of hot dogs, homemade Cole slaw and watermelon slices. If there are kids, and there always are, then try to have a sundae bar as an extra treat or the healthier home made ice pops. Food pantries need supplies all year round.Again donate cans as well as any fresh veggies and fruits you're growing.Parents will appreciate these along with the usual canned and boxed goods.Print up recipes and vitamin charts for any fresh sauces or stuffed peppers or onions.If you're into canning , and preserving ,ask your pantry if you can donate these too as well as homemade, pasta sauces,ketchups and salsas.Any bakery owners can also give extra buns and rolls for hamburgers and hot dogs.Try to work with the pantry to ensure that there is a large variety of fresh picked fruits and veggies. Encourage your local pantry sell more fresh juices and waters which are better than all that soda and sugary teas and energy drinks.If you can arrange with farmers markets as well as with any local farms to possibly sell at cost or donate whole wheat baked goods as well as naturally processed honeys that did not sell. Hunger doesn't. Care what season it is. Neither does poverty.Help those who can't afford a meal of fresh picked veggies or a food filled barbecue.It will not only be a good day for them but for you as well.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

International Burgers

This is definitely burger season.They 're probably on every grill in America right now.The problem is that they're probably all the same. Beef, waiting for the same kind of bland white bread bun, with the usual tomato, lettuce and ketchup.Yet, this German import is very versatile.It can be made in a variety of ways and have different sauce and condiments from all over the world.Take a trip to find your best tasting burger. Funnily enough, Mark Bittman wrote about varying burgers in tomorrow's New York Times magazine.His Food section features burgers made from different meats.For example you can nix the beef and have a fish burger.He suggests tuna,which can have a Provencale flair if you add tomatoes and olive oil and put the whole affair on a large slice of French bread.There is also his salmon and avocado patty with nori, I would also maybe a dab of wasabi as an homage to Japan.Mr.Bittman also has a shrimp and scallop one with bacon.This would be great topped with a remoulade served again on a generous slice of baguette to celebrate Cajun cooking.He also has burgers made with Italian sausage and chorizo.With the sausage, cook bell peppers and onion and gently lay over the cooked burger.The chorizo again try green peppers and chopped olives.He also went Chinese style with the pork as well, rendering the meat with soy sauce and sriracha along with rice wine and scallions.He serves this on a regular hamburger bun but I think it would taste better on fresh made scallion pancakes. Mr. Bittman also creates a patty out of lamb.This naturally calls to mind Greece and the Middle East.He adds mint and parsley to the ground meat and serves it with feta.You could also have a tahini sauce instead of ketchup or mayo.Ne also gives it a kabob style with kofte, which he just adds eggs to the burger,and serves it with lemon juice and parsley. Of course if you want a beef burger(and who doesn't) then add some international flair.When making up the burgers add a splash of cognac and mustard for a variation of the French bistro classic steak Diane.T A true German hamburger is made with equal parts beef and pork along with a dash of paprika for zest. Serve with string beans and thinly sliced onions.If you want the Southern German style add some plain bread crumbs to the mix.Nix the paprika and add clarified butter and nutmeg if you want Swedish meatballs flavored burgers.You can even make the sauce if you want a hot sandwich.Swedish meatball sauce is made with beef stock, flour, cream, and the pan drippings if you've made the burgers in a skillet. Take your burgers on an international trip this summer.Let them visit Greece or Japan, take them back to their homeland of Germany.Creating different styles is a fun way of adding flair to your barbecue.Get away from the boring and hit the road.

Friday, July 4, 2014

A Thoughtful Fourth

Happy Independence Day to my American readers at home and abroad.For those enjoying it at home, use this day not only to celebrate but what you can do to make your life and community better.It may be eating more veggies at the barbecue or cutting down on the ice cream cones.For your community it could be growing and harvesting fruit and vegetables to take down to your local food bank. Be grateful for our freedoms to do whatever we like.Remember to honor all those servicemen ,from past wars and current conflict.Treat our veterans and families out with a special dinner or a gift certificate to their favorite restaurants.Have welcome home parties if they want those, celebrating with burgers and dogs,pitchers of cold beer and hot roasted ears of corn.Listen to their stories as you sip a cold lemonade or iced tea on the front porch or backyard patio. For my American readers abroad , keep safe .Enjoy your all those amazing creations but remember to sneak in a hot dog or some potato salad every now and then. Above all celebrate this great country and the contributions we've made, big and small to the culinary world.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

We Scream For Ice Cream

The one summer food everyone craves right now is ice cream.That and it's"variations are in hot demand and no wonder.It refreshes and revives anyone wilting from July's heat.There is nothing like cooling off with a scoop or two.After all an ice cream cone is what summer is all about. The frozen stuff had an entire Dining section dedicated to it, in yesterday's New York Times Dining section, Everyone from Melissa Clark to Julia Moskin contributed some interesting and sure to be classic recipes.The issue is chock full of some really interesting tidbits.Check out Ligauna Mishan's Hungry Kitchen for an international tour of New York City's ethnic ice cream parlors.Her ice cream journey took her around the city and its'boroughs to try almost every nationality from Filipino to Greek.The flavors were unusual,from an Indian version redolent with saffron to the Turkish Dondurna blend of goat,s milk ,mastic (a chewy resin) and a syrup derived from wild Anatolian orchids.Another contributor ,regular Kim Severson got to travel around the US try more traditional ice cream parlor treats.From Michigan to Maui she wrote about every kind from burnt caramel to shaved ice.As she found out America's relation with ice cream is spiritual and deep and sometimes the best part of the American college experience.People have always loved any sweet frozen treat and where they're served. Ice cream parlors were the first places that allowed single young women to dine and enjoy a night or afternoon with friends.It was the place to meet eligible young mean and fall in love or a scoop of chocolate or vanilla. One of the best articles is Melissa Clark of A Good Appetite.She gives an excellent guide to making ice cream with a basic frozen custard recipe.This makes the best kind of ice cream because of the amount of eggs and cream used.One batch should have six egg yolks and two cups of heavy cream.She also gives a recipe for financiers , a kind of merengue made with the leftover whites.There is also a chart to make different flavors of ice cream.For the aromatics, she uses the common vanilla and coffee along with the more unusual green tea?There is also cinnamon as well as lemon and lime.Ice cream lovers can also create fruit flavors such as strawberry and banana as well as the classic chocolate and the naughty butterscotch bourbon. There is also the recipe for classic pistachio ice cream and almond.Julia Moskin gives us the most perfect topping ,a rich ganaches that will sure to be a family favorite once tried,Another classic.It's a sophisticated and more flavorful alternative to hot fudge.If you want lighter fare then try David Tanis of A City kitchen flavored ice recipes.He has a savory tomato ice, perfect as a side to any grilled meat along with a shaved ice with a sweet blackberry syrup. If you scream for ice cream ten go to The Times online and download the recipes and articles.The recipes are a great dessert or even just a snack right now.They will keep ypu not only cool but supremely happy.They are what summer is all aboutabig scoop of goodness.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Ninety Acres Of Good Eating

It’s not the scenery,although breathtaking, that stands out at Peapack,New Jersey’s Ninety Acres Restaurant. It’s the innovative way of cooking thanks to a brilliant young chef. David Felton, that makes this eatery truly outstanding. Foodie Pantry received the privelege of sitting down with Chef Felton and discussing his philosophy.

For anyone, whether a professional chef or a home chef, just looking at Ninety Acres farms is a dream come true. A large variety of vegetables and herbs grow on rolling hills, just outside the kitchen and restaurant. There is no need to deal with dubious suppliers or questionable produce and meats/.The time of year dictates what the kitchen will create . “Seasonal main dishes right now feature corn,tomatoes ,Chinese cabbages, while dessert ones will feature fresh strawberries.There is no breakout dish or highlight dish of the season.” explained Chef Felton. However working with the farm to table philosophy can present some problems he added. Spring can give too many green or unripe vegetables. Summer gives an overabundance of tomatoes while fall brings about too many pumpkins and squashes. With winters come braises and a smaller list of ingredients to use. Yet he encourages home chefs to attempt their own version of Ninety Acres/.They can turn their yards into gardens as well as visiting their local farmer’s markets. This is a great way of eating healthier , eschewing chemical laden prepared foods.

Ninety Acres is a foodie’s dream, not only because of Chef David Felton’s vision and talent but because of the farm to table menu. His creations are not only delicious but also fresh from the garden. Eating at Ninety Acres is a true culinary experience.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Breakfast Sandwiches Explained

We're always told to eat a good, well rounded breakfast.It helps us get through the day and it's part of a balanced diet.However create a hearty home cooked breakfastvhas two thongs against it,it can be boring and it can also be too labor intensive.That's about to change.There's a new cookbook out with recipes on quick and easy breafast sandwiches.Best of all they can be made and eaten at any time during the day. Crazy For Breakfast Sandwiches (Ulysses Press) is a neat little cookbook by author and chef Jessica Harlan.She is a food writer as well as culinary teacher who has come up with a variety of recipes for anyone with a breakfast sandwich maker(the best one to buy is made by Hamilton Beach and can be bought anywhere from Bed, Bath and Beyond to Target and Amazon.)"It's a neat little contraption that can cook eggs, cheese, meat and muffins all together in five minutes.Ms.Harlan give advice as well as a categorized table from the base usually bread to what the basic ingredients and toppings.Anyone from the novice to experienced chef can make these.You can go without the breakfast sandwich maker, but it can be a little tricky. What's great is that you can sub in healthy alternatives too.Egg whites can used instead of the entire egg.Toppings can be cheese but there are a lot of recipes recommend fresh vegetables and even apples.Meats can be vegan breakfast patties or hot dogs.This is a cookbook for all tastes and for those curious cooks who want to try something new. Ms.Harlan has created some fun recipes .Some are perfect for a pajama party like the breakfast pizza.This is an egg topping a mini pizza made with Boboli pizza crust, pizza sauce and skim milk mozzarella.Weekend guests could be treated to crab cakes topped with dill eggs and hollandaise or the ever sophisticated lobster and tarragon creme fraiche muffin.This last is a muffin stuffed with lobster and scrambled egg with a sauce of tarragon laced creme fraiche.For health conscious breakfast lovers there is the gluten free sandwich with an avocado spread and a turkey egg white sandwich,The book and the breakfast sandwich are also perfect for those singletons living alone.There the tuna melt and English muffin pizza.There's also patty melts and grilled cheese that's are snaps to make.If you're craving a hot dessert then look into the back of the recipe book,You can try a quick pain au chocolate or an apple pie donut sandwich. Get the Crazy For Breakfast Sandwiches if you love hot sandwiches to start off your day.Ms. Harlan has created a must have, classic recipe book that's easy to follow.It's the perfect one for any McMuffin fan.You could have them your way!