Friday, October 31, 2014

Trick Or Treat Halloween Facts And Fun

Today is the ultimate candy day.By now millions of kids in the US alone have garnered, their fair share of Twix, KitKats ,Smarties and anything else totally not nutritious.It's a fun day of celebrating since Irish and Scottish immigrants first came here bringing the traditions of Samahain or All Hallow's Night with them. Not surprisingly this is also a money making holiday for candy companies.Michael Moss did comparative article in Wednesday's New York Times Dining section. He found out that candy sales last Halloween hit a whopping 217 million up 2 per cent from the previous year( in all fairness, that was when Superstorm Sandy hit and people were more worried about survival than Mars Bars)However due to a summer time increase this year, coco lovers eased upon their addiction.The reason for the increase? Cocoa butter.This is the fat of the pod that gives chocolate it's rich,satisfying taste,Food chemists have tried subbing in other cheaper oils bit to no avail.Chocolate is what it is because of that cocoa butter.Still we crave it thanks to our love of it.We also love the variety of those Halloweens treat bags too.Most candy companies now sell two or three different kinds so they can push lesser like types on consumers.This is not a new marketing ploy.Kellogg's was doing its early as 1941" variety mini cereal box packs.A variety also tricks our brains into wanting us to eat more.We feel the need to sample and try everything, Eating one kind will also make us feel fuller quicker.thanks tour brain acclimating to just the one taste and texture.A variety pack of two or three different kinds turns our brain into race car veering left and right ,leavings with a still hungry feeling. Of course there is an antidote to this: an old fashioned candy recipe.Today's New York Times Weekend section,Friday File, compiled by Mary Jo Murphy printed out snippets from past Halloween reports.Mostly it was all apple bobbing whether the get together was from the 1890s or 1920s.However there was the Halloween party report from a century ago that offered a recipe .It called for fresh coconut straight from, well the coconut and then toasted in an oven.. boil a cup of molasses with brown or white sugar, along with a teaspoon of vinegar (I'd recommend the apple cider kind) and a tablespoon of butter.It is ready when it hits the hard candy stage(dribble a few drops In cold water.It should be hard and crackly), add the coconut, stir well and then pour into a buttered pan.Let the candy get hard and the break into bite sized pieces.Actually you can sub in any kind of nuts, for the coconut to create brittle.If you want to add a modern spin, dip the pieces into dark chocolate.If you feel the coconut brittle is too sweet, then add a scant tablespoon of sea salt to add some zing and dash. store in a covered tin. Halloween is nothing but fun treats.Enjoy it it wisely, don't go wild.Enjoy that candy wisely.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Keep Those Eggs To Yourself

Tonight is Mischief Night , or if you're in my neck of the woods Goosey Night, this from the medieval English Guise Night. It's a night of punking and pranking. Unfortunately it and a few other fall festivities result in wasting important food stuffs. This in a time when people here in the US are starving.

Ask any true blue American about Mischief or Cabbage night pranks and they will tell you that, yes they've thrown a few eggs in their day or smashed a few pumpkins. What a true waste of food (not to mention causing serious damage. Not to many people know that egg albumin, or the white part can take off car paint,it's something to do with it binding with toxic substances like lead). It's also dangerous lobbing them at passing cars. It's not water that will quickly bead off. The yolk and shell will gook up and then the wipers will only spread it. This is also the time for those merry  happy pranksters to take those pumpkins and smash them.Well ,this is good for the raccoons who love pumpkins however it's bad for the family who was relying on that big squash for  food. They could have used the flesh for puree for either a filling soup or for pie filling, The seeds can also be re purposed and baked  to become tasty snacks.  That pumpkin lying in the road  could have also been  used to make bread,

Another Cabbage Night prank is the famed Mentos in diet Coke. (for those of you true innocents who don't know what it is or who have never seen it done on The Big Bang Theory).Originally it was wintergreen Lifesavers threaded onto a pipe cleaner and then plunged into a bottle of diet Coke. The gas from the mints propelled the soda out in a foamy geyser. When the candy company found out about this trick  they changed the candy's diameter, making them wider and impossible to dunk. It turns out , much to the delight of kids and science teachers that Mentos do the same trick.Don't do this , The geysers can reach up to five feet (if you use the whole roll) and create accidents and damage. It ruins siding as well as hurts and scares any animal life. A less, but equally, insidious prank is chucking apples on the road and hurled against houses. Again this is a blatant waste of food and there are people who would truly appreciate a good , ripe apple. Hurling them at passing cars or dropping them from overpasses can result in serious multicar accidents. Save them for the homeless and the food pantries. Apples are versatile and can be used in everything from oatmeals to cakes and of course to make applesauce.

Mischief Night is about mischief making however it 's more of a sin when you use food to do so. Put down the egg,s the apples and those Mentos. Don't squash the pumpkins. Food should be treasured , not wasted on mindless pranks. Besides if you want to cause impish damage, go for the toilet paper. Less trouble , more mess.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Steak By Any Other Name

Ever hear of a flat iron or tri tip steak?What about a porterhouse chop?If you haven"t then don't feel so culinary clueless.These are all pieces of beef and pork that have been rebranded or renamed.Butcher shops and grocery stores are giving ordinary cuts fancy new names in order to make them salable and tempting to consumers.Think about that as you're grilling your bavette more on that later. Kim Severson got the confusing job of untangling and deciphering these new meat names and where they originated in her article in today's Dining section of The New York Times. She herself had been on a quest for the tri tip, a triangular cut of beef that resembles a large ,fat marbled liver.It is hugely popular in California where it's turned into sandwiches or barbecued by just about everyone.However it's only native to the Golden State.She has tried to find it on the East Coast and the South but to no avail.It just isn't offered..Certain butchers ,depending where they're located stick to certain cuts that sell well..Also different joints of meat are called by different names also. A chuck might be labeled as pot roast.A pork chop is now called a porterhouse chop(and not to be confused with a porterhouse steak).The US Meat Council realizes those disparity and will issue a more uniform method to accurately naming cuts and chops.The flank or skirt steak you always order in your favorite,local steak house will now be the same kind you put on your grill.The new labels will have the common name for the cut followed by the type of animal it came from along with the meats characteristics.It is then followed with the barest of cooking instructions such as grill for best results. Ms .Severson also writes about the clever ploys meat sellers use to sell less manageable tougher cuts.That cut, the bavette is really a fancy moniker for flap steak.The inventor, CoryCorman who runs a grass fed beef farm in Oregon wante to give the difficult cut a name that would be both fancy and intriguing.It is a chewy piece, hard to cook into tenderness and hard on the gums to eat.Once it was renamed, it became a must have for chefs in Portland,this practice is common in artisinal butcher shops where simple parts are renamed to attract trendy home chefs.Another problem is that they cut the meat using Europeans or their own standard.Yes, this results in meat lovers trying cuts they normally would not but it does put strain on the pocketbook.What they don't tell buyers is that the meat is going to be tougher or chewier and may need an extra kick in marinAting or a certain way of cutting it up.Even large scale meat purveyors have succumbed to this ,despite the problems that it has caused.Look at the porterhouse chop.The beef people don't like this and how the pork industry have stolen the name from them. re naming also gets people to try different cuts other than the widely popular skirt and flank types. It opens up a home chef's range , letting them experiment with different methods, rubs and marinades. A rose by any other name will smell as sweet. Will a flank steak renamed taste just as delicious? Probably, if the home chef knows what to do with it.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Halloween Ready

Halloween brings about not only trick or treaters and candy but also parties.What makes a memorable holiday get together? Fun food with a scary theme.Just make sure you're well stocked.That alone can bring fear to any party thrower, not enough eats and hungry guests. One of the first new rules of party giving is know your audience.If you're having a kid do , make sure you 've received lists of allergies along with likes and dislikes.If you can ,go gluten free .This is a benefit to any fretful parent and it also is easier on the kids.You also don't have to emphasize what is safe and not safe to eat.There are several flour brands that make gluten free flour so you can use it for pizzas, cakes and cookies ,along with cupcakes.Also if you're worried yourself about what your own will eat think a healthy party.Tacos are great for kids, Have platters full of vegetables and salsa that they can stuff.If meat is not a problem, then think chicken for the stuffing.Also serve a refreshing cranberry and seltzer sangria(call it bat blood to spook it up)Keep away from the sugary sodas and juices.You can also end with a fun bob for apples.For more variety add pears too. The sliced fruit can be dipped in caramel . You can also have favor bags filled with apples along with grain bars and all natural cookies( try the Nature's Path brand,They have a variety of sandwich cookies and choclate cip along with mint wafers).Try to stay away from the obvious.Fellow parents may not appreciate bringing home a hyper kid, high on candy corn. Adult Halloween parties can be a little more daring food wise.It's still nice to serve healthy and there's actually a wide variety of dishes to choose from.Wings are a must have, but instead of frying, try baked. Chicken wings with a home made honey mustard or a honey Ginger sauce..Ribs are another tasty party dish.Again baking is your best option.Another fun idea is sliders.Nothing beats mini burgers with various dipping sauces.You can also make mini pulled pork sliders.Serve with cones of baked sweet potato and regular fries.You can even male both ,thanks to using both racks in your oven.Both can be zinged with basil or cayenne pepper.Serve with homemade catsup or salsa.Again you bob for apples but you could also hollow them out and fill with the potent apple Jack or hard cider.Another fun idea is filling them with buttery caramel and chopped pecans as an inside out candy apple.You could also have grape spiders for dessert nibbles.Take black or deep purple grapes and stick dark chocolate pretzels curves in them to recreate legs.To make the spider limbs, break thin twisty pretzels, and save the curved parts.Dip these in melted dark chocolate. For a smoother , shinier coating , add a few drops of vegetable oil to the candy before melting. A tasty All Hallows party is a memorable one.Treat your tricksters to tasty and somewhat healthy party foods.They thinks you've bewitched them with your pots full of yummy foods.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Gifts For The Home Chef

With the holidays a mere two months away, it's time to think about what to get the home chef. To be honest , someone who loves to cook and bake is about the easiest person to shop for. He or she  may need new gadgets to replace the old ones or may need new pots or pans.There's also new inventions and ingredients that make surprising and exciting gifts.

Before you even think about shopping, assess what the receiver has or needs in the kitchen. If their blender is not working up to par, then you know what to buy for them.Are their knives getting dull? Then either gift them with a sharpening stone or a new set. Do they like working with spices? Time to get a new improved spice rack. Another must is fishing. Ask about the kitchen in general or if they've tried any new dishes. If your favorite home chef is into Mexican  then get a fajita pan  along with different chiles.If they're swooning about French cuisine, then you know they'd be over the moon about a crepe pan. Also look around their kitchen as well. Frayed dish towels tell you a replacement set would be well appreciated.A shortage of microwave dishes means  you that buying a new, more diverse set . Also check their stocks. Nothing beats gift baskets full of much needed olive oils or bags of soup ingredients. Appliance gifts are a bit different.If you're thinking about giving a new stove, dishwater or fridge , bring the home chef with you. Mak for this e sure all warrantees and insurance are in your home chef's name too.

Then there is the fun side of foodie and home chef gift giving. There are so many cooking centric items out there, it really is hard to pick any kind of gift. One of the best and most comprehensive stores  for this  kind of shopping is Sur La Table. I highly recommend it because it has a cornucopia of appliances  plus food stuffs such as the kit for making doughnuts (along with the doughnut pans to make a tasty baked treat) The store also carries a broad variety of rubs from a lively espresso to a Parmesan one for roasted veggies. Sur la Table also has an extensive collections of special pots and pans along with excellent quality cutlery and carving boards. Of course cookbooks are a must give. Nothing is as fun as an old fashioned cookbook that can be leafed through or pored over. There are ones for almost every taste , both literally and figuratively. My favorite is Dr. Mayim Bialik's (Amy Farrah Fowler on "The Big Bang Theory") Mayim's Vegan Table.This is a great book for both vegans and non vegans alike, with her cool  takes on pancakes , tofu sausage and sprout and potato croquettes/ There are some other greats from Chris Kimball of America's Test Kitchen , along with Women's Day,.

Shopping for a foodie or home chef is the  easiest chore. You can buy them anything kitchen related or food centric and it will be a big hit. With any luck they will use it right away to make you a tasty thank you treat!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Those Other Fall Fruits

By now everyone is probably applied out.They're all over , from groceries to pick your own.They're in everything from galettes to ciders to candied treats.However they're are some interesting other fall fruits out there.They"re a refreshing escape from Granny Smith mania. The elegant pear is another fall fruit that often is overlooked for the apple.There are just as many different types as the apple.There are close to fifty different varieties with the Anjo,Bosc and Sickle pear being the most popular in the US.One tasty one, and popular right now is the French butter variety. supermarkets feature these.The flesh is sweet ,almost candy like in taste with a thin crunchy skin.These are the best for baking and cooking, however they truly make a refreshing snack or dessert.One of the best to cook with is the Bosc.This golden yellow beauty hold's it's shape while cooking .It also has more of a pear aroma than the other kinds.Sickles are the tiniest, being able to fit on the palm of one's hand.As for recipes, they are more classy than the typical fruit ones.A cake topped with them is the perfect end to a dinner with friends? Sorbet is a different yet fresh way to use the fruit.The sorbet can be used as a palate cleanser too between courses or just as a dessert.Home chefs can also use pears in salads too.Think a chicken ,celery and pear salad for a Sunday brunch, or a crisp Asian styled salad that pops and snaps with French butter pears and snow peas. Other Autumn fruits are the much overlooked quince and pomegranate.Quince is a sort of hard sell because it has to be cooked first.The raw fruit is only good when it's going bad.Quince was actually the source for marmalade ,and the jam's name comes from the Portuguese word for quince.It is also the main ingredient in the Northern Italian treat frutta mustarda, a tarty confection of the fruit's syrup, and mustard, along with preserved peaches ,pears and is also good in jam,as well as some beef and lamb recipes.The last two are huge in the Arab culture,and many ceremonies often feature a meat dish with it.Another choice is serving homemade quince jam with cheese as many Italians do.Pomengrante is another fall fruit that is both healthy and tasty.The fruit is having a moment right now thanks to it being so heart healthy.It also reduces joint pain as well.The juice can add Zing to regular apple cider but is also amazing in champagne.It's festive in guacamole but can also add lift to any salad.Try it with spinach or kale for an interesting spin.Pomegranate juice is an interesting ingredient in a meat sauce for pork, or even better, duck. Forget the apple. Try the other fall stars, pears, quinces and pomegranates.They are elegant and unusual, perfect for a different spin on fall harvests!

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Recipe For Invention

Invention is usually born out of need Some of the greatest kitchen gadgets of the 19th and 20th Centuries have come from need.It still continues in this century with a lot of great ideas.To be honest it's the easiest now.If you have a novel idea for making kitchen prep or storage easier , then let it be known . You'd be surprised as who's interested. Foodie Pantry encourages inventors with new ideas.If you have something you feel needs publicity, contact FP at are always welcome, along with any background info. Also if there are any new foods , treats or drinks,you can also contact us.There's nothing like being on the cutting edge with anything newly created.I've interviewed some interesting inventors like David Tennant who created the very handy and very useful Crackem along with foodie entrepreneurs who cashed in on their and their family's recipes.The blog is always on the look out for the latest inventions, trends ,techniques along with gadgets and methods. There are also other outlets in which to promote brand new ideas.There is Kickstarter which is the most honest.They have a food section where inventors, cooks and bakers can receive funding for their projects.In fact contributors raised close to fifty six million dollars supporting and funding inventors and food innovators.There have been over three thousand successfully funded Kickstarter campaigns.Everyhing from microwave egg scramblers to oyster farms have befitted from other's generosity . It 's also great way to get in on the ground floor of something big.Another site is Quirky.This is just a so so site and more of a popularity contest.On the plus side if your invnetion or foodstuff does do well you can make a lot of money.Also Quirky let's you participate in the manufacturing process of other items, from naming them to deciding on the color and price points.Kitchen inventors should absolutely stay away from Invent Help and Davidson.These two companies,probably linked or somehow related ,are the biggest scam artists ever.They pressure new inventors into buying their package for an initial one thousand dollars.Three months later they meet again with inventors and pressure them into buying the whole package deal for ten grand.Sadly they do not allow any reneging or canceling .Both companies go through a half hearted attempt in drawing brochures for the inventors project , sometimes there is literally a year's wait to hear from them again.Kickstarter is the really the best way to go. Necessity and the wish for an easier kitchen and more interesting pantry are the mothers of invention.If you have created,baked or cooked, let the world know.Also let us at the pantry.We'd be happy to help you on the road to success and stardom!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Not Your Average Italian Cook

Italian cuisine is the most traditional of all cuisines.Or is it?There 's a new kind of chef that's rethinking traditional dishes while still honoring centuries of good recipes.He's creating quite a stir and gaining a massive fan base. Melissa Clark not only got to interview this chef,Massimo ,Bottura but got to sample his nonna's risotto, a milky creation that include the usual arborio rice AND cappuccino . Chef Bottura come from Modena, a well known culinary area where fresh ingredients and good recipes abound.He is the chef and owner there of the three starred Osteria Francesana.Ms.Clark opened up her kitchen to him where he made riso al latte or rice and milk.This is a traditional dish grandmothers male for the or nicotini or grandchildren.However he modernizes it with a covering of bread crumb foam,this last thanks to his nitrous oxide siphon.Even wilder is the tomato berry salad drizzled with aged balsamic vinegar.Ms Clark liked this,her daughter, more of food critic than her mom, didn't. Well not at first.He gave her a puff of breadcrumb foam(Chef Bottura specializes in foam) and she didn't cotton to it.However both mother and daughter loved the rice underneath, after he added some sweetened cappuccino.This is more of a dessert than a dinner.Think an espresso laced rice pudding which would be great after grilled meat or another Bottura recipe bollito misto or boiled meat. Chef Bottura is somewhat of a wild card on the Italian restaurant scene.He takes traditional recipes and zings them into another stratosphere. Ms Clark fell in love with his dishes when she visited his restaurant in Modena.His plates are a mix of traditional Emilia Romagna and an homage to Ferran Adria, the great chef who introduced foamed sauces to the public at his famed El Bulli.It comes as no surprise then to learn that the chef spent a summer working there, learning and absorbing the take on post Modern cooking.Like Chef Adria he combines science with cooking.He is known for Memory Of A Mortadella Sandwich, a rosette of mortadella foam along with Snow Under The Sunan unusualamd highly interesting raw potatoes with porcini gelatin coffee powder and snails.His take on bollito misto was almost considered a sacrilege by fellow chefs because he re imagined it as the Manhattan skyline.The meat is not boiled but cooked sous vide,cooking it in. Gasp plastic bags.He has famous fans too who praise his outré ideas such as the late and always great Lou Reed,along with fellow chefs Mario Battali who dubbed him the Jimi Hendrix of Italian Chefs.For fans or those curious about his recipes, Chef Bottura has a brand new cookbook Never Trust A Skinny Italian Chef. Chef Bottura is rethinking and changing the face of Italian cuisine.It may not be what purists want but it is what modern foodie's want.It is different but still maintains the flavors and ingredients of a traditional Italy.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Tarte Tatin Easy As Pie

Most home bakers have made at least one apple pie by now.This is apple season and the most obvious dish is pie.Unfortunately many find the recipe cloying the process tedious.If that's the case then look to the French.Their recipe tarte that in is a great way to use apples and enjoy a luxurious but relatively easy dessert. Julia Moskin recommended this recipe in her Recipe Lab Column in today's New York Times Dining section.Even though she is an accomplished baker as well as cook, she sought advice from Ron Paprocki, pastry chef at the famed Gotham Bar and Grill.His tarte Tatin is so well liked that it has a cult following.This dessert isn't really so much of a pie but a fluffy , buttery tart,it's origins coming from the Hotel Tatin in the Sologne region of the Loire Valley.It requires both the stove top and the oven, but it's not as complicated as that.Really. The apples are caramelized first then the bottom crust is put over them.The entire tarte is then flipped and baked in an oven.The result is a heavenly mix of buttery layered crust and the fruit.One of the aspects of the pie is it doesn't have cinnamon or brown sugar to detract from the rich earthy sweetness of the apple slices.It just the sugar and butter that brings it all to another level.Unlike American pies that require the tart Granny Smith tarte Tatin requires Braeburn or a mix of the Grannies and Honeycrisps to balance out the first 's tartness.The apples should be peeled and quartered before baking.As for the crust you can make it yourself or just buy the puff pastry. With any French dish, it's all about the hardware and the technique.You should have a heavy skillet for cooking the apples.This makes for a better caramelization and cooking Another must is drying the apples so they're not soggy.This is a have to because it can ruin the tart's texture.Pastry chef Paprocki recommends this,his method being leaving the sliced and peeled apples in bowls.Fans are then set around to dry them out.Home bakers can do this just by putting the slices in bowl covered by paper towels and placing it in the fridge for a couple of days. The result is leathery apples but doing this makes them hold their shapes during the caramelization process.Said process can be daunting however there's no need to freak out over this.Carmelization is actually easy.First take a layer of butter in the pan; this acts as a buffer to the then added white sugar.The apples are then put into a flower petal arrangement, standing up as opposed to just laying down.They are then caramelized,bathed in a mix of their own juices with the butter and sugar,.The pastry is then draped over them, kind of like draping a blanket over oneself.This should be done after five minutes and then popped into a waiting and hot oven.Don't worry if it turns out as a mush,This is one of the best parts of the tart Tatine.It is good on it's own but you can add a creme fraiche to it. Tarte Tatin is a tasty alternative to apple pie. It is a happy marriage of butter ,sugar and apples. This modern French classic is a great way to celebrate the harvest.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Perfect Tea For Coleridge

Today is Samuel Taylor Coleridge's birthday and for many of his fans, including myself , this is a day to celebrate the great poet's birthday.He was born in the lovely Devonshire town of Ottery Saint Mary , where cream teas and other good food abound.This is English country food, of the finest farm to table and sea to table variety. Devon is a coastal county or shire located on the English Channel.It may be the birthplace of Coleridge but its main seaside town, Torquay, became famous thanks to the hilarious TV show "Faulty Towers" over forty years ago.The area boasts true farm to table cuisine.One of the most famous dishes is the pasty.This is a small, handheld pie stuffed with meat, usually beef or sausage.The pastry is buttery and flaky ,a melt in your mouth treat, especially if the filling is juicy and tender.Another tea or lunch time treat is white pudding, a highly spiced pork sausage.Mutton, lamb and beef are abundant here and everyone from visiting foodie's to locals can enjoy a variety of different roasts and stews .Since there are plenty of creameries, there is also plenty of good cheese.A favorite and decadent treat is fried cheese.This is when small wedges of different cheeses are breaded and then deep fried .A dash of tart lignon berry jam.They also love potted cheese, basically leftover cheese mixed with butter an, pounded for malleability and then poured into a pot.Sometimes sherry is added for zing and then it's served with bread or crackers.There is some good cheese here, from the cream cheese like Curworthy and Sharpham, a Devon take on the French Brie.Surprisingly seaweed plays a part in the diet too, thanks to locals gathering it up from the Devon coast. It's not as popular as it once was, however some chefs are cooking with it and appreciate it's nutritional value The county is also famed for it's cream teas.This is a proper English tea but with clotted cream generously dotting scones along with a healthy scoop of homemade jam.Most usually serve the tame and almost boring strawberry jam but some prefer the highly tart and eye opening rhubarb and gooseberry sorts.Devon is also known for their apples and these along with apple cakes abound here.Some recipes have been handed down since Elizabethan times and I'm sure Coleridge enjoyed a few during his boyhood in the Devon countryside?Clotted cream also figures in fudge as well.Creameries featuring fresh made ice cream is sold throughout the area, some creameries even using clotted cream as a base. Samuel Taylor Coleridge grew up with some of the freshest foods for his time.They can still be enjoyed today, thanks to the purity and abundance of meats, fish produce and dairy.Devonshire food is the food of poets, supplying them with sustenance for centuries.

Monday, October 20, 2014

A Healthy Birthday

Can you have your birthday cake and eat it too? Most diet conscious people will say no and insist on a tiny sliver instead of a hearty slice.However even a decadent birthday meal can also be good for you healthy.You can go crazy for your birthday , but it can be backed up with reason and thought. One of the most wanted or desired birthday meals is lobster.It is rich in flavor and the height of decadence,as well as self indulgence,It isn't high in calories, and it is vitamin and mineral packed.It's loaded with magnesium, niacin or Vitamin and potassium.It is high in cholesterol however so if you do have cholesterol issues, rethink it.Yes, you can have it with butter but for a better choice, just ask for a lemon wedge to spritz on it.You can also turn the lobster into a salad, with a simple olive oil and lemon or lime dressing.Serve it with bright and crisp Romaine lettuce along with Campari tomatoes and corn kernels. You could also make a lobster wrap with a tarragon dressing. Roast beef is another birthday wish for.It's a low calorie meat with only fifty four calories a slice.Unfortunately so many people love their roast beef on bread or stuffing ,drenched in gravy.This is the height of tastiness but drenched in fat and cholesterol, not to mention starch.A better alternative is a steak salad ,with a bed of kale, beefsteak tomatoes ,and red peppers.Nothing beats a beef fajita .You can even make this at home for a festive in house party.Cook up onions and peppers and just top with fresh made guacamole and salsa .If you want a tad of creaminess add just a dollop of sour cream.You could also add steak to pasta sauce for a truly delicious meal. As for sweets, yes there is is the birthday cake.The best part is the icing.?Let's face it nothing beats the sweet creaminess of a well made buttercream and that absolute prize, the pink blue or yellow buttercream rose.Each tablespoon has about sixty calries of fat.If you truly want the traditional taste for your big day, then gofer a cupcake.One 'loaded" cupcake is about three hundred calories.The best part is no leftovers.If you do want. Cake then think about an angel food cake.This is only seventy two calories per slice.What is great abut angel food cake is that it pairs up well with everything. One of the best is strawberries or blueberries but you can also try sliced banana with dark chocolate sauce.Also have a big blob of Cool Whip on top too.Fruit pies are another low calorie birthday treat .Add Ginger for zing and if you're baking it yourself,, then go for farm picked ones.A fruit birthday cake is super healthy and super fun.All you need is a watermelon as the base and various other fruits as decorations.Ice cream cakes are also big. However you can make a healthier one using frozen Greek yogurt along with fruit, syrup and CoolWhip as the icing. You can have your birthday cake and meal and eat them too.Just have it on the healthy side.It's a birthday gift to yourself, one that"s good for your heart and taste buds.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Your Fall Staple The Potato

Fall demands heartier eating.This is not to say that you should abandon healthy eating for rich sauces and bigger portions,Ypu can eat wisely thanks tone root vegetable.The potato is a good stick to your ribs addition along with being versatile.There are dozens of heart healthy recipes that fit into anyone's diet. Before you go shopping ,be ware that potato centered dishes demand certain types.What works for fries may not be good for gracing a roast.Surprisingly there are more than one hundred types of spuds being sold in the S. There are seven types such as russet, red, white ,yellow along with the purple/blue fingerling and petite. Russet potatoes are medium to long with an oblong or flattened oval shape.these can be used for baking, frying, mashed or roasted.The red kind are always small with thin red skin and a pure white flesh.Their sweet taste is the perfect foil for any beef or pork roast.The yellow potatoes are their golden counterparts but with a richer, more buttery flavor.These too, can be used to grace roasts can also use them in salads too.White potatoes are similar to the russet.They're good for mashing or frying.Purple and blue potatoes are the most exotic,They have a moist firm flesh but also have a high starch content.Be warned their texture can be floury and unusual for those, especially kids tasting them for the first time.Fingerling potato kinds are similar to these but actually more familiar to the American palate. The taste is nutty and are good for frying and roasting.Another choice is the petite, marble sized but carrying a big flavor.These are the best for potato salad because of their size. One of the easiest potato recipes is the baked.The best bet is still the old fashioned oven way.Microwaved baked potatoes are iffy,Sometimes they just don't cook all the way through which means another trip back to the microwave.The oven is longer but infinitely better.Potatoes should be baked in a 425 degree oven for fifty to sixty minutes.Prep them with a rub of olive oil and sea salt.Prick the skin all over with a fork and set on foil.I like mine with just butter but you can put anything on them, from cheddar and bacon to chili to cooked veggies.Another fall favorite is potato soup.What I like about this is that is is a blank canvas.You can add everything from bacon and corn to create a chowder to leeks to make a chic potage.This is usually a summer soup served chilled however it can also be served hot as an ideal fall meal.Scalloped potatoes are a great side to any Sunday roast dinner.It may sound hard but it's easy to Whip up.Used sliced Russet potatoes and layer in a casserole .A cooked mix of cream and butter is layered on it and then the entire dish is baked.Tail gating parties demand potato salad.Try one with grilled potatoes for a new spin.I prefer my family's recipe.It is a subtle mix of red potatoes and two hard boiled eggs with mixed with celery and chopped onion.The only dressing is just mayo, a cup of it mixed with oil to every pound used. Make this tuber your fall kitchen go to.Potatoes are varied and versatile. they can be turned into yummy, ribsticking recipes that are both tasty and good for you.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Easy Light Meals

 A good home cooked dinner that not only that promote good health but light on calories is a hard find. Many home chefs shy away from recipes that are good for you, simply because they're not packed with flavor. A new cookbook is changing that,  Woman's Day Easy Everyday Lighter Dinners  provides home chefs with recipes not only for dinners and sides but also desserts/ You don.t have to sacrifice taste for eating/ There's a wide variety of different dishes that will appeal to everyone.

The beloved magazine, Woman's Day has created a delightful and all encompassing cookbook with Hearst Publishers. that features all lighter fare.Kate Merker, the magazine's food editor as well as the chief editor, Susan Spencer have3 created the perfect cookbook for those watching their weight as well as their cholesterol and salt intake.What t is great about all the recipes is that they not only work for a weekday dinner but also for a holiday meal.Another plus is that they are easy to read  and easy to make a novice home chef could make the vegetable lasagna for Christmas or New Year's and with good results too. For those wondering if these good for you dishes lack flavor, don't fret. Try the seafood , chorizo  and vegetable stew, redolent with fennel, and tomatoes ,scented with garlic.Even kids will fall for these tasty dishes such as the tortilla crusted fish sticks with a side of crunchy slaw or the. asparagus and potato pizza.

The side recipes are also good and would be great on any holiday table whether it be summer or winter. There is the chic and elegant green beans almondine, ramped up a notch with garlic There's a yummy looking corn on the cob with chili sat all the recipes come with a picture}this is a snap to make, boil the corn make the seasoning and serve.One of my future favorites will be the smashed root vegetables,a blend of parsnips, potatoes rutabegas and carrots made creamy not with milk but with olive oil,Easy Everyday Lighter Dinners has an excellent  dessert section.I love that there are even holiday cookies like the stained glass ones, made with crushed hard candiesThere's  also the mini version of the classic blck and white. Yes there are fruit recipes, the cooking honeydew and mint ices as well as the melon pops.The editors s also include a classic poached pear in red wine , a perfect ending to a dinner with friends.

Creating healthy and delicious meals really is simple , especially if you use Woman's Day Easy Everyday Lighter Dinners. Home chefs have a cornucopia of recipes from soups to desserts  that are not only tasty but also heart healthy. It makes for good eating all around, even including dessert.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

A Wild Spin On Schnitzel

Schnitzel has always been associated with veal.Considering the heaviness of the dish,this light,delicately flavored meat works well with it.After all a stronger tasting meat might clash with the breadcrumbs and the residual taste of the oil.Yet that's being challenged.Many foodie's are trying a pork version that stands up well to the other flavors in the recipe.It makes for a heartier meal, perfect for a fall night. Melissa Clark featured pork schnitzel in her A Good Appetite column in yesterday's New York Times Dining section.Pork is in some ways a better medium to cook than veal.Veal is light. ,and easy to digest.It's a lean meat where as the other is fatty.However pork is also richer tasting and also forgiving. Home chefs can screw up with it and it's not so bad.It i easier to work with and a better meat to cook on those busy week days.Ms , Clark recommends using a boneless loin cutlet, preferably one with a ring of fat around it.Like the veal version it should be pounded with the smooth side of meat mallet.( although you can use a drinking glass and wax paper in a pinch)She dredges the pieces in panko breadcrumbs but you can use regular plain or unflavored ones.Fry up in safflower peanut or vegetable oil until golden and crisp. Ms Clark and I differ in what the sides would be with a pork schnitzel.She recommends homemade pickles ,I would go for the more traditional spaetzles with mushroom gravy.She gives the recipe ,a simple, one for the pickles , wanting something tart and crispy to complement the rich pork taste of the schnitzel.If you don't feel like making these, you can just spritz the cutlets with fresh lime juice.Most use lemon to cut the oily taste and the aftertaste too, however, the other adds a more refreshing zing.I would have a side of plain spaetzles , possibly with a homemade mushroom gravy or spaetzles with red cabbage if I want zest.Ms Clark also recommends serving the meat with a serving of lingenberry jam.This last is also a tart palate cleanser that would go well with the cutlets.Again this is a good idea but I would serve an unsweetened apple sauce to balance the meat's strong earthy taste.She also tosses chopped scallions on the schnitzel too, which would works and is a nice finish. Pork schnitzel is a nice spin on the traditional Austrian one.It is heartier, perfect for the cool fall nights.Have it with pickles or red cabbage and spaetzles for zest.The dish is an easy one and a tasty alternative to the veal version.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Raising Wings To New Heights

Chicken wings were never meant to be gourmet.Their place was usually at sports bars,served with beer and possibly shrooms.Yet some New York chefs are taking them to new heights.These wings are flying high and flying with interesting spins and inspired flavors. Jeff Gordonier wrote about the new breed of chicken in today's New York Times Dining section.Many chefs realize that chicken wings, especially now during football season, are a lucrative dish.Many are reluctant to put them on their menus because they feel it might cheapen the restaurant's reputation.Yet they are popular, no matter how they are served.People love chicken wings they're fun to dip into sauces, they're fun to eat and eve the sticky mess afterwards is entertaining.Many cooks are giving them an international spin too.Chicken wings are delicious on their own but coat, rub, or slather them with spices and juices and they become heavenly..One eatery,Dinosaur Bar-B-Cue has theirs with hoisin sesame and garlic chipotle along with one called the devil's duel - this one so spicy that the eater's lips and gums go numb because it's so fiery.Some kitchens have embraced the Korean cooking style of double frying.It does make the wings extra crispy but thanks to extra marinating , the meat inside is tender and juicy.Home chefs can try this method but also can grill them too.Just marinate them to get them tender and flavored. Wing lovers who want to try combinations should look to these chefs.Mr. Gordonier has included two recipes from Chefs King Phounannong and Hoon Kim.The first has the flavorful Spanish spice combo ,adobo.It also has crushed peppercorns for heat and soy sauce for added flavor.This along with garlic and coconut milk are turned into a marinade where the wings will sit for thirty minutes before cooking..They're then fried in vegetable oil..Hanjan chicken wings are a true Chinese recipe, with a marinade of soy sauce sake and miring along with garlic.These are a bit healthier because they're grilled.there are other combos listed that home chefs can try on their own.Ducks Eatery, another hot Brooklyn hipster hangout offers Vietnamese style with a caramel type coating but made savory with peppers.Wings can go Mexican as they did in Chef Danny Bowen's Mexican Cantina.This is a mole version, dusted with coffee and cocoa.They're then spattered with creme, cotija and anson mills benne seeds.Home chefs can try this with a tad of dried ancho peppers. Wings are enjoyable no matter how you make them.Try them fried or grilled. Spiced or sauces.Experiment with them to create the perfect munch.They're meant to be elevated to gourmet heights. raise those wings high.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

La Yogurt A Treat With Benefits

Many yogurts promise both flavor and benefits.However most fail at that wheather being loaded with too much sugar or not having as many beneficial microbes for intestinal health.One New York City brand La Yogurt delivers both.It. Can be perfect as a dessert or a boon to intestinal health. la Yogurt is a division of Johanna Foods, a New Jersey based company.It may be located in the heart of Jersey farm country,in Flemington but it has a decidedly urban vibe.It is one of the few Us based companies that caters to the growing Latino population.The company is known for the or Sssips,different citrus juices.They excel in trical flavors like pineapple , lime and guava mango.However it's the yogurts that excel, surpassing some of the more mainstream brands in flavor and creaminess.there are different types from creamy to enriched.their flavors go beyond the traditional.Yes, they have vanilla, blueberry and peach but they have also expanded, like their juices in tropical flavors and those familiar in Hispanic households.There is horchata ,a rice and cinnamon mix (think rice pudding with almonds) along with guava and pin a colada. La Yogurt has what I call a dessert yogurt.This is an ultra creamy one generously flecked with dark chocolate chips.Yes, it is good for me, but it is just so darned good.It comes in perfectly paired with chocolate flavors, such as banana coffee and strawberry.The flavors mrsh

Monday, October 13, 2014

A Culinary Marriage Of Old And New

Yesterday was Columbus Day.It was when Christopher Columbus set foot in the New World.Yes, it was the beginning of the end for the indigenous peoples of the Western Hemisphere however it was also the beginning of the Columbian Exchange.Foods were introduced to the denizens of both Europe and the Americas.If any thing this was the greatest benefit of the Age of Explorations.Diets were broadened which meant better nutrition and longer lives. Europeans should thank the New World for bringing them the tomato.It is used in so many dishes, especially in French and Italian.Without it there would be no tomatoes Provencale, tomatoes covered in crunchy bread crumbs and sauteed in a garlicky olive oil.Most Italian cuisine would not be as tasty without those silky sauces that grace every pasta dish from lasagna to spaghetti.Most Italian dishes wouldn't even be, if not for the Columbian Exchange.There would be no golden polenta or heavenly gnocchi because their main ingredients are corn and potatoes, two staples from Latin and North America( although there was always polenta however it was originally made with wheat,and was more broth like).Zucchini, another stole was also brought to Europe where they created all sorts of different dishes.Another protein came into the European diet and that was the many beans, from Lima to pinto to kidney.Healthy fruits such as blueberry and blackberry also became part of desserts.Thanksgiving staples such as turkey and cranberries are also from the New World and have been a staple of British holiday meals for two years now.Also one byproduct of the coca plant , chocolate enhanced European candy making and baking almost one hundred per cent. Without it, both Belgium and Switzerland would not have the lucrative confectionary businesses that have been supporting them for over a century now. Despite all the bad stuff that the Europeans brought to these shores, there are some plants as well as animals that were welcomed in the indigenous diet.Settlers brought chickens,geese, cows,pigs, and goats with them.Diets changed as children were introduced to dairy as well as domestic meats.This meant that tribes didn't have to hunt and could keep animals penned up and used when needed.Seeds were transported through the various groups and now every kind of fruit and vegetables,from apples to yams were brought over and introduced to the natives.Wheat also was introduced, and this meant that bread was made a staple in many countries ( although there was corn pone already baked for centuries in some tribal regions).Whether ,for good or bad, that depends on historians and nutritionists, sugar came to the New World.Colonists brought sugar beets,sugar cane and honey bees.The end product could be used in enhancing baked goods and used to placate children.What didn't change for the newcomers or the natives was the communal gathering of preparing and sharing food.As the cultures came together so did their dishes as seen in Mexican ,Southwestern and some French Canadian dishes. Christopher Columbus could be seen as both a hero and a villain.The one good and lasting aspect of his arrival is the culinary marriage of both the Old and New World. This changed the way the world ate and it is still chaining it fur hundred and twenty years after that.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Crackem An Egg Citing New Invention


Home chefs always dread prepping eggs. There's so much mess and gooey whites to contend with, not to mention that there may be shells lurking in the omelet or cake. That's all about to change thanks to a new invention [see above and this is a first for Foodie Pantry too) called the Crack'em. Dave Tennant , who is more accustomed to computers than the kitchen invented this neat little helper. It a small dish with a raised ridge. Crack the egg over the ridge and it collects whatever drips out . It also collects those pesty shell fragments , leaving any dish shell free. I recently interviewed Dave for  Foodie Pantry.

FP- what is your background?Is Crack' em your first invention?

Dave Tennant: I currently work for the Treasury Department in their IT operations department but worked with two consulting firms before that.I also served in the Marine Corps from 2003 to 2011.I have had many ideas of different ways to do things, but , yes this is my first invention.

FP: What made you want to create it? What was the inspiration behind it?

DT: I was cooking for my pregnant wife back in May of 2013 and broke an egg on the side of the pan.Half of it fell into the pan while the other half landed on the stove.It was a huge mess!When I was cleaning the egg off the side of the pan I noticed its' finish was wearing off from previous egg drippings and messes. I then decided to create something that would make cracking eggs easier, contain a mess and also provide dual functionality as a spoon rest.

FP:Have you noticed that egg prepping has gotten cleaner and less messier with it?

DT:Yes, I have.I haven't cleaned an egg mess since I made the Crack' em. The only messes I encountered were during research and development, but since I had the prototype made,it's been a wonderful mess free experience!

FP;Where can Foodie Pantry readers buy Crack'em? How much does it cost?

DT: Right now I'm running a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to help me pay for manufacturing.Right now they can go to and click on the "Click Here To Pledge" button to buy it now.After the Kickstarter campaign they will be able to buy them from the website.

FP:The Crack'em is a great help in the kitchen!Do you have any other kitchen gadgets on the drawing board?

DT:I don't have anything on board right now because I'm trying to get the Crack'em off the ground, but I'm sure I'll have other ideas in the future.

FP:I have to ask this - what is your favorite egg dish to make? To eat?

DT: I  actually love omelets! Typically I'll put as many vegetables and meat as I can in my omelets. In my mind the more the merrier!

Dave , this recipe for  Chock Fulla Omelet is for you!

1-2 eggs. well beaten
1/2 cup any meat (I like ham but you can put any kind from cooked ground beef to sausage to bacon}
1/2 cup mix of any veggies (I like onions and green peppers but you can choose your own}
1 tablespoon MELTED butter

Mix ingredients and pour into a microwave egg muffin cooker. Cook for two minutes. Serve on English muffin or toast. You can also add any kind of cheese too to the recipe.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Bridge Club Holiday Classics

The best holiday memories always come from the kitchen. We may not remember the fancy dresses or jammies we received or whose college team were the state's football stars, but we remember the roasts and grvies, sides and of course the desserts. Nothing beats a homecooked holiday meal or party/ Luckily there's a cookbout just out to help create those memories.

Best of Bridge Holiday Classics(Robert Rose Press) is a great compilation of breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes along with recipes for party foods and desserts. The authors are eight ladies who not only wrote and tried these recipes but  also played endless and ruthless games of bridge together. Bridge parties always have some kind of food to snack on and these Calgary  ladies brought some interesting ones to the bridge table. It has been almost forty years since the first cookbooks were published . They are extremely popular and have been passed down now for almost three generations.The recipes reflect the British  and French influence  with English spiced beef and beef bourguignon. SOme are similar to American Midwestern dishes like cheesy scalloped potatoes and pork roast.There's  also a whole section  on leftover recipes, a great help especially during the days after Thanksgiving and Christmas.Another good section is the one for food gifts. There are great recipes for Crazy Crunch, a homemade version of Fiddle Faddle along with the very interesting green tomato mincemeat.

Best of Bridge Holiday Classics is also the perfect book for party throwers. Even the dishes would make any Saturday night cocktail party or Sunday football gathering.Try the Bridge ladies recipe for crepes that can have either chicken or crab filling. These are perfect for an evening with the girls, followed with a lemon soufflé recipe ,also from the book. Any of the recipes would be perfect at a tree trimming party/There are recipes for spicy chili con carne and a tasty Sumptuous Spinach and Artichoke dip.Planning on an elegant black tie New Year's Eve party? Then make a variety of pates offered. There's a meatless one made with  sharp Stilton cheese blended with brandy and a chicken liver one spiked with mace and dry sherry. The holiday breakfast recipes are great when hosting the relatives or just waking up on a snowy day.There's Scotty 's Nest Eggs, a take on Eggs Benedict along with that recipe  and sausage pie, loaded with sausage and spices.Their chewy  French toast is zested up with orange liqueur and pure cream., a perfect dish to wake up to on a cold, frosty morning.
If you love holiday cooking , Best of Bridge Holiday Classics is for you. There are recipes for almost eveyr meal, from brunch to dinner , from parties to dinners..They will create culinary memories everyone will remember for years to come.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

An Easy Cheesy Sandwich

One of the best sandwiches is a grilled cheese.Nothing beats warm, gooey cheddar or Swiss on white , ray or whole wheat bread.Yet suppose you can amp it up a notch?How can you do that ?By adding Gallic flair. David Tanis decided to give American classic a French twist in his column City Kitchen in yesterday's New York Time Dining section.Mention a French grilled cheese to most people and they'll immediately think of a croque Monsieur.This is true but there's a slight difference between the two.Croques usually have ham underneath the cheese and are most often fried in butter.A tar tine is more of a pizza.Take a hunky slice of a rustic bread like ciambatta or a rounded Fremch loaf.Top it with savory vegetables, then a good French cheese and brown under a broiler until the cheese bubbles and serve.Line pizza it too can be served with a nice salad along with a good glass of wine.Another good thing about the tar tine is that it can be heated or cooked without any butter or oil.Both Croques Monsiuers and their counterparts the chicken filled Croque Madame have to be fried in a well buttered frying pan. Unlike the croque, a tar tine recipe can be varied to suit the eater"s tastes.Mr Tanis" recipe has red and yellow peppers along with sun dried tomato and olives.His topping options are fresh goat cheese or Camenbert.He also recommends walnuts and olives topped with a sharp Roquefort.There's also the suggestion of coppacola with Taleggio.Of course you could make it more like a healthier croque (sans buttery taste).Use any kind of sliced Ham and top with Gruyere if you want a more Gallic sandwich or lean towards the English with a slice of cheddar.If you make this last, you can vary it with some apple slices between the ham and cheese.You can also try pears and apples broiled under a layer of creamy St Paulin cheese.You can also create a pissaladerie with caramelized onions mixed with anchovies sprinkled with the pepper laced Crottin Poivre a Parmesan like hard cheese.Be creative.There are an infinite variety of fillings and topping you can experiment with whe you make your tar tine. Nothing beats a hot gooey grilled cheese.Ratchet it up a notch by creating a tasty bistro style meal.Combine your favorite cheese with your favorite toppings to create a new kind of cheese sandwich.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Bowls Of Fun

A bowl of anything has the promise fun and deliciousness.Now imagine that bowl with a variety of flavors and textures.The assortments of everything from crunchy to silky and sweet to salty isva guaranteed ride for the palate.The best part? You can whip it up in your kitchen to suitevyour tastes. This treat, also known as a grain bowl was the subject of Melissa Clark's A Good Appetite column in today's New York Times Dining section.Grain bowls were usually found in some Chinese ,Japanese and vegan restaurants.They are one of the easiest dishes to prepare,so much so that a novice home chef can create masterpieces.The base is any kind of grain followed by a protein of some kinda layer of veggies is then added on, topped by any kind of condiment and a crunchy finish(imagine a savory ice cream sundae and you have this principle) .What you put into it depends on you.If you are big on beans then try two or three kinds as the protein layer.Veggie lovers can have a field day layering on sauteed peppers and onions while rice lovers can experiment with the different grains.The initial layer doesn't have to be just rice ,Ms Clark, advises, it can also be quinoa, grits or barley.However if you're using a strong flavored protein or vegetable, stick with the milder grains such as white rice, grits or barley.The topping should have a nice texture and snappy crunch although you could go with cracking an egg over the bowl and letting the ingredients' heat cook it up. This easy meal can unleash the creative side in any home chef.Ms .Clark suggests a green bowl of chard, collards, mustard and kale against nubby grains like barley .The hipster hangout in Bedford Stuyvesant Scratchbread serves a paper cup bowl blending bacon and kale over grits with a soft boiled egg acting like the sauce?Sauces should match the mood of the ingredients.Asian inspired ones should have a sauce made from soy, Ginger sesame oil and rice vinegar.with a squeeze of lime.Anything Mediterranean would be highlighted with a pesto sauce you want fire then toss in some Tabasco.For something a bit calmer, then just add a simple vinaigrette.Once the bowl is assembled top it off with a colorful and crunchy layer.This could be something as complex as kimchi or as simple as sliced raw carrots.You can also put seeds, nuts or toasted seaweed on top as well. Another great aspect of the grain bowl Is that you can use leftovers .There's really no set pattern? If you want to finish off last night"s steak bits or green beans , then you can.Leftover rice from your takeout dinner can serve as the base.Grain bowls allow you to have fun as you tailor it to your tastes. If you want fun and quick, then a grain bowl is for you. you can experiment all you want with creating a tasty .one.The result is always good eating

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Road Trip Goodies

This is the time of year people take road trips.It's the perfect time to see the leaves or even have a picnic on the beach.Unfortunately the cooler temps not only generate wanderlust but also a healthy appetite.Pack sone hearty order to avoid trips to fast food joints and questionable diners. Sandwiches are always a good start, especially if you're planning on an all day trip.One of the best and most satisfying to create is a mini hero.Buy mini baguettes and then fill them with a variety of meats and fillings.Try ham and cheddar or roast beef and a tangy Worcester sauce.You can also make an Italian hero with caracole, salame and prosciutto along with a variety of different cheeses. if you do stop at a farm, then pick up bottle of cider.This is a nice accompaniment to the sandwiches.Another good cider go with is sharp cheddar with slices of whole wheat bread. Some big farms such as Delicious Orchards of Colts Neck ,New jErsey ,sell varieties of cheese along with breads that can make an on the road picnic possible..Some farms also have delis that can make sandwiches too, if you want something spur of the moment. Sometimes you just want nibbles when you're driving.I find that the best bring alongside are the dry stuff.Flavored crackers are always a good choice as are pretzels and plain cookies.These keep hunger at bay and are perfect for a quick stop.They're great for passengers and the kids won't create a mess with them during your break from driving.Popcorn is another fun snack,Feed the puffs to the gulls or whatever birds you chance upon.Fruit is another nice snack on a road trip.Black grapes are in season right now. And they"re refreshing to bring on a road trip.Keep them in a cooler because they're at their tastiest when chilled. Apples and pears also make excellent bring alongs.You can pick them yourself and munch on a few on the ride back home. Fall makes us want to visit farms and forests.Pile up the car with tasty snacks and the kids and explore.See the foliage, breathe in the fresh air and enjoy a sandwich or some fruit al fresco.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Omelet Fun

One of the easiest meals to make for breakfast, lunch or dinner is the simple omelet.This French classic is a quick yet elegant way to enjoy eggs alone or with a host of ingredients.It could be full of meat, cheese veggies or all three.This is one of the most fun and most versatile dishes to make. A n omelet is really basic.At it's simplest it's just eggs, milk,and water , well blended with butter and then cooked in an omelet pan or just simply a frying pan.One side is flipped over the other, creating a d Runny middle.If you cook it on both sides, then it turns into a frttata.It should always be fried in butter, because of the taste but you can also use margarine or cooking spray.The pan is ready when the butter stops foaming.I'm a huge butter fan so I tend to use more than needed.(the drippings are good for frying up any toast or can be drizzled on accompanying toast or English muffins.For those who want an exact amount try a heaping tablespoon of butter.Some home chefs separate the whites and yolk.Both are whisked separately and the whites are added second , creating a puffy, souffle like omelet.At this point you can add the extra ingredients.Keep in mind that omelets cook up quickly so the add Ins should already be prepared. Make sure the ham is diced while the bacon and sausages are already cooked and drained.I like adding my veggies fresh although some experts will say sauté them first.I would rather have that burst of freshness so my omelets have freshly cut veggies like onions , peppers and tomatoes. Many just think that omelets should just have cheese in them.We see that ideology is challenged thanks to Marican diners that offer up to ten to twenty variations, filled with everything from crab to even strawberries. One of the best is the Western.This traditional diner and luncheonette special.It cameos from the cowboys who liked to have hearty breakfasts.These are great,, a flavorful mix of ham, peppers and onions.You can create this however you want.Ham lovers like to put a good cup of chopped ham.Veggie lovers usually toss in more onions and peppers.Some love the diner classic, the meat lover 's omelet.This has a more meat to egg ratio.Every bite has the trinity of breakfast meats: sausage, bacon and ham in it.It's served smother in what else - bacon.Of course there are healthier omelets.Nothing beats a tomato laced one, especially when it's cooked with fresh tomatoes.It takes on the flavor of that Piedmontese classic tomatoes and eggs.Of course there is the traditional cheese omelet.For just fancy try one filled with Brie and herbs such as tarragon, chervil and chives. Sharp Vermont or English cheddar is another good cheese that brings the egg dish to another level. one of the best is an Italian frittata, liberally laced with grated Parmesan. Omelets are an easy meal.It's a quick but filling breakfast, a satisfying lunch and an easy solution to dinner.Crack open an egg , mix it with your favorite ingredients and fry up in butter.They're classically simple and yummy.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Truvia Brown Sugar Tastes So Good.

Fall is the time for baking tasty treats.Unfortunately those are laced with sugar and calories galore.The problem is if you make them without sugar or even a sugar substitute, you sacrifice flavor.The sweetener company Truvia has now come up with a brand new brown sugar blend.Home bakers can make the same sweets as they did before.This time they're not threatening to anyone's diet. The company is known for its use of the stevia plant and turning it into a healthier form of sweetener.It contains the plant and erythritol, a form of sugar alcohol that causes little or no side effects.It can be used in everything from sweetening tea to creating baked goods and desserts. Now with the introduction of the brown sugar blend more home chefs can try it out while providing their families with healthier dishes .This is a great sugar substitute.It provides as much as seventy five per cent less calories than the real deal..It has the taste and gives the baked products the same crumbly texture as the one hundred per cent kind.Another good point about it is that you only have to use half of the sugar needed.One half cup of the Truvia blend equals one cup of brown sugar.Truvia also has some good recipes with the brown sugar blend. Try it when making sweet acorn squash recipe that has a hollowed out squash filled with a mix of the blend and butter.Of course you can make some yummy baked treats like blondies, chews and shortbreads.It would also male a great glaze for baked ham whether on it's own or mixed with mustard. If you have any of your own recipes that involve both white and brown sugar, send them with your two minute long how to video to Truvia's Baking Star contest.It's open until Tuesday October 7th.You can then vote for yourself or others" recipes between October 15 and October 29th.Shortly after that the winners will be notified that they have whom an all expense paid trip to New York City.The final prize is the Truvia Baking Star Contest title after showing the judges, You Tube stars tasting and rating. their winning recipes.With Truvia you can go wild.The brown sugar let's home bakers try some traditional autumn recipes such has the brown sugar cake with brown sugar and butter sauce or a brown sugar Bundt cake. The regular Truvia is great for everything from simple loaf cakes to buttercream frostings.As with any baking contest be creative.Originality always stands out and wins, so keep that in mind . Truvia brown sugar has come put vat just the perfect time.Create yummy baked treats or savory dishes with a kick.If you think you've got the right one ,then enter it in the company's baking contest.You may be a winner already,

Friday, October 3, 2014

It's Fall Veggie Time!

One of the best aspects of the turn of seasons is the turn of vegetables.By this month we have been over saturated in tomatoes and zucchini.We want fall veggies, rich with complex tastes.They are versatile in variety of different dishes,from soups to casseroles. One of the most interesting harvests is the cauliflower.Most people associate it was just that crudite you dip in ranch dressing or overcooked with a covering of gummy cheese.Think again .Cauliflower is a great veggie with so many prospects.David Tanis of The New York Times Dining section explored it in his A City Kitchen column.He makes it with rigatoni and sears it in a hot skillet This browns, caramelizes and mellows the taste, bringing it to another level.Mr Tanis cooks it with cumin and mustard seeds but you can also try just sea salt and fresh ground pepper.My favorite is breaded cauliflower, fried to a crisp and browned to a nice nutty color. .As calorically lethal as it is, it is also the tastiest , each piece having a nice ,satisfying crunch.Cauliflower is also good in soup.An easy recipe ,starting cooking down the veggie,then mashing them into a chunky paste.Finish with a simple roué and broth combined.It's a nice creamy potage that 's great on a cold autumn night.Squash is another fall treat.You can make it into a squash or a creamy mash.The deep yellow is also good cut into pieces and grilled. serve with French style butter and a good sprinkling of sea salt. You can also cook butternut squash the same way too. Brussels sprouts also come out when the leaves turn. These are an incredibly fun medium.One of the best recipes are Brussels sprouts chips.Wash and peel the leaves off them, then place on an oiled cookie sheet.Drizzle with more oil and sprinkled with seasalt.A more traditional recipe calls for boiling them for a few minutes.Then put in a shallow baking dish and top with pats of butter and Parmensan cheese.Broil for a minute or two until the cheese turns golden.The sprouts are also good when just simply roasted.These too can be spiked with red pepper flakes or fresh ground pepper.Only foodie's and chefs know about another autumn bloomer, Swiss chard.It's a popular veggie in Piedmontese cooking and easy to cook.Take the white stem part ,cut into two-inch pieces and boiloncecooked then put into a pan with butter.Add a mix of two beaten eggs , a quarter of a cup of vinegar mixed with water.Pour over the chard and let it cook up.Swiss chard leaves are exactly like spinach, including in taste and you can cook the leaves. Like the other, serve with butter for an alternative to the other green stuff. Now is the time to say goodbye to summer vegetables.Embrace the fall harvest with delicious veggies and dishes made from them.They are a welcome change in a welcome season.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Little Vegans, Big Ideas

Getting kids to eat is always a tricky feat.Some days they"ll scarf up anything from a baloney sandwich to a cold Tater Tot.Some little ankle biters can be picky.For parents the worst is when the or seven or eight year old turns- gasp- vegan.What does one do ? Go with the meatless flow, of course. This was an interesting article in yesterday's New York Times Dining section.New Dining section contributor Paul explored this as she dealt with her own young vegan's demands and questions.Surprisingly enough a growing percentage of kids between the ages of eight and eighteen are going not only meatless but dairy and egg free as well according to a 2004 poll.A decade later it still is the same thanks to the refining of soy and quorn product as well as the vast variety of different products.The writer herself gave up red meat at the age of fourteen ,due to squeamishness.She happened upon the meat locker in the Turkish restaurant where she worked.Her daughter, like others, may have happened upon those anti meat and fur pamphlets given out at street fairs and grocery markets.She also has eschewed sugar and non organic fruits.It should elicit a good response from adults although some may find her just obnoxious.However , thanks to all the diseases out there today , a healthy,pure diet is probably the best for any school age child. Eating nutrient packed veggies and fruits, along with legumes, will protect them against minor colds and sore throats as well as giving them the armor, so to speak, to deal with the more serious viruses floating around out here. The meatless transition is a relatively easy one.Vegan copies of different meats are everywhere.There are so many different varieties of veggie burgers.Kids can choose from the black bean type to the Italian Parmesan style.There are also chicken nuggets that could stand in for the real deal along with hotdogs that can pass for Nathan's.If the mini non meat eaters have their own recipes, then use them.Ms .Paul delighted in one her daughter"s ,a Rosemary infused white bean dip.She also has relied on her Bean By Bean cookbook ,that the younger Paul found and dusted off.There are several good vegan cook books out there.Dr.Mayim Bialik. known for playing Amy Farrah Fowler on "The Big Bang Theory came out with a comprehensive no meat, no dairy and no eggs cookbooks.Even the meat loving kids will fight over her broccoli chips or creamy enchilada casserole.Dr.Bialik's recipes are healthy but also great fun.They not only would be fine for dinner but excellent at any birthday party.Parents should keep in mind that the transition ,usually goes well forcsome kids, but not all.Don't force the others of your brood to go cold turkey. Ease them into the lifestyle, using tasty and fun recipes but don't make a big deal of it.Usually when they see an older sibling eat something different, they will want to try it.Also don't turn your kitchen into a restaurant where one meal could have three different main dishes.If they don't like the dinner's star course, let them eat the sides. Veganism is a great lifestyle to adapt no matter what your age is.If your child wants to embark on this lifestyle encourage him or her.It's a step in the right direction.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Popcorn Renaissance

Popcorn is one of the best (and actually) the most authentic of all American foods.However it's been in a slump in the last few decades.That's all about to change.Popcorn, like many other foods, is going artesanal.It will be getting back to it's roots as a flavorful, ,fluffier snack. Kim Severson wrote about this great American classic in today's New York Times Dining section.Popcorn has faced a slump in recent years, partly due to Orville Redenbacher over breeding it to suit his company's needs.The result was a bland flavored, full bodied popped kernel .The original corn developed by the indigenous people of what is now modern Indiana bred a kernel that was small but had an intense taste.Luckily an Iowam farm family is behind this revival.Gene and Lynn Mealhow are producing smaller ears of corn, no bigger than a child ,s hand is producing small flavorful puffs with a big toasty flavor.This is the way popcorn should be.Popcorn was poised to be transformed back into the artesanal.Once defunct breeds such as Dakota Black, ,Tom Thumb and Lady Finger are being popped not in the usual vegetable oil but in coconut or olive and flavored with just a kiss of salt and butter.The taste is not akin to the usual dull cardboard says another grower Glenn Roberts( no relation)who also grows another traditional brand, Appalachian heirloom sweet flint.The flavor has a floral note and this appeals to both home and professional chefs The nutritional value on these traditional corns is actually much higher .Their hulls are also smaller and won"t get stuck between teeth either. This renewed breed is a blank canvas for home chefs.The best oils for popping are again olive or cocunut. Also popping it should not be a minute or two in the microwave.Go old school recommends the Popcorm Board spokesperson, Wendy Boersema Rappel.Use a pot.The ratios are simple.A layer of oil is first then the second layer should be evenly spread kernels.From there it's just popping.Ms .Severson also recommends using a heavy pan and her own measurements:three tablespoons of fat to half a cup of kernels.Now here's the part that trips up even popcorn lovers.As soon as the first few kernels explode ,take the pan right off the burner and let them pop sans the flame.The pan is hot enough to heat up the late bloomers.So many people keep the pot or pan over the burner which leaves a good amount of scorched snack.If you are using artesenal corn. Remember that there will be a good amount that won't be popped.You can save this for feeding the birds or try to re pop them.You can use butter as flavoring or try the Indian gar am masala for fire or even herbs like Rosemary and oregano(if you want this then sprinkle the herbs on the unpopped kernels before cooking)for an earthy flavor.Soy and Ginger can also be used too for a tinge of exoticism and heat. Popcorn is not not only healthy but fun too.Made right with the right corn and it's amazing, a meld of flavors and textures. Go old school with artesanel kernels over a flame for a tasty snack.