Wednesday, July 31, 2019

A Cool Rice Salad For Hot Days

It is hard to come up with dinner ideas when the temps reach the 90's and 100's. What is easy to cook and easy to eat? The answer came in today's New York Times Food section. David Tanis' rice salad! Of course .It's a snap to make and a delicious way to beat the heat.

Mr. Tanis' recipe calls for arborio rice mixed with a tahini based dressing. His is crunchy and herby, thanks to the inclusion of currents, pistachios and almonds mixed with mint and chives. I veered off.
First the rice. Arborio does take a longer time to cook. Instant rice is easier. I used Stop & Shop's brand.
I cooked  three cups of it because anything with rice goes quick in my house.
Then I added the veggies,grape tomatoes and one orange pepper.
They were diced into bite size pieces.
I bought already cut celery and broccoli from Stop & Shop's salad bar. I included black
olives into the mix for a Mediterranean vibe.

As for the dressing olive oil and I went for a red wine vinegar instead of my usual apple cider one. Again it gives it a nice dinner in Capri feel.
A sprinkle of sea salt and a quick grind of pepper, mix and you have a salad that takes you through steamy days and nights. As Mr. Tanis suggests you can toss in some chopped hard boiled eggs.Add tuna for a Roman flavor. I'd suggest putting in some chopped roasted chicken to make it more filling.

Thank you David Tanis of A City Kitchen for inspiring
me to create my own rice salad recipe. This is another summer go to recipe that I'll be using in the dog days ahead. It's easy to make and so cool to eat.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Colonel Popper Old Fashioned Goodness

There's nothing like old fashioned popcorn. It definitely tastes better than the boxed, seasoned kind and its' not soaked in preservatives. However there is one problem. You have to stand by the stove and constantly shake the pan or pot to prevent burning. There's a solution - Colonel Popper. This is a silicone popper that gives you microwave popcorn.

I bought this for my brother - the absolute popcorn fanatic - for his birthday. I thought it would be a fun - much more healthier way to enjoy his favorite snack.
It folds within itself and pops out when you want to use it.
Neat huh? It has a cute lid with popcorn embossed on it.
To make the popcorn we bought the Stop & Shop kernels and Bertoli olive oil.
It was three tablespoons of oil and half a cup of the corn.
Three minutes later we had this.

It produced light fluffy and delicious popcorn. If you're going to pop corn, then use olive oil. It adds a sweetness to the flavor along with creating a deeper corn flavor. I sprinkled Celtic gray salt over it and this is by far this best tasting popcorn ever. I will never go back to those packets of microwave stuff. I may add some rosemary or Parmesan cheese next for something different. 

Get the Colonel Popper if you want good , old fashioned popcorn in a new fashioned microwave, then buy this container. You'll enjoy an all natural snack that beyond delicious and super healthy.

Colonel Popper can be bought at Amazon for $14.00

Monday, July 29, 2019

The Most Decadent S'More

This is s'mores season - although every every season can be considered s'mores season. It's just a gooey toasted marshmallow and milk chocolate on a graham cracker. Imagine if you could improve them? I did and here's the result.

It starts off with graham crackers' but they're Nabisco's chocolate ones.The marshmallows are the Stop & Shop brand. The chocolate has been upgraded from milk chocolate to Lindt's 60 % Dark. This definitely elevated it,giving it a more sophisticated vibe.
The only problem was toasting the marshmallow which I did on the stove burner.
I like the crunchy burnt crust. I have tried evenly toasting it but it just doesn't work on a burner.

It's then plopped on the graham cracker. Layer on the chocolate and second graham cracker.
Bite and enjoy!To me, the combined flavors remind me of a Pinwheel cookie.It is a perfect mix of dark chocolate and sweet marshmallow. You could try a layer of salty caramel for a twist or use shortbread as the base. Get creative.

This is the most decadent s'more you'll ever eat. Try it and see. It really is the best.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

A Movable Feast

One of the most fun aspects of having or renting a summer house is having people over. It's nice to celebrate bonds with a refreshing dip or hike followed by a meal. It's enjoying locavore dining by  the sea or the mountains. What better way to honor the season.

If you own your summer home, then it's easy to transport some of your kitchen gear to it.Think about packing the blender and food processor along with some of your best knives. Your summer house probably already has pots and pans. Another idea is replicating everything for the summer house. Kohl's , Target and Wal-mart are having sales right now. Get smaller and cheaper versions of what you already have.  Also use them for multi-purposes .Remember that a blender can be used for everything from blending soup and making pesto to crushing ice for drinks and slushies. A griddle can be good for making breakfast pancakes and bacon but also use it for burger and dogs during rainy days inside.If you're renting, then think compact. Bring or buy an immersion blender. This is easy to pack and can be used for making everything from smoothies to dips like hummus and guacamole. A small gas griddle is a good investment. You can cook anything on it and also bring it to the beach. Rented beach houses may not have pots and pans. Try to just bring a large frying or saute pan. This can be used for any meal, from omelets at breakfast to even grilled cheese for lunch and steaks for dinner.

Being in a new town, even though you've been going to it for years , can be daunting when shopping. Get familiar with the times and days of the local farmers' market. These are the best places to go for locavore eating. Take advantage of the stands that sell tomatoes and corn, because these are the most versatile to use. Tomatoes can be stuffed or sliced, used in sauces. Corn  is not only good grilled and slathered with butter, it's also good in chowders and salads. Farmer's markets also sell homemade jams and jellies along with artesanal baked goods and sometimes fresh butter. The cakes and cookies at these may not be overly fancy but they're a nice way to end a dinner party Beach houses are often located in areas where freshly caught seafood is sold. Visit these if you're planning a clambake or entertaining guests hungry for lobster. Sometimes these markets sell already prepared dishes like shrimp cocktail or lobster salad.Buy these for your party if you want no fuss and no muss. The local grocery stores also can create party platters . Another easy idea is just serving a variety of hors d'ouevres and local wines. Many vacation spots have wineries within driving distance. Visit these for locally sourced wines and champagnes.

It's easy to throw together a getaway get together. Just remember to pack the gear you need and take advantage of local shopping. These together can make for easy , breezy parties after a day of sun and sand.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Summer Stock

Preparing the summer can be easy if you make everything ahead. It saves you from cooking during a heat wave which can be brutal. It's just pop into the microwave or toaster oven, serve and eat. Just that simple as a summer day should be.

One of the easiest recipes is hummus. You can make a lot of this tasty Middle Eastern dip and then use it a variety of ways. It's taking two cans of chickpeas (I use only one can and sub in cannellini beans for the other - it makes for a lighter taste)  and a heaping tablespoon of tahini paste.Olive oil and lemon juice are added for smoothness and tang. Then it's a quick blend. Double the amount and freeze it. It can last up to six to eight months and can be thawed out in the microwave. Have pita on hand to make crunchy pita chips or stuffed sandwiches with hummus, tomatoes and spinach. It also makes for a great dip for parties and movie nights too.Another stock up is salad. Yes salad. Many think that chopped greens only have a shelf life of two days tops. No! Use the paper towel method and your greens can last a full seven days. It's just first chopping the lettuce then rinsing it. Run it through a salad spinner to get the leaves completely dry. Drape a couple of paper towels over the bowel so absolutely no moisture gets it and tightly cover the entire bowel with Saran wrap. Take it when you need it.Add anything, from roast chicken from the store to a variety of chopped and sliced veggies.

Tomato sauce is not one of those recipes you make when the temps hit 100 or the high 90's. Let's face it , who wants to stand by a hot stove , stirring sauce. Yet you can have delicious homemade sauce and even chili if you just use your crockpot or Instapot. Again make double the amount and use it when you want. The same goes for spaghetti.It can last for a week in the fridge or up to eight months in the freezer. I discovered this when  I made too much pasta. It was easy to store - just put it in containers. Since I had no desire of even taking out the crockpot, I just bought already made sauce from Stop and Shop's Nature's Promise line and mixed the two. It was then seven minutes in the microwave and to be honest it tasted as good as any fresh made pasta. Add a salad and sliced Italian bread  and you have a filling meal, despite the heat.I plan on doing this more often , seeing how easy it is. The same applies to cooked rice. Make a lot of it and you can use it for hot dishes like chili or ratatouille (which also can be premade and stored) or a tasty rice salad loaded with peas, onions and peppers.

Stock up on creating basics for dishes. It saves you time in the kitchen during these hot, sweltering days. It's an easy way to cook and an easy way to eat.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Spain In New York

The Iberian Peninsula has so many delicious and flavorful dishes. Now New Yorkers can have the best of Spain thanks to culinary greats Jose Andres and Ferran Adria. These two famed chefs along with Chef Adria's brother, Albert have brought the best of their country to underneath the famed High Line walkway and Manhattan's newest mall. Their mercado or market is worth a trip to the city on a hot summer's day.

Pete Well,s restaurant critic for the New York Times visited the market and highlighted the best dishes for yesterday's NYT 's Food section. This is a drool worthy pictorial that features a vast array of savory and sweet dishes.The place itself , called Mercado Little Spain, is situated underneath Hudson Yards, a melange of mall, hotel (home of the famed Equinox Hotel),  food court and residences.  You can easily see most of the above however it's the mercado that is the most interesting. According to Mr.  Wells, stick to the kiosks. The restaurants , in his words "are poky and a bit green". There are Lena - which offers grilled suckling pig(!) and lamb and Mar - a seafood restaurant featuring all sorts of seafood. There is also The Spanish Diner which is a Spanish take on American diner cuisine.It offers classics such as pan con tomate and French toast. Best to stick to the many kiosks that offer everything from savory to sweet, decadent to awesome.

There are pictures of the best dishes and all can make you take a trip to the mercado. There is the classic gazpacho which would drive me over there. It's blended with bread crumbs which undoubtedly gives it another layer of flavor and texture.Another must try is pan con tomate made with pan cristal or glass bread. Its' crumb is so delicate that it breaks like glass yet toughens up when olive oil is poured in it. Another worthy bite is chistorria con patatas fritas, a potato chip like fritter stuffed with a small sausage. There are the original empanadas, not those crescent shaped pasties but squares of flaky crust filled with tuna or stewed pork.  Of course the sweets rule too. There is the classic churro, crispy and dense with a rich bittersweet chocolate dipping sauce. Another must taste is Albert Adria's cardenal,  meringue domes gracing a sponge cake.It comes with a small creamer of dark molten chocolate for more decadence. For a real naughty treat try the pina borracha or drunk pineapple, shot through with dark rum and spiked with chopped mint and lime zest.A more sedate yet heavenly alternative is the tarta de queso, a cheesecake with a blackened crust and fluffy , light interior.

New York in the summer can be hellish. Get a bit of heaven and visit the Mercado Little Spain. It is worth visiting for the variety of delicious foods of Spain.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Changing Lancaster PA

Lancaster , Pennsylvania has always been the American home of the Amish and the Mennonites. For almost three centuries they have lived amongst themselves, only sharing their quaint recipes and dishes with the outside world. Yet there are other waves of refugees, some religious as their ancestors were, are coming to the area. The quiet world is changing - especially their food.

Priya Krishna ,a regular contributor and cookbook writer, wrote this informative piece for today's New York Times Food section.It starts with the Lancaster Central Market which houses an array of different food stalls which it has done since 1889. For decades the Amish sold their delicious fare of ,fruit, meats baked goods and produce.Now the aromas of North African and Middle Eastern foods fill the air while salsa is being sold along side chow chow and shoofly pie. The transformation reportedly fueled a small boom of upscale bars, breweries, restaurants and even art galleries. The New York Post declared the city "the new Brooklyn". Yet what's really behind the change is the large influx of immigrants and refugees who run many of the area's restaurants and food businesses. Lancaster has always been the haven for the persecuted and displaced. It became home to the Pennsylvania Dutch where they settled in 1709, after declaring their loyalty to the Anabaptist Movement in Germany and Moravia. The town became a stop on the Underground Railroad as residents sheltered runaway slaves in their homes. The 1930's saw Puerto Ricans arriving to work in the fields as did the Cubans in the 1980's.

Now there are a variety of different eateries that locals and visitors can enjoy. Even Malala Yousafzai. the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize winner, went to Saife's Middle Eastern Food. There is a framed photo of her and the owner Al Saife at his stand in Lancaster Market. The literal buffet of food is dazzling. The Indian and Nepali restaurant, Namaste, offers aloo bodi tama, a spicy black eyed pea soup loaded with potatoes along with momos, dumplings full of pork and scallions. The Lancaster Market has Moroccan and Indian food with bastilla pies and tangines, rife with lamb and spices. Locals can try Uruguayan foods which take from European cuisine. The town itself has a huge umber of  Thai and Vietnamese restaurants. Some are combined and offer both pho and ramen. Upohar ,a popular, eatery capitalizes on both the vegan and global food trend. Their restaurant employs immigrants and refugees while providing the community with dishes from Africa and the Caribbean, Even their drinks menu is international. Diners can sip Iranian lemonade,Masala chai and Yerba mate, an Argentinian herbal tea.

This summer visit Lancaster PA. There is Old World traditional married with the New Global Order. It's a fascinating mix of old and new, with centuries old traditions being entwined with each other.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

An Oasis Of Cool

Hot weather and heat waves are good for bringing families and neighborhoods together. Like blizzards the extreme weather proves to be too much, especially for the elderly. It's time to reach out and help in big and small ways.

The recent heat wave had everyone reaching for bottles of ice cold water. During our next heat wave - and we will probably have more  - reach  out to neighbors and even those with young children. Make sure that they have water and offer to take them shopping or share a 24 or 12 pack with them. Check in on older relatives and friends to make sure they're cool and hydrated. If they have just fans and limited air conditioning, then invite them over to chill and relax. You can easily make  homemade lemon or limeade or iced tea.  Flavored water is also a nice treat. If the air conditioning is a bit much then sit out in the shade or in the garage. This is a good time to buy a fridge for the car port. Store water in there for when you and the family need it. Also , if you're feeding feral cat colonies or just a few strays, have bowls of iced water for them too. Animals can have heat stroke as well. Also put their food in cool, shady areas.

Hot summer nights can be unbearable too. Again invite elderly neighbors over for a cooling drink and maybe a bite to eat. It is easy to make any fruit ade. It starts with a simple syrup - one cup of sugar boiled in one cup of water. From there mix three cups of fresh  lemon juice with four cups of water. Serve with a lot of ice.Change it up with lime ade. Another cooling idea is buying ice cream or Popsicles for everyone. Everyone - no matter what his or her age  - will enjoy a frosty sweet on a 96 degree F night. It's a communal way to keep chill and along the way  a chance to hear interesting back stories. Another way to keep neighbors , family  and friends cool is inviting them over for a no cook dinner. Introduce them to hummus, salad Nicoise or gazpacho. All three  dishes require no cooking , only mixing and blending. You could even have a minimal cooking meal such as pasta crudo which is a great way to use the veggies of the season.

Make your house and yard an oasis of cool. Invite friends , family and neighbors over to enjoy frosty treats and company. Us these hellish days for heavenly connections.

Monday, July 22, 2019

The Most Perfect Egg Cream

One of my favorite drinks - and it really should be considered a sweet treat -is the egg cream. My Dad introduced me to it on on our many trips to local diners.I recently discovered the best add in  - Bubly flavored seltzer. Mix this in for sheer heaven. Another plus is using Hershey's Extra Dark syrup. This is a new addition and it adds a richer flavor.

Many will have questions about what kind of milk to add in. I've used almond milk which does make for a creamy drink. You can use regular milk or even a scoop of vanilla or chocolate ice cream which made up the original ones sold in Brooklyn candy shops.

Here is the recipe.

1 can of either Bubly Cherry , Raspberry or Blackberry flavored seltzer (if you're making a vanilla egg cream, then use Bubly's Lemon or Peach flavors)
1/2 cup milk any kind
one good squirt of Hershey's Extra Dark Syrup (or vanilla syrup if you want to make a vanilla flavored one - go easy with it .Vanilla syrup is intense)

Squirt a good half  inch (more if you want it more chocolate-y) of syrup into a tall glass. Fill glass halfway with any kind of milk. Add Bubly and stir with a fork (yes a fork) to aerate and create foam. drink with a straw or straight to catch all that yummy froth.

This is the improved version of what my Dad and I used to have.💙💙

Saturday, July 20, 2019

The Water Diet

If you're in the US you're probably in the middle of a severe heat wave. You don't want to eat - but you have to .It's too much of a chore. The answer lies in a water rich diet for the next few days.

Of course you should have chilled water at the ready during these horrendous days. That's a given. Remember to place a bottle by your bed along with having fresh bottles in your car. Keep away from large amounts of sodas and coffees during this time. Caffeine acts as a diuretic which causes you to urinate more and lose fluids. Wait until after the heat wave to hit the colas and lattes. If you do want a flavored drink, think fruit juice.Just make it's 100 per cent juice.If there's even a bit of sugar in it , it will inhibit hydration.Keep in mind that milk both regular and skim are excellent at hydrating.  Almond milk is good for hydration so you could drink it instead of the usual cow's milk. Soy milk is better for skin than for lowering internal temperatures. What about the hot drink of the moment - seltzer?You  can drink it for regular hydration. Just don't sub it in for water after work outs or any heavy physical activity.

Another must is eating water rich foods. These are light and tasty - perfect for these fiery days. All veggies are water rich but also high in fiber. Popular veggies that are high in hydration are spinach and Romaine lettuce. These are the perfect bases for salads. Fill them with low calorie proteins such as hard boiled eggs and chicken. You can also add other water rich veggies such as tomatoes and cucumbers to the salads too. Dress with a simple olive oil and apple cider vinegar mix. If you want some crunch then toss in a handful of sunflower seeds or croutons. Tomatoes and cucumbers on their own make for delicious and refreshing salads. Tomatoes mixed with just olive oil and garlic is a great lunch or a good side to anything from burgers to steaks. Make it more substantial by turning it into a Neopolitan bread salad with the addition of chunks of Italian bread.Cucumbers just doused with a plain dill  vinaigrette is a nice light meal or even afternoon snack. Fruits are also water rich  and are perfect for hydrating on a hellish day. Have a bowl of chilled blueberries or strawberries for dessert or  a late night snack. Stay away from starchy cookies and cakes. You have fall and winter to eat those. You can even puree the fruits and turn them into healthy pops and slushies.

It's an inferno out there. Stock up on water and water rich foods to stay cool and hydrated. You'll feel better thanks to eating  better.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Fresh N Lean A Fresh Perspective

It is hard to cook for a vegan. It's a matter of trying to be creative with a limited amount of ingredients. Luckily there is a new food delivery service Fresh N Lean that can not only serve up low calorie meat centered meals but also vegan meals as well.

                    I received five dinners plus a packet of tasty smoked almonds.
   Here are the meals. They're vacuum packed in recyclable trays.
What I like about the meals is that they are all natural and that the vegan options have Beyond Burger  as the main course.
One of my favorites was the burger on a bed of quinoa , flanked by sweet potatoes and green beans. It was just four minutes in the microwave. 

Some dinners were big on the red pepper and kale which were welcome additions. The meals are filling .gluten and dairy free. Just dinners are $13.31 for five days. There's also pasta and black bean with squash. Other plans include Performance Paleo which is a low carb, Performance Protein and Clean Keto. I may upgrade and get the vegan breakfast plan for the fall and winter. I can also add to the dinner by ordering lunch too.

Fresh N Lean is a great way of eating healthy and eating vegan. Sign up for it for an easy and healthy way of eating. You'll feel better with it. Less mess, but more nutrition.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Recipes Past , Recipes Best

This is my Mom's second birthday without her. I think the best way to pay homage is by posting one of her best recipes and my all time favorites - tomatoes Provencale. This is a great way to use vine ripe tomatoes. Just be sure to have a whole (!) loaf of Italian  bread to sop up all that delicious tomato infused oil when you've polished off the tomatoes..

Olive oil
two finely chopped garlic cloves
1 cup breadcrumbs , preferably plain
5-6 vine ripe tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste

Pour enough olive oil to cover the bottom of a medium frying pan. Mince garlic and add to bread crumbs along with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Slice tomatoes and lay them side by side in the frying pan.Spoon large heaps of the breadcrumbs over them and cook them over a medium flame. Put a glass lid over the tomatoes to steam them. Doing this will give a more tender flesh. Cook for about ten minutes or until tomatoes look wilted and breadcrumbs are browned.

Usually tomatoes provencale are served with a roast chicken or barbecued or grilled steak. You can do  this or better yet, just have the tomatoes on their own with a good iced hard cider. Dip hunks of Italian bread into the olive oil and enjoy!!!

Thanks , Mom!!!💓💓💓

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

A Movement Of Heritage and Inclusion

For decades African-American chefs had to cook and refine Euro-centric dishes. Yet there are a new generation of chefs who have  been influence by  the Caribbean and Africa as well as home. It's a new delicious standard full of spins and variations

John Eligon and Julia Moskin collaborated on this informative piece for today's New York Times Food section.John Eligon is a Kansas City based Times reporter covering race issues for the paper while Ms. Moskin is a regular contributor to the Food section. Together they explored the next generation of African -American chef and the dishes that they've created. These chefs have pushed way past the Eurocentric traditions learned at culinary school. There are greater influences such as the African diaspora and  techniques from Nigeria, Brazil, Morocco and Trinidad and Tobago. They use such diverse ingredients as conch, berbere - a spice mix found in Ethiopian and Eritrean cooking, fonio - a West African millet grain and cassava - the South American yam. Will this make an impact on the way America eats? Most definitely since the restaurant business has the highest amount of diversity than any other American business or industry.

This new vanguard have a variety of different signature dishes.Nyesha Arrington of Los Angeles relies on the terroir of her native Los Angeles.It is a blend of Californian, Mexican, Chinese and Persian, reflecting the city's ethnic landscape. Her key dish is olive oil poached halibut with pickled oyster mushrooms and Sungold cherry tomatoes. Jerome Grant who creates phenomenal dishes at The national Museum of African-American History and Culture in Washington  serves an oyster pan roast with shaved fennel and sesame crackers. Chef  Ashleigh Shanti looks to her Southern heritage for inspiration at her eatery Benne On Eagle in Asheville, North Carolina.. Her hummus is made from black eyed peas instead of chickpeas and fermented benne seeds instead of tahini. Chef Shanti's buttermilk cornbread soup is a take on her grandmother putting leftover cornbread into buttermilk and drinking it. There is the Japanese influence in her cabbage pancakes, based on okonomiyaki. other chefs are influenced by their Congolese roots or commitment to vegetarianism.
The new generation of African-American chefs are shaping the way America is eating. They are bringing tradition and verve to a hungry landscape. They are expanding our palates with traditional and no so traditional dishes.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Too Hot To Cook

We are in the middle of a heat wave. Temps will raise in the upcoming weeks. Cooking will be impossible. What to do? Not cook.

In this day and age, it's easy to get take out food. Despite all the uproar about eating burgers and fries,  they're handy and they are filling. What can be done is careful choosing. Luckily all chains list their calories on their online menus. You can choose wisely and have a low calorie, no fuss meal. Burger King offers the Morningstar Farms veggie burger which is only 390 calories. Have their onion rings which are only 150 calories for a small serving. Panera is another chain that delivers and they have healthy choices for the whole family. You can customize  salads with ingredients you like. Try their Caesar salad which is only 390 calories or their garden salad. Toss in some avocado and almonds for more flavor and protein. Panera's sandwiches are also light - perfect for these steamy days. Order a few of their Mediterranean veggie sandwiches. Tasty tomato basil bread holds hummus, and a slew of veggies like tomato , cucumber and onions. A plus is that Panera also has low calorie drinks too. Their iced teas are zero calorie while their prickly pear hibiscus agua fresca is 90 calories for a 20 fluid ounce glass.

Of course you can make no cook dishes. One of the easiest is hummus. It should be made with chickpeas, tahini sauce , garlic and a squirt of lemon juice. It's then mashing it or using an immersion blender to get a creamy texture. Hummus is one of those recipes that can be varied. Since I don't I usually add cannellini beans. Garlic is kept to a minimum and I usually nix the tahini. The flavor is actually milder without all the seasoning and to me more palatable. Cut pita into triangles, and serve with the hummus. If you can stand a little heat , place the pita triangles in a 350 degree F toaster oven for five minutes. Brush both sides with olive oil for a crispy ,crunchy  chip. Other spreads like cream cheese salad can make for a tasty and satisfying dip or sandwich filler. Add chopped green olives and pimentos for color and flavor or minced garlic for tang. Scallions and chives would also make for a colorful addition. The cream cheese spreads would also be perfect for Sunday morning bagels too.Another easy to make spread is bruschetta. Cut up Roma tomatoes and mix with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.Garlic and fresh basil are also added for spice and zest. Serve on slices of Italian bread.

It's hot . It's a chore to cook. Go for the no cooking option for a cool way to eat.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Sweet Cold Desserts

There's something about ending a summer meal with a cold dessert. A slice of ice cream cake or pie tops off a supper or late lunch of spicy ribs or chicken. It's a cool way to finish, especially on a hot , humid day.

One of the coolest treats is the simple icebox cakes. These came about in the 1930s' when iceboxes became a fixture in American kitchens. Often these are a mix of cookies , pudding, sometimes fruit and whipped cream. One of the easiest is the famed Nabisco chocolate wafer log. This is also known as the zebra cake for the fun black and white stripes. It's just lining up chocolate wafers and mortaring them together with Cool Whip or homemade whipped cream. This forms a log which can be left alone or dressed up for birthdays and parties. A simple decoration of shaved chocolate is fine  but you can also sub in colored sprinkles for a more festive cake. A more elegant decoration is a scattering of strawberries and blueberries on the plate. The cake can also be made Magnolia Bakery style. New York's most famed bakery creates a cake shaped one with four layers of the chocolate wafers sandwiched between whipped cream. Nilla wafer cake is another icy treat that's easy to make. Layer the cookies in any kind of pan - glass or foil - and then layer with vanilla pudding, peaches, strawberries or blueberries and a layer of whipped cream.

Ice cream cakes are another frosty way to end a summer meal. They're easy to make at home, thanks to silicon cake and bread pans. I bought a silicon loaf pan which works perfectly in creating a two layer cake. I also have a smaller one that makes a cute mini cake. Again the Nabisco chocolate wafers are the perfect cake layer. DO NOT sandwich cookies. The creme filling will make for an over sugary , lumpy layer. Pulse the wafers in a food chopper and mix with melted butter or margarine to create a cake like layer. The first layer can be this or Hershey's hard shell which gives the top a nice crunchy, ganache look. Before you add the ice cream and crumbs ,brush a thick layer of it first onto the bottom of the mold. Then layer with your favorite ice creams. Add a second layer alone or with caramel  or the seasonal fruit. I recently made a vanilla and sea salt caramel loaf, using Soy Delicious vanilla coconut ice cream and Smucker's Salted Caramel. Keep in mind that the caramel does get the texture of salt water taffy when frozen. You can sub in pureed or chopped strawberries or raspberries for the caramel. Ice cream pie is another cool ,sweet dessert . Get a pre made pie shell and then fill it with whatever you want. Decorate it with puffs of whipped cream, hard shell or even candy. It's a nice alternative to a birthday cake for something different.

A summer meal deserves a sweet, cold ending A  slice of ice box cake or ice  cream cake or pie is the perfect dessert. It cools you off while you enjoy the end of a delicious warm weather, lunch , supper or dinner.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Summer Snap Cooking

Summer is not the time for elaborate meals or long hours in the kitchen.It's too hot to stand in front of a stove or prepare a many step recipe. It's time for snap cooking - easy stuff made in no time. There's no fuss or bother -perfect for days when it's even too hot to move.

A hot breakfast to start a hot summer day? No way. Fresh fruit is the simple and tasty yet it's not filling. Layer it in a bowl with rice or wheat puffs and Greek yogurt. Add coconut flakes, dried craisins and raisins for more flavor. Dust with flax seeds for more nutrition and protein. You can also do the same with packets of unflavored oatmeal too. Add pitted cherries and blueberries along with sliced strawberries for a filling and fast low calorie meal. If you need breakfast on the go, then think of bagels with fruity cream cheese. Using a mini chopper, pulse cut strawberries or blueberries and then add to softened cream cheese. (think the one in the container as opposed to the brick). Mix well with a fork and spread on any kind of bagel. This can also be used for a sweet lunch or you could create a savory spread using scallions  You can also add ham for a more substantial filling. A savory cream cheese filling can also go well inside a pita. Pitas are a low calorie and tasty alternative to white bread. Think of hummus filled pita as a quick to make , satisfying lunch. If you're at home, make pita chips in your toaster oven. Cut the pita  into triangles, brush  both sides with oil and toast for five minutes at 350 degrees Farenheit.

Dinner can be another snap recipe. It's very tempting to get take out in this weather. You don't have to. One of the easiest and most delicious recipes to make is gazpacho. Spanish home chefs and professional ones create this cool, refreshing soup to combat the Iberian peninsula's steamy summer weather.  I have a phenomenal one thanks to Susan Lewis-Solomont the former Ambassador to Spain's wife. I've varied it and included more tomatoes (namely four vine ripe tomatoes) one large green pepper, a garlic clove and a large cucumber. The recipe also calls for a chopped onion but I  feel that a good dash of onion powder does the trick. A half cup of olive oil gives the blend a smooth satiny finish. Use an immersion blender and then blend everything into a creamy pale orange liquid. I love a bowl of it with sliced Italian bread drizzled with oil. Another tasty snap recipe is pasta crudo made with already cooked spaghetti or linguine. Stop & Shop offers the cooked pasta under their label. The salsa crudo is an easy blend of  quartered vine ripe tomatoes, a cup of pulsed fresh basil , crushed garlic and a quarter cup of olive oil. Make a half hour before serving. Leave it out. Microwave the pasta and then pour over the salsa. Mix and serve.

A hot summer day spent cooking? No! A hot summer day making snap recipes? Yes, please! It's a cool and easy way to eat delicious and filling meals.

Friday, July 12, 2019

The LPS The LBD Of Summer Salads

 As any fashionista can tell you LBD stands for Little Black Dress.It's a simple black sheath that can be dressed down for day and the office, and dressed up for a night out. What you add to it determines its' use. The same can be said of this LPS - little pasta salad. Dress it up or down.

1 pound package of any small bite pasta such as shells (above) ,rotelli, elbow macaroni or even penne.
Anything you have on hand.
1/2 cup olive oil (I prefer Bertolli)

Cook pasta. Drain and cool for two to three hours before serving. For this I used four diced vine ripe tomatoes and one diced green pepper. Onion powder was sprinkled in for more flavor.I added some sliced salami for protein but you can add what you want, such as left over grilled steak or chicken. Tuna in olive oil gives it a nice summer by the Ligurian coast vibe. Try some pitted olives and feta for a Greek Isle  twist.Toss in some  basil, rosemary or oregano, Dried dill is another way of varying it. Freshly picked herbs from basil to mint can also be added to the mix.

Have fun with this salad. Use these ingredients or any that strike your fancy. Have fun dressing up or down this LPS.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Foodtruck To Freedom

To some a food  truck means a quick , tasty lunch . Yet to others it has a more significant meaning - freedom. That's the case with sisters Ana and Paola Fernandez and Ana's wife, Katherine Rengifo. The work may be hard but there are payoffs.

Amelia Nierenberg , a contributor to the prestigious Boston Globe ,  The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Yale Daily News wrote this thoughtful piece about the trio for yesterday's New York Times Food section. Both Fernandez' and Ms Rengifo emigrated from Venezuela, a country that's still unraveling as this is being written.Ana and Katherine came here for a vacation leaving behind a bathing suit design company and store on Margarita Island a  popular destination off the Venezuelan coast. Paola joined them in New York.It was iffy for them to return. Most of their family and friends had already left and urged them to do the same. They were granted what's known as an open asylum claim citing fears of persecution from the government. There's uncertainty in whether they will be allowed to stay, yet they are building their food business despite that. The couple have done everything they could to bring in an income. They've worked as nannies and line cooks, along with cleaning houses and making coffee still. The food truck is a Sunday only affair.

Luckily the food truck has provided both stability and money. They made favorite foods to help them combat homesickness. Familiar flavors  made them feel like they were almost home - almost. Last December, after hearing about Smorgasburg, the weekly outdoor culinary bazaar in trendy Williamsburg, they brought those familiar flavors for an audition of sorts to its' headquarters in Crown Heights. One of the founders of the weekly food fest, Eric Denby was struck by their personalities. He gave them a shot. Their food truck, Vayalo Cocina,Let's Go Kitchen in Spanish was born. One Venezuelan specialty is street hot dogs. This popular dish is a hot dog loaded with bacon, onions, avocado and several sauces. It's called Tumba Rancho, roughly translated into "bringing down the house because it's so overloaded that it can fall apart while eating it. Then there are the arepas, savory cornmeal cakes. One is a vegan, full of tomatoes, avocados and olive oil, called the Mama Gladis, named for the Fernandezes mother , still in the country. The three cook  some the food at a friend's apartment Saturday  to be sold on Sunday. They hope to expand with a delivery only service along with another stand.

A food truck isn't just a food truck. It is a way out and a way up for so many cooks and chefs.  For the Fernandez-Rengifo family it is both, a way out of a turbulent country and a way up to a better life.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

A Sous Vide Summer

Is boiled food the way to go in the summer? Surprisingly yes! Using a sous -vide can actually make for tender, butter soft beef cuts. Barbecued steaks will no longer have that chewy "shoe leather" texture.It's a much needed step for the perfect outdoor meal.

Melisa Clark wrote about it in today's New York Times Food section. A sous-vide is now a must have for cooking cuts that will be later seared on an outdoor grill. What is a sous -vide? It's really a method of vacuum sealing food and immersing in warm water with temps ranging anywhere from 120F to 140 F. The actual machine kind of looks like a meat thermometer and turns any large pot into a  hot tub for food.The wand , also called a thermal immersion circulator, heats and circulates the water around.  It's not just for beef,  chicken, pork and fish. Veggies can also receive the sous-vide method. Amazon sells the sous vide wands and the prices vary from $200 to $400 however Ms. Clark has found some that only cost $45. Only a few years ago they were $1000, and used only by food techies and chefs.  She recommends them and assuages home chefs that their kitchens will not heat up with sous-vides the way they would with other appliances. Also special sealer bags don't have to be bought. The food can be put into a plastic or silicone bag and the air squeezed out of them.

The recipes are delicious and perfect for the grill. They just require a quick time on the grill to acquire a nice crust and color. Anyone can make them. Ms. Clark interviews interviews New Orleans cinematographer, Jake Springfield, who is far from being a chef. However when friends come over he treats them to sous vide cooked tenderloins that have a quick sear on his backyard grill. The food comes out perfectly. The recipes are easy . Ms. Clark offers sous-vide steaks with spicy salsa verde, sous- vide ginger pork with celery slaw and a sous-vide salmon with caper-parsley vinaigrette. To be honest the celery slaw would be good with any barbecue meat however it offsets the pork which is marinated in a soy sauce, sriracha, ginger and smooth peanut butter. This is a perfect Saturday night dinner for the family dish as is the salmon with the vinaigrette The fish is basted with an herb paste of dill, parsley and scallions. The vinaigrette has a good dose of scallions and parsley, spiked with capers and cloves. Of course the best dish is the sous-vide rib steaks with a sinus clearing salsa verde. Jalapenos and harissa give this normally mild steak sauce a jolt. The steaks, though, would be good just on their own, thanks to being rubbed with garlic paste and rosemary.

For those barbecue chefs , buy a sous-vide to create the best tasting meats. It's a definite plus to any backyard cookout. Any meat  - and veggie will be at their flavorful best.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Vegan Vacations

It's that time of year when vacations beckon.Yet for vegans it can be rough, especially when they visit a city or resort that is more carnivore friendly. Herbivores need not worry.There are ways to get through a holiday away.

If you're adventurous, then consider vegan travel sites. One of the most meatless cities is Toronto, Canada. One neighborhood ,Parkland, is even nicknamed called Vegandale because of the large amount of vegan restaurants there.If you go , then also try the first vegan "butcher"  Yamchops that offer coconut chip bacon and beet burgers. However this fascinating New York of the North has other attractions such as a Hockey Hall of Fame and Yonge-Dundas Square which features outdoor concerts and community activities. If it's warm then visit some of the city's many beaches. A lesser known place is Campbellville, home of happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary. This farm, located not that far from Toronto is a sanctuary to all animals, from pigs to chicken who were slated for the slaughterhouse.It started with a little pig Esther, her two dads, realtor Steve Jenkins and Derek Walters , a magician(!) and how she grew into a 600 pound beauty. Space was needed for her so the sanctuary was created.Abused and abandoned farm animals were added in the ensuing years. As for a place to stay there is the Mohawk Inn and Convention Center, however the hotel restaurant is a chop house. Go to the nearby smaller restaurants and cafes for vegan options.

Another vegan city is  - what else - New York City. Manhattan boasts 600 (!!!) good vegetarian restaurants such as Blossom On 9th, This trendy eatery serves the Impossible Burger topped with everything from soy bacon to vegan mozzarella. They also serve a Sunday brunch complete with mimosas and bellinis. As for a quick bite go to Molly's Cupcakes which has build your own toppings cakes and cream filled ones. Manhattan is home to famed vegan Stella McCartney's store. She offers leather free shoes and bags along with ethically made clothing.They carry everything from footwear for men and women, bags and clothing. Europe also boasts vegan cities for those wanting to go overseas. London and Berlin are known for their animal consciousness.London has the humorously named Temple of Seitan which hosts a huge variety of different burgers and faux chicken. There is also Ms. Cupcake, a 100 per cent vegan restaurant. Check out the history of British veganism which started in the 1830's at Alcott House, Ham , Surrey. Berlin, home to centuries of history and amazing cathedrals has its' own chain of vegan supermarkets Veganz!Then there is Sao Paulo Brazil which boasts 280 vegan eateries plus open markets. It is also an art center so catch up on Brazilian art at Museo de Arte de Sao Paolo.

A fun vegan vacation can be had. There are cities and farm that cater to the meatless lifestyle. Visit them and enjoy a wonderful holiday.

Monday, July 8, 2019

The All Inclusive Backyard Party

The warm weather is the best time to get to know your neighbors. No one is cooped up. Everyone is out and about. Why not take it a step further and have an all inclusive backyard party. Friendships can be forged. recipes can be changed. Best of all lessons about inclusiveness can be learned.

Of course the most important part is the planning. Unlike a block party which requires a permit three months in advance, a backyard party can be put together even in a week.Put aside time on a Friday or Saturday for a meeting of where it will be held.It doesn't necessarily have to be in the biggest yard. You could set up tables  and folding chairs in the driveway and leave the backyard for contests and games.  Secondly, write down a list  of who's bringing what.The menu should be an all inclusive one, with neighbors and yourself cooking up family or ethnic dishes. Remember that neighborhoods are international these days and there are going to be a lot of delicious dishes from around the world. Encourage people to bring their family's best recipes. Also consider dietary restrictions and allergies for both adults and kids. It's up to the planning committee if alcohol will be served. Serve it if everyone is OK with it. Usually barbecues or outdoor meals usually call for just beer for the grown ups and soda and juice for the kids.The same goes for meat which certain religions forbid. You may want to go for an all vegan bash.

Apart from neighbors bringing in their family dishes there should be typical summer foods too. Have plenty of hot dogs and burgers for the kids and diehard barbecue lovers. Different sausages such as brats and Italian sausages can be cooked for something different. If you're making the last make sure you have sauteed peppers and onions too for a good hoagie sandwich. Your neighbors may bring over unusual  with non traditional meats like mutton or goat. Embrace the difference. You and your family will expand their culinary tastes as well as you picking up a new recipe.Also have some classic American sides like macaroni salad which is easy to make. If that's one dish to make too many consider picking up a tub of it from your local supermarket or deli.  Throw in potato salad and coleslaw too, if no one is making those. A fun dish that's universal is roasted corn. Have differently flavored butters, such as lemon and tarragon on hand for easy slathering. As for  desserts, you can't go wrong with watermelon wedges. They're refreshing and a favorite. You could buy a Sno Cone machine and make frozen treats for everyone. They're only $44 on Amazon and will probably used many more times. Homemade ice cream cake is another treat as are homemade ice cream cupcakes.

A neighborhood backyard party is a fun way to meet the neighbors and try new dishes. Barriers can be torn down and new friendships forged. It's also a great way of celebrate the summer.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Road Trip Pit Stops

It's holiday time and that means road trips.They're fun and exciting with them ending at a sunny beach, cool mountains or interesting town or city. Road trips also mean pit stops - namely to eat. The question is do you eat something at a rest stop or pack your own food? Which is better?

Rest stops can be fun,especially if you 're with friends or have tweens. You can settle down for a few minutes before the next leg of your journey.If you're traveling on New Jersey's Garden State Parkway or Turnpike, you could always pull over in to the Garden State's various rest stops and either relax with a Starbucks coffee or grab a salad at Burger King. However many don't go for the healthy eats which kick starts a week or two of vacation indulgences. Some rest stops , such as the ones located on the New Jersey Turnpike, has an entire section where visitors can pick up low calorie salads with such varied ingredients as feta cheese, olives, flax seeds, and bean sprouts. They also have a good array of healthy, low calorie whole wheat wraps too. Any of these and water make for a good lunch or dinner . Another thing to look out for is a farmer's market. Many of the rest stops host local farmers and their produce. You can easily pick up some tomatoes or fruit for snacking, along with artisanal whole grain breads.

A better idea is packing your own lunch and dinner.One fun one is stuffed pita pockets with turkey and a cucumber salad. The last is an easy make of chopped cucumbers, tomatoes and parsley with a vinaigrette. Hummus is the perfect snack or meal on the road, especially stuffed into a pita pocket. Try making a home made one with a squirt of lemon for a refreshing bite. If there are kids, there should be snacks.I just found these at my local Stop & Shop by the produce. They're Perfectly Free Fruit Bites and those little balls or bubbles are only 25 calories each. They are definitely going into m

my lunch box when I make my shore day trips.I bought them in the mixed berry which is made up of strawberry, cranberry and blueberry concentrate.I definitely want to try their pineapple mix bites as well. Kids love crunch  too. Try anything of Annie's Homegrown products. Have little containers filled with their cheddar bunnies and a new product,  white cheddar bunny puffs, which are like a much healthier Cheez Doodle. Wash these down with either Bubly seltzer or Silk mini bottles of chocolate  almond milk.

Pit stops are one of the most important parts of any road stop. Make sure that you start and end your trips by eating and drinking foods that help boost your energy levels and satisfy your hunger. They can make those many miles back and forth enjoyable.

Friday, July 5, 2019

The Sparkling Ice Contest

Sparkling Ice drink is a must have during these sweltering summer days. It eally is the perfect sip, with its variety of different flavors. What's best is that it can be turned into a fun treat for kids or a boozy one for their elders.
                                What the flavor is running now. Go to the website The grand prize is a week long Caribbean Cruise package from the Holland American line. Other prices include a Yeti cooler, a JBLportable Bluetooth speaker, the ultimate beach chair with a built in cooler. There's also the chance of winning a spikeball game set, a fun inflatable float or a beach bag full of summer essentials.

No matter what the flavor, Sparkling Ice is the perfect summer drink.I like putting it in my Slushie cup and having a cool ,refreshing zero calorie ice. For kids pour their the grape raspberry flavor into Popsicle molds and freeze. You could also turn the Classic Lemonade one into  pops too.For a grown up treat, add a shot of vodka to the Sparkling Ice lemonades. Rum mixed with their pineapple- coconut  Ice is a fizzy  pina colada, great for a warm night under the stars. Freeze the crisp apple flavor in ice cube trays and plop in a glass of hard cider  for a real kick. Keep in mind that Sparkling Ice is also good as a drink on a picnic or a day at the beach.

Sparkling Ice is the perfect summer thirst quencher. Always have it on hand to cool off. It is the summer must have that should always be in your fridge.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

A Happy And Diversified Fourth

Celebrate the Fourth and the diversity that is our country. Have a barbecue with German hamburgers hot dogs and cole slaw. Rinse it down with beer from Germany and Mexico. Or if you prefer fried chicken, whose recipe came with the enslaved from West Africa. Finish with ice cream that had its' origins in Italy and France. Or you could have French based marshmallows with Brazilian chocolate on good old American graham crackers which are taken from the English digestive biscuits. Snack on indigenous popcorn later on as you watch the fireworks.

Just remember that America isn't about one race, one religion and one nationality. All of us make up the melting  pot and mosaic that is this great country. Don't listen to the harmful otherwise.

Celebrate everyone and everything about them, especially their foods!!!

Happy 4th of. July to Americans around the globe!!!!!!


Wednesday, July 3, 2019

America's Ice Cream Diversity

On this Fourth of July eve, remember that America is one of the  most ethnically  diverse countries in the world. We have come together as one for decades. It's the same with our food, especially our ice cream. The days of just vanilla, chocolate and strawberry are over.  There are some new exotic flavors.

Regular contributor, Ligaya Mishan, wrote about the diversity of the ice cream in this country in today's New York Times Food section. It is truly a part of our heritage, from Jefferson bringing back a vanilla ice cream recipe. It was a fancy treat  being made by French and Italian chefs for wealthy European families. Here in the States, it was the dessert of the masses, being made in labor saving machines to drive the price down. It belongs to us and each ethnic group puts their own spin on  it. Ms Mishan had the lucky job of traveling to different cities and trying all sorts of frozen treats , from the Caribbean to Thailand, from Syria to Peru. It would have been nice if she had included recipes so home chefs could make some of these treats. Fortunately the shops are in major cities around the US so anyone can visit it, whether they 're a native or a tourist.Of course the bigger cities such as Los Angeles and New York have the most  dessert diversity. In LA, try the Iranian Saffron and Rose which is the shop's most popular flavor..It is one of the oldest , having been started by Ali Kashani-Rayfe in 1979 after the Revolution. Way on the other coast,  New York City's Island Pops , owned by Trinidad born Shelly Marshall and her husband , Khalid Hamid, use soursop and ponce de creme a Caribbean egg nog  as their flavors.

America's heartland has some pretty awesome ice cream shops.Richardson Texas is home to Big dash, a Syrian ice cream parlor that started off as a kitchen. Owners ,Asmaa Khattab and her husband, Kareem, create booza, Arabic for ice cream with giant  wooden mallets in buckets.It is a chewy kind of treat, thanks to the addition of mastic, the ingredient that makes gum sticky . It's rolled into a log and covered with pistachios. Lexington Kentucky residents enjoy Crank & Boom which features Toa Green's traditional Thai ice creams such as coconut served on a hot dog bun.Miami is such a Cuban influenced town ,it's no wonder about Azucar. thrives. Owner , Cuban -American Suzy Batle chose the city's Little Havana neighborhood to create Cuban vanilla, richer than the American version, thanks to the inclusion of egg yolks. There is also violeta  and Abuela Maria, made with maria cookies, cream cheese and guava marmalade. Stroudsburg PA has a Peruvian ice creamery  LLama Ice Cream East that feature the Peruvian fruit lucama while Seattle boasts  the Filipino Central District Ice Cream. Columbus OH, is proud of  the Indian Mardi Gras Homemade Ice Cream black plum jamun flavor.Paleterias Tropicana of Kansas City , KS has a salute to Mexican classics like mamey. Of course  Asato Family Shop in Honolulu features guri-guri, a Japanese confection of soda and condensed milk.

America  and its' food are wonderfully and deliciously diverse. Its' variety of ice creams are no different. They reflect the different  groups and flavors that make this country great.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

The Safe Side of Barbecuing

As much as we all love a summer barbecue we should be aware of the dangers. The one big threat is that it can be a catalyst for serious health conditions. What to do?Have a mindful cook out.

Sophie Egan wrote about the potential   risk of cancer from barbecued foods in today's New York Times Science section. It was a piece that definitely caught my eye and it needs to be put out there.Ms Egan, who writes extensively about health and eating for The Times points out there are ways to have a healthier cookout. Barbecued foods do not directly cause the disease. What happens is that compounds  called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and heterocyclic amines get generated when food, especially, meat  - namely  beef - is cooked on the grill.Lab studies have shown that they alter DNA in a way that eating grilled meats could cause cancer. How are these compounds formed? The first, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are formed when any kind of organic matter- namely meat fat that drips off meat and onto the grill grates. The carbon inside gets combusted in the flames and then gets carried off in the smoke that's breathed in.The other , heterocyclic amines or HCAs is the black char that happens when high temperatures meet muscle meat such as red meat, poultry and even fish. Cooked amino acids react with another substance and creates creatine.It's not found in veggies which are the safest to grill.

You can dial down the risk. Grill fish which doesn 't take as long as red meat or chicken, along with plant based burgers.Even hot dogs are at risk. What to do if you cook out a lot? Try Beyond Burgers or Gardein's meatless ones. Both taste like the real thing and are better for you than red meat patties.
Another way is marinate.Even if you marinate for just thirty minutes you can reduce the formations of HCA. A layer of oil or sugar  creates a barrier that becomes seared instead of the meat. If you feel that a marinade may take away the flavor, then try a simple one of olive oil with lemon or lime squeezed in. Another suggestion is focus on more produce. Make kabobs that feature pepper chunks and cherry tomatoes. Try chicken with onions or for a sweet twist ,peaches and pineapples.It also reduces the surface area of meat being grilled. Cooking your steaks and burgers with spices, herbs and even tea- ingredients with phenolic compounds - antioxidants - quenches the formation of those carcinogenic compounds. Also cut down on grilling times and pull the pieces off when char starts to appear.Reduce fuel too and flip often. Another important factor is the wood. Use pine instead of hickory and maple. Definitely nix the charcoal.

You can still have a barbecue but make it a mindful one. Take the extra steps, from changing to pine chips for fuel, to marinating your steaks. It'll present less of a risk and you can enjoy your favorite grilled foods.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Marshmallows Those Sweet Summer Treats

Marshmallows are the ubiquitous summer ingredients. They 're in salads, desserts and treats, in pies and on sticks . How did these little puffs become a summer staple? Is it because they're fun  or  because they add a certain sweetness to a variety of different dishes.

Marshmallows have been with us since ancient times.They are derived from the mallow plant that grows in marshy areas - hence the name. The Egyptians used the sweet fleshy roots in both rituals and medicines. The French had the idea to whip the sap into a fluffy candy mold.The molds were filled with starch to give them shape. Then the Americans took over with a way to mass produce them. it involved an extrusion machine which gives uniform , perfectly cut puffs. As soon as marshmallows hit our shores , they were in such desserts as banana fluff, a dish you can easily make today. End a barbecue with this mix of mini marshmallows, banana pudding and Cool Whip.Marshmallows in salads may have come from cookbooks and magazines, maybe in the 1930's. It was a different salad, that could be served as a side or dessert. It was also an easy make during hot summer months spent in  stuffy  kitchens.  You could definitely make as a retro dessert with hamburgers and hot dogs.Mix Cool Whip with sour cream (???), maraschino cherries and mandarin cherries. Mini marshmallows and almonds along with vanilla extract give it flavor. Coconut flakes are added  as well.

This may be a side but what about a summery marshmallow dessert? The most obvious is s'mores. It's  a classic layering of graham crackers, toasted marshmallows and a square of Hershey's milk chocolate. Zing it up by using chocolate graham crackers and a dark rich chocolate such as Lindt's 80 % dark chocolate. It's a more adult spin on the classic kid treat. Of course just plain toasted marshmallows are a nice end to a cook out.You could make them naughty by turning them into shot glasses for different liqueurs like Bailey's Irish Cream or Kahlua.Popcorn and marshmallow are a perfect marriage, and a fun dessert at an outdoor movie party.It's melting eight or nine big marshmallows with half a cup of brown sugar and a quarter cup of butter.Cook for twenty or thirty seconds, stir to make sure everything's melted and then pour over the popcorn (which can be bought or home made. Toss in some peanuts for a Crackerjack kind of crunch.Toasted marshmallow could also top an after dinner iced coffee. Float two or three toasted marshmallows on top of the coffee.

Marshmallows are a must have summer cooking ingredient. Try them in a sweet tangy side salad or as a fluffy topper to an icy cup of java. Either way, they're a fun bite.