Monday, September 30, 2019

Your Pie Guide

Fall is definitely the time for pies. Yet pie isn't just pie anymore. It's crostatas, tarts and tarltets too, Anything fruit or custard filled goes these days and what you make of them is up to you.  Pies could be for the week, save the fancier stuff for the weekend. They're all good.

Pie is more or less the most basic. You can bake a crust and fill it with anything or have the crust cook with the filling which is the better choice.  Basic pie dough  hasn't really changed since the 1500's when royal pie lover , Elizabeth I made cherry and apple pie popular. It's a mix of flour, ice water salt and shortening. This last is always the subject of controversy. Should you use straight out lard or vegetable shortening? Some home bakers insist on butter. Go with Crisco, which is basically solidified soy bean oil. It has produced flaky crusts for generations. You can go with coconut or even vegetable oil but you will not have a tender, melt in your mouth crust. Another option is bought pie crusts which simply can be popped in the freezer when you need them. Can you use pie crust for crostata? I suppose you could but keep in mind that actual recipe does have sugar and butter in it. You may have to decrease the amount of sugar used in the pie filling. Now can the pie crust do triple duty for tarts and tartlets? No. Tarts and their little ones have a crust that requires egg yolks, sugar and vanilla along with butter.  As for handheld pies, the best option is a simple pie crust. This is the sturdiest and won't open, causing a filling spill out.

Since this is the time for apples, then make an apple pie.  What are the best for filling? A good bet is Granny Smith. These bright green, tart tasting gems make the best filling and are not overly also has a firm flesh which holds up well in baking. It also won't get mushy either. Another sturdy pome is the Winesap.It's a tart and spicy taste with  solid white flesh.  Can you use the same apples in crostatas? Not really. These open faced pastries require smaller sized apples like Galas but you could use the bigger ones if you're in a pinch. As for tarts, use the same as for the pies. Tarts are another intense bake so a good sturdy fleshed fruit is required. As for the extras, yes use the cinnamon but also have freshly ground nutmeg too. It adds more oomph to the pie. There's also brown sugar and lemon juice , the last added as a preservative. The crostata has a slightly different recipe. Some call for the addition of flour, usually a quarter of a cup. Also orange zest is used to give it some zing. As for the tarts, you can use the same filling recipe for the pie.

It's apple pie, crostata, tart and tartlet season. Make whichever appeals to you.Any one is great on a cool fall day, whether to make or to eat.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

A Vegan Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah is the period of reflection in the Hebrew calendar. For those thinking about their impact on the world and its' future, this may be a good time to ponder how your diet affects the planet.. Going vegan can be considered a mitsvah, a good deed stemming from religious duty. Will you miss the traditional brisket?  Not really. There are plenty of good meatless  recipes for the holiday.

As any one will tell you there is nothing like a brisket.It 's usually the star of the holiday table and a substantial one at that. Luckily Beyond Beef, the closest vegan thing to actual ground beef has come out with Beyond Meat. These are crumbles that can be molded into a loaf.What's the binder? A water soaked loaf of bread. You could make it as a regular meat loaf and then slice it. For a more symbolic meal mold the "meat" into the traditional fish head symbolizing prosperity and fruitfulness. Use almonds for the scales and olives for the eyes.This brings up the traditional fish dish. Some more progressive home chefs may want to think about serving a seaweed salad. Seaweed, itself, could symbolize abundance and life - considering it does sustain in times of famine.Another idea is filling individual acorn squash with the Beyond Meat crumbles mixed with pomegranates and chickpeas for more meatiness and sweetness. For a more savory vibe, nix the pomegranates and add a drizzle of tahini sauce to each squash.

What about sides in a Rosh Hashanah  vegetarian dinner? You could try concia, fried zucchini coins taken from the Roman Jews. These are marinated first in a mixture of vinegar, garlic, and mint , then set to soak for two hours to overnight. They're then fried in a light neutral oil. Use extra virgin light olive oil for the best results. Another flavorful side is braised leeks with thyme and pomegranate. The leeks are baked side by side with thyme sprigs  tucked between the stalks. A sauce of  olive oil, dry white wine and pomegranate syrups is drizzled over the whole dish and then baked for forty-five minutes. Keep in mind that leeks come from sandy soil so make sure that they're are soaked in salty water to draw out the grit. It may take a few rinses to get them completely dirt free. A fun dish that will definitely have family and friends talking is mock chopped liver. It's a mix of walnuts and button mushrooms to get that dark liver color, and it's zinged up with onions, balsamic vinegar and garlic. Serve on fancy crackers or even challah bread.As for the dessert, a traditional honey cake that uses applesauce as a binder for eggs.

Have a thoughtful Rosh Hashanah dinner by going vegan. It's a small but important gesture to save the planet. It's also a chance to enjoy vegetarian food with family and friends.

Friday, September 27, 2019

A Slew Of Recipes

The New York Times Food section this week was a veritable recipe book, chock full of good ideas and food combos. It's worth looking into, especially since it caters to carnivores, herbivores and everyone in between. You''re sure to find something that will appeal to you and your family.

One of the best articles in the issue comes from Emily Weinstein, Her vacation  - a lakeside house with a limited kitchen, inspired her to create a fast and easy cuisine. It starts with what she deems "power" ingredients like sausage which come already spiced and ready to cook. Her recipe combines them with mild Cubanelle peppers and tomatoes, The three are broiled with some olive oil, shallots and garlic. I can see this as the perfect week night dinner, served with rice or polenta. There is also her linguine and clam sauce, simply made with baby clams, white wine or vermouth and spiked with red pepper flakes. Egg lovers will love J. Kenji Lopez-Alt's Weeknight Cooking article on boiling the perfect egg.  The chef even had ninety-seven (!) volunteers come to his restaurant , Wursthall to test variously made hard boiled eggs. Steamed eggs are really the best and can be used in a variety of dishes. Of course there is egg salad, perfect for weekend lunches and deviled eggs for parties. You can also coarsely chop them for a different kind of vinaigrette - perfect for a salad Nicoise. Quartered ones are great as decorations with beans or veggies. Soft boiled eggs are great topping on braised veggies or beans.

Vegans will like Julia Moskin's "Vegetarian Lessons For The Ominvore Cook." She also garnered  tips from such vegan cooks such as Raque Pelzel, author of the  new cookbook, Unami Bomb and Rich Landau, chef of the famed Philadelphia Vedge.  Chef Pelzel recommends adding unami to it all to give flavor. Try smokey paprika, usually towards the end of cooking according to Israeli cookbook author, Adeena Sussman whose book Sababa is all about Israeli inspired food. The recipe Ms. Moskin offers is savory Thai noodles with Brussels sprouts. It's  Thai rice noodles combined with the sprouts , popular right now along with mung bean sprouts and roasted peanuts. A sauce  that's both sweet and spicy , made with brown sugar and red pepper flakes tops it, Another  vegan weeknight dinner is spiced seared eggplant with pearl couscous. It's a hearty combo of eggplant and diced tomatoes. Melissa Clark deals with lunchbox dilemmas. What do you give the kids? An interesting lunch  created from the dinner the night before. She takes inspiration from fellow mom, Allison, who uses the night before meal for the lunchbox treats the next day. Ms Clark  has a tasty ragu of chicken  with fennel and bacon for supper, she bakes that into empanadas the next day for a lunch break delight.

Go to The Times Food section online. Try any of these recipes for a tasty weeknight or weekend meal. Any one of them makes for a  delicious meal.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Pumpkin Time!!!

Pumpkins are everywhere as we edge into fall.They are one of the most versatile veggies, going from savory to sweet recipes with ease. It pays to have a few recipes  centering around them in your fall cooking arsenal.

I thought I had enough recipes regarding Cucurbita pepo, the Latin name for pumpkin. Obviously not.
I received this :
This is one of those mini cookbooks that every grocery check out has The publisher is Publications International Limited or PILThey have been producing specialized cookbooks for forty years.They're fun books to give as gifts like their kits and game brain series or buy if you're looking for more cookie or crock pot recipes. It seems my crew like my family's squash soup recipe so much that they want me to make more.  There is a wide variety for only forty-seven recipes. One of the pluses is that it's no nonsense. It's just recipes with a surprise section on maple syrup recipes as well. No cute or folksy tips or asides that usually riddle cookbooks. There should be a disclaimer however about the difference between pumpkin pie filling and pumpkin puree. The first is laden with sugar and pumpkin pie spices such as clove and cinnamon. It's only used in baking and puddings. The second is just pure pumpkin, perfect actually for sweet and savory recipes, although it's mostly used for the last.

There are a lot of interesting recipes that I didn't know about. One is a pumpkin polenta one  which is like a pumpkin soup thickened with the famed corn meal.It's spiced with smoky paprika and mace  and finished with the addition of fontina cheese.Of course there are soup recipes.One is a fiery blend of chipotle chili powder and black pepper. Three quarter cup of apple cider gives it sweetness. I definitely will make this , and serve with with tortilla chips. There is also a curried ginger pumpkin soup that's got a sweet heat vibe thanks to a dash of curry and a chopped Golden Delicious apple added in.The sweet recipes abound. A fun dessert would be the Maple Walnut Crescent Cobbler, made super easy with those frozen crescent rolls. Of course there are pumpkin pie recipes, one with maple the other with a pecan quinoa crust.Forget the Halloween candy. There is a pumpkin seed brittle I know I'll make. Those pumpkin cinnamon buns  on the cover look waaaayyyy too tempting. It's in their breakfast section. It's the same as a regular bun recipe but the dough has pumpkin and pumpkin pie spices . A less fattening alternative is Spiced Pumpkin Banana Smoothie.

There will be a lot of pumpkin and maple in my future thanks to the mini cookbook Pumpkin!  There are so many recipes I want to make and you'll see them in the upcoming weeks. It will be pumpkin fest!!!

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Dinner Around The World

Ever wonder what other people eat for dinner? The New York Times Food section did and published a fascinating pictorial of main meals and favorite dinners?Are there difference yes. Yet there are more similarities that unite us.

Food section reporters and  photographers, Sara Bonisteel, Kim Gougenheim and Lisa Dalsimer interviewed sixteen families from sixteen countries around the world. We find out what they cook and eat on a typical weeknight. There are no fancy or multi step holiday meals. These are just everyday ones, with locally sourced foods from their local groceries and markets.It really is an interesting window into what the world eats. The Levy family of Rehovot , Israel, a city not far from the Mediterranean, south of Tel Aviv, observed their Shabbot night meal with  Yemeni soup, chicken schnitzel and chraime. The last is a spicy Moroccan fish dish eaten by Sephardic Jews and it's served with rice and bread. The Charles family of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, use oranges and limes from their yard to marinate their lalo, a flavorful stew made with both beef and blue crab along with spinach and jute leaves. Do the French go all out with their weekday suppers?No. Home chef Marina Pajovic-Devouge serves leftover roasted chicken from the butcher around the corner and pairs it with couscous from a popular frozen food store Picard Suegeles. Her kids get cheese for dessert. Monterrey Mexico couple, Luis Leduc and Katia Barragan take turns cooking. Her turn had huevos revueltos, scrambled eggs served with chorizo and onions. dinner was shared with their daughter, Emma, and dog, Polly.

Good Italian cooking begins at home and that's how home chef , Claudia Bellucci ,from Rome works magic in creating saltimboca alla Romana. This is veal rolled with ham and sage, the herb coming from her balcony garden.There was also pesto with trofie pasta, made with basil along with baked tomatoes au gratin which her daughter Fiamma puts through a taste test. South Americans are notorious steak lovers and that was evident in the Guevara's of Lima,Peru's dinner. Jesus and Margot shared grilled steak along with corn and potatoes with their kids. They're lucky because they have a housekeeper who cooks and cleans up for them. Another lucky family who has a cook is the Osans of Gurgaon, India, a  thriving town, southwest of New Dehli, The family of four, usually eat around nine PM and enjoyed a meal of palek paneer, spinach with cheese, raita - a cooling yogurt and cucumber sauce and kadai aloo, potatoes with onions and spices.  Cucumber salad and chapatis round it out.  Food writer,Ozoz Sokoh of Lago , Nigeria shares a meal of plantain flatbread stuffed with chicken suya, a sweet and spicy dish, with her three children. There is also peanut butter sauce and papaya chutney. Other countries such as Australia, Russia, South Africa and Saudi Arabia. The two things missing? The US and recipes. It would have been nice to have some of them printed so US homes chefs can try them.

Dinner around the world is the same, no matter what the food and the nationalities. It's eating together and sharing good food and talk. It's the recipe that keeps families together.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Fall Cooking In A Heatwave

Yes, it is autumn. A time  for delicious roasts and elaborate sides, followed by elaborately baked desserts. Tell the temps that. Right now it is close to 90 degrees F where I am, The New York metro area is still clinging on to balmy days  - and hot kitchens.

This is the time to use the air fryer if you have one. It's a quick cook for anything, from vegan turkey cutlets to steaks. There's no turning on a stove  or standing over a stove top. Continue using your grill if you haven't put it away yet. (or you can just take it out of storage).Want a fall vibe? Glaze pork or chicken with a maple syrup that's spiked with ginger and soy sauce before grilling. It's too hot to cook acorn and butternut squash inside. Slice the squash , then brush the slices with olive oil. Put on a hot grill for a different and easy take on a fall classic. Save the grilled squash for salads. Add cherry tomatoes and mixed greens for a tasty lunch or supper.  Brussels sprouts are making a reappearance in grocery stores and farms. They're an easy cook, just steam or blanch. Yet they call be made into a chill salad mixed with granny smith apples, feta  and craisins. For more crunch and protein toss in some walnuts. They can be barbecued  in a foil pouch if you want a really easy cook.

Another fall heat wave must make is a hearty salad. It's a great meal after a day of gardening or to bring along to the beach or lake. Like any autumn dish,it needs to be rib sticking. Like any summer meal, it needs to be light with an airy flavor. Try mixing it up with kale and spinach if you spent the last three months existing on watercress and spring greens. Think about adding the ancient grain farro to give it a bit more weight. Farro can be cooked in a microwave for ten minutes.  Add some shredded carrots and onions along with almonds for protein. Another good salad to make during these balmy fall days is a kale and chicken one.To save time buy shredded rotisserie chicken from your local grocery. Acme sells this and it is a boon to anyone who doesn't want to roast a whole chicken (although you could do just that in your air fryer). Sliced avocados can be part of the mix along with the last of the vine ripe tomatoes. Any leftover steak? Sub that in for poultry.

The calendar may say fall but the temps scream summer. Combine the two season in a tasty combo of delicious and easy.It'll make for easy cooking and easy eating.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Plant Butter Versus The Real Thing

All this talk of planet abuse  and climate crisis has gotten some home chefs as well as professional ones to think about their cooking habits. Many feel that giving up meat and dairy will lower their carbon imprint. It will. The biggest hurdle is the idea of trying plant butters.

Guess what? They're the same. Use them.
I saw Country Crock's avocado oil based plant butter and decided to try it. I've already tried the faux beurre from Miyoko. Miyoko Schinner's plant butter is also a creamy sub in, and it's made from cashews, coconut and sunflower oils. It did have a lovely delicate taste but was a bit expensive and could only be found in Target. The Country Crock plant butters can be found in Stop & Shop and  not that expensive. Like regular butters they come four sticks to a package, perfect for baking and cooking.
As you can see, it's no different that the real deal.I've put in on a Popeye's biscuit and have used it in everything from sautes to topping the squash soup I made the other day. There was a very slight avocado taste when I first tried it but it's not that overpowering. I will be trying their almond oil based butter, definitely for butter cookies and homemade buttercream frosting. The texture will be the same so my frosting will still have that perfect creaminess.

It is time to think about how your eating habits are affecting our planet? Yes. You can start small by subbing in these plant based butters for the traditional dairy ones. 

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Kitchen Wants And Needs

Every home chef wants the perfect kitchen. It has to be perfect for cooking and baking, outfitted with the best equipment and appliances. Yet is all of it worth it?Or will it just be a room full of unused junk? What makes a kitchen want and kitchen need?

Writing about food makes one want every gadget and appliance under the sun. That's what happened to me. I read and saw what professional and home chefs have and instantly craved their gadgets and gewgaws. I still have a madeleine pan from four or five years ago. I really wanted to make them but never got around to making them. The recipe is very labor intensive, involving melting butter and high speed beating. Now I recently bought two doughnut pans, one for plain baked ones and the other for fancier ones. Will I use them? Hopefully.  Should home bakers have all these fancy pans? Yes, if you're really into baking. The pans and the molds are not that expensive and if you have the room go for them. What home bakers really need is two cookie sheets, especially around the holidays and for bake sales.Also a roll or two of parchment paper will always be needed, especially if you make a lot of meringues or meringue based desserts such as pavlovas and Eton mess.Do you need icing and cookie guns? Again if you do a lot of baking. Cookie guns are great for making those buttery bakery style cookies and they can create a variety of pretty shapes. Sturdy , long lasting loaf and cake pans are a must. One loaf pan will suffice while two or three simple cake pans are all you need.

What about those gadgets that are more or less like appliances? All home chefs should have a crock pot. That's a given.It's wonderful in making homemade tomato sauce and slow cooked chili.It's also good for making homemade soups and chowders like minestrone and corn chowder. Many have embraced the all encompassing Insta-Pot which is like a crock pot on steroids. Using it a lot will pay off the price which can range anywhere from $59.00 to $99.00, depending on the make and the store selling it. They can cook everything from pasta to pot roast. Some can even be used for baking  - a boon for those who have participate in bake sales and cookie exchanges. Assess your needs before springing for one. If you feel you need something that can do a lot freeing you from the kitchen , then buy one. However if it's just one or two people or you need slow cooking once or twice a month then opt for the crock pot. Air fryers are another popular kitchen must have. I'm a big fan of them , using mine at least three or four times a week. Air frying is a lot easier than oven roasting and stove top frying. My favorite part is the beeping timer , letting you know  when the food is done. Another plus is that air fryers cook in half the time of a regular oven.Get one. You won't regret adding it to your arsenal of gadgets. Now there are smaller versions of these pods , and they 're selling for only $29.99 at Target.

It's up to you to decide what you want and need for your kitchen. As with any purchase think about if it's a need or a want. If you can use it buy it. Make that your rule for future kitchen buys.

Friday, September 20, 2019

A Family Classic Updated

It's almost fall and that means zuppa di zucca, Piedmontese pumpkin soup. Nothing beats the mild sweet flavor married to cream, veggie broth and sauteed onions.Unfortunately there was one problem with finding the ingredients - no pumpkin. Luckily there were cubed butternut squash to sub in instead.
I used two packages of Stop & Shop's Nature's Promise butternut squash cubes and half a yellow onion. The last is crucial in forming the flavor . Chop it up and saute it in a mix of butter and olive oil. I used Country Crock's plant based butter with avocado oil. It does the trick in subbing in for butter when cooking.
Let the onion pieces sweat on a low flame while you make the broth. (if you're smart you'll buy the already made veggie broth. One less step to worry about.)
I used two cubes for two cups of water.
This is a quick boil and it will turn a golden brown color.
Add this and the two cartons of squash to the onions.
Squash takes about ten minutes to cook over a high heat. I steamed it , by putting the lid on top.The cubes cooked up pretty quick.
Then it's the time to use the immersion blender.
Except there was another problem to face. It didn't work  - possibly because I gave it a forbidden thorough washing when I was using it to make gazpacho almost on a weekly basis.. Sooooooo_
To give it that satiny, creamy texture I had to call in an old fashioned potato masher . This is what my Mom, Nonna and great-aunt,  used for decades when cooking their versions. I imagine my bisnonna - my great- grandmother -used something  similar too. ( immersion blender update - I ordered one right away from Target)
Then it was adding the milk, in this case almond milk.
Use a cup and a half of it to create the traditional creamy texture.
Was it as good ? I would have liked a creamier more satiny texture but the taste was exactly like my Mom's Nonna's and Great Aunt's. It was a vegan version but it tasted like the original recipe, traditionally made with chicken broth, cream or milk and real butter. I loved it and plan to make it again with my new (!) immersion blender. I may add rice which was another delicious variation of my great aunt's.

This is the perfect fall soup.Try it with either butternut squash or pumpkin puree for a rich flavorful bowl. It's a lovely way to celebrate the new season!

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Fall Food Trips

Most people think the autumn is the perfect time for traveling. It is - for both leaf peeping and food tasting. If you want to take a culinary vacation, now is the perfect  time to do it.It could be for a week or a weekend.

The idea was inspired by Tejal Rao's visit and review in yesterday's New York Times Food section She traveled from her Los Angeles home up to the  Napa Valley's three most famous restaurants, The French Laundry, the Restaurant at Meadowood and Single Thread. Anyone can recreate her trip, stopping to enjoy the traditional and lush meals at French Laundry, the clubby atmosphere of The Restaurant at Meadowood and the Japanese sparseness of Single Thread.  The Restaurant At Meadowood is part of the luxury hotel/spa so it's easy to stay and enjoy a short walk to the eatery.This is true for the Single Thread too, offering amenities you might find in a posh country German hotel in Kyoto. Keep in mind that whether you stay at this resort or a smaller place, the prices will be steep, especially at at popular destination like Napa. Check the internet for affordable inns . Also set a food budget for yourself. French Laundry's tasting menu is a whopping $310 a person for a tasting menu that includes a truffle dusted baked mac served in a golden egg.  Ms. Rao had the budget to try all three restaurant's expensive tasting menus, enjoying such dishes as corn custard with caviar and pecan oil at the Restaurant at Meadowood and fancy seasonal dishes as starters at Single Thread.

If this is too expensive for you, then think of cheaper destinations. US foodie towns are Boston, Chicago, and Philadelphia. There are some great fancy restaurants in these cities however Boston and Philly have food markets catering to all sorts of tastes. Boston's Haymarket, a favorite with the famous Brass Sisters of PBS"s Food Flirts, has an amazing array of locally sourced products and produce as well as Fair Trade ones. You can buy honey from the Boston Honey Company to fresh caught seafood at Red's Best. The city also boasts a host of good Italian restaurants in the city's North End. Visit Philly's Reading Terminal Market. This is one of the country's oldest , starting in 1893 and still thriving today.Foodies and gourmands can buy the best homemade sausages  from Martin's Specialty Sausage  and Pennsylvania brewed beers and even vodkas from Eight Oaks Craft Distillers. Europe beckons food lovers in the fall as well. It's truffle time in Piedmonte with restaurants in Torino and the countryside offering all sorts of dishes. Oktoberfest starts soon in Germany and fall is the perfect time to enjoy its' cities, especially Munich, the heart of the festival.. There are not only all sorts of craft and traditional beers to  sample but also a wide array of wursts, sauerkraut and pretzels. Go also for the amazing pastries like Black Forest Cake and hazelnut tortes.

Fall is travel time. It's perfect for taking a culinary based trip to experience new tastes and restaurants. Go for a vacation ans savor  it.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

New Cookbooks For A New Season

One of the best aspects about the colder weather coming is that home chefs feel like cooking and baking. The chillier temps also gets us curious and wanting to try all sorts of new recipes. What better way to try new dishes than a new cookbook. There are a slew of them recently published that will definitely expand a home chef's repertoire.

There are thirteen outstanding ones that the New York Times Food section writers recommend. Everyone from Tejal Rao to Melissa Clark and Julia Moskin weighed in. There are so many exciting and  different choices out there.If you're into international cooking then check out Maangchi's Big Book of Korean Cooking : From Everyday Meals To Celebration Cuisine (Rux Marten Publishing) written by Emily Kim, the YouTube cooking star who also goes by Maangchi. Occasional Food contributor, Martha Rose Shulman helped write this salute to Korean cooking with such dishes as tofu stews and dosirak - lunchtime meals for kids.Another stimulating one celebrating overseas cuisine is Sababa: Fresh, Sunny Flavors From My Israeli Kitchen (Avery Publishing) by former New Yorker, Adeena Sussman, an American food writer who moved to Tel Aviv, The cookbook came about thanks to her love of visiting the shuk or outdoor market.Middle Eastern flavors abound here. There are roasted carrots with a tahini and date syrup along with labneh with caramelized pineapple and sumac and baby lamb chops marinated in shug, a mix of green chiles, cardamon and cilantro sauce. Japanese cooking is also big thanks to Ivan Orkin and Chris Ying with their book The Gauin Cooking:Japanese Recipes From A Chef, Father, Eater and Lifelong Outsider (Rux Marten), There is the traditional gyoza dumplings and the not so traditional miso mushroom chili.

American cooking is also big in cookbooks this season. Toni Tipton-Marten's Jubilee: Recipes From Two Centuries of African-American Cooking (Clarkson Potter Publishing) is the follow up to The Jemina Code,an annotated bibliography of African American cookbook. Home chefs will love the recipe for pork chops smothered in caper-lemon sauce. Those who loved the famed San Francisco bakery, Tartine will go mad for Tartine :A Classic Revisited (Chronicle Publishing). Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson , creators of the baking empire have included a whopping sixty-eight new recipes along with their classic ones like the good morning buns. For those home chefs who love Tex-Mex cooking Ama :A  Modern Tex-Mex Kitchen (Chronicle Publishing) features vegan dishes such as cashew based queso with the flavors of charred onion garlic and  green chile. Chef Josef Centeno, used his recipes popular in his LA restaurants. Novice cooks will love such help books as Nothing Fancy: Unfussy Food For Having People Over  (Clarkson Potter) written by Food's Alison Roman. She offers labne with sizzled scallions along with pep talks.Other cookbooks feature Evan's Funk's American Sfoglino (Chronicle ) along with Diana Henry's From The Oven To The Table:Simple Dishes That Look After Themselves (Mitchell Beazley).Go to the Times Food section to see the entire list.

This is the season to test out  recipes.  Buy one or two of these cookbooks and expand your repertoire. It's a fun time to try new dishes and ingredients.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Your Fall Kitchen Must Have Apples

One of the most versatile must haves this season is the apple. It can be used in both sweet and savory dishes, along with being a healthy snack. Consider it for all sorts of recipe from main to sides to dessert.

Every September I devote at least one post to this Swiss army knife of fruits. It can be used in many savory dishes. Keep in mind that there are so many different varieties and choosing the right kind for the right recipe is crucial. The US alone has 2,500 (!) different kinds with Red Delicious and Granny Smith being the most popular. Don't sub in one apple for another if the recipes says so. This mostly applies to the baking ones. If you're still in the dark then head to the website, that parses out everything about the fruit. It's from Washington State , a state vital to apple production and known for its' beautiful orchards. It's a great site that even explains the different types origins and what they're good for. Apples are great foils for pork recipes because their sweetness gives a boost to the meat's earthy unami's flavor. Slice up any kind, Gala for sweetness or the Granny Smiths for tartness. Apples are also the best ingredient for pork roast too. Can they be used with any other meat? Only chicken. They can be braised and sauteed with them. For a fancier dish , consider making Chicken Normandy, a Northern French dish that combines apples and with the lush combo of brandy and cream.

Of course apples are great in salads too. I love them with simple mixed greens, almonds and Craisins for a sweet side to tarragon chicken salad. If you have any leftover rotisserie chicken add it to the salad to make for a filling lunch. You can enhance the apple flavor with an apple cider vinaigrette or just a tiny bit of apple cider. Again apples and apple cider are key ingredients in fall baking. It also pays to have a small jug of cider in the fridge too. It's a nice refreshing drink but also makes for a zesty ingredient in doughnuts, cakes, and even muffins.It enriches the baked goods' crumb, going from yellow to a deep golden hue and adds a lovely fruity flavor . Some recipes will call for apple molasses or boiled apple cider. This is easy to make. It's a centuries old technique that requires pouring two gallons of apple cider (more or less) into a large non-reactive stockpot. This means using one that's either glass, copper, stainless steel but NOT aluminum. Boil down until there's only half left and then store in sterilized bottles (you can use your old wine ones). This syrup can be used in both baking and glazes as well as in barbecue sauces and meat glazes. It will keep in a cool dry place for months  - although it probably won;t last long if you're a prolific baker.

Apples are a key ingredient in both sweet and savory autumn dishes. Have a bowlful along with a jug of cider handy for all your cooking and baking needs. They are a must for tasty cool weather dishes and treats.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Your Fall Pantry Guide

It's time to rethink and restock your pantry and fridge now that fall is just around the corner. What do you need for cooking and baking? What  veggies should you be buying right now

? There's a whole list of ingredients that you'll need as the temps drop.

Of course pumpkin spice is everywhere, from lattes to even dish washing soap. It's basically a mix of the spices used in pumpkin pie - ground ginger and cinnamon. Each on their own is vital to fall cooking. Ground ginger can be used to give zing to pork chops and roast chicken. It can be used as a rub or part of one for wings and drumsticks and even part of breading for cauliflower. Ground ginger can also be used in sweet recipes and elevates ordinary muffins , cakes and cookies. Cinnamon is the quintessential fall spice. This ground bark from the canella tree graces everything during the cooler months.It's a must for autumn baking and you should be buy a larger containers that hold 8.75 ounces (McCormick sells these in all the grocery stores). You'll definitely use it for at home baking but it will also probably be used to make cinnamon rolls and spices cookies for school bake sales. Another fall must have is the herb sage. It's used in homemade dressings along with flavoring for chicken. Combine it with browned butter for a sauce for pumpkin or squash ravioli.

As far as veggies, what should you stock up on? The aforementioned pumpkin and squash.It pays to have one or two cans of pumpkin puree(don't confuse it with pumpkin pie filling which has sugar an all those spices in it).Yes, it can be used for pies and even tartlets, but the mash has a savory side too. Combined with chicken or vegetable broth and sauteed onions, it's the Piedmontese zuppa di zucca. This is a great soup to make on a Saturday or Sunday night. Remember that pumpkin puree can be used for ravioli filling too if you're into making homemade pasta. You could buy fresh pumpkins too but there's a lot of work involved gutting them and making your own puree. Sub in those summer zucchinis now with acorn and butternut squashes. These are easy to make and one half of one makes for an excellent, filling side. Acorn squash can also be mashed similar to potatoes. Turn the leftovers into puffs or croquettes.Brussels sprouts are on the scene again. Home  and commercial chefs alike love them. They can be turned into crispy chips or served whole, parboiled, topped with melted butter and Parmesan cheese.

These are some of the more vital ingredients you'll need this fall. Stock your pantry and fridge with them. They're important in autumn cooking and baking.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Your Apple Picking Picnic

Apple picking season is upon us. What's better than a fun family activity along with a picnic? It's a chance to enjoy fresh air, fun and food.

Before you go , check out the farm you've selected. Some, like Delicious Orchards in Colt's Neck, New Jersey has an entire store where you can pick up food for your outdoor meal. Buy rolls along with cold cuts for sandwiches and eat at the farm's picnic area. A few farms strictly forbid bringing food on the premises. If that's the case , there are usually scenic overlooks and parks nearby where you can eat. Research thoroughly before you go. Once you've decided, then think about what to bring. Sandwiches are always a great start. Use any cold cuts or create a carry along charcuterie platter. This can be a smaller version of what['s served at parties or lunches. Have three different kinds of cured meat, like salami , mortadella and sopprasutta along with a small loaf of crusty ciabatta bread. Add some olives and cheese cubes for the kids. Bring flavored mineral water such as San Pellegrino carbonated water for a refreshing change of pace.

Another open air idea is buying a whole roast chicken along with salads. This may be a bit more involved because you also  have to carry along containers and plates. Still, it's a nice idea and a bit different than just sandwiches and chips.The one good thing is that it's a whole meal eaten before everyone starts the physical work of scouting out trees and picking apples. No one wants to make or even go out for a full dinner after an afternoon of labor. Energy boosters are a must as bring alongs. It keeps the kids from lagging and they're a nice break for both young and old.Fruit roll ups are the best bet. They're easy to pack and store in pockets.Another handy one are the yogurt pouches and squeezers. These provide protein and are filling. Sunflower and pumpkin seeds are also tasty and chock full of vitamins. Of course there are the apples themselves.Just make sure you have water in the car to wash off whatever the farmers have sprayed on the fruit. Make sure you have plenty of chilled water. You'll be hot and thirsty out there under a late summer or early fall sun.

Have a fun weekend , picking apples with the family.Make it even more special with an outdoor lunch. Bring a picnic basket and enjoy the day - and time together!

Friday, September 13, 2019

Our Own Central Perk

Friends nostalgia is sweeping the country, especially here in the New York area. As we know, the beloved comedy was set in Manhattan and debuted this much a quarter of a century (gasp!!!) ago.Monica, Phoebe, Ross, Rachel, Chandler, and Joey hung out at a hip downtown coffee shop, Central Perk. It turns out there's one here in Bergen County, in Hasbrouck  Heights, New Jersey. It's the KTB  -Sean Ryan Coffee Shop , located at the southern end of the town's busy Main Street,

It is a trendy , eclectically decorated place, usually filled with Hasbrouck Heights (or the Heights as we locals call it) high schoolers. It's a great meeting place with a game cupboard - full of really neat ones like the classic Monopoly and Yahtzee. These are for all ages - and a great way of passing a rainy Saturday or Sunday afternoon.

The cafe also has poetry readings on Tuesday where young artists can showcase their work. The cafe also highlights jazz groups too for a night of good music and good coffee.

 There are cozy clusters like this, tables for two and longer, Baroque dining room tables surrounded by a variety of fancy, ornately carved dining room chairs. The decor reminds of the famed Raffiela's in lower Manhattan.

                                         These are some of the pastries they sell
There are plain and chocolate croissants as well as apple turnovers. Check out the generous crumb cake squares that can be shared. Individual cake slices as well as tiramisu  can also be bought.There is also a good variety of different macaroons, from chocolate ganache to red velvet.

 KTB also has a large variety of breakfast dishes such as omelets and French toast along with lunch dishes such as vegan and meat paninis and pitua bowls.
Of course being a coffee shop there is also a variety of coffees and teas. Their Arnold Palmer is perfect on a hot day, served in a mason jar, Southern style. Their cappuccino is huge, served in a cup , more of a bathtub.
The cappuccino was strong  - and generous. The macaroons, chocolate and red velvet were a bit too sweet - not what I 'm used to. It would be nice if KTB offered big and small cupcakes as well as different types of cookies too. Maybe their North Arlington branch has these. It would be worth visiting just to see what they have.

If you want your own version of Central Perk, then come to KTB in Hasbrouck Heights. Visit during the day for a quiet coffee or tea or head to it in the evening for jazz and poetry readings. It's a nice escape for you and your friends.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Rethinking Traditional Cuisines

One of the hallmarks of a good and creative chef is taking traditional recipes and giving them a new spin. Being this  daring means thinking outside the box. Chef Ann Kim has done this and with interesting results. Doing such has made her an up and coming bright star on the American culinary scene.

She was the subject of an extensive article in yesterday's New York Times section, written by Brett Anderson, restaurant critic and food writer. Chef Kim is a rebel of sorts, one with an interesting back story. Her family came from  South Korea and went to Columbia University. She didn't go the expected route of business, law, or medicine but chose acting instead. This did not go over well with her parents who disowned her for the choice. It did take off with Chef Kim landing parts in the most respected theater companies including Minneapolis' famed Guthrie Theater. Those paid off her student loans but left her feeling unfulfilled. Being Asian left her with limited and pigeon holed roles. Luckily she turned to  cooking . She referenced that turn of career in an emotional acceptance speech  when she won the James Beard award. Her first restaurant, eatery was Pizzeria Lola, a nod to her growing up  as one of the few Asians in a predominantly white suburb. This has fusion pies, with tomato sauce mixing with kim chi in her Lady Zaza pie and barbecue Korean beef ribs paired with arugula and scallions in another . Diners can finish with all American classics such as soft serve ice cream she and her sisters loved during their trips to McDonald's and chocolate chip cookies and milk.Her other pizzerias are Yong Joni and Hello, the last featuring New York slice and sandwich in Edina,  Minnesota

Now she is opening up Sooki and Mimi's , named for her maternal grandmother and her "adopted" American grandmother, mother of her white Minnesotan uncle. Mimi or Thelma Lange also sponsored the Kim family when they came from Korea in 1977. Her grandmother continued all the traditions including the culinary ones of making kimchi and gochujang, Korean chili paste. Mimi wanted Ms. Kim and her sister to do the opposite - assimilate. She took them to the orchestra and Children's Theater, along with reading books in their suburban town of Apple Valley. One would think the restaurant would be another fusion pizzeria No!!!! Chef Kim is opening up a taqueria inspired eatery thanks to her trip to Valle de Guadalup, Mexico. She tasted handmade heirloom blue corn tortillas that moved her to tears. The restaurant doesn't have a Latino sounding name , for fear of pigeonholing it and the menu will never be exclusively south of the border. She promises a dish with gravlax and lefse, Norwegian potato bread - a nod to the heavily Scandinavian population and possibly even churros - undoubtedly with a twist.

Chef Ann Kim's thinking outside the box has made her the country's most innovative chefs. Her new restaurant will surely be a hit. The dishes will be a marriage and salute to all sorts of different cuisines, from traditional to fusion.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Inclusion Dining

As a country we are more divided as ever - unlike how we were eighteen years ago. Tragedy brought us solidarity that was inclusive of everyone.We banded and bonded together, sharing hearts and help. We can still be more together - even if it's in the small act of eating out.

Here's a challenge to anyone out there, but especially here in the States. Eat at a restaurant whose cuisine is new to you. It can be any kind , from Ethiopian to American. It's a way of not only supporting your local businesses but also also expanding your and your family's palates. Nowadays it's easy , thanks to the internet. Should you read the Yelp or any other reviews? That's up to you. One, the site does point out an eatery's best dishes and what you should try. On the other hand, you may find a sour review or two. Ignore those. What some people may find not to their tastes may be fine for another.  The best way to glean info is to visit the restaurant's website, As we all know there will be the menus and some will even have the dishes explained along with the ingredients. It's a good way to show the kids what  they can order and pick out what may appeal to them before going. You can also try a take out before visiting there for a lunch and dinner. Get a sampler so favorites can be established.

Where should you go first?If you live near any big city or town, then you know there will be ethnic neighborhoods with restaurants catering to locals. These are probably the most authentic , with foods and beverages made exactly as they would be back home. I 'm fortunate to live only two towns away from Paterson, New Jersey. It has always been an ethnically diverse town thanks to the silk industry drawing in silk weavers from Piedmonte, Italy, Lyons, France and Damascus, Syria.The last is still a strong influence and thanks to it, discovered my new found love of Middle Eastern food. It's a city that has everything from Turkish and Syrian to South American. There are even a hot dog stands that have been there for almost 100 years and still family owned. What about the suburbs? Strip malls. These have some of the best privately owned cafes and restaurants from Indian to Taiwanese. They often have lunch time buffets where you can sample all their top dishes along with coupons in your local Val Pack. Take advantage of both.

A day our enemies thought would divide us brought us together. We should do the same now, even if it's trivial as trying out a new cuisine. It not only expands our palates but our hearts as well.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Easing Into Fall Cooking

 Don't put away the grill and cold salads just because a few leaves have fallen and school has started.It's still summer, albeit with slightly nippy mornings and evenings. It's just a matter of easing into fall cooking and combining the best of the two seasons.

There may still be warm days and evenings ahead. Go ahead and barbecue those cuts your family loves. You can still have chicken legs and hamburgers but add a fall spice like ground star anise , turmeric or sage. The last is an autumn staple, appearing mostly in Thanksgiving stuffing. Sage traditionally goes with poultry and smoked sage will infuse the chicken meat with a lovely ,  citrus-y note. Mix it with rosemary and add to any hamburger for a more autumnal spin on a hot weather classic. One fall dish, roast turkey can easily be cooked over wood chips.Use the breasts instead of the whole bird. For a bit more fun think about turkey legs.Don't fret over trying to find them. Most Wal-marts and Shop-Rites have them. Since the turkey flavor is so unique, just baste with melted butter, sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Just these alone will make for a nice crispy exterior. What to serve with it? You can buy jarred gravy or use any frozen stuff from the holidays. Add homemade stuffing and a salad featuring craisins  - dried cranberries for a tasty Saturday supper or Sunday lunch.

One fall comfort food is meat loaf. Unfortunately to cook or bake it, requires a hot oven which can be uncomfortable on a warm day.Luckily this is another recipe that is grill friendly. Spray the grill with non stick cooking spray so the loaf won't stick and get messy, You can even add half a cup of barbecue sauce to the  mix for a tangy bite. A fun spin would be serving sliced meat loaf on hamburger buns. Add the same fixings you would a regular hamburger.  Pile with bacon, tomatoes, and lettuce. Add onion slices and avocados or even a slice of sharp cheddar. Grilled foods call for salads. By now you're probably sick of the mayo soaked macaroni ones. Again use the grill to create tasty ones with a rich smoky flavor. Try late season corn and tomatoes for a flavorful one.It's easy to char both on a grill, then scrape the niblets off the ears. Mix with the tomatoes along with a tasty lime vinaigrette. If you want to make it more substantial, add the Mexican cheese, queso fresco which is like feta cheese and sliced avocado. A more fallish one is simply butter lettuce with apple slices and walnuts. Use different types like Fuji and Granny Smith for color and crunch. A simple apple cider vinaigrette works with this.

Ease into fall cooking by combining the ingredients of both seasons. Use and pair cool weather ingredients with hot weather techniques. It makes for tasty meals with both a summer and autumn vibe.

Monday, September 9, 2019

New Life For Old Food

How do you feel about buying food sold a day before its' sell by date? Would you be leery  and pass it up? Or buy it if it was offered at a really deep discount? That's the new question at European food stores.

Today's Monday New York Times Business section featured the article written by David Segal. The idea intrigued me. The one store,  The S-Market in Valila, Finland has what it calls a "happy hour". It doesn't revolved around half priced drinks but half priced merchandise. The only catch is that the  food usually gets discounted only hours before its' expiration date. Items that would be considered unsellable here in the States goes on sale at the nine hundred S-Market stores throughout Finland.It does make sense to try to  move it and avoid waste. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations one third of the food produced and packaged for human consumption is tossed. what a waste, considering there are soup kitchens and families, especially struggling ones who would appreciate affordable foods.This waste costs a whopping 680 billion dollars along with filling landfills with rotting , methane producing overage.

Luckily this isn't the case in most supermarkets here in the States. Stop & Shop offers day old and two day old veggie packs that still can be used in everything from salads and sides. The store also packages up cold cuts sliced from what's left of hams and London Broils along with what's left over from chicken and turkey breasts. There's a similar policy regarding their baked goods too. Some supermarkets and fast food chains will let workers take home what's left over from the day, whether free or with a very deep discount.A lot of times, however food pantries will get the nearly expired foods. A new concept is salvage grocery stores which sells what's known as "lightly expired" foods. There are cheaper pastas and even dairy products such as ice cream and butter.Of course there are frozen foods. As we all know they can last for months and even a year if they're properly stored.The only product that may be questionable is frozen dough. It does get tough and crusty with age. Hopefully the salvage grocery store will come to Europe. Right now there are the S-Market in Finland and REMA 1000 in Denmark which has cut down on buy three for the price of two bulk selling.  The last is the baby of Selina Juul, a Russian born Dane who is a champion of zero food waste. There are also apps  such as Too Good To Go which gives users discounts to 25,000 restaurants in eleven country.

Salavaged food will be much more than a trend. It will be a way of life as we all help to combat overage and the damage it does. Don't be leery of day old or lightly or almost expired foods. Just buy them.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Air Fryer Pigs In Sticky Blankets

The cookbook, Two Peas And Their Pod had a recipe for pigs in blankets. It inspired me to create my own vegan air fryer ones.

It starts with crescent rolls . Before you buy the roll, check the expiration date. I didn't and found that mine was only two weeks from expiring. .The dough turned out OK to eat but it was dry and crusty.
I used the Lightlife brand which is the closest to real hot dogs, and of course, Pilsbury crescent rolls,
You can see the crustiness which means old dough. Use a newer  or fresher tube.
It's then cutting the dogs in half and rolling them up in the entire triangle.
The yield was eight piggies in blankets .Some rolled out OK, some didn't. 
Here's the tricky part. Getting the time and temp right. I looked through a few web sites and decided to use my own judgement.
Four minutes - not enough
330 degrees F. what most of the websites recommended.
After four minutes, the piggies looked like this - a golden brown.
There was one problem. The bottoms were still raw and sticky. They had to be turned and air baked (?) for another three minutes.
They're a lovely golden brown here yet still the tiniest bit sticky. I did spray vegetable oil spray over the entire basket. The next time I 'll use the recommended cut out parchment paper. I think they'll be no stickiness and evenly baked bites.
The end result was tasty, especially with a dip of Grey Poupon mustard.
I loved the crusty ,crunchy blanket and the dogs were well cooked. I may try something like this with vegan chicken strips.

This is a fun weekend dish. Again, you can follow Two Peas And Their Pod Cookbook or any air fryer website. The result is a tasty vegan piggie in the sticky blanket.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Two Peas Welcome You To Their Pod

Rare is the cookbook that appeals to both vegetarians and carnivore. Rarer still is that it's welcoming as an old friend and inviting as a much loved neighbor. Yet that's exactly what Two Peas And Their Pod Cookbook (Grand Central Publishing 2019) is. This is the must have cookbook for both experienced and novel home chefs.It has everything in it to create warm, homey meals everyone will love.

The book was written by vegetarian Maria Lichty with the help of her omnivore husband , Josh. It's based on their popular website of the same name.It mostly caters to parents. The Lichtys themselves have two little boys who figure prominently in both the blog and the book.Maria and her husband have pages dedicated to cooking with kids of all ages and what jobs to give them at different stages of their kitchen experience.I love this book. It has some of the best recipes I've seen in a long time along with endless pages of advice. There's also a sweet homeyness to it, reminiscent of Chip and Joanna Gaines give and take on their TV show. Fixer Upper. The chapters are slightly different than the average cookbook. There is one devoted to nothing but cookies!!!One of the most important is the one entitled "Helpful Things". This is a definite must read. There is a list of kitchen gear and gadgets that every kitchen needs to have along with his and her lists of the gadgets they can't live without. Maria shows how to organize the room with a pictorial. Tips on kitchen staples and the shelf life of spices are also included.Unlike other cookbooks the Lichtys also include grocery shopping tips.I like the fact that they recommend buying store brands instead of national ones and always taking a well crafted list. Check out the whole section on different types of parties at the back of the book.

The recipes are amazing. I love the vegan ones and will definitely be trying those out.There is spaghetti squash with broccolini, tomatoes and garlic bread crumbs, the perfect Saturday night meal with friends along with veggie full fried rice. The last is a great way of using left over rice and bringing in a slew of veggies to the dinner table. Josh brings meat recipes to the book. Chicken lovers will enjoy the chicken taquito recipe that also feature's Maria's favorite guacamole recipe.For the little ones Josh's sister , Whitney gives her crunchy and fun coconut chicken fingers. On the healthy side there is  grilled salmon with mango-avocado salsaThe sides are very tasty looking and two or three together could also provide an all veggie meal.There are also chapters dedicated to homemade soups and mouthwatering salads. - the last are another group of recipes I want to make. Then there is that whole chapter dedicated to COOKIES!!!!! Maria is a big cookie fan so there are all types listed. Of course there are chocolate chip cookies dusted with Malden sea salt for a sweet-savory kick and triple chip chocolate cookies. A great holiday cookie would be  her easy frosted sugar cookies. Of course there is a dessert section ripe with cakes and galettes. There is even an opening section on breakfasts that feature bars and breads like the chocolate banana one that would make for fun desserts. She honors her dad with his cinnamon roll recipe.

Buy Two Peas And Their Pod Cookbook now. This is a great must have for any kitchen library. It is chock full of good advice.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

The Truth About Olive Oil

Every home kitchen should have a bottle of extra virgin olive oil.Every home chef should know how to use and store it.Yet, many don't. There are many truths and myths regarding this vital ingredient.What's true and what's not.

Food section regular Julia Moskin explored this in yesterday's New York Times Food section.Olive oil has been used in Italian American kitchens for close to 130 years however it was as late as 1980 when the extra virgin kind hit the American culinary scene.Myths and stories came with it,You can't use it for deep frying.Forget everyday cooking.It's liquid gold.Hoard it and only use it to drizzle on a Sunday salad.None of these are true, save for the liquid gold part.It was too expensive for home chefs to use willy - nilly. Luckily the price has fallen over the last almost forty years however the demand for it has grown globally. Yet it still should be treated with respect. It is fragile and perishable, sensitive to light and heat.It degrades as soon as it's exposed to light and will not improve with age as does its companion vinegar.Once opened, it will only maintain its'  flavor for three to four weeks.

This is what makes olive oil special and a lot more tastier than vegetable oil. As Nicholas Coleman,a  trained olive oil taster, and the former olive oil specialist for New York's Eataly, says it's more of a raw juice - which it is. It's pressed from a fruit and not a nut.Home chefs have to understand this and have to use it more often. DO not let it languish in the cupboard and pantry.Many home chefs may blanch at this, claiming that using too much in a recipe may make the dish overly oily and greasy. No.Its' natural herbaceousness accents the foods' flavors much like lemon juice and salt do.It has a vibrancy and cleanliness.It will heighten the dish, bringing it to new levels. It can be used for deep frying with a smoke point of an amazing 400 degrees. Keep in mind that olive oil will go bad. The most obvious sign is the smell. Rancid oils can smell fishy, soapy or just plain stale. Some professionals will even say that there's a winy odor, due to mold and fermentation. The taste can be tannic which is sometimes confused with fresh oil's peppery flavor. How can you tell? Heat up a small amount of it, and pour into hot soup. Fresh or newly opened oil will have a strong olive or even artichoke aroma.

Extra virgin olive oil is a kitchen must have. Use it often and generously. It makes for delicious cooking, whether used hot or cold.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

A Delicious New Season

Autumn in New York is amazing.It's Fashion Week and a variety of film festivals.It 's the start of the new season at Lincoln Center.The temps  go down and the humidity dissipates.Best of all, it's a new season of new restaurants and menus.There are new spins on classic recipes and new dishes by famed chefs.

The New York Times Food section highlighted this in their section today.Regulars such as Julia Moskin and Florence Fabricant interviewed chefs  as well as acquiring a sneak peek into the culinary scene.none of the most intriguing is the arrival of new food markets. The city is following in Boston's Chicago's and Philadelphia's footsteps.Food halls cater to a variety of tastes.There is no snobbery there with fancy foods and fancier prices.Chelsea Market , the first and oldest of all the city's food hall is expanding. A division of Black Seed Bagels,Black Seed Appetizers will open.There is also the brand new 8sia will have such stalls as Rice On! and Debutea which will serve bubble teas as well as fruit and even cheese teas. Two others,The Market Line and The Deco  Wil have smaller shops offering inter national fare.

Foodies and gourmets will enjoy the opening of several new restaurants. Davide, named for Davide Sorrento, a young Italian photographer who died in 1997, will be run by father-son chef duo,Larry and Marc.They will be introducing pinsa,an oval Roman flatbread made with a variety of toppings not unlike pizza. Australian chef,Sean Hergatt reimagines  classic American recipes in his new eatery, Vestry in the Dominick Hotel,in Hudson Square. Famed chef, Alfred Portale, the chef and partner of the famed Gotham and Grill strikes out on his own with Portale, a salute to his Italian-American heritage.Manhattan chefs are also making moves . Victoria Blamey is taking over for Chef Portale The The Gotham Bar and Grill.She is changing everything from recipes to even the cutlery and China.

New York in the fall is a magical time.Enjoy all it has to offer on a culinary level.It is a tasty kalaidoscope  of flavors and dishes.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Meet The Parents

Parents of new students always have questions and qualms about their kids' classmates and their folks.One of the way to alleviate those anxieties is by having a get together  where everyone can get to know each other.

This type of get together is a great idea just remember that this month can be a busy one.An excellent time is either dinnertime Saturday or Sunday.These are perfect for meet and greets.The day's activities are over and done with and everyone is more relaxed.Invite grandparents and siblings too.Since it's still summer, (and will be for the next three weeks) think about eating outdoors.Barbecues are fun and great icebreakers.Just keep in mind guests' dietary restrictions,beliefs and allergies.It's fine if you go all vegan.Boca Burgers and Gardein have excellent tasting burgers that are sure to be crowd pleasers .Also think about veggie dogs too.Morningstar Farms are tasty.The Lightlife brands are very close to the actually ones both in taste and texture. Set up a fixings bar with sliced tomatoes and onions, lettuce and pickles along with different sauces and condiments.If you want, ask the other parents to bring their favorite dishes.It'll be culinary comfort for their kids but also helpful in expanding their palates.

Another idea is having an all inclusive dinner where everyone brings a dish celebrating their heritage.This involves making lists and e mailing each other to make sure there are no duplicates.Also ask everyone to list their ingredients to make sure allergy sensitive kids are safe.Having different recipes will definitely liven up the meal. A fun extra would be having the kids describe the dishes, the history and family connection. This idea can also extend to desserts too.Again, remember dietary restrictions and allergies.There can be all sorts of fun sweets, from baklava from Greece and the Arabic influenced countries to the Indian gulab juman, doughnuts.Of course you could make all natural popsicles using pureed fruit such as late season berries and peaches.Apple slices dipped in cinnamon are another healthy and delicious end, loved by adults and kids alike! End with goodie bags filled with all natural lollipops and school essentials such as fun shaped erasers, crayons and pencil sharpener.

Meet the parents with a fun get together.New friendships will be forged and not just between the kids.It's really is a great way of getting to know other classmates and their families.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Labor Day Laborers

We celebrate laborers only today yet we should honor them all year round.Keep in mind that disregard, whether they're working at a sunscreen shack , or chain restaurant, are on their feet for eight hours a day .Some are working six day weeks or the overnight shift.Tip them an extra two or three dollars .Remember them also at Christmas time along with your favorite chefs.

Grocery workers such as those deli meat sliders and bakers should also get respect.Compliment them every time you visit. Check out clerks also deserve kindness.One, they're on their feet for six to seven hours with only a fifteen minute break, and two, they're being replaced by self check-outs. Treat them kindly, take the surveysa about them on line ,and write glowing letters about them to their store managers.They will appreciate it,

All workers around the US and the world should be remembered all year round not just today.They work hard everyday.Kee