Dec 28, 2007

TRUFFLES


Truffles are a rare and delicate type of edible mushroom that grow mainly in France, and Italy; truffles are also collected in the United States in Oregon and Washington.

The truffle has been described as: diamond of cookery, fairy apple, black queen, gem of poor lands, fragrant nugget, black pearl, holy of holies for the gourmet.

Truffles grow underground among the roots of oak, elm, chestnut, pine and willow trees where they form a symbiotic relationship with their environment.

To date, no one has been able to cultivate truffles: they grow randomly in certain regions (44 – 46 degrees north latitude). The more truffle oak seedlings are planted, the more chances exist for harvesting some.

There are three types of truffles – black, grey, and white. Black truffles generally come from France, white from Piedmont and Umbria, Italy and grey can be found in North America.

Pigs, trained dogs and goats are used to sniff out truffles, which grow below the ground.


Truffles produce a chemical almost identical to a sex pheromone found in male pig's saliva. Sensing this odor prompts mating behavior in the female pigs as they rut and try to get at the buried truffles.

People have been eating truffles for almost 4,000 years.

In France, the truffle commerce has always been secretive. Truffle “hunters” try to avoid the taxman as much as drug dealers. Of course, black truffles found only in southeastern Var and Perigord regions of France are very expensive. They are rare (depending on weather condition, can become even rarer) and very time consuming to find. They grow underground (30cm) and must be “hunted.”



These days a kilo costs US $800 in French markets. By the time we get them in North America the price may be as high as $1,500 to $1,800, pending on store location, and fame of the establishment.


In 1892, French truffle production was about 1,000 tons.

Today average production is below 100 tons.


Truffle History
http://3quarksdaily.blogs.com/3quarksdaily/2007/02/shrooming_in_la.html
Pasta alla Chitarra con Fungi
http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/recipe/

Truffled Bresaola Salad
http://members.tripod.com/~BayGourmet/truffles.html#bresaola

Dec 16, 2007

Seared Tuna With Roasted Red Pepper Sauce


3 tbsp olive oil
2 lbs tuna steak
1 ½ cup roasted red peppers (from water-packed jar)
1/4 cup chicken broth
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp minced fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 green onion
Salt and ground black pepper


In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Season both sides of the
tuna with salt and pepper. Add the tuna to the skillet and cook for 2 ½
minutes per side, until almost cooked through (the fish will be pink in the
center, so cook it longer if you want it well done).

In a blender, combine the roasted red peppers, chicken broth,
lemon juice,ginger, garlic and green onion.
Process until the mixture is smooth.

Spoon the sauce over the tuna just before serving.

Serves 4

Dec 8, 2007

Side Dishes

Cooking Humor


I'm such a lousy cook my cat only has three lives left.

When we go on a picnic, the ants bring Rolaids.

I don't throw anything out. Last year the Health Department condemned my refrigerator.

Nov 26, 2007


Brussels Sprouts : How To Choose

Good quality Brussels sprouts should be bright green, without yellowing or discoloration, and have a firm texture.

The butt end may be slightly discolored, but should not be dark.

Brussels sprouts should be sweet and mild in flavor when cooked. Bitterness varies among cultivars and is associated with high concentrations of specific glucosinolates (sinigrin and progoitrin). Bitterness can also be induced by storage conditions.



Brussels Sprouts: Preparing and Cooking

Thoroughly soak in cold water and drain before using. Remove any discoloured or damaged outer leaves and trim stem ends. Scoring lightly with an "X" will promote even cooking.

They may be steamed, boiled, microwaved or stir-fried. Don't cook too long - it's important to stop the cooking process before you can detect a sulphurous smell.

You can also cream them, serve with melted butter and splash of lemon juice, or enhance with almonds, buttered bread crumbs or a cheese sauce.

Combining Brussels sprouts with chestnuts alongside turkey is a holiday favorite in England.

Brussels sprouts can also be included in vegetable soups, stir-frys and, grated raw, in salads.

Nov 24, 2007

Leftover Turkey Chili


3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 seeded red bell pepper, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
1 28-oz. can tomatoes, broken up
1 can red kidney beans
4-5 cups cooked turkey, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
juice of one lime
1 cup Monterey jack cheese, shredded


In a large saucepan or skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Saute onion, garlic, celery, peppers and seasonings over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes.

Add tomatoes and simmer gently for 20 minutes.

Add the kidney beans and simmer for 5 more minutes.

Stir in cooked turkey and cook until heated through.

Before serving, add lime juice and fresh cilantro and stir gently.

Serve in bowls and top with shredded Monterey jack cheese.

Serves 4

Nov 18, 2007

Green Bean Salad with Pecans, Fennel, and Goat Cheese


1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
½ teaspoon salt, plus more for the water
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds green beans, trimmed
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced into half-moons (1¼ to 1½ cups)

3/4 cup peacans, toasted and coarsely chopped

1 4-ounce log fresh goat cheese, crumbled


In a small food processor mix together the mustard, vinegar, salt, pepper and oil . Gradually Process until well combined; set aside.

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the green beans and cook until just tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain, run under cold water to cool, and set aside until you're ready to assemble the salad.

In a large bowl, combine the green beans, fennel, and pecans. Add the goat cheese and vinaigrette just before serving. Toss well and serve at room temperature or chilled.

Yield: Makes 8 to 10 servings

Nov 12, 2007

Turkey Talk - Types of Turkeys in the Marketplace



Here is an explanation of the USDA terms on the package label of the turkey you will purchase.

Frozen Turkeys
Turkeys chilled below 0° F must be labeled “Frozen”. Freezing poultry has its problems; muscle cell walls actually break down, causing a loss of juices and a dryer turkey.

Fresh Turkeys
The term "fresh" may ONLY be placed on raw poultry that has never been below 26 °F.. According to the National turkey Federation, turkey doesn't freeze at 32 degrees F. but at a temperature closer to 26 degrees F.

This poultry label rule addresses a truth-in-labeling issue, not food safety, because most pathogenic bacteria do not multiply or multiply very slowly at normal refrigerator temperatures. The USDA concluded that the term "fresh" should not be used on the labeling of raw poultry products that have been chilled to the point they are hard to the touch.

Hard-chilled or Deep-chilled Turkeys
Poultry held at 0 °F or below must be labeled "frozen" or "previously frozen." No specific labeling is required on poultry between 0 and 26 °F.

Basted or Self-Basting Turkeys
This technique is used to increase flavor, juiciness and weight in poultry (as well as other meats). These meats are also known as 'Enhanced' - Enhanced meats are injected, or vacuum treated, to increase weight by approximately 15%. These processes add a water and chemical solutions of approved food additives into and on the meat.

Natural Turkeys
A minimally processed product containing no artificial ingredient or added color. These are essentially birds that are not ‘basted’ or ‘self-basting.’ The term makes no reference to the way the turkey was raised.

Kosher Turkeys
These turkey are grain-fed with no antibiotics and are allowed to roam freely. Kosher turkeys are processed and inspected under rabbinical supervision. This includes soaking in salt brine, which adds a distinctive, savory character. Much like basted or self basting, the process adds a solution to the meat and increases weight.

Hen or Tom Turkeys
The sex designation of "hen" (female) or "tom" (male) turkey is optional on the label, and is an indication of size. Toms are larger but both toms and hens should be equally tender.

Free Range Turkeys
This labeling / marketing term has nothing to do with quality or taste. To add the words “Free Range” to the label, a grower must open part of their turkey house to a common yard for a matter of minutes per day. While only a few birds venture out, they all can be labeled as Free Range.

Most producers avoid this because of the negative effects of increased stress, disease, insects, and temperature on the entire flock. While 'Free Range' poultry can be of excellent quality, I have found the majority of their marketing techniques to be deceptive - usually the point it better profits, not better poultry.

Organic Turkeys
This labeling and marketing term has nothing to do with quality, taste, tenderness or juiciness.

These labeling laws are concerned with items such as feed certification, genetic engineering, and the use of ionizing radiation. While organic farming is clearly a positive revolution in our mechanized world, it is not a determination of quality, though the majority of consumers confuse it as such.

Note: All high-quality American Turkeys are free of added hormones and antibiotics. The use of hormones is not allowed in any poultry, and both feed and poultry tissue is tested by inspectors to assure there are no chemical residues.


Young Turkey
Turkeys of either sex that are less than 8 months of age according to present regulations are considered "young" turkeys. Most turkeys reach market maturity at 4-5 months of age.

How Large Is Your Turkey?

Here is a rough guide for turkey weight for how many guests.

This scale works for fresh or frozen.



A 8-11 pound bird will serve 6-8

A 12-15 pound bird will serve 9-12

A 15-18 pound bird will serve 13-16

An 18-22 pound bird will serve 17-22

Oct 17, 2007


Angel Hair with Cherry Tomatoes and Basil

1/4 cup Extra virgin olive oil 2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon red pepper
1/2 cup chopped green onions
4 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in halves
7 basil leaves 1 package angel hair pasta
1/2 cup pecorino or Romano cheese
salt and pepper to taste


Heat olive oil in skillet. Add garlic and pepper. Cut cherry tomatoes in half and tear basil into small pieces.
Add cherry tomatoes, basil and green onions. Simmer for six minutes.
Season with salt and pepper.

Cook pasta according to the directions. Drain and toss with sauce.
Garnish with freshly grated cheese.

Serves 4-6

Sep 30, 2007

Tomato World's Most Popular Fruit

The tomato is the world's most popular fruit. And yes, just like the eggplant and the pumpkin, botanically speaking it is a fruit, not a vegetable. Since "vegetable" is not a botanical term, there is no contradiction in a plant part being a fruit botanically while still being considered a vegetable.

More than 60 million tons of tomatoes are produced per year, 16 million tons more than the second most popular fruit, the banana. Apples are the third most popular (36 million tons), then oranges (34 million tons) and watermelons (22 million tons).

Tomatoes were first cultivated in 700 AD by Aztecs and Incas. Explorers returning from Mexico introduced the tomato into Europe, where it was first mentioned in 1556. The French called it "the apple of love," the Germans "the apple of paradise."

Tomatoes are now eaten freely throughout the world, and their consumption is believed to benefit the heart among other things. Lycopene, one of nature's most powerful antioxidants, is present in tomatoes, and, especially when tomatoes are cooked, has been found beneficial in preventing prostate cancer. However, other research contradicts this claim. Tomato extract branded as Lycomato is now also being promoted for treatment of high blood pressure.

Tomatoes are delicious raw, sautéed, grilled, stewed, and added to many preparations. Use a serrated knife or very sharp non-serrated knife to slice or chop tomatoes or prick the skin to get a slice going.

To peel tomatoes, blanch by dropping them into boiling water for about 30 seconds, or longer for firm tomatoes, then plunge into a bowl of ice water until cool enough to handle. Cut an X on the stem end and use a paring knife to pull skin away.

Tomatoes are rich in vitamins A and C and fibre, and are cholesterol free. An average size tomato (148 gram, or 5 oz) boasts only 35 calories.

Festive Tomato Wedges

6 Tomatoes; cut in wedges
2/3 cup Extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup White wine vinegar
1/4 cup Chopped green onions
1 Clove garlic; minced
2 tablespoon Mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dill weed
1 teaspoon Dried basil
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Dried marjoram
1/4 cup Snipped fresh parsley

Arrange the tomato wedges in a circle on a platter
In a food processor pour the oil onions garlic dill, basil, and majoram.
Pulse until smooth.
Add the vinegar, salt, pepper and mayonnaise, pulse again.
Pour over tomatoes and toss gently.
Add the parsley, chill until ready to serve.

12 Servings

Sep 23, 2007

Food Myths

Myth
Yellow-skinned chicken has more fat than lighter skinned chicken.


Truth
Differences in skin color are caused by different feeds. Skin color does not affect nutritional value, flavor, tenderness or fat content.

Sep 6, 2007


Turkey Meatballs In A Wild Mushroom Gravy

1 1/4 lb ground skinless turkey breast
1/2 teaspoon sage, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon marjoram, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tsp olive oil
1 cup sliced fresh shiitake or any
other wild mushroom
1 green bell pepper, seeded and
chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
3/4 cup beef broth
1 tbsp cornstarch


In a large bowl, combine the ground turkey, sag, marjoram and pepper.
Mixwell with your hands and slap the mixture into eight meatballs.

Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the
meatballs and cook for five to seven minutes, until browned on the surface.
(When handling poultry, always wash your hands with hot, soapy water to
avoid bacterial contamination.)

Toss in the mushrooms and green pepper and cook for five minutes, until
the mushrooms are tender and releasing juice. Stir in the thyme to coat
the meatballs and mushrooms. Add a half-cup of beef broth, then cover
the pan and simmer for three minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through.

Dissolve the cornstarch in the remaining quarter-cup of broth and add the
mixture to the skillet. Simmer for one minute, until the sauce thickens,
stirring constantly.

Makes two servings.

Aug 27, 2007

EARL GREY TEA

Originally "Earl Grey Tea" was made with unsteamed China black tea, but is now usually made with Indian and Sri Lankan (Ceylon) black tea. Many sources state that Charles Grey, 2nd Earl (also Baron Grey and Viscount Howick) was given the recipe by a Chinese mandarin with whom he was friends (and/or whose life either he or another British diplomat saved).

The Bergamot Orange is the flavoring used in Earl Grey Tea. Oil of bergamot is extracted from the peel of the bergamot orange (Citrus bergamia or Citrus aurantium bergamia), a small pear shaped sour orange which is cultivated today mostly in southern Italy.

Latest genetic research indicates that the Bergamot orange is most likely a cross (natural??) between the sweet or pear lemon (Citrus limetta) and the Seville or sour orange (Citrus aurantium) [First International Citrus Biotechnology Symposium, August 2000)] The sour orange is native to southern Vietnam, hence the Chinese connection.

More Recipes?
You want recipes, well the Carnival of Recipes has new recipes every week. This week's carnival features the theme “Lunch”

Go to the following blog and see for yourself.
http://heartkeepercommonroom.blogspot.com/2007/08/recipe-carnival-lunch.html

Aug 22, 2007

Ham and Swiss Stuffed Burgers Recipe

1 pound low fat chopped meat
2 tablespoon fresh minced parsley
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese
2 ounces thinly sliced deli ham
Cooking spray
8 hamburger buns
8 slices tomato
4 large leaf lettuce leaves
8 thinly sliced red onion slices

Prepare grill. In a large bowl, combine the chopped meat, parsley, Worcestershire, salt, garlic and pepper. Mix well.

Divide mixture into 8 equal portions, shaping each into a round patty. Top 4 patties with 2 tablespoons cheese and 1/2 ounce ham, leaving a 1/2-inch border.

Add the remaining patties to the cheese and ham patties. Press edges together to seal.

Place patties on grill rack coated with cooking spray.

Grill 3 minutes on each side or until done.

Place the buns on grill rack open side down; grill 1 minute until toasted.

Add in layers to each of 4 buns: 1 lettuce leaf, 2 onion slices, 1 patty, and 2 tomato slices.

Add the other half of bun on top of the layers.

Jul 28, 2007

TARRAGON

Tarragon - Artemisia dracunculus

Tarragon was used by the Greeks as early as 500 BC. The Arabs named it “turkhum” which means dragon probably because they found the taste to be exceptionally strong or because of its serpentine shaped roots. The tradition has been continued by the French who call it “estragon.”


Tarragon came to France from the plains of Siberia in the 15th century by the Arabs who had been using it since the 13th century.


Tarragon leaves are rich in iodine, mineral salts and vitamins A and C. In the past tarragon was used to prevent scurvy. It is also used as an appetite stimulant and digestive tonic by naturalists.

Egg Cooking Tip


When you are going to beat egg whites, let the eggs sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before using them.


The egg whites will beat to a greater volume.


Leek and Watercress Soup
Great served chilled in warm weather

2 Tbs. olive oil
5 medium leeks (white and pale green parts only), chopped (4 cups)
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped (1 cup)
1 large potato, peeled and diced (1 cup)
1 bunch watercress, trimmed and chopped (2 cups)
4 cups chicken stock
2 Tbs. soy sauce
1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
1 cup cream, half and half or milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Chopped chives for garnish


In large pot, heat oil over medium heat.
Add leeks and onion and cook until tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
Add potato and watercress. Cook until wilted, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes.
Add stock, bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer until potato is tender, about 30 minutes.
Remove from heat.
Stir in soy sauce, vinegar and cream.
Season with salt and pepper.

In food processor or blender, puree soup in batches.
Serve warm or chilled garnished with chopped chives if desired.

Can be made the day before or frozen for up to 1 month.

Serves 6

Jul 18, 2007

Ham Trivia

A ham is the rear leg of a hog, usually preserved by salting, smoking or drying, or a combination of these methods. Fresh hams are also available. In the U.S. pork shoulders are frequently processed into hams and marketed as picnic hams, shoulder hams, etc.

It has been said that the left leg of a pig, more tender than the right leg because, a pig scratches himself with his right leg, which uses the muscles more often, so the meat will be tougher

Ham is one of the oldest meats of civilized man, although Larousse Gastronomique claims that the salting and smoking of pork to produce ham is a French invention.

Jul 13, 2007

Vietnamese Style Chicken Salad




This salad is perfect as an appetizer or a light lunch.




1 piece (2 in.) fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pound boned, skinned chicken breast
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce (nuoc nam or nam pla)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 cloves minced garlic
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Asian red chili paste or dried hot chile flakes
6 cups very finely shredded cabbage
2 cups shredded carrots
2 cups water chestnuts, chopped
1 cup shredded English cucumber
3 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup thinly sliced celery
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds


In a 4- to 5-quart pan over high heat, bring 2 quarts water, ginger, and salt to a simmer. Add chicken and half of the garlic. Adjust heat to maintain simmer, and cook until chicken is slightly pink in the center (cut to test) about 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes, then lift chicken from water. When cool enough to handle, shred or slice into bite-size pieces.

In a large bowl, mix lemon juice, honey, fish sauce, soy sauce, garlic, vinegar, and chili paste. Add cabbage, carrots, water chestnuts, cucumber, green onions, celery, cilantro, mint, and chicken; mix well. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

4 to 6 servings

Jun 30, 2007

HOT SAUCE!!!


This website attempts to list the hottest sauces in the world.

To give you an idea of their heat - Tabasco sauce is rated at 2,140 scoville units while Blair's 6am is up to 16,000,000 ! What is a scoville unit?
Go To http://www.chez-williams.com/Hot%20Sauce/hothome.htm

The Hot One!



Blair's 6 am

These Incredible bottles are filled with Earth Shattering Pure Pepper Resin Ranging from a low of 10.3 million Scoville units to ...Are you Ready......16 million

This is Pure Capsicum crystal. You can see it inside the bottle.......Due to the unique nature and and the fact that Blair made only 80 oz of Pepper resin at a time, each batch Does vary. Only 999 will be made, each numbered. As this is pure Capsicum - it's impossible to get any hotter....


Jun 28, 2007


Grilled Tuna With Onion and Peppers

Makes 4 servings

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 small sweet red pepper thinly sliced

1 small sweet yellow pepper thinly sliced

1 onion, thinly sliced

1 tomato, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped, or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried, crushed

1 cup cooked corn kernels

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Two 1-inch-thick pieces fresh tuna, about 1 1/4 pounds
Fresh parsley leaves for garnish


Brush the onion and pepper slices with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Sauté the onion and pepper slices for 5 minutes or until soft turning frequently in a large non-stick sauté pan or grill.

Remove from heat and chop the onion and peppers.

Toss together with the tomato in a medium mixing bowl. Add the garlic, two thirds of the basil, corn, and salt and pepper to taste. Add half of olive oil and the vinegar and toss to combine. Set aside.

Brush the tuna with the remaining olive oil and season with freshly ground pepper and the remaining basil.

Sauté in a large sauté pan or grill on a flat grill over high heat for 2 to 4 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the fish and the degree of doneness you prefer. Slice the tuna in 1/2-inch-thick slices.

Arrange the vegetables in the center of each plate and top with the tuna slices fanned out. Garnish with fresh parsley.

Jun 17, 2007

Chicken Soup

Moments before a famous Shakespearean actor was to perform Hamlet to a packed house in New York, he dropped dead. The house manager solemnly went onstage and announced, "We are sorry to bring you this news, but our performance tonight has been canceled due to the untimely demise of our featured performer."

From the back of the theater a voice cried out, "Give him some chicken soup!"

Startled, the stage manager cleared his throat and replied, "I apologize if in my grief I have not made my solemn message clear. The man is deceased."

Once again, but more emphatically the voice rang out, "Give him some chicken soup!"

Having had about enough, the manager bellowed back, "Sir, the man is dead. Giving him chicken soup couldn't possibly help."

To which the voice replied, "It couldn't hurt!"

Paprika Factiod

Paprika is a velvety red powder culinary seasoning made from finely ground dried peppers and mirrors the character of the pepper used.

The drying method also affects the paprika's flavor. Peppers dried in the sun maintain a pure, natural essence; those dried over a wood fire take on complex, smoky overtones.

Since paprika contains significant amounts of sugar, it must not be overheated, as the sugar will quickly turn bitter. Frying paprika powder in hot oil is therefore a critical procedure that must last no longer than a few seconds.


Farfalle Pasta with Chicken Sausage and Spinach

Look for high-quality fresh sausage; the casings will be easier to remove. Ricotta salata is available at specialty food stores and well-stocked supermarkets; if you can't find it, substitute 2 ounces crumbled feta cheese,

12 ounces dried farfalle (bow tie) pasta
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 onion (8 oz.) peeled and chopped
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced
4-5 white mushrooms thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon hot chili flakes
8 ounces chicken sausages, removed form casings and
crumbled
1 pound ripe tomatoes, rinsed, cored, and chopped
8 ounces baby spinach leaves (about 3 packed cups), rinsed
4 ounces ricotta salata cheese, thinly sliced or crumbled


1. In a 5- to 6-quart pan over high heat, add 4 quarts water, add salt and bring to a boil. Put in pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender to bite, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain.

2. Meanwhile, in a 12-inch frying pan or a 4- to 5-quart pan over medium high heat, melt butter and then add the oil to the melted butter. Add onion and stir often until very lightly browned around the edges, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook for another minute.

3. Lower heat to medium and add garlic, chili flakes, and crumbled chicken sausages. Stir with a wooden spoon, breaking up sausage if necessary, until meat is beginning to brown, 5 to 10 minutes; if garlic begins to scorch, lower heat.

4. Add tomatoes and spinach; stir until spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes.

5. In a large bowl, mix pasta and sauce to coat; top with ricotta salata.

About 35 minutest to prepare
4 to 6 servings

Jun 5, 2007

Non Stick Spaghetti

If you need to cook large amounts of spaghetti in large pots and need to keep the food from sticking to the pots, here is a tip. Bring the spaghetti and water to a full boil.

Tightly cover with lid. Turn off the heat, but keep the pot on the hot burner.

Let stand about 15 minutes or so. The pasta should finish cooking without the burner on and will not stick.

Apr 10, 2007

Signs Found In The Kitchen

So this isn't Home Sweet Home ... Adjust!

Martha Stewart doesn't live here!!

Ring bell for maid service. If no answer, do it yourself!

I came, I saw, I decided to order take out.

If you don't like my standards of cooking, lower your standards.

Countless number of people have eaten in this kitchen and gone on to lead normal lives.

Mar 31, 2007

Mediterranean Couscous Salad

This delicious side dish is a unique large grain couscous seasoned with a light lemony-mint yogurt dressing.

Ingredients
1 cup plain yogurt
2 bunches of fresh mint, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 lemons, juiced
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
1 cup large grain couscous, found at specialty or organic stores
2 cups roasted leg of chicken, cut into 1-1/2 inches cubes
1 tomato, coarsely chopped.
Garnish with fresh ground black pepper, lemon slices and mint sprig

Directions
Dressing:
Whisk together the yogurt, chopped mint, chopped parsley lemon juice and olive oil. Season dressing with salt and pepper to taste.

Place 1 cup of couscous in a medium pot and pour 1-1/4 cups of boiling water. Simmer over a medium-low heat for about 5 to 6 minutes or until al-dente.

Transfer to a serving platter and mix in cubed chicken chopped tomato and yogurt dressing. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves 4

Mar 27, 2007

Food Tip

Reheating Refrigerated Bread


To warm biscuits, pancakes, or muffins that were refrigerated, place them in a microwave with a cup of water.


The increased moisture will keep the food moist and help it reheat faster.



Mar 22, 2007

Chinatown Fish Market
© Lionel Martinez

Mar 17, 2007

More Than Just Espresso

When is espresso not just espresso?
When it is transformed into espresso art.

See for yourself:
http://www.pantherhouse.com/newshelton/espresso-art/

Mar 10, 2007


Fast Chicken Dinner

Serves 4

Ingredients
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 green onion, chopped
3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into strips
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
a pinch of tarragon
two medium tomatoes, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped

Instructions:
In a medium skillet, heat the oil and garlic over medium heat. Sprinkle the chicken with the salt and pepper, then add to the skillet and cook for 7-10 minutes. Add the white wine and tarragon. Cook for an additional 2 minutes.

Remove the chicken to a platter. Sauté the tomatoes in the skillet until tender. Place the tomatoes over the chicken and cover with the pan drippings and sprinkle with parsley.

Mar 8, 2007


A Box Of Baking Soda In The Fridge Or Freezer Does Not Absorb Odors


This is a very clever and successful marketing ploy by the baking soda people, but the fact is that baking soda is very poor at absorbing odors.

It seems to make sense, however, so lots of people have spent untold billions of dollars to put boxes of baking soda in their fridge or freezer to no effect.

Activated charcoal would work much better but is expensive. Better to wrap your food and clean the fridge once in a while.

Source: http://www.newton.dep.anl.gov/askasci/chem00/chem00388.htm

Mar 5, 2007


Equal Measures

1 pound of ground beef equals 2 cups

1/4 pound of butter equals 1/2 cup melted butter

1 pound of cheese equals 4-5 cups grated cheese

1 pound of spinach equals 1-1/2 cups cooked spinach

Dried herbs are approximately twice as strong as fresh!

Feb 27, 2007


Ceviche De Salmón

From the Ceja Vineyards
http://www.cejavineyards.com


Ceviche is a raw seafood dish that has been "cooked" in citrus (usually lime) juice. This citrus marinade firms up the fish and gives it a solid coloration. These details make it a very different dish from raw sushi. Many people feel safer eating ceviche, as its citrus preparation is believed to kill any diseases carried by fish.

Ceviche recipes vary widely depending on the seafood and accessories available in the area. Some ceviches are packed with full-bodied octopus and dogfish; others are lighter with the more delicate scallops and baby shrimp. The seafood is often paired with flavorful chiles and fresh herbs. The long marinade period blends the tastes together.


Ingredients:
· 2 pounds salmon steaks
· 3 cups fresh lime juice
· Finely chopped serrano peppers (from 1 to 6)
· 3 scallions finely chopped
· 2 skinned, cubed tomatoes
· 2 tablespoons olive oil
· 1 teaspoon white ground pepper
· 1 teaspoon salt
· Chopped cilantro & lime wedges
· Glass casserole dish


Directions:
· Clean and rinse fish. Pat dry with clean cloth and cut into bite-size pieces.
· Place fish in casserole dish and cover with lime juice and add white pepper and salt.
· Refrigerate 4 hours. Stir, and refrigerate two more hours.
· Drain ¾ of lime juice.
· Mix together serrano peppers, scallions, oil and tomatoes.
· Stir tomato mixture into fish, coating completely.
· Refrigerate 1 more hour.
· Bring to room temperature before serving (about 15 minutes).
· Garnish with chopped cilantro and lime wedges.
· Serve with corn tostadas or tortilla chips. (Serves 8)

Suggested wine: Ceja Carneros Chardonnay and Ceja Carneros Pinot Noir

Feb 24, 2007

How To Cut Up A Chicken

A quick and easy way to carve a chicken or turkey.

For more food preparation videos go to:
http://www.lookinatcookin.com/

Feb 22, 2007

Brown sugar a solid rock?
Has your bag or box of brown sugar turned hard as a rock?

Try this helpful hint: Place a slice of fresh bread in the package of sugar and close securely.
Let set for a few hours and your sugar will be as good as new!

Feb 17, 2007


Food Quotes

"Food is an important part of a balanced diet." - Fran Lebowitz

"The remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served us nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found." - Calvin Trillin.

"The trouble with eating Italian food is that five or six days later you're hungry again." - George Miller.

Feb 13, 2007

Thyme-Infused Vegetables

A Winter Dish
Susan Dash

Roasted root vegetables are always a treat. The natural sugar in the vegetables caramelizes during roasting and creates a sweet-savory flavor.

Feel free to alter proportions of vegetables to suit your guests' preferences.

8 medium shallots, peeled
2 medium red-skin potatoes, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
2 medium turnips, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
2 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
1 small rutabaga, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 450 [degrees] F.

In a large bowl, combine vegetables, garlic, oil, thyme, salt and pepper; toss to evenly coat.

Transfer coated vegetables to a baking dish and bake until tender and browned, 35 to 40 minutes

Serve warm.
Serves 8

Feb 9, 2007

Boiling Corn


Never boil corn for more than 3 minutes.


Be sure to place the corn in boiling water, and do not add salt.

You will find the flavor is much better than cooking for 10 minutes or more.

Corn will never get soft, no matter how long you cook it-it will only lose its taste.

Feb 8, 2007

Spoon

Fella goes into his favorite deli where the waiter immediately brings him a bowl of matzoh ball soup. The customer signals the waiter to come back.

"Taste the soup!" he commands.

"Why?" inquires the surprised waiter.

"Taste the soup!" comes the reply.

"Max, you've been coming in here every day for ten years. There's never been anything wrong with the soup."

"Taste the soup!"

"What's wrong, too much salt--not enough salt?"

"Taste the soup!"

"What, the matzo balls aren't fluffy enough for you?"

"TASTE THE SOUP!"

The waiter finally agrees, "All right all right, I'll taste the soup! Where's the spoon?"

"A-HA!" chortles Max.



Jan 31, 2007

Marinated Roasted Red Peppers

Chef Jean-Jacques Bernat shows us how to roast and marinate red peppers.


Jan 28, 2007


You Might Be a Bad Cook If...

Your microwave display reads "TILT!"

You know dinner is ready when the smoke alarm goes off.

Your dog goes to the neighbors' to eat.

Leftover crumbs make a great replacement for kitty litter.

Your kids know what exactly peas porridge in a crock pot nine days old tastes like.

If the EPA requires that all your garbage cans be marked with large bright red "biohazard" symbols.

The smoke alarm beeps if you even walk near the stove.

Your apple pie bubbled over and ate the enamel off the bottom of the oven.

You used three boxes of scouring pads, a bottle of Drano and a crowbar, but that macaroni and cheese still won't let go of the pan!

You look in a cookbook to find out how to boil water.

You call your mother to ask how long to boil cabbage to make cole slaw.

If anyone has ever broken a tooth while eating your homemade yogurt.

Jan 26, 2007

Mole Negro de Oaxaca

From
Ceja Vineyards
http://www.cejavineyards.com


Ingredients:
· 24 uncooked chicken pieces (legs, thighs, or chicken breasts cut in half)
· 10 chiles negros
· 10 chiles guajillo

· 10 chiles pasilla

· 2 toasted tortillas

· 2½ round tablets of Mexican chocolate (e.g. Ibarra brand)

· 4 tomatoes

· 10 peeled tomatillos

· 1½ onion
· 2 heads of garlic
· 2 tablespoons peeled pumpkin seeds

· 2 tablespoons unsalted peanuts

· 2 tablespoons walnuts

· 2 tablespoons peeled almonds

· 2 tablespoons sesame seeds

· ¼ teaspoon marjoram

· ¼ teaspoon oregano

· 1 teaspoon thyme

· 1teaspoon anise
· 1 teaspoon cumin
· 6 whole pepper corns
· 6 whole cloves
· 1 peel of cinnamon stick

· One slice of Mexican sweet bread

· Chicken broth (about 10 cups)

· Salt to taste

· 10 tablespoons manteca (lard)
(I substituted a light olive for the lard and it worked very well)

Directions:

For Chicken:
· To a large pot of gently boiling water, add the washed chicken pieces, one onion, one unpeeled garlic head and one tablespoon of salt.
· As chicken cooks, spoon out foam and cooked blood that accumulate on the surface (you want to end with a clear and delicious broth).
· Boil gently until tender-do not overcook. Separate chicken from broth and discard onion and garlic head.

For Mole:
· Cut the stems off the chiles negros, guajillo and pasilla and take out the seeds (save the seeds). Wash the chiles and pat dry with a towel.
· In a pan with 3 tablespoons olive oil, sauté chiles a few at a time until crispy but not burned-set aside.
· Add 2 more tablespoons olive oil and sauté pumpkin seeds, peanuts, walnuts, almonds, sesame seeds, chile seeds and one layer of the cinnamon stick until golden-set aside.
· Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and sauté Mexican chocolate until softened-set aside.
· Toast slice of Mexican pan dulce-set aside.
· Over a grill, toast the tortillas until golden.
· Mix together all the sautéed ingredients, toasted tortillas, Mexican bread, marjoram, oregano, thyme, anise, cumin, whole peppers and cloves.
· In a blender or food processor, process the above mixture a little at a time with chicken broth (about 6 cups) until smooth-set aside.
· Over a grill, fire roast tomatoes, tomatillos, ½ onion and 1 head of unpeeled garlic until blackened but not burned.
· Process fire roasted ingredients with 2 cups chicken broth until smooth.
· To a heated large pan with 4 tablespoons of olive oil, add the tomatoes mixture and simmer for about 15 minutes-stir frequently.
· Add processed sautéed mixture to simmering mixture and continue simmering gently (add broth to desired thickness of mole sauce)-stir continuously for one hour. (Serves 12)

To Serve:
Distribute mole sauce on plate and place two chicken pieces on it. Add mole sauce across chicken pieces and serve with warm corn tortillas. ¡Salud!

Suggested wine: Ceja Carneros Pinot Noir, Ceja Merlot and Ceja Vino de Casa

Jan 24, 2007

Trouble Whipping Cream?

Have trouble making whipped cream?
Can't get it to whip correctly?


Be sure to put the bowl and egg beater in the refrigerator to chill

Jan 21, 2007

Easy Eggs Benedict

1/4 cup salted butter, melted,
1 cup whole milk plain yogurt
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon turmeric, for coloring
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/8 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
4 English muffins split, toasted and buttered

4 thin slices of ham

1 tablespoon white vinegar

4 eggs

Garnish with lemon peels and chopped parsley.



Melt the butter and make sure to remove from heat before butter browns.

Using a blender, blend yogurt, turmeric, lemon juice, Worcestershire, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper (optional) for about 2 seconds or until smooth. While blender is on, add the melted butter in a thin steady stream.

Toast and butter all 4 English muffins topping with 1 slice of ham, and set them on plates.

Bring to a simmer 3 cups of water in a medium size saucepan. Pour in the vinegar.

Break all 4 eggs into water and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until whites are set and yolks are still soft.

Place 1 poached egg on each English muffin and spoon a generous portion of cream sauce on top of the eggs, garnish and serve.

4 servings

Jan 18, 2007

Red Winter
Priya Singh

January and the cold are undeniably lovers. They’re moody, chilly and sometimes terribly unsociable... and for all of you reading this there is a way to make them slightly more approachable…

So, please sit back and enjoy with a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon. This is the perfect wine for a cold, chilly winter evening...sip after sip warms the gut, kindles the taste buds and the evening is converted into a warm, candlelit, cozy and romantic memory.

Cabernet Sauvignon along with Chardonnay and Merlot is one of the most widely-planted of the world's grape varietals. The principal grape in many wines from the Bordeaux region in France particularly those from the Medoc, it is grown in most of the world's wine growing regions. Many of the finest red wines regarded as among the world's greatest, are predominantly made from this grape.

California Cabernet is usually characterized by being denser, usually darker and with more blue and violet highlights. Alcohol levels are also higher and the flavors can be more fruit forward; jammy blackberry preserve, cassis, stewed plums, roasted meat, cherry and toasty oak. The wine is also much more approachable and welcoming in its youth.

Unlike most people I find it a great waste of time comparing California Cabernet to wines with those from the Bordeaux region or from South Africa or from Australia or wherever else! Can you compare Handel with Tchaikovsky or Salman Rushdie with W. B. Yeats? Even if the wines may be based on the same grapes, differences in geography produce very different results and that is the beauty of it all, the difference. The next step is which style is most suited to you, or like me it depends on which ever particular style is your favorite for the moment!

If you like trying something very different I recommend the Cab from Ceja Vineyards. With bright fruit, berries, leather, anise and some dark chocolate on the nose, it shows a toasty earthiness with a concentration of dark fruit, blackberry, plum and cherries on the palate. This wine can be enjoyed alone or with chicken, darker fish or meat dishes. And I find it goes beautifully with anything chocolate!

And if you are in the mood for something bolder, bigger, true to the spirit of California than go no further than the Cabernets from Phelan Vineyards. This is a boutique winery located in the Mt. George area of Napa Valley dedicated to producing premium Cabernet Sauvignon. The Phelan wines are characterized by their elegant texture and huge aromas of smoky wooden barrels with hints of coffee, earth and dark berries. And this one demands a juicy steak or roasted lamb with lots of sauce and gravy! Please drink responsibly…!


Priya Singh
Lilliput Enterprises, Inc
9 Desbrosses Street
Suite 525, NYC 10013
Tel: 212 343 4202, Fax: 212 343 4204

Jan 14, 2007


Granola

A mixture typically of rolled oats and various added ingredients (as brown sugar, raisins, coconut, and nuts) that is eaten especially for breakfast or as a snack

The names Granula, Granola and Ganolietta were trademarks in the late Nineteenth century United States for foods consisting of whole grain products crumbled and baked until crispy; compare the contemporary Swiss invention, Muesli.

Jan 10, 2007

Shrimp Appetizer Recipe

2 lbs. large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 T. butter

¼ cup olive oil
3 cloves minced garlic
¼ cup minced shallots
Salt and pepper

3 T. fresh lemon juice

2 T. fresh lime juice

¼ cup fresh chopped dill


Over high heat, melt butter in olive oil in a large skillet.
Add garlic and shallots and sauté for 2 minutes without browning.

Increase heat and add shrimp and cook for 3 minutes or until done to
taste.

Do not overcook; as soon as they turn pink they are done.

Add salt and pepper.

Put shrimp in a bowl, adding all the juices. Add lemon, lime and dill. Mix
well. Cover and refrigerate 4 hours. Mix again and serve

Serves 8 as an appetizer serving.

Jan 5, 2007

Easily Make Your Own Mayonnaise

There is a vast difference between prepared commercial mayonnaise and homemade mayonnaise. Even a mayo-hater might be turned into a fan after trying a good homemade mayonnaise.

Follow this “LookinAtCookin” video and learn how to make your own mayonnaise in a food processor.


Jan 2, 2007


Machine To Age Wine In Minutes

FOR those who yearn for a well-aged, full-bodied vintage wine but lack the funds to feed the habit, the solution may lie with a Japanese boffin, a zany-looking contraption, a couple of meters of latex tubing and a few hundred volts of electricity.

Squirreled away in his chemical engineering laboratory in rural Shizuoka, Hiroshi Tanaka has spent 15 years developing an electrolysis device that simulates, he claims, the effect of ageing in wines. In 15 seconds it transforms the cheapest, youngest plonks into fine old draughts as fruit flavors are enhanced and rough edges are mellowed, he says.

Reds become more complex, and whites drier. A wine costing $10 a bottle could taste the same as one costing twice that, which "will create huge changes to the global wine industry".

It may sound far-fetched, but the ultra-competitive wine industry is taking no chances. Wineries in California, South America and other parts of the wine world are taking a close interest in Mr. Tanaka's machine.

The machine works by pumping wine and tap water through a specially designed electrolysis chamber equipped with wafer-thin platinum electrodes. The water and wine are separated by an ion exchange membrane -- the key component, for which Mr. Tanaka holds the patent.