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Cooking

  • Thanksgiving signals the start of the Christmas shopping season

     It’s that time of year again. Thanksgiving is the time to gather with your friends and family, turn on some football and enjoy your Thanksgiving meal…the one meal of the year that you usually know what to expect and what you will be eating.

    Even though I’m not really a turkey lover, I do manage to get my fill of the traditional trimmings, such as mashed potatoes and gravy, green bean casserole, stuffing, cranberries, sweet potatoes and more.

  • Veal is not only healthy, but also quick and easy to prepare

     The unique flavor of veal is delicate and unobtrusive. What this actually means is that veal is easily incorporated into your favorite recipes, including roasts, pasta dishes, sautés, stir-fries and even casseroles that use ground meats.

  • Brown ground beef ahead of time for quick and convenient use

     When planning for your weekly meals, sometimes it’s more convenient to make some things ahead of time. This may be especially true for ground beef, especially if you plan on making some chili, casseroles, tacos or even spaghetti sauce during the week.

    Maybe it’s just me, but when browning ground beef, do you typically end up with large chunks that are hard to break down? Don’t you just hate that? Or maybe you just like it all chunky.

  • Olive oil is not only healthy, but adds taste and flavor

     Like a lot of people these days, I’m trying to watch my weight without having to give up my indulgences. Good trick if you can do it! I checked out what is called the Mediterranean diet that is associated with sensible tasty portions and slower, more enjoyable eating. Olive oil is an integral part of this diet.

  • Who says Halloween is just for the kids?

     My first introduction to a Halloween dinner “not just for the kids” was years ago at the home of a good friend of mine from Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. He graciously allowed me and my wife to be a part of this tradition with his kids and family.

    “It’s not really about the food,” he said. “It’s more about the atmosphere you create and the presentation of the dishes and the implication of what they might be.”

  • You can taste the difference in fresh, homemade salsa

     Homemade salsa requires little more than a good food chopper or blender, quality ingredients and imagination. The traditional chip salsa is called “pico de gallo,” a mixture of tomato, onions and peppers. Real salsa incorporates many more ingredients. There are also fruit salsas, bean salsas, nut salsas and meat or vegetable salsa.

  • It’s time to enjoy oysters, shrimp, crab and clams at local festivals

     October is one of my favorite times of the year, as oysters, shrimp, crab and clams are featured at the many seafood festivals in our area. Shrimp, because they are so rich in food value, are the most popular of seafood products, but you can’t beat the oyster stew and clam chowder that is prevalent this time of the year.

  • Crepes can add a dramatic ‘flare’ to most any meal

     For longer than I can remember, I’ve been making dessert crepes stuffed with lemon soufflé and other types of fruit fillings and then dusted with powdered sugar. I’ve also had good success with the classic Crepe Suzette, which is nothing more than dessert crepes bathed in an orange-flavored sauce and then, for dramatic flair, flamed with a little Grand Marnier or Cointreau.

  • Casseroles were an American staple during the Depression

     Can you name a dish that is also the name of the container in which it is cooked? Casserole! When you combine a variety of foods, whether they are all vegetables or in combination with meats, and heat them in a broth or stock, you have actually created a casserole.

    Casseroles vary from the typical cream sauce-based creations to quiches, to savory pies, to Shepherd’s pie and even breakfast and dessert casseroles.

  • For most Southern folks, Brunswick stew is pure comfort

    I remember reading somewhere about men being from Mars and women from Venus. If we are talking about the eating department, that could be true. When it comes to comfort foods, most men prefer hearty meals, while women look for snacks that require little or no preparation.

    Most of us men find comfort in foods associated with meals prepared by our mothers, such as mashed potatoes, pasta, meat and soup, rather than snacks and sweets … except for ice cream! But what is comfort for men is just work for women.