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Cooking

  • Cumin perks up bland foods and flavors meats and sausages

     Popular worldwide, cumin is a fairly pungent spice that is used to flavor many traditional Indian dishes. It has quite a powerful aroma and taste, so when using cumin, use it sparingly, as some types of cumin are stronger than others.

    Before using it for the first time, you might want to take a little smell. That should be a good indication as to whether it is a suitable spice for you to use in your cooking. Most people either really like it or hate it.

  • The taste of fresh garlic still remains unsurpassed

     The best thing about garlic is that it is available year-round, either frozen or fresh. Garlic is also available peeled or chopped, minced or creamed, preserved in oil and powdered, but fresh garlic remains unsurpassed in its taste.

    In addition to being a cook’s best friend, garlic has also been used for numerous other things, including embalming, warding off evil spirits and curing everything from the common cold to tuberculosis and broken bones.

  • Corned beef and cabbage the popular choice for St. Patrick’s Day

     Quick: What's the national dish of Ireland? Corned beef and cabbage? Irish stew?

  • Thai dishes prepared quickly and inexpensively at home

     I really love Thai food. It’s quick and tasty. I’ve read that Thai food used to be a lot spicier than it is now, but apparently over the years it has been toned down. The Thai food in America is often blander than its counterpart in Thailand.

  • Fire up the grill for some Cornell chicken and Binghamton spiedies.

     A professor of food science at Cornell University, Bob Baker is credited with inventing Cornell Chicken in Ithaca, N.Y., in the 1940s. The crispy-skinned grilled chicken is basted with a white vinegar-based barbecue sauce that has long been a favorite in the central and western regions in New York State for many years.

    The combination of low heat and continual basting with the special sauce produces a one-of-a-kind result.

  • Rice as a main dish? Think paella, jambalaya, sushi and risotto

     Rice has always been considered a natural convenience food. It’s easy to store and always ready to use … no washing, peeling or chopping required. Once opened, I keep mine in an airtight container in the pantry.

    I recently learned that brown rice should be stored in a refrigerator or freezer if you plan to keep it for more than a few months, due to the freshness of the oil contained in the bran layer. Cooked rice will usually hold up for a week if stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container or up to six months in the freezer.

     

  • Have some ‘Bubble and Squeak’ with your corned beef or sausage

    Cabbage is one of our oldest vegetables, but it continues to be a dietary staple for many of us and is one of the least expensive veggies to buy. Rich in vitamin C and fiber, it’s easy to grow, tolerates the cold and keeps well. Just place the whole head of cabbage in a plastic bag and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

  • Some of the best tasting soups are made with cheese

     A few weeks ago, I shared some cold weather soup recipes which seemed to be in order, considering the chilly lower-than-normal temperatures we’ve been experiencing lately. I was also recently reminded that some of the best soup recipes are made with cheese.

  • What do sandwiches and the Hawaiian Islands have in common?

     In January 1778, Captain James Cook discovered the Hawaiian Islands. But did you know that he originally named them the “Sandwich Islands,” in honor of the very same person for whom the sandwich that we eat was named, John Montagu, the Fourth Earl of Sandwich? Not until later were the “Sandwich Islands” renamed “Hawaii.”

  • Turning to family and friends for many dessert recipes

     

    Over the years, many friends and family members have given dessert recipes to me. Some of those I’ve actually had to ask for and many of those weren’t even written down, so it took a little trial and error on my part in coming up with the exact recipe.

    Many recipes I’ve found when perusing the Internet, going through a myriad of cookbooks or actually watching desserts being made on one of the many, many cooking shows on television.