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Cooking

  • What's cookin'?

     Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are the ultimate fast food

    Our local newspaper once published over 50 different ways to prepare chicken breasts. I’ve since decided that figure must be closer to five thousand! But if you’re like me, they can also be boring. You throw them in a skillet and then wonder, “Now what?”

  • You can cook almost any vegetable right on your grill

     Many vegetables feel right at home on the grill, but some just aren’t cut out for it, especially those with a high water content. Cucumbers are a no-no on the grill, as is celery, lettuce or most leafy greens.

    A highly skilled backyard chef like me has no trouble grilling asparagus, eggplant, onions and even cabbage. Bell peppers, or even the hot variety, and onions are natural grilling choices.

     

  • Carrots make a tasty addition to a variety of cooked dishes

     Mel Blanc, the original voice of Bugs Bunny, was not very fond of carrots, but his carrot-chomping character sure was!

    Carrots are available all year long. Although there are many varieties from which to choose, the ones typically found in local farmers markets and supermarkets are about 7 to 9 inches in length and 3/4 to an inch in diameter. Many baby carrots are actually longer carrots that have been peeled, trimmed to 1-1/2 to 2 inches in length and packaged. True baby carrots are removed from the ground early and actually look like miniature carrots.

  • Tomatoes and oregano make it Italian, but garlic makes it good

     Garlic has always been recognized for its smell, flavor and medicinal properties. Although it is actually a vegetable, most people, including me, regard garlic as an herb, and powdered garlic is usually found on the spice rack at grocery stores.

    Available peeled, chopped, minced, creamed, preserved in oil or powdered, fresh garlic still remains unsurpassed in its taste. Elephant garlic is really not true garlic, but a relative of the leek. It has a very mild flavor and characteristically has larger heads.

     

  • March is National Peanut Butter Month, so let’s celebrate!

     Roasted in their shell for a ballpark snack, peanuts have found their way into almost everything we eat, from breakfast to lunch to snacks to entries to deserts!

    This month celebrates one of America’s favorite foods — peanuts. National Peanut Month began in 1941 as National Peanut Week, and was later expanded into a month-long celebration in 1974.

  • Saltimbocca is a classic Italian dish easily made at home

     

     

    Traditionally made with veal in combination with prosciutto and fresh sage leaves, Saltimbocca is a dish that you just want to keep eating because it tastes so good.

  • Bleu cheeses are strong flavored and have a unique ‘tang’

     The characteristic blue-green veining of bleu cheese (blue cheese), made from cow, sheep or goat’s milk, is easily identifiable.

    Like a cold, iced martini, people either love it or hate it!

  • Chicken thighs are surprisingly juicy and flavorful

    For a long time, the only parts of a chicken that held my interest were the legs, wings and breasts — I was never much of a thigh guy. Lately, though, I decided to embrace them and have begun looking around for different ways to cook them.

    Surprisingly, they have the best flavor and tend to stay juicy even if you overcook them. Full of flavorful dark meat, they are much cheaper than those top-dollar skinless chicken breasts.

  • ‘Laissez les bons temps rouler’ – Mardi Gras season is here!

    Mardi Gras means fat Tuesday, the culmination of the season between Christmas and Lent. Fat Tuesday falls on the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent.

    That catchy Cajun French phrase that we all know or have heard at this time of the year literally translated means, “Let the good times roll!

  • A simple trinity of vegetables will deliver a foundation of flavor

    If you’ve spent time over the years watching the myriad of food and cooking shows on television as I have, you’ve undoubtedly heard chefs refer to the “holy trinity.” In this case, they are referring to the simple trinity of ordinary vegetables known as mirepoix.