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Cooking

  • Use spinach for salads, soups, pasta sauces and dips

     When I was kid growing up, I remember the commercials for spinach featuring “Popeye the Sailor Man” with his pronounced muscles attributed to his eating of spinach. Spinach may have provided Popeye with superhuman strength, but its real life potential is far less lofty. In fact, its nutritional reputation is somewhat inflated.

  • N.C. Blueberry Festival this weekend in historic Burgaw

     Pender County is hosting its 13th annual North Carolina Blueberry Festival this weekend Friday, June 17, and Saturday, June 18, in historic downtown Burgaw.

    Attracting more than 30,000 people annually on the third Saturday in June, the festival provides an opportunity for people to enjoy a full day of family entertainment, while experiencing the southern hospitality of a small town. More than 20 events ranging from entertainment to a car show, a street fair, recipe contest, barbecue cook-off, a 5K run and special exhibits are staged by more than 100 volunteers.

  • Daikon radishes will win you over once you’ve tried them

     My wife and I enjoy making our weekly jaunt to the local farmers market for lettuce, tomatoes or whatever. Each time we go, I notice these really large, overgrown white radishes, called Daikon radishes. They are one of the largest radishes, ranging from six to 15 inches in length, and two to three inches in diameter. A bunch of three are less than $1.50, so it seems like a great deal. But now what would I do with them?

     

  • The flavor and aroma of freshly cut herbs enhance any cooked meal

     Ever wonder who first thought of eating a tomato with fresh basil, or combining sage with onion in a stuffing, or lamb with rosemary and garlic? I know … who cares? But most of the flavor-enhancing herbs we enjoy today were prized by the earliest cultures to improve the flavor of often dull and limited meals.

  • It’s Memorial Day weekend and time for some fishin’ and grillin’

     The Memorial Day weekend is traditionally the beginning of the grilling season for many in this area. On the South Brunswick Islands, it signals the beginning of a new season of fishing, golfing and cookouts or just relaxing at home, soaking up the sun and taking it easy.

  • Basil pairs naturally with tomatoes — a marriage made in heaven

     A member of the mint family, basil is a delicate herb and deteriorates rapidly after harvesting. Try to use as it as fresh as possible. Just store it like other herbs, either wrapped in damp paper towels inside a plastic bag or inserted in a container of water like flowers in a vase.

  • When cooking outdoors, follow these barbecue food safety tips

     Once only a summer activity shared with family and friends, more than half of Americans say they are cooking outdoors year round.

    It’s the season for picnics, cookouts and other outdoor parties. But eating outdoors in warm weather presents a food safety challenge. Use these simple guidelines for grilling food safely to prevent harmful bacteria from multiplying and causing food-borne illness.

     

    Defrosting meat and poultry

  • The celebration of Cinco de Mayo is a worldwide event

        Cinco de Mayo in Spanish means the fifth of May. Most of the Cinco de Mayo celebrations that take place occur in the town of Puebla, the site of the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over French forces in 1862.

  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts: the ultimate fast food for family and guests

        If you’re like me, boneless chicken breasts can be boring. I’ve published many recipes for chicken breasts and I’m sure you have plenty of your own you’ve tried over the years.

    I’ve prepared sautéed, fried, baked, grilled and even pouched chicken breasts. I’ve stuffed, barbecued, breaded, chopped and even pureed when making a chicken spread. But the easiest way, for me, is to just sauté skinless, boneless chicken breasts in a little oil and butter and then add a special sauce at the end of my liking.

  • Local produce farms have strawberries ready for pickin’

        Strawberries typically peak during May in the South and in June and July in the North. Local farmers markets in our area now have strawberries ripe for the pickin’.

    If you like to pick your own, be sure to take a couple of plastic buckets with you to load up on the local favorites. My wife and I used to indulge in picking are own strawberries at Holden Brothers Farm Market. In recent years, though, I leave the pickin’ to the younger folks.

     

    Picking strawberries