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Cooking

  • Winning recipes from this year’s N.C. Rice Festival

     The North Brunswick Chamber of Commerce again sponsored the North Carolina Rice Festival at the Brunswick Riverwalk at Belville Sept. 18 and 19.

    In addition to the rice cooking contest, of which I was privileged to be one of the judges, festivalgoers enjoyed live music both days, many displays and exhibitors, arts and craft vendors, food vendors, a children’s entertainment zone, a youth art contest and a beer garden just for the adults.

  • Beef Wellington variations make easy but fancy meals

     My first taste of Beef Wellington was at a fancy restaurant back in my younger days and I can still remember the elegant presentation and, of course, the fantastic taste. The dish is an English preparation of beef tenderloin coated with pâté (often pâté de foie gras) and duxelles (a mixture of onions and mushrooms), which is then wrapped in puff pastry and baked.

    I wrote about this dish last month, but wanted to revisit it with some additional recipes.

     

  • When grilling vegetables, avoid those with high water content

     I’ve collected a number of grilling recipes over the years, dividing them into entrees, side dishes and dessert categories. Outdoor grilling isn’t just for steaks, hamburgers or hot dogs. Try grilling combinations of different vegetables or even fruits.

    Many vegetables do really well on a grill, but try to avoid those with a high water content, like cucumbers, celery or greens. Some of the best grilling vegetables are asparagus, eggplant, onions, a variety of peppers and even cabbage.

     

  • Moussaka is to Greeks what lasagna is to Italians

     Are you one of those many gardeners, like myself, wondering what to do with all these eggplants that just seem to keep showing up? Eggplants are available year-round in our area, but are more plentiful in the summer months. They are best used within a few days while they are still fresh.

  • Labor Day pays tribute to the American worker

      “Labor Day differs in every essential way from the other holidays of the year in any country,” said Samuel Gompers, founder and longtime president of the American Federation of Labor. “Labor Day ... is devoted to no man, living or dead, to no sect, race, or nation.”

    To that end, it’s appropriate that we pay tribute on Labor Day to the creator of our nation's strength, freedom and leadership: the American worker.

  • All-purpose vinegar is not just for cooking

     

    I’ve read that vinegar was accidentally discovered more than 10,000 years ago when someone, after a batch of wine had gone bad, wondered what could be done with the sour wine. Today, vinegar probably has more uses than any other product I can recall.

    The name is from the French “vinaigre,” which literally means sour wine.

     

  • Any respectable kitchen needs these essential herbs and spices

    For those who aren’t quite sure what the difference is between herbs and spices, most herbs come from grassy plants and spices from barks or seeds. Another distinction is that herbs tend to grow in temperate climates, while most spices come primarily from tropical regions.

    But in this day and age, “spice” has also come to mean all dried plant seasonings, including spices, herbs, blends and dehydrated vegetables.

  • Enjoy these hot summer days while keeping cool in the kitchen

     When it’s hot outside and you’re entertaining guests, or just hanging around with your better half, the last thing you want to do is turn on the oven and spend more time in a roasting kitchen than you have to.

    While your outside grill is occupied with the main course, you can have some make-ahead appetizers ready to go. Just pull these special dishes out of the fridge and serve cold or warmed slightly. And don’t forget to have plenty of cool beverages on hand during these hot, summer days of August.

     

  • Beef Wellington is a simple, elegant dish perfect for a dinner party

     Named after Arthur Wellesley, the first the Duke of Wellington, this dish became an entertaining extravaganza back in the 1960s.

    Beef Wellington is an English preparation of filet of beef tenderloin assembled with liver pate and duxelles, a finely chopped mixture of mushrooms and onions sautéed in butter and reduced to a paste, and then encased in a puff pastry, making the outside buttery and crispy. This dish should always be served with the center slightly pink.

  • Bringing back memories of classic Steak Diane served at tableside