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Cooking

  • Caesar is still the king of all salads

    Born in Italy in 1896, Caesar Cardini emigrated to the U.S. after World War I. He lived in San Diego, but operated a restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico, to circumvent Prohibition. While at this restaurant, Cardini made a salad from scratch using leftover ingredients for a gathering of hungry dignitaries. The salad, made with all its tableside showmanship by waiters, became a sensation.

  • The easiest beef stew you will ever make

    When I make a beef stew, the first step is batch-searing pieces of chunked beef, usually splattering grease all over my stovetop. It’s messy, but a necessary step when making stew — always brown the meat!

  • Southern-style food is synonymous with comfort food

    When I think of Southern-style cooking, I imagine poultry like chicken and pork cooked “low and slow” in the kitchen from early morning until time to eat later in the afternoon or evening. Greens thrown in a pot and cooked slowly until almost a “mushy” consistency, but unbelievably flavorful and delicious.

    Creating great Southern food incorporates many ways of cooking, such as grilling and barbecuing outside for family and friends and utilizing all of the fresh seasonal produce from the garden or famers market.

  • Halloween isn’t just for the kids

    When looking at the calendar last week, I noticed that it’s time once again for my annual Halloween column. It’s clearly the perfect time to serve up your best party food creations.

    Decorating for Halloween parties is half the fun of throwing them. The dining room table is the perfect place for a classic Halloween centerpiece. Use a jack-o’-lantern with dry ice fog to impress kids of all ages.

  • Seafood festivals abound in eastern North Carolina this time of year

    We really live in a special place! In addition to our warm, sunny weather and sandy beaches, eastern North Carolina provides an abundance of seafood festivals to take advantage of in early October every year.

    On Oct. 6-8, the North Carolina Seafood Festival took place in the town of Morehead City. The festival is held the first weekend in October every year to help promote the positive social and economic impact of the seafood industry in North Carolina during the non-summer months.

  • Nothing can spoil a great tailgating party

    Touchdowns … fight songs ... cheerleaders ... food. What’s a football game without a tailgate party? From burgers to hot dogs and baked beans to potato salad, no pre-game is complete until the hunger is tackled. Tailgating is as American as apple pie or political scandals.

    If you can’t make it to the big game, throw a bash at your home.

  • Oktoberfest is the world’s largest fair

    Oktoberfest means two weeks of sausage, kraut, pretzels and beer! The two-week festival takes place each year in Munich, Germany, during late September and early October. It has inspired numerous similar events around the world, attended by millions of people each year,

    German beer is also an essential part of any Oktoberfest celebration. There are more than 100 genuine German brands imported into this country, including such brands as Warsteiner, Weihenstephan, St. Pauli Girl, Dinkelacker and Pinkus. Even New England-based Samuel Adams has its version of German beer.

  • Eggplants are available year-round in our area

    The popularity of the eggplant, most notable in the Middle East in baba ghanoush, can be admired in dishes such as caponata, a Sicilian eggplant relish, and the ever-popular Italian ratatouille and Greek moussaka.

    I’m sure most of you have eaten eggplant Parmesan, smothered in a rich, marinara sauce, but there other uses for this deep purple tuber, varying in size from large globes to long, thin, zucchini-like shapes.

  • Roasted chicken thighs can be a simple, elegant dish

    Chicken thighs (dark meat) are often maligned as being unhealthy. Chicken breasts, on the other hand, because they are composed of white meat, are thought of as a healthier option, but breasts and thighs actually don’t differ that much in nutrient content.

  • Try a chef salad made with different meats over a bed of lettuce

    A famous Detroit department store popularized a version of a chef’s salad in its in-store restaurants back in the early ‘60s. Shoppers at J.L. Hudson’s Department Store would spend hours looking for bargains and would then would go upstairs and have lunch in its dining room.

    The store was later known as Dayton-Hudson and then Marshall Field’s. Today, the stores have all converted to Macy’s, and some in the Detroit area still serve a popular chef salad, called the Maurice Salad, in their restaurants.