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Cooking

  • 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.

     

  • Stacked sandwiches are becoming more popular than ever

    It seems that more and more restaurants, including the fast-food types, are constantly competing with each other when it comes to “stacked” sandwiches. Just watching all those ads on TV for the latest hamburger creation is mind-boggling! In addition to lettuce, tomato and cheese, a hamburger is now stacked with a combination of French fries, onion rings, three kinds of cheese, avocados, bacon strips, pulled pork, barbecue sauce, etc.

     

    The Dagwood sandwich

  • White Castle hamburgers made at home are so good


    I have only had a White Castle hamburger once since relocating here almost 20 years ago. They were quite popular in my youth, especially when going to a Browns or Indians game at old Cleveland Municipal Stadium. We would park at a downtown lot and then walk to the stadium, which just happened to have a White Castle on the way. We would buy them by the dozen!

  • Vinegar has been around for more than 10,000 years

    Ever wonder how vinegar came about? I’ve read it was accidentally discovered more than 10,000 years ago by a person whose batch of wine had just gone bad, or sour. Whether that’s true or not, they must have thought that it was good for something other than throwing to the hogs! We'll never know who that inventive person was, but thanks for your discovery.

    A byproduct of wine making, vinegar has worked its way through virtually every culture and has become a standard item on our kitchen shelf.

  • The hardest part when grilling fish is knowing when it’s done

    Grilling fish is easy and fast. It’s the perfect meal after a hard day’s work. Within minutes, you can be taking your fish off the grill and enjoying your flavorful and juicy meal. Fish is meant to be grilled!

    Cooking the fish fast over direct heat will allow it to retain moisture. But to be sure that it doesn’t stick to the grill, you’ll need to oil the grill’s cooking surface and/or brush the fish lightly with a little oil.