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Cooking

  • 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.

  • When making your own tomato sauce, use only the best ingredients

    If you love pasta as much as I do, a good tomato sauce is one of the first things you should learn to make. You can either cook the tomatoes for a very short time or let them simmer and bubble for at least 40 minutes. Tomatoes only begin to release their acid juices after about 10 minutes, so it will take at least half an hour simmering to evaporate.

  • Picnics today are usually more casual affairs

    This time of the year is perfect for a picnic or a cookout. Everyone wants to get out and take in the warm, sunny weather and spend some time at one of our many beaches, but at some point, we’ll all get together and enjoy the bounties of homemade offerings at a cookout or picnic.

    The word picnic actually comes from the French “pique-nique,” which means “a fashionable social entertainment” in which each guest brings a contribution to the feast. In other words, it was just a fancy way of saying “potluck.”

  • Burst of berries just the thing from local farmers markets

    Berry season is in full swing, so now is the time to take advantage. Available practically year-round at the supermarket, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries just taste better when bought from a local farmers market.While they’re in season, you can devour these berries right after they’re picked at the farm, by the bowlful or prepared as a scrumptious, calorie-laden dessert.

     

    Raspberry, Avocado and Mango Salad