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Cooking

  • It’s time to enjoy oysters, shrimp, crab and clams at local festivals

     October is one of my favorite times of the year, as oysters, shrimp, crab and clams are featured at the many seafood festivals in our area. Shrimp, because they are so rich in food value, are the most popular of seafood products, but you can’t beat the oyster stew and clam chowder that is prevalent this time of the year.

  • Crepes can add a dramatic ‘flare’ to most any meal

     For longer than I can remember, I’ve been making dessert crepes stuffed with lemon soufflé and other types of fruit fillings and then dusted with powdered sugar. I’ve also had good success with the classic Crepe Suzette, which is nothing more than dessert crepes bathed in an orange-flavored sauce and then, for dramatic flair, flamed with a little Grand Marnier or Cointreau.

  • Casseroles were an American staple during the Depression

     Can you name a dish that is also the name of the container in which it is cooked? Casserole! When you combine a variety of foods, whether they are all vegetables or in combination with meats, and heat them in a broth or stock, you have actually created a casserole.

    Casseroles vary from the typical cream sauce-based creations to quiches, to savory pies, to Shepherd’s pie and even breakfast and dessert casseroles.

  • For most Southern folks, Brunswick stew is pure comfort

    I remember reading somewhere about men being from Mars and women from Venus. If we are talking about the eating department, that could be true. When it comes to comfort foods, most men prefer hearty meals, while women look for snacks that require little or no preparation.

    Most of us men find comfort in foods associated with meals prepared by our mothers, such as mashed potatoes, pasta, meat and soup, rather than snacks and sweets … except for ice cream! But what is comfort for men is just work for women.

  • This weekend is the inaugural North Carolina Rice Festival

    The North Brunswick Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring the first North Carolina Rice Festival this coming weekend, Sept. 20-21, at The Brunswick Riverwalk at Belville, 580 River Road in Belville. The festival will include a rice cooking contest, arts and crafts, commercial vendors, children’s entertainment zone, youth art contest and, of course, an adult beverage tent.

  • The versatility and speed of the classic French sauté

    Many of us have cooked meat in a hot pan lightly covered in olive oil and then deglazed the pan with either a rich beef or chicken stock or our favorite white or red wine. This classic French sauté method is credited to Pierre Franey, whose series of “60-Minute Gourmet” cookbooks taught a generation of Americans about the versatility and speed of this classic technique.

  • Gravy, shrimp add flavor to Southern breakfast staple

    Grits are a staple of the Southern breakfast. For those unfamiliar with them, grits are nothing more than coarsely ground, dried corn. If you grind it a little finer, you have the Italian staple, polenta … grind it finer yet, and you have corn meal.

    I’ve heard that some places like to combine grits with hominy, which is soaked in lye. Why would you want to soak food in lye, and then actually eat it?

  • It’s summertime, and fruits and vegetables are at their peak

    If there’s one food that really captures the essence of summer, it’s salad. Ripe produce are overflowing from our gardens, and when fruits and vegetables are at the peak of their season, there’s no need to do anything fancy with them.

  • Green beans are a popular, warm-season, home garden vegetable

     Do you know what the most popular, edible pod bean is in this country? It’s green beans, otherwise known as snap or string bean. Not only are green beans a popular home-garden vegetable, they are also plentiful at our local farm markets and produce stands during this warm season.

    I remember my aunt pulling the “string” on these beans, noticeable when you snapped off the ends. The “snapping” noise is the reason for its other nickname.

     

  • There is nothing simple when it comes to a cup of joe

     Every morning, millions of Americans reach for their cup of joe in order to start the morning off right. We seem to have coffeehouses on every corner offering specialty brews for this tasty, eye-opening beverage.

    Now, we even drink it during the day. Iced coffee seems to be catching on quite a bit.