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Cooking

  • Local produce farms have strawberries ready for pickin’

        Strawberries typically peak during May in the South and in June and July in the North. Local farmers markets in our area now have strawberries ripe for the pickin’.

    If you like to pick your own, be sure to take a couple of plastic buckets with you to load up on the local favorites. My wife and I used to indulge in picking are own strawberries at Holden Brothers Farm Market. In recent years, though, I leave the pickin’ to the younger folks.

     

    Picking strawberries

  • Spring is here and it’s time to fire up the grill

     

    Grilling food seems to be gaining popularity with the rise of the TV food shows. I can remember when our choices were only Julia Child, Graham Kerr and my favorite, the late Jeff Smith, “The Frugal Gourmet.”

    The availability of indoor grills, sometimes built into the stovetop, has helped spur interest in this oldest form of cooking. There’s just something about that grilled flavor that really adds draws people in.

  • Carrots make a tasty and healthy addition to any meal

      Did you know carrots started out being red, dark yellow, white and purple in color? Everything but orange! Carrots started with yellow flesh and a purple exterior, but it was the Dutch who developed the orange carrot, and then the French who developed it into the elongated carrot we eat today.

    Mel Blanc was not very fond of carrots but ate them while voicing Bugs Bunny.

  • Ramen noodles have come a long way since my college days

     In 1958, instant ramen noodles were invented in Japan. Ramen is the Japanese pronunciation for “lo mein” or “lau mein” in Chinese, and primarily refers to noodles in a soup broth. Because of the ease of preparation and rich flavor of these noodles, consumption of ramen noodle soup use quickly expanded worldwide.

  • Halushki is ‘coal food’ to immigrants from western Pennsylvania

        My aunt and uncle were from Beaver Falls in western Pennsylvania, which is about 20 miles from Pittsburgh. We always enjoyed going there, especially when Aunt Jeanne was going to have some “halushki.”

  • Corned beef and cabbage is good any time of the year

     My grandmother on my father’s side was from the Irish Kirkbride clan. I had many aunts, uncles and cousins from this side of the family. With this background, I remember eating many traditional Irish dishes, especially corned beef and cabbage, which we always had on St. Patrick’s Day. But we liked it so much that we would have quite often throughout the year.

  • Kofta kabobs served with tzatziki sauce is a truly unique dish

     The distinctive flavors of Middle Eastern cuisine come alive in one of the more common Persian dishes, called kofta kebabs. Essentially, it’s an elongated meatball grilled on a skewer. What makes this dish truly unique is the amazing blend of herbs and spices, including ginger, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, allspice and fresh parsley and mint. You want to savor each bite.

    Kofta kebabs go well with rice, a salad or just serve them in a pita served with tzatziki sauce for an awesome pita pocket!

  • Look for good, bright color when selecting salad greens

     Salads are easy to prepare and you can mix and match different type of greens with raw or grilled veggies, cheeses, nuts and fruits. Most any combination of these will work, so just pick a few of your favorite flavor combinations and “start mixing.”

     

    Types of salads

    There are four main types of salads: appetizer, accompaniment, main dish and dessert.

  • A creamy mustard sauce turned a simple veal stew into stroganoff

     Have you ever just started out to make a simple dish for dinner and all of a sudden it turns into a fantastic entrée?

    I’m sure this happens all the time to most of us, right? Seriously though, I did start out to create a simple veal stew and somewhere along the way ended up with a modified version of veal stroganoff. Most veal stew consists of braised veal combined with potatoes, carrots, onions, etc., stewed in a large pot with some stock over low heat for a couple of hours.

  • Don’t cook your pasta before baking: Hydrate it first

     How often have we looked at recipes for a baked pasta dish that instructed us to boil the noodles until cooked halfway before baking them? This technique allows the pasta to finish cooking in the oven as it bathes in the sauce.