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Cooking

  • Thanksgiving is one holiday most people celebrate at home

    The Thanksgiving meal is the one meal of the year you usually know what to expect and what you will be eating. It’s the one holiday that most people traditionally celebrate at home, unlike the Fourth of July or New Year’s Eve, when people usually go out somewhere to celebrate.

  • Spinach, whether fresh or frozen, is a most versatile vegetable

    Everyone knows spinach is good for you, but we seem to underuse it quite a bit. Spinach contains a powerhouse of nutrients, so why not use it more often?
    The best spinach is usually found in the farmers market rather than the produce section of a regular grocery store. When fresh spinach is not available, why not try using one of the cheapest items at the grocery store? Boxed frozen spinach. The frozen chopped versions are a bit more versatile than the leafy kind, but if you really love the leafy variety, then go with it.

  • Although considered a fruit, a fig is actually an inverted flower

    My sister lives in southern California and always has an abundance of juicy, ripe figs. Every once in a while, she’ll call me and ask if I have any good recipes for using up all her figs. I have three fig trees and probably get about 40-50 figs out of all them. Not much compared to 150 or so from each of her many fig trees.
    If you don’t have any fresh figs for these recipes, don’t worry. Though fig season here was finished weeks ago, most local markets have jars of fresh figs. Even the dried variety work quite well.

  • Have a Halloween party with these tasty ‘ghoulish’ recipes

    Halloween dinners are not really about the food as much as they are about the atmosphere you create and the presentation of the dishes and the implication of what they might be. With this in mind, it’s time for me to indulge in my traditional “ghoulish” Halloween dinner/party festivities.
    Enhance the lighting with votive candles placed in carved-out pumpkins; garnish Halloween martinis with three candy corns speared through a toothpick, instead of the traditional olives; or freeze gummy worms and other wiggly creatures into ice cubes for other drinks.

  • Lemon soufflé dessert crepes are light, citrusy and easy to make

    Since I’m quite a fan of crepes, I enjoy 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 flare, flamed with a little Grand Marnier or Cointreau liqueur. The original recipe is from “Great Cooking” by the editors of Time-Life Books, but along the way, I’ve tweaked them just a bit.

  • Hungarian paprika adds a distinct flavor and aroma to any dish

    With our weather beginning to cool down into autumn, I start thinking about flavorful and hearty soups that are perfect for this time of the year.
    Hungarian goulash is neither a soup nor a stew but somewhere in between. It’s primarily a beef dish cooked with onions, sweet or pickled peppers and paprika. In some recipes, potatoes or noodles are added.

  • Pennsylvania Dutch food is still quite popular in the South

    Back in 1683, many German-speaking people, including Mennonites from Switzerland and Holland and the Amish, an offshoot of the Mennonites, began migrating from Europe to Pennsylvania. They tilled the land and built big barns and homes.
    Since then, they have come to be known as the Pennsylvania Dutch.
    One of the more popular dishes was slippery pot pie, made with square noodle dough cooked with either beef or chicken and its broth, along with potatoes and onions. A crumb pie, called shoo-fly pie, and funeral pie, a combination of raisins and lemon, were also favored.

  • Instead of regular onion, try leeks for more flavor and texture

    The dark green leaves on leeks are extremely tough, so when incorporating leeks into a recipe, they are usually removed. But in some cases, they do have their uses, as the leaves are excellent for flavoring stocks.
    When making soup at home, leeks can be used instead of a regular onion, or add them in addition for a little more flavor and texture. The Brie Soup with Leeks and Celery and Creamy Potato Leek Soup recipes below are just two examples.

  • Dining out? Remember these food safety tips

    Cheryle Jones Syracuse
    Family and Consumer Science Staff N.C. Cooperative Extension
    Brunswick County Center
    In last week’s column, I talked about this being National Food Safety Education Month and some of the things restaurants can do to train their staff in food safety. That’s all well and good and I certainly support ongoing training for those who work in restaurants and the food service industry.

  • Many recipes are passed down from friends and family members

    Over the years I’ve received many recipes from readers who have been kind enough to forward them to me. Some of you even provided me with a sampling of your creation. I must admit I enjoy the occasional break from cooking.
    I have also received emails asking for recipes that you had saved and can no longer find or you just need a specific recipe for a special occasion. I hope my responses have been helpful.