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Cooking

  • The aroma of fresh-baked bread is the perfect addition to any meal

     When it comes to meal planning, I don’t always remember to include a vegetable and/or beans and some kind of greens, like a garden salad, spinach, broccoli…something in the green family, and occasionally a pasta or starch of some kind.

    My wife can attest to this fact. On more than one occasion, I’ll tell her what fantastic entrée that I’m concocting and she’ll ask me, “What vegetable on you planning to serve with that?”

  • Pasta dishes should be simple and use fresh ingredients

    The major difference between pasta as served in Italy and pasta served elsewhere is that for an Italian, pasta is generally a first course, to be followed by a second course of some kind, such as meat, fish, vegetables or even a pizza.

    In other words, pasta is a part of the meal, but not the whole meal.

  • Dinner for two? Scale your meal planning down to size

     

    For those of you who are just cooking for one or two, don’t just settle for a sandwich (peanut butter and jelly?) or a bowl of cereal every night. Try out some recipes and experiment with what works best for you.

    I’ve been cooking for my wife and I for a while now, and I really don’t feel comfortable cooking for more than two to four people. My wife was used to cooking for the masses when our kids were growing up. With a little planning and some quick cooking, you can create healthy meals for you and your dining partner.

  • To many, the classic Caesar salad is the king of all salads

    This popular classic salad, including all the tableside showmanship by waiters when preparing it tableside, became a sensation in America back in the 1920s. It is widely accepted that Caesar Cardini, a restaurant owner and chef in Tijuana, Mexico, whipped up a salad from scratch with leftover ingredients for a gathering of hungry Hollywood notables.

    To many, including me, this is the king of salads. It was probably the first main coursesalad, and topped with chicken or fish, is truly a main course.

  • Taken in moderation, beer is a very healthy food

     Beer is not just for drinking at football games and happy hour; it can be a great addition to many recipes and accentuates the flavors of meat, breads, stews and even desserts.

  • Use rich, creamy risotto as a main course or even in soups

     Soups, casseroles and roasted veggies are great wintertime dishes. So why do we tend to just relegate them to a small portion of our plate, especially when they’re so filling? Why not feature them as a main course instead of focusing on the usual proteins and carbos? Protein can be served up in other forms, whether incorporated in the soup or casserole, or just providing a variety of cheeses and toasted seeds or nuts.

  • Repeat after me: Shallots are not the same as green onions!

     What are shallots? Is the shallot an onion? Do not confuse shallots with green onions or scallions,as they are called in some areas. In Louisiana, gardeners tend to call both shallots and green onions, green onions. They are different plants. Apparently, early French settlers in Louisiana had to substitute green onions for shallots, hence the confusion.

    Shallots and green onions are not the same thing and don’t look alike or taste alike!

  • Fruitcakes are a symbol of good luck for the New Year

     Some years ago, a research firm polled about 1,000 adults asking what they did with fruitcake, a symbol of good luck for the New Year, as well as for weddings and other celebrations.

    The result was fairly predictable: 38 percent said they gave it away, 28 percent actually ate it, 13 percent used it as a doorstop, 9 percent scattered it for the birds, 8 percent couldn’t remember and 4 percent threw it out!

  • ‘Here we come a-wassailing, among the leaves so green…’

    An age-old winter custom is the drinking of wassail, which is drunk at Christmas time, New Years and the Twelfth Night. Wassail is a greeting, meaning, “Be in good health!”

    Wassail is also associated with caroling. As the story goes, men would carry a large vessel, usually with handles, from house to house. They would sing, get the vessel filled again, and then go on to the next house. It was a sign of good luck to have them visit.

  • Sauerbraten is perfect for large gatherings over the holidays

     Sauerbraten is a favorite of mine to be served around the holidays. It’s not just a dish you can make for just two, three or four people. Since I start out with a 4- to 5-pound beef roast, it is more conducive to a larger gathering around the holiday season.