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Cooking

  • 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.

  • Holiday party hors d’oeuvres can be creative and tasty

     No matter what you call them, simple presentations such as cheese and crackers can require as much work as your main course. Although primarily served as an appetizer, hors d’oeuvres can also function as the main attraction when served at cocktail and holiday parties.

  • After bird day, it might be time to think about Christmas cookies

     If you’ve been to our local Walmart or Belk’s (who hasn’t?), you’ll know that the holiday season is in full swing and that means it’s time for baking cookies! So many recipes, so little time…

  • Thanksgiving signals the start of the Christmas shopping season

     It’s that time of year again. Thanksgiving is the time to gather with your friends and family, turn on some football and enjoy your Thanksgiving meal…the one meal of the year that you usually know what to expect and what you will be eating.

    Even though I’m not really a turkey lover, I do manage to get my fill of the traditional trimmings, such as mashed potatoes and gravy, green bean casserole, stuffing, cranberries, sweet potatoes and more.

  • Veal is not only healthy, but also quick and easy to prepare

     The unique flavor of veal is delicate and unobtrusive. What this actually means is that veal is easily incorporated into your favorite recipes, including roasts, pasta dishes, sautés, stir-fries and even casseroles that use ground meats.

  • Brown ground beef ahead of time for quick and convenient use

     When planning for your weekly meals, sometimes it’s more convenient to make some things ahead of time. This may be especially true for ground beef, especially if you plan on making some chili, casseroles, tacos or even spaghetti sauce during the week.

    Maybe it’s just me, but when browning ground beef, do you typically end up with large chunks that are hard to break down? Don’t you just hate that? Or maybe you just like it all chunky.