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Cooking

  • Don’t forget about the great tradition of holiday drinks

     Entertaining for the holidays? Make that gathering a little more festive and special by extending the holiday spirit to the drinks and refreshments you offer your guests.

    Think about preparing some of the more popular traditional holiday cheer, and maybe a few more. I’ve included spiriteddrinks and a few non-alcoholic drinks and punches for those less rowdy.

     

  • After Thanksgiving, cookies will be king for the next few weeks

     

    ‘Tis the season of home baking, be they cutouts, bars, slice-and-bake, spritz or drop cookies. Whether you’re like me and dig through a stack of yellowed recipe cards to find that favorite heirloom or prefer trying out some new exotic version of peanut butter cookies, it’s time to dust off those cookie sheets and preheat the oven.

    And what aroma better captures the fragrance of the season?

  • You know what cold weather means? It’s soup season!

     During the winter months, a piping hot bowl of soup is the ultimate comfort food. Not just any kind of soup either, but serious, hearty, soul-warming soup that’s thick enough to stand a spoon up in.

    Whether you’re in the mood for seasonal produce like squash, pumpkin and potatoes, or the preserved flavors of summer like tomatoes and fruit, there are plenty of satisfying, hearty soup recipes to choose from for you and your whole family.

  • What are you going to do with all those Turkey Day leftovers?

      Thanksgiving is probably the biggest “leftover” holiday of the year. The traditional turkey day is over with and you stand there in wonderment at the mounds of leftovers and the guilt starts to set in. The mashed potatoes, the sweet potatoes, the dressing, the various vegetable side dishes and all that gravy … what are you going to do with all of it?

  • Brining your turkey will result in a moister, more flavorful bird

     That beautiful, bronzed, succulent roast turkey! For most of us, the Thanksgiving dinner usually revolves around the big bird. This is probably one of the easiest parts of the meal. Preparing all the other dishes that complement the bird and making sure they’re all done at the same time is the real challenge.

    Most of us buy a frozen turkey and thaw it ahead of time. It takes at least 24 hours in the refrigerator for every 5 pounds of turkey, so a 20-pound bird will take four to five days to thaw.

     

  • After all these years, I still enjoy writing this column

     

    I have been writing this food column for more than 10 years now, and recently a friend of mine asked me how I came up with all my ideas to write about each week. I told him I had this long checklist made up of possible food articles and I just checked them off week after week. I probably had enough for 10 years! “Really?” he asked.

  • You don’t have to acquire a taste for anything you don’t like

     We all have heard someone say, “It’s an acquired taste,” when describing a favorite dish or drink or some exotic gourmet food. If you have to “acquire a taste” to enjoy it, then how tasty can it be to begin with? How many of us would try a particular food or drink, dislike it, and then purposely set out to relive that experience again and again?

  • Have a Halloween party with theses 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.

  • Rice festival offers something for everyone, including boudin balls

     This year’s second annual N.C. Rice Festival took place Sept. 19-20 at the Brunswick Riverwalk at Belville Park. As an added attraction, all the festival queens from this year’s inaugural North Carolina Rice Festival Pageant, ranging in age from 4 to 22, were on hand to greet everyone in attendance.

  • Mushrooms may be eaten raw or cooked whole, sliced or chopped

     So what exactly are mushrooms? They aren’t really a true vegetable in the sense they do not have any leaves, roots or seeds, and really do not need any light to grow.

    A mushroom is a fungus, which grows in the dark and creates more mushrooms (or fungus) by releasing spores. Brimming with protein, B vitamins (riboflavin, niacin and pantothenic) and minerals (selenium, potassium and copper), mushrooms are low in calories and, cooked fresh, offer the most nutritional benefit versus the canned version that may have more sodium.