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Cooking

  • No-bake desserts require little time and minimal ingredients

    When you think of no-bake desserts, what usually comes to mind are pies, cakes and cookies that are made with ingredients that don’t require any baking.

    There are many other desserts that don’t need baking, such as ice cream, certain types of cookies and desserts made with fruits and/or cake. But the traditional no-bake types don’t use many ingredients and most require freezing or refrigeration.

  • My first taste of cheesy grits was served with red-eye gravy

    Before ever tasting shrimp and grits, I must admit I was more than a little bit apprehensive about it. Grits were something you only ate at breakfast with your eggs and ham or bacon, or so I thought.

    I love shrimp, whether it’s boiled, fried, sautéed, baked or grilled. But combining it with grits? “No way,” I said. Boy, was I wrong.

  • Today's popular casseroles could be referred to as 'comfort foods'

    How did casseroles get to be so popular? Although it seems they’ve been around forever, casseroles didn’t really attract attention until condensed, canned soups came on the market in the ’50s. The casserole was an American staple during the Depression, when families needed cheap, filling meals to put on the table.

    Do we only make casseroles because they are convenient? Is there really any reason to make a casserole?

  • Brie soup is enhanced with the delicate flavors of leeks and celery

    My introduction to cheese while growing up was limited to sliced American cheese, packaged cream cheese and that little jar of pimento cheese spread that everybody had. It wasn’t until I was much older that I was introduced to the world of “real” cheeses like Gouda, Edam, Swiss, mozzarella, Roquefort, Camembert and Brie.

    Brie cheese is not usually associated with the soup pot, probably due to its appearance and the fact it might not be, to some, the proper use of such a celebrated cheese.

  • The Cobb salad is a truly American main dish salad

    The Cobb salad is one of the earliest main dish salads to appear on restaurant menus and continues to be one of the most popular. Its origin is credited to Bob Cobb, owner of The Brown Derby, the famous eatery in Hollywood, Ca., in the early ’30s and ’40s.

  • Corned beef and cabbage makes a good meal 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 we ate it quite often throughout the year.

  • Feature vegetables as a main course, not as the usual side dish

    Vegetables don’t always have to be served on the side. We tend, myself included, to focus on a protein (meat or fish) and some kind of carb, like potatoes or rice, and then just add a vegetable as an afterthought.

    Vegetable soups, casseroles and roasted veggies are great wintertime dishes. So why do we tend to 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?

  • Hasselback potatoes: an elegant alternative to a baked potato

    This Swedish dish takes its name from Hasselbacken, the Stockholm restaurant where it was first served.

    These thinly sliced, seasoned potatoes, called “accordion potatoes” by most other European eateries, is an elegant alternative to the everyday baked, fried or mashed potato.

    When properly made, the potato will open just like an accordion, into a fan shape. The outside will be crispy and the inside will remain soft and tender.

  • With just a few basic techniques, you can cook seafood like a pro

    Cooking seafood is really rather simple once you know the basic cooking techniques and a couple of tips to ensure success.

    When cooking fresh or even frozen fish, the standard rule of seafood cookery is 10 minutes cooking time per each inch of thickness. This will vary, though, depending on the density of the flesh or whether it’s being stuffed or cooked from frozen. You can tell when it’s done when the flesh becomes opaque all the way through and flakes easily with a fork.

  • Chicken thighs are juicy, tender and can be cooked in a variety of recipes

    I am still amazed I knew almost nothing about chicken thighs until I moved here about 10 years ago.

    We ate a lot of chicken breasts and whole chickens, but always thought the thighs didn’t have much meat on them. Boy, was I surprised. Now I can’t get enough of them. I can’t even seem to over-cook them. They always come out juicy and tender.