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Cooking

  • Swiss chard is available year-round but is best in summer

    Chard is a type of beet, which along with spinach, is a plant in the goosefoot family; so named because some of the plants in this category have leaves shaped like their namesake.

    Unlike traditional beets, chard roots are inedible. Chard is prized for its large leaves and crunchy stalks. The two main types found in most supermarkets are red chard and green.

    The red has red stems and dark green leaves with red veins. The green has lighter green leaves with white stalks. The red variety has a stronger flavor.

  • Do we really need all these 'low-fat' and 'low-carb' choices?

    The other day while I was at the supermarket, I was looking for my favorite soda, Pepsi, which was on sale if I bought five 12-packs of cans. But as I checked out the choices, I encountered vanilla Pepsi, diet-vanilla Pepsi, cherry Pepsi, diet-cherry Pepsi, lemon Pepsi, caffeine-free Pepsi, Pepsi Max, diet-Pepsi Max, diet Pepsi and regular Pepsi.

  • Can you eat those 'fingers' on the sides of a crab's body?

    Have you ever wondered whether certain parts of foods can be eaten? When removing the broccoli florets from the stalk, have you ever wondered if you could eat the stem? (I have, so hopefully the answer is yes). Most foods must be fabricated in some manner prior to being utilized into whatever dish is being prepared. This often means breaking them down into their component parts.

  • Use those leftover eggplants for moussaka and eggplant Parmesan

    Are you one of those many gardeners wondering what to do with all those eggplants that just seem to keep showing up?

    Eggplant isn’t a particularly popular vegetable in the United States, but it’s a favorite in many areas of the South.

    Thomas Jefferson, who experimented with many varieties of plants in his Virginia garden, is credited with introducing eggplant to North America.

    Eggplant, a member of the nightshade family along with potatoes, tomatoes and peppers, is actually a fruit, and is classified botanically as a berry.

  • Shallots are for babies—onions are for men—garlic is for heroes

    "Tomatoes and oregano make it Italian; wine and tarragon make it French; sour cream makes it Russian; lemon and cinnamon make it Greek; soy sauce makes it Chinese; but garlic makes it good," said Alice May Brock (of Alice's Restaurant fame).

    Garlic has been alleged to perform everything from curing countless illnesses to warding off evil spirits and vampires. The Egyptians fed garlic to the slaves who built the pyramids believing it increased their physical strength.

  • Asian food recipes are easy to cook and are extremely healthy

    If you’re looking for some great recipes that will also let you practice healthy cooking, you really can’t go wrong with Asian food recipes. They really aren’t difficult to cook and most of them are extremely healthy.

    There are so many types of Asian food recipes you’ll never get bored with any of them. The ingredients are all basically the same; lots of vegetables, meats and rice. The spices are basically where they differ.

  • Southerners love fried green tomatoes, and fried red tomatoes, too

    Fried green tomatoes are one of my favorite summer foods. If you haven’t tried them, you’re in for a treat.

    Native to Mexico and Central America, it’s not clear how tomatoes came to the United States. Thomas Jefferson grew them in the 1780s and credited one of his neighbors with the introduction, but Harriott Pinckney Horry recorded a recipe, “To Keep Tomatoes for Winter Use” in 1770.

  • Create chicken dishes by using your own tasty sauces

    Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are the ultimate fast food for family and guests—quick to prepare and low in fat. But if you’re like me, they can be boring. You throw them in a skillet and then wonder, “Now what?”

    A magazine once published more than 50 ways to prepare chicken. I’ve since decided that figure must be closer to 5,000!

  • Many Southern dishes were created with frugal ingenuity

    Southern food is home cooking, comfort food, Creole, Cajun, Carolina low country, soul food and Tex-Mex. It includes an abundance of fresh vegetables, rice or corn, inexpensive cuts of meat (usually pork or chicken) and fresh seafood.

    Popular Southern dishes include barbeque, country fried steak, catfish, smothered pork chops, black-eyed peas, grits, biscuits and gravy, fried green tomatoes, collard greens, okra and sweet potatoes. And no Southern meal is complete without libations, especially sweet iced tea and mint juleps.

  • Iced tea: A popular year-round southern tradition

    Southerners drink iced tea year-round, and have been drinking iced tea since the 19th century when ice became generally available.

    If you order tea in a restaurant in the South, you’ll get iced tea, probably sweetened, so if you want it hot or unsweetened, you’d better say so!