• 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.


  • Tasty French onion and beef entrée using pizza dough

     In my never-ending quest trying to cut down on excessive fats and carbohydrates in my diet, I’ve learned recipes can be adjusted to be healthier and still taste just as good, and in some cases, even better. I’ve tried, although not always successfully, to stop making and eating anything that contains excessive fats or carbs.

    I recently came across an absolutely delicious French onion and beef entre using cumin and caramelized onions, but containing a large amount of fat. How could it be made lighter?

  • When it comes to low-fat animal protein, whitefish is the winner



    It seems everyone these days is trying to balance meals with low-carb, high protein foods, yet low-fat at the same time. What about whitefish? It’s lower in fat than any other source of animal protein.

    Tilapia is a mild, tender, white-flesh fish that cooks up in minutes. Because of its lack of fishy flavor and low price, it has become the most popular farmed fish in the U.S.

  • Easy-to-make dessert recipes, like Chocolate Earthquake Cake

     For anyone wanting to make a Chocolate Earthquake Cake, I would have one word of caution: Do not try to squeeze it into a smaller pan than specified. You want an earthquake, not a volcano!

    This rich chocolate cake has always had wide appeal, probably because it’s easy and quick to make (my kind of recipe). What makes a dish easy to make? What makes a recipe simple and tasty? All of the ingredients are easily available, probably in your pantry or fridge. And the taste? Just checking off the few simple ingredients needed in these recipes should give you a clue.

  • Winners from last year’s N.C. Rice Festival share their recipes

     September is National Rice Month and the North Brunswick Chamber of Commerce is again sponsoring the North Carolina Rice Festival this coming weekend, Sept. 19-20, at Brunswick Riverwalk at Belville Park, 580 River Road in Belville.

    Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Entry fee is $5 per adult and children 12 and younger are free with a paying adult. There is free parking across the street at Belville Elementary School.