• Celebrate Halloween with some ‘ghoulish’ dishes and ‘witches’ brew’

    Who says Halloween is just for the kids? Years ago, my wife and I attended a Halloween dinner prepared by a good friend of ours, Jim Stanley, from Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.
    Jim said, “It’s not really about the food as much as it is about the atmosphere you create and the presentation of the dishes and the implication of what they might be.”

  • When it comes to salads, are you a dipper, topper or a mixer?

    The frequency with which we eat salads may provide clues about our personality type. Those of us who eat salads at least once a week are considered more trustworthy than those who never eat salads. Those who eat salads at least five or more times a week are considered less shy than those who eat salads less often.
    With what meals do you usually consume a salad? Do you eat your salad as your main meal or at lunch? Those who consider themselves athletic do not usually eat salads as their main meal at dinner.

  • A German specialty, sauerbraten is tender, melt-in-the-mouth meat

    Sauerbraten is a German specialty (sour roast) consisting of a beef roast marinated for 2-3 days in vinegar and/or beer and spices such as cloves, juniper berries, allspice and peppercorns, bay leaves and onions.
    The roast is then braised in the marinade over low heat for a few hours, resulting in very tender melt-in-the-mouth meat.
    A popular variation is the addition of gingersnaps, which are crumbled into the sauce to help thicken it and/or the addition of raisins or currants.

  • Crepes have become my dessert after a heavy entrée

    For more than a decade, I’ve been making great dessert crepes stuffed with lemon soufflé and other types of fruit fillings and dusted with powered sugar. I’ve also had good success with the classic crepe suzette, which is nothing more than dessert crepes bathed in an orange-flavored sauce and then, for dramatic flare, flamed with a little Grand Marnier or Cointreau.

  • Shrimp and grits is a perfect one-dish meal

    I love shrimp and have become quite attached to creamy grits, so the combination of both was appealing to me. The Shrimp and Cheesy Grits recipe below takes only about 15 minutes to prepare if you have everything chopped and measured before you start cooking. It’s perfect as a one-dish meal for your family.

  • The sweet potato should not be confused with a yam

    If you are a fan of sweet potatoes, you’ve come to the right place. North Carolina sweet potatoes are available every month of the year. Loaded with beta carotene, sweet potatoes offer nutrients that may also help to protect skin from the sun’s harmful rays.
    When selecting sweet potatoes, make sure that they are firm to the touch and show no signs of decay. For even cooking, be sure to choose sweet potatoes that are uniform in shape.

  • Not your mama’s chicken salad: some new favorites

    Everyone over the age of 50 can remember their mother’s tried-and-true recipe for chicken salad...pieces of cooked chicken, chopped walnuts, a little chopped celery, sliced white grapes and lots of mayonnaise!
    Sound familiar?
    These days, there are so many different varieties of chicken salad that I’ve lost count. Most start out with a bed of crisp green lettuce topped with cooked, grilled or marinated and then grilled chicken breasts. Then it can be topped with various cheeses, nuts, veggies and even fruits.

  • Sweet and sour can create endless dishes

    Earlier this week, we (actually, my wife) decided that we (my wife, again) should have some sweet and sour meatballs, along with some sesame noodles. Haven’t had that combination before, but who was I to argue?
    While perusing my database of recipes, I noticed that I had a lot of sweet and sour dishes, some of which I had never even made! Who would have guessed? I found I had recipes for sweet and sour chicken, pork, tilapia, onions, shrimp, cucumbers, pork ribs, and finally, sweet and sour meatballs.

  • Fresh herbs and spices are essential

    As a general rule of thumb, herbs come from grassy plants and spices from barks or seeds. Herbs tend to grow in temperate climates, while most spices come primarily from tropical regions.
    The term “spice” refers to the whole family of dried plant seasonings, including spices, herbs, blends and dehydrated vegetables.

  • Microwave ovens do more than defrost and reheat foods

    The microwave oven has revolutionized the way people cook and reheat food, but most of us probably don’t use its full range of capabilities. Many use it exclusively for reheating leftovers, making microwave popcorn and heating frozen entrees. Sound familiar?