• 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?

  • Hungarian paprika adds flavor and aroma to any dish

    For those who aren’t yet aware, the Beacon has a new editor, Jackie Torok. I asked her recently what her favorite meals were, and she mentioned Hungarian goulash, chicken paprikash and stuffed cabbage rolls. So, in order to make points with our new editor, I thought I’d share my versions of these classics.
    Hungarian goulash is neither a soup nor a stew; it’s somewhere in between. It’s primarily a beef dish cooked with onions, sweet or pickled peppers and paprika. In some recipes, potatoes and/or noodles are also added.

  • Pork chops taste better with a classic Dijon mustard sauce

    Our family has always eaten a lot of pork chops. I remember my wife’s mother serving them quite often when we were first married. The chops were thinner then, and almost always bone-in. She would pan-fry them so you could just pick them up and eat them in bunches!
    These days, though, we prefer thicker chops and although we prefer bone-in, it really just depends on what’s available at the market.

  • It’s summertime again and time to think about salads

    If there’s one food that really captures the essence of summer, it’s salad. It doesn’t necessarily have to be leafy and green to be called a salad, as some of my favorite summertime salads have never been near a head of lettuce.
    Over the years, I’ve shared many salad ideas, with many of them coming from my wife, who makes great summer salads. I still like to try out new ideas out on her, and most of them I get two thumbs up. We won’t talk about the ones that don’t make the list!

  • Highly versatile, onions lend themselves to a variety of preparations

    Onions are underground bulbs that are related to the lily family. They should be stored in a cool, dry place, and the sooner you use them, the better.
    With the exception of leeks and scallions, onions should not be refrigerated, unless there is an unused portion, which should be wrapped in plastic first.

  • Sometimes it’s hard to cook for one or two

    When it’s just you or the two of you, it can be a real challenge preparing meals when you were used to preparing for an army, as my wife can attest. What works well for many of us is making a large casserole and eating half and then freezing the other half. You can also divide it into two smaller baking pans. Bake one right away and wrap and freeze the other, leaving you with leftovers for another day.

  • Top 10 foods for a July Fourth barbecue, plus some tips

    As Independence Day rolls around again, it’s time for the Great American Cookout, and there’s one thing you can expect at this holiday: There will always be plenty of traditional Fourth of July food. Many of us have several favorites that we always serve.
    So, I thought it only fitting that I should list my top 10 foods that you can always expect to see at a Fourth of July barbecue:
    Fresh Lemonade: Try adding frozen cubes of lemonade to your drink and your lemonade will not become watered down.

  • Try using seasonal vegetables when planning your daily meals

    Have you ever sat down and planned what meals you were going to cook that week without considering what vegetables were in season? I know I have!
    I get this craving for a certain meal that I want to have without even considering if certain foods or veggies are even available at that time of year. When I can’t find what I want, I sometimes end up creating a completely different dish than what I had planned. Sometimes this is a good thing.