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Архив за месяц: Май 2010

Simple gifts give the greatest joy

Simple Gifts Give the Greatest Joy

Thanksgiving is a celebration that marks the beginning of the winter holidays. The day is a feast of warm family love, true friends and laughter, and fantastic, colorful platters and bowls of food, vessels of wine, and memorable festive holiday music.

The holidays bring out many different talents in family and friends, especially in the kitchen where everyone is a master concerning the dessert tray, dressing, sweet potatoes, the main entr?e, and even the gravy. Everyone becomes a chef noting: “The marshmallows on the sweet potatoes need to be crispier”, or “The dressing needs more pepper and the turkey needs more basting”. Even a simple bobble over the table arrangement as to where the candles should be placed and the napkins should lie becomes a glorious partaking of family and friends to make the occasion as stunning and impressive as possible.

Thanksgiving is over now and the countdown to Christmas is begun. It’s at this time of year that giving seems to present itself as an important ritual, especially to those who have less or have nothing at all. Grocery stores have bins where people can offer food for the homeless and shelters prepare meals for those who have no family. This year is a particularly hard year for Americans as our economy is quite shaken. Even offering a can or two of a nutritious staple food can help out any organization helping others.

To add to the wonderful gift of food you opt to drop into a grocery bin or prepare to bring to those who rarely get a festive meal, how about adding a simple yet unique recipe tied around the provisions you’ve chosen. When your gift of food is opened, a wonderful recipe will be supplied as well. The incentive to prepare a simple but appetizing meal will help make the banquet unforgettable and unique. To receive the gift of food is a tremendous blessing. The added gift of how to create a beautiful meal for your loved ones is further sanction, especially for people who don’t typically have the means to create a stunning feast, simple though it may be.

This year, while donating food, please add a recipe to your gift. www.gourmandia.com has hundreds of recipes from which to choose. This simple addition will help create incentive to prepare a delicious meal for those who rarely get one. Who knows! You may become the catalyst for a great future chef by planting the artistic seed of culinary hope!

Happy Holidays!

Margaux Sky


Varied choices of spices and ingredients to make in authentic indian foods

Varied choices of spices and ingredients to make in authentic Indian foods

It is correctly said that authentic Indian food is all about spices. But there is wide ranging varieties of spices aimed at specific taste and flavor. Many of the cuisines have a fair amount of spices but that does not make the food monotonous in taste as there are varied choices to make from the menu of Indian cuisines in a restaurant.
But spices can provide you the much required thrill in food. Spices are known for their nutritive and medicinal values, meaning that you will be immensely benefited on regularly taking the food having spices.
Authentic Indian food comprises of spices but you can choose the amount of spices as per your taste and liking. Amongst the necessary spices, cumin is added for fragrance, turmeric for color and red chilli for providing the hot taste to the food. Most of the Indian cuisines are incomplete without dash of dry mango powder called amchoor that is used for adding piquancy and the spice helps in digestion as well. Asafetida, called heeng also is used for unique taste. For garnishing of the food, coriander is frequently used for fragrance.
Vegetables are inseparable part of Indian cuisines. You will find vegetables used for almost every dish and even meat cuisines are served with side vegetable dishes. If you want to taste vegetarian food, then visit any of the Indian restaurants in London or elsewhere else. There are plethoras of vegetable cuisines to choose from.
Another aspect of authentic Indian food is the use of fruits. Many of the dishes include frequent involvement of dry fruits. Berries and seeds find their extensive use in the dishes.
When you order for deserts in an Indian restaurant, you will be surprised with the wide ranging varieties of ingredients. Fennel and saffron are one of the most used spices for deserts. Mustard seeds, poppy seeds and onion seeds are also favored by Indian chefs in preparing the deserts of different taste.
There are wide ranging cuisines available to you when you enter a restaurant to have a taste of authentic Indian food and allow your self these dishes for a different taste.

Beat the summer warmth with crock pot cooking

Beat the Summer Warmth with Crock Pot Cooking

When the weather outside warms up, the kitchen can be a terrible place to be. There are many things you can do however, when it comes to cooking a nice home made meal that doesn’t require traditional stove top or oven cooking. Learn to utilize some of the lesser heat producing equipment in your kitchen, such as the crock pot, in order to truly beat the summer heat and keep your cool while preparing a nice hot meal for friends and family.
So, how does crock pot cooking really help beat the heat? Simply put, the crock pot in and of itself puts off far less heat when cooking than an oven or stove top. This is the first and possibly the best reason to utilize the crock pot in your summer meal planning. You should also consider the fact that by not heating the house by using your stove top or oven you are also preventing your air conditioning (or other cooling methods) from working overtime in order to compensate for the additional heat that other cooking methods introduce.
This makes crock pot cooking a win-win situation as the costs involved in operating a crock pot are far less than the costs involved in operating a stove or oven in general. Whether electric or gas, your stove and oven are often serious energy hogs. Add to that the fact that you are not raising the temperature in your home by traditional means of cooking and you are using even less electricity.
Unfortunately for most, the general consensus has been that crock pots were meant for comfort foods and hearty winter meals. The truth is that the crock pot should be one of your best loved and most often utilized cooking methods if you can manage it. When it comes to cooking with a crock pot, the options are almost limitless. Almost anything that can be baked can be made in the crock pot and many, many more wonderful and enticing meals and treats as well.
Benefits of Crock Pot Cooking
In addition to the cost benefits mentioned above when it comes to crock pot cooking there are many other benefits that are well worth mentioning. First of all, the bulk of the work involved in crock pot cooking takes place early in the day when you are refreshed rather than at the end of a hectic work or play day. This means that you are less likely to forget an ingredient or make other mistakes that often occur as we hurriedly prepare a dinner when we are exhausted from the activities of our day.
Second, many great crock pot recipes include the vegetables that insure we are getting the nutrients we need. So often, when preparing a meal at the last minute, vegetables and other side dishes are left out in favor of expedience. Crock pot cooking in many instances is a meal in one dish.
Another great reason to use a crock pot for your summertime cooking is the ease of clean up. Unlike pots and pans, most crock pot meals are made in one dish. This means that there will not be mountains of dishes to be either hand washed or loaded into the dishwasher (or if you are like me-both) afterwards. You can spend less time cleaning just as you spent less time slaving over a hot stove. Oh wait! Make that no time slaving over a hot stove. Once clean up is complete you can get back to enjoying the sun set, chasing the lightening bugs with your little ones, or waiting for the first star.
While there will never be a one size fits all best cooking method, crock pot cooking comes very close. If you have a crock pot collecting dust somewhere in the back of your pantry it is time to get it out, dust if off, and dig up some great summertime crock pot cooking recipes.

Why is it i can never think of anything good to make for supper

Why is It I Can Never Think Of Anything «Good» To Make For Supper?

Okay, now I need to ask do you find yourself making the same meals over and over and over?  It seems like I get in a rut and fix the same foods on a rotating scale.  Granted I have picky eaters in my family but not that picky.

I decided to do something about it.  After reflecting on it for awhile I discovered the biggest problem with cooking supper was deciding what to make so I got out a notebook and started writing down meal ideas complete with side dishes.  I even asked friends and family occasionally what they were having for dinner to get more ideas.

I had my son give me ideas too for his favourite meal choices and side dishes.  He did a good job of coming up with things I hadn’t even made in a long time.  I found that asking him when he was hungry seemed to help his creative juices come up with more ideas.

Now each week I have my little notebook of meal ideas and I decide on 8 of them and go shopping for the ingredients to make them.  I then make a list and put it on the board of the 8 different menu choices and cross them off as I make them.

At the end of the week there is always one meal left over, I often find I didn’t make it because someone doesn’t like it much or it takes too long to prepare.  I then make a little note in my notebook saying cook this when so and so won’t be home, or only put this on the supper list when you know you have time to make it.

I find I don’t dread cooking supper nearly as much, I have eliminated the quick run to the grocery store before making supper, and have made my life much simpler when it comes to cooking supper.

Tips for healthy diet

Tips for Healthy Diet

To follow a healthy diet is not about avoidance of eating favorite cuisines and obeying nutritional charts. It is only aimed to keep you fit by following some basics of nutrition in a way that works for you. Following a healthy diet does not apply rocket science. Given below are some tips for maintaining a healthy diet.
1.    Eat enough but not too much. A healthy diet focuses on balance not excessiveness. Do     not eat more food than the amount which your body cannot consume.
2.    Do not limit your self only to a single type of food. A healthy diet is the one     which is based on variety. Give a try to those fruits, grains, vegetables which you     normally do not eat.   
3.    During out door eating opt for moderate food packages instead of large or extra ones (if you are eating alone). In recent years majority of food chains have raised the sizes of food packages however if you want to implement a healthy diet plan then focus on moderate food packages instead of large while eating for yourself.
4.    Eat fresh. A healthy diet is based on fresh or newly cooked food instead of frozen one.
5.    Concentrate on fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes. A healthy diet manual encourages use of these food items as they are free of cholesterol and enriched with carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins.  
6.    Drink more water as it flushes toxic wastes out of body through urination.  It also prevents from dehydration which can cause serious illness.  
7.    Limit sugar based products especially carbonated drinks. It will prevent you from obesity. A taking of carbonated drink per day can increase pounds in double figures.
8.    An impact of healthy diet is visible only when you are engaged in physical activity. Keep moving by taking exercises or indulging yourself in sporting activities.
9.    Always chew food properly as it will help in digestion. Also savoring every bite will let you enjoy flavors.
10.    Do not eat while you are driving, working or doing any other physical activity. This is necessary to avoid stress during eating which can cause digestion problems including heart burn.
11.    As part of a healthy diet practice it is recommended to eat when you are really hungry. First drink water and then eat in slow manner. Close your meal before you may feel full.
12.    Avoid bad carbohydrates. These include refined sugar, rice and white floor. Refined floor is filtered of bran and fibers which are essential nutrients and can prevent from constipation related problems.
13.    For healthy diet use whole grain food and cereals e.g. millet, barley. Usually wheat cereals and dark bread contain whole grains. Avoid refined grains.  
14.    Make use of beans, oats, fruit, vegetables, whole grains which are considered as a healthy diet enriched with fiber.
15.    Avoid canned fruit juices. Because it contains sugar syrup. Also avoid fried vegetables, snacked food as these contain extra fats and calories.
16.    Proteins are also essentials for maintaining a healthy diet. Lack of proteins can hinder growth process. Proteins also act a source of energy which keeps the man moving. Milk, cheese, butter, eggs, meat, chicken and fish are food items enriched with proteins.
17.     A healthy diet manual is incomplete without the usage of diary products. Calcium which gives strength to bones is prime ingredient of dairy products. Milk also contains Vitamin D which helps in formation of both bones and teeth.  Always choose non fat or low fat diary products which do not contain bovine growth hormones.
18.    A healthy diet does not exclude usage of fats. How ever it is recommended to use mono-saturated fats. Primary sources of mono-saturated fats are plant oils e.g.  Canola oil, olive oil etc. Avoid Trans-fats which are present in margarines, cookies, fried and snacked food etc.
19.    Keep an eye on salt usage. Salts are not bad if used in limited amount. However over consumption of salts can cause high blood pressure and other related problems.   
These are some of the healthy diet tips which one can follow to avoid health related problems and live up to dreams.

Kindle digital cookbooks a handier way to cook

Kindle Digital Cookbooks: A Handier Way to Cook

While you can find plenty of recipes online, there’s still something special about cookbooks that will ensure they are here to stay. Portability is a bit of an issue sometimes, but if you opt for a digital cookbook that can be read on Amazon’s Kindle, you solve that issue.
The Kindle is the perfect way to store your cookbooks. You can literally have hundreds of cookbooks at your fingertips and it’s so portable that you can take it with you to the grocery store. Just keep the book open to the recipe you’re interested in, then use it to do your shopping. If you have lots of down time throughout the day, you can use this to meal plan.
Imagine, sitting at your son’s soccer game, waiting for the doctor or dentist, or even on the train home from work, you have some extra time on your hands. You can pull out the Kindle, scan interesting recipes and decide what you want to make for dinner that night. Since the Kindle allows you to make notes and highlight, you can easily select the recipes for the rest of the week while you’re at it. Turn what would otherwise be wasted time into something useful and productive.
A Kindle digital cookbook also comes in handy when it comes time to shop. If you’re just popping into the store on the way home from work to grab something to eat, it’s very easy to forget what you need to make dinner that evening. However, if you can look at the list of ingredients in the cookbook and then grab them off the shelves, you’ll have everything necessary. It can really save you a lot of frustration and hassle, as well as convenience store prices, if you end up having to run to the corner store to find something for the recipe.
In addition, you can download any cookbook that is made available for the Kindle in just a minute. There’s no waiting for a chance to get to the bookstore, or ordering online and waiting for the book to show up, you just get it instantly. That means, when you hear about a great cookbook, or watch a movie like Julie and Julia and then get a hankering to try your hand at French cooking, you can download the cookbook and save yourself the annoyance of wondering about it. You’ll have it ready to go in a minute or so and you can start cooking recipes right out of the book.

Digital cookbooks make cooking easier, especially when they are used with a device like the Kindle, which makes it easy to read and use.

Tips for curing and brining

Tips For Curing And Brining

Barbecue Smoker Recipe Evolution
Smoking evolved as a means to preserve food before refrigerators were invented or the canning process arrived on the scene. How old is the science of smoking? Well no one really knows for sure but it’s been around a lot longer than most evidence that documents it. I’m led to believe that there’s a smoking pit in China that’s believed to be 5000 years old so we can safely assume that it’s been around for some time.
Traditionally food preservation would have started with either curing or brining and then the smoking process would follow on. Nowadays with the advent of refrigerators, smoking and indeed brining or curing is more concerned with flavor rather than food preservation. For me and many people it’s about having fun too, getting the best ingredients and taking time over preparing food is sadly in decline now that the pace of life is so fast. Life’s too short, let’s chill out and savor all that’s to be experience with traditional food preparation.
Curing using smoke works well for both meat and fish. The most common chemicals used for curing today include ascorbic acid (vitamin C) or sodium nitrate albeit ascorbic acid also preserves the color of the meat at the same time. In days gone by the preferred choice would have been potassium nitrite but essentially it’s a salt.
Much has moved on from tradition with the quest to add flavor by curing so it’s now common to include some sweet flavoring with the salt such as sugar, treacle, molasses etc or to spice it up with chili powder or cayenne pepper. The fundamental point however is that curing is a dry process.
The curing process then can take many weeks or months and the end results are well worth it. The classic commercial curing that we see day in day out comes from curing belly pork and we end up with bacon. I get frustrated that even today there’s so much water in commercially prepared bacon and if this isn’t a reason to try home curing, I don’t know what is. It’s a fairly simple process too.
Ask your butcher for a pork belly or part of one depending on how big you want it. Rub the belly all over with a 75%:25% mixture of salt and brown sugar and add a bit of chili or cayenne to your taste. Place the pork belly in a plastic container and bung it in the fridge for 2 months. Be patient and you’ll never want to buy commercial bacon again!
Brining is the wet process where we simply immerse the meat in a salt solution or brine — and that’s it. It works well for salt beef, barbecue turkey and fish (salmon in particular) as a precursor to smoking and the basic method is outlined below.
The essential ingredient is the creation of a salt solution that is completely saturated. Stir salt into water until no more will dissolve, now heat it gently and see how much more you can get to dissolve. When finished, let it cool and immerse the meat for a few days making sure that the meat is kept fully immersed in the brine.
That’s all there is to it, just wash of the brine and the meat is ready for smoking.
I hope you try it, I’m sure you’ll like it.