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297 posts categorized "15) With Love from Melanie's Kitchen: Techniques, Basic Recipes, My Soup Stocks & an Occasional Oration"


~ Melanie's Perfectly-Cooked 18-Minute Flank Steak ~

When I want a perfectly-cooked, rare- to medium-rare steak, one that gets cooked indoors, next to the elegant filet mignon, the rustic flank steak is my choice. That said, in terms of taste, texture, versatility and price, without compromise, hands-down the flank steak wins on all points -- which is why I purchase one or two almost every week. In my food world, there's plenty of room for premium Delmonicos, NY strips, porterhouse and T-bones too, but, in terms of cooking steak indoors vs. grilling steak outdoors, those cuts typically "just don't do it" for me like filet or flank....... View full recipe for "~ Melanie's Perfectly-Cooked 18-Minute Flank Steak ~"


~Fresh vs. Canned: How Pineapple Reacts w/Protein~

It's natural to assume fresh fruit is better than canned, and, if you're eating fresh pineapple, fresh not only tastes better, it is indeed better for you and your digestive system. That said, nothing is more disheartening than taking the time to prepare a marinade for your favorite protein made from fresh pineapple juice, or, folding a cup or two of diced pineapple into a favorite casserole and have the protein rendered mushy. The cause is an enzyme found in fresh-cut pineapple. No matter how you slice it, dice it, or hollow it out: Why did my marinated meat (poultry,...... View full recipe for "~Fresh vs. Canned: How Pineapple Reacts w/Protein~"


~Moist & Juicy Breaded & Deep-Fried Chicken Cutlets~

Breaded chicken cutlets are a big time-saver for a working parent. By keeping a bag on-hand in the freezer, after a quick thaw in the microwave, any number of kid-friendly meals can be put on the family dinner table in less than an hour. That said, the chicken cutlets found in the frozen-food section of the grocery store, are, for the most part: terrible. From way-too-much-cardboard-esque-breading to skinny, dried-out and rubberlike, I find them reprehensibly unpalatable. When I was raising three boys, after trying two (maybe three) brands of frozen, breaded chicken cutlets, and proceeding to throw all the remains...... View full recipe for "~Moist & Juicy Breaded & Deep-Fried Chicken Cutlets~"


~ Filling, Braiding & Baking Store-Bought Puff Pastry ~

Everyone loves a home-baked sweet or savory pie or quiche, but, for those times when you are out of time, or, just don't want to take the time, from appetizers to entrées to desserts, making a puff pastry braid using store-bought puff pastry is a valuable skill to have. As long as you play by the rules, they bake up perfectly 100% of the time. What are the rules? I'm glad you asked. My three basic rules/guidelines for filling a pastry braid: 1) With the exception of the obvious (any liquid or liquid concoction that pours or flows), any solid...... View full recipe for "~ Filling, Braiding & Baking Store-Bought Puff Pastry ~"


~ Confessions from an Instant Ramen Noodle Junkie ~

While watching a late-night episode of "Locked Up" on some obscure channel last night -- yes, channel surfing is a favorite sport of mine -- I learned an interesting fact about those super-curly square-block instant ramen noodles: They are the #1 selling item in prison commissaries. That didn't surprise me as much as the reason: Prisoners buy them for the seasoning packets, not the noodles. It seems that prison cafeteria food is so lacking in salt, those packets get sprinkled on or stirred into almost everything. Get in my my soup! I learn something new every day (or night). In...... View full recipe for "~ Confessions from an Instant Ramen Noodle Junkie ~"


~How to: Make Roasted Chicken Carcass Soup Stock~

As unappetizing as the two words chicken carcass sound, culinarily, those are the words that describe what's left of a boned chicken (what's left after the meat has been removed from the bones), and, truth told, whether the carcass is raw or has been roasted, there is a ton of flavor in those bones. There's more, and this is important: Discarding a chicken carcass without extracting the flavor from it is such a waste it should be a crime. Whether I have raw ones (which I rarely do) or roasted ones (which I often do), even if I don't have...... View full recipe for "~How to: Make Roasted Chicken Carcass Soup Stock~"


~How to: Make a Better Old-Fashioned Chocolate Pie~

Chocolate pie. The kind our grandmothers made before they had too-many-to-mention options for high-quality, super-expensive brands of chocolate, cocoa powder and extracts imported from all over the world. Two generations ago, when a mom wanted to surprise her family with a chocolate pie for dessert, she simply opened her pantry door, and, without hesitation, reached for a can of Hershey's cocoa powder and/or a few squares of Baker's unsweetened chocolate. She cooked the pie filling on the stovetop, poured it into a baked pie shell, chilled the pie in the "icebox" and served it with freshly-whipped cream on top. Those...... View full recipe for "~How to: Make a Better Old-Fashioned Chocolate Pie~"


~ In a Pie Shell: A Pie Filling is Thicker than Pudding ~

What's the difference between pie filling and pudding? That was the first question I should have wanted to find an answer to when I wanted to make my first chocolate pie. Why? Because it wasn't exactly a success. I was about sixteen and wanted to surprise my mom with a chocolate pie for her birthday. I filled a store-bought pie shell with mom's recipe for chocolate pudding and put it in the refrigerator. Topped with whipped cream, it looked lovely, and it was indeed edible enough (very tasty actually), but, it was, as you'd imagine, a mess to serve. What...... View full recipe for "~ In a Pie Shell: A Pie Filling is Thicker than Pudding ~"


~ How to: Make Old-Fashioned Very Vanilla Pudding ~

Exotically fragrant, vanilla is said to be the world's most popular flavor (and is the second most expensive next to saffron). One would be hard pressed to find an American kitchen pantry that doesn't contain at least one bottle of pure vanilla extract and/or a whole vanilla bean or two. Why? Something wonderful happens when any form of pure vanilla gets added to all sorts of sweet or savory dishes. My very vanilla pudding recipe is a spin-off of my grandmother's vanilla pudding recipe, and, it is the base recipe and starting point for all three of my favorite pudding...... View full recipe for "~ How to: Make Old-Fashioned Very Vanilla Pudding ~"


~ How to: Make Old-Fashioned Butterscotch Pudding ~

My three favorite flavors of pudding are butterscotch, chocolate and vanilla (in that order). They're all creamy and dreamy, but something wonderful happens when brown sugar and butter team up to make real-deal butterscotch. Homemade pudding (from scratch, not a box), was something my grandmother made often -- just for me. I'm in my early 60's, that was back in the latter 50's, and: there is no letting go of homemade pudding memories. Whether it was butterscotch, chocolate or vanilla, she'd always leave me an ample sample, in the bottom of her enamelware saucepan and on the wooden spoon, because:...... View full recipe for "~ How to: Make Old-Fashioned Butterscotch Pudding ~"


~Things to Know about Ground Beef, aka Hamburger~

Hamburgers, sloppy Joe's, meatloaf, chili, tacos, stuffed peppers, etc. Unless one is a vegetarian, ground beef, commonly referred to as hamburger because of the iconic all-American 'burger, is used in households all across America. I'm guessing on this next point, but, ground beef has got to the number one way we Americans buy our beef. If onef is on a budget or has a lot of people to feed. in today's economy, it's modest price tag makes it even more popular. Everyone knows that ground beef is beef that's been ground or finely-chopped. The grinding process itself tenderizes tough cutswhile...... View full recipe for "~Things to Know about Ground Beef, aka Hamburger~"


~Grillmarked -- Things to Know about the Filet Mignon~

Filet mignon. We are all familiar with this cut of beef, but in case you don't know it's name is French. In French, the word Filet means a thread or a strip, and mignon means small and pretty. Filet mignon, known worldwide as the king of steaks, when cooked properly, is melt-in-your-mouth tender and can literally be cut with a fork. It's particularly pricey if your ordering it in a restaurant, but becomes more affordable if you buy the entire tenderloin and cut the steaks yourself. What part of the cow does the filet mignon come from? Filet mignon is...... View full recipe for "~Grillmarked -- Things to Know about the Filet Mignon~"


~What's a Cowboy Steak and the Best Way to Cook It~

Learning about various steak cuts can indeed be confusing -- filet mignon, NY strip steak, ribeye steak, flank steak, cube steak, etc.. They're all steak, but they're all a different cut of steak coming from a different part of the animal. Things get more confusing when you find out that one single cut can be referred to, regionally or butcher shop to butcher shop, by more than one name. Which brings me to one of my favorites: the cowboy steak. Long story short, the delectable cowboy steak is essentially a bone-in ribeye steak, also known as a tomahawk steak. Cowboy...... View full recipe for "~What's a Cowboy Steak and the Best Way to Cook It~"


~What is a Cube Steak and How to Cook Cube Steak~

Being a grownup is hard. My mother peddled cube steak to my brother and I under the name "funny steak". For a period of years, her schtick worked well for her. If memory serves me correctly, my little brother giggled at his "silly looking steak" during dinner while my mom pandered to him encouragingly with every forkful. I just sat there and ate the chewy thing. I found it to be just plain odd in a silly steak sort of way -- the word "funky" hadn't been invented yet. What part of the cow does the cube steak come from?...... View full recipe for "~What is a Cube Steak and How to Cook Cube Steak~"


~Grillmarked -- Things to Know about the Flank Steak~

The flank steak is one of my favorite steaks. It cooks quickly, it's tender and juicy when cooked and sliced properly, and, in terms of the economy, it's less expensive than many other steaks. That said, culinarily, the flank steak is technically not a steak. It's a tough cut of beef coming from the cow's belly muscles, which is why it's important to take the time to learn how to cook it properly. For me, that's under the high heat of the oven's broiler, or, on the high heat of my grill. What part of the cow does the flank...... View full recipe for "~Grillmarked -- Things to Know about the Flank Steak~ "


~ Grillmarked -- Things to Know about Ribeye Steaks ~

Card-carrying carnivores love ribeye steaks. All world-class steakhouses have them on the menu and they are the number one purchased steak by backyard drillmasters. While I'm not even close to being a drillmaster, in my food world, the ribeye is indeed my favorite steak to grill, followed by the New York strip steak. It and the NY strip It and the ribeye steak, along with the filet mignon are considered to be the high-end cuts of boneless steaks, but, the filet mignon, which does not contain enough fat is least likely to succeed over the dry, open flame of any...... View full recipe for "~ Grillmarked -- Things to Know about Ribeye Steaks ~"


~Grillmarked -- Things to Know about NY Strip Steaks~

Grill season is upon us. For us carnivores, this means picking up a few of our favorite steaks and lighting the fire. In my food world, my favorite steak to grill is the ribeye, for a multitude of others: the New York strip steak. The strip steak is known by several names: New York strip steak, ambassador steak, strip loin steak, Kansas City strip, club steak, or the Omaha Strip, but, most people call it New York Strip. Why? That’s where it had its beginnings – in the great steakhouses of New York City. It and the ribeye steak, along...... View full recipe for "~Grillmarked -- Things to Know about NY Strip Steaks~"


~ Things to Know when a Recipe calls for Citrus Zest --

The topic is citrus zest. It's a common ingredient in all sorts of recipes. In my kitchen I mostly use it in baked goods like pies, cakes, tarts, torts, puddings and custards. That said, I use occasionally in soups, salads, sauces, many pasta, fish and/0r seafood dishes, and, of course, to garnish cocktails too. Why? It adds a fresh pop of citrus flavor without the tartness of the juice. Lemons are the most commonly zested citrus fruit, followed by limes, oranges and grapefruit. Depending on whether you need wide strips, thin chards, or fine pieces, you'll need a vegetable peeler,...... View full recipe for "~ Things to Know when a Recipe calls for Citrus Zest -- "


~ A Cutlet, Escalop, Medallion and/or Paillard of Meat ~

In culinary terms, cutlet is a catch-all American word referring to a boneless, evenly-thin sliced piece of meat, sometimes but not always lightly-pounded which cooks quickly -- it is usually coated with flour or breadcrumbs prior to cooking. Escalop (eh-SKAL-ohp) is the French word for a very thin, also sometimes flattened piece of meat, poultry or fish which requires only seconds of sautéing on both sides. Here in the USA, the term for this cut of meat is a scallop. Paillard (PI-yahrd), which is both a verb and a noun in French, means "to pound", and also references a lightly-pounded...... View full recipe for " ~ A Cutlet, Escalop, Medallion and/or Paillard of Meat ~"


~Corned Beef Brisket & What Corned Actually Means~

Corned beef isn't just for St. Patrick's Day in my kitchen. We enjoy it in several different ways more than once a year. Corned beef is beef brisket that has been brine-cured in a solution of salt and water typically used for pickling or preserving food. Brisket is the cut of beef taken from the breast section under the first five ribs. It is sold without the bone and divided into two sections. The flat-cut has minimal fat and is more expensive than the more flavorful point-cut. Brisket requires long, slow cooking and is best when braised. The term "corned"...... View full recipe for "~Corned Beef Brisket & What Corned Actually Means~ "


~ The Pullman Bread Loaf and the Pullman Loaf Pan ~

The Pullman loaf is the quintessential white sandwich loaf. The name Pullman comes from its use in the kitchens of the Pullman Company's railway cars of the 1800s, and, the Pullman company is credited with inventing the rectangular-shaped lidded baking pans (which coincidentally resembled the shape of the railroad cars). Baking bread in a pan with a lid is, functionally a bit different than baking bread in an open-topped pan, which, of course, affects the crumb structure. The confined space, which doesn't allow most of the steam to escape, prevents big air bubbles from forming, which keeps the crumb fine...... View full recipe for "~ The Pullman Bread Loaf and the Pullman Loaf Pan ~"


~Mint-Chocolate-Cookie Mint-Ice-Cream Sandwiches~

A picture is indeed worth a thousand words -- especially if it only requires two ingredients. And, if you're a fan of mint-chocolate anything (candies, cocktails, brownies, cookies and/or ice-cream), one look at the above photo will most likely inspire you to bake some cookies and pick up a pint of the best mint-chip ice-cream you have access too. Except for a great recipe for home-baked mint-chocolate-chip cookies, which is kind of the point of this post, it is now in your hands. My recipe for Andes Creme-de-Menthe Mint-Chocolate Cookies: Plus, the mint-chip ice-cream brand of your choice: Mint-Chocolate-Cookie Mint-Ice-Cream...... View full recipe for "~Mint-Chocolate-Cookie Mint-Ice-Cream Sandwiches~"


~ Manchego Cheese -- What it is and How to Use It ~

It's my opinion that it's impossible for any one person to have one favorite cheese. There are thousands of choices, with unique varieties available in in every region of the world, with new varieties being created as we speak. To name a few, are hard cheeses, soft cheeses, semi-soft cheeses, crumbly cheeses, spoonable cheeses, melting cheeses, grating cheeses and blue-veined cheeses. There are cow's milk cheeses, sheep's milk cheeses, goat cheeses and vegan cheeses. Some cheeses are processed, others are not. Some are aged for a short time, some are aged for a long time. The best one cheese lover...... View full recipe for "~ Manchego Cheese -- What it is and How to Use It ~"


~ The Reason the Pineapple was Named Pineapple ~

I adore pineapple. Spring and Summer, I'm rarely without some form of fresh pineapple in my kitchen or refrigerator. Heck, my husband grows two or three in pots on our deck each year (see photo below). Fall and Winter, I'm never without canned pineapple in in my pantry. Fresh, it's my "go to" Summer tropical fruit, and canned (packed in 100% juice), it's not a compromise. A bit about pineapple and pineapple pie: Pineapple was introduced to the United States in the mid 19th Century via South American trade routes north to the Caribbean and into the West Indies, where...... View full recipe for "~ The Reason the Pineapple was Named Pineapple ~"


~Cellentani or Cavatappi -- No Worries, No Difference~

A few days ago I made my pasta Alfredo. I refer to is as pasta Alfredo because I don't always use fettuccine to make this classic pasta dish. My family likes it just as much using spaghetti and I also make variations of Alfredo using linguini with shrimp, mushroom ravioli Alfredo, and, with vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower and carrots) for rotini Alfredo all primavera. That said, my personal favorite pasta for Alfredo is penne or cellentani (also marketed as cavatappi) -- tubular pasta loves to soak up any type of sauce. What's more fun, not to mention fork-and-family-friendly, is Alfredo made...... View full recipe for "~Cellentani or Cavatappi -- No Worries, No Difference~"


~A Brief Bit of History about Classic Fettuccini Alfredo~

Alfredo is an Italian pasta dish in which any type of stranded pasta, most famously fettuccine (which means little ribbons in Italian), is enrobed in a rich sauce usually made from copious amounts of butter, cream, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and black pepper. As the tale goes (the foodie story most told about the history of this dish) a Roman restauranteur, Alfredo di Lelio first created it for his pregnant wife in 1914. She had lost her losing her appetite for food or was having trouble keeping food down, either while she was pregnant or after the birth of their son. Alfredo,...... View full recipe for "~A Brief Bit of History about Classic Fettuccini Alfredo~"


~ For the Love of Mike's Hot Honey & Ways to Use It ~

Mike's Hot Honey. Since its foodie founding in 2010, this food industry phenomenon has gone from being a little-known condiment one could only find in trendy Brooklyn pizza shops to practically a household name. If you've never heard of it, or simply haven't tried it yet, this sweet and spicy addictive condiment (a combination of high-quality honey infused with chili peppers), will catapult your eating pleasure to a new level of sweet, spicy and savory happiness. So how did a humble two-ingredient condiment jettison from obscurity to cult classic? The founder -- Mike Kurtz, who as a child was a...... View full recipe for "~ For the Love of Mike's Hot Honey & Ways to Use It ~"


~ For the Love of Arby's Original and Horsey Sauce ~

You say Arby's and I'll ask what time to meet you there. It's no secret that I'm typically not a chain-restaurant kinda gal, but, I admit to loving an Arby's roast-beef sandwich or two drizzled with both their signature original sauce and horsey sauce. While Arby's offers an array of 17 different sauces to pair with your favorite roast-beef, chicken, ham, turkey or fish sandwich, 'burger or salad, their original sauce and horsey sauce are my two personal favorites -- they're addicting. They're so addicting, most customers relish in the guilty peasure of pocketing a few packets of these lip-smacking...... View full recipe for "~ For the Love of Arby's Original and Horsey Sauce ~"


~ Elegantly Easy -- The Roasted Cornish Game Hen ~

Whether you are new to cooking and looking for something easy yet elegant to impress a small group of people with or a seasoned-pro looking for something easy yet elegant to impress a few quests with, you really should consider Cornish game hens. There's more. If you are a hungry single person in search of an easy, made-from-scratch entree, you really should consider a Cornish game hen. When I was a young chick (a new bride about 45 years ago), Cornish game hens were trendy and commonly served -- everyone, kids and adults alike, loves a succulent, personal-sized mini-chicken. I...... View full recipe for "~ Elegantly Easy -- The Roasted Cornish Game Hen ~"


~ Chicken or Game -- What is a Cornish Game Hen ~

The Cornish game hen, also known as the Rock Cornish game hen, is the USDA's approved name for a particular variety of broiler chicken. Connecticut farmers Jacques and Alphonsine Makowsky cross-bred the standard Cornish chicken with a White Plymouth Rock hen and a Malayan fighting cock in the 1950s. They were bred to mature quickly and develop a large breast and weigh no 2 pounds max uncooked (with the most common weight about 1 1/4 pounds). Despite the "game hen" in the name, the Cornish hen is not a game bird. While the "hen" in the name implies a female...... View full recipe for "~ Chicken or Game -- What is a Cornish Game Hen ~"


~A Brief History of Potatoes & French Fries in France~

If I told you that potatoes were once illegal to eat in France, would you believe me? It's true and I admit to gasping when I learned this. Where would be be without French fries in our food world? The absolute best French fries I have ever eaten are at places like church festivals, county fares and carnivals. They're not too thick, not too thin, twice-fried, and, never frozen. When you stand in line and wait for these fries to to come seething-hot out of the deep-fryer, get a quick drain, a sprinkling of salt and handed-off to you in...... View full recipe for "~A Brief History of Potatoes & French Fries in France~"


~ One Potato, Two Potato -- Russet, Red and/or Gold ~

Potatoes. Not the most exciting foodie topic, but, in our food world, potatoes, are not created quite equally. "Honey, pick up a bag of potatoes while you're at the store." It's an innocent request, but, depending on what type of potato comes home in that bag could mean the difference between a great outcome or a mediocre one. There are a lot of potato varieties, but, for us everyday cooks, I'm gonna focus on the three most common ones -- Russets, reds and golds). I've come to appreciate the subtle differences between these three, and now, to make a long...... View full recipe for "~ One Potato, Two Potato -- Russet, Red and/or Gold ~"


~ Let's Talk an Easy Turkey Breast for Thanksgiving ~

The frost was on the pumpkins, the leaves are off the trees, and Thanksgiving will be here in a few blinks of the eyes. If you are one of the many trying to scale back on cost without sacrificing taste or tradition, or have no need to cook an entire bird, or simply have no desire for all the fanfare, or, simply want some white-meat turkey for a few simple turkey sandwiches (in place of over-salted deli-meat), it's worth considering purchasing 1-2 turkey breasts this year in place of a giant bird. Two whole breasts will yield almost twice as...... View full recipe for "~ Let's Talk an Easy Turkey Breast for Thanksgiving ~"


~ History of Canned Tuna and Tuna Salad in America ~

Tuna or chicken salad is nothing fancy -- and it's ertainly not gourmet. Just a quick and easy-to-make lunch made from ingredients you most-likely have on hand in your pantry -- and it'll keep you smiling all afternoon too. Why? Because besides being loaded with fat-free protein (from tuna packed in water or the meat from leftover chicken breasts, plus hard-cooked eggs), it's filling and packed-full of flavor (from all the wonderful spices in your favorite "lite" Italian dressing). There's more. It's light -- a refreshing respite from calorie-packed carbohydrates. We Americans have been eating tuna salad for over a...... View full recipe for "~ History of Canned Tuna and Tuna Salad in America ~"


~What is Corned Beef & Corned Beef Brisket Exactly~

I cook corned beef regularly -- three-four times a year. It's always available at our local Sam's Club, and it has a long shelf-life too, meaning the expiration date is often a month or more out on the calendar. I always buy two and I always cook two. After discarding the seasoning packets, I cook them my way, slowly in the crockpot, in a tomato mixture laced with aromatic allspice, cinnamon and cloves. When done, I cover the tops with brown sugar and bake them in a 350° oven for 20-25 minutes until the sugar crust is bubbly and caramelizing....... View full recipe for "~What is Corned Beef & Corned Beef Brisket Exactly~"


~ What are Bread-&-Butter or Sweet-'n-Sour Pickles ~

Bread-and-butter pickles also known as sweet-and-sour pickles are on the sweet end of the pickle spectrum, but not quite as sweet as sweet pickles, and, decidedly different than the sharp bite of dill pickles. They're typically crinkle-cut sliced, which makes them ideal for topping hamburgers and a variety of sandwiches. I often serve them as a side-dish, and, occasionally, dice them to add to salads or mince them to add to relishes. Interestingly enough, my family never made homemade bread and butter pickles. There was no need. We lived in Eastern Pennsylvania, the land of the Pennsylvania Deutsch (the German-speaking...... View full recipe for "~ What are Bread-&-Butter or Sweet-'n-Sour Pickles ~"


~All About the All-American Cheeseburger in Paradise~

A cheeseburger, eaten anywhere in the good old USA -- each one a cheeseburger in paradise. It's become the quintessential American food. There are two claims* as to who slapped that first slice of processed American cheese on the lonely hamburger, but, we can all agree it was the best marriage of food since sliced white bread married peanut butter and jelly. And, we've come a long way baby -- nowadays the cheeseburger is eaten in fast food chains, fine-dining restaurants and all points in between. Cheeseburgers are for pick-up, delivery, drive-thru, eat-in, eat-out, eat-alone or invite-some-friends from sea to...... View full recipe for "~All About the All-American Cheeseburger in Paradise~"


~All About Chinese Hotpot & Japanese Shabu Shabu~

From my American foodie's vantage point, I found hot pot and shabu shabu to be more alike than different. A literal hot pot of mild- to spicily-seasoned, simmering, meat- or vegetable-based broth is placed in the center of the communal table. Depending on the country and region of the country, an array of thinly-sliced meats, vegetables, dumplings or noodles and dipping sauces are positioned around the pot. Via a pair of chop sticks, each person picks up and cooks their food by gently bathing it in the simmering broth. The words "shabu shabu" mean "swish swish", and, double-dipping (using the...... View full recipe for "~All About Chinese Hotpot & Japanese Shabu Shabu~"


~ How to Make Crème Fraîche w/Whole Buttermilk ~

Crème fraîche, pronounced fresh and meaning fresh cream -- it's delightful. In technical terms, it's a French-invented soured cream containing 30%-40% butterfat and a pH of about 4.5. While its name is French, soured creams are common in most of Eastern and Northern Europe. Similar to sour cream, which contains about 15%-20% butterfat, it's soured with bacterial culture found in buttermilk. In cooking it's preferred over sour cream because its higher fat content prevents "breaking" or becoming unstable when stirred into sauces or soups. Because crème fraîche is less tangy than sour cream, it can be sweetened with powdered sugar...... View full recipe for "~ How to Make Crème Fraîche w/Whole Buttermilk ~"


~ How to Steam Fragrant Rices in the Rice Steamer ~

My electric rice steamer is one of my most used countertop appliances -- it's one of the best investments I ever made, and, it's something I just can't fathom living without. I bought it because I cook a lot of fragrant rice, specifically basmati and jasmine rice. Electric rice steamers come in all different sizes, and, depending on which one you choose, range in price from $25 - $125. They all operate basically the same way, and, they all make cooking rice foolproof. Jasmine rice is a polished, long-grain silky, white rice known for its fragrance, aroma and scent. It...... View full recipe for "~ How to Steam Fragrant Rices in the Rice Steamer ~"


~ History of Classic Italian-American Clams Casino ~

Clams casino is considered a classic Italian-American dish. Interestingly, clams casino is also considered a clams "on the halfshell" dish, and, the name has little to do with the gaming industry per se, although every casino restaurant or restaurant in the vicinity of a casino seems to have their variation of the dish on their menu. Let's me put it this way, I've never been to a casino restaurant that didn't have it on the menu. Clams casino, which means "big mess" in Italian, is a basic concoction of clams, bacon, butter, and breadcrumbs that work spectacularly together. Onion, garlic...... View full recipe for "~ History of Classic Italian-American Clams Casino ~"


~ Clam Sizing, Buying, Burping and Perfect Steaming ~

Steamed clams are one of my favorite Summertime treats. It's not unusual for us to pick up a few dozen, meaning three-four dozen. We mostly enjoy them as a quick pre-dinner snack, but, we've been known to make an entire meal out of them too. We simply sit around and fork-shuck 'em out of their open shells while they're plump and steaming -- as soon as they emerge from the liquid. One-at-a-time, each morsel gets dipped in some melted garlic-tarragon butter before eating. Clams come in many sizes, from quite large to quite small: The enjoyment of clams was an...... View full recipe for "~ Clam Sizing, Buying, Burping and Perfect Steaming ~"


~ Pasteurized Crab -- What's in the can for that Cost ~

A couple days ago I restocked my supply of pasteurized crabmeat for the upcoming tailgate and holiday season. I do it every year around this time, and, I was down to my last can, so, I bought three more. Like most folks, I love to eat crabmeat, and, while fresh crab is indeed a delicacy, for my purposes pasteurized crab is my first choice. Like fresh crabmeat, it must be stored in the refrigeratory, but unlike fresh crab it has a very long shelf life -- up to 18 months. What's not to love about that. Because it's pasteurized, it's...... View full recipe for "~ Pasteurized Crab -- What's in the can for that Cost ~"


~ Raise Your Hands in Praise for all Pepperoni Pizza ~

Pepperoni. It's easy to assume it's 100% Italian, but it's as American as apple pie. Food writer and historian John Mariani writes, "like jazz and baseball, pepperoni is purely an Italian-American creation, like chicken parmesan." While it's exact origin is unknown, long story short, it's our spicy version of their salami (salame), and, no surprise to anyone, thinly-sliced or finely-diced, pepperoni is the most popular pizza topping in every pizzeria across the United States. That said, it's wonderful eaten in and on all sorts of other things too. It's made from cured pork and beef (in a ratio of approximately...... View full recipe for "~ Raise Your Hands in Praise for all Pepperoni Pizza ~"


~Broiled & Baked Oven-Method for Cooking Spareribs~

I adore spareribs. That said, I do not like spending time outside in the heat or the cold tending to them for the lengthy period of time it takes them to properly cook (and, because of their fat content, they do require careful and almost constant tending to avoid fiery flare-ups). For that singular reason, I decided to figure out my own way to make perfectly-cooked babyback or St. Lewis-style spareribs in the comfort of my own kitchen. I am demonstrating with a rack of St. Lewis-style ribs today, but, trust me when I say: , this method works the...... View full recipe for "~Broiled & Baked Oven-Method for Cooking Spareribs~"


~ Babyback Spareribs vs St. Lewis-Style Spareribs ~

When it comes to purchasing pork spareribs, we cooks almost always have a choice to make: babyback (sometimes labeled "pork back ribs"), or, St. Louis-style (sometimes labeled "breastbone-off, pork ribs"). To the eye, babybacks are smaller (which appeals to many home cooks because they're more manageable), but, please know, this has nothing to do with the size of the pig (meaning, for those spreading false information: they're not taken from baby pigs). Babybacks are cut from where the rib meets the spine after the loin is removed. Each rack weighs about 1 1/2-2 pounds and averages 10-13 curved, 4"-5"-long ribs....... View full recipe for "~ Babyback Spareribs vs St. Lewis-Style Spareribs ~"


~Guide to Indoor Grilling Chicken or Pork Tenderloins~

How many of you have invested in an indoor countertop grill or are considering investing in an indoor countertop grill? I have one, and, I am here to tell you, I love mine. It controls the heat perfectly, it's easy to clean, and, most importantly, I am no longer at the mercy of, hot or cold, the weather. to grill two of my favorite super-tender proteins: boneless-skinless chicken tenderloins, and, pork tenderloins. In honesty, I'm not an outdoor kinda gal, so indoor grilling is perfect for me. A bit about indoor grilling on indoor grills in general: Let's start with...... View full recipe for "~Guide to Indoor Grilling Chicken or Pork Tenderloins~"


~Feel the Love for Our Native All-American Blueberry~

Blueberries are one of seven native North American food plants grown on a large scale and cultivated commercially. Before I go any further, I should mention the other six: concord grapes, cranberries, strawberries, corn, beans and squash. This means these plants were in existence before any of our immigrant ancestors arrived in this new world and the Native Americans were eating them and creating their own uses for them long before they introduced them to the original Colonists. That said, blueberries were domesticated entirely in the 20th century and it did not take long for this "very American berry" to...... View full recipe for "~Feel the Love for Our Native All-American Blueberry~"


~My All-American All-Purpose Hamburger Seasoning~

When it comes to hamburgers, as long as mine arrives steaming-hot and medium-rare, I don't much care what you did to get it there. Cook it anyway you like or know how -- gas-grill it, charcoal-grill it, grill-pan it, pan-sear it, flat-top it, or broil it. Flip it once or flip it twice, that's fine with me too. Steaming-hot and medium-rare -- that's all I ask. I'm flexible about condiments too. Lettuce, tomato, onion and mayo? Awesome. Ketchup, mustard and pickles? Count me in. With or without cheese -- it matters not to me. Steaming-hot and medium-rare -- that's all...... View full recipe for "~My All-American All-Purpose Hamburger Seasoning~"


~ Frank's RedHot Sauce and RedHot Wing Sauce ~

Frank's RedHot is synonymous with Buffalo chicken wings. Why? Frank's was the secret ingredient used in the original Buffalo chicken wing sauce recipe created at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, NY in 1964 by Frank and Teresa Bellisimo. Fast forward to present day -- Simply wander into a bar, any bar, anywhere in America. Buffalo wings are on the pub grub menu. It's remarkable. No description is necessary. You know you're getting unbreaded, deep-fried wingettes and drumettes coated in a vivid-red vinegar-based cayenne pepper and butter sauce. There are three stories regarding the invention of Buffalo wings and all come...... View full recipe for "~ Frank's RedHot Sauce and RedHot Wing Sauce ~"