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593 posts categorized " 02) Soups, Salads, Sandwiches & Snacks"

06/17/2022

~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~"

06/11/2022

~Defining Neapolitan, New York & Sicilian-Style Pizza~

I never met a pizza I didn't like, and, pizza is one of my favorite subjects. That said, a great pizza starts with a great crust, but, finding a pizza dough recipe to suit your requirements is not as easy as the ingredients list indicates: flour, water, salt, yeast, and sometimes sugar and/or olive oil. Cooks who take pizza making seriously have more than one pizza dough recipe in their repertoire because certain pizzas require a certain type of crust -- there's no getting around it. Beyond that, within each type, everyone who takes pizza making seriously, professionally or at...... View full recipe for "~Defining Neapolitan, New York & Sicilian-Style Pizza~"

06/08/2022

~Detroit-Style Brick Cheese Pizza is All About the Pan~

Long story short, Detroit-style pizza is a rectangular-shaped deep-deep-dish pan pizza -- it is a descendent of the rectangular-shaped Sicilian-style pizza. That said, in the case of this specialty pizza, it really is all about the pan -- the man pan. Without the pan, one can't really appreciate the full experience. Luckily, the pans are easy to fine online and very affordable too. Read on: Lloyd Pans & Kitchenware, a Wisconsin-based company, manufacturers several styles of pans for pizzerias all over the world, including all of the top 10 pizza chains in the USA. Their pans revolutionized how pizzas are...... View full recipe for "~Detroit-Style Brick Cheese Pizza is All About the Pan~"

05/26/2022

~Curry-Up with a Summertime Curried Chicken Salad~

Just like I have preferences in movies, I have preferences in chicken salads. I prefer white-breast- over dark-thigh- meat, roasted chicken over poached, greasy rotisserie chicken makes me cringe, and, I want my chicken hand-pulled instead of diced or cubed, because the latter looks plasticy and fake. Error on the side of under-dressing mine, as I want to taste the chicken, but yes, by all means, please add some lightly-toasted seeds or nuts for crunch. I enjoy it served as a forkable salad or as a sandwich, but, if served as a salad I want it on tender soft lettuce...... View full recipe for "~Curry-Up with a Summertime Curried Chicken Salad~"

05/02/2022

~ Kebab, Kabob, Shish Kabob and lots of Kababba ~

Kabbaba is the ancient Aramaic word meaning to char or to burn. Medieval Persian soldiers, who used their swords as instruments to grill food over open fires in the field of battle, are credited with inventing kabobs. It was only natural that this simple method of cooking food relatively fast on a "sikh" (a metal skewer), made its way into the kitchens of the royal houses, then onto the tables of the common folk and eventually into the streets, where vendors cooked and sold them for breakfast, lunch and dinner (where they untreaded them onto or inside some form of...... View full recipe for "~ Kebab, Kabob, Shish Kabob and lots of Kababba ~"

04/29/2022

~ The History of the Italian-Style Spiedie Sandwich ~

The word Spiedie comes from the Italian word spiede, meaning skewered food that gets cooked on a spit. As for their origin of this very unique marinated-then-grilled sandwich, three people seemed to have played a part in their creation and popularization. An Italian immigrant, Camillo Lacovelli claims to have invented the original spiedie in Endwell, NY. Via his brother, Agostino "Augie" Lacovelli, who put spiedies on his Augie's Restaurant (located in Endicott, NY) menu in 1939, they gained local popularity. Augie's son Guido Lacovelli, continued the family-owned business into the 1990's, operating as many as 26 restaurants at the peak...... View full recipe for "~ The History of the Italian-Style Spiedie Sandwich ~"

04/26/2022

~ The History of Mexican-American Taco Bowl Salad ~

Serving taco salad in edible bowls is mealtime fun. While they lend a festive, impressive "you cared enough to make the bowls" touch to the meal, they allow family and friends to add crunch to their salad as they work their way down, through and around all the goodies in the bowl. Speaking of goodies, taco salads come fully-loaded. Pick and choose your favorite store-bought or made-from-scratch ingredients. There's no right or wrong way to make taco salad -- just make it. From a small tacup, the large taco salad was born. The history of the taco-bowl salad, as per...... View full recipe for "~ The History of Mexican-American Taco Bowl Salad ~ "

04/23/2022

~Hot Stuff -- Deep-Fried General Tso's Chicken Wings~

If you are a fan of Chinese-American cuisine and have a place in your heart for deep-fried chicken wings, welcome to this party. This is not so much a recipe as it is a semi-homemade way to show ya'll a new crowd-pleasing twist on Buffalo-style chicken wings. I'm not gonna lie. All I do "for real" is deep-fry the chicken wings. Past that I sauce them with my favorite store-bought General Tso's sauce then serve them over chicken-fried rice from my favorite Chinese restaurant. General Tso's chicken, a Chinese-American creation of the latter 1970s, traces its roots to Pang's restaurant...... View full recipe for "~Hot Stuff -- Deep-Fried General Tso's Chicken Wings~"

04/14/2022

~ RedHot & Honey-Butter Chicken Wings & Waffles ~

Chicken and waffles was a childhood favorite of mine. Fast forward to adulthood -- it still is. I love the Southern-style crispy-fried chicken kind and, the Yankee-style PA-Deutsch tender pulled-chicken w/gravy kind. Cluck, cluck. In my food world there's also a third variation: Pub-grub-style deep-fried chicken wings and waffles. On paper, this might sound like a rather strange duo, but, in reality, a steaming hot waffle with honey butter melting atop it is the ideal foil for some hot-out-of-the-deep-fryer RedHot-sauced Buffalo-style chicken wings. Trust me, skip the French fries -- the switch to waffles with wings will change your life,...... View full recipe for "~ RedHot & Honey-Butter Chicken Wings & Waffles ~"

04/11/2022

~ My RedHot Seasoning Dredge for Chicken Wings ~

There are two types of chicken-wing aficionados -- those who dredge their wings in a flour-based blend of seasonings, and, those who do nothing at all -- the latter group is know as the wing purists. Trust me on this next point: One method is not better than the other. One method, no matter what the claim, does not produce crispier wings. Dredging wings in a seasoned-flour mixture prior to deep-frying, vs. deep- frying wings in the classic manner, naked in a bath of seething hot oil, accomplishes only one thing: a bit of seasoning on your wings and a...... View full recipe for "~ My RedHot Seasoning Dredge for Chicken Wings ~"

03/30/2022

~ Chick-fil-A -- Rave Review of Five-Dipping-Sauces ~

For the love of chicken sandwiches, I admit to being a fair-weather fan of our local Chick-fil-A fast-food chain restaurant. All of THEIR not-my-cup-of-tea politics aside, on occasion, if it's a really nice day and I feel the need to relax and get away from my stove, I enjoy the drive across town to pick up one of their signature chicken sandwiches. As one who loves chicken sandwiches many ways, their trademarked slogan, "We didn't invent the chicken, just the chicken sandwich," their "Eat more Chikin" cow commercials, and, Doodles, their mascot, all make me smile. When one is perusing...... View full recipe for "~ Chick-fil-A -- Rave Review of Five-Dipping-Sauces ~ "

03/24/2022

~The History behind McDonald's Big Mac Hamburger~

Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun. I'm guessing that anyone who reads that sentence or hears those words is positively certain it references McDonald's and its Big Mac hamburger. McDonald's introduced this flagship product to the greater Pitsburgh area in 1967. One short year later, it went nationwide. That said, the it had two previous trial names, both of which failed in the marketplace: The Aristocrat and the Blue Ribbon Burger. The third time was the charm -- the Big Mac was born and the rest is history. The Big Mac...... View full recipe for "~The History behind McDonald's Big Mac Hamburger~"

03/21/2022

~No Secrets in Hidden Valley Ranch's Secret Sauces~

I am a huge fan of Hidden Valley ranch dressing. If you and yours are too, be it a picnic, potluck or party, Hidden Valley Ranch has a secret sauce ready and waiting on a shelf in a grocery store near you. Labeled as Golden, Spicy, Smokehouse and Original, there is one that is guaranteed to be a great mate to whatever fare you're serving. No one enjoys a scratch-made condiment more than me and no one enjoys a creamy scratch-made condiment more than me, but, I gotta be honest, when I come across one or four in my store,...... View full recipe for "~No Secrets in Hidden Valley Ranch's Secret Sauces~"

03/18/2022

~ Bagel-Bites Mini-Bagel Sausage & Mushroom Pizza~

While no one agrees on who made or sold the first pizza bagel, in 1985, Stanley Garcaynski and Bob Mosher invented Bagel Bites using custom-made mini-bagels. They adapted the recipe from the back of a package of Lender's bagels, and that little schtick made these two a lot of money really fast. They began by marketing their edible pub-grub invention to local restaurants, bars and hotels, and, after almost instant success, within six short years, they sold the company and brand name "Bagel Bites" to Heinz (owner of Ore-Ida) in 1991. The American dream come true. The 90s -- they...... View full recipe for "~ Bagel-Bites Mini-Bagel Sausage & Mushroom Pizza~"

03/15/2022

~Bagel Bites Mini-Bagel Mini-Pepperoni Snack Pizza~

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was the 90s -- the decade of Bagel Bites, aka mini-bagel pizzas. They were the trendy after school snack of the era. For the most part, I emerged from this unscathed, meaning: I escaped the worst of it -- my kids were in their 20s by 1996. That said, I remember these freezer-to-toaster-oven treats for one reason: the uber-annoying theme song of the Bagel Bites commercials -- "Pizza in the morning, pizza in the evening, pizza at suppertime. When pizza is on a bagel, you can eat...... View full recipe for "~Bagel Bites Mini-Bagel Mini-Pepperoni Snack Pizza~"

03/09/2022

~Pretty-in-Pink Pickled-&-Piped Deviled-Pickled Eggs~

Pickled eggs can be made several ways, but the ones I love and the ones my family always made were the Pennsylvania Deutsch version, which are sometimes referred to as pickled-beet eggs or red-beat eggs. My mom and grandmother served them but once a year as a side-dish on our Easter feast table, but, in local Pennsylvania Deutsch communities, pickled eggs were and still are a very popular tavern food -- they can be found marinating in large jars on bar tops next to beer taps all over Pennsylvania. It takes about five days for hard-cooked eggs to pickle, so,...... View full recipe for "~Pretty-in-Pink Pickled-&-Piped Deviled-Pickled Eggs~"

02/28/2022

~ G. Washington's Instant Seasoning & Broth History ~

This granulated gluten-free, meat-free instant seasoning has been around for generations, and, interestingly, it's used as an ingredient in a surprising number of savory, vintage recipe. It was a staple in my grandmother's pantry and my mother's pantry, and, for the love of making their recipes, it is a staple in mine too. It's recognized as the very first seasoning and broth. The brand has a strong loyalty amongst its users, but, because it contains MSG, it is not everyones cup-of-tea. That said, if you've ever tasted anything made using it, you'd immediately recognize how special it truly is. Easy...... View full recipe for "~ G. Washington's Instant Seasoning & Broth History ~"

02/23/2022

~ The Story Behind Our Retro Sloppy Joe Sandwich ~

In a nutshell, this one really is all in the name -- the Sloppy Joe sandwich. The colorful name alone should clue the participant in for what they are about to experience, and, it's a messy one. After all, they didn't name it the neat-Nick sandwich. The hamburger-type bun gets heaped with a loose, spoonable ground-beef and onion concoction then a tomato-based sauce gets stirred in, making it possible for the contents to drip out of the bun during consumption (or should I say impossible for the contents to stay in the sandwich during consumption). Some folks skirt around this...... View full recipe for "~ The Story Behind Our Retro Sloppy Joe Sandwich ~"

02/20/2022

~Snowy-Day Sloppy-Joe Grilled-Cheese Sandwiches~

While I adore my sloppy Joes served in the traditional manner, spooned generously onto a soft, white all-American hamburger roll, it's more than ok to get creative with ways to use the filling other than the iconic sandwich. To name a few: sloppy-Joe cheese dogs, sloppy-Joe mac 'n cheese, sloppy-Joe nachos, sloppy-Joe pizza, and, my personal favorite, sloppy-Joe grilled-cheese sandwiches. Because the sweet-and-savory sloppy-Joe ground-beef mixture is a natural when paired with melted cheese, the end justifies the means in the case of all of them. The All-American sloppy Joe sandwich -- it was one of the most popular comfort...... View full recipe for "~Snowy-Day Sloppy-Joe Grilled-Cheese Sandwiches~"

02/17/2022

~ Snowy-Day Ground-Beef Sloppy-Joe Sandwiches ~

The All-American sloppy Joe sandwich -- one of the most popular comfort foods of the 1950s. Moms across America were making them for their families, they made their way into school lunchrooms, and, they showed up at parties, picnics and potlucks. Whether you love 'em or you don't, one bite of this now-retro sloppy-mess of a ground-beef and savory tomato-sauced sandwich is certain to conjure up a childhood memory or three. As for me, I loved them, and my mom made them just the way I liked them -- using celery instead of the more commonly used green bell pepper,...... View full recipe for "~ Snowy-Day Ground-Beef Sloppy-Joe Sandwiches ~"

02/05/2022

~ Super-Easy Light & Skinny Tuna or Chicken Salad ~

Tuna salad and chicken salad -- they're two of my favorites. Tuna I have on-hand in my pantry all the time, chicken breast I have leftover on a regular basis. 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...... View full recipe for "~ Super-Easy Light & Skinny Tuna or Chicken Salad ~"

02/02/2022

~ Super-Easy Skinny Tuna Salad Pita Sandwiches ~

Nothing fancy. Certainly 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 and hard-cooked eggs) it's filling and packed-full of flavor (from all the wonderful spices in your favorite "lite" Italian dressing) and texture (from crunchy celery, onion and lettuce), plus, it's light -- a refreshing break from calorie-packed carbohydrates. It's never to early to "think Spring". Filling, packed-full of flavor & texture -- & light on calories...... View full recipe for "~ Super-Easy Skinny Tuna Salad Pita Sandwiches ~"

01/27/2022

~Beer-Batter-Dipped Deep-Fried Babyback Spareribs~

Yes, you read it right -- these ribs are beer-batter-dipped and deep-fried. One could say strange things happen to people during a lengthy arctic-esque freeze stirred into a pandemic -- to name a few, we binge-watch way too much TV, eat way too many carbohydrates, and, push like to way too many Facebook memes. BUT, as Cuckoo-for-Cocoa-Puffs as it might seem to many, batter-dipping and deep-frying spareribs isn't one of them -- the Chinese have been deep-frying ribs for centuries, and they're a popular item on many Chinese-American restaurant menus. That said, it should come as no surprise that South...... View full recipe for "~Beer-Batter-Dipped Deep-Fried Babyback Spareribs~"

01/09/2022

~Eat Some, Freeze Some, Easy Chicken Soup Bowls~

Simply stated, every recipe does not have to be a rocket science recipe -- it simply has to taste, without compromise, great. If the end justifies the means, and in the case of this recipe it does, there's no shame in a shortcut or three -- and, to prove my point, I now have eight, four-cup containers of chocked-full-of-chicken-and-vegetables soup in my freezer, which will see me nicely through the upcoming snowstorms until the Spring thaw. This soup is every bit as tasty as grandma's old-fashioned chicken soup, it's just a lot less time consuming to make. All I have...... View full recipe for "~Eat Some, Freeze Some, Easy Chicken Soup Bowls~"

01/06/2022

~Eat Some, Freeze Some, Big Batch Beef Taco Filling~

If you are raising kids, you know all about taco night. You also know that having a few cups of a great, kid-friendly ground-beef taco filling already prepared and on-hand in your freezer is a great weeknight time-saver. After a brief thaw-and-heat in the microwave, a busy mom or dad can have dinner on the table in about 30 minutes. Having raised three boys, for decades, I was never without it. In fact, I liked to make a big batch of the meat mixture in a large wide-bottomed, 8-quart chef's pan, then portion it into user-friendly-sized 2-cup containers (each enough...... View full recipe for "~Eat Some, Freeze Some, Big Batch Beef Taco Filling~"

11/15/2021

~Caviar - The Perfect Start to Any Holiday Celebration~

The word caviar, which refers to lightly-salted roe, aka fish eggs, comes from the Turkish word khavyar and dates back centuries. There are many types of caviar, but true caviar comes from sturgeon, which has been a big part of the Middle Eastern and Eastern European diet for all of their history, and, caviar from the Caspian Sea and rivers of Russia has always been considered uber-premium. In order of high-end to low-end pricing, there four types of sturgeon caviar: beluga, sevruga, oestra and ship -- and no sturgeon caviar is what I consider cheap. The experts will all tell...... View full recipe for "~Caviar - The Perfect Start to Any Holiday Celebration~"

10/24/2021

~The History Behind New York's Dirty Water Hot Dogs~

Hot dogs -- one of my favorite subjects. I relish eating them, never tire of discussing them, and, whenever traveling, if the destination is known for a style of hot dog, it's one of the things I make a point of eating while I'm there. The New York-style hot dog is one I've not chatted with you about yet. That said, had I not had advance, concise, clarification of what "dirty-water-dog" means (the affectionate but unappealing nickname New Yorkers have given their dogs), cuing myself up in the line in front of the closest pushcart would not have happened. A...... View full recipe for "~The History Behind New York's Dirty Water Hot Dogs~"

10/21/2021

~The Hidden History of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing~

Before we know it, the holiday entertaining season will be upon us. Charcuterie, cheese and vegetable trays, along with assorted, chips, crackers, nuts, dips and spreads will be appearing on cocktail tables in neighborhoods all across America. Like everyone else, the snacks I choose to serve change every year, but, one thing that's always present in some form: Hidden Valley Ranch dressing or dip. Why? Everyone loves the taste of cool and creamy "Ranch". Interestingly: A little over 50 years ago no one had ever heard of ranch dressing and now it is America's most popular salad dressing. We do...... View full recipe for "~The Hidden History of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing~"

10/15/2021

~ Run-Up-the-Score with Chicken-Fajita Quesadillas ~

Got leftover chicken-fajita filling or steak-fajita filling? Sometimes I do and sometimes I don't, but when I do, I know exactly what to make with that tasty couple-of-cups: fajita quesadillas. Ooey-gooey and cheesy, they're so dang good, I won't lie, sometimes I make the filling for the sole purpose of making fajita quesadillas. When I do do that, it's usually because I'm feeding a crowd, and, more-often-than-not, the occasion is a tailgate in front of the TV. No matter how many I make, they're the first appetizer to disappear -- there never seems to be enough. "Queso (KAY-soh)" is the...... View full recipe for "~ Run-Up-the-Score with Chicken-Fajita Quesadillas ~"

10/06/2021

~ The History of Salad Olivier: Russian Potato Salad ~

Traditionally, this salat, the Russian word for salad, was reserved for large gatherings: religious or national holidays, special community events and/or family celebrations, and, it was served all year long. With or without meat or poultry added to it, it was served as an hors d'oeuvre atop toast points, by itself as a light lunch or snack, or, as a starter-course or side-dish to a hearty meal. For the most part, I associate it with Spring (because my grandmother always made it for or after the Easter holiday), so, I like to serve this pretty-to-look-at salad as a side-dish on...... View full recipe for "~ The History of Salad Olivier: Russian Potato Salad ~"

09/27/2021

~Eat Some, Freeze Some, Make a Big Batch of Chili~

Thick, hearty, spot-on-spiced, stick-to-your-ribs, kid-and-crowd-friendly, ground-beef chili. That's a mouthful, and, also how I best describe this chili recipe. Of the many, some more authentic, chili recipes in my repertoire (my Texas-style steak chili is one example and my Buffalo-style chicken chili is another), this is the one that gets taken to and served at Summer picnics, Fall tailgates, and, in the Winter, I make a big batch and freeze it in one-quart containers for cozy, warm snowstorm dinners. There's more. It's easy to make. What's not to love about this: Thick, hearty, perfectly-seasoned, ground-beef chili: 6 pounds lean ground...... View full recipe for "~Eat Some, Freeze Some, Make a Big Batch of Chili~"

09/24/2021

~ The History Behind the Very Famous Caesar Salad ~

Over the past four decades, the classic Caesar salad has: #1) Become America's most popular main-dish salad; #2) Altered the lettuce industry, as the demand for romaine has skyrocketed, and: #3) Turned the chicken-topped Caesar salad into the chicken item most frequently found on restaurant menus -- even more than wings and chicken fingers. Now considered the all-American salad, it was in fact invented in Mexico in 1924 by an Italian-born immigrant to Mexico. Now considered the all-American salad, the Caesar was invented on July 4th, 1924, by an Italian-Mexican chef & co-owner of a restaurant in Tijuana, who emigrated...... View full recipe for "~ The History Behind the Very Famous Caesar Salad ~"

09/18/2021

~My Gluten-Free Brioche Made in the Bread Machine~

Bread. It's said to be the staff of life. A basic staple. Want proof of that? Just go to the grocery store in any time of community angst or crisis. It is the first item to disappear from the shelves. From one end of our food world to the other, every country and culture, rich or poor, eats bread in some form. Here in America, bread, homemade or store-bought, in households like mine and yours, can be found on our tables for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Most of us take this slice of life for granted. That said, this is...... View full recipe for "~My Gluten-Free Brioche Made in the Bread Machine~"

08/31/2021

~ What is the Difference Between a Soup and a Stew ~

When I pull out my big, 20-24-quart stockpots, it's officially Fall. Why? When it's chilly outside, it's time to cook up a storm inside. Why? When one lives in the Northeast, it's a wise cook who has a freezer containing some thaw-heat-and-eat meals for those snowy days when a quick trip to the grocery store is not in the forecast. Yes indeed, when the frost is on the pumpkin, I don't mind spending an afternoon at the stovetop preparing one of the two favorite things I cook in big batches (for "freezer meals"): a stockpot full of luscious, heartwarming, soup...... View full recipe for "~ What is the Difference Between a Soup and a Stew ~"

08/24/2021

~Let's Talk Plantains -- The Next of Kin to the Banana~

Bananas and plantains -- they resemble each other, and they're related too. I eat a banana almost every morning, but, I can't say the same for the plantain. By accident or out of curiosity, if you've ever peeled a plantain and taken a taste, you knew you weren't eating a banana. That said, when sautéed, the taste and texture of the yellow plantain is remarkable. As a lover of sautéed bananas, a la bananas foster for dessert, or atop eggnog pancakes w/sautéed butter-rum 'n nog bananas. The best way for me to culinarily describe the difference between the two is,...... View full recipe for "~Let's Talk Plantains -- The Next of Kin to the Banana~"

08/21/2021

~My All-Purpose Beer Batter for Deep-Frying Anything~

Meat, poultry, fish, shellfish or vegetables. Heck, even cheese and macaroni and cheese can be beer-batter-dipped and deep-fried. Slices, strips, chunks, fillets or paillards. Appetizer, snack, small meal, main-dish or pub grub. It doesn't matter. This beer batter will coat it evenly and fry up light as air. There's more. Be not afraid. Batter-dipping and deep-frying, while somewhat repetitive and time-consuming, it is super-easy. While you don't need an electric deep-fryer to deep fry, a small investment of $50-$75 dollars will get you a light-weight, countertop, cool-touch fryer with a lid, precise temperature control and an air filter which will...... View full recipe for "~My All-Purpose Beer Batter for Deep-Frying Anything~"

08/09/2021

~An Inconvenient Truth - A Sweet Potato is Not a Yam~

Sweet potatoes were first introduced to North America when Columbus brought them over from the island of St. Thomas, where this large edible root, which belongs to the morning-glory family, is native to the tropical regions of the Americas. There are many varieties of sweet potato, but the two most widely grown commercially are a pale sweet potato and a dark-skinned variety Americans erroneously call "yam" -- the true yam is not even related to the sweet potato. The pale potato has a thin, light yellow skin and pale yellow flesh. Its flavor is not sweet, and, after being cooked,...... View full recipe for "~An Inconvenient Truth - A Sweet Potato is Not a Yam~"

08/06/2021

~ The Bell Pepper Season & Why We All Love Them ~

Ok, maybe we ALL don't love the bell pepper but the majority of us do, including me. Served raw or cooked, they impart both flavor and color in all sorts of dishes from cuisines all around the world. At first sight, it's hard not to be attracted to their bold green, red, orange or yellow color, and, even if a recipe calls for a specific color, it's nice to know they can be used interchangeably -- although the green bell pepper is not quite as sweet as the others. Store-bought or home-grown, kept stored in the refrigerator, they have a...... View full recipe for "~ The Bell Pepper Season & Why We All Love Them ~"

08/03/2021

~The History Behind the Beloved Hass Avocado Fruit~

The most popular avocado in the United States is California Hass -- HASS, which rhymes with PASS is frequently mispronounced and mispelled Haas. This pear-shaped fruit weighs in at about half a pound and has bumpy, rough, dark greenish-black skin -- interestingly, it was originally known as the alligator pear, which, when you think about it for a moment, is an accurate description. It is known for its silky, rich, buttery texture and mild, nutlike flavor. It is the only avocado variety to be grown year-round, representing about 80% of all avocados sold in the world and generates more than...... View full recipe for "~The History Behind the Beloved Hass Avocado Fruit~"

07/31/2021

~ On the Light Side of a Turkey & Pastrami Sandwich ~

Smoked turkey and pastrami. This duo is one of my favorite sandwich combinations. That said, I don't typically want to eat mine grilled with ooey-gooey melted cheese and piled high and sloppy with crunchy 'slaw or 'kraut and/or Russian dressing. More-often-than-not I just want to enjoy this sandwich "light-and-easy-like", made simply and served cold with shredded lettuce, shaved onion and the oh-so-wonderful addition of a thin-sliced Summer-ripened tomato. When all is said and done, I can taste the flavor of every ingredient, especially the smoked turkey and pastrami. Hearty enough to feed two, w/the light feeling of Summer: For each...... View full recipe for "~ On the Light Side of a Turkey & Pastrami Sandwich ~"

07/28/2021

~Tomato Season & Why I Adore the Compari Tomato~

The Campari tomato claimed its fame in 2002 when a brief reference was made to it in the TV series, "The Sopranos." One mention -- it boosted both its relevancy in the tomato-loving world and its level of respect within the all-important Italian-American community. In 2003, Campari was rewarded with a 50% uptick in sales. To this day, it is my year-round store-bought tomato of choice. In my opinion, the Campari tomato is the most perfect tomato ever produced -- it's so damned flavorful, having the ideal balance of acid to sugar, and a texture that endears each one to...... View full recipe for "~Tomato Season & Why I Adore the Compari Tomato~"

07/18/2021

~ That's a Wrap Cheesy Flank-Steak-Fajita Burritos ~

A fajita-burrito has its origins in Mexico and features the best of two South-of-the border worlds -- all those luscious strips of well-seasoned grilled or sautéd chicken or steak, bell peppers and onions that go into fajitas, wrapped-and-rolled, burrito-style, in a large, warm flour tortilla that's been slathered with refried beans and scattered with a layer of Spanish-style rice and shredded cheese. The outcome is indeed the best of two worlds and, there's no need for embellishments either. Hold the guacamole, sour cream and/or salsa. Pick 'em up 'cause they're ready-to-eat. No need for embellishments. Pick 'em up -- they're...... View full recipe for "~ That's a Wrap Cheesy Flank-Steak-Fajita Burritos ~"

07/15/2021

~ Kids-Stuff Tex-Mex Broiled-Flank-Steak Fajita Filling ~

Newsflash. A flank steak does not have to be grilled outdoors to be a great flank steak. While grilled is very, very good, truth told, my oven broiler method does a marvelous job with no stress, guess nor mess. The end result is wonderfully seasoned, perfectly-cooked medium-rare steak. The process is so foolproof, I prefer it. There's more. Once sliced, a flank steak feeds an entire family. When the flank steak gets added to an easy-to-make sautéed vegetable medley, this meal feeds a crowd. It's perfect for any indoor or outdoor gathering any time of year. When the steak is...... View full recipe for "~ Kids-Stuff Tex-Mex Broiled-Flank-Steak Fajita Filling ~"

07/09/2021

~Make Tortillas de Maize from Scratch - Corn Tortillas~

Tortillas de Maize, meaning corn tortillas, originated in Mexico during pre-Columbian times -- the cultures that evolved in parts of Mexico, Central America and Western South America prior to the Spanish conquest during the 16th Century. This means the corn tortilla predates the wheat-flour tortilla, as wheat was not not grown in the the Americas prior to European colonization in the mid-1500s. In Aztec times, two or three corn tortillas would have been eaten with each meal. Maize itself has been a Mexican staple food for centuries and remains the most planted crop in the regions of Mexico, and, you...... View full recipe for "~Make Tortillas de Maize from Scratch - Corn Tortillas~"

07/06/2021

~Herb-Sour-Cream Cucumber or Tomato Salad Cups~

Summer is prime time for big main-dish salads and small side-dish salads. In the case of the latter, in my kitchen, one quick-to-fix creamy sour-cream-based dressing has me eating a side of crunchy cucumber or tangy tomato salad in the time it takes the average steak to grill. Yes, of course, go ahead, do the math and double, triple or quadruple this recipe to make a bigger batch, but, in my kitchen, I don't make more than me or my family is going to eat in one sitting. Why? I don't like leftover cucumber or tomato salad -- simply stated:...... View full recipe for "~Herb-Sour-Cream Cucumber or Tomato Salad Cups~"

07/03/2021

~The Cool History behind the Composed Cobb Salad~

The Cobb salad, affectionately called the California Cobb, was invented in 1937 at Hollywood's Brown Derby Restaurant by the owner, Robert Cobb. As the story goes, it's said to have been composed for some hungry late night diners. Mr. Cobb carefully chose from a variety of uniformly sliced and diced ingredients from the day's fare, arranging them in unusually neat lines atop a bed of lettuce as he plated. Another tale (of woe) says that Mr. Cobb threw the salad together to satisfy the appetite of a loyal customer to came into the restaurant complaining of a toothache, so, Cobb...... View full recipe for "~The Cool History behind the Composed Cobb Salad~"

06/30/2021

~ The Cool History behind the Composed Chef Salad ~

A restaurant that serves a great chef's salad for lunch is a restaurant I will frequent. Like Seinfeld's Elaine, I like a big salad, and I don't mean a big bowl of lettuce. I mean a lot of perfectly-cooked good stuff in it, right down to more-than-a-few crunchy, buttery-rich croutons on top. The chef's salad is exactly that salad -- it's not served before the meal or after the meal, it is the meal. The chef salad is a "composed salad", meaning, it is a pretty-to-look-at, arranged-on-a-plate, high-quality, salad -- a perfectly-balanced mixture of color, flavor and texture. At the...... View full recipe for "~ The Cool History behind the Composed Chef Salad ~"

06/27/2021

~ Pack a Picnic-Basket w/Boxed Turkey Chef Salads ~

I might not be an outdoor kinda gal, but, I do enjoy an occasional picnic, if it's a Hallmark Card kinda day. That said, if I'm the one in charge of the food, I'm not one to traipse around the great outdoors carrying a basket full of food containers that are gonna cause me a whole lot of cleanup when I get back home. When I pack a picnic, boxed lunches are my way of enjoying the day and the return trip. There's more. It's doesn't matter what I'm making and taking, everyone gets a bit of everything portioned into...... View full recipe for "~ Pack a Picnic-Basket w/Boxed Turkey Chef Salads ~"

06/24/2021

~The Sizzling History behind Fajitas (Tacos al Carbon)~

Fajitas were originally named tacos-al-carbon and were served as portable food, ready-to-eat-with-the-hands, by wrapping strips of unpretentious skirt steak that had been cooked over a campfire or on a grill, in a warm corn or flour tortilla, meaning they were served taco-style. "Faja" is the Spanish word for "strip, band, sash or belt", and, with "ita" added to the end, it means "a little strip, band, sash or belt", meaning the ingredients for fajitas are always cut into strips. The dish dates back to cattle ranching life along the Rio Grande Valley regions of the Texas-Mexico border in the 1930's....... View full recipe for "~The Sizzling History behind Fajitas (Tacos al Carbon)~"

06/20/2021

~Wrapped and Rolled Cheesy Chicken-Fajita Burritos~

A fajita-burrito has its origins in Mexico and features the best of two South-of-the border worlds -- all those luscious strips of well-seasoned grilled or sautéd chicken or steak, bell peppers and onions that go into fajitas, wrapped-and-rolled, burrito-style, in a large, warm flour tortilla that's been slathered with refried beans and scattered with a layer of Spanish-style rice and shredded cheese. The outcome is indeed the best of two worlds and, there's no need for embellishments either. Hold the guacamole, sour cream and/or salsa. Pick 'em up 'cause they're ready-to-eat. No need for embellishments. Pick 'em up -- they're...... View full recipe for "~Wrapped and Rolled Cheesy Chicken-Fajita Burritos~"