Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Kitchen Tips Tuesday: How To Peel A Carrot

April 22, 2014

carrots, vegetables, nutrition

Most of us have peeled our share of carrots in this lifetime, but clearly, we haven’t been doing it very efficiently.

Did you ever notice that peelers have 2 blades? They are there for a reason. This tip first seen at Eat The Love, changes the way you will look at a carrot forever!

Hold the carrot at a 45 degree angle on a flat surface or cutting board. Slide the peeler up and down while rotating the carrot. Only attempt to peel about 1/2 way up the length of the carrot with each swipe. Flip the carrot, and repeat the process on the other end. You will be amazed at how quickly that skin comes off!
Confused? Check out their video tutorial and see for yourself courtesy of The Daily Meal.

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Eggs and Asparagus

April 21, 2014

What symbolizes springtime more than stalks of green asparagus, eggs and a lemony sauce? We served this last night as a first course, but it could be a great main dish for a light dinner, accompanied by soup and some crusty bread (hello meatless Mondays!) or as an entree for Sunday brunch.

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Roasted Asparagus With a Poached Egg and Lemon Mustard Sauce:

recipe adapted from Foxes Loves Lemons

Clean asparagus and trim the tough stems. Coat lightly with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and roast in a 425 degree oven for about 15 minutes, until cooked but still crisp. Timing will depend on the thickness of the asparagus, so be prepared to cook thick stalks longer, and very thin ones for less time.

In a sauce pan, heat about 3/4 cup heavy cream,  and simmer until it reduces to about 1/2 cup, and has a thick, saucy consistency; about 6-8 minutes. Remove it from the heat and whisk in the juice of 1/2 a lemon, a little lemon zest, a generous tablespoon of butter, 1/8 teaspoon dried mustard, and a little finely chopped fresh tarragon. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

In the meantime, bring water to a boil in a large pot or high sided sauté pan, and then reduce the temperature so that it is gently bubbling. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (plain white vinegar will also do) to the water, and gently slide in the eggs. We recommend cracking them 1 by 1 into a small dish and pouring them into the water to avoid breakage. Cook 3-5 minutes. Three minutes will yield a very soft, runny yolk, and at 5 minutes it will be nearly hard boiled.  Using a slotted spoon, gently remove the eggs from the water, and place on a paper towel to drain.

To serve, place several asparagus spears on a plate. Add the egg, and drizzle with the sauce. Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper, and garnish with a few tarragon leaves and some lemon zest. Enjoy!

photo: indigojonesnyc instagram

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Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Centering Egg Yolks

April 15, 2014

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With both Easter and Passover occurring this week, many people have hard boiled eggs on their minds.

When making deviled eggs, it’s nice to have the yolks perfectly centered in the whites, to allow them to be stuffed evenly, and to look more presentable on the plate. Here is a little trick that will make that possible.

The night before you plan to boil the eggs, lay the carton on it’s side in the refrigerator. Use a rubber band to keep the eggs from rolling out of the carton. Leave them for 12 – 24 hours. Cook as usual, and viola! Perfectly centered yolks.

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Marbled Matzoh Brittle

April 14, 2014

Here is a simple, yet delicious version  of the matzoh brittle we have posted previously. It has all the properties of the perfect confection. It’s a little bit salty, a little bit crunchy and a little bit sweet. And did I mention it has chocolate? What’s not to love?

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Adapted from Salt and Serenity.

Marbled Matzoh Brittle:

Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and cover it with parchment paper. If you skip this step, you will be scrubbing for a long, long time. Trust us on this!

Line the pan with sheets of matzoh. If you have room, break pieces to fit the extra space.

In a large saucepan, heat 2 sticks of butter, and 1 cup of brown sugar. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until it comes to a boil and blends together. If it looks separated, keep stirring. Stir for couple of  minutes or so until it forms caramel. Pour the caramel over the matzoh, and smooth it with a spatula.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 10-12 minutes until the caramel is golden in color, and bubbling. Don’t let it burn!

In the meantime, melt 1 1/2 cups of white chocolate chips. Place the melted white chocolate into a pastry bag. (see our tip for doing this here.)

Remove the matzoh from the oven. Sprinkle it with semi-sweet chocolate chips and allow them to soften. Use a spatula to spread the chocolate evenly across the matzoh.

Cut the end off of the piping bag, and pipe the white chocolate in a zig zag pattern across the matzoh in both directions. Don’t be too worried about precision. Use a skewer, or the tip of a paring knife to smear the white chocolate, forming a marble effect.

Sprinkle the matzoh lightly with sea salt.

Pop the pan into the refrigerator, and chill until the chocolate is firm.
Using a very sharp knife, slice the chilled matzoh into squares, and enjoy! (Don’t forget to share!)

photo: Salt and Serenity

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Kitchen Tips Tuesday: What NOT To Microwave

April 8, 2014
Do you think they had a microwave disaster?

Do you think they had a microwave disaster?


While microwave ovens can speed things up in the kitchen, they can also lead to disaster. I actually ended up in the hospital due to  a freak microwave accident,  but alas, that is a story for another day.

Here are some things that should stay out of the microwave:

Metal should never be put into the microwave. Even the smallest bit can send plasma through your microwave, melt the metal, or in the case of aluminum foil, start a fire.

Many plastics are labeled microwave safe, but although those products themselves are safe in the microwave, they can give off unhealthy chemicals that are not safe for humans to ingest. Just. Say. No.

Hot peppers contain an ingredient called capsaicin, which gives them that hot, spicy flavor. Once microwaved, it also gives off a vapor that is unpleasant to inhale. Skip it, and use the stove.

It seems as though hard boiling an egg in the microwave would be a good idea, right? Wrong! The center of the egg gets very, very hot, the steam inside has no way to escape, and bam, you guessed it: they explode.

Have you ever had a microwave disaster? Tell us about it in the comments below!

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Pasta With Seafood + Marinara Sauce

April 3, 2014

This is a perfect unrecipe for those of us lucky enough to live near a place to get the freshest seafood, pasta made daily, and even a homemade marinara sauce in a jar. For me, it’s a quick trip to Chelsea Market.

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I purchase freshly caught Atlantic shrimp and scallops at The Lobster Place, one of New York’s very best fish markets. I sear them with very little seasoning, as the marinara sauce from Buon Italia is full of diced garlic, rich red tomatoes, and slick with olive oil, which coats Rana’s homemade pasta beautifully.

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Sure, this can be done with commercially jarred marinara sauce, and dried pasta with acceptable results. For a few extra minutes

(ok, maybe 15 extra minutes,) you can create the sauce yourself. It’s that simple. It’s that easy. It’s that good.

Shrimp and Scallops in a Spicy Marinara Sauce Over Pasta:

Clean and devein shrimp, rinse scallops and pat dry. It is important to get as much moisture off of the seafood so it sears and browns.( I figure about 1/2 pound of seafood per person )

White garlic from Lomagne

Heat olive oil in a pan and sauté 3 or 4 cloves of diced garlic until soft. Place the seafood in a single layer in the pan so that each piece touches the hot surface. Don’t over crowd the pan. If necessary, do this in batches. Flip it and sear the other side. This should only take a few minutes.

This is our homemake pasta from a previous post.

This is our homemake pasta from a previous post.

Add a can or box* of diced San Marzano tomatoes and a liberal dose of salt. Add a little red pepper and lay a leaf or two of fresh basil across the top of the mixture. The leaves will wilt into the sauce naturally. Heat until the sauce starts to bubble, stirring to scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook briefly, and serve over pasta.  Enjoy!

*canned tomatoes are a good news/ bad news item. They are healthier, due to the higher levels of lycopine than fresh tomatoes, but their acidity makes the chemicals in the can even more harmful. Whole Foods carries San Marzano tomatoes in tetra pack boxes, which is a much healthier alternative. If you can’t find them, you can use Pomi brand, which has always come in boxes.

photos: Glasshouse Images

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Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Knives

April 1, 2014

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Scraping the food from the cutting board with the knife is easy and efficient, but it also wrecks havoc on the blade. Try getting in the habit of using the other side of the knife for scraping, to avoid dulling the blade.

photo: Glasshouse Images

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The Skinny On Full Fat Dairy

March 26, 2014

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I only eat fat free dairy products.  I use skim milk in my coffee, and eat 0% Greek yogurt for breakfast. I do this mainly because I always do. I have been conditioned to think that fat is bad for you, and the reduction in calories from fat free products is a good thing. Also, I am perfectly satisfied with the taste and consistency, so I don’t even think to try a richer, higher fat version.

Until now. A recent study at Washington State University analyzed 400 samples of organic and conventional milk over an 18 month period and found that the organic milk contained significantly more heart healthy omega-3s than it’s conventional counterpart. It also found that whole milk had an even higher amount of omega-3s than reduced fat versions. Hmmm.

The vitamins in milk, especially vitamins A and D are fat soluble, which means they require fat to be absorbed into the body. Omega 3s are a fatty acid, so it should come as no surprise that more of them would appear in full fat milk. According to the study, the whole milk contained 50% more omega-3s than 2% milk, and 66% more than 1% milk.

The other interesting fact is the levels of omega-6 fatty acids in conventional milk were extremely high, due to the corn and grain intensive diet fed to conventional cows, vs. the mostly grass fed diet of organic cows.

Omega-6 acids promote cell rigidity and help our blood to clot by triggering an inflammatory reaction in our bodies. They are also involved in fat storage.  Omega-3 acids help calm inflammation, promote cell permeability, and metabolize glucose. While we need to have both of these in our diets, the ratio of omega -3 to omega-6 should be about 1 to 1. Due to the amount of corn and soybean oils found in many commercial products consumed in the United States, the amount of inflammatory omega-6s are much higher.

While the Department of Agriculture and other food and nutrition experts have yet to change their tune on fat in dairy products, researchers hope that this information will trigger new ways of thinking about fats in general.

photo:Glasshouse Images

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Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Sprouted Garlic

March 25, 2014

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We were always under the impression that once  garlic had sprouted, it was on its way out. Those green shoots were a supposed indication that the garlic had passed its prime, accompanied by the ominous warning that sprouted garlic was the cause of nasty morning-after garlic breath.

A recent study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry suggests that those green sprouts may be actually be filled with heart healthy antioxidants.

After researchers in Korea (a country that knows their garlic!) observed the growth in old heads of garlic for five days, they concluded that the seedlings contained new compounds to protect the plant against pathogens. These compounds also increased the antioxidant levels in the older bulbs.

No word on whether or not the age of the garlic has any effects on the breath issue.

Sprouting carrots, onions, chickpeas, beans and wheat may also be safe to eat, as long as they are not beginning to soften. Potatoes however, are considered poisonous once they begin to sprout, or form “eyes,” and should be avoided.

photo: Glasshouse Images

Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Filling a Pastry Bag

March 18, 2014

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Somehow, every time I pull out the pastry bag, I am soon up to my elbows in icing. When I saw this genius tip, I knew I had to try it. Place the pasty bag, with the piping tips affixed, into a tall drinking glass. Fold a few inches of the bag over the edge of the glass, and place the icing, or whatever you are piping, into the bag, using the edge of the glass to scrape the excess off spatula. Once it is filled, remove the bag from the glass, gather up the sides, and pipe away!

Why didn’t I think of that?

photo: glasshouse images


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