Cooking Like You’re In Italy

If you’ve ever been fortunate enough to go to Italy, or have ever even been to Little Italy in New York, you know nothing is quite like Italian cuisine. Now, here’s everything you need to know to cook like you’re in Italy. This list isn’t exhaustive, and most Italians probably don’t do everything on this list either, but it’ll give you an idea of how serious Italian food is.

If you make a pot of sauce just right, you can taste how the olive oil exists in every spot of tomato, you can smell the oregano and see the large basil leaves stewing in the pot. You can see whole tomatoes crumble and fall apart due to intense heat, and you can see the sauce stick to every piece of sausage and ground beef better than ever before. When you’re cooking sauce, arguably them oust basic and foundational of all Italian foods, you can’t just throw in a jar of Ragu and call it a day. No, no, no. Italian food is like a painting that takes time to get just right.

If you’ve got time after making a good Italian sauce, you should try making your own pasta as well. No store bought pasta can ever taste as good as pasta you make on your own, except for the first couple of times when you might not get the recipe 100% right (though you really should). These two dishes alone require an expert-level knowledge of cooking, and we’re just getting started.

A Comprehensive Guide for Making Perfect Pancakes

Pancakes are a true breakfast staple, loved by nearly everybody, and one of the great comfort foods. In a recent article for the New York Times, food writer Alison Roman presents readers with the definitive guide to making the perfect pancake (http://cooking.nytimes.com/guides/24-how-to-make-pancakes?ref=dining). She also includes an excellent and easy recipe for buttermilk pancakes, for those who have not yet sworn loyalty to a favorite of their own.
Recipes aside, the science of pancake cookery can be divided into two stages: the mixing of the batter and the flipping of the cakes.
The secret for producing a successful batter lies in the whisking in of ingredients. The only utensils needed are a large bowl and a whisk. Once you’ve got all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl, whisk them together thoroughly. Make a well in the center and crack into this the eggs, then pour in the buttermilk. Whisk the wet together first, then gradually mix in the dry. Your goal is to get everything wet; lumpy is okay. (If you overmix, you’ll make the pancakes tough.)
It takes practice to cook pancakes with ease and confidence, but even the most skilled cooks know that the first cake will be a test, not to be eaten. The griddle or large frying pan must be well greased with vegetable or coconut oil, not olive oil, and preheated for 2-3 minutes to a degree between “low” and “medium.” The cakes should be spaced about an inch apart. They are ready to flip when many tiny bubbles appear on the top surface. Use a large, wide, and angled spatula for flipping.

Small Dishes For Summer

While throwing your summer parties, don’t forget to include delicious appetizers. There are several kinds of appetizers you can create, ranging from crab bites to chips and salsa. Make sure you have a variety of dishes for guests to choose from, creating something new along the way that is light and refreshing while still filling.

Skewers are among the easiest to make for a summer party. A lighter combination would be small pieces of chicken and pineapple. Baste the sticks in BBQ sauce while they are on the grill to give a smoky flavor to the chicken and fruit. BBQ sauce on the chicken will caramelize while on the grill. Another idea is the slider. You can make these with beef or turkey. Simply form the meat into small patties, grilling them for a shorter time because they are so small. Add your favorite toppings and cheese to the sliders before serving. These are an ideal treat for children since they are a smaller size. Tomatoes seem to reproduce rather often in the summer. Cut different colors of tomatoes to create a salad that is refreshing for guests. Add croutons and cheese crisps for texture and a light dressing of vinegar and honey for a bit of acidity and sweetness. Cucumber slices are also a good addition to this summer side dish, or you can add a bit crab for a meal.

Using Summer Produce

When you think about summer, you might think about all of the fresh produce that you can get in the grocery store or at a farmer’s market. From green beans to cantaloupe, you can get just about anything to make a delicious meal for your family. When you purchase any kind of produce, it’s important that you wash it and look for any bruising or soft spots. This could indicate that there has been an insect on the food or that the food has been sitting for a long period of time.

If you want to save your summer produce so that it can be used throughout the rest of the year, then consider canning your items. All you need to do is cook the produce before putting it in a jar of brine. Secure the lid on the jar with a pressure cooker. This will keep the food fresh until it’s needed. If you enjoy a nice green salad, then consider spicing it up with a bit of cumin and allspice that have been toasted. Peppercorn is also an idea if you want a bit of heat in the salad. You can make this dish using any kind of greens that are found at a farmer’s market along with slices of other vegetables, such as carrots, cucumbers or squash. Create a dish that is appealing to the eye by adding brighter produce instead of only using the greens.

Appetizer Fun At Summer Parties

Appetizers are an ideal way to treat guests who attend your summer celebration. From light and refreshing to hearty and filling, there are several types of appetizers that you can serve depending on how many guests you have and the size of the main meal. The appetizers will likely be something that guests go to at some point after the main meal as well, especially if they want something light after playing outdoor games or talking with friends and family.

A Tuscan pasta salad is something to consider if you aren’t serving a large meal. Any kind of pasta can be used, but spiral pasta works best as all of the ingredients can blend into the crevices. Add pieces of purple cabbage, onions, carrots and cucumbers for a delicious meal. It’s best to prepare it in the morning, letting it sit in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving so that all of the flavors blend together. A flatbread pizza is another option if you want something that is a little heartier without serving a full meal. Add mushrooms and onions to the flatbread as it grills. Mozzarella cheese also works as a way to bring all of the ingredients together. Spices can include pepper and sea salt for a different taste on the dish. Make sure the flatbread doesn’t stay on the grill long as it will burn.

Using Fresh Herbs Can Save You From too Much Sodium

Most people want to add a lot of flavor to the dishes they create in their kitchens, and herbs can contribute greatly to this. In fact, using fresh herbs in your cooking can actually save your life. This may sound like an overstatement, but it’s not.

Why herbs are so important to cooking

It’s important to use herbs in your cooking because they can replace salt, and as we all know, salt in large quantities can contribute to many serious diseases. Consuming too much sodium on a regular basis can cause high blood pressure, which in turn can contribute to strokes and heart attacks. In addition, too much sodium will make you feel bloated, and it can mask the actual flavors in the foods you’re eating.

Creating an herb garden in your kitchen

Making an herb garden is simple, and there are many curves that you can choose from. Most people who cook often like to have basil, rosemary, parsley, cilantro and mint in their kitchen gardens. All of these herbs can come in handy when cooking, and they can replace much of the salt that you would otherwise put into your dishes. For serious cookers and chefs, thyme can also be a beneficial herb to have a around. Some cooks also like to have dill for canning or making sauces. Oregano can also be helpful for soups and other Italian dishes. Adding herbs to your cooking is a great way to make delicious dishes that are also healthy or you.

Substitutes You Can Use for Port Wine

When a recipe calls for port, you might begin to worry. That’s a completely natural response because who has port in their kitchen all the time? Fortunately, there are some alternatives to port that will work perfectly for most recipes, and it’s not hard to get your hands on them.

Different Types of Port

Before we go too far, we need to talk about the different types of port there are. There are basically two types or two types that are more used in cooking. First, there is red. Second, there is white. It’s pretty simple.

The red port is called ruby port, and the white port is called tawny port. You have to know which one your recipe is calling for, and this will enable you to make a solid decision on which one to use.

Keep in mind that dishes with red meat will usually demand ruby port. Sometimes, chicken dishes will ask for ruby too, but other times, chicken, turkey and fish dishes will want tawny or white port.

If you need to substitute tawny or white port, you can use any white wine that is sweet. You can substitute it in equal parts. Riesling, White Zinfandel or any Chardonnay will work. On the other hand, sweet red wines can replace ruby port. Look for something like Shiraz, Chianti or Merlot in place of your port.

Lastly, if you are making a dish that is non-alcoholic, you can use a broth with the same meat or fish flavor. You can also nix the port altogether.

How to Make Changes to Your Family’s Diet

It’s all too easy to stop by a local fast food joint to pick up dinner for the night. It’s also incredibly easy to spend your days off relaxing in front of the television or watching movies at home with the family. It’s all about the popcorn and Netflix for Jason Halpern and family according to an article in The Real Deal. Living an unhealthy lifestyle is very bad for you, but it is even worse when your entire family is following the way that you live. The most important thing to consider when trying to get healthy is to make changes to your diet and to get the whole family involved along with you. Getting the family involved in a healthy diet and eating routine can be a wonderful thing for everyone.

One of the first steps to making changes to your family’s diet is to put more thought and effort into healthy at-home cooking. Cooking at home is great because it enables you to know what ingredients are being put into your dishes as opposed to buying something frozen that has tons of ingredients you cannot even pronounce. You may also want to put more thought into cooking ahead of time if you struggle to prepare delicious and wholesome meals because of the fact that you are always busy. Slow cookers are amazing because of the fact that they can create delicious dishes that don’t have to be babied throughout the day. Putting more thought into your family’s diet is key to helping everyone feel better.

James Beard Award Winners 2015

The James Beard Award is an annual culinary honor given to individuals and even websites, which have performed outstanding work in the culinary arts. Among the 2015 honorees include author Dan Barber for his book Third Plate: Field Notes on The Future of Food. Martha Stewart won for best cooking TV show for her program Martha Stewart’s Cooking School. The Cookbook of the Year award went to David Sterling for his book Yucatán: Recipes from a Culinary Expedition. The winner of the Cookbook Hall of Fame award went to Barbara Kafka, an established cookbook author whose books include The Intolerant Gourmet, a book for those with lactose and gluten intolerances and Vegetable Love, a highly researched book about vegetables and vegetable recipes. The winner of the American cookbook category is Sean Brock for Heritage. There is even an award for beverages. This year’s winner is Dave Arnold for Liquid Intelligence: The Art and Science of the Perfect Cocktail. The best Group Food Blog went to grubstreet.com.

These awards are give each year by the James Beard Foundation, an organization named for the late, influential American chef James Beard. Located in New York City, the organization will hold its awards gala for the first time in Chicago, Illinois. There are many links between the award and this city as many winners have been from Chicago. The year 2015 marks the 25th anniversary of the awards. Although, located across the country FreedomPop eagerly awaits the results.

Yet Another Ice Cream Company Is Forced To Recall All Of Their Products

Beware of ice cream and other frozen desserts, yet another ice cream brand has been forced to recall of their products due to listeria being present in a random sample.

Blue Bell has been in the news as of late for a few recalls that finally led to a total recall of all of their products after listeria showed up at even more of their factories. Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream is the latest brand to face this sort of huge recall, including their physical ice cream shops.

The gourmet frozen dessert company failed a sampling in Nebraska which led to the recall. There have been no reported illnesses related toJeni’s products as of right now, thank goodness. These random samplings have taken down two companies in such a short time that it makes one wonder how stringent the production standards are for frozen treats.

There need to be more factory tours and stricker guidelines on the production of these products before an epidemic is started. Flávio Pentagna Guimarães BMG is very concerned, and hopes that people are conscious consumers.