Saturday, June 29, 2013

Think With Your Taste Buds - Chicken

Just a couple of tempting pictures of 3 more recipes that will be included in Think With Your Taste Buds - Chicken which Lillian and I hope to have available this winter.

Chicken Hashbrown Casserole - Yummy!

Chicken Marsala - Whow!

Chicken & Squash Casserole - A great way to get your kids to eat squash!

Friday, June 21, 2013

How to Buy Cauliflower

Though most abundant from September through January, cauliflower is available during every month of the year.  California, New York, Oregon, Texas and Michigan are major sources.  The white, edible portion is called the curd and the heavy outer leaf covering, the jacket leaves.  Cauliflower is generally sold with most of the jacket leaves removed, and is wrapped in clear plastic film.

When buying look for white to creamy-white, compact, solid and clean curds.  A slightly granular or "ricey" texture of the curd will not hurt the eating quality if the surface is compact.  Ignore small green leaflets extending through the curd.  If jacket leaves are attached, a good green color is a sign of freshness.

Avoid a spreading of the curt .  This is a sign of aging or over-maturity.  Also avoid severe wilting or many discolored spots on the curd.  A smudgy or speckled appearance of the curd is a sign of insect injury, mold growth or decay and should be avoided.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Lettuce Types and How to Buy Them

Among the Nation's leading vegetable, lettuce owes its prominence to the growing popularity of salads in our diet.  It's available throughout the year, at various seasons, from California, Arizona, New York, New Jersey, Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, Wisconsin and other States.  Four types of lettuce are generally sold:  iceburg, butter-head, Romaine and leaf.

Iceburg lettuce is the major group.  Heads are large, round, and solid, with medium-green outer leaves and lighter green or pale-green inner leaves.

Butter-head lettuce, including the Big Boston and Bib vrieties, has a smaller head than Iceburg.  This type will be slightly flat on top and have soft, succulent, light-green leaves in a rosette pattern in the center.

Romaine lettuce plants are tall and cylindrical with crisp, dark-green leaves in a loosely folded head.

Leaf lettuce includes many varieties - none with a compact head.  Leaves are broad, tender, succulent, fairly smooth and vary in color according to variety.  It is grown mainly n greenhouses or on truck frms and sold locally.

When buying look for signs of freshness in lettuce.  For Iceburg and Romaine, the leaves sould be crisp.  Other lettuce types will have a softer texture, but leaves should not be wilted. Look for a good, bright color - in most varieties, medium to light green.

Avoid heads of Iceburg type which are very hard and which lack green color (signs of overmaturity).  Such heads sometimes develop discoloration in the center of the leaves (the 'mid-ribs'), and may have less attractive flavor.  Also avoid heads with irregular shapes and hard bumps on top, which indicates the presence of overgrown central stems.

Check the lettuce for tipburn, a tan or brown area (dead tissue) around the margins of the leaves.  Look for tipburn on the edges of the head leaves.  Slight discoloration of the outer or wrapper leaves will usually not hurt the quality of the lettuce, but serious discoloration or soft decay definitely should be avoided.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

How to Buy Eggplant

Eggplant is most plentiful during the late summer, but is available all year to some extent. 

When buying, look for firm, heavy, smooth and uniformly dark purple egg plants. 

Avoid those which are poorly colored, soft, shriveled, cut, or which show decay in the form of irregular dark-brown spots.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

How to Buy Cucumbers

Although cucumbers are produced at various times in many States - and imported during the colder months - the supply is plentiful in the summer months.

When buying look for cucumbers with good green color which are firm over their entire length.  They should be well-shaped and well-developed, but should not be too large in diameter.  Good cucumbers typically have many small lumps on their surfaces.  They may also have some white or greenish-white color and still be of top quality.

Avoid overgrown cucumbers which are large in diameter and have a dull color, turning yellowish.  Also avoid cucumbers with withered or shriveled ends which is a sign of toughness and bitter flavor.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

How to Buy Corn

Sweet corn is available practically every month of the year, but is most plentiful from early May until mid-September.  Most supplies are yellow-kernel corn, but some white corn is sold.  Sweet corn is produced in a large number of States during the spring and summer, but most mid-winter supplies come from south Florida. 

For best quality, corn should be refrigerated immediately after being picked.  Corn will retain fairly good quality for a number of days, if it has been kept cold and moist since harvesting  For the same reason, it should be placed in the home refrigerator as soon as possible and kept moist until used.

Look for fresh, succulent husks with good green color, silk-ends that are free from decay or worm injury, and stem ends (opposite from the silk) that are not too discolored or dried.  Select ears that are well covered with plump, not-to-mature kernels.

Avoid ears with under-developed kernels which lack yellow color (in yellow corn), old ears with very large kernels, and ears with dark green kernels with depressed ares on the outer surface.  Also avoid ears of corn with yellowed, wilted, or dried husks, or discolored and dried-out stem ends.