Friday, February 28, 2014

Fish Facts - Part 4 (final)


According to Dr. Smith, “when it comes to your heart, forget the sole (and flounder).  Although this flatfish isn’t particularly detrimental, it doesn’t boast many advantages either.  Sole has one of the lowest concentrations of omega-3s and therefore offers the least nutritional benefits to Baby Boomers.  Instead, swap for fish with higher levels of heart-healthy omega-3s which significantly boost memory and recall, reduce inflammation and promote healthier heart function.

OK – We’ve read about the fish that is bad for us.  Now I want to know what fish is actually good for us.
According to Dr. Brill, “there are plenty of fish and shellfish that have tons of nutritional benefits with minimal mercury.  Omega-3-rich fish and seafood that’s low in mercury includes wild caught salmon, shrimp, sardines, trout, herring, and oysters.”

It’s not only important to be aware of how fish affects your health, but how your seafood choices affect the environment.  Many irresponsible fishing practices have led to species endangerment and habitat depletion.  The Monterey Bay Aquarium has started working with fisheries and fish farms worldwide to maintain a “Seafood Watch” database.  This program considers habitat, species, management and other factors in order to recommend seafood “best choices” and “what to avoid.”   Hopefully the fish we consume in the future will be safer raised, caught and healthier for us to consume. 

Now, for my taste buds, I’m just out of luck.  I love all of the fish mentioned as being bad, except for the Farmed Salmon.  I only buy that which states that it is not farm raised or that it comes from deep ocean waters.  The shrimp and trout I love but anyone that wants can have my share of sardines, herring and oysters.  The worse part of these findings bring to light that no matter what, we’ll never know where our fish in the restaurants and stores truly come from.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Fish Facts - Part 3

Farmed Salmon

Another one of my favorite!  According to a report in Science, factory-farmed salmon*, which is raised on fishmeal and accounts for 80% of the market, has eight times more PCBs than wild caught.  The researchers said that if EPA standards could be applied to farm-fed salmon, it would trigger a warning to not consume it at all.  In order to protect yourself from PCBs, never eat salmon skin or the layer of fat beneath it.   *conditions and practices vary by farm, which can affect the PCB levels.

What is Farmed Salmon?  The most commonly farmed salmon is the Atlantic Salmon.  Salmon is usually farmed in 2 stages and in some place maybe more.  First, the salmon are hatched from eggs and raised on land in freshwater tanks.  When they are 12 to 18 months old, they are transferred to floating sea cages or net pens anchored in sheltered bays along a coast.  They are fed pelleted feed for another 12 to 24 months, when they are then harvested.  Norway produces 33% of the world’s farmed salmon, and Chili produces 31%.  The coastlines of these countries have suitable water temperatures and many areas are protected form storms.  Chile is close to large forage fisheries which supply fish meal for salmon.  Scotland and Canada are also significant producers.


This freshwater favorite has a mild flavor and is very versatile, but unfortunately, the benefits end there.  Most tilapia is farm-raised and fed a steady diet of corn which, in turn, affects its nutritional content.  Jeffrey Anshel, O.D., F.A.A.O says “Despite what we think, corn is not a vegetable, but actually a grain that has a high glycemic rating.  This means that it spikes your blood insulin, which is especially a problem for diabetics.  Addionally, tilapia has the highest level of omega-6, the pro-inflammatory fish oils.  Omega-6 can exacerbate heart disease, arthritis, asthma, and other overactive inflammatory responses.”

According to Wikipedia, Tilapia from aquaculture (farmed) has been shown to contain more fat and a much higher ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 oils.  I’m assuming this is due to their feeding and lack of activity.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Fish Facts - Part 2

Tilefish, Swordfish, Shark and King Mackerel

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends eating fish with mercury levels that are less than 0.5, but each of these exceed that number.  Tilefish (1.45), Swordfish (0.995), Shark (0.979), and King Mackerel (0.730).  The EPA suggest you never eat either of these fish more than once a month.  According to Charlie Seltzer, MD, Anti-aging Specialist, “regular consumption can cause mercury toxicity, which can lead to severe memory, hearing, speech, vision and coordination issues.


This is one of my favorite so it was with great disappointment that I found it as one of the bad fish.  It can be consumed but very carefully.  Due to its extensive appeal and widespread availability, most canned tuna manufacturers depend on longline fishing for hefty hauls.  According to Dr. Seltzer, “big fish eat small fish.  So the top of the food chain, including adult albacore, has higher levels of contaminants from the fish below them.  Troll or pole fishing tend to catch younger fish with lower levels of mercury so check the packaging of your canned tuna to make sure that it has not been caught with a longline and be sure to eat no more than one 6 oz. serving per week.”

So what is a longline? 
It uses a long line, called the main line, with baited hooks attached at intervals by means of branch lines called snoods.  A snood is a short length of line, attached to the main line using a clip or swivel, with the hook at the other end.  Longlines are classified mainly by where they are placed in the water.  They can be at the surface or at the bottom.  Lines can also be set by means of an anchor, or left to drift.  Hundreds or even thousands of baited hooks can hang form a single line. 

I checked the cans of tuna I have in my pantry and none of the 2 brands tell how their fish is caught, nor where, and both brands are 2 of the leading.  

Monday, February 24, 2014

Fish Facts - Part 1

I seldom eat red meat but do love chicken and seafood/fish so when I ran across an article about there being fish that are bad for you, I immediately had to read.  This is what I found in the article.  It is rather long so I’ll break it down into several parts.

#1 – Unlike other meats, fish’s nutritional value varies wildly by species and habitat, so it’s important to do your research.

#2 – According to registered dietitian and founder of 360 Family Nutrition, Kristen Smith, “not all fish offer the same health benefits.  Be sure to look for varieties that contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.  That is the ‘healthy’ fat source that can help reduce inflammation, prevent heart disease, and improve brain health.”

#3 – She also says “More importantly, you need to know which varieties to avoid.  Because fish live in polluted waters, they often contain dangerous chemicals like mercury and polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) which concentrate up the food chain through a process called bioaccumulation.”  PCBs are chlorinated chemicals that were outlawed in the ‘70s, but since they don’t break down easily, they’re still pervasive in our waters.  She goes on to say “Exposure to PCB is associated with a greater risk of neuropsychological impairment.  People over 50 who consume fish contaminated with PCB have a greater risk of decline in memory and increase in depression, which can adversely affect physical health and ability to function.”  With that said, experts in the health community continue to debate the harmful effects of PCBs, some taking the stance that the levels at which we ingest them are too low to be worrisome. 

#4 – Mercury is released into the water form industrial sources burning fossil fuels and solid wastes.  According to certified nutritionist and dietitian Janet Brill, Ph.D., R.D., L.D.N. “Nearly all fish contains a small amount of mercury, but contamination becomes a problem when high levels accumulate.  Exposure to too much mercury can damage the nervous system and up your risk of dying from heart disease.

After reading this I had to find out which fish were safe to eat and which weren’t.  I’ll be breaking this down into several segments so continue to follow to see if you’re eating the healthy fish and not the unhealthy.  There are 8 that I’ve found we should avoid and consume in low doses.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Leek, Broccoli, Potato Soup

This dish turned out to be one that I could eat every couple of days.  It has leeks, broccoli and potatoes.  It doesn't get any better.   It is so good and so easy to make.  Find the full recipe at Martha's Recipe Cabinet.

8 Plants That Are Poisonous to Cats and Dogs - Part 8 Hops


Hops are used in beer brewing, so home brewers need to be aware of this toxic plant.  Ingestion of hops by dogs causes their body temperatures to skyrocket.  Signs can be seen within hours.  Dogs become agitated and begin to pant.  Their body temperature can get high enough to kill them - up to 108 degrees Fahrenheit.

Friday, February 21, 2014

8 Plants That Are Poisonous to Cats and Dogs - Part 7 Autumn Crocus

Autumn Crocus

Autumn crocus contains chemotherapy-like compounds that attack rapidly dividing cells in the body.  Ingestion can cause vomiting, diarrhea, weakness and possible death.  Do not confuse this flower with the innocuous spring crocus which is not toxic.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

8 Plants That Are Poisonous to Cats and Dogs - Part 6 Castor Bean

Castor Bean

Ricinus communis (commonly known as the castor bean) contains ricin, which can be highly toxic.  Ricin causes multiple organ failure.  Ricin is found throughout the plant, but the highest levels are found in the seeds.  The seed coat must be damaged to release the toxins, so animals who swallow the seeds whole may not get sick.  the mortality rate of dogs is about 9%.  These beans are also commonly used in many rustic-type ornaments and jewelry.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

8 Plants That Are Poisonous to Cats and Dogs - Part 5 Japanese Yew

Japanese Yew

Yews are commonly used as landscaping plants as they stay green year-round.  A pet looking for a bit of winter green may be tempted to take a nibble.  Yews contain compounds that have a direction action on the heart.  The toxins can cause an irregular heartbeat or even stop the heart.  All parts, except for the ripe berry (a fleshy red structure surrounding the seed), are toxic.  Sudden death can occur within hours of ingestion.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

8 Plants That Are Poisonous to Cats and Dogs - Part 4 Grayanotoxin

Grayanotoxin Plants

Grayanotoxins can cause vomiting, seizures and cardiac arrest.  sources include rhododendrons, azaleas, laaurels, and Japanese pieris.  These are typically outdoor plants, but they are highly toxic in all species and deserve extra caution.

Monday, February 17, 2014

8 Plants That Are Poisonous to Cats and Dogs - Part 3 Cardiac Glycoside

Cardiac Glycoside Plants

Plants containing cardiac glycoside include oleander, foxglove and lily of the valley.  These glycosides slow down the heartbeat and can even stop it.  These plants are toxic in all species.  They are typically outdoor/landscape plants, but the popular and beloved lily of the valley is a common bouquet flower for winter arrangements, weddings and other holiday gatherings.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

8 Plants That Are Poisonous to Cats and Dogs - Part 2 Lillies


Members of the true lily family (Lilium and Hemerocallis) have been shown to cause kidney failure in cats.  Some examples of true lilies include Easter lilies, tiger lilies, rubrum or Japanese showy lilies, and day lilies.  Even a small amount of exposure (a few bites on a leaf, ingestion of pollen, etc.) may result in kidney failure.  Cats often vomit within a few hours of exposure and stop producing urine within 72 hours.  Cats who receive quick treatment (intravenous fluids for two days) have a good prognosis.  Lilies are common in holiday flower bouquets and arrangements, as are popular lily-like holiday flowering bulbs, such as amaryllis, which can also be toxic to pets.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

8 Plants That Are Poisonous to Cats and Dogs - Part 1 Sago Palm

I know this doesn't pertain to cooking but it does pertain to the dangers of what our pets might eat and the health problems that can occur.  If you're an animal lover, like me, you might just find this information helpful.  I'll be posting this in 8 parts with hopes that it will be easier to consume.
This was sent to me by my veterinarian and since I love plants, inside and out, this is something that I plan on keeping handy for the health of my Jesse. 
These are the 8 plants that are poisonous to cats and dogs.
Many common plants, both in the house and the yard, can be toxic to our pets, including some that can still be found even in the winter, either because they are being brought in from outside or because they are popular in holiday displays or decorations.  some toxic plants only cause mild stomach upset, while others can be poisonous.  To make things even more confusing, some plants are safe for some species while deadly for others.  As a pet owner, it is important that you be familiar with the most dangerous of the toxic plants.

Sago Palms

Sago palms (Cycas and Macrozamia spp.) can be found as outdoor ornamental plants in warm climates or as houseplants in cooler climates.  Ingestion of sago palm plants can cause liver failure and death in dogs and cats.  All parts of the plant are toxic, with the seeds having the highest concentration of toxin.  One seed can kill a dog.  Vomiting usually begins within 24 hours, and the animal becomes depressed and may start having seizures.  This plant is one of the most toxic, with a mortality rate of around 30%.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Corned Beef Hash

It doesn't take much to make an appealing as well as tasty dish.  I had some leftover corned beef a few days ago and didn't want to use it to make sandwiches so I made Corned Beef Hash instead.  It's so simple.  Fry up a couple of diced potatoes with a little onion.  Chop the corned beef and add to your potatoes.  Heat, don't cook or it will come out dry.  Place on a plate and top with a fried egg.  Serve with toast, I used rye with a healthy spread of cream cheese and herbs.  So good.  So Easy.  And So Appealing, at least it is to me.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

I Didn't Know That - Sore Throat & Cough Remedies

Sore Throat and Cough Remedy - Best

Garbling with warm saltwater not only helps alleviate sore throat symptoms by drawing moisture out of swollen glands and bacteria, but it may also help prevent upper respiratory infections if done regularly, according to National Institute of Health.

To calm a cough, reach for the sweet stuff.  Honey soothes the back of the throat, contains free radical-fighting antioxidants, breaks up mucous and has even been shown to be more effective than over-the-counter cough suppressants, according to a study by the Penn State College of Medicine.  However, due to the risk of infant botulism, remember that honey should never be given to children under on year old.

Sore Throat and Cough Remedy - Worst

It might be hard to believe, but over-the-counter cough suppressants actually do very little to alleviate coughing due to a cold, according to The American College of Chest Physicians.  Essentially, the drugs previously thought to help reduce the severity of a cold-related cough - suppressants such as dextromethorphan or expectorants such as gualifensein - don't appear to effectively loosen mucous in the airways, according to multiple research studies.

If you're coughing up a cold-related storm, use a humidifier, take that spoonful of honey, and maybe add some of Grandma's chicken soup to your get-well regimen.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Chocolate - Myths - True or False?

Is Chocolate really bad for our health?  If you're a chocolate lover you might want to find out if these myths are true or false:

Myth:  Chocolate is high in caffeine.  True/False 

Myth:  Chocolate is loaded with saturated fat and is bad for your cholesterol.  True/False

Myth:  Chocolate lacks any nutritional value.  True/False

Myth:  Chocolate causes cavities.  True/False

Myth:  Chocolate causes headaches.  True/False

Myth:  Chocolate causes acne.  True/False

Myth:  Chocolate causes weight gain.  True/False

Want to see how well you've done?  Read the full article by going to this site SPARKPEOPLE for the answers.

Monday, February 10, 2014

I Didn't Know That - Cold & Flue Remedies

Cold and Flu Remedy - Best

Why does chicken soup make us feel better when we're sick?  From the medicinal properties of vegetables to the antioxidants in chicken fat, each ingredient in chicken soup appears to have anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce mucous production, according to a study published in Chest Pain.  Also, hot liquids in general help break up mucous and relieve congestion.

Runner up to chicken soup is garlic.  If consumed regularly, garlic may also help prevent colds year-round thanks to the antibacterial properties of a compound called allicin, which can not only keep us from getting sick but also recover faster if infected, according to research published by the National Institute of Health.  To truly reap the benefits of fresh garlic, crush it at room temperature and let it sit for approximately 15 minutes before cooking.

Cold and Flu Remedy- Worst

While vitamin C has many wonderful health benefits, like helping the body hear wounds and preventing scurvy, unless it's taken regularly, no research has proven that vitamin C actually prevents or lessens the severity of a cold, according to National Institute of Health.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Bread Spreads

Bread spreads are so easy to make and so tasty.  The one you're looking at is Strawberry Pecan.  It's made by blending 1/2 cup of softened butter or margarine, 1/4 cup finely chopped pecans and 1/4 cup of strawberry preserves.  This is so good on a hot biscuit or just spread over a piece of toast.  This can be made with any flavor of jam, jelly or preserve.  It can even be made with sugar free preserves to help control the sugar intake.  But the spreads don't stop there.

You can make Citrus Butter by combining 1/2 cup butter/margarine with 1 Tbsp. powdered sugar and 1 tsp. finely shredded orange or lemon peel.

Breakfast Butter is made by combining 1/2 cup butter/margarine with 2 Tbsp. of honey or maple-flavored syrup.

Onion-Parmesan Butter has 1/2 cup butter/margarine, 2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese and 2 tsp. sliced green onion.  This is good toasted.

Herb Butter is 1/2 cup butter/margarine and 1/2 tsp. each of dried thyme and marjoram, crushed OR 1 tsp. dried basil, crushed.

And then there is Pimiento Butter.  This one is made in a blender or food processor by combining 1 4 oz. jar sliced pimientos, drained, 1 Tbsp. anchovy paste and 1 clove garlic, minced.  Cover and blend or process until the pimientos are pureed and the mixture is smooth.  Mix this in with 1/2 cup butter/margarine for a great spread for rolls.

These spreads are simply a start of what you can create by Thinking With Your Taste Buds.  The Onion-Parmesan is good spread on crescent rolls before rolling them up and baking .  Enjoy!

Friday, February 7, 2014

I Didn't Know That - Shopping For Rice

Rice is one of the most versatile foods on the market.  It can be used in casseroles, soups, salads, and even desserts.   But there are many types of rice so how do you know which to use?   Here are just a few of those available and a little about them.

White rice - There are actually 3 types of this rice.  You can find long, medium and even short grain.  The shorter the grain, the more starch it contains.  Because it is the starch that causes rice to stick together when cooked, long grain rice cooks up lighter and fluffier than short grain rice.  (That I didn't know.  There have been times that I've bought just "white rice" not paying attention to what size it might be.  This piece of info makes me understand why my rice is sometimes too sticky for some of the dishes I'm making.)

Arborio rice - This is a short grain white rice that is preferred in risotto.  Being a short grain, it gives the creaminess needed for this dish.  This is usually found in larger supermarkets and specialty food stores.  (I've actually never bought this rice.  I have tried making risotto and had come out without the creaminess that I felt it should.  Now I know that I either buy the Arborio or at least use short grain.)

Instant and quick-cooking rice - This rice is popular because of its short cooking time.  Instant and quick-cooking rices are partially or fully cooked before they're packaged.   (I normally use the longer cooking rice but do keep a variety of the boiling bags on hand for quick use.  The flavor isn't as strong and the texture may not be as uniform but it works when I'm in a hurry.)

Brown rice - This is unpolished rice grain.  It has the bran layer still intact.  It's pleasantly chewy and nutty in flavor but requires a little longer cooking time then white rice.  (I've never been a fan of brown rice.  Don't really know why.  But I have found that I actually love the brown rice boiling bags.  I like the texture and flavor.  So if you're like me and don't care for brown rice, try the boiling bags.)

Converted rice - This is also called parboiled rice.  This white rice is steamed and pressure-cooked before it's packaged.  The process helps to retain nutrients and keeps the grains from sticking together when cooked.  (This I didn't know.  I've seen packages that say converted rice and have even bought it but never really knew the difference between it and regular white rice.)

Aromatic rice - The aroma of basmati, Texmati, wild pecan and jasmine rice is irresistible.  Their flavors range from toasted nuts to popped corn.  Look for them in food markets featuring Indian or Middle Eastern foods or in some of the larger supermarkets.  (My favorite is Basmati.  I love it's nutty flavor.  I use it not only in regular dishes but I really like it in my dessert rice dishes.  If you've not tried this one, you should.  I've tried the Jasmine but keep going back to the Basmati.  I've not tried the Texmati nor the Wild Pecan.  I actually haven't seen them in my local stores.  If you've tried either of these, please comment on their taste and texture.)

Wild rice - This is actually not a grain at all.  Wild rice is a marsh grass.  It takes about three times longer to cook than white rice but the nutlike flavor and chewy texture are worth the wait.  You do need to wash wild rice thoroughly before cooking.  (This is another favorite for me.  I had no idea it wasn't really a rice but now that I know this and look at it closely I can see that it doesn't really look like rice.  No matter what it is, I love it and love cooking with it.)

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Lentil Soup

I've just posted a delicious Lentil Soup recipe on my site Martha's Recipe Cabinet.  Even if you're not a Lentil fan I think you will still enjoy this soup.

I Didn't Know That - Bay Leaves

Most commonly found in the form of whole, dried leaves, bay leaves (also called laurel leaves) bring an aromatic, woodsy note to a dish.  Common in slow-simmering dishes, such as soups and stews, they should be added to the dish whole (never crumbled).  Also discard them before serving the dish. There are two varieties.  Turkish (1 to 2 inches long oval) and California (2 to 3 inches long narrow) and can be used interchangeably. The Turkish is said to have the better flavor.

Fresh bay leaves are rarely available but dried leaves can be stored up to 6 months in a cool dark place. 

If you need to substitute you can use 1/4 tsp. of thyme in place of 1 whole bay leaf.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

I Didn't Know That - Flour and Cornstarch

There have been times that I find myself out of flour and need a thickener so I turn to cornstarch.  This doesn't happen often but it has happened.  Now comes the question.  When substituting how much do I use?

Generally, for each cup of medium-thick sauce, you use 2 Tbsp. of flour mixed with 1/4 cup of cold water.  OR you use 1 Tbsp. of cornstarch mixed with 1 Tbsp. of cold water.  Be sure to thoroughly mix the water with the the starch or flour to prevent lumps.  I use a whisk to blend my flour and water and whenever possible I also use it when adding it to the liquid.  After stirring the thickener into the liquid, cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly.  Cook and stir 1 minute more for flour and 2 minutes more for cornstarch to allow the thickener to completely cook.

Now I have a guide for substituting!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Shrimp and Spaghetti

If you like shrimp this dish is one you must try.  It's simple, of course or I wouldn't be posting it, it's delicious and all of my food testers that were lucky enough to give it a try loved it.  So, check out my recipe for Shrimp and Spaghetti.

I Didn't Know That - Crab Meat

Lump or backfin - large, whole lumps of meat from the body of the crab.  This is usually the most expensive meat and is often used in salads and special dishes.
Flake (regular) - all meat from the body portion of the crab except lump.
Claws - all meat form the claw appendages.
Crab claws - claws of the crab with the shell partially removed.  These are most often used as appetizers.
Pasteurized crabmeat - canned lump crabmeat, which is found in the refrigerated section of the supermarket.  It will keep for about 6 months, unopened, in the refrigerator.  Once opened, the crabmeat will stay fresh 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator.

And then there are 'live crab' and here is how you handle cooking and cleaning them.  The live crab are put into a pot of boiling water and cooked 8-10 minutes, depending on the size.  The shells will turn a bright orange color when done.  Drain in let cool enough to handle. 

Leaving the legs on, break the claws from the crabs at the body.  All meat in the claws is edible, dark but tasty.  Crack claws with a hammer, nutcracker or better yet, a store-bought claw cracker.  To clean the body of the crab, the secret is a sharp knife.  Remove the shell by holding the crab firmly underneath and pull up on one of the points of the shell.  You will then see the fat and gills.  Scrape away the yellowish fat form the middle cavity.  The fat is edible, but too oily for most.   Scrape away the feathery gray gills.  Cut off the walking legs well into the body.  There is very little meat where the legs join the body.  On large crabs, save the legs since there is good meat in them.

With the cavity up, slice through the sides horizontally.  Lay knife blade flat in cavity and then cut off..  This is really easy to cut and leaves the body of the crab exposed for easy picking with the point of your knife or fingers.

This method of crab-picking came from an old cookbook that had been separated from its cover, not allowing me to even know its name, and really in pretty bad condition.  But to me, it's condition has nothing to do with the wonderful recipes and tips that I found among its pages.  

Monday, February 3, 2014

Red Velvet Woopies

Want a delicious and very simple cookie for Valentine's Day?  Try these Red Velvet Woopies.

I Didn't Know That - Burns

Another need to know home remedy.

First-Degree Burn Remedy - Best

The best home ready for a first-degree burn, which is the least dangerous and only burn you should treat without a doctor, is to immediately bathe the affected area with cold - not ice cold - water.  Then cover the burn with loose gauze and take an over-the-counter pain reliever, like aspirin or ibuprofin, according to the Mayo Clinic.

First-Degree Burn Remedy - Worse

Never put ice or butter on a burn.  Ice can further damage already sensitive skin tissue, and the grease found in butter prevents heat from leaving the skin, which can cause more damage, according to the Dermatology Clinic at the University of Arkansas for Medical Science.


Sunday, February 2, 2014

'Crab' Cakes

Want a simple dish that is tasty yet can be made up within no time?  Well, if you like Crab Cakes, you might want to give this recipe a try.  It is so good, simple and inexpensive.  Let me know what you think.

I Didn't Know That - Basil

Basil:  This herb brings its minty, clove like aroma to sauces, salads, and of course, pesto.  Cinnamon, lemon, and anise basil have the basil flavor, plus the flavor for which they are named. 

If you use fresh basil, it can be kept by wrapping it in a paper towel, putting it inside a plastic bag and then into the refrigerator for up to 4 days.  Or you can store it with the stems down in a glass of water with a plastic over the leaves for about a week with regular water changing.  Dried basis will store up to 6 months in a cook dark place.

Need to substitute?  1 tsp. of dried basis - 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil or 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh summer savory.  Or you can substitute 1 tsp. of dried basis with 1/2 tsp. marjoram, oregano, thyme or tarragon.

Basil Corn

Cook 3 1/2 cups corn kernels, 1/3 cup chopped shallots, and 1 Tbsp. butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat for 2 minutes.  Add 1 tsp. minced garlic and cook 1 minute longer.  Transfer to a serving bowl and stir in 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves.  Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

I Didn't Know That - Slicing, Dicing, Etc.

When a recipe calls for mince, dice, chop, slice, cube or Julienne do you know what it actually means?  In the past I've just sort of guessed but no more.  I now know the difference.

Chop means to cut the food with a knife or food processor into fine, medium or course irregular pieces.
Cube means to cut the food into uniform pieces, usually 1/2" on all sides.
Dice means to cut the food into uniform pieces, usually 1/8 to 1/4" on all sides.
Julienne means to cut food into thin match like sticks about 2" long.  For easier cutting, first cut food into slices and then cut them lengthwise into strips 1/8 to 1/4" wide.
Mince means to chop a food into tiny irregular pieces.
Slice means to cut the food into flat, thin pieces.  But if it says to Bias-slice that means a food is cut crosswise at a 45 degree angle.

Now I cut my foods up the way they were meant to be and after doing my knife research, I'm using the correct knife, I hope.