If you are like me, you probably enjoy exploring different cultures through food. I am a huge fan of Anthony Bourdain's show, No Reservations
I would love to be able to go to all these countries and taste their cuisines one day. But for now, I do it through reading. It is truly amazing to learn that many famous cooks and food writers were ordinary people and had to endure many struggles on their quests to find a niche for themselves. In these books, we will travel and experience cuisines both in the USA and around the world.
Popcorn was grown by Native Americans long before the Europeans came to the New World. The Aztecs used it, strung into garlands, in their religious ceremonies. Peruvians toasted and ate their popcorn, which was called pisancalla. During the 1830's, it was "discovered" by American farmers who, using a new kind of plow, planted acres and acres of it during the 1850s. By the turn of the 19th century, popcorn vendors could be found in every big city. They'd sell their wares by the bag or the ball and make a profit of about 70 cents on every dollar!
They're cool, tangy, and sweet—all at the same time. Best of all, when you go blueberry picking you can just reach out and pluck them. They are so much easier to pick than strawberries. There's no kneeling in the straw and mud only to find that critters have eaten the underside of your berries. Besides being fun and easy to pick, blueberries are splendid for you, too. They are rich in vitamin C and other important nutrients. Blueberries are in season for Virginia from mid-June to mid-July, so grab a bucket to fill with sweet berries.
This interview airs beginning July 20.
In 1981 Christian Renault brought to Fredericksburg his culinary passion and his love of music to create a comfortable and friendly restaurant that would welcome patrons and please their palates. Debby Klein comes to the La Petite Auberge lounge to talk to Christian about his journey from France to Fredericksburg on CRRL Presents, a Central Rappahannock Regional Library production.
Kids have a big advantage when it comes to picking strawberries because they grow close to the ground. With just a little know-how, you can be a berry good berry picker.
Tips for picking terrific berries:
Break the stem about a half an inch from the top of the berry.
Don't pick berries that are mushy-soft, nibbled on by insects or birds, green or pink
Don't pile your berries in a big bucket. Strawberries are heavy and have delicate skins. They can get bruised if they are piled thick, one on top of another.
Keep your berries cool, either in the shade or the refrigerator.
Don't wash them until you are ready to use them.
If you are going to eat your strawberries right away, you can go picking any time.
If you need your berries to last for longer, try to pick in the morning or in the early evening when it's cooler.
Wear a hat and sunscreen so you don't become red as a berry yourself.
Strawberries taste wonderfully good and are high in vitamin C, which helps your body heal, resist infections, and keeps your bones, gums, and teeth healthy. There are lots of ways to enjoy strawberries: in muffins, jam, salad, salsa, and simply by themselves.
You don’t have to be a vegetarian to love this cookbook! Whether you want to eat more healthily by reducing the amount of meat you eat or just are looking for tasty ways to get your recommended five-a-day of fruit and vegetables, this cookbook really satisfies. The inspiration for The Meat Lover’s Meatless Cookbook: Vegetarian Recipes Carnivores Will Devour began when Kim O’Donnel, a self-confessed carnivore, decided to try following the recommendation to eat meatless meals once a week. She discovered that vegetable-based meals do not have to be a sacrifice, but can be exciting and tasty, so much so that you won’t miss the meat.
The recipes are written for the beginner to advanced-beginner cook “with an adventurous spirit.” The book is arranged seasonally, with 52 menus plus a Wild Card section with basic recipes that can be mixed and matched or paired with one of the menus for a more substantial meal. Directions are clear, and the tone throughout is encouraging. O’Donnel makes liberal use of spices and seasonings to liven up flavors, but the recipes are easily adjusted to suit individual tastes. If you don’t like hot food, reduce the amount of curry powder you use.
I bought my first grill last year and although I've learned how to get the coals going, I'm ashamed to say I haven't actually grilled anything myself.
That's all going to change, and I'm going to use Bobby Flay's Burgers, Fries & Shakes to help me get over my grilling jitters. My plan is to master grilling one thing this year, and it's going to be the burger! Making the same burger over and over again might lose its appeal though, and that's where Bobby Flay's Burgers, Fries & Shakes offers real inspiration. I can grill until January and never make the same burger twice!
Flay's burgers range from the elegantly simple "Garlic Butter Burger" (using just butter, garlic, shallots, herbs and pepper) to the Cuban inspired "Miami Burger" (a take on the classic Cuban sandwich with swiss cheese, ham and pickles) to the "Oaxacan Burger" (dressed with a homemade mole sauce which includes chile powder, chocolate and maple syrup). It might be a good idea to give the arteries a break with the "Salmon Burger with Honey Mustard-Dill Sauce" or the "Tuna Burger with Pineapple-Mustard Glase and Green Chile-Pickle Relish." Speaking of being health conscious, each red meat burger recipe states that you can use 90 percent lean ground turkey as an alternative.
It's going to be hard to choose which one to make first!
Maybe the "Crunchburger (AKA The Signature Burger)," which is topped with potato chips and is the house burger at Flay's "Bobby's Burger Palace."
Three authors wrote notable books on eating in lean times: MFK Fisher, Elizabeth David, and Patience Gray. Fisher and David wrote during and just after the war, respectively. Gray wrote about places where food was scarce at certain times of the year. They all offer sage advice and write well.
She was one of the world's most famous chefs, but in her long life she had also been a high school basketball player and top secret researcher, as well as making appearances on TV shows ranging from her own myriad cooking series to The Cosby Show to Sesame Street to a beloved parody on Saturday Night Live. She was as much a cultural institution as a culinary artist.