Pepper!

Peppers can be eaten ripe and raw in a salad or in a stir-fry. Peppers can also be roasted, grilled, fried in a pan, or stuffed and filled with a variety of foods. Peppers can be fixed in a variety of ways regardless of whether they are to be cooked or not. A pepper can be rough chopped, or kept whole for example. The pepper can be versatile in the sense that it can be dried, pickled (or preserved in a jam) or frozen. The frozen variety can be incorporated into lots of different meals.

pepper

Apple Pies

The aroma of apple pie wafting through the window is a classic image of our childhood where we would anxiously wait for the pie to be cool enough to eat for afternoon snack. The comforting scents of apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sugar is great to just unwind to after school or dinner. Delis and pastry shops have their own pies that may be preordered and purchased ahead of time, but nothing beats making the pie in the comfort of your own home, given the right ingredients.

Preparing apple pies may give us memories of our grannies and mothers, and this is an example of a recipe that may have been passed from homemaker to homemaker, that it has been nearly a family secret. This classic fall or summer dessert may be eaten with vanilla ice cream drizzled with caramel syrup, providing a contrast of hot and cold, which can be quite delightful to eat. Making the pie is quite simple and necessitates a few standard ingredients, which can be obtained in the grocery, or if you have access to an apple tree, in your own backyard.

The most preferential apples to use for pie-baking are Golden Delicious apples. These green and slightly tart apples hold well during the baking process and the tartness contrasts with the sweetness of the butter and sugar. For optimal results, cut the apples thinly and layer them with the cinnamon, sugar, and nutmeg filling.

The flaky crust is one of the textures to look forward to apple pie, which can be achieved by correct mixing of ingredients. Mix the flour with the butter or lard well until it resembles cornmeal and be sure that the water is very cold. A technique is to not over-knead or over-handle the pie crust, as this may alter the texture. Although there are pies that have a double crust, there are some that have a lattice top crust or just have one crust with brown sugar crumble on top.

This classic dessert is best dished out with tea to counteract with the sweetness, especially after a meal. During snack time, milk or juice may be served with this. This is also a special potluck share for family lunches, particularly during Fourth of July or Thanksgiving. It may also be bequeathed as gifts or giveaways during Christmas. The satisfying flavors and aroma of this delicacy reminds us of that time we look forward to this warm afternoon snack or dessert.

Bouillon

This word derives from the verb bouillir, meaning “to boil”. Boiling is literally how bouillons came about. This is really, a broth, which can be taken on its own, as in French cuisine or the liquid used to create new dishes like soups, risotto, or sauces. This tasty and fragrant liquid may also be used in poaching fish, for example, for more flavors into the dish.

Preparing bouillon means boiling meat such as veal, pork, beef, or chicken with a mixture of herbs, spices, and vegetables like garlic and onion in water. There are meat choices, seafood options, and there are also vegetable variants, and sometimes employing mushrooms for vegetarian options. Making this from scratch is what’s usually urged in some recipes and households although there are store-brought stocks available already for those who need things to get cooked fast.

Bouillon cubes are created from dehydrated ingredients like meat stock, vegetables, salt, fat, and other seasonings in a cube form and set to be placed in water to boil. This is for those who wouldn’t want to bother making the stock from scratch due to lack of time and resources. Bouillon cubes are also used to enhance the flavor of dishes, not only in soups but also in hearty dishes like stews and stir-fries. This is faster and more convenient than creating the broth from scratch by collecting the ingredients need to be boiled. There are a lot of versions for this – pork, chicken, broth, fish, shrimp, and sometimes even vegetable like tamarind soup base or mushroom, for vegan options.

The granulated bouillon forms are most recommended for stews and stir-fries, although they also can be added to soup. Using the granulated form leaves a better distribution of the flavor since there are less liquid in stir-fries to dilute the bouillon cube into the dish. Whatever form they may be, cubes or granules, bouillon enhances the flavor of dishes such as soups, stir-fries, and stews with the convenience of just opening a pouch or a packet. This is a great option for those starting out to cook or for those who want to get things done fast. The bouillon soup made from scratch though, is a healthier option but it can be time consuming since it requires the preparation of ingredients.

There are lots of uses for bouillon, whether it is the soup itself, an enhancement of flavor, or a liquid used in steaming or poaching other ingredients.

Spinach in the Vegetarian Diet

Whenever Popeye needs to punch and kick his enemies and needs extra strength, what does he do?  He opens his can of spinach, eats the contents, and all of a sudden, he powers up and accomplishes his task.  His ladylove, Olive Oyl is saved and all’s well that ends well.  Spinach doesn’t turn us into instant superheroes though, but it is still good for the body.

You may not be able to punch that big bully in and instant but you will be able to fight something else.  Packed with antioxidants, spinach can help you fight the big C, cancer, and help you live a longer and healthier life.  It’s also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are important in fighting bad cholesterol in keeping the heart healthy.  So in a way, it is still fighting bad stuff, in a whole cellular and metabolic level and keeping long-term diseases at bay.

For those who are very active or to those who are anemic, fresh spinach has a lot of iron, which is needed by the body for red blood cell production.  Spinach also contains minerals, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K, which is essential for strengthening the bones.  For those who cannot take milk because of health or lifestyle reasons (like if they’re lactose intolerant or have switched to a vegan or strict vegetarian diet) this can be a good option for healthy bones.

Just like most vegetarian ingredients, spinach is the easiest thing to keep on the fridge.  They can be stir-fried with other vegetables, steamed, blanched, or even used in soups and salads.  Torn spinach may be mixed in with pasta and risotto for added nutrition value, texture, and color.   They can be made into hearty stews that can be eaten with pita or bread, such as the Indian dish palak paneer, which uses spinach leaves that have been mashed and sautéed with other spices and served with cottage cheese.  This is a very rich and filling dish that is great for sharing and goes well with roti or biryani rice.

Although spinach doesn’t make us turn superheroes, we do get to be healthier and stronger eating the right foods.  Its long-term effects can help us combat microscopic body bullies like cancer and heart disease.  Delicious and healthy recipes are available so we know of ways on how to maximize this green leafy vegetable to something tasty for the family to enjoy.  Take a hint from Popeye, who eats his spinach to help him get strong.

 

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Mushrooms in Vegetarian Cooking

The choice of finally going vegetarian may be difficult, particularly if almost all of your life, meat has been part of the day by day diet.  Whether it is health, diet, or lifestyle change from individual opinion, going vegetarian can be quite rough.  One, as previously mentioned, is finally letting go of meat.  The second is finding protein sources for the body.  Meat is a fundamental source of protein, and protein is needed by the body for it to build and fix muscles and tissues and do a lot of physiological roles.  The challenge now is to find other non-meat sources of protein.

Mushroom is not a plant but a fungus that grows typically on the ground/soil or on its food source, like barks of trees.  There are a lot of nonpoisonous mushrooms that can be found growing, but of course, there are also those that are not fit for consumption.  For safety, it is more preferential to get mushrooms from supermarkets, organic markets, or reputable source rather than finding them wild, because for sure, those are the ones that are edible.  Although not made from animal flesh, mushrooms are sound sources of protein, containing twice the amount of protein acquired in vegetables.  Depending on how they are prepared, they can even mimic the texture of certain meats, which helps in the transition from omnivore to vegetarian.  This ingredient could be used both by vegetarians and by vegans, which do not consume or use any products made from animals.

Mushrooms may be grilled, tossed with salad, pasta, or soups, and even placed in sandwiches and pizza.  They are quite versatile and may be cooked in a number of ways.  Some Portobello mushrooms are made into burgers, which can be breaded, deep-fried, and wedged in a hamburger bun, just like a beef patty.  It gives an almost similar texture as meat and may even be grilled with eggplant, just like steak.  They can even be stir-fried with an omelette for breakfast or substituted in stir-fries that call for chicken or beef.  Another tip in prepping and cooking mushrooms is to just wipe fresh ones with a damp towel in cleaning them.  Soaking them like other fruits and vegetables will just make them soak up the water so the stir-fry turns out soupy rather than have less liquid characteristic of stir-fries.

Being a very familiar and pleasant-tasting food source, mushrooms are a good way to jump-start in going vegetarian.  The taste and texture is adequate and aside from the nutrient content, they are also low in fat, cholesterol, sodium, and calories.  On the other hand, they are very high in fiber too, for a healthy digestion.  Adding mushrooms to food is an exceptional way to jump start into going vegetarian without the regret or much meat withdrawal phases.

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Thanksgiving Recipe Tips

Christmas Seafood Recipes

Christmas assemblies are only spent once a year, a very wonderful time when loved ones meet and observe and share the essence of the season.  As such, your Yuletide dinner (or lunch) spread should be more than the usual.

One way to make an impact whether it’s a family reunion at home or a potluck party at the office is to dish out something unexpected.  Rather than spend a lot of time preparing a conventional roast turkey with all its usual accompaniments, keep that for Thanksgiving this year and program a spectacular seafood banquet instead.

Your theme is already very uncommon that is likely to be remembered by guests.  Make it more so by carefully considering your menu.  Ascertain you have all your bases covered.  Set an appetizer course of salad, soup and/or hors d’oeuvres, followed by a couple entrées.  And don’t forget, there’s always room for dessert which you can fix without any seafood though spirulina, an extremely healthy blue-green algae (therefore also considered seafood) can be used in sweets, chocolate preparations.

With a little imagination, one can unquestionably create a feast solely employing the bounty of the sea.  The key is to have an assortment of flavors and textures which you can accomplish with different ingredients.   Use fresh and seawater products like shellfish, shrimp, crabs, squid, mussels, clams and if your budget allows, impress guests with a nice juicy lobster or black tiger prawns.  Ensure you have a great deal of herbs, spices, lemon or lime to eradicate any fishiness and give a nice zesty flavor.

Do not exaggerate it, i.e., pile up every single dish with marine life.  Your guests might feel that they’re in the underwater region of King Neptune!  Also, do not feel too pressured to spend too much on your ingredients.  The prime priority, especially since you’re dealing with seafood, is freshness.  You can get a pricey cut of salmon or a whole lobster but if it isn’t fresh, no manner of cooking can mask the off taste and smell.

You can still serve more established Christmas fare like eggnog, fruitcake, pudding and roast chestnuts to draw the spirit of the holidays.  Complement this with a fresh green salad optionally topped with more seafood like chilled shrimp, squid or shellfish. Achieve a holiday look and flavor by adding bright red ingredients like dried cherries or cranberries.

Finally, do consider if you have guests who have sensitivities or allergies towards shellfish and make a dish or two for them!  After all, you certainly don’t want to have a sad, discontented (and swollen) dinner guest for the holidays!

 

Diet Recipes

Are the best things in life really free?  For food perhaps not, especially if you want more heart-healthy food options which are commonly prepared with more costly ingredients. However, the best recipes that promote health, weight control and weight loss over the long term can be acquired free online, shared amongst friends or researched from a cookbook borrowed from a school or library.

Nutritious foods that not only boost weight loss but also improve health on various aspects can be regarded a notch above a simple low-calorie, low-fat dish.  For those on a diet, the most advantageous recipes additionally address other health issues like diabetes, improve heart health and overall digestion without side effects. Additionally, you don’t have to sacrifice flavor when trying to eat healthy. You may be surprised that by mixing and matching low calorie food and ingredients, a desirable yet healthy dish can be made.

An example of a sound dish is pretty much any green vegetable salad with a dressing accompaniment.  The high fiber content of green leafy vegetables assists in digestion and provides a solid amount of micronutrients.  Salad dressings however can be laden with saturated fat, artificial ingredients and preservatives.

An improved version of this would be one that’s topped with dried fruits and raw nuts and served with a low-fat dressing like a simple herb vinaigrette.  Dried fruits boost the nutrient content while nuts provide good fats and protein.

The best salad need not be expensive or difficult to prepare.  An splendid salad that’s good for dieters can stand on its own without other dishes to complete nutrient levels.  It undoubtedly uses all organic components like romaine lettuce and arugula, beet root, carrots, cherry tomatoes powered up with raw organic nuts and superfoods like blueberry or goji berry.  For dressings, organic ingredients like mustard, vinegar and extra virgin olive oil can be whisked together with natural sea salt and fresh herbs.

These “best in class” diet guidelines can definitely be applied for any dish from soups (use low sodium broth or better yet make it yourself), entrees (go for free-range grass-fed meats) and desserts (sweeten with low-glycemic alternatives rather than refined white sugar).

When preparing diet-friendly food, it is essential to know what health concern is top priority and work around this to create a great tasting dish.  Low-fat, low-cholesterol, low-carb, high-fiber, high-protein, vegetarian, vegan are some categories to start with.  A dish can be vegan, low-fat and high-fiber at the same time without much effort but to obsess one’s self to creating a perfectly healthy dish is impractical and virtually impossible as it will not be applicable for everyone.

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Mushrooms in Vegetarian Cooking