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Archive for January, 2011

TIP OF THE DAY: Sugar Snap Peas

Sugar snap peas (photo by Louis Hiemstra | IST).


Almost everyone loves peas, but few people serve snap peas—even though they’re available year-round.

Sugar snap peas are a cross-breed of the English pea and the Asian snow pea, delivering the best traits of both. Completely edible like snow peas (but with a crunchier pod), the sweet pea pods are filled with plump, round green peas.

And they’re a culinary bargain.

  • There are two grams of dietary fiber and 35 calories per 2/3 cup serving of sugar snap peas.
  • Sugar snap peas are rich in minerals, with high concentrations of magnesium and calcium.
  • They’re also a good source of potassium and phosphorus.
  • One serving provides a 90% of the RDA of vitamin C, along with niacin, riboflavin, thiamin and vitamin A.
  • They have no cholesterol or fat, and are very low in sodium.
    Sugar snap peas can be eaten raw or cooked (boiled, microwaved, steamed or stir-fried). They can be enjoyed plain, with a dab of butter or a sprinkle of soy sauce (we like a mix of low-sodium soy sauce and yuzu juice).


    We serve them alongside fish, meat and poultry:

    Try this recipe for Seared Wild King Salmon with Sugar Snap Peas, Avocado and Tangerine-Fennel Beurre Blanc. More ideas:

  • Toss them into a green salad or a salad with radishes and cucumbers with ginger dressing, or tossed in a 4:1 vinaigrette of olive oil and yuzu or lime juice.
  • They’re delicious with asparagus, steamed as a side or in a salad.
  • Add them to pasta with shrimp or scallops.
  • Steam them as part of a mixed vegetable medly.
    You’ll enjoy the “snap” in your recipes.


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    SUPER BOWL FOOD: Best Chex Recipe

    Last fall, we tasted the five finalist recipes (out of 1,000 entries) in Chex Party Mix’s annual competition for the best 15-minute microwaved recipe. The 2010 winner has just been announced.

    Our favorite of the five, Chex PB and Chocolate Blast, did not grab the gold. But here’s the recipe, made with Reese’s Pieces and white chocolate.

    Karen Fisher’s winning Chex Cajun Kick snack mix recipe includes Creole seasoning and hot sauce.

    (Future contestants please note: The 2009 winner was Buffalo Chex Mix with hot sauce. The recipe voters seem to like heat.)

    You’ve got 15 minutes: Make some Chex mix. It can be made up to 2 weeks in advance.



    • 2 cups Corn Chex cereal
    • 2 cups Rice Chex cereal
    • 2 cups Wheat Chex cereal
    • 2 cups bite-size pretzel twists
    • 2 cups mixed nuts
    • 1/3 cup butter
    • 2 tablespoons Creole seasoning
    • 1 teaspoon hot sauce (like Tabasco)

    The winning Chex mix recipe adds spice
    to football night or movie night. Photo
    courtesy Chex.

    1. In large microwavable bowl, mix cereals, pretzels and nuts.
    2. In 2-cup microwavable measuring cup, microwave butter uncovered on High, about 40 seconds or until melted.
    3. Stir in Creole seasoning and hot sauce. Pour over cereal mixture; stir until evenly coated.
    4. Microwave uncovered on High 6 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes.
    5. Spread on waxed paper or foil to cool. Store in airtight container.

    You can start mixing now: It’s nine days to Super Bowl Sunday.


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    TIP OF THE DAY: Better Super Bowl Food

    Turkey chili saves calories and fat.
    Get the recipe from McCormick.

    As you’re watching the Steelers face the Packers on Super Bowl Sunday, will you be feasting on the “standard” artery-clogging, fat-building, colon-wrenching fare?

    The choice is yours, but you can feast just as well on better-for-you food with the same amount of prep time. And no one will notice the difference.

    We have suggestions from Carl Germano, RD, CDN, a Board-certified clinical nutritionist and the Chief Science Officer of Inergetics, makers of SURGEX, a muscle- and power-generating shake. As someone who spends his days focusing on nutrition, Germano recommends these switches.

    Standard: Beef Sliders with Cheese
    Smarter: Turkey Sliders with sliced tomato

    Standard: Franks in Blankets
    Smarter: Chicken Teriyaki Skewers

    Standard: Nachos with Cheese & Jalapeños
    Smarter: Baked Nachos with Guacamole, Tomatoes and Jalapeños

    Standard: Fried Cheese Bread Sticks
    Smarter: Sourdough Bread Bowl with Low Fat Spinach Dip (use nonfat Greek yogurt) and Crudités (raw vegetables)

    Standard: French Fries, Onion Rings
    Smarter: Baked Potato Skins with Tomato/Basil Bruschetta

    Standard: Beef Chili with Shredded Cheese and Sour Cream
    Smarter: Low Fat Turkey Chili with Black Beans, Corn & Salsa and Nonfat Greek Yogurt

    Standard: Fried Buffalo Wings with Ranch Dip
    Smarter: Baked Chicken Wings with Hot Sauce Dip

    Standard: Regular Pizza with Pepperoni
    Smarter: Whole Wheat Margarita Pizza

    Standard: Chips
    Smarter: Air Popped Popcorn, Whole Wheat Pretzels or Oat Pretzels

    Standard: Cookie & Brownie Platter
    Smarter: Fresh Fruit Platter

    Standard: Beer, Soda, Juice
    Smarter: Light Beer, Diet Soda, Flavored Seltzer, Mineral Water


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    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Low Fat Donuts

    Who couldn’t to discover that their favorite snack pastry is low in fat with half the calories? Today’s a lucky day: We’ve found delicious low fat donuts and cinnamon buns.

    You can have your cake and eat it too, thanks to Holey Donuts!. The secret is in the process: they use a method that takes 22 steps to make and avoids deep fat frying.

    You can order donuts in just about type you can imagine, including filled donuts (our favorite and the best sellers) and filled donut holes.

    What are you waiting for? Stock up!

    Low fat and delicious. Photo by River
    Soma | THE NIBBLE.

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    FOOD HOLIDAY: Chinese New Year Gifts

    America’s chocolatiers celebrate The Year
    Of The Rabbit. Photo courtesy
    Charles Chocolates.

    It seems that everyone we know celebrates the Chinese New Year (lunar new year) with a Chinese banquet.

    Some of America’s chocolatiers have joined the festivities, creating special confections for the holiday: this year, celebrated on February 3rd.*

    *Chinese New Year begins according to the Chinese calendar, which consists of both Gregorian and lunar-solar calendar systems. Because the track of the new moon changes from year to year, Chinese New Year can begin anytime between late January and mid-February.

    To celebrate the Year Of The Rabbit, Charles Chocolates offers a gift set that includes a box of 10 orange ganache rabbits and a box of 20 tea-infused truffles, each topped with a Chinese character that indicates the type of tea inside. (If you don’t read Chinese, a guide explains which are baochong, jasmine, lichee, osmanthus and oolong.)

    If you only want one item, go for the rabbits. It is, after all, the rabbit’s year.

    Purchase both boxes for $45.00 (a $5.00 savings) or the rabbits only for $20.00, at


    We love to give gifts from Burdick Chocolate. The flavors are sophisticated and the wood boxes are keepers after the chocolate is gone.

    For Chinese New Year, the box is filled with five chocolate rabbits and eight honey and lemon pepper truffles. The milk chocolate rabbits are filled with a spicy almond ganache; the dark chocolate rabbits with tangerine ganache.

    The box is stamped with a gold “Good Luck” wax seal and tied with a red-and-gold ribbon imprinted with “Gung Hay Fat Choy” in Chinese characters (which means “wishing you great happiness and prosperity”).

    The box is $25.00 at

    Celebrate with either or both. Just be sure to get your order in now so the rabbits arrive in time for the Year Of The Rabbit.

    Rabbits and truffles with elegant flavors.
    Photo courtesy Burdick Chocolate.

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