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TIP OF THE DAY: Have A Barbecue Party For National Barbecue Month

Backyard Grill

Grilled Brisket

Top: Deluxe grill from Landmann. Bottom: Weber’s Q series fits almost anywhere.

 

Did you fire up the grill for Mother’s Day? It’s one of the biggest barbecue days of the year, with 34% 0f grill owners cooking celebrate Mom. It following the Fourth of July (76%), Labor Day (62%), Memorial Day (62%) and Father’s Day (49%) in popularity.

More than 75% of Americans own a grill or smoker. May is National Barbecue Month: A survey from the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA) names grilling as America’s favorite patio pastime.

Our Tip Of The Day: Have a BYO Favorite Dish barbecue party. Whether it’s a venerable family recipe or something more recent like grilled poppers, everyone should bring a favorite food: sides, punch, desserts, etc. (In our family, it’s homemade baked beans with molasses and a topping of crisp bacon.)

It can be quite a feast: Beyond proteins and veggies, people grill everything from bread, pizza and quesadillas to fruit and other desserts.
 
2016 BBQ TRENDS

Whether for easy weeknight dinners, weekend feasts or even breakfast, here’s the scoop from HPBA’s most recent State of the Barbecue Industry Report, from a survey conducted in July and August, 2015.

  • Who has a grill? 75% of U.S. adults own a grill or smoker.
  • Gas, charcoal or electric? 62% of households have gas grill, 53% have a charcoal grill and 12% have an electric grill. Two percent own a wood pellet grill and 8% are thinking of purchasing one this year.
  • Why so much grilling? 71% say it’s to improve flavor, 54% simply enjoy grilling and 42% like it for entertaining family and friends.
  • Seasonal or year-round? 63% of grill owners use their grill or smoker year-round; 43% cook at least once a month during winter.
  • Grill accessories. Half of all grill owners have the most basic grilling accessories: cleaning brush, tongs, and gloves/mitts (hmm…what does the other half use?). The most popular new accessories owners plan to buy include pizza stones, broiling baskets and cooking planks.
  • Outdoor kitchens: 10% of grill owners have a full “backyard kitchen,” including premium furniture and lighting.
  • Barbecued breakfast: 11% of grill owners prepared breakfast on a grill in the past year.
  • Beyond the backyard: Nearly one third of grill owners (31%) grilled someplace other than their homes in the past year, including 24% who grilled while camping.
  • Barbecue plans: Nearly half of U.S. adults (45%) plan to purchase a new grill or smoker in 2016, while nearly a third of current owners (30%) plan to grill with greater frequency.
  •  
    THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BARBECUE & BARBECUE

    Barbecue is a noun and a verb. It’s a meal cooked outdoors—for millennia over an open fire until the development of modern gas and electric grills. “Barbecue” also refers to:

  • A grill or open hearth/fireplace—used to barbecue food.
  • The meat, poultry or fish that is barbecued.
  • Meat or poultry that is basted in a sweetened “barbecue sauce” during cooking.
  • An outdoor party or picnic at which barbecued food is served.
  •  
    BARBECUE, BARBEQUE OR BBQ?

    Barbecue and barbeque are alternative spellings, along with the short form BBQ.

    To quote chef Anthony Bourdain, “Barbecue may not be the road to world peace, but it’s a start.”

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Jalapeño Compound Butter

    Ravioli With Hazelnut Butter

    Roquefort  Butter

    Top: Ravioli with walnut butter (photo courtesy David Venable | QVC). Bottom: Steak with Roquefort Butter (photo Recipes101.com).

     

    Whatever you’re cooking for Cinco de Mayo, spice it up with Jalapeño Compound Butter (recipe below). You can use it for cooking, as a garnish (a pat on the top of grilled meat, seafood, corn-on-the-cob), or as a bread spread.

    WHAT IS COMPOUND BUTTER?

    Compound butter (beurre composé), seasoned/flavored butter, is a staple of French cuisine. Almost any flavor can be blended into butter, which is then rolled into a log, covered with plastic wrap, and refrigerated. When needed, just cut a slice from the log.

    For most of its life, compound butter was used as finishing butter: a pat to top hot proteins and vegetables, or blended with pan juices to make a sauce.

    Perhaps the best-known compound butter in the U.S. is garlic butter, known as beurre d’ail or beurre à la bourguignonne) in France. Italian-American garlic bread is an Americanized bruschetta, made with butter instead of olive oil.

    The great French chef Escoffier (1846-1935) published 35 combinations in 1903. They included such classic combinations as anchovy butter with steak and seafood, Roquefort butter on steaks, beurre à la maître d’hotel (lemon parsley butter) with escargots, various herb butters for meat, poultry, fish and vegetables; and numerous nut, spice and wine butters.

    As a truffle lover, we find truffle butter to be a transformational experience, whether used simply on pasta or in a more elaborate preparation. We can have a joyous meal of only a fresh baguette and a tub of D’Artagnan truffle butter.
     
    MODERN COMPOUND BUTTER

    You may not cook French cuisine, but if you like butter, you can incorporate compound butters into much of what you do make: grilled meats and seafood, pasta, potatoes, rice and other grains, eggs, anything that needs a butter sauce.

    Use your favorite flavors: the classics or more modern additions to American cuisine, such as curry, hot sauce, lavender, wasabi…you can think of dozens of great pairings.

    Consider combinations such as:

  • Blue cheese butter in the center of a burger.
  • Chipotle butter for corn-on-the-cob.
  • Chive butter for baked potatoes.
  • Cilantro butter for grilled fish.
  • Coffee butter for toast or steak.
  • Harissa-za’atar butter for lamb chops.
  • Herb butter for cooking eggs.
  • Radish butter on slices of baguette.
  • Seaweed butter for fish or noodles.
  • Sriracha-honey butter for biscuits and chicken.
  • Sweet butter for pancakes, waffles, muffins and toast (chocolate butter, cinnamon butter, maple butter, pecan butter, strawberry butter, vanilla butter).
  •  
    Any of these butters can also be used as spreads; on potatoes, rice and vegetables; and for basting and sautéing foods in butter, or making a quick butter sauce.
     

     

    RECIPE #1: JALAPEÑO COMPOUND BUTTER

    This recipe, from Gordy’s Pickle Jar, uses Gordy’s Thai Basil Pickled Jalapeños. Or, you can pickle your own (recipe below).

    This recipe is for a small batch: good for testing and then adjusting the ingredients.

    Ingredients

  • ½ (1 stick) cup salted butter
  • 2 tablespoons diced Gordy’s Thai Basil Jalapeños (about 8 pieces) or substitute (we minced the jalapeños for more even distribution of flavor)
  • ½ teaspoon brine from the pickled jalapeños
  •  
    Preparation

    1. SLICE the stick of butter into eight pieces and place it in a stainless steel bowl. Let it soften to room temperature.

    2. ADD the diced jalapeños and the brine and blend with a wooden spoon until the jalapeños are evenly distributed. Using the back of the spoon, shape the butter into a ball and transfer to a sheet of plastic wrap.

    3. WRAP the butter in the plastic wrap and shape it into a log. Refrigerate the wrapped log and chill at least 1 hour to harden. When ready to serve, remove from the refrigerator and slice into whatever size you need.
     
    RECIPE # 2: QUICK-PICKLED JALAPEÑOS

    This quick-pickling recipe is meant for short-term consumption and storing in the fridge. Do not use it to “put away” pickles. You may wish to cut the recipe in half if you won’t be using the pickled jalapeños for any other purpose (burgers, salads, jalapeño mayonnaise, etc.).

    Ingredients

  • 1 pound jalapeños (we used red for more color)
  • 2 cups white or white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons pickling salt (substitute kosher salt)
  • 1 tablespoon favorite spices (clove, coriander, cumin, oregano)
  • Optional: 2 cloves garlic
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon sugar*
  •  

    Jalapeno Compound Butter

    Compound Butter

    Top: Jalapeño butter (photo courtesy Gordy’s Pickle Jar). We minced our jalapeños finely for better distribution of flavor. Bottom: Different compound butter flavors (photo courtesy SheKnows.com).

     
    *You can add sugar to the brine, but make a batch without it first. It’s healthier, and it will let the flavor of the spices shine through.
     
    Preparation

    1. SLICE the jalapenos and place in a jar (for compound butter, mince). Cover with white or white wine vinegar (alternative: use half vinegar and half salted water). Add your favorite spices to the brine.

    2. ADD the jalapeños to the brine, making sure that the brine covers the jalapeños. Let sit overnight, although if you’re in a pinch, you can use them after an hour of marinating. They just won’t have a more complex flavor.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: The Best Roast Chicken Recipe

    Our mom was a terrific cook, of everything from the simple to the elaborate. On weekday nights, meals would be more simple: grilled meats and fish, salad, a vegetable, a starch. Once or twice a week she roasted a plump whole chicken in a countertop rotisserie, similar to this one but bigger, and without today’s multi-tasking options. It grilled meat on a spit, period.

    She gave it to us one year, when she upgraded to a new model. But as much as we loved roasting a juicy Bell & Adams chicken, taking up two feet of counter space was a hardship in a typical New York City kitchen. So one day, we passed it on to someone with enviable counter space.

    It’s easy to pick up a roasted chicken in a supermarket these days, and some markets use quality birds with a quite satisfactory result. But it’s not in our DNA to buy a pre-cooked chicken. We tried a vertical roaster from Cuisinart which saved us eight inches of footprint—but that was still too much forfeited counter space for us.

    More recently, we came across a simple broiler-and-oven roasting technique from GFF Magazine. If you have a butcher who can debone the chicken for you—or you like to do it yourself (here’s a video tutorial)—you’ll find that the roasting technique delivers the most delicious chicken: very crisp skin and very moist meat.

    The recipe was developed by Chef Daniel Patterson, whose San Francisco restaurant, Coi, earned two Michelin-stars.

    Chef Daniel finished the dish with fried herbs and an herb vinaigrette. We took a shortcut and sprinkled the cooked chicken with fresh herbs.

    It’s not Mom’s beloved rotisserie chicken, seasoned with paprika and garlic salt that scented the air, but it’s time to move on.

    RECIPE: CHEF DANIEL PATTERSON’S ROAST CHICKEN

    Ingredients For 4 to 6 Servings

  • 1 whole chicken, about 4-1/2 pounds, deboned
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Garnish: minced fresh parsley or other herb of choice
  •  

    Roast Chicken

    Whole Raw Chicken

    Top: Chef Daniel Patterson’s easy roast chicken (photo courtesy GFF Magazine). Bottom: If you have a good palate, it pays to spend extra on the best chicken (photo courtesy Good Eggs).

     
    Preparation

    This recipe was made in an oven with a top broiler element. If your broiler is in a separate unit, preheat your oven to 250°F.

    1. SALT the chicken 1 to 3 hours prior to cooking and place it in the fridge. Remove it 10 minutes before cooking and place it in a rimmed pan, skin side up.

    2. ADJUST the oven rack to 3 inches from the broiler heating element, and preheat the broiler. Place the pan under the heat for 10 minutes. This browns and crisps the skin. Rotate the pan a few times for even browning.

    3. TURN the oven temperature down to 250°F and cook for an additional 25 minutes. Remove from the oven, let rest for 5-10 minutes, cut the chicken into pieces and serve.

     
    CAN YOU NAME THE CUTS OF CHICKEN?

    There’s much more beyond breast, drumstick, thigh and wing. Check out the parts of a chicken in our Chicken Glossary. Cluck, cluck, cluck.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Compound Butter (Flavored Butter )

    Compound Butter

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    Truffle Butter

    Compound Butter

    Compound Butter

    Compound Butters

    Cookies & Compound Butter

    Beurre à la maître d’hotel, lemon parsley butter; crayfish compound butter for seafood; pasta tossed with truffle butter; roasted sea bass with herb butter; herb, bourbon-pecan, and gorgonzola butters, ready to spread on bread; last but not least, sweet compound butter for dessert or pancakes. Photos: Brown-Eyed Baker, Chef Michael O’Boyle, WKNOfm.org, Land O’Lakes, Feastie.com.

     

    Want to become a more impressive cook instantly? Use compound butter! Also known as finishing butter or beurre composé in French, it’s unsalted butter that has been blended with seasonings.

    There are endless variations. Escoffier published 35 combinations in 1903, and cuisine has evolved in many directions since his classic renderings of anchovy butter and beurre à la maître d’hotel (lemon parsley butter, which is the sauce served with escargots).

    In Continental cuisine, compound butter is added to the pan to finish a sauce, placed directly atop meat, fish or vegetables to create a flavorful garnish, or mixed into pasta and rice. Just a dab transforms a dish: If you think butter makes everything taste better, think of what butter infused with great seasonings will do.

    Herb butter and Roquefort butter are classics atop steak, anchovy butter has long been paired with grilled seafood) are staples at fine steakhouses. On the sweet side, honey butter and strawberry butter have long been a brunch favorite.

    These are just a few of the dozens that were long a part of the standard fine-cooking repertory. The compound butter most often used in the U.S.: garlic butter.

    A melting dollop of compound butter is an attractive garnish, melting over a piece of beef or fish; or can be used in the kitchen to make a quick pan sauce, adding mouth feel add fat and flavor simultaneously. Whether at a restaurant or at home, it creates an easy upgrade to a simple dish.

    But trends in cooking, from cuisine minceur (lighter French food) and Asian-accented dishes, have pushed the one-ubiquitous compound butter to the side.

    Fear not, butter lovers: According to Flavor & The Menu, compound butter is currently trending with restaurant chefs.

    The new compound butter, however, is modernized with flavors that would not have found their way into Escoffier’s (or Julia Child’s) compound butters:

  • Hot sauce compound butter, tossed with potato tots or fried vegetables, from Chef Ray Martin of Noodle Fresh in Orange County, California.
  • Ramp butter for pasta and sea urchin butter for Lobster Bucatini, from Benjamin Lambert at 701 in D.C.
  • Ribeye with gochujang butter, at Edward Lee’s Succotash in National Harbor, Maryland.
  • Wasabi-yuzu-kosho butter, at Wolfgang Puck’s Cut in Las Vegas.
  • Pork belly-sake butter served over pork tenderloin, from Chef Deb Paquettte in Nashville.
  •  
    Compound Butter As An Appetizer!

    Chef Paquette offers a butter tasting as an appetizer—and it’s very popular. Diners get four distinct flavored butters with a French baguette. The flavors change, but recent flavors have included cashew-ginger, mushroom-taleggio-tarragon, saffron chorizo and Steak Diane, which blends the butter with a reduction of beef stock, red wine, thyme and Dijon.

    More Compound Butter Ideas From Flavor & The Menu

  • Avocado + Citrus: Season butter with smashed avocado, zesty chile-lime seasoning and chopped cilantro, shape into a log and chill. Serve over grilled skirt steak, chicken and fish, or slather on grilled Mexican street corn with cotija cheese.
  • Bacon + Blue cheese: Pair the bold, craveable flavors of crumbled blue cheese and salty-crisp bacon with unsalted butter, coarse black pepper and minced chives. Serve as a signature topper for grilled steak, shrimp, chicken, specialty burgers and roasted potatoes.
  • Creole + Roasted Garlic + Lemon: Add New Orleans attitude to your menu with a Creole butter seasoned with rich, roasted garlic and caramelized lemon, Louisiana hot sauce and Creole seasoning. This is delicious over grilled oysters, scallops or as a signature butter paired with crusty bread.
  • Lemon + Rosemary + Asiago: Combine lemon zest, fresh rosemary, sea salt and grated Asiago cheese with unsalted butter. Slice into coins and serve over grilled fish, roast chicken, haricots verts and grilled vegetables. Or spread over grilled flatbread for an appetizer.
  • Sriracha + Honey: Blend unsalted butter with golden honey and fiery Sriracha sauce for a sweet and spicy flavored butter; spread on a split hot-from-the-oven biscuit and top with a crispy chicken filet and bread-and-butter pickles for a hearty “anytime” breakfast sandwich.
  •  
    Plus:

  • Chipotle butter for corn on the cob.
  • Gochujang and honey butter on a garlicky seared chicken paillard.
  • Sriracha and toasted sesame butter on cracked pepper-seared scallops.
  • Harissa, honey and za’atar butter over cumin-spiced, char-grilled lamb chops.
  • Aleppo pepper, smoked-salt maple butter over wood-fired Brussels sprouts.
  •  

  • For a topping butter, consider adding flavorful liquids like wine, reduced citrus juice, soy or mirin. Whip at high speed to marry the flavors; the butter will break, but keep whipping—it will come together again.
  • Try roasting items like mushrooms and onions, then finely chop and whip into butters for concentrated flavor.
  • Toast or lightly fry spices like curry powder, smoked paprika and chile powder before adding to flavored butters.
  •  
    On The Sweet Side

  • Tangerine + Dark Chocolate: Combine European-style unsalted butter with tangerine zest, orange marmalade and chopped pieces of best-quality dark chocolate. Spread over a warm croissant or brioche as a signature brunch option.
  • For sweet butters, use high-quality flavored syrups like blackberry and toasted hazelnut for consistency.
  • Cookie butters have been trending on the retail side, to spread on cookie! What else would you do with this Snickerdoodle Cookie Butter recipe?
  •  
    GET STARTED

    First, remember that any of these butters can also be used on bread, potatoes, rice, vegetables, etc.

  • Compound butter technique and recipes
  • Crayfish Butter Recipe for fish and seafood
  • Mussels With Maître d’Hotel Butter Recipe
  • Hazelnut Butter, which goes with just about everything
  • Still more compound butters from Epicurean Butter
  •  
    Once you’ve developed your favorite compound butters, you can bring them as gifts to friends who cook (or who love bread and butter).
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Sauté Your Greens

    How To Saute Greens

    Green Garlic

    TOP: You can sauté greens in 2-4 minutes,
    with some onion, garlic and olive oil. What
    looks like red-tipped green onions are red
    spring onions, a close relative (see the
    differences below). The green garlic
    tops and bottoms have been minced.
    BOTTOM: Green garlic, available in the
    spring, looks like scallions (but you won’t be
    fooled—the nose knows!). Photos courtesy
    Good Eggs.

     

    Your recommended daily fill of vegetables may be raw or cooked; fresh, frozen, canned, or dried/dehydrated; and may be whole, cut-up, mashed or puréed. A glass of a 100% vegetable juice counts as a serving.
     
    YOUR CHOICE OF VEGGIES

    The USDA organizes vegetables into five subgroups. Your daily servings can come from any of them, although a mixture is best for rounded nutrition:

  • Dark-green vegetables
  • Starchy vegetables, including white potatoes and grains
  • Red and orange vegetables, including sweet potatoes
  • Beans and peas
  • Other (bean sprouts, cauliflower, cucumber, green cabbage, lettuce, green/wax beans, mushroom, onion, yellow squash/zucchini, etc.)
  •  
    Women and teen girls should consume 2-1/2 cups daily, men and teen boys, three cups. Younger children get a bit less.

    The USDA has handy charts at ChoseMyPlate.com, including the quantity of each option that constitutes a serving—1 cup of raw or cooked vegetables or vegetable juice, or 2 cups of raw leafy greens, for example.

    We’re happy to eat our green, red and orange vegetables steamed. When we have more time, we roast root vegetables.
     
    But we rarely sauté all those tasty, leafy, good-for-you “cooking greens” (as compared to salad greens).

    Our friends at Good Eggs, a premium grocery delivery service in San Francisco, nudged us a bit by sending us these tips and recipe.
     
    HOW TO SAUTÉ GREENS

    Use this sauté technique with any and all leafy cooking greens—broccoli rabe, chard, collards, kale, mustard greens, spinach, turnip greens, etc.—plus garlic and onions. Sauté the greens in olive oil with the garlic and onions and you’ve got a simple, delicious side.

     
    Don’t hesitate to sauté a medley: Mixed greens give you more flavors to enjoy.

    This is your opportunity to try greens you haven’t had before. You’re bound to enjoy anything sautéed with onions and garlic.

    Ingredients

  • 1 bunch leafy greens, chopped roughly to bite size
  • 1 spring onion including the tops, thinly sliced (substitute green onion—see the differences below)
  • ½ green garlic, white and pale green parts sliced thin*
  • Pinch of salt
  • Squeeze of fresh lemon
  • Optional: pinch of chile flakes
  • ____________________
    *If you can find green garlic at a farmers market or upscale produce store, grab it. It looks like scallions (see photo above) but smells like garlic. It’s the baby plant before it matures into the papery-covered bulb of cloves. Otherwise, substitute one or two cloves of garlic, minced.

     

    Preparation

    1. COVER the bottom of a large sauté pan or skillet with olive oil, and place it over medium-heat. Add the garlic, onions and a pinch of salt. Sauté until the onions are translucent but before they turn golden brown. While the garlic and onions cook…

    2. PLACE the greens in a colander and rinse quickly with cold water. Shake off the excess but don’t worry about patting dry: a bit of water clinging to the greens will help in the cooking.

    3. TURN the heat to high, add a pinch of chile flakes, then add the greens. Once the greens are in the pan, move them around with a pair of tongs and add a pinch of salt.

    4. SAUTÉ until the greens are just tender, 2-4 minutes (taste to determine). If all of the water has evaporated before then, add a splash of water. Finish with a squeeze of lemon and salt to taste.
     
    MEET THE ALLIUM GENUS

    Green onion (scallion) and spring onion are different members of the Allium genus, the “onion genus.”

  • Green onions and scallions are different names for the same species. They are either harvested very young from the regular, bulb-forming onions, or are other varieties that never form bulbs. Green onions are milder than other onion varieties; the green tops are milder than the bulbs. The bulbs can be red or white, with white being most commonly found.
  • Spring onions look similar to scallions, but have a base of small round bulbs at the base. They are planted in the fall and then harvested in the spring, hence the name. Spring onions are more intense than green onions, but milder than regular onions. As with green onions, the bulbs can be red or white.
  •  

    Raw  Broccoli Rabe

    Baby Red Chard

    Raw Mustard Greens

    Top: Broccoli rabe, called rapini in Italian. Center: Baby red chard. Bottom: Red mustard greens. Photos courtesy Good Eggs.

  • More confusion: new spring garlic, known as green garlic, can easily be confused with green onions. The are an immature version of the standard cured garlic bulbs (the harvested bulbs are hung up to dry). Good Eggs advises: As the bulb matures, the garlic greens die off. The mature bulbs re harvested in the fall, having developed a number of cloves surrounded by papery cellulose layers. Green garlic has a sweeter, milder flavor than when the mature, cured bulbs.
  • However, as different English-speaking countries use different words to describe something, green onions are called spring onions in the U.K. and Canada. It’s easy to determine what they are in your vocabulary: green onions have a straight bulb at the bottom, spring onions have a round bulb.
  •  
    Here are all the different types of onions.
     
    ALL IN THE FAMILY

    Well, all in the Allium genus (the family is Amaryllidaceae):

  • Chive: Allium schoenoprasum
  • Garlic: Allium sativum
  • Green onion/scallion: Allium cepa var. cepa
  • Leek: Allium ampeloprasum
  • Onion: Allium cepa
  • Shallot: Allium cepa var. aggregatum
  •   

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    TIP OF THE DAY: 20 Ways To Use Leftover Wine

    You may need no arm twisting to have a glass of wine on February 18th, National Drink Wine Day.

    But don’t feel obligated to finish the bottle. Instead, retain some of the wine in your cooking.
     
    TIPS

  • You can use any wine, including dessert wine, Port and sparkling wine, whether flat or still bubbly.
  • You can mix wines if you don’t have enough of one.
  • Use your judgment (and taste!) to decide how much wine to add when you’re freestyling (i.e., cooking without a recipe).
  • As a guideline—though not hard and fast—add wine to dishes with capers, garlic, mushrooms, tomatoes, olives, olive oil and red pepper flakes.
  • Don’t get tied up over whether red or white wine is better. The wine is just an accent, not the major focus; use what you have.
  • If you have a lot of leftover wine, you can reduce it to a savory syrup with onions (then add herbs and mushrooms); or make a dessert syrup by adding sweet spices and optional sweetener.
  •  
    20 WAYS TO USE LEFTOVER WINE

    Starters

  • Add a touch of wine to Bagna Cauda, a hot dip for crudités.
  • Add white wine to the butter dipping sauce for artichokes.
  • Add a bit of wine to any chowder or fish soup.
  •  
    Mains

  • Add a half cup of wine to any chicken dish. Try the famed French Coq Au Vin, with red or white wine; or Chicken Piccata from Italy, with white wine, lemon and capers.
  • Braise chicken quarters in a garlic-infused wine broth.
  • Make a garlic-wine sauce for pasta.
  • For a red-wine pasta sauce, make bolognese with ground beef and diced tomatoes.
  • Replace the water in risotto with white wine or with half water and half dry Marsala (an Italian red wine from the area of Marsala, Sicily, that is made in dry and sweet variations) or a substitute.
  • Make a sauce for white-fleshed fish from dry white wine, lemon juice, olive oil, olives and/or capers.
  • Steam mussels or clams in broth with white wine, garlic, onions and herbs.
  • Make Veal Scallopine or Chicken Marsala with dry Marsala, mushrooms and shallots.
  • Add red wine to any beef braise, stew or stroganoff. Add some mushrooms, too. In addition to Boeuf Bourguignone, check out Boeuf Daube Provençal, a French beef and vegetable casserole.
  • Make a red wine glaze for meat loaf (so much more adult than a ketchup glaze).
  •  
    Vegetables

  • Enhance a hearty vegetarian stew or cassoulet (bean, chickpea, lentil, squash, etc.) with red wine.
  • Accent any sautéed vegetables with white wine and garlic.
  •  
    Side Sauces

  • Red wine and mushroom sauce is a classic with Filet Mignon and other top cuts of beef.
  • Deglaze the pan to make sauce for any meat or poultry. Turn it into a mustard sauce with a tablespoon of Dijon.
  •  
    Desserts

  • Make a wine-enhanced dessert: zabaglione or tiramisu with sweet Marsala.
  • Make a wine syrup by reducing it along with cinnamon, nutmeg and/or other sweet spices. Serve it with fruit compote or fresh fruit salad, ice cream or pound cake.
  • Poach sliced apples or pears in the spiced wine.
  •  

    Lobster Bisque

    Chicken Cacciatore

    Beef Stew

    Filet Mignon

    Top: Chicken Cacciatore (photo Joshua Swigart | Wikimedia). Second: Accent Lobster Bisque or other seafood soup (photo Mackenzie Ltd.). Third: The classic French stew, Boeuf Bourguignon (photo CB Crabcakes). Bottom: Filet Mignon with a red wine and mushroom sauce (photo Palm Restaurant).

     
    But first and foremost, it’s National Drink Wine Day. Enjoy that glass of wine!

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Oils To Use, And Not To Use

    What cooking oils are in your pantry?

    Here’s what you should know from Chef Gerard Viverito, a culinary instructor and Director of Culinary Education for Passionfish, an NGO non-profit organization dedicated to educating people around the globe on issues of sustainability in the seas.

    THE 12 COOKING OILS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT

    In your mother’s kitchen, the only cooking oil may have been all-purpose vegetable oil, a blend of inexpensive oils. Then came the Mediterranean Diet and the attention paid to its heart-healthy olive oil.

    Today, there are more than a dozen options for cooking oil. Don’t be stuck with mom’s ingredients. Use Chef Gerard’s handy guide to determine which cooking oils you need to add to your collection.

    EVERYDAY HEALTHY COOKING FATS

    Each of these healthy fats deserves a place in your pantry, says Chef Gerard.

  • Butter. There’s no need to avoid this tasty fat (it isn’t an oil, but we’re giving it a pass). The myth about saturated fat has been busted. Butter is fine to use in moderation for adding flavor to veggies or potatoes.
  •    

    Olive Oil & Olives

    Heart-healthy olive oil has become a staple in American kitchens. Photo courtesy Flavor-Your-Life.com, a great resource for olive oil lovers.

  • Coconut oil. A tropical oil that is gaining in popularity, coconut oil’s medium chain fatty acids (also found in grass-fed butter and palm oil) are easily utilized as body fuel, which may help with weight management. Coconut oil’s natural sweetness makes it a great choice for baking.
  • Malaysian palm oil. This up-and-coming healthy tropical oil is a popular replacement for harmful trans fat. This non-GMO, balanced and ultra-nutritious oil can already be found in many of your favorite packaged foods. It tolerates heat extremely well, so it’s an ideal all-purpose cooking oil. All palm oil isn’t the same. Look for Malaysian certified sustainable palm oil; if it isn’t in your supermarket, check the nearest health food store. The Malaysian palm industry adheres to the 3Ps sustainability model.
  • Olive oil. Rich in monounsaturated fat, this oil is great for a healthy heart and healthy skin. Use it for salad dressings and drizzling over breads, but don’t use for high-temperature applications. This healthy oil starts to degrade before you hit 400°F. (Tip: Have at least two tablespoons a day, whether in salad dressing or straight from the spoon.)
  •  
    SPECIAL OCCASION COOKING OILS

    These oils have more limited uses, and often come with a higher price.

  • Avocado oil. Avocado oil is rich in nutrients, because it is extracted from the fruit’s flesh. This process is similar to olive oil and palm oil production. Avocado oil tolerates heat up to 500°F, which makes it great for broiling. You can also find flavored olive oils, delicious on salads and other vegetables, potatoes, and grains.
  • Flaxseed oil. Flaxseed oil is a nutritious yet delicate oil. While many nutrition-focused people want to eat more of it, it begins breaking down at just 225°F so can’t be exposed to heat. The oil is extremely rich in heart-healthy omega-3, but unfortunately, many people find its flavor unappealing. Consider adding a teaspoon of flaxseed oil to your next smoothie to reap its health benefits.
  • Macadamia nut oil. Although more commonly used as a beauty aid, this sweet and buttery oil is good for your health, too. It contains a 1:1 ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids. Why is this important? Many health experts believe the Western diet contains too many inflammatory omega-6s. Try macadamia nut oil in salads.
  •  
    If you currently use sunflower oil, consider this:

  • Sunflower oil. Sunflower oil is rich in skin-, brain- and heart-healthy vitamin E tocotrienols. Unfortunately, it’s also high in inflammatory compounds, so instead of cooking with it, it’s better to rub some on your cuticles or use it to smooth your hair. Instead of sunflower oil, get your tocotrienols from Malaysian certified sustainable palm oil, nature’s richest source.
  •  

    Macadamia Nut Oil

    Macadamia and avocado oils are both made in Australia. For the best flavor, look for first cold pressed oils. Photo courtesy Brookfarm.

     

    GENETICALLY MODIFIED OILS

    If you’re trying to avoid genetically modified foods (GMOs), put these oils on your “do not buy” list. More than 90% of these crops are grown using genetically modified seeds.

  • Canola oil
  • Corn oil
  • Cottonseed oil
  • Soybean oil
  •  
    Give all of your current oils the “sniff test.” If they smell musty, they’re ready the recycling bin.

    Replace them with “good oils.”
     
    ALL OF THE COOKING OILS

    There are more cooking oils, including the pricey-but-delicious hazelnut, pistachio and walnut oils; and powerful dark sesame oil, which is delicious when used in moderation. Take a look at the different cooking oils in our Culinary Oils Glossary.

     

    And check to see if your oil should be kept in the fridge. Some are very hardy and stay well on the shelf for two years; others, less so.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: How To Chop Herbs

    Chopping Parsley

    Fresh Cilantro

    Top: Be sure that herbs are absolutely dry
    before you chop them. Photo courtesy
    Williams-Sonoma. Bottom: Remove the
    woody stems but keep the green portions.
    Photo of cilantro courtesy Good Eggs | San
    Francisco.

     

    Fresh herbs are the avenue to adding a big punch of flavor with few calories to most dishes.

    The emphasis is on fresh. While dried herb are a fine stand-by, they don’t deliver the same flavor—and the flavor fades as they age. First…

    THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HERBS & SPICES

    These two terms are often used interchangeably, but that’s inaccurate. There are important differences.

  • Herbs are the leaves of a plant (although stems may also be used). They grow in any climate warm enough to grow vegetables.
  • Spices are from the seeds, roots, fruit or bark, and typically used in dried form. Most originate in tropical or semi-tropical regions.
  •  
    It’s possible for one plant to contain both herb and spice. For example:

  • Cilantro, an herb, is the leaf of the coriander plant; the seeds of the plant, coriander, are a spice.
  • Dill weed, an herb, and dill seed, a spice, come from the same plant.
  •  
    SWEET & SAVORY HERBS

    Most herbs can be used in savory dishes. Think dill, garlic, thyme, oregano, parsley. In addition, there are the so-called sweet herbs, that can be used in both savory and sweet dishes:

  • Chamomile
  • Lavender
  • Lemon Verbena
  • Licorice
  • Mint
  • Rose Geranium
  • Tarragon
  •  
    There are other sweet herb not often found in the U.S., such as sweet cicely (British myrrh). Stevia, an herb, delivers sweetness in addition to licorice notes.
     
    HOW TO CHOP FRESH HERBS

    Here’s what you should know before you grab a sharp chef’s knife and the cutting board:

    1. Be sure the washed herbs are fully dry.

    If they’re just a bit damp, they’ll get mushy when you chop them.

  • While you can use paper towels to pat them dry, the best course is to wash them in advance of when you need them—even a half hour in advance—and let them dry naturally.
  • Don’t have time to let them dry? Gout the hair dryer! No kidding: We’ve done this more than once with big, damp bunches of parsley.
  •  
    Next up: Different herbs require different chopping techniques.

     

    2. Herbs with edible stems.

    When you throw away the slender stems of herbs like cilantro, dill and parsley, you’re throwing away money. They are just as edible as the leaves.

  • Trim the bottom part of the stems, including any thick portion. If you don’t want to use them in the particular recipe, freeze them for later use in soups, stocks, stir-frys, pestos, minced into plate garnishes, etc. The stems freeze well; delicate leaves, less so.
  • Then, simply chop the stems along with the leaves. Don’t spend any time pulling the leaves off the stems!
  • Green stems from any herb can be cut fine or tossed into anything you’re cooking.
  • Use them in the same way you use bay leaf: When the food is cooked, remove and discard them. Use a spice ball if you like. They are a great addition to sauces, soups and even stir-frys.
  •  
    3. Herbs with big leaves and woody stems.

     

    Herb Keeper

    You don’t need an herb keeper. To make fresh herbs last longer, use a water glass instead. Add the herbs and cover the glass with a plastic bag.

     
    Big-leaf herbs like basil, mint and sage require a different technique.

  • Start by pulling the leaves from the woody stems.
  • Tear them into pieces, or make a chiffonade: Stack the leaves, roll them into a tight bundle and slice crosswise with a sharp knife.
  • Here’s more on how to chiffonade, plus a video from Le Cordon Bleu.
  •  
    3. Herbs with small leaves and woody stems.

    This group includes oregano, rosemary, tarragon and thyme. The leaves need to be stripped from the stems, but the stems are too woody to use.

  • The “hand technique” includes holding a single sprig at the top, pinching the stem with two fingers, and quickly running your fingers down the stem to remove all the leaves.
  • We prefer to use an herb stripping tool. It’s inexpensive and doesn’t take up much room in the gadget drawer.
  • Check your kitchen scissors; they may have an herb stripper built in to the center section.
  • These are small leaves and easy to chop or mince to desired size.
  •  
    4. Chopping or mincing chives.

    Chives, long and stem-free, are in their own category.

  • If you’re good with a knife you can simply slice them horizontally.
  • For us, it’s faster and neater to use our kitchen scissors.
  •  

    HOW TO STORE FRESH HERBS

    You don’t need an “herb keeper” to store herbs. Simply fill a tall glass with a few inches of fresh water, insert the herbs and cover with a plastic produce bag.

    It’s that easy!

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Reuse Citrus Rinds As Mini Bowls

    As you cook your way through the holidays, consider saving the shells (whole rinds) of halved, juiced lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruit. You can repurpose them as mini serving bowls—for sides, desserts, condiments and more.

    First, use a serrated grapefruit spoon or other implement to scrape out the empty juice sacs—but leave the white pith intact.

    Then cut a tiny slice off from what will become the bottom of each “bowl,” so it will sit flat on a plate. Place the empty shells in the freezer; when frozen, store them in freezer bags. Then, for a festive meal, take them out and use them for:

  • Condiments
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Dipping sauce
  • Relish
  • Rice or mashed potatoes, with a topping
  • Salsa
  •  
    Our favorite use is dessert, specifically:

  • Fruit salad
  • Sorbet
  •  
    For cold foods, you don’t have to wait for the shells to defrost. Scooping sorbet into frozen shells, for example, keeps it from melting more quickly. Check out yesterday’s recipe for Meyer Lemon Sorbet.

     
    WHAT TO DO WITH A LEFTOVER HALF LEMON OR LIME

    Freeze the entire half, or cut it into quarters.

  • You can defrost a piece when you need juice.
  • You can also freeze the juice alone, ideally, in ice cube trays, so you can defrost only what you need.
  • After the citrus pieces or juice cubes freeze, store them in a heavy-duty freezer bag.
  •  
    Freeze individual slices.

  • Cut into slices about 1/4-inch thick and freeze them for garnishing.
  • First freeze them on a cookie sheet so the slices don’t stick together; then store them in freezer bags.
  • For a glass garnish, cut a slit into the slice before freezing. You can then place the frozen slice onto the rim of the glass, without waiting for it to thaw.
  •  
    TRIVIA

     

    Citrus Cups

    panna-cotta-swirlsandspice-230

    ikura-qoo-boo-230

    TOP PHOTO: Fruit salad. Cut the fruit as fine as it needs to be to fit nicely into the shell. Photo courtesy Elegant Affairs Caterers. MIDDLE PHOTO: These are panna cotta, but could as easily be sauces or sides. Photo courtesy Swirls And Spice. BOTTOM PHOTO: Stuffed with rice and topped with salmon caviar. Photo courtesy Qoo’s Life.

     
    Botanically, citrus fruits are berries with leathery rinds. In botany this type of berry is called a hesperidium.

    The great botanist Carl Linnaeus (1707 – 1778) bestowed the name Hesperideæ to the order the contains the Citrus genus. It’s an allusion to the the Hesperides, nymphs who in Greek and Roman myth guarded a blissful garden of golden apples.

    From Sweden, Linnaeus was a botanist, zoologist and physician. He laid the foundations for taxonomy, the modern biological naming system for describing species (taxa in Latin). Many of his writings were in Latin, as was custom among scientists of the time. Latin was a common language among educated Europeans, so no matter what one’s native language, one could read the works of others in Latin.

      

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    THANKSGIVING: Food Safety Tips

    Thanksgiving Food Safety Tips

    Make your Thanksgiving dinner a safe one. Photo courtesy ThanksgivingDay2015i.com.

     

    Even if you’ve never had a problem before, check out these food safety tips prior to Turkey Day. They’re courtesy of The Learning Center at State Farm.

    1. Keep everything clean.

  • Scrub your hands with soap under warm water for 20 seconds before touching food. Do the same after handling food, especially raw meat or poultry, to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Clean the counters, cutting boards, dishes and silverware with hot water and soap before and after preparing each food item.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables to remove the surface dirt, but do not rinse raw meat or poultry. Rinsing them enables bacteria to spread.
  •  
    2. Heat foods to the proper temperature.

  • Color is never a reliable indicator of safely cooked food. Use a food thermometer to make sure meat, poultry, and fish are cooked to a safe internal temperature,typically 165°F.
  • Frying your turkey? Follow these turkey fryer safety tips.
  •  
    3. Keep foods at appropriate temperatures.

  • Keep hot foods at 140°F or warmer with chafing dishes, slow cookers and warming trays.
  • Keep cold foods at 40°F or colder. Nest serving dishes in bowls of ice and store moist desserts, such as pumpkin pie and cakes with whipped frosting, in the refrigerator until serving.
  • Never let food sit out at room temperature for more than two hours.
  •  
    4. Store leftovers safely.

  • Divide leftovers into shallow containers, which allow rapid cooling, before storing in the refrigerator or freezer.
  • Never defrost food at room temperature. It enables bacteria to multiply.
  • Use a microwave or oven to reheat foods to an internal temperature of 165°F.
  • Eat refrigerated leftover food within three to four days.
  •  
      

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