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Archive for International Foods

PRODUCT: Quesadillas On The Grill

Quesadillas, anyone?

Yes, and make them on the grill for a touch of smoky flavor! For just $7.98, you can get this Quesadilla Grill Basket from Williams-Sonoma, on sale from $19.95.

In fact, at these prices get more than one, and grill multiple quesadillas at the same time. Then, enjoy smoky quesadillas hot off the grill, with a crisp golden exterior.

The 12-inch diameter grill basket cooks one large quesadilla or two halves at the same time. The basket is designed to flip and cook without spilling any ingredients from the quesadilla.

Buy this Williams-Sonoma exclusive online at

You can also use it to grill pita and other flat bread. Mmmm!



Add a touch of smoke flavor by cooking quesadillas on the grill. Photo courtesy Williams-Sonoma.




RECIPE: Salmon Tostadas


Nutritionists advise that salmon and other fish make a healthier tostada or taco. Also substitute fat-free Greek yogurt for the sour cream! And substitute corn tortillas and shells for the white flour versions. Photo courtesy Salmon From Norway.


According to Cabo Flats Cantina & Bar, there are 54,000 Mexican restaurants in the U.S., and $39 billion is spent each year on Mexican food.

You can keep some of that restaurant money in your pocket by making these tasty salmon tostadas at home.

Simple mesquite-seasoned salmon tostadas are a tasty Tex-Mex meal. You can grill the salmon or cook it on the stove top.


Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 4 each 5-6 ounce salmon fillets, skin removed
  • 1 small head iceberg lettuce
  • 4 teaspoons mesquite barbeque seasoning
  • 2 tablelspoons canola oil
  • 8 tostada shells
  • 1 can refried black beans
  • 1 cup Mexican cheese blend, shredded
  • 3/4 cup salsa
  • Optional garnish: sour cream (substitute plain Greek yogurt)
  • Optional garnish: fresh cilantro leaves
  • Preparation

    1. SHRED the lettuce.

    2. SPRINKLE mesquite seasoning on each fillet. Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat, add the canola oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Carefully place the salmon into the pan, and cook for 2-3 minutes until browned.

    3. TURN over carefully and cook for another 4-6 minutes or to desired temperature.

    4. HEAT the refried beans in a saucepan while the salmon finishes cooking.

    5. ASSEMBLE: Place 3-4 tablespoons of beans on each tostada shell, and place two shells overlapping on each plate. Mound lettuce on top of the beans and sprnkle with the cheese. Place a salmon fillet on top. Garnish with salsa and the optional sour cream and cilantro.
    Find more salmon recipes at

  • A taco is a corn tortilla with filling. Corn tortillas have more flavor and are whole grain. Taco chips are made from corn tortillas.
  • Flour tortillas are more pliable and used to roll burritos, enchiladas and soft tacos. Hard tacos are flour tortillas that have been deep fried into the familiar “U” shape.
  • Burritos are a meal-size alternative to tacos. Tacos are snack foods, and typically have one filling (beef, chicken, fish) plus garnishes (cilantro, lettuce, onion, salsa, sour cream, tomato, etc.). They can be made with corn or flour tortillas. The much larger burritos require a flour tortilla that won’t crack when rolled. It has multiple fillings—beans, cheese, meat, rice, vegetables, etc. While tacos date back to pre-Columbian times, the burrito is a 1940s century invention, credited to an unnamed vendor who wanted to sell rice and beans without having to provide plates.
  • Quesadillas are large flour tortillas toasted on a grill with fillingd (cheese, meat, onion, pepper), folded over and sliced into triangles.
  • >Tostada means toasted, and refers to a “tortilla tostada,” a toasted tortilla.


    RECIPE: Deconstructed Fajita Salad


    Ditch the tortilla carbs and have a fajita
    salad. Photo courtesy Beef It’s What’s For


    According to Cabo Flats cantina and bar, there are 54,000 Mexican restaurants in the U.S., and $39 billion is spent each year on Mexican restaurant food.

    Instead of an elaborate fajita spread with six different condiments and sides (see the history of fajitas, below), try this “deconstructed” Beef Fajita Salad with Mango-Serrano Vinaigrette. It’s from the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association,

    You can substitute a green salad for the diced mangoes. Or, serve a large green salad on the side with a different vinaigrette (we like balsamic).


    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1 beef boneless top sirloin steak (about 1 pound), cut 1 inch thick
  • 3 medium mangoes, peeled, cut in half
  • Olive oil
  • 2 medium poblano chiles
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 large red onion (about 11 ounces), cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
  • 1 cup radishes (about 1 bunch), thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • For The Vinaigrette

  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 to 2 serrano chiles
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • Flour or corn tortillas


    1. BRUSH the mangoes lightly with oil. Place the mangoes and poblanos in the center of the grill over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill the chiles, covered, 9 to 10 minutes (gas grill times remain the same) or until the skins are completely blackened, turning occasionally. Grill the mangoes 8 to 14 minutes (gas grill times remain the same) or until very tender, turning occasionally. Place the chiles in a food-safe plastic bag; close bag. Let stand 15 minutes. Set the mangoes aside.

    2. PRESS the black pepper evenly onto the steak. Brush the onion slices lightly with oil. Place the steak in the center of the grill over medium, ash-covered coals; arrange the onion slices around steak. Grill the steak and onions, covered, turning occasionally. Cook for 11 to 15 minutes over coals, 13 to 16 minutes over medium heat on preheated gas grill, or until the steak is medium rare (145°F) to medium (160°F) and the onion is tender. Keep warm. Meanwhile…


    A top sirloin steak, grilled and ready for a fajita salad (or a regular fajita!). Photo courtesy Red Marble Steaks.

    3. PREPARE the vinaigrette. Cut the grilled mangoes into 3/4-inch pieces. Combine 1/2 cup mango, lime juice, water and serrano chiles in a food processor. Cover and process until smooth. With the motor running, slowly add the oil through the opening in the lid, processing until well blended. Season with salt to taste. Set aside.

    4. REMOVE and discard the skins, stems and seeds from the the poblano chiles and cut them into 3/4-inch pieces. Slice the steak. Cut the onion slices in half.

    5. PLACE the beef, remaining mango pieces, onion, chiles and radishes on serving platter. Season with salt as desired. Drizzle the salad with vinaigrette. sprinkle with cilantro and serve.


    Fajita is a Tex-Mex term for strips of meat cut from the faja, or beef skirt (skirt steak is the most common cut used to make fajitas, but you can also use top sirloin). The word faja is Spanish for band, belt, sash or strip.

    The dish was popularized in the 1970s by Mexican restaurants in Texas. The meat was served sizzling, usually cooked with onions and bell peppers. Tortillas were used to roll the meat, with a choice of add-ins from shredded lettuce and cheese to guacamole, pico de gallo or other salsa, sour cream, and tomato.

    Today, you can order fajitas in all popular proteins: chicken, pork, shrimp, and all cuts of beef.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Shakshouka, Spicy Poached & Baked Eggs

    Our friend Terry commented yesterday that on weekend mornings, she goes to a neighborhood café for a dish of shakshouka (shah-SHOOK-ah). “That’s the NIBBLE tip of the day for Tuesday,” we exclaimed.

    So here’s the scoop, something to consider for Father’s Day or any day you have the extra time to make the spicy sauce.

    Shakshouka is a breakfast dish of eggs baked or poached or both, in a spicy tomato sauce that incorporates crushed tomatoes, garlic, hot chiles, olive oil, onions, paprika and/or cumin and salt.

    Some variations include artichoke hearts, beans, potatoes and salty cheese.

    Shakshouka means “a mixture” in Tunisian Arabic. The dish is believed to have a Tunisian origin, but it’s also a staple of Algerian, Egyptian, Moroccan and Libyan cuisines and is popular in Israel, where it’s served for dinner as well.
    The dish is traditionally served in a cast iron pan or in a tagine*, with bread to mop up the sauce. The recipe is similar to Mexican huevos rancheros, Spanish pisto manchego and the Turkish dish menemen.
    *A tagine or tajine (tah-ZHEEN) is a North African earthenware that comprises a shallow pan covered with a dome. Here’s a photo, recipe and more about tagines.


    An American approach to shakshouka: Served it for lunch with a salad. Photo courtesy



    This recipe, from Good Eggs chef Audrey Snyder, is first poached, then baked. But you can poach only if you prefer. Chef Audrey adds both beans (more protein!) and cheese, which add flavor and texture. You can omit them if you prefer.

    You can serve shakshouka with warm bread or toast for dipping, can serve it over polenta, or both. To serve it for lunch or dinner, add a salad and cooked vegetables, as in the photo above.

    If making the sauce is too time-consuming for you, you can substitute a prepared puttanesca sauce along with the fresh herbs and optional cheese. The flavors won’t be the same (anchovy paste, capers and olives instead of cumin, onions and paprika), but they’ll be close enough to enjoy spicy eggs.



    This more traditional version of shakshouka, from Jill of, uses cheese and parsley to garnish. Here’s the recipe.


    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 jalapeños, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 cups/15 ounces cooked beans of your choice, drained
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 sprig each of thyme and rosemary
  • 1 28-ounce jar/can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand
    and juices reserved
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro or basil
  • 1 cup grated hard cheese or crumbled feta (optional)

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 425°F.

    2. HEAT the oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic and jalapeños. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft, about 8 minutes.

    3. ADD the beans, paprika, oregano and fresh herbs and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes and their juices. Bring to a light boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally until the sauce thickens slightly, about 15 minutes.

    4. SEASON to taste with salt and pepper. Crack the eggs into the sauce one at a time, spacing evenly. Top with the cheese.

    5. TRANSFER the skillet to the oven and bake until the egg whites are set but yolks are still runny, 5 to 8 minutes. Garnish with parsley and basil or cilantro. Serve with warm bread for dipping, or serve over polenta.



    RECIPE: Rice Noodle Salad with Lemongrass, Mint, Cilantro…& Tea!

    Today is National Iced Tea Day. Approximately 85% of the tea consumed in the U.S. is iced, and iced tea is now the most consumed beverage at lunch time (source: Tea Association of America).

    Tea is also used as a recipe ingredient, in dishes from Smoked Tea Duck to baked goods, soba noodles, smoothies and sorbet.

    Culinary expert Gail Simmons created the Thai-inspired recipe below with unsweetened Pure Leaf tea. She used Pure Leaf Unsweetened Iced Tea to cook and flavor both the rice noodles and the marinade.

    With added protein—sliced beef or chicken, scallops or shrimp, or tofu—it makes a delicious lunch or dinner entrée. And for the gluten-sensitive, rice noodles (and the entire recipe) are gluten-free.


    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced and separated into rings
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 8 ounces vermicelli rice noodles
  • 4-1/4 cups, room temperature, divided
  • 4 cups water


    Thai-inspired rice noodle salad. Photo courtesy Pure Leaf.

  • 1 lemongrass stalk, peeled and trimmed into two 2–3 inch pieces, one half of pieces bruised using the back of a knife, one half finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves plus 10 stems reserved
  • 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, half sliced, half finely chopped
  • 2 small Thai* chiles (bird’s-eye chiles), stemmed, seeded and chopped or 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 1 hothouse cucumber, cut into matchsticks or shredded lengthwise on a mandoline
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks or shredded lengthwise on a mandoline
  • 6 radishes, cut into matchsticks or shredded on a mandoline
  • 1/4 cup mint, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup dry-roasted peanuts, crushed
  • 1 pound cooked shrimp, shredded rotisserie chicken or other protein
    *Substitute 1 jalapeño chile for two Thai chiles.



    Pure Leaf unsweetened ice tea was used in this recipe. You can brew your own tea. Photo courtesy Pure Leaf.



    1. HEAT the canola oil in a medium sauté pan until just before smoking. In a shallow bowl, toss shallots with flour, shaking off any excess. Fry the shallots in the oil, stirring gently until golden, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer shallots to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Season immediately with 1/2 teaspoon salt.

    2. COMBINE in a large saucepan 4 cups of iced tea, water, bruised lemongrass, sliced ginger, 10 cilantro stems and the remaining teaspoon salt; bring to a boil. Add the rice noodles and cook until just tender, about 7 minutes. Drain and rinse thoroughly under cold water until chilled. Shake out any excess water and spread noodles on a paper towel-lined tray.

    3. MAKE the dressing: Combine the reserved lemongrass, reserved ginger, chiles, soy sauce, fish sauce, lime juice, brown sugar and remaining 1/4 cup Iced Tea in a blender or food processor; pulse until smooth.

    4. PLACE the noodles, cucumbers, carrots, radishes, mint, cilantro leaves and chicken/shrimp in a large bowl. Add dressing to taste and toss well. Garnish with fried shallots and crushed peanuts before serving.


    NOTE: Any remaining dressing can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week and used on meat, fish and salads.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Kabob Sandwiches

    For your grilling pleasure, here’s an alternative to burgers and other red meat from Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.

    Food on a stick is great fun for kids, and the entire family can help prepare this simple kabob recipe.

    Children can skewer the meat, which cooks in minutes on a grill or indoor George Foreman-type grill. Then everyone assembles his/her own pita sandwich, customizing the garnishes to their preferences.

    This recipe is classic Greek: roasted meat with tzatziki, the Greek yogurt-cucumber sauce, and whatever garnishes you like:

  • The basics: lettuce, onion, tomato
  • The “extras”: bell pepper rings, thin-sliced cucumber, radish or cucumber salad
  • The “whatevers” from the fridge: fresh or pickled chiles, crumbled feta, pepperoncini, pickles and of course, “whatever”
  • And did we mention, it’s quick?



    Find more delicious recipes at Photo courtesy Williams-Sonoma.



    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt or coarse sea salt (more to taste)
  • 1 pound filet mignon, lamb loin or boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 4 pita bread rounds
  • Garnishes: shredded romaine lettuce, diced tomatoes and shaved red onion
  • More garnishes: bell pepper, chiles, feta, pepperoncini, pickles, whatever you’ve got
    For The Tzatziki (Yogurt Sauce)

  • 1 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 English cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons total chopped fresh dill and/or mint
  • Salt to taste


    Iconic Greek lamb (shish) kabobs, made even easier with these stainless sliding skewers. Photo courtesy Williams-Sonoma.



    1. MAKE the tzatziki. Combine all ingredients and stir well. Add salt to taste and set aside. This can be made several days in advance and stored in the fridge; serve it at room temperature.

    2. PREHEAT the outdoor grill to medium-high. For an indoor grill, place the grill plate on the lower level and the griddle plate on the upper level (Williams-Sonoma used the Cuisinart Elite Griddler). Preheat both sides to 450°F.

    3. STIR together in a small bowl the paprika, cumin, cinnamon, ginger and salt. In another bowl, toss the meat with the oil and 1 tablespoon of the spice mixture.

    4. THREAD 5 or 6 meat cubes onto each skewer and place on the grill (or the grill side of the electric griddle). Cook, turning the skewers occasionally, until the beef/lamb is cooked to medium, about 8 minutes, or the chicken is cooked through, about 12 minutes. Transfer to a plate and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Meanwhile…


    5. LIGHTLY toast the pita bread rounds on the grill or the griddle side of the electric griddle, 1 to 2 minutes per side.

    6. CUT the toasted pita rounds in half crosswise, then pry open. Fill the pockets with the meat, lettuce, tomatoes, onion other garnishes. Top with the tzatziki and serve immediately.


    Grilled kabobs is easy until it’s time to remove the cooked food from the skewer. New skewers from Williams-Sonoma (photo above)solve the problem with a sliding disk that lets you push food onto the plate in one swift motion.

    An added bonus: The square shape of the rod prevents foods from spinning when you turn kabobs on the grill. You’re guaranteed even cooking!

    This Williams-Sonoma exclusive is dishwasher safe, too. A great gift for grilling enthusiasts.

    Get yours at



    RECIPE: Mexican Fiesta Won Tons


    Some fusion fare from QVC’s David Venable.


    Here’s some fusion food for Cinco de Mayo from QVC’s Chef David Venable. You can make the wontons ahead of time and freeze them until you’re ready to fry and serve.

    “These little wontons are such a unique way to incorporate all those Tex-Mex flavors you love in one cute package,” says David. “Cheesy, gooey and tangy, they’re the perfect treats to go with your Margaritas.”

    David’s fusion is to serve a queso dipping sauce with the crunchy Chinese fried wontons.


    Ingredients For The Wontons

  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 8 ounces lean ground beef
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup canned green chiles, diced
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons enchilada sauce
  • 22-24 wonton wrappers
    For The Cheese Dipping Sauce

  • 1 can petite (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes with sweet onions, well drained
  • 1/4 cup canned green chilies, diced
  • 1 package (16 ounces) Velveeta cheese, chopped into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1/2 cup enchilada sauce
  • 1/4 cup Corona beer


    1. PREPARE the wontons: Heat 1 teaspoon of the oil in a medium-size skillet over medium heat. Place the ground beef into the pan, sprinkle with the salt and cook until no longer pink, about 5–7 minutes. Remove the meat from the pan, drain any excess fat and place into a bowl. Set aside.

    2. ADD the other teaspoon of oil to the pan; then add the onions, peppers and chiles, and cook until tender, about 3–4 minutes. Place the meat back into the pan with the cooked vegetables and add the enchilada sauce. Cook for 2 more minutes, or until the sauce is fully absorbed. Scoop the mixture into a bowl. Refrigerate until completely cooled.

    3. ASSEMBLE the wontons: Brush the edges of each wrapper with water, and one by one, place 1 tablespoon of the meat filling into each. Fold the wonton in half to form a triangle and seal the edges. Brush the tips of the triangles with a little more water to join them together, and press to bind. Freeze the stuffed wontons until you’re ready to fry.

    4. PREPARE the cheese sauce: Place the petite diced tomatoes and chopped chiles into a 3-quart sauce pot and cook over medium heat for 3–5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, add the chopped Velveeta cheese, enchilada sauce and beer and cook, constantly stirring, until the cheese is completely melted. Place the dip into a warm serving vessel and serve. When ready to serve…

    5. PREHEAT a deep fryer to 350°F. Place the wontons into the deep fryer in batches and cook for 4–5 minutes, flipping them halfway through, until golden brown.

    Find more of David Venable’s recipes at



    TIP OF THE DAY: Ways To Use Miso Paste


    White miso paste, also called mild or sweet
    miso. Photo courtesy
    Try their recipe for carrot, miso and ginger
    salad dressing.


    Almost everyone who has been to a Japanese restaurant has had miso soup. But today’s tip includes other things to do with miso (MEE-zoe).

    Thanks to the popularity of miso, you can find at least one type of miso paste in many supermarkets and all natural foods stores (Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, for example).

    Miso is a paste made from soybeans and grains (typically barley or rice), koji (a fungus that serves as a fermenting agent) and sea salt. It can ferment from a short time (for mild homemade miso) to three years (for red miso). The result has the consistency of hummus.

    The fermentation produces an enzyme-rich, living food that contains many beneficial microorganisms. However, it also has a relatively high salt content.

    Miso should be refrigerated and added to cooked foods just before they are removed from the heat.



    Different types of miso paste are available in Japanese markets (like Sunrise Mart in New York City). Natural food stores typically carry the three most common.

    The deeper the color, the higher the percentage of soybeans and the stronger the flavor.

  • White miso paste, shiromiso, is the most common form. It has just a small amount of soybeans; the majority ingredient is riceor barley. White miso is also called mild miso and sweet miso, and is used mostly in salad dressings and marinades. It is also incorporated into Japanese and vegan desserts.
  • Yellow miso paste is stronger than white miso. It is a combination of barley and rice, and the most versatile of the varieties, used for glazes, marinades and soups.
  • Red miso paste is the strongest, fermented the longest to a deep red or deep brown color, made from mostly soybeans. The more percentage of soybeans, the longer the fermentation and the deeper the color. It is used to add heartier flavors to vegetables asparagus, eggplant and kale; dips, sauces and spreads.

    In Japan, miso soup is a culinary staple, whisked into dashi (stock) and enjoyed at any meal, starting with breakfast. It is also used to give an earthier flavor to noodle soups, such as ramen and udon.

    It is also used as a condiment/seasoning:

  • Braising meats, seafood (try miso-braised cod) and vegetables (try eggplant and mushrooms)
  • Compound butter: East meets West (how to make compound butter)
  • Dips and spreads: season with spices and use with crudités and rice crackers
  • Dressing: whisked into a dressing for salads and cooked vegetables
  • Grilling, as an overnight marinade and a glaze (coat corn on the cob, wrap in foil and grill)
  • Pickling, for a sweeter variety of vegetables pickles
  • Sauces: misoyaki is a variant of teriyaki

    Americans have incorporated miso into Western cuisine, from gravy to risotto and quich. For inspiration, pick up a book like The Miso Book: The Art of Cooking with Miso. It not only has many recipes, but shows you how to make your own miso paste from scratch.

    Start by making miso soup and salad dressing with the recipes below.



  • 3 tablespoons canola or other neutral oil (peanut, vegetable)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons white miso
  • 1/4 teaspoon dark sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey or 1/4 teaspoon agave
  • 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce


    A familiar bowl of miso soup. Photo courtesy Sushi Lounge | NJ.

  • Optional additions: chili flakes/sriracha, grated fresh ginger, peanut butter

    1. WHISK the ingredients in a bowl until smooth. Taste and add more honey or vinegar as you prefer.

    2. STORE leftovers in the fridge for up to a week.



  • 8 cups water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant dashi granules*
  • 1/4 cup red miso paste
  • 1 tablespoon dried seaweed, reconstituted in water and drained
  • 1/2 cup cubed tofu
  • 2 tablespoons green onion, chopped

    1. ADD the water into a pot and bring to a boil. Add the instant dashi; whisk to dissolve. Turn the heat to medium-low and add the tofu and seaweed. Simmer for 2 minutes. While the soup simmers…

    2. SPOON the miso paste into a bowl. Ladle 1/2 cup of the hot dashi broth into the bowl and whisk until the miso paste melts and is the mixture smooth.

    3. TURN off the heat and add the miso paste to the pot. Stir well. Taste the soup and whisk in another 1-2 tablespoons of miso paste as desired. Garnish with green onions and serve immediately.

    *This is the easy version; the soup will be ready in 10 minutes. When you have time, try a recipe that uses homemade dashi stock, made from fish and kelp. For quick recipes, dashi is also available in a bouillon cube format.



    [OLD] NEWS: The 10 Greatest Japanese Inventions Of The 20th Century

    ramen noodles raised on chopsticks

    Ramen: voted the greatest Japanese
    invention of the 20th century. Photo ©
    Olga Nayashkova | Fotolia.


    It may be old news, but we just came across an old Japanese survey that names instant ramen as “the greatest invention of the 20th century.”

    We would have passed it by, but for the the fact that Nation’s Restaurant News recently published an article about how ramen was trending among chefs in U.S. restaurants—albet the original ramen, not the instant noodles (see “The History Of Ramen,” below).

    In 2000, Fuji Research Institute, a financial research firm in Tokyo, asked 2,000 adults in the region to rate the greatest Japanese inventions of the 20th century.

    They were given three categories: manufactured goods, culture and technology.

    Japan is known for its technological innovation. So most people were surprised that ramen, instant noodles, was voted the best invention of the 20th century.

    Created in 1958, instant ramen went into commercial production in 1971. Worldwide, almost 50 billion cups are now consumed each year.


  • No. 1: Instant ramen
  • No. 2: Karaoke
  • No. 3: Headphone stereo sets
  • No. 4: TV video games
  • No. 5: CDs
  • No. 6: Cameras (which were not invented in Japan—see footnote*)
  • No. 7: Filmmaker Akira Kurosawa (editor’s protest: a person is not an invention)
  • No. 8: Pokemon
  • No. 9: Automobile-related technology
  • No. 10: Sushi (however, it should be noted that sushi was actually invented in the 19th century)
    While the Fuji Institute’s survey may not have been the most scientific, it does show one thing: Even in a country famous for its technology, food rules.

    *The first camera, called the camera obscura, dates back to the ancient Chinese and Greeks. It projected an image on to a surface but did not create a permanent image. The first photographed camera image was made around 1816 in France by Nicéphore Niépce. In 1837 his partner, Louis Daguerre, created the first practical photographic process, the daguerreotype, using silver-plated copper plates. Commercially introduced in 1839, the date considered as the birth year of practical photography. It was replaced by easier processes in 1860, including paper-based negatives and much shorter exposure times. The use of photographic film was pioneered by George Eastman, who started manufacturing paper film in 1885 before switching to celluloid in 1889. His first camera, the Kodak, was first offered for sale in 1888.



    Ramen are Japanese wheat noodles. While they are known to Americans largely as salty, inexpensive packaged noodle soup mixes, in Japan there are as many varieties of noodle and recipes as there are prefectures, ramen dishes are fine cuisine and innovation is the name of the game, where recipes are closely-guarded secrets.

    The concept of a dish of noodles in meat broth—chicken or pork—originated in China. It differs from native Japanese noodle soup dishes, in that until ramen appeared, Japanese broth was based on either made from vegetables or seafood.

    The type of noodles and toppings used in ramen also came from China. It is believed that “ramen” is the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese word “lamian,” meaning “hand-pulled noodles” (as opposed to noodles that are sliced with a knife).

    While some ramen dishes began to appear in Japan in the late 1600s, they didn’t become widespread until the Meiji Era (1868 through 1912), when Japan moved from being an isolated feudal society to a modern nation.



    Top Ramen, the brand invented by Momufuku Ando of Nissin Foods. Photo courtesy Nissin Foods.

    Foreign relations and the introduction of meat-based American and European cuisines led to increased production of meat, and played a large role in the growing popularity of ramen. Almost every locality or prefecture in Japan created its own variation of the dish, served at restaurants.

    The growth of ramen dishes continued after World War II, but was still a special occasion that required going out.
    Soup recipes and methods of preparation are closely-guarded secrets in many restaurants. Beyond regional variations, innovative Japanese chefs continue to push the boundaries of ramen cuisine. Curry ramen, invented in the Hokkaido region, became a national favorite, as has ramen based on the Chinese dish of shrimp in chili sauce. Non-Japanese ingredients such as black pepper and butter have found their way into recipes.

    Here’s a recipe for homemade pork ramen soup.

    Check out this article, which details the different type of ramen by region.

    In 1958, instant noodles were invented by Momofuku Ando, founder and chairman of Nissin Foods. Named the greatest Japanese invention of the 20th century in a Japanese poll, instant ramen allowed anyone to make this dish simply by adding boiling water. Exported, these ramen soup packages soon became a pop culture sensation across the globe.



    PRODUCT: Tandoor Chef


    Look for the bright orange-red boxes in your
    grocer’s freezer case. Photo courtesy
    Tandoor Chef.


    Our neighborhood has two good Indian restaurants and there are many more around town; but we were more than satisfied with the frozen foods from Tandoor Chef.

    The family-run company produces authentic, restaurant quality, all natural frozen Indian cuisine. All the traditional favorites are available, as well as modern creations like naan pizza and vegetarian masala burgers.

    The choices include meat plus vegetarian and certified vegan options, along with a line that is gluten free.

    If you haven’t been exposed to Indian food (or good Indian food), here’s a chance to get to know it, in a most convenient way.

    Depending on what your retailer carries, you can feast on:

  • Appetizers: Palak Paneer Samosa, Tandoori Chicken Samosa and Tandoori Chicken Wings
  • Entrées: 16 choices including Channa Masala, Chicken Biryani, Chicken Curry, Chicken Tikka Masala, Lamb Vindaloo, Masala Dosa, Malai Kofta and Palak Paneer

  • Breads: Garlic Naan and Tandoori Naan
  • Pizzas: Cilantro Pesto Naan Pizza, Eggplant Naan Pizza, Jalapeño Naan Pizza, Margherita Naan Pizza and Spinach and Paneer Cheese Pizza

    We didn’t get to try the pizzas, but everything we did try was impeccably spiced for American palates. We’ll certainly keep a supply in our freezer, for when we crave crunchy samosas or palak paneer, one of our favorite spinach dishes.

    Learn more at



    While not all Tandoor Chef products are cooked tandoori-style, here’s an overview of this famous Indian cooking technique.

    A tandoor is a cylindrical clay or metal oven (it can be as simple as a large pot) used in cooking and baking—not only in India but elsewhere in central, southern and western Asia. It is typically dug into the ground or built into an enclosure to keep anyone from coming into contact with the extremely hot surface.

    The tandoor ia used to cook meats or vegetables (and sometimes breads) over an intense charcoal fire, which is built inside the oven. The meats or vegetables are marinated and lowered into the oven on long metal skewers. Cooking in a smoky and extremely hot environment (often 500°F), they take on a special flavor.

    Tandoori-style foods are first marinated in yogurt, a medium with natural acidity (required in a marinade) and a thickness that helps to adhere the herbs and spices to the food.




    Channa Masala, a delicious chickpea dish. Photo courtesy Hannah Kaminsky.

    Traditional spices include cayenne pepper, coriander, garam masala, garlic and ginger. Garam masala itself is a combination of roasted and ground black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, cumin and nutmeg

    If you’ve ever had tandoori chicken and wondered why it is bright red or yellow, the answer is spice. The red color is provided by ground annatto seeds; the yellow comes from saffron (pricey!) or turmeric.



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