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Archive for Tip Of The Day

TIP OF THE DAY: The Easiest Way To Eat Whole Grains

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Top: Doesn’t this look so much better
than white bread? Photo courtesy
Tried And Tasty via Dave’s Killer Bread.
Bottom: Photo courtesy Dave’s Killer Bread.


September is Whole Grains Month. Why whole grains? You need the fiber no matter your age, what shape you’re in (here’s why you need whole grains).

When you tell people they need to add more fiber to their diet via whole grains, you get push back. We understand: We, too prefer the taste of white-flour pancakes, pasta and pizza crust to whole grain versions.

But bread? Did you ever meet a piece of bread you didn’t like? That’s why you should make a small switch to whole grain bread.

Sandwiches and toast are just as delicious with whole wheat bread. And if you use Dave’s Killer Bread, they are resplendent!

So today’s tip is: Stop buying white bread for sandwiches and toast, and try all the whole grain versions available to you.

Our favorite is Dave’s Killer Bread, available in 14 different loaf varieties plus hamburger and hot dog buns. There’s also a better-for-you cinnamon roll. It’s one of our favorite Top Picks Of The Week.


It is, indeed, killer. In addition to marvelous flavor and texture, the breads are organic, all natural, whole grain and packed with protein, fiber, omega 3 fatty acids. Whole grain bread has never tasted better. We’ll support Dave’s claim that this is “the best bread in the universe.”

In addition, the breads are vegan, Non-GMO Project Verified and certified kosher (parve) by Oregon Kosher.

Our only lament is that our local store carries only one variety.

Once only available in greater Portland, Oregon, Dave’s Killer Bread has quietly become the country’s largest baker of organic bread—the #1 organic bread brand!

The first four Dave’s Killer Bread varieties (Blues, Good Seed, Nuts & Grains and Rockin’ Rye) launching at the Portland Farmers Market in 2005. Ten years later, it’s traversed the U.S. Waste no time in finding it, even if your local store has only one of the 14 loaves.

Here’s a store locator. Discover more at

We had Dave’s Killer Bread for breakfast this morning, toasted. It’s so flavorful that it needs no spread. And since, as far as bread is concerned, Dave’s is as guilt-free as it gets, we’re deciding on what to put on our DKB sandwich for lunch:

  • BLT?
  • Chicken salad?
  • Egg?
  • Grilled cheese?
  • Grilled vegetables?
  • Ham and Emmental (the real Swiss cheese) or pimento cheese?
  • Peanut butter and jelly
  • Turkey and guacamole?
    All are in THE NIBBLE coffers; we just can’t decide. But we hope we’ve sold you.



    While you can rest assured that Dave’s Killer Bread is whole grain, there’s a lot on the store shelves that appear to be—but aren’t. Package labels are deceptive.

  • Multigrain is not whole grain.
  • Cracked grain and rye breads are not whole grain.
  • Pumpernickel, other dark breads are not whole grain.
  • Only “whole wheat” and “whole grain” are whole grain.
  • Corn bread can be whole grain if it’s made with whole-grain cornmeal and, if there’s wheat flour in the recipe, whole-wheat flour.
  • Here’s more on what is and isn’t whole grain bread.

    NOTE: If you eat gluten-free, millet is a GF whole grain bread.



    Put your burgers and hot dogs on whole grain buns, too. Photo courtesy The Bojon Gourmet via Dave’s Killer Bread.




    TIP OF THE DAY: Apples & Honey

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    Apples and honey, a Jewish New Year tradition, are a delicious snack or
    simple dessert on any day.


    Today is Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. One of the holiday traditions is dipping an apple in honey. But the tradition can be enjoyed year-round by anyone looking for a tasty snack or a simple dessert.

    All you need are honey and apples. Slice the apples and serve them with a dish of honey.

    TIP: While a bowl of honey lets more than one person dip at a time, a Honey Bear squeeze bottle or other squeeze bottle (with a dispensing tip) is much neater!


    Apples are sweet, honey is even sweeter. Combine the two and it’s symbolic of a [hopefully] ultra-sweet new year.

    The apple symbolizes the Garden of Eden, which according to the Torah has the scent of an apple orchard, and in Kabbalah is called “the holy apple orchard.”


    So whether or not you’re celebrating anything today, pick up some crisp apples and honey, slice and dip. If you aren’t already familiar with this combination, you’ll wonder why it took you so long to put them together!

    There’s generic honey—a blend of inexpensive honeys from around the world, blended to a common denominator for American supermarket purchases.

    And then there’s varietal honey: single-source honey, such as Black Sage, Clover, Orange Blossom, Raspbery and Sage. There are hundreds of varieties, each made from the nectar of a different flower, bush or tree.

    Each varietal honey has a distinct flavor; thus, and each pairs well with specific foods. Check out our food and honey pairings.

    Consider these pairing tips from Rowan Jacobsen, an apple grower and author of Apples of Uncommon Character:

  • Gala apples with orange blossom honey
  • Granny Smith and other tart green apples with basswood honey
  • Honeycrisp apples with wildflower honey
  • Pink Lady or SweeTango apples with avocado honey
  • Pippin apples with apple blossom honey
  • Russet apples with tupelo honey
    Here’s the full article.

    Happy New Year to those who celebrate, and enjoy those apples and honey, to those who don’t.


    TIP OF THE DAY: Regrow Scallions From The Roots


    These scallions were re-grown from the sliced-off root ends. Photo courtesy Hidden
    Valley | Facebook.


    Nobody eats the roots of green onions or leeks, a sprouting bulb of garlic and other vegetable discards. They end up as landfill.

    But you can regrow some vegetable scraps in water, as long as you have a little sunlight.

    We saw this tip on Hidden Valley’s Facebook page and then did further research, ending up on A reader’s comments on that site advises:

    After the new plants have started, you can keep growing them in water or else transfer them to soil so they’ll pick up nutrients and become more flavorful.

  • Fennel
  • Garlic
  • Leeks
  • Romaine
  • Scallions (Green Onions)
    Try it both ways—water and soil—and see what works for you. Make it your “indoor farming” project for fall.

    Here’s how to do it from



    TIP OF THE DAY: Make A Kugel

    The Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah*, begins tomorrow night at sundown*. A traditional part of the dinner is kugel (KOO-gull), a casserole-like baked pudding that is served as part of the main course.

    The traditional versions in Jewish households are noodle pudding (lokshen kugel), made with egg noodles and raisins; and potato kugel; but mixed vegetable kugels have become very popular in recent decades.

    In our family’s tradition of excess, Nana always made a noodle kugel and a potato-carrot kugel. We always looked forward to them—especially the sweet noodle kugel—and always requested the crispiest† piece. Nana’s noodle pudding recipe is below.


    “Kugel” is a word from Middle High German meaning sphere, globe or ball. The Yiddish name likely originated as a reference to the first versions, baked in round pans to a puffed-up shape. (Today, kugels are often baked in square or rectangular pans.)

    According to Wikipedia, the first kugels were savory casseroles made from bread and flour. Some 800 years ago, German cooks replaced the bread and flour with noodles or farfel (pellet-shaped pasta like orzo).


    Vegetable Kugel

    A slice of vegetable kugel, made with carrot, onion, potato and zucchini. Photo courtesy Good Eggs | SF.

    Eventually eggs were incorporated. The addition of cottage cheese and milk created a custard-like consistency that is common in today’s dessert kugels.

    Polish Jews added raisins, cinnamon and cottage cheese to their noodle kugels. Jews in different communities developed their own flavors. In Jerusalem, the kugel of choice is a caramelized sugar and black pepper noodle kugel. Here’s a detailed history of kugel.

    *Rosh Hashanah literally means “head of the year.” Because of the nature of the Jewish calendar, the date differs each year.

    †Bake a noodle kugel for a few extra minutes and the top noodles get crisper.


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    Cholesterol conscious? This noodle kugel omits the egg yolks. Recipe courtesy Kitchen
    Daily. Here’s their recipe.



    As with casseroles, there are as many types of kugel as there are cooks who conceive them. You may even have enjoyed kugel without knowing it: Baked rice pudding is a kugel (rice kugel). Carrot pudding is a kugel.

    Savory kugels are most often potato kugels, but broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cheese, spinach, yellow squash and zucchini have become popular (usually with a touch of onion). Like cauliflower and mushrooms? Put them in your kugel. Here’s a link to many savory kugel recipes.

    Sweet kugels are made with apples, butternut squash, cherries, corn, dried fruits, peaches, pineapple, rhubarb, sweet potatoes and more. You can use any fruit you fancy, from lychee to mango. Check out these sweet kugel recipes.

    There are flourless Passover kugel recipes that adapt of all of these.




  • 1/2 pound wide egg noodles
  • 1/2 stick butter, melted
  • 16 ounces small curd cottage cheese
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup raisins (substitute dried cherries or cranberries)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 dashes salt
  • Optional: slivered almonds‡

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 375°F.

    2. BOIL the noodles in salted water for 4 minutes; then drain. Combine the noodles with the other ingredients (except the almonds) in a large mixing bowl

    3. POUR into a greased baking pan, 9″ by 13″ baking dish (substitute 9″ by 9″ square pan). Sprinkle the optional almonds over the top. Bake until the custard is set and the top is golden brown, about 30 to 45 minutes.
    Enjoy the leftover kugel for breakfast, cold or warmed.
    ‡Some people add a can of crushed pineapple. Nana would geschrei!



    TIP OF THE DAY: Save The Lobster Heads & Tails

    We love this idea from Chef Ric Tramonto and John Folse of Restaurant R’evolution in New Orleans.

    Rather than toss the lobster heads and tails*, they plated them. It’s beautiful, and the most fun we’ve seen since Chef David Burke’s Angry Lobster On A Bed Of Nails.

    This photo shows Restaurant R’evolution’s Lobster With Sheep’s Milk Gnocchi. We made Lobster Newburg, one of our favorite special-occasion dishes (in a cream sauce with sherry, brandy and a touch of nutmeg—here’s the Lobster Newburg recipe).

    But there’s much more to place between the heads and tails. Just a few ideas:

  • Fettuccine Alfredo or other pasta with lobster
  • Lobster & Chorizo Paella
  • Lobster Cobb Salad
  • Lobster & Coconut Milk (such as Lobster Curry and Lobster Roatan)
  • Lobster Mac & Cheese
  • Lobster Pot Pie
  • Lobster Ravioli
  • Lobster Risotto
  • Lobster Salad
  • Lobster Stew
  • Lobster Thermidor

    Now that’s a presentation! Photo courtesy Restaurant R’evolution | New Orleans.


    You can even put the head and tail on a lobster roll, or have them adorn a bowl of lobster chowder or lobster dip.

    Just set the head and tail flat on the plate. And keep recycling: At the end of the meal, you can wash the heads and tails and stick them in the freezer. How else can you use them?

    *After the meat has been removed for the recipe, of course.


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    Can’t wait to dig in? We’re ready to eat both! Photo courtesy†



    Between June and November, lobsters in the cold, clean waters of Maine shed their old shells and grow new shells. The result is known as Maine New Shell Lobster, also called soft shell lobster. It’s the sweetest, most tender lobster meat.

    The superior taste and texture is a result of the pure Gulf of Maine seawater that fills the newly formed shell. It naturally “marinates” the meat, creating a more intense lobster flavor and added moisture.

    A thinner shell also means that you can crack and eat the lobster by hand—no nutcracker necessary.

    New Shells are prized by locals as a seasonal delicacy. But they are the best-kept secret in seafood. Even professional chefs don’t know about them, and both hard shell lobsters and New Shells are available in Maine throughout summer and fall.

    Now that you’re in the know, now that you have to ask for your New Shells by name.


    Like all Maine Lobsters, New Shells are caught the old-fashioned way: by hand, without modern technology, one trap at a time. Because the soft shells are fragile, New Shells don’t travel as well as their hard shell counterparts.

    But thanks to advances in packaging and handling techniques, Maine New Shell Lobster, once only available in Maine, can also be shipped to you. Check Bayley’s Lobster Pound.

    We recently attended an event to taste the New Shells, and met several chefs and lobstermen. We asked if they find a difference between Maine lobsters and the Canadian lobsters caught farther north in the Atlantic.

    Their consensus is that, since the waters off of Maine are fed by the Labrador current which also flows past New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, the lobsters are very similar.

    They opined that local differences such as diet, water temperature and water quality—which easily cause differences in oysters—are not significant.

    So buy American, but if someone offers you a Canadian lobster, eat it!

    †We disclose that these are Maine lobsters, but not New Shell lobsters. The available photos of New Shells were too plain.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Gremolata, The Fresh, Homemade Condiment


    This roasted porgy fillet at Distilled NY has
    gremolata on top, raisin purée on the
    bottom. Photo courtesy Distilled NY.


    Gremolata is a fresh condiment that originated in Italian cuisine. It is too-little-known in the U.S., and may be most familiar to Americans as the accompaniment to osso bucco, braised veal shank.

    The condiment consists simply of fresh chopped parsley, lemon zest and garlic. The addition of other green herbs is optional; we add basil or mint when we have it on hand.

    It has such lively flavor that you can cut back on salt. A pinch of gremolata spices up almost any dish:

  • Eggs
  • Fish and seafood
  • Meat and poultry: lamb, pork, rib roast, veal, venison
  • Poultry
  • Pasta and risotto
  • Potatoes
  • Salad and cooked vegetables (we love gremolata with sautéed
    string beans)
  • Soups and stews

    Gremolata (also spelled gremolada) is a relatively new condiment. According to Merriam-Webster, it first appeared in 1954, derived from the Italian dialect of Lombardy. What we don’t know is why these words were used (any guesses?):

  • Gremolaa, from gremolâ or gràmolâ, to mix or knead flour for dough.
  • Grêmola or grâmola, an apparatus for kneading dough, a flax or hemp brake*.
    Here’s the classic gremolata recipe with precise measurements. You can update the recipe, tailoring it to specific dishes, by substituting ingredients:

  • Use grapefruit, lime or orange zest instead of the lemon zest.
  • With lamb dishes, add or substitute mint for the parsley.
  • With beef dishes, add grated horseradish or well-drained prepared horseradish.
  • With smoked salmon or deep-flavored fish (bluefish, herring mackerel, sardines), substitute capers
    for the garlic, basil for the parsley.
  • It’s great on an anchovy pizza.
  • Add to breadcrumbs and make a gremolata crust for fish.


    Some people use raisin purée as a substitute for refined sugar in baking. But it also complements grilled proteins, as Chef Sean Lyons of Distilled NY shows in the photo above.

    You can also use it as a dessert sauce, and you can replace the raisins with dried blueberries, cherries or cranberries.


  • 1 cup raisins
  • Water
  • Dash of cinnamon, nutmeg or other favorite spice
  • Optional: a splash or brandy
  • For dessert purée: Grand Marnier or other fruit liqueur* to taste

    1. PLACE the raisins in a small pan, cover with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes until the raisins are plump.


    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/sultanas snackfarms amz 230

    Golden raisins, also called sultanas. You can substitute dried blueberries, cherries or cranberries in the purée. Photo courtesy Snack Farms.

    2. DRAIN the raisins, reserving the cooking liquid. Place the raisins and 1 tablespoon of the cooking liquid in a food processor or high powered blender and puree for 1 minute until completely smooth. Remove the purée from the food processor.

    3. SIEVE the purée for additional smoothness, if desired. Keep in an airtight jar in the fridge for up to a month.
    *A device to break down the straw or stalks of flax and hemp.

    †You can match dried cherries with cherry liqueur, dried cranberries with cranberry liqueur.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Wiener Schnitzel

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    Wiener Schnitzel, Austria’s national dish.
    Photo © Cokemomo | 123rf.


    Wiener Schnitzel (pronouced VEE-ner not WEE-ner) is the national dish of Austria and a standard of Continental cuisine. In The Sound Of Music, Maria sang that Schnitzel with noodles was “one of my favorite things.” The name means Viennese [-style] scallops, referring to the scallops of veal (der Schnitz means a slice or a cut).

    Wiener Schnitzel is a thin, breaded, fried veal cutlet fried served with a slice of lemon, traditionally served with a simple green salad or cucumbers plus German potato salad or boiled parsley potatoes. Lingonberry jam can be served as a condiment (you can buy it at better food stores, Ikea or online).

    In Austria the term is protected by law; “Wiener Schnitzel” assures you of a veal cutlet. Since veal is pricey, a less expensive Austrian alternative uses pork (Wiener Schnitzel vom Schwein). It can also be made with beef, chicken, mutton, pork, turkey, boar and reindeer—any meat that can be cut into thin slices. Just call it Chicken Schnitzel instead of Wiener Schnitzel.

    While Wiener Schnitzel itself is out of fashion in the U.S., its spirit lives on in the American dish, Chicken-Fried Steak, a similar recipe made with beef. It was created in the Texas Hill Country by German immigrants, who found themselves with plenty of available beef. There’s more about Chicken-Fried Steak below.

    And a recipe for authentic Wiener Schnitzel is also below. But first:


    According to legend, Field Marshal Joseph Radetzky von Radetz, an Austrian general, brought the recipe from Italy to Vienna in 1857. But this story was invented, like George Washington and the cherry tree. Here’s what we know from the historical record:

  • A recipe for thinly sliced meat, breaded and fried, appears in the only remaining ancient Roman cookbook, published in the 4th or 5th century by “Apicus*.”
  • In the Middle Ages, breaded, fried veal was a very popular dish in both Northern Italy and what is now Austria.
  • Cotoletta Milanese, a bone-in veal chop that is breaded and fried, dates to a banquet held by the Hapsburg rulers of what is now Italy in 1134.
  • Before Wiener Schnitzel there was another popular Viennese dish, Backhendl: thin chicken breast slices, breaded and deep fried. It was first mentioned in a cookbook from 1719. [Source]
  • The term “Wiener Schnitzel”” dates to at least 1862. [Source]
    Far from being a German dish, Germans across Austria’s northern border frequently refer to Austrians as Schnitzelfressers (Schnitzel munchers).

    A Southern specialty, Chicken-Fried Steak is the American version of Wiener Schnitzel; but instead of a tenderized veal cutlet, a tenderized cut of beef (a cube steak) is coated with seasoned flour and pan fried. It gets its name from its resemblance to fried chicken.

    In a redundant twist, a dish called Chicken-Fried Chicken pounds, breads, and pan fries a chicken cutlet. This preparation is distinctively different from regular fried chicken, which breads bone-in chicken parts and deep-fries them.
    *The book is thought to have been compiled in the late 4th or early 5th century C.E. and given the title De Re Coquinaria (“On the Subject of Cooking”). The name Apicius had long been associated with an excessively refined love of food, exemplified by Marcus Gavius Apicius, a Roman gourmet who lived sometime in the 1st century C.E. The author of the book is one Caelius Apicius; however, no person by this name otherwise exists in the historical record. The book was no doubt compiled by a person or persons who wished to remain anonymous. [Source]



    While home cooks tend to pan fry Wiener Schnitzel, professional chefs will deep-fry it, as in the recipe below. However, feel free to pan fry.

    This recipe is from Kurt Gutenbrunner, Austrian-born chef and owner of Wallsé in New York City, where he creates fine Austrian cuisine that reflects contemporary tastes and classic traditions. He is the author of . New York City chef and author of Neue Cuisine: The Elegant Tastes of Vienna.

    We’ve added our own touch to Chef Gutenbrunner’s recipe: our Nana’s preferred garnishes of capers, sardines and sliced gherkins. Think of it as “surf and turf” Wiener Schnitzel.

    Our favorite sides are cucumber salad and boiled parsley potatoes; but like Maria, we could go for some buttered egg noodles with parsley and cracked pepper.

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt, divided, plus more for seasoning
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 cups fine plain dried breadcrumbs

    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/veal scallops cutlet freshdirect 230

    Veal cutlets, or scallops, are typically cut from the leg. Photo courtesy Fresh Direct.

  • 1/2 pound veal scallops (leg) or eye round, cut across the grain into 4 equal pieces
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 lemon, cut into 4 wedges
  • Curly parsley or lettuce
  • Optional garnishes: capers, sardines, sliced gherkins


    1. LINE a large baking sheet with a double layer of paper towels.

    2. WHISK the flour and 1 teaspoon salt in a wide shallow bowl. Lightly whisk the eggs and cream in another wide shallow bowl until the yolks and whites are just streaky. Mix breadcrumbs and 2 teaspoons salt in a third wide shallow bowl.

    3. POUND the veal slices between sheets of plastic wrap to 1/8”–1/16” thickness, being careful not to tear. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

    4. PROP a deep-fry thermometer in a large deep, skillet. Pour in the oil so that the bulb is submerged. Heat oil over medium heat to 350°. Add butter to skillet and adjust heat to maintain 350°F.

    5. DREDGE 2 veal slices in the flour mixture and shake off the excess. Dip in the egg mixture, turn to coat and shake off excess. Dredge in the breadcrumbs, pressing to adhere. Shake off the excess and transfer the veal to the skillet. Using a large spoon, carefully baste the top of the veal with the hot oil.

    6. COOK until the breading puffs and starts to brown, about 1 minute. Turn and cook until browned, about 1 minute longer. Transfer to a paper towel-lined sheet. Repeat with the remaining veal slices.

    7. ASSEMBLE: Place the veal on individual plates. Garnish with lemon wedges and parsley or lettuce.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Gourmet Ants On A Log

    September 8th is National Ants On A Log Day. Most kids growing up in the 1950s or later ate them as a healthy snack: celery stalks stuffed with peanut butter (the log) topped with raisins (the ants).

    Our mom took a creative approach, alternating the ants with purple raisins (the boy ants) and golden raisins (sultanas, the girl ants).

    This kiddie favorite can easily be made more sophisticated for grown-ups, as well as more fun for kids.

    Play with these substitutions. There combinations are [almost] endless. For sophistication, we like fennel or celery with goat cheese, dried cherries or cranberries and pistachio nuts (call them the visiting friends of the ants); as well as tzatziki with sliced black olive ants. For comfort food, it’s chocolate peanut butter with dried cherries and pecans.

    And don’t forget flavored peanut butter*!

    To customize your Ants On A Log, cut celery in 3-inch long pieces and fill with your spread of your choice and topping of choice. Suggested substitutions:


    Ants On A Log With Guacamole

    Ladybugs On A Stick: Photo courtesy California Avocado Commission. Here’s the recipe.

  • For peanut butter: flavored peanut butter* or other nut or seed butters, including almond butter, cashew butter or sunflower butter
  • Beyond nut butter: cottage cheese (plain or seasoned), cream cheese (plain or flavored), goat cheese, Greek yogurt (plain, seasoned or tzatziki), hummus (plain or flavored)
  • For the raisins: blueberries, chocolate-covered raisins, dried cherries or cranberries, freeze-dried vegetables, nuts, sliced black olives, sultanas
  • For the celery: bok choy, carrots (sliced with a flat top), Chinese celery, fennel

    Hats off to Food Network for these variations:

  • Ants On A Ranch: cream and ranch dressing with peas (we used crunchy freeze-dried peas or corn)
  • Beans On A Stalk: guacamole with black beans
  • Berries On A Branch: cookie butter and blueberries
  • Fish In A Stream: hummus with Goldfish
  • Ladybugs On A Log: strawberry cream cheese with dried cranberries
  • Pigs In A Pen: pimento cheese and bacon
    *Check out for Cinnamon Raisin Swirl, Dark Chocolate Dreams, Mighty Maple, Pumpkin Spice, The Bee’s Knees, The Heat Is On, White Chocolate Wonderful.



    And the award for creativity goes to…The Food Network, for these variations. From top to bottom: Ants On A Log, Berries On A Branch, Ladybugs On A Log, Beans On A Stalk, Fish In A Stream, Pigs In A Pen. Photo courtesy Food Network.



    Celery and raisins have been eaten—not necessarily together—since ancient times. Celery, raisin and nut salads arrived on our shores with German immigrants in the 19th century.

    George Washington Carver invented a form of peanut butter in the 19th century and made a soup of peanut butter and celery. But the smooth, spreadable peanut butter we know today was invented in 1890 by a St. Louis physician.

    He sought a high-protein food substitute for people with poor teeth who couldn’t chew meat. Others soon discovered how tasty peanut butter was, and, like many products, it was sold in bulk from barrels at grocery stores.

    Peanut butter was first distributed commercially by Krema Nut Company, the oldest peanut butter company still in operation today (and the PB is superb!). Here’s more on the history of peanut butter.

    Now for the celery: The American practice of stuffing celery began in the early 20th century, with anchovy paste, Roquefort, cream cheese and soon, pimento cheese, port wine cheddar and other cheese spreads. The filling was topped with spices, including curry and paprika.


    According to old cookbooks, stuffed celery was served as an appetizer or hors d’oeuvre at the beginning of a meal. People of all ages enjoyed it at dinner parties, family get-togethers and holiday meals. Stuffed celery was also served as to children as snacks.

    These appetizers and hors d’oeuvre remained popular through the 1960s. There are some old recipes that include nuts and raisins, although none quite describe the “ants on a log” we know today. Peanut butter fillings for celery surface in the early 1960s. [Source]

    We actually don’t know who invented Ants On A Log. Magazine and newspaper articles from the 1980s attribute it to the Girl Scouts, but they don’t give specific references. The recipe appears in Girl Scout cookbooks dating to 1946; however, the recipe is simply called Celery Sticks.

    We may never know who named it, but “Ants on A Log” was first used in the 1950s. Whoever you are: Thanks for putting a fun name on peanut butter-stuffed celery sticks.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Honey + A Raspberry Honey Mojito Recipe

    September is National Honey Month. Celebrate by replacing table sugar with honey in your tea, in baking and other recipes.

    But don’t do it because you think honey is better for you. Truth to tell, honey and sugar are so close in calories, nutrition (both have none or marginal nutrients) and glycemic index* that it really makes no difference.

    Some websites maintained by honey enthusiasts or vendors—as opposed to nutritionists or healthcare professionals—tout the vitamins and minerals. But these are only trace amounts. Here’s more information.

    So why use honey? For the flavor, of course! Start with this Raspberry Honey Mojito:

    This recipe is from Bee Raw Honey, which used its delicious Wild Raspberry Honey in the recipe. You can substitute the honey you have on hand.


    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 1 tablespoon fresh raspberries
  • 10 mint leaves
  • Juice of one half lime
  • 1 tablespoons Bee Raw Wild Raspberry Honey
  • 1 shot (1-1/2 ounces) white/silver rum
  • 2 shots (3 ounces) cranberry juice
  • Ice
  • Garnish: mint leaves, raspberries

    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/honey spoon beerawhoneyFB 230

    Celebrate National Honey Month in every way you can. Photo courtesy Bee Raw Honey.



    1. MUDDLE the raspberries, mint leaves, lime juice and honey in a cocktail shaker.

    2. ADD the rum, cranberry juice and ice. Shake well and serve in a Collins glass with fresh ice.

    3. GARNISH with a sprig of mint and a few whole raspberries.

    *The glycemic index of agave is 32 GI and 60 calories per tablespoon (but it’s twice as sweet as sugar, maple syrup is 54 GI and 52 calories per tablespoon, honey is 58 GI and 64 calories per tablespoon and sugar is 60-65 and 48 calories per tablespoon. Calorie data source:



    Raspberry Honey Mojito. Photo courtesy Bee Raw Honey.



    Honey In Cooked Food & Drinks

  • Up to one cup, honey can be substituted for sugar in equal amounts. For example, replace a half cup sugar for a half cup of honey.
  • Since honey is sweeter than sugar, you can also use a little less. If you prefer less sweetness to more, experiment until you find the substitution proportion that suits you.
  • If the recipe calls for more than one cup, use 2/3 or 3/4 cup of honey for every cup of sugar.
  • You can also match the type of honey to your recipe. Here are examples of honey-food pairings.
  • In general, the darker honey, the more assertive the flavor. Lighter color honeys are have more subtle flavor. Check out Bee Raw Honey to see the different colors of the “honey rainbow.”
    TIP: Before measuring the honey, generously coat measuring spoons and cups with cooking spray to prevent the honey from sticking.
    Honey In Baking

    In baking, honey typically makes the product more moist and flavorful. Because baking is science, and the chemistry must work, it’s better to look for a tested recipe rather than doing your own replacements. Reduce the oven temperature by 25°F when using honey in place of sugar.

    The Mojito (mo-HEE-toe) hails from Cuba; the name comes from the African word mojo, which means to cast a small spell. One story says that slaves working in Cuban sugar cane fields in the late 19th century invented the drink.

    However, historians at Bacardi Rum trace the cocktail’s roots to 1586, the year that Sir Francis Drake and his pirate crew made an unsuccessful attempt to sack Havana. Drake’s colleague, Richard Drake (no relation), was said to have invented a Mojito-like drink known as El Draque (The Drake). The recipe included aguardiente (a spirit similar to cachaça), sugar, lime and mint. As with most drinks of the time, it was initially consumed for medicinal purposes.

    Sometime in the mid-1800s, with the refinement of rum, rum was substituted and El Draque became known as El Mojito.

  • Beet Mojito Recipe
  • Classic Mojito Recipe
  • Cranberry Mojito Recipe
  • Pomegranate Mojito Recipe


    TIP OF THE DAY: Savory Custard

    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/parmesan custard arugula salad thesecretmenu.wordpress 230

    Parmesan quiche with arugula salad: as a
    light lunch or a first course for dinner. Photo
    courtesy The Secret Menu. Here’s the recipe.


    Custard is one of our favorite dishes: a symphony of cream, eggs and flavorings.

    Most people consider custard to be sweet—a dessert that ranges from good old American chocolate pudding to crème brûlée, crème caramel, flan and others (see all the types of custard in our delectable Custard Glossary).

    The same mixture of cream and eggs that forms the base of sweet custard replaces the sugar with savory inclusions to become a delicious savory custard that can be eaten at breakfast, lunch and dinner.

    From a lunch dish with a salad, to a first course or side at a fine dinner, savory custards deliver a lot of bang—especially since most people haven’t yet had them.

    Well, not exactly: Many people have had savory custard in the form of quiche, a variation that’s baked in a pie shell.

    But today’s focus is on savory custard made in individual ramekins.

    While you can make them in casserole dishes, individual portions look so much better than the same recipe scooped from a casserole and plopped on a plate. (Of course, you can neatly slice it from a casserole and place it on the plate like a slice of pie, but we still prefer ramekins.)

    Since we’re getting to the end of corn season, here’s your opportunity to start your adventures in savory custard with corn custard. If you didn’t see it a few weeks ago, here’s a rerun of our corn custard recipe. If your Labor Day fare is more elegant than hot dogs and hamburgers, you can make it.



  • Asparagus & Parmesan Custard with Tarragon, or Green Pea and Shallot Custard (recipes).
  • Chawan-mushi, Japanese savory custard (the name means “steamed in a tea bowl”). Here’s a recipe with shrimp and green peas. There’s also a steamed savory egg custard in Chinese cuisine.
  • Gorgonzola and Leek Crème Brûlée recipe,
  • Gruyère, Garlic & Thyme Custard recipe.
  • Herb Custard (recipe).
  • Lobster Custard—substitute crab, scallops or shrimp (recipe).
  • Pumpkin Custard (recipe), the savory version. Pumpkin pie is a sweet pumpkin custard.
    How Is Bread Pudding Related To Custard?

    Bread pudding is a sweet or savory dish bound with custard. Put this recipe on your “to be tried” calendar: a mushroom bread pudding. You can serve it as the dressing with turkey.


    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/onion flan foie gras cream jamesbeard 230

    Special occasion savory custard, with sauced with foie gras cream. Although it’s fancier to unmold the custard, you can serve it in the ramekin. Photo courtesy James Beard Foundation.




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