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Thursday, 29 May 2008
Desserts are sometimes why we eat our meals, even though it is meant to sweeten the palate after a meal. They provide us with the taste we need after every meal. The sweet taste that we crave is provided by the desserts we eat. There are all kinds of desserts, made from a variety of ingredients. Each country has its own flavor and ingredients, so we can look forward to the meal with anticipation and relish.
Desserts came into existence more prominently after the sugar industry brought sugar to the masses. Before that the tradition was to have fruits and nuts after a meal. Desserts are a term that is derived from the old French term "Desservir", which means cleaning the table, thus the custom of having desserts after a meal. In some countries though, the custom of having sweets or desserts as we know them, is during the meal. Every country has its own customs as to when desserts will be eaten.
Desserts come in every form, but as we know them cakes, pastries, pies etc. would be called desserts. Cookies are sometimes eaten as desserts but only if other items are not available that day. In America though, any sweet that is served after a meal is considered desserts. Even a Milk Shake or any sweet drink for that matter is taken as desserts. We like desserts so much that some people skip the main course and go straight for the desserts.
Nowadays there is a trend to make dessert healthy with artificial sweeteners and low or no fat. This provides some people who cannot otherwise have desserts an option to get the taste without the harmful effects of sugar to their system. Diabetic people are a prime example. Some of the non fat desserts are good but they cannot beat the taste of regular desserts. The taste of sugar and fat cannot be duplicated in those desserts. However people have created new types of desserts that taste almost as good.
Good desserts complement a meal and provide us to leave the table with a sweet taste in our mouths. Some desserts are made specially to go with certain types of foods and a good chef would know to serve the right desserts with whatever they are cooking. As the palate of the consumer is growing so are the number of desserts, we are seeing a number of new items previously unheard of in desserts being used for them. Life is moving forward and so are desserts.
We have seen the transformation of desserts from basic to complex in a matter of a couple of centuries and we have the sugar industry to thank for it. If we had no sugar to use in a commercial form then we would not be able to make desserts in their prolific form today. Desserts are considered normal now and common, but a time in the not too distant past it did not exist in the forms we have now.
Tuesday, 27 May 2008
If you are looking for fine French wine and food, consider the Languedoc-Roussillon region of south central France. You may find a bargain, and I hope that you’ll have fun on this fact-filled wine education tour in which we review a local red Pinot Noir.
Among the eleven wine-growing regions of France Languedoc-Roussillon ranks number four in total vineyard acreage. This area, which includes the Midi was traditionally known for generating immense amounts of rather dubious table wine called vin ordinaire. Recently, in part because of Australian winemakers, the region has started to produce a lot of fine wine. A few weeks ago a salesman offering free samples greeted me at my nearby wine store. While I hadn’t planned to review yet another Languedoc-Roussillon wine so soon after the two others, I was particularly intrigued by this wine’s classification and its grape variety.
The wine bottle proudly displayed a sticker proclaiming its Gold ranking in a national contest for Vin de Pays (Country Wines) in 2006. You may recall from the initial article in this series (I Love French Wine and Food – Launching a Series) that Vin de Pays is a relatively recent French classification for wines of promise that for one reason or another don’t meet the stricter requirements of the presumably better classifications. Even though almost one third of French wine is classified as Vin de Pays we don’t get too many of them here. I smelled a potential bargain.
The grape variety was Pinot Noir. I know of a relatively recent exhaustive list of Languedoc-Roussillon grape varieties comprising over thirty entries, some famous, others obscure. Pinot Noir was absent, surely not by oversight. Pinot Noir tends to be a cool-weather grape found in places such as Champagne and Burgundy in France, and Oregon in the United States. In our various article series we reviewed Pinot Noirs from non-traditional areas including Germany, Italy, and France (Alsace). We’ll see below how a Languedoc-Roussillon Pinot Noir stacks up.
Narbonne is a city of about fifty thousand that had been a major city in old Roman times. Sadly little of its Roman past remains. You’ll have to be satisfied with “modern” sites such as the Fourteenth Century Cathédrale St-Just-et-St-Pasteur (St-Just’s and St-Pasteur’s Cathedral), the tallest cathedral in all of southern France. Nearby is the Palais des Archevêques (Archbishop’s Palace) that houses art and archeology museums. If you’re feeling ambitious climb the almost two hundred steps in the dungeon for a prisoner’s eye view of the surroundings. The sculpture museum in the former church Notre Dame de la Mourguié displays Roman and Gallic treasures of all sorts. The twenty two kilometer (fifteen mile) Robine Canal, classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, flows into the much longer Canal du Midi (Midi Canal), similarly classified. Charles Trenet, a famous French singer and songwriter was born in Narbonne. Leon Blum, a three time French Prime Minister was born in Paris but elected to Parliament from Narbonne.
Before reviewing the Languedoc-Roussillon wine and imported cheeses that we were lucky enough to purchase at a local wine store and a local Italian food store, here are a few suggestions of what to eat with indigenous wines when touring this beautiful region.
OUR WINE REVIEW POLICY All wines that we taste and review are purchased at the full retail price.
Let’s start by quoting the marketing materials. Tasting Note: Pale ruby color; light cherry and spice aromas, sweet fresh cherry flavour, soft finish. Serving suggestion: Serve with cold roast beef.
My first meal consisted of cold beef spare ribs with cracked peppercorns, potato salad, and cucumber and onion salad. My first reaction was – this is a real Pinot Noir at a great price. Its light acid did a great job of cutting the congealed fat. It was shorter and less complex than other Pinot Noirs that cost a lot, lot more.
The next meal was cold barbequed chicken with cucumber and onion salad, and potato salad. There was a lot of extract and quite a good length. I tasted tobacco and dark fruits.
The final meal involved grilled hamburgers with spicy Thai sauce, a cole slaw advertised as a health cole slaw – whatever that means, and once again potato salad. In this case spicy meant really spicy. The sauce was too assertive; I had to remove most of it. While I like spices I want the wine to be there. Once that problem was solved the wine was fine. I tasted black cherries rather than the sweet cherries that I had been promised. I was not disappointed. I also tasted the underbrush and that didn’t disappoint me either.
My first cheese pairing was with a local Asiago cheese that I prefer to the native Italian versions that I have tried. Perhaps in Italy… The Pinot Noir was powerful with dark fruit. Then I went to a goat’s milk cheese, a Palet de Chevre from the Poitou Charentes region of central-western France. I might have guessed that the cheese was a Camembert rather than a goat’s milk cheese. Be that as it may, the wine became too acidic and lost its flavor. Then I paired the Pinot Noir with a nutty tasting Swiss Gruyere. At first the same phenomenon occurred, but later became less pronounced. I thought that perhaps the wine was starting to decline, but I finished the bottle on its own and the fruit came back in force.
Final verdict. We have a winner. We have a bargain. The two are related. At twice the price I wouldn’t bother. But at the present price I’ll be coming back. And I’ll be looking for another Vin de Pays to try soon.
Monday, 19 May 2008
Baking the Ultimate Chocolate Cake can strike fear in the hearts of some cooks. Thoughts of a tasteless cake, icky frosting and other horrors fill their minds. But really, it's not all that hard if you use the right tools and just take things one step at a time. Also, try to stick with easier chocolate cake recipes to begin with until you're more confident in your cake making skills. Here are some steps to get you started on the path to cake baking nirvana!
Preparing the Pan:
-Always be sure to use the size pan that is called for in the recipe.
-Grease and lightly flour your pan prior to assembling the recipe.
-If the cake pan you are using has an elaborate design be sure to grease all the nooks and crannies of the design thoroughly. In this case it is better to use too much than too little.
-Another option is to use a vegetable non-stick spray. These work very well.
-Do not grease or flour your cake pan if you are making an angel food cake or a sponge cake as this may prevent the cakes from rising. You can, if necessary line the bottom of the pan with parchment or wax paper.
Mixing the Batter:
-Have all your ingredients at room temperature.
-Measure all your ingredients out prior to assembling the batter.
-Turn on the oven and preheat while you prepare your mixture.
-If you are using an electrical beater to mix your ingredients, only beat the mixture until the ingredients are blended. Do no over beat.
-If you are mixing your batter by hand, keep in mind it will take a bit more time to get the ingredients thoroughly blended.
-When making a cake with butter be sure the butter is soft prior to blending with the sugar.
-If your recipe calls for several eggs add them one at a time and blend them into the batter before adding the next egg. This is especially true if you are mixing by hand.
-Each chocolate cake recipe asks for a different type of chocolate. There are so many dark chocolate bars available on the market today. Do not limit yourself to just baker's chocolate. Use your favorite dark chocolate. Just be sure it is as least 70% cocoa.
Filling the Cake Pan:
-Do not fill the cake pan more than ¾ full to allow for rising.
-If you are using a square pan be sure to spread the batter into the corners.
-If you wish to use a square, rectangular or irregularly shaped pan instead of the round pan the recipe calls for be sure you make enough batter. To calculate how much batter to make, simply fill your substitute pan 2/3rd full with water. Transfer the water to the pan the recipe uses to judge volume. Adjust the batter accordingly based on how full the recipe pan gets when the water is added. If the recipe pan is overflowing, cut back on the batter. If the recipe pan is not full enough make extra batter.
-If you use a pan other than the one the recipe calls for keep in mind cooking time will vary.
-Always bake the cake in a preheated oven.
-Glass or dark colored pans will retain more heat. Cook for the same amount of time but reduce the heat temperature by 25 degrees F.
-Bake your cake on the center rack of the oven so heat can circulate.
-If you are baking multiple pans do not let them touch each other.
-If you are using more than one rack, stagger the cake pans so they are directly over or under each other.
-If you notice the cake is baking unevenly then turn it several times during the cooking process.
-Start testing you cake about 8 minutes before the cake should be done.
-To test if your cake is done, insert a small toothpick into the center of the cake as far as you can. It should come out clean.
-Another way to test if a cake is done is to lightly press the cake surface. The depression should spring back if the cake is cooked thoroughly.
-Also a cake that is done will pull away from the sides of the cake pan.
-Let cakes made with butter cool in their pans for about 5 minutes. Then turn out onto a cooling rack. If it should stick, try to loosen gently with a spatula.
-Angel food cakes, chiffon cakes and sponge cakes must be kept in their pans and inverted to cool. If the top of the pan does not have little feet for the pan to stand on when you invert it then tip the pan over a large bottle with the neck of the bottle going through the hole of the pan. When cool, loosen with a knife and turn out.
Frosting a Cake:
-If you are short of time and you are making a layer cake, use jelly between the layers. Or place slice fruit between the layers and dust with confectioner's sugar.
-Better to make too much frosting than not enough. Extra frosting will keep very well in the refrigerator.
-If your frosting was not made from scratch or was "not cooked" spread it on a cake while the cake is warm.
-If you just made your frosting, it is best to spread on the cake after it is completely cooled.
-If your frosting calls for beaten egg whites and the whites are not stiff enough just put it in the top of a double boiler and beat over the simmering water.
-If you cream frosting is too watery place it in the refrigerator for several minutes, beat over ice or add a little more butter to thicken.
-If, on the other hand, your frosting is too thick, add a few drops of hot milk or water.
-If your cake is lopsided feel free to re-shape it using a sharp knife.
-If you are making a 3-layer cake and the middle layer has a rounded top, slice off the raised portion
-To frost set the bottom layer on a plate covered with strips of wax paper to catch and frosting that may drip. Spread you icing on the top of this bottom layer and add the top cake layer over the spread icing.
-Cover the sides of the cake first with frosting using a spatula or frosting knife.
-Pile the rest of the frosting on the top middle of the cake and swirl out to the edges.
-Remove the strips of paper once the frosting sets.
-Decorate as desired.
I hope these tips helped you in your quest for the Ultimate Chocolate Cake. Just remember to take it one step at a time and your cake will be the envy of the neighborhood!
Friday, 16 May 2008
Did you just get home from work and are tired and worn out but know you need to cook a healthy meal for your family? Do you dread hearing those sounds from your kids "what's for dinner?" or "when will dinner be ready?" Do you spend hundreds of dollars a month on your groceries and wonder where it goes when all your kids say is "there's nothing to eat"? People deal with this everyday all over the world yet we still find something for dinner. But wouldn't you want it to be easy? Me too. So, I started searching the web to get ideas on how to make my grocery list shorter, my grocery bill smaller and my time to cook shorter.
There is a multitude of ideas out there you just have to look. I hate to cook, but I have a family and they must eat. At one point we ate out at least 3-4 times a week and with the price of food going up up up, I had to find a solution. Here is what I do:
I sit down once a week for maybe 15 minutes at a time and I surf the web, go through my cook books, go through my old recipes that my family likes and I make a list of meals for the week. I pick easy meals, casseroles, hearty meals with meats and veggies, sometimes even breakfast for dinner ( the kids love that one). I use to schedule certain meals for certain days but that didn't work because if I scheduled a meal that takes an hour to cook and I come home after an extremely tiring day then I forget about that meal and go out to eat. That kind of defeats the purpose. So instead I just make a list of the variety of meal ideas and don't forget to always have on hand those essential throw together meals like spaghetti etc.
After I have the meal ideas ( oh yeah I forgot, you have to go through your cabinets to see what you already have so you don't double buy) then I make out my grocery list. I go through the sale ads and clip coupons. Don't forget to go through your house to see what else you may need because this will save you time and money throughout the week from not having to go back to the store and possibly buying things you don't need. Then after every meal take the meat out to thaw in the refrig for the next days meal. Also, leave the meal list on the refrigerator for the family to see so they can tell you what they want and the kids are ready for it and will eat more. Also if they see that certain food is for a meal they are more likely to not snack on it.
Wednesday, 14 May 2008
If you are planning to gift your love then California wine gift basket is the best option that you can select. It is true that they will help you to replicate a romantic impression. It will also help you to reflect that amount of the love that you have. You will come across a variety that is available in the market. A majority of these baskets are fascinating and attractive.
It is true that giving a wine basket as a gift is not a difficult task. However, you should know that purpose of gifting someone. It is better for you to know the choice of the person to whom you are planning to gift a California wine gift basket. You should know whether that person loves white, red or sparkling wines. Generally, these are the basic and best wines that are served, during a particular ceremony. You will get other varieties of wines as well.
It is true that people would love to have a California wine gift basket. You will come across many people who would prefer to gift one. It is true that the popularity of them are increasing a lot. Especially in the United States, the popularity of California wine gift baskets has increased, over the years. At the same time, the demand will still increase in the years to come. A majority of the people in United States will send one because they want to thank the person. However, you should know that sending one is not legal in each and every part of the country.
If you are planning to know whether California wine gift basket is legal in your state then you can explore the World Wide Web. Over the World Wide Web, you also come across many online shopping websites that will help you to get a basket. You can order one online and ask them to deliver on the address that you are planning to send. It is one of the easiest way of sending California wine gift basket.
You should know that the level of sales for California wine gift basket increases during Thanksgiving Day, Friendship Day, Valentine's Day, and Christmas. You can choose the quality and the type of wine that is kept in your gift basket.
Tuesday, 13 May 2008
So you think that you know a lot about wine? Ok, you can taste the difference between a merlot and a cab without knowing which one is in which sample glass. Ok, you know that all wines that undergo a second fermentation are sparkling wines and that only those sparkling wines from Champagne, France can be called champagne. Well, here's a question for you... are you enrolled in an online wine club? Ah ha! If the answer is no, then it is time to take your wine education to a higher level!
Why are wine clubs so special? Do you just get one bottle of wine a month? Why can't I just go to the local wine store and pick up a bottle there? Let's start with the first question. Wine clubs are special because they allow you to taste the best of the best! Most online wine merchants have panels of wine experts that spend a lot of time looking for and tasting the wines that are offered to wine club members. On the next question, it depends on the wine club, but common practice is that you receive at least two bottles of wine a month! Finally, it's better to join a wine club online because the wine is delivered to your house and you do not have to waste time walking around wine stores aimlessly.
On to the good stuff... which online wine club should you join? Since Wine.com is the largest online wine merchant, they are a good place to start! I am a member of their "Build Your Cellar" club and have been able to taste wines such as Samuel's Gorge 2004 Shiraz, which rates at 94 points! If you did not understand one word that I just said, you can join their "Discovery Tour" club for beginners and you even get to choose if you would like two red wines or one white and one red per month.
The Wine Messenger's "Wine of the Month" club lets you choose between a Silver, Gold or Platinum membership and their Wine Discovery Membership gives you a discount off of every order that you enter! If you want to concentrate on specific regions, join one of the clubs at Morrrell Wine. You can get not one, not two, but three bottles a month from the American/Australian/New Zealand club or from the Italian club. I just joined the American Australian club and I cannot wait for my first shipment!
Monday, 12 May 2008
Individuals often form a wine club that includes people from all over the world to share their love of great wine and to find out something new about wines. In the process, there is a lot of conversation and a lot of fun. The main reason people get into wine clubs is to discuss the wines, taste the wines and learn about what various people from all over the world are enjoy.
Wine clubs often function as an online resource these days, enabling their members to get in touch with other members perhaps over a large message board or chat client. People can meet up for wine tasting or other events pertaining to wine and can organize such events using the wine club website.
Some wine clubs even allow their members the ability to buy wine online through the website. This option to buy wine online, often at reduced rates, is usually enough of a catalyst to get people involved in wine clubs.
A wine club often also organizes wine tours for their members. Tours of specific wineries are given to wine clubs at discount prices and the club members are often offers a special tasting of some of the winery's top wines.
This is because winery owners know that wine club members tend to be their top customers and they want to make the wine experience as special as possible for them. These wine tours are very popular among wine club members.
Often times, people make lots of new friends through a wine club. This comes from having similar interests, and also from experiencing great things together. Many friendships come out of wine tasting events and other events that functions around the purpose of getting to know new people and new wines at the same time. This is yet another bonus of joining a great wine club.
A wine club also tends to have a lot of insider news on the industry. Online wine clubs, for example, will post much of their online wine news on their website and will unveil unique information for their members only. This is a great way to get wind of a new wine that is coming out soon or learn new techniques for tasting and sampling wines.
A wine club can be found virtually anywhere. They exist in an international capacity and function around the improvement of wine awareness and getting people with similar interests together to discuss them.
Like other clubs, such as book clubs or writing clubs, a wine club combines an interest with the prospect of friendship to get people interested. A wine club can be a very valuable and enriching social experiment.
Tuesday, 06 May 2008
This is one of the best apple pies ever, with a candied pecan crumb topping. It is a deep dish pie that can be made in a cast iron skillet for that rustic look, and it helps make a great pie crust. You can even leave it in the skillet to cool and serve it that way at tableside. If you would like to serve it with a generous portion of vanilla ice cream that would be fine or some would say even better. Enjoy!
Here is the recipe for the pastry dough:
1 1/2 Cups all-purpose flour
2 Ounces of granulated sugar
3/4 Teaspoon salt
1 1/2 Sticks of cold unsalted butter
4 to 6 Tablespoons ice water
To make the pastry dough: In a kitchen aid mixer you will mix together the flour, sugar, salt, and butter until the mixture resembles a coarse cookie dough. You will add cold water and pulse until the dough has come together.
You will take the dough from the mixer and add to a lightly floured work surface. You will start to knead the dough out with your hands until flattened somewhat. Once the dough is flat to about a half an inch to an inch in thickness you will cover it with plastic wrap and hold in the fridge until ready for it. When you are ready for the dough pull from the fridge and let warm up to almost room temp so it will be pliable and easier to work with.
For the filling:
3 Pounds of fresh Gala Apples
1/2 Cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 Cup granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons of whole butter pieces
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 Teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 Teaspoon of vanilla bean paste
1 Ounce of Brandy
To make the filling: Peel and core the apples. Cut the apples into 1/2-inch wedges and in a bowl toss the remaining filling ingredients sugar, brown sugar, lemon juice, vanilla bean paste, Brandy,flour and cinnamon until they are completed coated. Now you will add your pieces of butter and give it another quick stir. You will now want to preheat your oven to 350°F while you make the topping and finish off making your deep dish apple pie recipe.
For the topping:
2 Tablespoons of room temperature butter
2 Ounces of light brown sugar
1/2 Ounce of Brandy
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 Cup pecans chopped fine
1/4 Cup of walnuts chopped fine
To make the topping:
In a small bowl with your fingertips blend the butter, brown sugar, and Brandy and mix. You will then add the flour and once again mix, but now until it is smooth and blend in all nuts. You will then wrap the topping in a saran covered bowl and chill the until you are ready for the topping.
To assemble the deep dish apple pie: You will need to prepare a lightly floured surface and roll out the dough until it is about an eighth of an inch thick. You will then add to a seasoned cast iron skillet. You will start to spoon the apple pie filling into the dough lined skillet.You will bake the pie for about 30 minutes and turn 108 degrees and then cook for about another 15 to 30 minutes in the oven. You will then remove the pie from the oven to add the crumble topping over the top of the pie, and then sprinkle with some brown sugar. You will continue to cook until the brown sugar is nice and melted, and starting to turn caramel in color. It may take another 15 to 20 minutes and then you will need to pull from the oven. If you have a wire baking rack you should cool the pie on a rack until cooled. You can serve this pie warm, or at room temperature, and as with all apple pies, it is of course fabulous with Blue Bell vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!
Monday, 05 May 2008
Looking for something to turn back your internal clock by increasing your vitality and improving your appearance? Of course there's no Fountain of Youth, but research suggests that nature has provided us with an answer that comes very close -- fruit. It almost seems too simple: Eat fruit; fool Mother Nature. Yet studies show that by eating four to five servings of fruit each day, you can improve your chances of staying healthy and vibrant as you age. That's because fruit is loaded with phytochemicals, which are natural compounds that may help slow the aging process and reduce the risk of many diseases.
Phytochemicals fight to protect your overall health by providing antioxidant effects, stimulating your immune system, modulating the metabolism of your hormones, and acting as antibacterial and antiviral agents. Get too few of these marvelous compounds and you set yourself up for premature aging, as well as placing yourself at risk for some cancers, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, cataracts, osteoporosis and urinary tract infections. But if you eat the recommended amount of fruit each day, you improve your odds for a healthier life.
If you think "eat more fruit" means you should just have another slice of strawberry pie, it's time to explore the variety of offerings Mother Nature has provided in her fruit basket:
Granny Smith, Jonathan, Macintosh, Red Delicious -- there are many different varieties of apples. Whether you like them tart or sweet, apples are a good source of vitamin C and fiber. (One medium apple has 5 grams of fiber.)
Apricots are "stone-fruit" and are related to the plum and peach. Buy apricots that are orange-yellow -- that indicates ripeness. They spoil quickly so if you don't eat them right away, freeze them for later. Apricots contain vitamin A, which you need for healthy skin and to protect against infections.
Bananas are an excellent source of potassium, fiber, and vitamins C and B6. Store bananas at room temperature, never in the refrigerator. (The cold makes the fruit decay from the inside.)
Blueberries have more antioxidant power than any other fruit or vegetable, giving them remarkable anti-aging potential. Research suggests that blueberries protect against the effects of age-related deterioration of the brain, such as short-term memory loss. Blueberries are also a good source of fiber and vitamin C.
Cantaloupe is high in vitamins C and A and a good source of potassium and folate. Folate is linked to the prevention of birth defects (such as spina bifida), heart attacks, stroke and colorectal cancer.
Cherries are a good source of fiber and vitamin C.
Don't mistake dates for dried fruit -- they're not, even though you're likely to find them in the dried fruit section at the supermarket. Sometimes known as "the candy that grows on trees," dates are a good source of fiber.
Grapefruit is high in fiber and vitamin C, and a good source of vitamin A. Just one-half a grapefruit counts as one serving of the recommended four to five servings of fruit per day.
Grapes are not only high in vitamin C, they contain the phytonutrient "reservatrol," which is known for its potent antioxidant properties, as well as providing protection against cancer and heart disease.
Kiwifruit may look a little funny -- it's brown and fuzzy on the outside; bright green on the inside with tiny black seeds -- but it's high in vitamin C and a good source of fiber, vitamin E and potassium. You'll know kiwifruit is ripe when it's slightly soft to the touch and has a fragrant smell.
This tropical fruit has a flavor that's often described as tasting like oranges, peaches and pineapples all in one. You'll know you have a ripe, delicious mango when you can detect a pleasant scent of pine and peach from the stem (no fragrant aroma usually means no flavor). Mangoes are high in vitamin A and a good source of vitamin C.
Oranges are the largest citrus crop in the world, with navel oranges and Valencia oranges the two most common varieties. One orange contains all the vitamin C your body needs for the day.
Papayas are a tropical fruit that are rated as one of the most nutritious. They're high in vitamin C and a good source of fiber and folate. As an additional treat, the black seeds found inside a papaya are edible and have a spicy, pepper-like flavor.
Ever wonder why peaches smell so great? The peach is a member of the rose family and has a similar sweet fragrance when ripe. Peaches are a good source of vitamin C.
There are more than 3000 varieties of pears; Bartlett being the most popular. Pears ripen better off the tree, so ripen your pears in a brown paper bag at room temperature. Pears are a good source of vitamin C and fiber.
When selecting a fresh pineapple don't look for shell color -- that's no indication of ripeness. (A green pineapple can be just as ripe and sweet as a pineapple with a golden shell.) Look for a pineapple that has a fresh appearance with deep green leaves, and remember to refrigerate it when you get home to preserve freshness. Pineapple is high in vitamin C.
Prunes are actually dried French plums, and just eight of them make one serving of fruit for the day. Eat them right out of the bag for a healthy snack -- they're high in fiber and a good source of vitamin A.
One of the most distinctive features of tangerines is that when they are peeled, the segments of fruit separate easily, making them an excellent snack food for kids! Tangerines are high in vitamin C and a good source of fiber.
Whether seedless or full of seeds, watermelons are high in vitamins C and A.
Remember that whole, fresh fruit is better than canned fruit or fruit juices, but any fruit is better than no fruit. It's a sweet treat or an excellent side dish or dessert, comes in its own easy-to-open packaging, and best of all, can provide your body with unsurpassed health benefits.
Friday, 02 May 2008
Gourmet Grocery Online happily donates to various charities throughout the year such as Red Cross, American Cancer Society, The ARC of Texas, and many more. This past Christmas we decided to help an elementary school achieve its goal of helping under privilege children learn how to read. Kids in this particular class didn't speak English, or had various learning disabilities such as dyslexia.
Normally we receive the typical thank you form letter. We were very touched when we received a thank you letter with pictures in the mail today. Here is a copy of the thank you letter.
Thursday, 01 May 2008
Mother's Day is just around the corner and the best way to remember the times you've spent together in childhood is to bake together. A lot of us have baked cookies since we were kids and we all like our mother's best pudding or carrot cake. Something you might want to try baking together or make for your mother this Mother's Day cake.
Normally we have to wait for Rosh Hashanah or Sukkot in order for us to have honey cake but Mother's Day is a good excuse to bake and have one too! During the ancient times honey cakes were made in Asia Minor in honor of a mother deity that the ancients celebrated. You might want to make is a day or so before Mother's Day though because the flavors in honey cake tends to deepen. The following recipe makes 8-10 servings.
To make honey cake this Mother's Day you'll need the following ingredients:
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup honey (preferably buckwheat)
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup freshly brewed strong coffee, cooled
2 large eggs
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons whiskey or bourbon
You'll need the following utensils:
A 9x5x3 inch loaf pan
An electric mixer
2 small bowls
1 large bowl (or the bowl the comes with the electric mixer)
1 rubber spatula
1 wooden pick or skewer
Here are the direction for your Mother's Day honey cake: Put oven rack in middle position and preheat to 350°F. Oil loaf pan well and dust with flour, knock out any excess. Whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, baking powder, and ginger in a small bowl. In another bowl whisk together honey, oil, and coffee until they're mixed well.
In a large bowl beat together eggs and brown sugar with an electric mixer at high speed for 3 minutes. Afterwards, reduce speed to low, and add honey mixture and whiskey and mix until blended. It'll be about 1 minute. Add flour mixture and mix until they're just combined. Finish mixing batter with a rubber spatula -- make sure you scrape the bottom of bowl.
Pour batter into the loaf pan (don't worry because the batter will be thin). Bake for 30 minutes and cover the top loosely with foil. Continue to bake until the cake begins to pull away from sides of pan and the wooden pick or skewer inserted in the center comes out clean -- that's about 30 minutes more. Once that's done, cool on a rack for 1 hour. Run a knife around side of cake, then invert rack over pan and invert cake onto rack. Turn cake right side up and cool completely. If you keep the cake tightly in plastic wrap or in an airtight container at room temperature it'll last for about a week.
You can try this recipe with your kids or your mother -- or even have a surprise honey cake for your mother on Mother's Day! Most of all, enjoy it and share the fun.
This Mother's Day article may be freely reprinted or distributed in its entirety in any ezine, newsletter, blog or website. The author's name, bio and website links must remain intact and be included with every reproduction.