The original healthy fast food

Just about everybody loves cheese. Loaded with calcium and protein, the "real thing" makes so many dishes more appealing, and mellow, nutty, smooth-melting Norwegian Jarlsberg-America's most popular specialty cheese-is particularly versatile, a family favorite.

Made from part-skim milk, it's naturally low in calories, sodium and fat-newer Jarlsberg Lite, also great for snacking and cooking, has 50 percent less fat than regular Swiss.

Try this super simple Asparagus Rolls recipe-a surefire party idea. Here are a few other easy, creative, absolutely delicious uses for either classic Jarlsberg or Jarlsberg Lite.

• Roll cheese slices around fresh fruits or raw vegetables.

• Add cubes to salads and pastas-warm or cool.

• Shred on vegetables and into sauces.

• Enhance stuffings for meat, poultry or fish.

• Enrich egg dishes.

• Shred into mashed or "smashed" potatoes.

• Grill with peppers, squash, potatoes.

• Top burgers-beef, turkey or salmon.

• Make hors d'oeuvres, wraps and sandwiches galore.

2006 marks the 50th anniversary of Jarlsberg cheese-and the 125th of its source, Tine B. A. Norwegian Dairies, a farmers cooperative. One way to celebrate is to discover tasty new ways to give your menus pizazz-and a nutritional boost.

Asparagus Rolls With

Ham and Jarlsberg

12 clean asparagus spears

12 thin slices lean ham

1 cup grated Jarlsberg cheese

Boil asparagus in lightly salted water 1 minute. With slotted spoon, dip spears in ice water to preserve color; drain on paper towels. Wrap a slice of ham around each spear and place on baking sheet lightly sprayed with oil. Sprinkle spears liberally with Jarlsberg and brown in 450° oven about 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

Serving suggestions: Place on grilled country bread brushed with olive oil and garlic and topped with chopped tomatoes plus a bit of sea salt, if desired.

Cheese, glorious cheese is just delicious when included in this Asparagus Rolls With Ham and Jarlsberg recipe.

Special easter recipes

As Easter draws near, we’re often left scrambling trying to find the right ham recipe for easter dinner, or even the right demi-glaze to make for that ham. What about dessert? Surely you’re going to need a great dessert recipe, right?

Well, I’ve included a couple of my own for your own use. Please feel free to use these recipes for your next family gathering and enjoy the feast that is sure to come.

1) Cinnamon Pork Roast

Serves 6

Ingredients:

• 3-1/2 to 4 pounds boneless center-cut pork loin roast

• 2 tablespoons cinnamon

• 2 tablespoons salt

• 1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

• 2 tablespoons sugar

• 1 onion (about 1/2 cup), finely grated

• 4 garlic cloves (about 2 tablespoons), minced

• 1 or 2 tablespoons of soy sauce

Recipe Properties:

Combine cinnamon, salt pepper, sugar, onion, and garlic. Blend in 1 tablespoon soy sauce. If not spreadable, add another tablespoon of soy sauce. Rub mixture into loin. Refrigerate 3 hours to overnight. Grill pork over medium-low indirect fire 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours or until the internal temperature is 155 degrees F. Allow to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before cutting into thin slices.

2) Raspberry Glazed Ham

Ingredients:

1 (4-5 lb.) fully cooked boneless smoked ham

2 tbsp. lemon juice

1/3 c. seedless red raspberry jam

1/4 c. dry white wine

2 tsp. cornstarch

1 tbsp. butter

Recipe Properties:

Score ham in diamond pattern, if desired. Place on rack in a shallow roasting pan. Bake, uncovered, in 325 degree oven for 1-3/4 hours. Meanwhile, in small saucepan, blend wine and lemon juice into cornstarch. Add about half of the jam. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Stir in remaining jam and butter. Heat and stir until butter is melted. Brush ham with raspberry glaze. Bake 10 minutes more. Spoon remaining glaze over ham. Garnish with watercress, if desired.

3) Scalloped Zucchini

Ingredients:

• 2 small zucchini, cut up and peeled

• 1 egg, beaten with one fourth cup whole milk

• 1 ounce pepper cheese

• 1 small onion, chopped

• 1 to 2 slices white bread, torn in pieces

• 1-4 ounce can mushrooms or 4 ounces fresh, sliced if large

• 1 ounce smoked sausage

Recipe Properties:

Mix all ingredients in a buttered casserole dish. Bake at 350F for about 30 minutes. Easy dish to make, goes great as a side dish.

As you can see, there are some great recipes to make for Easter. Go ahead and stop by http://www. easterrecipes. org to find more recipes along with pictures and reviews of your favorites as well as ones you’ve never heard of. Good eating this holiday!

St. patrick s day treats

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this year with some of these fun and of course mostly green St. Patrick’s Day Treats.

Leprechaun Ale

Place a scoop of lime sherbet into a tall glass, pour ginger ale over it and watch it fizz. This can be made even fancier by rubbing some lime juice on the rim of the glass and then dipping it in green sugar crystals before you pour the leprechaun ale.

Lucky Clover Cake

Prepare 9 x 13 inch cake using a boxed cake mix. We like to use yellow cake for this. Get a can of vanilla frosting and use a few drops of yellow and blue food coloring to color the frosting green. After the cake is baked and cooled down, cut three heart shaped pieces out of the cake. We use a cardboard template to make the hearts even. Arrange them on a plate with the pointy ends pointing toward each other. It will look like a clover leaf. Frost the entire cake with the green vanilla frosting.

Mini Mint Ice Cream Tarts

Purchase a roll of refrigerated sugar cookie dough. Roll the dough into small balls (a little smaller than a golf ball), and press them in the bottoms of mini muffin pans. Bake according to package directions. Press the middle of the cooked dough down after you take them out of the oven. Let them cool for 10 minutes, then transfer them to a baking rack and let them cool completely. To serve, scoop mint ice cream in each of your mini tart shells.

St. Patrick’s Day Cookies

Buy or make simple sugar cookie dough. Let the kids cut out shamrock shaped cookies with a cookie cutter. Bake them. While they are cooling, use food coloring to turn vanilla frosting or a simple powered sugar and milk glaze green. Let the kids decorate the cookies with frosting and plenty of green sprinkles.

St. Patrick’s Day Parfait

Prepare a pack of instant pistachio pudding according to package directions. Mix a few drops of food coloring with cool whip to tint it green. Cut up some kiwi fruit. Layer chilled pudding, kiwi fruit and green cool whip for a completely green St. Patrick’s Day Parfait.

Are you seeing green yet? Give a few of these yummy sweet St. Patrick’s Day treats a try this year. They are always a big hit with our families.

Tasty fettucine with asparagus red pepper and avocado

Ingredients:

1 16 oz. package organic fettucine noodles

1 pound fresh organic asparagus (try to obtain local, farm fresh!)

2 organic red peppers

2 organic avocados

One half organic onion

One quarter cup organic olive oil

One half cup organic balsamic vinegar

Fresh ground salt and pepper to taste

Bring one large pot of water and one smaller saucepan of water to a boil. Meanwhile, chop asparagus into one-inch chunks. Dice peppers and avocados. To dice the avocado, carefully cut around the entire circumference with a knife. Twist the two halves in opposite directions until they come apart. Squeeze the half holding the pit until the pit pops out. (If you rinse the pit off, it makes a silly temporary cat toy.)

Use a knife to cut long parallel lines into the avocado, then cut lines perpendicular to those. Use a spoon to pop the cubes out of the skin. Slice onion very thinly, then cut each thin slab in half and separate layers to create slivers. Whip oil and vinegar together in a smaller bowl; adjust ratio of vinegar to increase tanginess if you like.

When smaller saucepan of water boils, add asparagus and cook for only two minutes--no longer! The water may not return to a boil, which is just fine. You want the asparagus to be quite firm. Drain asparagus, then place back in saucepan and cover to keep warm.

Cook fettucine in large pot of water until it’s al dente; in other words, until it’s just done and still firm--not overcooked and mushy. Pasta is healthier if it’s not overcooked.

Drain pasta, then place in large bowl. Add vinaigrette to noodles and mix until noodles are thoroughly coated. Whip up more vinaigrette to add if you like. Add asparagus, peppers, avocado and onion. Fold mixture until vegetables are evenly distributed throughout the pasta.

If you want a little protein to accompany this dish, serve it with a light-colored organic or local semi-hard cheese on the side, such as raclette. This dish also pairs nicely with white wine. It easily serves six.

This dish is addictive, so there won’t be any leftovers--which is a good thing, because the avocados won’t keep anyway!

Fortunate lemon chicken

: This is a delicious chicken meal for you to prepare at home. The lemon sauce is fresh and tangy and somehow I always end up eating too much :-). It takes a bit to prepare and is not the sort of thing you would want to cook each night of the week. However, it is worth the effort. I usually make it once in a while as a special meal for my husband. And it always turns out great. Fortunate Lemon Chicken 4 whole boneless chicken breasts, skin off Ѕ cup cornstarch (corn flour) 3 tbls water 4 egg yolks – gently beaten salt, pepper – to taste shallots – chopped Lemon Sauce Ѕ cup lemon juice 2 tsp powdered chicken stock 2 tbls cornstarch (corn flour) 2 tbls honey 2Ѕ tbls brown sugar 1 tsp grated ginger 1ѕ cups water For the sauce, combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and stir over a low heat until it boils and then thickens. Cut the chicken breast fillets into 3-4 pieces. Lay flat and pound slightly with a mallet or other heavy object. Place cornstarch in a bowl and slowly add the water, and then add the slightly beaten egg yolks. Next add salt and pepper to your liking. Dip the chicken pieces into this batter and ensure you drain well. Place a couple pieces of the battered chicken at a time, into deep hot oil and fry until lightly browned. Drain on absorbent paper. Slice chicken further if required. Arrange on plates of freshly cooked white rice. Sprinkle with shallots and spoon over hot lemon sauce. Enjoy! Then end the meal with a home-made Chinese Fortune Cookie. Insert a message in each cookie to suit the mood of the meal. This is a fun way to end any meal. Happy Cooking Francis Chang http://www. chinese-fortune-cookie. com

Duck breast prosciutto

: Prosciutto is a traditional aspect of charcuterie in French cooking. Simply, it is cured meat which is then cured and matured further by drying in air - leaving a wonderful, intensely flavored butchery product. Sliced thinly, and served with good, strong country-style mustard, dried fruits and black bread, it is a great lunch or part of a late autumn dinner. Most prosciutto is made with pork. The recipe which follows is made with moulard duck breast. Moulard is a duck raised for foie gras, and its meat is typically more flavorful than domestic pekin, while not as gamy as wild mallard. The magret is the lobe, or half breast of the moulard duck (each duck will have two magrets, or one full breast). Moulard Magret Prosciutto Salt/Spice Cure: Ratio: This is an important part of any cured meat recipe. The salt ratio is especially important, the spice and garlic ratio which follows less so. Weigh you duck breasts and salt very carefully. Per pound of Magret: (i. e., salt per weight of duck meat) .7 OZ salt per pound of duck magret Per Magret: (i. e., curing spices per unit of duck magret) 10 juniper berries Ѕ bay leaf, crushed 1 tsp coriander seed 10 black peppercorns 1 clove garlic Crush to medium-fine juniper, bay leaf, coriander, peppercorns and garlic in mortar and pestle. Add salt and mix thoroughly. Each Magret: Place large square plastic wrap on counter. Place Magret on wrap and place Ѕ of mixture on Magret, skin side, spreading so it coats evenly. Turn over and repeat with flesh side. Roll wrap up tightly and seal edges and repeat for up to weekly need. Cure under refrigeration for 24 hours. Air Cure: Wipe cure off meat – do not rinse. Place Magret on large square of cheesecloth and wrap cheesecloth around Magret, ensuring cheesecloth fully covers meat. Place twine around Magret and secure Magret as if it were a roast, leaving a 6” piece of twine free at one end. Hang in dry cooler at 38F for two weeks. Remove from cheesecloth, wrap in plastic and cut in paper-thin slices at service, freezing if needs be to obtain thin cuts (the freezing helps to firm up the duck breast, making it easier to slice thinly).

Lemon thyme pita chips

: These zesty pita chips are a wonderful change from the same old chips and dip everyone usually serves. Your friends and guests will love this appetizer them and make them want the recipe immediately! You can make the chips ahead of time, or make them and serve warm. Either way, the flavor is unforgetable. Try lemon thyme pita chips with Provencal Artichoke Dip or Peppercorn Ranch Dip. You can find those recipes on my web site. See the information below. I know that using fresh ingredients doesn't always save you time, but... when you do take the extra time to raid your herb garden (or someone else's!) or squeeze that fresh lemon instead of using packaged lemon juice, the difference in taste is really noticeable. And for the better, too. Fresh is always better. So you have to decide, what's more important? Taste or convenience? Not that these chips will taste bad if you use all store bought ingredients - far from it! And I am not suggesting you become Martha Stuart! But if you have a little extra time, invest in freshness. Just a thought for you to chew on... What you'll need:
- 4 plain Pita bread rounds
- 4 Tbsp unsalted butter (melted) or olive oil
- 1 Tbsp minced lemon zest
- 2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp minced fresh thyme leaves
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper First, preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Next, split the pita rounds in half to make 2 full rounds. Combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Brush the mixture on the inside of the rounds. Then, cut each round into 8 equal wedges like you are cutting a pizza. Place the wedges in a single layer on the baking sheets. Bake the wedges for 10 to 15 minutes until crisp and golden brown. Remove them from the oven and let them cool. At this point, you can choose to store them in an airtight container until you use them or serve them a little warm. Deeeelish! Makes about 64 chips. Important: Please feel free to republish this article on your web site or ezine. However, you are not allowed to modify any part of its content and all links should be kept active.

Round up some flavor ranch dressing can add an old west flavor to foods such as grilled steak panini

There's a simple and tasty way to round up healthy meals and corral great taste. Delicious ranch dressing adds a touch of the Old West to almost any meal.

Now you can get great ranch naturally. Litehouse Ranch Dressing has no preservatives, no MSG and, because it's made with heart-healthy canola oil, no trans fats, which have been linked with a greater risk of heart disease.

That means you can make healthy recipes that can still get your little dogies to come stampeding to the dinner table. Grilled steak panini with ranch dressing can be a hit with kids and adults. Serve it as a hearty lunch meal, cut up as appetizers or with a tossed salad and a side of corn for dinner.

Grilled Steak Panini

4 slices sourdough or artisan bread

1/2 pound steak

4 roasted red peppers

1/4 cup Litehouse Homestyle Ranch, Rustic Ranch or Jalapeno Ranch Dressing

Grill, broil or panfry steak until the degree of doneness is reached. Allow to cool 5 to 10 minutes. Slice against the grain or diagonally and set aside. Preheat panini press, George Foreman Grill or skillet. Spread Litehouse Ranch Dressing on bread, using more as needed. Layer 1/2 the sliced steak and top with 2 roasted red peppers. Grill approximately 2 to 3 minutes. If using a skillet, turn and grill on other side. Makes 2 servings.

Dishing out healthy and delicious meals

People with a gift for serving up delicious-but healthful-dishes say it's important to present food that tastes good, is made with natural ingredients and is good for you. Fortunately, that doesn't have to mean skipping many classic recipes. These tips may help:

• Portion Size-You can help control weight gain by being wary of portion size. If you're serving meat, for instance, nutritionists say not to give a portion that's larger than a deck of cards. Fill the empty space on plates (and in stomachs) with veggies and whole grains.

• Something On The Side-Try serving a healthful vegetable soup and a side salad before dinner. That way, people can fill up on veggies, instead of less nutritious foods. Also, if you're trying to eat a little less, remember that our bodies often mistake thirst for hunger. So before you dig into dessert, try having a big glass of water and waiting a few minutes. You may turn out to be less hungry than you thought.

• Cooking Tips-Something as simple as switching to nonstick oil sprays can make a difference in how healthy a meal is. For instance, new Mazola Pure™ Cooking Spray is a healthier alternative to high-saturated-fat products such as butter or margarine. It adds Pure™ taste and Pure™ aroma to food, is perfect for fat-free cooking-and unlike other leading sprays, it does not contain alcohol or silicone. It comes in canola oil, extra virgin olive oil and natural butter flavors. It's also cholesterol free and has 0g trans fat per serving.

The spray can be used in a variety of ways including: adding light flavor when grilling sandwiches, making popcorn, holding seasonings in place on meats and vegetables, sauteing, pan searing seafood and chicken, flipping pancakes and browning foods in the microwave.

Try this delicious and healthful recipe:

Seasoned Roasted

Potatoes

2 lbs mini red or golden potatoes

2 teaspoons garlic, minced

2 teaspoons rosemary, dry

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper, cracked

2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated

Mazola Pure Cooking Spray - Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1. Preheat oven to 450єF.

2. Spray 9" x 13" baking pan with olive oil spray.

3. Combine garlic, rosemary, Kosher salt, and black pepper to make seasoning blend. Set aside.

4. Under cold running water, scrub potatoes to remove excess skin.

5. Cut potatoes into approximately 1" x 1" cubes. If using very small potatoes, do not cut.

6. Place potatoes in baking pan and spray with olive oil cooking spray until potatoes are coated. Mix potatoes after spraying to ensure even coating.

7. Add reserved seasoning blend and Parmesan cheese, and mix well. Spread mixture in a single layer and spray tops again, lightly with additional spray to help browning.

8. Bake at 450єF for 25 to 30 minutes.

Serves: 6

PrepTime: 10 minutes

Chef john folse on how to cook delicious shrimp

Famous Louisiana Chef John Folse is a man with a deep, warm voice. And when he speaks about Louisiana food, there's no doubt where his heart is.

"Eating in Louisiana is a religion; it's not just about nutrition," Chef Folse says. "It's an in-gathering; it's celebratory; it's a prayer of thanks for all we've been blessed with from the swamp."

John Folse grew up just east of the Atchafalaya Swamp and lost his mother as a young boy. His father raised six boys and two girls as a single parent. One of the things Mr. Folse felt he needed to teach his children was to be good cooks.

And their first lesson was that only the freshest foods yield their true flavors. "He really taught us to refuse anything less than great taste," Chef says.

To serve the freshest foods, you need to know what's in season. "When it's brown shrimp season, you eat brown shrimp. When it's white shrimp season, you eat white shrimp. When it's strawberry season, you eat strawberries," Chef chuckles.

Locals call brown shrimp season Bonne Crevette-translation, good shrimp! The season begins in May and runs until fall. Even during Bonne Crevette, you need to know how to select the very best quality.

Well-taught cooks only purchase whole, in-shell, raw shrimp when they're displayed on a thick bed of fresh ice-not melting-under a cover. The shrimp meats must be firm to the touch, not soft. The shells must be translucent and moist, not dull or dry.

Learning to capture the legendary taste of brown shrimp also means learning a sense of timing. "A lot of people are worried they will undercook shrimp," Chef says, "but the real crime would be to overcook it and boil out all of the flavor and texture."

Follow these tips and your shrimp are sure to yield their true Louisiana flavors.

So, celebrate Bonne Crevette with Chef Folse's Shrimp Scampi. "Try this dish. It's an easy, traditional shrimp recipe. And it's one of my favorites."

Chef explains that although scampi is a term used elsewhere to describe a species of shrimp, in America it refers to an Italian dish. This simple recipe is magnificent when served over pasta, fish or chicken.

For an excellent wine pairing, enjoy Shrimp Scampi with a glass of lovely Alice White Chardonnay.

Chef John Folse's Shrimp Scampi

11/2 pounds (20-25 count) Louisiana shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/2 cup flour

Salt & cracked black pepper to taste

Tabasco Pepper Sauce to taste

1/2 cup olive oil

6 cloves garlic, sliced

1/4 cup shallots, chopped

2 tbsp fresh basil

2 tbsp fresh oregano

1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced

1/4 cup parsley, minced

1/2 cup dry white wine

In a mixing bowl, blend flour, salt and peppers. Dust shrimp lightly in seasoned flour and set aside. In a large sautй pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic, sautй 1-2 minutes or until edges turn golden. Blend in shrimp, shallots, basil and oregano. Using a slotted spoon, turn shrimp occasionally until pink and curled. Add mushrooms and parsley, then deglaze with white wine. Serves 4.

Lobster bisque soup recipe

:

The lobster bisque is very rich, so a small serving (about two-thirds cup per person) is plenty. At the restaurant, this is baked in individual crocks, with puff pastry on top.

2 lb boiled lobsters, medium sized 2 1/2 c fish or chicken stock 1 onion, sliced 4 celery stalks, with leaves 2 cloves, whole 1 bay leaf 1/4 c soft butter 1/4 c flour 3 c milk; heated 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg 1 c cream; hot but not boiling 2 tablespoons sherry 1/8 teaspoon parsley; minced 1/8 teaspoon paprika

Remove the meat from boiled lobsters. Dice and reserve the body meat and mince the tail and claw meat. Crush the shells and add them to the stock along with the onion, celery, cloves and bay leaf. Simmer these ingredients for about 30 minutes and strain the stock.

Combine the flour and soft butter in a small saucepan and cook for about 5 minutes, but do not let flour begin to color. Gradually pour the heated milk into this mixture. Whisk to combine thoroughly then add nutmeg. If there is coral roe, force it through a fine sieve into the mixture. Stir in the strained stock.

When the soup is smooth and boiling, add the lobster and simmer the bisque, adding the sherry and cover for 5 min. turning off the heat after that. Stir in the cream and season to taste. Serve at once with minced parsley and paprika, if desired.

Strawberry jamming finale

: So the strawberries are finally slowing down, the end of the season is in sight… and do I feel relief that I will no longer be chained to the kitchen counter, three nights a week, preparing strawberries for jam? Am I sick of the sight of them, turning into one myself, in a word, jaded? Surprisingly enough I’m not. Six weeks of making jam and I could carry on longer. I sneak into the larder to count the jars…have I sold too many? Will it be enough for the family for the year and what about Christmas presents? Two weeks ago I was merrily flogging it at the market, secure in the knowledge I could make more. Now friends are ringing up asking to buy jam and I’m grudgingly parting with it but the Scrooge hoarding instinct is kicking in, a sure sign of the end of the season. And I never did master the thick jam versus runny jam dilemma, the jam decided for itself what it would become, not me. So I cannot yet claim to be a professional jam maker, not when the jam is in charge of the process. Further experiments will have to wait until next year, when at the beginning of the new season I can afford to be lavish with the strawberries and if a batch burns in the attempt to thicken it won’t be a disaster, I’ll be able to use it for baking jam squares, where the caramel overtones are a bonus. Part of the magic of strawberries is their cheerful colour as well as their scent. I’m going to miss the piles of fruit on the table, waiting to be sorted for selling, in the fridge in punnets, to be delivered in the morning, bowls of seconds for the family to eat and containers of the rest for jam. The youngberries will be starting soon, like blackberries, they have their own allure and make great summer puddings, but they just don’t quite have that special something that strawberries have…! So what will I fill my jars with now? Well the good news is that apricots are just starting to creep into the shops. Unfortunately we only have one tree and this year it has very little fruit on it, we need to plant some more trees but it will be a few years before they produce properly. So we check out the fruit in the shops. It’s a bit like playing the stock market. We’re waiting for the price to come down, to buy loads and jam them all, but if we wait too long and misjudge the timing the price will shoot up again or there’ll be none left, it’s a short season. So perhaps I’ll play it safe and buy a couple of kilos next week and then hope to splurge the week after on 5 kilos as cheap as can be, but I can’t risk being caught short of apricot jam. We’re on our last jar of last year’s and there’ll be a family uprising if I don’t get in next year’s supply. The apricot jam recipe – very similar to the strawberry jam recipe but less temperamental. The worst I’ve managed to do has been burn it and even then it was usable in baking, just a slight caramel added flavour! 1 kg apricots halved and stoned 750g sugar Pack fruit and sugar in a stainless steel or enamel pan and keep in fridge overnight. Heat slowly, stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved. Turn up the heat a bit and boil rapidly (stir occasionally to prevent burning) for about 20-30 mins. Test a drop on a cold plate. If, after 2 minutes, when you push your fingernail through it, the skin wrinkles, it is done. If not test every 5 minutes till it does. Pour into hot sterilised jam jars and seal immediately. NB apricots have plenty of pectin, so you don’t need to add lemon juice to get the set. For more tips on jam making and the strawberry jam recipe, look at my article Strawberry Jamming Again. Copyright 2005 Kit Heathcock A Flower Gallery

Cook simply for the two of you

Preparing a meal for just the two of you can be quick and easy, especially if you keep eggs on hand. Versatile eggs are a high-quality protein food portioned by nature to suit small households. Egg producers have made eggs even more convenient by offering 6- and 8-count packs to retailers. However many eggs you buy, they'll keep in the refrigerator, with insignificant quality loss, for at least three weeks from the time you bring them home.

With eggs in the fridge, it's easy to add a welcome change of pace to your menus. Eggs can also help you include more vegetables in your diet, as the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend. Quiche in Pepper Pots is a good example of an entree that combines egg protein with the vitamins, minerals and fiber of veggies.

These novel individual quiches are easy on the cook, too. Simply choose any colorful vegetable blend you like to fill the peppers, pour on an egg-and-milk custard and bake. Got company coming? Then just multiply the recipe to suit the number of servings you need.

For fast, nutritious eating other times, you can use the remaining eggs you have on hand in a variety of ways. Toss slices or wedges of hard-cooked eggs with greens and other veggies for a main-dish salad; poach eggs right in your favorite soup; reheat leftover pasta and veggies and pour on eggs to make a skillet scramble.

Quiche in Pepper Pots

2 servings

2 medium (about 4 oz. each) green, yellow or sweet red peppers

1/2 cup (about 8 oz.) frozen vegetable blend, thawed

2 eggs

1/4 cup skim or low-fat milk

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning, crushed

Cut tops off peppers and remove seeds. Sawtooth or scallop pepper edges, if desired. Stand peppers upright in custard cups or muffin-pan cups. Spoon 1/4 cup of the vegetables into each pepper. In small bowl, beat together eggs, milk and seasonings until well blended. Pour about 1/3 cup of the egg mixture over vegetables in each pepper.

Bake in preheated 325 degree F oven until knife inserted near center comes out clean, about 60 to 70 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Nutrition information per serving of 1/2 recipe using green and yellow peppers; broccoli, sweet red pepper, mushroom and onion vegetable blend; and skim milk: 119 calories, 5 gm total fat, 213 mg cholesterol, 89 mg sodium, 283 mg potassium, 10 gm carbohydrate, 9 gm protein and 10% or more of the RDI for vitamins A, B12 and C, riboflavin, phosphorus.

Healthful cooking choose ingredients wisely

When preparing your next health-conscious menu, consider this fact: Nutritionists say that knowing where your ingredients come from can be almost as important as knowing what ingredients to use.

That's one reason food such as certified Wild American Shrimp has become popular. They are caught fresh in their own natural environment from the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico-and they are a health-conscious choice for consumers. A typical 4-ounce portion has just 112 calories when served steamed, boiled, grilled or baked and provides 23 grams of protein-47 percent of the daily value for protein.

Monica Pope, owner and chef of the Houston restaurant T'afia, has built an entire menu around fresh, regional fare. She recommends that consumers ask for certified Wild American Shrimp and purchase local ingredients at their grocery store, favorite restaurant or seafood counter. Not all shrimp are created equal-wild-caught shrimp has a distinctive flavor. Most shrimp sold in American stores are pond-raised imported, so be sure to ask for Wild American Shrimp caught by fishermen.

"You're not only choosing the best-tasting seafood possible, you're also helping to support an entire industry and way of life," says Pope. Try these recipes:

Turmeric Shrimp With

Hip Hummous

Turmeric Shrimp

1 lb Wild American Shrimp, cleaned

21/2 cloves garlic

2/3 teaspoon salt

1 small bay leaf

1/3 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lime juice

21/2 cups water

2/3 teaspoon turmeric

3 tablespoons lime juice

pinch turmeric

1/3 tablespoon red chili powder

3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

Place the peeled garlic cloves in a food processor with the salt and mince. Toss with the shrimp and set aside for 15 minutes. In a saucepan, bring the water to a boil with the bay leaf, 1/3 tablespoon lime juice and the 2/3 teaspoon turmeric. When the water is boiling, add the shrimp, stirring, and cook just until opaque, about 2-3 minutes at most. Do not overcook! Drain.

Immediately spread the shrimp onto a large baking sheet to cool, as they will continue to cook. Mix the additional lime juice, red chili powder and additional turmeric together and pour over the warm shrimp. Toss until well-combined. Add the chopped cilantro leaves to the cooled shrimp.

Hip Hummous

1/2 bag chickpeas

11/2 bulbs roasted garlic

1/8 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice

cup tahini

1 preserved lemon

2 avocados, ripe, remove pits & scoop out flesh

1 tablespoon curry powder

salt & pepper to taste

Place chickpeas in salted boiling water and cook until soft, about one hour. Drain in a colander and then puree in a food processor with the rest of the ingredients. Taste for seasoning.

NOTE: To make your own quickly preserved lemons: Lightly score 4 lemons all the way around (do not cut through to the flesh) and then boil in 1 cup water, 1 cup fresh lemon juice, 2 bay leaves, 1/2 tablespoon whole black peppercorns and 1/4 cup kosher salt until lemons are soft, approx. 30 minutes.

To assemble:

Mound the Hip Hummous in the middle of the plate and surround with the Turmeric Shrimp.

Breakfast is more than a meal

Is a good breakfast on your agenda?

Because mornings are often hectic, some families try to get by with skimpy breakfasts or skip the meal entirely. You and your children, though, have already gone without food for 8 to 9 hours. Without a good breakfast, your bodies and your brains - which have no blood-glucose reserves, the brain's main energy source - have even longer to wait for an energy boost. It's much better to get up a little earlier to have a complete breakfast.

Studies over the last 30 years have confirmed again and again that children who eat a balanced breakfast score significantly higher on tests and are less depressed, anxious and hyperactive than children who eat an unbalanced breakfast or skip the meal.

Breakfast eaters also have improved strength and endurance and are not as susceptible to gnawing hunger pains in the late morning. By making you feel full longer, a good breakfast can also help you avoid overeating. In adult research, overweight women ate fewer calories the rest of the day when they had a protein-based breakfast of eggs, toast and fruit spread than women who had a calorically equal breakfast of a bagel, cream cheese and yogurt.

For either adults or children, a good breakfast should include a grain food, a protein source, a low-fat milk food and your choice of a fruit or vegetable or juice.

For the protein food, nutritious eggs are quick and easy to prepare and go well with other foods to complete a balanced meal. Pile-It-On Egg Toast, for example, can help you wake up taste buds with either a comforting or more exciting flavor combination.

Pile-It-On Egg Toast

3 servings

Cooking spray

3 slices bread

3 eggs

Topping ingredients (see variations)

Cover baking sheet with aluminum foil. Evenly coat with spray. Place bread slices on foil-lined sheet. With 2 1/2- to 3-inch round cookie or biscuit cutter or inverted drinking glass, cut out center of each bread slice. OR, pull out center of bread slice with fingers, leaving 2 1/2- to 3-inch diameter hole. Place cutouts and bread slices on baking sheet. For extra crispness, lightly coat both sides with spray, if desired. Break and slip 1 egg into hole in each bread slice. Evenly spread or spoon topping ingredients over bread slice and egg white. Avoid covering egg yolk completely.

Place baking sheet on middle rack of preheated 350 degree F oven. Bake until whites are set and yolks begin to thicken and cloud over, but are not hard, about 12 to 15 minutes. (Baking time may vary depending on temperature, amount and thickness of topping foods and exact diameter of hole in bread slice.)

Nutrition information per serving of 1/3 recipe using pumpernickel rye bread, ham, spinach and 2% cottage cheese: 200 calories, 8 gm total fat, 228 mg cholesterol, 743 mg sodium, 229 mg potassium, 14 gm carbohydrate, 17 gm protein and 10% or more of the RDI for vitamins A, B12 and C, niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, iron, phosphorus, zinc

Topping Variations: Each variation makes 3 servings.

Ham & Cheese: Use pumpernickel rye bread. In small bowl, stir together 1 cup fresh baby spinach leaves (about 1 1/2 oz.), 1/2 cup chopped lean cooked ham (about 3 oz.) and 1/3 cup low-fat cottage cheese. Spoon about 1/3 cup spinach mixture evenly onto each egg-and-bread slice. Bake.

Mushroom Pizza: Use Italian bread, at least 4-inches in diameter, sliced 3/4- to 1-inch thick. In small bowl, stir together 1 cup sliced mushrooms (about 3 1/2 oz.) and 1/2 cup prepared pizza or spaghetti sauce or salsa. Spoon about 1/3 cup mushroom mixture onto each egg-and-bread slice. Sprinkle with 3 tablespoons shredded low-moisture, part-skim mozzarella cheese, 1 tablespoon per slice. Bake.

Strawberry jamming again

More practical musings – hints and tips on making strawberry jam.

Sunshine for the rest of the year

So I’m preparing strawberries for jam, the third evening this week. It is the most productive week of the year as far as our strawberries are concerned. The best are already sold, fresh in punnets and the seconds, some with scarcely a blemish, others hideously deformed but still flavoursome, are piled in heaps waiting to be hulled, halved, weighed and jammed.

Just taking part in this process, I feel a bond back through the centuries with all the women, who preserved, jammed, pickled, prolonging the goodness and abundance of the seasonal produce to last the whole year through. In the days before fridges, freezers, supermarkets, intercontinental fast transport, each household would have relied on itself to survive the winter without diseases caused by vitamin deficiency and lack of sunshine. Making jam wasn’t just a luxury sweet, it was a way of preserving the summer sunshine a little longer, of giving your children some vitamins to keep them strong, when the only things growing in the garden were cabbage or Brussels sprouts! I wonder if those children ate them without fuss? Your preserves would have been eked out to last until spring brought new fresh growth with it.

Our jam supplies usually just last through until the next strawberry season. I’m generous to start with, giving it away as presents to friends, selling it at the market for our school, then, strawberry season over, I count the jars and begin to get more parsimonious. After all bought jam is now unheard of in the family, I’m the only one who eats marmalade, which fills the winter jam gap, so the strawberry and apricot jam has got to last, come what may.

My strawberry jam recipe for success? ( and please note that this is just how I make it… I’m not an expert and don’t even have a jam thermometer, but I guess they didn’t in the old days either. These are just hints and tips gathered from making my own mistakes and from the advice of my sister-in-law.)

Extremely simple ingredients, but results vary wildly from the runny (running right off your toast runny) to the thick (spoon stands up in it) for no apparent reason – well the length of time cooking together with the amount of pectin are the reasons but you can’t always tell about the pectin in advance. Strawberries are very low in pectin, which is what makes jam set and the riper they are the less there is. If they are wet that also dilutes the pectin (let them dry on kitchen towel or a dishcloth before preparing). So something needs to be added. I usually add lemon juice, which doesn’t affect the flavour, you can also buy pectin in packets. The more lemon juice you use , the more likely it is to set firm – I like mine a bit runny, so tend to juggle the lemon juice a bit.

1 kg prepared strawberries

750g sugar

25ml-50ml lemon juice or more if it doesn’t set!

Use a large thick based pan. The strawberries should only come to about half way up or they will boil merrily over, coating your stove with sticky foam. Let the strawberries soak with the sugar overnight. This brings out the juice and keeps the fruit firmer so it doesn’t dissolve into a mush when cooked. Bring slowly to the boil, stirring occasionally to make sure the sugar dissolves before it boils. Then add the lemon juice. Boil at a moderate pace, without stirring, for at least half an hour before testing.

The main thing is to keep your jam under observation after the first half hour of boiling and sniff( to make sure it’s not burning on the bottom of the pan), test every 5 minutes with a drop on a cold plate. Let it cool for a couple of minutes. If it starts feeling syrupy and makes a string to your finger when you dip it, then that’s a good runny, syrupy jam. If a skin forms and wrinkles when you push your finger through the drop of jam then it’s a firmer set. If after an hour it still doesn’t get to either of those stages you might have to add more lemon juice and boil it up again for another twenty minutes or so then start testing all over again. You can tell if it is getting there as the bubbles start looking more syrupy, a slower rolling boil.

Have your jars ready. 1kg of fruit makes about three medium sized jars. I usually sterilise mine by pouring boiling water into clean, dry jars up to the top (they must be dry though, if there are drops of cold water in they can crack). Then when the jam is ready, pour out the hot water and ladle in the jam, right to the top, put on a circle of either waxed or baking paper and then the lid. Tighten the lid now while it’s hot for a good seal. The spills of jam are easier to wipe off while it’s still hot too, hold with a cloth though, hot is really HOT!

If all this is sounding a bit laborious, you can always try waiting for the apricot season. Apricots are far less temperamental, have plenty of pectin and set more easily…. But hey.. strawberries are worth the effort and it’s mainly patience you need, not technique. There is a huge satisfaction from seeing the jars lined up on the shelf, to see you through the winter. Good luck!

Copyright Kit Heathcock

Traditional nigerian recipes

: Staple foods in the Nigerian diet include: peanuts or ground-nuts, yams, cassava, fish, rice, okra, bananas, guinea corn and millet, and palm nuts. They are usually starchy and Nigerians love to cook with a lot of pepper and spices especially those from the southwest and southeast. This recipe uses all local ingredients to create a tasty and nourishing meal. These recipes celebrate the traditional food of Nigeria:- Egusi Soup Ground Egusi seeds give this soup a unique color and flavour. If you can't find Egusi seeds in your store, you can substitute pumpkin seeds or Pepitas which you can find in Latin American grocery stores. This soup is thickened with flour ground from seeds of gourds, melons, pumpkins, and squashes, many of which are native to Africa. 200 g Water Leaves 50 g Egusi seeds 1 teaspoon Dry Ground Red Pepper 1 medium Onion 100ml Palm Oil 10g Dry Ground Crayfish 120g Fresh Tomatoes 100ml Water Salt & Pepper to taste Wash the water leaves well in clean, fresh water. Liquidise or pulverise the onions, tomatoes and egusi seeds until smooth. Add the dry ground pepper and fry in palm oil for five minutes. Add the water, put the lid on and cook for five minutes. Now add the water leaves, replace lid and cook for a further five minutes. Finally, add the crayfish and seasoning, warming through well. Serve with pounded yam or cooked rice and a meat stew, to provide protein. Alternatively, serve with eba, fufu or any suitable carbohydrate. Curried Okra This traditional recipe for Okra (or Okro, as it is called in some part of Nigeria) is one that can be created anywhere in the world, as it uses ingredients that can be found in any local store. The word “okra” comes from Africa and means "lady's fingers" in Igbo, one of the languages spoken in Nigeria. Although Okra originated from Africa, it is now available around the world. Some people consider Okra alone is too gooey, but this tasty recipe makes good use of it's properties. When buying fresh okra, look for young pods free of bruises, tender but not soft, and no more than 4 inches long. 500g Okra 2 Onions 180g Oil 3 cloves garlic 2 Tomatoes 2 teaspoons of curry powder Ѕ teaspoon of turmeric Pinch of black pepper Ѕ teaspoon of salt Slice one of the onions finely and fry gently in oil. Liquidise the remaining onion, tomatoes and garlic. Add this puree to the frying onions. Add the spices. Fry gently for five minutes. Top and tail the okra and cut into pieces about 1cm thick. Add to the spices and cook gently for 10-15 minutes. Serve with cooked rice and a meat stew, for protein. With thanks to the Nigerian people who made us so welcome in their homes, gave us a love of traditional Nigerian food and who helped us overcome our fear of eating with our fingers! For further tips and ideas for cooking great and traditional food from around the world, visit Nigerian Recipes & Food This article was submitted by Jen Carter, owner of the World Food & Recipes website.

Secret recipe of the cheesecake factory madeira chicken

Secret Recipes

Here’s my secret recipe for one of my favorite places to eat, the Cheesecake Factory. Just about everything there is scrumptious but the Chicken Madeira in particular is wonderful.

I’m an advocate of entertaining at home. Save your self a lot of money by being your own chef. Surprise your family and friends with this meal the next time you have guests. It’s quick and simple.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast fillets

8 asparagus spears

4 mozzarella cheese slices

Madeira Sauce

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms

3 cups madeira wine

2 cups beef stock

1 tablespoon butter

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Procedure

1. Heat up 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cover each chicken breast with plastic wrap then use a mallet to flatten the chicken to about 1/4-inch thick. Sprinkle each fillet with salt and pepper.

2. Sautй the chicken fillets for 4 to 6 minutes per side, or until the chicken has browned just a bit. Remove chicken fillets from the pan and wrap them together in foil to keep the fillets warm while you make the sauce. Don't clean the pan. You want all that cooked-on goodness to stay in the skillet to help make the sauce.

3. With the heat still on medium, add two tablespoons of oil to the skillet. Add the sliced mushrooms and sautй for about two minutes. Add the madeira wine, beef stock, butter and pepper. Bring sauce to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until sauce has reduce to about 1/4 of its original volume. When the sauce is done it will have thickened and turned a dark brown color.

4. As the sauce is simmering, bring a medium saucepan filled about halfway with water to a boil. Add a little salt to the water. Toss the asparagus into the water and boil for 3 to 5 minutes, depending on the thickness of your asparagus spears. Drop the asparagus in a bowl of ice water to halt the cooking. The asparagus should be slightly tender when done, not mushy.

5. Set oven to broil. Prepare the dish by arranging the cooked chicken fillets on a baking pan. Cross two asparagus spears over each fillet, then cover each with a slice of mozzarella cheese. Broil the fillets for 3 to 4 minutes or until light brown spots begin to appear on the cheese.

6. To serve, arrange two chicken breasts on each plate, then spoon 3 or 4 tablespoons of madeira sauce over the chicken on each plate.

Makes 2 to 4 servings.

Better yet, get a full collection of great secret recipes from your favorite famous restaurants. Go to Secret Recipes for all your favorites.

Valentine recipes - delicious puddings for your sweetheart

Valentine Recipes - Delicious Puddings for your sweetheart

Valentine's Day is just around the corner. Here are Recipes of Delicious Valentine Puddings for your special person coming to dinner on Valentines's Day. Try these Valentine Recipes to make this day more Romantic.

Valentine Recipe:1 HONEY PUDDING

Mix one-half cup of honey with six ounces of bread crumbs and add one-half cup of milk, one-half teaspoon of ginger, grated rind of half a lemon and yolks of two eggs. Beat the mixture thoroughly and then add two tablespoons of butter and the whites of the eggs well beaten. Steam for about two hours in a pudding mold which is not more than three-quarters full.

Valentine Recipe:2 CHOCOLATE PUDDING

Take half a cake of chocolate broken in one quart of milk and put on the range until it reaches boiling point. Remove the mixture from the range. Add four teaspoonfuls of cornstarch mixed with the yolks of three eggs and one cup and a half of sugar. Stir constantly until thick. Remove from the fire, flavor with vanilla and pour the mixture in a dish. Beat the whites of the three eggs to a stiff froth and add a little sugar. Cover the top of the pudding with a meringue and set in the oven until a light brown. Serve cold.

Valentine Recipe:3 JELLY PUDDINGS.

Two cupfuls of fine stale biscuit or bread crumbs, one cupful of rich milk cream, if you can get it; five eggs beaten very light, half a teaspoonful of soda stirred in boiling water, one cupful of sweet jelly, jam or marmalade. Scald the milk and pour over the

crumbs. Beat until half cold and stir in the beaten yolks, then whites, finally the soda. Fill large cups half full with the batter, set in a quick oven and bake half an hour. When done, turn out quickly and dexterously. With a sharp knife make an incision in the side of

each; pull partly open, and put a liberal spoonful of the conserve within. Close the slit by pinching the edges with your fingers. Eat warm with sweetened cream.

Valentine Recipe:4 APPLE CUSTARD PUDDING.

Put a quart of pared and quartered apples into a stewpan, with half a cupful of water and cook them until they are soft. Remove from the fire and add half a cupful of sugar, two tablespoonfuls of butter and the grated rind and the juice of a lemon. Have ready mixed two cupfuls of grated bread crumbs and two tablespoonfuls of flour. Add this also to the apple mixture, after which stir in two well-beaten eggs. Turn all into a well-buttered pudding-dish and bake forty-five minutes in a moderate oven. Serve with sugar and cream or hard sweet sauce.

Valentine Recipe:5 APRICOT PUDDING

Take 1 tin of apricots, 6 sponge cakes, 1/2 pint of milk, 2 eggs. Put the apricots into a saucepan and let them simmer with a little sugar for 1/2 an hour. Take them off the fire and beat them with a fork. Mix with them the sponge cakes crumbled. Beat the eggs up with milk and pour it on the apricots. Pour the mixture into a wetted mould and bake in a hot oven with a cover over the mould for 1/2 an hour. Turn out; serve either hot or cold.

Valentine Recipe:6 CARROT PUDDING

Take three or four clear red carrots, boil and peel them, take the red part of the carrot, beat it very fine in a mixing bowl, put to it the crumbs of a penny loaf, six eggs, half a pound of clarified butter, two or three spoonfuls of rose water, a little lemon-peel shred, grate in a little nutmeg, mix them well together, bake it with a puff-paste round your dish and have a little white wine, butter and sugar for the sauce.

Valentine Recipe:7 CHEESE PUDDING

Take breakfast-cupful of milk into a saucepan with a piece of butter the size of a large egg. Let it remain until the butter is melted, then pour it over three-quarters of a pound of bread crumbs and half a pound of grated cheese; let these soak for twenty minutes, then add a pinch of salt and 4 eggs, well beaten. Pour the mixture into a well-buttered dish and bake in a quick oven upto 40 Minutes.

Valentine Recipe:8 DATE PUDDING

Melt three tablespoons of butter, add one-half cup of molasses, one-half cup of milk, one and two-third cups of flour sifted with one-half teaspoon of baking-soda, one-quarter teaspoon of salt, one-quarter teaspoon each of cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add to the above one-half pound of dates, stoned and cut. Turn into a well-buttered mold. Butter the cover also and steam two and one-half hours. Keep at a steady boil. Serve with any kind of sauce.

Hope you will enjoy these Valentine's recipes. Happy Valentine's Day!

Savor nutritious twist on american classic

Feeding your family on a tight schedule doesn't mean you can't eat well. Take advantage of your favorite fruits and vegetables available year-round in cans.

Canned foods can be a great way to add fruits and vegetables to your diet. Because they provide convenient nutrition, canned foods can help you meet the new 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Canned foods are pre-cooked and pre-cut, saving time in the kitchen. They can also remain on the shelf for up to two years without losing nutrients.

Studies from the University of Massachusetts and the University of Illinois confirm that canned foods are nutritionally comparable to cooked fresh and frozen varieties.

Sweet potatoes aren't just for the holidays. Rich in vitamin A, canned sweet potatoes are especially delicious in this recipe for Gingered Sweet Potato-Apple Salad, which was developed by the Canned Food Alliance and meets Produce for Better Health Foundation nutritional standards that maintain fruits and vegetables as healthy foods. Try this nutrient-dense twist on an American favorite.

Gingered Sweet

Potato-Apple Salad

1 can (15 ounces) sweet potatoes or yams, in light syrup, drained and cubed

1 can (8 ounces) pineapple tidbits, drained

1 apple, cored and diced

1/2 cup diced celery

1/2 cup coarsely chopped cashews

1/4 cup honey mustard dressing

2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger

6 cups mixed salad greens

Combine sweet potatoes, pineapple, apple, celery and cashews in a large bowl. In a small bowl, combine salad dressing and ginger; pour over sweet potato mixture; toss lightly. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour. Serve over salad greens.

Makes 6 servings.

Nutritional information per serving: calories: 222, total fat: 7.6g, saturated fat: 1.4g, % calories from fat: 29%, % calories from saturated fat: 5%, protein: 4g, carbohydrates: 38g, cholesterol: 0mg, dietary fiber: 5g, sodium: 148mg.

Warm up the holidays with organic gingerbread

What is the secret ingredient in savory pastries, muffins and other baked goods? Buttermilk, which lends a rich, hearty flavor with fewer calories than whole milk or cream.

Organic buttermilk, produced without using pesticides, synthetic hormones or antibiotics, is not only wonderful for baking, it is great as a base for soups and salad dressings or as a marinade. It also is often used to coat poultry and fish before frying or baking.

Many enjoy drinking this versatile dairy product by itself; it pairs well with sweet fruits and desserts.

Autumn Brennan, Organic Valley's food aficionado, provides the following holiday recipe for buttermilk gingerbread. The spicy, rich taste of old-fashioned gingerbread is at the heart of many holiday celebrations, she says.

BUTTERMILK GINGERBREAD

(Makes 16 servings)

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (sifted)

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon ground allspice

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup molasses

1/3 cup raw sugar

1/2 cup Organic Valley unsalted cultured butter, melted

1/2 cup Organic Valley cultured lowfat buttermilk, chilled and well-shaken

1 Organic Valley Grade A extra large brown egg

Preheat oven to 325 F. Lightly grease an 8-by-8-by-2-inch metal baking pan. Sift flour, spices, baking soda and sea salt into a medium mixing bowl.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together molasses, 1/3 cup sugar, butter, buttermilk and egg. Fold in the dry ingredients.

Pour gingerbread batter into the prepared baking pan. Place the pan on the middle rack of the oven. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until an inserted tester comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool completely in the pan.

Cut into 16 squares. Top with homemade whipped cream and garnish with candied ginger.

Butter cream icing recipes

Recipe 1

1 Ѕ cups of different types of vegetable shortenings

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons flavors (colorless)

2 pounds of confectioner’s sugar

ј to Ѕ cup of water or milk (water is a good choice, but milk goes well with lavender color)

Combine all the shortenings, flavorings, and salts thoroughly. Add the powdered sugar. Slowly add water and gently mix all the ingredients until well blended. You will notice that after 2-3 minutes, the mixture will become creamy.

Notes:

a) Try to keep the amount in exactly the same quantity as mentioned above. If you introduce lots of variations, you may not get the desired butter cream icing.

b) If you want to make your icing thin, add three to four big spoonfuls of corn syrup.

c) If you want to make chocolate butter cream, all you need to do is add ѕ cup of cocoa powder or three one ounce chocolate squares, mixed with one to two tablespoons of milk, to the other ingredients and proceed to mix well.

Recipe 2

Ѕ cup vegetable shortening

Ѕ cup of soft butter (you can add margarine also)

4 cups of confectioner’s sugar

2 tablespoons water (milk)

Ѕ teaspoon almond, for flavor

A dash of salt

Mix the shortening, butter, and almond. Add confectioner’s sugar and gently mix by hand. Continue to add other ingredients and mix quickly, for six to seven minutes.

Here, too, you can add ј or 1/3 cup of cocoa powder to make chocolate butter cream.

If the icing is quite thin, you may add more powdered sugar, and in case you find it stiff, put a few drops of water or milk into it.

Recipe 3

Butter cream icing, which has a snow-white appearance as well as a yummy taste, is the best choice for frosting a cake. This so-called “snow white butter cream” is mostly used for decorating wedding cakes or any flat-surfaced cake and for making nail flowers. Remember to dry the flowers uncovered for at least a day. Flowers like apple blossoms or drop flowers are ready for use after four to five hours of air drying.

The good thing about snow-white butter cream is that it does not need refrigeration to become consistent and boasts a delicious taste as well. Here’s a recipe for this delicious icing:

2/3 cup of water

4 tablespoons of meringue powder

12 cups confectioner’s sugar

1 ј cups vegetable shortening

ѕ teaspoon salt

Ѕ teaspoon almond (for flavor)

Ѕ teaspoon vanilla (for flavor)

ј teaspoon butter (for flavor)

Combine water and meringue powder in a bowl and mix it fast. Next, add four cups of confectioner’s sugar, one at a time. Mix the sugar at fast speed and lower the speed with each addition. Add the shortening, remaining sugar, salt, almond, vanilla, and butter, and mix them gently.

Note: All of the above butter cream icings are easy to make and yummy to taste, you can make all of them at one time and determine which one best suits the different designs on your cake.

Tomatoes--no refrigeration required

Did you know that one of the most popular vegetables in the United States is actually a fruit? Categorized by botanists as a fruit but eaten by consumers as a vegetable, tomatoes are appreciated for their combination of sweetness and acidity.

Any way you slice it, tomatoes are a delicious way to add nutrients to the diet. They are rich in vitamins A and C and are a good source of potassium. Tomatoes are also naturally low in sodium and contain no cholesterol.

Many people store tomatoes alongside other vegetables in their refrigerator's crisper drawer, but that's not the best place for them. Tomatoes should be stored at room temperature to maintain maximum flavor. Cool temperatures inside your refrigerator will stop the ripening process and begin to decrease the flavor and change the texture. Try storing your tomatoes in a decorative bowl on the counter.

Tomatoes and bananas help each other ripen quicker. Tomatoes and bananas emit a naturally occurring ripening gas called ethylene and when you store the two together they both ripen rapidly. If you need to ripen a tomato quickly, store it in a closed paper bag on the counter. The ethylene gas speeds up the ripening process when confined around the fruit in a closed bag.

Although tomatoes are native to Central and South America, they are now eaten throughout the world and are an ingredient in countless recipes. Many people consider tomatoes an essential part of their vegetable gardens each summer and they are available at your local market year-round.

For more information about tomatoes online, log on to www. sunripeproduce. com. For more recipes and information on how to incorporate a variety of fruits and vegetables into your diet, visit www.5aday. org.

Pico de Gallo

Pico de Gallo is a fresh tomato salsa often served as a dip for tortilla chips but it's also terrific spooned onto grilled fish, chicken or pork.

Ingredients:

8 SUNRIPE Bella Roma (plum) tomatoes, chopped

1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped

2 jalapenos, minced

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

Juice of 1/2 a lime

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions:

Mix all ingredients together and enjoy.

Serves: 8 − 1/2 cup of vegetables per serving

Nutrition Information per Serving: calories: 15, total fat: 0.2g, saturated fat: 0.03g, % of calories from fat: 8, % of calories from saturated fat: 1, protein: 1g, carbohydrate: 3g, cholesterol: 0mg, dietary fiber: 1g, sodium 149mg.

The scoop on ice cream summer entertaining

The scoop on ice cream is that it's an excellent choice for simple, delicious and, if desired, elegant entertaining. Whether it's a birthday, graduation, summer holiday or family celebration, ice cream and novelties can make any occasion special.

Sundaes, root beer floats, banana splits, milkshakes and ice cream cones are always popular favorites. Serve an ice cream cake for a birthday or holiday celebration and see your guests smile. Add a scoop of ice cream on warm apple pie and you will delight everyone at the table. Serving ideas for ice cream are only limited by your imagination.

Other popular entertaining ideas, particularly for children, are the many novelties selections in the frozen food aisle. Novelties are separately packaged single servings of a frozen dessert, such as ice cream sandwiches, fudge sticks and juice bars. Today's novelties offer fun, tasty, convenient dessert options for you, your family and guests.

June and July of each year mark the annual Ice Cream & Novelties Promotion, sponsored by the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA). That's when you will find special promotions and prices on your favorite summer treats.

NFRA has these suggestions on storing and handling ice cream and novelties:

• Make the ice cream aisle your last stop.

• Put ice cream products in a separate section of the grocery cart or place on top of other groceries.

• When your groceries are packed, request a freezer bag or additional brown paper bag to insulate your ice cream for the ride home.

• At home, don't allow the ice cream to repeatedly soften and refreeze.

• Store ice cream in the main part of the freezer, not on the door, where it is subject to more fluctuating temperatures.

Here is an elegant yet simple dessert for your summertime entertaining.

Peaches & Cream Shake

16 oz Frozen Sliced Peaches

1 cup Frozen Non-Dairy Creamer, thawed

1 large scoop Vanilla Ice Cream or Frozen Yogurt

1/4 tsp. vanilla

Place all ingredients in a blender and process on high for 1-2 minutes, or until well-blended. Pour into serving glasses and garnish with a peach slice.

During June and July, you can play Family Freezer Pleasers Online Instant Win Game.

The food lover s site i ve been waiting for

As I grew, however, the repertoire of recipes that I enjoyed watching other home cooks and chefs prepare (and eat), also grew. With the advent of the internet, it was a gold mine of goulashes, a reservoir of resources and a collection of food communities to share and exchange a love of all things – food!

But – something was missing.

Not one of those food sites had videos. There’s nothing like, virtually, sitting on the edge of the counter, watching an experienced and enthusiastic home cook or chef preparing their specialty recipe right in front of you. You know what I mean – those folks who cook and measure everything with a “pinch of this” or a “dash of that.”

Welcome to the age of IPTVRecipes. com (www. IPTVRecipes. com), a site which truly delivers a food lovers present and future needs. Home cooks, chefs, and food-related businesses now have a truly genius cooking social network site where everyone can fully interact and share cooking and food-related videos. A completely free service to all members, you have the option to broadcast your cooking talents through your personal MyKitchen, and (get this!) soon straight to your home televisions via IPTV! This site combines innovative and tested technologies, traditional needs and creative ideas to bring like-minded folks together to broadcast themselves, interact and enjoy shared value.

Your first visit to IPTVRecipes brings you to their homepage that’s elegant in its’ simplicity of design and function. After registering, you become part of the virtual kitchen – everyone has their own – where you can upload videos of your favorite recipes, check out other’s videos, upload written recipes, participate in various Forum topics and, even, check out their store front for food-related shopping deals.

To reply to a question on the site – “What are you hungry for?” – my response is – “This is the food lover’s site I’ve been waiting for!”

Nine delicious salmon recipes

Boiled salmon.

Ingredients:- 6 oz. of salt to each gallon of water, sufficient water to cover the fish.

Mode:- Scale and clean the fish, and be particular that no blood is left inside; lay it in the fish-kettle with sufficient cold water to cover it, adding salt in the above proportion. Bring it quickly to a boil, take off all the scum, and let it simmer gently till the fish is done, which will be when the meat separates easily from the bone. Experience alone can teach the cook to fix the time for boiling fish; but it is especially to be remembered, that it should never be underdressed, as then nothing is more unwholesome. Neither let it remain in the kettle after it is sufficiently cooked, as that would render it insipid, watery, and colourless. Drain it, and if not wanted for a few minutes, keep it warm by means of warm cloths laid over it. Serve on a hot napkin, garnish with cut lemon and parsley, and send lobster or shrimp sauce, and plain melted butter to table with it. A dish of dressed cucumber usually accompanies this fish.

Time. 8 minutes to each lb. for large thick salmon; 6 minutes for thin fish.

Note. Cut lemon should be put on the table with this fish; and a little of the juice squeezed over it is considered by many persons a most agreeable addition. Boiled peas are also, by some connoisseurs, considered especially adapted to be served with salmon.

Salmon and caper sauce.

Ingredients:- 2 slices of salmon, 1/4 lb. batter, 1/2 teaspoonful of chopped parsley, 1 shalot; salt, pepper, and grated nutmeg to taste.

Mode:- Lay the salmon in a baking-dish, place pieces of butter over it, and add the other ingredients, rubbing a little of the seasoning into the fish; baste it frequently; when done, take it out and drain for a minute or two; lay it in a dish, pour caper sauce over it, and serve. Salmon dressed in this way, with tomato sauce, is very delicious.

Time. About 3/4 hour.

Collared salmon.

Ingredients:- A piece of salmon, say 3 lbs., a high seasoning of salt, pounded mace, and pepper; water and vinegar, 3 bay-leaves.

Mode:- Split the fish; scale, bone, and wash it thoroughly clean; wipe it, and rub in the seasoning inside and out; roll it up, and bind firmly; lay it in a kettle, cover it with vinegar and water (1/3 vinegar, in proportion to the water); add the bay-leaves and a good seasoning of salt and whole pepper, and simmer till done. Do not remove the lid. Serve with melted butter or anchovy sauce. For preserving the collared fish, boil up the liquor in which it was cooked, and add a little more vinegar. Pour over when cold.

Time. 3/4 hour, or rather more.

Curried salmon.

Ingredients:- Any remains of boiled salmon, 3/4 pint of strong or medium stock, 1 onion, 1 tablespoonful of curry-powder, 1 teaspoonful of Harvey's sauce, 1 teaspoonful of anchovy sauce, 1 oz. of butter, the juice of 1/2 lemon, cayenne and salt to taste.

Mode:- Cut up the onions into small pieces, and fry them of a pale brown in the butter; add all the ingredients but the salmon, and simmer gently till the onion is tender, occasionally stirring the contents; cut the salmon into small square pieces, carefully take away all skin and bone, lay it in the stewpan, and let it gradually heat through; but do not allow it to boil long.

Time. 3/4 hour.

Salmon cutlets.

Cut the slices 1 inch thick, and season them with pepper and salt; butter a sheet of white paper, lay each slice on a separate piece, with their ends twisted; broil gently over a clear fire, and serve with anchovy or caper sauce. When higher seasoning is required, add a few chopped herbs and a little spice.

Time. 5 to 10 minutes.

Salmon a la genevese.

Ingredients:- 2 slices of salmon, 2 chopped shalots, a little parsley, a small bunch of herbs, 2 bay-leaves, 2 carrots, pounded mace, pepper and salt to taste, 4 tablespoonfuls of Madeira, 1/2 pint of white stock, thickening of butter and flour, 1 teaspoonful of essence of anchovies, the juice of 1 lemon, cayenne and salt to taste.

Mode:- Rub the bottom of a stewpan over with butter, and put in the shalots, herbs, bay-leaves, carrots, mace, and seasoning; stir them for 10 minutes over a clear fire, and add the Madeira or sherry; simmer gently for 1/2 hour, and strain through a sieve over the fish, which stew in this gravy. As soon as the fish is sufficiently cooked, take away all the liquor, except a little to keep the salmon moist, and put it into another stewpan; add the stock, thicken with butter and flour, and put in the anchovies, lemon-juice, cayenne, and salt; lay the salmon on a hot dish, pour over it part of the sauce, and serve the remainder in a tureen.

Time. 1-1/4 hour.

Vegan jamaican jerk kabobs

Kabob ingredients:

2 8 oz. packages of chicken chunk alternative or organic chicken (plain, no breading)

1 15 oz. can organic pineapple

1 organic red pepper

1 organic yellow pepper

1 organic orange pepper

1 8 oz. package organic portobello mushrooms

Ѕ organic onion

Jamaican Jerk marinade ingredients:

Ѕ cup organic packed brown sugar

8 organic garlic cloves

4 Scotch bonnet peppers

2 bunches organic escallions (green onions)

1 tablespoon organic ground thyme or 2 tablespoons organic thyme leaves

ј cup organic allspice or Ѕ cup ground organic allspice berries

1 teaspoon organic cinnamon

Ѕ teaspoon organic nutmeg

2 tablespoons organic soy sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

Dump thawed vegan chicken chunks in a large shallow dish. Use a fork or meat fork to punch holes into the chunks, which will allow them to absorb more marinade. In traditional Jamaican cooking, the meat is scored and rubbed with the sauce for more flavor.

Drain juice from pineapple; reserve juice in a bowl, and add pineapple to the vegan chicken chunks. Chop peppers and portobellos into bite-sized chunks that will easily stay put on a skewer.

Slice the halved onion vertically into wedges. Add peppers, portobellos and onion to the pile of vegan chicken chunks.

Chop escallions and thyme, if you’re using thyme leaves. Add escallions, thyme and all other Jerk marinade ingredients to a blender or food processor; puree until smooth.

When chopping the peppers, be sure to wear rubber gloves, and wash your hands thoroughly afterward. And whatever you do, don’t rub your eye! You can decrease the heat of the peppers by discarding the seeds and by reducing the number of peppers you use.

Likewise, you can turn up the heat by retaining the seeds and increasing

the numbers of peppers. You can add a little more soy sauce, or even some of the pineapple juice, to make the marinade more liquid if you like.

Pour the marinade over the vegan chicken and chopped vegetables. Traditional Jamaican Jerk cooking calls for marinading overnight, then cooking very slow over a low charcoal fire.

But if it’s winter or you’re in a pinch for time, you can marinade the vegan chicken and vegetables in the refrigerator for an hour. Then place them on skewers and broil them until the edges of the vegan chicken and vegetables are crispy and beginning to blacken.

Scotch bonnet peppers are a staple of Jamaican Jerk cooking. They look like a Scottish hat, hence the name. They are similar to habanero peppers, which are the hottest peppers on the planet. If you can’t find any Scotch bonnet peppers, try organic jalapenos.

You can also experiment with using different types of organic produce. Try cherry tomatoes, mangoes--whatever you like.

To make this meal truly traditional Jamaican, serve the kabobs with a side of hard dough bread. Red Stripe beer optional.

Serves four. You be jammin’, mon!

Convince skeptics with easy vegetarian recipes

If you are thinking of following vegetarian diet for certain causes - religious belief, health reason, economic reason, animal rights - you will face a barrage of uninformed arguments from skeptical relatives and friends. A common argument about vegetarianism is the difficulty of preparing vegetarian meals. Don't get swayed or discouraged by this argument because there is a lot of choice for vegetarians. A vegetarian diet consists of ordinary everyday foods like grains, vegetables, nuts, and fruits. Legumes and starches like potatoes and rice are also part of the diet. Fish, poultry, and dairy products can also be incorporated depending on what type of vegetarianism you follow. These are all available in your average grocery store. Also, there is a variety of easy vegetarian recipes available in many sources. Books, magazines, newsletters, and even TV shows are veritable sources of healthy vegetarian recipes. You will not miss anything because the choices are limitless.

Vegetarian meals do not deviate much from a regular diet except for the absence of meat. Skeptics argue that this could mean missing out on essential proteins. But this is hardly true nor correct. All healthy vegetarian recipes are well-balanced. They have the required amounts of essential vitamins, minerals, and protein. Examples of protein choices are legumes, nuts, beans, fish, poultry, dairy, and the popular tofu. Calcium, a mineral often associated with milk, is not missed either. Middle Easterners and native Africans are known to have strong teeth and bones but their diets rarely contain dairy or meat. They get their calcium from vegetables and root crops. So there is no reason you couldn't get your calcium requirements from vegetarian foods. In terms of nutrition, a vegetarian diet is even superior to diets with meat. There is less fat and bacteria that enter the body which can cause heart diseases and infections. You can watch meat lover bloat and get fat while maintaining your own healthy body with vegetarianism.

After proclaiming that you are eating healthier with vegetarianism, you'd think that the non-believers will stop bugging you. But no, they're back and possibly bearing the most difficult question for hedonists. They'll ask if you're not depriving yourself of the hearty pleasure and satisfaction only the flavor of meat can give. Fret not because vegetarianism has an answer to that. When vegetarians state that there are easy vegetarian recipes, they don't just mean easy to prepare but also easy on the palate. Contrary to what the skeptics are thinking about vegetarian meals (you know, limp lettuce and carrot sticks), vegetarian meals are flavorful and varied. Recipes range from curries, soups, burgers, steaks, hotdogs, casseroles, pasta, and delicious desserts all made with true vegetarian goodness. In fact, vegetarian meals are more flavorful because they make full use of herbs and natural flavors unlike meats which use a lot of salt.

If your friends and relatives still won't stop bugging you about your vegetarian diet, get a load of healthy vegetarian recipes and cook them a feast. When they see that you didn't even break a sweat preparing the delicious feast, they'll be convinced of the ease of vegetarianism. Give them copies of easy vegetarian recipes and don't be surprised if they'll ask you to go produce-shopping in the following days.

Healthful ways to keep your cool

When the weather's warm, it's almost too easy to rely on ice cream, soda, popsicles and other frosty sweets for refreshment. However, there are delicious ways to cool off without making the hope of a trim waistline melt away.

For instance, you can eat something sweet, feel refreshed and still get your recommended five fruits and veggies a day with the recipes below. Easy to make and even easier to enjoy, smoothies and sorbets made with light and healthy canned Bartlett pears are a refreshing antidote to a hot afternoon. Added bonus: The pears contain no fat or cholesterol and are a good source of potassium and fiber.

Pear Yogurt Ginger Smoothie

Makes 4 Servings

1 can (15 ounces) Bartlett pear halves or slices, drained

3 cups nonfat vanilla yogurt

3/4 cup nonfat milk

3/4 teaspoon ground ginger

5 ice cubes

In blender or food processor container, puree pears. Add yogurt, milk, ginger and ice cubes, process until well blended.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving): Calories 183; Protein 9g; Carbohydrate 37g; Fiber 2g; Fat 1g; Cholesterol 4mg; Sodium 118mg.

Blissful Pear Sorbet

Makes 6 Servings

2 cups water

1 cup sugar

1 can (15 ounces) Bartlett pears, well drained

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

In saucepan, heat water and sugar until sugar is well dissolved. Cool syrup to room temperature. In blender container, combine up to one-half of the syrup and pears; blend until smooth. Stir in lemon juice and remaining syrup. Freeze in small (1-quart) ice cream freezer according to manufacturer's directions.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving): Calories 166; Carbohydrate 0g; Fiber 0g; Protein 0g; Fat 0g; Sodium 7mg.

Chill Out-These cool and refreshing treats, made with canned Bartlett pears, can be a nutritious and delicious way to beat the heat.

Please sir i d like s more...ice cream that is

Any time of year can be a great time to dig into a bowl of ice cream. As the weather outside warms up, the luscious taste of ice cream can be a tantalizingly terrific way to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Two people who really know the scoop when it comes to ice cream are Ray Karam, the official Tastemaster, and Nola Krieg, Operations Manager of Product Development (aka Tastemaster Apprentice) of Cold Stone Creamery. With more than 25 years in the dairy industry, Karam is responsible for researching and developing the company's indulgent combinations and flavors of ice cream, mix-ins and cakes. Krieg is fondly known as the Tastemaster's right-hand woman, lending support and providing valuable feedback to development and operational tasks surrounding new products.

With Karam's extensive background in food science and Krieg's expertise in culinary arts, they have created this fun, anytime recipe for s'mores with a twist-taking advantage of one of Cold Stone's new "to go" options, the 48-oz. Everybody's.

Ice Cream Creation S'mores

Serves 4

1 Everybody's (48-oz. size) Cold Stone Ice Cream Creation (suggested creations: Coffee Lovers Only, Peanut Butter Cup Perfection or Founder's Favorite)

4 graham crackers (8 small squares)

4 teaspoons fudge syrup

4 teaspoons marshmallow fluff

1. Break a graham wafer in half, forming 2 squares.

2. Coat one square with a teaspoon of fluff and the other with a teaspoon of fudge.

3. Place a rounded scoop of the ice cream creation in the center of the fluff-coated wafer.

4. Place the fudge-coated wafer on top of the ice cream scoop.

5. Gently press down to spread out the ice cream.

6. Place on a tray and freeze for a minimum of 1 hour before serving.

A variation on the old campground favorite, Ice Cream Creation S'mores can be a cool way to tickle your taste buds.

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