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Adventures in Low Carb

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014 - by Charlie Martin

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Continuing the effort to eat more vegetables, I got up this morning and felt ambitious, so I took out a bag of spinach and baby kale. I sauteed the greens with butter and olive oil and two sliced cloves of garlic, added some chopped onions and four beaten eggs, and about 2 Tablespoons of quesadilla cheese, and scrambled them.

This one worked good, but I think turnip greens and eggs are better.

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What Is the Best Tea? And Where Can I Get Some?

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

What is the best #tea and where can I get some? A question I submit to the universe. #experiment

I’m going to begin the search and report on my results here at PJ Lifestyle. Where to begin to move beyond the basics of grocery store English Breakfast and Earl Grey? Leave you suggestions in the comments or get in touch with me via email.

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Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day the Irish Way: Get Drunk!

Monday, March 17th, 2014 - by Bonnie Ramthun

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Saint Patrick’s Day is an outrageous celebration of my Irish heritage. On that day adult Americans of all ethnic backgrounds feel free to wear green derby hats and shamrock necklaces, pack into bars and pubs to drink green beer and, if they’re really serious about celebrating the Irish way, end the day by vomiting and passing out in the gutter.

I’m offended by this, and it has to stop! Okay, just kidding. I don’t care a bit. The Irish are a fully integrated ethnic minority in America and St. Patrick’s Day is proof. You know your heritage is not an issue when you can poke fun at yourself.

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I don’t know how to make the Martin Luther King holiday as genuinely warm, funny, and celebratory as St. Patrick’s Day, but I’d like to try. Just last month a school system had to apologize for serving a lunch of fried chicken, cornbread and watermelon on Martin Luther King Day. How sad that the African-American holiday commemorating such a great man is about grievances and not praise. Why shouldn’t we all celebrate Martin Luther King day with soul food, vibrant African designs and colors in our decorations and celebrations, and a sense of fun and gratitude?

I fear that instead of moving towards celebrating Martin Luther King Day as a positive affirmation of African-American heritage, we’re moving in the other direction. Columbus Day has come under such attack that this brave Italian hero and explorer is accused of genocide and celebrations in his honor are protested. The very word “Christmas” has been banned in some schools. How long before someone wants to ban St. Patrick’s Day?

May this never happen. Long may the green beer flow in the pubs of America on St. Patrick’s Day. May the green derby hats continue to be perched on the heads of all, may the Leprechaun decorations continue to be ridiculous and offensive, and may you always feel free to be Irish on St. Patrick’s Day.

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images courtesy Shutterstock: Patryk Kosmider

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What Happens When A Fake Chef Invades Your Local Morning Show?

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014 - by Chris Queen

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Morning show anchors at local news affiliates have an unenviable job, especially when they have to interview oddball guests. One of those guests making the rounds after Thanksgiving was Chef Keith Guerke, plugging his cookbook Leftovers Right: Making A Winner Out Of Last Night’s Dinner.

The problem is, Keith Guerke isn’t a chef – or a real person, for that matter, and his book doesn’t exist either. The stunt sprung from the minds of comedians Nick Preuher and Joe Pickett and their troupe, the Found Footage Festival. Preuher appeared on local news shows in Illinois and Wisconsin, promoting disgusting recipes with bogus statistics and made up anecdotes. He bumbled through his presentations and even talked one anchor into beatboxing while he rapped.

The results are hilarious. Sit back and enjoy, as these poor hosts gamely go along with Chef Keith and his horrid recipes.

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3 Principles of a Biblical Diet

Saturday, March 1st, 2014 - by Rhonda Robinson

Editor’s Note: This article was first published in July of 2013. It is being reprinted as part of a new weekend series at PJ Lifestyle collecting and organizing the top 50 best lists. Where will this great piece end up on the list? Reader feedback will be factored in when the PJ Lifestyle Top 50 List Collection is completed in a few months…

In recent posts I revealed a few personal pieces of our lives, mostly focusing on the economic impact of a health crisis. However, life-changing events such as these seldom come in isolation. This perfect storm arose out of our lifestyle and diet, devastating my husband’s health and testing our faith.

In the span of a weekend my hard-working husband Mike went from a “Top Gun” insurance-fraud investigator to a bedridden patient, while I morphed into little more than a trembling caregiver. Without our realizing it, his lifestyle of constant traveling and eating on the road along with my budget-conscious (rather than health-conscious) efforts at home created unthinkable consequences.

Without any real symptoms, over a period of years he quietly developed chronic deep vein thrombosis. After a stint in critical care, surgery, and high-power medications, we exhausted all medical avenues to dissolve the clot.

The surgeon came in sporting a “you-did-this-to-yourself-big-guy” attitude and handed us a one-way ticket into a nursing facility. He declared that nothing more, medically, could be done. He explained, in a clear “good-luck-with-that” tone, that Mike’s body had to heal itself. He needed to “forge new veins.”

The finest health-care system in the world could only stop the progression of the clotting — which, arguably, is profound. Nonetheless, medicine had nothing further to offer us other than opiates, Warfarin, insulin, and around-the-clock, skilled care.

No cure, not even an injection of hope.

The fluid in his legs wasn’t going away “any time soon.” Which translated to him not getting out of bed any time soon. What fluid remained in six months, they said, would become permanent — an inconceivable thought.

My oldest daughter developed a theory and a plan. In the process we discovered these simple principles that had a profound impact on Mike’s recovery and my life.

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Breakfast for Dinner, Ina Garten Style

Thursday, February 27th, 2014 - by Becky Graebner

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Breakfast for dinner is one of the best dinners a person can have. I made Ina Garten’s roasted asparagus and prosciutto with homemade Hollandaise sauce for dinner this week. Good ole’ eggs, meat, and veggies!

1 lb. fresh asparagus

6 large slices of prosciutto (or bacon!)

1 ½ tablespoons butter (unsalted)

3 large eggs

olive oil

kosher salt

black pepper

Ina’s Easy Hollandaise Sauce (recipe below)

Ina’s Hollandaise Sauce:

2 large egg yolks (at room temperature)

1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice

¾ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

6 tablespoons butter (unsalted)

a pinch of cayenne pepper

Let me just start by saying that this is a delicious recipe—and that it might be one of my favorites so far. Now that I got THAT off of my chest, I’ll tell you how to make it.

To begin, I preheated the oven to 400 degrees. I also put a sauté pan on the stove at medium heat.

I snapped the “woody end” off of the stalk of the asparagus and spread them out in a single layer on a sheet pan.  Before placing them in the oven, I drizzled the asparagus with olive oil and dusted them with a pinch of salt and pepper.

Next, I prepped the bacon (I decided to use bacon since it was already in my freezer). I placed the thawed strips onto a baking sheet and placed them in the oven with the asparagus.  I roasted the asparagus for 10 minutes. For the bacon, follow the baking instructions (mine was done in 10 minutes—perfect timing with the asparagus!) If you are using prosciutto, bake for 5 minutes.

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Why Do Republicans Love Dark Chocolate More Than Democrats?

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014 - by PJ Lifestyle Daily Question

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Via Policy Mic: M&M’s or Skittles? Here’s What Your Favorite Candy Says About Your Politics

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Pollsters Jennifer Dube and Will Feltus of National Media Research, Planning and Placement LLP previous charted the politics of beer and Americans’ favorite TV shows. Now on Valentine’s Day week, they’ve released this chart showing whether Americans’ political preferences have any bearing on their favorite sweets.

This chart, though, isn’t as easy to decipher as their previous work on brands that marketed themselves as lifestyle choices (like hybrid cars, or Budweiser and Chik-fil-A). When’s the last time you saw candy marketed as a way to reinvent yourself?

 Read the whole thing.

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Spinach, Feta, and Reenacting James Bond

Monday, February 24th, 2014 - by Becky Graebner

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You win some. You lose some. This will be the unfortunate theme for today’s recipe.  (Don’t worry, I didn’t burn the house down.)

This week, I elected to make Ina Garten’s spinach with feta and pine nuts. 

2 ½ tablespoons good olive oil

1 ½ cups yellow onion (chopped)

1 pound fresh baby spinach

1 ½ tablespoons toasted pine nuts

½ cup feta (diced)

 1 lemon (1 ½ tablespoons juice)

kosher salt (1 ½ teaspoons)

black pepper (1 teaspoon)

I chose to halve the recipe because a) this type of dish doesn’t keep well and b) I didn’t want to eat 1 lb. of spinach by myself.

First, I heated the olive oil in a sauté pan and added the onion. I cooked the onion over medium heat until it was tender (about 8 to 10 minutes).  Next, I added the lemon juice (about 1 ½ tablespoons if you are making the full recipe) and the spinach.  I used tongs to turn the spinach in the pan until it was slightly wilted.  Then, I topped the spinach with a bit of lemon zest and removed the pan from the heat.

Now, here is where the problem started.  “Frailty, thy name is Salt.”

Ina says to mix in 1 ½ teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, the Feta cheese, and pine nuts after the pan has been removed from the heat.   I halved these amounts because I was making half the recipe.  Unfortunately, even with half the salt, the dish was too salty.  When I attempted to choke down the final result, I felt like I was reenacting James Bond in Casino Royale after Le Chiffre poisons him and he is forced to drink salt to vomit…  It was that bad.  Way too much salt!!

This recipe is good in theory—it is very simple to make and the lemon is a nice touch–however, the proportions for the ingredients are a bit off. I suggest starting out with ½ teaspoon of salt in your dish and going from there.  Don’t forget that Feta in itself is quite salty!

I hope you all have better luck than I did with this recipe. If you manage to get the proportions correct, let me know!  I will try to make this one again in the future—but with less salt.

Love you, Ina. This time, it just didn’t work out.

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Which Fast Food Is Your Guilty Pleasure?

Thursday, February 20th, 2014 - by PJ Lifestyle Daily Question

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Nigel Slater at the Guardian: why Big Macs are my guilty pleasure:

My walk of shame is more of a ravenous dash. An excited run to the parked car. Yes, it is about the three layers of bun, the two thin beef patties and the secret sauce (oh God, the sauce) but so, so much more. The soft rustle of warm paper as I slip my hand deep into the bag and slowly pull out the chunky waxed box. The almost imperceptible click as I unhook the cardboard seal of the crass red and white carton and the salty rustle as I tip the fries into the lid. The wisp of stray lettuce. The warm, soft cushion of dough in my fingers. The peeking gherkin. The excited dribble of sauce between patty and bun. But more even than that. It’s the gorgeous, tingling luxury of instant gratification.

All comfort food is about timing. Get it wrong – too soon, too late, too often – and it misses the point. To be truly comforted you need, briefly, to be in a bad place. That slightly out-of-body feeling of extreme tiredness, low blood sugar, lost, away from home. In truth I have wolfed the Big Mac everywhere from Stockholm to Stoke-on-Trent. Hottest was Stockholm, where the fries almost burnt our lips and the bun was gold rather than beige. The most satisfying was at a fast food cathedral just off the motorway this summer, a salad dodger’s nirvana boasting everything from a Domino’s Pizza to an outpost of KFC. We didn’t possess the shiny manmade fibres and luminous trainers to eat in, so ran through the torrential rain back to our rented car, its windows lashed by the torrential rain. Ten minutes later, still licking our lips, we were back on the road, briefly satisfied, the windows fugged up and dripping with condensation.

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image via businessweek.com

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Grab Some Funky Pasta and Chow Down

Monday, February 17th, 2014 - by Becky Graebner

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Sometimes, the decision to make (or not to make) a recipe comes down to cook time. Will I be slaving over this meal for hours or will I be able to eat within 30 minutes?

I wanted an easy recipe this week—less cook time and fewer dirty dishes—as well as a dish that reheated well for lunches and dinners throughout the week.  Thankfully, Ina Garten’s cookbook had me covered.  This week, I made Ina’s orecchiette with broccoli rabe and sausage.

½ pound sweet Italian pork sausages

½ pound hot Italian pork sausages

1/3 cup good olive oil

6 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced

2 (14.5 oz) cans of crushed tomatoes

½ cup dry red wine

¼ cup tomato paste

1 pound dried orecchiette pasta  (I used radiatore)

2 bunches broccoli rabe (2 to 2 ½ pounds total) (variation: use broccolini)

1 cup grated parmesan cheese

kosher salt

black pepper

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Paula Deen’s Comeback Payday

Friday, February 14th, 2014 - by Chris Queen

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Looks like Paula Deen is bouncing back from last year’s controversy. The beleaguered celebrity chef seems to have overcome the accusations of racism that a former employee leveled at her in a lawsuit last summer. Deen’s new project, Paula Deen Ventures, has picked up an investment payday to the tune of at least $75 million.

The money came from private equity firm Najafi Cos., based in Phoenix. A representative from Paula Deen Ventures says the company is currently speaking with several “TV networks, retail chains and other possible partners,” though curiously, Food Network is not one of them.

After a year in which she lost sponsors left and right, this new start is good new for Deen. Her fan support has barely wavered, especially in the South, where her Savannah, Georgia, restaurant, The Lady & Sons, continues to experience long lines and waits. Deen is aware of the groundswell of approval from her longtime fans.

She said she draws confidence from the “hundreds of thousands of folks who signed up on Facebook’s ‘We Support Paula Deen’ page,” adding that “hundreds of thousands of my fans sent me messages of love and support.”

Will this new start mean more success for Paula Deen? Anyone who has heard her story knows better than to count her out.

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4 Sweet Treats for a Red Dye 40 Free Valentine’s Day

Friday, February 14th, 2014 - by Megan Fox

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I have watched my children go from contented and happy to screaming with uncontrollable rage in the time it takes to ingest one red sucker. I will never forget the day I put it together. I watched my child transform from a sweet, happy little girl into a tortured soul right before my eyes. Since I have eliminated red dye (and most other artificial dyes) from their diets, the tantrums and emotional upset has significantly decreased. If you have kids, you’ve written all their Valentine’s Day cards to hand out at school and you have or will have received in return bags and bags of cute cards and loads of bright red candy. For those of us with dye sensitive children, Valentines Day is worse than Halloween. It is a bloody red nightmare.

Even a homeschooling family like mine has to be ever watchful because at every extracurricular activity or co-op class we go to someone is handing my child a bright, red heart-shaped sucker I have to rip out of their hands and either give back or hide in my purse. My 8-year-old is very conscientious about not ingesting anything red because she knows it makes her feel out of control and angry. But my 4-year-old is still struggling with impulse control and will devour any candy anyone gives her. Without the watchful eye of her sister, she won’t make a good choice.

I’m not one of these insufferable parents who lecture other parents about recycled diapers and the dangers of aluminum foil. In fact, I never bring up the dye issue unless someone asks but I’ve noticed more and more people are curious about what artificial dyes might be doing to their children.

There are lots of personal anecdotes of children with behavioral problems, including children diagnosed with ADD and ADHD, whose symptoms completely disappear when petroleum based artificial dyes are eliminated from their diets. There are some in my own family. My own children are sensitive to red dye 40 and yellow 6. There are easy ways to tell if your child suffers the same problem, but why even test them? Just take them off of it. If artificial dyes can cause some children to have fits of rage, inability to concentrate, temper tantrums for no reason, crying jags and emotional upset, do you really think that substance is one you want your kid eating?

Many of our big companies like Kraft and General Mills already make dye-free everything to sell in the European market because artificial dyes are illegal there. With more public knowledge of this fact, perhaps we can convince them to offer us the same healthier choice. There is no nutritional value to food dyes as they are used solely for aesthetic purposes and to sell brightly colored objects to children who, let’s face it, are like birds attracted to shiny objects.

This does not mean all foods must have no color and be boring to look at. On the contrary, natural food dyes are so similar to artificial colors I can’t see a difference. Rainbow Goldfish are now made with all natural dyes including beet juice and carrot juice among others. My children love them and there is no taste difference. Finding dye-free food is challenging but not impossible. The following are my four favorite finds for this Valentine’s Day.

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3 Simple Desserts for Your Special Valentine

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014 - by Becky Graebner

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Valentine’s Day is coming up which means some of you may be running around trying to decide what to do for the occasion.  If you’re staying in and cooking, here are three, simple dessert sauces that can pair easily with things already in your kitchen.  Sometimes, a simple and classic dessert is the best dessert. Spend less time cooking and more time with the people you love!

All of these recipes an be found in my favorite, handy-dandy sauce cookbook, The Top 100 Quick and Easy Sauces.

1. The Classic: Chocolate Fudge Sauce

Ingredients:

heaped 1/2 cup packed brown sugar

heaped 1/2 cup sugar

2 oz. good-quality semi-sweet chocolate (broken into squares)

4 tbsp. butter (diced)

3 tbsp. light corn syrup

vanilla extract (a few drops)

4 tbsp. light cream

Directions:

Grab a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add the sugars, chocolate, butter, and corn syrup.  Heat the mixture slowly until it is smooth.  Stir continuously.

Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer over low heat for five minutes. Stir continuously.

Remove from heat.

Add the vanilla extract and cream.  Mix well.

How to serve: pour this over ice cream, sliced fruit (strawberries), or baked goods (hello, double chocolate brownies!)  Add some pink, red, and white jimmies for decoration.

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Going Greek! (In the Kitchen)

Monday, February 10th, 2014 - by Becky Graebner

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I was in Naples, Florida last week and was introduced to a local gem—a restaurant called Greek Gourmet.  Their food was great, and their tzatziki sauce was to die for.  I knew Ina had an “Easy Tzatziki” recipe in her “Foolproof” cookbook and I planned to see how she stacked up to my new favorite restaurant in Naples… (Spoiler Alert: It makes the cut.)

2 (7-ounce) containers of Greek yogurt

1 hothouse cucumber

¼ cup of sour cream

2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon minced fresh dill

1 ½ teaspoons minced garlic (about 2 cloves)

2 teaspoons kosher salt (I think this is too much–start with 1 teaspoon and go from there.)

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

(No oven to preheat this time!)

I placed the yogurt, sour cream, lemon juice, vinegar, dill, garlic, and pepper into a bowl. I only added in 1½ teaspoons of salt. (Start with 1 teaspoon and add more to taste.)

Next, I grated a large cucumber into a separate bowl.  In the process of grating my cucumber, my mind decided to check out and I succeeded in grating part of my finger. This was my first kitchen injury… maybe the Greek gods don’t like me?  (The cut made dealing with lemon and garlic a little tricky.)

The next step in the recipe is to pull the cucumber “guts” out of the bowl, ringing out most of the liquid, and then adding it to the bowl with the other ingredients. I wasn’t about to put my maimed finger in a bowl of grated cucumber, so I created a “press” with a large slatted spoon. If you aren’t privy to getting your hands dirty, or if you also grate part of your hand, use a slatted spoon so scoop out the cucumber pulp and then press the “guts” with another spoon, pushing the liquid out.

After pressing out all the liquid, I mixed up the ingredients into a thick sauce.

Ina suggests serving the tzatziki with olives, feta, and toasted pita breads (you can also use pita chips if you don’t want to toast your own pita breads). By the way, is it “kitchen legal” to eat this sauce with just a spoon when I run out of pita breads?  Just wondering… it’s that good.

Enjoy!

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Green Up, Chill Out

Monday, February 10th, 2014 - by Hannah Sternberg

This week’s gardening music:

For Part 1 of this gardening series, sprouting seeds, click here.

When I was searching for seeds on Amazon, I noticed that the same companies that offered the highest-rated herb variety packs also sold “survival garden” seed packages. These packs contain a selection of hardy vegetables that provide a range of important nutrients, the perfect addition to your survival bunker. Of course, they aren’t much help if you don’t know how to grow them.

A simple herb garden won’t sustain you in case of a global disaster, but it is a good way to learn basic gardening skills. Most common herbs go easy on the gardener — Mediterranean herbs like thyme and oregano don’t require a lot of water, so a day or two of forgetting your new calling won’t kill them. Woody herbs like lavender and rosemary are difficult to start from seed, but once they’re well-established they’re extremely hardy. Leafy herbs like basil take minimal tending — just put them in a sunny spot and they’ll fill your garden or kitchen with beautiful fragrance even when you’re not cooking.

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Operation Onion

Thursday, February 6th, 2014 - by Becky Graebner

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For some reason, whenever I enter the produce section of a grocery store I am afflicted with temporary amnesia.  I forget what veggies and fruit I have at home and I tend to duplicate what I already have in my fridge. “It’s ok…I’ll use it up…”

I am notorious for serial buying onions.  Onions do tend to last forever, but this week I really wanted to get rid of at least one sulking in the back of my refrigerator. (What one person needs three onions?)  I decided to consult my magical book of sauces.

 

Soubise Sauce

(Serves 4)

INGREDIENTS

3 tablespoons butter

1 large onion, finely chopped (red or yellow)

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 ¼ cups milk

freshly ground black pepper

salt

 

TOOLS

2 Saucepans

Cutting board

Knife (for chopping)

Spoon

Measuring cups

Measuring spoons

Whisk

 

DIRECTIONS

  • Melt 1 1/2 tablespoons butter in the saucepan.
  • Add in the onion and fry for 10-15 minutes (or until soft). Remove pan from heat and set aside.
  • In the second saucepan, melt 1 1/2 tablespoons butter.
  • Add the flour and cook for 1 minute while stirring.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and gradually whisk in the milk.
  • Return the saucepan to the heat and bring to a boil.  Stir/whisk until sauce thick and smooth.
  • Simmer sauce for 2-3 minutes and stir continuously.
  • Add the fried onion.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste and serve hot.

This recipe suggests pairing this sauce with roast chicken, baked ham, broiled haddock, or monkfish.

Yum yum yum! Enjoy! (and hooray for one less onion!)

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A Cure For Peanut Allergies?

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014 - by Theodore Dalrymple

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Many medical papers nowadays have such complex statistics that not one in a hundred doctors understands them fully, and the rest have merely to hope or take it on trust that the authors’ conclusions really do follow from their data. I am afraid I hold to the rather crude view that, if results involving large numbers of patients need involved and sophisticated statistical manipulation to yield a positive outcome, they probably are not very important clinically, however statistically significant they may be. Clear-cut results are not very common these days.

I therefore rejoiced to see in a recent edition of the Lancet the report of an experiment so conclusive that it hardly needed statistical confirmation to prove it. The experiment was a double-blind trial of the desensitization of children with an allergy to peanuts by means of oral immunotherapy (OIT).

Ninety-nine children aged between 7 and 12 with proven allergy to peanuts were divided into two groups: those who, unbeknown to them, received small but increasing doses of peanut protein mixed into their food over a period of six months, and those who did not. At the end of that period, 62 percent of the treated group, but none of the untreated, tolerated a challenge of 1400 milligrams of peanut allergy. The children who had had the OIT were 25 times less sensitive than those who had not. When the control group who had not had it were given it, they too became less sensitive.

The authors also demonstrated that the quality of life of the desensitized children improved because they became less anxious that any food might ambush them, as it were, and cause an allergic reaction. Anyone who has seen an allergic reaction to peanuts (or other nuts) will understand this. Since the number of food products that bear the warning “may contain peanuts” is ever-increasing – peanuts seem almost as ubiquitous in our environment as rock music – the world must appear a dangerous place to those with the allergy.

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A Meatloaf Recipe for Meatloaf Skeptics

Monday, February 3rd, 2014 - by Becky Graebner
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The 1770 House in East Hampton, NY

I usually shy away from meatloaf.  A. It is called “Meat-loaf”…it just doesn’t sound appetizing.  B. The shape…it is meat trying to masquerade as banana bread.  C.  Meatloaf seems to be one of those dishes that is either REALLY good or REALLY bad.

Despite my misgivings about meatloaf, I decided to try Ina Garten’s “1770 House Meatloaf” recipe that is featured in her cookbook, Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust. This recipe isn’t a Barefoot Contessa original.  It actually comes from one of Ina’s favorite restaurants, the 1770 House, in East Hampton, New York.

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cups chopped Spanish onion (I used 1 large white onion)

1 ½ cups diced celery

1 pound ground beef

1 pound ground veal

1 pound ground pork

1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

3 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten

2/3 cup whole milk

2 tablespoons kosher salt (I used only 1 tablespoon since I had less meat)

1 tablespoon black pepper

2 ½ cups panko

 

I edited this recipe (as usual).  For starters, I only purchased 1 pound of ground beef and 1 pound of ground pork.  (The meatloaf was PLENTY big with only 2/3s the meat).  I also went without chives (a no-go at the store), substituted regular milk for the whole milk, and halved the amount of salt (only 1 tablespoon). If I had had them in my fridge, I would have mixed in carrots and bell peppers too.  (I love veggies).

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How Not to Turn Into The Shining This Winter

Thursday, January 30th, 2014 - by Hannah Sternberg

Tonight’s Gardening Music:

It’s just about the time of year I start to get the desperate, painful feeling that I’ll never see a green growing thing again. The Polar Vortex isn’t doing much to help my cabin fever — I used to get through long winters in Vermont by imagining that somewhere in the continental US (a limit that made the place seem more geographically accessible) it was warm. Now I live below the Mason-Dixon line, my postage stamp front yard is covered in snow, and I heard it was freezing in Florida. Get me out of here.

My roommate and fellow contributor Becky Graebner has been tackling her cabin fever by cooking her way through Ina Garten and documenting it here. I thought I’d contribute some fresh herbs to her cause by pursuing one of my favorite hobbies, gardening. I’m fighting the Polar Vortex Blues by getting a head start on my annual kitchen garden. Follow me, step-by-step, in the coming weeks as I provide garden tips and inspiration — and let me know what you’re planning on growing this season!

Day One: No Gear, No Fear

I got my seeds today.

I know that for a lot of people, a big part of the pleasure of a hobby is acquiring all the paraphernalia — just talk to an amateur photographer and you’ll probably spend more time discussing accessories, upgrades, and programs than you will the actual photographs. But my usual approach to new hobbies (or the restart of old ones) is to keep it simple, and let the results guide my acquisition of more gear.

So tonight, I have three glasses of water and three packets of seeds.

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‘The Way God Intended It’

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014 - by Hannah Sternberg
Union Station

I was standing, sleepily, at the counter of a coffeeshop in Union Station, waiting for the barista to remember I’d ordered a drink, when I overheard the woman behind me order hers:

“I’ll have a small latte.”

“What kind of milk?”

“Whole milk.” Pause. Muttered, half to herself: “The way God intended it.”

Maybe I was just cranky — it was my first day heading back to the office after a week out with the flu — but I had to fight the urge to say to her, “Just like God intended that sheep’s wool to be spun, woven, and dyed into your pretty pink plaid coat?”

I had little doubt it was a real wool coat. She looked like someone who would curl her lip at the thought of synthetic fabric touching her skin.

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A Hearty Ina Garten Recipe for Winter Dinners

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014 - by Becky Graebner

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Day 1: I Had a Bad Day, So I Decided to Roast Something

Day 2: How I’ll Make a Brussels Sprouts Believer Outta You!

Day 3: Is that a Geoduck or a Parsnip?

Pasta is HANDS DOWN my favorite food. (runner ups are sour gummy worms, which is hardly a food, and steak.)

I decided to take a break from meat as a main course and serve up some delicious pasta!  Today’s recipe is Ina Garten’s “Straw and Hay with Gorgonzola.”

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

4 ounces prosciutto, cut crosswise in ½-inch-thick matchsticks

1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 large)

1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)

1 ½ cups heavy cream

4 ounces Italian Gorgonzola dolce, crumbled

1 ½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

8-10 ounces tagliatelle or fettuccine

2 cups frozen peas, defrosted

½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

¼ cup julienned fresh basil leaves

1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt

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Fruity Cereal Flavors? Yeah, They’re All The Same

Friday, January 24th, 2014 - by Chris Queen

Froot Loops

My childhood is ruined. Well, not ruined, but I have to admit a little part of me is disappointed at the findings on fruit flavored cereals. The folks at Relevant broke the news:

Your favorite breakfast cereal is nothing but one, big lie. The crushers of childhood dreams over at Foodbeast.com recently conducted a blind taste test to determine if consumers could distinguish the difference between the brightly-colored rings of sweet goodness found in Froot Loops (note: most likely for legal reasons, they can not be referred to as “fruit” loops), and found that each color was actually the same flavor. Not content on just ruining Froot Loops for generations to come, they also used the same methodology to discredit the disguising colors behind Trix and Fruity Pebbles. All of those glorious blues, eye-catching greens and bright-like-the-rising-sun reds are nothing but sugary lies …

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Repurposing a Plethora of Parsley

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014 - by Becky Graebner

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I rediscovered a cookbook in my kitchen (The Top 100 Quick and Easy Sauces) on sauces that has become my “go-to” for using up herbs and extra ingredients from my Ina Garten cooking journey. I thought I would share a few of these easy recipes with you in the coming weeks.  Cooking motto: waste not.

If you are like me and bought a large bundle of parsley for cooking and now find yourself wondering what to do with the excess, look no further.  Here is a easy and versatile recipe for those extra bunches of parsley.

“Parsley Sauce”

(Serves 4)

INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon flour

1 ¼ cups milk

2-3 tablespoons chopped parsley

freshly ground pepper

salt

TOOLS

Saucepan

Whisk

Spoon

Measuring cups

Measuring spoons

Cutting board

Knife (for chopping)

DIRECTIONS

  • To begin, chop up that parsley!  Set aside.
  • Melt the butter in a small saucepan.
  • Add the flour and stir for one minute.
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat and gradually whisk in the milk.
  • Return the pan to the stove and bring to a boil.  Continue to stir/whisk the sauce until it is smooth and thick.
  • Lower the temperature and simmer the sauce for 2-3 minutes. Stir continuously.
  • Stir in the parsley and season with the salt and pepper to taste.

This book suggests that you serve this sauce on cod, haddock, baked ham, fava beans, or spinach.  I poured it over a bowl of pasta.  It was light, simple, and delicious.  (I’m going to try it on tilapia tonight!)

Enjoy!

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Is that a Geoduck or a Parsnip?

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014 - by Becky Graebner

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Day 1: I Had a Bad Day, So I Decided to Roast Something

Day 2: How I’ll Make a Brussels Sprouts Believer Outta You!

I meandered into the “sides” section of Ina’s cookbook again.  Maybe it was the bright colors in the photograph or the fact that I like the color orange…whatever it was, I chose “orange-braised carrots and parsnips” for today’s recipe.

1 pound carrots with the greens attached

1 pound thin parsnips

1/3 cup small-diced shallots (1 large)

2 teaspoon grated orange zest

1 ¼ cups freshly squeezed orange juice (or bottled juice)

1/3 cup good olive oil

6 springs fresh thyme, tied with kitchen string

pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

kosher salt and black pepper

2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

My first thought when I began reading this recipe was, do I even know what a parsnip looks like?  Nope. I didn’t.  I only found them at the grocery store after reading all of the tiny labels in the veggie section. Even then, I thought it was mislabeled because it looked like a geoduck!

This was my first time cooking with geoduck, er, I mean parsnips.  Welcome to the club if this is also your first time!  (They turned out to be very tasty.)

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