Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Cinco de Mayo not only marks a heralded Mexican holiday, but also provides an opportune time to bring out the grill and turn your backyard BBQ into fiesta.
While tequila, Mexico's most renowned export, is most commonly used in margaritas, it also makes an excellent marinade ingredient for grilling:
Golden Margarita Glaze
Brush on a little fiesta flavor every time you grill with this luscious, zesty margarita glaze. Great on fish and shellfish, chicken, pork or vegetables.
Makes about 1/2 cup or 4 servings.
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup Jose Cuervo Golden Margarita
1 Tbsp. packed brown sugar
1 tsp. taco seasoning or ground cumin
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
Blend all ingredients together in a bowl. Set aside. Brush your food with glaze during the last 1 to 2 minutes of grilling. Drizzle any unused glaze over your food just before serving.
It's always important to satisfy your guests' hunger and thirst, but tending to the grill and tending to the bar can be difficult to do simultaneously. Here's a timesaving tip: Look for ready-to-serve margaritas whenever you buy spirits. Delicious and convenient, ready-to-serve margaritas allow you to entertain with quality and style-just twist the cap, pour and enjoy.
One option, Authentic Cuervo Margaritas Minis, comes in easy-to-carry four packs of single-serve bottles. ACM Minis are perfect for tailgating parties, trips to the beach or sitting at the pool. Portable and convenient, ACM Minis allow you to bring the fun of margaritas anywhere!
Celebrate the best of Mexican culture by grilling with a distinctive Mexican spirit.
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
The more I make bread, the more I am convinced of the importance of the kitchen being in the best position in the house. When we designed and built our house, I was determined that the kitchen should have a view and be on the front of the house. Now that it’s six-fifteen of a summer morning and I’m up early, kneading bread, because we’ve run out again, I’m especially happy to be looking out over a sun-soaked landscape to the distant mountains. Every time you make bread you’re guaranteed a good ten minutes of contemplation as you knead it, the mechanical rhythmic activity frees the mind to wander or switch off…very therapeutic. Having a view thrown in as well is just an added bonus.
I haven’t always made bread. It is a comparatively recent development. Making jam was the first breakthrough into self-sufficiency, then came the day when our local supplier of rye bread, who made a loaf that (miracle of miracles), all the children would eat, decided to switch recipes and use caraway in it…instant rejection by the whole family.
We’d stopped the wheat bread to try and help my son’s allergies and found it helped most of us, so apart from the occasional indulgence of fluffy white bread, I wanted to stay off it. There was no alternative; I would have to take the leap into bread making. The main reason that I’d resisted was that it seemed to take so long. First the mixing and kneading, then the rising, then knocking down and forming loaves, a second rising and finally the baking. Who could keep track of all that in the chaotic life of a three-child family?
So eventually I take the plunge, turn to my friend Nigel (Slater, not namedropping but he and Nigella (Lawson) are ever-present in my kitchen, in book format of course) and find a foolproof recipe for a white loaf, simpler to start off with white I think. Well the first try produced a reasonable, if huge, loaf, though my son still remembers that it was a bit doughy in the middle. Second try, I got two pretty perfect loaves and I was on a roll.
Now to find a recipe for rye bread. It seems that 100% rye is usually made by the sour dough method and I couldn’t see my family going for that, so settle for a half and half rye/whole-wheat recipe… triumph. Ok, my son the food connoisseur complained it was a bit too sweet, so next time round I reduced the amount of honey, but this recipe has been our staple diet ever since, and I am now truly ensconced in my kitchen, looking at the view, every other day, while I endeavour to keep the supply level with the ever increasing demand.
Any way, finally to the recipe:
500g rye flour
450g whole-wheat flour plus more for kneading
50g plain flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 10g sachet of instant yeast
1 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoons oil
670 ml milk
125 ml water
Warm the milk to lukewarm. Mix the flours and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle and put in the yeast, then honey, then oil, pour on the warmed milk and water and mix. When it gets doughy turn out on to a well floured surface (it will be extremely sticky) and knead for 10 minutes. You will need to keep adding flour as you knead. It is better for it to be too sticky than too dry – you can always add more flour, but too dry will make a dry, hard loaf. After 10 minutes, put it back into the bowl with a plastic bag over it and leave in a warmish place for two hours or so. Then knock down, firmly pressing out the air, but not over kneading, then form into two or three loaves on a baking sheet, cover again and leave to rise for another hour. Then bake for 30 minutes at 190C until they sound hollow when you tap on the bottom of the loaf. Cool on a wire rack
So how do I keep track of the bread making, in between school runs, mealtimes and the rest? Well I don’t always. There are times when I optimistically start the bread off, leave it to rise and four hours later remember about it, knock it down, forget to switch on the oven so it has had an extra day or so in rising time by the time it gets cooked. It does seem to be very forgiving though – whatever you do to it, you do generally get bread out at the end, it may not always be the perfect loaf, but then variety is the spice of life after all. There was one time it hadn’t quite finished cooking by the time I had to do the school run, so I asked my husband to take it out in ten minutes….. By the time I got back we had a very useful weapon against intruders. We didn’t eat that one…I think it was ryvita for lunch…!
Good luck with yours.
Copyright 2005 Kit Heathcock
Monday, July 16, 2012
There's nothing better than hearty foods to chase away winter chills, and as a young man in Northern Ireland, Colum Egan relished the warming effect of his Mother's homemade soup. Today, as the master distiller of Old Bushmills Distillery in County Antrim-the world's oldest Irish whiskey-Egan still enjoys "heating his bones" with a big bowl of soup.
"I think soup was bred into me by my mother. She says that there is both eating and drinking in it," says Egan.
Another of Egan's favorite dishes is salmon. "I love the thought of eating wild salmon from the very river that is the source of water for our Irish whiskey."
Chefs around the globe have long turned to spirits to add levels of complexity and flavor to their favorite recipes, so it should come as no surprise that Irish whiskey has a place in modern recipes that will delight the palate long after St. Patrick's Day.
But for those seeking tradition, Egan shares his favorite recipe for Irish coffee. Pour 11/2 ounces of Bushmills Original Irish Whiskey into a warm glass. Fill with strong black coffee and top with whipped cream.
1 oz. dried porcini mushrooms (soaked in warm water and finely chopped)
1 cup warm water
2 leeks-finely sliced
1 clove garlic-chopped
8 ozs. fresh wild mushrooms -chopped
4 cups beef stock
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 cup double cream
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
Sprigs of fresh thyme to garnish
3 capfuls Bushmills Original Irish Whiskey
In large saucepan, sauté leeks, shallots and garlic in butter and oil until soft, stirring frequently (about 5 minutes).
Add wild mushrooms and stir over a medium heat until they begin to soften. Add beef stock and bring to a boil. Add the porcini, soaking liquid, thyme and salt and pepper. Lower the heat, half cover the pan and simmer gently for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Pour about 3/4 of the soup into a food processor and blend until smooth. Combine with remaining soup, add heavy cream and heat through. Check the consistency, adding more stock or water if the soup is too thick. Add 3 caps of Bushmills Original Irish Whiskey. Season to taste. Serve hot, garnished with sprigs of fresh thyme.
Peppered River Bush Salmon With Bushmills Whiskey Cream Sauce
1 Tablespoon black peppercorns, crushed
1/2 Tablespoon white peppercorns, crushed
2 6-oz. salmon steaks
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
freshly ground sea salt
1 Tablespoon Bushmills Original Irish Whiskey
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives, plus extra to garnish
Combine crushed peppercorns. Cover salmon steaks with mustard and press peppercorns into the cut sides of the salmon to form thin coating. Season with salt.
Melt butter in a hot pan. Add salmon steaks. Reduce the heat to medium and cook on one side, until browned, about 3 minutes.
Increase heat to medium high, turn over salmon. Add whiskey. Cook rapidly until the whiskey has been reduced. Add the cream and stir quickly, scraping up any bits that are sticking to the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil.
Cook until the sauce starts to thicken (1-2 minutes), then season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the chopped chives and serve immediately, garnished with the extra chives.
Sunday, July 15, 2012
When many people think of beignets, they think of those wonderful, soft, pillow-like pastries sprinkled with confectionery sugar, served at Cafe Du Monde in the Old French Quarter.
As New Orleans gets back on its feet following Hurricane Katrina, I'd highly recommend a visit to the Crescent City to taste the real thing.
In the meantime, here's a different twist on a New Orleans favorite that you can try at home. It'll have your family and friends saying, "Laissez les bons temps rouler."
4 cups LouAna Peanut Oil, for that nutty taste with no cholesterol
3 cups flour
2 cups milk
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon seasoned salt
1 tablespoon garlic
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon Louisiana Hot Sauce
1 lb. lump crabmeat
2 cups fresh corn, cooked
1/4 cup parsley, minced
1/4 cup green onions, sliced
1. Heat peanut oil in frying pot until oil reaches 350°.
2. In a large bowl, blend together flour, milk, baking powder, seasoned salt, garlic, thyme, and hot sauce and stir until batter is formed.
3. Stir in remaining ingredients until all are incorporated. Be careful not to break up lumps of crabmeat during the process.
4. Drop batter by the spoonful into hot grease, being careful not to splash yourself.
5. Cook beignets for 2 to 3 minutes after they float to the top of pot, flipping occasionally.
6. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.
Yield: Approximately 2 dozen beignets.
Saturday, July 14, 2012
On DiningFever, you will be able to access a list of restaurants
offering various services in New York City, and much much more.
DiningFever is a complete source for all your restaurant needs in New York.
You can easily find a restaurant by clicking on the restaurant names’
scroll list. The names of restaurants are arranged alphabetically to make
your job easier. In addition, if you don’t have a particular
restaurant in mind but want a list of restaurants serving a particular type of
cuisine such as Mediteraanean, Italian, Mexican or Indian, simply
search the cuisines section and find all the details of restaurants offering
the type of cuisine that you would like to have.
The website also has a powerful keyword search feature, where you can
enter any keyword you like. The results for your keyword will be
displayed instantly. If you are interested in various deals offered by
restaurants, then you should definitely visit the deals section. Here you
will find a complete list of restaurants that feature discountsor other
types of promotional offers. The name of the restaurant and type of
cuisine it offers is also displayed. And if you want to keep track of the
most recent offers, you can see them on the right hand side of the page.
And you never have to worry about finding the restaurant you’ve
selected, since the site includes the restaurant’s addressalong with a map, so
that you can find the restaurant easily. You can even check out the
full menu of the restaurant before choosing it.
You can also browse the restaurants by restaurant category. For
example, if you want to browse by fine dining, click on the upscale and fine
dining section. If you are interested only in casual dining, then you
can search the casual dining section. How about going for a take-out or
delivery option if you don’t have enough time for a full dining out
experience? You will find a complete list of restaurants that provide
delivery service, as well as all of the restaurant’s details.
If you are a restaurant lover and would like to get up-to-date
information on all new restaurant offers, sign up for the DiningFever
newsletter. Simply provide your email address to have the weekly newsletter
describing the latest restaurant offers delivered right to your inbox.
Friday, July 13, 2012
Understanding what your visitors do on your site is crucial information. If your visitors proceed to purchase a product but then a large majority leaves the site when they get to a specific page in the order process, you need to know about it. It could be that this page is confusing or hard to use. Fixing it could increase your sales by 200%. This is just an example; there are many reasons why you want a detailed analysis of your site visitors.
Most website hosting services offer a stats package that you can study. If you're not sure where this is, call up your hosting service and ask them. Statistics are a vital part of tracking your marketing progress. If you don't have access to website statistics get a package that can help you in this area. Do not get a counter that simply shows how many visitors you've had. You'll be missing out on vital information that can help strengthen weaknesses in your site.
A good website hosting service offers traffic logs that provide an invaluable insight into the traffic being referred to a web site from various sources such as search engines, directories and other links.
Unfortunately traffic tracking provided by web hosting services is often in the form of raw traffic log files or other difficult to understand cryptic formats. These log files are basically text files that describe actions on the site. It is literally impossible to use the raw log files to understand what your visitors are doing. If you do not have the patience to go through these huge traffic logs, opting for a traffic-logging package would be a good idea.
Basically, two options are available to you and these are: using a log analysis package or subscribing to a remotely hosted traffic logging service. A remotely hosted traffic logging service may be easy to use and is generally the cheaper option of the two. WebTrends Live and HitsLink are two good, remotely hosted, traffic-monitoring services worth considering. However, WebTrends Live is a more complicated system and is suitable for larger ecommerce websites. "SuperStats" is another recommended traffic logging service.
These services do not use your log files. Typically a small section of code is placed on any page you want to track. When the page is viewed, information is stored on the remote server and available in real time to view in charts and tables form.
Log analysis packages are typically expensive to buy and complex to set up. Apart from commercial packages there are also some free log analysis packages available, such as Analog.
A good traffic logging service would provide statistics pertaining to the following:
1 How many people visit your site?
2 Where are they from?
3 How are visitors finding your site?
4 What traffic is coming from search engines, links from other sites, and other sources?
5 What keyword search phrases are they using to find your site?
6 What pages are frequented the most - what information are visitors most interested in?
7 How do visitors navigate within your web site?
Knowing the answers to these and other fundamental questions is essential for making informed decisions that maximize the return on investment (ROI) of your web site investment.
The most important aspect of tracking visitors to your website is analyzing all the statistics you get from your tracking software. The three main statistics that will show your overall progress are hits, visitors and page views. Hits are tracked when any picture or page loads from your server on to a visitor's browser. Hits, however, can be very misleading. It is quite an irrelevant statistic for your website.
The statistic that is probably the most important for a website is Page Views/Visitors. This gives you a good indication of two things. First, how many people are coming to your site, and secondly how long are they staying on your site. If you have 250 visitors and 300 page views you can figure that most visitors view one page on your site and then leave. Generally, if you're not getting 2 page views per visitor then you should consider upgrading your site's content so your visitors will stay around longer.
If you see the number of visitors you have increasing as well as the number of page views per visitor increasing then keep up the good work! Always look for this stat as an overall barometer of how your site design is going and if your marketing campaigns are taking hold.
Also, a good stat to look for is unique visitors. Once a person visits your site they will not be added to the unique visitors' category if they visit again. This is a good way to track new visitors to your website.
Page views are a good indication of how "sticky" your website is. A good statistic to keep is Page Views divided by the number of Visitors you have. This statistic will give you a good idea if your content is interesting and if your visitors are staying on your site for a long time and surfing.
Some people are intimidated by web traffic statistics (mostly because of the sheer volume of data available), but they shouldn't be. While there are many highly specialized statistics that can be used for more in-depth web traffic analysis, the above areas alone can provide invaluable information on your visitors and your website performance. Remember- this data is available for a reason. It's up to you to use it.
Thursday, July 12, 2012
For many people, making healthy recipes seems too difficult and time consuming...
But with some advance planning and some basic knowledge of nutrition, it is easy to create a week's worth of healthy meals that you and your family will love. The key to creating delicious and healthy meals for the family is planning ...and lot's of it!
Planning ahead of time an entire week of healthy recipe meals is the best way to create dishes you can be proud of, while keeping cost and time commitment to a minimum. So below are amazing tips you can use to make healthy meals all the time.
<b>Healthy Recipe Tip #1:</b>
Using convenient appliances such as slow cookers and microwaves can be a huge time saver when planning and preparing meals. There are many delicious and healthy recipes that can be started in the morning and left to cook all day in a crock pot or slow cooker. These are great choices for working families.
In addition, making the meals ahead of time on the weekend and heating them in the microwave is a great way to stretch both your food and your time. There are many microwavable healthy meals you can make at home, and single serving microwave safe containers allow every member of the family to eat on their own schedule.
When planning the meals for the week, it is a good idea to create a chart listing each day's menu and each days' schedule. Here's a smart tip...plan the quickest and easiest to prepare meals for the busiest days of the week.
<b>Healthy Recipe Tip #2:</b>
Get your family involved in creating the week's meal plan by asking for their input and noting everyone's favorite foods. It is still very important to eat healthy meals, so that (of course) does not mean eating pizza every night or having ice cream for dinner. But involving your spouse and children in healthy recipe planning, you'll help to increase their interest in healthy eating right away.
It is also a good idea to get your entire family involved in the preparation of the meals. Even children too young to cook can help out by setting out the dishes, chopping vegetables, clearing the table and washing the dishes.
Healthy Recipe Tip #3:
Cooking large quantities of healthy food recipes - and freezing the leftovers - is a easy way to save time. Cooking large amounts of stews, soups, pasta, chili and casseroles can be a huge time saver. Making double and even triple batches of these staple foods, and freezing the leftovers for later use, is a great way to save both time and money.
When freezing leftovers, however, it is important to label the containers carefully, using freezer tape and a permanent marker. Try to keep the oldest foods near the top to avoid having to throw away expired items.
Stocking up on meats when they are on sale is another great way to use that valuable freezer space. Stocking up on such easily frozen foods as chicken, turkey, ground beef, steaks, roasts and chops is a great way to make your food dollar stretch as far as possible while still allowing you and your family to enjoy delicious healthy meals every day.
Healthy Recipe Tip #4:
Keeping a well stocked pantry is as important as keeping a well stocked freezer. Stocking the pantry with a good supply of staple items like canned vegetables, canned fruits, soup stocks and the like will make healthy recipe preparation much faster and easier.
Stocking the pantry can save you money as well as time. Grocery stores are always running sales, and these sales are a great time to stock up. Buying several cases of canned vegetables when they are on sale, for instance can save lots of money and provide the basic ingredients for many nutritious, easy to prepare meals.
Examples of great staples to stock up on include whole grain cereals, pastas, tomato sauce, baked beans, canned salmon, tuna and whole grain breads. It is easy to combine these staples into many great meals on a moment's notice.
I hope you found these <i>healthy recipe</i> tips easy as pie!