Category: Tips

Fat Tuesday mantra “Suck head; pinch tail!”

Bliss!

 

Grow grow grow!!!!

Okay, so do you want the good news or the bad news first?  Let me start gently, then.  The good news is that it’s crawfish season again and it will be available for Mardi Gras!  The bad news is that this year is starting out like last year with small crawfish due to the cold weather, according to the Town Talk, a Louisianna based news publication.  This is a bubble buster for those of us living in Texas/Louisianna who’ve waited patiently to enjoy this seasonal delicacy.  Blame it on global warming but the weather is one of the major factors in getting them to plump up!  Once the weather starts to warm up, then you’ll be seeing some decent sized crawfish.  So, enjoy the festivities and the OTHER  food offered before Lent starts such as shrimp po’boys, king cake (good luck!!), pancakes (Shrove Tuesday tradition from England), or whatever street fare you find!  

Oh!  And, if you do get to eat crawfish this year, try it with lemon pepper (and beer).  If this is your first attempt to boil them, please don’t forget to purge them of the swamp muck by dunking them in ice water bath for ten minutes or so, then boil. 

Crawfish happens to be Stacy’s favorite, so stay tuned to Hungry-4-More because he may surprise y’all with a Cajun recipe for crawfish boils! 

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Aromatic Essentials

There is something special about walking into someone’s home and relishing the aroma of garlic and onions sauteing in a pan in a kitchen nearby. Garlic and onions as well as bell peppers and celery are commonly used in recipes as a sort of backbone to magically transform food into mouthwatering dishes. It is inconceivable to think you could complete cuisines such as Cajun, Indian, Mexican or African without these essential aromatics!

If you’re one of the very few who don’t cook with these gems, then consider some interesting health facts that you might not have heard of before.

  • Garlic

Nursing mothers will be happy to hear that this marvel will help their babies nurse longer and drink more breast milk. According to researchers, the trick is for mom to consume garlic two hours prior to feeding time when the aroma is strongest in the breast milk which will be much more enticing to baby. (Tricks of the Trade, Vol. I from Midwifery Today).  You can make a great peanut sauce with garlic and enjoy some healthy Vietnamese spring rolls for lunch!

  • Onion

It is well documented in medical science that onions share cancer fighting properties with garlic and bell peppers, as well as various antiseptic properties. Some websites even re-post this unsourceable statement about onions: “Egyptians numbered over 8000 onion-alleviated ailments.” Whether or not this is a historical exaggeration, there was plenty of evidence left behind by the ancient Egyptians that illustrate how much the onion was highly regarded in their cuisine and health.  Try an enchilada recipe  for a healthy dose of onion goodness!

  • Bell Pepper

According to scientists, a serious depletion of vitamin A occurs in smokers due to a carcinogen found in cigarettes. Foods rich in vitamin A, such as bell peppers and chili peppers, can protect smokers from developing emphysema or lung inflammation. Also, the high vitamin C content in bell peppers have also been seen by researchers to protect people from developing cataracts and from crippling rheumatoid arthritis. (World’s Healthiest Foods)  A good way to enjoy this aromatic is in salads or a sausage wrap this summer!

  • Celery

Celery contains a high amount of a natural steroid called androstenone, which increases pheromone levels in men when they sweat. Co-authors Dr. Judy Garman, Dr. Walter Gaman and Dr. Mark Anderson call celery “vegetable Viagra” in their new book called “Stay Young: Ten Proven Steps to Ultimate Health.”  So, get yourself some stalks of celery and peanut butter (or hummus) as a snack or in stuffing with a nice cut of pork for the ladies.

Without a doubt, there is more to these essential aromatic foods than meets the eye. There are other aromatics that are worth mentioning and exploring such as shallots, ginger, herbs, spices, peppers and others.  All have unique properties to enrich your life and, most especially, your palate.  So, cook more at home and be in control of your health!

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Simple Pad Thai

Simple Pad ThaiA very simple and quick recipe for Pad Thai. Being single, I can whip this up pretty quick when I need a meal and don’t have a lot of time to cook.

Serves: 1

Ingredients:

2 oz Pad Thai noodles
10 medium shrimp, peeled deveined, tails removed
3 tablespoons pepper infused extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons Teriyaki sauce
2 eggs, well beaten
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 tablespoon pepper
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tablespoon Teriyaki Ginger rub (Adams Reserve)
Dried Cilantro leaves
Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce

Directions:

Soak Pad Thai noodles in warm water for at least 10 minutes until soft, salt can be added to the water if desired. I put them in a medium sauce pan over low heat. While noodles are soaking peel, devein and remove the tails from the shrimp, chop garlic, and slice shallot. In a medium skillet or wok, over medium-high to high heat, add olive oil, garlic, shallots and shrimp. Saute until shrimp become pink and opaque. Remove and set aside, leaving oil. Add eggs to the skillet and scramble until cooked. Reduce heat to medium-low. Drain and add noodles, Teriyaki sauce, Teriyaki ginger rub, sugar, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Stir fry until thoroughly mixed and sauce is absorbed. Add back in shrimp, shallots and garlic. Mix well. Remove to dish and garnish with cilantro leaves and Sriracha sauce.

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Tip: Which red wine to choose

Barbera  (Bar-ber-uh)
Barbera is often used as a blending grape. As a varietal it can exhibit
aromas of berries, plums, or cherries with hints of vanilla, toasty, or
smoky flavors.
Barbera is best served with tomato based pasta dishes.

Cabernet Sauvignon (Ca-burr-nay So-veen-yawn)
Cabernet Sauvignon is a rich full-bodied red wine. Aged in oak, this is a
complex wine with cassis and blackberry flavors as well as hints of bell
pepper. To make these wines drinkable sooner they are often blended with
other grapes. French Bordeaux is mostly Cabernet Sauvignon blended with
Merlot to soften the tannins. When blended with Merlot and perhaps Cabernet
Franc as well, this Bordeaux style blend is called Meritage in the United
States.
Cabernet Sauvignon is the classic wine to serve with red meats.

Merlot (Mare-lo)
Merlot is softer tasting than Cabernet Sauvignon due to having less tannins.
It is a smooth, dry red wine. Merlot is often described as having the
flavors of boysenberry, black cherry, herbs, and mocha. <b>Merlot is best
with poultry and grilled meats, but these types of wines actually goes well
with most foods.

Pinot Noir (Pee-no Na-wahr)
Pinot Noir is a smooth silky red wine that is extremely fruity. It is
characterized with aromas and flavors of black cherry or rose petals along
with hints of spiciness or herbal qualities. Pinot Noirs are enjoyed for
their soft velvety texture. High in alcohol, they are full bodied but not
heavy. Pinot Noir is best served with grilled salmon, roast beef, lamb,
duck, and mushrooms.

Sangiovese (San-gee-oh-ve-zee)
Sangiovese is a medium bodied dry red wine with earthy aromas and berry,
plum, spicy, or floral flavors. It has a smooth texture. Sangiovese is the
main grape used to produce Italian Chiantis. Sangiovese goes especially
well with pasta and other Italian foods.

Syrah (Sah-ra)
Syrah is a hearty red wine noted for its complexity of aromas and flavors
including raspberry, plum, smoke, and white pepper. It is a dark red wine,
sometimes almost black in color. This wine is also called Shiraz.
Syrah is wonderful eaten with duck, wild game, steak, and beef.

Zinfandel (Zin-fan-del)
Zinfandel can be light to full bodied. It can be rich and spicy or lighter
and fruitier. Aromas and flavors that are typical include raspberry, jam,
black pepper, and licorice. Zinfandel tastes great with steaks, grilled
meats, and tomato based dishes.

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Tip: Sticky Ingredients in a Measuring Cup

While measuring sticky ingredients like molasses or honey,  spray your measuring cup or spoon with a little non-stick cooking spray like Pam.  It will stop you from having to scrape it out and make it easier to add to your favorite recipe.

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