Saturday, June 26, 2010

Power to Preserve

The time to start canning is not in late Summer. The time to start canning is indeed now and throughout the season when fruits and vegetables are at their peak and readily available.

We all know that some of the more common fruits seem to get the most attention in the canning process. Who could resist the fresh canned peaches, or the strawberry jams and jellies that hearken one's memory back to the field with each bite.

But we often  forget that vegetables need some attention in canning also. Sure, some of you have done bread and butter pickle slices or even attempted to can beets or even chutney's. But we never seem to get down to some of the more interesting ways we can preserve. Maybe it is because we don't know the steps to canning vegetables. Or maybe we fear the reports associated with the dangers of canning some misunderstood vegetable. Or maybe it is just that we don't know what can be canned. Well, there is great news for those that feel especially challenged in the art of  preserving. Several great resources are here to assist you.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Perfect Pair

Photo courtesy Pete Donnely
When you think about wine, you think about taste, color, the variety of notes that form on your palate. But we don't often think about the pairing of your choice of vintage with a cheese or even a fruit or nut. You will be surprised on the ways you can enhance the selection of your wine with a few points to remember.

  • Match the acidity level.
Chances are, an acidic cheese will match nicely with an acidic wine. For example, acidic wines such as Sauvignon Blanc pair perfectly with fresh goat cheese, leaving a fruity tangy, rich and floral taste on the palate.

  • Opposites attract.
On the flip side, contrasting flavors can be quite complementary. For instance, salty blue cheese like Roquefort pairs nicely with a sweet dessert wine like a Sauternes to round off the strength of the cheese, and rich, creamy Brie pairs nicely with dry, bubbly Champagne as it will lift or cut through the cream of the cheese and enhance the taste.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Changing Tastes

I was able to spend some time with a man that took a central approach to food. After growing up in the Midwest and spending most of his adult life feasting on the offerings of the beef belt, Grant Butler, writer for the Oregonian, decided in February of this year to completely change his eating lifestyle. He became a vegan.  

To some people, the word that denotes eating a simple and balanced approach to a meatless world, does to others, invokes images of radical protesters in front of a fur store protesting the treatment of animals or midnight raids on animal compounds in an effort to "free" the occupants.

For most of the 4% of the U.S. population that choose this eating option, they are far from radical.

Being vegan is defined in dietary terms as the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals. Most vegans abstain from eating all forms of meat (to include fish) and the products that animals produce, i.e, eggs, butter, dairy products, to name a few. There are variations of being vegan, to include lacto-vegetarians, those that allow dairy as a part of their diet and  lacto-ova vegetarians, those that allow not only dairy but eggs as well.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Photo courtesy  ladanen
Very few people who go to restaurants or food establishments will ever know what goes on behind the kitchen door. Those that know, often have or currently are working in the industry.
At times when your seated in the restaurant, you may have heard words and phrases between the wait staff and kitchen and wondered, "Why did they just call me a "Camper"? And what or WHO is "Dead" in the kitchen? So what are they saying to each other?

Many professions have words or phrases that are often unique to that industry and the kitchen is no different.
Well now is your chance to decode some of the more commonly used words and phrases that you might hear at your local eatery.