Saturday, July 31, 2010
Posted by Angie Mohr at 3:49 PM
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
I think about these things frequently. Each of us has our own traditional foodways that may be buried deeply under two generations of convenience food and drive-throughs but are still there, waiting to be shared with our children and grandchildren.
What do you know about your family's food history? Do you have recipes scribbled down by your grandmother that are in danger of being lost? Was there something special about the way your mother formed pirogies or layered baklava? Be sure to write these snippets of history down so that they are not lost forever. The more we understand and embrace our food history, the less likely it will be that our children eat nothing but frozen pizzas and McDonald's.
Posted by Angie Mohr at 12:17 PM
Friday, July 9, 2010
A Traditional Indian Dish Gets a Healthy FaceliftSamosas are popular hand pies, or stuffed pastries, eaten in many countries around the world, especially in the areas of the Southeast Asia, North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. Popular fillings in samosas are lentils, potatoes, peas, and chickpeas. Meat-filled samosas are also popular in some areas, and chicken and spinach is a common combination.
Posted by Angie Mohr at 9:27 AM
Roast chicken has been a family staple on the Sunday dinner table for two hundred years. Chicken lends itself to long slow roasting in the oven or over a spit. However, if cooked too high or too long, chicken can easily dry out and produce a tough, flavorless product that needs to be smothered in gravy to be palatable.
The secret to a moist, tender roast chicken is brining. Brining, at its most basic, is simply covering the chicken with a solution of salt and sugar and water and letting it sit.
Posted by Angie Mohr at 9:23 AM
It has only been for the past fifty years that refrigerators have been a staple in kitchens across America. Prior to that, fresh foods were stored without refrigeration in a variety of different ways. Households had to store seasonal produce, meats and other homestead products like milk and cheese to tide them over through the winter.
Storing fresh eggs without refrigeration was a very important task as hens lay more when days are long and begin to shut down production in the winter. Because eggs were a staple not only as a breakfast item but also as an ingredient in many homestead staples, spreading them out throughout the year was a critical skill.
Posted by Angie Mohr at 9:19 AM
Personalize Your Curry Dishes with Your Own Combinations of SpicesMy kitchen would not be complete without curry powder. As my cooking preferences frequently turn to Asian and African traditions, the heat of curry plays a central role in our everyday fare. I prefer to make my own curry powder rather than buy the stale and boring blends offered in my local grocery store. The difference in taste is immense and once you taste your own curry powder blend, you will never go back to buying it.
Posted by Angie Mohr at 9:16 AM
The Hearty and Delicious Cuisine of the Black Country Lives OnThe Black Country is an area in England loosely defined as the northwest sector of the Midlands. Most Black Country residents vehemently deny Birmingham as part of the area and, depending on the resident and often the time spent in the pub that day and how well the Wolves are playing, Wolverhampton sometimes does not make the cut either.
Posted by Angie Mohr at 9:13 AM
Laverbread is as ingrained on the collective Welsh gastronomical palate as is roast lamb and the two are often served together. Laverbread, surprisingly, is not a bread at all but a cooked puree of a local seaweed called laver. Laver (porphyra umbilicalis) has been harvested on coastal rocks on the western shores of Wales and on the English Devon coast for centuries. As with many rustic foods, laver was free for the harvesting and therefore an important component of the working class diet.
Posted by Angie Mohr at 9:10 AM
A Traditional Jelly Made from Seasonal FruitsAlthough having called Canada home for six generations, my family, almost without exception, is from England and has been there for at least five hundred years. One side of the family is from Yorkshire to the north, while the other is from the balmy Devonshire coast. Each region has its own traditional dishes and food ways and I always revel in the opportunity to discover what my ancestors likely put on their tables and in their pantries.
Posted by Angie Mohr at 9:07 AM
An Exotic Spice that Should Be in Everyone's PantryIn all of my cooking adventures up until this year, I have always left cardamom out of any recipe that called for it. Part of the reason was that I didn't know much about this exotic spice or what it would do to my cooking efforts. Part was its expense. Cardamom is the second most expensive spice in the world next to saffron and I couldn't justify paying close to thirty dollars a pound. The pre-ground cardamom was cheaper but I knew that it would turn out to be like any other spice- inferior and bland in comparison to its whole form.
Posted by Angie Mohr at 9:03 AM
For thousands of years, native Americans used simple and effective agricultural techniques to grow their food. One of these techniques was translated as "Three Sisters" planting: growing corn, beans, and squash together as these three crops are mutually beneficial and nutritionally complimentary. Planting a Three Sisters garden with your kids teaches them not only gardening but also an important part of American history.
Posted by Angie Mohr at 8:59 AM
A Historic American Fruit Making a ComebackPaw paws have grown wild throughout North America for hundreds of years. They are the largest native fruit on the continent. Eventually, paw paws fell out of favor with growers as the fruit didn't last long and was therefore hard to ship. Interest in growing paw paws is increasing once again as the tree is sturdy and isn't subject to considerable pest infestations. Growing paw paws is fairly easy and will provide you with fresh paw paw fruit for decades. I have four paw paw trees that will produce their first crop next year here in coastal Georgia.
Posted by Angie Mohr at 8:54 AM
Gourmet chefs have used herb-infused vinegars for decades to give dishes a deep, rich note or a bright finishing touch. The price of store-bought herbal vinegars is steadily increasing as it is considered a "gourmet" item. Luckily, it's easy to make your own herbal vinegar at home. Herbal vinegars make wonderful hostess and holiday gifts but are also indispensable in your own kitchen.
Posted by Angie Mohr at 8:49 AM
Marinated olives are a particularly welcome treat on an appetizer platter. There are as many kinds of olives as there are palates. Both green (unripe) and black (ripe) olives come from Italy, Spain, Morocco and California. Marinated olives in the deli section of your local grocery store can cost upwards of $12 per pint. The good news is that it is easy to make your own gourmet, marinated olives from a can of 99-cent olives and a few simple ingredients.
Posted by Angie Mohr at 8:45 AM