We’ll be adding content to Hugh’s blog to keep you updated as the campaign moves forward.
We’ll be adding content to Hugh’s blog to keep you updated as the campaign moves forward.
The consistency of a pasta sauce is important for more reasons than simply the diner’s taste preference. Different shapes of pasta hold sauce based on its thickness and therefore the consistency can dictate the outcome of the entire dish. The correct consistency will blend all elements of the pasta together, and enhance the whole dining experience. So how can you fix a sauce that’s a bit too runny?
Choosing the right pasta
The shape of the pasta is the first thing that needs to be taken into account. Larger and more complex shapes like shells and corkscrews need a thicker sauce than strands of spaghetti do. The sauce should match the shape you wish to use.
Thickening tomato sauces
If the sauce is tomato-based, it’s extremely easy to thicken it by simmering it until it reaches the consistency you want. This is called reduction, and works by boiling off water until the sauce reduces in volume. This process also concentrates and enhances the flavour in the sauce, so herbs and spices should not be added until after it reaches the thickness you want, to avoid using too much.
Adding tomato paste is another option, but whether you’ve made your sauce from scratch or purchased it pre-made, it’s more than likely it already contains tomato paste, and adding more introduces more acidity that can throw off the balance of flavours in the dish. If reducing the sauce is not an option and you want to add tomato paste, adding cream or butter can rebalance the flavours and cut down the acidity whilst making the dish richer.
Thickening white sauces
White sauces can be slightly more difficult to thicken. Sauces based on cream can be reduced fairly effortlessly, and the standard carbonara sauce uses eggs to thicken the cream and make the sauce more decadent. Cream cheese is usually thick enough already when used as the base of a cheese sauce, but you can run into problems with milk-based and low-fat white sauces.
A milk-based white sauce like the bechamel sauce, is made primarily from butter, flour, and milk. The fact that it’s made from milk means it cannot simply be reduced like a tomato sauce as there’s a high likelihood of the milk curdling or burning from boiling it. It also has so much water content that you’d lose half the sauce to thicken it by reduction.
The usual way to thicken a milk-based sauce like this is with a roux. To make this you melt a tablespoon of butter in a saucepan, then add a tablespoon of flour and fry this for a minute to cook away the starch taste. Then it’s a simple matter of slowly adding the milk to the sauce whilst stirring to blend all the ingredients. Flavours like herbs can then be added and as the sauce starts to boil, the roux will thicken the sauce.
Fat-reduced pasta meals are usually made by substituting cream or cream cheese, with light cream, evaporated milk, light cream cheese, light ricotta, or cottage cheese. The main issue thickening these bases is that light cream separates really easily from heat, and cheese bases can curdle and be ruined by heat, therefore reduction isn’t the most viable option. A roux can be used, as can cornstarch or rice flour.
Using starch thickeners
Cornstarch and rice flour are quicker ways to thicken a sauce than reduction, and they won’t usually change the flavour of the sauce. They can change the texture and mouthfeel very slightly, but you won’t really notice this in a white sauce due to cream and cheese bases having a dominating texture. The key is to not use too much as the sauce will go gummy and look like ruined gravy.
Cornstarch has to be mixed into a little cold water into a runny paste before it can be added to sauces. Adding it straight to a hot liquid will cause it to form lumps in the sauce and it won’t work. It can go lumpy if added straight to a cold liquid too if it’s not mixed with water, so always remember to mix it with water before adding it to sauces for best results.
A teaspoon or two of cornstarch is best to start with, and if the sauce isn’t thick enough you can use some more. The sauce needs to be simmering for it to thicken, and you should be constantly stirring it until it does. Rice flour is even easier to work with. All you have to do to thicken a sauce is sprinkle it over the sauce whilst stirring until it thickens to the desired consistency. By following these methods it’s relatively easy to enhance your meals from average to spectacular and showcase your culinary prowess when entertaining guests.
Old Country Salad Recipe
One of my fondest memories of my Oma’s dishes come bursting back on my taste buds every time I serve this dish.
My daughters have all prepared it and through time have added their own touches, as you can too. here is all you will need.
1. Lettuce. I prefer the young lettuce salad mix.
2. 3 table spoons of sugar. To start with.
3 .4 table spoons of olive oil. Can substitute with your favorite.
4. several splashes of soy sauce.
5. Sprinkle of salt.
6. Several shakes of black pepper.
7. One diced onion. Can be substituted with red onion or young green onion.
8. 3 table spoons of vinegar/ then equal out with sugar- vinegar mix to taste.
Place the lettuce in a salad bowl. Mix all of the above listed ingredients in a mixing cup.
The taste that you are trying for is a sweet bitter mix. I like to dilute the vinegar and sugar mix with just a splash of water. If the vinegar taste is too strong add a little sugar.
Pour the mixture over the salad and let stand for a half hour in the refrigerator. The mix will marinate and it is well worth the wait.
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This recipe is for all the lazy sushi lovers out there who want the quick taste of sushi without all the work involved in making a sushi roll. It is also much cheaper than going out to eat and many of the ingredients are probably already on hand. This recipe involves no cooking and takes less that 10 minutes to prepare.
I call this recipe sushi salad because it has the lightness of such a dish, is served cold, and involves using great vegetables of your choice, but it also could be considered a inside-out sushi roll, or deconstructed sushi.
1 cup of rice
1/2 cup of chopped raw vegetables
2-3 Sheets of Nori or Dried Seaweed
Tablespoon of Soy Sauce
Teaspoon of Rice Vinegar (optional)
For rice, I like to use the microwavable kind, which you can find in some standard rice brands including Uncle Ben’s and Minute Rice. Unlike making traditional sushi, you don’t have to worry about the rice being sticky or chilled. If you do want to have traditional type sushi rice in a microwavable brand, Annie Chaun makes a great product. I like to use brown rice, giving you a hearty flavor with all the health benefits of a whole grain.
Once you have this rice microwaved, you just dump it into a serving bowl. You can adjust this recipe easily to serve however amount of people you want, but this recipe amount serves approximately one person. For the veggies, I tend to use ones that are used in california rolls, such as cucumber, avocado, carrots, but you can also use mushrooms, asparagus (which needs to be heated up for a couple of minutes in the microwave in order to eat), or any other vegetable that you might have handy.
Once you have chopped these veggies, dump it in the bowl with rice. The next ingredient you might not have handy, but is pretty easy to find in the grocery store. Seaweed made specifically for making sushi can be found in most stores. Usually it is in the ethnic foods section of most big grocery stores, almost always available in big cities. I live in a rural community to I tend to mine at Walmart, and have also ordered it online through Amazon.com. It usually is about 2-6 dollars for a package, and I tend to buy more than one because this sushi salad is addictive.
You then tear or crumble the seaweed into little bits and throw into the bowl with the veggies and rice. If you want to toast the seaweed to make it a little crispier you can bake it for a few minutes at 350 degrees, or pop it into a toaster oven. The next step is to pour a bit of soy sauce into the bowl-I like to use lite or reduced sodium soy sauce to make this dish even healthier.
If you have rice vinegar handy, it can be fun to pour some into this dish, but it isn’t really needed for the essential taste of sushi. Just mix all the ingredients and Voila! you have sushi salad.
Maintaining proper hydration throughout the day is essential for your health and this is no exception when you are at work. Shopping for drinks at work can be very difficult especially if you are looking to maintain your health in the process. Shopping for drinks for work also generally depends on what you are doing at work and what goals and deadlines you may have. There are several tips that can be offered to help you shop for drinks to enjoy in the workplace to get you through the busy working day.
The first thing to consider when shopping for drinks for work is the task at hand. If you know that you have a busy working day ahead of you that is going to take its toll on your energy levels and you mood then you can opt for drinks that are going to keep you active and motivated throughout the day. Despite their negative side effects, if you drink them sparingly, drinks that are high in caffeine could be beneficial to you on an especially busy day as long as you drink them with care and caution. Consider energy drinks or cola to get you through an extra busy working day.
For the most part, if you are expecting a regular working day then it is important to consider your health above anything. The body is made up mainly of water and therefore, pure tap water is going to be the most beneficial drink that you can have and that is completely free. If you want something with more of a taste however, you could opt for bottled water. Bottled water comes in a variety of different flavours to get your taste buds tingling. However, in the event that you do not want to splash out on bottled water but still want a nice and healthy drink, you could consider buying fruit, bottling your own tap water and flavouring it yourself with fruit.
Shopping for a working day can often be tedious if you are undecided as to what you want to drink throughout the day so plan ahead to avoid the stress and indecisiveness when you actually shop. Consider the day ahead and if it is going to be extra strenuous than normal, consider treating yourself to a drink that is going to give you an energy kick. However, if health and fitness is your optimal concern, consider regular water and adding your own fruit and flavours to it or bottled water if you do not mind paying that bit extra. Take steps to ensure you are properly hydrated throughout the working day and your health will benefit as a result.
Whether or not vegetables taste nice is simply a matter of opinion. Some people like vegetables to be blanched, whilst others prefer them to be well cooked. Either way, there are many methods that can improve the flavour, whatever texture is preferred.
Cooking in a steamer makes for crispy crunchy vegetables plus the full flavour remains. This method has a bonus in that they maintain higher nutrient content than vegetables that are boiled in water until they become soft.
Most vegetables can be mashed together to give a different flavour. Swede can be mashed with parsnips or carrots, turnips with leeks or all of them together. Broccoli can be mashed with cabbage and cauliflower. When cooked add a good splash of olive oil and/or butter with some ground black pepper, mash and serve. All of the above can be mashed together then cover with a sauce of choice. Place it in the oven and cook for approximately thirty minutes to make an interesting vegetable bake.
Of course, there are ways to improve the flavour of individual vegetables and this is frequently a necessity if one member of the household dislikes someone else’s favourite. There may be no need to take on extra work in an attempt to please everyone.
Also known as fava beans, these are delicious without accompaniments, however, some find this vegetable to be boring but it need not be so. Simply cook the beans in boiling water or in a steamer, when cooked place in a saucepan and add a tablespoon or two of cream, stir over the heat for approximately thirty second to one minute but do not allow the cream to boil. Add a pinch of black pepper to taste. This can be served as a tasty side dish or eaten as a snack.
An extremely easy way in which to improve the flavour, or at least give a different taste is simply to add a tablespoon of sugar to the water whilst boiling carrots. This gives a sweet and refreshing taste. For added extras include a splash of lemon juice once the carrots are cooked or add a knob of butter and some ground black pepper.
This vegetable is frequently thought of as boring and is usually made with a cheese sauce to spruce it up. When cooked mash the cauliflower and add a parsley sauce, season with salt and pepper and serve. This is a nice accompaniment to a meal, especially with fish.
When frying mushrooms add some chopped garlic and a pinch of chilli into the pan. It is better to cook with flat field mushrooms rather than the button type. This is because the flavour will then permeate through the entire mushroom.
Mushrooms can also be cooked in garlic butter and at the same time boil some chopped leeks. When all the veg is cooked, strain and mix them together in an oven proof dish. Stir in a cheese sauce and bake in a pre-heated oven for twenty to thirty minutes. This is a delicious accompaniment to a meal or can be eaten as a snack.
Cut the parsnips into thin strips and par boil. Lay them on a baking tray and apply a thick coat of honey. Roast in the oven until the parsnips are tender and serve. The flavour of the honey will permeate into the parsnip as well as giving a delicious outer coating to the vegetable. Parsnip and honey perfectly complement each other and make an exciting component to a meal.
This vegetable is not particularly popular, and this is a shame because it is packed with nutrients, in particular iron and vitamin c. There are many ways to jazz up spinach and turn it into something to be enjoyed. Spinach can be boiled or fried, and of course, it can be eaten raw. If boiling, then when it’s cooked place it in a dish and add in a splash of lemon juice and a pinch of salt. This makes for a very refreshing taste. Spinach can be fried in butter and whilst cooking throw in a handful of grated nutmeg, add a pinch of salt and pepper to taste, and then serve. The nutmeg can be substituted with rosemary if preferred.
Spinach can also be fried in a pot along with chopped spring onions and peas. Cook the onions and peas first, and then when they are almost ready, mix in the spinach along with a glass of white wine. When this is cooked add a pinch of salt and pepper to taste, and serve. This makes for a mouth-watering side dish.
It is easy to experiment with vegetables; the trick is to test out a variety of methods until the favourites are discovered. It doesn’t matter if it goes wrong, the great thing about vegetables is that they need not be wasted; anything left can always be thrown together into a pot to make a tasty vegetable soup.
Fine dining is an experience everyone should be able to savor. A couple looking for romance, a group of friends, or even a whole family can eat well inexpensively. Regardless of your budget, and regardless how often you dine out, following these tips will make eating at great restaurants easier on your wallet.
One of the simplest ways to find a good, yet inexpensive, restaurant is to ask around. Friends, co-workers and family may have great recommendations. This is how I found out about a local Mexican Restaurant that serves authentic food. At this particular gem they take cash only, which is how the owner keeps the prices so low. We recently fed three people, with food left over, on a $12 dining tab, including a 20% tip!
Another easy way to lighten up your dinner bill is to split dishes. At the restaurant mentioned above, our daughter shared the meals that my husband and I ordered. Because portions are usually so large, a couple dining out can often split an entre and still have food left over. There is something cozy and intimate about eating from the same plate. Of course, you can split a meal with a friend as well, but you’ll probably want an extra plate! You should be aware, though, that some restaurants charge extra for a split plate.
Drinks, alcoholic or not, can really raise your dining bill. Try drinking water. Ask for it with lemon if you think it is too plain. You will be able to appreciate your food more if you avoid soda and most alcoholic beverages. If you are on a date and you feel you must have a cocktail, try sharing one. In addition to cutting costs, you will also reduce any driving related risks. And if you simply must have wine with dinner, bring your own. Be sure to call ahead, many restaurants allow you to do so, but will charge a “corkage fee.”
Ask about happy hour or early bird specials. In the small resort town where my husband and I got married, there was a cozy hotel restaurant with a beautiful view that served early bird specials before 6pm. The food was first rate, with a selection of dishes to rival the fanciest big city locations. I had crab cakes and my husband had veal. Nothing was priced over $14.
When you find a restaurant that you like, see if they have an email list that you can be placed on. One of the better Italian chain restaurants in our area sends me coupons and notifies me about specials via email about once a month. If I had taken advantage of all of them I would have saved hundreds of dollars by now.
But, the best way, by far, to enjoy fine dining inexpensively is to invest in an entertainment guide. These are available in 45 of the 50 United States plus Puerto Rico, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Each book comes with a punch-out card. You can use the card for huge discounts at the fine dining restaurants in your area. For instance, I can save from $12 at local restaurants all the way up to $65 for a local dinner show. The guide itself will set you back from $15 to $45, depending on where you live. But you will easily recoup this investment just by using it a couple of times. And you can use the guide for discounts on shopping and traveling, too.
Oh yes, there is one final tip. Order a dessert to share. Just a bite or two of something sweet makes a meal feel complete. Happy dining!
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One of the biggest problems for a vegetarian is to avoid high-fat sauces in dishes while still getting enough protein, in a non-vegetarian diet provide for in meat. Here, I have put together a sauce that has a minimum of fat to aid in a weight management programme. By using a low-fat cheese such as Edam, I have added 25 grams of protein, 24 grams of fat for only 300 calories.
The vegetable ingredients of the dish are calculated to contain very few calories. Courgettes (zucchini) have only around 25 calories per courgette. They contain large amounts of dietary fibre for optimum bowel health, folate, potassium, manganese and vitamins A, C, K, B1 and B6. The skin of the vegetable contains beta carotene, an antioxidant that helps to prevent cancer. Courgettes also contain some phosphorus, copper, magnesium, zinc, iron and calcium.
Mushrooms too are low calorie, high nutrient. They have the ability to take on the flavour of the other ingredients as well as adding their own flavour to a dish. They are about 80% water, contain a little salt (sodium), and are fairly high in fiber. Mushrooms also contain copper, (about 10% of your daily requirement), Vitamin B and Vitamin E. They too are antioxidants, providing protection against free radicals that cause cancer and aging.
To add extra protein to this dish, one can add 4 ounces of cooked chickpeas. You can ring the changes with this dish by changing the type of cheese that you use.
This dish will serve 4 in optimum portions.
1 courgette (zucchini)
1 large leek
1 ounce low-fat butter
1 ounce wholemeal flour
½ pint skimmed milk OR half unsweetened, low-fat Soya milk and water
4 ounces low-fat cheese
Salt and black pepper
Prepare vegetables by washing and cutting into rings
In an oven-proof dish, arrange in layers or rows of courgette and leek
Make a cheese sauce by:
Melting butter in small saucepan over a low heat
Add flour to make a thick paste
Cook for 1 minute
Remove from heat
Slowly, and stirring all the time, add the milk to make a smooth sauce
Return to heat
Slowly bring to the boil, stirring all the time to prevent lumps and to aid thickening.
Boil for 1 minute only.
Remove from heat
Add grated cheese and season to taste.
TO PREPARE FOR THE OVEN:
Cover vegetables with sauce
Top with grated cheese
Cover with foil – shiniest side out
Cook in moderate oven (200 degrees) until vegetable are soft
Uncover and brown top
Serve with a green salad.
A good water filter system should remove contaminants such as hard minerals, copper, iron, zinc and heavy metals, such as cadmium, mercury, and lead. Also, it should remove or greatly reduce the possibility of bacteria existing within the water, and make your family’s tap water safe to drink.
Filters improve the taste of water
Most water filtering systems include carbon as an integral part and will improve the taste of the water. They effectively remove most of the chlorine, which is used to sanitize and kill off hazardous bacteria in most modern municipal water supplies of the World’s major and industrialized cities.
The best water filter I have come across is reverse osmosis, which utilities a special type of filter called a semi-permeable membrane. The better systems come with a carbon block filter attached to them, which removes bacteria, dissolved solids and all other contaminants in the water. The carbon block also removes the chlorine, as well as other gases arising from chlorine.
Sediment and carbon-based filters
There are many different filtering systems out there for home use. Many are sediment filters or carbon-based. Sediment filters are ceramic or fiber. The rule of thumb is that the finer the filter, the more contaminants it will strain out. Carbon filters are either solid carbon blocks of activated carbon, or granulated activated carbon. The dissolved contaminants are attracted to and adsorbed by the carbon particles. This is why over time, these types of filters will tend to clog up and be less efficient, eventually needing replacement.
Be sure to do further research
You can research water filters on the Internet. Most filters certified by government authorities are safe. Find a filter that at least removes the taste of chlorine, as well as the chlorine itself.
Be sure to continue to research all of this information for yourself so that you can make an informed decision and purchase. After that you will be able to filter out the facts from the fiction and find the best possible water filtration system for your home.
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When I first moved out of my parents house, Swiss Steak was one of the only meals I would fix quite often. When I first starting cooking the dish 20 years ago, I would just use a piece of steak and tomatoes which did not contain any flavor. Thankfully, with many years of practice, I kept improving the dish every time I cooked. This Swiss Steak recipe I cook now is packed full of flavors and textures. I prepared this Swiss Steak recipe one time for a big super bowl party, the dish was eaten quick and everyone wanted the recipe. When I prepare my homemade noodles, I always make this dish to go over the noodles. I love Swiss Steak because of the flavors, and is also a very good dish to consume if someone follows a diabetic diet. There is very little sugar and the dish is packed full of vegetables.
4 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Lg. Beef Round Steak, cut into 4 sections
1/2 C. All-Purpose Flour
2 Tsp. Salt
2 Tsp. Pepper
2 (15 oz) Cans of Diced Tomatoes
1 (15 oz) Can of Tomato Sauce
1 Lg. Onion, diced
1 Garlic Clove, minced
1 Green Bell Pepper, diced
1 Red Bell Pepper, diced
2 Celery Stalks, diced
2 Tbsp. Sugar
1/2 Tsp. Salt
1/2 Tsp Pepper
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
1 1/2 Tsp. Paprika
1 Bay Leaf
2 Tsp. Dried Parsley
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a large skillet, add oil to pan and heat on medium to high setting. Pour flour into bowl and add salt, pepper and mixed until combined. Cut steak into individual serving pieces and dredge into the flour. When oil is hot, fry round steak 1 1/2 minutes on each side. Fry all pieces until browned, set aside on plate.
Using a roasting pan with a lid, pour the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes on the bottom. Add the onion, garlic, green pepper, red pepper, celery sugar, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, bay leaf and parsley. mix all ingredients until combined.
Take the browned steak and immerse into the roasting pan, and cover each one with the sauce. Cover and bake in the center of the oven on 350 degrees for 2 hours. Remove bay leaf and serve over rice, noodles or by itself.
How to make popcorn! Why I thought you’d never ask!
POPCORN IS MY FAVORITE FOOD!
TWO ORIGINAL HIPPY POPCORN RECIPES:
If you can get your hands on a “Stovetop Pop” don’t hesitate! In fact go now do it, this article will still be here when you return ;o P In the meantime, I will start with a recipe that can be made with any kind of popper.
VEGAN CHEEZEY DELIGHT
1. Start by popping your corn however you like.
2. Once your corn is popped place it in a large bowl with a bit of room at the top.
3. Drizzle thoroughly with organic, extra-virgin olive oil. I usually do a tight zigzag pattern from one side to the other.
4. Sprinkle with veggie salt (I prefer SPIKE over VEGIT but that’s your choice)
5. Shake nutritional yeast flakes over entire surface. If you are really vegan this is a great way to make sure you are getting all the minerals your body needs.
6. Now flip the corn in the bowl <<thrusting and down body bowl from kernels suspended slightly upwards the pulling then away your momentarily leaving>Make sure that you anticipate where they will fall. You may want to start out on the balcony or hanging over the kitchen sink.
>Eventually you will begin to trust yourself and your popcorn as a master popcorn flipper and your family and friends will watch with amusement.
>It only takes one or two confident flips to move the seasoned kernels to the bottom.
Repeat steps 1-6 until your corn is thoroughly seasoned.
If you are still reading you may remember that I promised two recipes. This one requires a “Stovetop Pop” but it is so good that it will make it well worth your money!
2 teaspoon: yellow curry powder
1 tablespoon: organic extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup dry-popcorn
Salt to taste -but don’t be shy (remember our taste buds react to salt)
1. Heat oil and kernels in your “Stovetop Pop”
2. Add curry & salt
3. Turn hand crank on popper until popping ceases
4. Remove from heat
5. Prepare yourself for a tastegasm and serve it up!
The second time you make this recipe or if you have already mastered the “Stovetop Pop” you may want to try adding a teaspoon of sugar with the curry and salt mix. Be careful as sugar burns easily and can ruin an otherwise perfect batch