WCBE

Food

Food

Like many of us who consider ourselves food adventurers most of the year, when it comes to Thanksgiving, we just want the turkey and mashed potatoes we grew up with. Well, OK, maybe just a teensy bit better than what we grew up with, but along the same lines.

On Thursday, November 22, help is on the way for Thanksgiving cooks, kitchen helpers and dinner guests on this, the biggest cooking day of the year. Lynne Rossetto Kasper will be available to answer listener questions throughout the live, two-hour program. Quickly becoming a Thanksgiving morning tradition, past shows have included everything from a cross-country trucker cooking his Thanksgiving dinner on the manifold to a panicked first-time cook who didn't realize a turkey needs to be thawed. Lynne handles all questions with wit, expertise and laughter.

Giving Thanks For Can-Free Cooking

Nov 14, 2012

I love Thanksgiving. It is the best food holiday on the calendar. However, one thing has always bothered me. Even the most accomplished cooks take unnecessary short cuts when it comes to preparing the Big Meal.

If you're a coffee drinker, chances are the cup of java you drank this morning was made from beans that were produced or harvested by women. Women's handprints can be found at every point in coffee production.

In fact, on family-owned coffee farms in Africa, about 70 percent of maintenance and harvesting work is done by women, according to an analysis by the International Trade Centre, but only rarely do women own the land or have financial control.

In the U.S., Thanksgiving marks the unofficial start of the race to Christmas (unless you happen to decorate department stores, then it starts in October). But in Denmark, the Christmas race starts tonight.

Sugar skulls, tamales, and spirits (the alcoholic kind) — these are things you might find on homemade altars to entice those who've passed to the other side back for a visit. The altars, built in homes and around tombstones, are for Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, a tradition originating in central Mexico on Nov. 1 and 2.

The produce aisle may not yet be restocked at the Stop & Shop in Toms River, N.J., and other perishables may still be hard to come by. But rest assured, the local pizza joint is hopping.

"We've been busy, very busy," says Marissa Henderson, granddaughter of the proprietor of Geno D's pizzeria in Toms River. It was one of the few restaurants open in the area in the wake of the hurricane that rolled through earlier this week.

Desperation, laziness, overwhelming craving: I say these are three conditions that drive a person to make a tuna noodle casserole.

The desperation? A cupboard bare except for those nonperishable standards: pasta, a can of tuna and a can of cream of mushroom soup. Our friends along the Northeast Seaboard probably know what we're talking about right now.

A thick and creamy shake sounds deliciously satisfying, and adding that kind of "mouth feel" to low-fat foods has become a multi-billion-dollar business. But are we really fooled?

The chicks arrived five months ago — eight gray, blond, black and tawny puffballs no bigger than the eggs they'd been hatched from a day earlier. They had a slavishly devoted audience within minutes and names within 24 hours. Every couple of weeks they doubled in size, and over the summer they ballooned from 2 ounces to 7 pounds as we furiously worked to complete their permanent coop.

Weeknight Kitchen: Mushroom Toast with Soft-Cooked Eggs

Oct 29, 2012

Serves 4
 
Inspired by a recent foraging trip in the woods, this toast is a beautiful assembly of flavors. You can certainly experiment with the varieties of mushrooms available. 
 
4 thick slices country bread
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for the bread
1 clove garlic, cut in half or smashed
1 tablespoon butter
6 cups assorted wild mushrooms, chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 sprig fresh rosemary
Juice of 1/2 lemon
4 large organic eggs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Austerity measures continue in Greece as the country sinks deeper into a recession. Incomes have dropped nearly 50 percent in some cases, but food prices are at record highs. The Greek newspaper Ekathimerini recently reported that the country has some of the most expensive food and the costliest dairy products in the entire European Union.

The Food and Drug Administration has confirmed that it received five reports in the past past three years suggesting that people died after drinking caffeinated energy drinks.

But the agency also cautions that these reports do not add up to proof that the beverages actually caused those deaths. These reports — called adverse event reports — are considered unconfirmed allegations, and the FDA doesn't usually release them.

Sandwich Monday: The Grilled Cheese Doughnut

Oct 22, 2012

Celebrity couples always get our attention: Kim & Kanye, Brangelina, Gosling & Totenberg. The Grilled Cheese Doughnut is just such a pairing: Two titans together as one. We'll call it Gronut.

Take a glazed doughnut, slice it open, flip both halves around so they're cut-side out, slap on some cheese, and grill it in butter. We think Ohio's Tom & Chee Restaurant did it first, and we're guessing they did a better job than we did.

Ian: Ew. I think the proper pronunciation here is "grilled cheese DO NOT."

Dals: Simple Indian Comfort Food

Oct 18, 2012

My first official kitchen chore, at the ripe age of 6, was to help Mom with the dal. It is one of the first dishes I learned to cook from her, and I still consider her the ultimate dal expert. Dal is sort of an umbrella term under which my family (and, I bet, most Indians) lump pulses and legumes such as lentils, beans and dried peas.

OK, Grease lyrics aside, when it comes to gastronomy, certain foods just belong together: red wine and red meat, sushi and ginger, tea and biscuits, beer and pretzels. But, ever wonder why your favorite cabernet goes so well with a nice filet mignon? What makes two flavors jibe?

Doctors use liquid nitrogen — a substance registering a wickedly cold 321 degrees below zero Fahrenheit — to freeze warts so they dry up and fall off. Yes, folks, this stuff kills tissue. So imagine what it might do to your stomach if you drink some.

Check out this WCBE pick from The Splendid Table's website!

Here's a little math problem for you: How many calories go into the ethanol that's in your tank of gas?

Enough to feed 22 people, if you're talking the bare minimum calories needed in a single day, according to researchers at the New England Complex Sciences Institute.

In the movie Goldfinger, a minion of bad guy Auric Goldfinger asks 007: "Can I do something for you, Mr. Bond?"

"Just a drink," Sean Connery's Bond replies, deadpan. "A martini. Shaken, not stirred," he intones.

From Connery to Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig, this preference is repeated again and again in 007 flicks. (Check out this video montage for the full Bond effect.)

It's Time To Pick A Peck Of Peppers

Oct 3, 2012

Ripe sweet peppers are seasonal ambassadors, offering color, flavor, goodwill and diplomacy during the transition from summer to autumn cooking. Sweet peppers surge into ripeness in late summer and flourish into fall. Supplies wind down about the time trees let go of their leaves.

Now is the time to pick up a peck of them for what a single sad specimen will cost come January. When in season and plentiful, peppers are a bargain.

The Food and Drug Administration isn't sure, but Rita Desollar of Pekin, Ill., feels she knows what killed Heidi, her 7-year-old German shepherd. She feels it was the chicken jerky strips she bought at her local Walgreen's.

Desollar says on the Wednesday before Memorial Day, she gave two pieces of Waggin' Train jerky to Heidi as a treat. A few days later, Heidi was throwing up and "in a lot of distress," she says. By the time the holiday rolled around on Monday, Desollar says, Heidi was convulsing in her bed. She died that day, before Desollar could even take her to the vet.

This fall, the more than 38 million kids who get their lunches through the National School Lunch Program are seeing big changes on their trays.

It all started several months ago, when I was fishing around for something not-too-unhealthy for lunch. Spring was over — the once-tender lettuces now milky-hearted and stiff-leaved — and I was bored with salad. I love sandwiches, but every time I gorged on bread I stepped a little heavier onto the scale. "If you're going to eat constantly," I said to myself, knowing that I would, "you simply can't afford to pack on that many carbs at a time."

Why would a billionaire energy trader-turned-philanthropist throw his foundation's dough behind a new think tank that wants to challenge scientific assumptions about obesity?

John Arnold, 38, whose move from Enron to a spectacularly successful hedge fund got him on the list of wealthiest Americans, isn't crazy about talking to the press. But certainly his decision with his wife Laura to back a newly launched operation called the Nutrition Science Initiative, or NuSI, is an intriguing one.

How To Upset The Apple Cart, Deliciously

Sep 19, 2012

Apples are the onions of the fruit world: abundant, versatile and a friend to almost any flavor. Apples and onions even go well together.

As we enter the thick of fall, apples will tumble from their bins, a harmony of flavors, textures and hues — reds, yellows, browns and greens — that capture the very essence of the season. But when was the last time you thought of using an apple for anything besides pie, applesauce or cider? Maybe you tossed one into a salad. Maybe.

So you're minding your own business when all of a sudden, a nuclear bomb goes off, there's a shock wave, fires all around, general destruction and you, having somehow survived, need a drink. What can you do? There is no running water, not where you are. But there is a convenience store. It's been crushed by the shock wave, but there are still bottles of beer, Coke and diet soda intact on the floor.

So you wonder: Can I grab one of those beers and gulp it down? Or is it too radioactive? And what about taste? If I drink it, will it taste OK?

Congress is set to make a brief appearance in Washington this week, then recess until after Election Day. That means a farm bill is likely to be left undone, just one of the many items on lawmakers' "to-do" lists that won't happen anytime soon.

For many people, the phrase "Scandinavian food" probably doesn't bring much to mind beyond the Ikea food court. For those who do have a connection with these Northern European countries, the mental image is probably smothered in gravy with a side of potatoes. But if you're coming to Copenhagen's noma restaurant expecting the same old meatballs and pickled fish, think again.

Here's a new mantra you might consider adding to your list of daily kitchen chants: "It takes patience to perpetuate pickles."

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