Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Fruits from Chris' garden

My brother-in-law Chris has been keeping a backyard garden for the last three years and this year, it has really taken off. Here are some GIANT zucchinis, extra-large cucumbers, and a bumper crop of tomatoes. I don't know what he put in the soil this year! The little cherry tomatos are super sweet and delicious.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Rating Cooking Magazines

I just got my first copy of Gourmet magazine this week and it got me to thinking about cooking magazines I have encountered in the past. There is something relaxing and tantalizing about flipping through the glossy pages and seeing beautiful images of food you could make in your very own kitchen that I just can't get enough of. So in the spirit of Cook's Illustrated - one of my favorites - here's an off the cuff rating of cooking/food magazines I have encountered in the past; although, I have to admit I am nowhere near as methodical as Cooks.

Highly Recommended
Cooks Illustrated: This non-glossy, non-frilly magazine takes top honors for their straightforward approach and well-investigated articles. Explanations of gadgets, chicken parts, and the best way to grill a rib eye accompany accounts from the test kitchen that will encourage any home chef, no matter how infrequently they enter the kitchen. The magazine does not include any advertising (another perk) which bolsters their objectivity and my trust in their product reviews. This is the perfect gift for any serious or aspiring chef in your family. Issues come out bi-monthly, but are chockful of recipes and will keep you busy for the duration.

Gourmet Magazine: The fabulous photography in this glossy monthly will make your mouth water. Between the covers you will find over 50 recipes interspersed with stories about cooks and cooking that are funny, inspiring, or just plain entertaining. Gets a number two spot for a minimal amount of advertising.

Food and Wine: Another great magazine, this periodical branches out from the kitchen to cover restaurants, chefs, and the fruit of the vine. Glossy pictures, a good number of recipes, and lighter content.

Not Recommended: There are two magazines out there that I think are over-hyped and really kind of boring.
Food Network Magazine: I realize that we all love our celebrity chefs, but really they do much better on television. The magazine is light on content and feels like a multi-page Food Network advert. Save the trees and stick to the tube.

Bon Appetit: More like Bore Apetit, the beautiful pictures can't make up for the plethora of advertisements. Plus, I'm not sure I like the recipes that I see in there. Can't say I've ever been inspired to make them, so it might be a hasty judgment on my part, still I'd say your money is better spent elsewhere.

Do you have a favorite cooking mag? Any suggestions? Disagree with one of my rankings? Let me know in a comment!

Buen Provecho! (that means bon appetit in spanish, but I thougth that it would be wrong to use that term since I just slammed the glossy!)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Maranatha Nut Butters

Ok, a quick post and a plug. Lately, I've been trying different kinds of separated peanut butters, you know the kinds where the oil sits on the top and you have to stir and stir and stir it to get peanut butter again? I'm trying to avoid the trans-fats. Well, first I tried Smuckers version and it was tough to stir and dry as paste. This can happen with organic and unmixed butters, hydrogenated oils to wonders for mouth feel. Then, I decided to spring for the slightly more expensive Maranatha unseparated peanut butter. Wow, what a difference. It actually felt like peanut butter. Even better, it is the most peanut-buttery peanut butter I have ever tried, even without the hydrogenated oils!. So right now, I'm enjoying this awesome peanut butter on an English muffin with a little drizzle of honey on top and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Happy Tuesday to you all and may your breakfasts be as tasty!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Cape Cod Postcard

Hey all... went to Cape Cod for the Fourth of July! Beautiful area. The Cape is casual and even though we stayed in Hyannisport unpretentious. Ate seafood galore, oysters, clams, scallops, and of course...Lobster.

Took the Island Queen ferry out of Falmouth to Martha's Vineyard and rode bikes to South Beach and through Edgarton. Lovely little town of shops, candy stores, and restaurants. Had our first Lobster Roll at Newes from America.

Perfectly cooked lobster with just the right amount of mayo, a hint of lemon and some capers.

Vince ordered a rack of beers to taste the local brews.

Here is a picture of the Bridge seen in Jaws which was actually filmed in Martha's Vineyard. The water lets out of the ponds on the island to the sea which makes jumping in much more pleasant.

Back on the mainland for the Fourth. This was our favorite lobster roll from the Raw Bar in Hyannisport. Just look at that huge claw crowning the top of a that pound of lobster. It dwarfs the bun! Had my first oysters here as well. The trick is to swallow them down and enjoy the briny aftertaste.

Can't forget...Ice cream from the Four Seas (3rd oldest ice cream shop in New England)...creamy, custardy goodness...watching fireworks from the beach...swimming in an icy cold Atlantic...and hanging out with friends new and old.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Stuffed Artichokes

After being stuffed all weekend in Cape Cod (more on this later), we decided to stuff some artichokes for dinner last night. My in-laws make stuffed artichokes all the time, but I've been wary of the prickly little veggies. So I did some searching on the net and found this video by Tracy Porter on how to prepare artichokes. It is a really easy to follow video that takes the mystery out of the artichoke. We tweaked Tracy's recipe, and it was delicious! If you've never tried stuffing your own artichokes or even cooking with them at all, I highly recommend it! It's much easier than it looks and totally worth the effort. Happy eatings!