Thursday, December 30, 2010

Auld Lang Syne

Happy New Year from the Mixed Stew Crew!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wednesday's Helping: Mustard Glazed Ham

The Mixed Stew is on hiatus for the holiday. We are serving up oldies but goodies (re-runs) for the whole week. Happy New Year!

Post from April 19, 2010

A meaty presentation with a sweet touch

Succulent only begins to describe this dish. It’s a feast for the senses when one prepares a regular shoulder ham with a sweet, tangy, and tasty mustard glaze. The flavors of the glaze enhance the ham’s smoky flavors. The Mixed Stew crew really enjoys making and eating baked ham for special occasions. Adding pineapple chunks ensures an appetizing presentation. Here is our favorite rendition of mustard glazed ham:

What you will need:

1 large baking pan
1 wire rack to raise the ham off the bottom of the pan
aluminum foil
1 (8-10lb) ham
½ cup mustard (generic yellow mustard is fine)
¾ cup brown sugar
4 tablespoons honey
1 sharp knife
Pinch of black pepper
1 (20 oz) can pineapple chunks in juice
Several toothpicks

Cooking and Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place rack inside baking pan. With the fat and skin side up, ham should be placed on rack inside pan. Drain juice from can of pineapple into bottom of pan. Cover ham in pan with foil and seal well. Based on roast’s size, bake at 20 minutes per pound. Remove ham from oven 1 hour before cooking time is complete to dress with glaze. Score the skin and top surface of roast with knife. Top and glaze ham with mustard, brown sugar, and honey. Don't worry about mixing the ingredients beforehand just pour and/or pat them on one at a time. Our ham cook has just added the ingredients in layers and pulled off an excellent roast. Skewer pineapple chunks onto several toothpicks and poke into the outside surface of the ham. Try to have the pineapple chunks in contact with the ham’s glazed surface but also wedged where the cuts have been made for scoring. Let extra pineapple chunks fall to the bottom of the baking pan. Return uncovered ham to hot oven until done. Take ham out of oven and let meat rest for at least 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tuesday's Cupful: Pork with Lemongrass

The Mixed Stew is on hiatus for the holiday. We are serving up oldies but goodies (re-runs) for the whole week. Happy New Year!

Post from October 11, 2010

A hot Vietnamese entree

The spicy flavors of grilled pork, fish sauce, sugar, and lemon grass combines for this Asian entrée. Vietnamese tend to eat this meal with steamed rice or rice vermicelli. The grilled pork ends up with a slight smoky taste and an unmistakable fish sauce taste. Here is our recipe:

What you will need:

1 fry-pan
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 medium-sized bowl
1lb pork, sliced thin
2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
1 shallot, chopped small
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 hot chili, seeded and sliced lengthwise
1 or 2 lemongrass stalks, mashed then chopped
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped

Cooking and Preparation:

Place pork, shallots, garlic, lemongrass, sugar, and fish sauce in bowl. Toss well. Let meat marinade in bowl for 1 hour. Heat pan on medium-high heat. Once hot, add oil. Place meat in pan. Let meat brown on one side for 5-7 minutes and then turn to brown the other side for same amount of time. Remove pan from heat and serve immediately. Garnish with fresh cilantro.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Monday's Bread Bowl: Roast Chicken with Black Olives

The Mixed Stew is on hiatus for the holiday. We are serving up oldies but goodies (re-runs) for the whole week. Happy New Year!

Post from September 20, 2010

Dishing up a taste of the Mediterranean

We’re offering up this unique and light rendition of roasted chicken. The olives gradually release natural oils that mingle and flavor the chicken thighs. The tomatoes add color and a tangy taste that complements the salty olive flavors. Here is our recipe:

What you will need:

1 wooden spoon
1 large bowl
1 small bowl filled with 1 cup water
1 baking pan or casserole dish
4 garlic cloves, minced
6-8 chicken thighs
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
¾ cup Kalamata olives, pitted
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon coarse salt
Pinch of black pepper
1 cup ripe tomatoes, seeded and quartered or 1 cup cherry tomatoes

Cooking and Preparation:

Combine garlic, olive oil, marjoram, salt and black pepper in bowl. Add chicken and coat in ingredients. Let chicken marinade for at least 3 hours. Meanwhile, soak black olives in small bowl of water for 5 minutes to remove excess salt. Add olives to chicken marinade during the last hour of marinade process. Mix well. Preheat oven at 350 degrees. Next, carefully position chicken pieces on baking pan or casserole dish with the skin side up. Add olives and wedged tomatoes (or cherry tomatoes) to the baking pan before placing in the oven. Bake for 1 hour. Remove chicken from oven. Let chicken rest for 15 minutes before serving.

Friday, December 24, 2010

It's Christmas all over the world

The Mixed Stew crew is taking a break to celebrate with family. Seasons greetings and happy holidays!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Thursday’s Side Dish: Spam Kelaguen

Mash the meat, then add to it for a treat

We’ve discussed chicken kelaguen in a previous post. Now, we’re showing off—another Guam favorite-- Spam kelaguen. A version of the traditional recipe calls for the juice of 2 lemons, some diced red onion, black pepper, and 1 (12 oz) Spam loaf that been roughly mashed with a fork. Also, add two diced hot peppers and mix well. It’s a yummy Guamanian treat with an all-American twist. The tangy lemon juice and black pepper enhances the savory meat’s flavors. If you prepare this dish, let it chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or even overnight. Kelaguen tastes better with extra time for the flavors to combine and mature. We also suggest serving Spam kelaguen with corn or flour tortillas.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wednesday’s Helping: Honey

Pouring on nature’s golden sweetener
The Mixed Stew Crew has to give props to honeybees for this all-natural and super sweet food ingredient. Honey has a flavor that’s unmistakably unique to only this golden and viscous substance. Glucose, fructose, and water are the three major components of honey. A chemical reaction between the collected nectar of flower blossoms and the honeybees’ saliva produces honey. Colors range from nearly black, dark amber, to light gold and pale water-white. Darker colored honey tends to have a stronger flavor while lighter-colored varieties tend to be sweeter. The color and flavor of honey depends on the nectar source or the majority of blossoms, such as clover, that the bees choose to visit. A general rule of thumb means that lighter-colored honey is more expensive; for example, sage honey (with a light golden color) is more sought after than amber-colored clover honey. More than 300 varieties of honey can be found in the United States. Health studies suggest that consumption of honey can help improve liver function and maintain a healthy liver.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tuesday’s Cupful: SPAM

A can of porky flavors

Opening a can of the stuff will present you with a pink-colored mystery meat. Hormel’s SPAM (short for spiced ham) mainly contains cooked and processed pork shoulder and ham. This food item first appeared on the market in July 1937. Some would describe it as one of America’s most visible brands. U.S. forces brought and passed out the meat product in the U.K. and other war-torn regions during WWII. This may be why the canned meat is a staple food in Hawaii and Guam.

Today, this tasty meat product has become a pop-culture icon. Most of this canned meat is produced and manufactured in Austin, Minn., and experts estimate that roughly four cans are consumed every second in the U.S. Look for a soft meat consistency and a gelatinous coating to the rectangular meat loaves. It can be eaten right out of the can; however, aficionados usually fry slices and serve them as a breakfast meat or in sandwiches. Meanwhile, Hawaiians love their SPAM Musubi.

This food item has always been a convenient, savory, and tasty canned meat product that also has a very long shelf-life. The canned meat is available in 12 oz cans or 7 oz cans at most major supermarkets. The only other ingredients are water and sodium nitrate, which preserves the pink color and prevents the growth of bacteria.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Monday’s Bread Bowl: Baked Spam

Roast canned meat treat

Yes, we’re giving this luncheon meat its due since The Mixed Stew crew grew up eating Spam, which is a staple in Guam and Hawaii. We suggest taking this canned meat and seasoning it with honey and a bit of pepper for a tasty treat. If you wanna go a step further, prepare more than one Spam loaf and place sliced pineapple or pineapple chunks on top. The sweet ingredients will caramelize and seal in the savory juices.

What you will need:

1 small oven-safe baking pan
Non-stick cooking spray
1 small bowl
1 metal spoon
1 (12 oz) can Spam
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoon brown sugar
½ teaspoon ground black pepper

Cooking and Preparation:

Preheat oven at 350 degrees. Coat baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Combine honey, brown sugar, and black pepper in small bowl. Mix well. Put whole Spam loaf in baking pan. Pour and glaze loaf with honey mixture. Next, place Spam in preheated oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Let baked Spam rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving. We suggest serving Spam with steamed rice.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Friday’s Last Spoonful: Food Surfing

Here’s a holiday rip current

Food Surfing will feature fun food links from around the Blogosphere and Internet. These recommended links may give you other interesting ideas for making your life taste better.

Bummed over your usual holiday side dishes? The foodieview blog features a recipe roundup of different and yummy side dishes that are definitely unusual.

If you wanna spice up your holiday beverages, what to Drink has a primer and suggestions for your holiday libations.

Now, that we’ve given you advice on what to consume, we’d also like to remind you of these two movie classics that everyone can enjoy after the feast.

It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946)

Miracle on 34th Street” (1947)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thursday’s Side Dish: Stuffed Dates

Tart, pungent, nutty bites

Yes, the sweet date fruit – despite their wrinkly appearance – can serve as the foundation for a great appetizer. The Mixed Stew Crew picked up a crumbly and white Mexican cheese at H-Mart to stuff inside dates with whole almonds. It’s a tasty contradiction of salty and sweet. The whole almond in each piece gives every bite a nutty and crunchy texture. Meanwhile, the white cheese also adds a rich and salty flavor to contrast slightly creamy feel that sweetened by the date’s natural sweetness. Many recipes call for gorgonzola or blue cheese -- so you get the idea of what kind of flavor we're talking about. Some cooks may go further and wrap these three ingredients in bacon, but the stuffed dates are just as tasty without the extra fat there’s no greasy mess with our rendition of this yummy dish.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wednesday’s Helping: Date Fruit

Concentrated sweetness, naturally

Try the fruit from the phoenix dactylifera, or date palm, and you’ll taste a morsel that’s all-natural and super sweet. Date fruit, like honey and raisins, are one of nature’s sugary gems. Look for their dark-reddish brown and wrinkled skin with a waxy coating. The fruits grow in clusters just right under the palm’s sprawling leaves. The date palm’s fruit aka dates have an oval shape and usually average 1 ½ inches long. The plant originated in the Mediterranean region where it has been cultivated for centuries. Select dates that are plump and have a uniform color. Avoid dates that appear dried out or have crystals on the outside. Dates are a good source of fiber, calcium and copper.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tuesday’s Cupful: Fudge

A super sweet treat

We like sampling fudge at some of the local sweets shops. Fudge is a dense candy confection that’s usually comprised of four main ingredients -- chocolate, butter, milk, and a lot of sugar. Chocolate may be the most popular flavor but other varieties, such as peanut butter and butterscotch, are also available. Fudge is a heavier variant of fondant. Commercial makers of fudge can keep consumers wanting more by adding chopped nuts, crushed candy canes, or mini marshmallows. We made regular peanut butter fudge yummier with chopped dates but you can substitute them with dark chocolate bits crushed cashew nuts.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Monday’s Bread Bowl: Peanut Butter-Date Fudge

Ooey, gooey, deliciously chewy

We can’t keep our hands off this sweet peanut butter fudge. Preparation and cooking are very simple since all it takes is a bit of time in a microwave. The addition of dates gives our peanut butter fudge more oomph and at least the premise of a healthy element. Here is our recipe:

What you will need:

1 metal fork
1 medium-sized bowl that’s microwave safe
1 (8 x 8 inch) baking pan or 1 (9 x 5 inch) loaf pan
1 cup creamy peanut butter
½ cup dates, chopped
1 lb powdered sugar
1 cup butter, plus a bit more for greasing pan
wax paper

Cooking and Directions:
Prepare the pan for use later by buttering surfaces. Place 1 cup butter in bowl. Microwave on high for 2 minutes until melted. Next, add peanut butter and microwave for another 2 minutes. Add powdered sugar, date pieces, and blend well with fork. Pour into buttered pan lined with wax paper. Some recommend buttering the waxed paper once it is placed in the buttered pan. Once fudge is poured into pan, place a second piece of wax paper on top of fudge and refrigerate until cool. Cut into pieces, and it will keep for one week.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Friday's Last Spoonful: Food Surfing

Here’s another high tide

Food Surfing will feature fun food links from around the Blogosphere and Internet. These recommended links may give you other interesting ideas for making your life taste better.

If you’re tired of potato chips, Feast and Fotos has a unique recipe for kale chips. They’ll be the talk at your next party if you dare to serve them.

Here’s a mint chocolate cupcakes recipe that’s just right for the holiday season. Read Head Recipes also suggests making these cupcakes for St. Patrick’s Day.

Check out Straight Up Good Food and their holiday recipe series, which is themed around the 12 Days of Christmas.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Holiday Hiatus: A Brief Pause

We’re taking a break
Things are getting a bit busier and more hectic with holiday time in full swing. The Mixed Stew Crew is going on hiatus but don’t worry. We’ll be back on Friday, Dec. 10, with more tasty food ideas. In the meantime, please go back into our archives to check out fun food posts on everything from pork dishes and tasty soups to veggie casseroles. Need a quick holiday potluck snack idea? We recommend our Peanut Haystacks recipe or Watergate salad.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Friday's Last Spoonful: Tofurky & Gravy Soda

The Mixed Stew is on hiatus for the holiday. We are serving up oldies but goodies (re-runs) for the whole week. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone

Post from November 20, 2009

Pop! Pop! Fizz! Fizz!

That’s right. Jones produces a novelty soda that’s a bit off-the wall and just right for the holiday season -- for some folks, maybe. The Mixed Stew crew is still weighing if it's a winner. It’s a “Tofurky & Gravy Soda.” The label says, “We created this special soda for all you veg-heads out there.” The light caramel color even resembles gravy. Expect a slight licorice flavor that reminds drinkers of herb-seasoned turkey. The taste abruptly stops short of savory. The carbonation provides a refreshing experience. Try it out for a surprise this Thanksgiving. (If you dare.)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thursday's Side Dish: GoBbLe! GObBlE!

The Mixed Stew crew hopes everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wednesday's Helping: Smoked Turkey

The Mixed Stew is on hiatus for the holiday. We are serving up oldies but goodies (re-runs) for the whole week. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Post from October 6, 2009

Nothing foul about smokin' this bird

Turkey is something many people only try baked at a Thanksgiving meal or as diner fare. However, smoked turkey has become increasingly popular. The Mixed Stew crew has tried smoked turkey on Thanksgiving at a friend's gathering. We’ve also seen more smoked whole turkeys (around Thanksgiving) in the grocer's freezer case next to regular turkeys. Smoked turkey legs and wings are almost always available at the supermarket near the smoked ham hocks in the meat department. Use smoked turkey as a substitute for ham or bacon in dishes such as baked beans and sandwiches. The smokey flavor adds to and compliments a turkey’s natural taste. Expect the meat to be succulent with lots of flavor. If you own a suitable smoker, try making it at home.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tuesday's Cupful: Turkey Breast

The Mixed Stew is on hiatus for the holiday. We are serving up oldies but goodies (re-runs) for the whole week. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Post from June 29, 2010

A healthy cut of meat to gobble about

Whether thinly sliced in a cold cut sandwich or slow roasted—there’s a lot of flavor in this white, lean, and sizeable cut of turkey. Chefs can also slow cook turkey breast in a crock pot. We also suggest adding chopped turkey breast (instead of chicken) to any soup or chowder. Turkey fans who favor dark meat instead of white may be won over by its low-fat content. Whole or boneless turkey breast is sold in the frozen section of your grocery store. Popular brands include Butterball and Jennie-O. Also, look for pre-sliced, roasted, or smoked turkey breast in your grocer’s deli.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Monday's Bread Bowl: Turkey Breast W/ Mint and Annatto

The Mixed Stew is on hiatus for the holiday. We are serving up oldies but goodies (re-runs) for the whole week. Happy Thanksgiving!

Post from June 28, 2010

Dress it up with zest

The Mixed Stew altered this recipe, turning it into a one pot meal. Annatto, mint, and tomatoes enhance the braised turkey breast in this dish. Also, turkey breast is one of the healthier cuts of poultry, which is a plus in our book. Here is our rendition:

What you will need:

1 frying pan with lid
1 wooden spoon
1 medium-sized bowl
1 1/2 cups water at room temperature
1 medium-sized bowl
2-3 lbs turkey breast
1 yellow onion, diced
2 tomatoes, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon annatto powder
6 (scant) loosely packed stemmed dried chiles de árbol
8 fresh mint leaves, chopped
1 cup hot water
1 small bowl
Salt and Pepper to taste

Cooking and Directions:

Place turkey breasts in small bowl with olive oil, garlic, onion, annatto powder, with salt and pepper. Mix well. Allow turkey breast to marinade for at least 1 hour. Next, place 6 chiles in bowl with hot water. Let peppers soak for 30 minutes to rehydrate. Drain soaked chiles and chop. Set aside. Heat frying pan on medium-high heat. Place annatto-seasoned turkey breast, onion, and garlic in pan. Let onion turn translucent while stirring to prevent garlic from burning. Grill and brown turkey on all sides. Add tomatoes, room-temperature water, and chiles. Lower heat to medium-low and cover. Let everything slowly simmer for 35-40 minutes. Finally, sprinkle with fresh mint leaves.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday's Last Spoonful: Field Trip

Red Hook Lobster Pound: Brooklyn and DC

Have you ever had gourmet food from a food vending truck? That’s what we had on a recent visit to Red Hook Lobster Pound truck at a recent Food Truck Muster sponsored by the Smithsonian Institute. The Pound’s specialty-seafood sandwiches are made from steamed lobster on a soft roll. Generous portions of this premium crustacean’s meat on buns will fix any seafood lover’s hunger pangs. One of their “lobster rolls,” a bag of potato chips, with a pickle and drink runs for $15.00. Other menu items include their rich lobster bisque at $25.00 per quart and their lobster salad at $40.00 per pound. And of course, patrons may want to order a whole lobster or two from Red Hook Lobster Pound. Beware that you may have to wait in line to place your order at this unique seafood truck. Customers may use their credit cards when paying for orders. Visit the Red Hook Lobster Pound at their Brooklyn location or track down their roaming truck if you ever need a seafood rendezvous in DC.

The Red Hook Lobster Pound
284 Van Brunt Street in Red Hook Brooklyn


Track down their DC food truck here:

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thursday’s Side Dish: Barley Tea

A warm and toasty beverage option
If barley can be used to make beer, then it should do well for brewing a soothing tea. Look for roasted barley tea at some Asian restaurants. Your server may bring a warm kettle for everyone to pour themselves and share during the meal. It’s known as Mugicha in Japanese and Horicha in Korean. They also serve it ice cold during the hot summers in both countries. Expect barley tea to have a slightly mild and earthy flavor with a dark to light brown color. Some may describe it as having a subtle coffee flavor. The Mixed Stew crew bought a 16 oz bag of premium roasted barley at H-Mart for $6.99. One cup of dry barley tea can brew 2 liters of barley tea.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wednesday's Helping: Barley

A grain that benefits more than beer

This cereal grain ranks fourth in worldwide production and is a member of the grass family. The plant originated in Southeast Asia and Ethiopia. Humans have cultivated barley for centuries. The earliest recipe for barley wine dates back to Babylonia in 2800 B.C. The scientific name for barley is hordeum vulgare. Barley is also grown to make many beers and for making animal feed. Expect barley to have a nutty taste and an off-white or sandy color. Cooked barley has a chewy consistency that’s slightly glutinous and comparable to brown rice; in fact, the cooking process for barley is very similar to cooking rice. There are different varieties of barley packaged for consumers. This grain is a good source of fiber and its consumption can also help fight heart disease. Here is a short primer:

Quick Barley – the grains have been cooked and then dried. The process allows this specific type of barley to be cooked until tender in 10 to 15 minutes.

Hulled Barley – (aka whole wheat barley) the outer layer is the only layer removed. The bran remains whole and you may have to chew with some effort. This type of barley takes the longest time to cook.

Pearl Barley – the most widely available form of barley on the market. Processing removes two outer hulls and this allows for a slightly chewy texture to the cooked product. Cooking pearl barley takes 30 to 45 minutes.

Rolled Barley – this type of barley is primarily used for cereal. It’s very similar to rolled oats.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tuesday’s Cupful: Bouillon

A dicey, savory character, packed with taste

This food item is packed with flavor. Cooks can make gallons of tasty stock with bouillon. The word bouillon comes from the French verb bouillir which means "to boil." We purchased a 2.82 ounce box of powdered chicken bouillon by GOYA for $1.19 at Giant. Look for chicken, beef, and vegetable flavored varieties of this culinary item. If you keep bouillon in your pantry, remember that an added advantage is that it has a lengthy shelf-life. The Mixed Stew crew suggests using bouillon to make tasty steamed rice, or, rice pilaf.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Monday’s Bread Bowl: Barley Primavera

A comforting serving that subs for starch

We’re always on the lookout for different dishes that can substitute for carb-loaded potatoes, rice, or bread. Barley has so much nutritional value without the unnecessary carbohydrates. Corn, carrots, and bell pepper add nutrients, color, and veggie flavor. Finally, we added mild cheddar cheese that gives our rendition a comfort food texture. (For a richer, creamier barley, add some cream cheese -- whatever you think feels right -- to the recipe near the end where the cheddar cheese is added).

What you will need:

1 wooden spoon
1 stock pot with lid
4 cups water
½ cup green onion, sliced
1 shallot, diced
1 garlic clove, diced
1 cup pearl barley
½ cup carrots, diced
½ cup bell pepper, chopped
2 packets GOYA chicken bullion
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
¾ cup mild cheddar cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Cooking and Directions:

Heat up pot on medium-high heat. Add oil, garlic, salt, pepper, shallot, and half the amount of green onion. Sautee until shallot turns translucent. Pour in 1 cup of water and bring to a boil. Add bullion to boiling ingredients and mix well. Add the remaining 3 cups of water and bring to a boil. Pour in barley and mix again before lowering heat to medium-low heat. Cover with lid and let barley cook for 40 minutes. Stir occasionally. Next, add bell pepper, carrots, corn, parsley, cheese, and remaining green onion. Mix well. Let ingredients cook and flavors blend for another 10 minutes before serving.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday’s Last Spoonful: Food Surfing

Here’s another yummy splash

Food Surfing will feature fun food links from around the Blogosphere and Internet. These recommended links may give you other interesting ideas for making your life taste better.

USA Today recently pinpointed 51 great burger joints across the country. Now, they’ve identified 51 great pizza parlors. Take a look and see if yours is listed.

If you’re traveling to NYC, Burger King added the Giant Pizza Burger at its Times Square location last September. This mega sandwich is meant to be shared. The sesame bun measures over 9 inches across. What do you think of this 2500 + calorie menu item?

Butterball Turkey announced that it’s Turkey (Tips) Talk Line is now up and in service throughout the months of November and December. Holla’ at them if you need advice for baking your turkey this year.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thursday’s Side Dish: Raisin Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Here's a toast to a sexy slice

This Pepperidge Farm bread (16 oz) loaf is worth the extra cents on special occasions. We suggest making your regular French toast sweeter and more satisfying by substituting this bread for regular white or whole wheat. Other cooks will probably enjoy preparing and baking a raisin-studded bread pudding for the holidays with several slices and other added ingredients. The 80 calories in each slice is well worth the indulgence. Remember that there’s added nutrition in the raisins and whole wheat flour that are in Pepperidge Farm Raisin Cinnamon Swirl Bread.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wednesday’s Helping: Raisins

Wrinkly, tasty treats
Their chewy, sweet, and tangy flavors have made raisins a popular food item since 2000 B. C. They’re actually mentioned in the Bible. The Ancient Romans, Egyptians, and Greeks regarded them as worth their weight in gold when they were second only to honey as a sweetener. Raisins are simply dried grapes. They’re either dried out in the sun for a few weeks or mechanically dehydrated. Most of the world’s supply of raisins comes from California. Look for purple and golden colored raisins at your local supermarket. More than 90 percent of world’s raisins are produced with Thompson seedless grapes. Raisins are a good source of fiber and boron, which can help alleviate arthritis. Some growers may add sulfur dioxide to raisins in order to preserve their golden color. We suggest adding raisins to your favorite chicken salad or vegetable salad.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Tuesday’s Cupful: The Other Swiss Cheeses

A variety of ways to slice it

We’ve already discussed one variety of Swiss cheese known as Gruyere in a previous post. Emmental cheese (aka Emmentaler and Emmenthaler) is another famous Swiss cheese that originated in the Emmental Valley of Switzerland. The Swiss have been making this variety of cheese since the late 13th century. Expect Emmental cheese to taste buttery and slightly fruity in flavor. Emmental also has a denser texture, lower fat-content, and tastes sharper than Gruyere. Swiss cheeses made by U.S. manufacturers are usually made in mass quantities, are aged for only four months, and only mimic the flavor and characteristics of authentic Swiss cheese. Consequently, Americans may be accustomed to using the term “Swiss cheese” to describe almost any pale yellow cheese with different-size holes scattered throughout its slices.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Monday's Bread Bowl: Raisin Swirl Grilled Cheese

Sweet and salty sandwich delight

Here’s another souped up sandwich that’s tasty. Switch out the American cheese and replace the whole wheat or bland white bread with two sweet slices of the Pepperidge Farm raisin cinnamon swirl loaf that’s available at most major supermarkets. This bread is well worth the extra dimes at $3.49 for a 16 oz loaf. The added raisins and cinnamon make for a tangy and sweet combo in every bite. The toasted bread’s sweetness really enhances the usually mild sharpness of the melted Swiss cheese. Here’s our recipe:

What you will need:

1 cutting board
2 slices of Pepperidge Farm Raisin Cinnamon Loaf
1 spatula
1 cast iron skillet or non-stick frying pan
1 tablespoon melted butter
2 slices Swiss cheese

Cooking and Preparation:

Heat pan on medium-high setting. Place slices of Swiss cheese between two bread slices and set aside. Take butter and throw in pan. Spread melted butter with spatula to evenly coat pan’s surface. Carefully position the built sandwich in frying pan. Let the sandwich brown for 2-3 minutes on both sides. Serve immediately. Wanna make it extra hearty? Try adding a slice of ham between the pieces of bread before heating.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Friday’s Last Spoonful: Field Trip

Jalapenos: Annapolis, Md.

This strip-mall establishment really gets high marks from the Mixed Stew Crew. We recently made a visit to Jalapenos and enjoyed the appetizers and tapas menu items. Every appetizer (no matter how expensive at regular price) costs only $5.00 during happy hour. The ambience may remind patrons of the Mediterranean. We suggest the Mejillones Cantina with over a dozen steamed mussels in a mix of tequila, tomatoes, white wine, and oregano. The Ceviche Levantino with shrimp, scallops, and fish in a tangy citrus marinade was also a hit. We even tried the Albondigas de Cordero, which has savory lamb meatballs in a rich cream sauce with almonds. Finally, we enjoyed two orders of the Vieras con Azafran that consists of tender cooked scallops in a saffron sauce. The scallops were succulent and not overcooked. Each dish was elegantly plated. Remember that some of Jalapenos’ tapas and appetizers will run over $9.00 when ordered outside of happy hour. Oh, and by the way, margaritas at $5.00 during happy hour as well.

Forest Plaza Shopping Center
85 Forest Drive
Annapolis, Maryland 21401
Phone: 410-266-7580
Fax: 410-266-7582

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thursday’s Side Dish: Hummus

Mash it up and do the dip

This Middle Eastern dish has grown in popularity across the country. Hummus is relatively simple and made from mashed or pureed garbanzo beans, sesame tahini paste, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and other spices. Expect a pasty texture similar to peanut butter. Look for different variations throughout the Middle East. Many big supermarkets now carry a vast array of varieties of the stuff, including roasted tomato and extra garlic flavor. Dress this dish with garnishes of mint leaves, tomato wedges, or cucumber slices. It’s traditionally served as an appetizer or dip with pita bread; however, hummus makes a great veggie dip in a pinch. The Mixed Stew crew also suggests using hummus as a healthier alternative to fat-laden mayonnaise in your cold cut or meat sandwiches. Can you think of other ways to use hummus?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wednesday’s Helping: Garbanzo Beans

Chicks with potential

You may know them as chick peas or garbanzo beans. These legumes come in handy as nutty and earthy addition to any dish. Expect a creamy or pasty texture when you bite into this bean. They’re a popular food item in Middle Eastern and East Indian cuisines. The scientific name for garbanzo beans is Cicer arietinum, which means “small ram.” The word garbanzo came to English as the "calavance" in the 17th Century. The plant originated in the Middle East where historical evidence suggests that it was cultivated since back in 3000 B.C. The Ancient Romans, Egyptians, and Greeks all grew garbanzo beans. Consumers can find them available at supermarkets in canned or in dried varieties. Like many other beans, garbanzos are a good source of protein and fiber. Look for other colors besides beige, such as black, red, and brown. Don’t forget garbanzo beans the next time you make a fresh salad.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Tuesday’s Cupful: Menudo

Three hot interpretations
Do you like menudo? Yes, there’s the popular Latin American boy band that’s been around since the 1980s; in fact, Ricky Martin was once the youngest member of the music group’s line-up. You might already know that menudo is also two distinctive dishes in the Philippines and Mexico. The word “menudo” usually means small in Spanish. These two former Spanish colonies offer up a pork belly stew and a beef tripe soup that we suggest you try. Both dishes are a traditional, rustic, and familial meal in each country. The meat ingredients in each type of menudo are cooked until tender. The subtle gamey flavor and chewy texture of boiled beef tripe makes Mexican menudo an acquired taste. Meanwhile, Filipino menudo has the fatty pork belly pieces that are loaded with flavor.

Helpful Hint: Look for canned Mexican menudo in the international foods aisle of most supermarkets.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Monday's Bread Bowl: Filipino Menudo

A warm bowl of this will brighten any rainy day

There are different types of menudo, which we’ll discuss later in the week. The Mixed Stew likes this rustic version from the Philippines. Chopped pieces of pork belly are braised until tender in an onion, garlic, and tomato seasoned broth. The addition of carrots, chick peas, pimentos, and other ingredients makes for a hearty pork and veggie stew. Here is our recipe:

What you will need:

1 wooden spoon
1 large stock pot w/ lid
3lbs pork belly, diced small
1 yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
3 tablespoons cooking oil
2 bay leaves
2 medium to large fresh tomatoes, diced
1 (19 oz) can chick peas
1 (16 oz) bag frozen peas and corn
2 (4 oz) jars pimentos, drained
1 cup sliced carrots
4 cups water
Salt or fish sauce to taste

Cooking and Directions:

Heat up stock pot on medium-high heat. Add cooking oil, garlic, bay leaves, and onion. Sautee ingredients until onions turn translucent. Next, add in pork belly and cover with lid for 10 minutes. Let the meat brown and stir occasionally. Add tomatoes and water to stock pot. Stir well and recover pot with lid. The ingredients should reach a boiling point. Reduce heat to medium-low. Let the ingredients slowly simmer or braise for one hour. Then throw in salt (or fish sauce), pimentos, carrots, chick peas, and bag of corn and peas. Raise heat to medium and let the pot simmer for another 20 minutes. Serve with steamed rice or mashed potatoes.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Friday's Last Spoonful: Pumpkin Seeds

A healthy snack when you need a munchie

The Mixed Stew Crew tends to forget about this nutritious food item when we need a snack fix. Roasted pumpkin seeds (aka pepitas) have a nutty and slightly buttery flavor that makes them a hit. Seeds look flat, dark green, or yellowish-white. The Pilgrims and other British Colonists discovered how Native American Indians prized the pumpkin and its seeds as a food source. Today, it’s a popular Mexican food ingredient, too. Pumpkin seeds are loaded with nutrients, such as manganese, iron, and copper. They’re also a good source of fiber. We suggest having a handful of roasted pumpkin seeds instead of M&Ms or potato chips. Look for them year-around but they’re freshest and more widely available during the fall season of pumpkins.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thursday’s Side Dish: Pumpkin Pie Milk Shake

A rich and creamy seasonal treat

We’ve taken our pumpkin coconut pudding and added a portion to milk and pumpkin ice cream for a yummy trio that’s a rich and sweet milk shake. This creamy dessert beverage is just right for the Halloween and Thanksgiving festivities of the season. Remember that it contains real pumpkin in every sip.

What you will need:

1 blender
1 ½ cups milk
1 ½ cups pumpkin ice cream
¾ cup pumpkin coconut pudding
Whipped topping

Directions and Preparation:

Combine milk, ice cream, and pudding in blender. Whip for 20-30 seconds until frothy. Serve immediately with cap of whipped topping.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wednesday's Helping: Pumpkin Seed Oil

A slick oil that’s a delicacy

This oil caught our eye on a recent visit to the grocery store. Pumpkin seed oil is considered a delicacy in several countries, such as Austria and Croatia where its use is comparable to how Italians use olive oil. An 8.5 oz canister of Roland’s brand name oil costs $10.99. The oil has a light to dark green color with hints of red when light passes through it. Expect a nutty flavor with this oil. Producers of the oil use the seeds of Styrian pumpkins. The seeds are lightly roasted and then cold-pressed. It takes the seeds of about 30 pumpkins to make one liter of oil. Cooks may substitute this oil for sesame seed oil or sunflower oil in salad dressings, marinades, or stir it into dips. We do not recommend using this oil for deep frying since it has a lower burning point temperature compared to better frying oils.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tuesday’s Cupful: JIFFY Muffin Mix

A magical box that's a thrifty bet

You may have walked by a shelf or display loaded with these neat little muffin mixes. The simple red, white, and blue boxes say, “America ‘s Favorite.” JIFFY has been in the milling business for over a century in Chelsea, Mich. Cooks just have to add an egg and milk to make any flavor of their muffin mixes. Look for unique flavors, such as oatmeal, chocolate, and bran with dates. JIFFY corn muffin mix makes for a dense, satisfying, and sweet pumpkin coconut pudding. But perhaps the best thing about JIFFY muffin mixes is the cost. These mixes are usually a bargain with an average price around one buck or less per box. Can you think of any other recipes that can use this food item?