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.