When you gaze into your crystal ball, do you see yourself on New Year’s Day smiling because you fit comfortably into the same clothes you’re in right now?
Just a few weeks ago I ventured out into unknown (to me) cooking waters and sailed through making dinner with a slow cooker. My results weren't half-bad for a first-timer, and that experience showed me why some folks love their slow cooker and can't get through a week without setting it and letting it simmer-away while they're at work.
I launched my slow cooker adventure without a cookbook as a compass for guidance. To make future slow cooking forays easier I wanted a reliable cookbook that could make my slow-cooking learning path less bumpy. Turned out, Cook's Illustrated's American Test Kitchen has published two slow cooker cookbooks in the past three years.
When my first column appeared almost 20 years ago I looked a lot younger and was confident that the low-fat way I’d lost more than 100 pounds was the healthiest way to lose weight. Here it is 20 years later and I now know that fats were not the unhealthy culprit I thought they were.
Slow cookers may be slow, but their virtue lies in having a dinner entree ready when we arrive home from work. What I began to wonder was, during the process of getting everything ready for the slow cooker was when does anyone have the time to do what I was doing; certainly not at 4:30 in the morning before heading off to the office? My advice, prep the ingredients the night before and refrigerate them; just don't put a crock from the refrigerator right to the cooker; let it come to room temperature first.
I've loved pasta since my first serving of mac and cheese.
My love affair has been on hold for a bit since my path for the past three months has been avoiding sugars and refined carbs and ... well ... macaroni's a refined carb.
Of course, that's not a surprise. Almost 20 years ago Molly O'Neill wrote "Bye-bye, pasta. It's been fun," in The New York Times. As she sadly waved goodbye, she explained that even though a calorie is a calorie, if you are pre-diabetic (which in 2012 meant 86 million Americans age 20 and older), your body handles refined carbs by efficiently processing them into fat for a future famine.
"Sugar and me, we go way back. I love sugar. LOOOOVVVVVE it. I love everything about it: how it makes little occasions special and special occasions fabulous. How it performs hot bubbling magic on sour fruits, like rhubarb and gooseberries, to make the most succulent and mind-blowing pies and jams. And don't even get me started on chocolate."
It's been more than half a century since the theory -- yes the theory -- was floated that saturated fats caused heart disease, and food manufacturers slowly started to remove fat. In the 1990s you watched as "Low Fat" and No Fat" started popping up on grocery store shelves like dandelions in a field.
It's all been a big fat, supersized lie.
When you think of summer produce, which vegetable or fruit first comes to mind? Corn? Watermelon? Tomatoes?
I'd wager that Swiss chard isn't anywhere in your top 10 ... or even your top 20.
Swiss chard zipped across my radar when my CSA (community supported agriculture) box arrived the other week. Inside was a big bag filled with chard and all its colorful stems; yellow, pale green, magenta and red. Chard's leaves look like spinach, only larger.
Right now I have eight medium-to-large zucchini in my refrigerator just waiting for me to decide their ultimate fate. Why? I joined Maple Spring Gardens CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) in Cedar Grove, this spring.
It's so tempting to write that Michael Ruhlman's newest book "Egg: A Culinary Exploration of the World's Most Versatile Ingredient," (Little Brown, 2014) is egg-actly the book you need. Cute.
As I cleaned my grill in preparation for regular summer use, I started thinking about the history of backyard grills and grilling in general.
Believe it or not, some Chicago back yards are the epicenter for the creation of backyard barbecue grills; not Texas, or Georgia or even North Carolina. Two of the grills most of us use today were invented in Chicago’s suburbs.
The 1950s were a hotbed for grilling. In 1952, George Stephen invented what we now know as the Weber kettle grill by taking half of a marine buoy, welding three legs on the bottom, opening up vents underneath and pounded-out a vented, domed cover (at that time, Stephen was a welder for the Weber Company Metal Works). The story goes that his neighbors called it a "sputnik" after Russia's first space ship.
The Food Fact labels we've all become accustomed to have been around for 21 years. Those labels have gone relatively unchanged throughout the years except for eight years ago when the Food and Drug Administration started requiring food companies to include trans fats.
Those familiar Food Fact labels are about to change again, and in some significant ways. Before we take a look at what's proposed, let's understand why.
Break out the shorts, T-shirts and swimsuits, warmer weather's here and some folks are doing their best to figure out how to be both healthy and look their best.
Here's some assistance.
Michel Guerard, 81-year-old chef and cookbook author frequently is described as a driving force behind France's nouvelle cuisine.
You remember nouvelle cuisine, right? Sure, now "new cuisine" seems like ancient history, but at its dawn in the 1960s it rocked the world of haute cuisine. Nouvelle cuisine is, at its best, a refinement of classic French cuisine. Lightened sauces and delicate dishes presented with artistic flair defined the nouvelle cuisine movement.