Dinner Parties and More

Poutine – Comfort Food At Its Best

I would like to note: THE NATIONAL DISH OF CANADA IS NOT RACHEL MCADAMS – It’s poutine. I know. This is exactly what I don’t need. Another type of comfort food. For those of you who aren’t aware, it’s pronounced poo teen, and it’s a gloppy snack which consists of French fries, gravy, and melted cheese curds, and it’s absolutely died-and-gone-to-heaven good. McDonalds sells it in Canada. And in several lists of the ten greatest Canadian inventions, it came in ahead of the electron microscope, the Blackberry, and the paint roller….

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late corn grits

Corn Grits From Late Season Corn

Simply Perfect      The chef, Jacques Pepin, was asked what dishes he would request for his last meal. He said one of his choices would be hand-picked freshly-shelled peas straight from the garden with butter and sea salt. This shows a great culinary experience doesn’t have to involve exotic ingredients, dozens of spices, and complicated techniques. It can be a simple dish. As a matter of fact, in the case of Pepin’s peas, any further additions would detract from this basic but perfect concoction. Another Great but Simple Dish      I recently…

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Summer Tomatoes. It’s A Waiting Game.

     I TELL MYSELF TO BE PATIENT. That it’s a waiting game. I wait all year for that first taste of the perfect homegrown tomato. And when it happens, it’s sheer ecstasy.      But I always get impatient. In June I see those perfect-looking red tomatoes in the grocery stores and on the farmers’ market stands. I have to remind myself, THESE ARE THE IMPOSTERS. I am looking at hydroponic tomatoes (grown in sand, gravel or liquid) or hothouse tomatoes (from temperature-controlled buildings for rearing plants out of season), and…

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tango

A Trinity Of Passions – Food, Love and Tango

     Of all the dances we have to choose from, the tango offers the best means for us to demonstrate our individuality, uniqueness and style. But it’s teasingly incomplete.  We must  decide on the recipe for our own individual tango. Like a cooking recipe it requires interpretation, iteration and alteration.  Simmer it on the dance floor and it can become interesting, alluring, and sensual. And like great food the result can be a dish that is absolutely heavenly.      According to a recent ABC News poll, nearly nine out of ten people in our country say they believe…

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BLT

This IS The BLT To Die For

     I love a BLT, and I’m not alone. In polls where people were asked about their favorite sandwich, the BLT was either at the top or close to the top of every list. And it’s so simple: two slices of bread, mayo, bacon, lettuce, and tomato. That’s it.      Not all BLTs are great. I’ve been served many that I didn’t think were very good at all. What I think sets a great one apart from the others are (1) the quality of its contents and (2) the way it’s prepared….

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Tomato salsa

Summer Is Tomato Salsa Season

There’s Nothing Like Fresh Salsa     Fresh salsa has a season; at least it does in the Midwest. It begins when that first July tomato ripens on the vine. In a good year, it might last into the middle of September. In Defense Of Grocery Store Providers     It’s hard to beat the succulent taste of a fresh tomato, and it spoils it for the rest of the year when we have to rely on grocery stores to be our providers. Their tomatoes certainly don’t compare with our homegrown types,…

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Patio Toad

The Margarita Lifestyle – Chippin’ Dippin’ and Sippin’

     There’s nothing like a cool and tasty margarita on a hot summer’s day! It’s a grand accompaniment to go along with the guacamole and homemade chips I posted last week (click on Time To Take Your Culinary Entertaining Outdoors). All are made with fresh ingredients, and everyone knows chippin’, dippin’, and sippin’ is the perfect Rx for summer. So here it is – the best recipe ever for The Perfect Margarita!  Pitcher     Two Servings      6 oz.              3 oz.             Lime juice (two limes = about 3 oz.)      ½ cup           ¼ cup        …

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Getting Ready For The Watermelon Feed

Be Prepared      If watermelons are being served, you know people will be spitting seeds. At some point, usually a competition will ensue.      Most of the time these are simply fun activities, but if you are asked to participate and are directed to a spitway (an outlined 75 X 15-foot area), you know you are in the company of serious watermelon spitters. You need to be ready if this happens, especially if bets will be placed. The Rules Are Simple Seeds must be selected on site. The larger seeds…

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The British Serve Cucumber Sandwiches To Avoid A Sticky Wicket

In the film Moonraker, Hugo Drax asks James Bond, “may I press you to a cucumber sandwich?”      Are you looking for something to serve in the tea breaks at your club’s cricket matches? Or perhaps you would like to offer your guests a light mid-afternoon snack? You might also be looking for a nice addition to a picnic and a luncheon.      The answer: serve cucumber sandwiches. They are, of course, very British, and modern variants (largely of American origin) exist. They can include cream cheese, chopped dill or spices,…

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Fresh Halibut – My Favorite Fish

A Great Fish Selection Fresh Halibut      If you’re looking for a white fish that won’t fall apart in the skillet, and one that also tastes great, try halibut. The meat is low-fat, has a nice clean taste, and requires little seasoning. It’s oftentimes hard to find, and it’s always pricey when it’s compared to other fish. Halibut is my favorite. We think of it as a rare treat, but it’s oh, so worth it.      When purchasing the filets, I ask for larger pieces cut from the center of the fish. And…

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