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Posts Tagged ‘Maple syrup’

This is one time you don’t have to look at the expiration date on a food item.  Believe it or not I have a list of 10 items that seem to have the shelf life of a millennium  and I don’t mean a Hostess Twinkie!

When stored properly — in an airtight container, kept in a cool, dry place — there are a number of pantry staples that can last just about forever.

We’re not talking until the end of time forever, although some of these staples just may hold up that long. Rather, when stored properly, these items can last years tucked away in the pantry.

The Twelfth Of Never Is A Long, Long Time!

The Twelfth Of Never Is A Long, Long Time!

The Simplest Reason Why Food Goes Bad
There are a number of reasons why food goes bad, but one of the main causes is bacteria growth. The main culprit for bacteria growth in food is moisture — when moisture is present, it creates an ideal breeding ground for bacteria.

These foods either aren’t very susceptible to moisture and bacteria growth, or actively discourage bacteria (as in the case of alcohol). Others of these depend quite a bit on proper storage.

10 Foods That Can Last Nearly Forever
A common theme in extending the shelf life of these foods is storing them in a sealed container in a cool, dry place.

1. Salt: Salt is a preservative, and when stored in a cool, dry place, it will last a really long time.

2. Rice: While the shelf life of brown rice holds at about twelve months, white rice — including jasmine, basmati, and arborio varieties — will last indefinitely when stored properly.

3. Honey: Because this natural sweetener has a low water content, it can last for years when stored in a sealed container and kept in a cool, dry spot. Even if it crystalizes or the color changes slightly, don’t throw it out — it’s still perfectly safe to eat.

4. Sugar: Sugar is another sweetener with no expiration. This includes all varieties — white, brown, and powdered. Be sure to store it in an airtight container to prevent moisture from dampening the sugar.

5. Vinegar: While all varieties of vinegar won’t last indefinitely, distilled white vinegar will last forever.

6. Pure vanilla extract: Pure vanilla costs a good deal more than its imitation counterpart, and for good reason. Not only is there a huge difference in taste, but pure vanilla also lasts a lot longer.

7. Dried beans: Store dried beans in a dark, dry place and they will last indefinitely. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that older beans may require longer soaking and cooking times.

8. Cornstarch: Cornstarch is a go-to thickener for pudding, sauce, and gravy. Most recipes use only a couple tablespoons, yet cornstarch is usually sold in large packages, but don’t worry — this is totally okay since it doesn’t have an expiration date. Just remember to keep the lid completely sealed and store it in a cool, dark place.

9. Maple syrup: As long as it’s unopened, pure maple syrup will last forever.

10. Alcohol: Even if it’s been opened, distilled liquor — like vodka, rum, gin, whiskey, and tequila — will last forever.

This blog post has been excerpted from The Kitchn (http://www.thekitchn.com/) of http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/

Thanks to my friend, Gail, chief sourcerer for Pbenjay for sending me the link to this article.

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A cooked rasher. Raw bacon rashers are an esse...

Bring On The Bacon

It’s FAT TUESDAY and I for one am planning on indulging…for tomorrow brings on a more than a month of deprivation.      For years I had the habit of NOT giving up any food that I particularly loved but rather DOING something(s) good for others.  Now I’m back to giving up sweets because, well for my own health and well-being and vanity the mirror and my jeans are yelling at me to say no to chocolate, ice cream, cookies and maybe almost everything white.  OK, so for selfish reasons I will deprive myself with an eye to a slimmer me by Easter Sunday.

BUT today is a very different story…tonight I’ve been invited to be a guest at the Annual Tasting Event sponsored  by    C-CAP-Careers through Culinary Arts Program.  WOW!! New York’s Top Chefs will be gathered at Pier 60 tonight offering up tasty tidbits so tonight I feast and tomorrow I fast!

Here’s a tasty tidbit you can make yourself and feel like a million bucks.

BILLIONAIRE’S BACON

1 lb thick cut bacon

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup brown sugar

coarse ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and top with a roasting rack.  Spray the rack with a non-stick spray.  Place the bacon in strips on the rack.  Brush the bacon with the maple syrup.  Sprinkle brown sugar over bacon and then grind some black pepper.

Bake in oven till sugar begins to melt, about 15-17 minutes.  Let cool 5 minutes.

 

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It’s Friday, it’s summer and we’re supposed to be enjoying leisurely days sunning ourselves by the pool and sipping cooling summer cocktails and refreshing drinks! I must have read that somewhere in a novel or in ’50’s magazine growing up.  NOT happening!  So okay sunning yourself is limited to the weekends and if you live in NYC, who has a pool?  REGARDLESS-we should try to keep up the traditions and along the way, enjoy ourselves and these delectable drinks.

1. ICED MINT AND CITRUS TEA

1 large bunch mint (I prefer spearmint to peppermint)
1/3 cup mild honey (plus more to taste)
1/3 cup maple syrup (plus more to taste)
1 large lemon
1 large lime
Fill your kettle with water and bring it to a boil. Pull the mint leaves from their stems and roughly tear them into a large pot. Pour 10 cups of boiling water over the mint, cover the pot and let the mixture steep until the water is just slightly warm. Strain the tea into a large bowl, and while the tea is still warm stir in the honey and maple syrup until it has fully dissolved. Taste and add more honey and/or maple syrup if you’d like, keeping in mind you’ll be adding a strong hit of acid shortly. When the tea is cool, juice the lemon and lime, straining the juice of all fibers and pips. Stir the juice into the tea until everything is well mixed. Taste and add more lemon or lime juice — or maple syrup — if you like. Cover and refrigerate the tea until it is very cold. Give it a good stir and serve it in pretty glasses over plenty of ice.

2. PINA COLADA

3 oz light rum
4 cups ice
2/3 cup fresh pineapple chunks
3 ounces cream of coconut
2 ounces coconut milk
4 ounces pineapple juice
Juice of 1/2 large lime
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg, plus more for garnish
Combine all the ingredients in a blender (use a good, strong one that can crush ice) and blend until smooth. Add more ice or liquid to taste. Serve in a pretty glass with a shower of grated nutmeg, a lime wedge and maybe even a cocktail umbrella.

RHUBARB LEMONADE

SPARKLING RHUBARB LEMONADE

3. SPARKLING RHUBARB LEMONADE

3 1/2 cups water
5 cups chopped rhubarb, fresh or frozen (20 ounces)
3/4 cups sugar
2 -3 – inch strips lemon zest
3 sprigs fresh mint
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cups lemon-lime soda or sparkling water
In a saucepan, stir together the water, the rhubarb pieces, the sugar, the lemon zest and the mint. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Let the rhubarb mixture cool, the strain it through a wire-mesh strainer set over a large pitcher. Press on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids Stir in the lemon juice and soda. Serve over ice, garnished with a sprig of mint.

4. MANGO LASSIE

1 Ripe Mango
3/4 cups Cold Milk
3 tablespoons Cold Plain Yogurt
3 tablespoons Honey
1 pinch Salt
1 handful Crushed Ice
1 sprig Fresh Mint
Pick a ripe mango, the redder the skin, the better, and peel the skin. Cut the mango into thick chunks – there’s no need for precision here, it’s all getting blended. That’s the best part! In the blender, combine the pieces of mango, milk, yogurt, honey, salt and crushed ice. Blend the mixture (or pulse, your choice), for 20-30 seconds. Try the lassi with a spoon and add honey, milk or yogurt if need be (trust your taste buds). If it’s still too thick, add more milk and continue to blend until it reaches the consistency you are looking for. Pour the lassi into a tall glass and top it with the sprig of mint. Voila! Drink to your heart’s desire.

5. BLACKBERRY CAIPIRINHA

8 plump blackberries
1 teaspoon white sugar
1/2 lime, cut into 3 wedges
2 ounces cachaça (or substitute white rum)
3/4 cups ice cubes

In a shaker or pint glass, muddle/mash up the blackberries and the sugar with two of the lime wedges. Add the cachaça or rum and the ice. Cover well and shake vigorously. Remove and discard the crushed lime wedges. Pour the mixture into a rocks glass and use the remaining wedge of lime as a garnish.

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Yes I do like to cook…BUT not always!  After all, living in NYC, the capitol of take-out and delivered food makes it really easy to never have to cook.   Not to mention the late late serving hours in many restaurants and the neighborhood Coffee Shop that’s open 24 hours.  Can you imagine how liberating and indulgent that is?  If you can’t sleep and you think a Belgian Waffle would hit the spot, you can just pick up the phone at 3:00 am and in 15 minutes you can be pouring maple syrup over a steaming hot waffle.

Ok I digress…this past week, I’ve been cooking every night and one of the main reasons is economics.  I’m not making Beef Wellington, or Lobster Bisque.  I served up some yummy food and none of the meals cost a lot.

I started off making a batch of Butternut Squash Soup.  This savory version of a root vegetable soup came from the latest issue of Wegman’s MENU magazine.  It’s not as thick and rich as some other recipes, however, it has a flavorful twist.   Here it is:

1 TBS olive oil

1 cup of chopped onion

1 cup of thinly sliced leeks

1 cup thinly sliced celery

1 TBS chopped garlic

2 bay leaves

2 tsp salt

pepper to taste

2 pkgs of cleaned, cut butternut squash (20 oz ea.) or 3 lbs bulk squash cut in 1 inch dice

2 cartons of vegetable broth ( I used chicken broth)

2 TBS amber maple syrup

pumpkin seed oil ( I didn’t have any)

toasted pumpkin seeds (had those and toasted them)

You’ll need a stockpot and a blender

Heat olive oil in stockpot on MEDIUM.  Add onions, leeks, celery, garlic, and bay leaves;  season with 2 tsp salt and pepper to taste.  Cook, stirring, 10 minutes till softened bu not browned.

Add squash and stock.  Increase heat to MEDIUM-HIGH.  Bring to a simmer, cover, vented.  Reduce heat to LOW; simmer 20-25 minutes.

Turn off heat.  Remove bay leaves.  Stir in maple syrup.  Working in batches, add soup to blender.  Puree till smooth, pouring pureed soup into another pot.  Taste and adjust seasonings.

Ladle soup into warmed serving bowls, garnish each with 1 tsp pumpkin seeds and a drizzle of pumpkin seed oil.

The next day I got the stockpot out and made one of favorite winter Wegman’s recipes;  Slow-Cooked Beef Minestrone.  I  posted this truly economical and delicious recipe previously -see post at https://pbenjay.wordpress.com/2010/09/29/slow-cooked-beef-minestrone/

On another night  we had veggie burgers and as a side dish I made Pan Steamed Cauliflower, also a Wegman’s MENU magazine recipe.  This is a great way to prepare  vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower.

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tsp chopped garlic

1 anchovy fillet (in the jar, not tin) or 1  1/2 tsp capers

1 – 1  1/2 lb trimmed vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli, romanescu, brocoletti, green beans)

1/2 cup water

1 tsp salt

cracked black pepper to taste

Heat olive oil, garlic, and anchovy on MEDIUM-LOW.  Cook, stirring, 2-3 minutes (until anchovy dissolves).

Raise heat to HIGH.  Add vegetables, water, and salt. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer; cover.  Cook, stirring occasionally 8-12 minutes or until water is evaporated. 

Season to taste with pepper.  Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice, grated cheese or red pepper flakes, if desired.

My husband loves pasta so we don’t go too many days without a pasta night.  I decided to make a special sauce – Wegman’s San Marzano Tomato Sauce.  This was Soooo Goooood.   I will post the recipe for you but not today because I just previewed this post and it’s already getting long.  And to finish up my Wegman’s Week,  I prepared Chicken Breasts with a Lemon Caper Sauce -I’ll post that one later too.

Wegman's brand,

San Marzano Tomatoes

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