Tips for Trying New Foods

Spice Up Your Thanksgiving With These Mexican-Inspired Dishes

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Thanksgiving isn’t just a time for reflection, thanks and being together with friends and family. It’s also a time when you can expand your family’s palette with a broad range of wonderful food ideas. The great ingredients of the Latin world offer inspiration that can add some exciting spice to your Thanksgiving feast, all without leaving those who love the typical holiday fare out of the mix. Make your family’s holiday season spectacular with these delicious Mexican-inspired Thanksgiving dishes. Fried Polenta with Chorizo Crunchy on the outside, yet nice and creamy on the inside, fried polenta offers an amazing appetizer that sates your family’s Thanksgiving hunger until the main course arrives. Adding a 1/4-pound of sliced chorizo and a 1/2-cup of jarred piquillo peppers to the mix gives this dish its spicy, exotic flavor. To make this delicious dish, start by drizzling a small amount of extra-virgin olive oil onto a large non-stick skillet on medium-high heat. Add the chorizo to the skillet, cook it until it turns crispy and brown on both sides, and then let it drain on a paper towel-covered plate. Take a 1-pound log of pre-cooked polenta, cut it in half and then cut both halves into 4 equal rounds. Season each round with salt and pepper and fry the rounds in the leftover chorizo fat inside the skillet until the rounds turn golden brown. Afterwards, mix your piquillo peppers with a 1/2-cup of Spanish olives in a small bowl. Add a teaspoon of the mixture on top of each polenta piece when serving, If you can’t find any piquillo peppers for this amazing recipe, you can easily substitute them for jarred pimientos or roasted red peppers. You’ll also want to keep a lid on this dish while cooking, as the polenta may splatter as it cooks in the olive oil. Mashed Potatoes with Manchego and Olive Oil This unique take on traditional mashed potatoes does away with butter in favor of Spanish extra-virgin olive oil and young Manchego cheese. This appetizing recipe also includes garlic cloves drizzled in olive oil and baked at 350 degrees for an hour. The Manchego cheese gives this dish a richness that has to be experienced to be believed. To get started, boil your peeled baking potatoes in a large pot of salted water over medium-high heat for 20 minutes. In the meantime, heat up 3 cups of heavy cream and cut a 1/2-pound of Manchego cheese into 1/4-inch pieces. Afterwards, dry the potatoes and mash them in 3 stages: without the heavy cream, with half of the cream added to the potatoes, and with all of the cream poured in. Once the mashed potatoes take on a creamy texture, add the Manchego cheese and let it melt. Mash the baked garlic cloves and slowly stir them into the potatoes, along with a 1/4-cup of olive oil. To avoid getting those unappetizing streaks of oil, chef Jose Andres recommends gradually adding the 1/4-cup of olive oil you’ll need for this dish into the mashed potatoes instead of all at once. Chipotle-Rubbed Roast Turkey No Thanksgiving would be complete without the traditional turkey, but a bland bird shouldn’t be the centerpiece of your Thanksgiving meal. This is where the power of chipotle comes in — not the restaurant, but the...

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Planning A College Bar Hop: 3 Ways To Choose The Best Bar And Grill Venues

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There’s nothing better to bring new and old classmates together than planning a bar hop, which is basically when a group of people visit one bar after another in the same night. If you’re planning a bar hop as a club activity, as a charity event or just for fun, it’s important that you think long and hard about which bar and grill venues are going to make the list because a bad venue can easily ruin the entire event. If you’re not sure whether a venue should make the list or not, here are 3 things you should consider. The Location of the Bar and Grill While everyone is going to have a good time drinking, probably no one is going to want to be the designated driver. When planning a bar hop, you should definitely make sure that everyone has a way to get from one bar to another safely. If you’re not sure whether everyone will make the right decision of calling a cab, then the next best way to get from one bar and grill to another is to walk. Because of this reason, the bar and grill venues should ideally be within walking distance of one another, so everyone can get from one venue to another quickly and without getting lost. Don’t choose venues that are across the town from one another because there’s a good chance that someone is either not going to have a ride there or will get lost walking to the next venue. Promotional Deals Offered by Each Venue College kids don’t have a lot of money. In fact, 4 out of 5 college students constantly worry about money to the point where it affects their studies and diet. Don’t exclude anyone by choosing a classy and expensive bar and grill that would put a huge dent in their wallet. Instead, make sure you look at the menus of each bar and grill ahead of time to confirm that every item on the menu is affordable – especially the drinks! Also, be sure to choose a bar and grill with a diverse menu in order to satisfy everyone’s food cravings. If you have time, call each bar and grill separately to see whether they are offering promotions on the night that you have planned the bar hop or whether they would be willing to offer your group a discount. Don’t forget to read reviews online to determine whether other patrons recommend the food. The Amount of Space Available at Each Venue Depending on how large of a group is going to be bar hopping, you should also take the amount of space that is available at each venue into account. You don’t want everyone to be squished like sardines at the venue because people are going to feel hot and uncomfortable quickly. Remember that there will be other patrons at the bar and grill as well, so consider how busy each venue usually is at the time that you’ll be visiting. If you’re not sure, it might be wise to call the bar and grill to ask whether they would recommend their venue for your group. Conclusion Planning a fun and successful bar hop requires a lot of work. You definitely need to make sure you choose each venue wisely...

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Trying Out New Things: 3 Ways To Spice Up Your Pizza And Make It Luxurious

Posted by on 4:47 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Trying Out New Things: 3 Ways To Spice Up Your Pizza And Make It Luxurious

Most Americans will unanimously agree that they absolutely love and adore pizza, and statistics can easily back up those claims considering the fact that pizza is a $30 billion per year industry, and Americans eat approximately 100 acres of pizza each day, or 350 slices of pizza each second. If pizza makes up a large part of your diet, you may find yourself constantly ordering the same toppings over and over again. The truth is that pizza can be enjoyed in more ways than one, and there are many different variations and toppings that are not as commonly ordered. If you’re looking to try new things, here are 3 ways that you can spice up your next pizza order and make it a luxurious meal. Add Different Types of Seafood to Your Topping The truth is that the majority of Americans are rather boring, and will order the same type of toppings day in and day out. In fact, 37% of all pizza orders are for a plain cheese pizza. Pepperoni is by far the most popular meat topping followed by mushrooms, onions, sausages and bacon. Spice up your pizza, and try out new toppings, and you’ll be surprised at just how quickly this “fast-food” meal can become a fine dining experience. In particular, try adding different types of seafood toppings to your pizza. Popular seafood toppings that may be found at your local pizzeria include lobster, oysters, salmon, shrimp, tuna, shrimp, and even crab.  If you live near the ocean, you’d be surprised at just how good fresh seafood will taste on your pizza. If you’re just starting to try new things, confine to only one topping and go from there. This way, you’ll easily be able to determine what you like and don’t like. Adding more seafood to your diet will also benefit your health. In fact, the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend eating two servings of seafood weekly; however, approximately 80% to 90% of Americans don’t actually do so. Enhance the Flavors of the Pizza with Herbs Most people are unaware of the many combinations and additions they can make to their pizza, and generally go for the standard plain cheese pizza or pepperoni pizza that they are most comfortable with. If you think pizza tastes amazing now, you’ll be surprised at just how much better it can taste with a dash of just the right herbs to complement the flavors of all of the toppings. Most pizzerias will add a pinch of basil or black pepper at most, and although this may be sufficient, it doesn’t draw out the underlying flavors hidden within the pizza.  You can easily turn a regular pizza into a luxurious meal by adding other herbs to your pizza. For example, consider adding chives, cilantro, coriander, dill, cumin, garlic, oregano, parsley, rosemary or even jalapeño peppers for that extra punch.  Stray Away from Tomato Sauce You’ve probably been eating pizza with tomato sauce all your life, and haven’t even contemplated the many other possibilities that are out there. If you’re getting bored of the same old tomato sauce time and time again, open your eyes to different sauces that are also rather popular. Pesto sauce, for example, is great with a plain cheese pizza and can even be paired with...

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4 Shell Shocking Facts About Oysters That Will Impress Your Friends

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The next time you are sitting at an oyster bar, such as Flora-Bama, eating copious amounts of either raw or wood fire grilled oysters, consider delivering some impressive facts about the food you are eating. Oysters are more than just tasty morsels you can slurp down your gullet with a bottle of draft beer or a glass of wine or champagne. In fact, there are some facts about oysters that may impress even you. A Historic Staple Food Oysters were once considered a staple food in certain regions, particularly New York. Historians and archaeologists report that the Lenape tribe, what some consider the first among native New Yorkers, used to leave large piles of discarded oyster shells on the banks after eating them. The piles of oyster shells later became known as shell middens. Some of the piles were so tall that they were referred to as “skyscrapers.” The oldest pile of shells was located in Dobbs Ferry and dated back to approximately 6950 B.C. Oysters were consumed at such a rate that oyster habitats began disappearing, thus leading to a cutback to help protect their ecosystems. Therefore, you can tell your friends that before New Yorkers became obsessed with their pizza, cheesecake, and bagels, their true love was the oyster. A Taste of Love Casanova is a name synonymous with romance. Perhaps that is why he reportedly consumed 50 oysters for breakfast. Scientific studies have proven that oysters are an aphrodisiac. Oysters contain amino acids that cause the body to release certain hormones related to the reproductive system. Perhaps Casanova was not really a lady’s man after all, but rather under the influence of eating too many oysters. Either way, your friends will surely be impressed by that fun fact. A Health Benefit When it comes to your health, you likely focus on consuming important vitamins and minerals such as calcium, iron, vitamin A, vitamin C, and other such well-known components. However, you should not overlook the importance of zinc. Zinc is known to boost your energy, improve your immune system, provide healthier skin, and improve your senses. When it comes to adding zinc to your diet, the best way to do so is through oyster consumption. It is recommended that people consume 11 milligrams of zinc daily and a one-ounce oyster contains approximately 8 milligrams of zinc. In other words, now you and your friends have an even better reason to head out to your local oyster bar from some delicious, yet healthy eats. Another health benefit provided by oysters is the fact that they are often best paired with certain beers, wines, and even champagne. All three beverages offer their own unique health benefits, but they should be consumed responsibly. Surprisingly, beer can reduce the likelihood of you developing kidney stones. It can also aid with improved digestion and lower cholesterol levels. Champagne is said to improve spatial memory, which is the ability to perform complex tasks and recognize surroundings. Wine can reduce the risk of heart disease and heart attack as well as lower mortality rates by approximately 34%. A Way of Life In certain areas of the world, oyster farming is a way of life that contributes to the economy. For example, in Australia’s New South Wales, oyster farming is worth an estimated $35 million....

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How To Create A Box Of Chocolate-Dipped Treats

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Are you looking for the perfect gift to give someone special for an anniversary, graduation, or other special occasion? A box of chocolate treats is a great choice for most anyone, especially when you’ve made the chocolate goodies yourself. Dipping various tasty treats in chocolate is not very difficult. Just follow this guide: Selecting the Chocolate It’s impossible to make excellent chocolate treats without excellent chocolate, so pay close attention to the chocolate you buy for this project. Chocolate chips, while convenient, are not ideal for this project since they tend to harden with a swirled and streaked appearance after being melted, thanks to their low cocoa butter content. What you’re looking for is a chocolate that contains at least 31 percent cocoa butter. These chocolates, which are often marketed as couverture chocolates, are made specifically for melting and will yield much more attractive results. You may have to visit a specialty foods store to find them, but it’s worth the trip. Save time by shopping for your dippable treats at the same time you’re buying your chocolate. You can dip most anything, but popular choices include pretzels, various nuts, marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate cookies. Melting the Chocolate Once you have the right chocolate in hand, the next secret to success is melting it properly. Do not microwave your chocolate or heat it directly in a pan on the stove; the risk of scorching it is too high. Instead, fill the bottom portion of a double boiler with water, and bring it to a simmer. Add chocolate to the top portion of the double boiler (reserve a few pieces of chocolate for later), and stir continually while it melts, keeping the burner on medium-low heat. Once the chocolate has melted, it is time to pull out your thermometer and take its temperature. Continue heating until the chocolate reaches 112 degrees F if you’re working with milk chocolate or 118 degrees F if you’re working with dark chocolate. Remove the chocolate from the heat, and add the chocolate that you set to the side. Stir until this chocolate melts. This will bring the temperature of the chocolate down slightly and give it a consistency that’s easier to work with. Dipping and Hardening Your Treats Once your chocolate is melted and ready, lay out sheets of wax paper on some baking sheets. Then, start dipping. The easiest way to dip most items is to hold one end with your fingers, and then just dip them into the chocolate. Swirl them around in the chocolate a little for an even coating, and then set them flat on the wax paper. Here are a few specific tips to help you successfully dip common treats: Pretzels: If you’re dipping classic, folded style pretzels, make sure you let a little chocolate drizzle off before placing them on the wax paper. This keeps the chocolate from hardening in one clump and camouflaging the pretzels’ shape. Marshmallows: If you want to completely coat the marshmallow, put it on a toothpick, and then submerge it in the chocolate. Pull it up, place it on the wax paper, and remove the toothpick. Use the toothpick to swirl a little chocolate over the hole it left. Nuts: Instead of tediously dipping nuts individually, create some nut clusters. Pour some nuts...

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How To Season And Care For Your Restaurant’s New Pans

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Having quality cookware in your commercial kitchen is essential to a smooth-running dinner service. Many commercial cookware products will need to be seasoned before you use them. If you’re new to the restaurant industry and just setting up your first commercial kitchen, it’s important to understand the benefits of the seasoning process as well as how to season and care for those brand new pans. Here are some tips to help you preserve that cookware you’ve just invested in. Why Season the Pans? Seasoning is an important part of your cookware prep, because it helps to protect against sticking. This allows you to cook foods without needing an excess of added oil, butter or other fat. Since the seasoning protects against sticking, it also makes it easier for you to clean your pans after a service. How Do You Prepare Pans to Be Seasoned? Before seasoning your pans, start with a thorough washing. This is essential, because it removes the protective coating that’s applied by the manufacturer before they’re shipped. Use hot water and a commercial dish detergent to clean them, then rinse them thoroughly. Dry the pans with a lint-free cloth, then place them into an oven that’s been preheated to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Leave them in the oven for ten minutes or so, just until they’re completely dry. How Do You Season the Pans? The seasoning process is going to depend on the type of pan that you’re using in your kitchen. You have probably ordered a combination of pan types in the interest of having different things for different purposes. The two most common types of pans that you’ll need to season are stainless steel and cast iron. Seasoning Stainless Steel Pans – Wipe down the inside and outside of the pan with vegetable shortening or lard. Coat every surface other than the handle. Put a parchment-lined baking sheet on the lower rack of a 350-degree oven, then place the pan on the rack directly above it. Leave the pan in the oven for about 45 minutes to an hour. When you remove it from the oven, wipe it down with a soft, lint-free cloth. Place it on a cooling rack for a few minutes until it cools off.   Seasoning Cast Iron Pans – Apply a thin layer of shortening or lard to both the inside and outside of the cooking area of the pan. Don’t treat the handle, though, because that will make it slippery and hard to hold. As with the aluminum pan, place a parchment-lined baking sheet on the bottom rack of the oven, then preheat it to 350 degrees. Put the pan upside-down on the rack above the pan and leave it in the oven for about an hour. After an hour, turn the oven off. Leave the pan in the oven for a few minutes to cool down, then remove it from the oven carefully. Wipe it down with a soft cloth, then place it on a rack to cool the rest of the way. How Do You Care for the Pans Once They’re Seasoned? Once the pans are seasoned, they’re easy to keep clean. While the pan is warm, put some hot water in it. Wipe the cooking surface with a sponge while the water is in it. This...

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