What's the real deal with herbs?

I have written herb snippets in the past. I guess this would be good as any time to r evisi t these perfumed culinary creations of God. It used to be that herbs were part and parcel of Italian and French cooking. Not anymore. Because today, the world over, herbs have found its niche in haute cuisine as well as ordinary, everyday cooking. Wasn't it said in Genesis 1 , "let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fru it tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so." Herbs especially fresh provide the aroma from coriander, lemon grass, basil, mint, oregano, rosemary which chefs from different continents can't cook without. The zest and the allure of herbs have been there since time immemorial. Italian monks have been known to grow herbs centuries ago. Asian cuis ines would never be the same without lime, curry, sweet basil, or turmeric? And what about Scarborough Fair's parsley, sage, rosemary

Food garden anyone?

I am far from a professional cook nor am I a true blue gardener. So what is the point you ask ? Here it is -- Cooking may well include the pleasure of gardening. So what if you're red thumb-ed and not green? And, so what if you don't have a big yard nor a large garden? What you need are clay pots in different sizes to house your pla nts. Planting vegetables, herbs, fruit trees as well as flowers is not only enjoyable but a wellness activity too. There's a certain delectation in picking, cooking and partaking that which your own hands helped grow. A co uple of years ago, I had plenty of herbs in our backyard. Mint, basil, thyme, rosemary, dill, marjoram and oregano. What I could not use fresh, I dried. Just pick them in the mornings (best time to pick herbs) and dried them using small mesh bags. When dried, I stored them in clean, recycled bottles, sealed tight not waiting for any excuse as to be incorporated in every imaginable dish I prepared. I also have differen

The Rainbow Connection in our Food

I am doing this short intro as a tribute to my friend Sher who published a recent post about the role colors play in food preparations. Color introduces us to the world of visual culinary seduction through our eyes and on to the palate. Bright, shiny and lively colors provide the foundation for each and every gorgeous dining experience. And to help us understand color and its implications, particularly to Chinese cuisine, here's Sher and her 'Colors of your Food' . Enjoy and Cheers!

Garnish, and Ingredients - Strictly Your Freedom of Choice

Still on that salad topic. After talking about veggies, the fruits or the greens, here's my list of top salad must have add-ons and garnish. To me this culinary grouping provide the toss, the balance and the kick. Actually, creativity is the limit and eating natural serves as the impetus: Anchovies Bacon Hard boiled eggs Roast beef Left-over chili shrimps Left-over chili crabs Steamed chicken breasts Canned tuna Cooked frankfurters or hotdogs Left-over salmon steaks Left-over pork barbecue Left-over lechon (broiled hog) Christmas Ham Smoked sausages Smoked fish Pickle Relish Olives Various kinds of nuts like almonds, pecan, wall nuts, peanuts Gelatin Raisins Pasta Cheese - blue, feta cheddar, creamed, cottage, processed, And the rest of other salad kickers: worcestershire sauce tabasco chili sauce olive oil lime juice wine vinegar cider vinegar mustard balsamic vinegar catsup butter mayonnaise light cream heavy cream sour cream peppers

Are you getting the salad raw deal?

Yes, we all know that green veggies and all veggies for that matter are good for us. People, moving aggressively towards the wellness and health direction, veggies have come to attain that ebullient status. Good!Thanks to the 'saturated fat' fear factor. No need for elaborate introduction, salads can be the world's lifesaver. Salads whether green or collectively rainbow colored, are definitely are the gems of the cooking world. They could be served hot, prepared cold. Maybe simple but yet quite elegant, extravagant but at the same time, elaborate. However it is served, salads offer itself as a nutritionally delectable addition to every meal. Chef wanna-be's like myself are continuously inspired to make our own version of standard salad recipes. I love tinkering, making it possible to tweak. The result? My salads more often bear my own cooking or preparation signature [as if :-)]. My salads are really culinary expressions waiting to be discovered; adventurous

Dressed for the killer salad

In today's health obsessed world, a healthy salad is a must. Whether it is purely green, or vegetable, or maybe, fruit, fish, meat or even molded, salads are enjoyed the world over . It is one of the most versatile dining elements to prepare which requires imagination and aesthetic creativity. Salads are served in various forms - appetizer, a side dish, sometimes, the main dish, or it could be the final touch to a meal. Salad preparations are often the most open to culinary flexibility, experimentation and culinary design. Ingredients a nd garnish will require a separate food or cooking post, so I shall leave that and focus instead on the dressing. Because what would a salad be without its dressing? Salads are capped with dressings . Be it French classic which minimally dict ates a blend of oil, pepper and salt; or continental which incorporates a variation of lime, lemon, shallots, onions, capers, herbs, garlic, anchovies , hard cooked eggs, , mustard, cayenne and

Tofu - whey too healthy, soy cheesy and beancurdy

Because of today's trend towards healthy eating, meat is no longer the cornerstone of protein nutrition. Enter tofu. The Chinese have been using tofu for some 2000 years, since the Taoist times of the Han dynasty. From China, tofu was brought to Japan and Korea many, many, many years later. Today, billions of Asians eat tofu. It could be fresh, dried, frozen, smoked and whether it is prepared boiled, steamed, fried, baked and shaped to im itate that of animal meat, tofu is no longer relegated as a novelty food especially by the western world. As a drink its whey is comparably healthy because tofu is natural, free from cholesterol, very low in saturated fats and carbos, but rich in calcium, and other important vitamins and minerals. Tofu maybe prepared in its original form, marinated and also smoked , and used in dishes in its fried, or even grilled and stewed forms. Tofu in its silken version is ideal food combin ation that's great with soups, dressings, dips and yes, hear