Tapas conjure the vivid hues of the Cote d’Azure, the sweet spice of cinnamon-laced sangria, and the strains of the flamenco in the air. A delicious daydream for all the senses, it is little wonder tapas restaurants have become hugely popular in the US.

Unfortunately, even though they do not include the Cote d’Azure, the cost of frequenting these places can start to pinch after a while. Never fear, there is no reason to drop the tapas habit; instead, bring it into the intimate setting of your home and enjoy the experience in a new light.

Where to start? You need three essentials: Continue reading »

Spring is here and with this season comes Easter. For many people, this time of the year calls for some celebration and when there’s celebration, there’s bound to be food.

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When it comes to Easter treats, pastels and sweets abound. Easter is often associated with pastels because of their sweet color. But besides the sweet ingredients, the egg also takes the limelight during this season.

If you wish to prepare something sweet and tasty for everybody, here are some ideas you can follow.
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Gourmet cooking is often about packing in the flavor with lots of butter, cream, and rich ingredients, but even celebrity chefs make healthy recipes. When Paula Deen was revealed to have diabetes, people were quick to criticize her unhealthy Southern food as the cause, and even she has come out recently with healthier versions of her favorite recipes. After all, these chefs go home and pull food out of their own refrigerators and freezers to prepare meals they eat day in and day out. When you’re looking for delicious food that will keep you healthy, turn to some of these healthy recipes from celebrity chefs.

Roasted Chicken from Tom Colicchio: It’s time for fried chicken to move aside, thanks to Tom Colicchio’s recipe that uses just three tablespoons of oil to make a delicious roasted chicken. The secret is to brown the chicken in a pan beforehand with a little bit of peanut oil to get the crispy skin, and then to baste it with butter and its own juices as the chicken cooks, infusing the whole bird with flavor. Stuffing the chicken with fresh herbs like rosemary and thyme provides extra flavor, too. Continue reading »

It’s a brand new year and by now, many of you are for sure engrossed in a weight loss regimen to take off the extra pounds gained during the holiday season. So for the health buffs who want to be in tip-top shape as well as for those who want to start a healthy lifestyle, read up because we have some great news on what foods including veggies will be in for this year.
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Carrots is predicted to hog the limelight this 2013. According to Good Housekeeping, it’s the star now of menus in some of New York City’s most expensive restaurants. It’s being served as tartare and roasted mixed with yogurt. Kids’ menus will also be including more veggies and fruits this time to help them veer away from the usual pizza, nuggets and pasta.

The juice is expected to be as popular focusing more on fruits and vegetables that are rich in fiber. To take advantage of this healthy drink, though, forget about those ready to drink juices at the grocery stores. Best to do your own at home using the juicers. Any type of juicer will do as long as it helps you extract the liquid from your fruits and veggies.
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As Thanksgiving in the U.S. approaches, for sure couples and families are now thinking of what dishes to prepare for this very special occasion. There’s no question that the turkey will continue to be the highlight of the menu.

Unless you have a big family who are turkey lovers, it is expected that many will have leftovers after the Thanksgiving celebration. But don’t throw them away yet because you can still make use of them in your meal for a few days more.

One way of using turkey leftovers is to make burgers. Here’s one recipe from Guy Fieri of Guy’s Big Bite called Jewels turkey-jasmine burgers.

To make the burgers, cut into tiny bits or ground the turkey leftover. Then mix with steamed jasmine rice (or any rice that’s available), thinly sliced spring onions, bread crumbs, one-half teaspoon sesame oil, one tablespoon soy sauce, one large egg, one Thai chilli or serrano chilli that’s minced, one teaspoon sugar and salt and freshly ground black pepper. Mix well until all ingredients are blended.
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I like shopping for groceries on my own because

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doing so with my husband and kids invariably means a lot of items that are not on the grocery list. Nevertheless, the grocery trips end up being fun (albeit tiring) and a good way to introduce the kids to new food.

One of the things my hubby got during out last trip was two packs of Nori – one plain and one wasabi flavored. If you don't know what nori is, it's the rather fishy-smelling papery ingredient they use as sushi wrap. Nori, which by the way is dried edible seaweed, is actually used in Japanese cuisine not just as sushi wrap, but topping and condiment for noodles and various dishes.

Feeling rather adventurous with the kid's palate, who by the way are still toddlers, my husband gave each a strip of nori (not the wasabi flavored of co

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urse!). We were expecting to see scrunched up faces and little tongues sticking out as they spit out the nori in disgust. Surprise! Both kids finished of their little strips in minutes and promptly held out their hands for more.

So what's my point? The point is simply that it's never too early to start training your kid's palate so that they will be able to appreciate all kinds of food better

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as they grow. Not only will you be helping them in case they do end up as aspiring chefs when they grow up, but you'll also have an easier time feeding them as they grow up because chances are they won't be such picky eaters.

Oh, and here are links to some recipes that use nori as ingredient from celebrity chefs Dale Talde (Nori Seared Tuna Steak) and Janella Prucell (Brown Rice Tempeh Nori Rolls).

Image via RemixYourHealth

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Chef Hugh “Fearlessly-Eatsitall” Fearnley-Whittingstall is at it again, pushing society’s buttons

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by declaring that people who eat pigs should be able to eat puppies too.

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According to Radio Times, the controversial chef told them that “You can’t object [to eating puppies], unless you also object to the farming of pigs. It’s an artificial construct of our society, a cultural decision, to make pets out of dogs and meat out of pigs: both animals could be used the other way round.”

Being a newly-converted vegetarian, he also said though that his stand on “high-welfare organic puppy farms” is just a matter of principle, and that he wouldn’t really eat puppies in practice, at least not unless he’s starving. While the statement is likely just him trying to point out his new found love for animals and his stance on the undesirability of eating pork, they are not going down well at all, especially with the RSPCA, WSPA, and other animal welfare advocates.

An RSPCA spokesperson already told the Daily Mail that even if the chef’s “comments may seem sensible but are actually quite controversial – especially when dogs are our most popular and loved pet.”

WSPA, on the other hand, is clearly against the issue as they have been working on ending the dog meat trade in South Korea for more than a decade now. According to their website, “The commercial production of dog meat involves cruelty at every stage, from ‘dog farm’ or street capture through to transport

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and killing.” And as Dr Les Sims of the Hong Kong Government Agriculture Fisheries and Conservation Department has stated (via The Telegraph), “No country in the world has developed a humane way of raising and slaughtering dogs, and in our opinion, it cannot be done”.

Chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall may say that eating pigs is no different than eating puppies, but what do you say? Anyone care for a hot dog?

Image Credit: Gazzat and Fern Hill Farm

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Chef John Ash

A lot of cooks would agree that the use of wine in some meals have added a certain spice in making them sought after. Such can be attributed towards the contributions of Chef John Ash, an internationally recognized chef, educator and author. His continued work and application of wine towards cuisine and his evident mastery for winery has been his obvious trademark that has brought him towards world wide prominence.

John is known to hold various classes and teaches culinary schools and institutions with regards to the tricks of the proper use of wine for culinary meals. Majority of his known reliability has been attributed towards the wine industry and such has been something that has continued to push him up towards fame and fortune.

He has published two books, namely American Game Cooking in 1991 and From the Earth to the Table: John Ash’s Wine Country Cuisine in 1996. The latter book was awarded the Julia Child Award for Best Cookbook in 1996 by the International Association of Culinary Professionals.

Chef Jody AdamsChef Jody Adams personifies the ease of being a great chef through the use of available resources found in your kitchen today. Being a good cook is a given with practice, but with more practice and a touch of imagination at that, good chefs are sure to arise. This has been one of the beliefs that have catapulted Chef Jody towards mastering the art of cooking.

Cooking in the eyes of Chef Jody would simply be like following instincts rather than the usual traditional cooking practices that people see on television or from reading the available cookbooks in stores today. It all boils down to following a cooking style which would carve out your name in the genre of food that a person would want to cook up.

This is the secret that Jody Adams shares as her ultimate success in cooking. With a wide array of recipes that includes starter meals, seasonal prepared meals and Italian tradition meals such as pasta until deserts, Chef Jody has a long list of recipes all based on her instincts and what she can do around the kitchen. People can do this as well if they know how to go around the kitchen of their homes as well.

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chocolatefondue_250A Valentines Dinner would not be complete without dessert and for me, this dessert should be something chocolate. Call it traditional. Call it mushy. I don’t care. I have to have chocolate on Valentine’s Day! So here is my pick from Rachel Ray’s ideas for the day of love – Chocolate Fondue:

Ingredients:
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
Two 12-ounce bags semisweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Dried apricots, for dipping
Gala apples, cored and sliced, for dipping
Pretzel rods, for dipping
Marshmallows, for dipping

Directions:
1. In a medium saucepan, combine the cocoa powder with 1/2 cup water and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Stir in the milk and sugar and bring to a simmer. Add the chocolate chips and vanilla and cook, stirring, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth, about 5 minutes.
2. Serve the fondue warm with the apricots, apples, pretzel rods and marshmallows for dipping.

There’s nothing like good old chocolate fondue to top off a romantic evening. Imagine having a very satisfying meal together. How much more romantic can you get than this – a cozy conversation while dipping fruits and marshmallows into a sumptuous chocolate fondue? You can’t get any better than that, really. The rest of the evening is up to you. Happy Valentines everyone!

Note: If you do not like the fruits mentioned above, you can always find some other fruits that you prefer. Try bananas or strawberries.