Need A Romantic Picnic Idea?

Ah, spring, when a young man’s thoughts turn to romance, and visions of things like moonlit strolls, quiet walks in the woods and picnics in a secluded spot look even more alluring. With today’s fast-food culture, though, a romantic picnic idea can be hard to come by. Let’s see if we can’t help you out a little bit there, Romeo (or Juliet).

First off, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got the right sort of munchies. I’m not talking about the main dish, here, I’m talking about those tasty nibbles you’ll hopefully be feeding each other while looking deep into each other’s eyes, or some such scenario.

Depending on your partner’s tastes, you’ve got a wide range to choose from. Fresh fruit is always a good choice, with whole strawberries dipped in sweet whipped cream (very transportable), grapes or slices of melon being decadent choices. For the carnivores, delicious deli meats and cheeses rolled in tortillas or crepes make low-mess choices. Bits of choice cheeses are another idea, just make sure you know your date’s preferences.,

When it comes to a main dish, simplicity is your watchword. You don’t want to have to interrupt the flow of a lovely meal to put together something intricate or, worse, to clean up after something messy. Stick to sandwiches, cold salads or wraps. Wraps are a great choice, because they give you a chance to combine so many different flavors in one handy container. You can assemble a complementary assortment of your sweetie’s favorite flavors.

For dessert, your options are almost limitless. Base your choices on your partner’s favorites. From petit fours to chocolate-dipped strawberries, there is an abundance of transportable sweets that will sate the sweet tooth and give you a chance to do some more of that all-important feeding each other activity we talked about earlier. A little something drippy, like chocolate or caramel, isn’t necessarily a bad thing here, for reasons I’ll leave to your own mind to figure out.

These are just a few starters. Your best romantic picnic idea will come from your own mind, since you know your partner best!

Your Food Dehydrator Equals A Family Experience

This title may seem like a stretch of the imagination and at the very least a gross over statement but you will have to admit that today’s family is being challenged from a variety of angles. Not the least of these angles would simply be quality time spent together. Family budgets are stretched the max. School and school activities are taking increasing amounts of valuable family time. Mom and Dad have to work more hours in the day just to make ends meet and the family sit down dinner is a concept that seems to have disappeared with the Cleavers. With all of these challenges and more happening every day to America’s families what is a parent to do? This may sound incredibly simplistic but here is one answer to this dilemma…purchase a food dehydrator.

ORIGINSNever before in our country’s history have our children been so far removed from the origins of their food. A recent poll showed that more than 87% of today’s urban, American school children have never set foot on a farm. When asked where there milk came from over half of the kids polled said “the supermarket”. You will have to admit this is the rather pathetic outcome of our modern, urban, socio-economic family state. A home, kitchen food dehydrator can be an easy to use and very effective catalyst in this education gap. With a food dehydrator kids can have a literal, safe, hands-on experience with their food. This experience can undoubtedly open up a variety of other avenues to educate them about that specific food source that you may be working with. Food dehydration can be an inexpensive, visual in home or in classroom lesson on where our foods come from, how we get them and even how they, the kids themselves can prepare and eat them. By the way, the nutritional values of these foods that can be dried in a food dehydrator are without question far superior to much of the foods you will find in your supermarket. The various foods that can be dried in a modern food dehydrator range from fruits and vegetables to many different meat varieties.

TRANSFORMATIONSRemember when we were kids and we played with our easy bake ovens or our creepy crawly ovens. We didn’t know it at the time but (maybe our parents did) we were learning to take a simple basic ingredient and transform it into an actual edible muffin or spider. These may have lacked nutritional quality and taste appeal but we didn’t were creating and it was fun. This was an experience that we could share with our parents or the neighbor kids living around us. A food dehydrator can be a continuation of that experience. If you are fortunate enough to have a back yard garden, just think how satisfying it could be for you and your kids to take some of those garden goodies that they may have actually planted and turn them into great tasting snacks. You really don’t have to have a garden to experience this. Even if you have one tomato vine or a single mint plant growing somewhere around the house you can use your food dehydrator to transform this into a delicious, nutritious eating experience. Family time doesn’t have to be about trips to the mall or expensive theme parks. Quality family time, that is, the stuff your kids or grandkids will remember forever can be nothing more than creating tasty, nutritious memories with the help of your food dehydrator. These food dehydrators take up a minimal amount of kitchen counter space. They run at very low heat from 85 to 145 degrees therefore creating a very safe and low wattage cooking environment. Food prep may be as little as slicing the veggie or meat you are about to dehydrate and clean up can take no more than a minute or two.

GIVING BACKOne of the biggest complaints (if you could call it that) from back yard gardeners is that there is just too much. The bounty of their garden is more than they could ever eat themselves. This abundance is not unusual. It is more often than not, the norm. Once again, as a teaching tool for families and classrooms the food dehydrator could be used as a teaching catalyst to teach your kids how to give back to the less fortunate of society. Take a small portion of that garden’s abundance, from tomato slices to kale leaves (which can be dried into a delicious salted, crispy chip) and from apple slices to green pepper rings. All of these can be quickly, easily and cheaply dehydrated, put into a zip lock bag and given to your local Salvation Army or church food kitchen. This family teaching tool and giving experience can be priceless. Not to mention the appreciation and thankfulness of the organization you donate your box of healthy, dehydrated foods to.

Today’s modern family is facing a myriad of difficult obstacles which are forcing family members to spend more time apart. It is becoming much harder for our children to experience meaningful, creative, safe and inexpensive food cycle education. A food dehydrator just may be your most effective and wisest kitchen equipment purchase you could ever make. For the amount of money you will spend (most quality dehydrators are selling for between $100 to $175 dollars) the experiences and memories made can be priceless.

Learn to Cook Baja Fish Tacos with Larissa Choma

Hi, my name is Larissa Choma, and I have been cooking for as long as I can remember. Food has always been an interesting medium for starting conversations, learning more about other cultures and creating evenings of fun for family and friends. New acquaintances ask me how to eat healthier and maintain a healthy weight while living a busy lifestyle. My answer starts with multiple questions about the person’s individual tastes and the presence of food allergies. Every person is different, but my recipes can be modified to substitute favorite ingredients.

Larissa Choma that’s what I like people to call me although sometimes I have been hailed by the name of Larissa Choma the Chef which of course is an honor for me and an indication that my culinary skills have earned me this name. Cooking is one activity that I think is fulfilling and satisfying for any individual. Making people lick their fingers after having something you have cooked is an experience that’s beyond expressions.

One of my favorite, all-around recipes is Baja Fish Tacos. Most people cringe the first time they envision replacing hardy pork, or beef, with a tasty cod, or tilapia, fillet when making tacos. Aside from the unique taste, the taco provides the perfect surrounding for a serving of fish, which is not present in most daily diets.

Recipe for — Baja Fish Tacos

Ingredients

2 pounds Pacific cod or Tilapia fillets, 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick, thawed if frozen, rinsed, and patted dry

3/4 cup fresh lime juice

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup of bottled green, or red, taco sauce

6 tablespoons sour cream

15 ounces – finely shredded cabbage (part green and part red)

16 corn tortillas – 7 inches in diameter

Salt

Fresh cilantro sprigs

Preparation Instructions

Heat the grill to medium-high heat don’t heat it beyond that.

Combine the fish fillets, olive oil, lime juice and garlic in a one-gallon re-sealable plastic bag. Seal the bag and rotate the bag several times to coat the fish with the marinade.

Allow the marinade to set for 15 minutes.

Use a large bowl to combine the remaining ingredients. Whisk the taco sauce and sour cream together until smooth. Add the shredded cabbage and mix to coat the strands evenly.

Place the tortillas on a piece of foil paper and seal.

The fish is ready to grill and should be removed from the marinade mixture. Oil the grill grate. Place the fish and tortilla packet on the grate.

Cook the fish for 8 to 12 minutes turning over once. The fillets should be opaque at the thickest part. The tortillas will be warm when the fish is cooked.

Assemble the tacos or set the ingredients on the table and allow each person to create their own tacos. The hot fish should be broken into chunks.

Wrap pieces of fish, along with the cabbage mixture, in the tortillas and use the salt and cilantro for added taste.

Enjoy an awesome recipe called Baja Fish Taco!

Homemade Chocolate Ice-cream – A Quick & Easy Recipe

This is a very fast and simple recipe for ice-cream, which I invented when I misread an old Mary Berry recipe ? I accidentally missed out the egg yolks, but the end result still tasted good. The reason why it’s so easy is that it doesn’t involve making a custard, as most ice-creams do. The secret to making good ice-cream is basically a matter of getting a decent emulsion of fat and water. I think that this recipe achieves that partly by having a higher fat content than other ice-cream recipes I?ve come across ? so beware, large quantities will cause your waistline to expand!

This recipe also has the advantage that it’s safer than other ?no-cook? ice-cream recipes I?ve come across, because there are no raw eggs in the recipe (dried egg white is pasteurised), so it can be safely served to children, pregnant women, the elderly and immuno-suppressed, who must avoid raw eggs.

However, like properly made ice-creams it is rich with no detectable ice crystals in mouth feel. The trick is speed ? you really can’t afford to pause or loose focus when mixing the ingredients together, or the ingredients will separate, and the egg whites lose their aeration.

It’s also important to have your ingredients at the right temperature. Bring the cream almost up to room temperature by taking it out of the fridge about an hour before starting to make this recipe, or the contrast in temperatures between that and the chocolate can cause the chocolate to re-solidify in lots of little flakes in your recipe (If the container holding the cream still feels cool to the touch, then it’s too soon to start making the ice-cream).

It is possible to make this recipe without an ice-cream maker, but it is a lot more work ? you will need to take the carton of ice-cream out of the freezer every ten minutes and give it a vigorous stir with a fork, over a period of about an hour or two, until it is completely set through.

I have used dark chocolate, but the finished product has a milk chocolate flavour, because of all the cream in the recipe. You can use milk chocolate, but I feel that the chocolate flavour then tends to be overly subtle in the finished product.

INGREDIENTS

160g (5.5oz) Dark Chocolate

2 dried egg whites, reconstituted according to packet instructions

175g (6oz) caster sugar

500ml (17 fl oz) single cream (18% fat cream)

250ml (8.5 fl oz) double cream (48% fat cream)

METHOD

Take the double & single cream out of the fridge to warm up. Make sure your ice-cream maker is ready to use, and have all your equipment handy (you don’t want to have to break off in the middle of making this to rummage in a drawer)

Melt chocolate by the usual method in a pyrex bowl over simmering water, or in a double boiler. When it has melted, add the double cream to the chocolate in the warm bowl, and stir well. Then add the single cream, continuously gently stirring the mixture until it is perfectly even.

Then whisk the egg whites until stiff (and about double the volume) using an electric beater. This will take about 2 minutes. Then add the sugar, little by little, continuing to whisk while doing so.

Then whisk in the chocolate and cream mixture, again, a little at a time, whisking continuously. Put the mixture straight into the ice-cream maker, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to freeze the ice-cream.

Once frozen, if you are not eating the ice-cream straight away, then put immediately into a container, and put it in the freezer. The recipe makes about 1.5 litres of ice-cream. The ice-cream will tend to become more solid in the freezer as time goes on, so if it remains in the freezer for more than 4 hours, you will need to remove the container from the freezer and put the container in the fridge for about 20 minutes to let it soften very slightly before serving.

You can make this recipe with any type of chocolate that takes your fancy, but you may want to reduce the sugar content down to about 140g for milk chocolate or 120g for white chocolate to avoid the sweetness overwhelming the flavour of the chocolate. Of course, you can also add other ingredients such as small pieces of fruit, flavourings like mint or citrus oils, spices, caramel sauce, or confectionery pieces to ring the changes. However, if you are adding large quantities of fruit, you will need to use a higher fat cream to avoid getting lots of large ice crystals ? I suggest that in this case you use entirely double cream, rather than a mixture of single and double cream. However, be careful with double cream and ice-cream makers ? on occasions when my attention slipped, the cream whipped itself into butter, which had a most peculiar texture when eaten!

For an 80g serving (about 2 scoops), fat content is 21g; calorie content 270kcal.

Porcini Mushroom Cooking Courses

Do you know how to prepare a mushroom dish? Well, if you don’t, you do not have to worry. You can easily sign up with a cooking class near you and learn different mushroom recipes. Different mushrooms are used for different recipes going by their different tastes. Porcini mushrooms make up some of the most sort after mushrooms. You can easily join a cooking class and learn how to prepare the different porcini mushroom recipes either to apply commercially or for personal benefits. Mushroom classes are meant for both experts and novices. Any one interested in learning some few mushroom kitchen tricks can register. There are different types of classes you can sign up for. Discussed below are some of the main classes you can take.

Porcini mushrooms hands on cooking courses

As the course name indicates, this involves individuals directly getting involved in the preparation of the porcini mushroom preparation. The course instructor assigns you a work area from which you prepare your meal as per the given instructions. This also happens under the instructor’s observation. These course aids you in getting first hand experience in the preparations of the meal and is the most preferred cooking course by most individuals.

Porcini mushrooms lecture cooking course

This method of learning how to prepare your porcini mushroom meals is directly the opposite of the hands on course. It entirely involves attending a cooking lecture and taking notes. The course instructor does the practical bit of the cooking while you observe and take notes. This is a perfect option for those who love listening. You are expected to use your notes later on your owned to prepare your porcini mushroom meals. This course is not a favorite for most people opting to try other alternatives like the hands on course.

Porcini mushrooms cooking combination course

This course is a mixture of the hands on course and the lecture course. Individuals undertaking this course first take notes before they can apply the knowledge in class under the supervision and instructions of the course instructor. The combination cooking course works amazing for most people and it is therefore the most preferred cooking course be it in mushrooms or any other meals. Most great chefs are a product of this course.

You can easily join any class and learn how to prepare not only porcini mushroom meals, but also any other mushroom meal. Mushrooms are rapidly being accepted as a worldwide delicacy due to their numerous advantages to our bodies in addition to their awesome taste. Some of the cooking classes will also offer you a brief or detailed guide on mushroom identification and other related topics. Mushroom identification is very crucial in case you decide to collect your mushrooms from the wild. Your course instructor should be knowledgeable enough about mushrooms to take you through the identification process. If you are not sure whether your mushrooms are the type you wanted, it is better to just leave them. You can easily mistake you porcini mushrooms or any other mushrooms with other toxic ones. it is therefore recommended that you purchase your mushrooms from a grocery store near you.