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Lemon Verbena

No doubt about it. The rather bland looking lemon verbena, Aloysia triphylla, is not going to be stage center in those herb gardens where esthetics play a strong role, but the wise cook will most assuredly find a place for this homely child; it can work wonders as a flavor enhancer in dishes from desserts to entrees - even in iced drinks. Referred to as "a member of a select group of olfactory ambushers" by a well-known herbalist, one need only smell the scented leaf to understand its culinary value. And yet this exotic herb is seldom seen in recipe books. Considered a... read more

How To Make Pesto

by: Chef Jim Berman Great endings do not always mean great beginnings. Pesto emerges from a weedy start and develops into a formidable proponent of enormous flavor. Pesto can be an amalgam of various green, leafy herbs with oil, some grated hard cheese and garlic. It can also be fancied with sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes and the like or made rustic with spinach and walnuts in the Tuscan style. But, if it is the fundamental concoction that keeps the attention of this cook. Pesto is merely the assemblage of basil, god oil, toasted pine nuts, minced garlic and grated... read more

Pastitsio-Greek "Lasagna"

  • by PeteModerator

  It’s time to dirty a few dishes. Okay, more than a few, but making pastitsio is worth the pile of pots and pans it requires to make it. If you are not familiar with pastitsio, it is a layered pasta dish, kind of similar to Italian Lasagna, most often associated with Greek cuisine although a similar dish can be found throughout the Mediterranean and Middle East. Often made with lamb, although beef is common also, the dish starts with a layer of pasta, then a layer of meat sauce, followed by another layer of pasta, and finally topped with with a rich bechemel, often... read more

Pasta with Caramelized Cabbage

  • by PeteModerator

  When it comes to pasta it is easy to get into a rut, making the same sauces over and over.  For most people that means either red, tomato sauce or a white "Alfredo" sauce.  In Autumn I like to serve pasta with caramelized cabbage and bacon.  This is a great late summer, early fall pasta dish. Slightly caramelizing the cabbage brings a wonderful depth of flavor to the dish, but it still is light enough to not slow you down when it is still warm outside. It’s not the quickest pasta to make, but neither will you have to spend lots of time in the kitchen preparing... read more

Kitchen Facts & Fictional Living: Feeding Starving Minds at a Buffet of Questionably Prepared Food for Thought (Second Course)

  What follows, and will follow, for what I believe to be a long time as the story is still being recollected and written, is a bit of confabulation and a story-telling apparition. Some truth and some elaborate flights of my own need to sound cooler than I really am. And some details covered over with so much chocolate sauce as to distort what really happened (and happens!) that the innocent remain free of tyranny from speculation and, well, to keep you interested. Kitchen Facts & Fictional Living:  Feeding Starving Minds at a Buffet of Questionably... read more

The Restaurant Evolution

Today, our nation is facing multiples negative impacts within the economy overall, that is causing many changes in the labor market as well. Many industries have been affected putting on the street thousands of people. The food service industry, at the same time have been affected by eliminating or combining two different job positions into one.   For example, in multiples kitchen today many cooks are facing high volume of work responsibilities, not only cooking but to prepare, organize the storage, cooler, freezer, wash, peel, and cut hundreds of pounds of carrots,... read more

Squash Autumns Ambassadors

The envoys of fall arrive to greet us well before the autumnal equinox.  Gourds, which include pumpkins, winter squash, and those warty, odd-shaped decorative miniatures, begin showing up in supermarkets and roadside stands in late summer.  Appearing even before the leaves start changing, they're a distinctive harbinger of autumn.  For the gourmet, they're a key ingredient in a variety of seasonal dishes. Squash is the fruit of plants from the gourd family.  Squash originated in the western hemisphere and was being consumed by man at least 5,000 years ago, probably... read more

Blackberry Peach Cobbler

  • by PeteModerator

  A few weeks ago I made my first trip to the Little Farmer, one of my favorite places here in Wisconsin, and they start their season the beginning of August with early season apples and peaches that they get from a farmer over in Michigan. The peaches were superb and I had to pick up a bunch, both for eating and for cooking. I really like this year’s crop, sweet and super juicy, yet they seem to have a nice tart kick to them, even when fully ripe.   Normally, if I am going to pair peaches with any fruit it is usually raspberries, but since we are between raspberry... read more

Corn Fritters with Peach Salsa

  • by PeteModerator

  It's August and that means that 2 of my favorite things are in season; corn and peaches.  Both peak at this time of year, but you rarely find recipes that use both of them, which I feel is a shame.  So I set out to remedy that situation.  Personally, I'd eat enough of these to make a full meal-they would probably make a great breakfast-but for most people, this would make a great side dish to any grilled chicken or pork that you might be doing.   Peach Salsa   2 peaches 1/4 cup onion, finely diced 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced 2 Tbl. cilantro, minced 1/2... read more

Does A Publicist Make It Taste Better

Whether we realize it or not, we are all publicists. We represent and promote ourselves and our businesses every time we interact with other people. The image we project is our brand, and our brand dictates how customers feel about our products and services. In any industry, but particularly in the restaurant/hospitality market, a powerful brand is the key to long-term success-especially in a highly competitive market. Public relations is not just for large organizations. In the long run it's far less costly and often more effective than print or broadcast advertising. A... read more

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