- carne asada.
This popular traditional breakfast dish features lightly fried corn tortillas cut into quarters and topped with green or red salsa (the red is slightly spicier). Scrambled or fried eggs and pulled chicken are usually added on top, as well as cheese and cream. Chilaquiles are often served with a healthy dose of frijoles (refried beans).
Try making your own chilaquiles
Pozole white vs red
The original white pozole is said to have been created in Chiapa, Guerrero during the eighteenth century. It was soaked corn was added to chicken and herbs now it has become a revered national dish. In Jalisco and Michoacan is found a pozole rojo, red with dried chiles ancho or combined with the chiles guajillos. Pozole verde green color and unusual taste and texture comes from ground pumpkin seeds, tomates verdes and various greens.
According to anthropologists, this pre-Hispanic soup was once once used as part of ritual sacrifices. These days chicken, pork and vegetarian pozole versions are readily available in more everyday surroundings. Made from hominy corn with plenty of herbs and spices, the dish is traditionally stewed for hours, often overnight. Once ready to serve, lettuce or cabbage, radish, onion, oregano, lime and chilli are sprinkled on top.
Tacos al pastor
This historic dish is one of the most popular varieties of tacos, with origins dating back to the 1920s and 30s and the arrival of Lebanese and Syrian immigrants to Mexico. To create tacos al pastor (meaning ‘in the style of the shepherd’), thin strips of pork are sliced off a spit, placed on a corn tortilla and served with onions, coriander leaves and pineapple.
What should you do with stale tortillas? Why, fry them of course! Literally meaning toasted, tostadas are a simple but delicious dish involving corn tortillas fried in boiling oil until they become crunchy and golden. These are then served alone or piled high with any number of garnishes. Popular toppings include frijoles (refried beans), cheese, cooked meat, seafood and ceviche.
Try making your own tostadas
Chiles en Nogada
Boasting the three colours of the Mexican flag, chiles en nogada is one of Mexico’s most patriotic dishes. Poblano chillies filled with picadillo (a mixture of chopped meat, fruits and spices) represent the green on the flag, the walnut-based cream sauce is the white and pomegranate seeds the red. Originating from Puebla, history tells that the dish was first served to Don Agustin de Iturbide, liberator and subsequent Emperor of Mexico.
You’ll find someone selling elote, the Mexican name for corn on the cob, on nearly every city street corner in Mexico. The corn is traditionally boiled and served either on a stick (to be eaten like an ice-cream) or in cups, the kernels having been cut off the cob. Salt, chilli powder, lime, butter, cheese mayonnaise and sour cream are then added in abundance.
Try making your own elote
Enchiladas date back to Mayan times when people in the Valley of Mexico would eat corn tortillas wrapped around small fish. These days both corn and flour tortillas are used and are filled with meat, cheese, seafood, beans, vegetables or all of the above. The stuffed tortillas are then covered in a chilli sauce making for a perfect Mexican breakfast.
Try making your own enchiladas
Three states claim to be the original home of mole (pronounced ‘mol-eh’), a rich sauce popular in Mexican cooking. There are myriad types of mole but all contain around 20 or so ingredients, including one or more varieties of chilli peppers, and all require constant stirring over a long period of time. Perhaps the best-known mole is mole poblano, a rusty red sauce typically served over turkey or chicken.
Try making your own mole
Guacamole is undoubtedly one of Mexico’s most popular dishes but few know that this traditional sauce dates back to the time of the Aztecs. Made from mashed up avocadoes, onions, tomatoes, lemon juice and chilli peppers (and sometimes a clove or two of garlic), guacamole is often eaten with tortilla chips or used as a side dish.
Try making your own guacamole
Tamales were first developed for the Aztec, Mayan and Inca tribes who needed nourishing food on the go to take into battle. Pockets of corn dough are stuffed with either a sweet or savoury filling, wrapped in banana leaves or cornhusks and steamed. Fillings vary from meats and cheeses to fruits, vegetables, chillies and mole. Remember to discard the wrapping before eating!
These are some of the best and easiest Cookie Decorating ideas for your cookies. I hope you enjoy trying them.
- 2 egg whites
- 1/8 tsp salt
COLORED DECORATING SUGARS
- 2 or 3 drops food coloring your favorite color
VIBRANT COOKIE PAINTS
- 2 egg yolks
- 2-3 drops food color your favorite color
Royal Icing or Piped Frosting:
- 3 egg whites
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 4 cups Confectioners' sugar
Confectioner Sugar Glaze
- 1 1/2 cups Confectioners' sugar
- 3-4 Tbsp water
- 2-3 drops food color
In a small bowl beat the egg whites with the salt until they are foamy. Brush the glaze lightly on cookies before baking for a glossy finish. The glaze holds sugar, fruits, and nuts in place. Makes enough glaze for about 60 2 inch cookies.
Divide the sugar among 4 small bowls and stir each food coloring into a separate bowl. Let the sugars dry and keep them covered. Decorate glazed cookies with the colored sugars. Makes enough decorating sugar for about 60 2 inch cookies. You can also find coarse sugar, found in the store sometimes in the cake section, this adds the most sparkle to the cookie.
VIBRANT COOKIE PAINTS
In a bowl beat the egg yolks lightly with 1 t water. Divide the mixture among 4 small bowls, and stir each food coloring into a separate bowl. Decorate baked cookies with the "paints" using a fine tipped brush and put them in a preheated hot oven, 400 degrees for 1 minute. Makes enough paint for about 60 2 inch cookies.
Royal Icing or Piped Frosting:
In a large bowl mix at high speed the egg whites until foamy. Reduce speed and add in sugar until blended then beat on high speed until thick and shiny about 2 minutes. Beat in 1 Tbsp of water is the icing is to thick. Color as desired. Makes 2 cups
Confectioner Sugar Glaze
Sift the sugar add water a spoon at a tine. Mix well until smooth. Color with food colors. Use quickly. Place a cookie face down on a fork or with prongs and dip cookie into Glaze so that the face is covered. Lift up gently with your figures and allow excess to drip off. Place where it can dry.Decorate further with the other decorations.
Mung Beans- Bean Sprouts
Mung Beans or Bean Sprouts are used in many different stir frys and even to add a bit of crunch to a sandwich. Extremely good for you too.
Mung Beans- Bean Sprouts
- 1 cup mung beans or other seeds
Soak the mung beans in cool water for 8 to 12 hours. Drain the soak water and place the beans into a large jar with cheesecloth or a screen it at the top, for air and ventilation. Rinse and drain the sprouts 2 times a day.
Your first crop of short, sweet mung sprouts are ready to eat in 2 or 3 days. Within 4 to 6 days the roots of your sprouts turn out thicker and longer. Add to stir fries, salads, sandwiches, soup or eat as a snack. Bon appétit!
The Versatile, Nutritious and Delicious Carrot
The humble Carrot is one of the most widely used vegetables in the world. Carrots are very versatile in so many dishes from around the world. The modern day carrot has been bred to be sweet and has a crunchy texture. Carrots are typically orange, but purple, white, yellow, and red carrots are grown but are not as common. The average American eats about 12 pounds of carrots a year, that is about one cup per week.
It is believed that the carrot was first cultivated in Afghanistan thousands of years ago as a small purple or yellow root with a woody and bitter flavor, nothing of the carrot we know today. Purple, red, yellow and white carrots were cultivated long before the appearance of the now popular orange carrot, which was developed and stabilized by Dutch growers in the 16th and 17th centuries. The majority of carrots today are now cultivated in China.
“Baby Carrots” were introduced in the 1980’s by a farmer who wanted to salvage misformed carrots that were being thrown away because they did not look desirable. Up until then all the broken and misformed carrots were discarded, leaving sometimes as little as 30 percent of their crop suitable for stores. The carrot farmer took an industrial green bean cutter to quickly whittle, peeled, cut, washed and packaged the carrots into the familiar 2-inch baby portions we find in packages today. All Baby Carrots are washed with a water/chlorine solution that is comparable to tap water to eliminate bacteria (including E. coli and Salmonella) that can cause food-borne illnesses. There is controversy concerning the benefits and drawbacks to this water/chlorine solution. Baby carrot products have become the fastest growing segment of the carrot industry since the early 1990’s and are among the most popular produce items in the market – more than potatoes and celery, according to a 2007 USDA report.
Here are a few ways to enjoy carrots – raw, cooked or baked:
- Add grated raw carrots to whole-grain muffin batter.
- Add grated carrots to omelets, frittatas, pasta sauces, coleslaw and green salads.
- Combine grated carrots, beets and apples for a nutrient- and antioxidant-rich salad.
- Make carrot soup by pureeing boiled carrots and potatoes (and cooking water). Add herbs and spices to taste.
- Add baby carrots or sliced carrots to curry and stir-fry recipes.
- Juice carrots by making a beta-carotene-rich protein shake by blending leftover cooked carrots (or one half-cup carrot juice), one banana, almond milk and protein powder.
- Carrots make great snack food to eat with dips.
CookingToday Store offers these great recipes using carrots:
- Potato Cakes With Applesauce
- Pineapple Carrot Smoothie
- Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
- Roasted Vegetables with Arugula Walnut Pesto
- Carrot Sweet Potato Croquettes
- Carrot, Leek and Ginger Soup
- Carrot Cake Waffles or Pancakes
- Albondigas Meatballs Soup
- CARROT CAKE
How to Select and Store Carrots
Be careful not to overcook carrots to help them to retain maximum flavor and strong overall nutritional value.
Carrot Nutritional Value & Calories
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, one medium carrot or ½ cup of chopped carrots is considered a serving size. One serving size of carrots provides 25 calories, 6 grams of carbohydrate, 3 grams of sugars and 1 gram of protein, beta-carotene and fiber content plus antioxidant agents and vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, vitamin B8, pantothenic acid, folate, potassium, iron, copper, and manganese.
- Vitamin A, One medium carrot contains 204 percent of your daily recommended value of vitamin A. In plant-based foods, this vitamin is produced by your body from the nutritional compound beta-carotene. This vitamin, also known as retinol, is responsible for maintaining the health of your eyes. Vitamin A helps your eyes retain their ability to adjust to changes in light and maintains necessary moisture and mucus levels of your eyes. Vitamin A and antioxidants protect the skin from sun damage. Deficiencies of vitamin A cause dryness to the skin, hair, and nails. Vitamin prevents premature wrinkling, acne, dry skin, pigmentation, blemishes, uneven skin tone. Improves Eyesight: Deficiency of vitamin A can cause some difficulty seeing in dim light. Since carrots are rich in vitamin A, it is good for improving eyesight and preventing conditions like night blindness from developing as we age.
- Vitamins K and C. Vitamin K maintains your blood’s ability to clot. It also contributes to bone strength and kidney health. One medium carrot contains 8 mcg of vitamin K. One medium carrot also contains 6 percent of your daily value of vitamin C, which is associated with a healthy immune system and strong teeth and gums. Vitamin C can also help your body absorb iron from plant foods and can help combat free radicals. Carrots contain a number of antiseptic and antibacterial abilities that make it ideal for boosting the immune system. Not only that, carrots are a rich source of vitamin C, which stimulates the activity of white blood cells and is one of the most important elements in the human immune system.
- Carrots contain 2% of calcium needs and 2% of iron needs per serving.
- The antioxidant beta-carotene that gives carrots their bright orange color. Beta-carotene is absorbed in the intestine and converted into vitamin A during digestion.
- Potassium one carrot contains 400 mg of potassium. Potassium is the third-most-abundant mineral in your body. It may help reduce your risk of stroke, high blood pressure, and anxiety. Potassium is a vasodilator and can relax the tension in your blood vessels and arteries, thereby increasing blood flow and circulation, boosting organ function throughout the body and reducing the stress on the cardiovascular system. The coumarin found in carrots also has been linked to reducing hypertension and protecting your heart health and the health of your muscles, heart and nervous system.
- Fiber is one of three types of nutritional carbohydrates, your body’s main nutritional energy source. Fiber promotes bowel regularity. It can also help control your blood sugar levels and contribute to healthy weight management. Carrots contain high amounts of soluble fiber, largely from pectin, which could be the reason they’ve been shown to lower cholesterol.
- Beta-carotene in carrots has been linked to a reduced risk of several cancers, notably lung, breast cancer and colon cancer. The average carrot contains about 3 milligrams of beta-carotene. In one study, researchers found that eating fiber-rich carrots reduce the risk of colon cancer by as much as 24 percent. Another study shows that women who ate raw carrots were five to eight times less likely to develop breast cancer than women who did not eat carrots.
- Researchers have just discovered falcarinol which may have the anticancer properties.Falcarinol is a natural pesticide produced by the carrot that protects its roots from fungal diseases. Carrots are one of the only common sources of this compound.
- Alpha-carotene and bioflavonoids in carrots have been associated with lower risks of cancer, particularly lung cancer.
- Carrots are good for blood sugar regulation. Carotenoids inversely affect insulin resistance and thus lower blood sugar. They also regulate the amount of insulin and glucose that is being used and metabolized by the body, providing a more even and healthy fluctuation for a diabetic.
- Carrots clean your teeth and mouth. They scrape off plaque and food particles just like toothbrushes or toothpaste. Carrots stimulate gums and trigger a lot of saliva, which being alkaline, balances out the acid forming and cavity forming bacteria. The minerals in carrots prevent tooth damage.
Fun Facts on Carrots:
- Carrots are the second most popular type of vegetable after potatoes.
- The biggest carrot recorded is more than 19 pounds and the longest is over 19 feet!
- There are over 100 species of carrots some big some small and come in a variety colors orange, purple, white, yellow, and red.
- English women in the 1600’s often wore carrot leaves in their hats in place of flowers or feathers.
- The name “carrot” comes from the Greek word “karoton,”
Here are a couple good videos for you.
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The Kitchen Knife
The kitchen knife is one of the most used tools in the kitchen. Almost all of your food preparation begins with cutting is so much easier with the right knife for the job. A good kitchen knife maybe costly but it’ll serve you cooking well. Good knives, properly taken care of, should last forever. When equipping a kitchen for the first time, or when you are adding to your current kitchen knives, you’ll want to know which knives are best and what to look for.
Know Your Knife
Tip- The first third of the blade (approximately), which is used for small or delicate work. Also known as belly or curve when curved, as on a chef’s knife.
Cutting Edge– The entire cutting surface of the knife, which extends from the point to the heel. The edge may be beveled or symmetric.
Spine- The top, thicker portion of the blade, which adds weight and strength.
Heel- The rear part of the blade, used for cutting activities that require more force.
Bolster– The thick metal portion joining the handle and the blade, which adds weight and balance.
Spine– The top, thicker portion of the blade, which adds weight and strength.
Rivets- The metal pins (usually 3) that hold the scales to the tang.
Heel – The rear part of the blade, used for cutting activities that require more force.
Tang– The portion of the metal blade that extends into the handle, giving the knife stability and extra weight.
Butt– The terminal end of the handle.
Look for a knife that is rated excellent or very good for handle comfort and balance. Make sure the knives feels comfortable and are a good weight. A lightweight knife is great for speed and precision, but a heavier one can be better for more solid foods like ginger and nuts. The balance is important to make the cutting action more effortless, good knives don’t have too much weight on the handle of the blade. Some handles may be adapted to accommodate the needs of people with disabilities or left handed people. For example, knife handles may be made thicker or with more cushioning or a slight difference in the handle shape.
- Wood handles provide good grip they are slightly more difficult to care for as they must be cleaned more thoroughly and occasionally treated with mineral oil. Most wood handles, especially those of ordinary varnished hardwood, do not resist water well and will crack or warp with prolonged exposure to water. They should be hand-washed for that reason.
- Plastic handles are more easily cared for than wooden handles and do not absorb microorganisms. However, plastics may also be less resistant to ultraviolet damage and may become brittle over time, resulting in cracking. Some plastics are also slippery in the hand. The material is lighter than most other materials, which may result in a knife that is off-balance or too light for some tastes.
- Composite handles are made from laminated wood composites impregnated with plastic resin. Composite handles are considered by many chefs to be the best choice because they are as easy to care for and as sanitary as plastic, they have the appearance, weight, and grip of hardwood, and are more durable than either. They often have a laminated, polished appearance, and may have intense or varied coloring.
- Stainless steel handles are the most durable of all handles, as well as the most sanitary. They are very slippery in the hand, especially when wet. To counter this, many premium knife makers make handles with ridges, bumps, or indentations to provide extra grip. One disadvantage of some all-metal handles is that knife weight usually goes up considerably, affecting the knife’s balance and increasing hand and wrist fatigue. Knife manufacturers, most notably Japan’s Global, have begun addressing this issue by producing hollow-handled knives.
Knives are forged or stamped.
- Forged knives, which tend to be higher priced, are made in an intricate, multi-step process, a single piece of molten steel alloy is cut and pounded into the desired shape and pounded while hot to form it, so as to realign its molecular structure and make it stronger and more resilient. The blade is then heated above the critical temperature (which varies between alloys) and tempered the desired hardness. Forged blades are generally less flexible than stamped and they are less apt to bend over time. After forging and heat-treating, the blade is polished and sharpened. Forged blades are typically thicker and heavier than stamped blades, which is sometimes advantageous.
- Stamped knives are made from cold rolled steel and literally cut with a cookie-cutter-type machine, then heat-treated for strength, then ground, polished, and sharpened. They are usually the same thickness throughout, except at the cutting edge.
Kitchen knives materials.
- Stainless steel knives are the least expensive. Stainless Steel, also called SS, can rust if not cared for, but it can withstand much more causal care than High-Carbon steel. SS is harder, will hold an edge longer, but is harder to sharpen.
- Carbon steel is more expensive, but the metal is harder and simpler to keep sharp, although it can rust. A knife made from a single piece of steel – and better still, hand-forged (although this costs a bomb) – will last you a lot longer than cheap, thin knives with clumsy handles covered in plastic.
- High carbon stainless steel normally refers to higher-grade, stainless steel alloys with a certain amount of carbon, and is intended to combine the best attributes of carbon steel and ordinary stainless steel. Most ‘high-carbon’ stainless blades are made of higher-quality alloys than less-expensive stainless knives. Carbon steel is normally easier to sharpen than most stainless steels, but are vulnerable to stains and rust. The blades should be cleaned, dried, and lubricated after each.
- Ceramic blades, which are 10 times harder than carbon steel and they don’t rust. They are extremely lightweight, and they don’t need to be sharpened, but they can chip or break if care is not exercised. Ceramic knives are very hard and will maintain a sharp edge for a long time. They are light in weight, do not impart any taste to food and do not corrode. Excellent for slicing fruit, vegetables and boneless meat because they do not react with any acids or oxidizer in your food.
- Laminated Knife blades are both hard, but brittle steel which will hold a good edge but is easily chipped and damaged, with a tougher steel less susceptible to damage and chipping, but incapable of taking a good edge. The hard steel is sandwiched (laminated) and protected between layers of the tougher steel. The hard steel forms the edge of the knife; it will take a more acute grind than a less hard steel and will stay sharp longer.
- Titanium knife blades are lighter and more wear-resistant, but not the hardest metal They are more flexible than steel.
- Plastic blades are usually not very sharp and are mainly used to cut through vegetables. They are not sharp enough to cut deeply into flesh making the good for a child to learn with.
- Damascus, are very costly mottled knives are made from carbon steel core, surrounded by layers of soft and hard stainless steel, which results in an extremely hard and razor-sharp edge.
The Knives to avoid new or second-hand:
- There are ads that say their knives don’t need to be sharpened but what they do not say is when they lose their edge, you’ll have to throw them away, they can not be sharpened.
- Check for signs of poor joining or welding, in the blade and handle, which may cause a weak point and cause the knife to bend or break, as well as trapping food and breeding bacteria.
- When a knife is left unwashed knives in the sink or put in a dishwasher, the knife will be stained and become dull. Knives will last as longer if you hand wash and dry. All knives require regular honing. If you do not want the maintenance to consider an inexpensive disposable knife.
- Avoid a wobbly handle, loose parts, or protruding rivets (the round metal pieces that secure the blade to the handle). If the rivets aren’t flush, they could irritate your hand or trap food, creating a breeding ground for bacteria.
- Any knife with broken tips or chips in the blade can not be repaired or sharpened.
- Knives with wooden handles that have started to crack or degrade (to prevent this, never put them in the dishwasher).
- Blades with a separate piece of metal (called a collar) attached at the point where the blade meets the handle. These knives are not well made and tend to come apart easily.
The 4 Essential Kitchen Knives that do 90% of all cooking jobs:
Chef’s knives are also known as a cook’s knife or French knife, are the number one workhorse in all cutting tasks in the kitchen. Everything from slicing zucchini to chopping meat, slicing, trimming or carving. The common chef knives ranging from 6 inches to 10 inches, the average 8-inch blade has about a 2-inch width and slightly curved edge. That curve helps you rock the blade back and forth when mincing. Chef’s knives typically come in either the French or German style. German chef knives have a more continuous curve to their blades, while the French style has a flatter edge and more pronounced curve right at the tip, neither design is inherently superior, so it is just a matter of taste.
Paring Knife is an all-purpose small plain edge blade knife 3 to 4 inches long used for general light-duty jobs, peeling fruit or potatoes or hulling and slicing a strawberry and deveining a shrimp, removing seeds from a jalapeño, or cutting intricate garnishes. It is similar to a chef’s knife but smaller, a good all purpose knife. Avoid using a paring knife to cut hard vegetables, such as carrots, beets, or parsnip, they cannot easily slice through these foods, where you may increase the pressure or tighten your grip as you’re cutting. Paring knives are ideal for children use when they first start learning to work with knives, it allows their little hands to have more control.
Serrated Knife or Bread Knife, usually is 8-10 inches, long and with a wavy, saw-like serrations blade to allow for even and precise slicing. The serrations of these knives cut well without needing much downward force. Serrated knives cut much better than plain-edge blade knives when dull, and they do not require frequent sharpening.A Serrated Knife is especially useful for cutting bread and soft fruit or vegetables, such as tomatoes and peppers, or also particularly good on fibrous foods such as celery or pineapples, watermelons. The jagged edge can grip and cut those exteriors, while the flat blade of a chef’s knife would slip and slide across the surface. Serrated knives should not generally be used with fish or meat, as the blade can damage the structure of the flesh.
Knife or Filet Knife or Boning knife the same knife, just with different names. A carving knife is often a little longer than a chef’s knife, but far narrower, and without the chef’s knife’s customary curve. These knives tend to be quite long—between 6 and 11 inches—and exceedingly narrow with a flexible blade. This allows the knife to easily curve under the fish skin, or remove the silver skin on beef tenderloin up or boning fish, meat, or poultry of any size, whether a 3-inch-long anchovy or a 150-pound side of pork. The thinner blade allows for thinner cuts, and the length of the blade encourages a sawing motion used in carving. A carving knife must be razor-sharp to produce minimal friction on the meat, allowing you to cut easily and cleanly against the grain. A carving knife should not be used to cut through bones, but rather to cut around bones.
How to Sharpen a Knife with a Honing Steel or a Whetstone
The edge of a knife gradually loses its sharpness, which can be restored by sharpening. Knives with smooth edges can be sharpened by the user; knives with any form of the serrated edge should ideally be sharpened with specialist equipment. The essential tool for your knife is a honing steel, which is a rod made of steel or ceramic, which is designed to keep your knives at their peak sharpness for as long as possible. Knives should be honed every time you use them, but because honing doesn’t actually sharpen the blade.
Running your knife along a steel does not sharpen knives, but instead straightens the blade, while a sharpener the blade and realigns the teeth on the blade, which leads to a sharper edge and thus a cleaner cut. A honing steel is about 30 centimeters (12 in) long and about 6 mm to 12 mm (¼ to ½ inch) thick.
Whet Stone (Also know as Wet Stone)
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