Christmas Baking Recipes – Creme Brulee

This rich custard dessert is real favorite during the holidays. You can use a small blow torch to brown the sugar, instead of the broiler.

4 cups heavy whipping cream

9 egg yolks

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Brown sugar

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a large and heavy saucepan, heat the cream to exactly 180 degrees over medium heat; stir repeatedly.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar and vanilla. When the cream reaches a temperature of 180 degrees, slowly stir the cream into the egg yolk mixture.

Pour mixture into eight 6-ounce custard cups. Place the cups into a baking pan. Add 1-inch of boiling water to the pan. Bake uncoverted for 45 to 50 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Take custard cups out of the pan.

Before serving, sprinkle each cup with brown sugar. Put the cups onto a baking sheet. Heat up the broiler. Broil 6-inches from the heat source for 3 to 5 minutes or until the sugar on top is carmelized. Serve immediately.

Makes 8 servings.

Christmas Baking Recipes: French Vanilla Cream Puffs

These elegant cream puffs are surprisingly easy to make.

1 cup water

1/2 cup butter

1 cup all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 eggs

Cream Puff Filling

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Prepare baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray.

In a saucepan, add butter to water and bring to a boil. Add in the flour and salt together; stir until a smooth ball forms. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one. Beat until mixture is smooth and shiny.

Drop by round teaspoonfuls 2-inches apart onto prepared baking sheets. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove puffs to wire racks or plates. Immediately cut a slit into each puff to allow the steam to escape. Let puff cool.

Split puffs in two and remove the soft dough. Add filling.

Cream Puff Filling

1 1/2 cups cold milk

1 pkg. instant French vanilla pudding mix

1 cup whipped topping

1 pkg. miniature semisweet chocolate chips

Confectioners' sugar

Directions

In a bowl, beat the milk and pudding mix on low speed for 2 minutes. Let sit in the refrigerator for 5 minutes. Fold in the whipped topping and chocolate chips. Remove puff pastry tops. Fill each puff pastry with cream filling right before serving; put tops back on puff pastry. Dust each pastry with confectioners' sugar.

Christmas Baking Recipes: Banana Cream Brownie Dessert

An irresistibly decadent chocolate dessert.

1 pkg. fudge brownie mix

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, divided

3/4 cup dry roasted peanuts, chopped and divided

3 medium firm bananas

1 2/3 cups cold milk

2 pkgs. instant vanilla pudding mix

1 (8 oz.) Carton frozen whipped topping, thawed

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare a 13×9-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Prepare brownie batter according to …

Cardoon a Seasonal, Yet Tasty Vegetable Grown and Originating Along the Mediterranean

Cooking with Cardoon, also pronounced and spelled (cardoni), A relative of the artichoke family, is great when made into stew and pressure cooked. Cardoon is one of the most overlooked vegetables – Related to the artichoke family and is a great vegetable, or side salad dish on its own, when slow- cooked with stew meat and potatoes, in its own gravy, it can be steam cooked to perfection! Grown infrequently, though available in Florida, for at least two weeks in October, it is of Spanish or Italian origin, originally harvested in the Mediterranean. Now more commonly eaten as our World becomes more culturally diverse. When cooked, cardoon is slightly crunchy and nutty in flavor.

To prepare your cardoon for cooking, clean, and remove excess skin and leaves and chop stalk slices, the size of half a pencil, cardoons look a lot like hard, lightly green celery. Trim the spines, peel the fibers, they may also resemble a giant thistle, for proper cooking, make sure that they have cooked to high heat for at least 30 minutes, this can be done in your pressure cooker, after the meat has cooked to softened desire texture.

Upon cleaning, add cold water and add the zest of two lemons, careful not to add the juice, set aside to keep the cardoon from getting too brown, before adding to your slow cooked meat.For cooking stew meat it is best to cook slowly.

To acquire the consistency for a flavorful gravy or sauce, begin by lightly browning chunks of beef stew meat, goat, or any meat that does well when slow cooked.

Upon rendering a nice brown color, I use a small amount of olive oil, just to attain the browning effect, next I add one large purple onion, or Spanish onion, chopped cilantro only, chopped parsley- removing and discarding the stems from each. Add pieces of peeled raw ginger, next add 3 garlic cloves, reaching the garlic oil that is locked inside by using a cheese grader to get to the oil. Add all of the remaining skin into the pan, next, add pieces of celery, chopped stalks, including the herb at the end of the stalk, salt, pepper, cumin, be generous with your cumin- delicious when added to meats, fish and even chicken dishes.

Add sliced raw chili peppers, add more cooking oil, as needed, to avoid scorching your meat and vegetables saute all of these vegetable. Next add a few cups of vegetable stock, to overflow, add a food spice called Sazon, one package, if desired. For added color, use saffron, a pricey spice, though there are affordable, imitation saffron food products, they work well too! Cook in a pressure cooker, checking the cooker every 20 minutes making sure that the cardoon does not over cook, after 18 minutes, add fresh peeled potatoes, around 5 medium-sized, cut in large pieces, close the pressure cooker- careful not to over cook potatoes.

Upon your last check of your pressure cooker, remove your steam attachment and …

Aklan’s Chicken Inubaran

Chicken is the most common poultry dish feature in Philippine cuisine. The widespread recipes in various restaurants and by home chefs are evidences of this liking. What’s great about Pinoy delicacies is the creativity in indigenous cooking. When you get the chance to travel around places, each locality has popular specialty dishes that leave a mark in every tourist’s heart.

In the Western part of the Visayas region lies the oldest province in the country, Aklan. Along the rich heritage is their sumptuous cookery. And one of the most popular Aklan specialty dishes is the Chicken Inubaran (chicken with banana pith). It is a chicken dish cooked with coconut milk and slices of banana pith, locally termed as ubad, which is the center-most layer of the banana trunk. This tender and sweet white part is what gives the recipe a blissful flavor. The preparation of this dish is actually laborious since you have to cut down a whole banana tree to get the pith. But nowadays, you can buy canned hearts of palm or ubod (in Filipino) in local markets or grocery stores.

Chicken Inubaran is preferably cooked with native chicken as it gives the dish its real authentic taste. Since native chicken requires more cooking time than commercially bought chicken, you can make use of your best slow cooker to tenderly cook your Chicken Inubaran recipe. Slow cooker is ideal for inexpensive cuts of meat. Likewise, other ingredients are very common and within reach. It includes lemon grass, salt, vinegar, onion, garlic, black pepper and ginger as spices to taste. You can also add libas leaves, a souring ingredient, if you want your recipe to have a little bit sourly taste. Simply put all the ingredients in a crock pot. Cover and cook on low for about 6 to 8 hours, or until chicken is tender. Afterwards, you can now enjoy the creamy soup over hot steamed rice and savor a flavor rich eating experience. It perfectly goes well with your favorite grilled food too.

Aklan’s cuisine looks exotic but the taste is very much pleasing since it makes use of common ingredients. It showcases an original way of cooking that provides an appetizing experience to all the local and foreign visitors of the land. Considered as the best tasting dish in the province of Aklan, Chicken Inubaran is something that you should try to cook. Introduce an exhilarating flavor of Visayan cooking to your friends and family.

It’s quite amusing to discover the finest gastronomic flair of every region that makes cooking at its best! You can have all the opportunity to explore and enrich your cooking preferences. Truly, Filipinos have exceptional range of culinary grace which represents simplicity and resourcefulness.…

Barbecue Grills: Now We're Cooking With Gas

The history of barbecuing dates back long before the United States was founded, and tract houses with backyard barbecue grills spread across the suburban plains. It is said, even though some disagree, that the Taino Indians of Haiti were the first to use a form of barbecuing over open fire. In years to follow, English Settlers along the Atlantic Coast had their own barbecues. It is said in the year 1733, a gentleman by the name of Benjamin Lynda wrote in his diary, Fair and hot; barbecue at the Browns, which indicates social gathering was established at that time.

Today barbecuing is far reaching and especially grand sized in Texas, where a pit for fuel might be dug ten foot deep. Barbecue grills tend to be small in comparison and portable, fueled by charcoal, propane, or electricity. The smaller charcoal grills are best suited for two to four people, the thing with charcoal is the wait, sometimes twenty minutes or more before the coals are ready for grilling. Many barbecue purists argue that charcoal gives the food a better taste than the gas grills. There may have been some truth to this in the early days, but with the gas grills of today the food picks up flavor from the drippings on a cover over the burners, called a flavorizer bar, much the same as from the charcoal. I think most would agree once they got used to it, that you would be hard pressed to tell the difference, all other things being equal.

Once you decide to purchase a gas barbecue grill, several things should be considered. Size will depend on how often, and how many, you will be grilling for. The three or four burner models will handle almost any grilling to be done at home for the average family. If there is a side burner on the grill it will come in handy for completing all of your cooking outdoors. A couple of other things to consider are how well the grill is made. Some of the cheaper grills are made of very thin material, and will only last a few years. The burners on the cheaper grills suffer the same shortcomings, and will not last long if the grill is left outside. You might want to take a look at stainless steel barbecue grill with the cast iron, ceramic, or stainless steel burners. These will last much longer, and should give many years of trouble free use if well taken care of. Be sure to get a custom grill cover too, as this will keep your purchase looking like new for many years to come.

You might also want to add a few items such as a cookie glove, long handled fork, and maybe a long handle spatula. A grill brush for cleaning will also be helpful. Another item to consider is an extra propane bottle. It is a wise purchase since you will only run out of gas when you are using your grill. Also …

Accuracy of Meat Thermometers

Digital meat measuring temperature is an essential tool for ensuring safety upon the food and meat we eat. Since it measures the temperature of meat and other poultry products to a certain range, it assures us that the meat and food we eat is safe. Normally, there will be a range of values ​​for the digital meat thermometers and the values ​​are the basis to verify whether or not the meat is safe to eat. At some point, if this gadget is effective and accurate, we will eliminate and prevent potential cases of Salmonella and E.Coli contamination since the product has the ability to measure the desired temperature of the meat with minimal bacteria. Today, we will be dealing more about how accurate a digital meat thermometer is.

How will you feel if you are really in trust with the product in giving you accurate results, but then it failed your expectations? If our health and our family's health are at stake and dependent into a particular product, it should really display 99{ccdfc561878e9246e1a18999d5a21dd519dc1b039f0564ab04c9b3978134babb} accuracy. Before we jump and buy our meat thermometer, we have to ascertain its accuracy and efficient performance.

According to the experts, digital meat measuring temperature are accurate to within a plus 1 or minus 1 in degrees Fahrenheit. The type and the usage of the digital meat thermometer can make or break the accuracy of the gadget. Say for example, according to the experts in measurements, one type of meat thermometer is accurate by 1-2 degrees Fahrenheit if it will be placed into the product or food in the right way. Take note, to ensure the accuracy the digital meat thermometer, you have to make sure that the thermometer is devised specifically for meat and poultry.

If you are shopping for the meat measuring temperature that is right for your needs, make sure that you will be getting the one for meat and poultry. There are also some thermometers which are devised for candies, so make sure that before you pay for the thermometer, you have read the label and you ascertain that it is really the meat thermometer.

There are some meat thermometers which are being calibrated for accuracy. We can also put the thermometer into a test to ascertain it accuracy. How are you going to do it? Here are the steps. Try inserting the stem about 2 inches towards the boiling water. Instantly, if the meat thermometer is accurate, it should read 212 degrees Fahrenheit since the boiling point of water is really 212 degrees in Fahrenheit scale. There are s well instant types of meat thermometers which have adjustment nut on the normally under the dial. If for instance the thermometer will not read 212 degrees Fahrenheit, you just turn the nut to adjust the reading and make it accurate if necessary.

These are just some of the ways to ascertain the accuracy of the product that we normally use for reading the meat temperature. It is very important to have a …

Outback Steakhouse

One of the most successful concepts of all time is Outback Steakhouse. Who would have guessed that Outback founders Chris Sullivan and Robert Basham and Senior Vice President Tim Gannon’s philosophy of ”No rules, just right” would become so successful? When it opened in 1988, beef was not everyone’s favorite dish. Now there are more than 880 Outbacks. Chris Sullivan says, ”Our restaurants serve the freshest food possible, using our imported Parmesan cheese, grated fresh daily, and our imported virgin olive oil. Our fresh midwestern grain-fed beef is the highest-quality choice beef available, and we serve only fresh, never frozen, chicken and fish. Almost everything is made fresh daily.

We like to describe our menu as ‘full flavored.’ In 1993, the Outback concept was growing so well that they decided to diversify into Italian food and purchased a 50 percent interest in Carraba’s Italian Grill. In 1995, Outback purchased the sole rights to develop the Carraba’s concept, which features a casual dinner in a warm festive atmosphere with a variety of fresh handmade Italian dishes cooked to order in the exhibition kitchen. Continued growth of all concepts came, in large part, from Outback’s mission statement: We believe that if we take care of Our People, then the institution of Outback will take care of itself.

We believe that people are driven to be a part of something they can be proud of, is fun, values them, and that they can call their own. We believe in the sanctity of the individual, the value of diversity, and in treating people with kindness, respect, and understanding. We believe that caring for people individually results in their emotional involvement in Outback. We believe in working as a team: having shared goals and a common purpose, serving one another, and supporting their Outbackers. We believe the most important function of the organization is to enable Partners and Managers to effectively run their restaurants and to support their Outbackers. Our purpose is to prepare Outbackers to exercise good judgment and live our principles and beliefs.

This preparation will result in a company of restaurants that endures, prospers, and increases shareholder’s value. Outback has five principles for success: hospitality, sharing, quality, fun, and courage. Hospitality is defined as giving for the sake of giving, rather than for the sake of gaining. Given these ingredients, it is not surprising that Outback continues to grow and acquire other concepts. In 1999, it purchased Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse, an upscale contemporary steakhouse concept designed to be an ongoing celebration of the best in food, wine, and the company of friends and family. In addition to the finest prime beef and steaks, it sells more than 100 wines by the glass. In 2000, Outback opened the first Lee Roy Selmon’s restaurant, featuring soul-satisfying Southern comfort cooking.

The next year it acquired Bonefish Grill, a very popular fresh seafood concept with a stylish decor and great ambiance. Ever on a roll, Outback has opened several Cheeseburger in Paradise restaurants inspired by the …

Yin and Yang Food – How Does it Affect You?

Did you know that Yin and Yang, the principle at the heart of Chinese philosophy, applies to Chinese food and cooking as well? In Chinese medicine, all food can be divided into four Qis: Hot, warm, cool and cold; or yang, mild yang, mild yin and yin respectively.

In general, yang food improves blood circulation and warms us up, but too much yang food (or eaten during the wrong season e.g. summer) will induce constant thirst, hot flashes, night sweats and constipation. In contrast, yin food quenches thirst, cleanses our systems and cools us down, but if eaten inappropriately it will lower our metabolism and weaken our bodies. In particular, according to traditional Chinese, pregnant women are traditionally advised not to eat yin food (e.g. crab, watermelon) as it may increase the chance of miscarriage.

So what are some examples of yin and yang food?

Grains and Beans

  • Mild Yang (warm food): glutinous rice, black rice, barley, sago, sorghum
  • Mild Yin (cool food): wheat, barley, green beans, buckwheat, millet
  • Right in the middle: Rice, corn (maize), sweet potato, sesame, soy beans, rice beans, oat, long beans, sweet peas, kidney beans, mung beans, lentil, broadbean

Meat and Dairy Product

  • Mild Yang (warm):beef, lamb (mutton), chicken, shrimp, lobster, mussels, goat milk
  • Mild Yin (cool): duck, abalone
  • Yin: duck egg, crab, clam, octopus, squid, escargots, raw food
  • Just Right: chicken egg and egg white, pork, scallop, fish, cow milk, yogurt

Fruits and Nuts

  • Mild Yang (warm): peach, almond, dates, lychee, long yan, lemon, papaya, pine nut, walnut, chestnut, cherry, mango
  • Mild Yin (cool):apple, pear, orange, strawberry, pipa
  • Yin (cold): Persimmon, pomelo, banana, starfruit, kiwi, water melon, sweet melon
  • Just Right: plum, pineapple, grapes, olive, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, coconut milk, peanut, hazelnut

Vegetables

  • Mild Yang (warm): spring onion, garlic, leeks, coriander / parsley, onion, pumpkin
  • Yang (hot): pepper
  • Mild Yin (cool): tomato, celery, egg plant, choy shum, spinach, asparagus, artichoke, cauliflower, tofu (including soy milk), gluten, lotus root, winter melon, cucumber, mushroom, needle mushroom
  • Yin (cold): bok choy, arrowhead, water spinach, watercress, bamboo shoots, seaweed, straw mushroom, bitter melon, water chestnut
  • Just Right: carrot, potato, taro, mushroom, turnip (very mild yin), black fungus (very mild yin)

Other Food and Ingredients

  • Mild Yang (warm): spices such as young ginger, clove, dill, rosemary, sage, turmeric, thyme, horseradish, cayenne, nutmeg, wild pepper, cumin, star anise; stimulants such as alcohol, coffee, black tea and other caffeinated drinks; red sugar, ginseng
  • Yang (hot): Cinnamon
  • Mild Yin (cool): green tea, honey, beer, chrysanthemum tea, mint
  • Yin (cold): Soy sauce, soy bean paste, salt

How Does This Apply To Us?

According to the Chinese, each of us are born yin, yang or somewhere in between. For example, if you always crave for spicy food you may have a “yin” body; and if you love watermelon anytime in the year you are likely a Yang.

Your health condition can also indicate the yin-yang balance of your body. Constant cold hands and feet? A …

What Do You Need to Cook Chinese Food?

Are you, like many people, attracted by the possibility of cooking scrumptious and healthy Chinese meals at home? What do you need, in addition to the recipe, the ingredients, and your kitchen?

Well woks have been the mainstay of Chinese cooking for centuries – over 3000 years use in China, indeed. If you have not got one, is a wok necessary? Highly desirable, but not really essential, would be my view.You can use a frying pan to cook stir frys. A wok, does, however, have numerous advantages. It needs much less oil, and distributes heat much more even more than a frying pan does. And the unique concave shape of a wok makes tossing the food around during stir frying more straightforward. Coupled with the fact that you can also use the wok as an simple every day frying pan, and a deep fryer if wanted.

Other equipment that is also not essential, but desirable includes:

A wok lid . Which can either be domed shaped or flat topped. It should be able to fit the lid of the wok. And the lid needs to be high enough to ensure that it will allow the wok to be used with the desired quantities in it.

A spatula . Which is used for stirring and tossing the food It needs to have a long handle – for obvious reasons! And it can be made of metal or wood – the latter is especially desirable for non stick woks and frying pans.

A ladle . Used for adding stock, in addition to other seasoning. A ladle can also be used to measure out other ingredients to add.

A cleaver . Cutting and slicing before food preparation is especially important. Having bite size pieces enables the food to be eaten with chopsticks. It also reduces cooking time by increasing the amount of surface area exposed to heat. And permits greater absorption of sauces and flavorings. Although Chinese cleavers often look as though they could cut through bones, do not use cleavers for this – it may damage them. Although traditionally made of carbon steel, this can rust and add a taste of metal. Best to get a knife made from stainless steel. The flat end can also be used as a pestle.

A steaming basket . This is a round basket that can hold food hovering over boiling water. Bamboo baskets are generally better than metal ones as the bamboo absorbs the moisture and allows the steam to circulate. Dripping water from metal ones can reduce the flavor of the food.

Ring stand . A ring stand can stabilize the wok. Generally these have open sides for gas stoves, and closed sides for electric ones. If your wok has a tapered stand then use it so that the helmet side is up for electric stoves, and other side up for gas ones.

Rack . Usually a semi circle and can be used to keep food warm.

Skimmer . A skimmer is a implementation …

Tips For Cooking With Asparagus

Most people regard asparagus as an ingredient that needs to be cooked with caution. Here are a few helpful tips on how to cook with this vegetable.

Begin by buying asparagus right. Select asparagus spears that look a fresh and bright green and that have compact but firm tips. If you need to cook with asparagus that has slightly wilted tips, firm them up by soaking them in cold water for a few minutes.

After buying fresh asparagus, you need to keep it in a moist place till you are ready to use it. Frozen asparagus can be kept in the freezer. Remember not to defrost frozen asparagus before cooking. Once you’ve taken the frozen asparagus out of the freezer, do not refreeze it. You can store asparagus in the freezer for a maximum of eight months. If you are using the canned variety, it should be stored in a cool and dry place.

Asparagus is a versatile vegetable and lends itself to various food combinations. You can top steamed asparagus with sour cream, mayonnaise or yogurt. You can also infuse herbs like parsley and tarragon into melted butter and pour the mix over asparagus. Fresh asparagus works well with a squeeze of lemon juice.

Asparagus goes best with dry white wines such as Chenin Blanc, French Colombard or Fume Blanc. After trimming asparagus, do not discard the trimmed ends. These can be pureed and used in soups, stews or sauces.

Asparagus can be cooked in several ways. If you are cooking on the stovetop, you can steam fresh asparagus by boiling it in a small quantity of water until tender. This should take about five to eight minutes.

If you want to steam asparagus while in an upright position, tie the stalks together with a string. Make the stalks stand straight in a double boiler so that the tips stay an inch or so above the salted, boiling water. Cover the double boiler and cook for about five minutes or until tender.

For stir-frying asparagus, start by chopping the spears diagonally into half inch pieces. Keep the tips whole. Next stir-fry the cut pieces in a skillet containing hot butter or olive oil over a medium heat. It should take about three minutes for the asparagus to tenderize. Stir-fried asparagus should be soft yet crisp.

Fresh asparagus can be cooked in a microwave in a baking dish or even in a serving bowl. Place about a pound of asparagus in the cooking dish. If you are using whole asparagus spears, keep the tips in the center. Pour in about a quarter cup of water and cover the dish. Cook at 100{ccdfc561878e9246e1a18999d5a21dd519dc1b039f0564ab04c9b3978134babb} power for 5 minutes. Turn over the spears half way through cooking. Reduce the cooking time by about a minute if you are microwaving cut pieces or tips.

Frozen asparagus can be cooked in the microwave by placing it in a covered microwaveable dish containing about two tablespoons of water. The cooking time is about five minutes at …

How to Make Healthy & Delicious Baby Food

Making homemade baby food puree is simple, easy, and is very healthy and nutritious for your baby! You can save a lot of money by making your own food and your baby will love it! All you need, at a minimum, is a blender or food processor for pureeing, ice cube trays for freezing, and freezer bags and / or storage containers. There are other products available for making baby food at home such as tiered steamers, food mills, ice cube trays with lids, and other gadgets that can make preparing baby food easy (or more difficult depending on your cooking skills!). The Kidco Electric Food Mill has been my best friend in whipping up fresh batches of baby food. However, I've used standard blenders for pureing as well.

Here is how to make puree out of most fruits, vegetables, and meats:

1. Cook the desired food by baking, steaming, boiling, or microwaving.

2. Remove the food and allow to cool down a bit, reserve a little of the cooking liquid.

3. Transfer the food and cooking liquid (or you can use plain water or breast milk if you wish) into a blender or food processor and puree the food.

Note: You can use plain water or breast milk instead of the cooking liquid. However, vitamins see out into the water while cooking, so adding the liquid is a bonus.

4. Remove the food and serve immediately to your baby or freeze in ice cube trays for up to 2 months.

That's all there is to it! …