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Day one of our Culinary World Tour was such a success, the very next day my daughter, Madison, came to me, Food Passport Journal in one hand and apron in the other! She had so much fun learning about Tennessee that she wanted to pick a new place to learn about! We decided on New York and found ourselves a recipe for New York style bagels! This time, we made a grocery list for the recipe and Madison joined me at the store to pick out ingredients – a great little way to sneak some math and reading practice into our adventure!

Kid's Culinary World Tour: New York Style Bagels

We returned home and decided that, if we were going to make bagels, we should learn about where they came from! Madison learned that they were commonly made in Poland and when Polish immigrants arrived in New York, their bagels quickly became a popular local treat! In the early 1900’s, there were so many bagel shops in the city that there was even a special Bagel Bakers Union Local 338 created to protect the secret family recipes!

Madison finished writing her new trivia tidbits in her Food Passport, we put on our aprons and it was time to make the bagels! But not before we settled on some New York style music! Who better to represent the Big Apple than Ol’ Blue Eyes? Thanks to Pandora, we had a whole collection of the Rat Pack’s best to accompany our bagel baking extravaganza!

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The great thing about this recipe is, unlike many bagel recipes, is it can be done in one day – which was perfect for my impatient 6 year old! She had a hard enough time watching the yeast dissolve for 5 minutes! This recipe may seem very long, but if my 6 year old could hang in through the process, so can you! And, trust me, the result is SO worth the process. We ended up only making 6 bagels (instead of 8), as ours were a little large (hey, nothing wrong with large bagels. More to love, right?). We chose to sprinkle ours with coarse salt before baking, but you can top yours with anything you’d like! And don’t forget to try one while it’s still warm with a little butter on it. Fresh-from-the-oven buttered bagel = sweet, sweet doughy, buttery bliss. (Ok. Now I’m hungry!)

Madison loved our “trip” to New York! Next Stop: Louisiana!

Kid's Culinary World Tour: New York Style Bagels

NEW YORK-STYLE BAGEL RECIPE
Makes: 8 medium-sized bagels
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 ½ tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 ¼ cups warm water (you may need ± ¼ cup more, I know I did)
  • 3 ½ cups (500g) bread flour or high gluten flour(will need extra for kneading)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt

Optional Toppings:
Caraway seeds, coarse salt, minced fresh garlic, minced fresh onion, poppy seeds, or sesame seeds. (Everyone in my house prefers plain bagels, but I have no preference, so I just went with the plain, so no one could complain.)

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Preparation:

  1. In ½ cup of the warm water, pour in the sugar and yeast. Do not stir. Let it sit for five minutes, and then stir the yeast and sugar mixture, until it all dissolves in the water.
  2. Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle and pour in the yeast and sugar mixture.
  3. Pour half of the remaining warm water into the well. Mix and stir in the rest of the water as needed. Depending on where you live, you may need to add anywhere from a couple tablespoons to about ¼ cup of water. You want to result in a moist and firm dough after you have mixed it.
  4. On a floured countertop, knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Try working in as much flour as possible to form a firm and stiff dough.
  5. Lightly brush a large bowl with oil and turn the dough to coat. Cover the bowl with a damp dish towel. Let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in size. Punch the dough down, and let it rest for another 10 minutes.
  6. Carefully divide the dough into 8 pieces (I used a scale to be extra precise, but it’s not necessary). Shape each piece into a round. Now, take a dough ball, and press it gently against the countertop (or whatever work surface you’re using) moving your hand and the ball in a circular motion pulling the dough into itself while reducing the pressure on top of the dough slightly until a perfect dough ball forms (as pictured below). Repeat with 7 other dough rounds.
  7. Coat a finger in flour, and gently press your finger into the center of each dough ball to form a ring. Stretch the ring to about ⅓ the diameter of the bagel and place on a lightly oiled cookie sheet. Repeat the same step with the remaining dough.
  8. After shaping the dough rounds and placing them on the cookie sheet, cover with a damp kitchen towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 425ºF.
  9. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Reduce the heat. Use a slotted spoon or skimmer to lower the bagels into the water. Boil as many as you are comfortable with boiling. Once the bagels are in, it shouldn’t take too long for them to float to the top (a couple seconds). Let them sit there for 1 minute, and them flip them over to boil for another minute. Extend the boiling times to 2 minutes each, if you’d prefer a chewier bagel (results will give you a more New York Style bagel with this option).
  10. If you want to top your bagels with stuff, do so as you take them out of the water, you may use the “optional toppings” (listed above) to top the bagels and if you’re risky like me, make a combination of the toppings to top the bagels with, but before hand, you will need to use an egg wash to get the toppings to stick before putting the bagels into the oven.
  11. Once all the bagels have boiled (and have been topped with your choice of toppings), transfer them to a lightly oiled baking sheet.
  12. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown.
  13. Cool on a wire rack.

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We found this recipe on sophisticatedgourmet.com

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Geri

    April 29, 2016 at 4:21 am

    Thanks F – that’s much easier now . I was looking for reasons not to buy two new YN560s for about the same price as one 2nd-hand, 7 yr old SB80 … I guess the YN560′s long term durability (eg GN after maybe 1000 flashes, etc) would be less than nikon, metz, etc., and I wo2l8n&#du17;t expect the YN’s optics (at 105mm zoom) to be as effective as the nikon … but doubling up should more than compensate for both, plus being more versatile. Thanks for your help!

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Easy Healthy Recipes

10 Tips for the Perfect Party Platter

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Whether hosting an intimate dinner party or catering to the masses, a party platter should exude a feeling of bountiful goodness, quality and understated elegance.

If seeking to make an impression, this is no time for the salted crackers or frozen mini pizzas to make an appearance. Lavish servings of Lavosh and home-made dips counterpointed by exotic fruits in a range of colours, should be the order of the day.

Think of the platter as a tasting plate overflowing with rare and delicious goodies that guests may never before have experienced. If the first bite is with the eye then the party platter should be a masterpiece, foretelling the sumptuousness of the main meal to follow.

Tip 1 — Presentation

Dedicated or scrupulously cleaned wooden chopping boards are the ideal medium for displaying your platter to its best advantage. There is a rustic, earthy and organic feel to them which cannot be replicated in plastic or other materials.

The word ‘dedicated’ means it is used strictly for the purpose of serving rather than to prepare food.

While wooden chopping boards have been proven safer than plastic ones due to the fact that they tend to have less deep furrows for bacteria to thrive, research has also found salmonella and other bacteria doesn’t survive on wood like it does on plastic.

It is still imperative that you clean your wooden chopping boards meticulously before every use. Whilst cleaning, inspect the surface for deep grooves, mould or staining, which all indicate it is time for a new board.

Tip 2 — Centrepieces

Set a central focus point on your platter and branch out from there. Hollow out a round cottage loaf, cabbage, capsicum or similar and fill with homemade dip. Many foodstuffs with a hard exterior can be used in this way to excellent effect.

Stunning ramekins filled with homemade sauces and dips, surrounded by sushi, prawns, smoked salmon parcels and lobster, will elicit gasps of delight. Consider emptying a lobster shell, mixing the contents into a seafood dip or Mornay, returning the mixture to the shell and serve ringed by lashings of warm bread or pita.

The ever popular dessert platter is perfect for lakes of melted chocolate in lavish, heated serving tureens or fountains; surrounded by strawberries, marshmallows and skewers for dipping.

Tip 3 — Crackers and dippers

Vegetables and Middle Eastern breads make nutritious, colourful and tasty dippers including Lavosh crackers, Turkish breads, carrot sticks, red capsicum and celery. Use foods which will remain crunchy for the length of the function.

Warm falafel balls on toothpicks can also double as scoops for exotic dips.

Tip 4 — Texturing

Something cold, something hot, something crunchy, something smooth – give diners variety whilst exciting both the eye and the taste buds.

If serving large groups, roll meats into easy to pick up parcels. Utilise unusual and interesting receptacles full of bite-sized portions such as porcelain spoons which can be easily picked up by guests.

Fold, roll, layer or fan meats out in an arc and garnish with radish roses, coriander or other fresh herbs, kale or cheeses. Hot finger foods can be interspersed with unusual yet tasty dipping sauces and leafy greens.

Tip 5 — A touch of the exotic

Take a stroll around a large fruit shop to select colourful, exotic or tropical fruits. Get creative with the presentation. Cut fruit into intricate shapes, florets and roses. Avoid pitted fruit which may present a choking hazard. Some suggestions to get you started are:

  • Figs
  • Berries
  • Passionfruit
  • Lychees
  • Mango
  • Papaya
  • Kiwi
  • Dates
  • Pomegranates
  • Pineapple

Tip 6 — Choosing cheeses

Serve cheeses on a separate platter, identifying them with rustic cheese labels. These can be purchased, printed at home or better still fashioned DIY style from corks or small chalk boards. The more creative the better!

When using this idea it is best to have a wide variety of cheeses in small quantities of each. Go for a mixture of crumbly, smooth, mild, pungent and tasty.

Some suggestions may be:

  • Goat
  • Gouda
  • Brie
  • Blue
  • Gruyere
  • Cheddar
  • Parmesan
  • Feta

Try to get a mixed variety of tastes, textures and colours. For instance, Brie and Camembert have a similar consistency and presentation, so you may choose to avoid having both. Display cheeses with a selection of dried and fresh fruit and nuts to set them off to best advantage. Don’t forget the cheese knife!

Tip 7 — Get creative with colour

The party platter should not merely be about taste, it needs to be visually captivating. Consider the occasion and build a palette of colours based on that. Examples of this are Australia Day or St Patrick’s Day. A national flag can be created using a variety of complementary foods.

Begin with these ‘colourful’ tips:

  • Whites – Australian feta, cauliflower florets, tzatziki dip or brie
  • Blues – Blueberries interspersed with tropical blue flower leaves
  • Reds – Stuffed cherry tomatoes, sundried tomatoes, red capsicum, strawberries
  • Yellows – pineapple, cheddar cheese, lemon
  • Oranges – carrot sticks, mandarins, American cheese
  • Greens – olives, kiwi fruit, beans, broccoli florets

Try to incorporate typically national foods to create the effect and continue the theme. An example of this could be a Mexican flag fashioned from white corn chips, salsa and jalapenos.

Tip 8 — Theming

Catering to large groups using multiple platters, affords the opportunity to build a theme into each serving tray.

Mix spices, garnishes and dipping sauces, in with the following:

  • Seafood – oysters, caviar, prawns, lobster, warm fish balls, seafood croquettes and hot seafood rolls. Use rock salt or crushed ice as a bed.
  • Meat – salumi including prosciutto, bresaola, mortadella, salami
  • Vegetarian – olives, dolmades, cherry tomatoes, fetta, falafel balls

Alternately, platters can be themed by cuisine – Mexican, Italian, Thai and Chinese are some popular suggestions. Source or make little national flags to decorate each platter.

Other ways to personalise platters is to create artwork using specific foods. For instance the Netherlands – fashion feta stuffed tomatoes into tulips with spring onion stems and voila, you have spectacular national emblem!

Include a selection of tasting and dipping sauces tailored to complement the flavours.

Tip 9 — Simple savouries

The combination of olive oil with a dash of balsamic vinegar is always a favourite. Serve garnished with sprigs of fresh herbs like sage or parsley plus a side of fine grain sea salt.

Offer a range of heavy breads for dipping and surround with traditional European fare like olives, feta and prosciutto.

Tip 10 — Filling in the gaps

A party platter should be about displaying abundance and variety. Garnishes and edible greens such as lettuce leaves, mint and parsley are all colourful and luxuriant bases from which to present or set off a platter to best advantage. Replace food often to avoid the appearance of the platter having been ‘picked over’.

When seeking to make a lasting impression, putting energy and thought into planning and fashioning superb food platters can be time well spent. The colours and contents can form a delicious and eye-catching prelude to the main meal or be a parade of main courses in themselves.

Sumptuously presented food arrangements can encourage socialisation and stimulate the gastronomic juices. So get your artistic talents flowing to create magnificent platters which will make your next function a resounding success.

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Easy Healthy Recipes

Five Easy Recipes for “Make Your Own Dinner” Nights

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Easy Dinner Recipes

We have all been there – you plan as well as you can, search for recipes, go grocery shopping, make dinner – and your child refuses to eat.  You then have to make the decision whether to stand your ground and make him eat what you’ve made, or avoid the whining and make that box of macaroni and cheese.  

Ideally, your child would realize that perfectly balanced recipe you’ve spent time preparing is both nutritious and delicious, but in the real world, this is rarely the case.  

The five “Make Your Own Dinner” night recipes below are designed to let everyone make their meal how they like it best, without creating a separate menu for each person in your family.  An added bonus to these recipes is that they allow children to take ownership of their nutrition and promote autonomy and independence in eating habits.  

Parents Preparing Family Breakfast In Kitchen

1. Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup

What you need:  

Bread, butter, varied types of cheese (American, swiss, provolone, etc.);

Tomato Soup;

Goldfish crackers, shredded cheese, croutons, crumbled bacon, chicken breast, sour cream – the possibilities are endless!  

What you do:

Let each person pick out what type (or types) of cheese they want on their sandwich, heat up some tomato soup, and let your cooks get creative dressing up the soup and creating flavor combinations.

2. Tacos

What you need:

Hard or soft taco shells;

Meat (ground beef, chicken, steak or pork);

Lettuce, tomato, sour cream, guacamole, hot sauce, salsa, rice, beans, corn, onions, peppers, etc.

What you do:

Use a mild taco seasoning on the meat of your choice and let your family choose the spices, veggies, and sauces they like best.  Cook the meat, cut the veggies you need, and put everything in bowls for your family to pick and choose from.  If your kids are a little older, let them help dice the tomato or chop the onions.  

3. Pizza

What you need:  

Traditional pizza crust, flatbread, or get creative with biscuits, bagels or even English muffins;

Sauces, which can be red (tomato) or white (usually alfredo sauce);

Any type of shredded cheese;

Toppings, toppings, toppings!  Again, the possibilities are endless.  Vegetables, meat, fruit, barbeque chicken.  Your choices are only limited by your imagination.

What you do:

If necessary, bake the pizza crust according to directions.  Set out the sauces and toppings and see who can make the most unique, tasty pizza!  

4. Baked Potato Bar

What you need:  

Russet potatoes;

Shredded cheese and meats for protein, sour cream, ranch dressing, onions, chives, broccoli, etc.

What you do:

You can do so much with a simple baked potato.  Have a Mexican baked potato by adding ground beef, taco sauce, lettuce and tomato.  Make it more traditional by adding cheese and broccoli, or go all out with turkey, cheese, onion and bacon.  

5. Kabobs

What you need:  

Steak, chicken, cubed pork, or shrimp;

Seasoning;

Assorted vegetables (peppers, zucchini, onions, etc.) and even fruit (pineapple and pork is a delicious combination!);

Skewers

What you do:

Each person can stack their kabobs to their liking.  Encourage your cooks to experiment with combinations or something they’ve never tried before.  Maybe your son swears he hates shrimp, but may be surprised when he tries it grilled with tasty vegetables and seasoning.

Grill the kabobs (this doesn’t take long) and serve with rice or another side of your choosing.

Let’s Eat!

Spend quality time with your family while making delicious, nutritious meals together.  Do you have a favorite, go-to recipe you make often?  Think about how you can turn it into a “Make Your Own” night!  The five recipes above are just the beginning of inclusive family meals.

 

 

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Easy Healthy Recipes

Not-Your-Mama’s Shepherd’s Pie Recipe

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Here’s another awesome recipe from our resident cooking enthusiast, Emily Steadman. I’ve personally tasted this recipe… SO. GOOD. Enjoy! -KB

Ahh Spring… the flowers are blooming… the birds are singing…. my car is frozen shut—Wait.. What?! Oh that’s right, I live in New England… the arctic tundra that refuses to acknowledge the vernal equinox. It is April. And this week my daughter slipped and fell on a sheet of ice walking to the car… aforementioned car was frozen shut and I had to begrudgingly remove the ice scraper from the trunk (where I had ceremoniously placed it TWO WEEKS AGO, signifying it would no longer be needed and heralding the arrival of Spring) to crack the glistening sheet of suck that encased the entire car. Ok. Rant over.

Because the cold just refuses to go away, I think this is the perfect time to share one of my absolute favorite recipes. It is a staple in our house through the winter, and as I can’t seem to get warm right now, it’s all I can think about! Let me preface this with a warning that this recipe is not a quick, 5 ingredient fix. It takes a little time and a little love but the end result is so deliciously worth it – I promise! It’s a great weekend meal, and we usually make it on Saturdays or Sundays when my daughter and I can throw on our aprons and spend the day in the kitchen, listening to music and salivating over the smells coming from the stove.

Since I was a kid, the words “Shepherd’s Pie” would make me immediately lose my appetite. It was a frequent meal in our house and the idea of mixing ground beef with frozen veggies was just unpleasant. I used to make my mother separate all the ingredients because I refused to eat them all mashed up (I now realize that payback for this has come in the form of my own child being the world’s pickiest eater). So as an adult, I didn’t even consider Shepherd’s Pie as an option for meals I’d want to cook. But I found a few recipes on Pinterest that sparked my interest and decided to give it another try. This recipe from iowagirleats.com was the one that started my downward spiral into Shepherd’s Pie obsession. I made some changes to suit my tastes and ended up with what is now my family’s favorite recipe.

I should warn you that anyone you cook this meal for will most likely want to hug you after the first bite. It is that good.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs chuck roast (trim a little excess fat but not too much – it adds flavor!)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large carrot (peeled and chopped)
  • 2 celery stalks (peeled and chopped)
  • ½ yellow onion (diced)
  • 1 cup portabella mushrooms (diced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 small bunch of fresh Thyme (remove leaves from stems)
  • 3 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 3 cups red wine
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 2 tbsp worstershire sauce
  • 2-3 lbs potatoes (peeled and chopped)
  • ½ stick of butter
  • ¾ c milk or cream
  • 1 ½ c shredded white cheddar
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

Cut the chuck roast into large chunks and season liberally on all sides with coarse salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium high heat. Sear the top and bottom of the chuck roast pieces for about 3-4 minutes per side. You should see a nice golden crust. Make sure to sear off any fat.

Remove chuck roast pieces from pot and place in separate bowl. Turn the heat down to medium and add the garlic to the pot. Saute for no more than 30 seconds before adding onion, carrot, celery and mushrooms. Cook for about 8 minutes until vegetables are tender. Add thyme leaves to pot.

Add the chuck roast pieces back into the pot and mix with the cooked vegetables. Sprinkle with cornstarch, stir and cook for 1 minute.

Add wine, beef broth, and worstershire. Place a lid on the pot, reduce heat to medium low and let the mixture simmer for 2 hours, stir occasionally to rotate the beef.

After 2 hours, remove the meat from the pot and shred. If the mixture is still not thickened after 2 hours, place over medium high heat and simmer until thickened before returning shredded beef to the pot.

30 minutes before the meat is finished braising, boil the diced potatoes until tender. Drain the water from the pot, mash the potatoes and add butter, milk (or cream) and 1 cup of shredded white cheddar. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer the meat and vegetable mixture from the pot to a casserole dish (make sure you put it on a baking sheet in case it bubbles over in the oven!). Spread the mashed potatoes on top of the meat mixture and sprinkle remaining shredded cheddar on top.

Bake in a 350° oven for 10 minutes, and then broil until a golden brown crust forms on top of the potatoes.

Serve and enjoy!

 

 

 

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